Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

Three men die and go to heaven. St. Peter tells them that in heaven, there is only one rule: don’t step on the ducks.

So they go off, but one of the men steps on a duck within five minutes. St. Peter flies over with a disgusting old hag and handcuffs them together.

The remaining two men continue. A few days later, the second man steps on a duck and the same happens for him.

Only one guy remains. He goes for several years avoiding the ducks until one day, St. Peter flies over and handcuffs him to an incredibly beautiful woman.

He asks her, “What did I do to deserve this?” The woman said, “I don’t know what you did, but I stepped on a duck!”

Applied Cryptography

This is a continuation of a previous post.

I subscribe to Scientific American, have for maybe 50 years. I saved this issue:

ScientificAmericanAugust1979Small

Yes, it’s all about corals. No, there’s an additional item:

Page 146

Page 146

Martin Hellman and Whitfield Diffie published a paper “New Directions in Cryptography” in IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (November 1976).

Two kinds of contemporary developments in cryptography are examined. Widening applications of teleprocessing have given rise to a need for new types of cryptographic systems, which minimize the need for secure key distribution channels and supply the equivalent of a written signature. This paper suggests ways to solve these currently open problems. It also discusses how the theories of communication and computation are beginning to provide the tools to solve cryptographic problems of long standing.

Today people may find this curious, but 40 years ago the prospect of e-mail was just looming on the horizon. For those not old enough to remember, what we had for e-mail in olden days was called the telegraph. If you wanted to send somebody a message you went to Western Union and gave them all the text, and they sent your message by wire. Or by radio link. Then somebody printed out the message on the other end, and a guy on a bicycle delivered it to your door. I have received one or more of those.

The hot new concept of e-mail was that a person could sit at his own computer at home or else at his boss’s computer at work, compose a message, enter the recipient’s e-mail address, and hit the send button. Not many people were doing that 38 years ago.

But suppose you want to keep your e-mail contents private. No problem. You just run your encryption program against your e-mail text, and you send the encrypted text. The recipient on the other end will run the proper decrypting program against the message to extract the clear text. If he has the proper cypher key. You have to give him the key.

Suppose giving your recipient the key were not a problem. Now you want to send e-mail to hundreds of people. You have to give each one of them the same cypher key. Even if there were a secure way of doing this, things would begin to get a little shaky. It only takes one loose cannon (just ask Edward Snowden) among your long list of recipients, and your plan for secure messaging is blown.

This is what Diffie and Hellman sought to fix. It works like this:

You have two processes for handling messages. One encrypts messages, and the other decrypts messages. Call the two processes E and D for encrypt and decrypt. Now have all participants come up with their own pair of E and D (no two alike supposedly). Everybody publishes for all the world to see his E. Now we have all these published encryption processes which we will call E1, E2, E3, etc. Everybody keeps his D to himself, a secret. How are you going to use this system?

No problem. If you want to send a message to number 2, you get yourself a copy of E2 and encrypt the message. Then you send the encrypted message to 2, who has no problem extracting the clear text, because he has the only copy of D2. This process is described using the following notation:

D2(E2(m)) = m

In this notation m is the clear text message. The parenthesis mean “apply the operator (D or E) to whatever is inside the parenthesis.

What Diffie and Hellman did not do in their 1976 paper was to describe a way to implement this. In 1978 Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamia and Len Adelman (RSA) published  “A Method for Obtaining Digital Signatures and Public-Key Cryptosystsms.” They foolishly offered to send a copy of their paper to readers who requested one. I did not have e-mail at the time, but postal mail worked just fine:

PublicKey1977

An essential requirement of a public key system is that your everyday Edward Snowden should not be able to take E and derive D from it. The method described by RSA involves using pairs of very large prime numbers. Call a pair of these numbers p and q. Then

p x q = n.

The number n is not prime. It has only two factors, p and q. Now suppose each of p and q are 100 decimal digits long (or more). Then the length of n is 200 (or more). The RSA method uses p and q (and n) to produce e and d. Read the RSA paper, page 6. This involves some nice math, which I will not elaborate on here.

A user R can publish n and e, keeping d (and p and q) private. Somebody wanting to send R a message uses n and e to encrypt the message. R uses n and d to decrypt the message. Knowing n it is still very difficult to compute d, even if you know e. Computing d is tantamount to factoring n (into p and q). It is well known that the factoring problem is hard. Factoring n is only a bit less difficult than doing a search for p (or q), but it is not easy enough to make it feasible with present day computational facilities.

Practical cryptographic systems use keys many (>> 100) digits long and are considered to be secure. The RSA public key system is proposed as a method for securely distributing keys to users in the field. As of this writing the Wikipedia entry outlines some approaches to attacking the RSA public key system:

  • When encrypting with low encryption exponents (e.g., e = 3) and small values of the m, (i.e., m < n1/e) the result of me is strictly less than the modulus n. In this case, ciphertexts can be easily decrypted by taking the eth root of the ciphertext over the integers.
  • If the same clear text message is sent to e or more recipients in an encrypted way, and the receivers share the same exponent e, but different pq, and therefore n, then it is easy to decrypt the original clear text message via the Chinese remainder theoremJohan Håstad noticed that this attack is possible even if the cleartexts are not equal, but the attacker knows a linear relation between them. This attack was later improved by Don Coppersmith.

See also: Coppersmith’s Attack

  • Because RSA encryption is a deterministic encryption algorithm (i.e., has no random component) an attacker can successfully launch a chosen plaintext attack against the cryptosystem, by encrypting likely plaintexts under the public key and test if they are equal to the ciphertext. A cryptosystem is called semantically secure if an attacker cannot distinguish two encryptions from each other even if the attacker knows (or has chosen) the corresponding plaintexts. As described above, RSA without padding is not semantically secure.
  • RSA has the property that the product of two ciphertexts is equal to the encryption of the product of the respective plaintexts. That is m1em2e ≡ (m1m2)e (mod n). Because of this multiplicative property a chosen-ciphertext attack is possible. E.g., an attacker, who wants to know the decryption of a ciphertext c ≡ me (mod n) may ask the holder of the private key to decrypt an unsuspicious-looking ciphertext c′ ≡ cre (mod nfor some value r chosen by the attacker. Because of the multiplicative property c′ is the encryption of mr (mod n). Hence, if the attacker is successful with the attack, he will learn mr (mod n) from which he can derive the message m by multiplying mr with the modular inverse of r modulo n.

I have as yet not learned of any systematic way to attack the RSA key system. PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy, and it incorporates public key technology:

While originally used primarily for encrypting the contents of e-mail messages and attachments from a desktop client, PGP products have been diversified since 2002 into a set of encryption applications which can be managed by an optional central policy server. PGP encryption applications include e-mail and attachments, digital signatures, laptop full disk encryption, file and folder security, protection for IM sessions, batch file transfer encryption, and protection for files and folders stored on network servers and, more recently, encrypted and/or signed HTTP request/responses by means of a client side (Enigform) and a server side (mod openpgp) module. There is also a WordPress plugin available, called wp-enigform-authentication, that takes advantage of the session management features of Enigform with mod_openpgp.

I have my copy of the RSA paper, and thanks to the remarkable progress the Internet has made since 1979 you can now get your own copy through the link I supplied above. I have scanned Hellman’s Scientific American article to a PDF, and I will send a copy to everybody who asks for one. By e-mail.

Saving Private Ryan

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

It’s almost the 70th anniversary, and it’s also Memorial Day. This is a good time to post the movie review. I have the Blu-Ray disk, and I have viewed it a number of times. It’s difficult to do so without a deep feeling of remorse for those who sacrificed so much in those times.

The script is by Robert Rodat. Wikipedia describes his inspiration for the story:

Rodat conceived the film’s story in 1994 when he saw a monument dedicated to eight siblings killed in the American Civil War. Rodat imagined a similar sibling narrative set in World War II. The script was submitted to producer Mark Gordon, who handed it to Hanks. It was finally given to Spielberg, who decided to direct.

Saving Private Ryan received universal critical acclaim, winning several awards for film, cast, and crew as well as earning significant returns at the box office. The film grossed US$481.8 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing domestic film of the year. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated the film for eleven Academy Awards; Spielberg’s direction won him a second Academy Award for Best Director, with four more awards going to the film. Saving Private Ryan was released on home video in May 1999, earning $44 million from sales.

The basis of the plot is a hunt for Private James Ryan, of the 101st Airborne Division. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) is assigned to take a squad of troops into hostile territory a few days after the D-Day landing, locate Ryan, and extricate him from the battle. He is to be returned to the United States after the War Department learns his three brothers have just been listed as killed in action.

The opening scene is present time, as a survivor of the invasion visits graves in Normandy. The veteran recalls the day, and the following scene is one of the most dramatic in motion picture production history. It shows Captain Miller of the Second Rangers landing on Omaha Beach. Drama builds, and when the ramps of the landing craft are dropped the defending Germans open up with machine gun fire, killing many before they can exit the landing craft. What ensues is 27 minutes of pure hell for the men as they fight to gain the advantage over the defenders, all the while being cut down by gunfire and exploding shells.

Reality on Omaha Beach was much worse than depicted in the movie, and it lasted the better part of a day, rather than just a few minutes. One depiction is accurate, in agreement with accounts of many survivors of such a battle. Once American troops gain the upper hand they kill without remorse.

Grenades are thrown into a concrete bunker occupied by German troops. Then a man with a flame thrower hoses the inside, forcing many survivors to crawl, on fire, out the gun ports. American soldiers open fire on the Germans, but an American soldier yells for them to stop shooting. “Let ’em burn.”

Americans who have gained the tops of the defenders’ trench system now use the trenches against the Germans as they dash along the tops firing into the Germans until one noncom tells them to stop. They are wasting their ammunition.

Two Germans throw down their weapons, raise their hands and attempt to surrender. Two Americans shoot them at point blank range. One makes a joke. Vengeance for the morning’s slaughter is sweet.

One of those killed on the beach has “S. Ryan” stenciled on his back back. He is one of two brothers killed in the D-Day assault. Another brother has been killed in New Guinea. Their mother is about to receive three telegrams from the War Department on the same day. A character in the film, supposedly General George C. Marshall, orders the Army to find the remaining brother and bring him home.

The hunt for and rescue of James Ryan occupies the remainder of the film. It’s a small contingent of Army Rangers, and some in the group complain they are being sent on a fool’s errand rather than being allowed to do what they were trained to do. In the end Private Ryan is rescued, but most of the rescuers are killed in action against the enemy. This result would seem to validate the complaint about a misdirected mission, but the end actually validates it. Along the way a German sniper is killed, with a loss of one of the group. They encounter half dozen or more German soldiers inside a building and eradicate them all with no losses. They knock out a German machine gun position defending a radar station, with the loss of one. Finally they locate Ryan and assist in the defense of a vital bridge.

In the opening scene of the movie it has been Ryan at Captain Miller’s grave in Normandy.  Remembering such sacrifice is what Memorial Day is all about.

The movie is fiction, featuring people who never existed. However, the events are closely, not completely, historical. In the movie the General Marshall character notes the previous loss of five brothers in the war. The Sullivan brothers were killed when the Japanese destroyed the light cruiser USS Juneau:

The Sullivan brothers were five siblings who were all killed in action during or shortly after the sinking of the light cruiser USS Juneau (CL-52), the vessel on which they all served, around November 13, 1942, in World War II.

The Sullivans, natives of Waterloo, Iowa, were the sons of Thomas (1883-1965) and Alleta Sullivan (1895-1972).

[Some links removed]

Perhaps not coincidentally, Private Ryan and his fictional brothers are from Iowa. So much for fiction.

But wait! There really was a “Private Ryan.” Only his name was not Ryan. In Band of Brothers Stephen E. Ambrose tells the tale of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (101st Airborne Division):

A few minutes after Niland left, Muck came to Malarkey, “his impish Irish smile replaced by a frown.” Had Niland explained to Malarkey why he was going home? No. Muck told the story.

The previous day Niland had gone to the 82d to see his brother Bob, the one who had told Malarkey in London that if he wanted to be a hero, the Germans would see to it, fast, which had led Malarkey to conclude that Bob Niland had lost his nerve. Fritz Niland had just learned that his brother had been killed on D-Day. Bob’s platoon had been surrounded, and he manned a machine-gun, hitting the Germans with harassing fire until the platoon broke through the encirclement. He had used up several boxes of ammunition before getting killed.

Fritz Niland next hitched a ride to the 4th Infantry Division position, to see another brother who was a platoon leader. He too had been killed on D-Day, on Utah Beach. By the time Fritz returned to Easy Company, Father Francis Sampson was looking for him, to tell him that a third brother, a pilot in the China-Burma-India theater, had been killed that same week. Fritz was the sole surviving son, and the Army wanted to remove him from the combat zone as soon as possible.

Fritz’s mother had received all three telegrams from the War Department on the same day.

Father Sampson escorted Fritz to Utah Beach, where a plane flew him to London on the first leg of his return to the States.

[Band of Brothers, pages 102 – 103]

The idea that Robert Rodat got the idea for the story completely from a Civil War monument requires some skeptical analysis. The Ambrose book came out in 1992. It’s sure that Rodat knew the story by the time he started writing two years later, however, the story of Fritz Niland lacks entirely the drama for a Hollywood movie.

The Deep South Closet

The easy part of this blog is the field work. There’s almost none of it. I don’t use up a lot of shoe leather work putting out these posts. I mainly sidle up to other writers who have posted original stuff. And then I comment on what they have seen and heard. Of course, there have been exceptions. This is not one of them.

CNN Belief Blog editor Daniel Burke has done some foot work. Yesterday he posted this:

Atheists in the Bible Belt: A survival guide

Raleigh, North Carolina (CNN) – Back home, they erase their Internet histories, look over their shoulders before cracking jokes and nod politely when co-workers talk about church.

If you get the idea the most religious place on this planet outside of Saudi Arabia is the Old Confederacy, then you have a lot of company. Take a drive through the South. Here are a few scenes I copped from Google Images. Supposedly these are all from Mississippi or thereabouts.

MonkeyYou

 

burn-forever-rural-billboard-resized-2

 

religious_billboards

 

Here’s one featuring the Joseph Stalin, late Premier of the Soviet Union and a noted atheist.

StalinAtheist

 

I’m going to let this one speak for itself.

roadside-church-signs-comp

This one is from Georgia.

Anti-Abortion-BillboardGeorgia

Anyhow, you get the picture. Of course, there are atheists in the Old South just as there are in Saudi Arabia. The difference is in America we don’t execute atheists. Yet.

In fact, even in the South there are atheists who are fighting back. Here is a billboard, apparently from Florida.

billboardup

While there are hazards to adults who allow their non-belief to become known, children bear a special burden. Burke relates some stories:

Kalei Wilson, 15, said she lost friends after trying to start a secular student club at Pisgah High School in Canton, North Carolina, and someone used a Bible to destroy her science project, leaving the holy book on her smashed model of the universe.

The blue-haired, nose-pierced freshman says she’s not the only atheist at her high school, but most of them are closeted.

“I didn’t want to come out at first,” Wilson says, “but in order to start the club I had to.”

In exchange for her openness, Wilson says, some students mutter “Jesus loves you” as she walks down the hall, and she regularly receives text messages with the greeting, “Hey, Satan.”

“I’ve lost friends because of it,” the teenager says of her atheism, “but they’re not real friends if that’s what they do.”

Kalei Wilson’s tribulations are not the worst example. Without citing specific instances I will note that others have been ostracized, shunned by their peers, even disinherited and forced to leave the homes of their families. An experience I observed first hand is almost humorous. My first job out of college was working at the University of Texas. A co-worker was a young girl, fresh out of high school and still living in her family’s home. As far as I know, she was not an atheists, but she experienced the pangs, non-the-less. We were discussing some books and I lent her my copy of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Rand was a noted atheist, and Kelly’s mother would not allow the book in her house. So Kelly moved out and got her own place. And a sports car. And she married Mac, one of the graduate students. I took her bridal portrait.

Many who have based their lives on Christian teachings (notice we are not talking about Jews and Muslims here) have no idea that a person can have a moral life without Christ. More particularly without the God of Abraham, because this is the supposed power and authority behind the teachings of Jesus. A fine point here, but atheists do not generally have to reject Jesus. The historicity of Jesus, while problematic, is not the key issue. Even an atheist can adopt the teachings of Jesus and form a moral life upon them without once accepting the existence of an all-powerful being who created the universe and set up humanity as a diversion.

The image some Christians have of atheists is startling, and a few facts need to be set straight. Atheists do not worship the Devil. The Devil is a mythical entity as much as the God of Abraham is. Strictly speaking, atheists are people without something to worship. That’s the definition of the word.

And atheists do not eat babies. That has traditionally been reserved for Rebel soldiers in the Civil War. Some Rebel troops approached a house prior to the Battle of Gettysburg and demanded food. The housewife refused, and the soldiers offered to eat her baby, instead. The got food, and the word got around. “Ja, the Rebels Eat Babies!” is the title of the first chapter of Gettysburg by MacKinlay Kantor and Elizabeth Payne. When there is something you abhor you can always find a disgusting attribute to attach to it.

Burke talks a lot about support groups:

Not so long ago, every other letter sent to the Freedom From Religion Foundation would begin something like, “I’m the only atheist in Nebraska … “

It’s still lonely being an atheist in rural America, says Annie Laurie Gaylor, the foundation’s co-president, but there are plenty of skeptics and nonbelievers in God’s Country – if you know how to find them.

Even the most religious states like Mississippi and Alabama have secular meetup groups, although many keep quiet and require long drives to attend.

Tell me about it. My brother and I, plus two cousins and a school mate, grew up in a small Texas town. All of us had the advantage of Protestant religious indoctrination. None of it stuck. In high school we began talking about the possibility God was a made up story. By college we knew for sure. What support group? All that seemed to be required was some reasoning unfettered by made up “facts.”

Religious families realize this and seek to protect their children. Home schooling is almost critical to maintain the faith, since students at any decent high school are going to learn enough history, biology, geology and such to put the lie to biblical fables. Schooling at a legitimate college is anathema for these Christians, since truth runs rampant in the classrooms and on the campus. Experience bears out the attitude of some. Glenn Morton is a religious person, but he is also a practicing geologist. He had this encounter at a meeting of young-Earth creationists:

Glenn Morton stood up and reminded those in attendance that he is a creationist who once published in favor of the young Earth. He now renounces that position because the evidence is too much against it, and he urged others to abandon the idea. A problem he mentioned is that after you teach this concept to your children and then send them to college where they will learn otherwise, their loyalty to your other teachings will be threatened. One cheerful member of the group offered a solution: “Don’t send them.”

You do not need to be an atheist to be of concern to the biblically entrenched in the Bible Belt.

Creationists Think So

From Amazon

From Amazon

This is an odd title for a posting, but even in the 21st century what creationist think continues to amaze us. The following is from a post by Dan Arel on AlterNet:

Those who reject science frown upon intellectual honesty. Not knowing how something works or happened is seen as a weakness. This week on Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson said the word “somehow” when describing how the origins of life began, saying, “Somehow, carbon-rich molecules began using energy to make copies of themselves.”

Creationists think they “got him!” Tyson, like all other scientists, is not sure exactly how life originated on earth. This is intellectually honest, since a great mystery is still being worked out. Many great hypotheses exist, some of which Tyson went into detail about, but how can not knowing something be a weakness? Surely all of us don’t know a great deal of things; are we all intellectually challenged?

[Links added]

Arel also referenced an item posted on the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News blog by Casey Luskin  shortly after this episode of Cosmos aired. Here’s part of the post:

With 11 of 13 total episodes of Cosmos now having aired, the overall arc of the series is becoming clear. The first few episodes bashed religion and promoted materialism, while of course advocating that life developed by a process of “unguided” or “mindless” evolution. Then, for a few episodes, the anti-religious rhetoric was toned down a little, and Cosmos focused more on simply presenting good, uncontroversial science. But the final few episodes in coming weeks seem poised to ramp up the propaganda to levels not seen before.

This past Sunday night’s episode pushed a naturalistic origin of life and the Copernican principle (the idea that Earth is insignificant in the cosmic scheme) — which is perhaps to be expected. But the episode got surprisingly ideological as well, promoting panspermia, the Gaia hypothesis, and a propagandistic, Star Trek-like picture of the future. According to Cosmos, this last can only be achieved if we embrace an alarmist environmental vision. Our host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, compares skeptics of the current “consensus” on climate change to Nazis.

It’s worth taking these words apart:

  • Bashing religion is supposed to be a fault? Readers, just about everything science does “bashes religion” when “religion” is defined in a certain way. If your religion involves the supernatural, then just about any true statement is going to bash it. Get used to it.
  • “Naturalistic origin of life” is another way of saying “the most likely origin of life.” Better still, “the actual origin of life.”
  • “Advocating that life developed by a process of “unguided” or “mindless” evolution?” The alternative would be what? Magic? Do these people really want to go there?
  • The “Copernican principle” is derided as “the idea that Earth is insignificant in the cosmic scheme.” Is any reasoning person saying otherwise?
  • Promoting panspermia? While I am no fan of panspermia, I count a number of encounters with creationists who seemed to prefer panspermia to naturalistic origins. At least, their argument seemed to go, panspermia leaves the possibility that the god of Abraham was somehow involved. Naturalistic explanations leave this god out entirely.
  • The Nazi comparison? This was more difficult to track down. I cannot record the episodes, and the disk set I ordered will not be available until next month. I watched the 11th episode through only once, and I am going to rely on the Discovery Institute’s version of the program:

What happens next in Cosmos is thus both sickening and immensely hypocritical. Tyson shows scenes of crowds cheering for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. He says, “Human intelligence is imperfect, surely, and newly arisen. The ease with which it can be sweet-talked, overwhelmed, or subverted by other hard-wired tendencies sometimes themselves disguised as the light of reason is worrisome.” Again, the not-so-subtle message is that if you are a skeptic of what he calls the “scientific consensus that we’re destabilizing our climate,” then you are like a Nazi-follower, or perhaps a Holocaust denier.

Actually, Luskin is stretching his interpretation a bit. What narrator Tyson has done is to cite a human frailty, the susceptibility to being duped, and he has illustrated it with a classic case—millions of otherwise intelligent Germans being taken in by some masters of propaganda, the Nazis. People who have been duped by holocaust deniers and those who have been duped by the climate science deniers are not Nazis. They only suffer the same human weakness that undermined intelligent Germans 80 years ago. Of course, Luskin’s job at the Discovery Institute is to stretch things just so much. Enough to get people leaning his way but not so much as to make his pants catch fire.

Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

There’s this preacher man, and he goes to a religious conference at a hotel in another city. There are meetings all day, but nothing much goes on after the meetings are over.

So one day after his last meeting he’s hanging around the hotel lobby chatting with the girl at the hat check counter. He asks her out for dinner. She’s amazed at first, but he reminds her he is not a Catholic priest, and he is not married.

At dinner he orders wine for both of them, and again she is amazed. “It’s OK,” he reminds her. It’s in the Bible. All those holy people drank wine, and there was no problem with it.

After dinner he invites her up to his room, and again she is amazed. He reminds her that it’s OK. He’s not married.

The next morning she is getting dressed in his hotel room, and she is still amazed. “I just can’t believe all this happened. And you’re a preacher.”

Again he tells her it’s OK. It’s in the Bible. She demands proof.

The preacher pulls open the drawer in the stand beside the bed and pulls out the Gideon Bible that’s in every hotel room. He opens the Bible and shows her a note somebody has written on the fly sheet:

“The hat check girl screws.”

The Lady Says No

Of course, the title is from the movie from 1952:

A woman writes a best-selling book for women warning them about the “dangers” of men. A handsome photographer for a national magazine arrives in her town to do a feature story on her. Complications ensue.

It’s been 62 years since I saw it, but it was fun watch David Niven and Joan Caufield spar for 80 or so minutes before they finally realize they should be making babies.

But this is about another lady who said no:

Co-host of the Dallas, Texas talk show The Broadcast, Amy Kushnir, joined Shannon Bream on the Kelly File on Thursday.

Kushnir made news earlier this week after she stormed off the set of The Broadcast during a discussion on St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam.

Television coverage showed Sam kissing his boyfriend shortly after being drafted by the AFC West team.

Apparently Amy wants to warn men about the “dangers” of men. My, how times have changed:

In olden days a glimpse of stocking 
Was looked on as something shocking, 
But now, God knows, 
Anything Goes.

Movie poster from Wikipedia

Movie poster from Wikipedia

Readers, this is not  1922. It takes more to shock us these days. What, you may ask? Like two men kissing:

KUSHNIR: Well in this case, we were specifically talking about the Michael Sam incident, the kissing incident. And so, we were really focusing on that and what came to my mind initially was just that, I didn’t feel it was appropriate. It was actually over the top. ESPN used it as an opportunity to put out shocking video when ESPN is a sports network that families watch. I mean, we’ve got children that play sports. They watch ESPN all the time. So, it bothered me that they used this as on opportunity to promote their left wing agenda in my opinion.

Apparently Kushnir has not always been so easily shocked. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who is openly homosexual, had some fun at Kushnir’s expense. He discussed her comment on his “Ridiculist” segment:

“To Amy Kushnir’s argument that nobody shows football players kissing their wives or girlfriends, that’s simply not true and I don’t think she’s being honest when she wouldn’t want to see that either,” Cooper said during the segment (above). “If you’re uncomfortable seeing some kind of affection… why not just say that and leave the excuses about why you’re uncomfortable where they belong: on ‘The Ridiculist.’”

When asked by a co-host if she would have the same reaction to a man kissing his wife, Kushnir maintained she would have said “get a room.”

Also read: Michael Sam’s Jersey Is Second-Biggest-Selling of NFL Rookies

Cooper, however, unearthed footage that suggests otherwise, as Kushnir once sat in the arms of two buff, shirtless Chippendales dancers on her own TV show, and (gasp!) kissed each one on the cheek.

“It’s okay, she was kissing strippers. And she didn’t really even know them,” Cooper said after airing the evidence of her hypocrisy. “It’s not like two guys who were in love, or anything. That’s offensive.”

I would have advised Kushnir to “get a room.” But wait. These are strippers. What strippers are all about is doing in public what society wants you to do in private.

What Amy Kushnir did not do is express her true beliefs—what is really in her heart. I will express it for her: “Men sucking other men’s dicks is disgusting. These people are living in sin and will burn in Hell. The Bible says so.” She didn’t say that. She couldn’t say that. But others did. When Yahoo News posted the story on line it received scores of comments. My first glimpse reaffirmed the dark nature of my fellow citizens. Some typical examples:

Jorel 2 minutes ago

It is truly funny how people try to twist and turn the WORD of GOD to fit them and their preferences or use one scripture to dispel another. The truth is “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16.. So we as people know not how to do good but only bad and we NEED the WORD of GOD to instruct us in righteousness. That is why the world is so messed up they have no instruction every one does what they “feel” is right and what “pleases” them self. Wake up people the world is sin and we must be transformed from the world by the renewing of our minds through CHRIST JESUS.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

If its not BIBLE don’t do it. simple enough right.

John 1 hour ago

It’s madness, men with men, women with women. What’s next? It’s a slippery slope leading to destruction. Oh that men would repent and turn from sin and worship Jesus Christ in Spirit and Truth!

Nwtrdr Nwtrdr 27 minutes ago

As soon as they went to kiss we turned the channel,waited a few minutes then went back.Wish they had used a delay like in the old days.ESPN should be ashamed of themselves.And who watches that Copper guy anyway and who cares what he has to say?Not I that is for sure.

Tee-y 1 day ago

I don’t want to see two men kissing either, I don’t care what anybody have to say.

Kyle 1 day ago

So we should be tolerant to Mr. Anderson’s beliefs regarding homosexuality, but intolerant to the Dallas anchor’s. Got it. #hypocrisy

Aajada 21 hours ago

Anderson Cooper is a instigator and and now will watch less of him and CNN for news. He has gotten completely biased a lot of time when covering controversial social issues. I hadn’t known before that he was gay, but that explains a lot of his biased coverage now. What a twit !
And !, … Yes ! … they didn’t need to cramp that gay openly kissing scene in the faces of any and all who object to that behavior.

CHUCK 17 hours ago

Wait till the day SAM is cut from an nfl team and ALL you will hear is that his sexuality got him cut from the team not that he just could not make it in the NFL!

Greg 1 day ago

Anderson Cooper just went full on #$%$ in his so called objective reporting, so long CNN and hello politically correct bad news. I don’t care that he’s gay, I do care when he defends them no matter what even when they’re pushing everyone’s buttons

KAJAKAMAA 1 day ago

America, don’t you know that you have to get used to seeing htis stuff on TV because main stream media will insist on showing more and more of it and you will soon know that it is the norm. America has to get used to terrorists blowing up buildings because they are exercising their freedom of religion. America has to get used to the working people paying more taxes so that certain parts of our society can receive welfare because it’s somebody elses fault that they have ten kids to eight fathers. America better get used to waiting for hospital visits and medical care because Obama says it should be so. America has to get used to school overcrowding because the schools are full of illegal aliens who demand a free education. America has to get used to our children getting what was thought to be controlled deseases because idiots think that immunizations are wrong. The list goes on and on. We have to get used to changes that don’t make sense because the majority of minorities say so. So does the media.

DT 23 hours ago

Like many, if not most reasonable people I dont HATE homosexuals. i don’t HATE Mr. Sam. I just disagree with the morality of the lifestyle. THAT’S MY RIGHT!!! So please Mr. Cooper and your supporters don’t tell me what to believe or accept. THAT IS NOT YOUR RIGHT!!!. Basically the Sam moment was nothing more than shock journalism to get viewers and prove how contemporary ESPN is!! It may have backfired. Heterosexuality is still far and away the dominant option in society. I didn’t watch ESPN for 2 days after because I really don’t like to get a clip of two dudes sucking face popped in front of me! I am proud to be a red blooded girl loving white american male!!!!! NO APOLOGIES!!

There is obviously more than “a glimpse of stocking” involved here.

Teaching Evolution

This was posted on the Daily Kos blog a week ago. Daily Kos is a liberal action group, a point that is notable for a particular reason. How come this kind of thing does not get posted by conservative groups?

I’m a middle school Science teacher.  I teach 6-8th grade Science, namely Earth Science, Biology, and Physical Science in that order.  Part of the Biology curriculum is evolution.  This is no surprise: modern Biology makes no sense whatsoever without Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection.  Literally, it would all be a gigantic illogical nightmare if evolution is left out of the equation.  How would you classify animals?  How would we be able to explain interactions between species in their natural environment?  How could we make sense of the inner workings of our bodies and compare that to other animals?  If species just popped into and out of existence, we can just hang up our coats and go home.

Of course every biology teacher has to face off against Creationists.  What surprised me in this case was how many Creationists I would have to spar with.  One of my very own colleagues was a creationist! First off, I do not back off from scientific fact.  There is no “It’s not my place to present information that challenges people’s beliefs.”  That’s not science.  My job is to teach science, as it is, and to teach kids that they can cultivate within themselves a scientific mindset that is valuable for their everyday lives.  Knowing things about science is just plain beneficial.

The writer is Sujigu, otherwise unnamed. However, the story is familiar. Answers in Genesis is a creationist group adhering to biblical in-errancy, particularly in matters relating to science, with special emphasis on biological evolution. The group is headed by Australian creationist Ken Ham. AiG has in the past few years inaugurated a creation museum (theme park) in Petersburg, Kentucky. The following is from the AiG site:

As a creationist student, you may have opportunities to share about biblical creation. After discerning the appropriatetime to speak, how can you persuade someone who has bought into the lie of evolution? Whether writing a creationist paper, giving a speech, or sharing in conversations with other students, employ the following three essential tools of persuasion…

Young Earth creationists (YEC) are not the only groups interested in coaching students to challenge modern science in public school classes. Intelligent Design creationists, such as those at Discovery Institute devote much effort to grooming public school student activists. The following is from a page on the Discovery Institute site titled “Preparing Students to Intelligently Question Darwin this Fall.” It’s by Casey Luskin, a lawyer on the Discovery Institute staff and was originally posted in October 2009, curiously under “The Church Report:”

Tip #2: Think for yourself, think critically, and question assumptions.

Though my professors rarely (if ever) would acknowledge it, I quickly discovered in college that nearly all evolutionary claims are based upon assumptions. Modern evolutionary theory is assumed to be true, and then the data is interpreted based upon Darwinian assumptions. The challenge for the truth-seeking student is to separate the raw data from the assumptions that guide interpretation of the data.

Beware circular evolutionary reasoning.  Very quickly, evolutionary assumptions become “facts,” and future data must be assembled in order to be consistent with those “facts.”

Realize that evolutionary thinking often employs contradictory logic and inconsistent methodologies. The logic employed to infer evolution in situation A may be precisely the exact opposite of the logic used to infer evolution in situation B. For example:

• Biological similarity between two species implies inheritance from a common ancestor (i.e. vertical common descent) except for when it doesn’t (and then they appeal to processes like “convergent evolution” or “horizontal gene transfer”).
• Neo-Darwinism predicts transitional forms may be found, but when they’re not found, that just shows that the transitions took place too rapidly and in populations too small to (statistically speaking) become fossilized.
• Evolutionary genetics predicts the genome will be full of useless junk DNA, except for when we discover function for such “junk” DNA. Then evolution predicts that cells would never retain useless junk DNA in the first place.

Finally, students must be careful to always think independently. Everyone wants to be “scientifically literate,” but the Darwin lobby pressures people by redefining “scientific literacy” to mean “acceptance of evolution” rather than “an independent mind who understands science and forms its own informed opinions.” Evolutionary thinking banks on you letting down your guard and letting its assumptions slip into your thought processes. This is why it’s vital to think for yourself, and identify and question assumptions.

I note in this example the writer is leading the reader, and eventually the student, down a path. In the first bullet point, for example, “Biological similarity between two species implies inheritance from a common ancestor (i.e. vertical common descent) except for when it doesn’t…” Contrary to the point that lawyer Luskin wants to make, biologists do not hang “common ancestor” completely on biological similarity.

Biological similarity is a good starting point—domesticated dogs look a lot like wolves, giving the idea of common ancestry. Also dogs and cats have fur and four legs, giving the idea of common ancestry. Both of these ideas turned out to be true. However, the so-called Tasmanian wolf (thylacine) has features resembling those of Canidae, but the two are are not closely related. The thylacine is a marsupial, while Canidae are placental mammals.

Here is an illustration from the creationist text Of Pandas and People. This appears on page 117 of the revised second edition. I have added the caption as it appears in the book.

PandasConvergentEvolution

Figure 5-2. The skulls of a dog (A), a North American wolf (B), and a Tasmanian wolf (C). Notice that the skull of the North America n wolf is somewhat similar to the dog’s, which is said to be related to it, but nearly identical to the Tasmanian wolf, which is allegedly only distantly related to it.

Notice the wording of the caption. The Tasmanian wolf is “allegedly” only distantly related to the wolf. I seldom see the word “allegedly” used so generously. The thylacine is not only “allegedly” distantly related to the wolf, it is slam dunk distantly related to the wolf. The text from page 217 elaborates and expands:

Figure 5-2 shows the skull of a dog next to that of a Tasmanian “wolf” and a North American wolf Tasmania is a large island adjacent to Australia that, like Australia, contains a large variety of marsupials. The Tasmanian “wolf” is a marsupial which in general appearance and behavior is very similar to the placental wolves found in other parts of the world. Even the behavior of this now extinct animal was similar. The Tasmanian wolves ate the settlers’ livestock, and as a result were hunted until they became extinct. But although they behaved like placental wolves, a study of their anatomy suggests that Tasmanian wolves were actually more similar to kangaroos. Darwinists interpret the anatomical findings to indicate that the two types of wolves are only remotely related, and that each had a separate evolutionary history since the time when the Australian continent was separated from the continent of Antarctica. Yet the skulls of the two wolves are extremely similar, as you see. How did this come about?

According to Darwinists, both groups evolved into wolflike forms, an occurrence known as convergent evolution. This is a form of coincidence; it means that two lines of descent took different evolutionary paths that finally converged, having independently developed similar features adapted to meet the same environmental demands. Apparently the selective regime that produced the North American wolf was established by niches closely approximated in Australia, so that the two approached this ideal ever more closely with the passage of time, increasingly coming to resemble one another until they became superficially almost identical. As time passed, Darwinian evolution, through chance experimentation, had independently developed the same general forms in two different areas of the world. Examination of the two wolves’ skulls would lead us to wonder just which features were homologous and which were analogous.

Fortunately the text does not contain any of the “allegedly” hype. In fact, the text closely resembles how a working scientist would explain the relationship between Canidae and the thylacine. Authors Percival Davis and Dean Kenyon make much use of the word “Darwinists” when they really mean “biologists.” But what of the drawings?

When the Pandas book came out a number of concerned scientists analyzed it and found it factually lacking. Frank Sonleitner was one, and his “What’s Wrong with Pandas?” document uses more print space than the original book. Here is his analysis of Pandas‘ Figure 5-2:

In the caption to Pandas‘ Figure 5-2, it is claimed that the wolf skull is nearly identical to that of the Tasmanian wolf and much less similar to that of the dog. The accompanying text claims that the two wolves are “superficially almost identical.” Actually, by looking carefully at the drawings of the three skulls, it is obvious that the dog and wolf share more specific features that the wolf and the Tasmanian wolf. One of the convergent similarities of the two forms is the carnassial teeth, the broad blade-like teeth in the upper and lower jaws that acts like scissors to slice flesh. In the wolf and dog (as in all placental carnivores) it is the last upper premolar and the first lower molar that are so modified. The other molars are reduced in size and act as crushing teeth. In contrast it is the last four molar teeth in both jaws of the Tasmanian wolf that are modified as carnassials. Clearly the carnassials of placental carnivores and the Tasmanian wolf are not homologous. In addition, the skull of the Tasmanian wolf has four molars (placentals never have more than three), only three premolars (placentals have up to four), holes in the palate, posteriorly expanded nasal bones, an alisphenoid tympanic wing flooring the middle ear, the involvement of the jugal at the edge of the glenoid fossa for articulation of the lower jaw, broad extension of the lachrymal bone onto the face of the skull and mesially enlarged angular process of the dentary (lower jaw), features which it shares with most other marsupials (Archer, 1984). In addition, the teeth appear to be homologous to the placental milk teeth; the only marsupial tooth that is replaced in life is the third premolar. Taking all these characters together, anyone can easily distinguish between the skulls of a wolf and thylacine (Figure 5.1). Denton’s claim (Denton, 1986, p. 178) that only a skilled zoologist can distinguish them is nonsense.

The “Denton” mentioned by Sonleitner is Michael Denton, author of an early “doubting Darwin” book,  Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

Wikipedia’s discussion of thylacine uses one of the images also cited by Sonleitner:

The skulls of the thylacine (left) and the Timber Wolf, Canis lupus, are quite similar, although the species are only distantly related. Studies show the skull shape of the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes, is even closer to that of the thylacine.

The skulls of the thylacine (left) and the Timber Wolf, Canis lupus, are quite similar, although the species are only distantly related. Studies show the skull shape of the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes, is even closer to that of the thylacine.

Jonathan Wells is a seminarian turned biology student. He has a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a fellow at the Discovery Institute, and he has written a book Icons of Evolution, indicating ten faulty ideas about biological evolution. A Web site advises students on “Ten questions you should ask your biology teacher.” Here is a sample:

1. ORIGIN OF LIFE. Why do textbooks claim that the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment shows how life’s building blocks may have formed on the early Earth — when conditions on the early Earth were probably nothing like those used in the experiment, and the origin of life remains a mystery?

The hope is students will respond to a teacher’s presentation of biological evolution with questions the teacher is not prepared to answer.

This has been just a brief discussion of coaching by creationists of students. Quite often high school teachers do not have the training and the experience to answer such questions, and the creationist student is able to score points for his religious beliefs.

That is apparently the case with the middle-school teacher cited above. Here’s what happened:

So, we started talking about human evolution and natural selection.  I showed the standard pictures of Austrolopethicus Afarensis, Lucy, Homo Habilis, etc. etc. and explained human ancestry.  One of the creationists in my class looked a a photo I was showing, and then gleefully raised his hand to say that there was a “missing link” between the forms.  My diagram was purposefully incomplete because I didn’t want to include every single transitional form.  Remember, 7th graders, not people with the greatest attention spans.  I let him go to the front of the class, handed him my marker, and let him happily point to where he thought there was a gap.  “If this is a monkey and this is a monkey, then where’s the link between this and a human?”  I then asked him a question…

“What gap?”

“This one, this one right here!  You need something here.”

“No I don’t.”

“Yes you do, you need something here.”

“Why?”

“Because if you don’t have it then this doesn’t make sense.”

The kid was dumbfounded by the fact I just wasn’t impressed.  He laughed and was excited.  His father is a pastor, so I know that his father passed this idiocy onto him, and he was making dad proud.  It was kind of sick in a way.  I then rolled up the overhead projector, and did a quick sketch of a jigsaw puzzle.

Students in the class agreed this was a jigsaw puzzle. The teacher pointed out this was not a puzzle, according to the logic of the creationist student. That was because there were missing pieces. Another student pointed out that missing pieces are allowed. It’s just necessary to find them and to complete the puzzle. The creationist had no response for this argument. His coaches, who were not really scientists but theologians did not comprehend how science works. Generally scientific research can never be considered complete, because we can never be assured we have found all the pieces.

I will add my own part. Suppose I have evacuated a huge aircraft hanger and swept clean it’s acre of concrete floor space. I have a few pieces of an enormous jigsaw puzzle, and I have started putting the pieces together. I have fitted a number of the pieces, and something of the image is beginning to show. However, 99% of the floor space is still vacant. Besides, I still have a pile of pieces that have not been fitted, and even if they were fitted the puzzle would be no way nearly complete.

An onlooker is challenging me. “You don’t have all the pieces, but you still insist on telling me a coherent picture is going to come out of this. What makes you sure your partial picture is correct?”

My answer would be, “All pieces I have successfully fit together agree with the expected picture. Also, I have been putting pieces together for 200 years, and I have never found a piece that is not part of the picture.”

And that’s the way it is with modern biology. In all of human history we have never found evidence that contradicts biological evolution by natural selection. We have never found a piece that does not fit into the puzzle.

Democrats On The Prowl

IMG_4084

It’s hot. It’s new. It’s the latest from The Far Side. It’s straight from the political candidate Gary Kiehne.

Gary Kiehne, a northern Arizona rancher and oilman, is the second Republican to announce his intention to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

Kiehne launched his campaign for the 1st Congressional District on Tuesday. GOP state lawmaker Adam Kwasman, who lives near Tucson, said this summer he is exploring a run.

Kiehne said he understands the needs of the rural district where he grew up and plans to focus on job creation, minimizing regulations, cutting taxes and protecting land rights.

Mr. Kiehne, welcome to the fracas. As a welcoming present I’m adding your name to my spell checker.

Of course, everybody would like to unseat Congresswoman Kirkpatrick:

Ann Kirkpatrick (born March 24, 1950) is an American politician who has been the United States Representative for Arizona’s 1st congressional district since 2013; previously she represented the same district from 2009 to 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She earlier served in the Arizona House of Representatives. She was defeated by Republican Paul Gosar in the 2010 election. In 2012, she was again the Democratic nominee, and went on to win the general election to regain her old seat in a close race.

[Some links removed]

I mean, what’s a liberal Democrat like Kirkpatrick doing representing a red conservative state like Arizona? Fortunately, a number of stalwart conservative Republicans have stepped forward. They all want the job. So, what does Gary Kiehne bring to the party the other candidates do not? How about some reality?

Arizona GOP Candidate Says Democrats Are Behind Most Mass Shootings

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — A Republican businessman running for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District says most mass shootings in the U.S. are committed by Democrats.

The Arizona Daily Star reports (http://bit.ly/1lNY8Fd) that Gary Kiehne made the remarks at a Republican primary debate Saturday in Florence.

Kiehne, a Springerville rancher, told the 60-member audience that “99 percent of (mass shootings) have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people.”

Mother of Jesus! Mr. Kiehne may be onto something. I’m wondering why the other candidates, State Representative Adam Kwasman and House Speaker Andy Tobin chose not to provide this information. Maybe Kwasman and Tobin are not privy to Kiehne’s secret sources. One of Kiehne’s secret source may have been conservative talk show host Roger Hedgecock:

Based on the assertions of Roger Hedgecock a right-wing radio show host, the meme that the five worst recent mass shootings were committed by registered Democrats is making its way through e-mail chains and social media. Hedgecock asserts, without providing any evidence or sources, that the Ft. Hood shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter, the Aurora Theater shooter and Adam Lanza of Sandy Hook infamy were all “registered Democrats”.

The 100% estimate may be a bit stiff. The above item from Examiner.com provides some research by the author:

  • “Registered Democrat” may not be an exact fit for Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood shooter from 2009), since neither Texas nor Virginia (his previous residence) have party registration.
  • The same goes for university shooter Seung-Hui Cho, since he lived in Virginia. Besides, Cho was not a citizen, and as such he could not register in either party.
  • Voter registration forms for James Holmes were found, but it was not the same James Holmes who shot up Colorado movie theater.
  • There appears to be no evidence of party registration for Adam Lanza, the Connecticut school shooter. If he were a registered Democrat he would have been an unlikely one. His mother’s home had “conservative reactionary” written all over it. She was a noted doomsday prepper and a strong believer in gun rights. Adam killed his mother with her own assault rifle.
  • The Columbine shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were children and, as such, were not allowed to vote. There seems to be no evidence their families had any Democratic Party affiliation.

That’s five notorious shooters with no demonstrable Democratic Party affiliation. Unless there have been 500 high-profile shootings in the past 100 years, the claim of 99% Democratic approval is going to have to languish.

Here is more from Examiner.com:

  • James Huberty hated Mexicans and the United States. In 1984 he killed 21 and injured 19 in San Ysidro, California.
  • Buford O. Furrow was a white supremacist. He shot up a Jewish Community Center in California in 1999 and subsequently shot a postal worker to death.
  • Jim David Atkinsson “hated Democrats, liberals, African Americans and homosexuals.” Sounds pretty conservative to me. He murdered two and injured seven in July 2008 in Tennessee. [Editor’s note: Joe Barnhart was one of the injured.]
  • Keith Luke was a white supremacist (and a Democrat?). He set out to kill Jews, blacks and Hispanics in a Massachusetts killing rampage.
  • Donnie Baker was a former (not current) Republican campaign worker. He shot seven, also in 2008.
  • Richard Popalowski is a white supremacist. His opposition to President Obama (a Democrat) became obvious. He was sure Obama was going to have the government seize all guns. He killed three cops in Pittsburgh in 2009.
  • A man (not identified) “thought the Obama administration was conspiring against him.” He shot and killed two deputies in Fort Walton Beach in 2009.
  • An anti-abortion activist (likely not a Democrat) murdered Dr. George Tiller in 2009.
  • A “right-wing white supremacist and Holocaust denier” killed a black security guard at the National Holocaust Museum in 2009.
  • The Sovereign Citizen movement is not known to be associated with the Democratic Party, but members Jerry Kane and Joe Kane killed two police officers in 2010.
  • In 2010 Jared Laughner (apparently not a Democrat) killed six people and wounded 13, one of them Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
  • Wade Michael page is a white supremacist (possibly not a Democrat). He shot and killed six and wounded four in Wisconsin in 2012.

As of this writing, Gary Kiehne’s secret sources remain just that. When they become known I will post a follow-up. Please check back in about ten or twenty years.

Taking Liberties With Advertising

Liberty Mutual, wherefore art thou? I see thy commercials on yon cable channel, yet I comprehend not. Forsooth:

LibertyMutual-03

 

LibertyMutual-01

This poor soul had his new car destroyed by a wayward window air conditioning unit. He is so glad he has Liberty Mutual. Maybe some skeptical analysis is in order.

Done.

This man does not need insurance. The person who just dropped the unit on poor soul’s new car needs insurance. Right now.

So, why does Liberty Mutual feature this poor soul in it’s ad? Ask not of me. Ask Liberty Mutual:

Liberty Mutual Group, more commonly known by the name of its primary line of businessLiberty Mutual Insurance, is an American diversified global insurer and the third-largest property and casualty insurer in the United States based on 2012 Property and Casualty direct written premium. It ranks 81st on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the United States based on 2012 revenue. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, it employs over 50,000 people in more than 900 locations throughout the world. As of December 31, 2012, Liberty Mutual Insurance had $120.1 billion in consolidated assets, $101.5 billion in consolidated liabilities, and $36.9 billion in annual consolidated revenue. The company, founded in 1912, offers a wide range of insurance products and services, including personal automobilehomeownersworkers compensation, commercial multiple peril, commercial automobile, general liability, global specialty, group disability, fire and surety.

[Some links removed]

See, Liberty Mutual does all of this, and still they advertise people who do not need insurance. Like this man. His car has been destroyed by a tree limb. He needs car insurance. He needs Liberty Mutual.

LibertyMutual-02

No he doesn’t. This man needs it:

LibertyMutual-04

Right now.

Maybe you want to purchase automobile insurance from Liberty Mutual. Maybe you do not want to purchase stock in the company.

Applied Cryptography

Not strictly about cryptography, but closely related. This is about hash codes.

MD5HashCodes

It was a long time ago. Maybe 52 years. I started as an engineering student at the university, and they wanted all of us to learn how to use the computer. Seriously, it was the computer. They had one. We all took the (non credit) course as part of freshman orientation.

You need to know right now that a large segment of the freshman engineering class had little to no interest in the computer. That meant that I and a few others (out of a class of hundreds) had the computer to ourselves. We spent a lot of our off time programming all sorts of stuff. And there was something about this computer. In fact, it was something about all computers in those days. There were no user accounts. And there were no passwords. You just sat down at the computer, and you were on.

Those were the good days. Later, working for a company, we obtained access to the university’s CDC-6600 through a phone link. It was shared access with user accounts. And passwords. I began to become acquainted with the concept of passwords. Later at another company we purchased shared access to another company’s computer. It was over a phone link using a printer terminal. You typed, and responses were printed. There was no screen. When you entered the password, the printer went back and x’ed out the password that had printed. Passwords had to be kept secret.

Subsequently there were VAX computers all around with multiple accounts on each, and I eventually ended up sharing a cube with a computer whiz who really knew what was going on inside. And he explained password implementation concepts. It made sense immediately, and I wondered that I had not thought of it myself. It goes like this:

The computer will not let you use its services unless you enter the correct password assigned to your account. So you enter the proper string of letters and digits. The computer must be comparing them with the expected string of letters and digits to determine you have entered the correct password. It must have a copy of the password stored somewhere.

Absolutely not. This would be a dangerous thing to do. If the password is stored somewhere, then some snoop, at least anybody with administrator privilege could copy the password and use it to spoof your login. Very bad. So your password is not stored.

What is done, instead, is to use the password string you have selected and use that string in a computation to produce a new string. That resulting string is all that is stored. Your password is never stored. When you enter your password, the computer keeps it in volatile memory only long enough to perform the computation. Then it discards it. The computer compares the result of the computation with the string it has stored and determines whether the results match.

But, you say, if I can discover the computation method, then I can just take the stored string and reverse the computation to obtain the user password. You could do that. If you could reverse the computation. What is used is a computation that is very difficult to reverse. Enter the concept of a hash function.

A hash function, in simplest terms, takes given value, a number or a string and scrambles it so badly the result is from all appearances completely random. In a useful implementation a hash code performs a “many to one” mapping. Here’s a short explanation of “many to one.” See the diagram:

ManyToOneMapping

The two ellipses represent mathematical “spaces.” The difference in size of the two ellipses represents that one space is larger than the other. The larger space contains more points than the smaller one. Now you want to establish a relationship between points in A to points in B. Since A has more points, multiple points in A need to map to the same point in B. This is a “many to one” mapping.

What can you do with this concept?

Suppose you want to capture the essence of a large document. You want this essence to be small and portable, but you still want it to be unique to this document. A hash code is one way to capture the essence of a large data set.

Enter MD5.

The MD5 message-digest algorithm is a widely used cryptographic hash function producing a 128-bit (16-byte) hash value, typically expressed in text format as a 32 digit hexadecimal number. MD5 has been utilized in a wide variety of cryptographic applications, and is also commonly used to verify data integrity.

MD5 was designed by Ron Rivest in 1991 to replace an earlier hash function, MD4. The source code in RFC 1321 contains a “by attribution” RSA license.

[Some links removed]

The reader is invited to visit the link to RFC 1321. This is where I obtained my original code for MD5 shortly after it came out. “RFC” stands for Request For Comment, and it is the means by which the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) reviews, accepts and publishes standards for the Internet.

If you want to use MD5 on your computer you can obtain the code from RFC 1321 and compile it on your computer. For this exercise I’m using a copy obtained with Cygwin, an application that allows users to run a UNIX-like environment on Windows computers.

Here’s a demonstration. I obtained an article published in the newsletter of the North Texas Skeptics in October 2001. The item is wordy, and I won’t reproduce all of it here. I will exhibit one paragraph. The article is about creationists’ use of phony academic credentials, and I discussed creationist Kent Hovind. Among other things I covered the misuse creationists often make of protein sequence comparisons between different biological species:

Furthermore, comparison of sequences for the different organisms show what should be expected from evolution. Although cytochrome c performs much the same function in the different organisms it shows these differences due to random DNA copying errors during reproduction. As long as the resulting protein performs a useful (and required) function in the descendent organism, the descendent will thrive and reproduce, and the error will be retained in the subsequent lineage. The further along the line of descent a particular organism is the more accumulated change there will be. If a lineage branches, as during the formation of a new species, the chain of differences will diverge, as well. The result is that the accumulated differences between two living organisms marks the amount of change since the two lineages diverged.

Ignore, for a moment, my misspelling of “descendant” in the article.To perform this demonstration, I captured the text of the article into a text file, and then I executed MD5 with the file as input. Here’s what I got:

$ md5sum message.txt
54eb1c5086598e9f925bb3ec30c215f0 *message.txt

The first line is from my computer screen when I executed md5sum, the Cygwin MD5 implementation. The command line parameter is “message.txt,” the name of my text file. The second line is what md5sum printed out. It incorporated every character in the file, not just the text quoted above, and used them in the computation of a 32-digit hexadecimal value. It digested the entire file into 32 hexadecimal characters. And that’s how MD5 gets it’s name. “MD5” stands for “message digest 5.” This is the fifth version of Ron Rivest’s message digest utilities.

How is this useful?

Suppose somebody pays me to do some research and produce a lengthy report. I do all of this and produce a big write-up. I send my write-up to the person who paid me for the report. And I get a phone call. My client says he received the report, but some things do not look right. It’s possible somebody mucked with the report before passing it on to him. He may not have a legitimate copy.

Rather than having my client send me his copy of the report so I can go over it line by line, I ask instead that he just execute MD5 against his copy. This is assuming the original is an electronic file. My client does this and then reads back the 32-digit hash code to me over the phone. I compare what he tells me with my own copy of the hash code. It’s easy to do. There are only 32 digits to compare.

Let’s see what would happen if somebody did muck with the report. Here is another version of the previous quote. Only I have made a minor change. Can you find the change?

Furthermore, comparison of sequences for the different organisms show what should be expected from evolution. Although cytochrome c performs much the same function in the different organisms it shows these differences due to random DNA copying errors during reproduction. As long as the resulting protein performs a useful (and required) function in the descendent organism, the descendent will thrive and reproduce, and the error will be retained in the subsequent lineage. The further along the line of descent a particular organism is the more accumulated change there will be. If a lineage branches, as during the formation of a new species, the chain of differences will diverge as well. The result is that the accumulated differences between two living organisms marks the amount of change since the two lineages diverged.

I made the change in the message.txt file and ran md5sum against the changed file. Here is the result:

$ md5sum message.txt
ca27c1bb6311517eb3ed51129bec0804 *message.txt

For comparison, here are the two hash codes side by side:

54eb1c5086598e9f925bb3ec30c215f0

ca27c1bb6311517eb3ed51129bec0804

A one-character change in the file made this difference in the hash code. Use of a hash function such as MD5 makes it very easy to detect minor differences between large documents. This works as well for binary images such as photographs.

I have a Canon digital camera, and it has a feature that embeds a hash code into each image. Canon keeps the details to itself, but the company provides a service, if needed, to validate images from their cameras.

Suppose I photograph a criminal act in progress, and later I bring my photo to court as evidence against the accused. The defense attorney challenges the validity of my photograph. I have Photoshopped his client’s license plate number onto the license plate of the getaway car in the photo. I say, here is the RAW image from the camera. Canon verifies this is indeed a RAW image from my particular camera, and furthermore it has not been altered. The criminal is off to the slammer, cursing hash codes all the way.

What makes it hard to defeat hash code verification? Two things. First the mapping is many to one. You could attempt to demonstrate the hash code in question actually represents a different data set. After all, this is a many to one mapping, so this hash code could have come from a different file. Hold that for a moment and go on to the next point. It is very difficult to back out a hash code computation. The emphasis is on the word “very.”

One way to back out the computation of a hash code is to find another data set that produces the same hash code. Good luck. A 32-digit hexadecimal number is a large value, and you really do not have time for the task of coming up with an alternative data set. The nature of hash code functions such as MD5 is that they offer no assistance to anybody attempting to come up with an alternative data set. There is no guidance in the search. The slightest change produces a complete scrambling of the hash code.

But back to the first point again. Suppose you did find (eureka!) an alternative data set. That data set would have to make sense. A nonsense strings of characters would not pass for the claim that the alternative text is valid.

My statement is a bit strong that backing out an MD5 calculation is problematic. But only a bit. That’s the conclusion of further research:

In 1996 a flaw was found in the design of MD5. While it was not deemed a fatal weakness at the time, cryptographers began recommending the use of other algorithms, such as SHA-1—which has since been found to be vulnerable as well. In 2004 it was shown that MD5 is not collision resistant. As such, MD5 is not suitable for applications like SSL certificates or digital signatures that rely on this property for digital security. Also in 2004 more serious flaws were discovered in MD5, making further use of the algorithm for security purposes questionable; specifically, a group of researchers described how to create a pair of files that share the same MD5checksum. Further advances were made in breaking MD5 in 2005, 2006, and 2007. In December 2008, a group of researchers used this technique to fake SSL certificate validity, and CMU Software Engineering Institute now says that MD5 “should be considered cryptographically broken and unsuitable for further use”, and most U.S. government applications now require the SHA-2 family of hash functions. In 2012, the Flame malware exploited the weaknesses in MD5 to fake a Microsoft digital signature.

[Some links removed]

All that aside, MD5 is useful for verification of data integrity internally. In a non-hostile environment, where people are not trying to crack your security, and you just want to verify you have the correct copy of your data set, then MD5 is careful, quick and kind. I have most recently used it to verify the software build I was submitting to automated test was the correct and uncorrupted version designated for the test. Try it. You’ll like it.

River Of No Return

From Wikipedia

From Wikipedia

How high’s the water, papa? Don’t ask Marco Rubio. He’s no scientist, man.

Marco Rubio on the Earth’s age: ‘I’m not a scientist’

By KEVIN ROBILLARD | 11/19/12 2:08 PM EST

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio declined to firmly answer a question of existential importance in an interview released Monday.

An interviewer for GQ magazine asked the Republican, a Catholic and potential 2016 presidential candidate, how old planet Earth is. Rubio didn’t give a direct answer, but suggested children should be exposed to both scientific and religious theories.

“I’m not a scientist, man,” Rubio told the magazine. “I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.

“At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says,” he continued. “Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

Call me skeptical if you like, but I’m willing to take the Florida senator at his word. Let’s grant that he is not a scientist. But is he a high school graduate? That may be a more serious question. Senator, this stuff is taught in all the high school science classes.

Wait! Hold that thought. It turns out Senator Rubio may be wrong on the first count. He may be a scientist, after all.

Marco Rubio: I Am Now a Scientist, Man

By 

Two years ago, Michael Hainey asked Marco Rubio how old the Earth was. “I’m not a scientist, man …” Rubio demurred, “I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.” Yesterday, when Jonathan Karl asked Rubio about anthropogenic climate change, the prospective Republican presidential candidate was fully qualified to hold forth on scientific matters:

I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate.

Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity, I do not agree with that.

A moment please. Jonathan Chait, author of the above, calls to question Rubio’s casual dismissal of “a handful of decades of research.” I take issue, as well. Here are a few scientific accomplishments from “a handful of decades of research:”

  • Newton developed his theory of gravitation and used it to explain (and predict) the motion of the planets.
  • Scientists developed the atomic theory of matter and used it to develop the atomic bomb.
  • Scientists developed the theory of quantum mechanics and used it to develop the modern industry based on solid-state electronics.
  • Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease and used it to develop vaccines and to promote antiseptic surgery.
  • Biologists took Charles Darwin’s theory of biological evolution and developed the modern synthesis of biology, explaining how evolution works through random mutations coupled with natural selection.
  • Werner von Braun worked out the techniques to construct the V-2 rocket bomb and used this technology to develop the American moon rockets.

Electronics based on quantum theory

Electronics based on quantum theory

All of this stuff was accomplished in “a handful of decades of research.” On the other hand, let’s take a look at the accomplishments of Senator Rubio’s favorite source of knowledge (I can tell you what the Bible says). In the two thousand years since it was first published:

  • Never told us the Moon was a spherical body orbiting the Earth.
  • Never told us there were two huge continents on the opposite side of the Earth.
  • Never mentioned that the Earth is spherical (or nearly so).
  • Never fully comprehended the circumference of a circle is 3.14159… times the diameter, not three times.
  • Never completely explained how it was that a snaked talked to Eve (an imaginary person).
  • Never explained that fire is produced by the combination of oxygen molecules in the air with carbon and hydrogen in the firewood.
  • Never explained that a body floating on the surface of a body of water displaces an amount of water equal to the wait of the body.
  • No mention of places and people that existed at the time, including Australia, India and China.
  • Failed to notice that the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee are a consequence of a rift in the Earth’s crust that extends down into Africa.
  • Never figured out that the rock hyrax is the closest relative to the elephant species.

This may or may not be where Senator Rubio gets his knowledge but hopefully he will not be asking that American school children get their knowledge from the Bible. How far Rubio is from the edge of this cliff is hard to tell, but there are some aspects of his philosophy that disturb me. Here is an excerpt from a piece in Salon:

It is no surprise that Rubio received an F from the Secular Coalition. He has stated on many occasions that he governs thinking Bible first.

He voted to expand the right for religious institutions to discriminate based on religious beliefs that was hidden under the guise that it was meant to protect workers and religious employers. The bill’s main purpose was to protect religious institutions from further discrimination lawsuits.

Rubio also sponsored “Freedom to Pray” act that would allow federal funding to go to programs that participate in religious activities.

It’s sometimes hard to tell if Rubio’s denial of the evidence is based on ignorance or on political expedience:

“I have no problem with taking mitigation activity,” Rubio went on. “What I have a problem with is these changes to our law that somehow politicians say are going to change our weather. That’s absurd.”

Rubio is likely referring to new regulations on energy plant emissions proposed by President Obama this year. The Environmental Protection Agency’s new emissions standards seek to limit the amount of carbon — the most common greenhouse gas contributing to climate change — emitted by coal plants. The coal industry, and its political backers, are up in arms over the regulations, which they have deemed part of President Obama’s ‘war on coal.’

Winning over supporters of coal and other fossil fuels is undoubtedly a strategic need for Rubio, should he run for president. The fossil fuel industry — and notably oil-rich brothers Charles and David Koch — pour tens of millions of dollars into political elections every year.

Of course, Rubio should also consider the support of his home state, which is ground zero for climate change impacts in the United States, specifically sea level rise, storm surges, and stronger storms. The National Climate Assessment, which came out this week, calls out Rubio’s home state by name for the terrible future climate change has in store for it: “There is an imminent threat of increased inland flooding during heavy rain events in low-lying coastal areas such as southeast Florida, where just inches of sea level rise will impair the capacity of stormwater drainage systems to empty into the ocean,” the report says. “Drainage problems are already being experienced in many locations during seasonal high tides, heavy rains, and storm surge events.”

What the senator seems to be saying is we should be prepared to take corrective action, given the fact that the atmosphere and the hydrosphere are warming, but that we should not be taking action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It’s interesting to consider what mitigation would mean to Rubio’s home state of Florida.

At 345 feet (105 m) above mean sea level, Britton Hill is the highest point in Florida and the lowest highpoint of any U.S. state. Much of the state south of Orlando is low-lying and fairly level; much of Florida has an elevation of less than 12 feet, including many populated areas such as Miami which are located on the coast. Miami and other parts of south Florida are the most vulnerable regions in the world to rising sea levels associated with global warming.

Florida’s prehistorical past reflects the effect sea-level change has had:

When glaciation locked up the world’s water, starting 2.58 million years ago, the sea level dropped precipitously. It was approximately 100 metres (330 ft) lower than present levels. As a result, the Florida peninsula not only emerged, but had a land area about twice what it is today. Florida also had a drier and cooler climate than in more recent times. There were few flowing rivers or wetlands.

The south part of Florida rests on limestone layer, which was formed in prehistory at the bottom of a shallow sea. When the sea level dropped (or the land mass rose) the greater part of the Florida Peninsula was exposed. The prospect of any loss of this exposure is not pleasant to contemplate. Fortunately for Senator Rubio, by the time Floridians have to start abandoning oceanfront property and rail lines near the coast have to be raised, he will have completed his term as a United States senator. Possibly even his two terms as United States President. It’s all too wonderful to imagine.

Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

It’s the biggest game of the season, and this man decides he just has to get tickets. Unfortunately they’re nearly sold out and the only tickets he can get are at the farthest most upper part of the stadium, nose bleed seats. So the games about to start and he’s looking down at the sidelines with a pair of binoculars, when he notices an empty seat right at 50 yard line, right next to the sideline that’s empty. He says to himself “If that seats empty at the end of the 1st quarter, I’m going down and taking it”
At the end of the 1st, it’s still empty. He heads down to the seat, looks over at an old man sitting right next to it and asks him if it’s taken. The old man says no, go ahead.
The man asks “Did you pay for the ticket to this seat?” To which the old man replies “Yes, my wife and I use to go to this game every year, and we always got these exacts seats.” The man says, “I’m sorry to hear about your loss, but don’t you have a buddy or somebody you could bring along with you?”
The old man replies, “Sure, but they’re all at her funeral.”

Sunshine Patriots

From the OAS Web site

From the OAS Web site

This was previously one of my Size One Hat Alerts. Particularly:

Operation American Spring Leader Says God Will Lead Millions Against Obama’s ‘Socialist-Fascist-Communist-Marxist’ Dictatorship

Operation American Spring is a truly grassroots movement by serious Americans committed to Constitutional Principles, responding to a an overreaching, unresponsive and dismissive federal government which is made up of a cabal of elected but oath-breaking officials, who ignore the Constitution.

Of course, I, and others,, eagerly waited. What a spectacle this promised to be. Imagine if you can. Millions (OK, maybe just a million or so) of red-blooded American patriots marching up to the seat of power “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Actually, more than a petition for a redress of grievances was in store. There would be demands. Additionally these patriots would be reinforced by an unworldly power:

I think it will work. I think God is behind it. He is going to give us a clear path, right into Washington D.C. and that’s what we’re going to ask for. At the same time we’re working on a formal declaration of demands that we’re going to present, we don’t know exactly who to yet or how they will be presented, but this will back up what it is we’re asking for with regard to these people to step down. We’re trust there’s going to be about 10 million or more people that are going to be there to back this up, verified, validated.

They would also have the backing of an imaginary person in the sky. This was not to be missed. So with baited breath we waited.

That’s the problem. We waited.

Operation American Spring falls flat: ‘This is very disappointing,’ Texan says

Operation American Spring, billed as a Friday morning multi-million patriot march on Washington, D.C., to oust leadership from the nation’s capital — from President Obama to House Speaker John Boeher — has proven woefully below expectations.

“It’s a very dismal turnout,” said Jackie Milton, 61, a Jacksboro, Texas, resident and the head of Texans for Operation American Spring, to The Washington Times. He said hopes were high when he arrived in Alexandria, Va., a day or so ago and found motels and hotels were sold out for 30 miles around.

“We were getting over two inches of rain in hour in parts of Virginia this morning,” Mr. Milton said. “Now it’s a nice sunny day. But this is a very poor turnout. It ain’t no millions. And it ain’t looking like there’s going to be millions. Hundreds is more like it.”

Operation American Spring was billed as far back as six months ago as a rally call for patriotic Americans to force leaders in Washington, D.C., to return to a more limited and constitutional style of governance — and to oust those leaders who weren’t listening. Among the group’s targets: Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, vice president Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Initial projections were for between 10 million and 30 million to come from around the nation and converge on the downtown capital city streets outside the White House and Capitol Building — a number the organizer of the eventArmy Col. Harry Riley, called optimistic yet doable, given one million militia had already agreed to come.

These are the times that try men’s souls. Talk about your “summer soldier and the sunshine patriot.” A few inches or rain, and it’s duck and cover for some. Of course there is the possibility the weather was not to blame. The previous day the Los Angeles Clippers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 89 to 104. That would put a damper on any true patriot.

Of course, there’s another possibility. It’s not just the streets of Washington, D.C. calling for the attention of all true American patriots. The plight of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, already the victim of government oppression, still needs to be addressed. If there is a breath of truth to the following report, then Mr. Bundy could make use of all 10 million (not 30 million) of those patriots who stayed home on Friday:

The situation at the ranch, where armed militiamen and “Patriots” are camped out, has deteriorated so badly that competing factions apparently drew weapons on one another during heated arguments.

We wrote on Wednesday about how tensions flared when a paranoid rumor of an imminent drone strike on the encampment began circulating. The team that primarily circulated the drone-strike rumor – Stewart Rhodes’ Oath Keepers – also began advising people to pull out, which sparked the wrath of militiamen.

Those militiamen voted to oust the Oath Keepers, and a couple even spoke of shooting Rhodes and his men in the back, which they deemed the proper battlefield treatment of “deserters”.

Now Rhodes has replied to their accusations in a video in which he teamed up with fellow Oath Keepers Steve Homan, Robert Casillas and Brandon Ropolla (the latter of whom are also affiliated with Mike Vanderboegh’s so-called “III Percent” movement) to attack the “nutcases” that Rhodes said have assumed control of the militia camp at the Bundy Ranch.

We definitely need true patriots such as these to protect us from our oppressive, fascist, communist government. Hopefully we will not need additional true patriots to protect us from true patriots such as these.

Bye bye, Bachmann

Quick, somebody send me an e-mail or phone me. Please tell me this is a joke. The New Yorker has printed remarks supposedly from conservative Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. In the story she observed first hand the collapsing of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This is what Andy Borowitz reported:

Another member of the delegation, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), decried what she called the “alarmism” surrounding reports of the collapsing Ice Sheet.

“The Ice Sheet melt is only a problem if you live in Antarctica, which, honestly, is a pretty dumb place to live,” she said. “Polar bears live in Antarctica because they have no choice, but we’re not polar bears.”

Wait for a bit of background:

Collapse Of Antarctic Ice Sheet Would Likely Put Washington, D.C. Largely Underwater

Date:
February 6, 2009
 
Source:
University of Toronto
 
Summary:
Geophysicists have shown that should the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse and melt in a warming world — as many scientists are concerned it will — it is the coastlines of North America and of nations in the southern Indian Ocean that will face the greatest threats from rising sea levels.
AntarcticIceSheet

But that was so five years ago. What’s the latest?

On 12 May 2014, It was announced that two teams of scientists said the long-feared collapse of the Ice Sheet had begun, kicking off what they say will be a centuries-long, “unstoppable” process that could raise sea levels by 1.2 to 3.6 metres. They estimate that rapid drawdown of Thwaites Glacier will begin in 200 – 1000 years. (Scientific source articles: Rignot et al 2014  and Joughin et al 2014.)

[Some links removed]

That’s alarming. Unless you live in Minnesota, where Bachmann presumably will make her home after retiring from Congress in January.

Providing, mind you I say only providing, that Bachmann actually did make such a statement, then we could be getting overly alarmed. I mean, there is nothing we can do about it, so we should just do nothing. Besides, we have many decades to relocate the nation’s capital to higher ground. And Minnesota will still be high and dry, and cold enough for snow in the winter.

All right, a bit of skeptical analysis has convinced me that columnist Andy Borowitz is having some fun at Bachmann’s expense. Do you know what tipped me off? Yes, it’s the polar bears. Even Bachmann (being in Minnesota), knows that Polar bears are in the Arctic. There are no polar bears in the Antarctic. At least I think she knows:

Where do we say that a cell became a blade of grass, which became a starfish, which became a cat, which became a donkey, which became a human being? There’s a real lack of evidence from change from actual species to a different type of species.

John Quincy Adams most certainly was a part of the Revolutionary War era. He was a young boy, but he was actively involved.

And some more:

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.” –Rep. Michele Bachmann, suggesting at a presidential campaign event in Florida that the 2011 East Coast earthquake and hurricane was a message from God (Aug. 2011)

“Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, getting her John Waynes mixed up during an interview after launching her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, where she grew up. The beloved movie star John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, three hours away. The John Wayne that Waterloo was home to is John Wayne Gacy, a notorious serial killer. (June 2011)

“Our movement at its core is an intellectual movement.” –Rep. Michele Bachmann on the Tea Party movement, CPAC conference, March 2014

“Why should I go and do something like that? But the Lord says, ‘Be submissive wives; you are to be submissive to your husbands.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, recalling in a 2006 speech at a Megachurch in Minneapolis that pursuing tax law wasn’t her choice, but she did so at the urging of her husband because she was certain God was speaking through him

“I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, on the 1976 Swine Flu outbreak that happened when Gerald Ford, a Republican, was president, April 28, 2009

“Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.” -Rep. Michelle Bachmann, April, 2009

“I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.” –Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), on the HPV vaccine, Fox News interview, Sept. 12, 2011

“But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. … I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly — men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, botching American history while speaking at an Iowan’s for Tax Relief event in January 2011. The Founding Fathers did not work to end slavery, and John Quincy Adams was not one of the Founding Fathers.

“Before we get started, let’s all say ‘Happy Birthday’ to Elvis Presley today.” -Rep. Michele Bachmann, while campaigning for president in South Carolina on what was actually the anniversary of Elvis’s death, Aug. 16, 2011 (Elvis was born on January 8)

Do I think Bachmann really said that about polar bears? I’m going to have to think about it.

Bad Movie of the Week

It’s from 1949, and it’s in black and white. There’s betrayal, lies and murder. It’s Impact.

Movie poster from Wikipedia

Movie poster from Wikipedia

So, why is this a bad movie. It’s the plot again. It’s another example of something writer Mark Twain told us. “Of course life is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” Parts of this plot do not make sense. Also, take a look at the poster. This poster and a different one at IMDB.com show Irene with a pistol. I do not recall ever seeing gun in this movie.

Brian Donlevy is Walter Williams, a successful businessman. He could almost be the inspiration for Thomas Crown. He comes into a board meeting at his company. Have they made the decision to buy the three factories he wants to buy? No? Then they’re going to have to run the company without him.

The board members quickly agree. Then they insist he give them details about the companies he intends to buy. He informs them he has already made the purchase that very morning. Then he thanks the board and leaves.

Walter Williams is a tough guy with one weakness. He dotes obsessively on his lovely, cold, conniving and unfaithful wife. He is about to start on a trip by car to the new manufacturing facility. Faithless Irene (Helen Walker) asks him to stop by at a drugstore in Sausalito and give her “cousin” a ride to the airport. Walter has never met “cousin” Jim Torrance (Tony Barrett). “Cousin” Jim will recognize Walter’s open Packard Clipper touring car.

Jim does see the car when poor Walter stops at the drugstore and goes to make a phone call. Jim, who is really Irene’s lover, introduces himself as Irene’s cousin and rides with Walter on the way to the airport. When Walter stops for food at a diner, Jim craftily stays with the car and lets the air out of one tire. When Walter returns Jim offers to drive. He drives. He drives along the lonely coast road. The lonely coast road with many curves and cliffs along the right side.

At an ideal spot Jim announces the flat tire, and Jim and Walter proceed to install the spare. Jim makes plans to kill Walter.

This is so dumb. Jim’s plan is to stage the flat tire and kill Walter along the lonely stretch of road. If Walter had not decided to stop at the diner Jim would never have been able to stage the flat tire along this stretch of road. You begin to wonder, what was Jim’s plan B?

Jim’s plan does not work completely. He hits Walker over the head with the lug wrench and rolls Walter’s body down the embankment, throwing his jacket and briefcase after him. The idea is to make it appear Walter has been killed by a hitch-hiker. But Walter does not die. Jim does.

About the time Jim is preparing to drive off in Walter’s car a Bekins moving truck stops, and the driver asks if help is needed. Jim does not need help. He just needs a clean getaway. He jumps into Walter’s car and tears out down the lonely, twisting coast road. We are shown a tank truck loaded with flammable gasoline heading back the other way along the lonely coast road. The outcome is written on the wall.

Jim is so concerned about the Bekins truck still stopped by the “murder” site that he keeps looking back and runs head on into the tanker. The whole business plunges off the cliff, and there is a big explosion. Newspapers will later report that Walter’s body has been burned beyond recognition.

Walter is unburned but dazed. Jim’s last words to him involving sweet Irene and “sucker” haunt him. Still in a daze he collects his jacket and briefcase and climbs into the back of the Bekins truck, still parked beside the site of the “murder.” The drivers have gone to assist the police at the accident site, apparently just a few yards away.

With the tailgate of the moving van open! I know that Bekins men are careful, quick and kind, but I never knew a professional driver who went on a cross country trip with the tailgate open. It’s an invitation to losing some cargo, theft, discarded husbands crawling into the back.

The drivers return to their truck, still not noticing they have left the tailgate down and not noticing Walter passed out in the back of their truck. They drive on into Nevada (the “murder” site was in the San Francisco Bay area) and stop for lunch. Walter makes his exit from the van, leaving his briefcase to be found later by the drivers.

Irene takes the news from San Francisco Police Lieutenant  Tom Quincy (Charles Coburn) calmly and hustles the cop on his way so she can deal with her “grief.” She attempts to phone Jim. Jim does not answer. The plot thickens.

Walter trudges the byways, dogged by Irene’s betrayal. He ends up in (fictional) Larkspur, Idaho. No potatoes, but a cute lady named Marsha Peters (Ella Raines). Sweet Marsha is a war widow, and she owns a service station in need of a mechanic. Walter is an expert mechanic, and a match from Heaven is quickly made.

In the meantime detective Tom Quincy uncovers Irene’s duplicity, and the state of California charges her with Walter’s murder. They have found Jim’s fingerprints on Walter’s briefcase from the back of the Bekins van, but have yet to find Jim. He is a known offender.

Sweet Marsha eventually discovers that “Bill” is really Walter, and she convinces him to go back to San Francisco to stop the prosecution of Irene for his murder. They both go. Irene is relieved to avoid the death sentence. That relief lasts for the two seconds it takes for her to accuse Walter of Jim’s murder. Now Irene is free, and Walter is on trial for the murder of Jim.

This is also dumb. The police theory (what they are going to demonstrate in court) is that Walter learned about Jim and sought to get rid of him. He sought to get rid of Jim by conking him on the head and driving along a lonely stretch of coast road until a tanker truck came along, then bailing out of the car and allowing Jim to meet his death in a fiery crash.

Reader’s what’s wrong with this plot?

The police have charged Walter with Jim’s death. They have not charged him with the death of the tank truck driver. Watching the video (Turner Classic Movies) I got the impression that car, truck and all went over the cliff and were consumed by a huge fire. But at the trial there is no mention of the unfortunate truck driver.

But, suppose I am mistaken, and the driver did not die. Then why is he not testifying that he never saw anybody jump out of Walter’s open Packard Clipper roadster? And how about the Bekins drivers. How come they did not testify they saw only Jim getting into Walker’s car and driving off into an oncoming truck? And they never saw Walter jump out? And nobody ever saw Walter at the scene or walking away. And why were Jim’s finger prints on Walter’s briefcase that was found in the back of the Bekins truck? If Jim is the victim, what is he doing handling Walter’s briefcase?

Just plain dumb.

Anyhow, sweet Marsha works with Lieutenant Quincy to figure out that Irene was conniving with Jim in a murder scheme all along, and charges against Walter are dismissed. Irene is charged with conspiring with Jim to commit murder. The tank truck driver is still not mentioned.

Divorce is in the future for Irene, prison notwithstanding. It’s off to Denver with sweet Marsha for Walter, who is heading that way to run the new manufacturing operation.

All of this has taken about three months. That was 1949. Sometime between then and now American justice has slowed to a crawl.

You must remember this

Let me see…

Play it, Sam. Play it for old times sake.

Play it, Sam. Play it for old times sake.

I could have titled this one “The kiss seen ’round the world.” Of course you already know what this is all about.

NFL draft: Reactions heat up after Michael Sam kisses boyfriend on TV

By Holly Yan and Dave Alsup, CNN
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
(CNN) — Not long after Michael Sam became the first openly gay player drafted to the NFL, some made clear his reaction was not welcome.

Shortly after learning of his selection by phone, a visibly emotionalSam turned to his boyfriend and kissed him.

“I’m sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national tv,” former Super Bowl champion Derrick Ward tweeted.

“Man U got little kids lookin at the draft. I can’t believe ESPN even allowed that to happen,” he added.

This would not have made much of a stir, even ten years ago, if this had been the latest comedy show star, let alone the New York Ballet’s latest draft pick. But guys, this is the NFL. This is where big tough guys suit up Sundays and do mighty battle to the death on live TV. These are men who chug a brewski and crush the empty on their foreheads. They eat nails for breakfast. This is America’s team.

The reaction from some quarters was predictable. Here’s more:

Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones also expressed his disapproval,tweeting “horrible” and “OMG” after the kiss was aired. He has since deleted those comments.

Sadly, there has been reaction from both sides:

Ward, who played for the New York Giants and the Houston Texans,said he has received death threats against him and his children after the comments.

People, there are some of you who need to crawl back under your rock.

The NFL is a business enterprise, and it is taking steps to protect the profit line:

But the Dolphins responded quickly, ordering Jones to pay an undisclosed fine and barring him from team activities until he finishes “training for his recent comments made on social media.”

I have an egg time, and I am counting the minutes until there is reaction from my conservative friends about this trammeling of free speech rights

In the few moments I’m waiting for that shoe to drop, I am contemplating the next move. The next kiss, if you will.

Yes, readers, there is still NASCAR. Yes, NASCAR, that bastion of American conservatism. NASCAR, where a black and liberal president dare not step. Where he can count on the fingers of one hand his (secret) votes from the grandstands.

Wait! I’m not finished. Here it comes: the NRA. All the way, NRA. Of course, the NRA is not a team sport getting its revenues from ticket sales and a TV audience. Still, I relish the first big NRA kiss. What a story that will make. Can you imagine, “You can have my AK-47 when you pry it from my cold faggoty fingers.”

Ah, it’s a lovely sight to see, this dark, ugly side of American conservatism. But then I’ve seen this dark side before. I’ve seen it when black players could not play national league baseball. It was gladdening to watch, over the decades, American conservatism got over this particular bugaboo. And may we all say, “Thank God.” Where would baseball be today without black players, much less the AFL. The NBA with only white players? People would be watching Bowling for Dollars.

Play it, Sam:

You must remember this 
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh. 
The fundamental things apply 
As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo 
They still say, “I love you.” 
On that you can rely 
No matter what the future brings 
As time goes by.

UPDATE

My egg timer didn’t get a chance to run out. Even before I finished this Joe for America beat me to the punch. Of course I knew he would. It’s not the darkest that could have been posted by JFA, but it does fulfill my expectations:

Let’s just cut to the chase. We’ve all read this script before.

If you do anything less than fall to your knees weeping tears of jubilation that a man who is sexually attracted to men was picked to play a game for a living — you’re a homophobe.

It doesn’t really matter why you aren’t joining in the celebration, or why you aren’t using words like ‘historic’ and ‘revolutionary’ to describe a scenario where a homosexual fellow plays a sport with some other fellows, and is paid handsomely and applauded loudly for doing so.

It doesn’t matter what reasoning you provide, or what sort of logic you employ, when attempting to explain why Michael Sam’s likeness shouldn’t necessarily be etched into Mount Rushmore just because he took it upon himself to alert the media of his sexual habits a few months before being selected in the 7th round of the NFL Draft.

It doesn’t matter what you say when trying to articulate why the President of the United States of America probably doesn’t need to release an official White House statement to congratulate someone for being gay and athletic.

Chicks on the Right

The title is relevant. There is such an entity as Chicks on the Right.

I was running low on inspiration this morning, so I reverted to one of my less honorable tactics. I Trolled a conservative former Facebook friend to see what she was posting. Of course, there was a lot of useful stuff, but inevitably I came across one of these:

‘I Don’t Trust You’: 14 Year-Old Confronts School After Her Dad’s Arrest for Breaking 2 Min. Rule

http://www.ijreview.com

Screen shot from IJReview

Screen shot from IJReview

This is really hot stuff. It would appear these conservatives are really onto something here. Some skeptical analysis may be in order. Let’s see the referenced item. This is from IJReview:

‘I Don’t Trust You’: 14 Year-Old Confronts School After Her Dad’s Arrest for Breaking 2 Min. Rule

When concerned father William Baer spoke up about a salacious book at a Gilford, N.H., school board meeting and then overran his allotted time of two minutes, police led him out in handcuffs. His daughter Marina Baer confronted those who stood by while a police officer arrested the man for “disorderly conduct”:

“I just watched my father get arrested because he broke the two minute rule, at a board of education meeting. This just shows that you resort to force at the first turn of conflict and I am appalled. So I don’t trust you, I haven’t, and I honestly don’t feel safe around you people.”

The book in question, 19 minutes, contains graphic sexual content, such as a lurid phrase about intercourse, “Semen, sticky and hot, pooled on the carpet beneath her.” Apparently, this is what happens to parents who object to such content being taught by “liberal” educators nowadays – they get led out in handcuffs.

People, this is so bad. And what a spunky teenager she is—calling out the oppressive liberal officialdom over their jack-booted tactics. It is so like these left-leaning administrators to foist sexually explicit readings on small children and then use police oppression to quash any objection to their shadowy agenda and to discipline on the slightest pretext anybody who opposes them.

In the interest of skeptical analysis I did a quick Google search on Miss Baer’s words, “‘I Don’t Trust You’: 14 Year-Old Confronts School After Her Dad’s Arrest for Breaking 2 Min. Rule,” and came up with these hits on the first page of results:

That is so damning of the school board and their police tactics. And it is so laudatory of Miss Baer for protesting her father’s arrest on a pretext. I did not dig into all these Google hits, but the text that came up every time was the reference to Baer’s going over his alloted time. There is no reference to any serious offense that should get an honest man arrested.

There’s a problem. Call me skeptical if you wish, but something smelled about the whole thing. I’ve never been arrested before, if you don’t count my “arrest” by some firemen five years ago, and I’ve been around for a long time. What I have seen is that police generally have much better things to do with their time than to arrest people for going over their two minutes alloted time. So I dug deeper. It was necessary to dig only a little deeper. What I found is that these conservative postings failed to mention some minor details:

He confronted school officials about the passage during a comment period at Monday’s board meeting.

According to a video of the meeting published on YouTube, the school officials cut off Baer after his allotted two minutes to speak were over.

He later piped up as another man addressed the issue.

After a heated back-and-forth with a female official, Baer was approached by a cop and told to leave.

He refused, saying, “I guess you’re going to have to arrest me.”

He was cuffed and charged with disorderly conduct.

“He spoke out of order,” Gilford Police Lt. James Leach told WMUR-TV.

“Someone else was given the floor and was speaking. He interrupted them and continued after being asked to stop.

“He was then asked to leave and refused to leave unless he was arrested, so he was arrested.”

My conservative former Facebook friend has done this kind of thing before and continues to do it on a continuing basis. She picks up on a salacious right-wing posting that highlights everything that is wrong with liberal thinking and action, and she posts it. No drilling down to get the facts behind the story. It looks good. It looks anti-liberal. So post it. This is the same person who likes to use the term “sheeple” to describe liberals. When I turned the phrase around a few weeks ago I was suddenly unfriended. “Ring and run” was the phrase that came to mind at the time.

Obviously this is a disreputable tactic that is often used by conservative pundits. This kind of use indicates to me that these conservatives have little in the way of truthful bases for attack on liberal philosophy, so they find it necessary (often) to resort to out-of-context bites. This to me has long been a vindication of my choice to side with the liberals on most issues.

Additionally, I watched the video of Miss Baer’s comments to the board. She stands before the board. She politely presents her case. She accuses them of having her father arrested on the slightest pretext. She says she had not trusted and does not “you people,” and she sits down. She make no reference to her father’s misconduct at the meeting. She says she witnessed the event, but she gives a truncated account of what happened. She says only enough and does only enough to make for a short video clip to be presented by conservative outlets. She has learned at an early age the tactics of a dishonest political movement.

Do liberals use the same, disreputable, tactic? Sorry to say, yes. Can you find such? Please do. But you have to look for it. You have to latch onto the lead story and then drill down. You have to actually do some analysis. May take some time. May require some effort. It’s not for sheeple.

Top of the world!

I was thinking about a Mother’s Day movie for today and realized I had not done a review of this one. Of course, you don’t even have to wait for me to tell you what it is. You already know. In all of movie land there is one mother who stands out above all others. She’s the one who shows us what motherhood is all about. In this movie mother, “Ma Jarret,” is played by that ever loving and irreplaceable Margaret Wycherly.

459px-Margaret_Wycherly

Image from Wikipedia

Cody Jarret is her little boy, played by James Cagney. But little Cody has been a bad boy. How bad? Just take a look at the opening scenes. Little Cody and his friends are in their car. They are racing to meet the train, but they don’t have tickets. They don’t intend to ride the train. They have guns. They intend to rob the train.

Cody and his gang make off with over $300,000, but things go badly. The robbers kill four on the train, and one of the robbers is scalded by hot steam during the altercation. This is an old movie from 1949, and this is a coal-burning steam locomotive. And the movie is White Heat.

Cody’s gang doesn’t stop there. There is a subsequent bank robbery (reported on the radio), and more people are killed. The robbers seek refuge in their hideout in the mountains. It’s a nice mountain bungalow, but it’s cold and stifling for Cody’s glamorous and worthless wife Verna, played by luscious Virginia Mayo. Ma Jarret keeps things running. She’s a tough old bird.

Ma Jarret has not married well, and Cody’s father has previously died in a mental institution. Cody is certifiably psychopathic, said character being the running theme of the movie.

The character of Ma Jarret is apparently inspired by real-life Ma Barker:

Arizona Donnie Barker (October 8, 1873 – January 16, 1935) better known as Ma Barker, and sometimes as Kate Barker, was the mother of several criminals who ran the Barker gang from the “public enemy era”, when the exploits of gangs of criminals in the U.S. Midwest gripped the American people and press. Under various pseudonyms, she traveled with her sons during their criminal careers.

After she was killed during a shoot-out with the FBI she acquired a reputation as a ruthless crime matriarch, who controlled and organized her sons’ crimes. J. Edgar Hoover described her as “the most vicious, dangerous and resourceful criminal brain of the last decade”. Because of this, Ma Barker has been presented as a monstrous mother in films, songs and literature. However, her personal acquaintances insisted she had no active role in criminal activity and “couldn’t plan breakfast”, as one gang associate said.

As the police close in Cody escapes their clutches by pleading guilty in Illinois to a hotel robbery that occurred simultaneously with the train robbery. He gets one to three years in the Illinois slammer with Ma left to watch over the remainder of the gang, including Big Ed, who has eyes to take over the gang, and sweet Verna, who has eyes for Big Ed.

Without getting into the details of the plot (see the movie) Ma Jarret visits little Cody in prison wearing her old woman’s print dress and tells him what’s going on with Big Ed and Verna. Cody plans to break out, but Ma assures him she will take care of Big Ed. She tells little Cody that any time she can’t take care of somebody like Big Ed, then she’s getting old. She’s getting old. Cody learns in prison that his mother is dead, and we later learn that Verna shot her in the back.

Cody escapes and reconciles with sweet Verna, killing Big Ed. He still thinks it was Big Ed who killed his mother and never learns about Verna. The climax comes when the gang stages a payroll heist at a large chemical plant in Long Beach, California. Only there’s an undercover police agent, played by Edmond O’Brien, who has infiltrated the gang. The gang gets mostly wiped out in a shootout with police at the chemical plant, and Cody’s run ends atop a huge spherical chemical tank that explodes spectacularly. He has finally maxed out. He’s shouting “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!

But this is Mother’s Day, so this is really about Margaret Wycherly. Just a few years prior to White Heat she played Mother York in Sergeant York. Gary Cooper is the World War One hero and Medal of Honor winner, but his mother is the one who is holding the family together and keeping the wayward Alvin York on the straight and narrow while he gets his life together before going off to war. From the movie:

Rosie York: Ma, what’re they fighin’ for over there?

Mother York: Don’t rightly know, Child. Don’t rightly know.

Margaret Wycherly, this day’s for you. Top of the world.

Size One Hat Alert

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Oh no! Not another alert in less than a week:

Ky. governor: Gay marriage threatens birth rates, can induce economic crises

Friday, May 9, 2014
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says in a new legal brief that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry because they cannot “naturally procreate,” and the state has an interest in ensuring that they do.
In appealing a federal judge’s ruling that the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, Beshear’s counsel — attorney Leigh Gross Latherow — says Kentucky has an interest in maintaining birth rates, which, if allowed to fall, can induce economic crises because of the reduced demand for good and services and the reduction of the work force.
To be fair, I’m not faulting Governor Beshear for these absolutely stupid remarks. He’s only human. I am, however, faulting the people of Kentucky who elected him. People, did this person not campaign for office with a sign hanging around his neck that said “Terminally Stupid?” Maybe not. They seldom do, those who disguise brain-dead up until the time the votes are counted. Then it’s too late, because most governments do not have a clause allowing for removal from office due to stupidity. There must be a reason for this, and I am sure the reason is that otherwise we would never be able to fill open elected positions.
Wait! I detect the need for some skeptical analysis. Let’s have a look. That is governor Beshear’s premise?
[B]ecause they cannot “naturally procreate.
Oh, shit! That’s going to leave off a lot of people. I can name a few. I can name one. I can name one who’s been unable to procreate for the past 34 years due to a vasectomy procedure. Not allowed to marry? Bummer!
There’s more. The governor is talking about homosexual people. These are people not likely to procreate whether they are married or not. What is going to change if these people marry? I hesitate to be indelicate about this, but imagine this scenario. A homosexual man is not married. He would like to have children of his own, but then this would require he have sex with a woman. Since he is not married there is little chance a woman would go along with this scheme, since she would be stuck with the child. The courts are not apt to give a single, homosexual, man custody of a child. But if the man were married, even to another man, then the two of them could connive with a woman willing to be a surrogate mother, and the courts are more likely to award custody to the men, who could provide a family life, which the child might not have with the single woman. It’s only a thought, but it indicates that, far from decreasing the birth rate in Kentucky, homosexual marriages have to opportunity, if taken, to increase the birth rate.
Of course, that would not satisfy the real intent of people like Governor Beshear. These people just do not like homosexuals, and they are disinclined to grant them any slack in the legal system. Only some are reluctant to state this actual motivation publicly. Instead they just make statements that make them appear stupid. In public.
Governor, time to get a new hat. I think you could use a smaller size.