RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/November 2009

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November 2009[edit]

7In a stunning display of obnoxiousness, A judge in Argentina prevents a gay couple from marrying just after same-sex marriage was legalized there.
2Time magazine quoting critics of the minaret ban in Switzerland: The People's Party did it to "push its populist, anti-immigrant agenda on the Swiss electorate." Uh, hint, fellows: Next time you trot out the "such-and-such legislative act has contradicted the democratic will" shtick, make sure you aren't commenting on a referendum.
3In 2006, George W. Bush was hot to sell P&O -- the company that runs 22 U.S. ports -- to Dubai World, the Dubai corporation that (if you can't guess by its name) wants to run the world. It was a deal so bad that the Republicans who then controlled Congress revolted against the plan. A good thing, considering the recent meltdown of the Dubai economy.
7Hot! Science! To celebrate its 350th bithday, the Royal Society is publishing its 60 most influential papers online. Visit them here.
0Remember Willie Horton? The convicted murderer that the state of Massachusetts released on a weekend furlough in 1986? The one who didn't return and raped a woman in Maryland and almost killed her fiance? The one that appeared in a pro-George H.W. Bush commercial during the 1988 U.S. Presidential Election? Remember him? (See the Wikipedia article on Willie Horton., in case you don't.) Turns out that Mike Huckabee -- remember him from the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election? -- has had his SECOND Willie Horton moment. While he was governor of Arkansas, Huckabee commuted the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, the man believed to have killed four police officers on Sunday in the state of Washington. Huckabee is deflecting blame to the justice systems in Arkansas and Washington. (A Washington judge granted Clemmons bail last week after he was arrested for child rape.)
13Freedom of architecture is euthanised in Switzerland
10Self appointed "bishop" Brian Tamaki of the Destiny Church, New Zealand, has 700 of his "sons" sign an oath requiring their absolute loyalty to him. In a related story; sales of Kool-aid reach record levels.
0Khmer Rouge death camp superintendent asks for forgiveness. Why? he was "just following orders"
3BBC: Council replaces real Christmas tree with a fake one for reasons of safety as cost effectiveness. Daily Mail: THEY'RE DESTROYING CHRISTMAS! IT'S POLITICAL CORRECTNESS AND HEALTH & SAFETY GONE MAD!
8Irish Church might be in trouble.
5The ultimate paperweight - scientists trap a rainbow.
0Scientists try to decode turkey geneome (this research is being done at Virginia Tech so this could be the goal).
2Hot Science: Another step closer to spintronics (bonus reporting points for explaining what spin actually is, minus a couple of points for putting "quantum mechanical" in quote-marks).
12Historical revisionism, perhaps? There were no terrorist attacks under President Bush.
4The right wing militia movement -- They're baaaaaaaaack!
0This Thanksgiving, consider volunteering your time or donating money to help homeless shelters and food banks. There is a massive shortage of turkeys due to the recession.
0Global warming denialists hack a climate change research website and publish the unflattering results. Debate about "climategate" begins almost instantly.
5So much for the idea that civil partnerships are equivalent to marriage.
7A ten-point conservative "purity test" is created in order to measure the commitment of Republican candidates for government office. However, they take a quip from His Holiness Ronald Reagan in a literal fashion and tolerate a limited amount of dissent from the party line.
6Heatwave kills the world's oldest goat sheep.
15At an anti-immigration rally, one brave patriot demands the government get to the root of the matter, with a rousing chant of "Columbus Go Home! Protestors take an embarrassingly long time to realize they've been trolled.
13BOOM! The LHC smashes its first atoms. And not a Black Hole in sight.
10Christian Scientists want the health care bill to have a "spiritual health care" provision.
7Moonies are having a schism.
5Support for legalizing "it" grows.
7The "blame everything on computer games" saga continues: A human rights group play tests a few games and concludes that games that feature human rights abuses... well, they feature human rights abuses! And that's bad!
3Now this sure beats matzo balls and challah.
6There are problems with IQ tests, such as that they don't label Dubya as dumb, so researchers in Toronto have come up with a new metric: the Rationality Quotient!
0Iran begins war games (and no they DIDN'T hack into NORAD).
2The New York Times: Right-wingers are wrongheadedly assigning ultimate blame to Islamists for the Fort Hood shooting. We, on the other hand, blame retaliating against an attack on the U.S. Right-Wing Foreign Policy.
2Apparently forgetting the meaning of the word gifted, New York parents are enrolling their four-year-old children in test prep to get them into gifted-and-talented kindergartens without paying.
2Sarah Palin: Illegal Jewish settlements should be allowed to continue. Maybe one day she'll be able to see them from her front door.
11Teabagger paranoia knows no bounds. ACORN - an organisation nobody had heard of 3 years ago - managed to steal 10 million votes.
3The Senate votes to bring the health care bill to the floor with a full Democratic majority. Let the conservative screech-fest commence!
4European commission forces UK to backtrack on laws that would allow churches to refuse to hire gay staff.
6Second time lucky for the LHC
8A 10-year-old boy refuses to heil the glorious Fuhrer pledge allegiance to the flag until there really is "justice for all"
5The cult of American anti-intellectualism continues with a rally led by the Führer Sarah Palin.
12Boy, 13, threatens to do a school shooting. Is it because of complex social issues, disenfranchisement with a system that has high expectations or the ease of him getting a gun? Nah, blame computer games, because everyone knows that World of Warcraft involves shooting innocent people with guns...
8The UN says that proper family planning (e.g. condom use) would help fight global warming. Prepare for an unholy alliance of global warming denialists and fundagelicals.
13Four years ago, Texas voters passed a 22 word constitutional amendment that was supposed to ban gay marriage. Now, a Houston lawyer says that the law is so poorly written that it bans all forms of marriage within the state.
6My newspaper isn't controlled by the church, I just require my senior editors to attend "creepy" mass marriage ceremonies.
4Argentine judge grants gay couple marriage license. The Argentina parliament is now debating two measures that would allow gay marriage. (Audio clip) Right wingers are now tripping over each other to be the first to make a "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" joke.
0For more than a generation, American free marketeers have mass-produced low-quality food loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, fought to decimate public education, and promoted the philosophy that cheating is acceptable as long as you get rich. The result? Now that the military industrial complex needs new recruits, 75 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 are too fat, too uneducated and/or too criminal for military service.
6The Church of Scientology in the spotlight in Australia.
1Don't worry ladies, most guys are happy to provide breast cancer screenings to women under 50
6With no-one to look after her infant son, a soldier from Georgia refuses deployment. So of course she's facing charges for her lack of responsibility.
8Sarah Palin has decided that she will probably not run for President in 2012; the world breathes a sigh of relief.
6Our president shows respect and courtesy towards the Japanese emperor. Conservative response? "Fuck that!"
15Do you know what "strict liability" is? It means that Paul Clarke of Reigate will now be serving 5 years in jail for doing the right thing.
-2Homeskoolerz dominate the National Bible Bee.
7Sarah Palin's book is riddled with factual errors and inconsistencies. In other news, the sky is blue and bears shit in the woods.
875-year-old Arkansas Evangelist Tony Alamo gets 175 years in prison for using his status as a "prophet" to force young girls (some as young as 8) into having sex with him in return for "salvation".
7NASA says there's water on the moon. Just sayin'. No big deal.
-2THATCHER IS DEAD! ...or not.
5Governor Carcieri of Rhode Island, a gay rights opponent, vetoes a bill that would allow homosexuals to make funeral arrangements for their deceased partners.
5Harun Yahya, Turkey's answer to Ray Comfort, has imported many of the nutjob tactics used by U.S. creationists. Now, Turkish science teachers are being forced to waste valuable classroom time dispelling the Muslim equivalent of Discovery Institute talking points.
6In Soviet Russia Catholic Brazil, wearing a short dress at a university leads to expulsion and calls for your arrest. The university has re-admitted her since then.
5Earth just gets more and more awesome.
-1Linux comes of \mathrm{^\underset{\bigwedge}{old}} age
6Another transitional fossil is found, this one linking the earliest dinosaurs with the large plant-eating sauropods. Of course that means there are now two gaps in the fossil record, totally disproving evolution.
6A Federal Judge in South Carolina says thanks but no thanks to an overtly Christian license plate design. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, the strongest backer of the plate, channels his inner stupidity in response: "I don't expect anything different from a liberal judge who was appointed by Bill Clinton... (this) once again shows how liberal judges are not just interpreting the law but making legislation."
8Glenn Beck fails to grab glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com/, but the domain's owner gives it to him anyway. Note: The website is still up at www.gb1990.com
4Waiting to burn the trillionth tonne. (Check the comments for bonus what-the-fuckery)
6Moral panic alert: Pedophiles are implanting computer viruses that allow them to store their porn on other people's computers.
2A bipartisan (read 176 Republicans and 64 Democrats) House coalition damns the health care bill by banning abortion subsidies.
13He's achieving it, where so many failed - healthcare reform.
4Evolutionary origins of the uncanny valley
9Carrie Prejean sex tape forced ex-Miss California's lawsuit settlement: report The vocal proponent of Christian values sued after being stripped of her title, claiming religious discrimination. The darling of Fox News quickly dropped her suit when the respondent's counsel introduced an entertaining sex tape of Prejean. Will God personally tell her that she's forgiven, and that she can return to her crusade against homosexual marriage and other forms of immorality? The odds look good.
0The sad truth about being an American novelist today. The media figure most eager to book novelists onto his show is Glenn Beck.
8From the "You Must Be Joking" department: A woman called the police early Saturday morning during an argument with her husband after he claimed that the woman's daughter performed oral sex on him, and the daughter was better at it.
1Italian court convicts 23 C.I.A. agents Americans for their roles in the kidnapping of an Egyptian suspected of terrorism.
2It was bound to happen: fundamentalists protest a play featuring a transexual Jesus.
3Sellafield says no to a proposed visit by BNP leader Nick Griffin, because he's an obnoxious racist on security grounds. UPDATE: In response, the BNP threaten to cry and hold their breath legal action.
14The justice of the peace who refused to marry a mixed-race couple out of concerns for their potential children and not at all because he was a racist, has finally resigned.
8A marvelous thing, direct democracy: Gay marriage recriminalized in Maine.
4Boris Johnson, mild mannered fogey by day, crime fighter by night.
3Is autumn foliage an evolutionary trait? Red or magenta, probably yes. Yellow or orange, probably not.
3Clinton vs. Dubya in a no holds barred, bare-knuckle cage fight live debate at Radio City, New York on Feb 25th. UPDATE: The debate is off because it was over-hyped by the promoter.
5The right to bear arms proves useless as armed militants are killed by bear.
-5Take a beloved, delicious detested, nausea-inducing nationally iconic food product and add cream cheese WTF??????!!!!!! to it. Result? A national controversy.
7And I quote, "modern man is not the result of a natural process of evolution, but that evolution was artificially aided by reptilian extraterrestrials."
6Christianity is showing a new influence on Islam: Creationism spreads to the Muslim world.
5The Kraken Wakes (Ok, its not a Kraken but its still bloody huge)
9Good news - you have a super-duper high tech space telescope thingy. Bad news - the monopolistic telecoms company won't give you high speed internet, so you can't share your super-duper pictures with the rest of the world.
3Tell me again why our boys are fighting and dying in Afghanistan? Oh yes, for a politician's right to scream blue murder when he loses the election.
12What you say scientist man? Alcohol more dangerous than cannabis, LSD and ecstasy??! We certainly won't have any of that apolitical evidence based reasoning in our fine British government!
2Mickey D's has closed all (3) of its restaurants in Iceland.
4BOOM! - NASA's Swift telescope detects most distant gamma ray burst to date; 13.1 billion lightyears.
3Aussie ingenuity as a farmer uses his tractor's exhaust fumes to boost crop yields.
9Chris Christie, the Republican candidate for governor of New Jersey manages to piss off the Pythons. He used footage from their "It's the Mind (Deja Vu)" sketch in one of his TV adverts without asking permission. Michael Palin says he was surprised that a former U.S. Attorney would make such an obvious mistake. (Hint: Karl Rove recommended Christie for the job because he was one of Dubya's biggest campaign contributors.)
7More trouble for the GOP. After being forced out of the special election for New York's 23rd Congressional district, Dierdre Scozzafava endorses the Democratic Party Nominee instead of the Conservative Party nominee favored by Republicans, leading people to wonder if moderates are really accepted in the modern Republican Party