Dear Moderate Christian

Pink Rose, by Lou FCD @ Flickr

Pink Rose, by Lou FCD @ Flickr

Dear Moderate Christian,

I’d like to take a moment to address some of your remarks about how the tactics of “New Atheists” are just too uncivil. I appreciate that you’d like to have a quiet, intellectual conversation regarding the current state of  religion in America, and the marginalization of those of us who don’t believe there is an invisible zombie who lives in the sky. I understand that you’d like me to respect your beliefs, and not shine too much light on their ridiculousness. I applaud your geniality in this matter. It’s refreshing, after so many years of listening to your representatives demeaning and demonizing pretty much everyone who doesn’t bend their neck and genuflect to them. A polite, intellectual conversation about religion in America sounds perfectly lovely.

But at this point in time, I have to say

(What I have to say continues below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Buh Bye, Fluff Fluff

Mark Dybul, the man the Bush administration has relied on to spread its fundamentalist sectarian dogma of disinformation and ignorance, has been unceremoniously dismissed.

Sworn in as Secretary of State just yesterday, Hillary Clinton wasted no time cleaning house at the vast department she runs. Today, we have heard, Mark Dybul was asked to submit his resignation as US Global AIDS Coordinator, head of the office in charge of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

This is a huge first step to ensuring the health and rights of all people at risk of HIV and AIDS: Dybul oversaw the last several years of abstinence-only programs funded by PEPFAR, hob-knobbed a bit too closely with the far right, and never saw a law or policy restriction he could not make even more restrictive. Curious for a self-identified Democrat? Not so curious, I guess, if your career is dependent on pleasing the far right, and if your desire to be Global AIDS Coordinator outweighs your desire to stand up for what is right.

Given the fact that this kind of propaganda is known to have led to the deaths of untold numbers of people, I only wonder why there were no handcuffs involved.

h/t Elizabeth Wood

White House Witch Hunters Watch While We Wank

My Grade on my second English 111 essay

My Grade on my second English 111 essay

I got my second essay back this morning in English Class. I missed one comma, but managed an A+. I’m pretty happy about that as I was concerned about length as well as flow. I didn’t think it flowed as well as it could have.

Mr. Beverage disagreed, apparently.

When I showed him the title, he got a great big grin, and gave me specific permission to break the “No Slang” rule.

The prompt was a definition using illustration.

The essay, in its uncorrected form, lies below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Underneath The Blue Skirt

Underneath Her Skirt

Her skirts may be a deep, rich azure, but her petticoats are as scarlet as the blood in Cheney’s veins.

Sadly, it appears that asking a candidate how she will vote on a piece of legislation is verboten. It’s more of the same, “Shut up and sit down over in the closet until after the election – then we’ll talk” nonsense. One needn’t be gay to be mortally offended by such an attitude. I sure as hell am.

It was such a pretty blog, too.

From whence came the art:

That visual commentary on the BlueNC blog is my own work on their logo, and would fall under fair use.

Teach Both Sides

Expelled Tanking Quickly

Dr. Dr. NeinStein, by QuidamCurrently floating around 8% 7% 6% 5% and nose diving at RottenTomatoes, critical reviews are beginning to come in for Ben Stein’s “documentary” Expelled.  (ETA – back up to 9%, on the strength of a review by Christianity Today.  Yep, All Science So Far!)

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Typical of all propaganda, it also distorts language.

The New York Times: “One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’ is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.”

Salt Lake Tribune: “a slick but intellectually dishonest documentary

E! Online: “A flunkout of a documentary, this features Ben Stein….Stein’s credibility is blown on this poorly constructed diatribe, and you’d be smart to save your bucks.

Seattle Times: “A hard-core, fundamentalist bit of right-wing propaganda”

Kalamazoo Gazette: ” ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’ (PG) — Ben Stein stars in a controversial satirical documentary asserting that ‘intelligent design’ (creationism) advocates are being persecuted. Rave Cityplace 14, Kalamazoo 10, Lakeview Square Cinema in Battle Creek. Grade: F”

Orlando Sentinel (my personal favorite so far): “…a cynical attempt to sucker Christian conservatives into thinking they’re losing the ‘intelligent design’ debate because of academic ‘prejudice.‘ ”

Further down:

Shockingly, the ‘experts’ Stein hurls against evolution are disgruntled, under-credentialed academics dismissed from lesser colleges, they say because they say they wanted to teach creation rather than science. Other ‘experts’ in the film come from anti-evolution ‘think tank’ cranks.

Actually, it’s only shocking if you haven’t been following the shenanigans of The Intelligent Design Creationism Hoax for more than five minutes.

One more little bit from the Sentinel:

Expelled relies on the viewer’s inability or unwillingness to wrestle with a complex corner of science, double-talking its way toward a ‘must be a miracle’ solution to anything that science may not claim to have an answer for. Dismiss that for having no basis in fact, and you’re infringing on ‘academic freedom.’

Edit to add my new favorite review, from FlickFilosopher:

It’s apeshit crazy nuttiness right from the opening moments of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, as imagery of Nazi atrocities and the terrors of life behind the Berlin War are smugly deployed in a demented attempt to editorialize away basic scientific fact. And in a saner universe than the one in which we live, you could scoff at Stein and dismiss him and not give this propagandistic nonsense another thought.

Even their target audience is panning it outright.

Nell Minow, the Movie Mom at beliefnet: “he should understand that freedom of speech also guarantees the freedom not to have to listen to mangled, manipulative, and disingenuous rhetoric like this.”

Ouch.

For the actual lowdown on this piece of third rate garbage, pop over to the National Center for Science Education’s website at ExpelledExposed.com.

HT – Carlsonjok and Rich Hughes at AtBC

That image of Dr. Dr. NeinStein is titled Dr. Dr. EvilStein and is used with permission, courtesy of Quidam at AtBC. (I even have the latest version before the boys at AtBC do.)

Expelled Exposed

What Ben Stein isn't telling you about Intelligent Design

There are few things in the world that annoy me more than liars and propagandists.

Expelled Exposed

MySpace Retards

EnlightenmentI’m sorry. There’s just no other way to express it.

I don’t use myspace much. My kids do, so I only use it to keep an eye on my young’n’s, really.

My wife does sometimes as well, and she was telling me last week how everyone else has cool pictures and stuff. She and computers are not the best of friends, so I thought I’d help her out a little and a few days ago I uploaded like 600 pictures to my account for her to use. (I don’t have access to her account, obviously.) The vast majority of them are from our trip to London in August of 2006. I kind of burned out after that, so didn’t upload too many others. (You’ll have to add me as a friend if you want to see them.)

So yesterday or the day before I got a message from myspace:

Date:

Feb 4, 2008 6:50 PM

Flag as Spam or Report Abuse [ ? ]

Subject:

We had to delete one of your photos

Body:

We had to remove an image (or images) from your account because they violated our Terms of Use. Our site is for people as young as 14, so we can’t have certain kinds of pics (nude/sexually explicit, violence, material protected by copyright). Find out more about content we don’t allow here. If you continue to violate our Terms, we may be forced to remove your account.

You may feel singled out, but be assured that we delete each and every one of these images as we locate them. If you find an image which you feel is in violation of our Terms, please feel free to use the ‘report image’ link below the image.

Thanks for your understanding.

MySpace Safety & Security

Wow. Really? I notice the “reply” button is missing, and the myspace tech support account from whence it came specifically says that questions not relating to technical support will not be answered.

Viagra OverdoseOf course I have to wonder what the hell picture they were talking about. I scanned and browsed, but nothing seemed to be amiss. It was hard to tell, what with 600 pictures to look through. Finally this morning, curiosity overcame laziness and I logged into Corporal Kate’s account to check the history. In a myspace account you can see friend updates, like “Dad added x number of pictures on such and so date in y photoalbum”. I start comparing the number of uploads that Kate’s account says I made with the number of pictures currently resident in each photo album.

The British Museum album is one short.

?

Further, there are almost 200 pictures in that album to look through. *sigh*

I look immediately for the little chicken-head idol with the really big pecker (seen here), figuring that if anything, that one might have offended some religious nutjob in the tech department. Nope, that’s still there.

I compare my local folder to the album, one picture at a time. Want to know what picture they found offensive? Look below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Under 17 Not Admitted

What's My Blog Rated?

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • sex (6x)
  • ass (5x)
  • pissed (4x)
  • crappy (3x)
  • fuckin (2x)
  • whore (1x)

Well, I suppose JanieBelle will be annoyed. hehehe

Click the image to have your blog rated.  It’s a meme.  I tag Timmi.

WordPress Staff Visits Elizabeth Wood’s Blog

Dr. Mike and Toni, apparently from WordPress’ staff are at least answering Elizabeth Wood, which is more courtesy than we’ve received thus far.

Elizabeth asks questions similar to our own and has (as yet) not been de-listed.

Please stop by and add your voice to this conversation about WordPress, censorship, and community.

The Effect Of WordPress’ Censorship

Effect of WordPress' Censorship

Effect of WordPress' Censorship

I was pretty happy with 40 page views a day here.

When I started bitching about the censorship policy of WordPress, you can see where the numbers went.

People were interested, they were reading, they wanted the content I was providing.

In case you thought the de-listing might be a minor issue, look very closely at the effect of de-listing on my stats.

The WordPress Community was listening, and The McCarthy Censorship Comittee had to silence me.

Censorship, plain and simple.

I Have Now Been De-Listed

The heavy hand of Mark, the head of the McCarthy Censorship Board at WordPress has now silenced me, too.

Not for objectionable content, there is none on my blog, but for speaking up for the girls.

I have been de-listed.

Mark is obviously on a power-trip. Seems to be a lot of that going around lately.

On a brighter note, he’s stopped blocking the girls on the friend surfer.

I’m happy for them, but it’s a small victory.

Digg This 

WordPress Censors The Erotica Tag

Stop Censoring Our Blogs

Janie was just checking, and all the posts have now disappeared from the erotica tag (only two very recent ones are there, apparently added after the purge by Mark and WordPress’ McCarthy Censorship Board).

We can now only assume that Mark has suddenly decided to go on a Holy Crusade against erotic literature on all blogs, and we are apparently the cause because we mentioned the tag when we were bitching about being blacklisted.

For that, we are truly sorry.

But please, don’t just stop writing it, don’t roll over and just accept his whimsical crusade.

Do everything you can to stop the WordPress Purge.

Post the graphics, make your own, blog about it, comment about it on other blogs, email WordPress Support and tell them how unhappy you are about these McCarthy era tactics of censorship in 2007.

Do not allow WordPress to continue censoring our blogs.

This must stop now.

Joseph McCarthy Also Protests WordPress’ Censorship

Stop Censoring Our BlogsOver at Censor This, Joseph McCarthy further protests the censoring of UDreamOfJanie and KissingCorporalKate with his own graphic. (Don’t sweat the url – there’s no child porn, it’s a protest statement.)

For those who may not know, our blogs have been de-listed from WordPress’ internal listing, which means we no longer appear in the category pages, we no longer appear in the tag surfer, and we no longer appear in the friend surfer (a WP service where bloggers have to enter the URL of blogs they want to see there – 100% opt-in).

The vague reason we have been given by Mark, apparently the head of the McCarthy Censorship Board at WordPress is that our blogs “contain material which we determine is of a Mature nature will be removed from our tagging system.”

Meanwhile, the adults surfing the sex tag (or any other tag for that matter) who are looking for content like ours can find piles of it, just not ours.

There is no set of rules, no list of guidelines, and no specific item mentioned which put us over this arbitrary and invisible line.

We have been censored at the whim of one person, we were not notified before or after the de-listing, and we have been given no recourse or appeal.

Interestingly, the de-listing seems to have occured just after the posting of The Itch, Part The Last and before the posting of Sugasm 64. Other blogs continue to post material that is highly sexual in nature, so I can only assume that Mark’s issue is with our portrayal of a priest as a sexual submissive.

We are apparently not permitted to speak about the church that way without reprisal.

WordPress claims that is strongly in favor of the freedom to publish, yet that is apparently only so as long as you don’t say something Mark doesn’t like. Their own Terms Of Service states:

The Website may contain content that is offensive, indecent, or otherwise objectionable, as well as content containing technical inaccuracies, typographical mistakes, and other errors.

While we haven’t been deleted (yet), we have been censored from the WordPress community’s eyes.

Please add your voice to the growing chorus of protest against this practice of arbitrary and secretive censorship.

If Mark can censor UDreamOfJanie and KissingCorporalKate for what we say, he can censor (and even delete) your blog without notice for something you say which he personally finds objectionable.

Have you posted a picture that might have been too risque? Are you sure?

Have you divulged just a little too much about your sex life? How do you know?

Have you used language that offends Mark’s delicate sensibilities? Do you even know what words you can’t use?

Add one of these graphics to your blog, your myspace, whatever. Blog about this, comment about it, email your displeasure to mark at support@wordpress.com and demand that WordPress stop censoring blogs.

Stop Censoring Our Blogs

Stop Censoring Our Blogs!

Stop Censoring Our Blogs

Stop Censoring Our Blogs!

(Guest Post by JanieBelle of UDreamOfJanie – Censored by WordPress)

Tell WordPress To Stop Censoring Our Blogs!

Stop Censoring Our Blogs
If you are as upset as we are about these shenanigans, please express your dissatisfaction with WordPress’ arbitrary and selective censorship with this graphic.

Post about it on your own blog, comment about it on other blogs, put this graphic at the top of your sidebar.

What have you said lately that might get your blog shut down? Did you post a risque graphic? Write something Mark McCarthy might find offensive or too sexy? Drop the “F-Bomb” because you were pissed at your boss?

If Mark can de-list U Dream Of Janie and Kissing Corporal Kate, he can de-list you. He can even delete your entire blog without notice, destroying forever all the months of work, posts, and comments that you have created.

Tell WordPress that you will not accept this.

Show them we will not lie below.

Stop Censoring Our Blogs

Stop Censoring Our Blogs!

The Latest Bologna From WordPress Censors

Joseph McCarthy, WordPress SpokesmanWell at least we have his attention. Apparently only long enough for one EMail full of shitty vagueness again, however:

Hi,
You are not violating the ToS.
If you were, the blog would have been removed.

All we have done is removed your blog from our tagging system to protect users who may inadvertently visit and see content which is mature in nature. We have many users here of all ages and all views but we have chosen – because of a lot of feedback – to have this label. It is there to protect other users, to protect your blog from complaints and to provide a safe environment for those casually browsing blogs here.
The ToS does cover the action I took.

We have not restricted your blog from search engines. Google has a much wider audience than we do and it has unfettered access.

Mark

You didn’t answer my questions, Mark. So I ask them again.

I call bullshit.

Look through the sex tag for 5 minutes and you will find a ton of sites like mine listed. In fact, if you’re so concerned about adult content, why is there a sex tag in the first place? Why an erotica tag?

Kate and I are not the only ones writing adult material, but we seem to be the only ones being quashed.

Why? And why not explain your exact reasoning in public, in the thread set up specifically for that?

What specific violations of what specific rules brought you to your decision? Or was it just an arbitrary whim, as I and everyone else suspects?

Why was I not notified before being de-listed, or even after?

Why are none of the other adult blogs being de-listed?

Again, I call Bullshit.

JanieBelle.

But I have apparently been returned to the ignore list.

(From UDoJ)

For The Girls Censored By WordPress – Cross Posted from UDoJ

Joseph McCarthy, WordPress SpokesmanA blogger has started a new blog in our defense already.

He goes by the name of Joseph McCarthy and has started a blog called “Censor This” with an address of http://childporn.wordpress.com. (No, there is no child porn there, he’s making a statement with that url.)

Thank you, Mr. McCarthy, for coming to our rescue. A very long peek above our garters to you.

His very first post is entitled WordPress Censors Erotic Literature and Discussion.

He takes a good look at the Terms Of Service at WordPress, and shows that we have violated no rules therein.

WordPress has censored at least two blogs—UDreamOfJanie and Kissing Corporal Kate—containing writing of an adult nature. However, they contain no libelous content, no graphic nudity, no misleading tags or categories.

 

The WordPress Terms of Service offer little insight as to why.

 

You must not describe or assign keywords to your blog in a misleading or unlawful manner, including in a manner intended to trade on the name or reputation of others, and Automattic may change or remove any description or keyword that it considers inappropriate or unlawful, or otherwise likely to cause Automattic liability.

Well, the blogs aren’t named in a misleading or unlawful manner.

 

…the Content is not obscene or libelous, and does not violate the privacy or publicity rights of any third party…

Is the content obscene? Last I checked, people wrote and sold erotic literature all the time. We’re not talking mothers vivisecting their newborn babies here.

 

The Website may contain content that is offensive, indecent, or otherwise objectionable, as well as content containing technical inaccuracies, typographical mistakes, and other errors.

It seems that Automattic acknowledge that they are and will continue to host potentially offensive content.

Yet we have been removed from WordPress’ category pages on a whim.

Please stand up for us, we can’t even stand up for ourselves at WordPress, because no one can see our posts in the category pages or the Friend Surfer, an explicitly opt in service of WordPress.

We are being silenced for no reason, and we need you to make WordPress stop.

Please email Mark at support@wordpress.com. Tell him you disagree. Tell him to re-list our blogs.

Janie Asks Mark To Respond

Joseph McCarthy, WordPress SpokesmanJanie has EMailed Mark and asked for a public discussion of why she and Kate are being censored by WordPress. This would get interesting, but I doubt he’ll show up.

WordPress is unlikely to actually even have a specific criteria for who gets censored and who doesn’t. It’s probably just dependant on whether Mark got laid last night or not.

Arbitrary censorship should frighten us all. It’s not a big step from UDoJ to WhoreChurch (I’d be equally pissed if they went after Kevin) or any one of thousands of other blogs.

What have you said lately that might get you shut down?

WordPress Has Censored Janie And Kate

Joseph McCarthy, WordPress SpokesmanUDreamOfJanie and KissingCorporalKate have been censored by WordPress. Apparently not for sexual content, but because they wrote a sexual story involving a priest.

Janie has the story here and here.

The long and the short of it is that the girls noticed a precipitous drop in spam, the cause of which turned out to be that all of their posts have been removed from the category pages at WordPress.

When investigating, Janie noticed that the removal seems to have taken place between the time she posted The Itch, Part The Last and the time she posted Sugasm 64.

By that reasoning, Sugasm 64 could not have been the issue, and since there had been quite a few non-sexual posts since The Itch, Part The Fourth, it would certainly follow that the cause was The Itch, Part The Last. Since many blogs appearing in the Sex category are rife with sexuality, and since both she and Kate have written on sexual themes many times before without incident, the only logical conclusion is that the blacklisting occured because of her depiction of a priest as a submissive in a sexual situation.

In an EMail to Janie, Matt (from WordPress’ support staff) denied that she was singled out, and made the following statement:

I am sorry you feel this way but this is something that has been considered and used for some time.
There is no McCarthyism here – we believe strongly in the freedom to publish but we do have to consider the wider community and their feedback over time about what they generally find acceptable.

Janie has responded with the following EMail (in its entirety):

Hi Mark,

I really appreciate your quick attention to this. I see where you’re coming from about trouble at work, but if that’s an issue for someone’s place of employment, why are they trolling the sex tag in the first place?

It’s not like someone would accidentally type in http://udoj.wordpress.com or http://kissingcorporalkate.wordpress.com and just happen to stumble into our blogs. Someone finding my blog through a science tag will find a science post. It’s not like I’m posting erotica and labeling it as science. People find sexual material by looking for sexual material.

So again, I fail to see the issue here. I also fail to see why every blog with a sex tag isn’t being blacklisted. What prompted the decision to mark our blogs specifically?

Thanks again for taking the time to address this with me.

JanieBelle

She makes several good points, and she has suddenly stopped receiving communications from Matt.

Please join me, the girls’ friend and author, in calling for an end to selective censorship at WordPress.

This is despicable behavior coming from a blog hosting site that believes “strongly in the freedom to publish”.

More like they believe strongly in the freedom to publish, as long as you don’t offend their delicate sensibilities.