This morning, Attorney General Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the NSA wiretap program. The Republicans on the committee refused to swear him in under oath, which was requested by the Democrats. This is the second time that I’m aware of that this has happened recently. A few months ago, when a group of oil company executives testified, the same thing happened – the Democrats said that witnesses should be sworn in like always and pledge to tell… Read more

In addition to my disagreement with PZ on some things, I absolutely agree with his post about the administration’s many attempts to subordinate good science for political considerations. Many other people have written about this around the blogosphere, based on this article in the New York Times that contains a rather stunning segment about a NASA memo: In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about… Read more

PZ Myers has posted a follow up to his post on the Muslim caricatures, and while I think he’s correct to say that some have caricatured his own position, I still think the uncaricatured position is problematic. Clearly, he is not arguing for Islamic radicalism, nor is he arguing that religion should never be satirized, nor is he arguing that the Danish newspaper should be forbidden from publishing such satire. To suggest otherwise is to argue against a straw man…. Read more

It’s almost 1 pm and I think we’re into hour 14 of the Super Bowl Pregame Show, which lasts so long that they might as well have Jerry Lewis host it. The game supposedly starts at 6, but the kickoff probably won’t be until next Thursday so they can squeeze in a few more bad commercials and human interest stories about the backup weak safety for one of the teams whose third cousin was traumatized by the death of a… Read more

So I’m flipping channels last night and I come across TBN, the Christian TV network, where they’re interviewing members of the two Super Bowl teams who are Christians to get their witness. And Jeff Hartings, center for the Steelers, makes this statement: I know that God didn’t bring me to the Super Bowl one year before I was ready for it, he brought me here right when I was prepared. It’s just baffling to me how people can believe something… Read more

When it comes to the science of evolution, PZ Myers and I are in almost complete agreement; when it comes to other issues, it’s scarcely possible that we could be further apart. The latest example of this is his essay on the Muhammed caricatures and the attending controversy. PZ appears to believe that because Muslims are a “poor minority”, they are insulated from satire. I could not disagree more with his assessment of the caricatures: I’ve seen the cartoons, and… Read more

I don’t know if any of you saw last night’s Dateline NBC show about sexual predators online. It was dragged out way too long and redundant, very poorly produced, but I think the project is very valuable. Working with the folks at Perverted Justice, a group that tracks and exposes folks who troll for sex with children online, NBC and the Sheriff’s department in Riverside, California, set up a sting operation. Posing as 12 and 13 year old boys and… Read more

As if we needed more evidence of the absolute lunacy of Islamic fundamentalism, here’s the latest: Furious Syrians set fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies on Saturday as protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad showed no signs of abating despite calls for calm… Chanting “God is Greatest,” thousands of protesters stormed the Danish embassy, burned the Danish flag and replaced it with a flag reading “No God but Allah, Mohammad is His Prophet.” They set fires which badly… Read more

While I’m showing pictures of people so blinded by religious fervor that they engage in hateful public protest, try these on for size. The first one is from San Francisco, where protestors showed up to scream epithets at gay couples trying to get married two years ago: The next few are from an anti-gay protest in Chicago. See the originals here. (more…) Read more

So this guy walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “Hey, is this a gay bar?” I know, it sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s not. After asking that question, 18 year old Jacob Robida went on a rampage: When the bartender told him it was, Mr. Robida pulled out a hatchet and struck a man in the head, then struck a man who had tried to help the victim, said Capt. Richard Spirlet of… Read more

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