Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Sodomite Semen edition.

So there’s a Pastor in NYC by the name of David James Manning at a church known as ATLAH (“All The Land Anointed Holy”) Worldwide Church that has a reputation for preaching some pretty hateful attitudes towards homosexuals. In addition to being the head Pastor at the church Manning also makes YouTube videos to spread the Good Word in a series he calls, humbly enough, The Manning Report.

In his most recent report, Manning tells us about how his church was recently visited by “sodomite protesters” who were armed with a “big bucket” of Starbucks coffee and assorted Starbucks paraphernalia. Which gives him the perfect opportunity to inform his dedicated following of why they shouldn’t drink Starbucks coffee. First, he believes that your local Starbucks is “Ground Zero” for Ebola because it’s popular among LGBT people and the doctor who was recently in the hospital in New York because he came down with the disease often frequents Starbucks himself. This was stupid enough in itself to get him and his church mentioned on a number of news sites and blogs, but now he points to an even more insidious concern: Starbucks is spiking their drinks with the semen taken from sodomites!

Seriously, he actually said that. Check it for yourself:

Here even goes on to cite a legitimate news site, The Inquisitr, as his source for this revelation. Turns out they did run an article titled: Were Semen Samples Really Found In Starbucks Drinks Nationwide, Initiating An FDA Investigation? It’s just a shame the good Pastor didn’t actually read the whole article:

Those stories will definitely put Starbucks on a pedestal of respect, but another report may destroy all of that. Apparently, semen was found in Starbucks drinks nationwide, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating the situation. The article picked up steam when it was shared among numerous social sites, including Facebook and Twitter. This will surely hurt Starbucks’ reputation, right? Fortunately for them, the derogatory article is fake.

It’s clear that Manning didn’t read much, if any, of the article because this important tidbit is at the end of the second fucking paragraph. Doesn’t matter, Manning buys into it completely saying:

And the Inquisitr news… online news service carried this as a major story the week before that what Star… what Starbucks was doing is that they would take and specimens of male, uh, semen and they were putting it in the blends of their, um, their lattes. Now this is the absolute truth. Right there, you can see it right there on the Inquisitr online services, the big article on the investigation into Starbucks using male semen and putting it into the blends of coffees that they sell. I mean can you imagine that, and I believe that they were doing that. 

youreseriousHe goes on to cite the fact that once upon a time Coca-Cola used actual cocaine in their soft drink apparently thinking it proves that companies use potentially horrifying ingredients in their beverages all the time.

He is so keen to believe that Starbucks is spiking their coffees with semen that he doesn’t bother to check on whether or not there is any basis to the story. Something he would’ve discovered easily by reading just two lousy paragraphs of the very news item he cites as proof of it happening. He carries on endlessly about how The Inquisitr is a “reputable online news service” that wrote “three pages on this event.” Which is pretty funny because A) it’s not three pages and B) he didn’t read enough of page one to catch the bit about it being a hoax.

But that’s not important! What is important is his question of “where are they getting all this semen from?” His answer? They’re getting it from sodomites, natch! It just makes sense! Especially if you’ve been dropped on your head repeatedly as a baby.

You really have to watch the whole thing because it just gets crazier from there. Especially when he starts talking about how semen is just like “cord blood” in how it contains “millions and millions of little zygotes in it” which “flavors up” the coffee. Next thing you know he’s going on about killing babies and drinking their blood and the soon-to-happen closing of Starbucks after the FDA completes their investigation.

It would be hilarious if it weren’t for the fact that this nutcase has people who believe every word he utters as though it were, well, the gospel truth. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you’re willing to buy into the idea of an all-powerful being that popped the universe into existence by sheer will alone and spends all his time micromanaging it and the creatures within to win a cosmic popularity contest against another entity he created and could have eliminated at any time, well, you’ll probably believe just about anything.

Here’s a big surprise: Serbian video of dead “alien” is a hoax.

Over the weekend one of my relatives asked me if I had seen that Russian dead alien video that’s been racking up hits on YouTube. I replied that I had not. Then they asked me if I thought it was a fake. Absolutely, I said.

But how can you be so sure when you haven’t seen the video, they asked. Because it would take more than a video clip by some random yahoo on the Internet to convince me, I said. At which point the conversation got into whether or not I think life exists elsewhere in the Universe (I do) and if so then why can’t they have visited us (because I understand the problems of travel between star systems and while life may be abundant, sentient life may be less so). So on and so forth.

And it turns out I was right:

A video of what was claimed to be a mutilated alien corpse, which scored hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, has turned out to be fake.

The tiny “dead alien” is just skin from chicken filled with bread, reports the website Police questioned the men who claimed to have found the “body” and they allegedly confessed to creating it themselves.

It’s amazing how quickly some hoaxers will fess up when they think they’re about to be charged with a crime”

The chief editor of the local Kabansk-Info newspaper initially thought that it was the body of an infant in the video and alerted the police.  Officers immediately started the investigation and identified the alleged author.

They went to his house and asked him about the infant’s body.  The scared man reportedly showed a fake alien corpse.  It was even painted in “alien colors”.  Scolding is the only possible punishment for such a stunt as it cannot be considered a crime, the report says.

Yes, even in Russia, stupidity still isn’t a crime.

Hotel clerk lacking critical thinking skills does $50,000 in damages.

I’m a big promoter of critical thinking skills because it’ll save you much embarrassment and expense. “Skeptic” is not a four letter word and skepticism can be a very useful tool for determining the truth of a claim especially when said claims come from complete strangers who are presenting themselves as an authority figure. People like the prankster who phoned up the front desk clerk of a Holiday Inn Express in Arkansas claiming to be a representative Grennel Fire Sprinkler service.  Hotel employee Christina Bergmann was working the front desk that morning and apparently didn’t bat an eye when the fake Grennel rep told her there was a problem with the hotel’s sprinkler system and that she needed to reset it by pulling the fire alarm:

“Bergmann proceeded to pull the fire alarm at this point, causing the audible alarm.” Bergmann, aided by a hotel guest, would subsequently follow a series of directions from the caller that would result in about $50,000 in damages to the hotel’s windows, carpets and electrical system. Hotel guests, who were evacuated during the incident, were allowed back into the Holiday Inn after police and fire officials determined that the caller was an imposter.

Now I can see how someone non-technical might be able to be convinced that pulling the fire alarm would reset the sprinkler system, but when you read the full police report at The Smoking Gun you have to wonder why the next instructions didn’t cause her to pause and ask what the hell was going on.

The caller then advised Bergmann to push the lever back up. When she was unable to do so, the caller told her that in order to keep the sprinklers from coming on and causing serious damage to the hotel, she had to break all the exterior windows.

I don’t care how non-technical you happen to be the above instruction should be a major red flag that the caller is not who he claims to be. Smashing the windows to keep the sprinklers from going off? How exactly is that supposed to work? Especially considering that the sprinklers themselves are usually activated by the heat of flames and not some sort of electronic switch. Even if you didn’t know that though you still have to wonder how broken windows would stop sprinklers from activating.

It’s at this point that our story takes an even more bizarre turn for the absurd. It seems Bergmann wasn’t the only person not thinking critically that day as about this time a customer by the name of Rusty Brown walked into the lobby and identified himself as an Incident Commander. That’s someone who’s been trained in how to coordinate an emergency response. The sort of person you’d hope would have a highly developed critical thinking skill and the knowledge of how to apply it in an emergency.  Rusty Brown apparently did not have such a skill as he didn’t bat an eye when handed the phone by Bergmann and told by the phone rep that the exterior windows had to be broken to reset the alarms and keep the sprinklers from activating:

At this point Bergmann and Brown began breaking the lobby windows with a fire extinguisher. While Brown was breaking the lobby windows, the caller advised Bergmann that she must break a portion of one of the sprinkler heads to keep it from activating.

Again we come to a point where you’d think a red flag would pop up and start bashing Bergmann over the head. Activating the fire alarm didn’t work, breaking windows doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, so how would intentionally breaking the actual sprinkler head help in any way? Well, what could it hurt to try, right?

At this point Bergmann removed a portion of the sprinkler head, causing a large amount of water to flow through it. After breaking several windows and realizing the alarm was not deactivated, Rusty Brown got back on the lobby phone with the caller.

Surely Rusty Brown realizes at this point that they’ve been had and is going to curse out the caller in a lengthy and graphic way. Then again, maybe not:

The caller told Brown that he must reset the control panel for the system. Brown told the caller that the water from the sprinkler was keeping him from reaching the panel. The caller told Brown that he had to find the breaker box and shut down power to the hotel.

Again, this should be a red flag. Sprinkler systems generally don’t require power to function as they are activated by heat breaking a fluid filled chamber in the sprinkler head and the flow is driven by pure water pressure. If you want to shut them off you need to find the valve for that section of sprinkler heads, not a breaker box. You’d think that an Incident Commander would know this, but apparently that’s not the case:

At this point Brown gave the caller his cell phone number in order to stay in contact while mobile. The caller made contact with Brown by phone and continued to give him instructions. Brown found an employee and gained access to the main electrical room and shut down the main power.

And now we come to the big payoff:

Brown advised that at this point the unknown caller called his cell phone again and advised that he was connecting him to the hotel manager, whose number he had gotten from Christian Bergmann. At this point Brown was in contact with Candlewood manager Donna Caldwell who was unaware of the situation.

So there you are, a trained Incident Commander who’s supposed to be able to coordinate a response to an emergency situation, and you’ve just finished helping a clueless hotel clerk smash a bunch of windows, set off a sprinkler system, and shut down power to the hotel all to avoid something that wasn’t going to happen in the first place and you’ve got to explain all of that to the hotel manager. Sucks to be you.

All of that could have been avoided with just a little critical thinking and a question or two. Rusty Brown should have known at least a little about how fire suppression systems work, but even without that knowledge there were several points where a reasonable person should have questioned what they were being told to do.

Rusty Brown, the Holiday Inn guest who helped Bergmann follow the prankster’s instructions, told TSG he was “an innocent bystander and got involved in domestic terrorism.” Bown, 36, remarked that there was “absolute panic in that hotel,” adding that, “all I did was make it worse. I’m not proud of breaking windows. It is very disheartening.”

Domestic terrorism? I suppose that’s one way to look at it. Being played for a fool is yet another. I don’t know who determines who gets to be an Incident Commander, but if I were them I’d be seriously reconsidering if Rusty Brown is right for the position.

Be wary, be wary. Of the 31st of January…

A day, in Boston, that will live in infamy!

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