It’s been a while since our last Skeptics Brunch (and a crazy couple of months for the Boston Skeptics), but we have finally scheduled our next tasty outing! This time we will be meeting on Saturday, October 10th at Asgard in Cambridge. As usual, we will be there at 11 am and will probably stay for a couple of hours. Be there!
Posted on : 25-09-2009 | By : maggie | In : Blog Post
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland Maine is gambling that you won’t bother to express outrage at this tax-exempt religious body dabbling in politics — despite this being something they are explicitly barred from doing. The church is actively soliciting and collecting money from parishioners to help repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law. And that, my friends, is political action. Just because it’s not money raised for a political candidate or PAC doesn’t make it OK. Changing, influencing or creating laws are political actions. And IRS code 501(c)(3) governing tax exempt organizations expressly forbids this:
“In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.” (Source: IRS.gov)
What can you do? File a complaint with the IRS.
If you’re a resident of Maine, I urge you to file a complaint with the IRS as your voice will likely be given more credence. But any U.S. tax payer can file a complaint as this is a Federal issue. If the church wants to play in politics and law-making, then they should contribute to the government that maintains those laws by paying taxes like the rest of us. If they want a stake in our process, they need to join the process rather than claim exemption. Standing on the side-lines, paying no dues, but then wanting to have your particular dogma given full measure is unfair to tax payers, not to mention those religious groups who play by the rules. Catholic parishioners can, of course, participate all they wish. But when the diocese organizes as a single entity to dip its finger in our laws, we need to speak up and say no.
The IRS makes the complaint process easy. Just browse to: IRS Complaint Process For Tax Exempt Organizations.
If the church wants access to our government, there’s a price. If not, then their best move would be to return that money to their parishioners or donate it to a wholly un-related charity. This is our government, not the Pope’s.
Posted on : 22-09-2009 | By : Rebecca | In : Blog Post
Tags: boston globe, reiki
I’ve just published a new post on Bostonist criticizing an article in today’s Boston Globe in which they all but offer readers a coupon for 50% off a session with reiki practitioner Debbie Griseuk. Read the entire article here. Is the Globe dead yet?
Posted on : 17-09-2009 | By : maggie | In : Skeptics in the Pub, video
Video from our previous Boston Skeptics in the Pub with Dr. Rachie.
Posted on : 11-09-2009 | By : Liz | In : Blog Post, skepticism
Tags: dragon con
Last weekend, I attended my 4th Dragon*Con in Atlanta. This year’s con was my first as a skeptic, and I had an amazing time with the SkepTrack!
In the past I have focused on the Joss Whedon-related events, so it was great to get a different experience and keep things fresh (not that Dragon*Con could ever be described as “stale”). I was very impressed with the number of Boston Skeptics I ran into during the weekend!
One part of the SkepTrack that I particularly enjoyed was the accessibility of its guests. Sure, the stars of Firefly are very friendly (did I mention that Nathan Fillion took my picture last year?), but they are far too in demand to spend any significant amount of time chatting with one random fan. The SkepTrack celebs, however, were more than happy to chat and take pictures (for free!) with fans.
Posted on : 08-09-2009 | By : Rebecca | In : Blog Post, Event, Skeptics in the Pub
Tags: australian skeptics, Rachael Dunlop, sitp
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
7:00pm – 10:00pm
Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square (Top Floor)
96 Winthrop St.
Facebook Event Page
Join the Boston Skeptics on a special night as we hang out with Dr. Rachael Dunlop, noted Australian scientist, blogger, and podcaster.
Dr. Rachie recently appeared on the skeptic track at DragonCon, and will be a guest at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) September 11. We’re hoping that her talk for Boston Skeptics in the Pub, though, will contain at least 80% more bawdiness.
Posted on : 07-09-2009 | By : Joshua | In : Blog Post
Tags: look around you, photos
So, I was out in the park, taking some random photos of an old mill. (Old mills are everywhere in the Northeast. Think about it. It’s probably true.) Everything seemed normal, but when I got home I noticed something weird in the photo. It was a ghost! Not just any ghost, though, it was a ROBOT. A robogeist, if you will.
Holy shit, guys, a hainted mill!
In case it’s not clear, I’m talking about the weird boxy thing peeking around the lower left corner of the mill. What is it really?
Posted on : 03-09-2009 | By : maggie | In : audio, Skeptics in the Pub
The audio is from the last Boston Skeptics in the Pub with Rebecca, Jeff Wagg and Barbara Mervine wherein our heroes heckled the crap out of the based-on-actual-events-that-were-nothing-like-this movie The MothMan Prophecies is online for your download pleasure. Download it, print out your Mothman Bingo cards, pop in the movie and get hammered! It’s like our own little Labor Day audio gift basket (for those of you not in the United States, pretend I didn’t say that last bit or substitute your own upcoming holiday).
But don’t blame us if you DIE eventually, thereby proving the prophecy REAL! I heard a guy who knew someone who watched it died one time!
Posted on : 02-09-2009 | By : Joshua | In : Blog Post
Tags: conspiracy theories, wingnuts, ZOMGSOCIALISM
Look out, guys! It turns out that SOCIALISED OBAMACARE is secretly all about giving the government powers to send unarmed and untrained medical volunteers to enter your home and steal all of your shit! And they’re starting right here in Massachusetts! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU–
Oh, wait. The government already has the power to do that. It’s called declaring martial law. And of course there’s also eminent domain. And when they use either of those, they have police forces and this heavily-armed, well-regulated militia we like to call the National Guard to come in and take your shit. But clearly the Medical Reserve Corps is what we really need to be afraid of.
Posted on : 01-09-2009 | By : Rebecca | In : Blog Post, Skeptics in the Pub
I had a slight headache this morning upon waking, making me possibly the 85th victim of the terrifying Mothman Curse. I feel better now, though.
Last night’s special “Mothman” edition of Boston Skeptics in the Pub was a great success! Alien expert Barbara Mervine, JREF employee Jeff Wagg, and yours truly hosted a screening of The Mothman Prophesies, during which we mocked the film and provided cryptozoological factoids for the enjoyment of about 100 attendees. We also played Mothman Bingo, in which many people won fabulous prizes, including Surlyramics necklaces, mythical creature toys, and other bizarre paraphernalia.
The Mothman wasn’t sighted, but he did leave his mark on one attendee:
While there won’t be a video for this round, we did record an audio track that will be posted soon, so you can have your very own skeptical commentary the next time you feel compelled to subject yourself to this surprisingly boring movie. (And here they are: MMbingo_audio.zip MMbingo_cards.zip )
Thanks to everyone who came out!