Archive for May, 2011


Mike Huckabee Says He Wants Americans To Be Indoctrinated At Gunpoint

David Barton is the leading promoter of a brand of falsified American history altered to support the claim that America was founded as a Christian, rather than a secular, nation. As Chris Rodda, who has authored an entire book debunking Barton’s brand of pseudo-history, writes,

I was quite surprised… to come across a video clip from this conference on the People for the American Way (PFAW) Right Wing Watch blog with the headline “Huckabee: Americans Should Be Forced, At Gunpoint, To Learn From David Barton.” I had watched Huckabee’s speech. How on earth could I have missed a statement like that? Well, I didn’t. It had been edited out of the webcast that I had watched.

Kyle Mantyla over at PFAW’s Right Wing Watch had recorded Huckabee’s speech when it was streamed live on Thursday, and posted the ‘forced at gunpoint’ clip on Friday. By Saturday, when I watched the webcast on the United in Purpose website, that part of Huckabee’s speech had been edited out.

The webcast that I saw showed Barton leaving the stage as he ended his presentation, then the screen going black for a moment, and then what appeared to be the beginning of Huckabee’s speech. What was edited out was Barton returning to the stage to introduce Huckabee, and the first two minutes and forty-five seconds of Huckabee’s speech, during which Huckabee made his ‘gunpoint’ comment and praised David Lane, the man behind all of the American “Renewal” and “Restoration” projects that have popped up across the country during the past few elections.

[below: the unedited footage from Huckabee’s speech, with the “joke” about indoctrinating Americans at gunpoint to be found at at 1:06. Footage courtesy of Kyle Mantyla of Rightwing Watch, who might have almost single-handedly consigned Huckabee’s presidential hopes to the dustbin of history.]

I should also note that what Chris Rodda has to say about this has especial weight given that she’s arguably been the most indefatigable author to challenge David Barton’s sprawling falsified American history oeuvre, as a Talk To Action site search on Rodda’s extensive posts debunking Barton would suggest. Chris Rodda is author of the book Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History which prominently features David Barton, head of Wallbuilders and arguably king of the “liars for Jesus”. Rodda is also Head Researcher for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.


Pure Hate

Friday, May 20, 2011
Right now, on the other side of the world, there is a bunch of people who hate you and we mean absolutely despise you.

Reporter: Liz
Hayes

Right now, on the other side of the world, there is a bunch of people who
hate you. And we mean absolutely despise you.

But don’t worry; they hate everyone else in Australia.

The folk of the Westboro Baptist Church hate us so much that they actually
rejoice in our suffering.

The tragic bushfires of 2009? This year’s devastating floods?

Apparently, we deserved it all.

And the US Supreme Court lets them say it and more.

Under Freedom of Speech, these so-called Christians damn us all to hell, and
that wayward Liz Hayes is right at the front of the queue.

Full transcript:


Scientists cultivate human brain’s most ubiquitous cell in lab dish

May 22nd, 2011  in Biology / Biotechnology
Scientists cultivate human brain's most ubiquitous cell in lab dish

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Pity the lowly astrocyte, the most common cell in the human nervous system.

Astrocytes are star-shaped cells that are the most common cell in the human brain and have now been grown from embryonic and induced stem cells in the laboratory of UW-Madison neuroscientist Su-Chun Zhang. Once considered mere putty or glue in the brain, astrocytes are of growing interest to biomedical research as they appear to play key roles in many of the brain’s basic functions, as well as neurological disorders ranging from headaches to dementia. In this picture astrocyte progenitors and immature astrocytes cluster to form an “astrosphere.” Photo provided by Robert Krencik/ UW-Madison

Long considered to be little more than putty in the and spinal cord, the star-shaped has found new respect among who have begun to recognize its many functions in the brain, not to mention its role in a range of disorders of the .

Now, writing in the current (May 22) issue of the journal , a group led by University of Wisconsin-Madison stem cell researcher Su-Chun Zhang reports it has been able to direct embryonic and induced human to become astrocytes in the lab dish.

The ability to make large, uniform batches of astrocytes, explains Zhang, opens a new avenue to more fully understanding the functional roles of the brain’s most commonplace cell, as well as its involvement in a host of central ranging from headaches to dementia. What’s more, the ability to culture the gives researchers a powerful tool to devise new therapies and drugs for neurological disorders.

“Not a lot of attention has been paid to these cells because human astrocytes have been hard to get,” says Zhang, a researcher at UW-Madison’s Waisman Center and a professor of neuroscience in the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. “But we can make billions or trillions of them from a single stem cell.”

Although astrocytes have gotten short shrift from science compared to neurons, the large filamentous cells that process and transmit information, scientists are turning their attention to the more common cells as their roles in the brain become better understood. There are a variety of astrocyte cell types and they perform such basic housekeeping tasks as helping to regulate blood flow, soaking up excess chemicals produced by interacting neurons and controlling the , a protective filter that keeps dangerous molecules from entering the brain.

Astrocytes, some studies suggest, may even play a role in human intelligence given that their volume is much greater in the human brain than any other species of animal.

“Without the astrocyte, neurons can’t function,” Zhang notes. “Astrocytes wrap around nerve cells to protect them and keep them healthy. They participate in virtually every function or disorder of the brain.”

The ability to forge astrocytes in the lab has several potential practical outcomes, according to Zhang. They could be used as screens to identify new drugs for treating diseases of the brain, they can be used to model disease in the lab dish and, in the more distant future, it may be possible to transplant the cells to treat a variety of neurological conditions, including brain trauma, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injury. It is possible that astrocytes prepared for clinical use could be among the first cells transplanted to intervene in a neurological condition as the motor neurons affected by the fatal amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, are swathed in astrocytes.

“With an injury or neurological condition, neurons in the brain have to work harder, and doing so they make more neurotransmitters,” chemicals that in excess can be toxic to other cells in the brain, Zhang says.

“One idea is that it may be possible to rescue motor neurons by putting normal, healthy astrocytes in the brain,” according to Zhang. “These cells are really useful as a therapeutic target.”

The technology developed by the Wisconsin group lays a foundation to make all the different species of astrocytes. What’s more, it is possible to genetically engineer them to mimic disease so that previously inaccessible neurological conditions can be studied in the lab.

Provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison


One more reason to despise Ben Stein

In addition to being a Republican, a creationist, a bad economist, and a tiresome one-note character actor, he’s also a rape apologist.

I thought he’d hit bottom with Expelled, but I think he does have a real talent for finding a way to spiral ever downwards.


May 21, 2011 12:45 PM

Fox Political Analyst: Herman Cain Could Beat Obama With Allen West as His Running Mate

By Heather
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Well, it’s official; former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain has formally launched his presidential campaign today. And according to Fox News “political analyst” Angela McGlowan, if Cain just picks wingnut Rep. Allen West as his running mate, he can beat Obama in 2012.

Alan Colmes explained why he disagreed:

COLMES: Herman Cain… it’s not a coincidence that he announced his candidacy on doomsday. This is a guy who said he’d put no Muslims in his Cabinet. He said Muslims want to either convert you or kill you. He’s a birther. He has absolutely no chance whatsoever of becoming President of the United States.

McGlowan interrupted Colmes and reminded him that “being that extreme” could win him the primary to which Colmes basically responded, bring it on if that’s who Republicans want to run in 2012.

COLMES: If that’s who you want to have represent you. You want someone who can win the primary who could never win the general election, if that’s the way you want to go, be my guest. Have a good time. Have fun.

MCGLOWAN: If he chooses Allen West, he could win.

COLMES: Absolutely not. Allen West is another cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs far right extremist.

McGlowan also went on to suggest that after the latest Fox attack on President Obama after his speech on the Middle East this week that Hollywood Jews are going to abandon him in droves.

Media Matters has more on that — Right-Wing Media’s Deranged Attack: Obama “Sided With Terrorists”:

Right-wing media unleashed a crazed onslaught after President Obama’s speech on the Middle East, outrageously asserting that Obama “sided with terrorists” by saying that the 1967 borders should guide negotiations over the formation of a Palestinian state. But this position is nothing new, and American Jewish groups praised today’s speech. Read on…


Atheists Have Better Sex Lives

Man and Woman in bed

A study finds that in individuals, the stronger their religious  beliefs were, the more powerful were their feelings of sexual guilt.

Atheists’ sex lives better than believers’
BioScholar

Atheists enjoy much better sex lives than religious people who tend to be guilt-ridden during the act and for weeks afterwards, say researchers.

A study discovered that non-believers are more willing to discuss sexual fantasies and are more satisfied with their experiences.

Both groups admitted indulging in masturbation, watching porn, having oral sex and pursuing affairs. But believers did not enjoy the experiences as much, being overcome by intense feelings of regret after climaxing, thanks to the stigma created by their belief systems.

The findings emerged in the ‘Sex and Secularism’ survey of more than 14,500 people carried out by psychologist Darrel Ray and Amanda Brown from Kansas University, the Daily Mail reported.

All of the people who were questioned were found to have sex around the same number of times a week. They also became sexually active at similar ages.

But devoutly religious people rated their sex lives far lower than atheists. They also admitted to strong feelings of guilt afterwards.

Strict religions such as Mormons ranked highest on the scale of sexual guilt. Their average score was 8.19 out of 10. They were followed closely behind by Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, and Baptist.

Catholics rated their levels of sexual guilt at 6.34 while Lutherans came slightly lower at 5.88. In contrast, atheists and agnostics ranked at 4.71 and 4.81 respectively.

The study found that in individuals, the stronger their religious beliefs were, the more powerful were their feelings of sexual guilt afterwards.


The Audacity of Hate: Birthers, Deathers, Deniers, Racists and Barack Obama

WALTER BRASCH

The latest garbage spewing hate as it circles the Internet in a viral state of panic continues a three year smear against Barack Obama.

The attacks had begun with the extreme right wing spitting out Obama’s full name-Barack HUSSEIN Obama, as if somehow he wasn’t an American but connected to the Iraqi dictator who, despite the Bush Administration’s best efforts, had no connections to 9/11.

When the right-wingers and Tea Party Pack get tired of their “cutesy” attempts to link Obama to militant Muslims, they launch half-truths and lies to claim he wasn’t born in the United States. Like Jaws, Jason, or Freddy Krueger, “birther” propaganda keeps returning, even when independent state officials and analysts proved the claims false.

The issue simmered on Fox TV and talk radio until Donald Trump, the man with the planet-sized ego and the bacteria-sized brain, inserted his persona into the issue, while pontificating about becoming the next president. The media, exhausted from having to cover the antics of Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, turned their news columns over to the man who would be God-if only it paid better.

The Wing Nut Cotillion, with Trump getting the headlines, then demanded Obama produce a long-form birth certificate-which he did while leading a combined White House-CIA-Pentagon effort to find and destroy Osama bin Laden. The truth still hasn’t quieted the conspiracy nuts.

Not willing to accept truth and logic, the extreme right wing, grasping for anything they could find, have attacked the raid that killed bin Laden. Among their screeches are that bin Laden isn’t dead . . . that he was killed a week earlier or even years earlier . . . that Obama had hidden the death until there was a more political time to reveal it . . . that it was George W. Bush (who publicly said six months after 9/11 that he didn’t care about bin Laden) who deserves all the credit . . . and that while Navy SEALS should get credit, Obama is too weak to have overseen any part of the mission.

And now from the caves of ignorance and hatred comes a much-forwarded letter, which the anonymous author says “shouldn’t surprise anyone.” Written as fact, the letter informs us Barack Obama: “never held a ‘real’ job, never owned a business and as far as we know, never really attended Harvard or Columbia since those transcripts have never been released and no one remembers him from their time at either school.”

The email of hate further “enlightens” us that “Being a community activist only gives someone insite [sic] on how to assist the less fortunate and dregs of society on how to acquire government housing and government benefits without ever contributing one penny in taxes.”

That’s right. The Whackadoodles Wearing Tinfoil Caps crowd has escaped again.

Among those community activists who worked with the “dregs of society,” apparently on ways to scam the government, are St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), founder of the Franciscan order and patron saint of animals and the environment; Jacob Riis (1849-1914), a journalist and photographer who exposed the squalor of slums and tenement buildings; Dorothy Day (1897-1980), a journalist who founded the Catholic Worker Movement that advocated nonviolent action to help the poor and homeless, and who the archdiocese of New York, at the direction of Pope John Paul II, began a process leading to beatification; and Jane Addams (1860-1935), who fought for better conditions for children and mothers, was active in the progressive campaigns of Teddy Roosevelt and who, like Roosevelt, earned a Nobel Peace Prize. Those who rail against community activists for not having “real” jobs would also oppose Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), who tirelessly established the nation’s most effective organizational structure to help the poor and disenfranchised to gain a voice against political, economic, and social oppression; Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903-1998), America’s foremost pediatrician, for leading antiwar campaigns; Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), who helped get farm workers respectable pay and decent working conditions; Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) who, with hundreds of thousands of others, forced a nation to finally confront its racism; and innumerable leaders of the feminist and gay rights communities who got America to confront their other prejudices. All were community activists.

Not dregs because they have “real” jobs are the bankers and Wall Street investors who brought about the housing crisis that led to the worst depression in the past seven decades. Also exempt from contempt are the business owners who downsized, right-sized, and shipped their production overseas, throwing millions of Americans out of work.

Barack Obama, castigated for not having a “real job,” worked more than a year as research associate and editor at the Business International Corp., three years as director of Developing Community Projects, a church-based group for eight Catholic parishes, and summer jobs at law firms. Other “not real” jobs include being an author, civil rights lawyer, and a professor of Constitutional law at one of the nation’s more prestigious colleges. Frankly, it’s rather nice to have a president who actually understands the Constitution-as opposed to the rabble who misquote, misstate, and misappropriate it all the time.

Those propagating the email of hate believe Obama couldn’t earn degrees from Ivy League colleges; the subtext is as clear as their refusal to believe in an integrated nation. So, I contacted the registrars at Columbia and Harvard. In less than 10 minutes, the registrar at Columbia confirmed that Barack Obama received a B.A. in political science, and the registrar at Harvard Law School confirmed Obama received a J.D. These are public records. Anyone can ask the same questions, and get the same answer. Logic alone should have shot down these accusations. Obama was editor of the Harvard Law Review, something as easy to verify as his graduation, and he passed the Illinois bar exam-which requires graduation from college and law school, and a personal character test-also a matter of public record.

Even if Obama provided official transcripts, which are confidential, the wing nuts of society will claim that, like the birth certificate and the death of bin Laden, the transcripts were faked.

The truth is that the politics of hate, combined with media complicity and Internet access, has led not to a discussion of issues but to character assassination, with racism and bigotry as its pillars.