Friday, July 25, 2014

What This String of Botched Executions Says About Us

What This String of Botched Executions Says About Us

(Spoiler, We're Horrible People)

     "I am concerned by the length of time it took for the administered drug protocol to complete the lawful execution of the convicted double murderer, Joseph Wood. While justice was carried out today, I directed the Department of Corrections to conduct a full review of the process.
    "One thing is certain, however, inmate Wood died in a lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer. This is in stark comparison to the gruesome, vicious suffering that he inflicted on his two victims – and the lifetime of suffering he has caused their family."  -Gov. Jan Brewer

The above quote says just about everything that needs to be said about how barbaric, simplistic, and generally horrible Americans are when it comes to the death penalty.  It explains why we are the only remaining "first world" nation that kills its own citizens.  It demonstrates how shallow and callous we are when it comes to human life.  A relative of Mr. Woods' victims echoed the governor's sentiments about this, but her thirst for retribution was based on her own suffering, which is somehow even more disturbing.  Using murder as a punishment for murder is uncivilized and primitive.  We are a nation of barbarians.

Even if one accepts capital punishment as just (I, for one, do not), holding the idea that it is alright that that punishment be sloppy, drawn out, possibly horrendously painful and, in the words of John McCain no less, torture reduces us, through our representatives, to blood thirsty murderers ourselves.  Gov. Brewer dismisses the horror of this botched execution (one in a series recently) by intimating that he deserved it because of what he did.  The way this execution was carried out has nothing to do with the crimes of the convicted, it is about how we as a people treat the condemned.  Using the "eye for an eye" rational for dismissing concerns about how we treated Mr. Woods points to the larger disgrace of our overwhelmingly bloated, inefficient, and human rights violating prison system and systemically racist, classist, and alarmist judicial system.  Once a shining beacon in the forward march of social progress and human rights we are sliding back towards a society more likely to burn people at the stake and rejoice at their cries of anguish than we are to act like thoughtful, sober, modern human beings.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thoughts And Whatnot On The Hobby Lobby Decision

What's most staggering to me about this decision (I expect the GOP justices to be horrible) is that it is fundamentally based on a denial of science. Plan B is NOT an abortificant. The Pill is not an abortificant and can actually extend a woman's fertility (and can be prescribed for literally dozens of medical conditions that have nothing to do with sex). The SCOTUS has now made it possible for what someone (or worse a corporation) believes to trump reality in decisions that affect other individuals' lives. They have said that in the eyes of the law religious belief is greater than the truth, that religion is more important than reality.  This is a truly horrible decision that flies in the face of all precedent.


"The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities," she wrote. She concluded: "Indeed, approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.' The Court, I fear has ventured into a minefield." [emphasis added]



Friday, June 6, 2014

Open Carry Guys = Assholes

You don't have a god given right to be an asshole.  If you're such an asshole sane people don't feel safe around you then you're a threat to society.  Your rights do NOT supersede everyone else's rights.

Batshit Crazy Club 6/6/2014

Given the time these kind of people will always be found out.  She and her husband live lives full of contradictions, lies, and denial enforced by religion and insanity.  Duplicity is as duplicity does.  Of course they lied and cheated.  It is who they are.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Letter to The Horrible Asshole, Governor Steve Beshear

Governor Steve Beshear
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, KY 40601

Alan Miller
Louisville, KY

re:  defense of KY's marriage ban
cc:  Courier Journal, State Journal, Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky Democratic Party

Governor Beshear,

Between ignoring the separation of church and state by providing massive tax breaks to religious organizations like the Creationist Museum and the Noah's Ark theme park (and, seriously, you also violate the separation of incredibly stupid and state by supporting these tax breaks) and your recent utterly despicable decision to argue for only providing benefits for straight couples based on the utter BS that they're the only ones that can procreate (are you going to deny post menopausal couples or any couples where the man and/or woman are infertile?  Do we have no orphans that need homes, perhaps with a gay or lesbian couple?  Is there no benefit to the state in general in happy and secure couples being able to pool their resources?) you are now officially in the running for worst governor in the country.  Congratulations you worthless piece of garbage.  It's a damned good thing you can never run again because you are a horrible governor and the sooner your generation of intolerant cavemen dies off the better.  You are an embarrassment to the Democratic Party (as is the KDP that backed your worthless hide), the State of Kentucky, and America. 

Alan Miller

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Recent Encounter With a Fucking Lunatic on Facebook

 This fucking lunatic (Hal Womack) posted to a friend of mine's post which, though factually correct was a bullshit gun nut meme basically blaming slaughtered Native Americans' slaughter on the fact they "gave up" their guns.  It's shameful to claim that they somehow would not have been slaughtered otherwise.  And then this racist, wacko piece of shit chimes in.  Enjoy:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Smelling Rosemary

This meme has been going around Facebook for a little while and links to some bullshit parading as journalism.  It is the perfect example of bogus "facts." I looked at the linked "article" (first saw it last month) and had to stop and bang my head on the table a couple of times. It keeps getting passed around and it's just meaningless nonsense with links to a bunch of actual scientific studies that say no such thing, I can't even see how you pry this "fact" out of the linked studies. Makes me crazy. My favorite part though is that it improves memory 75%... 75% of what? You can remember 3/4 more dates? 3/4 more musical notes? 3/4 more places where you stumped your toe? What does that even mean?!?!? Someone explain to me why anyone would write this nonsense, I seriously don't understand the drive to just make shit up. Do they sell rosemary oil or something?


The word kiln is one of the oldest words.  Not oldest English words, oldest words.  Until American school teachers got their hands on it it was pronounced "kil."  Same goes with falcon (fokken) and palm (pom) and their until recent American English pronunciations.  And now you know.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Modern Snake Oil and Contempt for the Ethics and Morality of Scientists and Doctors

I get enraged.  Over and over I hear people say that you can't trust science but should trust some new age truism or conspiracy theory instead.  Why does this make me so angry?  Because I have several close personal friends who are research scientists and medical doctors.  One of my cousins is a medical doctor and research scientist with dozens if not hundreds of published studies credited to his name, a friend of over 30 years is the head of two major medical departments and oversees hundreds of researchers, and yet another friend of nearly 40 years is a scientist working at JPL.  I studied research psychology for several years at Tulane (dropped that second major because it wasn't the type of psychology I was interested in) and have an intimate knowledge of scientific ethics, methods, and motives.  I'm going to limit this discussion to medical research in particular (though the same accusations are levied against aerospace scientists, climate scientists, or even my friends who attended the funerals of Sandy Hook children they knew personally) because one particular blithe and insulting comment keeps coming up in the context of "western" medicine v. "traditional" medicine:  "All doctors are in the pocket of 'Big Pharma.'"

The most common infuriating statement I hear is that "herbal supplements" or "natural cures" are superior to modern medicine.  This belief is based on a series of logical fallacies including anecdotes, appeal to nature, confirmation bias, and arguments from antiquity.  Scientific studies are dismissed because they're "all funded by 'Big Pharma'" which explicitly accuses the tens of millions of research scientists and doctors performing long term studies and collecting billions of data points for analysis of being unethical, corrupt, and untrustworthy.  This opinion is based on the false idea that all or even the majority of peer reviewed studies are underwritten by pharmaceutical companies and that all these studies are manipulated and falsified by those companies.  Again, this is insulting to all these scientists that do the work of conducting the studies, running the experiments, crunching the data, and reaching conclusions.  It ignores that these studies, once complete, are then examined and re-examined by other scientists and doctors, that the data is sifted through by people whose sole goal is finding fault with the study.  Most of the time fault is not found or, when it is, it is because a larger study or experiment has been conducted that shows the original findings were not as significant as the data of the smaller study showed.  There is also a huge confusion in the minds of laymen and media that report on these studies as to what statistically significant means.  For instance, if a study shows that the effect of ginkgo extracts is statistically significant that does not mean that anything has occurred other than a measurable change when compared with placebo.  It does not mean that spending $50/month on ginkgo tablets is justified, it means that in this particular study they found an effect that rose above the baseline noise always found in a statistical study.  Subsequent larger studies can show (and in this case have shown) that the effect is so small as to be insignificant and in the smaller study was a fluke of the population involved.  Science moves forward and self corrects.  Belief is stagnant and entrenched.

As far as "Big Pharma" underwriting studies of their own drugs there is no doubt of this.  They have a LOT of money and they must have these studies for the FDA and international regulatory bodies to approve their use as medicine.  There have even been very rare cases of companies hiding data or cherry picking, the most prominent example that comes to my mind is Viox.  The study results were manipulated unethically so that the product's lethality was concealed.  So how was this fraud discovered?  Through the scientific process.  The process of peer review eventually brought out the truth, the drug was recalled (largest in history), and criminal charges were pursued.  This does not happen in the world of herbal supplements and "natural medicine."  The $60 billion/year herbal supplement industry does not underwrite independent peer reviewed examination of their products because they don't have to and because they're well aware that most of their claims will be disproven.  The herbal/dietary supplement industry spends fortunes on lobbying and have several major politicians in their pockets (most notably Senator Orin Hatch).  The industry wrote and pushed through Congress a bill in 1994 that exempted them from the same oversight as medicines.  The only time the FDA can do anything about their products is if they are found to be contaminated, they actually poison people, or the companies make explicit medical claims (which can be skirted by adding the simple statement "this product is not a medicine").

When you buy an herbal supplement you have no way of knowing that it is what it says on the label, much less knowing how much active ingredient is in the pill, or whether or not that herb has any real effect regardless.  But somehow intelligent people who should know better are willing to trust this unregulated and demonstrably fraudulent industry over the entire scientific medical field, impugning all the scientists and doctors involved as being unethical liars.

[A little side note:  so called "boner pills" that claim to be herbal aphrodisiacs are constantly found to be spiked with Viagra.  As soon as they are found out the company folds, the product is pulled from the shelves, a new company is started by the same players, the same spiked product is repackaged and continues to be sold (usually for prices equivalent to or greater than pure, unadulterated Viagra).  Ancient Chinese secret?]

One last point about Big Pharma v. Big Dietary Supplement:  the largest owners of herbal supplement companies are Big Pharma.  Why would companies like Pfizer buy dozens of "dietary supplement" companies?  Because they can make a ton of money with little or no regulation.  Dietary supplements are an out of control cash cow for these mega-corporations.  Those racks of pills at your local health food store are not being made by a conscientious mom & pop company working diligently next to their little garden, they are the same people that make the pills that line the shelves of your pharmacy.  They know they can stuff dried grass into a pill, sell it as St. John's Wort and there will be no consequences but if they sell a tablet of ibuprofen that is full of sugar they'll face huge fines and criminal liability.  The "Big Pharma" argument is in and of itself moot as "Big Pharma" is running both sides of the equation.

So yes, it makes me furious to hear perfectly intelligent people call my friends and relatives liars and frauds while claiming that proven liars and frauds are more trustworthy and honest.

related sources:,%20Reynold.pdf

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another Teabagger Analogy

Let's say a group of people decides they want to buy a car together.  They work very hard to find something that they can afford if they all chip in and that comes the closest to being what everyone needs.  There's one guy that hates the idea, hates the process, and hates the car even though he'll be able to use it just like all the rest of the people in the group.  That guy then spends the money saved for the car and blames the plan to buy the car, he goes to the dealership and keeps tearing up the paperwork to buy the car, he lets the air out of the tires, but when the car is finally delivered to the group he uses it more than everyone else, and every time he gets a chance he runs it into a telephone pole or drains all the oil and then blames the broken car on everyone but himself. 

The Desperate Lies of the Extreme Right

The GOP claimed "Americans don't want Obamacare."  GOP governors in many states refused to set up their insurance exchanges or otherwise undermined the roll out, all the while claiming Americans were against it and didn't need it.  They spent millions on ads trying scare young people out of signing up.  But so many people didn't want it that the Federal system was overwhelmed and the state systems that were set up were sluggish at first.  Now the GOP is screaming about the website not working (so it's a failure).  Guess what, you lying bastards, in the states not controlled by you traitors it's working just fine and people are relieved and happy to finally have access to reasonable (and in many cases free) health insurance.  I hope everyone remembers this come next November.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

News Release from the Bat Shit Crazy Club

Just so you know, this quote is from a satirical site.  The best part is it isn't surprising to anyone.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

An Analogy of Teabaggers' Approach to Any Social Program

"Captain!  We've found a stow away!"
"That does it!  Burn all the lifeboats and sink the ship!"