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Military’s ban on gays is unconstitutional

A federal judge in Southern California has declared the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips on Thursday granted a request for an injunction halting the government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military.

Via the AP:

Phillips says the policy doesn’t help military readiness and instead has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed services.

The lawsuit was the biggest legal test of the law in recent years and came amid promises by President Barack Obama that he will work to repeal the policy.

Government lawyers argued Phillips lacked the authority to issue a nationwide injunction and the issue should be decided by Congress.

The injunction was sought by the Log Cabin Republicans, a 19,000-member group that includes current and former military members.

Republican elephant in rainbow stripesThe Log Cabin Republicans, which is a gay and lesbian Republican grassroots organization requested an injunction halting the use of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” even though there is a provision currently sitting in the senate to repeal it.

Of course, when I say “sitting in the Senate” I mean that Republican opposition to the measure is permanently stalling all efforts. What I don’t understand is, The Log Cabin Republicans who didn’t support any Democrat candidates, instead throwing their support behind right wing Congress that doesn’t support their agenda and is directly responsible for blocking the repeal of DADT have spent a lot of time on their website criticizing Obama for his broken promise to repeal DADT.

Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m glad that the injunction was moved forward. DADT was restrictive and is based on old antiquated beliefs that aren’t supported by data. My issue is that a GLBT group that is openly and actively shunned by the party they support would go so far as to claim a victory against the president that supported the same views as their own. Politics at play again?

Announcing the Michigan Skeptics Get Together!

MISkeptics Logo
It's going to be our first Get Together

We will be having our first Get Together on Saturday, September 18th at 4:00 PM in Ginger Restaurant in Canton, MI. We’re expecting to run to about 7:00 PM though it could go longer.

Everyone is invited! Come for dinner, drinks and discussion. Or any combination of the three.

Ginger is located at:

8465 N. Lilley Rd
Canton, MI 48187
Tel: 734-414-1818

Take a peek at the menu: http://www.gingerpac.com/devel/menu/gin … ry-out.pdf

We have the back room booked so there will be plenty of room for everyone to attend. Be sure to come out, if things work right we’ll have a big announcement for everyone!

Right now we don’t have any discussion topics but if there is something you would like to talk about please let me know in the thread. Otherwise we will have a free-for-all no holds barred talk about anything type of night.

Please RSVP on our Facebook page or here in the Forum so I know how many people are attending so I can adjust the reservation accordingly.

I hope to see you all there!

A Skeptical Evening with Two Paranormal Investigators

On Wednesday MISkeptics went to an event hosted by Chris Lindsay of the Ann Arbor Science and Skeptics Meetup group. I had been excited about going to this for quite some time since Chris had managed to schedule 2 (count ’em, 1 and 2!) Paranormal groups to the event. I was looking forward to talking with them about their techniques and their process for “ghost detection”. Plus their views on the scientific method and logical evidence gathering and critique. What I walked away with was a bucket full of shattered myths and misconceptions and in invitation to provide a skeptical resource to their evidence and statistic resources.

I asked Chris to write up and article for us and he provided this gem which you can find after the jump. Continue reading

Come and Chat with two Real Paranormal Investigation Groups!

The Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics are meeting up this Wednesday, on August 11th at El Camino Real off of State Street (near Briarwood). We will enjoy some tasty Mexican food and cerveza/margaritas/soda and discussing ghost-hunting. There will be two representatives from paranormal investigation groups (Frost Paranormal and Grimstone Inc.) that will give us an overview about their interest and experiences in paranormal investigations. The timeframe is 6:30 to 8:30 and I will have a table-sign with the Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics logo.  Feel free to stop by if you’re otherwise interested and don’t have anything else to do that evening.

We will Post an article after the meeting as well detailing the event.

Skeptic Events This Week In Michigan

There are a several events happening around Michigan that you should try to attend.

First off, this Thursday Michigan Skeptics will be at the Skeptics in the Pub in Ypsilanti. It starts at 6:00 PM at the Corner Brewery and runs until about 9:00 PM or when the last person leaves.

Next, There is a Skeptics in the Pub in Flint at the Empress of China. This starts at 6:30 PM and ends at 9:30 PM.

If you’ve never been to a Skeptics in the pub this is a great opportunity for skeptics to talk, share ideas (and yes, drink) in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. We discuss the issues of the day and whatever else is on our minds. But most of all, we have fun while promoting skepticism, science, and rationality. Don’t drink? Don’t let that stop you from joining us! Some of the world’s most famous skeptics are teetotallers, and we are happy to have you!

And finally this week Brian Gregory will be hosting another wonderful Virtual Drinking Skeptically on Friday at 9:00 PM. This week’s guest will be Brian Thompson. He is the host of “The Amateur Scientist Podcast“ and has written for several publications.

So maybe the last one wasn’t technically a Michigan event… You can attend it from Michigan! It counts, trust me.

Remember you can always find out about events at our calendar page. Plus if you have an event coming up, please let me know and I will be happy to post it. We are also working on putting together our first  get together which is going to happen sometime in August. There’s been a bit of discussion on it over on our Facebook page. Or you can just follow us on Twitter.

I hope to see you at the pub!

#34 VirtualDS from TAM: Verdict? Bewbs Apparently…

As the duly appointed guest host of VirtualDS #34, it falls upon me to write up the blog post.

First off let state how unbelievably jealous I am of Brian to be able to go to TAM 8 while I was stuck at home! The video chat was fun as usual but there were not as many attendees because of everyone being at TAM and the chat starting at Midnight EDT. The virtual members include: Adam Bourque @a_damn_bourque, Brian Gregory @briandgregory (he was of course enjoying himself at TAM and running the mobile rig, more on that later), Skeptic Cat @skepticcat, Jason Brown @drunkenmadman, Nicole @NoisyAstronomer, Josette Martin popped in and out, Kylie Sturgis @podblack and Steve Thoms, @SomeCndnSkeptic, graced us with a return appearance!

The main topic was of course, TAM. Which was also the reason the chat was held 3 hours later than usual. Everyone was busy getting their drink on in Vegas! Brian had set up a mobile rig and brought it to the hotel lounge where the massive Drinking Skeptically was happening. There were many people that got to say hi on the chat from the lounge. I was quite happy to be there (virtually at least) to be able to say hi to them.

The people we got to say hi to in Vegas are: Massimo Pigliucci, Brian Engler, Barry Karr, Jo Benhamu, Ken Frazier, Jarrett, Richard Saunders, Tim from Minnesota, Curtis Haymore, Phil Plait (who thinks we shouldn’t drink the virtual water) and Patrick from SLC.

The topics we discussed tonight were:

  • Some guy just off screen at TAM kept typing “Bewbs” into the chat. I think he was off his meds…
  • Steve Thoms’ hilarious photos from Skepchickcon.
  • Nicole doing shots with her students for extra credit…
  • An explanation as to what a “Kegstand” was for Jason.
  • People are taller than Skeptic Cat on Purpose.
  • Kylie and Dawkins:  From the Global Atheist convention.
  • If only there was some way to send pics over the internet…
  • Nichole came up with the official symbol for “Type Something Damnit!”
  • Don’t ask skeptic cat about pancakes.
  • Brian got his “Swarm” badge on 4Square.
  • Don’t make Nichole stabby.
  • Before Photoshop, faking images was an art. Weekly World News is nothing now.
  • The woman in the red top needed to come over and type something…

The next VirtualDS is scheduled for July 16th at 9pm EDT (two days before my birthday) and will have the ultra amazing Heidi Anderson and a special guest. Be sure to mark your calendars, this one should get interesting.

MISkeptics will be guest hosting the Virtual Drinking Skeptically

This Thursday, July 8th, I will be guest hosting a special late night  Virtual Drinking Skeptically!

For those that do not know:

Drinking Skeptically is an informal social event designed to promote fellowship and networking among skeptics, critical-thinkers, and like-minded individuals. These “real life” groups meet around the country to provide an opportunity for skeptics to talk, share ideas (and yes, drink) in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

“Virtual” Drinking Skeptically is an attempt to bring the social experience of DS online. Using multi-user video conferencing software, we meet weekly to discuss skeptical topics, hang out, act silly, and/or drink.

Since I found out about it several months ago, the VDS has been an addiction of mine. I’ve been able to meet several people that I’ve been a fan of including Derek and Swoopy of Skepticality and Desiree Schell of Skeptically Speaking.

For anyone that wants to learn about or participate in the skepticism movement (yes we’re a movement damnit!) this is a good place to learn and converse.

Brian Gregory, the real host of the VDS will be at TAM8 with his mobile “Skeptical VDS Unit” (a laptop with a webcam duct tapes to it) and if we’re lucky we’ll be getting live reports directly from the bar while we’re talking! Hopefully the WiFi holds up and the laptop doesn’t catch fire…

You can find out more about the Virtual Drinking Skeptically at it’s homepage, it’s Facebook page or follow it on Twitter.

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