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General Discussion / Deadpool Teaser
« on: September 18, 2014, 10:41:25 PM »

Spamalot / Heh heh
« on: September 15, 2014, 09:32:55 PM »


Yesterday, Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly and his team posed the following question on O’Reilly’s poll center:

Do you favor the legalization of marijuana?

The poll’s purpose was, in O’Reilly’s pipe dream world, to facilitate an extremely negative response and then to air a segment on The O’Reilly Factor derailing cannabis legalization (like he did Monday night). By polling his own audience, O’Reilly and his team could paint a delusional picture, but one supported by “data.”

And at first, it worked. 81% of the initial voters responded with a resolute “No.”

Then, the internet caught wind of the poll, made it go viral in the cannabis community, and worked its marijuana magic.

First, NORML posted the following message to its constituency on Facebook:

NORML Nation: Bill O’Reilly is hosting a poll on marijuana legalization, but unlike most polls, we are losing! Click to vote and turn the tide. Let’s show Prohibitionist O’Reilly that it is time to end the madness and legalize marijuana. Think we can flip these results?

That post got over 3,000 likes and 1,500 shares. Despite feeling “dirty” by giving O’Reilly’s poll serious web traffic, the NORML community rallied, and hit the poll hard.

UPDATE: We went from 18% for, 81% against (1,483 votes) to 70% for, 30% opposed (~4,000 votes) in about 20 minutes. Good work everyone!

Then, the same message made its to Reddit’s popular marijuana community. Then, this happened:

Update: The poll is holding steady with legal weed holding a comfortable 90%-10% lead.

This graphic paints a clear picture: the internet’s love of legal weed has become a force that cannot be reckoned with.

It’s unclear whether or not O’Reilly will ever air this ironic poll which pretty much derails his entire anti-pot hypothesis. It is clear that if Bill O’Reilly and Nancy Grace had a baby, the world would be doomed.


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced today that it is leaning toward finally allowing its female population to use forks.

The highly anticipated move comes as the autocratic Islamic regime faces ongoing criticism around the world for its record on women’s rights, which critics say is among the worst in the word.

“We hope this gesture of goodwill today will assure our critics that the Kingdom is open to reform on all issues and is sensitive to the needs of its female population,” a spokesperson for the Saudi government says.

Saudi Arabia has banned women from using forks since its formation in 1932 over fears that the utensil represented a threat to the kingdom’s conservative sexual mores.

"There is something very unclean about a woman putting four long hard things in her mouth at once," explains a leading Islamic cleric close to government policymakers.

"When a man sees a woman putting metal with such shapes into her sacred orifice, he cannot help but think the most unnatural thoughts. This measure exists to prevent sexual chaos between men and women."

However, Mario Santerelli, an Italian expatriate who runs an upscale Italian restaurant in Riyadh, has a different view.

“I can’t wait for the ban to be lifted,” he says. “It’s frustrating having to watch women eat pasta with a knife and spoon. Many of my customers are couples looking for a romantic night out. Being unable to properly eat your food kinda kills the mood.”

Once the ban on female fork use is lifted, women will still face a variety restrictions unique to the kingdom, where the status of women is arguably analogous to that of blacks in apartheid South Africa.

All women in Saudi Arabia are required to have a legal male guardian, are barred from mixing with the opposite sex in public, forced to use separate entrances to most buildings, and are most notoriously banned from driving automobiles.

Although there is a growing movement within the kingdom for greater freedom for women, this is the first concrete step the conservative ruling monarchy has made in that direction.

According to sources close to the government, the fork ban is expected to be lifted in a matter of weeks.


The city of Compton in Los Angeles County has been synonymous with gangsta rap since N.W.A.’s groundbreaking Straight Outta Compton album in 1988, but it’s now also famous for a steadfast opposition to fracking.

This week, Compton was hit with a lawsuit by the Western States Petroleum Association, a mega-bloc of some of the most powerful oil and gas companies in the nation. Although Santa Cruz and Beverly Hills both voted in fracking bans this May, only Compton’s ban (which passed on April 22) is being challenged by the industry in court.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method of natural gas extraction in which a mixture of water, chemicals, and sand is injected with high pressure into deep underground rock formations like shale. The rock is then broken up into fractures, which fill with natural gas or petroleum.

Exxon Mobil's CEO says no to fracking… near his Texas ranch. Read more here.

Environmentalists and residents of areas near fracking wells oppose the method because of its potential to pollute groundwater and air. But opposition in California is also concerned with one of fracking’s other suspected dangers: inciting earthquakes.

This March, the Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, and Earthworks co-published a report titled “On Shaky Ground: How Oil Companies Increase California’s Earthquake Risk.” The paper found that over half of California’s active wastewater wells (where fracking chemicals are dumped after use) are within 10 miles of the San Andreas fault.

Kassie Siegel, director of Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, told VICE News that scientists have proven that wastewater injection heightens the likelihood of earthquakes.

“It increases earthquake risk in our seismically active state and puts millions of people at risk,” Siegel said. “It’s completely unsafe and unacceptable for this to be going on.”

After large earthquakes hit Oklahoma and Colorado in 2011, scientists began to suspect that they were induced by nearby fracking operations. In May, the Seismological Society of America held a press conference to warn the public that there’s no way to predict which fracking wells will cause tremors.

Compton sits on top of the Avalon-Compton fault, but the massive San Andreas fault — a rupture of which caused the 1906 San Francisco quake that leveled the city — passes just to the east of Los Angeles County.

New York's silent but deadly fracking problem. Read more here.

The Western States complaint alleges that Compton’s ordinance is unconstitutional because it bans fracking outside of the city limits under the stipulation that any oil or gas wells nearby would “bottom out” in its city. Basically, Compton doesn’t want any fracking-related pollution coming its way — and Western States claims that the city doesn’t have the right to try and avoid it.

The Compton ban is an ordinance imposing a moratorium on fracking “from any surface location in the city or from any site outside the city limits where the subsurface bottom hole is located in the city.” By using such specific language, Compton essentially laid claim not only to its land boundaries on the surface, but also to the miles and miles of rock and gas deposits underneath the city.

So why sue only Compton? After all, not only have other California cities banned fracking, several more are hopping on the bandwagon. Santa Barbara and San Benito counties just approved November ballot measures to ban the controversial method, and Los Angeles is currently drafting a permanent ordinance after the city council temporarily banned fracking earlier this year.

Wasting water in California will now cost you $500. Read more here.

A spokesperson for Western States told VICE News the company filed the suit “on behalf of its members who own mineral rights or currently produce oil and natural gas in or near the City of Compton.”

It’s the in or near part that defines the legal battle: Western States says Compton has no authority to regulate activities outside of the city limits. But far from being arbitrary, Compton’s ban on nearby fracking came as a response to a huge drilling project proposed in the neighboring town of Carson. Carson imposed a complete moratorium in March in response to the project, but it expired after just 45 days.

VICE News spoke with Carson resident Dianne Thomas, who has been working with the Carson Coalition to drive fracking from her city. She’s fighting Occidental Petroleum Corporation, which proposed opening over 200 fracking wells to be built on the Carson-Compton border over the next ten years. The wells would also be less than two miles from Thomas’s house.

“Compton is aware of the struggle we’re under,” Thomas said. “At our city council, someone announced that if we don’t pass it here, they’ll just go to Compton and drill there. But they don’t really need to be in Compton to affect Compton, because of the slant drilling.”

Slant, or directional, drilling is a method of drilling horizontally underground to maximize shale access. But it’s also been criticized as the method most likely to pollute groundwater and cause toxic air emissions.

“If you’re going to be in Carson, you’re going to spill over into Compton — and you don’t need permission to be there,” Thomas said, explaining why Compton’s ban includes nearby fracking operations that would “spill” into its city limits.

The strange case of Pictou County, Nova Scotia — a community supported by toxic mills. Read more here.

As in Compton, the majority of Carson residents are African-American or Hispanic. Those are the kinds of South LA neighborhoods that have reported the worst effects of fracking pollution.

After years of trying to bring the government’s attention to the mysterious nosebleeds, nausea, and other illnesses affecting the community, residents of a housing project near one oil production site invited Environmental Protection Agency agents to come see for themselves how toxic the area had become. The investigators became sick almost immediately upon arrival, and this January the EPA cited AllenCo Energy for violations of the clean air and water acts.

A statewide bill proposed by State Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) would impose a moratorium on fracking throughout California. But the legislation, SB 1132, has repeatedly failed to pass the Senate.

When the bill failed, Senator Mitchell called out the oil and gas industry for racism.

“When the impacts on the public of a for-profit endeavor are unknown, we try it out first in minority neighborhoods — assuming low vigilance and the need to bring in jobs makes safety irrelevant,” Mitchell said in a May 30 statement. “But we’ve put big industry on notice: That ploy won’t fly forever. People’s neighborhoods aren’t fodder for fracking.”

But the oil and gas industry is pouring lots of money into the fight. After the California Senate voted down SB 1132 in late May, the nonpartisan financial research group MapLight revealed that senators who opposed the bill had received an average of $24,981 each in campaign contributions from the industry.

The bill stalled at a 16-16 vote because eight Democrats abstained. According to MapLight, these Democrats took over four times as much oil and gas money as Democrats who voted in support of the bill.

One oft-quoted group, Californians for Energy Independence, purports to be a citizen’s activist coalition that is pro-fracking. But the website Follow the Money exposed the group as a front for the oil and gas industry: Californians for Energy Independence received 96 percent of its funding from four energy companies, totaling over $22 million.

A whopping $18 million of Californians for Energy Independence funding came from one company: Clean Energy Fuels Corp. of Seal Beach, California.

Despite the seemingly endless piles of cash being spent, anti-fracking advocates think the oil and gas companies are fighting a losing battle.

“In New York, the oil industry threw everything they had at fracking bans and they went to the highest court in the state, but they still lost,” Siegel told VICE News. “Even if [Western States] wins the lawsuit, Compton will just look at it as a fix-it ticket and go back and adjust the ordinance. They’ll still be able to ban fracking.”

General Discussion / Help sign the petition to support the FAIR Act.
« on: July 25, 2014, 03:10:29 PM »
The first step to ending the war on drugs is ending the financial incentives for local police to support it.

S. 2644: A bill to restore the integrity of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Sen. Rand Paul [R KY]

Endorsed by Americans For Forfeiture Reform

The FAIR Act introduces three core reforms to federal civil asset forfeiture practices: (1) it attempts to eliminate the perverse incentives driving asset forfeiture abuse by directing forfeiture proceeds to the Treasury department's general fund in lieu of the DOJ's asset forfeiture fund; (2) it would prevent state and local police from evading state laws governing the availability of civil forfeiture and the distribution of forfeiture proceeds (for instance, several states' police agencies circumvent state laws directing forfeiture funds to education by having the DOJ adopt their forfeitures in a process called equitable sharing); and (3) the Act would increase the Government's burden of proof for a forfeiture from a preponderance of the evidence standard to that of a clear and convincing evidence standard (the standard originally proposed for the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000).


Sexagenarian and Game of Thrones novelist George R R Martin has given a strongly-worded response to claims his readers worry he will die before finishing A Song of Fire and Ice.

A Dance with Dragons, the latest instalment in the series, took six years to write, and some fans fear the 65-year-old will not be able to offer enough material to keep up with the TV adaptation of the series. But others reportedly fear he won’t finish the series at all in his lifetime.

Asked to respond to the suggestions during an interview with Swiss daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, Martin replied: “I find that question pretty offensive, frankly, when people start speculating as to my death and my health.

“So, f*** you to those people,” he added, gesturing at the camera with his middle-finger.

Martin has been working on the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter, but has not giving fans a release date.

But analysts using Martin’s average rate of 350 words per day, have predicted that he will be able to finish the book by 2017.

In a recent interview with Mashable, Martin admitted that he “needs to write faster,” but added: "I make no promises. I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game."


It’s like rain on your wedding day. It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid. It’s a strongly conservative news network blatantly copying the logo of video game in which the villain is a strongly conservative evil mastermind who wants to destroy the world. Not only is one of those things actually ironic, but it also actually happened earlier this week.

First, the backstory: BioShock Infinite is a game that takes place in a flying city run by a religious zealot named Zachary Hale Comstock. He has populated his city with racist assholes who literally worship America’s Founding Fathers, and he uses American iconography to rile up his citizens in support of a war with all of the heathens of the world that aren’t a part of his flying city.

Meanwhile, in the world of cable news channels, there’s a network called Fox News that is known for leaning a bit conservative. At the risk of saying something overtly political, we’ll just let you make your own connections between the flying city using patriotism to push people into war and the TV network that paired footage of the U.S. bombing Iraq in 2003 with a waving American flag.

With that established, we can all appreciate the humor in Fox News appropriating BioShock Infinite’s logo for some kind of “Defending The Homeland” segment:

The above picture comes from Ken Levine, the creator of BioShock (via Nerdist), who seemed more tickled by it than annoyed. “Glad to help, Fox. Glad to help,” he posted on Facebook. You can see the original Infinite logo below and compare them yourself, but the funny part here isn’t that Fox News copied it—which it totally did—it’s that it apparently copied it without recognizing what the logo represents: A violent video game about killing right-wing crazy people. It would’ve been weird for Fox News to take any game’s logo like this, but for it take the one with a message that specifically diverges so strongly from its own? That’s irony, Alanis.

The last single player game I played was Knights of the Old Republic 2 on the Xbox. Ever since then, I haven't bought a new single player game or a new console. Right now I'm burned out on reading books, so I want to start growing my neckbeard again and catch up on games. The games I'm interested are the ones that have a good story, everything else is just gravy. I don't want games that makes you grind items or exp like Diablo 2. Hell, I couldn't grind past level 36 on Everquest.

Also, I recently built a new machine, so I just want PC games. Any single player game recommendations post 2004 is welcomed, doesn't necessarily have to be an RPG.

Here's the list of games that I recently got and started playing:

Dragon age 1-2
The Ghostbusters Game
Back to the Future Game
The Walking Dead Game: Season 1-2
Mass Effect 1-3
Bioshock Infinite
Starcraft 2

I haven't bought Bioshock 1 & 2, the expansion for Starcraft 2 and Skyrim yet. I heard good things about Bioshock 1, but I heard mix reviews on Bioshock 2. I don't know if I will like Skyrim either.


Florida woman Sara Barnes avoided jail time after she burned down a 3,500-year-old tree so she could see the methamphetamine she was trying to smoke.

"The Senator" was the fifth oldest tree in the world, standing at 125 feet high and 17 and a half feet in diameter.

The tree went up in flames around 5:30 a.m. on January 16, 2012 after Barnes lit a fire inside of it. She admitted to frequently visiting the tree when she used meth and described herself as a "tree enthusiast."

Within hours, the tree was reduced to nothing but kindling.

Police later found pictures of Barnes lighting the fire on her phone and laptop. She was arrested after bragging to friends that she had burned something down "older than Jesus."

Barnes pleaded no contest to unlawful burning of lands, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. She will perform 250 hours of labor and pay more than $12,000 in restitution.

Barnes has admitted to being a meth addict and plans to participate in drug counseling as part of her sentencing.


"Would you like to know more?"

Those are words with a whole lot of weight behind them for Starship Troopers fans, so when they're dropped by a production heavyweight on Twitter, people stand up and listen.

The heavyweight in this instance is producer Megan Ellison, currently working on the latest sequel to The Terminator, who took to Twitter in what would seem the most innocuous way possible this past week:

Megan Ellison: Would you like to know more?

Except, when a fan correctly guessed the reference, her response was...revealing:

It almost suggests - depending on how you generally interpret Twitter - as though she's confirming something. Something...Starship Troopers-y.

Ellison's Annapurna pictures were the ones who acquired the rights to the Terminator franchise a few years back, so their buying up similar sci-fi properties with a view to produce seems highly plausible. The question is though, would Ellison leak that information via Twitter, or save it for a press release?

Either way - it sure does look like that Starship Troopers remake is a step closer to becoming a reality.

General Discussion / You Can Now Text 911 in an Emergency
« on: May 26, 2014, 02:10:26 PM »
Just a heads up.

Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device.

In the future, text-to-911 will be widely available in the United States. However, for now, the ability to contact 911 using text is only available on a limited basis in a few markets. For this reason, you should not rely on text to reach 911.

On January 30, 2014, the Commission adopted a Policy Statement and 2nd FNPRM stating the goal that all wireless telephone companies and providers of interconnected text messaging services should enable consumers to send text messages to 911. The Commission encouraged industry-developed solutions to achieve this goal, and proposed rules that would require all covered text providers to support text-to-911 by December 31, 2014. (See also: Best Practices for Implementing Text-to-911:

How to Contact 911

IMPORTANT! If you use a wireless phone or other type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:

Always contact 911 by making a voice call, if you can.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability, use a TTY or a telecommunications relay service, if possible.
Remember - in most cases now, you cannot reach 911 by sending a text message.
Bounce-Back Messages

The FCC has rules to help keep consumers safe during the transition to text-to-911. These rules are intended to minimize the risk if consumers attempt to send text messages to 911 where the service is not available. Specifically, beginning September 30, 2013, all wireless telephone companies and certain other text messaging providers are required by the FCC to send an automatic "bounce-back" message to any consumer who tries to send a text message to 911 where this service is not yet available.

Consumers who receive this "bounce-back" message will be advised to contact emergency services by another means, such as by making a voice call or using a telecommunications relay service (the latter for consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability). The nation's four largest wireless telephone companies – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon – have agreed to voluntarily begin sending these "bounce back" text messages across their networks as of June 30, 2013, a few months earlier than the September 2013 deadline established by the FCC's rules.

When Will Text-to-911 Become Widely Available?

In a Policy Statement adopted January 30, 2014, the Commission expressed its belief that every wireless carrier and every provider that enables a consumer to send text messages to telephone numbers should support text-to-911 capabilities.

In an agreement with NENA and APCO, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have voluntarily committed to provide text-to-911 service by May 15, 2014 in all areas served by their networks where a 911 call center is prepared to receive texts.

The Commission encourages wireless providers and interconnected text providers that are not parties to the Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement to work with the public safety community to develop similar commitments to support text-to-911 in a timely manner, so that all consumers will be assured access to text-to-911 regardless of what text provider they choose. The Commission has also proposed rules that would require all covered text providers to support text-to-911 by December 31, 2014.

The Commission has encouraged 911 call centers to begin accepting texts as text providers develop text-to-911 capability. It is up to each 911 call center to decide whether and when to begin accepting texts. Some call centers have started to accept text messages already. We expect that others will do so and that text-to-911 will become available in more areas over time.

Nevertheless, even where text-to-911 is available, consumers should continue to contact 911 by making a voice call if they can, and use text only if voice is not a feasible or safe option.

Status of Text-to-911 Deployments

Information on Specific Areas Where Text-to-911 Is Available (PDF)
Quick Facts & FAQs
For More Information

To learn more about FCC programs to promote access to telecommunications services for people with disabilities, visit the FCC’s Disability Rights Office website.

For information about other communications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer website, or contact the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

General Discussion / Star Wars Episode VII cast announced
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:12:14 PM »

Actors: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, "We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud."

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer.

The budget of this film will be approximate 200 Million.


No, legalizing medical marijuana doesn’t lead to crime, according to actual crime stats

Opponents of medical marijuana envision all kinds of insidious ways that legalizing the drug might lead to crime. Make marijuana more accessible, and more people will use it. If more people use it, more will tumble through the weed "gateway" to cocaine, or worse. Those people will then engage in crime to fund their hard-drug habits, or violence in the service of getting the stuff.

Furthermore: Once word gets out about medical dispensaries, those locations will become hotspots for criminals who now know exactly where to find prey carrying cash and drugs. Same goes for grow houses, which just invite property crime.

Pondering all of these dark possibilities, it's no wonder anyone suspects mayhem in medical marijuana laws. Actual historic crime data, however, suggest there's no evidence that legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes leads to an increase in crime. In fact, states that have legalized it appear to have seen some reductions in the rates of homicide and assault.

These findings come from a nationwide study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One (which is notable for the fact that no one seems to have done this crucial analysis before). Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas looked at the FBI's Uniform Crime Report data across the country between 1990 and 2006, a span during which 11 states legalized medical marijuana. Throughout this time period, crime was broadly falling throughout the United States. But a closer look at the differences between these states – and within the states that legalized the drug before and after the law's passage – further shows no noticeable local uptick among a whole suite of crimes: homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.

The robbery and burglary findings are particularly interesting, as those are the crimes we'd most likely expect to see outside of medical dispensaries. But what about the apparent declines in homicide and assault?

The researchers, Robert G. Morris, Michael TenEyck, J.C. Barnes and Tomislav V. Kovandzic, caution that this may be a mere statistical artifact of their analysis. But there's also a plausible explanation:

While it is important to remain cautious when interpreting these findings as evidence that MML reduces crime, these results do fall in line with recent evidence [29] and they conform to the longstanding notion that marijuana legalization may lead to a reduction in alcohol use due to individuals substituting marijuana for alcohol [see generally 29, 30]. Given the relationship between alcohol and violent crime [31], it may turn out that substituting marijuana for alcohol leads to minor reductions in violent crimes that can be detected at the state level.

Their analysis controlled for other potentially confounding factors:

employment and poverty rates in each state, income and education levels, age and urban demographics, per-capita rates of prison inmates and police officers, as well as per-capita rates of beer consumption (per the Beer Institute).

The results don't definitely prove that medical marijuana has no effect on crime (or that it might even reduce it). Maybe the researchers failed to account for some other crucial variable here, some common factor that further depressed crime in precisely these 11 states, precisely after the moment that each passed a medical marijuana law, masking the actual crime increase caused by the policy. Or, there's this interpretation, from the authors:

Perhaps the more likely explanation of the current findings is that [medical marijuana] laws reflect behaviors and attitudes that have been established in those societies. If these attitudes and behaviors reflect a more tolerant populace that is less likely to infringe on one another’s personal rights, we are unlikely to expect an increase in crime and might even anticipate a slight reduction in personal crimes.

General Discussion / Where are all the black men at?
« on: March 01, 2014, 08:32:32 PM »

A sign in front of a church in Harlem, N.Y. led by a polarizing and controversial anti-gay pastor is not only making its rounds on the Internet, but raising quite a few eyebrows along the way.

Called the ATLAH Worldwide Missionary Church, the religious organization is led by Dr. James David Manning, a man who has been outspokenly critical of the Obama administration and the progression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights over the course of the past six years.

The sign reads: "Obama has released the homo demons on the black man. Look out black woman. A white homo may take your man"

The sign was reportedly inspired by the above video, in which Manning makes some jarring statements about both gay culture and black culture -- though these extremist statements from the pastor of ATLAH are nothing new. In explanation of ATLAH's sign in the above video, he tells viewers,

This is devastating what Obama is doing to the black man and the black woman, and how the white homo is now moving into the black neighborhoods looking for black men that have been converted into homosexuality. But black woman let me say something to you: you have a very hard time competing against a white homosexual male. He's usually got money -- a white homo usually has an American Express card. He usually has an opportunity at the theater -- homos love the theater. They love to go out to dinners, parties, they love that kind of a thing... black people need to rise up in mass and recognize the utter destruction that Obama is going in to destroy the black family with these homosexual statements that he has done and release of demons.

Manning also tells his viewers that his church fully supports the anti-gay laws in Uganda and Nigeria that have enabled a pervasive culture of fear and violence for members of the LGBT community. Just yesterday, a Ugandan newspaper published the names of 200 "Top Homos," with many on the list saying they "are scared and they need help."

This certainly not the first time that Manning has made headlines for his extreme claims. Last November, he provided a platform for and conducted an interview with a woman who claimed to have been a former classmate of Obama's, stating that the president was formerly a cocaine-using gay hustler.

General Discussion / How they LARP in Russia
« on: February 27, 2014, 10:44:24 PM »

General Discussion / Check out this trailer
« on: February 25, 2014, 04:52:34 PM »


Andy's mom has always been a bit of an enigma. In the first Toy Story, we barely even saw her face. That's all fine because throughout the movies, the real focus has been on Andy and the love he has for those toys.

But this is Pixar, and it stands to reason that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Davis family (Andy's last name).

In order to understand who Ms. Davis really is, we have to start with something seemingly simple: a hat.

In the picture below, you see Andy's cowboy hat that he plays with throughout his childhood. Study it closely.

Notice anything weird about the hat? It looks nothing like the hat worn by his favorite toy, Woody. Why wouldn't Andy wear a hat that was brown?

We don't think about it because most of us are normal human beings with things like jobs and tax exemptions. But I want you to take a quick journey with me: Andy got this hat from his mom.

In Toy Story 2, young Andy Davis left for summer camp, and his mom held a yard sale. "The Chicken Man" found Woody in one of the boxes (he was trying to save a fellow toy) and pleaded with Ms. Davis to sell him because Woody is a collectible from the 1950s.

Ms. Davis refuses, acknowledging that Woody is "an old family toy." Not that much time has passed between the Toy Story movies, but we know that Andy has had Woody since Kindergarten, according to Mr. Potato Head. Andy's 6th birthday is in the first Toy Story, which makes him 7 or 8 in this movie. Woody doesn't seem all that old in comparison.

Further, Woody has no recollection of who he is. Many have suggested that this is because he was owned by Andy's father, who is never mentioned in the movies. Molly is a baby in the first movie, which means Andy's father either died or walked out not long before the movies started.

A reasonable assumption is that Andy's mom gave Woody, his father's toy, to him on his 5th birthday. After all, she gave him Buzz Lightyear on his next birthday. If Woody had been a new toy when Ms. Davis gave him to Andy, then he would know exactly who he is was, which is unlikely because he is so rare.

Now, back to the hat. I believe Andy received the hat from his mom, as well. There's another instance in the movies when this hat is shown:

Notice anything familiar? That is the same red hat with a white lace. Why would Andy have a hat that looks exactly like Jessie's? Because his mom did. Look at this:

See that hat on the bed? Emily, Jessie's previous owner, wears that hat throughout the "When She Loved Me" sequence in Toy Story 2. The sequence clearly takes place in the 60s and 70s, as evidenced by the decoration and qualities of Emily's things.

That is about as 1970s as it gets.

That makes Emily the same age as Andy's mom, who had him in the 80s. They also have the same hat, except the white lace on Andy's hat is missing, but you can clearly see where it once was. There's even a faded mark:

That makes this an old hat.

We know that Emily donated Jessie and her other "cowboy" accessories as a teen, so wouldn't the hat be included? If you watch closely, the hat isn't in the box. The box isn't even big enough to hold it.

We do see that Emily has short, auburn hair. It almost looks like...

Albeit her hair in the movies is lighter. Age is funny like that. And yes, Andy's mom is Emily, Jessie's previous owner.

Now you may be wondering if Emily/Andy's mom noticed that Andy suddenly had a toy she once had as a child. Think of it this way: how would you react if you saw that your kid had a toy that looked like one that you had? You probably wouldn't assume they're the same, even if you're in a Pixar movie.

The theory is that in a twist of fate, Emily (Andy's mom) loved a cowboy toy but gave it away during her adolescence. Her son would grow to love a cowboy toy as well, in a weird way that resembles the strong love she once had. She passed the hat down to him, and as destiny would have it, Andy would one day receive Jessie, as well. This would redeem his mother's abandoning of her, making Emily's story come full-circle.

And much like Emily, Andy also grew tired of his toys and moved on. He also gave them away and let them go.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the true story of Andy's mom.

LoLz / Sear
« on: February 16, 2014, 03:23:58 PM »

General Discussion / Congrats Scotland for gay marriage bill
« on: February 05, 2014, 06:11:40 PM »

Scotland's same-sex marriage bill is passed

A bill which allows same-sex weddings to take place in Scotland has been passed by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

MSPs voted by 105 to 18 in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.

The Scottish government said the move was the right thing to do but Scotland's two main churches were opposed to it.

The first gay and lesbian weddings could take place this autumn.

Religious and belief bodies can "opt in" to perform same-sex marriages.

Ministers said no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches.

During a debate at Holyrood, MSPs rejected amendments which were said to provide "protection" for groups and individuals opposed to same-sex marriage.

The SNP's John Mason tabled an amendment stating that no-one could be "compelled by any means" to solemnise gay marriage, including by a contract or a legal requirement.

Mr Mason said that this was similar to a measure included in the bill passed by the UK Parliament allowing same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

Health Secretary Alex Neil insisted there were "robust protections for religious bodies and celebrants" in the bill and the amendment was unnecessary.

Mr Mason tabled further amendments, including one calling for recognition that "a belief in marriage as a voluntary union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society".

He said: "This has been the prevailing view in Scotland for centuries, and may now be considered a minority view or even old fashioned, but it is an integral tenet of faith for many Christians, Muslims and others as well as the belief of many of no faith position at all."

Mr Mason added: "We have seen volunteers in the third sector removed from the board for publicly supporting traditional marriage."

The first same-sex weddings in England and Wales will take place from 29 March, in the wake of legislation already passed by the Westminster parliament.

In Scotland, same-sex couples currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships, but SNP ministers brought forward their Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill, saying the move was an important step for equality.

General Discussion / Debate: Bill Nye vs Ken Ham
« on: February 04, 2014, 05:10:39 AM »
The link to the debate:

You may disagree with this article, if you actually think Bill Nye is going to change the mind of a guy who believes the earth is 7,000 years old --and is raking it in from the followers.

Ken Ham vs Bill Nye Science Guy: Nye Sure to Lose

Across America, the debate between creationism and evolution continues to rage. Now, world-renowned scientist Bill Nye is set to debate Ken Ham who is the president of an Apologetics ministry, Answers in Genesis, as well as the Creation Museum. However, regardless of any facts or elements of reasoning, “The Science Guy,” is sure to lose this debate, as would any scientist in a creationism vs evolution debate like this one.

Evolutionists have been scratching their heads at the idea of a scientist giving any sort of credence to creationist theories. They argue that a forum such as this upcoming debate only props up those who believe in intelligent design as the architect of life.

However, that is not the real reason why evolutionists are so steadfastly against this debate. Frankly, the ball is in Ham’s court and it is Nye’s game to lose.

First of all, there is the issue of the venue. Essentially, Ham will be on his home turf inside the Creation Museum. Tickets for the event sold out long ago, but it would not be surprising if a great number of those purchases were fellow creationists.

On top of that, there will be a world watching. Students at Liberty University will be watching the entire ordeal via live stream, and it is likely that hundreds of thousands of other individuals will closely follow the action during and after the February 4 debate. After all, with about 50 percent of the country in support of creationism and only 15 percent sure that evolutionary theories are true, Nye has the odds stacked against him in terms of his audience.

As well, Ham knows what he’s talking about, and there is some debate over whether or not Nye will be as prepared. Both men are skilled oral communicators, but Ham is the more well versed as a debater. Furthermore, Ham knows his theories and Nye’s theories inside and out, whereas Nye is not actually an evolutionary biologist at all, and his experience with creationism to this point seems to be the continual assertion that creationists are wrong because science said so.

However, most importantly is the “quit while you’re ahead,” concept. Evolution is already considered fact; it is a theory that has somehow cemented itself as the only viable belief system in Western schools and text books. In terms of creationism vs evolution, evolutionists have already claimed victory. If Ken Ham is to out perform Bill Nye, the repercussions in the scientific community could be quite significant. Evolutionists may have their coveted seat of being the only theory that is fact further eroded, and other viable concepts may come to the forefront once again. Say what you will, but even if he wins by most measures, ‘The Science Guy,” is sure lose.

That’s right; even if Nye is to make better, more factual, and simply more convincing arguments than Ham, he is nonetheless a servant to the fact that his side has already won. It is expected in the academic community that creationists are fundamentally unintelligent people, and if one of these people proves to be rational and coherent, it would be a disaster for science as it is known today.

This points to a much larger problem, though. Of course creationism is not the same as evolution in terms of its support within the scientific community and in regard to its compatibility with some other scientific theories. However, that does not mean that it is a view-point that makes people unintelligent or irrational.

The idea that science cannot evolve or accommodate other theories is preposterous and fundamentally flawed. Simply to call another theory wrong and to advocate aggressively to ignore it is not rooted in any sort of scientific method. Intelligent discourse is required, criticism of long-held theories is required, and by consequence, considering other view points honestly is required for science to make any sort of progress.

The scientific community is afraid of this upcoming Ken Ham vs Bill Nye debate for the same reasons that the Catholic Church was afraid of the protestant reformation and the enlightenment. The criticisms of evolution, regardless of whether or not they are true, are valid arguments that should be discussed. The fact that so many are criticizing “The Science Guy’s” decision on the grounds that other view points should not be heard is extremely alarming. Much like the Catholic Church vs Martin Luther, this is a debate where Nye is sure to lose; but evolutionists should not be afraid of the results. After all, the Catholic Church is still standing.

General Discussion / Mean Tweets: Music Edition
« on: January 30, 2014, 05:15:24 AM »

General Discussion / Satan monument placed next to Ten Commandments
« on: January 09, 2014, 04:48:15 AM »,0,4198928.story

Proposed Satan monument heats up debate in Oklahoma

A religious group believes it has an idea that could "complement and contrast" the Ten Commandments monument located on Oklahoma state Capitol grounds: a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan, depicted as a Baphomet -- a goat-headed figure with wings and horns -- sitting on a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children at its side.

On Monday, the New York-based religious group Satanic Temple formally submitted its application for the monument to the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission, which oversees the Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City.

Satanic Temple argues that if the Legislature could authorize the Ten Commandments monument, then a statue of Satan should also be permitted. The monument would be both an "homage" to Satan and a symbol of religious freedom, Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves told the Los Angeles Times.

"More than anything, we feel our monument is meant to be a historical marker celebrating the scapegoats, marginalized and demonized minority," he said.

In August, the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state to remove the Ten Commandments monument because "the state needs to get out of the business of endorsing religion," Brady Henderson, legal director of the chapter, told The Times.

The stone monument, which also features a bald eagle and an American flag, lists the commandments under "I am the Lord thy God." It was erected in 2012.

Last month, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission put a moratorium on deciding any new monument requests, Trait Thompson, commission chairman, told The Times.

"We just didn't feel prudent at this juncture to be considering other monuments ... when the Ten Commandments monument is under review by the state Supreme Court," he said.

Though the ACLU is opposed to all religious monuments on public property, Henderson said, the organization believes the Satanic Temple's monument has "every right to be there" if the Ten Commandments monument remains.

"For us ... it's about respecting the idea that government shouldn't endorse religion in the first place," he said. "But if that's unavoidable, it needs to at least be neutral."

Henderson said the commission, by enacting the moratorium, is just "trying to push back and not make decisions."

Many Oklahomans, including some lawmakers, strongly oppose the idea of a monument to Satan.

"Displays at the Capitol are intended to represent the values of the people of Oklahoma and memorialize those who have worked to build and preserve our freedoms," Joe Griffin, communications director for the Oklahoma speaker of the House, said in an email to The Times. "This proposed monument does not meet those standards and, in this office’s opinion, is not appropriate at the Capitol.”

[Updated, 3:35 p.m. Jan. 8: Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa) told The Times in an email statement that the monument proposal seemed like "nothing more than a political stunt that would not be in keeping with the traditions and values of Oklahomans."]

On Speakup Oklahoma, an online forum for residents to discuss issues, people began a comment thread in December called "Stop the Proposal and Building [of] the Satanic Monument on Statehouse Steps!"

"This is the most diabolical proposal and idea that has been introduced in the great state of Oklahoma," one person commented on the website.

Despite the backlash, Greaves said Satanic Temple had received "hundreds of emails" from people in Oklahoma and around the U.S. praising the proposal.

To raise money to build the monument, Satanic Temple created an Indiegogo fundraising page.  As of Wednesday morning, the group had surpassed its goal of $20,000 by about $2,000.

Cam Porter of Tulsa said that although he is an atheist, he and many of his friends are among those backing the Satan monument.

"It's a good way to bring awareness to the fact that there's not one religion out there," he told The Times. "It's not just about Christianity.... People don't believe all in the same thing and they should be able to express that."

Greaves believes one thing is certain: "If you allow one, you have to allow the other," he said.  "I don't see much of an issue here."

Thompson said the commission was "going to hold everything" until the lawsuit over the Ten Commandments monument was adjudicated.

Spamalot / I think I know why atheism makes you fat
« on: January 08, 2014, 04:20:13 AM »
It's because they worship the flying spaghetti monster. If they worship something like the P90X monster, they would get spiritual muscles like Jesus.


Nobody laid down the law like Uncle Phil when Will got out of hand.
James Avery, best known for playing Will Smith's no-nonsense rich uncle on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died. He was 65.

"I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away," Alfonso Ribeiro, who played preppy son Carlton on the 1990s-era hit, tweeted this morning. "He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly."

The news was first broken by TMZ, which reports that Avery died last night at a Los Angeles hospital and had recently undergone surgery for an undisclosed condition.

General Discussion / The Dark Side of Buddhism
« on: January 01, 2014, 02:06:48 PM »

The dark side of Buddhism

Buddhism is often seen as the acceptable face of religion, lacking a celestial dictator and full of Eastern wisdom. But Dale DeBakcsy, who worked for nine years in a Buddhist school, says it's time to think again

On paper, Buddhism looks pretty good. It has a philosophical subtlety married to a stated devotion to tolerance that makes it stand out amongst the world religions as uniquely not awful. Even Friedrich Nietzsche, not known for pulling punches when it came to religious analysis, only said of Buddhism that it was "nihilistic", but still "a hundred times more realistic than Christianity." And we in the 21st century have largely followed his lead in sensing something a bit depressing about Buddhism, but nothing more sinister than that. But if we start looking a bit closer, at the ramifications of Buddhist belief in practice, there is a lurking darkness there, quietly stated and eloquently crafted, but every bit as profound as the Hellfires of Christianity or the rhetoric of jihad.

For nine years, I worked as a science and maths teacher at a small private Buddhist school in the United States. And it was a wonderful job working with largely wonderful people. The administration, monks, and students knew that I was an atheist and had absolutely no problem with it as long as I didn't actively proselytise (try and find a Catholic school that would hire a moderate agnostic, let alone a fully out-of-the-closet atheist). Our students were incredibly sensitive and community-conscious individuals, and are my dear friends to this day.


I have no doubt that Buddhist religious belief, as it was practised at the school, did a great deal of harm. Nowhere was this more in evidence than in the ramifications of the belief in karma. At first glance, karma is a lovely idea which encourages people to be good even when nobody is watching for the sake of happiness in a future life. It's a bit carrot-and-stickish, but so are a lot of the ways in which we get people to not routinely beat us up and take our stuff. Where it gets insidious is in the pall that it casts over our failures in this life. I remember one student who was having problems memorising material for tests. Distraught, she went to the monks who explained to her that she was having such trouble now because, in a past life, she was a murderous dictator who burned books, and so now, in this life, she is doomed to forever be learning challenged.

Not, "Oh, let's look at changing your study habits", but rather, "Oh, well, that's because you have the soul of a book-burning murderer."

To our ears, this sounds so over the top that it is almost amusing, but to a kid who earnestly believes that these monks have hidden knowledge of the karmic cycle, it is devastating. She was convinced that her soul was polluted and irretrievably flawed, and that nothing she could do would allow her to ever learn like the people around her. And this is the dark side of karma – instead of misfortunes in life being bad things that happen to you, they are manifestations of a deep and fundamental wrongness within you. Children have a hard enough time keeping up their self-esteem as it is without every botched homework being a sign of lurking inner evil.

As crippling as the weight of one's past lives can be, however, it is nothing compared to the horrors of the here and now. Buddhism's inheritance from Hinduism is the notion of existence as a painful continuous failure to negate itself. The wheel of reincarnation rumbles ruthlessly over us all, forcing us to live again and again in this horrid world until we get it right and learn to not exist. I remember one of the higher monks at the school giving a speech in which she described coming back from a near-death experience as comparable to having to "return to a sewer where you do nothing but subsist on human excrement." Life is suffering. It is something to be Finally Escaped.

Now, there are legitimate philosophical reasons for holding to this view. Viewed from a certain perspective, the destruction of everything you've ever cared about is inevitable, and when it's being experienced, the pain of loss does not seem recompensed by the joy of attachment that preceded it. And that yawning stretch of impermanence outside, so the argument goes, is mirrored by the fundamental non-existence of the self inside. Meditation, properly done, allows you to strip away, one by one, all of your merely personal traits and achieve insight into the basic nothingness, the attributeless primal nature, of your existence. Those are all interesting philosophical and psychological insights, and good can come of them. Being hyper-sensitive to suffering and injustice is a good gateway to being helpful to your fellow man and in general making the world a better place.


There is something dreadfully tragic about believing yourself to have somehow failed your calling whenever joy manages to creep into your life. It is in our biology, in the fabric of us, to connect to other human beings, and anything which tries to insert shame and doubt into that instinct is bound to always twist us every so slightly. If the thought, "I am happy right now", can never occur without an accompanying, "And I am just delaying my ultimate fulfillment in being so", then what, essentially, has life become? I've seen it in action – people reaching out for connection, and then pulling back reflexively, forever caught in a life of half-gestures that can't ever quite settle down to pure contemplation or gain a moment of genuine absolute enjoyment.

The usual response that I've gotten to these concerns is, "You're sacrificing truth and wisdom for the sake of feeling good. That's just what you criticise Christianity for, isn't it?" This would be a pretty damn good argument if I were convinced that the conclusions of Buddhist belief were as ironclad as their usually serene-unto-finality presentation makes them seem. There are two central claims here: that our own fundamental essence is non-existence, and that the nature of the outer world is impermanence.

The idea of the void-essence of self is one arrived at through meditation, through exercises in reflection dictated by centuries of tradition. That's enough to give us pause right there – it's not really a process of self-discovery if you're told the method, the steps, and the only acceptable conclusion before you've even begun. Here's the fourteenth (and current) Dalai Lama on how to start a meditation:

First, look to your posture: arrange the legs in the most comfortable position; set the backbone as straight as an arrow. Place your hands in the position of meditative equipoise, four finger widths below the navel, with the left hand on the bottom, right hand on top, and your thumbs touching to form a triangle. This placement of the hands has connection with the place inside the body where inner heat is generated.

This is already an unpromising start – if you aren't even allowed variation in the number of sub-navel finger widths for hand placement, how can we hope to be allowed to even slightly differ on the supposed object of inner contemplation? And the text bears this out. When speaking of meditating on the mind, the Dalai Lama manoeuvres his audience into a position where his conclusion seems inevitable:

Try to leave your mind vividly in a natural state... Where does it seem that your consciousness is? Is it with the eyes or where is it? Most likely you have a sense that it is associated with the eyes since we derive most of our awareness of the world through vision.... However, the existence of a separate mental consciousness can be ascertained; for example, when attention is diverted by sound, that which appears to the eye consciousness is not noticed... with persistent practice, consciousness may eventually be perceived or felt as an entity of mere luminosity or knowing, to which anything is capable of appearing... as long as the mind does not encounter the external circumstances of conceptuality, it will abide empty without anything appearing in it.

If this reminds you more than a little of Meno, where Socrates leads a slave boy into "rediscovering" the truths of geometry through a combination of leading questions and implied conclusions, you're not alone. Notice the artful vagueness of the phrase "may eventually be perceived or felt as an entity of mere luminosity" - the subtle pressure that, if you don't perceive consciousness that way at first, you must keep trying until something in you falls into line and you end up with the "right" answer to meditative practice. Or take into consideration the construction of the questions - how the second question immediately shuts down any actual consideration of the first, and how the answer to that second question leads to a single special case open to multiple interpretations which are again immediately declared to be explicable by only one single answer. As it turns out, you have as much freedom of inquiry as you had freedom in hand placement. In a curious twist unique to Buddhism, rigidity of method has infected the structure of belief, ossifying potential explanations of existence into dogmatic assertions mechanically arrived at.

The impermanence of the outer world seems more solidly founded. Five billion years hence, I'm pretty sure that this novelty shot glass next to me is not going to exist in any sort of recognisable novelty shot glass form. Nothing in this room will functionally persist as long as you only admit my Use Perspective as the only relevant lens of observation. The matter and energy will both still exist, but they won't exist in the configuration which I am accustomed to. And that, apparently, is supposed to fill me with a sense of existential dread. But it doesn't - at all - and this is the weakness of the conclusions that Buddhism draws from an impermanence theory of the external world. It supposes that I cannot hold in my mind at the same time both an appreciation and attachment to an object or a person as they stand in front of me right now AND a recognition that my use of a particular configuration of matter and energy at the moment doesn't determine how it will exist for all time. Buddhism's approach to use-based impermanence attempts to force us into a false binarism where we must either be the slaves of attachment or the cold observers of transience, and that only one of these offers us a way out of suffering. Compelled by the forced logic of its myopic perspective on self-analysis that we saw above, it opts for the latter, and presents that choice as an inevitable philosophical conclusion.

So, it's not really a choice between Feeling Good and Truth. It's a choice between being able to unambiguously enjoy companionship and a system of thought which uses an ossified methodology bordering on catechism to support a falsely binary approach to our relations with the outside world.

At the end of the day, it's still true that, in many respects, Buddhism maintains its moral edge over Christianity or Islam handily. That instinct for proselytising unto war which has made both of these religions such distinctly harmful forces in the story of mankind is nowhere present. But, the drive to infect individuals with an inability to appreciate life except through a filter of regret and shame is perhaps even more dangerous in Buddhism for being so very much more subtle. Squeezed between the implications of inherited evil instincts and a monolithic conception of what counts as a right answer to the question of one's own personal existence, a young person entering a Buddhist community today is every bit as much under the theological gun as a student at a Catholic school, but because society has such a cheery picture of Buddhist practice, she has far fewer resources for resistance than her Catholic counterpart. And that allows sad things to happen. I would urge, then, that as fulfilling as it is to point out and work to correct the gross excesses of Christianity (and, let's face it, fun too), we can't let the darkness of Buddhist practice go by unremarked just because it works more subtly and its victims suffer more quietly.

General Discussion / Today we celebrate...
« on: November 11, 2013, 04:54:13 PM »
National Metal Day.

General Discussion / X-Men: Days of Future Past (Trailer 2)
« on: October 30, 2013, 07:48:13 PM »

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