We value all of our second-class citizens so much, we intend to keep them that way

When I first heard Chick-fil-a President Dan Cathy’s remarks about marriage, images of “Whites Only” signs in restaurant windows during the Jim Crow era popped to mind. The above graphic resulted from this imagery. When companies take a stand against social issues like marriage equality, they unfortunately put themselves on the side of forces that supported “separate but equal” in the U.S. civil rights battle.

The recent flap over Chick-fil-a President Dan Cathy’s comments regarding the rights of homosexuals to marry is a useful petri dish in which to study the U.S. problem with equal rights for heterosexuals and homosexuals. This controversy has been littered with all kinds of contradictions, hypocrisies, and logical fallacies. Let’s dig into it.

First, you may feel very differently than I do about the right of homosexuals to marry. That’s your right. It’s my right to believe, based on both reliable social science data and personal experience, that there is only a benefit to bringing equality into the realm of marriage. I view marriage as a civil rights issue with a deep connection to the constitutional requirement to separate church and state. The state should have the right to recognize marriage independent of whether or not a religious institution will perform the ceremony and independent of sexual orientiation. The state should not tell committed couples who want to enter into a stable relationship, own property, and define other financial benefits (e.g. inheritance, ownership of the estate) that they do not have that right based solely on sexual orientation. The state should not be allowed to setup a system of “separate but equal” – or, in the case of sexual identity, “separate and mostly equal.” Private institutions, including churches and businesses, have every right to adhere to such views except where those views cross the law or violate the civil rights of an individual. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with those private institutions.

Dan Cathy’s Original Remarks

In an interview with Baptist Press [1], company president Dan Cathy had this to say:

“Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position [against homosexual marriage].

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.” [1]

It is important to note that Cathy’s remarks are not limited to homosexual marriage. He targets several groups of people:

  1. He bashes divorced Americans who remarry
  2. He bashes the right of homosexuals to marry
  3. He bashes the right of the unmarried to run/own a business, by saying that of those running their restaurants “some are single,” and implying that a family is better able to run a business than a single person.
  4. He also implies that the leadership is all male (“we are married to our first wives”), suggesting gender is an issue here as well

So as far as I am concerned, Cathy trashed on everyone except males married to their first wives. Another thing of note is that Cathy claims that his company operates ” . . . on biblical principles” and adopts the “biblical definition of the family unit.” Let’s keep that in mind.

The EqualityMatters group released a report suggesting that Chick-fil-a is putting its money where its mouth is [2], donating nearly $2 Million to anti-homosexual groups in 2010.

Chick-fil-a’s Follow-up Remarks

A backlash then happened against Cathy and his company. In response to those backlashes, the company then released this statement on its Facebook page [2]:

The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.

Hypocrisy, Contradiction, Logical Fallacies, Sex, Money, and all that

Let’s begin with hypocrisy and contradiction. We have two statements, one from the company president saying that Chick-fil-a supports the biblical definition of family and opposed homosexual marriage (which means that it considers sexual matters a distinguishing feature when it comes to rights) and one from the company press office saying that the company treats every person with “honor, dignity and respect – regardless . . . sexual orientation.” So which is it?

As Watergate taught us, the key is to follow the money. In 2010, Chick-fil-a reported $3.6 billion in sales [4]. Its profit margin in that same year was 5.1% [5], or a total of $184 million. Of that, it is reported to have donated $2 million dollars to groups that work against homosexual equal rights; in other words, of its profits in 2010, it spent 1% working against equal rights for homosexuals. To put that in context, that is more than it spent on scholarships for its employees. According to its own press release on its sales, it spent just $1.5 million on scholarships to help educate its employees.

So the money says that Chick-fil-a values the fight against homosexual equal rights MORE than it does the equality conferred by educating its own employees. That speaks louder than any words on a corporate Facebook page. I call shenanigans.

Let’s then look at logical fallacies. One important logical fallacy is called “equivocation.” This is when you intentionally use a word or phrase with multiple meanings, knowing that your audience will do one of two things. They will interpret the meaning that puts your comments in the best light. Or, they will choose the meaning that is most specific to their values. Let’s look at a few of his phrases and see where Cathy gets himself in trouble if one digs into the meaning of the words.

  1. “biblical definition of the family unit”: Most fundamentalist Christians will take this to mean what has been drilled into them from the pulpit: one man, one woman, and 2.5 children. In fact, a literal and fundamentalist reading of the Bible yields a rich tapestry of definitions of the family unit. For instance, in the Book of Genesis, often cited as religious evidence against the Big Bang and Natural Selection, we find this gem: “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, ‘The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.’ (Genesis 16:1-3 NIV)” So we have one definition of the biblical family unit: “Can’t have kids with your first wife? No problem – God and your wife wants you to go hump her slave.”Here is another one, my favorite one to whip out when people argue that the Bible is a good guide to family relations. “Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, ‘Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.’ That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. The next day the older daughter said to the younger, ‘Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.’ So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. (Genesis 19:30-36 NIV)”

    And that’s just in Genesis. I can cherry pick more of these, but just go search for words like “family,” “wife,” “marriage,” and “slave” in Ref. [6]. The Bible, read literally and broadly, is a terrible guide to the definition of family in our modern society.

  2. Chick-fil-a is a company founded on “biblical principles”: Cathy makes this point in his original interview, and of course this phrase is not defined. If the principles of family laid out in the Bible are some kind of guide, then I wouldn’t know what to make of this statement. Of course, fundamentalist Christians will read this only in a positive light focused narrowly on a few of the good things said by, for instance, Jesus Christ. But Cathy didn’t say “New Testament Principles” – he framed it broadly, presumably also to include Leviticus. By that definition, women with their periods would not be allowed to work around men in a Chick-fil-a store (“When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.” (Leviticus 15:19 NIV). So that would violate a biblical definition of a “clean workplace.” OK, I am being snarky, but this is what happens when you stop accepting the equivocation and actually seek concrete definitions of the broad term “biblical principles.”

Conclusions

You may be against the rights of homosexuals to marry. Dan Cathy is one of those people. But citing vague terms to back your claims, like “biblical principles” or “biblical family unit” in fact opens you up to acceptance of incest, slavery, and infidelity. You need to be specific. We all know what Cathy meant, but the job of the skeptic (me) is not to cede intentions to a speaker; it’s to call out their vagaries and their abuse of reason, language, and logic. Cathy’s use of vague language was tuned only to resonate with fundamentalist Christians, and that means that he mis-communicated to most Americans.

Chick-fil-a claims that it treats people fairly, regardless of sexual orientation. But their spending says otherwise. They spend 33% more money ($2 million total) funding anti-homosexual groups than they do educating their employees with scholarship money ($1.5 million total, according to their own press release in 2010). I call shenanigans. What they are saying with their spending against homosexual marriage is the following: “The Chick-fil-a company values its second-class citizens, and intends to do everything in its power to keep them that way.”

;

[1] http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38271

[2] http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201207020001

[3] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2176411/Chick-Fil-A-restaurant-chain-damage-control-president-Dan-Cathys-comments-gay-marriage.html

[4] www.chick-fil-a.com/Media/PDF/2010SalesRelease.pdf

[5] http://omaha.com/article/20120109/MONEY/701099957/0

[6] http://www.biblegateway.com/

Hotter than hell (2012 edition)

Too darn hot. This was taken in Washington DC (from Ref. 4). When I landed in DC just a week ago, returning from Europe, it was 99F outside – almost as hot as in Texas, and far more humid.

Last summer, it was hotter than hell in Texas. We nearly broke the all-time record for most consecutive days over 100F. We missed it by a mere one day, which – as far as I am concerned – is a statistical fluke. Remember that the winter of 2011 was termed “Snowpocalypse,” and less-responsible media outlets were calling it the “end of climate change.” They seemed, back then, to have missed the meaning of the word “change.” Global climate disruption, a more accurate phrase that describes the  whole phenomenon, is expected to cause the extremes of cold and hot to grow more extreme, while also accompanied by an increased frequency of extreme phenomena. Such phenomena would include blizzards (due to the increased concentration of water vapor in the air), hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms, as well as droughts.

The summer of 2011 was the hot answer to the winter  “Snowpocalypse.” Both of these were phenomena in-line with the predictions of human-induced climate disruption. I thought it would be useful to once again review the NASA GISS data, satellite temperature data collected routinely by NASA and made publicly available for viewing [1].

Last year, in a post entitled “Revisiting the end of climate change,” [2] I discussed the buzz over the extreme snow of the winter of 2011 and the extreme drought of the summer of 2011. At the time, I did not have access to the full 2011 summer of data from the NASA GISS satellite. However, now that more than a year has passed we can easily get the temperature data from 2011 and compare to the average of temperatures from 1951-1980 (a typical period from which climatologists take a running average in order to compare historical temperatures).

The maps for the springs (March-May) of 2011 and 2012 are below (top row). We can see (top row, left) that the U.S. and Europe both experienced average temperatures in Spring, 2011, that were almost 4F HIGHER than the average of 1950-1981. Similarly, we can see the temperature data from the same period in 2012 and in the same scale (temperature relative to the average between 1951-1980). Worse, the high temperatures now spread MUCH further across the U.S. Nearly the entire U.S. experienced spring temperatures that were 1-4F HIGHER than the average between 1951-1980. This is backed up by other data from NOAA, which reports that tens of thousands of temperature records have been broken across the U.S. in 2012 [3]. All of this is consistent with the patterns predicted by climatologists looking at the trends in  temperature, moisture, and climate.

We can then look at last summer’s (June-August) temperature data and compare to the numbers from June of this year (bottom row). Again, the trend is clear. Last summer (bottom left), the heat wave was mostly contained in the South and Southwest of the U.S.; this year, it’s more widespread (at least, as of June).

Water use has become a larger issue in the Southwest. Jodi and I installed a rain barrel in the spring so that we could store rainfall water for use on non-eating plants in our yard (flowers, vines, shrubs, etc.). The water restrictions are still in place in Texas, and we wanted to stay ahead of the restrictions by stockpiling water. This has worked really well; better than expected, in fact. We actually don’t have enough storage capacity for the amount of spring rainfall we received, so we plan to expand water storage as we can afford to.

I wish we had the money to do something about our A/C. For instance, I’d love to run the water condenser drain, not to the sink drain (its current target), but to the water barrels outside. I’d also like to power the A/C by other means, such as batteries fed by solar panels. But Texas is not quite there yet on accepting such technology in residential settings, and we don’t have money for a legal fight.

Will next year be hotter? Who can say? Money is good that it won’t get suddenly cooler, although statistically that could happen (there is always a chance for a temperature fluctuation in a given year… that’s why weather is not the same as climate).  We’re erring on the side of trying to increase conservation. Since President Obama has foregone leadership on the climate issue, something for which I am not ready to forgive him, it seems like it’s up to ordinary citizens to set policy in their homes until a national policy can be written to help offset greenhouse gas pollution.

 

[1] http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/

[2] http://steve.cooleysekula.net/blog/2011/07/23/revisiting-the-end-of-global-climate-change/

[3] http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0703/Why-has-2012-been-the-hottest-year-on-record-in-the-US

[4] http://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/1032865385/

An epidemic of “Gohmert-Barber Syndrome” – also known as “Diarrhea of the Mouth”

Gohmert-Barber Syndrome, also known as “Diarrhea of the Mouth,” may be caused by a mutated form of the Cholera bacterium that can be transmitted orally or in writing and induces the victim to spew huge amounts of shit out of their mouths.

Our country is stricken with an outbreak of a truly terrible disease. It’s passed by the internet, radio, TV . . . really, any means of communication. Mainly, these represent “oral transmission,” although written transmission is just as likely. What disease am I talking about? It’s called “Gohmert-Barber Syndrome,” also popularly known as “Diarrhea of the Mouth.”

My colleague, Dr. Randall Scalise, and I have been conducting case studies of this epidemic and we have found frightening documentation that this disease is exploding (pun intended) across the United States. The disease appears to manifest in the wake of strong tragedies that themselves connect to hot-button social issues. Symptoms include:

  1. A certainly that what you are saying is correct, and that it brings comfort to the victims of said tragedy
  2. An inability to understand why your words are actually harmful
  3. A strong inability to shut the fuck up (STFU)

Gohmert-Barber is named after Texas State Representative Louie Gohmert and web columnist Matt Barber, who both possess an incurable inability to STFU.

December 14, 2012

The CDC warns of outbreaks of G-B Syndrome near the major U.S. holidays. Sadly, a shooting in Connecticut at an elementary school (there are no words for how awful that is) has triggered new infections and a new outbreak of G-B Syndrome. Cases or Newtown G-B will be reported as they come to our attention. Please note: the events surrounding this tragedy are part of a developing story, so information is scant and fragmented. News agencies are clawing for facts. Mis-reporting of facts is not evidence of G-B Syndrome – just bad journalism. Cases of G-B only occur when a non-journalist (e.g. a pundit or other talking head) opens their mouth and a stream of factless non-sequiturs comes pouring out. Mis-information in a time of tragedy is not G-B Syndrome, but making up fake information to suit your private world view is sure evidence of G-B Syndrome.

  • Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert: one of the two namesakes of G-H Syndrome, Gohmert’s at it again. “Chris, I wish to God [the principal] had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out . . .  and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.” (Ref: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/louie-gohmert-guns_n_2311379.html)
  • Old Paths Baptist Church Pastor Sam Morris: in his sermon this past week, Pastor Morris said, “When I got in high school, man, I started learning all this kingdom, phylum stuff, all this junk about evolution. And I want to tell you what evolution teaches — here’s the bottom line — that you’re an animal. That’s what it teaches. So, you’re an animal, you can act like an animal. Amen. So, here you are, you’re an animal and you’re a god! So, what are we going to teach you about in school? Well, we can teach you about sex, we can teach you how to rebel to you parents, we can teach you how to be a homo! But we’re definitely not going to teach you about the word of God! Amen. . . They think homeschoolers are a bunch of crazies, man. But I’m going to tell you something, I’ve never seen a police officer or a medal detector at a home school. Never. Amen. Now, there’s plenty of guns at my home school. Amen. I guarantee you we’re not going to have a mass shooting at any of the schools that are represented in this building today. I guarantee you, if there is a shooting, it won’t last very long. Amen.” (Ref: http://s.tt/1xbBN)
  • Randy Thomasson (Save California):  The usual verbal diarrhea: godless, evolution, barf barf barf. “More than asking why this evil happened, we need to work diligently to prevent it. The innocents killed at Newtown are double the number of Columbine victims in 1999. We should be all the more grieved and all the more resolved to stop murders before they start. The answer is teaching the fear of God and love for God in schools and throughout society. Because mass murder is another example of societal degradation, a deadly consequence of promoting murderous abortions, godless evolution, and gratuitous violence. How opposite of teaching children that all people are worthy because they were created by God, that all innocent human beings deserve protection because they’re made in God’s image, and that every person is accountable to God when He judges the world.” (Ref: http://savecalifornia.com/12-14-12-statement-on-mass-murder-at-connecticut-public-school.html)
  • Stewart Rhodes (Oath Keepers): Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, released a statement saying, “It is disturbing and sick that the federal government so hates the right of the American people to bear arms, and so hates their natural right to self defense, that the government insists on making them helpless, disarmed victims for anyone who cares to kill them.   And in this case, all of the teachers and staff were willfully disarmed by the Federal Government, by force of law and threat of prison, to ensure that they would be disarmed and incapable of saving the lives of the children entrusted to their care. That makes the Federal Government complicit in the deaths of these children, and in fact an accessory to their mass murder, by forcibly disarming (with the very real threat of prison) all the teachers, all the staff, and any parent who may have been on school property.  That stupid law guaranteed the shooters would meet no immediate armed resistance, which is exactly what is needed to stop such an attack. . . . This is disgusting.  And yet another reason to home-school . . . Until this changes, you should refuse to give your children over to government schools lorded over by a Federal Government so callous and indifferent to their safety and lives.” (Ref: http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2012/12/14/the-federal-government-is-guilty-accomplice-in-school-shooting-in-newtown-connecticut/)
  • Timothy Birdnow (Tea Party Nation): in an article about the shooting for the Tea Party Nation blog, writer Timothy Birdnow speculated at great length about the ills of society that caused this. Right Wing Watch had a good summary: “He said that parents must ‘take away the power of the radicals in the classrooms’ and lawmakers must introduce right to work laws to cripple teachers’ unions. He says liberals ‘destroyed the family’ and encouraged the shooter to be ‘coddled all his life, given free rein to indulge his senses but not to face the responsibilities that freedom necessitates… He lived in a world of the Progressives making, not in reality.'” (Refs: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/tea-party-nation-attacks-teachers-over-ct-school-shooting and  http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blog/show?id=3355873%3ABlogPost%3A2364503&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_post)
  • James Dobson (Focus on the Family): On his radio program on December 17, Dobson said, “Our country really does seem in complete disarray . . . I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God. I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition.  Believe me, that is going to have consequences too . . . I’m going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.  I think that’s what’s going on.” (Ref: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/dobson-connecticut-shooting-was-god-allowing-judgment-fall-upon-us-turning-our-back-him)
  • John Rennard (some dude on Facebook) and 41 of his Facebook Friends: I nearly vomited when I read this. Said Rennard, “About 20 children are receiving the BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER….the presence of our God and Lord Jesus Christ!” This was posted on Facebook. 41 people “liked” it.
  • Mike Huckabee: in an interview on Fox News, Huckabee was asked by Neil Cavuto, “How could God let this happen?” Huckabee’s response suggests that his previous G-H infection has not cleared up. “Well, you  know, it’s an interesting thing. We ask why there’s violence in our schools, but we’ve systemically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability. That we’re not just going to have to be accountable to police if they catch us, but one day we stand before a holy God in judgment. If we don’t believe that, we don’t fear that. When people say, ‘Why did God let it happen?’ you know, God wasn’t armed, he didn’t go to the school. Maybe we oughtta let him in on the front end, and we wouldn’t have to call him to show up when it’s all said and done at the back end.” Ref: http://video.foxnews.com/v/2036473010001/
  • The Health Ranger, Mike Adams: yet another long-term and likely incurable case. He is already spouting insane and wild conspiracy claims involving the U.S. government and mind control. Ref: http://www.naturalnews.com/038352_school_shooting_lone_gunman_media_cover-up.html
  • Christian News Wire and Ray Comfort (Evangelical Christian who partnered with Kirk Cameron to make a boardgame about why Evolution is wrong): A reporter for Christian News Wire (Anita Alvarado) and Ray Comfort seem to be using this tragedy to promote Comfort’s movie about the killing of John Lennon. Ref: http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/7292271098.html
  • American Family Association Spokesman Bryan Fischer: (December 14, 2012) a recurring case. Fischer is incurable. He said that God let the shooting happen, as summarized from the reference below:”Fischer said that God could have protected the victims of this massacre, but didn’t because ‘God is not going to go where he is not wanted” and so if school administrators really want to protect students, they will start every school day with prayer.'”Ref: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/fischer-god-didnt-stop-ct-school-shooting-because-hes-gentleman-who-doesnt-go-where-he-not-wFischer’s case is especially acute. A CDC spokesperson said that this is the most advanced case of G-B Syndrome they have ever seen. In order to stop his verbal diarrhea, he had to stick is head so far up his ass that there is little chance of every getting it out in order to treat him.
  • Conservative Radio Personality Steve Deace: (December 14, 2012) a conservative talk show host, Deace blamed the shooting on what he claimed was the public schools ” . . . teaching [kids] that there is no God . . . “, abortion, and other strawmen of the conservative movement. Thankfully, there is a mist-based treatment for G-B under development that is administered by first surgically removing the patient’s foot from their mouth to open their airways. Let’s hope it comes in time for Deace.Reference: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/steve-deace-ties-connecticut-shooting-public-schools-culture-death

August 24, 2012

A late-arriving case of Aurora G-B has come to our attention:

  • The Vibrant Life Center: this center offers chiropractic services. Chiropractic is based on the belief that germs are not the cause of disease, but rather unmeasurable “subluxations” (displacements) of the spine. This practice has been discredited over and over again for decades, and no medical school in the U.S. offers it as a serious part of medical training. However, the Vibrant Life Center advertised that if only the shooter in Aurora had had his subluxations corrected, nobody would have been killed. After all, when has quack medicine ever made things worse? http://gawker.com/5933003/pr-dummies-one-good-chiropractor-could-have-stopped-the-batman-massacre

We have a new strain of Gohmert-Barber to report on as well. After a shooting outside the Empire State Building this week, we classified a strain now known as Empire G-B. We report our first case of Empire G-B, a high-profile case!

August 17, 2012

Cases of  Oak Creek Gohmert-Barber (a slightly different strain of G-B Syndrome than Aurora G-B) are still occurring. We report them as they come to our attention.

August 6, 2012

Just weeks after the tragic shooting of movie-goers in Aurora, CO, a suspect entered a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI and opened fire [12]. Seven people were confirmed dead as a result of this horrible tragedy. The fact that this shooting occurred at a religious institution meant that there was a STRONG possibility of a sudden resurgence of Gohmert-Barber Syndrome. Unfortunately, this has begun to happen. We report cases as they come to our attention.

  1. Televangelist Pat Robertson: blamed “Satanic” atheists for the shooting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Lyp55wvj50&noredirect=1). As Dr. Scalise commented, please explain how atheists can be “Satanic.”
  2. Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps and member Margie Phelps: Margie Phelps tweeted that she saw this as “God sent another shooter…” Fred Phelps tweeted even more strongly, “Beautiful work of an angry God who told Wisconsin to keep their filthy hands off his people.”

July 28, 2012

The rate of new infections is slowing somewhat, but the severity of the new infections is still high. We report new cases here:

  1. Father Dwight Longenecker: mused on the Pantheos site that the shooter was very likely possessed by demons. This was not intended as a metaphor. Father Longenecker wrote, “Was he demon possessed? Maybe. It happens.” This he wrote, after an entire paragraph spent dismissing other explanations because of a lack of evidence. This case is laden with irony. http://www.patheos.com/Catholic/Aurora-Murders-Demonic-Possession-Dwight-Longenecker-07-24-2012.html

July 25, 2012

Reports of those severely afflicted with new cases of Gohmert-Barber continue to roll in. We here report the newest and most severe cases of those infected with a large audience and thus the most chance to do damage.

  1. Wall Street Journal Editor James Taranto: tweeted that he “[hopes] the girls whose boyfriends died [in the Colorado shooting] to save them were worthy of the sacrifice.” He later claimed he intended this as a thought-provoking tweet, but it’s clear that as a media figure he is completely incompetent in the medium of choice for his communication. At the very best, the message conveys a callous disregard for life and the sacrifice of life. He blames the readers for the misinterpretation of his intent, but as most people know if an audience massively fails to understand what you meant you probably did a shitty job of communicating it . . . so the apology could use some work. Here is the tweet:

    James Taranto’s visible explosion of oral diarrhea. He followed this up with a smaller explosion which sounded like an apology, but which actually blamed his audience for misunderstanding what he meant. The shitstorm continues.
  2. Musician Ted Nugent: We’re surprised he didn’t shit out his mouth sooner. He throws blame on the theater-goers for not stopping the shooting because they were not armed and claims that the weapons allegedly used were not “assault weapons.” Here are his statements, with comments on them to follow:USA Today [9] reported that among the weapons the shooter allegedly used to kill theater-goers were: an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington shotgun, and a glock (hand gun). The Wikipedia page on the AR-15 explains [10] that “There are no federal restrictions on the ownership of AR-15 rifles in the United States.” Although during the famous period of the federal assault weapons ban (up to 2004), ” . . . variants with certain features such as collapsible stocks, flash suppressors, and bayonet lugs were prohibited for sales to civilians . . . ” the stock AR-15 itself was not banned. So . . . does that make it “not an assault weapon?” By the legal definition under the assault weapons ban, as long as it didn’t contain those military-grade modifications it was NOT an assault weapon (although in most states even those once-illegal features are now legal). But the AR-15 is a ” . . . semi-automatic rifle . . . ” capable of firing up to ” . . . 800 rounds/minute . . . ” [10], and the accepted definition of “assault weapon” [11] is ” . . . any firearm designed for rapidly firing at human targets from close range.” Certainly, the AR-15 fits the bill. So Nugent’s comments are just another cramp-reducing bout of explosive oral diarrhea.
July 24, 2012
More cases reported today.
  1. Operation Save America’s Flip Benham: blames the shootings on the Democratic National Party. [7] Here is a bit of his oral explosion, filled with unproven assertions and logical fallacies; good luck keeping up:”James Holmes, an Occupy Wall Street guy, murdered 14 and wounded 50+ at a midnight showing of the Batman movie that portrayed OWS’ers in a bad light. Perhaps there is a motive here. Twenty four years old and filled with the culture of death! When we sow bloodshed in the womb we will reap it in the streets. It is a law. It is God’s Law. It is a law as certain as the physical law of gravity. It is a “spiritual gravity” that applies to all people at all places at all times. Whether or not you believe it, it applies. King Jesus is the only answer. The whole National Guard couldn’t make James do what is right. He has become his own law, showing contempt for authority and doing what is right in his own eyes. He is the product of the Culture of Death that the DNC has embraced.”
  2. CBS News Report Brian Ross [CURED]: lacking any evidence, Ross linked the shooter to a member of the Aurora, CO Tea Party who happens to have the same name. At least he later apologized, but there is no excuse for an investigative reporter to fail to actually investigate a claim, especially with the shooter’s name is so common. Here was his original insinuation [8]. He later apologized for making a false claim on air . . . which distinguishes him from the other victims of this disease. This case gives hope that if one is stricken with only a minor bout of oral diarrhea, recovery is possible (and swiftly . . . his apology came quickly . . . in fact, it came at all!).Here is a delightful segment from The Daily Show highlighting the claim and embarrassing Ross:http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-july-23-2012/brian-ross-blows-it
  3. American Spectator, R. Emmett (Bob) Tyrell: blames the shooting on “cold-blooded liberals” who forced America to “turn away from God,” which in turn made the shooter do what he did. Here is the video clip of his oral shitstorm:http://youtu.be/kR-mdYhbPvM
July 23, 2012
New reports of people stricken with Gohmert-Barber Syndrome are pouring in, almost as fast as the crazy shit is pouring out of these peoples’ mouths. Here are the latest reports.
  1. American Family Association Spokesman Bryan Fischer: liberals are the reason the killer bought guns and killed all of those people. Here – listen for yourself (but I recommend ear plugs, to slow the progress of the infection should it be transmitted through the ear canal):http://youtu.be/x6YqNUVA5AQ
  2. Governor Mike Huckabee: blames the shootings on the separation of church and state, which is imposed by the U.S. Constitution and prevents government from picking a winning religion and religion from ascending to the level of state influence. Huckabee mis-characterizes this in part as “[ordering] god out of our schools . . . ” In fact, children are free to pray; they just cannot make others pray, and teachers are not allowed to force prayer on anyone. Here’s what Huckabee said: [5]”We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we’ve ordered god out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised… when all hell breaks loose.”
  3. State Senator Russell Pearce: a former State Senator, Pearce blames the deaths of the innocent on the fact that either they also weren’t armed, or they lacked the will to act, or both. His Facebook post has since been taken down, but we feel it’s important to duplicate it as much as possible as a warning sign to those who think they are immune to infection. He tried to claim that people “mischaracterized” what he said. Here are all of his original words [6]:
As more cases are reported, we will list them here.

 

July 22, 2012

We’ve noted a number of cases. We document them here as they come to our attention:

  1. Texas State Representative Louie Gohmert: one of the namesakes of the disease, Rep. Gohmert has long exhibited the symptoms listed above. Most recently, in response to the Aurora, CO shootings, he was unable to convey merely condolences and instead linked the shootings to a hot-button political issue: “People say … where was God in all of this? . . . We’ve threatened high school graduation participations, if they use God’s name, they’re going to be jailed . . . I mean that kind of stuff. Where was God? What have we done with God? We don’t want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present.” [1] Today (Sunday), Gohmert issued a statement [2] about his comments on his website, claiming the comments were taken out of context. Dr. Scalise evaluated this stage of Gohmert’s disease with the following professional opinion: “The only way that your words could have been taken out of context is if, before the taping started, you said, ‘Hey, want to see my impression of a heartless jerk?'”
  2. Pastor Rick Warren: NOTE: since his original tweet and the twitter and blog furor it causes, Pastor Warren has claimed that his tweet was NOT about the shooting, but rather about a sexual education question someone emailed him (why respond to an email we can’t see on a medium like Twitter???). He blamed the character limit on Twitter for preventing context. This demonstrates not only a misuse/misunderstanding of Twitter as a communication medium, but also a misunderstanding of what sex education is all about (it, like Natural Selection, is NOT the same as teaching kids that we are no better than animals). I have to take Pastor Warren at his word, however. It is still weird and unfortunate that he removed the tweet in question, rather than clarifying its context. I here reference the post stating his claim that he was NOT referring to the shootings or Natural Selection in his tweet [**] and archive the original statements about Pastor Warren’s tweet below [***].
  3. Matt Barber: writing on World Net Daily, Barber is the second namesake of “Gohmert-Barber Syndrome.” He immediately points the finger at separation of church and state, birth control, the need for fame on the part of the gunman, cultural numbness to such tragedies, and the presence of violence on TV and in movies. Here is one result of a bout of oral diarrhea: “Let me be clear: Am I comparing this incredibly wicked, illegal mass murder at Aurora’s Century Theatre to the incredibly wicked, legal mass murder committed at Planned Parenthoods across the country each day? Absolutely – and you can quote me on it.” [4]
  4. Evangelist Jerry Newcombe: you can see his bouts of oral diarrhea here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/22/jerry-newcombe-hell_n_1692859.html. Basically, he says the non-Christian victims are going to hell.
  5. Libertarian Alex Jones: claims Obama did it. Just buckets of oral diarrhea, captured on video. http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/40636_Alex_Jones_Says_Aurora_Shooting_Was_Staged_By_Obama
  6. American Family Association Director Fred Jackson: blames “liberal churches” and “the media” in an explosive bout of oral diarrhea. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/afa-news-director-says-liberal-churches-media-share-responsibility-colorado-shooting
  7. The Health Ranger, Mike Adams: Unfortunately, his healthy lifestyle was unable to prevent infection. He’ll be lucky to survive this explosive bout of oral diarrhea. http://www.naturalnews.com/036536_James_Holmes_shooting_false_flag.html
  8. Fred Phelps, head of the Westboro Baptist Church: this may be our first reported case of Gohmert-Barber that includes both explosive oral diarrhea and transmission by rabies-like biting. A new stage in the disease, suggesting it’s mutating and advancing? Subjects in this case are uncontrolled in their hatred and sense of exploitation. Phelps and his family members (which are referred to as the “Westboro Baptist Church,” giving a bad name to Baptists everywhere…) are apparently planning one of their vociferous and noxious protests DURING THE MEMORIAL SERVICE. Healthy Coloradans are encouraged to try to inoculate against these zombie-like carriers of Gohmert-Barber. http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/07/22/heroes-needed-to-stop-phelps-hatred-in-colorado/
We can only hope for a cure soon.

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/louie-gohmert-aurora-shootings_n_1689099.html?1342794304

[2] http://gohmert.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=304024

[3] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/07/why-rick-warren-is-wrong-several-times-over.html

[4] http://www.wnd.com/2012/07/our-culture-of-death-and-the-batman-shooting/

[5] http://www.policymic.com/articles/11612/batman-shooting-mike-huckabee-blames-shooting-on-lack-of-religion-in-schools

[6] http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/07/23/565821/former-state-senator-claims-colorado-shooting-victims-lacked-courage-to-stop-gunman/

[7] http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/flip-benham-declares-co-shooter-be-spawn-ideology-democratic-party

[8] http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/a-misstep-on-gma-as-networks-rush-to-cover-shooting/

[9] http://www.usatoday.com/video/weapons-used-in-colorado-theater-shooting/1746098041001

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AR-15

[11] http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2004/09/what_is_an_assault_weapon.html

[12] http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/08/05/158163953/breaking-news-shots-fired-at-sikh-temple-in-wisconsin

[**] http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/rick-warren-denies-blaming-colorado-shootings-on-evolution/

[***] Pastor Warren tweeted to his followers an implication of the Theory of Natural Selection in the shooting: ” When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it.” Rick Warren has since taken down the tweet, which suggests that he may have experienced regret or embarrassment; these are signs of recovery from Gohmert-Barber syndrome. A blog on faith hosted a post explaining why Warren’s original statement was false on every possible level [3]. The fact that he took down the post, instead of apologizing for it and leaving it up, however, suggests that the pathogen has induced shame, but not guilt, and has circumvented the Pastor’s instinct to own up to mistakes rather than covering them up. This suggests a relapse of Gohmert-Barber is possible at any time. We recommend lots of fluids, to be taken orally, and to prevent the mouth from having time to spew more shit.

Healthy living . . . through science!

Thanks to a data-driven lifestyle and the application of a diet based solely on the laws of physics, I am in better shape than anytime since high school and I am steadily losing weight, approaching my first self-imposed target of 220 pounds.

Since January, I have been embarked on a data-driven lifestyle. What does this mean? It means that I have been meticulously tracking my levels of activity during the day using a Fitbit device [1]. I have been keeping careful track of my eating habits using Loseit [2]. I have also been weighing myself and having the scale report numbers to both Fitbit and Loseit thanks to Withings [3]. I have not significantly altered my eating habits, except to become hyper aware of them and make calorie reductions where possible. Think of it as cap-and-trade for the body; cap the unnecessary calorie intake, trading sodas and snacks for those tasty things you like at mealtime.

I am a firm believer in only ONE kind of diet. That belief is rooted purely in scientific evidence. There is only one truly successful diet in the world, the only one ever proven to induce loss of weight over long periods of time. It’s the “physics diet.”

It’s simple, really, just as physics is simple. The laws of physics state that for a closed system, one cannot get out more energy than one puts in. Energy in the body is used for many purposes: motion, cell function, production of proteins and other necessary chemicals, storage in muscle, and storage in fat. The body is, typically, an VERY efficient storage mechanism (it evolved, after all, when food was more scarce and is very good at saving for lean times). However, like all entities in the physical world it is bound by physical law. It cannot use more energy than it is given, and it is provided energy primarily through the intake of food (and thus food calories, or kilocalories).

Calories out (dark green, top line) vs. Calories in (light green, bottom line). My maximum average calorie intake was about 2200 calories per day, while my maximum average output was about 2950 calories.

If you want to get the body to convert its fat stores to energy, you need to execute a long-term reduction in energy intake. Your goal is to monitor carefully the energy that goes into the body, in the form of kilocalories, and then keep your activity level just above that energy intake for a long period of time. This requires a data-driven lifestyle. Most of us cannot count accurately the food calories we consume. When we are forced to record that information . . . at least, when I am forced to record that information . . . we are more serious about the need to keep a higher level of activity.

What is the result? In all my past attempts (without data) to exercise and eat right, I have failed – until now. The graph above is the evidence – data from a data-driven lifestyle. Since I started recording this information feverishly in late January (I had already been exercising a month at that point), I have lost weight at a steady clip. I started around 250. The first ten pounds is always free. The second ten pounds took months. Then I hit my doldrums, of course. We all have them. My body tends to not support more than a 10-pound serious loss of weight before it fights back. I tend to eat a little more, exercise a little less, and my body maintains a steady but still-high weight. Now I am on the down slope again. You have to fight through the doldrums. Giving up when you hit them is giving into our evolved fat storage system – it’s strong, and it fights back against weight loss hard, but it’s not unstoppable.

Does this mean I have to eat like a snail? Hell no! Check out some of my cooking [4] to see how I roll. I just know what I eat and then compensate with walks, runs, drumming, weight lifting, biking, or other exercise.

I strongly recommend the physics diet. It’s not for everyone, but it is the only one that works. Why? Nature doesn’t violate its own laws, and conservation of energy is a founding principle of the cosmos. The human body can’t beat it, so you might as well use it to your advantage. It takes months of commitment, and you’re bound to fail. But it feels good when you do succeed. Also . . . it’s a HELL of a lot cheaper and less dangerous than those quack and fad diets, even including the cost of the Fitbit and the Withings scale.

[1] http://www.fitbit.com

[2] http://www.loseit.com

[3] http://www.withings.com

[4] http://steve.cooleysekula.net/blog/2012/06/23/the-pleasures-of-cooking/