Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Beyond Belief 3.0

The videos are available now on;

The Bertie Bubble Burst

Because the Irish government is so inept and corrupt they have decided to aid the very people who helped cause the problem.

The real priorities are cutting back on health care and education and shoveling more money to the bankers and builders.

This clip from Prime Time shows the latest madness of the government becoming a sub prime lender.,null,230

Palins wardrobe

Catching out the right wing hypocrites is like shooting fish in a barrel, still it's always good to see them turn on a dime.

Tagged, my answers

Edit: I was tagged by No More Mr Nice Guy, it took me a while to post my answers and then I forgot to mention the context. Doh!

Can You Remember The Day That You Officially Became An Atheist? Do you remember the day you officially became an agnostic?

I can, I was in work and I whispered to myself “there is no god”. My heart started pounding and I felt a mixture of guilt/sin/relief.

I was born and raised am Irish a-la-carte Roman Catholic and for most of my youth I just believed it. I did run into difficulties as I was a big fan of science fiction and as a child I loved dinosaurs. There’s nothing like vast quantities of time and space to undermine a faith so for the most part I just ignored the problem (think doublethink). It wasn’t until the sex scandals involving the Catholic church that arose during the early 90’s that I really started to question my faith. The initial transition away from Roman Catholicism was easy – the church was full of men and since all men are mortal corruption was bound to set in, but I still believed in god, albeit a slightly fuzzier all rounder (Christian) type god than the one I had grown up with. I stayed this way for quite a long while, most of my 20’s I would think, but gradually and surely it was chipped away. I think this is what got me interested in religion, due to these doubts I tried to confirm my belief but, of course, this had the opposite effect and the whole thing snowballed.

How about the last time you spoke or prayed to God with actual thought that someone was listening?)

To be honest this one is a bit vague for me. During my de-conversion I did have moments of ‘weakness’ where I wanted there to be a god and for prayers to work. However I found the experience a bit like holding my breath, the rational always burst through.

Did anger towards God or religion help cause you to be an atheist or agnostic?

In a way it did, like I mentioned above the sex scandals showed the utter hypocrisy of the church and made it easy to leave them behind. But I always had wide ranging interests and you can’t doublethink forever.

Here is a good one: Were you agnostic towards ghosts, even after you became an atheist?

No, as a matter of fact superstitious believe was the first to go. Even the most forgiving critical eye can spot superstition for the nonsense it is and masters like James Randi provide excellent entertainment while disproving it. The fuzzy god (good, distant, vague) was much harder to dismiss.

Do you want to be wrong?

Good god no! If the Christian/Muslims etc are right I’m really for it!! ;-)

Also, it would be a profound disappoint to learn that the most supreme being in the universe is a dick!

Herculaneum Remembered

BBC have a nice little slide show of some of the treasures of Herculaneum. I saw these while in Naples over the summer so I'm feeling particularly smug (which is weird when you think about it)

Anyway, have a look.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Thursday, 23 October 2008

More Lisbon Treaty Threats

From todays Irish Independant;

This from a certain Ms Catherine Day:

She told a Dail committee yesterday that when Irish representatives at meetings try to voice concerns on issues other than Lisbon, the mood among other delegates is that "the Irish are being difficult" again.

This has led to the Irish having to "think twice" before raising issues, she added.

Ms Day said that the 'No' vote has meant that, for the time being, other member states tend to view Ireland only through the prism of the Lisbon Treaty.

"But I do not believe that Ireland's image has been tarnished irrevocably, provided we are able to ratify in a reasonable time period.

Those naughty Irish and their "democracy". we must crush them!

Anyway a quite search on the inter-web for Catherine Day brings up this page, in which it says;

Ms. Day was part of a reshuffle among Commission officials in favour of liberal economic reformers

and we all know how well "liberal economic reforms" are working out right now. I wouldn't trust these people to drop if pushed over a cliff ...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Why Wont The Bail Out Work?

Shocking numbers mentioned here;

thanks to Information Clearinghouse for the video

Mitchell And Webb Do Sky Sports !!

This was on TV last night and I thought it was great.

In other news No More Mr Nice Guy! has tagged me so I must get cracking on my post.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

That ACORN thing

The folks over at seeing the forest often say that if Republicans are condemning something, it's likely something they themselves are up to;

After all the voter fraud of the past two US elections they must have felt it was time to accuse the Democrats of the crime.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Disaster Capilatism in action

Naomi Klein Shock Docturine is being put to good use by all and sundry to get us to vote for Lisbon (again).

Is it just me or would the entire Irish banking system have gone under if Lisbon had been in place?

The two E.U. countries (that I can see) to react quickest to the banking crisis where Ireland & England, I don't see how having to consult with Germany, France, Spain, Italy et al would have sped the process up or lead to the correct/necessary decision.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Can't come soon enough if you ask me

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, animated

It's amazing how many of these rights have been eroded over the past few years (in the West I mean) but as George Carlin said "It's not a right if they can take it away".

Also striking is how elegant the declaration is, compare and contract to any religion.

link from boingboing

A Message From the British Queen

Also Doing the rounds;

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
(You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as "colour", "favour", "labour" and "neighbour." Likewise, you will learn to spell "doughnut" without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up "vocabulary").


3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let M*crosoft know on your behalf. The M*crosoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter "u" and the elimination of -ize.


4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.


5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot grouse.


6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.


7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.

Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.


8. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.


9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.


10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.


11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in
Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.


12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.


13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyondyour borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.


14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.


15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).


16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

The Secret History of the American Empire


Jim Rogers: CASH is King

For a different view on the criminal bailouts.

thanks to Information Clearinghouse

The Problem of Evil

How many times have I heard this argument being made while listening to debates featuring Dawkins, harris etc al..?



This is making the rounds apparently and is too good not to post;

If you had purchased $1,000 of AIG stock one year ago, you would have $42 left.

With Lehman, you would have $6.60 left.

With Fannie or Freddie, you would have less than $5 left.

But... if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have had $214.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

It's called the 401-Keg.....
link from the excellent onegoodmove

The Royal Henley Northerner Show 2008

This was on TV last night an made me laugh. I also happen to work with a bloke with very similar views to the commentators...

For anyone reading who doesn't know who the "Northerners" are, this might help.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Shirley Ghostman: psychic talent



Vs the sceptics

thanks to boingboing for the link

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Explaining Sarah Palin

Peter Watts, author of the excellent Blindsight, has a lengthy post 'Understanding Sarah Palin: Or, God Is In The Wattles' on the mystery of the religious right and their current poster girl Sarah Palin. It's very entertaining and thought provoking and well worth a read. some highlights;

Here's a question for you. Why hasn't natural selection driven the religious right to extinction?


And yet, this obnoxious coterie of retards — people openly and explicitly contemptuous of "intellectuals" and "evilutionists" and, you know, anyone who actually spends their time learning stuff — they not only refuse to die, they appear to rule the world.

Now let's go back a ways, to a Cornell Study from 1999 called "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments". It's a depressing study, with depressing findings:
  • People tend to overestimate their own smarts.
  • Stupid people tend to overestimate their smarts more than the truly smart do.
  • Smart people tend to assume that everyone else is as smart as they are; they honestly can't understand why dumber people just don't "get it", because it doesn't occur to them that those people actually are dumb.
  • Stupid people, in contrast, tend to not only regard themselves as smarter than everyone else, they tend to regard truly smart people as especially stupid. This holds true even when these people are shown empirical proof that they are less competent than those they deride.
This study found not only that religious communes last longer than secular ones, but that even among religious communes the ones that last longest are those with the most onerous, repressive, authoritarian rules.

A good definition

US Troops in US city streets?

A worrying report by Naomi Wolfe

"If the President directed the First Brigade to arrest Congress, what could stop him?"

"Nothing. Their only recourse is to cut off funding. The Congress would be at the mercy of military leaders to go to them and ask them not to obey illegal orders."

"But these orders are now legal?'"


"If the President directs the First Brigade to arrest a bunch of voters, what would stop him?"

"Nothing. It would end up in courts but the action would have been taken."

"If the President directs the First Brigade to kill civilians, what would stop him?"



Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Mad Dog Palin

Via Mike's Weekly Skeptic Rant comes this essay by Matt Taibbi; its long but well worth reading;

Here's the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

And none of it matters, so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket. And if she's a good enough likeness of a loudmouthed middle-American archetype, as Sarah Palin is, John Q. Public will drop his giant-size bag of Doritos in gratitude, wipe the Sizzlin' Picante dust from his lips and rush to the booth to vote for her. Not because it makes sense, or because it has a chance of improving his life or anyone else's, but simply because it appeals to the low-humming narcissism that substitutes for his personality, because the image on TV reminds him of the mean, brainless slob he sees in the mirror every morning.

Sarah Palin is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the modern United States. As a representative of our political system, she's a new low in reptilian villainy, the ultimate cynical masterwork of puppeteers like Karl Rove. But more than that, she is a horrifying symbol of how little we ask for in return for the total surrender of our political power.

Not only is Sarah Palin a fraud, she's the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV -and this country is going to eat her up, cheering her every step of the way. All because most Americans no longer have the energy to do anything but lie back and allow ourselves to be jacked off by the calculating thieves who run this grasping consumer paradise we call a nation.



I can't say I'm surprises, what do you expect when you give the crooks who caused the mess free money?

Less than a week after the federal government offered an $85 billion bailout to insurance giant AIG, the company held a week-long retreat for its executives at the luxury St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif., running up a tab of $440,000, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said today at the the opening of a House committee hearing about the near-failure of the insurance giant.

Showing a photograph of the resort, Waxman said the executives spent $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 for the spa.


thanks to SeeingTheForest

The self-doubting Nazis sketch

Over at Why, That's Delightful Graham Linehan has a go at a reporter over canned laughter. The central sketch being discussed is this one from Mitchell and Webb and is one of my favorites;

Pat Condell on Sharia 'law' in the west

This one was initially banned buy YouTube but thankfully that decision has been reversed.

Mark Steel on call centres

Always entertaining

If there is one aspect of modern society that sums up the relentless, tortuous contempt in which the mass of humanity is held by the thieving, sociopathic executives that rule our essential institutions, it's the call centre.

It now takes such an effort of will and determination to begin the four-hour task of contacting, for example, the gas board, that no matter how serious your problem, you try to put it off forever. So, even if your house explodes, you are likely to hover over the phone for a minute, then think, "Oh sod it, I'll just live in the rubble for a few days.

Say's it all really

Monday, 6 October 2008

The right's two-pronged religion of rage and self-pity

The Right in this country -- meaning the faction that followed George Bush for the last eight years -- long ago ceased being a movement of political ideas and is driven by two, and only two, extreme emotions: (1) intense, aggressive rage towards their revolving door of enemies, and (2) bottomless self-pity over how unfairly they're being treated. As their imminent defeat looks increasingly likely (potentially on a humiliating scale), these two impulses are in maximum overdrive, feeding off one another in endless self-perpetuation (the more they lose, the more victimized they feel, the more they rage against their enemies who oppress them, etc.).

The Right's rejection by the public can't possibly be due to anything they have done. It can only be due to some extremely vicious enemy that oppresses them uniquely and so very unfairly. For the moment, they're only losing because The Leftist Mainstream Media hates them and is deeply biased against them.


thanks to onegoodmove for the link