Archive for the ‘Standing on my Soap Box’ Category

Causes of Death Among African-Americans: A Rational Review

June 3, 2021

I’m in favor of everything in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, except for naming the bill after George Floyd. This act, if it becomes law, will strengthen the Justice Department’s tools for investigating police departments, establish a federal registry for bad cops, restrict transfer of military equipment to police, prohibit no knock warrants, and allow police to be sued when they are negligent in an innocent person’s death. African-Americans are still treated unequally by law enforcement, and I am all in favor of ending this discrimination. However, I am against naming the bill after a convicted armed robber. Floyd spent time in prison for sticking a gun in the belly of a pregnant woman. Yet, this piece of shit was given a state hero funeral, and he is about to be posthumously honored by having a bill named after him. I think this is obscene. Sure, Chauvin deserves the long sentence he received for murdering Floyd, but being the victim of a sadistic cop does not make someone a hero. I will never run for office, so I can say something honest that politicians (especially Democrats) can not say–the world is a better place without George Floyd in it (and with Chauvin locked up).

Whenever there is a publicized incident of a cop killing an African-American, everybody breaks into 2 camps–African-American activists who are certain the killing was unjustified, and the police who think they should be allowed to commit police brutality with impunity. The truth is more complicated. Sometimes the police are justified because the suspect endangered their lives or the lives of innocent civilians, and sometimes the police are not justified and become criminals themselves when they kill innocent people. I look at these incidents on a case-by-case basis and don’t always side with 1 camp or the other.

Because these cases get so much publicity, many African-Americans express great fear when they get pulled over by the police. In fact, I’ve heard some state they become “paralyzed with fear” when they encounter a police officer. I’ve heard some claim deaths by police in the U.S. amount to genocide. Chelsea Handler, a white celebrity talk show host, even suggested black people shouldn’t ever cooperate with police, thereby (inadvertently, I’m sure) urging them to commit suicide by cop. I am writing this blog article today to counter this hysteria by showing that the chances of being killed by police are tiny compared to other causes of death.

There are approximately 42 million African-Americans living in the U.S. today. Between the years 2017-2020 an average of 227 black people were killed by the police annually. During this same time period an average of 420 white people were killed by police. But because black people make up a smaller percentage of the population, they suffer a greater chance of being killed. According to a University of Michigan study, black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men. However, this is a small enough number that I would consider it rare. Most were likely resisting arrest in some way. This same study found 1 in every 1000 black men and about 1 in every 2500 white men will die at the hands of the police in their lifetimes but this percentage is surely much smaller for detained people who were not resisting arrest.

For black men between the ages of 20-35 death through the use of police force ranks lower than death from heart attacks. Think about how rare it is for a young man to die of an heart attack, yet there is a greater chance of death from that than from being killed by the police.

A University of Michigan study determined African-American men between the ages of 20-35 are over 2 times more likely to be killed by police than white men that age. Nevertheless, deaths from police brutality rank 6th…behind heart attacks. Chart from the University of Michigan study.

Chart showing deaths at the hands of police by race from 2017-2021. From the Statista Research Department.

Top 10 causes of death for African-American men. Deaths at the hands of the police does not rank in the top 10. Raising public awareness of the importance of an healthy lifestyle would save far more lives than police reform. Chart from the CDC.

Now, let’s compare the risk of death from other causes compared to deaths through the use of police force. On average 73,000 African-Americans die from cancer every year, so black people are 321 times more likely to die of this than from police brutality. On average 86,520 black people die from hypertension yearly, making them 381 times more likely to die from this than police brutality. I’m all for reforming the police, but putting more emphasis on living an healthy lifestyle would save far more lives than police reform.

An average of 4656 black people are killed in car accidents yearly (26 times the risk of death from cops), and 2100 black people on average commit suicide yearly (7.9 times the risk of death from cops). More than 1 study estimates 200,000 people per year die from medical malpractice. This is likely a vast underestimate. Based on this figure, about 30,000 black people die each year in this country due to medical mistakes. So black people should be 132 times more afraid of doctors than the police.

When I first conceived of this blog topic, I wanted to show that the chances of being killed by police were comparable to being struck by lightning. However, based on National Weather Service statistics, only an average of 5 black people are killed by lightning each year. (This was an extrapolation as was the malpractice estimate–neither statistic is broken down by race). So risk of death from use of police force is higher than risk of death from a lightning strike.


Crosby, A.; S. Molock

“Suicidal Behaviors in the African-American Community”

Journal of Black Psychology 12 (3) 2006

Anderson, J.; K. Abrahamson

“Your Health Care May Kill You”

Study Health Technology Information 234 2017

We Live in a World of Whining Woke and Unwoke wimps

February 4, 2021

Stacey Abrams among 2021 Nobel Peace Prize nominees

Stacy Abrams.  She is my hero.  Her voter registration drive delivered Georgia’s electoral votes to Joe Biden.  Sensible African-American women saved democracy in the U.S. for now.

African-American women saved democracy in the United States this past election, and at least delayed the Republican attempts to end the democratic vote for President by 4 years.  If it was up to white voters, an Adolf Hitler wannabe would still be President.  The majority of white voters still supported a corrupt racist rapist who after losing the election attempted the violent takeover of the U.S. government.  It was the overwhelming vote of sensible African-American women who put Joe Biden over the top, not the whining woke wimps who declined to support him because he voted for tough-on-crime legislation 30 years ago.  Woke wimps whine about how mass incarceration is racist, but this is ridiculous revisionist history.  I lived during the time period when this legislation was passed, and I worked in low income neighborhoods where the violent crime rate was high.  I was a route manager for a newspaper circulation department, and I had to deliver newspapers in neighborhoods the carriers were afraid to go into.  Gangbangers carrying Uzi machine guns hung around the corners, and they wanted to sell me crack when I delivered the papers.  Pregnant drug addicted prostitutes offered sex.  I often heard gunshots.  People who lived in these neighborhoods were scared.  So when gangbangers started serving long prison sentences, the violent crime rate went way down, and the people who lived in these neighborhoods were glad.  Now, on Twitter, the drug laws are considered racist.  No, they were not.  Suburban white cokeheads weren’t the ones firing machine guns into people’s homes during stupid turf wars.  Most people in those neighborhoods remember what it was really like, and they voted for Biden almost unanimously.

Woke wimps whining about “white privilege” didn’t win the 2020 election either.  There is nothing lamer than a white liberal (and I am a white liberal) whining about the evils of “white privilege.”  I acknowledge discrimination against black people and their unequal treatment under the law is still a serious problem, and of course alleged discrimination against white people is not even remotely comparable.  But use of the term “white privilege” is in itself offensively racist.  The term stokes resentment against a group of people because of their race.  This is the very definition of racism.  At best the term is unhelpful.  Try telling a poor white person in West Virginia they are privileged, and they will laugh you out of their house.

Woke wimps often whine about “toxic masculinity.”  Men are now considered poison.  Associating the word toxic with masculinity suggests there is something inherently wrong with being a man.  I took issue with the use of this term on Twitter, and a scientist insulted my intelligence by referring me to an online definition that stated “toxic masculinity” applied to men who abuse woman, not all men (like I didn’t know what woke wimps mean when they spout the stupid phrase).  She is wrong and the definition is nonsense.  There is nothing masculine about a man who abuses women.  Linking the word toxic to masculinity is an insult to all men because it implies there is something abusive in our nature.

She must have suffered a “microaggression” when I disagreed with the use of the phrase “toxic masculinity” because she blocked me on Twitter and stopped following my blog.  “Microaggression” is a word woke wimps use, if they experience a perceived slight and get their feelings hurt.  Woke wimps don’t like “boomers” (people born between 1946-1973) because we don’t buy their politically correct Twitter vernacular (in other words horse shit).  A “boomer” telling the truth to a “woke wimp” is guilty of a “microaggression.”  Hey, if the word micro is attached to a word, it means it is minor and not important.  Quit acting butthurt and get over it.

There are plenty of unwoke wimps who can’t endure “microaggressions” either.  Trumpanzees unfriend my wife and I on Facebook, if we dare criticize their demi-God.  Trumpanzees are so brainwashed they worship Trump and act like he is some kind of deity.  This cult of the brainwashed reminds me of the German people before and during World War II when “Heil Hitler” replaced the words “Hello” and “Goodbye.”  Now instead of free thought, all they can do is shout out “Fake News” and “Make America Great Again” and “Build that Wall.”  Trying to engage them in a rational conversation is like talking to a mud puddle.

Another group of whining unwoke wimps call themselves “incel,” meaning involuntary celibate.  Good grief!  These sexist assholes whine about how they can’t get laid, and they blame women.  I want to tell them they should try and improve their social skills.  When I was in my 20s I had a hard time getting laid–maybe because I was a short nerdy dude with low self-esteem–but I never joined a woman-hating club of losers.  I blamed myself and worked on my social skills and eventually did get laid.  Today, there is no reason to be a bitter woman-hating loser.  A man can have virtual sex with the most beautiful women in the world to their liking for $1 a minute.  (See ) It may not be as good as the real thing, but it is a nice substitute.  If virtual internet sex had existed when I was their age, I would have never gotten off the computer.  Some of these nice enterprising ladies even offer the girlfriend experience.  I’ve been married for 27 years, and I don’t need this–if I want the girlfriend experience I can get off the computer, go in the other room, and get in an argument with my wife–but some of these “incel” losers could use it.  Their social skills might improve, and they might really get laid.

Last week, I wrote about our evolutionary ancestor–Heidelberg man.  It’s hard not to see the contrast between Heidelberg man and modern day woke and unwoke wimps.  Heidelberg man was probably satisfied with a full belly of whatever roots or dead meat they could find, a little stone or wood shelter, and raggedy furs to wrap around themselves and keep warm.  Modern day wimps can have just about anything they want at the tips of their fingers when they go on the internet.  Instead of being happy, they go ape shit when a 20 year old video of a celebrity making a politically incorrect comment is discovered.  Brainwashed idiots, incapable of critical thinking, storm the capitol because the sore loser they voted for conned them into an insurrection.  Don’t let anybody tell you economics had anything to do with the insurrection.  These unpatriotic fascists were able to afford to take time off work and travel across the country and participate in an hysterical temper tantrum that will end up forcing many to serve long prison sentences.  They could have stayed at home, got drunk on wine ordered from the finest vineyards, consumed edible THC, ordered home-delivered pizza on a phone app, and had virtual sex with a woman who measured 40-30-40.  What would Heidelberg man do?

Trump-Supporting Christians are a Bunch of Full of Shit Hypocrites

August 31, 2020

I have no respect for the stupid pieces of shit who voted for Donald Trump.  Their gullibility is astounding.  They believe every word this clownish con man says, no matter how ridiculous or easily fact-checked and debunked.    Indeed, they disregard facts and reality as “fake news” and would rather live in an alternate reality where they think Trump is carrying out orders directly given by Jesus.  Deep down, they may not actually believe everything Trump says, but they like the way he re-affirms their hidden and usually not so hidden racism.  They just love the way he demonizes brown-skinned people.  80% of white evangelical Christians support Trump, making this group his most steadfast supporters. They are colossal hypocrites.  During the Clinton impeachment hearings 60% of evangelical Christians thought poor moral character disqualified a candidate from being president.  Now that Trump, the most immoral man on the planet, is president, only 20% think poor moral character disqualifies a candidate from being president.

On NPR a few days ago, a journalist was interviewing wavering Trump supporters about their reaction to the Republican National Convention.  Some jerk from North Carolina said Trump won him over again when Trump invoked God as the savior who would solve all the current world problems.  (Incidentally, this jerk said he was to the right of the Republican Party which would classify him as a fascist.)  What?  Trump doesn’t believe in God.  Trump has broken at least half of the 10 Commandments.  He’s committed adultery with Stormy Daniels and numerous beauty queens and porn stars, and over 50 women have accused him of sexual assault.  He’s regularly broken the commandment against stealing, and he currently is still breaking that commandment.  He ripped off college students with his phony university, and he often didn’t pay the construction workers who built his buildings.  His entire family used a charity as a campaign slush fund.  And currently he is using the White House to enrich his business in violation of the emoluments clause of the constitution by continuing to own hotels used by diplomats and lobbyists attempting to curry favor with him.

Trump also violates the commandment against idolatry when he names buildings after himself, and laughably he asked how he could get a graven image of himself added to Mt. Rushmore.  Trump bears false witness on a daily basis–he’s told over 20,000 documented lies since he’s been president.  This is an astonishing number, even for a politician.  Trump has indirectly violated the commandment not to kill.  His incompetence has led to the deaths of over 180,000 people from Covid, and his policy of de-regulating environmental protections will lead to the premature deaths of tens of thousands more people.  When Trump invokes the name of a God he doesn’t believe in, he is using the name of the Lord in vain.

Thank you, Jesus" - Extreme Donald Trump fans - CBS News

Look at the fanatical cult-like support Trump has among evangelical Christians.  Note also the sea of white faces.

I’ve been unfriended on Facebook by a few of my peers that I graduated from high school with because of my criticism of Trump and their support for that pig.  I’m sorry to say most white suburban men my age (I am 58) still support Trump, despite his obvious incompetence, failures, and inability to handle the job of presidency.  These Trump supporters are evangelical Christians who constantly post biblical scripture on their Facebook pages–it is “Praise Jesus this and Praise Jesus that.”  Their hypocrisy is disgusting.  Trump goes against just about all of Jesus’s teachings.  Jesus said it is easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven.  Trump’s tax cuts benefitted the rich and increased the tax burden (especially in the long run) on the poor working class people.  His recent proposal for a payroll tax cut will bankrupt Social Security in 3 years.  Rich people don’t need Social Security, but poor people sure do.  Trump also wants to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act which would take health care away from tens of millions.  What would Jesus do?  Deprive poor people of health care?  Would he be for separating children from their parents and putting them in cages?

Trump deliberately incites strife, pitting groups of people against each other–certainly another action Jesus would not approve of.  Instead of working with big city mayors to quell civil unrest, Trump is blaming them and sending thugs in unmarked vans to abduct peaceful protestors, thus pouring gasoline on the fire.  Instead of a plan to bring police and protestors together to discuss their differences, Trump openly sides with police brutality, encouraging them to slam car doors on protestors heads.

One of my former Facebook friends told me he likes the way Trump is working to block illegal immigration because he doesn’t want them to bring drugs across the border.  This is another example of hypocrisy.  I enjoyed doing drugs with this Trumpanzee in college, he once bird-dogged a drug deal for me, and he was arrested by the DEA on a college campus where he was doing drugs in the open.  But now, he wants to stop undocumented people from crossing the border because a tiny minority of them might be drug dealers.  The bible says we should welcome immigrants whether they are legal or not.  In Hebrews 13:2 it says strangers shall be welcomed and even entertained.  And in Malachi 3:5 it says God will pass judgement on those who turn aside strangers.  My ex-Facebook pals probably think that only applies to white immigrants.

Trump’s following is cult-like.  I think he literally could shoot someone on 5th avenue and his support would not fall below 40%.  The absurd Qanon conspiracy theory is spreading most rapidly among evangelical Christians, and this is not surprising.  Shmucks dumb enough to believe in a bizarre end of the world cult are dumb enough to believe Trump is battling a secret deep state group of cannibals and child molesters.

I’m confident Biden would beat Trump in a landslide, if the election was fair.  Trump’s presidency has been an embarrassing failure, and thankfully enough smart people can see through his re-election strategy of blaming Biden for the civil unrest occurring during Trump’s presidency.  No president has ever been re-elected with an economy that includes a tripling of the unemployment rate, and Trump should have already been removed from office for asking a foreign leader to interfere in our elections.  However, I’m afraid the seeds of sabotage have been sown.  An overwhelming number of mail-in ballots sent in by Democrats just won’t be delivered in time because Trump’s crony is now in charge of the postal service.  Instead of a crushing defeat like Trump deserves, there will be a disputed close result, and it will be up to the Supreme Court.  I don’t really believe in prayer.  Nevertheless, I’m praying for John Roberts to side with decency.


The BDS Movement is Ignorant Anti-Semitism

September 21, 2019

I need a periodical to read when I sit on the can every morning.  Lately, I haven’t been able to settle on any particular magazine or newspaper.  For a while I subscribed to  The Nation, but I got tired of reading their articles unfairly criticizing Israel.  By subscribing to  The Nation I got on the mailing list for a periodical known as  The Progressive Populist. I am a progressive but not a populist.  Populism gave us the likes of Trump and Brexit.   The Progressive Populist also publishes articles unfairly critical of Israel written by Juan Cole–a regular contributor for them.  I never heard of this jerk, but the Wikipedia entry for him notes he espouses the stereotypical anti-Semitic trope that Jews hold dual loyalty to the U.S. and Israel.  (Incidentally, Trump expresses this same belief.)  The column he wrote for  The Progressive Populist that I read was nothing but a grotesquely distorted version of Middle Eastern history.

Adolf Hitler talking to Grand Mufti Haj Amin el Husseini

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was an ally of Adolf Hitler.  Cole didn’t mention this fact in his column glossing over the history of the region.

Juan Cole is considered by some to be an academic fraud.  They say his research is unoriginal and from what I have read merely parrots the ridiculous anti-Semitism taught in Arab schools.  In the column of his that I read he skipped 30 years of history and started with stating how Jewish militants attacked Arabs in 1948, making it sound like the Arabs were innocent victims.  Arab murderers had been attacking and even wiping out Jewish settlements for decades prior to the birth of Israel.  Jews were finally defending themselves, but much of the world considers it a war crime when Jews fight back.  The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, an ally of Adolf Hitler, began a war of anti-Jewish terrorism and violence during 1947, and when Israel declared independence a year later the entire Arab world declared war against them and started an invasion.  The dictatorships of all these Arab nations were patterned after Nazi Germany.  So Israel was battling for its life against Arabs influenced by Nazis.  Cole never mentions this.  Despite an enormous manpower advantage, the Arabs were defeated.

Juan Cole, an anti-Semitic professor on the faculty of the University of Michigan.  The University of Michigan should be renamed anti-Semite University.  John Cheney-Lippold, another professor on the faculty, refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student who wanted to study in Israel because the professor supports the BDS movement. This professor was sanctioned (he had tenure and couldn’t be fired), but 200 professors on the faculty signed a letter supporting him. Other professors host blatantly anti-Semitic guest speakers. Perhaps not coincidentally, there are more anti-Semitic incidents on the campus there than on the campus of any other university in the country.

Many Arabs living in Israel left their homes during Israel’s war of independence, hoping to come back after the Arab armies wiped out the Jews.  Cole accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” but the only real “ethnic cleansing” that would have occurred in this region would have happened if Israel would’ve lost that war.  This left many Arab refugees who were forcibly kept in refugee camps by their fellow Arabs.  Instead of helping their fellows, Arabs wanted their misfortune to fester, so they would feel hostility toward Israel, and the world would become sympathetic toward the so-called Palestinian fate and not Israel.  But there is really no such thing as a Palestinian.  There was never a country known as Palestine.  Zahir Muhsein, a founding member of the PLO executive committee, once admitted as much.  This is what he said: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.  It is just an Arab tactic for the destruction of Israel.”  The so-called Palestinians are just Arabs who happen to live in the region.  They are no different from any other Arab.  Arabs who remained in Israel and didn’t flee are now Israeli citizens and can vote and hold political office.

Omir Barghouti, a citizen of Qatar, has lived in Israel since 1994.  He founded the BDS movement in 2006.  The BDS stands for boycott, divest, and sanction; and the goal of this movement is to economically strangle Israel.  Barghouti admittedly doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, and he wants to see it completely destroyed.  The movement has been a colossal flop–Israel’s GDP has doubled since 2006.  Nevertheless, many liberal academic professors and brainwashed students support the BDS movement.  It is nothing more than ignorant anti-Semitism.  Why are they singling out the Jewish state?  There are hundreds of countries in the world with a worse human rights record than Israel.  For example why don’t they boycott Chinese goods to show solidarity with the Muslims in China who are oppressed by the Chinese government?  It is a moral double standard.  The call to boycott Israeli made products recalls the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses during the 1930s in Germany.

It is popular among critics of Israel to accuse them of “apartheid.”  This is just ridiculous.  Jews live side by side with Arabs throughout Israel.  Israel does restrict movement of Arabs living in occupied territories, but this is self-defense.  Those Arabs have started countless wars of terror against Israel, and many still want to see Israel destroyed.  I would like to ask these people critical of Israel, if they would let someone live in their house who has threatened to kill them.  If not, they are practicing apartheid.

Arabs unhappy living on the West Bank should just move to Jordan.  The West Bank was part of Jordan until 1967 when Israel won that land fair and square in a war.  West Bank Arabs were not clamoring for an independent state when the territory belonged to Jordan.  Over 20 years ago, there was a deal on the table that would’ve given West Bank Arabs an independent state, but they rejected it because they didn’t want to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

The BDS movement is the left’s version of anti-Semitism, but there is plenty of anti-Semitism on the right as well.  Whenever right wingers start talking about George Soros conspiracies, they are engaging in age old accusations that Jews control all the money and power–a classic tool of anti-Semitic propagandists.

Republicans are Evil and Must be Destroyed

August 24, 2019

Republicans believe in 3 principles: tax cuts for the rich, punishing brown-skinned people and poor women, and letting polluters pollute as much as they want.  With their overwhelming support for Trump they have completely lost any claim of having the moral high ground.  Trump is a racist rapist who incited a mass shooting.  And he is a colossal crook.  There is plenty of credible evidence that this racist rapist is guilty of bank fraud, insurance fraud, tax fraud, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and money laundering.  He is unconstitutionally profiting from the office.  Everyday, he says and tweets ridiculous lies in a way that demonstrates a mind that is falling apart.  Yet, the Republican Party of crooked pigs rarely dares to point to the emperor who wears no clothes.  Trump is a fake president.

My blog focuses mainly on natural history, so I will limit most of this essay to a couple of recent decisions by the Trump administration that will harm innocent animals. Killing the innocent furry creatures is a perfect example of evil.  The Interior department, now unethically led by an oil company executive, decided to allow the use of cyanide bombs to kill predators.  This decision is stupid, unscientific, and mean-spirited.  Studies suggest this type of predator control program does not work.  Coyotes produce larger litter sizes in response to human predation, and cyanide bombs often kill everything except coyotes, including endangered animals and people’s pet dogs and cats.  The Trump administration discontinued studies on the effectiveness of cyanide bombs because they know the science will prove they are wrong.

Trump administration pigs will allow the use of cyanide bombs that indiscriminately kill a variety of innocent animals. How disgusting.

The Trump administration has also decided to roll back protections found in the Endangered Species Act.  They are eliminating protections for threatened species. It will allow industry puppets who now work within the administration to list species as threatened rather than endangered, and they just won’t bother to protect them.

A minority of Americans support the Republican Party, but they enjoy outsize influence.  There are 3 steps that must be taken to politically destroy the Republican Party.  The electoral college must be replaced with a popular vote for the president.  Over the past 20 years the Democratic candidate for president has received more votes than the Republican twice, yet has lost the elections because of this archaic method that harkens back to the days of slavery.  This effects 2 branches of government.  With a popular vote instead of the electoral college, the Democratic president could have picked liberal justices for the Supreme Court.  Liberals would have a 7-2 majority on the Supreme Court, more accurately reflecting the wishes of the American people.  Instead, there is a danger that conservatives could have a 7-2 majority soon, if some of these elderly liberals pass away.  Another change should be a reduction of Senatorial representation in small states from 2 to 1.  The Dakotas, Montana, and Idaho have too much political power for their size.  Is it really fair that rural mostly white people have hundreds of times more political power than inner city mostly black people?  Finally, gerrymandering must be eliminated.  Districts are drawn in many states that give Republicans far more power than they deserve.  Wisconsin and North Carolina are 2 examples of this unfair representation.  The racist Supreme Court recently decided they weren’t going to do anything about gerrymandering because it was a state issue.  Talk about Catch-22.

I know these steps will be difficult to take, but it’s the only way to get rid of the evil Republicans who make up a minority in this country, yet have far more political power than they should.

Do Astronauts Masturbate in Space?

July 20, 2019

My favorite segment of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO is his New Rules.  A few weeks ago he was critical of the ridiculous aspiration some chumps have that humans should go to Mars.

He’s right.  Wasting money on a manned trip to Mars is really a stupid idea.  Humans can not live in space.  Humans can exist in space for awhile, using very expensive equipment, but I wouldn’t call that living.  Some nerds expressed their outrage toward Bill Maher on Twitter, but I defended him and got into an argument with Max Fagin, an aerospace engineer who works for Madein Space Aerodynamics–a company that manufactures optic fiber and other products in micro-gravity.  On his Facebook page Fagin claims that he is going to be one of the first people to land on Mars.  Yeah, right.  Traveling to Mars is extremely difficult.  Even unmanned missions to Mars have had a high rate of failure.  There have been 28 failed unmanned missions to Mars compared to just 19 successful missions.  And these are unmanned missions.  Just imagine how risky a manned mission could be.  Moreover, being trapped in a space capsule for that long is akin to some kind of cruel and unusual punishment.  It would take about 7 months to get there and 7 months to return–about as long as the longest space station mission ever.  (A Russian cosmonaut once stayed in a space station for 438 days.)  So for over a year, the astronauts would not be able to go for a walk in the woods and hear birds singing.  They wouldn’t be able to do any outdoor activities, and there are many indoor activities they would miss out on as well.  There is no sex in space.  When I suggested to Max Fagin there was no sex in space, he responded by telling me I hadn’t thought this through, and he then ended our discussion.  No, he  hasn’t thought this through.  Sex in microgravity would be difficult and uncomfortable.

It is against NASA’s regulations to have sex in space…even to masturbate.  Bodily fluids might float around inside the capsule and foul their expensive machines.  But let’s say NASA allowed sex as an experiment.  There would still be difficulties.  In microgravity the blood that normally goes to the sex organs rises to the head, making it hard to achieve and maintain an erection, and this can cause an headache during sex as well.  Even if an erection can be established, the partners would float apart.  A suit with Velcro has been designed that would hold the coupling pair together, but really…does that sound sexy? The lack of privacy is also not particularly sexy–I know I wouldn’t want professional colleagues watching me have sex.  Astronauts experience lowered testosterone levels in microgravity, and this too would likely dampen desire.

Nerds dream about establishing colonies in space, but reproduction would be a real problem. A fetus would be exposed to high levels of radiation, resulting in increased rates of mutation, and most mutations are harmful.  NASA has experimented with rats in space.  Rats impregnated in space suffer higher rates of failed pregnancies.  Humans would eventually become extinct, if forced to live in space, even with advanced technology.

I’m all for unmanned missions and super telescopes because scientific knowledge is never a bad thing.  But manned space missions are an expensive boondoggle that humans can’t afford when there are so many unsolved problems on earth that require loads of cash to solve.

Irksome Pundit Speak: That said at the End of the Day he Doubled Down and It is What It Is

May 26, 2019

I watch too many cable news shows.  News networks that strictly report news get killed in the ratings, so most are 50% news and 50% opinion.  News networks hire pundits who comment on the news of the day.  Most pundits are has-been politicians or former aides to has-been politicians.  Almost all use annoying clichés that drive me crazy.  They can use a whole string of clichés to complete a sentence that in essence is completely meaningless.  Pundits can have entire conversations with each other without saying anything.  Here are some of the clichés they use that are the most irksome.

That said. Pundits use “that said” after they make 1 point and want to address a counterpoint.  The phrase is extraneous.  It is unnecessary to say “that said” because they already said something, and the viewers know what they just said.  I’ve even come across this phrase in written editorials.  I want to tell them “you didn’t say it, you wrote it, you idiot.” Whatever happened to the good old fashioned “however” or “on the other hand.”

At the end of the day. Pundits use “at the end of the day” to conclude their point.  Again, this is a completely unnecessary phrase.  When a pundit is finished making their point all they need to do is shut up and let somebody else speak.  Besides there is never an end to a political argument–they go on forever, long past the “end of the day.”

He doubled down. Pundits use this to describe a politician who makes a terrible gaffe, but instead of apologizing or admitting they misspoke, they defend their idiotic statement.  For example a politician could claim there was such a thing as consensual rape. (A Missouri state senator actually said this a few weeks ago.  What is it about Missouri politicians and their absurd views about “legitimate”  and “consensual” rape?) Instead of apologizing or admitting he misspoke the politician might say “there is consensual rape and 15 year old girls should be drafted to serve as sex slaves for our patriotic soldiers.”  Politicians who refuse to admit they said something dumb are not doubling anything.  They are just stupid.

It is what it is. This is perhaps the most meaningless cliché of all.  It means absolutely nothing  I can’t even explain what people are saying when they use this phrase.  It was what it was and could if it could but it would what it would.  What? I suggest to anyone with the urge to say “it is what it is” to just shut the hell up.

Image result for Chris Matthews

Hardball with Chris Matthews is my favorite cable news show.  He asks the tough questions.  Usually.

Don’t Ever Pray for Me

March 18, 2019

Years ago, I heard a memorable line from a war movie (I think it was Steel Helmet) that goes something like this, “There are only 2 kinds of men who have ever lived on earth: those who have died and those who are going to die.”  An officer was trying to inspire his men to attack with an attitude of we’re all going to die anyway.  I like to believe I’m going to live forever, but I suppose I’m no different from all the other people on earth, and someday I will die.  After I die I want to be buried in a cheap pine box, so future paleontologists can study my bones, if they haven’t decayed to nothing.  I do not want anyone, especially a shithead rabbi or minister to pray for me.  I believe in science, and I have always believed in science ever since I could reason as a small boy.  I consider prayer to be unscientific wishful thinking, and when I see other people offering to pray for something I just feel annoyed at how mindlessly brainwashed people can be.  At best prayer is superficially comforting and at worst it can be detrimental.


Steel Helmet was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful movie about the Korean War made by Sam Fuller and released in 1951.  It was made on a shoestring budget, using carboard tanks.

A comprehensive study of prayer determined heart surgery patients had worse outcomes when they knew people were praying for them.  The study looked at 1800 heart bypass surgery patients over a 10 year period.  The researchers divided them into 3 groups–patients who were anonymously prayed for but didn’t know it, patients who were not prayed for, and patients who were prayed for and knew it.  Patients who knew they were being prayed for suffered the most complications.  Scientists think this is because the knowledge they were being prayed for caused anxiety and stress.  The patients feared they were dying when they knew people were praying for them and thus had worse outcomes.  I remember when my father lay comatose and dying 5 years ago, and some idiotic doctor loudly prayed while standing over him in the Emergency Room.  What a jerk.  The doctor was supposed to be a man of science, yet he’s reciting some mumbo jumbo.  It didn’t help, and if my dad could understand anything, it probably caused anxiety.  I’m still pissed off about this incident.

My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer last month.  Her friends have been following her case on Facebook, and they keep praying for her, and their prayers keep failing.  First, when her mammogram presented a suspicious result, they prayed the follow up mammogram would clear her.  It didn’t, and she had to have a needle biopsy, so they prayed for a benign result.  The lab result showed it was an invasive carcinoma.  After an MRI she was scheduled for a lumpectomy 2 weeks ago, and her friends prayed that would turn out ok.  A panel of doctors reviewed her case and determined she needed another needle biopsy, and her friends prayed for that.  After these results the doctors determined she needed a mastectomy.  Her friends keep praying for her, and she keeps getting worse results.  I wish they would stop praying for her before her results spiral any further into the negative.  Maybe her luck would start changing.  Maybe they should start praying to the flying spaghetti monster instead of Jesus.  I know I don’t want any of these people to ever pray for me because their prayers have proven not to work.

Image result for flying spaghetti monster

Maybe my wife’s friends should start praying to the flying spaghetti monster. They might get better results.

My wife needs to see a plastic surgeon before her mastectomy, but he keeps postponing her appointment.  (The plastic surgeon inserts an expander during the mastectomy, so it can later be filled with a saline implant.)  I’m rooting for the Dolly Parton implant, though I’m sure my wife and the plastic surgeon will choose symmetry.  But what if I prayed for a Dolly Parton insert?  Maybe that’s the 1 prayer destined to be answered.


Benson, H.; et. al.

“Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in Cardiac Bypass Patients: A Multicenter Randomized Trial of Uncertainty and Certainty of Receiving Intercessory Prayer”

American Heart Journal April 2006


Lunch Counter Sit-Ins and Trump Voters

January 21, 2019

Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights movement during the 1960s, and his strategy was to use the non-violent tactics that Ghandi had successfully employed to propel India’s independence from Great Britain 20 years earlier.  In the southern regions of the United States (and some other parts of the nation) African-Americans were not even allowed to sit in a restaurant next to where white people sat.  As ridiculous as this seems, most white southerners supported this policy.  A century after the Civil War they were still bitter over losing that conflict, and they resented being forced to treat African-Americans as equal citizens.  Whenever a white southerner claims they are against the “tyranny of the federal government” what they really mean is they resent not being allowed to oppress African-Americans.  This hypocrisy has always annoyed me.  Many white southerners believe in oppressing other people, yet they act as if they are the victims of oppression.

56 years ago, Civil Rights protestors dared to sit at the segregated lunch counters of Woolworth’s Department Stores.  Below is a photo of 1 famous incident when a gang of mostly white teenagers harassed them.  The Civil Rights protestors used non-violence, and passively sat there while they were being abused.  The young punks dumped milk shakes on their heads, and threw food on them.  Finally, 1 of them dragged an African-American off his stool and repeatedly kicked him in the face, while a white police officer stood by and did nothing.  The police man eventually arrested both of them, as if the victim was just as guilty as the perpetrator.  The Civil Rights movement was ultimately successful…within the following few years both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act officially guaranteed the equal status of African-Americans, though white southerners still opposed these federal laws on the grounds of states rights.  And an extremist right wing Supreme Court has gravely weakened the latter.

Image result for woolworth lunch counter sit in

The famous lunch counter sit-in at a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina.  I bet every single member of that white mob that is still alive voted for Donald Trump.

It occurred to me when I looked at this photo that most of the white people in that mob (the shmucks who are still alive, at least) were about 69 years old during the 2016 election and that every single 1 of them likely voted for Donald Trump.  People change.  It’s possible 1 or 2 of them has been enlightened, and now has more liberal views, but I doubt it.  Trump directly appealed to racists and xenophobes in the United States during his campaign.  He still frequently appeals to them during his presidency, making him the most divisive president in U.S. history.  (and, no, Obama was not a divisive president.  It wasn’t his fault that racists kept getting more and more pissed off over the years because a black man was president.)  Trump opened up his campaign by scapegoating Mexicans and Muslims.  This alone should have been enough to disqualify him from getting elected, but instead it awoke an ugly part of America that unfortunately was populous enough to get him over the electoral finish line in our archaic election process.  (The electoral college is a throwback to when the framers of the constitution went out of their way to appease the slave-holding states.)  Now, many politicians are copying his tactic, though I’m skeptical it will continue to work.  White racists are outnumbered.

I hate Donald Trump, but he is just 1 sleazy real estate crook.  I hold more hatred for the disgusting ignoramuses who voted for him.  Trump-voters are the same kind of people who put my relatives in concentration camps during WWII.  It infuriates me how they are so easily taken in by a con artist who plays on their unfounded fears of brown-skinned people.   The latest controversy is over Trump’s racist wall.  The government has been shut down for over a month because of this nonsense.  The wall–an impossible boondoggle–would stop no one from coming in this country.  People can tunnel under it, climb over it, fly over it, come here legally and overstay their visa, or go to Canada and walk across the border where there is no call for a wall because Canada is a mostly white country. Racists don’t fear Canadians.  Hispanics are no threat to us.  In fact they can save Social Security by contributing to payroll taxes.

The racist wall is simply a symbolic message that states brown-skinned people are not welcome here.  That is why it is an immoral wall.  I stand with Nancy Pelosi.

The Fear Island Special that Aired on Animal Planet Last Night was Full of Shit

June 4, 2018

The Animal Planet network has a history of airing misleading pseudo-science on many of their specials.  In their fake documentaries, researchers (usually actors posing as scientists) are on the hunt for creatures undiscovered by science.  In the past they have supposedly discovered evidence for mermaids and the continued existence of a long extinct shark species known as Carcharodon megalodon.  Last night, they aired a special culminating Monster Week entitled Fear Island.  A trio including a so-called scientist, a skeptic, and an Indian tracker were following a particularly large specimen of Kodiak bear.  The so-called scientist had a theory that Kodiak bears were either an hybrid between brown bears (Ursus arctos) X polar bears (Ursus maritimus) or an hybrid between brown bears X and an extinct species of bear from the Pleistocene (Arctodus simus).  They used camera traps and collected DNA samples from hair and feces to prove that this bear was an hybrid, and that it was 2600 pounds which would make it more than double the size of an ordinary Kodiak bear.  This gave the show a verisimilitude of real science, but it was not.

Image result for Fear Island on Animal Planet misleading

Don’t believe anything you see on Animal Planet.  They air unscientific bullshit.

There was a big problem with this special–scientists have already conducted many genetic studies of the Kodiak bear population.  Kodiak bears grow to more than double the size of the average mainland brown bear because of their diet…not because they are somehow a different species.  They enjoy an unusual abundance of salmon.  Genetic studies suggest Kodiak bears are the same species as the brown bear, and there is no admixture of polar bear in this population.  Moreover, the genetic studies indicate there is so little genetic difference between mainland brown bears and Kodiak bears that the latter should not even be considered a separate subspecies.  Nevertheless, at the end of the special Animal Planet claimed their genetic tests determined the Kodiak bear the hosts were following was a brown bear X polar bear hybrid, but tests to determine if there was giant short-faced bear DNA were inconclusive.  I promise, this supposed genetic test will never be subject to peer review in a real scientific journal because they were full of shit.  The giant short faced bear belonged to the Tremarctine group indigenous to the Americas, and these bears were separated from the Ursus bears by millions of years of evolution, making it highly unlikely that they ever interbred.  Plus, there is no genetic material of giant short-faced bears available for comparison.  So, of course, that finding would be inconclusive.

No way did the bear they were following weigh 2600 pounds as they estimated.  Any brown bear walking past a camera trap is going to look big, and I’m sure their estimate was badly miscalculated.  To prove it weighed that much, they would actually have to weigh it.

The Indian tracker told of an incident when 6 bears carried a dead bear to an hole they dug and buried it in a funeral like ceremony.  He told it with a straight face, but obviously he was pulling their leg.  Nevertheless, the so-called skeptic believed his story.  Don’t believe anything you see on Animal Planet.  This network lost its credibility a long time ago.