Hometown: Missoula, MT
Home country: USA
Current location: Deep in Red State Hell!
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 5,220
Hometown: Missoula, MT
Home country: USA
Current location: Deep in Red State Hell!
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 5,220
Godless democratic socialist, look towards northern Europe for inspiration on what role-models our economy should aspire towards. Love the ACLU and donate heavily to them each year, wish they'd get with the program and defend the Second Amendment with as much fervor as they do the rest of the Bill of Rights. Proud member of the 99%.
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- December (8)
Wowza. So I just flew out here to Indianapolis for a few days to check out the campus of IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) to see if I might want to transfer after I graduate with my A.S. degree from my community college next year -- they have a pretty decent neuroscience program from what it looks like, so I'm just going to check the campus out, meet with some advisers, talk to some alumni, etc.
But, of course, today being Memorial Day, everything's closed, so I had to figure out what to do with myself this fine Monday afternoon. On my way from the airport to the nearby hotel yesterday one of those changing electronic freeway bill-boards caught my eye: "Creation Museum." It didn't occur to me until this morning to actually Google it and find out how close it was to here (only a 2-hour drive) so with nothing better to do, I said: "What the hell? I've got to see this for myself."
When I arrived at the compound (yes, it was gated with a tall, thick metal perimeter fence, presumably to keep vandals out) I was greeted by a visible security presence, with guards dressed complete in state trooper hat and everything. (No weapons at least!) That one was just directing traffic, but there were more inside to make sure you minded your p's and q's.
You may have read on PZ Myers' blog about what happens when you attempt to question the "sanctioned" narrative -- you quickly get shown the door. They have one particular point-of-view to present, and they are NOT open to discussion.
After grabbing a quick bite to eat in Noah's Cafe (tried their "Eden Wrap", their only vegetarian option -- basically a salad wrapped in a tortilla, with a bland hummus spread) I declined to get my picture taken against one of those green back-drops that they later super-imposed dinosaurs around you (remember, dinosaurs lived along-side men, don't ya know?)
Inside the main hall was a bunch of science fail. On the one hand, they try to make the claim that the wide variety of life on Earth is impossible to have come from any single ancestor (therefore God must have done it), yet on the other hand (like with those finches), they point out how much such diversity there is still within the same species, how they can all inter-breed, therefore (you guessed it) -- God must have done it.
More science fail:
It really is amazing the kinds of contortions of logic, the hoops they jump through to try to sell their idea of a Young Earth. They honestly believe that if you don't take Genesis literally, if the Earth really isn't 6000 years old, then that means the entire Bible is suspect. Of course, they are right (about the entire Bible being suspect), but instead of adapting their views in light of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, they've decided to double-down on the Young Earth B.S. and try to twist the evidence to fit their carefully crafted narrative.
Oh, and they are REALLY obsessed with dinosaurs/monster-legends:
That came out kind of blurry, that's supposed to be Nessie in the North Atlantic there...
The only thing missing is Jesus riding a dinosaur!
They really don't like that Templeton dude either.
Turns out I just missed the "featured guest speaker" who was giving a talk titled "Is Evolution Compatible with Christianity?" -- three guesses what the answer to that one is.
At the end of the tour, I left feeling kind of sad, but hopeful. Sad because of so much ignorance being parlayed as fact to the uneducated masses -- but hopeful, because if their focus on biology inspires even a few kids to become fascinated by it so much to pursue it in college, they will have their bubbles burst in due time. When the sheer amount of evidence for evolution becomes apparent, as it does in even sophomore-level Biology courses, not only will the myth of Young Earth Creationism be destroyed, but likely their entire faith along with it.
I really can't help but think, just like the Westboro idiots, they do more to damage to Christianity's brand than they do to promote it. Because by unwittingly planting that seed, by inspiring kids to become interested in science and the amazing mysteries of life, they are in fact digging their own grave. Because curiosity will only lead to more questions, and down that path are different answers, answers not found in their precious, Holy Bible.
Posted by LAGC | Mon May 27, 2013, 06:44 PM (47 replies)
Just took my Intermediate Algebra Finals this afternoon, and totally aced it. Softball questions all the way through. I spent dozens of hours studying for it, memorizing formulas and practicing all sorts of application (word) problems, and there weren't even any of them (word problems) on the exam! Go figure. Multiple choice is so much easier than having to blindly supply the answer like on quizzes -- if you ever find yourself stuck just plug in each of the four possible answers and you can't go wrong. It's so easy, it's downright criminal! And the instructor even allowed graphing calculators on the Final, unlike with the first two exams of the semester, so with my brand new trusty TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, double-checking everything was a breeze.
I made it 2/3 of the way through the semester without a graphing calculator at all, then found out we could have one for the 3rd exam and the Final, which certainly made things a whole hell of a lot easier. I spent quite a while just getting familiar with the calculator, so that when it came to problems like these:
...I didn't have to mess around with change of base formula or whatever, I can just go into the MATH menu, select the logBASE() function, and enter in the exact expression and VIOLA! I love this thing, its so much nicer than even the vaunted regular TI-84 Plus!
Submitted my final portfolio for my English 102 (Writing Composition 2) class last week, but since it just consisted of the 3 papers I wrote over the course of the semester (which I got all A's on), it shouldn't change my grade. My Computer Information Systems Applications class was a breeze, finished a few weeks ago, well ahead of time, just basic productivity software (Word/Excel/Powerpoint) proficiency, and a General Technology exam which a 3rd grader could ace. And in my Intro Communications class, I got 90/100 and 147/150 on each of my two speeches (informative/persuasive) respectively, so that more than made up for my lackluster performance on some of the textbook reading quizzes, only needed to get a 56% on the Final in order to still get an A, ended up getting 88% -- so that's over and done with as well.
Now comes the hard part: like a dumb-ass I signed up for a 9-credit load during the Summer Semester, which is like taking a whopping 18 credits (full-time is only 12-16 credits) in a regular 16-week semester, all crammed into 8 short weeks. So if that doesn't kill me, nothing will. But I'm going to literally have no dang free time throughout the entire months of June and July, so if I disappear for awhile don't think I forgot about y'all. I was actually surprised how much free time I had this semester taking just 13 credits, but that 3-credit CISA class doesn't even really count, it was so easy. So yeah, 9 condensed could be a real trick.
If all goes according to plan though, I'll be able to graduate here in a couple years with my Microbiology degree and hopefully not join the ranks of all those college grads who are gainfully unemployed right now. LOL. Sounds like folks are having better luck with the STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) degrees though, so hopefully I find something. Will be nice making $75K/year for a change though if it works out, best job I've had to date peaked at $17.76/hour (only $36K/year), so I won't know what to do with all that money. Even if being a scientist only paid minimum wage, I'd still pursue it though. Just because the work is so important.
At least I should be able to graduate without any appreciable student loan debt, thanks to that generous Pell Grant -- $2775/semester, that "socialist redistribution of wealth" in progress. But I hope to pay it back in spades...
Posted by LAGC | Mon May 13, 2013, 09:35 PM (11 replies)
Last month, four months after the Newtown, Conn., shootings kicked off a renewed battle over U.S. gun laws, gun control advocates were dealt a devastating blow: After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, bipartisan dinners and personal presidential entreaties, the Senate voted down a measure that would have expanded background checks for U.S. gun buyers, scuttling the primary gun law thought to have a fighting chance to make it through at least one - if not two - bodies of Congress.
For pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Gun Owners of America, both of which had been working hard behind the scenes to make sure the measure didn't have sufficient support to gain Senate passage, the Senate's actions marked a critical victory. The overarching Senate gun bill was tabled, and gun control advocates found themselves scrambling, after months of work on the so-called Manchin-Toomey compromise, to find a new path forward.
So far, Gun Owners of America likes its odds.
"Our membership has grown by almost a third - it was at 300,000, and so we're almost at 400,000," Pratt said. "We've definitely seen people's concern and people wanting to be active and I think that's probably the most exciting thing: Activism has been way up."
Looks like gun control advocates may have "fired up the base"... just the wrong one.
Posted by LAGC | Fri May 3, 2013, 06:25 AM (7 replies)
While I still agree with Joe Biden that a good pump shotgun is more ideal for home-defense, has much more "stopping power" than a handgun, the author of that vid does make a point of whom a high-capacity mag ban would really affect.
Posted by LAGC | Thu May 2, 2013, 09:17 PM (31 replies)
As many of our conservative friends keep reminding us.
Yes, clearly, everything started going south right around the time Obama took office.
Posted by LAGC | Sat Apr 20, 2013, 05:38 AM (45 replies)
So we're winding down to the end of the semester in my English Composition 2 class.
Throughout this whole semester, she's been having us read excerpts from our textbook which (more often than not) have a definite liberal bent to them.
Most of the other students in my class are pretty conservative, so they've been struggling with some of the views being presented (everything from abortion to excerpts of Obama's Dreams from my Father book, to the idiocy of Dan Quayle), while the professor keeps praising me for consistently hitting it out of the park in my online discussion board posts.
Well, this week she is in for a nasty surprise. After having us read two argumentative opinion pieces heavily critical of the Second Amendment, I had the following to say:
Oh boy, gun control. Where do we even begin?
Adam Gopnik's short essay definitely tugs at one's heart-strings, his emotional description of all those cell phones ringing in all the dead kids' pockets at Virginia Tech, as parents desperately tried to call and find out if their sons and daughters were okay, definitely drives home the gravity of the situation. It must have been truly horrible for all involved, not just the dead kids but the survivors as well.
While I agree with Gopnik that it would be nice if we could keep guns out of the hands of crazy people who would use them to do harm, the problem is that the government just isn't very good at figuring out who those people are. Not just with the Virginia Tech shooter, but with the Aurora (movie theater) and Tucson (Gabby Giffords political gathering) shooters as well, none of them had any criminal record or history of being involuntarily committed to a mental institution whatsoever. So they could all legally buy their guns. Even instituting universal background checks on all gun purchases like the U.S. Senate just tried and failed to pass today wouldn't have stopped these people at all.
Now one could make the argument that we should add more people with even signs of mental illness to the prohibited buyers' list, but then you have the problem of denying rights to those who are suffering from minor mental illness but are currently being treated for it with anti-depressants or anti-psychotic drugs. Because the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of mentally ill people are not dangerous to anyone, especially if they are compliant with their medications. So I have a hard time scapegoating them for the acts of the very few truly deranged people who wish to do others harm. So I think Gopnik kind of misses the mark there.
Akhil Reed Amar's essay was a bit more balanced. He argues that both the NRA and the gun control side have got it wrong. He points out that where the Second Amendment states "shall not be infringed", it appears in its second clause, which speaks of "the people" and not "the states" like many gun control advocates presume it means. Indeed, the Founders knew how to say "states" when they meant states. He further makes the point that "the militia" covers the entire body of the populace.
Where I think Amar goes off the tracks is when he tries to say that "the people" doesn't mean individual persons. He claims that the phrase "the people" only exists in the preamble to the Constitution ("We the People...") and thus speaks of a "collective" rather than "individual" right -- the problem is, it also appears in both the First and Fourth Amendments, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a constitutional scholar who would claim that the First Amendment doesn't protect an individual's right to free speech. Likewise, the Fourth Amendment defends an individual's right to be free from unlawful search and seizure. "The people" simply means every adult citizen, as the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in both the recent Heller and McDonald decisions.
Amar then goes on to compare "the militia" to "the jury", suggesting that they both embodied "collective" political action rather than private pursuits. Fair enough. But as he even points out, the whole point of a jury is to provide a check-and-balance against judges and prosecutors, just as the militia's purpose is to provide a check-and-balance against a standing army. It's hard to imagine how the militia could ever hope to stand up to any army without being able to bear the same types of small arms that the organized military can. That is, if we are talking about a strict interpretation of that amendment. But I digress.
Amar goes on to point out that violent felons get their First Amendment (free speech) rights back upon completion of their prison sentences, but don't automatically get their Second Amendment rights restored. Indeed, both the NRA and the Supreme Court accept this bizarre double standard. My personal view is that if a person is deemed safe enough to be free walking the streets, they should be considered safe enough to exercise ALL of their constitutional rights. Granted, felons who are out on probation or parole still have restrictions, but for those who complete their entire sentences, full rights should be restored and their criminal records sealed like they do in France. If people are deemed too dangerous to have their gun rights restored, that's what lifetime supervision is for -- or Life Without Parole in the case of the worst of the worst.
I think Amar is more fair than Gopnik also when he points out that guns aren't just for "essentially killing people." Amar points out that there is a great deal to be said on behalf of an individual's right to keep a gun in one's home for self-defense as well.
And while it may be true that states with more restrictive gun laws tend to have less gun violence, it still doesn't stop determined crazy people from resorting to other means of violence, such as detonating bombs in crowded streets like in Boston earlier this week.
I know its a clichι, and I've said it before in this class, but: sometimes the occasional act of random violence really is just the price we have to pay to live in a free society. And sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.
But that's just my 2 cents.
I already have a solid `A' in this class, so even if she gives me 0 points for this week's discussion board post, it shouldn't affect my overall grade that much.
Can't wait to see how she responds.
Posted by LAGC | Wed Apr 17, 2013, 11:50 PM (9 replies)
Poster "Libtards" says:
Now THIS is bizarre. A few minutes ago I posted a link to a FB page called "Thoughts Go Out To All Involved In The Boston Explosions." The page was created TWO DAYS AGO. Within a couple of minutes, not only did the page disappear, but so did my links to that page! But guess what? While I still had the page up on my screen, I PHOTOGRAPHED it. Better copy and send this around now, because something is very, very wrong here......
Photoshop aside, isn't it true though that you can EDIT the day when it says a Facebook page was created, not to mention edit the TITLE of the page/group after the fact? If that's true, then any one can (either purposefully or unintentionally) create a bunch of conspiracy theory drama just by messing with the dates/titles on Facebook.
These "truthers" made the same claims about Sandy Hook, claiming that "the gubermint" had staged the whole thing -- their proof? Facebook page create dates "before the event happened" of course!
Gimme a fucking break.
Posted by LAGC | Tue Apr 16, 2013, 05:34 AM (10 replies)
Sounds like the pro-gun group Second Amendment Foundation had a heavy hand in crafting this Manchin-Toomey bill.
Here's SAF's Alan Gottlieb bragging about it:
Theres a Million other checks in there its a Christmas Tree, bragged Gottlieb, We just hung a Million Ornaments on it.
It sounds like, in exchange for universal background checks, quite a few pro-gun measures are going to be included in there, such as National CCW Reciprocity, and no record-keeping (hence registration), which could make it a bitter pill for the pro-control side to swallow.
Indeed, it makes you wonder how much the pro-gun side can get away with adding before the antis deep-six their own proposal.
This could be fun to watch.
Posted by LAGC | Mon Apr 15, 2013, 05:59 AM (3 replies)
.....than having more than 7 rounds in your magazine in New York State:
120.70 Luring a child | E Felony
121.11 Criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation | A Misdemeanor
125.10 Criminally negligent homicide | E Felony
130.20 Sexual misconduct | A Misdemeanor
130.25 Rape 3rd degree | E Felony
130.40 Criminal sexual act 3rd degree | E Felony
130.52 Forcible touching | A Misdemeanor
130.53 Persistent sexual abuse | E Felony (repeat child molester, must be caught and convicted in two separate cases before the charges even reach this level)
130.65 Aggravated sexual abuse 4th degree | E Felony
130.85 Female genital mutilation | E Felony
135.05 Unlawful imprisonment 2nd degree | A Misdemeanor
135.10 Unlawful imprisonment 1st degree | E Felony
135.45 Custodial interference 2nd degree | A Misdemeanor
135.50 Custodial interference 1st degree | E Felony
135.55 Substitution of children | E Felony (switched at birth type of thing)
135.60 Coercion 2nd degree | A Misdemeanor
150.01 5th degree Arson | A Misdemeanor
150.05 4th degree Arson | E Felony
178.10 4th degree Criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions | A Misdemeanor
178.15 3rd degree Criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions | E Felony
220.28 Use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense | E Felony
240.05 Riot 2nd degree | A Misdemeanor
240.06 Riot 1st degree | E Felony
240.08 Inciting to riot | A Misdemeanor
240.15 Criminal anarchy | E Felony
240.20 Disorderly conduct | Violation
240.61 Placing a false bomb or hazardous substance 2nd degree | E Felony
250.45 Unlawful surveillance 2nd degree | E felony (Hidden cams for sexual gratification)
255.25 Incest 3rd degree | E Felony
263.11 Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child | E Felony
263.16 Possessing a sexual performance by a child | E Felony
Because clearly those "evil base toters" with their "killer monster mags" are more dangerous than sex offenders...
Posted by LAGC | Sun Mar 31, 2013, 11:47 AM (5 replies)
So... I thought I'd celebrate acing my Math test earlier this afternoon, so I stopped at the Redbox on the way home and picked up a DVD. And lo' and behold, what did I find?
The sequel to the classic that almost put me to sleep... but I try to keep an open-mind, so I figured I'd give it another try.
First thing I noticed is that practically the entire original cast were replaced by newbies. Did the original flop that bad that ALL the original actors/actresses wanted nothing to do with the sequel? Say it ain't so!
Sure enough, once again the set consisted of mostly stuffy board rooms, cocktail parties, and the occasional train-car interior. It's probably not hard to turn a profit on a low-budget film when your only real expenses are the fancy suits and dresses the main characters wear!
Lots more boring dialogue, a rousing speech about how money isn't evil, straw-man arguments about the government supposedly getting so oppressive that it no longer allows for workers to quit their jobs or get pay raises, nor for inventors to invent new things (no more patents!) And of course the mystery dynamo -- the power source to end all power sources.
I wish there was more to say about this film, but that really about covers it. 111 minutes dragged out with a train crash or two thrown it for effect.
It looks like Dagny finally finds John Galt in the end. Wish they would have skipped straight to that part right at the beginning when they were showing her flying her plane, because the rest was all just pretty much filler in between.
I'm not sure there will ever be a Part 3, but I am kind of curious to see what kind of "utopia" they've created, supposedly free from the corrupting vices of the rest of society.
Oh well. $1.27 and a couple hours of my life I'll never get back.
Posted by LAGC | Thu Mar 21, 2013, 03:53 AM (7 replies)