Oh Hai!


Hello! I haven't been writing here much lately, but I have a few good reasons for that - for one, I've gone back to school to chase my dream of being a paleoanthropologist so my time is a little on the short side. Also, I've taken on more responsibility with Ask An Atheist, a TV show -turned-radio show (What? How did that happen? If you're curious, I'll tell you. Otherwise, it's kind of a long story and it's been explained in other places.) in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area which seeks to offer representation of atheists in the public sphere. Part of my responsibilities include - you guessed it - blogging a bit for the website. So, if you want to keep reading (plus you want to support an awesome show that is having an impact across the globe) go to the Ask An Atheist website and I'll be there...ranting about juggalos and the like. :)



What Kind of a World is it Where Littlejohns Are Super Dicks?


Historically Little Johns have been nice characters, side kicks to heroes and often are portrayed as that chubby friend you love who is the first person invited to your birthday party.

In Mississippi, like most other things found in that crazy state, Littlejohns are a little different.

From Altnernet:

On Wednesday [10/07/2010], a scene reminiscent of My Cousin Vinny -- but with core Constitutional values at stake -- played out in a Mississippi courtroom when a veteran judge threw a defense attorney in jail for refusing to recite the pledge of allegiance.

According to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Chancellor Talmadge Littlejohn, a veteran jurist who recently celebrated his 50thyear in the state bar, urged 49 year-old defense attorney Danny Lampley to recite the pledge of allegiance, something the lawyer has refused to do on principle. Lampley reportedly “rose and was respectful,” but remained mum. Littlejohn found him in contempt of court and ordered him jailed. Lampley spent 5 hours in prison before being released, and was back in Littlejohn’s court later in the afternoon.

If I was that guy, I'd be spitting pissed. His response to the incident is so measured and calm, I almost want to find out his zen master secrets to staying cool so that when I get totally fucked by someone in a position of power, I can come of as even half as calm and collected. Of course, maybe the 5 hours in jail gave him some time to chill out.

“This morning, [ending up behind bars] was the last thing on my mind," Lampley told the Daily Journal. He added that he and the judge have a "different point of view" about things like loyalty oaths and the pledge of allegiance. "I don't have to say it because I'm an American," he said. But, he added, "I have a lot of respect for him …I'm just not going to back off on this.”

So, can a judge put an attorney in jail for not saying the pledge? No chance, Mac.

Radley Balko, who covers criminal justice issues for Reason, called Wednesday’s contempt charge, “just astonishingly ignorant, arrogant, and thuggish. Oh, and illegal. It’s also way illegal. Like, not even close.” David Hudson Jr., an expert at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, told the Daily Journal that forcing Lampley to repeat the pledge was an obvious violation of his right to free-speech. "I've never heard of a judge jailing a lawyer over this," he said.

I guess my main question is - why does the guy who got wrongfully put in jail have any respect for this guy in the first place? I'm not a big proponant of judging people based on mistakes they made 30 years ago, unless the mistake was pretty big and involved a glaring amount of misconduct and misuse of power. Surely Littlejohn can't have - no wait. Yep. That's right.

In 1974, when a 21 year-old black man was gunned down by police in Byhalia, Mississippi, local activists with the Marshall County United League criticized law enforcement’s response to the killing. Members of the league distributed pamphlets criticizing Littlejohn, who was then the District Attorney. They called a hearing into the shooting a “farce,” and accused Littlejohn of “acting as defense attorney for the officers rather than as prosecutor,” according to a 1978 ruling by a federal appeals court.

In response, Littlejohn then used a grand jury to launch a legal witch-hunt against the group, investigating its finances and organizational leadership. The Marshall County United League sued, and a federal appeals court concluded that Littlejohn had acted “in bad faith for the purpose of harassing those who, in the exercise of their First Amendment rights, had criticized defendant Littlejohn.” In issuing an injunction preventing Littlejohn from pursuing his investigation further, the justices characterized the case as an “abuse of the grand jury process [that] cannot be tolerated in a free society."

What a dick.


Ask an Atheist SEASON 2!! Episode 1 - Mormonism

Yay! We made it to season 2! And we decided to top the season off with...Mormonism!

With talented hosts Libbie and Sam. Dum dum dum dum dum!


AaA Episode 15 With Greta Christina! Also - SCAN Awards

New Ask an Atheist with a very special guest - Greta Christina!

Also, tomorrow is the deadline to vote for Ask an Atheist for the SCAN awards! As always, thanks for your support!


Just A Funny Sign



I started school

Here's a funny sign:
OK, laterz.


SCAN Awards - Vote For Ask an Atheist! Also - AIDS walk


I hate feeling like I'm spamming people with silly posts, but here are a few things I'm involved with in which I would love and appreciate your support.

First - Ask an Atheist is up for 4 awards at this year's SCAN Awards ceremony. Please go vote! I would especially love to win in the category of "Best Religious Programming" - if only because of the delicious, delectable irony. :D

Second - I'm participating in the AIDS walk with the Tacoma Atheists and could use your support. Even if you can't pledge, a comment or 'go team' would be much appreciated. :D



Abuse of Positions of Power - Pharmacists Gone Wild


In Washington, we're dealing with a little issue concerning personal freedom versus people using their positions of influence to mandate morality. A pharmacist doesn't want to sell Plan B - the "morning after" pill - because she says it violates her morals to do so. The thing that bothers me is that she chose to be a pharmacist, her job is to fill prescriptions, not make moral decisions about the prescriptions she's being asked to fill. Ugh, look - what would the response be if a Hindu told someone that selling them their heart or diabetes medication violated their morals because the drug was tested using bovine DNA? What about small towns where there is only one pharmacist in the area? If pharmacists are allowed to pick and choose what medicines they dispense based on their personal beliefs, what is to stop religious extremists from specifically choosing that career and implementing their morality on others in an underhanded fashion? Do I sound completely paranoid? If so, I would suggest you haven't been paying attention to the kind of tactics more extreme groups have employed in the recent past to circumvent the law and underhandedly violate the constitution.

Here's hoping they make the right decision and continue to expect pharmacists to do, I don't know, their job.

KENT, Wash. -- Hundreds of women gathered in a Kent courtroom Friday afternoon over the controversial morning after pill.

The Washington State Board of Pharmacy is considering changes to the way pharmacists hand out these types of prescriptions and held a public hearing Friday for public input.

Women from all over the state filled every chair and spilled out into the hallway, eager to tell the pharmacy board their opinions.

"I would prefer on my free time to go celebrate the victory of the Storm, but this is more of an important issue for women," said Betsy Shedd.

Betsy Shedd and several other women want the Board of Pharmacy to keep the current rules in place. As it stands, pharmacists must to fill all prescriptions of medicines they have in stock.

Dr. Patricia O'Halloran says that rule is violation of her religious rights.

“I would like to see them come out of this respecting and honoring the conscious rights of pharmacies and pharmacy owners," said O’Halloran.

So would attorney Kristen Waggoner, who represents the owners of Ralph's Pharmacy in Olympia. They're suing the Board of Pharmacy. Ralph’s Pharmacy doesn't want to be forced into filling Plan B prescriptions or any other drug like it.

“We will move forward and go to trial if the pharmacy board does not the pass the rule that allows our client to refer patients and that's because referrals are a time honored practice in all health care professions," said Waggoner. “A rule change in no way would better support a patient’s health."

The board says it's listening to all sides, and in the end they don't have to change the rules.

“We may just keep the rule as it is. We may amend an existing rule or we may start a new rule," said Gary Harris, Board of Pharmacy.

One of those rules up for discussion is the facilitated referral rule. If a pharmacist does not have a medicine in stock, he or she would be required to find another pharmacy close by that carries it.

The next hearing will be held September 25th in Kent. The Board says it will review all comments from this hearing, online and written letters before making a final decision sometime before December.


Ask an Atheist Episodes 12 & 13

I got my computer back from the shop today - yay! - and so I'm posting the last two weeks worth of Ask an Atheist episodes for you today. Enjoy!

Episode 12 - Viewer Calls and Emails

Episode 13 - 9/11 Conspiracy Theories - The case against controlled demolition


AaA Episode 11 - Atheists in Fiction 2

Episode 11 - atheists in fiction 2 with Mike and Libby. Enjoy. :)


The Curious Case of LH


I have a woman who emails me regularly, though I'm not sure if she realizes she's doing it. From what I can tell, she's kind of my antithesis. She's talked about vacations, stocks, and her home enough for me to guess she's in a higher tax bracket than me and she's mentioned some other things in her emails that has led me to think of her as an older woman, possibly someone whose use of the internet came late in life and really only deals with email and possibly recipe and craft sites, but certainly not work. I am making a few assumptions here, but I'm trying to paint a portrait of her for you without getting too personal, since like I said, I don't think she's aware that she keeps emailing me. One of the main reasons I assume she's not terribly familiar with using the internet is because she 1 - sends those awful chain emails that everyone in their right mind knows are annoying, a waste of time, and a source of aggravation for the majority of people out there and 2 - I keep telling her she's emailing me by mistake, but she never seems to understand how that might be or how to stop.

Someone in her life, presumably from what I've read her daughter, has almost the same name and email address as me except there's an 'a' instead of an 'e' in her last name. I've emailed LH as well as BL to let them both know that I keep getting emails meant for someone else, emails dripping with prayers and mentions of God and tea party politics, misinformation and snarky comments about Obama (which is especially annoying since there are plenty of legitimate reasons to be less than enchanted with our current president) and everything else one would expect from a typical middle to upper class religious American.

In one email, she perpetuated the idea that America ought to be run the way Wal Mart is run - after all, they have a ton of money and are really successful, right? In another email, she evidently agreed with the sentiments that illegal immigrants are the single worst issue in America - and that democrats would rather protect the rights of an illegal than the rights of a poor, defenseless fetus.

Riiiight. Pretty awesome stuff.

This latest email is a chain email, one of those 'send this to 12 people in 12 minutes or your tits will fall off' affairs, but instead of tits falling off, this was a chain letter to prove your love of God.

What? No! No self respecting religious person would trivialize their relationship with the Most Important Person In Existence by making Him/Her/It the focus of a lousy internet chain letter, would they? Oh you know they would.

Just 27 Words:

God our Father, walk through my house and take away all my worries and illnesses and please watch over and heal my family in Jesus name, Amen.

This prayer is so powerful. Pass this to 12 people including me. A blessing is coming to you in form of a new job, a house, marriage or financially. Do not break or ask questions.

This is a test. Does God come first in your life? If so, stop what you're doing & send it to 12 people now. Watch what he does!

My main concern through all of this is the fact that LH only sent this to 8 people. Looks like someone needs to find 4 more people to send this shit to so her god, who has evidently taken to testing people via internet memes these days, knows she puts him first in her life and she can get that sweet sweet blessing! Ching!

Also, I bet Job is pissed.