Interesting Quote from an old Show

I used to watch the show Forever Knight on late night CrimeTime. The DVDs have recently been released and I’m watching the 3rd season. In each episode, usually one of the main characters (vampires) remembers scenes from the past that relate to the current murder mystery. In episode 11, the character Lucius LaCroix (an atheist) has the following hilarious observation while incarcerated by the Inquisition:

This god and this devil are a mere human contrivance and convenience; they are the justification for slaughter without the tricky business of accountability.

What a great line.

And there is another exchange in the same show, where the two main characters (Nick and Lucius) are still locked up in the dungeon with another character, Sancho, who is next to be tortured. By this time in the show, its been established that Sancho’s only heresy is owning property that the Church desires.

Nick: Who do you pray for, friend? (directed at Sancho)
Sancho: My family. If I die, my wife and children must be cared for.
LaCroix: And who will do that? Your god as well? This same god that would allow your flesh to be incinerated?
Sancho: It is not for me to question.
LaCroix: Of course not, because once the question is asked, it must be answered.
Sancho: God is in all of us. Even you, though you serve the devil.
LaCroix: I serve no one!
Sancho: Then you are without purpose.
LaCroix: Perhaps, but at least I do not deceive myself.

The third and final year of the series has several episodes where the character, LaCroix, has some excellent scenes and lines.


Obnoxious Ford Ad Part 2

Well it looks like the local Ford dealership is continuing with the extremely obnoxious ad that I detailed here about a month ago. I heard the ad and this time I found out what station was airing it. I decided to have some fun and wrote to the Ford corporation which has a long and sordid past flirting with antisemitism and bigotry before and during WW2.

I wrote to the Ford Corporation Customer Service to complain about the ad:

I live in the Mojave desert in Southern California. One of your dealers has been airing a very offensive ad on the radio. This ad states that those who don’t share his personal religious convictions can either get out of the country or sit down and shut up. He also states in the ad that he doesn’t care who he offends.

As a veteran of the US Air Force, I find this ignorance appalling. I swore to uphold and defend the very constitution this man is trashing. The dealership is Keiffe & Sons in Mojave, CA. The ad aired at 6:20 pm on 106.3FM. I was looking at a Ford from that particular dealership, but I think that I will go somewhere else, like the Honda dealership.

I received the following reply from Ford:

Dear Anna,

Thank you for contacting the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center regarding the advertising from Kieffe & Sons Ford.

We would like to document your feedback; however, in order to process this, more information is needed. Please include your original message with the following additional information to allow us to proceed.

Zip Code:
Cellular Phone Number:
Daytime Phone Number:
Home Phone Number:

If you would prefer to provide this information over the phone, you may call us toll free at 1-800-392-3673 between the hours of 8am and 5pm, local time, Monday through Friday. Hearing impaired callers with access to a TDD may contact us by calling 1-800-232-5952.

If you have any other inquiries, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to address them for you.

Rex Bryan
Customer Relationship Center
Ford Motor Company

I responded with the following:

Dear Mr. Bryan

I would prefer not to reveal any personal information in this email, due to safety reasons. I live in a very small conservative desert community where there are very few nonreligious people. The dealership is Keiffe & Sons in Mojave, CA. The ad aired at 6:20 pm on 106.3FM on the 24th of April.

The ad plainly stated that since about 14% of the population is non-religious, the nonreligious people need to either leave or shut up and that religious people are welcome to come over and buy a car. Needless to say, I will not be going over to buy a car at a place where I’m clearly not welcome. I’m not sure why he would want to alienate the 14% of people he is referring to in the ad. He could have stated that religious people were welcome without explicitly saying that the nonreligious were not.

He has the right to say what he wants no matter how ignorant and bigoted, and I also have the right to shop elsewhere. As an Air Force officer I swore to uphold and the defend the very constitution this man trashes when he says that a minority has no right to free expression of either speech or a religious viewpoint. I’m simply writing about this to let your corporation know what its dealers are doing in its name.

Anna Lemma

Perhaps the ad will be pulled, who knows? I also sent a similar email to the radio station involved as well. The Antelope Valley is a very conservative place, even though we are in Southern California. A couple of years ago, a store for the local Wiccan community was literally shutdown with protests from church groups and assholish behavior from the local sheriff’s department. I’m not exactly hopeful here.

Jeremy Hall Story Finally Making it to MSM

Well the story of Jeremy Hall is finally making its way into the MSM after several months. I guess the press is finally getting tired of Brittany and Paris Hilton. The Army and Federal court seem to be dragging their feet and trying to avoid doing anything about the situation.

There are 1.36 million active duty service members, according to the Pentagon, and since 2005, it has received 50 formal complaints of religious discrimination, Ms. Lainez said.

In an e-mail statement, Bill Carr, the Defense Department’s deputy under secretary for military personnel policy, said he “saw near universal compliance with the department’s policy.”

Yeah, and we’ve all seen how accurate the governmental accounting agencies have been in this administration.

But Mikey Weinstein, a retired Air Force judge advocate general and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said the official statistics masked the great number of those who do not report violations for fear of retribution. Since the Air Force Academy scandal began in 2004, Mr. Weinstein said, he has been contacted by more than 5,500 service members and, occasionally, military families about incidents of religious discrimination. He said 96 percent of the complainants were Christians, and the majority of those were Protestants.

I think Bill Carr is full of shit. The fundy Christians are causing this shit in the military and the moderate Christians are desparately trying to keep their heads in the sand by ignoring the whole mess.

See here for a previous post on this. It looks like the story is on CNN as well.

MRFF has an interview with Mikey Weinstein and Jeremy Hallon ABC over at the MRFF website. I think I’ll send them some more money to help out with the lawsuits.

Oh The Poor Persecuted Christian Pervert

A staff member at the Parkway Christian School was caught on videotape trying to make arrangements for getting some nookie. Mr. Lavern Jordan, the “Spiritual Backbone”, of Parkway Christian School was caught trying to negotiate sex from the mother of a potential student. At least this time the nookie, was female and over 18, and not a student. Heh Heh Heh. From the article from Channel 13 in Houston:

“I was meeting with him so y’all to expose him to the world and to those parents sending their kids up there,” the mother told us.

Because days earlier, she says Jordan had offered to waive his school’s enrollment fee in exchange for sex. It all happened in a graphic conversation that unfortunately for Mr. Jordan was recorded for us all to hear.

Jordan: “Excuse me and I don’t mean to be so blunt but I am talking about f—— you.”

Mother: “You talking about what?”

Jordan: “F—— you.”

Jordan: “For the $300 I would expect maybe we could get together several times, you think?”

Mother: “Several times, whatcha mean several times?”

Jordan: “Well I don’t know, you might like whatcha getting.”

Looks like the school has special arrangements for those who can’t pay in cash.

Oh and look at this statement from Parkway:

Channel 13 chose to run a piece slandering our school’s name and reputation. They filmed our school doors, sign,and phone number, but did not have the professional courtesy to interview me, although I called the station manager and informed him of a falsehood. I requested a callback interview numerous times, in which I did not recieve in a timely fashion.

Furthermore, Mr. Wayne Dolcefino and his camera crew were in the school parking lot on 4/17/08 and interviewed students and parents without even talking to me. A new story was aired 4/17/08 at 10 p.m. and we still had not recieved a call or interview. Today is 4/18/08 and they finally want an interview after they have already damaged the schools’ name and integrity. The stories that were run were entirely one-sided. A true report is getting both sides of the story. We have now been advised by our legal council not to grant any local media interviews.

Furthermore, we would like to add that the woman in question did not handle the situation properly. Had she called to inform me of this incident, the matter would have been handled promptly and properly.I can not do anything about a situation that I am not aware of. As soon as I was informed, Mr. Jordan was no longer a part of Parkway Christian School,Inc., nor is he the founder. I started PCSI 13 years ago, to help the lives and futures of teenagers that got lost in the system of public schooling. Mr. Jordan was never and is not a founder of PCSI.

Channel 13 and the woman in question owe Parkway Christian School, Inc. a public apology for the unjust manner in which the incident was handled. My family, students, and school should not have to suffer the blame for something that we did not know was happening.
Respectfully yours,
Barbara A. Jordan
Founder, PCSI

What a set of brass balls. One of their employees propositions a potential customer and it’s her fault? Wow, I guess Christian shit doesn’t stink. Oh, and it looks like the whole school is a scam.

So that day, more than 100 Parkway Christian students walked across the stage to “Pomp and Circumstance,” accepted their diploma and shook hands with Jordan, many of them having never set foot in a Parkway Christian classroom.

The school seems to only have three employees from their website. Another Texas education scam where kids can pay for a diploma. And according to some Christians, they are supposed to be more morally developed than us lowly unbelievers. If this is “superior moral development”, then I want no part of it.

Epic Fail for Expelled

It looks like Mark Mathis(ass. prod. of Expelled) has ripped of the Inner Life of the Cell video from Harvard and XVIVO. And according to information posted over in comments at ERV’s blog in this post and this post, it looks like the Discovery Institute and Rampant Films is knowingly removing evidence of copyright infringement. Is this a felony? I think it is. Harvard and XVIVO should sue the hell out of these thieving frauds. And according to the most recent post, Mike Edmondson may the the animator of the ripped off version in Expelled as well as the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD parody.

Mike Edmundson has denied that he worked on the cell animation in Expelled. He does not have any references to the film on his blog.

Update Again:
It looks like Yoko Ono will be suing over the use of the song Imagine by John Lennon in Expelled.

She Sort of Apologizes

Monique Davis apologized to Rob Sherman today for her bigoted outburst against him. After ranting that atheists did not deserve the right to participate in government, she was forced to apologize after receiving a weeks worth of bad publicity. But it was not really an apology as she did not take responsibility for her bigoted remarks. Davis blamed her outburst on a student killing. WTF? What did a student’s death have to do with atheists?

CHICAGO (WBBM) — State Representative Monique Davis is apologizing a week after she blasted an atheist activist during a hearing over a million dollar grant for a South Side church.

Because of Davis’ rant, she was named Tuesday night as the “worst person in the world” –a dubious award doled out daily by news commentator Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s “Countdown” program.

Rep. Davis told atheist Rob Sherman that, “What you have to spew and spread is dangerous” and that “This is the land of Lincoln where people believe in God.”

But, after being on the receiving end of a week’s worth of public criticism, Davis called Sherman yesterday to apologize.

Sherman says Davis told him she “took out her frustrations and emotions on me and that she shouldn’t have done that.” Sherman says Davis’ explanation was “reasonable” and that he forgives her.

According to Sherman and State Rep. Jack Franks….Davis claims her outburst was triggered by learning shortly beforehand…that there’d been another Chicago Public School student killed.

State Rep. Jack Franks was chairing the hearing that day and says Davis’ outburst was uncharacteristic, adding “she was having a bad day.”

What? Wrong time of the month, Princess?

Worst Person in Politics

Rep. Monique Davis is one clueless Democratic politician. She told Rob Sherman the following:

What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous . . . it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!

“This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God,” Davis said. “Get out of that seat . . . You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

There are massive amounts of comments to the article, and surprisingly enough most of the comments are on the side of atheists. Yay!!

And I love me some Keith Olbermann.

Well, look who’s also being a dickhead, its Rob Sherman.

Now that Negroes like Representative Monique Davis have political power, it seems that they have no problem at all with discrimination, just as long as it isn’t them who are being discriminated against.

Wow, way to generalize Rob. Of course, it’s no excuse for Davis’s remarks to Sherman. In addition to generalizing atheists, Davis also said that atheists had no right to be represented in politics,which is far worse.

Expelled Reviews are in from SciAm

Well the reviews from Scientific American for the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, are located here and they are not exactly flattering. John Rennie says in his review:

The most conspicuous absence from the movie, however—and you would think it was impossible in a movie about evolution and ID—is any real science. Anyone looking for scientific reasons or even detailed arguments for why scientists maintained either position would go away unsatisfied. A half hour or so passes before anyone in the film offers even simplistic definitions for evolution and ID. Nor is there any discussion of evolution’s accomplishments in illuminating the history of life and problems in fields as diverse as medicine and astrophysics, and its applications to technology such as combinatorial chemistry.

Instead, various Discovery Institute fellows intone that evolution is a “slippery,” hard-to-pin-down theory. No such criticism is made of ID, a notion which firmly states that at one or more unspecified times in the past, an unidentified designer who might or might not be God somehow created whole organisms, or maybe just cells, or maybe just certain parts of cells—they’re still deciding and will get back to you on that.

The creationists who have produced Expelled are really against all of science, not only biology and evolution. They are only attacking evolution right now because it directly conflicts with their 6000 year old earth. They are also starting to attack the other hard sciences as well. Astronomy and cosmology also show an old universe and earth which directly conflict with the creationist literal biblical view. The crew at Scientific American bring this up with a conversation with the weaselly Mark Mathis after a private showing of Expelled.

Science Talk and Skepticality (Epsiode 074) also interview some of the scientists tricked into interviews by the Expelled producers. Michael Shermer is also unflattering in his review. I love the story Shermer tells in the Skepticality interview. During the interview, Ben Stein abruptly leaves and goes out to pout in his car for a half hour. Shermer asks the other interviewer “Is Stein out there snorting a line of coke or something?” Apparently, Stein and company were making a practice of behaving rudely in order to get a rude response from the scientists to put on film.

Over at Richard Dawkins site, there is a discussion of their experience at the Expelled showing at the Mall of America. And PZ Myers has an ongoing series of posts at Pharyngula. What’s nice and extra special about all of this is the letter that Peter Irons that is posted over at Pharyngula. The Expelled producers have almost directly copied a Harvard video about cell biology with their own text and music. And it looks like they also have ripped off music for their “documentary”.

Ohhh. It’s Arts And Crafts Hour

Sometimes understanding the more difficult topics in mathematics requires using more that just the visual sense. Dr. Daina Taimina created a set of crochet models created with a couple of simple rules to model hyperbolic spaces. Start with a small number of stitches and as you go around, increase a stitch or more for every stitch crochet. The more the stitches are increased, the more the model becomes folded. There is more over at Good Math Bad Math.

When I took calculus in college, my calculus professor was heavily into woodworking. Sometime he would bring in models he created on a lathe to show the results of rotating a curve around a line or axis. He would then place the model in water to get the volume of water displaced by the model. We would then integrate the equation describing the curve to calculate the volume of the curve rotated around the line and check to see that the two values match. I seem to learn easier by having a model in front of me. The more senses involved, the easier it is to learn.