Vote of no confidence

By Phil Plait | November 1, 2010 11:00 am

denver_ufoColorado has some weird stuff in the elections tomorrow.

For one thing, Denver resident Jeff Peckman — the same guy who thought a really badly done video of a Peeping Tom alien was real — went around to other Denverites and got enough signatures to get an initiative on the ballot to create an alien affairs bureau.

I wish I were kidding. I wrote about this last year, hoping it wouldn’t come to pass, but he got enough signatures (though many were apparently faked) to get it on the Denver ballot.

Yay. Or, I guess, "yay?" Over at the JREF’s Swift blog, Karen Stollznow has the takedown of this ridiculous situation. It’s tempting to laugh it off, except that 1) it’s already cost real money to even get this on the ballot, and b) this election cycle is so crazy that something like this might have a real chance. We’ll see.

It’s too bad I’m not eligible to vote on that. But there are lots of other issues in this election I’m watching, some of which are very serious (like Colorado Proposition 62, which would give a fertilized human egg the status of a person under the law. Yes, seriously. What’s next: giving zygotes the vote? Sponsoring the Blastula Non-Discrimination Act, and Take Your Morula To Work Day?).

I voted early because I’ll be out of town on November 2. But I looked over the list of initiatives very carefully, and I’ll be checking my news feeds come Tuesday. I know people of all stripes, beliefs, and ideas read this blog. I urge people to think carefully and logically about the issues in this election, and then to go out and vote. There’s a whole lot of nonsense out there this election cycle, far more even than usual. It is quite literally up to us to make sure that reality sees the light of day.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind, Politics
MORE ABOUT: aliens, Denver, JREF, UFOs, zygotes

Comments (87)

  1. AliCali

    And for all those who say, “I don’t vote because I don’t like either candidate,” or, “I don’t support a two-party system, so I’m not voting,” hear me now:

    That’s a lazy and lousy excuse. Vote anyway. There are many other items being voting upon than just a person to be elected, such as spending, taxing, and new laws. If you hit upon an item you on which don’t have an opinion or don’t care, then skip that one. You don’t have to vote on every single item. But to skip the entire voting process is being lazy.

    If you do not vote, then you are not allowed to bitch about the government system.

  2. JoeSmithCA

    It’s all a plan by aliens so that their alien abducted women have a right to vote twice. They plan on voting in an Elvis-zombie to discredit Mr Peckman.

  3. ” Take Your Morula To Work Day”
    WIN!!!!

  4. noen

    These are the kinds of thing one can expect to happen when there is a rise in populist fervor. Racist conservatives are frightened because there is a black man in the white house and because they also see their power and influence wanning. So they have broken off from the GOP. This creates a breach into which other marginalized groups can try to assert some influence. This too shall pass.

    “If you do not vote, then you are not allowed to bitch about the government system.”

    “Actually, I think I am.” — kudos for anyone getting the reference.

  5. Daffy

    AliCali:” If you do not vote, then you are not allowed to bitch about the government system.”

    That is the complete backwards of it, IMO. I will probably vote—but by doing so, I am giving tacit approval to a system that has become corrupt through and through. By voting I am saying that it is OK for corporate lobbyists to control our government. I therefore forfeit the right to complain about the system; I am part of the system.

  6. UmTutSut

    Beckman believes aliens are already among us. Don’t some of the Tea Party candidates prove that??? ;-P

  7. AliCali

    @ Daffy:

    “I will probably vote—but by doing so, I am giving tacit approval to a system that has become corrupt through and through.”

    I disagree. We vote because that is the heart of a democratic system. Not being able to vote is more of a dictatorship. If you think our system is corrupt, perhaps you should check the corruption of dictatorships and see how that compares.

  8. Mike

    @5 Daffy:

    Except I think the usual reasoning goes along the lines that by voting you are at least trying to make a difference – trying to change things for the better. Nobody listens to some grumpy dude complaining about things but not doing anything about them!

    Now, if someone who does not vote is otherwise active politically trying to change the two-party system or whatever it is they are unsatisfied with then they’d get my respect, but just saying one disagrees with the system / candidates and using that as an excuse to not vote but to go on complaining – that I call lazy and disingenuous.

    If you don’t like the candidates, try to get someone who you like to vote for.
    If you don’t like the two-party system, find a candidate who thinks it needs to be changed too and rally for them.
    Same goes for any other issues you want to use as an excuse to not vote. By not voting you are supporting the status quo more than anything else.

  9. Daffy

    I didn’t say I would rather live under a dictatorship—where did you get that idea? However, the fact that dictatorships are worse is hardly a ringing endorsement of our system! Swallowing cyanide is worse than arsenic, but I don’t want to do either.

    Our system needs to be cleansed of corporate influence—the most idiotic notion foisted upon the American public in my lifetime is the insane idea that corporations should have more rights than individuals. Until that notion is dispelled, voting is largely meaningless in terms of the big picture.

    In my opinion.

  10. noen

    ” I will probably vote—but by doing so, I am giving tacit approval to a system that has become corrupt through and through.”

    No, I think that is the wrong way to think about it. By voting you are participating in the collective intentionality that says this is how we select among candidates for political office. On that account then you are not giving your approval for the corruption that would take away your vote. Far from it.

    “I therefore forfeit the right to complain about the system; I am part of the system.”

    It does not follow from “I am a part of the system” that therefore “I have no right to complain about the system”. Our democracy, the “system”, is specifically set up in such a way that everyone has a right to complain, lobby or agitate for or against the operation of the system.

    People who are concerned that the “system” is no longer responsive to their needs should vote and/or complain.

  11. Zetetic

    From Karen’s article:

    Chosen by the Denver mayor, the Commission would consist of seven members who would investigate alleged government cover-ups of alien abductions and encounters, explore extraterrestrial energy sources and cancer-curing technology, and provide their findings on the city’s website. This would also be a refuge for citizens to report their own sightings and personal experiences.

    *facepalm*

    Couldn’t they just accomplish the same thing with a facebook page?

    Oh that’s right, they want their fantasies and quackery to have the “authority” of an official government commission. It’s just wasting taxpayer money to feed their own egos.

    Meanwhile real problems get ignored.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    UmTutSut @ #6:

    Don’t some of the Tea Party candidates prove that??? ;-P

    LOL! What makes you think that any extraterrestrials would accept responsibility for them? ;)

  12. noen

    Daffy said
    “However, the fact that dictatorships are worse is hardly a ringing endorsement of our system! Swallowing cyanide is worse than arsenic, but I don’t want to do either.”

    This is an obvious fallacy. Democracy is not to freedom and human rights as arsenic is to the human body. Democracy is not a poison. If you truly believe it is then you should go to another country more conducive to your beliefs.

    “Our system needs to be cleansed of corporate influence”

    I don’t know that this is true. I do not accept that corporations are inherently evil. That is nonsense. I do think that their influence in the political system should be regulated or possibly sharply curtailed.

  13. So, how long before people start demanding the right to drive/vote/drink/whatever 9 months early, if the law gives a fertilized human egg the status of “person”?

  14. Bill Doorley

    I don’t live in Colorado, so I don’t know, but my first thought on hearing this was that Jeff Peckman is putting this utterly . . . ridiculous isn’t a strong enough word . . . measure on the ballot to make some kind of a political point. You know, it’s the modern equivalent of running a dog for mayor or putting Intelligent Design in science classes . . . oh, wait . . . or passing a resolution against frowning to point out absurdities in the system.

    I mean, he couldn’t be serious, could he? COULD HE?

  15. Ben

    @4 noen:

    So anyone who disagrees with the president is a racist? Hell, I’m a democrat and think that borders on intellectual stupidity. Way to go from one extreme to another and make whatever point you were trying to make completely null.

  16. mike burkhart

    I like to be on this Alien Affairs Bureau I feel with all my years of sci-fi addction and being a Star Trek fan since age 6 and a Star Wars fan since the third grade and a vetran of the Space Invaders war. I feel I’m more then qualfide to waste tax payers money defending the Earth form those nasty Aliens who keep wanting to destory mankind and take over our planet . Where do I sing up?

  17. mike burkhart

    One more thing Phil the Jupiter 2 was NOT ARMED with exterior wepons , the wepons were in its armory .

  18. Daffy

    Noen, democracy is great—I’d love to see it reinstated here.

    Corporations are not inherently evil, I agree. However—and that is a BIG however—they have zero allegiance to ANYTHING but the bottom line. Individuals have (or should have) rights to things like free speech; corporations do not—or shouldn’t, anyway. To give them virtually unlimited influence via campaign donations pretty much cuts out the individual voters from the process and creates a situation where a) the 2 major parties are pretty much indistinguishable from each other and, b) they are able to effectively shut out dissenting voices from smaller parties.

    I am watching my beloved country return to the days of the robber barons, while most voters have been convinced that that is GOOD for them.

  19. Damon

    This is cute, but sooner or later folks are going to wake up to the asinine UFO coverup that’s been happening a little too long for me to stomach.

  20. Keith Bowden

    Is this what John Denver meant by “Rocky Mountain High”?

  21. noen

    Ben Says:
    “So anyone who disagrees with the president is a racist?”

    I never said nor even remotely implied any such thing Ben. I said that racist conservatives are frightened by the fact that we have a black man for president. How you get from that to “anyone who disagrees with the president is a racist” is beyond me.

    I try to make simple, rational statements. I cannot control for people who put words into my mouth in order to score cheap political points.

  22. Josie

    KenB –probably around the same time a woman gets arrested for supplying alcohol to a minor when she has a glass of wine when she is a couple days ‘late’

  23. truthspeaker

    AliCali Says:
    November 1st, 2010 at 11:08 am

    And for all those who say, “I don’t vote because I don’t like either candidate,” or, “I don’t support a two-party system, so I’m not voting,” hear me now:

    I’ve never understood that, because here in Minnesota there are always at least three candidates for the major offices, often four or five. Sure, usually only the two major parties get a significant portion of the votes, but if you let that deter you then you’re making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  24. Here’s the thing that trips me up on calling a zygote a person, how do you fill out any forms that ask about dependents?
    For 5 days the zygote exists without attaching to the uterine wall and cannot be detected. So there is no way of knowing if it exists or not, pregnancy is determined after the zygote attaches and causes changes in the females body.
    So under the new definition shouldn’t all females between the ages of 13 and 60 be able to claim a dependent? After all there is no way of telling if the zygote exists or not.

    Other thought, isn’t the language of the proposition very discriminatory, “a fertilized human egg” wouldn’t that be considered very anti-divine intervention? So the reborn baby Jesus wouldn’t be given the same rights as human? These people are against the resurrection of Jesus!

  25. truthspeaker

    noen Says:
    November 1st, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    “Our system needs to be cleansed of corporate influence”

    I don’t know that this is true. I do not accept that corporations are inherently evil.

    Who claims that they are? Corporations are inherently amoral. This is not controversial – they are designed that way. A corporation’s primary goal is to increase shareholder value. They virtually always act in their self-interest (as perceived by their boards), because that’s what they are explicitly designed to do.

  26. Dante The Canadian

    @ #16, I certainly hope the people chosen to be in the AAB (Alien Affairs Bureau) at least SPELL better than you. I also don’t think being a sci-fi fan should enable anyone to be qualified to do that job. Yes, I know you were being fecicious but still, really????

    As an outside observer one thing that worries me about American politics is the polarization of voices. Obama has become a very polarizing figure and the extreme Right and Left are the loudest talkers out there. Especially the Extreme Right (Tea Party Conservatives). I think the United States and it’s government need to make some very tough and sometimes unpopular choices over the next few years or else the entire country and socio-economic system will be in trouble. The people have to realize that sometimes doing the right thing may not be doing the popular thing. The debt needs to be paid down, the 2 wars being fought need to end, the government must take more control over internal affairs such as healthcare, banking and education, and rules must be put into place to limit lobbyist influence.

    America used to have leaders with vision that cared about America as a whole and not for their own self interests. Where has the leadership in America gone?

  27. truthspeaker

    Ben Says:
    November 1st, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    @4 noen:

    So anyone who disagrees with the president is a racist?

    That’s not what he said.

  28. AJ in CA

    Any psychologists want to comment on this? Not the UFO people per se (though I’m sure much could be inferred about them), I mean the very idea of an alien peeping in one’s window at night.

    Years ago, when I was young, late at night I used to have a fear much like that – that a strange, alien face would appear at the window, looking in at me, and me paralyzed with fear, not knowing what it is or why it came or if it was real all. Obviously that never happened :) But I do wonder what it was that planted that fear in my mind in the first place? I’m thinking it’s something fairly universal. Could the same process have given hoaxers the idea to create this video?

    Even humoring him and starting from the premise that extra terrestrial intelligence is real, is capable of visiting earth, and is doing so right now, this STILL wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. Does the CIA gather information by sending people to hide under some foreign head-of-state’s bed? Why would ETs even bother getting closer than the moon to gather data they could intercept from TV and internet satellite transmissions? I’m actually reminded of the scene from “Ferris Bueler’s Day Off” where Mr. Rooney tries similar intelligence gathering, and gets soaked, muddied, loses a shoe, gets bitten by a dog, and kicked in the face, in roughly that order :P

  29. noen

    Daffy Says:
    “Noen, democracy is great—I’d love to see it reinstated here.”

    I was unaware that it had been revoked. Evidence?

    “Individuals have (or should have) rights to things like free speech; corporations do not—or shouldn’t, anyway. “

    Are you really sure about that? Are you really sure that you want ALL corporation’s rights to free speech removed? I think that you haven’t given sufficient thought to what the consequences of that would be.

    “To give them virtually unlimited influence via campaign donations pretty much cuts out the individual voters from the process”

    Well yeah, Citizens United was a bad ruling.

    ” the 2 major parties are pretty much indistinguishable from each other “

    It amazes me how anyone in 2010 could possibly look back in our recent history and still spout that Ralph Nader BS.

    “they are able to effectively shut out dissenting voices from smaller parties”

    I think that you are mistaken about how our two party system here in the US works. It’s a winner take all system. There are no third parties with any power like there is in a parliamentary system. Did you know that Blackwater CEO Erik Prince gave large campaign contributions to Green Party candidates, including Nader? Do you understand why he did that?

  30. Steve Metzler

    @ #16, I certainly hope the people chosen to be in the AAB (Alien Affairs Bureau) at least SPELL better than you. I also don’t think being a sci-fi fan should enable anyone to be qualified to do that job. Yes, I know you were being fecicious but still, really????

    Muphry’s Law strikes again.

  31. truthspeaker

    Dante The Canadian Says:
    November 1st, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    @ #16, I certainly hope the people chosen to be in the AAB (Alien Affairs Bureau) at least SPELL better than you. I also don’t think being a sci-fi fan should enable anyone to be qualified to do that job. Yes, I know you were being fecicious but still, really????

    As an outside observer one thing that worries me about American politics is the polarization of voices. Obama has become a very polarizing figure

    He’s been made into one, despite his best efforts at being an inoffensive centrist.

    e extreme Right and Left are the loudest talkers out there.

    The “extreme” left barely exists in America, and hardly gets any press attention. The moderate left gets some, but the Democratic party is run by centrists.

    America used to have leaders with vision that cared about America as a whole and not for their own self interests. Where has the leadership in America gone?

    It hasn’t gone anywhere because it was never here. Sure, we’ve had a few such leaders – Lincoln, maybe FDR, possibly Eisenhower, potentially JFK if’ he’d lived long enough (although I have doubts just based on Vietnam). But this corruption is nothing new. It comes in cycles and, over the long term, has been dominant the majority of the time. If you look at American history in the 1950s, 1900-1934, or pretty much all of the 19th Century you see the same corruption and dishonest demagoguery you see today.

  32. Ben

    @21 noen:

    Then rationalize using facts rather than broad brushes. Racism exists all across the political spectrum, don’t be naive.

  33. Adrian Lopez

    @noen,

    Democracy is not to freedom and human rights as arsenic is to the human body. Democracy is not a poison. If you truly believe it is then you should go to another country more conducive to your beliefs.

    Whether democracy is or is not akin to a poison depends very much on the people around you. If the people on the ballot are tyrannical, the ballot initiatives oppressive, and the voting public ignorant and misguided, democracy can be just as bad as a dictatorship. Thus democracy is often referred to as the dictatorship of the masses.

    This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote when an important issue comes up, but the fact is your vote might not make any difference. I would’ve gladly voted against Proposition 8 were I living in California, but I think it’s sad that the public was ever even given the option to vote in favor of it. Not only should amending the constitution not be as easy as convincing the public to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment, but no constitution should ever deny people rights that other groups of people enjoy. Democracy, unfortunately, is opposed to those two principles.

  34. noen

    Ben Says:
    “Then rationalize using facts rather than broad brushes. “

    It is a fact that among conservatives there is a subset who are also racist. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the English language? “Conservative” is a noun and is used to refer to a subset of society who adhere to conservative principles. “Racist” as I used it is an adjective and in English when it is placed next to a noun it modifies that noun. So the phrase “racist conservatives” would refer to those members of the set of conservative who are also racist.

    Seems like a rather particular brush to me.

    “Racism exists all across the political spectrum, don’t be naive.”

    I didn’t know that racist Leftists were members of the Tea Party populist movement. Which was who I was talking about. Care to back that up?

  35. AJ in CA

    I don’t think it’s that controversial to say that corporations (which are not beholden to the population at large) shouldn’t wield so much political influence (or at least, again, more than the population at large).
    The devil’s in the details, though.
    It sounds great on paper to remove corporate influence from the political stage, but when you try to actually implement it, you run into the problem that corporations are composed of people. People who have First-Amendment rights of free speech (and free association, which means the ability to fund-raise and donate).
    I’m not saying it’s impossible to improve the system, but corporate lobbying isn’t the only thing keeping the reforms from happening, not by a long shot.

  36. AJ in CA

    @34 Noen: To be fair, the ambiguity of the English language is partly to blame here. If you were to say, for instance, that your coworkers are a bunch of geeky Asians, there would be some who would read that as “I work with geeky people who happen to be Asian” and some would read it as “I work with Asians, who are known to be geeky.” :P

    I honestly wouldn’t be surprised, though, if racists who happen to come from a Democratic party background would also join the Tea Party, simply because they oppose an African-American president. With a black Republican president, I’d expect the same thing (racists who’d otherwise be considered conservative joining with the Democrats) – people who are racists first and foremost are going to join the opposition, no matter what.

  37. AJ in CA

    Wow, space aliens to campaign finance reform to grammar and racist political stratagems, all in one thread! :P

  38. Ben

    @34. noen:

    The burden of proof lies with you. Provide facts that these “racist conservatives” exist and voted against Obama just because he’s black, and if you claim to not be using a broad brush, quantify how many conservatives are indeed racist. Thanks.

  39. noen

    Adrian Lopez Says:
    “For that reason, democracy is often referred to as the dictatorship of the masses.”

    Good thing that we don’t have that here in America then isn’t it?

    “This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote when an important issue comes up, but the fact is your vote might not make any difference.”

    This is where I part with decision theory and was the main thrust of my first comment. I do not believe that we should vote if and only if our votes can make a difference. I think we should vote as a way of indicating our participation in our democracy.

    Social institutions like Universities, constitutions and cocktail parties are constituted by means of our very participation in the collective intentionality THAT they should exist. The moment when enough people stop participating in the collective will that “I am at a cocktail party” is the moment when that cocktail party will cease to exist.

    Similarly, if enough people refuse to participate in our collective decision that “I am in a democracy and voting is one way to indicate my participation in it” that will be the moment when we cease to live in a democracy.

    There are people in this country who would like nothing better than to install either a dictatorship or an aristocracy. For that to happen they need to convince you to give up and to stop participating in our democracy. To that end they tell lies and half truths and disseminate propaganda design to suppress the vote. Because they know that if you don’t vote, they win. Don’t allow them prey on your angst and use it against you.

  40. Christopher Turkel

    My town just voted to fund a new school. They should have done something like this. Some places have all the luck.

  41. Stan9fos

    From Noen:
    Daffy Says:
    “Noen, democracy is great—I’d love to see it reinstated here.”
    I was unaware that it had been revoked. Evidence?

    There’s no need to “revoke” democracy when it has been rendered completely ineffective by flooding the environment with so much noise that no one can discern what result their vote will have, or remove all meaningful decisions from the electorate & place them in the hands of the lobbying industry and purely financial concerns.
    Corporations don’t have free speech, they have something called “advertising,” in which they pay someone money to get the general public to buy their products.
    “It’s a winner take all system. There are no third parties with any power like there is in a parliamentary system.” I’m confused. This does not sound like a good thing. Are these points supposed to be in favor of the current system, or supporting Daffy’s position?

  42. PlasticJesus

    Just hoping Tancredo wins out there

  43. amphiox

    Thus democracy is often referred to as the dictatorship of the masses.

    And it is often so referred to in error. A “dictatorship of the masses” is a different government system, which is NOT democracy.

    A democracy includes checks and balances to all entities that wield power, in order to prevent power from being abused, including the power wielded by the majority.

    This is why we have courts that have the power to overturn popular but oppressive measures, like Prop 8.

    Which is not to say that things are hunky-dory-perfect. To quote Winston Churchill, “democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the others that have been tried.”

  44. Darius

    “I disagree. We vote because that is the heart of a democratic system. Not being able to vote is more of a dictatorship. If you think our system is corrupt, perhaps you should check the corruption of dictatorships and see how that compares.”

    So what you are saying is that the current ‘democratic’ system in the US doesn’t, in the slightest, resemble socialism or dictatorship? LOL. Your living in a world of make-belief. Your saying that GWB got voted in fairly and squarly based strictly off what people voted right? Not that the majority didn’t vote for him… oh wait, they didn’t. I conclude that the US currently is a dictatorship in disguise.

  45. amphiox

    Participating in a democratic system isn’t just about voting. Perhaps even more importantly it is about participating, continuously, in the public discourse that shapes opinion. It is not just your vote you have control over, but to varying extent the votes of everyone you interact with.

  46. noen

    Ben said:
    Provide facts that these “racist conservatives” exist

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    and voted against Obama just because he’s black,

    I never made that claim. My claim was that these racist conservatives constitute the populist movement known as the Tea Party and that their racism in large part fuels their opposition to the present administration.

    “and if you claim to not be using a broad brush, quantify how many conservatives are indeed racist.”

    Gladly:

    The Rage Is Not About Health Care By FRANK RICH
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/opinion/28rich.html?_r=1&hp

    Tea Party Nationalism
    http://teapartynationalism.com/

    Conservative Race Bating
    http://racistconservatives.com/?p=473

    Rachel Maddow- GOPs (1) southern strategy rises again
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJwu9zi7FnA

    Part two:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN2gvD_jPCY

    And finally….

    Dale Robertson, founder of the Tea Party movement holding his sign that reads:
    “Congress = slave owner tax payer = niggar”
    http://www.isabigot.com/2010/01/dale-robertson-is-a-bigot/

    Thank you for playing.

  47. amphiox

    So anyone who disagrees with the president is a racist?

    No. But many who do undeniably are. And many others who do and aren’t obviously racist cannot, when pressed, provide any rational reason as to why they disagree other than the talking points of the racist first group. Which does lead one to wonder.

  48. amphiox

    Corporations are not inherently evil, I agree. However—and that is a BIG however—they have zero allegiance to ANYTHING but the bottom line

    And why is that? It is because we, their customers and shareholders, do not require them to be. We have given corporations most of the same rights as persons under the law, but almost none of the ethical responsibilities. Perhaps it is time to change that. Perhaps it is time to demand that our Corporations really be inherently evil. Or inherently good. In other words, to make them choose, and be subject to the appropriate consequences of such choices.

  49. amphiox

    There’s no need to “revoke” democracy when it has been rendered completely ineffective

    Evidence of completeness, along with a reliable method of measuring “effectiveness”, requested.

  50. AJ in CA

    @46 noen: So in response to a question with a potentially quantifiable answer, you link to several opinion blogs (at least one of which written by someone who doesn’t even know when to use a damn apostrophe) and two opinion pieces?*
    Really?

    Now, I’m not sure exactly how one would design a study to determine actual racist tendencies within a political party, but I’d sure like to see someone try. It’d be a better use of grant money then SOME of the social science studies we see (alcohol causes people to be less careful and more promiscuous? Gee, you don’t say!)

    Are there racists in the Tea Party movement? Of course. Do they constitute the heart of the movement, the true ulterior motive behind the entire thing? I seriously doubt it.

    *I admit I didn’t take the time to watch the videos. I’m busy/lazy, so sue me :P

  51. Ben

    #47 noen:

    “Thank you for playing.”

    Like I said before, you’re once again falling into the trap of intellectual stupidity, and the fact that you don’t seem to realize it further makes me question how “rational” you claim to be. teapartynationalism.com and racistconservatives.com as sources? Frank rich and Rachel Maddow? It would be like a conservative citing Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck as fact without bias. Why do you keep digging yourself into a deeper hole?

  52. Adrian Lopez

    @amphiox: ‘And it is often so referred to in error. A “dictatorship of the masses” is a different government system, which is NOT democracy. A democracy includes checks and balances to all entities that wield power, in order to prevent power from being abused, including the power wielded by the majority.

    Can you cite an academic text that states democracy invariably involves a system of checks and balances, or do I have to take your word for it? What if the checks and balances aren’t enough to protect minorities from oppressive laws enacted by way of popular vote? How is that not a dictatorship of the masses?

  53. Mike Mullen

    As an UK citizen and Labour Party supporter I think there is one point I feel the need to keep reiterating with regard to US politics; YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY LEFT WING!. Seriously your Democratic party just abouts sits in the centre and everything else is to the right of that, you are kidding yourself if you think otherwise and the notion of Obama as a socialist is just frankly surreal

  54. Adrian Lopez

    @noen: “Good thing that we don’t have that here in America then isn’t it?

    There are doubtless many things that can’t be decided by popular vote in the United States, but for those things that can there is often very little minorities can do about it. That’s the important point, whatever your objections to the term “dictatorship of the majority”.

    Social institutions like Universities, constitutions and cocktail parties are constituted by means of our very participation in the collective intentionality THAT they should exist. The moment when enough people stop participating in the collective will that ‘I am at a cocktail party’ is the moment when that cocktail party will cease to exist.

    People go to cocktail parties when they want to have cocktails with friends. There’s no need to have cocktail parties to preserve the cocktail party as a public institution. Cocktail parties, unlike governments, are ad-hoc.

    Similarly, if enough people refuse to participate in our collective decision that ‘I am in a democracy and voting is one way to indicate my participation in it’ that will be the moment when we cease to live in a democracy.

    I think you have it exactly backwards. Democratic governments don’t exist because of people’s votes. Instead, governments that exist as democratic governments allow people to vote by virtue of having been established as democratic institutions.

    There are people in this country who would like nothing better than to install either a dictatorship or an aristocracy. For that to happen they need to convince you to give up and to stop participating in our democracy.

    Nope. Those who wish to impose their rules upon others need only secure the support of those with the power to do just that. Whether it’s corporations lobbying congress or religious pundits manipulating the voting public, you don’t need a dictatorship to dictate the rules by which others must abide.

  55. Zucchi

    “Yay. Or, I guess, ‘yay?'”

    Neither. Phil, the word you want is “yea”.

    If Prop. 62 passes, I hope they test it by charging pretty much any woman with homicide. (Since most fertilized eggs fail to implant, and end up on maxi-pads.)

  56. Radwaste

    This thread, today, like Pharyngula on many days, is a fine example of how people can be selectively rational: when their pet issue arises, forget reason.

    1. If it’s bad when President Bush does it, what is it when President Obama does more of the same?

    2. Are racists inherently wrong? In other words, if a racist asked you to name a community organizer who was white and qualified to be President, is that different than when I ask that question?

    As time passes, I seem to see more people acting as though what they do is “right” and what other people do is criminally offensive. Please expend the same effort you would use to debunk a Reiki practitioner on your pet political issue!

  57. AJ in CA

    @#56 Radwaste: Hear, hear!
    Whether or not a statement or action constitutes douchebaggery should depend entirely upon the substance of the statement or action, not upon the reputation or political affiliation of the individual saying/perpetrating such.

  58. noen

    AJ in CA Says:
    “@46 noen: So in response to a question with a potentially quantifiable answer, you link to several opinion blogs (at least one of which written by someone who doesn’t even know when to use a damn apostrophe) and two opinion pieces?*”

    Surprisingly, I don’t feel that I am required to provide statistical information on the numbers and distribution of racist elements within the conservative movement. The google…. it does not work for you?

    “Are there racists in the Tea Party movement? Of course. Do they constitute the heart of the movement, the true ulterior motive behind the entire thing? I seriously doubt it.”

    I’d like to introduce you to Politics 101
    Google –> “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”.

    Conservative Americans have been motivated by their paranoia and racism from… pretty much the beginning. This isn’t even controversial, or shouldn’t be.

    Ben Says:
    “Like I said before, you’re once again falling into the trap of intellectual stupidity”

    I don’t think so but you are welcome to attempt to argue for your position. When were you planning to do that? Secondly, it simply does not follow that if Rachel Maddow says something it must be false. Documentation of “The Southern Strategy” where the GOP deliberately courted white Southern racists for their vote should be readily available to anyone with access to a library or the internet. Good Luck in your future endeavors!!

    Adrian Lopez said a buncha stuff:
    “That’s the important point, whatever your objections to the term “dictatorship of the majority”.”

    I guess that I did not fall asleep during 7th grade civics where we learned that what we have is a representational republic and not a strict small “d” democracy. I even remember why that was important.

    “People go to cocktail parties when they want to have cocktails with friends. There’s no need to have cocktail parties to preserve the cocktail party as a public institution. Cocktail parties, unlike governments, are ad-hoc.”

    Elections, like cocktail parties, are indeed ad-hoc. However, if in the up coming election absolutely no one voted, and in the one after that, and the one after that. I really do think that our democracy would collapse. Similarly, if people stopped going to cocktail parties then yes, they would cease to exist as a public institution. This really ought to be self evident.

    “I think you have it exactly backwards. Democratic governments don’t exist because of people’s votes. Instead, governments that exist as democratic governments allow people to vote by virtue of having been established as democratic institutions.”

    You really should read what our constitution has to say about this. We are not “allowed” to vote by government. The framers got it right the first time. All governments derive their authority from the will of the people. Or in my fancy schmancy language, they are constituted by the collective intentionality of the governed.

    I think that you and others are just being a tad contrarian because you can, it’s a blog, and because I have taken a firm but clear position on why I feel, on this election eve, that it is important to vote. Hey that’s ok, I understand. But… you failed to make your case. Better luck next time.

  59. Adrian Lopez

    @Radwaste: “Are racists inherently wrong? In other words, if a racist asked you to name a community organizer who was white and qualified to be President, is that different than when I ask that question?

    Why would you only want to know about white community organizers if you aren’t racist? If qualified non-white candidates are excluded for no other reason than being non-white, don’t you think that’s something to be worried about?

    There is no double standard: Excluding qualified non-whites from consideration makes you a racist.

  60. Adrian Lopez

    @noen: “I guess that I did not fall asleep during 7th grade civics where we learned that what we have is a representational republic and not a strict small ‘d’ democracy. I even remember why that was important.

    Congratulations on not falling asleep in school. I’m sure that’s quite an accomplishment. Nevertheless, the fact remains that we’re subject to the will of the majority insofar as the majority’s will is respected by those in power. Yes there are checks and balances that prevent the government from causing too much damage, but that doesn’t completely eliminate those faults inherent to democracy that lead people to speak of the tyranny of the majority.

    Elections, like cocktail parties, are indeed ad-hoc however, if in the up coming election absolutely no one voted, and in the one after that, and the one after that. I really do think that our democracy would collapse.

    If nobody voted I’d take it as a sign that the government in place at the time isn’t worth preserving, but even in such an unlikely scenario democracy could still be preserved by those in charge at the time. A lack of votes isn’t enough to sever the ties of those who work for the government.

    Similarly, if people stopped going to cocktail parties then yes, they would cease to exist as a public institution. This really ought to be self evident.

    They wouldn’t cease to exist as a public institution because they aren’t public institutions. Those who wish to have cocktail parties will do so, those who don’t will not. There’s no need to save cocktail parties from those who won’t have them.

    You really should read what our constitution has to say about this. We are not “allowed” to vote by government. The framers got it right the first time. All governments derive their authority from the will of the people.

    It’s doubtless a very romantic concept (though I think it’s from the Declaration of Independence), but it simply isn’t true. The only reason you can vote is that the government has procedures in place for you to do so. Should the government no longer recognize that right then you wouldn’t be able to vote. The consent of the governed is only relevant insofar as the governed have the power to do something about it. Those with the guns make the rules.

  61. QuietDesperation

    I would totally vote for the alien affairs bureau, and if it passed, send them a resume. Seriously. I’m so overqualified for any position they had, I’d be the director soon enough and immediately change the name to the Fringe Division. :)

    The system is broken beyond redemption people. Might as well milk it for what you can, retire as early as you can, and get the heck out of this dippy place.

    YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY LEFT WING!

    Yes, yes, the EU contingent chimes in once again with the same old same old, and TYPING IN ALL CAPS REALLY LENDS WEIGHT TO YOUR ARGUMENT. You ever consider that you guys are just way way Left? No? Didn’t think so. *snore* Just compare the US and EU constitutions for the contrast.

    There are people in this country who would like nothing better than to install either a dictatorship or an aristocracy.

    Wow! What an observation! You know what? There’s people in every country who want to install a dictatorship. Countries that already have a dictatorship have people who want to install a different dictatorship. The USA also has people who’d like to install a libertarian regime, or leave the socket empty and have anarchy.

    We already have a political aristocracy. Have had since before everyone here on this blog was born. No one ever notices because they drink the Kool-Aid or eat the pudding pooped out by one segment of the aristocracy or the other.

    I was unaware that it had been revoked. Evidence?

    Gerrymandering + ignorance of the citizenry causes pretty much the same effect as having no democracy.

    As time passes, I seem to see more people acting as though what they do is “right” and what other people do is criminally offensive.

    It’s mass insanity that will lead to large and disruptive civil/social upheavals. All because none of you useful idiots, both Left and Right, could step out of your little reality distortion bubbles for five bloody minutes, and consider something not fed to you by the ideological echo chambers you hide your minds in most of the time.

    Me? I’m looking for a comfortable mountaintop.

  62. tudza

    So what do we need for dealing with possible alien visitors? Nothing, widely distributed protocols that even small town representatives can access and follow, what?

  63. In Australia voting is compulsory for most of those eligible.
    One of the advantages is that every government has legitimacy and a mandate.
    Even so, I wouldn’t dream of not voting, too many people died so that I could.

  64. Always Ask Why

    As a member of the political committee formed in opposition to the Jeff Peckman intiative (Ballot Initiative 300), I was surprised to find a man who used to call me a liar posting this on his online platform…

    This is from http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:NEeoL0JpelcJ:www.examiner.com/extraterrestrial-contact-in-denver/why-voting-yes-on-initiative-300-is-vital+%22always+ask+why%22+aka+nitor&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    “Here’s another valuable article that is closely related to yours. It’s titled “Is CIA Backing Opponents of Initiative 300 in Denver?”. Things will make much more sense to you after reading it.
    http://www.examiner.com/progressive-in-denver/is-cia-backing-opponents-of-initiative-300-denver

    What you obviously did not know is that Rjdenver is mostly just a heckler spreading deception wherever possible to waste the time of people who are speaking the truth about Initiative 300. His/her motivations are along the lines of Baxter, Bonner, and Nitor (aka – “Always Ask Why”) of the disreputable Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society. This group might very well be getting help from outside and from very dark places.”

    This is how Jeff Peckman responds to legitimate questions, and disagreement with his initiative. Just like the many other unsubstantiated claims he mounts – he uses the words of others. One thing that he no longer tries to do is call me a liar, as he has had his “stuff” handed to him on that one.

    I support “Free Speech” and I support participation in our system, but I too think that there needs to be a major overhaul. Just not sure how or what to do. I am flabbergasted that (1) people believe this dribble that he puts out, and (2) that people like Peckman are so desperate for their “win” and some form of governmental legitimacy that they are willing to abuse the system in this manner.

    Signed, Nitor (recently accused of being funded by the CIA and very confused by the accusation)

  65. Levi in NY

    I’m voting as soon as the polls open here in New York just 4½ hours from now, but let’s just say I don’t have much confidence that reason will prevail this election cycle. Too many of the politicians running for office (from both parties) seem to have gotten caught up in the game of scare tactics and smear campaigns too much to focus on coming up with pragmatic solutions to the serious problems our country is facing.

    And to make matters worse, the most enthusiastic group of voters this cycle are the teabagger loonies who think Obama’s secretly a Muslim socialist terrorist-sympathizer. That does not bode well for those of us who want an effective Congress willing to coöperate with the President to pass legislation to alleviate our problems. We’re going to probably see a Republican majority in the House that will shoot down anything and everything Obama supports or thinks about supporting. So will the Republican minority in the Senate (a de facto majority due to their willingness to abuse the filibuster). Nothing will get done, and Republicans will find a way to convince people it’s Obama’s fault.

  66. Paul in Sweden

    It is not surprising, perhaps the ET movement had a consensus? Maybe, 97% or the researchers involved in ET studies all believe…”belief” pases the test in Post-Normal-Science.

    Denver Democratic Party not opposing Initiative 300 ET Affairs Commission – Denver ufo
    Examiner.com

    Initiative [ET]300 in Denver is the only “numbered” initiative not opposed by the Denver Democratic Party . Why would it be? The Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission that it proposes will create no cost to taxpayers. This has already been confirmed by Denver’s Budget and Management Director and the language of Initiative 300″
    -http://www.examiner.com/ufo-in-denver/denver-democratic-party-not-opposing-initiative-300-et-affairs-commission

    Anyway like Phil, I voted via early ballot through the mail to my tiny New England town back in the states. It will be so very nice on Wednesday to see the far-left begin to pack their bags in Washington, D.C. as the stage is set for the general elections of 2012.

    Don’t go away sad, just go away. :)

  67. QuietDesperation

    to pass legislation to alleviate our problems.

    Or at least stop causing so many. I’d be happy with that, and let the economy do its thing again.

    You can have an economy with no government at all. Yeah, it’s Bartertown from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome :), but I’m so tired of this “only daddy government can fix our woes!” They just spent piles over the last two years and it didn’t do boo. Does that tell you *anything*? Does that suggest to *any* of you maybe we need a different idea? Class? Class? Beuller?

    WTF happened to people in this country? It’s like you all *want* to be a bunch of serfs and followerrs, either to some religion or some ideology (the distinction is becoming quite blurred). Feh… Take your mugging, eye-rolling John Stewarts *and* your whiny, grizzly Sarah Palins, and just walk into the sea or something.

  68. Levi in NY

    No, sorry, you can’t have a functioning economy without the government. I’m not in favor of a completely government-controlled communist economy by any means, but unregulated laissez-faire capitalism is just as disastrous.

  69. Nigel Depledge

    Daffy (5) said:

    AliCali:” If you do not vote, then you are not allowed to bitch about the government system.”

    That is the complete backwards of it, IMO. I will probably vote—but by doing so, I am giving tacit approval to a system that has become corrupt through and through. By voting I am saying that it is OK for corporate lobbyists to control our government. I therefore forfeit the right to complain about the system; I am part of the system.

    Ever heard of the word “abstain”?

    By failing to turn up, you get marked as a “no show”, which is usually interpreted as “don’t care”. By turning up and abstaining, you register your disapproval of the available candidates. If nothing else, the number of abstentions is a pool of voters for the candidates to try and represent next time round.

  70. Nigel Depledge

    Daffy (9) said:

    Our system needs to be cleansed of corporate influence—the most idiotic notion foisted upon the American public in my lifetime is the insane idea that corporations should have more rights than individuals. Until that notion is dispelled, voting is largely meaningless in terms of the big picture.

    In my opinion.

    Actually, I largely agree with this. You get to choose which set of corporate shills is in power, but you don’t always get to choose representatives who represent their constituents.

    Anyhow, I am sure that there are things that can be done to change the situation other than simply not voting.

  71. Nigel Depledge

    Noen (12) said:

    I don’t know that this is true. I do not accept that corporations are inherently evil. That is nonsense.

    Corporations don’t have to be evil for their interests to obviously conflict with the interests of private citizens, or to conflict with the interests of the nation as a whole. Corporations exist to make money, by any means that are legal.

    The USA is, in a way, the ultimate expression of the abilities of corporations to do this. I am not aware of any other country where corporate interests are so well-represented in government (although the UK seems to be catching up).

    I do think that their influence in the political system should be regulated or possibly sharply curtailed.

    Definitely.

  72. Nigel Depledge

    Bill Doorley (14) said:

    I don’t live in Colorado, so I don’t know, but my first thought on hearing this was that Jeff Peckman is putting this utterly . . . ridiculous isn’t a strong enough word . . . measure on the ballot to make some kind of a political point. You know, it’s the modern equivalent of running a dog for mayor or putting Intelligent Design in science classes . . . oh, wait . . . or passing a resolution against frowning to point out absurdities in the system.

    Over here in the UK, we have the Monster Raving Loony Party as a vote-sink for those dissatisfied with the system, although I do not know how active it is since its leader (Screaming Lord Such – he changed his name by deed poll) died.

  73. fred edison

    #66

    Ignoring a problem and pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t wise, because it only tends to delay solutions and exacerbate the problem. Hasn’t time taught you that nugget? But now you think that the Band of Deniers GOP/TP (essentially the same) will save the day and brighten the future for the next generation? Good luck with that massive brain fart. If the GOP/TP wins it’s a lose for humankind and the Earth. But on the up side for some, it could mean more pointless climate scientist witch hunts and a senseless waste of taxpayer money. Enjoy your consensus of denial.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/11/01/republicans-are-plan.html (next two links are from this link)

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-epa-battle-ahead-20101030,0,6040861.story

    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

  74. Nigel Depledge

    OK, OK, DNFTT, but this guy is really asking for a kicking…

    Damon (19) said:

    This is cute, but sooner or later folks are going to wake up to the asinine UFO coverup that’s been happening a little too long for me to stomach.

    A few facts for you to digest:

    1) There is no evidence that UFO reports are anything other than misidentified mundane phenomena.
    2) There is no evidence that any organisation is conspiring to conceal evidence of alien life.
    3) Anyone who leaps to the conclusion “alien spaceships” upon reading a UFO report needs to learn some critical thinking skills.
    4) Anyone who considers “alien spaceships” to be a plausible explanation for UFO sightings needs to learn more about what we have discovered about the universe.

    Your asinine adherence to ludicrous conspiracy theories is probably what’s making you sick.

  75. Nigel Depledge

    AJ in CA (35) said:

    I’m not saying it’s impossible to improve the system, but corporate lobbying isn’t the only thing keeping the reforms from happening, not by a long shot.

    Agreed.

    The process of electioneering needs to be regulated in such a way that it becomes cheaper to get your name on the final ballot paper. This would reduce – but, obviously, not eliminate – the influence of money in the voting process.

    Corporations have a lot of influence because money is so important during an election campaign.

  76. Nigel Depledge

    Mike Mullen (53) said:

    As an UK citizen and Labour Party supporter I think there is one point I feel the need to keep reiterating with regard to US politics; YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY LEFT WING!. Seriously your Democratic party just abouts sits in the centre and everything else is to the right of that, you are kidding yourself if you think otherwise and the notion of Obama as a socialist is just frankly surreal

    Too true.

    Judging from what I have read in fora like this, many Americans don’t seem to know what “socialist” really is.

  77. Nigel Depledge

    Quiet Desperation (61) said:

    Yes, yes, the EU contingent chimes in once again with the same old same old, and TYPING IN ALL CAPS REALLY LENDS WEIGHT TO YOUR ARGUMENT.

    Actually, it doesn’t. But it seems to have made you dismiss it out of hand rather than considering its merits.

    You ever consider that you guys are just way way Left?

    Frequently.

    I’m old enough to remember the 1970s (just!), when we in the UK had a socialist government that was rendered ineffectual by the power of the Trades Unions. This was followed with more than a decade and a half of conservative government, in which Britain edged closer and closer to the American way of doing things.

    But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t have a moderate Liberal party; nor a socialist Labour party, nor even a Communist party (although they got about the same number of votes at each election as the Monster Raving Loonies).

    The previous, Labour, government only garnered enough votes back in ’97 by morphing into a sort of centrist-conservative chimera (“New Labour”). Basically, too many people at the time remembered the failed socialist government of the 70s, and would not vote for a socialist Labour party (yes, I realise it’s more complicated than that, but I’m trying to simplify it to fit it into my lunch break).

    I went to a university that was pretty typical, and had – in the arena of student politics – a very active Socialist Worker party, dedicated to (eventually) introducing true socialism back into Britain.

    No? Didn’t think so.

    As I point out above, you are wrong. We in Europe really do know the difference between left-wing, centrist and right-wing. We have a right wing. At the last general election here in the UK, the British National Party got closer than ever before to participating in parliament (IIUC), and these guys are so conservative they have yet to notice that the 60s happened. we also have a left wing, although it is not currently represented in the UK by any major party.

    *snore*

    Ah. I can’t handle that argument. I bow down to your debating prowess. [/snark]

    Just compare the US and EU constitutions for the contrast.

    Erm … Last time I looked, the EU was a collection of independent nations with no power to enforce anything that was not ratified by each country’s own government. There’s no single constitution per se, just a collection of treaties. But if you do a bit of research, you will notice that the Treaty of Lisbon, although technically in force, has not been ratified by many member states, and so has almost no force anywhere in Europe.

    Was there anything in these treaties that you think is especially left-wing biased? Perhaps you could be a bit more specific, rather than just accusing us of being a bunch of lefties, hmmm?

  78. Mike

    Thanks for being party-neutral on this post, Phil. :)

  79. bigjohn756

    I sincerely hope that the The Denver Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission becomes a reality, because that would take some of the attention off of us Texans.

  80. Jim

    “… an initiative on the ballot to create an alien affairs bureau.”

    Hey, if it passes, you should apply for the job, Phil! I mean, it’s a steady income with nothing to do, leaving you lots of time to write, speak, tour. (If you don’t want it, can I have it?)

    “… got enough signatures (though many were apparently faked) …”

    Or they were (dum, dum, dum) ALIENS!

  81. mike burkhart

    ”Being A sci-fi fan should not qulify any one to sit on the comision ” The people who beleve in UFO conspircys ARE SCI-FI FANS .In fact there in more deeper then I am I like sci-fi for enterment to the UFO crowd this is a religon

  82. MaDeR

    Oookay, week quota of Losing Faith in Humanity was significantly exceeded. And only one time was from article itself.

  83. AJ in CA

    @Noen:
    “It is a fact that among conservatives there is a subset who are also racist. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the English language? “Conservative” is a noun and is used to refer to a subset of society who adhere to conservative principles. “Racist” as I used it is an adjective and in English when it is placed next to a noun it modifies that noun. So the phrase “racist conservatives” would refer to those members of the set of conservative who are also racist.
    Seems like a rather particular brush to me.”

    Ok, so you’re saying that there are Conservatives who happen to be racist. Makes sense.
    But then:

    “Conservative Americans have been motivated by their paranoia and racism from… pretty much the beginning. This isn’t even controversial, or shouldn’t be.”

    Tell me again exactly how you don’t consider this a broad brush? You seem to be implying that the American Conservative movement is virtually built on a foundation of solid racism, but when someone calls you on it, you say “I only meant a FEW Conservatives. You know, the carbon-based ones that breathe oxygen.”

    I don’t even know why the hell I’m defending this position, except that I very much agree with one of Jon Stewart’s recently unveiled slogans: “I disagree, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”

  84. AJ in CA

    Strange, it won’t let me edit my comments now.
    To clarify, I mean to say that as time goes by, I actually find myself getting further and further from the “Conservative” end of things, so this isn’t personal for me. But it still seems rather unlikely to me that one entire corner of the political spectrum can honestly be labeled “racist.”

  85. AJ in CA

    @75 Nigel Depledge: The optimist in me says that web 2.0 is making it possible to reach a larger audience whose size is less dependent on the amount of money spent, but clearly we have a long way to go.
    I’m definitely in favor of as many transparency laws as we can muster: X entity may have the right to make donations to a candidate, but public awareness of those donations can go a long way toward negating industry spin. Again, the intertubes are proving very helpful in this regard :)

  86. Radwaste

    @59: “Why would you only want to know about white community organizers if you aren’t racist?”

    Way to miss the point. Apparently, only “conservatives” or “white people” can be racist. Why else would a presumably-educated fan of Phil’s focus on race and not qualifications when asked something that way?

    I’ll quote Tom Brokaw on election night, about then-Senator Obama: “What do we know of the man?” This from a professional in the media after a year or more of coverage!

    What do you know of the man?

  87. Chris Winter

    MaDeR wrote (#82): “Oookay, week quota of Losing Faith in Humanity was significantly exceeded. And only one time was from article itself.”

    Via PZ Myers, the British New Humanist opens voting on its annual “Bad Faith Award.” Jeff Peckham isn’t on the list, but you should be able to find someone worthy of the title.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/11/bad_faith_awards.php

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