Fastest Internet in US not in Silicon Valley

A story at Daily Kos explains why the city of Chattanooga, TN now has the fastest residential Internet connectivity in the US. As an atheist the thought of moving to Chattanooga, part of our “bible belt”, doesn’t thrill me. But I’ve got to admit I like the idea of living someplace where an extremely modest home doesn’t cost $735,000 (what I paid for my house in the San Jose area just before the housing bubble burst).

More to the point is that local municipalities frequently provide excellent service at reasonable prices. Unlike monopolies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable (who would like to merge thus further reducing competition). The money quote from the article:

At present, they are practically printing money while we get internet service that is worse than thirty other countries, including, among others, Uruguay.

Fla. Mayor acts like christian fascist

The excellent Talking Points Memo has a story about the mayor of Winter Garden, FL behaving in a decidedly non-patriotic manner. In fact, it would be reasonable to call him a christian fascist. What did Mayor John Rees do? He evicted a local citizen who refused to stand for the invocation (i.e., christian prayer) and the national pledge of allegiance. Since a city meeting is not a religious service no one is obligated to stand, bow their heads, or do the hokey pokey during the invocation. Neither is it appropriate to demand a loyalty oath from citizens; especially when that oath has been corrupted by the xian majority (the “one nation under god” change made in the mid 1950s to distinguish the USA from the “godless” Russians).

The refusal of the citizen to stand is legal and cannot be reasonably construed as disruptive. The mayor’s justification? The citizens act was disrespectful to American troops. A justification that irritates me almost as much as “won’t someone think about the children.” Sadly I think it will take a lawsuit and the city spending a lot of precious tax dollars to make the mayor and other council members realize they don’t get to use their positions to shove their religion down other peoples throats.

Rep. Peter King: Fashionista

Representative Peter King was rather upset with that President Obama wore a tan suit to a press conference:

For him to walk out —I’m not trying to be trivial here— in a light suit, light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about the revision of second quarter numbers on the economy.

Obama Speaks on the Situation in Ukraine

I guess we can add “fashionista” to the list of terms we use to describe Rep. King. Those other adjectives include willfully ignorant (he’s a far-right Republican), douchebag and terrorist lover (he’s a big supporter of the IRA).

Apparently I am not a “real” American because I care about the economy (since I’m currently looking for a job). As an atheist I also care about not just ISIS but our own American Christian Taliban. I don’t worry too much, however, about terrorism as the odds are significantly higher I’ll die in an auto accident.

h/t Pharyngula

9-year old kills instructor with Uzi submachine gun

Let me start by saying that I have fired thousands of rounds at a shooting range. Granted, it was all handgun caliber from .22 to .45 (but mostly 9mm and 10mm). I’ve never fired a rifle, shotgun or (sub)machine gun. I actually think more people should have training in the safe handling of firearms. Which includes actually firing a gun under controlled conditions. I do not advocate owning a gun (I’ve never owned a gun).

The above notwithstanding I don’t think young children should be handling guns let alone firing them. So I was appalled to hear that there are businesses which allow young children to fire not just handguns but submachine guns. The result is rather predictable. A 9-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed her instructor when she lost control of the firearm. The owner of that business and the girls parents need to be indicted and tried for criminal stupidity if nothing else.

Of course we can count on the National Rifle Association (NRA) to say something gobsmacking stupid. They responded to the event just two days later by tweeting a list of ways that children can “have fun at the shooting range.” Yep, by all means let’s teach children that firing guns is something you do for “fun”. <facepalm/>

UPDATE: More information about the business where this tragedy occurred.

Congressional representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not my mother

This article illustrates why I despise the Democratic leadership. They’re too stupid and spineless to deserve support. In the case of Ms. Debbie Wasserman Schultz it’s the former. She apparently doesn’t recognize that the vast majority of Democratic voters (not to mention the rest of our nation) believe marijuana should be legal. She is opposing a Florida ballot initiative to make marijuana accessible to sick people who might benefit from it. Apparently because of her “mommy instincts“.

She has no business acting as a surrogate mother to everyone in the US. That’s the job of the “family values” political party; aka Republicans. What is worse is that her stance on this issue represents political malfeasance.

Dinesh D’Souza compares Ferguson Protests to ISIS

Convicted felon and adulterer Dinesh D’Souza says something stupid. Yeah, I know, that’s akin to declaring dog bites man. And don’t bother telling me I “poisoned the well” by labeling him a convicted felon and adulterer. I agree that neither of those attributes has any bearing on how we should view his statements regarding the situation in Ferguson, MO. Yet it is important to remind everyone that this sanctimonious, christian conservative, asshole has no business opining on anything involving morals or ethics.

What did he say, you ask? Just marvel at the wisdom of Dinesh D’Souza:

“The common thread between ISIS and what’s going in Ferguson is you have these people who basically believe that to correct a perceived injustice, it’s perfectly okay to inflict all types of new injustices,” D’Souza said on NewsMaxTV’s Steve Malzberg Show. “Behead guys who had nothing to do with it. Go and loot shops from business owners who were not part of the original problem whatsoever. And all of this is then licensed by the left and licensed to some degree by the media.”

I really don’t think that needs any commentary. However you’ve got to wonder if he ever reads or watches a source of information that isn’t Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, NewsMax, etcetera. Or for that matter if his brain is getting enough oxygen.

P.S., Do you think he ever looks in a mirror? Because his skin color isn’t exactly lily white. If he ever realizes that the average right-wing white American would view him as a sub-human who should be deported do you think his head would explode?

h/t Daily Kos, Salon, and Talking Points Memo.

FRC says they accomplish a lot of good things

Another day, another email from the Family Research Council urging me to send them money. This missive was a little different in that it was more specific than most of the email they send. The money is going to help them

Protect the rights of parents to educate their children.

I wasn’t aware parents had lost or are about to lose the right to educate their children. For that matter religious parents are still free to indoctrinate their children. Yes, atheists, secular humanists, etc. are trying to educate people on why such indoctrination is harmful. But we can only wish we had the ability to remove the rights of parents to indoctrinate their children in whatever religious mythology they believe.

Preserve natural marriage from the corrosive Left.

What is “natural” about marriage? Presumably this is code for one man marrying one woman with no concubines involved. Which is laughable given the number of God approved non-normal marriages in the Bible.

Defend our First Amendment freedoms of religion and speech.

By which the FRC means defending their unearned right to force everyone to believe their mythology and grovel before their imaginary God.

Expose and overturn the lawlessness of the IRS, the Department of Justice and other government agencies that are running roughshod over the Constitution.

This is presumably a coded reference to the fictitious IRS scandal wherein the IRS supposedly targeted conservative political groups in an illegal attempt to deny them 501(c)3 status. It’s amazing how easily xians find a way to play the role of martyr.

Stop organizations like the radical Southern Poverty Law Center from destroying the rights of our nation’s brave military men and women to freely exercise their faith.

I donate to the SPLC and have no idea what this one is about. I am aware of the FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) and MRFF (Military Religious Freedom Foundation) working hard to ensure that our military honors the US Constitution. Specifically, keeping our military from becoming God’s armed forces and allowing enlisted personnel to practice religious faith as they see fit without coercion from the military leadership.

Among the accomplishments the FRC touts for 2014 is

Saved abstinence education in our schools.

FRC was instrumental in getting Congress to reauthorize abstinence education grants to the states.

Yay! More unwanted teenage pregnancies and venereal disease. Abstinence “education” is a sick joke.

Successfully defended christian businesses.

FRC messaging was included in the arguments before the Supreme Court that resulted in the decision to exempt Christian businesses from the ObamaCare mandate to pay for drugs that can induce abortion.

Except, of course, the drugs in question do not induce abortion. Except in the minds of delusional Christians who believe women should stick to their God given role of breeding as many babies for Christ as possible before they die.

Their email ends with

God bless you for giving sacrifically to further His kingdom.

By which they mean sacrificing for the comfort of the grifters, such as Ken Perkins, who run the FRC.

Cops with attitudes

To set the mood watch this short South Park clip video.

Now go read this article in the Washington Post. The money quote from that article:

Working the street, I can’t even count how many times I withstood curses, screaming tantrums, aggressive and menacing encroachments on my safety zone, and outright challenges to my authority.

The bit about “aggressive and menacing encroachments on my safety zone” I’m sympathetic to. But the rest of it? He can go fuck himself. Asking for his name and badge number is not a challenge to his authority. Nor is asking him the reason he is hassling me. As for tantrums he should try working as a customer service representative for a major company like Comcast.

That (thankfully former) police officer needs psychiatric counseling and should never be allowed in a position of power ever again. You’ve got to wonder if his parents were strict authoritarian assholes. Sadly his attitude appears to be typical among police officers.

h/t The Politics Blog by Charles P. Pierce for bringing this asshole to my attention.

Third-party Magazine Sellers Are Scum

A few days ago I received the following piece of mail:


As you can see it is deceptively formatted in an intentional effort to confuse the recipient. Obviously the company is hoping a small percentage of recipients will believe they committed to receiving the magazine and are obligated to send the solicited amount. This isn’t something new. I’ve gotten a handful of these types of letters every year for longer than I can remember. This time I decided to file formal complaints with the US Postal Service (since this is mail fraud in my opinion) and the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). I actually got a reply from the first two.

This is what I sent to the BBB (case #22441295):

The business sent me a “Notice of renewal/New Order” for “The Economist” magazine at $179.95 for one year. It was formatted in a manner that could lead a reasonable person to conclude it is a bill they must pay.

Along with the desired resolution that the company “refrain from further misleading sales practices.” The BBB forwarded my complaint to the company. They responded with

Liberty Publishers Service, Inc.
PO Box 2489
White City, OR 97503
August 14, 2014

Better Business Bureau
Complaint Department

RE: Kurtis Rader- CASE NO.: 22441295

Dear Better Business Bureau:

Thank you for your recent letter regarding the above referenced.

Magazine publishers have created the agency sale system for the sale of subscriptions. The publisher contracts with clearinghouses. Under these contracts, the clearinghouse is authorized to sell subscriptions. The clearing house then permits thousands of third parties, such as Liberty Publishers Service, Inc., to sell subscriptions, which are then “cleared” through the clearinghouse. These third parties have no direct contract with the publisher and their identities are unknown to the publisher.

Offers are sent out periodically and are marketing pieces only. We merely send out offers as stated plainly on each offer and no one is obligated to respond.

We have removed Kurtis Rader from our data base. Please note that it may take up to 90 days as files may already be at the printers.

I trust this will clear up any confusion that Kurtis Rader may have regarding the decision. Unless we hear from you within (10) business days from the date of this letter, I will assume that this is satisfactory to you and this dispute has been resolved. If you have further questions please feel free to contact me at 707-266-6673.

Laura Lovrien

Obviously they intentionally missed the point of my complaint and decided to instead construe my complaint to mean I believed they had no right to solicit subscriptions on behalf of magazines like The Economist.

When your business model requires deception you deserve the corporate death penalty. Sadly in America companies seem to have more rights than people and are rarely punished in any meaningful fashion.