Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Donald Trump is teaching us about racism. And leading by example.

Sean Ewart

Donald Trump doesn't give a fuck.
Of course Hurricane Sandy wasn’t going to necessitate changing the date of the election.

But the real concern in the wake of the storm that caused widespread damage to coastal regions in the northeastern U.S. was whether or not Donald Trump would give President Barak Obama a break.

Trump challenged the President last week to prove he really is American.

“If Barack Obama opens up and gives his college records and applications — and if he gives his passport applications and records — I will give to a charity of his choice … a check, immediately, for $5 million dollars.” (Time)

And thank god someone is willing to hold Barry’s feet to the fire on this one, right? I mean, besides the fact he was born in America, I’m glad Trump is willing to stake his reputation on beating this dead horse.

Yet what really speaks volumes about the character of Trump is his willingness to go the extra mile and allow Barry some slack.

No doubt the President has been hard pressed to fake his college records while dealing with Hurricane Sandy.

So, out of the kindness of his heart, Trump has extended the offer.

Now Obama has until Thursday to get his “records” to Trump… or else!

In all seriousness, while Trump’s latest stunt is irrelevant and only makes him look even more like the giant asshole he is, it’s telling that 4 years after Obama won the presidency, he is still having to defend the fact that he is “one of us.”

Even if Trump is one of a minority who actually think the President is literally not from America, he isn’t the only white guy out there who doesn’t think he is fit to be Commander in Chief. And it’s not all about policy.

“In surveys conducted in 2012, nearly nine-in-ten (87%) Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters are white, while just 11% are minorities.” (Pew)

More importantly, whites have fled the Democratic Party since the arrival of a black president almost as fast as they fled urban areas when the blacks came to town.

Racism exists. And it plays a big role in national politics.

So thank you, Donald Trump, for reminding us.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The next Pope of the Copts is going to be... random! And very, very silly.

Sean Ewart

These guys think a blindfolded child is the answer to spiritual questions.
At least the Copts aren’t bothering to pretend their faith is anything other than semi-organized insanity.

Picking a Pope, for the Copts, is so easy a blindfolded child can do it.

Here’s how it works: a bunch of grownups get together and pick out three people who they think could be the next leader of the Coptic Church. Then they write the names down on pieces of paper, mix them up, blindfold a child, and draw the names out of a box. 

Seriously. If the names are already in a box, why does the kid have to be blindfolded? And why does it have to be a child?

It’s the spiritual version of pin the tail on the donkey.

The lucky winner will be “enthroned” as Pope of the Copts in November. There will be much rejoicing.

Their last Pope, Shenouda III, died in March at the age of 88 after struggling with cancer.

A blindfolded child was overseeing his medical treatment.

Friday, October 26, 2012

God is a psychopath: the real meaning of Eid al-Adha

Sean Ewart

“Ok, Ok! You don’t need to kill him, I just wanted to know you would,” said god.
In roughly 2100 B.C.E. Abraham turned to Ishmael and said, “O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice thee. So look, what thinkest thou? (Quran 37:101)”

What a question.

Even more shocking than Ishmael’s answer as recorded in the Quran (“O my father! Do that which thou art commanded.”) is that now, some 4,000 years after the event is said to have happened, 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe celebrate it as a major holiday.

Eid al-Adha, a three day holiday also called, pointedly enough, the Feast of the Sacrifice, starts today.

In the traditional retelling, god told Abraham to kill his son in a dream. Then, when Abraham was just about to bring the knife down, god had him kill a ram instead.

So… what exactly is being celebrated? Actually three things:

1)      Abraham’s willingness to kill his son because god told him to.
2)      Ishmael’s willingness to die because god told his father to kill him.
3)      God was awesome enough to back out of the sacrifice at the last minute.

This story (like the similar one in the Bible) is used today to talk about how good god is.

But really, it makes god out to be some sort of psychopathic ex-girlfriend who needs you to sacrifice your son before she believes you love her.

“Ok, Ok! You don’t need to kill him, I just wanted to know you would,” said god. And then he cried about it.

That’s one father-son relationship that never recovered.

The Quran, a book that reads like a trip record already, wants us to think this story is indicative of a god who gives a shit – about us.

In reality this is just a story about an insecure supernatural being. It’s a divine cry for attention. (And a creepy holiday). 

So before you cry out “Eid Mubarak (have a blessed Eid)!,” remember:

That literally means, “Have a blessed day celebrating the divine psychopath.”

Allah Akbar indeed. 

For Edgar S. Penn's article on Easter, click here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Middle East's Cold War

Sean Ewart
An American military vessel in an Israel port for a joint training mission.
In June 2013 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will step out of the lime light and, most likely, into political exile.

The past few years have seen the relationship between the President and the religious leadership in Iran sour. Most recently, President Ahmadinejad was barred from visiting his former press adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr.

Javanfekr is serving 6 months in jail after publishing an article critical of the Islamic law that dominates the nation.

This slight against the President, however, is further evidence of a larger, more important trend with regional, and global, relevance.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Italian Judge Marco Billi sentences 7 men to jail for failing to predict an earthquake. What a fucktard.

Sean Ewart

Italian Judge Marco Billi, a world renown fucktard.
In an act of mind-boggling stupidity, Italian Judge Marco Billi has sentenced 7 men to 6 years in jail for failing to predict an earthquake.
The defendants were accused in the indictment of giving "inexact, incomplete and contradictory information" about whether small tremors felt by L'Aquila residents in the weeks and months before the April 6, 2009, quake should have constituted grounds for a quake warning. (ABC)
The seven men were members of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks and have been held responsible for the 309 people killed in the 2009 6.3 magnitude earthquake.
Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at the UK's Royal Berkshire Hospital said that the sentence was surprising and could set a worrying precedent.
"If the scientific community is to be penalized for making predictions that turn out to be incorrect, or for not accurately predicting an event that subsequently occurs, then scientific endeavor will be restricted to certainties only and the benefits that are associated with findings from medicine to physics will be stalled." (BBC)
Mr. Sperrin is far understating the monumental failure this verdict represents.

Judge Marco Billi sentenced 7 men to jail for not predicting something that is fundamentally unpredictable.

For that reason:

This is the definition I found on the internet. Because I put it there.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 2: "Sick"

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 2:

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Catholic Church is dying and a Native American saint proves it

Sean Ewart

Kateri Tekakwitha has magical powers.

In what is an obvious attempt to pander to the Native America population that is increasingly unimpressed by the mythology of the Catholic Church the Vatican is going to make Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk woman born in what is now New York in 1656, a saint.

Tekakwitha was apparently incredibly devout after her conversion to Christianity when she was a teenager. More importantly, the Church has randomly ascribed to her magical powers. For instance, she supposedly healed a Native American boy in Washington State – the other side of the country.

I know the Lord is supposed to work in mysterious ways, but seriously? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Not optimal"

Joe Chiarenzelli

President Obama with running mate (we can dream) Jon Stewart.

If you watch the news closely, and I do, you see a lot of stories blow up that are out of context and dadaesque. For instance, that dude who bit another person’s face off on bath salts. That totally didn’t happen; he wasn’t on bath-salts.

Tonight I was able to catch an overblown story in its infancy and I’ll be damned if I don’t point it out.

On tonight's Daily Show, Barack Obama said, “Here is what I will say, if four Americans get killed it is not optimal." Seems obviously cold and calculating right, almost as if he doesn’t care about the lives of Chris Stevens and the others killed in Libya?
Before the conservatives get their "mitts" on this one: it's completely nonsense.

Leaving aside matters of semantics let’s all of us think about what we learned in school. When a question is asked on a test, what do you do? You reuse the terms established in the question as part of your answer.

So, when Jon Stewart asks a question asking if the handling of the Libya situation is optimal, I think we can all expect President Obama to respond and use the term in that response.

Thank you CNN:
Stewart pressed the president on the aftermath of the terror attack that killed four Americans at a U.S. consulate in Benghazi last month. The administration has faced scrutiny over why the post was not more robustly staffed with security.
The comedian said the administration's response did not play out in an "optimal" way.
"I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page," Stewart said.
The president replied: "When four Americans get killed, it's not optimal. We're going to fix it. All of it."
Now, when we eventually see this in a Romney campaign ad, look at it in context and meet it with your knowledge of the situation, not with the knee-jerk emotional response it’s asking for. I don’t care what political opinions you hold but this nonsense where everyone gets all riled up for an innocuous sound bite has to stop.

Unless of course Romney says he needs another wife... or a binder of them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Saudi and Iranian War in Syria

Sean Ewart

Free Syrian Army soldiers.

We can officially upgrade the Syrian “conflict” from a civil war to a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. And we can leave behind the romanticized vision of the Arab Spring; this was never more than an attempt to overthrow an unpopular dictator. 

In Syria, popular fury has been warped into a battle between, on the one hand, Sunni Muslim rebels backed by Arab nations, and Iranian backed Shi’ite Muslims fighting alongside President Assad and the Alawite minority. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's National Feral Cat day. Now get back to work.