Tell your legislators Net Neutrality is important

Do you care whether Comcast, Time-Warner, AT&T or whichever company provides your Internet connection can make it difficult for you to visit the web sites you like rather than the ones which make them more profit? You should. Please take a minute to tell your legislators that they should support net neutrality. If the big ISPs get what they want you may find that some site you enjoy is so slow that it might as well not even exist.

FRC lies about firing of Atlanta firefighter

I just received an email with the subject “Stand with the Christian Fire Chief fired for his faith” from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC). The first paragraph predictably plays the persecution card:

Religious liberty is dangling by a thread over a raging fire of government intolerance!

Perkins then moves on to an outright lie:

After more than 30 years of distinguished public service as a firefighter, Atlanta’s Fire and Rescue Chief, Kelvin Cochran was fired for his religious beliefs by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

This Washington Times article Also grossly misrepresents the facts of the situation by opening with this sentence:

Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has been fired for authoring a Christian book in 2013 that described homosexuality as a “sexual perversion.”

Mr. Cochran was not fired for writing that book. He was fired because he distributed it to his employees and in other ways made it clear that non-hetero, non-xtians, were not welcome in his department. Thereby creating a hostile work environment. Here we have another example of a Christian who can’t resist proselytizing in inappropriate contexts. Much like “WranglerStar” does in his YouTube videos. Of the xtians who pray out loud on city street corners despite the Bible’s clear admonishment against such behavior.

The only thing that surprised me was the email didn’t include a plea for a donation so the FRC can continue to “protect” us.

Kim Jung-un, Korea, and self-censorship

I just sent the following message to the advertising department of my favorite local theater: Camera Cinemas

If you manage to force Sony Pictures to let you show “The Interview” I’ll pay you $1,000 for a single showing or $200 per showing up to a maximum of $2,000. If you think I’m not serious I’ll be happy to hand you a check for that amount contingent on screening the film at least once.

I appreciate that you can’t show a movie that has not been released by the movie studio. But I hope you do the right thing and tell Sony that self-censorship out of fear of offending some people is a dangerous precedent. Almost every film you show is likely to offend some group. If a group might be offended (especially for religious or national pride reasons) by a film and threaten boycotts or worse will you show it or cower in fear and refuse to show it? I’ve seen an average of between one and two movies per week at your cinemas for seven years. It would make me sad if this type of self-imposed censorship resulted in bland, inoffensive, films that aren’t worth paying cinema prices.

H/T: The Friendly Atheist

Independent news sources you should pay attention to

For a very long time I viewed NPR as my primary source of news and highly recommended it. Sadly I haven’t felt that way for over a year. They still refuse to use the word “torture” when discussing our actions towards suspected terrorists or merely people who might have had contact with a terrorist. The continuously osculate the rump of religion — to the point where I’m surprised when I hear them say anything critical regarding religion. Nor have I ever heard them accurately characterize right-wing sources like the Heritage Foundation or American Enterprise Institute when using them as a source. Furthermore, I find NPR’s coverage of events outside the USA to be woefully inadequate. Which is why I now listen to several other sources for news.

I highly recommend:

Claiming Scott Brown is a lobbyist annoys his senate campaign staff

Scott Brown’s campaign manager is a twerp. Professor Lawrence Lessig, who is attempting to get corporate money out of politics via the Mayday.us PAC, pointed out that Scott Brown was/is a lobbyist. Colin Reed, Scott Brown’s campaign manager responded with a toothless and stupid cease and desist letter. Mr. Lessig responded.

I don’t normally get involved in such situations. But Mr. Reed’s response was so outrageous I tweeted at him:

@ColinTReed News flash for you: All sentient people consider Scott Brown a lobbyist. Sue me you twerp. http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/96883210002/wow-nastygram-from-the-brown-campaign …

I think it is important that bullshit be challenged. Especially political and religious bullshit. So do let Colin Reed know what you think of his attempt to employ 1984 doublespeak.

My favorite movie theater has made me sad

What follows is an email I sent to the operators of my favorite movie theatre: Camera Cinemas.

The Camera Cinemas theaters get 99% of my movie viewing business. I especially value the independent, documentary, and foreign films shown at Camera 3. Today I watched “The Notebook” at Camera 3. So I was dismayed to find “Second Opinion: Laetrile at Sloan-Kettering” listed on the page for upcoming films. Mr. Merola’s film is a documentary only in the most narrow sense. See, for example, this review or this one.

Or read any of the articles by Dr. David Gorski about this ideologue.

I love thought provoking films. In the future please consider whether you should give screen time, and thus legitimacy, to a “documentary” (scare quotes intentional) that espouses such extremely fringe ideas.

Helen Ukpabio, “witch hunter”, sues BHA

I don’t really have much to add to this story about Helen Ukpabio’s libel lawsuit against the British Humanist Association. Specifically she is unhappy that the BHA claims “she exorcises satanic possession.” Whereas she says she exorcises children “possessed with black, red and vampire witchcraft spirits”. Yep, clearly a case of libel. Eye roll.

She is such a vile, odious and evil person she almost makes Dick Cheney look decent in comparison. You would think Nigeria has enough problems without being home to Ms. Ukpabio but apparently God is an asshole. Of course your typical American xian will claim Ms. Ukpabio is not a “true” Christian. Which makes my eyes roll so far back in my head I can see behind me.

FRC says the “left” hates free speech

Yet another email from the Family Research Council pronouncing the end of America has arrived in my inbox. This one begins

I thought I’d seen it all.

that is a link to a page begging for a $50 donation (or more if you are so inclined). The page does not contain any useful information about the reason you should send them money. For that matter the original email contains statements like

It seems Democrats want “free speech” to consist only of government-authorized speech.

And “This is a naked power grab.” Which are both gross distortions of reality. What is involved is a, admittedly problematic, attempt to deal with the “Citizens United” Supreme Court case.

The FRC even mentions that the ACLU opposes the legislation. Yet nowhere in the email is there a single link to the bill, the ACLU’s position, or anything that actually sheds light on the situation. Instead there are eleven links to the same page begging for a $50, or more, donation. And, of course, they manage to play the persecution card by characterizing this bill as an attempt “to muzzle the Christian viewpoint”.

There’s a reason the FRC’s target audience are called low information voters. And this email is a prime example. For the record you can read about the bill at ThinkProgress and the ACLU’s position.