FTSOS 2011 in review

I blogged. A lot.

That is all.

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Catholics, adoption, intolerance, and non-acceptance

A friend recently made a post on Facebook where I felt she did not distinguish between intolerance and non-acceptance. I’ve written about the issue before, so I naturally responded. I think it’s more than a mere semantics issue: If we conflate intolerance with non-acceptance, we bring everything into a false equivalence, often causing us to overlook actual issues of intolerance. Let’s take the issue of Catholic adoption agencies in Illinois:

Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have shuttered most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state rather than comply with a new requirement that says they must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents if they want to receive state money.

This is blatant intolerance. Rather than continue placing orphaned children into loving homes, these Catholics are actively seeking to impede the rights of others by way of shutting everything down. If they weren’t legally bound, there is no doubt they simply wouldn’t allow gay adoptions at all – ya know, since that’s the sort of intolerance they had been practicing for decades.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, look at the gall of these people:

“In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., a civil and canon lawyer who helped drive the church’s losing battle to retain its state contracts for foster care and adoption services.

I suppose the Bishop is technically right. No one is willing to tolerate his bigotry, so that is itself a form of intolerance. Of course, this is nothing more than a caveat: Intolerance is unacceptable except where it has a compelling reason. I think that much is implied, assumed, and understood. The Bishop is trying to exploit an unspoken yet implicit issue in order to gain pity for discriminating Catholics. It’s pathetic.

It should be obvious to any thinking person that this really isn’t a matter of mere semantics. If we’re going to allow people to run around, without challenge, claiming they are facing intolerance, as if connotations and implied meaning have no place in language, then real issues of intolerance – such as gays not being allowed to adopt – will have far less impact in the public mind when they are identified and pointed out: the dilution of language is always the dilution of meaning.

via Friendly Atheist.

Awesome

Thought of the day

I normally stay away from dumb entertainment news, but this is one of those things that actually gives me pleasure: Katy Perry and Russell Brand are divorcing. I don’t like to find pleasure in the misery of others, but I feel that Brand’s shitty, annoying comedy and awful, unbearable accent justify my glee, at least just a little.

Now Carlos Mencia needs to never be hired for any job ever again and I’ll be happy as can be.

Horrible ‘human’ Lawrence Stowe indicted

I’ve been thinking about it. When I first wrote about scam-artist Lawrence Stowe, I called him “a horrible human being”. I now regret that. Allowing him the title of “human” is far too generous. Far, far too generous. Just look at what he did:

Stowe told [CBS’s “60 Minutes”] MS patient that he can reverse her disease with his program of herbs and vitamins to boost the immune system, custom vaccines and stem cell injections. Medical experts say it’s nonsense but it’s the same pitch that we secretly recorded again and again as Stowe claimed to reverse cancer, ALS, MS, Parkinson’s disease and more.

He did this sort of thing to desperate person after desperate person. He scammed people out of their life savings, sometimes putting them into debt and convincing them to sell their homes. He promised cures where there are no cures. He ruined the lives of real humans nearly as much as nature herself was in the process of already doing.

As awful as that all is, there is at least some good news on the horizon:

Three men have been arrested for their participation in a scheme to manufacture, distribute and sell to the public stem cells and stem cell procedures that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Assistant Attorney General Tony West of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA—Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) and Special Agent in Charge Cory B. Nelson of the FBI.

Francisco Morales, 52, of Brownsville, Texas, was arrested by Customs and Border Protection agents pursuant to a arrest warrant late Dec. 22, 2011. He made his initial appearance the following morning at which time he was ordered held without bond. Alberto Ramon, 48, of Del Rio, Texas, and Vincent Dammai, 40, of Mount Pleasant, S.C., were arrested yesterday. Ramon was arrested as he was about to enter his clinic and has already made his initial appearance in Del Rio, while Dammai was arrested in Florence, S.C., and is expected to make his initial appearance in Charleston, S.C., this morning. Lawrence Stowe, 58, of Dallas, Texas, also charged in relation to this case, is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. The two indictments in this matter, returned Nov. 9 and 10, 2011, have been unsealed by order of the court.

Given the terrible nature of Stowe, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he has already packed up his stuff and moved his operation to another part of the world. Fortunately, the thing with criminals is that they almost always slip up. If he is out of the country, he will return at some point. He can’t hide from his lies and crimes forever.

via SCmom.

Awesome videos

I don’t really have any good context for posting these three videos other than that I find them neat and it’s my blog. So there.

First up is a 1000fps video of a slinky being dropped:

I love this next one. A Montana man was caught with about enough weed on him to roll a joint. For whatever reason he was going to be put on trial instead of given a pat on the butt and a reminder to buckle up. However, it was not possible to proceed with any due process because the judge was unable to find a jury willing to convict. And I don’t mean there was a hung jury or something like that. No, no, no, it’s even greater. When asked if they would be willing to convict someone of such a crime, potential jurors simply said “no”.

This last one is great, even if I did find it by clicking a link with that odious word “patriarchy” in it. I suspect this little girl will go far:

Thought of the day

It amazes me how willingly conservatives will admit that racism clearly still exists all around us, yet when it comes to pointing out or acknowledging any actual examples they suddenly fall strangely silent.