Kevin Andrews suddenly learns that everyone else knows Catch The Fire are batshit #auspol

Minister for Putting Single Mums in Their Bloody Place Kevin Andrews, among other Team Australians, has recently learned that the people of Australia don’t particularly like that the “World Congress of Families” is run by well-known slavering extremist anti-choice homophobic bigots Catch The Fire Ministries and has decided not to open their adorable little Hatesturbate For Jesus for them after all.

Catch The Fire Ministries, whose head douche Danny Nalliah infamously linked Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires to that state’s abortion laws (and will now have to find other high-profile fundamentalist scenery-chewers to mix the green cordial [red is SINFUL!] and run the games of “pin Satan’s pitchfork on the eternally burning lesbortionist,”) have since thrown K-Drews under the bus for being a sad wuss. Because how dare any public official in a secular democracy respond to public outcry over lending explicit government support to a pack of fringe-dwelling cultists whose lunacy is only exceeded by their self-importance.

I suspect that, much like a pair of cling-wrap Y-fronts, this is a transparent arse-covering on the part of Kev and his fellow Tory wingnuts, Eric “I Am The Politican Every Sketch Show Bases Their Politicians On” Abetz and Cory “Looky, I Wrote A Book Just Like God Did” Bernardi, who would surely have gone along had the public not had something of a issue with members of our government explicitly validating the dark-ages lunacy of extremist evangelist hooligans.

Not Catch The Fire but close efuckingnough, amirite?


Prayer – now with Hurricane-Stopping Power!

…or so a pack of loons in (where else but) Texas (actually, you’d probably also find them in Kentucky, Alabama or anywhere where they speak with a twang, and I’m sure you could find them in Queensland as well) would have us (and themselves) believe.

Via Kelly at the Rational Responders, the official text for their powerful Hurricane Ike-stopping prayer which can be found here. Apart from the usual blathering idiocy & sucking up, it contains this hysterical little gem:

Father, please forgive us for our many sins. Please forgive disobedience, rebellion, unbelief, forms of idolatry, shedding of innocent blood, and the rejection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. God have mercy on the Houston Metropolitan Area.

“O Vengeful One, please spare us, your unworthy & sin-filled slaves, from your Divine & Just Wrath! Please smite some other unworthy people from another local government region in Thy Mercy!”

Utterly laughable. On the one hand, it seems like you lackwits know that you deserve to be punished with a hurricane, Gomorrah-style, for all your wickedness. But on the other hand, you have the gall to think you can appease the Almighty and avoid his wrath with some sucking up! Surely it’s God’s Plan, right? Surely no human has the right to question God’s Plan for the world … right? And here you are, not asking for the hurricane to be stopped and for it to blow itself out, sparing everyone, just for it to be diverted. And how are you going to feel if it misses you and kills even more people down the highway a few miles? Probably pretty bloody pleased with yourselves, I’ll bet. Smug bastards.

From Kelly’s post:

Their church recently held a prayer meeting in order to officially command Ike to cease and desist its approach into the Houston area. Some participants claimed to have calmed Edouard and sent hurricane Gustav into southern Louisiana. No explanation was given for the Almighty’s lack of regard for the residents in that area.

See, that’s the thing. Hurricanes don’t just STOP and cease & desist. Of course, God could choose to just stop them in their tracks and calm the winds instantly – after all, he sent them in the first place … right? So why won’t he just switch ’em off? Whatever the reason, he chooses not to (God’s Plan) and (it would seem, if these loons are right) he just diverts them around whoever prays the hardest, or sucks up the most, or whatever. God help whoever is in the new path of the hurricane, especially if they didn’t pray hard enough.

But what happened to “love thy neighbour”, you twisted Christfreaks? If that hurricane goes around you it’s going to hit someone else! And what happens when it does? Are you going to head down to the affected area, apologise for sending God’s hurricane down their main street and take blankets and food and first aid kits and assist with the cleanup or even just donate to the Red Cross? Well? It’s the least you could do after sending Divine Wrath into their town! Or are you going to sit smugly in your living room, watching it all unfold on TV, safe in the knowledge that your magic spells saved your postcode or head to your church and loudly proclaim how blessed you are that God listened to you and decided to fuck up a bunch of other people? Hey, I guess you could always pray for them.

This leads me to a train of thought: if God is punishing you people with a hugely destructive and potentially fatal hurricane but he can be persuaded not to with a bit of “O God you’re so awesome”, he’s either very easily talked out of his Divine Plan with some simple flattery or your crimes weren’t all that heinous to begin with – which, to be frank, paints this god of yours as one petty son of a bitch. You want to worship a god who can be talked out of punishing you via hurricane with some simple sycophancy? Loan sharks have stronger principles than that for god’s sake.

Texas (and other) Christians, I’m not going to sit here and spout what you might call the usual atheist talking points about how your god is a confused, nasty, contradictory mishmash of “extinct” tribal gods and almost certainly doesn’t & can’t exist. No, what I need is to hear your take on your god’s morality. I need a Christian to explain to me, in simple terms – and without pasting any excerpts from scripture – just how moral it is to first send a hurricane as punishment (which would almost certainly “punish” many, many undeserving people, being that hurricanes are huge, indiscriminate forces of pure destruction), then allow some of those people to change his mind and divert the hurricane away from their town to another area, where it would no doubt do as much damage to a bunch of other, more than likely equally undeserving people. But why divert it? Why let it continue on its path of destruction at all? Why not stop it dead or send the damn thing back out to sea to blow itself out, harming noone at all? If this anti-hurricane prayer is working, why is this omniscient god – whom all Christians seem to believe has a Plan – allowing himself to be talked into changing his Plan at the pleading of a few hundred sinful humans? Who the hell are you people to dare to ask God to change a Plan that he’s probably had in place for (depending on who you talk to) the last ten thousand or four billion years? You people are meant to have faith in God’s Will. You’re meant to trust God. Who are you to think you know better than God? Why should he listen to you? What kind of conceited, self-centred egotist are you to think that YOU talked GOD out of sending you a hurricane? If God wants to kill you with the weather so you can join him in Heaven, you should damn well go gladly and not hit your knees in desperate supplication, begging him to spare you. I thought this life didn’t matter when you had eternity with the Almighty to look forward to! Seriously, I want to hear how this god of yours is so easily dissuaded from his Plan by a bunch of mere humans.

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World Youth Day’s Bishop Fisher: clueless, ignorant halfwit

Bishop Anthony Fisher, coordinator of World Youth Day, has jammed his little hamster foot in his little hamster face while responding to this statement by a father of two rape victims. The good bishop had this to say (from the SMH):

Happily, I think most of Australia was enjoying [and] delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people and the hope for us doing these sorts of things better in the future, as we saw last night, rather than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds…

Come again? A father still awaits justice for his daughters, both of whom were raped by the same Catholic priest (whom, one could say, was enjoying their “beauty and goodness” in his own broken & twisted way), one of whom recently took her own life, and all you can say is, essentially, “Get over it – look at all these happy kids enjoying being Catholics!”?

Language alert:

Fuck you mate. Fuck you and fuck Pell too, for his hollow, repeated non-apology. Fuck you both in the most uncomfortable way possible. Fuck your church for continuing to allow this kind of thing to happen with no results and no accountability and for continuing to allow halfwits like Fisher to speak for you.

You just don’t get it, do you. Here’s a man in agony over sexual violence done to both his daughters – by the same man. He’s still grieving for his lost daughter. He wants an apology from the church – he wants the church to damn well take responsibility – and to be compensated fairly. He wants the church to take action to prevent such things re-occurring. He’s entitled to want those things. And how does the church respond? “Get over it.” This is why so many people get so annoyed, angry, enraged at the Papacy – Fisher’s innocently ignorant failure to appreciate the gravity of the situation and respond appropriately is just another brick in the long, high wall between Catholicism and the rest of the world. The fact that Fisher seems almost childlike in his infuriating innocence only serves to heighten this wedge between the church and the real world. His is a world of robes and rituals and vaulted ceilings and thousands of polite kids rapturously rocking out to clean-cut un-annoying young singers; Mr Foster’s world is one of the darkest pain, grief, frustration, injustice, hollow half-apologies and now, more than likely, of incredulous rage that someone so senior in the church responsible for that pain could just stare, wide-eyed & uncomprehending like a puppy, and say “get over it.”

Ordinarily, in the world the rest of us inhabit, it would be simply incomprehensible that anyone could respond in such an unsympathetic way to a man’s grief and demand for accountability, especially when their organisation is responsible for it. Imagine a school principal or education department spokesperson responding in the same way if it was one of his teachers that had raped two girls, one of whom would later commit suicide. There would be hell to pay, heads to roll, arses to kick. Sadly, however, this kind of thoughtless, callous response is all too common when it comes to the Catholic church on this issue. Idiots like Fisher – clearly unaware of the weight of their words – and emotionless bastards like Pell are exactly why the church needs a complete overhaul when it comes to investigating and responding to sexual violence.

It boggles the mind – it actually puts a tight knot in my gut – that an organisation that’s run by celibate old men, that’s plagued by sexual abuse going back decades or perhaps even centuries, and which has no idea about how to respond to it appropriately continues to lecture their members (and the rest of us, for that matter) about appropriate sexual behaviour.

Happy World Youth Day.

How to use a call centre in three easy steps

A slight deviation from my normal content. Be advised this is going to be a thinly-disguised bitch on the topic of call centres, but not the usual kind, i.e. a blogwhine/standup routine/sitcom dialogue regarding often subcontinentally located call centres with incompetent, apathetic or incoherent staff who have no idea what to do if a caller gets them off-script. No, this is a whine about people who call call centres and have no goddam idea what they’re doing and some suggestions about how to make everybody’s lives easier. Because it’s the interblarg and people have either very short attention spans or very short windows of opportunity to read time-wasting shit like this before they have to frantically start bosspamming again, I shall make a list in no particular order.

1. Be realistic.

The person who answers your call is most likely not intimate with every aspect of the company they work for!

There’s a reason there are so many people working in so many call centres: usually, such jobs are entry level, relatively easy and often require no prior experience. Because of that, they’re great for a first-time worker, someone returning to work after a long absence, part-time/casual workers or someone whose real job is playing keyboards and they’re just waiting for the right person to hear their demo. Expecting the first person you talk to to be able to give you deep insight into the company’s every operation or address your every query in detail is somewhat unrealistic. Of course, you have every right to expect the operator to be helpful! Just don’t expect that the first person you speak to can answer your every question. Don’t start with a huge spiel/complaint/query/suggestion and then get huffy when they’re flustered and have no idea how to respond to you and want to refer your call on. A good first step to avoid this kind of frustration is to ask if the operator if they’re the right person to ask about your specific issue – you don’t go to the doctor’s office and ask their receptionist about your itchy genitals, do you? You do? Well, perhaps you should be on some kind of government watch-list … ok, moving on!

2. Don’t hold the operator personally for the company’s mistake (perceived or otherwise).

So, the bank/phone company/charity/whatever has screwed up in a massive way. You’ve been overcharged/double-charged/charged for the wrong thing/charged for something you didn’t get and you’re shat. You want blood. Fair enough! Noone likes being shafted so you have every right to be on a Spartan-style warpath. But give the operator a break: it’s very unlikely that they’re personally responsible for whatever mistake has given you the royal shits. Also, you’re more than likely not the only customer who’s experienced a mistake at the hands of the company. Abusing the operator isn’t going to earn you any respect and won’t inspire them to help you. The worse you treat them, the more likely they’re just going to fob you off, handball the call to someone else who won’t give a shit, or kick your call upstairs to a manager who they know is on holidays so you get their voicemail. On the other hand, if you’re at least calm about it (noone said you had to be all peaches n’ cream), they’ll sympathise with you (and possibly empathise – we all have to deal with large companies who inevitably screw shit up) and will be more than happy to assist you or at least steer you in the direction of someone they know will help.

3. Get organised!

You might not be pressed for time, but you can almost guarantee your operator is – and so are the other callers waiting to speak to them.

So, you’re calling to have a query answered or a complaint addressed, just looking for some vague, general information. Is it too much to ask that you have a pen handy? Or your last correspondence from the company so the operator can find your record quickly? Your operator might not be timed like some outbound callers are but they’ll still have things to do, even if it’s just answering other calls. Not to mention the fact that the other callers sitting in the queue listening to shitty hold music have better things to do than sit in phone queues listening to shitty hold music while operators wait for yet other callers to get organised. Sure, it might only take thirty seconds to grab a pen or your last statement/letter … so why not sort that out before you even dial? If not for the hapless operator, do it for all the other people like you who want answers.

Sure, you might have had some bad experiences with call centre operators. They might have been apathetic, unhelpful or even downright rude in some cases. If that’s the case then sure, maybe they should be working elsewhere. But it’s pure common sense to realise that that’s no reason to hold the next operator or the entire company responsible.

And maybe, just maybe, you just caught the nicest person in the world on the worst day of their life. This person might have just got off the phone from talking to the rudest, most offensive person they’d ever spoken to in their whole lives and not had any time to process their annoyance and take a break before talking to you. Hell, if nothing else, treat that person on the other end of the line with decency and respect because they’re another human being! If you’re so glad to be released from the queue or to have navigated through the menu maze and finally talk to a human, act like it and treat them as such.

So, in closing: you’ve got a question? Great! I want to answer it but if I can’t, please understand when I try to find someone who can – and please make sure you have something to record the answer ahead of time. If not for me, for the others waiting in the damn phone queue and being told that their call is important by a recorded message every two minutes. You’ve got a legitimate whinge and you want the company to pay up? Fine – just make sure you’re whinging to the right person. But hey, don’t hold me responsible – if I was in any position of responsibility do you really think I’d be front-line in a bloody call centre and not upstairs somewhere, sitting on my nice chair and thanking Dionysius that I don’t work front-line in a bloody call centre?

So, the Rapture’s coming…

…eventually. And because you’re so freakin Holy, you’ll be up in Heaven and most of your family & friends will Left Behind on Earth.

Accordingly, this enterprising bunch of Christians (found via the inimitable blog of PZ Myers)is offering a post-Rapture message service to send “See? Told you so! I was right! Now convert and get your arse up here before you’re dragged into that fiery pit to be raped by robot gorillas for eternity” messages and important documents to your heathen loved ones. How, you ask?

We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to
the addresses you provide, 6 days after the “Rapture” of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system.

Sounds very Mish Imposs doesn’t it? And it’s using the email! Utter genius. Spiritual piece of mind for just $40 for the first year. Doesn’t sound like much money, until you consider the sheer number of complete idiots in the US that actually believe the Rapture will happen, lifting dedicated Evangelist Christians physically out of their Walmart clothes, giant SUVs, pipe-bomb factories, home-school garages, bible colleges and gay brothels to join the Creator. These are the people that voted for George. Twice! These are the people who don’t actually want peace in the Middle East – prophecy states that when the Jews return to Zion (i.e. when they punk every last Palestinian into the sea) the End Times can kick off, Armageddon will ensue and “every knee will bow” to the giant mecha Jeebus and his legion of light-saber wielding battle angels. Or something. Neon Genesis Evangelion actually seems more plausible.

Evangelical Christians creep me out most of the time (ever seen a Benny Hinn bible circus?) but this latest scam is really reaching the heights of icky-tasting creep, the kind that doesn’t wash away even after several pints of Listerine…