The media has been buzzing about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have both her breasts removed to prevent her from coming down with breast cancer.
(CNN) — Actress Angelina Jolie announced in a New York Times op-ed article on Tuesday that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning that she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” Jolie wrote. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy.”
Jolie’s mother, actress and producer Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer in 2007 at the age of 56. Jolie is 37 years old.
My first thought about it was, “This could end her movie career, but living a full life to care for your children and future grandchildren must be more important to her. How commendable!”
But not everyone is praising her. The “Health Ranger” Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com has engaged in classic conspiracy screeching about it.
(NaturalNews) Angelina Jolie’s announcement of undergoing a double mastectomy (surgically removing both breasts) even though she had no breast cancer is not the innocent, spontaneous, “heroic choice” that has been portrayed in the mainstream media. Natural News has learned it all coincides with a well-timed for-profit corporate P.R. campaign that has been planned for months and just happens to coincide with the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on the viability of the BRCA1 patent.
This is the investigation the mainstream media refuses to touch. Here, I explain the corporate financial ties, investors, mergers, human gene patents, lawsuits, medical fear mongering and the trillions of dollars that are at stake here. If you pull back the curtain on this one, you find far more than an innocent looking woman exercising a “choice.” This is about protecting trillions in profits through the deployment of carefully-crafted public relations campaigns designed to manipulate the public opinion of women.
The signs were all there from the beginning of the scheme: Angelina Jolie’s highly polished and obviously corporate-written op-ed piece at the New York Times, the carefully-crafted talking points invoking “choice” as a politically-charged keyword, and the obvious coaching of even her husband Brad Pitt who carefully describes the entire experience using words like “stronger” and “pride” and “family.”
But the smoking gun is the fact that Angelina Jolie’s seemingly spontaneous announcement magically appeared on the cover of People Magazine this week — a magazine that is usually finalized for publication three weeks before it appears on newsstands. That cover, not surprisingly, uses the same language found in the NYT op-ed piece: “HER BRAVE CHOICE” and “This was the right thing to do.” The flowery, pro-choice language is not a coincidence.
In the NYT op-ed piece, Jolie claims her doctor told her she has an “87% risk” of developing breast cancer. But what she didn’t tell you is that this number doesn’t apply to the entire population: it’s actually old data derived almost exclusively from families that were previously documented to have very high risks of breast cancer to begin with.
A study published on the National Human Genome Research Institute website and conducted by scientists from the National Institutes of Health reveals that breast cancer risks associated with BRCA1 genes are significantly lower than what’s being hyped up by Jolie and the mainstream media.
In fact, in a large room of 600 women, only ONE will likely have a BRCA mutation in her genetic code. The actual incidence is 0.125 to 0.25 out of 100 women, or 1 in 400 to 1 in 800. I used 600 as the average of 400 and 800.
And out of that 1 in 600 women who has the mutation, her risk of breast cancer is only 56 percent, not 78 percent as claimed by Jolie. But 13 percent of women without the BRCA mutation get breast cancer anyway, according to this scientific research, so the increased risk is just 43 out of 100 women.
So what we’re really talking about here is 1 in 600 women having a BRCA gene mutation, then less than half of those getting cancer because of it. In other words, only about 1 in 1200 women will be affected by this.
Three Breast Cancer Gene Alterations in Jewish Community Carry Increased Cancer Risk, But Lower Than in Previous Studies
May 1997 <———————————-note that date!
He wants to criticize Jolie for refering to “old data” yet he himself refers to something from 1997?!
“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” Jolie wrote. (Emphasis mine)
This, my friends, is the essence of doomsday fear mongering. This issue affects less than one-tenth of one percent of women but is being riled up into a nationwide fear campaign that just happens to feed profits into the for-profit cancer diagnosis and treatment industry, not to mention the monopolistic human gene patenting cartels.
Not to mention that he has made some incredibly hateful and libelous attacks on “skeptics”. It must be noted that Angelina Jolie is an atheist and therefore must be one of those skeptics Adams already despises.
It should also be noted that we Americans live in a capitalist economy and as long as that is the case, medicine would naturally be for profit. To attack that, Adams would have to favor socialized medicine. Does he? Yet he condemns Obamacare.
And I condemn him, even though like him I oppose the granting of patents for genes of any kind. He is simply too inconsistent and dishonest to be taken seriously. He exposed nothing in that article on naturalnews.com but his own arrogance.
- Angelina Jolie reveals she had double mastectomy (newsfixnow.com)
- Angelina Jolie’s NOT SO SHOCKING News (momminitup.com)
- Angelina Jolie’s Fear and Inspiration: Her Beloved Mother’s Death from Cancer (people.com)
In the end, Sanford won by nine points, 54 percent to 45 percent, according to the Associated Press’s tally.
In remarks at a victory rally Tuesday night, Sanford tipped his cap to Colbert Busch and her team for a “well-run race.” But the campaign, he said, “was based on two very different ideas on what ought to come next in Washington.”
Sanford also sounded a spiritual note in his address, thanking “god’s role in all of this,” and calling himself an “imperfect man” who was “saved by god’s grace.”
Oh sure, involve God’s grace and you can recover from anything, even things that should guarantee that you never hold public office again! Blasphemous prick!
This is the home state of pro-slavery advocate John C. Calhoun, who threatened to lead his state in a secession from the Union in the 1830s. This is the state that actually was the first to secede from the Union in 1860, starting the Civil War. This is the state that was the home of racist hypocrite Strom Thurmond. This is the state that has now taken back another hypocrite. Ethics and honor mean nothing to the people of this state, it seems. All they care about is being bigoted against non-whites and liberals. After nearly 200 years of arrogance and stupidity, they have learned NOTHING!
Maybe we should EXPEL South Carolina from the Union now?
Read this, which I have edited for the sake of brevity:
We want religious believers to police their own.
We want religious believers to stop being silent about atrocities committed in the name of religion. …….And when they don’t, we call them hypocrites.
So why is it that when atheists speak out against screwed-up shit that other atheists are doing, it gets called “divisive”?
I have been hearing a lot of calls for unity in the atheist community. I have been hearing a lot of calls for an end to the debates, an end to the infighting. I have been hearing a lot of calls for atheists to stop focusing on our differences, and look at our common ground….But all too often, calling for unity equals silencing dissent. All too often, calling for unity equals a de facto defense of the status quo. All too often, calling for unity equals telling people who are speaking up for themselves to shut up.
I do not want to be in unity with atheists who [speak, write, or behave in misogynous ways]. And I do not want to be in unity with atheists who consistently rationalize this behavior, who trivialize it, who make excuses for it.
And I don’t think I should be expected to. I don’t think anyone in this movement should be asking that of me. I don’t think anyone in this movement should be asking that of anyone.
And when people, however well-meaning, make generic calls for unity — when they tell all of us to stop fighting and just get along — they’re basically telling those of us on the short ends of those sticks to shut up.
Quite simply, we as civilized people cannot unite around atheism. Atheism is merely rejection of theism, and lots of people who rejected theism in the past were part of governments that not only mistreated women, but mass murdered people outright.
So if you wish to profess atheism, go for it. But we cannot define ourselves only as atheists. Doing so is meaningless. The Atheist movement itself is meaningless.
Let us turn to this instead:
There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
What Greta Christina wrote about on her own blog is exactly why I have fought with atheist fanatics and hypocrites on the internet. Being an atheist is not enough, and there is nothing wrong with someone choosing to believe in a god of some kind if he affirms the seven principles stated above.
We do not need atheism, nor do we need religious bigotry. We do need tolerance and a world embracing vision and thus we need firm principles, which we may find among Unitarian Universalists. Let it be so.
The right of the people to bear arms, as stated in the Second Amendment, does not mean any idiot should be allowed to have a deadly weapon, just as one that is an incompetent driver should not have a driver’s license. At least cars can be used for things that do not hurt anyone, unlike guns.
Wife accidentally kills husband during gun lesson: Police
David Chang, NBCPhiladelphia.com
A fun night for a Pennsylvania couple turned deadly after police say the woman accidentally shot and killed her husband.
On Friday, around 9 p.m., police say Michael Wanko, 43, and Michele Wanko, 42, were “casually drinking” vodka and lemonade together inside their home on West Roland Road in Parkside, Penn. Around 3:30 a.m., police say the couple went into their basement so that Michael could show his wife how to use a semiautomatic pistol. The couple went into a work room where several weapons were kept inside a safe.
“He took several of the weapons out, handguns and was demonstrating to her how the weapon worked as far as taking the magazine out, making sure it was safe, and how to pull the slide back,” said Parkside Police Chief John Egan.
As Michael reached into a safe to grab a gun, police say Michele picked up another gun and pulled the slide back, just as her husband had instructed her.
“When she let go of the slide, the weapon went off,” said Chief Egan.
Michael was struck in the upper chest. At the time, police say, the couple’s 2-year-old and 5-year-old sons were sleeping upstairs. Police say the 5-year-old was awakened by his mother’s frantic screams as she called 911.
Police arrived at the home around 4 a.m. Michael was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after.
Michele was charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and possessing an instrument of crime. She was processed at the Chester City Jail and released on $250,000 unsecured bail. Her two children are currently staying with relatives.
Police say the gun Michele used was turned over to the Delaware County ballistics unit where investigators would “ascertain if the weapon malfunctioned or if it operated properly.”
Neighbors described the Wanko family as “nice people” who always did things with their children and were well respected throughout the neighborhood. Chief Egan says police were called to their home a year ago for a domestic dispute but that it was only “a shouting match between the two.” No one was charged in that incident.
The National Rifle Association should be put out of business! Semiautomatic guns should be illegal!
As an Honorable Skeptic, one of my basic values is Truth in Advertising, the idea that what you see from any organization is exactly what you should expect and nothing else whatsoever. So I was offended by this website after hearing about it from a friend:
It has come to our attention that there appears to be a case of mistaken identity between the ACL and another similarly named Australian lobby group.
PLEASE NOTE, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT CONFUSE ‘Cat-Holics’ with ‘Catholics‘. (Although of course you can be both at the same time!)
The vision of the Australian Cat Ladies is to see feline principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed, do business and relate to each other as a community. The ACL aims to foster a more compassionate and just society by encouraging inclusivity, actively working against oppression of all kinds, and disseminating cat .gifs wherever they may be needed.
The ACL recognises the validity and right to exist of all families, whether they be straight, LGBTQ, childless, single parent, single cat, multiple cat or catless. The ACL actively encourages family values such as love, consent, communication, regular nap times, and scratches under the chin/behind the ears.
The ACL believes all love is equal, but the love between a lady and her cat(s) is more equal than others.
The ACL believes in the importance of human and cat life, and as such, is a staunchly pro-choice organisation. No one should have anything less than full bodily autonomy, and no human or cat should have to suffer an unwanted pregnancy. Thus, the ACL advocates for full decriminalisation of abortion across Australia, the covering of RU486 (or “medical abortion drug”) by the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme, and desexing of cats of all genders at the age of approximately 3 months.
Poverty & Injustice
The ACL strives for a world where all humans and cats may have a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, and someone to clean their litter tray.
We stand against sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, religious discrimination, fatphobia, whorephobia, and all forms of injustice. We understand that cat ladies come in all shapes, sizes, genders, sexualities, backgrounds and ethnicities, and encourage ACL membership by anyone who identifies as a cat lady or a cat lady ally.
We believe in creating a sustainable and healthy environment for ourselves, future generations, and cats for many years to come.
On this note, please keep your cats inside at night and make sure there is a bell on their collar, to prevent them from killing native wildlife.
Youth and education
Education is pivotal in the creation and maintenance of healthy families and communities. All cats have the right to be toilet trained, and all humans have the right to a comprehensive, well-resourced public education. The League of Australian Cat Ladies believes in extensive, evidence based sex education, as it is proven to lower teen and unplanned pregnancies, decrease rates of STI infection, and increase knowledge of consent. We believe all cat owners should be properly educated on cat care, including desexing, vaccinations and the correct procedure for tummy rubs.
That website may be about cats, but it is not about Christianity at all. So why did they take the domain name http://australianchristianlobby.org ? To poke fun at another advocacy group they oppose.
This is the REAL website for the Australian Christian Lobby: http://www.acl.org.au/
The vision of the Australian Christian Lobby is to see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed, do business and relate to each other as a community.
ACL aims to foster a more compassionate, just and moral society by seeking to have the positive public contributions of the Christian faith reflected in the political life of the nation.
ACL, established in 1995, operates in the Federal Parliament, and in all the state and territory parliaments, and is neither party partisan nor denominationally-aligned.
ACL does not seek to be the peak political voice for the church, but to facilitate a professional engagement of church with the state which allows for the voice of the church and individual Christians to be effective in the public square.
Read more about the Australian Christian Lobby here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Christian_Lobby
Sorry, but while I support gay rights and oppose Christians messing around with politics to force religious values on the people in general, what the Australian Cat Ladies did was clearly unethical. If the real ACL decides to sue the fake ACL over the taking of a domain name the real one should have had, I will support such a lawsuit. The domain of the Australian Cat Ladies should be australiancatladies.org
This statement was made by a woman on Facebook who used to be an anti-abortion activist. Her name will not be mentioned, but her words should be shared far and wide:
Sometime in college it occurred to me through logical, empathetic thinking that [having an abortion] must be a very scary and difficult position to be in and I couldn’t help but have the utmost respect for any woman who made a choice for herself and her life, whatever her choice was. That was a turning point for me, somehow suddenly recognizing the human involved in the situation.
I was fed a lot of false statistics about the relationship between abortion, depression, breast cancer, etc., and I believed it all. They (youth pastors) told us too that there were far fewer abortions before Roe v. Wade, and that was proof that banning it would decrease the number happening, that the back alley abortion was an insignificant number, mythical almost. I’ve since learned international statistics don’t support that and that all the other stuff is false, too.
I was skeptical about different aspects of the Church since about middle school, but I had no support for those thoughts, and it took a long time to get to where I am today on my own.
First, it never acceptable to lie to support a cause, however well intentioned. Second, if banning abortion will not save the lives of unborn children, but instead endanger the pregnant women, then anti-abortionists have no right to call themselves “pro-life”. NRA members often say, “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” The same is true of abortions.
Traditionally, fetuses have never been considered citizens; personhood was always said to begin at birth, not conception, which is why you always to this day see birthdates on gravestones, followed by the date of a person’s death; the date of conception would be irrelevant even if it were known. Indeed, the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution says: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (emphasis mine)
A pregnant woman who was born in the United States is unquestionably a citizen, unlike her unborn fetus. And nothing could be more depriving that woman of her liberty than forcing her to bear a child she does not want to carry to term!
And that is the legal basis for the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973.
……neither should Pakistan. BOTH states were founded after World War II by followers of a specific religion who wanted to establish a society in which that religion would dominate it. Pakistan excluded Hindus and remains a hotbed of Muslim extremism to this day (which is why it was stupid for President Bush Jr. to accept Pakistan as an ally in his “War on Terrorism”, when in fact Osama Bin Ladin was hiding out in Pakistan for years until President Obama finally had him killed). And Israel continues to violate the rights of Palestinians by building and keeping Jewish settlements on the West Bank, thus stealing land the United Nations said was not theirs in 1947. Yet the United States also continues to support Israel, no matter what. Why is Jewish extremism more acceptable than Muslim extremism? Either accept both and the states made from them or condemn both and the states made from them. Not only one or the other, unless you are a religious bigot.
This understanding came to me after reading this:
While other countries are “Muslim” or “Islamic” because they just so happen to have a large Muslim population, Pakistan was founded by Muslims as a Muslim country in rather deliberate fashion.
Likewise, Israel was founded by Jews as a Jewish country in rather deliberate fashion. If one is illegitimate, so is the other. Can you discuss this too?
That isn’t at all part of my focus or within my scope as a blogger. There are plenty of critics of Israel and Zionism who can speak to such matters better than I can.
I understand. My actual point is that I know of no anti-Zionists that also attack Pakistan for its existence as a Muslim state founded to separate its people from mostly Hindu India. Proving that they are more biased towards Islam and against Jews than any just person should be.
As an non-theist, I’m one of those “a plague on both your houses” people that gets it from both sides.
At least if there is a hell, there should be a place in it for frauds like this guy:
Duane T. Gish dies
- March 6th, 2013
The young-earth creationist Duane T. Gish died on March 5, 2013, at the age of 92, according to Answers in Genesis’s obituary. Born on February 17, 1921, in White City, Kansas, he served in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1946 in the Pacific Theater of Operations, attaining the rank of captain. He earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1949, and then a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1953. After a stint as a postdoctoral fellow and then assistant professor of biochemistry at Cornell University Medical College, he returned as a researcher to the University of California, Berkeley, from 1956 to 1960, before joining the Upjohn Company as a researcher from 1960 to 1971. In 1971, he became the vice president of the Institute for Creation Research, founded in 1970 by Henry Morris. In 2005, Gish retired, becoming the ICR’s Senior Vice President Emeritus. A prolific writer, his most famous book was Evolution: The Fossils Say No! (Master Books, 1973), entitled in later editions Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record (Master Books, 1985) and Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! (Master Books, 1995). His most recent book was Letter to a Theistic Evolutionist (ICON, 2012).
But Gish was famous, or notorious, principally on account of his debates with scientists, including such opponents as George Bakken, Kenneth R. Miller, Massimo Pigliucci, Kenneth Saladin, Michael Shermer, and William Thwaites. “If the mild-mannered professorial Morris was the Darwin of the creationist movement,” wrote Ronald L. Numbers in The Creationists (2006), “then the bumptious Gish was its T. H. Huxley.” Gish boasted of having engaged in over three hundred debates. He was certainly a lively debater, whose style involved a rapid delivery of arguments on widely varying topics; his debate style was dubbed the “Gish Gallop” by NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott in 1994. But scientists quickly concluded — in the words of Karl Fezer, writing (PDF) in 1993 — that “Gish will say, with rhetorical flourish and dramatic emphasis, whatever he thinks will serve to maintain, in the minds of his uncritical followers, his image as a knowledgeable ‘creation scientist.’ An essential component is to lard his remarks with technical detail; whether that detail is accurate or relevant or based on unambiguous evidence is of no concern. When confronted with evidence of his own error, he resorts to diversionary tactics and outright denial.”
Creationism, especially the Bible based kind, never had any legitimacy. To understand why, just read this.
Check out this nonsense on the official U.S. Libertarian Party website. I will post the original statements in red and my responses in green.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
A Libertarian’s New Year’s Resolutions
Written in 1998 by Harry Browne, 1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Nominee for President
- I resolve to sell liberty by appealing to the self-interest of each prospect, rather than preaching to people and expecting them to suddenly adopt my ideas of right and wrong.
- I resolve to keep from being drawn into arguments or debates. My purpose is to inspire people to want liberty — not to prove that they’re wrong.
- I resolve to listen when people tell me of their wants and needs, so I can help them see how a free society will satisfy those needs.
- I resolve to identify myself, when appropriate, with the social goals someone may seek — a cleaner environment, more help for the poor, a less divisive society — and try to show him that those goals can never be achieved by government, but will be well served in a free society.
- I resolve to be compassionate and respectful of the beliefs and needs that lead people to seek government help. I don’t have to approve of their subsidies or policies — but if I don’t acknowledge their needs, I have no hope of helping them find a better way to solve their problems.
- No matter what the issue, I resolve to keep returning to the central point: how much better off the individual will be in a free society.
- I resolve to acknowledge my good fortune in having been born an American. Any plan for improvement must begin with a recognition of the good things we have. To speak only of America’s defects will make me a tiresome crank.
- I resolve to focus on the ways America could be so much better with a very small government — not to dwell on all the wrongs that exist today.
- I resolve to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness. Such things steal time and attention from the work that must be done.
- I resolve to speak, dress, and act in a respectable manner. I may be the first Libertarian someone has encountered, and it’s important that he get a good first impression. No one will hear the message if the messenger is unattractive.
- I resolve to remind myself that someone’s “stupid” opinion may be an opinion I once held. If I can grow, why can’t I help him grow?
- I resolve not to raise my voice in any discussion. In a shouting match, no one wins, no one changes his mind, and no one will be inspired to join our quest for a free society.
- I resolve not to adopt the tactics of Republicans and Democrats. They use character assassination, evasions, and intimidation because they have no real benefits to offer Americans. We, on the other hand, are offering to set people free — and so we can win simply by focusing on the better life our proposals will bring.
- I resolve to be civil to my opponents, and treat them with respect. However anyone chooses to treat me, it’s important that I be a better person than my enemies.
- Appealing to selfishness and ignoring standards of right and wrong is exactly what leads to social and moral degeneracy. No thanks!
- How can you possibly promote a political viewpoint without arguing against other views?
- Not everyone would necessarily benefit from a “free” society according to your definition. That’s why there are other political viewpoints.
- And you would be lying, because history already proved you wrong.
- And even if those private services are not nearly as effective as governmental programs, they must be eliminated anyway, right?
- See green point 3 above.
- Everyone knows there are plenty of good things about America. But appealing to nationalism would be dangerous.
- What an idiot! It is government used in the wrong way that is the real problem. Make government too small and you have virtual anarchy, which benefits very few people, usually the rich who can set up and run their own private armies…..ultimately creating their own little tyrannies.
- Good point, actually.
- Another valid point.
- As long as you allow for the possibility that you also may need to grow up some more. An infallibility complex is dangerous no matter what you believe or how old you are.
- Still another valid point.
- Does this mean you won’t accept the tactics and personalities associated with the Tea Party movement that was supposed to be libertarian, but ended up firmly in the Republican Party? I would hope so, but I am not so naive to think you won’t also be corrupted in time.
- Still another valid point.
When you mix good points with bad ones, it is like mixing contaminated food or water with those that are clean; eventually the entire collection becomes filthy. That is why, though I used to admire the Libertarians for their strong opposition to the Iraq War, I reject them now. Their obsessive hatred of government and what it can do for the people is irrational, regardless of how much they try to make it look appealing to the ignorant. I won’t be fooled again!
A pregnant woman was fired for premarital sex, according to a lawsuit she filed that claims wrongful termination.
The woman, Teri James, was a teacher at San Diego Christian College when she was called into her supervisor’s office in October.
Her supervisor got straight to the point when she asked if James was pregnant, reports TODAY. James, unmarried at the time, confirmed the news.
The admission was a violation of the school’s rules, according to the lawsuit filed by James in San Diego County superior court. She explained in the lawsuit that the termination letter included:
“Teri engaged in activity outside the scope of the Handbook and Community Covenant that does not build up the college’s mission.”
James added that her then-fiance was offered a job by the school, even though they knew he engaged in premarital sex. James added of the meeting where she was fired:
“I had to leave right after the meeting. I had to go into the office with all of my co-workers and say I’m leaving. I never came back so I don’t know what my co-workers thought, but for me, it was humiliating.”
ABC Local notes that Teri James isn’t suing to get her job back. Instead, she is suing for damages because of wrongful termination and invasion of privacy.
The school’s community covenant states that Biblical character is highly valued and desire. It also states that the school frowns on sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, though it doesn’t say what the consequence would be for a violation. Teri James added of her termination:
“San Diego Christian College did not show any mercy or grace towards me, and acted completely un-Christ-like. They made more of a business decision than showing God’s love.”
James’ attorney, Gloria Allred, added that the college, while a Christian school, still has to “comply with the laws of the state of California.” This means they cannot discriminate against an employee based on gender, marital status, or pregnancy.
Do you think the college was right to fire Teri James for having premarital sex?
Even Jesus was quoted as saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Clearly, those Christian schools and their “Biblical” values are a load of crap!
First, read this:
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Passed on October 12, 1998, by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of on-line services for copyright infringement by their users.
The DMCA’s principal innovation in the field of copyright, the exemption from direct and indirect liability of internet service providers and other intermediaries, was adopted by the European Union in the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000. The Copyright Directive 2001 implemented the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty in the EU.
Google asserted misuse of the DMCA in a filing concerning New Zealand’s copyright act, quoting results from a 2005 study by Californian academics Laura Quilter and Jennifer Urban based on data from the Chilling Effects clearinghouse. Takedown notices targeting a competing business made up over half (57%) of the notices Google has received, the company said, and more than one-third (37%), “were not valid copyright claims.”
The original purpose of copyright laws was to protect creativity by allowing artists, both of visual arts and music, to make their fair share of money from selling their own creations. It is certainly unethical for anyone to claim another’s original work as his own and then make a profit from that work being sold.
Too often, however, what happens is that people wanting to censor a viewpoint they find offensive make claims based on their interpretation of the DMCA to claim copyright infringement that is not valid or, even if technically valid, really is not fair at all.
Here is a perfect example. Watch this video by YouTube user cdk007:
Did you enjoy it? Maybe if you were a younger person you were bored by the classical music track that was used for it. But in fact, that was not the original music that was used for the video. Instead, cdk007 used this music first:
That DOES sound 100% better, in my opinion. But soon after cdk007 posted the video about evolution, he was slapped with a DMCA takedown notice and he was forced to replace the soundtrack. But he never claimed the song “Jesus of Suburbia” was his creation, nor did he make money from that video. I doubt that Green Day, the artist that made the song, was to blame for what happened, it seems so unlike them!
What happened in this case was de facto censorship. The DMCA actually SUPPRESSES creativity and freedom of speech and it should be repealed.
It would be a much easier world to live in if everyone would simply get along, but there would be no challenges for people to overcome and learn from regarding relationships. Perhaps peace is something that must be earned as a reward for hard work and patience, not merely given to those who don’t deserve it. War and violence may be considered a punishment in themselves on people for harboring hatred towards others and insisting on having one’s own way.
(Note: I wrote this in five minutes out of boredom while sitting in a college class about 20 years ago and then had it typed up and printed out from a computer several years ago. Imagine my surprise when I found later that my mother had taken that printout and put it in a picture frame!)
This is the direct sequel to
At the time, I assumed she was being attacked by people who were against her being an atheist and/or hated her sex positive stand. I later learned that she was being attacked by transgendered people and others because she had used the word “tranny” which they considered offensive. Continue reading →
I have never played Everquest, though I certainly read a lot about it years ago, and most of what I read made me NOT want to play it; the lore in the game was entirely racist in nature, with “good” races, “evil” races and “neutral” ones. It is still that way today. Continue reading →
Opposing Views is a website that generally presents different opinions on various topics and allows its users to debate then freely. So it was a surprise to see the Creationist propaganda mill known as Answers in Genesis publish this rank nonsense for all to see on that site:
Last week, the people of the United States dodged a bullet by re-electing Barack Obama to the Presidency rather than accept a hypocritical plutocrat as his successor. Also, some of the strongest advocates for social Conservatism among Republicans went down to defeat in many races. At least two states legalized gay marriage by popular vote, something unheard of until this year, and also marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational purposes was legalized in several states.
And next year it will get even more hilarious to behold, because somehow the Republicans, despise losing several seats in the House of Representatives, still held on to control of that body. And they are about to face a most upsetting challenge.
Puerto Ricans favor statehood for first time
(CNN) — In an overshadowed Election Day contest, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood in a nonbinding referendum, marking the first time such an initiative garnered a majority.
Puerto Ricans were asked about their desires in two parts. First, by a 54% to 46% margin, voters rejected their current status as a U.S. commonwealth. In a separate question, 61% chose statehood as the alternative, compared with 33% for the semi-autonomous “sovereign free association” and 6% for outright independence.
While the results may be an indicator of what Puerto Ricans want, statehood will not be possible without congressional action in Washington, something that is not guaranteed.
Indeed, given their dwindling power in society, the Republicans that still dominate the House may decide to reject Puerto Rico’s bid for statehood, because as a state it is most likely to send two Democratic Senators and several Democratic Representatives to Congress. But if they do this, it will only enrage millions of Hispanic voters all across America. They are already rejecting the Republican Party by a wide margin because of the illegal immigration issue and this will only harden their rejection. The result may be the Republicans finally losing control of the House in 2014. Then when Puerto Rico DOES become a state and sends those additional Democrats to Congress (and can also cast electoral votes in the 2016 Presidental election) then politically the Republicans will be finished as a viable party.
I can hardly wait to see them go down!
The Book of Job is one of those Bible works that clearly served a theological purpose: solving the problem of evil. Ancient Hebrews assumed that the universe was created by an all-powerful and intelligent deity who also gave laws to govern the lives of his Chosen People. But this created a dilemma: how could an all-powerful God allow for evil in his own creation? The Book of Job attempts to address this issue, but does so in a sloppy manner that really does not give any genuine answers.
George McGovern, the liberal Democratic Senator who ran for President of the United States in 1972 and ended up losing badly to Richard Nixon, died on October 21, 2012. Two days later, a blog entry was written about him. But is also revealing about the conservative mindset that defeated McGovern and has been a problem for liberals ever since.
I grew up in a family of conservative Democrats who were increasingly at odds with their party, and who mostly abandoned it on election day in November of 1972 to vote for Nixon. They voted for the crook: it was important. None of them liked McGovern’s politics, a dislike that overshadowed anything they felt about him as a man. His personality was lost in the distaste for his political positions.
Indeed, most of the former supporters of Democrats among southern whites would eventually become Republicans. As many of them might have said, “I did not leave the party, the party left me.” But that was because racism is wrong and should have been abandoned in the 1970s by any person with a sense of right and wrong. The stubborn opposition among Conservatives to Barack Obama to this day seems to stem from a racism that is no longer openly expressed by many of them but is still simmering just beneath the surface.
But there were two things that later rehabilitated him in my mind, and brought me to an appreciation of him that has stayed with me ever since. The first was seeing him speak when I was in college. He co-taught a class at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the early 1980′s. As part of that class he gave a lecture at Campbell Hall which my girlfriend (who was later to become my wife) and I went to see. The stereotypes that I had formed over the years were exploded when I saw a man who was incredibly intelligent, witty, and well-informed. This was not the political demon I had been raised to revile. We attended a number of lectures during my junior and senior years, and the three that stood out as truly outstanding were those by Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, Jr., and George McGovern.
Indeed, ignorance and dishonesty seems to fuel both support for Conservative politics and condemnation of Liberalism.
The 35 missions that George McGovern flew were the maximum number a pilot could fly. After 35, you were done: They sent you home. Very few reached that number. When I read this, I thought back on his opposition to the Vietnam War, a position I strongly disagreed with as a very confident but fairly ignorant adolescent. It took on a completely different color. A man who flew 35 missions in a B-24 over Germany, I concluded, has won the right to say anything he wants to about war and he has earned the right to be listened to.
I would also add that in 2004 the same could have been said about Sen. John Kerry and his opposition to the Iraq War, having fought himself in the Vietnam War. And yet Kerry lost that election for the same reason McGovern lost in 1972: political bigotry and lies by Conservatives.
I have said before that the problem with liberals is not that they’re evil; the problem is that they are good, too good. They are so good they are a danger to themselves and others. As a true liberal, McGovern possessed the fault characteristic of his political tribe: he projected his goodness onto his fellow men and assumed that they would what he would do under the same circumstances.
I would answer that the problem with Conservatives is not that they are evil either, but that they are cynical: taking the corruption of mankind as a given, they assume that the only way to defeat their opponents is to embrace the corruption and use it to their advantage against those who are consistently honorable, perpetuating the cycle of abuse to the next generation instead of trying to make things better for all of us.
We forgive dead men for their badness. Can we forgive them for their goodness?
I do not want your forgiveness for liberals, sir! I want you to recognize that just as you were wrong about McGovern in the past, you are wrong about liberals even now and that the conservative perspective should be abandoned completely. Even Jesus himself would have expected you to return good for evil, as he taught, but that lesson has been totally lost on conservatives throughout history!
- George McGovern hailed as a man of principle – Boston Herald (news.bostonherald.com)
- George McGovern: A Conservative’s Appreciation (conservativeread.com)
First, read this:
For fans like me, Lance Armstrong doping saga spoils memories
Peter Ford, who covered Lance Armstrong’s winning streak at the Tour de France for the Monitor, writes that Armstrong’s doping has ‘tainted some of my happiest memories of reporting in France.’
By Peter Ford | Christian Science Monitor – 1 hr 21 mins ago
Thirteen years ago, on an idyllic summer’s afternoon, I stood by the side of a road in the cheesemaking region of Cantal and watched Lance Armstrong speed by, tucked into the peloton, on his way to his first victory in the Tour de France.
It was 1999. A year earlier the Tour had been in tatters, devastated by a doping scandal that had seen police and judges raiding riders’ hotel rooms in the middle of the night, seizing drugs. Armstrong’s successful arrival on the scene after overcoming cancer “is symbolic of the way the Tour de France is emerging from its own battle against disappearance,” said the tour director at the time.
His victory would be “highly symbolic of the combat he fought against death, and that we are fighting against doping,” promised Jean-Marie Leblanc.
It turns out that Mr. Armstrong beat the Tour de France organizers just as he had beaten death. Today the International Cycling Union (UCI), accepting evidence gathered by the US Anti-Doping Agency that Armstrong was a serial drug-taker, stripped the US “champion” of all his titles.
Even back in 1999, people suspected something was wrong. “Armstrong is very strong, too strong, incredibly strong,” commented one French TV journalist the evening that the US rider won a punishing stage in the Alps.
But that could be dismissed as sour grapes, as an American charged into a sport long dominated by the French and swept all before him, “winning” a record seven Tours.
And we all wanted to believe in Armstrong, from the UCI – for whom he was a magnificent money-spinning mascot for his sport – down to the lowliest spectator standing by the side of the road who admired his comeback courage.
Well, not all of us. My (French) wife never believed Armstrong was clean. She never believed that any of the top riders were clean. In argument after argument over the years I called her cynical, pointing out that my hero had never failed a drug test. Now I know that she was just clear-eyed.
Everybody who followed Lance during his “glory days” will have his or her own way of feeling disappointed now that the truth, it seems, is out. (Armstrong has not acknowledged any guilt but says he will not challenge the USADA report.)
For me, the news has tainted some of my happiest memories of reporting in France. I used to love covering the Tour, driving halfway up an Alp one July afternoon, parking my car near a steep hairpin bend, picnicking sociably with whomever I found parked next to me (and there were always crowds of families waiting for the Tour to come by), sleeping in the car, and then the next day enjoying the hoopla of the publicity caravan before the riders themselves came by, just an arm’s length away, thighs straining, sweat pouring from their chins, teeth gritted.
It was an annual treat for me, the most fun I have ever had at work. And watching these men at the outer edges of endurance even inspired me to take up cycling myself: I had a go at one of the Tour’s mountain stages in 2005 and I spend my weekends now cycling up and down mountains. (You can imagine what my wife thinks about that….)
Lance Armstrong, whose feats excited a lot of interest in American newspaper readers, was my passport to this kind of fun, and now that we know he was cheating, it feels almost as though I was piggyback cheating by having that fun.
Even at the time though, I realize, I could not entirely ignore my wife’s doubts. That evening in July 1999, as I dictated my article over the phone to my editor, I ended it with something the spokesman for Credit Lyonnais bank, the Tour’s leading sponsor, had told me.
“We cannot be certain that a scandal won’t drop on our heads,” he said. “I have just one hope: that the rumors about Lance Armstrong are not true.”
The fact that Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times in a row, rather than just two or three times, despite having suffered from cancer, should have made us all suspicious. Not content with merely competing and producing a realistic result, Armstrong overreached.
The cheating by Armstrong could have been swept under the rug by a sporting establishment that wanted to keep making vast amounts of money due to his name and influence. But that would have sent the wrong message among young people that wanted to become cyclists as well as athletes in general.
Also, it is never acceptable to do a dishonorable thing for a good cause. Lance Armstrong was well known for promoting research on cures for cancer, having suffered from cancer himself. He still would have been a credible spokesperson for that cause even if he had never won a Tour de France race. Now, he is useless to any cause.
A preacher actually went before a city council to argue about gay rights legislation being proposed and debated there. Look at what he ended up doing!
Such a stunt never would have occurred to me…..but I’m not a preacher.
In a previous blog entry, I showed via historical references that the definition of “atheist” as merely “lacking belief in a god” had no historical foundation, being a recent invention (we used the term “non-Theist” for that already). Critics of my position (that the only true Atheists are those who deny outright the existence of any god and that therefore Atheism should be classed as a dogma) assert that the meanings of words may change over time and that there is nothing wrong with this. I disagree and here is why:
In the Middle Ages, the term “gentleman” was defined only as a nobleman who owned land and it had no behavioral or moral references. If you said a man was or was not a gentleman, you were neither praising him nor insulting him, but merely giving information about his social status. But gentlemen were expected to maintain certain high standards of behavior, and over time people began to argue that the behavior of a man was more important than his social status. This is indeed an enlightened point of view, but the critical mistake made later was to start saying not only that a man who was not a gentleman acted like one anyway, but to actually call men of good behavior “gentlemen” even if they were not of the landed nobility. This was simply inaccurate, but that usage became so common as time went by and the nobility became less important to European societies that the original use of the term was dropped completely and the mistaken usage became the norm. Today, you cannot even refer to a man in the Middle Ages as a “gentleman” without an explanation as to its original meaning. This is a barrier to communication about historical issues, and so the word “gentleman” has been ruined and it would have been better to have discarded it completely and another term invented for men of good behavior.
It is the same with “agnostic”. Thomas Huxley invented that term precisely because the only definition of “atheist” that existed in his time was “denial of all gods”, which Huxley did not do. Thus, he classed himself and other agnostics as being neutral with regards to the Theism/Atheism question, something that today’s New Atheists deny. But if Atheist is indeed merely “lacking belief in any god”, then agnostic is a useless term, just as “gentleman” is now, since it is indeed impossible for anyone to KNOW whether or not there is a god; we merely choose to believe or disbelieve in gods. Therefore, EVERYONE may be classed as agnostic and the term can no longer be used for statistical purposes to define anyone’s beliefs, or lack thereof.
The New Atheists have a choice. They can either discard the term agnostic completely (and thus discard Huxley’s intellectual legacy), or they can reverse course and admit what we always have known, that it is indeed possible to be neutral on the issue of Theist/Atheist, that Atheism is a dogma and that agnosticism is something to be accepted on an equal level with Theism, non-Theism, and Atheism. The first choice, of course, will also disrupt communication about historical issues regarding atheists and agnostics in the past, so only the second choice is the viable one.
To be honest, I did not watch for very long the Presidential debate last night, because I was quite sure I would only hear what I’d already heard a great many times from reading Facebook posts and articles in news sources, hearing personal comments from friends and relatives and seeing political ads on TV. Five minutes of the debate was all I could stand, because Obama compared his economy policies to that of President Clinton before him, which I already knew about. Neither candidate impressed me much.
I was therefore surprised to learn afterwards that most people thought Romney won the debate because he was more aggressive and charismatic than Obama, never mind that before Obama became President he was known for being quite charismatic. So what happened?
I could not care less how slick a person’s presentation may look or sound if it is full of nonsense or lies. You win a debate, in my view, by doing two things: Telling the truth consistently, and having a position that treats fairly the most people possible. And by that criteria, Obama is the superior candidate. If people vote for Romney and not Obama because one of them is better at the gift of gab, why not just elect someone like Hitler, who was one of the most dynamic speakers of the 20th Century?
- Winners and losers from the first presidential debate (washingtonpost.com)
- His Smile Said It All… (msdrocks.wordpress.com)
- Denver debate is a presidential wonkfest, send in the fact checkers (denverpost.com)
- The 10 Best Punchlines from the First Presidential Debate (complex.com)
- Lynn Parramore: Why the Pundits are Wrong About the Debate (huffingtonpost.com)
First, read this:
Doing so, I felt profoundly disgusted that such a misogynous bigot as Justin Vacula would be allowed to have any position of influence in an atheist organization. What are the leaders of the Secular Coalition for America trying to do, discredit their own cause?
Rebecca Watson said:
If I were a woman in Pennsylvania, I would never, ever want to get involved in any way with Justin Vacula. In fact, I will never, ever get involved with SCA so long as someone like him holds a position of power anywhere, let alone in a state I live in. So Vacula is actively driving people away from SCA. I’d like to know how they expect to overcome that – how they hope to reach out to progressive people, and particularly women in Pennsylvania, while an MRA is a co-chair.
Well, I am a man in Texas and likewise I want nothing to do with that guy. He just seems sick!
Men’s Right’s Activists (MRAs) are to sexism what the Ku Klux Klan is to racism. As I commented on the Skepchick blog:
First, read what Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis, wrote about Bill Nye, the Science Guy:
First, the AP article quotes Nye as saying the following:
If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science, who think everything that we’ve come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, you’re not going to continue to innovate.
So, here is my challenge (one that I gave to the reporter a few times). I want Bill Nye to name one invention—one piece of technology—that would not have been able to be invented without the inventor believing in evolution. Just name one!
But Nye said nothing specific about man-made technology or invention relating to evolution in his quote, did he? I looked up the word “innovate” in an online dictionary.
transitive verb1: to introduce as or as if new2archaic : to effect a change in <the dictates of my father were … not to be altered, innovated, or even discussed — Sir Walter Scott>intransitive verb: to make changes : do something in a new way
There are many ways to innovate, but the surest way to do so is to have a mind unfettered by dogma of any kind. Thus anything that limits free thinking limits innovation. It’s not just about Bible based religions. Communist states in the 20th Century also limited innovation and interfered directly with scientific advancement if it seemed to contradict Marxist dogmas.
Ken Ham continues:
Usually, when I have challenged an evolutionist to come up with one example of something invented for mankind that would not be possible without accepting evolution, I get the following response: “Understanding resistance in bacteria and thus being able to invent drugs.”
But as we have written on our website many times before, antibiotic resistance has nothing to do with molecules-to-man evolution. Whether one is an evolutionist or a creationist, a researcher can observe the resistance and even understand issues of mutations and other things that can cause the resistance. Such research is dealing with observational science.
The bastard just does not get it, does he? Bill Nye was not merely talking about defending evolution, opposing Creationism, or even rejecting religious dogmas of any kind. He was talking about the dogmatic, bigoted thinking at the very root of Creationist and fundamentalist views.
antibiotic resistance has nothing to do with molecules-to-man evolution.
Perhaps, but what about all those Bible verses that depict people as being demon possessed, when they could have merely suffered from mental diseases? Had we never looked harder at such people in the real world we all live in, we might not have found ways to treat brain disorders and we would still be in fear of demons. Indeed, we have found no evidence of demons, but we have clear evidence of mental disorders and have used science, with its INNOVATIVE thinking, to enable people with these disorders to enjoy productive lives. THAT is what Nye could have been talking about!
Screw you and your (bowel) movement, Ham! Your challenge is bogus!
- Ken Ham: Still Ranting About Bill Nye (sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com)
- Ken Ham Challenges Bill Nye to a Debate (patheos.com)
- Ken Ham Wants To Debate Bill Nye (sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com)
- Bill Nye the Humanist Guy vs. Ken Ham the Creationist Man (marccortez.com)
- Ken Ham is an unreliable guide [Thoughts from Kansas] (scienceblogs.com)
Read this story below:
Mark Cheney on April 8, 2012, 12:00 AM
What’s the Big Idea?
Richard Dawkins, the most famous atheist in the world, created a stir when he recently declared that he was not an atheist after all, but an agnostic. The news, which came during a debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury last month, seemed at first to be a big get for God. However, in The God Delusion Dawkins was frank about his agnosticism.
So, how does Dawkins square his public persona with his lack of certitude? Easily. No matter how strongly Dawkins is associated with atheism, he is first and foremost a scientist. Therefore, ”the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other,” he claims.
Similarly, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson claims the title “scientist” above all other “ists.” And yet, Tyson says he is “constantly claimed by atheists.” So where does Tyson stand? He tells Big Think: “Neil deGrasse, widely claimed by atheists, is actually an agnostic.”
Uh, I thought the New Atheists defined atheism as “lacking belief in a god”. If so, then Dawkins IS an atheist. He even had his anti-religious book titled “The God Delusion”, not The Biblical Delusion, The Christian Delusion, or The Creationist Delusion. If you really think simply believing in a god is delusional, then you’d have to be asserting that there no god, or else your claim that Theists are delusional is pointless! Unless Dawkins actually repudiates his book, he is NOT agnostic!
In The God Delusion, Dawkins provides a seven point scale for scoring belief in God. Here it is:
Richard Dawkins’ Belief Scale Scoring Rubric
- Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
- De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
- Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
- Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
- Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
- De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
- Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.
I would rewrite these definitions as follows:
Dale Husband’s Belief Scale Scoring Rubric
- Dogmatic Theist: I do not question the existence of God.
- Non-Dogmatic Theist: I am inclined to believe in God but I do not proclaim that belief as if it is fact.
- Non-theist Agnostic: I am neutral on whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical and live as if he does not.
- Non-Dogmatic Atheist: I am inclined to believe there is no God.
- Dogmatic Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God and assert such a position constantly.
For more details about this problem, see:
I wonder how disappointed BionicDance must be in Dawkins, assuming she knows of his recently stated position.
Read this story and note especially the phrases I have bolded:
Savannah Dietrich, a Kentucky teenager who was sexually assaulted and then threatened with jail for naming her attackers, has reportedly destroyed the life of at least one of the perpetrators.
“He’s had to move,” David Mejia, the attorney for one of the attackers, told The Huffington Post. “He has lost all the potential that was there. He was attending high school and was kicked out. He was on course to a scholarship to an Ivy League school to play sports and that may be jeopardized. He’s in therapy. He’s just overwhelmed and devastated by what started from the conduct of this young girl saying false things as she did.”
Mejia filed a contempt motion against Dietrich in July. She had tweeted the names of two teenage boys who assaulted her back in August 2011.
After naming the boys, Dietrich, then 16, tweeted, “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”
Dietrich’s anger stemmed from a June hearing in which the teenagers confessed to felony sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism. She and her family were reportedly frustrated by the plea bargain the boys made with the state.
“If reporting a rape only got me to the point that I’m not allowed to talk about it, then I regret it,” Dietrich wrote on Facebook. “I regret reporting it.”
Mejia said that he and his client were angry about the posts and that Dietrich was not entirely honest.
“The victim, in a fit of anger, tweets my clients name, calls him a rapist — something he was never accused of — and said the court system was corrupt and he got away with what he did,” Mejia said. “She also said he videotaped her and put it on Internet. There never was a rape, there was no video and there was nothing on the Internet. But he did admit to the conduct as charged which was criminal sexual abuse or touching.”
The two boys charged were juveniles, and the court therefore kept the details of the case confidential.
Dietrich, now 17, told ABC’s “Nightline” what happened the night she was assaulted in an interview Monday.
She said she was drinking with friends when she passed out. When she later awoke, she discovered her clothes were disheveled and felt like “something wasn’t right.”
“I had my dress back on but my bra was shifted all weird and then my underwear was off,” Dietrich told “Nightline” host Juju Chang.
After the party, Dietrich said she was told the two boys had taken photos of her.
“They told me that it was me on the kitchen floor, passed out, my eyes are closed,” she said. “My clothes are — I’m exposed. Someone said one boy had his arm broken at the time and said his cast was in the picture.”
The details of the punishment the boys ultimately received is unknown, since court records have been witheld.
“Due to the confidentiality and privacy of the whole thing I am constrained except to say that what she is saying is a mischaracterization. It’s not accurate. It’s not true. What is the truth? That I cannot say,” Mejia said.
In the motion Mejia filed, he requested that Dietrich be held in contempt for violating the confidentiality of a juvenile. Dietrich could have faced 180 days in jail, but Mejia said that was not what he wanted. The motion, he said, was not to punish Dietrich, but to have a judge force her to delete her online posts about the boys.
“I was hoping she would even have some remorse or an apology to give. That didn’t happen,” Mejia said Monday on ABC’s “Nightline.”
The veteran attorney echoed those remarks during an interview with HuffPost.
“When we filed the motion, we wanted our client’s names off the Internet and wanted her to know that what she was doing was wrong,” he said. “[She should] acknowledge what she’s done, remove the name and promise not to do it again.”
But the motion prompted a flurry of national media attention and was quickly withdrawn. According to Mejia, canceling the motion did nothing to stop the influx of hate messages he and his client received.
“Everybody got hate letters and worse for this young boy — this high school kid was getting tweets, Facebook [messages], all kinds of terrible things. He even got death threats,” the lawyer said.
Dietrich told “Nightline” she identified her attackers because she felt like their punishment was a slap on the wrist. “I was upset,” Dietrich said. “I felt like they got less than the minimal punishment … I knew that they were manipulating the system to silence me.”
Mejia said that his client is devastated and would like to move on with his life, but that the Internet has made that impossible.
“I think it’s rather astonishing how the Internet changes everything,” he said. “Look at [Rep. Todd Akin], the politician from Missouri who was on the news a few days ago and made a comment about ‘legitimate rape.’ Those comments have now gone viral and he is ruined. Twenty years ago it would not have happened like this. These things just stream with enormous speed across the whole country.”
Dietrich’s attorney, Emily Farrar-Crockett, did not return a call for comment from HuffPost on Tuesday. Speaking on “Nightline” Monday, she was unsympathetic to Mejia’s complaints.
“They took the pictures, they disseminated it, they told people about what they had done. To come back and blame her now for ruining their reputation I think is despicable. They did this to themselves,” Farrar-Crockett said.
Yes, it is such a terrible thing when a girl who was assaulted is able to strike back at the boys who did it!
Actually, the plea agreement to keep the boys’ names confidential because they are juveniles was itself a violation of the girl’s free speech rights as provided under the First Amendment. It should be voided and the boys should be tried for any charges that can be made to stick. Age is irrelevant here.
The girl should be allowed to testify in open court, under oath, about what happened to her. Once that is done, she can be cross examined by the defense attorney. If her testimony is still credible after that, the offenders should be imprisoned and their names should be known to the public for what they are: sex offenders.