Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The lies and ignorance at Fousesquawk

Ever since I started blogging, I would frequently check out Fousesquawk.  It's run by Gary Fouse, a former DEA agent who writes about "conservative thoughts on the issue of the day".  When I started reading it, I would be the lone voice of dissent, often critiquing and/or commenting on what he had to say.  Oh sure, there were a few times when we agreed.  There was even that one time when the two of us teamed up against a Muslim who didn't seem to understand that in the U.S., we have the freedom of speech, and that means having to deal with being insulted once and a while - including on the basis of your religion.

Anyway, if you check it out, you will see some common themes.  He often writes about anti-Semitism, especially when he sees it perpetrated by Muslim students on college campuses.  He often has some good points here and there, although he's always eager to equate any kind of criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.  He also critiques what he sees as "the liberal media".  The funny thing about that is the cognitive dissonance he suffers when he critiques guys like Kieth Olbermann without realizing that those he admires, like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, are guilty of all the things he doesn't like about Olbermann.  Then he also blathers on about some guy named George Galloway.  I'm inclined to think that he has a crush on the guy, as he keeps posting pictures of the guy in some kind of tight body stocking.

There are some regulars who post to his blog.  Here's a quick roundup of who you'll find:

Miggie - This guy thinks he's pretty damned smart.  He often writes extreme, absolute statements along the lines of "All liberals do X".  He gets mad if you prove him wrong using facts, and will get upset and tell you that you're stupid if you ever do it.  He's also known for providing links to prove you wrong, only to actually have them be links that have nothing to do with the subject.  I would now like to reveal that on a few occasions, I trolled the site and posted as Miggie, writing the most asinine stuff I could come up with.  Nobody seemed to notice that it wasn't the real Miggie - not even Miggie himself.

Findalis - She's certifiably nuts.  Much like Miggie, she will provide links that do not say what she says that they say.  Also, she's pretty sure that a second Holocaust is imminent.  If you dare to question her assertions, you will be accused of denying the first Holocaust.

Squid - This guy's a quote miner and provider of bad research.  When you point out that his information is bogus, he will ignore it and post it again later in the hopes that you forgot about the first time he did it.  (One of them in particular involves some quote from Obama and how he'll side with Muslims, but when the whole quote is taken in context, he's saying that he'll side with them if they're being attacked.)

Siarlys Jenkins - The lone regular voice of dissent.  Siarlys often gives lengthy historical lessons in order to put everything into context.  Gary and company don't even seem to understand what he's saying, and just like the dumb kids in high school, they make fun of him every time he sounds smart.  Siarlys also has this weird habit of wanting to fact-check things.  For the past year or so, I've only read Fousesquawk for his comments.

Anyway, things got testy between us.  A couple of times I said I was done only to eventually come back.  He even banned me once.  And he's banned me again.  What subject could create such animosity?

Global warming.

See, Gary doesn't believe in it.  No, I'm not saying that he doubts that human beings are having an impact on it.  He doesn't even believe that it's happening.

His blog's mascot is a penguin.  Apparently Gary is under the impression that Global Warming isn't having any effect on flightless waterfowl.

Okay, so what?  Lots of people don't believe in Global Warming.  Why do I care so much?  Well, according to Gary it's because Global Warming is my religion and Al Gore is my prophet.  He has a good point.  After all, I always write about Al Gore and how much I believe in him.  And as we all know, it was Al Gore who came up with the whole idea of Global Warming.  You can read my countless blogs about how great I think Al Gore is on my other blog, which is nonexistent, because I never write about him...at all.

What bugs me is that every year around this time, Gary likes to poke fun at people who do accept it (like me, NASA, and 98% of climatologists).  A couple years ago, he wrote about snowstorms on the East Coast.  Last year, it was extreme cold in Sweden.  This year it's the fact that it's cold in Alaska.

He sure has his finger on the pulse of this issue.  We all know that Al Gore clearly stated that we couldn't expect cold weather to ever happen again - especially in the wintertime - if Global Warming was real.  At least, we'd all know that had he, or anybody, ever said that.  The problem?  They didn't.

Anyone who's taken the time to look into the issue AT ALL knows that it's about average global temperatures, NOT specific weather patterns in specific locations.  Just as the heat wave in Texas this past summer didn't prove Global Warming, cold Alaskan winters don't debunk it.

I have tried to point this out to Gary again, and again, and again.  What does he do?  He keeps making the same bad argument.  The thing is, you can be right about something and still make a bad argument.  Even if he is right about this issue, his argument is still stupid, just as somebody who's on the same side as me would be saying something dumb if they used the Texas summer example.

Essentially, it didn't do any good trying to explain this to him.  To Gary, it's all about me just not accepting the fact that he disagrees with me.  Of course, he always takes it well when people disagree with him, as he never insults or degrades anybody with the opposite opinion, and his "Jerk of the Year" awards are, in fact, loving tributes to his distinguished opponents.

I eventually tried a new tactic.  I asked Gary if he could even define what Global Warming is, as I got the distinct impression that he couldn't considering what he thought amounted to a good argument against it.  He couldn't answer the question, and neither could his buddy, Miggie.  In fact, Miggie accused me of "nitpicking" when I demonstrated that Gary couldn't define the thing that he was certain wasn't real.  You can read the thread here.  As you can see, Gary gets mad and accuses me of playing games.  Apparently, it's a "game" when you want somebody to explain what the issue even is before they have an opinion about it.

And it all happened again here, where Gary demonstrates his ignorance (at what point does it become stupidity?) again, and gets mad at me.  The best part is that he claims to have answered my question - which he hasn't.  I challenge him, or anybody else, to provide a link/example of him answering the question.  There was one time on Alexandria when he defined Global Warming as something he didn't believe - the sort of definition that a third grade teacher wouldn't accept from one of her students.

What I love is that when cornered with the facts, he falls back on the "just kidding" defense and accuses me of not having a sense of humor.  Me?  Seriously?  I don't have a sense of humor?  Here's the thing - I can say with all confidence that I DO have a sense of humor.  The problem is that I don't laugh at things that aren't funny.  His whole post about Al Gore and Alaska is supposed to be humorous.  Where, exactly, is the humor?  The only way it's funny is if he's being ironic and trying to sound stupid - which I pointed out to him, and which got me banned.  Even though he's under the impression that I idolize Al Gore (hint:  I don't) I can certainly find plenty of humor in making fun of the man.  But it needs to be FUNNY first.

No doubt, some people are wondering why I care.  Why even write all this?  I don't know.  Obsessive/compulsive?  Perhaps.  What I resent though is that he's lying on his blog and then bans me so I can't defend the fact that he's completely misrepresenting our past conversations.  This isn't the first time he's done this.  In fact, one time he named me in his blog and accused me of being skeptical about specific issues of anti-Semitism in the Netherlands, when in fact, I wasn't.  You can read that here.

Basically, I'm saying that Gary is a liar due to the fact that he lies and that it's demonstrable that he does so.  I'm also saying that he's ignorant, not as an ad hominem, but as a simple statement of fact.  Anybody who thinks that cold winters in Alaska is proof against Global Warming doesn't understand the issue.  That's not my opinion any more than the Earth being spherical is my opinion.  Could Gary be right about the overall issue of Global Warming?  I suppose, but I doubt it.  But even if he is, he hasn't demonstrated that he even understands the issue.

As I've pointed out before, I believe that homeopathy is bunk just as Gary believes that Global Warming is bunk.  The difference is that I can at least explain what homeopathy is.

Oh, and Gary, you can post on my blog.  I don't ban anybody.  I've deleted a few comments that contained nothing BUT insults, but in the interest of being a good sport, I'll publish anything you post.  You can call me a Communist Nickelback-fan Wanker, and I'll post it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Comics Roundup for 1/24/12

Aquaman #5 - Definitely my favorite read of the week.  Great opening, interesting opening to a bigger story, and some fantastic art by Ivan Reis.  Is it just me, or is he making a point of making Aquaman particulary...well...handsome?  Geoff Johns is really getting to the heart of who the character is and tapping in to his potential that has always existed.

The Flash #5 - This was entertaining enough, and the art was top-notch as usual.  I'm just not sure that I'm a big enough of a fan of the character or the writing to keep up with this series past the first major story arc.  Time will tell, but as I've mentioned before, I need to drop some stuff from my reading list.

Justice League #5 - If it wasn't for Aquaman, this one would have been my favorite.  I actually found myself laughing out loud a couple of times - and for a good reason.  I'm not sure that I like how willing Batman was when it came to revealing his secret identity to Green Lantern, but all of the character interaction bits kept this a compelling read.  I have to wonder how the heck they're going to wrap it all up next issue.

Batman:  The Dark Knight #5 - The first half of this was nothing special, and it felt like a million other run-ins with The Scarecrow.  Once Superman made an appearance though, it got pretty good.

Captain America and Bucky #626 - I had a hard time getting into this one, and that's pretty disappointing considering how good the last story arc was.  I found myself having a hard time caring, and the fact that Ed Brubaker is leaving the title after this story arc has me thinking that it's time to bail on this title. Plus, I have little interest in the upcoming Captain America and Hawkeye series which this one will morph into after this story.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Outside the outside of time and space

If one thing is an established fact, it's the notion that things just don't appear out of nowhere.  Everything needs something to have created it.  After all, you can't have a painting without a painter, and you can't have a pile of dog poop without a dog's butt to create it.  Simple logic, right?

This is why we know that there must be a God.  This universe of ours could not have just come out of nowhere.  Of course, the next question that many (stupid) people ask is:  then who created God?  If there must be a creator, then who created the creator?  Well, I have an answer to that.

Science has discovered that the Big Bang was the beginning not just of space, but also of time.  So, we know from both this and from The Bible that there was an "in the beginning..."  Therefore, God must exist OUTSIDE of space and time in order to have created that which began both space and time.

It just makes sense, right?  But it doesn't answer the question.  What created the creator?  Obviously, if there can be a plane of existence that exists outside of space and time, then there must be a plane of existence that exists outside of that plane of existence?

Impossible, you say?  Here's a bit of logic thrown your way:

If you're in your house, you can step outside it, right?  Well, how can you step outside the outside of your house?  Well, how about leaving the atmosphere of the Earth?  You'd certainly be OUTSIDE the OUTSIDE, wouldn't you?

This is why the creator's creator MUST exist outside the outside of space and time.  And who is that creator?  The Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Ramen.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Comics Roundup for 1/18/2012

Superior #7 - A fairly satisfying end to a pretty good miniseries.  I'm not sure if Mark Millar plans to continue with this character, but it seems as though there isn't a lot one can do beyond this point.

Daredevil #8 - This was an okay issue, but I have to say that I like the idea of The Black Cat getting involved with DD.  Seems like a pretty interesting match there.

Batman #5 - This certainly was a topsy-turvy, nutty issue.  I'm normally not a big fan of issues where the main character is hallucinating, but Scott Snyder has earned my trust that he'll do something interesting with it.

Avenging Spider-Man #3 - What can I say?  This is a fun series.  It doesn't feel like it has a whole lot of consequence to the character, but it's an enjoying read.

Lord of the Jungle #1 - Is this a Tarzan ripoff?  No.  It's Tarzan.  The story was good; the art was just okay.  Still, I might pick up the next issue or at least wait for the trade.  I read an interview where the writer said that he was looking to stay pretty close to the original source material by Edgar Rice Boroughs.

The Avengers #21 - Nothing special here.  Pretty much just a big fight.  Blah.

Uncanny X-Men #5 - I didn't like this one as much as the last issue, but there certainly was enough interesting stuff going on - particularly character interactions - that kept me interested.  I still don't know if I like the idea of Magneto as a member of the X-Men though.

The Amazing Spider-Man #678 - This was a really fun issue, and I hope that the conclusion next issue can maintain this kind of momentum.

Wonder Woman #5 - The art wasn't as good with the guest-artist, but this was still a pretty good read.  I have to say that Poseidon definitely didn't look like what I might have expected, but they've been doing some pretty interesting twists on the Greek Gods, so it's not surprising that they did something new.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Comics Roundup for 1/11/12

Wolverine and the X-Men #4 - Another fun issue of what's quickly becoming one of my favorite new comics.  Is it just me, or does the new artist's style look a lot like the work of Art Adams?  Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.

Captain America #7 - I was pretty excited for Alan Davis coming on board as the artist for this story arc, but I wasn't that thrilled with his first issue.  This one's a little bit more like it.  I definitely have to say that this series definitely has a different feel to it as opposed to Ed Brubaker's first few story arcs with the character.  This stuff is definitely more mainstream superhero fair - again, not a bad thing though.

Wolverine #300 - I didn't get as into this as I would have hoped, but the intro was a lot of fun.  300 issues?  I remember buying the first one - and I don't mean of this particular run.

Green Lantern #5 - Wow...guess they're going to stick with Sinestro as Green Lantern for the time being.  I'm not sure how they're going to get a ring back on Hal Jordan, but as always, I'm eager to keep reading and find out.

Batgirl #5 - Still one of my favorites of the "New 52".  Barbara Gordon's mom is back.  That should be interesting.

The New Avengers #20 - Is it just me, or has Mike Deodato's artwork taken a bit of a dive?  This was a decent enough of an issue, but he's definitely not doing as good as he did back on Dark Avengers.

The Amazing Spider-Man #677 - We get a guest writer in Mark Waid, and it's going to crossover into Daredevil.  I like the artist, but I'm not sure that it's a good fit for the character.  The storytelling was good, but Spidey himself looked kind of lame.

Batwoman #5 - And yet another fun series from DC's relaunch.  She's definitely an interesting character, and I like how she's being separated from the rest of the Bat-team.  Otherwise, this series might feel kind of redundant.

Batman and Robin #5 - It's a good week for Bat-books, and this was another compelling installment as we get some backstory for the villain as we continue the story where Damien Wayne joins up with a vigilante who's willing to be a bit more ruthless.  Bruce Wayne definitely has his work cut out for him as a father.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Christianity's a religion - get over it

Years ago I snickered when a proselytizing lady on BART stated, "I'm not religious.  I just love Jesus."

Yeah.  And I'm not a comic book fan.  I just love stories about Spider-Man told using sequential art.

Right now, there's a video making the rounds on Facebook entitled "Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus".  I'll post it down on the bottom of this page if you want to see it.  Basically, the guy is saying the same thing, and I'm saying that it's a load of malarkey.  I'll take it a piece at a time.  (Luckily I found a transcript of it here, so I don't have to watch it again.)

What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion 
I'd say that's ridiculous.  Certainly he had problems with the religious establishment, but anybody who starts rituals based in his name, and claims to be the Son of God, is not somebody who's doing away with religion. Reforming religion?  Sure.  Abolishing it?  Well, if so he did a crap job, and the apostle Paul REALLY screwed it up.

What if I told you voting republican really wasn't his mission
What if I told you republican doesn't automatically mean Christian
Fair enough.

And just because you call some people blind
Doesn't automatically give you vision
Irony senses...tingling...
I mean if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars
Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor Tells single moms God doesn't love them if they've ever had a divorce But in the old testament God actually calls religious people whores Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice Tend to ridicule God's people, they did it to John The Baptist They can't fix their problems, and so they just mask it Not realizing religions like spraying [perfume](undefined) on a casket See the problem with religion, is it never gets to the core It's just behavior modification, like a long list of chores Like lets dress up the outside make look nice and neat But it's funny that's what they use to do to mummies While the corpse rots underneath 
I like the cut of your jib, kid.
Now I ain't judgin I'm just saying quit putting on a fake look, Cause there's a problem If people only know you're a Christian by your Facebook I mean in every other aspect of life, you know that logic's unworthy It's like saying you play for the Lakers just because you bought a jersey 
Wait, that's not right?  (Okay, I'm still on board with him here - just being snarky.)
You see this was me too, but no one seemed to be on to me
Acting like a church kid, while addicted to pornography
See on Sunday I'd go to church, but Saturday getting faded
Acting if I was simply created just to have sex and get wasted
See I spent my whole life building this facade of neatness
But now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness
Because if grace is [water](undefined), then the church should be an ocean
It's not a museum for good people, it's a hospital for the broken
Which means I don't have to hide my failure, I don't have to hide my sin
Because it doesn't depend on me it depends on him
See because when I was God's enemy and certainly not a fan
He looked down and said I want, that, man
Which is why Jesus hated religion, and for it he called them fools
Don't you see so much better than just following some rules 
Okay, so he apparently liked looking at naked women (I assume - he's not specific) and getting drunk.  He liked them both to the point of it being a problem, and I'm guessing that his faith in Jesus made it better for him.  Whatever, it's not my thing, but I can't fault him there.
Now let me clarify, I love the church, I love the bible, and yes I believe in sin
Okay, now this is where it gets silly.  His whole thesis is that he doesn't like religion.  Well, sport, I hate to break it to you, but those are all RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS.  I can maybe see people of faith who don't join a church because they don't like religion in the sense of an organized faith group.  However, if you're going to church, you have joined a religion.  The Bible is a religious book.  It's not reliable history, and it's not reliable science, despite what some crackpots might tell you.  And sin is a religious idea.  It's an offense to a higher power, and you need to be on board with the teachings of this particular RELIGION before you can believe in it.
But if Jesus came to your church would they actually let him in See remember he was called a glutton, and a drunkard by religious men But the son of God never supports self righteousness not now, not then 
Good point.
Now [back](undefined) to the point, one thing is vital to mention How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums See one's the [work](undefined) of God, but one's a man made invention 
Oh yeah?  Prove it.  They're both man-made from where I'm standing.
See one is the cure, but the other's the infection See because religion says do, Jesus says done Religion says slave, Jesus says son Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you [free]Religion makes you blind, but Jesus makes you see 
I'm getting a vision of the future.  I'm seeing T-shirts and bumper stickers.  Seriously, what does any of that mean?  Okay, he's being poetic, but it's all a bunch of meaningless rhetoric - especially considering that belief in Jesus is A RELIGIOUS BELIEF.
And that's why religion and Jesus are two different clans
Religion is man searching for God, Christianity is God searching for man 
Somebody needs to spend some time reading about Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc.
Which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own Not based on my merits but Jesus's obedience alone Because he took the crown of thorns, and the blood dripped down his face 
And now I'm completely lost because supposedly Jesus is God and he's being obedient to himself.
He took what we all deserved, I guess that's why you call it grace 
Two things:

1.  While I'm one of the most highly self-critical people you'll ever meet, I refuse to accept this notion that I "deserve" the punishment that he took.  Are there some who might have?  Perhaps.  But I haven't.  And I'll be damned if somebody tells me that my toddler son deserves it.  What a horrible thought - one that only religion could possibly drum into your head and make you believe it's a good thing.

2.  Who decided that's what we deserved?  He did.  Basically, he created this crappy situation and we're supposed to thank him for it.  Fantastic.  Lucky for me this never happened, but like the late Christopher Hitchens, I'm an anti-theist.  I think it would be HORRIBLE if this were true.
And while being murdered he yelled "Father forgive them they know not what they do."
He also asked why his father had foresaken him.  Who the hell is he talking to?  Again, only religion can convince a person that somebody can be his own father and that three is one and one is three.
Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of you 
Glad he gave me some say in all this.
And he absorbed all of your sin, and buried it in the tomb 
He absorbed all of my offenses against him.  Well, whew, I guess that's that.  What about the sin of not believing in him?  I'm good on that score too, right?  Wait, you mean there's one sin he DIDN'T die for then?
Which is why I'm kneeling at the cross, saying come on there's room 
When you TRULY learn to reject religion, you'll stop kneeling.
So for religion, no I hate it, in fact I literally resent it Because when Jesus said it is finished, I believe he meant it
And once you've eaten your cake, you no longer have it.

And another rebuttal:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Comics Roundup for 1/4/12

Uncanny X-Men #4 - Man, I really wanted to dislike this, as I'm looking to drop some titles.  However, it turned out to be a real page-turner.  I'm not familiar with the villain Phalanx, but that didn't stop me from being able to follow the story just fine.  The new artist, Brandon Peterson, did a good job as well.

The Flash #4 - While the story isn't bad, the primary appeal to this comic is the art.  Francis Manapul makes each issue stand out with creative layouts and dynamic storytelling.  I'm not sure that the story would be enough of a draw to keep me reading if there was a lesser artist on board, but I'm still going to stick around.

Action Comics #5 - This issue takes a pretty sharp turn as we also get a new artist with Andy Kubert.  With this installment, we flashback to the new, revised origin of the character, and we get that mixed up with some Grant Morrison nuttiness dealing with time travel and various supervillains.  I'm curious to see where it's all going to go from here, as I'm not entirely sure just what happened - but that's often the case with Grant Morrison's writing (although I'm able to figure it out later).

Fatale #1 - This is the new series from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips - the team behind Criminal and Incognito.  This was certainly an odd first installment, and I had to flip through it again once I was done in order to get it straight in my head who was who and what they were all doing.  Still, this creative team has given me some of my favorite comics over the past few years, so I'll at least get the next issue.

Detective Comics #4 - Meh.  It's not bad, but considering how many great Bat-books that are out there right now, it looks like this is the one I'm going to drop.

The Avengers - Annual #1 - While this was a better read than its lead-in, New Avengers #1, it all felt like it was not much more than a set-up for a bigger story to come.  Hopefully that will be a bit more compelling.  Maybe it's the final phase of Brian Bendis's Avengers work, as I hear he plans on leaving the titles.