Republicans hate science. Still.

Republicans move to delay climate bill progress because they hate science and deny it for the sake of petty politics and big business.

All seven Republicans on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee plan to boycott next week’s work session on a climate-change bill, an aide said on Saturday, in a move aimed at thwarting Democratic efforts to advance the controversial legislation quickly.

“Republicans will be forced not to show up” at Tuesday’s work session, said Matt Dempsey, a spokesman for Republican senators on the environment panel.

Under committee rules, at least two Republicans are needed for Chairwoman Barbara Boxer to hold the work sessions that would give senators an opportunity to amend the controversial legislation and then vote to approve it in the panel, which is controlled by President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats.

And then there’s the big business love.

Republicans on the environment committee say the climate-change bill would cause significant job losses by encouraging manufacturers to relocate more of their plants in countries that do not have as strict carbon controls.

…aaaaaand the denial.

The senior Republican on the committee, Senator James Inhofe, has been an outspoken opponent of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saying there is no sound scientific evidence that the world is suffering due to carbon emissions resulting from human activities.

They make my case for me.

Fla. man lies, claims religious discrimination

Okay, maybe the article doesn’t say “lie”, but that’s what he did.

A former cashier for The Home Depot who has been wearing a “One nation under God” button on his work apron for more than a year has been fired, he says because of the religious reference. The company claims that expressing such personal beliefs is simply not allowed.

It’s a private company. I agree that it should allow individuality (though it won’t because it’s just another big box store that treats its employees like numbers), but that doesn’t mean it must allow anything. It has the right to deny anyone the privilege of wearing a button, just as it can deny them the right to wear tank tops or jeans. God Button Home Depot

“This associate chose to wear a button that expressed his religious beliefs. The issue is not whether or not we agree with the message on the button,” Craig Fishel said. “That’s not our place to say, which is exactly why we have a blanket policy, which is long-standing and well-communicated to our associates, that only company-provided pins and badges can be worn on our aprons.”

This guy is planning on suing over this. He doesn’t have a shot. The company’s policy is not something newly created and applied just for him. He should have known about it. The fact that he didn’t isn’t a big deal, but he was eventually told about it by management. He was given fair warning before being fired. For him to say he was discriminated against because of religion is a lie.

This is just yet another example of the religious demanding respect for their beliefs. Ignoring for a moment that faith is not a virtue, this man has no right to tell Home Depot or anyone else that he can wear what he wants on the job. Imagine if he actually won his case. He would de facto have the right to sue any individuals who told him he couldn’t enter their homes while wearing a particular pin or other religious paraphernalia. It’s absurd.

Naked mole rats and cancer resistance

Cells have what is called contact inhibition. This means that once they come into contact with each other (or something else), they will cease to grow (or slow growth significantly). However, this is not true of cancer cells. Indeed, it is a hallmark of such cells; they grow and grow and even layer atop each other. Contact inhibition controls cell growth and cancer is, by one general definition, uncontrolled cellular replication.

A recent study led by Vera Gorbunova of the University of Rochester has focused on the naked mole rat and why it has never been observed to develop cancer.

The findings, presented in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the mole rat’s cells express a gene called p16 that makes the cells “claustrophobic,” stopping the cells’ proliferation when too many of them crowd together, cutting off runaway growth before it can start. The effect of p16 is so pronounced that when researchers mutated the cells to induce a tumor, the cells’ growth barely changed, whereas regular mouse cells became fully cancerous.

This gene is on top of another gene which contributes to restricted growth. Humans (and other animals) only have one, p27, and it gets ‘worked around’ by cancer commonly enough. Cancer in the naked mole rat is theoretically possible, but since it has to breach two barriers to uncontrolled cellular growth, it is unlikely.

As always, there is an excitement with any discovery which could contribute significantly to curbing or stopping many of the major diseases afflicting humanity, but it must be met with temper.

It’s very early to speculate about the implications, but if the effect of p16 can be simulated in humans we might have a way to halt cancer before it starts,” [says Vera Gorbunova].

Might is the key word, and I think Gorbunova’s caution is appropriate. Cancer is a bit of a devil, to say the least, and every discovery seems to lead to a more complicated understanding of how it works. We’ll see what this research turns out to really mean.

To help you determine what religion to follow

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Helping the 'Yes on 1' campaign

Helping the ‘Yes on 1’ campaign with its ads.

The Maine Attorney General and commissioner of Education have determined the “Yes on 1” ads asserting that legalizing gay marriage will lead to gay marriage being taught in Maine schools to be a load of … um … manure.

With that in mind, perhaps we should help the “Yes” campaign with ideas for more credible and compelling campaign strategies.

Here are my three:

* Ad 1: Scary snarling (but well-coiffed) men ripping kittens from children’s hands and biting off their heads. Soundtrack (deep male voice): “If gays are allowed to marry, they will eat your children’s pets.”

* Ad 2: Burly women in plaid shirts and work boots with short hair laughing while throwing nasty looking powders into lakes and streams. Maine forest ranger with crooked mustache appears in foreground (ranger played by female private Christian school teacher with glued-on facial hair). Soundtrack (woman trying to imitate a man): “If homosexuals are allowed to marry, lesbians will poison your water supply.”

* Ad 3: Mother and child running back and forth, frantically dodging lightning and blue-gray blocks of unknown substance. Soundtrack (pitiful child’s voice, choking back sobs): “Mommy, is the sky falling because the homosexuals are allowed to get married?”

I’m betting the actual ads in the final weeks of the “Yes” campaign will make these look tame.

Perhaps we should just vote “no” on Question 1 and send the message that spreading manure should really be an agricultural pursuit rather than a political one.

Mark Nordberg

Litchfield

Helping the ‘Yes on 1’ campaign

Helping the ‘Yes on 1’ campaign with its ads.

The Maine Attorney General and commissioner of Education have determined the “Yes on 1” ads asserting that legalizing gay marriage will lead to gay marriage being taught in Maine schools to be a load of … um … manure.

With that in mind, perhaps we should help the “Yes” campaign with ideas for more credible and compelling campaign strategies.

Here are my three:

* Ad 1: Scary snarling (but well-coiffed) men ripping kittens from children’s hands and biting off their heads. Soundtrack (deep male voice): “If gays are allowed to marry, they will eat your children’s pets.”

* Ad 2: Burly women in plaid shirts and work boots with short hair laughing while throwing nasty looking powders into lakes and streams. Maine forest ranger with crooked mustache appears in foreground (ranger played by female private Christian school teacher with glued-on facial hair). Soundtrack (woman trying to imitate a man): “If homosexuals are allowed to marry, lesbians will poison your water supply.”

* Ad 3: Mother and child running back and forth, frantically dodging lightning and blue-gray blocks of unknown substance. Soundtrack (pitiful child’s voice, choking back sobs): “Mommy, is the sky falling because the homosexuals are allowed to get married?”

I’m betting the actual ads in the final weeks of the “Yes” campaign will make these look tame.

Perhaps we should just vote “no” on Question 1 and send the message that spreading manure should really be an agricultural pursuit rather than a political one.

Mark Nordberg

Litchfield

Tremendous honesty

I have lately found myself hammering people with certain points. See, it is one of the most common tactics to ignore the points of an argument that are inconvenient, so I have found it expedient to only address counter-arguments as long as I also include my most important issues. Namely, I have been presenting Yes on Oppression people (those who seek to deny rights to people by outlawing same-sex marriage in Maine) with a scenario. Since I keep hammering the point, it comes in a few different forms, but it is to this effect:

A group says public prayer is immoral. They are a majority and have codified their morality into law. They have violated your concept of morality. Do they have this right?

Other forms involve me specifically saying ‘Humanists have deemed public prayer immoral (for whatever reason) and they have a majority. With this majority they outlaw public prayer on a moral basis. Have they stampeded over your rights or not?’

The point is that if the person answers that, yes, the hypothetical humanists have trampled the rights of others, then it isn’t logically tenable to say that morality is the core issue. That is how it has been framed by the humanists, but it is not the important reason why their actions are wrong. They can always maintain that public prayer is immoral. To force everyone else to acquiesce to that position, however, is absurdly wrong. It demonstrates no understanding, or at least no concern, for the rights of individuals.

Well, it’s obvious I set up my scenario as a sort of trap. Obviously I know what the response is going to be, so once I get it I can just connect the dots to same-sex marriage. Right? Nope. Here’s the response I got from one person.

You asked me if I would make you a deal… If I would not impose my morality on you if [sic] you would not impose your morality on me. Right? I think I got it close… well thats [sic] a bad deal for me. I want to impose my morality on you. I want to impose my morality on Maine and America. Im [sic] thinking world domination. Why? Because the reality of sola scriptura (the truth of scripture) burns in my heart. I don’t take it as a good idea but the entire purpose of my being. And Christ’s last command to me through scripture was “Go fourth into all the world and disciple nations”… disciple aka teach them what I taught you. Christianity and its morals was never meant to be a “laid back for whoever wants to believe it” religion, but was to go to every ear, and invade society and government and culture as we know it.

Now I am not some radical terrorist Christian, I have just been possessed by the truth and I will lay my life down for the cause of that truth. I will lay my life down for the homosexual to come into the saving knowledge of Jesus, to see them saved, healed, and delivered. Because I absolutely love them, because God loves them.

So I know you wont understand why I do what I do, and stand for what I stand for, I cannot not be talked out of my stance, because I have been possessed by the truth of scripture, and its the greatest reality I live in. Not once have I emailed a homosexual and tried to talk them out of their lifestyle. Not once have I asked you to vote differently than you are planning to vote.

I love you man, now leave me alone.

Emphasis mine.

The honesty is, frankly, frightening. This person believes his morality should usurp my freedoms. This sort of talk is more well-suited for the Middle Ages or the Middle East than 21st America. But the most terrifying thing of all is that this view isn’t so uncommon. Sure, quite a few people won’t be so daring as to outright state hostility toward personal liberties like this, but that is what close to 50% of Mainers (hopefully less) will do November 3rd.

My favorite part, however, is the last paragraph.

Not once have I emailed a homosexual and tried to talk them out of their lifestyle. Not once have I asked you to vote differently than you are planning to vote.

This is far from the point. Trying to convince someone of something through words is far different from what the Yes on 1 people want to do. “Please don’t have sex with other men, sir” is not the same as saying “You are not allowed to do X.” What’s more, if this person had his way, “X” would not only include marriage, but homosexual sex (and probably anything outside the missionary position), not to mention whatever other harmless action his god tells him to hate.

~~~

Update: I came across this written on another person’s page by the same person.

regardless of your belief everyone has an opportunity to vote for what they believe to be right, thank you bill of rights… unless you want to remove that freedom than let the man stand for his convictions.

The Bill of Rights says nothing of what he speaks. In fact, the 9th Amendment destroys his unsubstantial case where it says The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. His right to vote does not mean he should also be allowed to piss all over the rights of people who wish to marry another person of the same sex.