Libertarian Facepalm of the Day

So I’ve been struggling with a bit of a cough lately. It’s very annoying, and it’s been interfering with my sleep.

Luckily, we live in an age where brilliant humans have developed awesome drugs that can knock out the problem in a jiffy; an effect that before could only be achieved via the placebo effect (i.e. prayer).

Well, not really, as it were. Because if you’ve tried to remedy a cold lately, you know that obtaining this remedy requires a few extra steps.

The logic goes like this…

The federal government (which totally knows what’s best for us and never makes stupid decisions at all) has decided that, since an ingredient in the more potent cold medicines can be utilized in the production of illegal methamphetamines, said medicines should not be available over-the-counter henceforth. The argument, of course, being that meth users or meth cookers will be sufficiently deterred by these measures. Obviously.

So instead of me being able to just walk into a CVS, grab a box of Sudafed, and give them my money, I instead have to visit during pharmacy hours, show them my driver’s license, and obtain it from the pharmacist who keeps track of how many I’m buying per month.

Because the war on drugs (which is totally working, right?) is much more important than sick people having easy access to the medicine that will make them feel better.

Needless to say, it came as no surprise at all when I read this WaPo article:

IN VERACRUZ, MEXICO Exploiting loopholes in the global economy, Mexican crime syndicates are importing mass quantities of the cold medicines and common chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine – turning Mexico into the No. 1 source for all meth sold in the United States, law enforcement agents say.

Nearly three years ago, the Mexican government appeared on the verge of controlling the sale of chemicals used to make the drugs, but the syndicates have since moved to the top of the drug trade.

Cartels have quickly learned to use dummy corporations and false labeling and take advantage of lax customs enforcement in China, India and Bangladesh to smuggle tons of the pills into Mexico for conversion into methamphetamine. Ordinary cold, flu and allergy medicine used to make methamphetamine – pills banned in Mexico and restricted in the United States – are still widely available in many countries.

So not only are these extra restrictions unnecessary and inconvenient… not only are they based on a false premise… not only are they a waste of time and money… they ALSO give violent Mexican drug cartels something else to profit off of.

Fantastic.

These are the people that want more of our money to do stuff with.

(via Jeffrey Miron)

Fox News Says Heaven is Real. Evidence: a Little Boy’s Hallucination.

Most hilarious line: “So many people want to know what you now know…”

Come on, people. Is this how you want our generation to be remembered? In thousands of years, when future generations unearth our culture, do you really want them to say, “Wow! Look at this. These people actually thought that one little boy’s anesthesia-induced hallucinations were valid evidence for an afterlife!”

Seriously, if you would actually recount this story to someone as evidence for an afterlife (in any context other than a joke), I’d like you to wear aluminum foil on your head, so’s we know who you are.

The Short Rebuttal (which any one of the idiots down at Fox News could have done, if they’d taken literally five minutes to do the research):

  1. Experiencing hallucinations while under general anesthesia is a well-known, common phenomena. There’s nothing unusual about seeing things that aren’t there, feeling like you’re “outside your body,” or having intense feelings of euphoria when you’re being put under.
  2. Even ignoring the anesthesia, NDEs and OBEs are also very common phenomena, occasionally triggered when the brain loses oxygen. So what we have are at least two natural, common, well-documented explanations that were completely ignored by Fox News’ crack research team. Figures.
  3. A bronze-age Palestinian Jewish carpenter with blue eyes? Srsly?!
  4. Even if the god this boy saw was big enough to hold the world in the palm of his hand, he’d still be infinitely smaller than the universe itself. So… proportion fail.
  5. Let me get this straight… there was absolutely no way that the kid could have known that at least one of his very religious parents would be praying for him as he was about to be cut open? (See: definition of “naive“)
  6. It’s Fox News.
  7. If this boy had seen Allah and Muhammad while under the influence of general anesthesia (akin to what happened to this woman, for instance), I’m willing to bet my life savings that it would have been dismissed as a meaningless hallucination in no time.

Feeling a bit like a trendsetter today…

This morning I did something I don’t normally do, and I’m about to drop a fashion-knowledge bomb on you humans (particularly the male humans) and tell you what’s what. And here it is…

Button up the top button.

Let me tell you something, fellas. The top button is your friend. The top button will open up new social and professional doors for you. Just try it. Button that shirt up to the top and you’ll instantly out-class any swinging dick in the room, I guarantee it.*

Your neck might feel a little snug, but it’s totally worth it for that classy badass look. I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person to do this, but I can tell you that I definitely rock the hell out of it, and you can too.

So consider this an official Black Jeezus PSA. The top button… it’s not just for hipsters and Latin Kings anymore.

(*Disclaimer: You should probably wear pants as well, otherwise I waive my guarantee. You may also want to have a personality, too.)

A Post About Candy (or, Why Jolly Ranchers Are Awesome)

A co-worker recently posed an interesting question for my consideration, which I will now re-pose unto you humans.

Why do Starbursts still include the yellows?

I’m willing to contend that fewer than 10% of human beings in full possession of their sense of taste actually enjoy eating lemon-flavored candy. Probably less. I have yet to see someone set out a bowl of Starburst candies and not find the bowl containing nothing but yellows three days later. And the same is true of Skittles.

The logic behind the inclusion of lemon in the mixed-flavored candy repertoire is erroneous to begin with. What kind of executives were sitting at a board meeting saying to themselves, “We need one more flavor to add to the fold. What should it be? Wait… how about that fruit that makes people recoil in disgust when they taste it? Eureka!”

Seriously, if you’re reading this, you’re probably aware that lemon is a terrible flavor in any candy. Lemon, in fact, only works in three contexts: lemonade, lemon jello, and Liz Lemon.

Yes, I am fully aware of the rule of the excluded minority. Of course, there is the occasional weirdo that likes the lemon-flavored candies. But why do the rest of us have to resort to picking yellow Skittles out of the bag just to appease these rare few? That’s what the fuck Lemonheads are for. (Tell me you didn’t secretly hate the family on the block that gave out Lemonheads at Halloween.) If you like lemon, there’s a candy made specifically for you. Don’t impinge upon my snack food.

This is why I have mad respect for Jolly Ranchers.

Jolly Ranchers realized some time ago that they were wasting valuable candy resources manufacturing lemon-flavored Jolly Ranchers that only ended up in the garbage or neglected in a junk drawer somewhere. So they abolished those bitches and replaced them with blue raspberry Jolly Ranchers. Which, as we know, is The People’s Jolly Rancher.

Now I can go out and buy a bag of J-Rizzles knowing that I won’t have to throw a fifth of them into the trash or into one of my co-worker’s desk drawers.

And that is what the American consumers want, Mars Incorporated, manufacturers of Starburst fruit chews and Skittles confectionery. We want the freedom to reach into a bag of candy and not pull out a yellow globule of yuck. We demand that you learn from Jolly Rancher’s courageous example and realize that not all flavors are created equally. That not every fruit deserves to have its flavor replicated in soft-taffy form.

And if you don’t believe me, I challenge you to start selling each flavor separately. See which one is the first in line to get discontinued. Only then shall you realize the error of your ways.

Until then, I’m inclined to stick with Jolly Ranchers. The candy of the masses. The candy of the under-appreciated and ignored.

Recognize, or suffer the citrusy consequences.

The Government Doesn’t Give a Shit About Your Health

This made me shake my head in disgust.

Why? Because I just had Domino’s Pizza yesterday. (It was good though. Not gonna lie.)

Domino’s Pizza was hurting early last year. Domestic sales had fallen, and a survey of big pizza chain customers left the company tied for the worst tasting pies.

Then help arrived from an organization called Dairy Management. It teamed up with Domino’s to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese, and proceeded to devise and pay for a $12 million marketing campaign.

Consumers devoured the cheesier pizza, and sales soared by double digits. “This partnership is clearly working,” Brandon Solano, the Domino’s vice president for brand innovation, said in a statement to The New York Times.

But as healthy as this pizza has been for Domino’s, one slice contains as much as two-thirds of a day’s maximum recommended amount of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease and is high in calories.

And Dairy Management, which has made cheese its cause, is not a private business consultant. It is a marketing creation of the United States Department of Agriculture — the same agency at the center of a federal anti-obesity drive that discourages over-consumption of some of the very foods Dairy Management is vigorously promoting.

In simpleton’s terms:

We’ve given our government the impression that they have the right to (a) form a department that manages the distribution, growth and quality of certain food products, and (b) tell us what eating habits we should and shouldn’t have.

Naturally, what results is the perfect self-serving relationship with the corporate food world. The government can say “DONT EAT THISS YOULL DIE!!!1!” and spend millions of tax dollars on public health campaigns to inform us of this, while at the same time funding a $12 million campaign (tax dollars again) to get us to eat the very thing that they’ve just told us is a health hazard.

In even simpler simpleton’s terms:

The government takes money from you and then uses it to tell you to do two completely different things.

So does anyone else still think that a larger government is a good idea?

Are atheist women out there?

This article I read yesterday got me thinking about the general state of the atheist movement. (I refuse to succumb to calling it the “New Atheist” movement, because there really is nothing new about the fact there’s never been any good reason to believe in a god)

The first thing I thought is that the author is quite wrong: I can think of more than a few strong female atheist leaders. Annie Laurie Gaylor, Rebecca Goldstein, Rebecca Watson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Susan Jacoby, and Eugenie Scott come to mind.

But it does seem that there are fewer women who express disbelief in god than men. I’ve always wondered why. I refuse to believe that it has anything to do with the false contentions that women are less rational than men, or that women rely much more on emotions than on intellect. Thousands of years of human history should serve as testament that this isn’t the case.

Women are every bit as insightful as men, and from my own experience, women are also a lot better at knowing bullshit when they hear it. So why the lapse?

Perhaps there are just as many disbelievers in the female population as there are in the male population, but males are simply more vocal about it?

It would be a little upsetting if this were the case. One place I do agree with the author is in this particular passage:

Given the immense harm many organized religions inflict on women through outright violence and institutional oppression, it seems women may have more to gain than men from exiting their faith. Yet no women are currently recognized as leaders or even mentioned as a force within the movement.

Religion (the world’s major ones in particular) deals women the worst hand possible. If they’re not treated outright as property, then they’re commanded to keep quiet and obey their husbands in modest servility. Time after time, I see religious women actually defending these passages and commandments. I would think women would be the first ones waiting to break free from the chains placed on them by an imaginary deity invented by prehistoric misogynists, and the first ones to speak out against this rubbish.

So I pass the question onto you, ladies. Do you believe in a god or not? Either way, why do you think women aren’t as vocal about atheism as men are?