Sunday, August 31, 2008

The American Police State

And the Right has the nerve to label the Left as communist, while the Right uses Stalinist tactics more and more every day.

From Massive police raids on suspected protestors in Minneapolis by Glenn Greenwald:

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than "fire code violations," and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.
Read the rest here.

There is also more here and here.

And Emptywheel makes an excellent point:
If the Bush DOJ approved the use of terrorism techniques to prepare for the convention--in spite of the fact that such an approval would violate DOJ guidelines--we'd have a crystal clear example of why it is inappropriate to interpret terrorism as broadly as the Bush Administration has been pushing to do.
The Republican National Convention is off to a great start, before it even begins.

Update 08-31-08:

Glenn Greenwald has more. The FBI is involved in this. From Federal government involved in raids on protesters:
Any rational person planning to protest the GOP Convention would, in light of this Government spying and these police raids, think twice -- at least -- about whether to do so. That is the point of the raids -- to announce to citizens that they best stay in their homes and be good, quiet, meek, compliant people unless they want their homes to be invaded, their property seized, and have rifles pointed at them, too. The fact that this behavior is producing so little outcry only ensures, for obvious reasons, that it will continue in the future. We love our Surveillance State for keeping us safe and maintaining nice, quiet order.
What's next? The Republicans deciding that Bush gets to stay in power for another year or more because of all the National Security threats we face?

First they will cancel the Republican convention. Then will they cancel the election?

Let's Impeach The President

From Commentary: Gen. Taguba knew scandal went to the top by Joseph L. Galloway:

In the preface to a damning report on the treatment of Guantanamo detainees by a group called Physicians for Human Rights — which had examined and interviewed 11 former Guantanamo detainees freed without charges — Taguba declared that there was no longer any doubt whatsoever that President George W. Bush and others in the White House had committed war crimes.

"The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account," Taguba wrote. "The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture."
Read more here.


When will it be my turn to go on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" so that I can say that I am offended by John and Cindy McCain?

From Cindy McCain tells Stephanopoulos that Obama Offended Her:

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos reports: Democrats' attacks on her family's wealth are unfair and offensive, Cindy McCain said today in an interview airing tomorrow on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

For nearly two weeks, Democrats have repeatedly hit Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for saying he is unaware of how many houses he owns, calling the presumptive Republican presidential nominee out of touch with everyday Americans. In his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention on Thursday, Democratic nominee Barack Obama turned up the heat on McCain, saying he "doesn't know" about the lives of middle-class Americans.

"I'm offended by Barack Obama saying that about my husband," said McCain's wife Cindy. When asked if Obama went too far in his criticism of McCain, Cindy responded, "I do. I do. I really do."
Read the rest here.

Hypocritical elitism, anyone?

Quote Of Note - Sarah Palin

“What is it exactly that the VP does every day?” Sarah Palin

Bible Verse For Sunday 08-31-08

And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.

And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.

And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.

And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.

And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.

And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel.
What the hell? Jephthah cooks his own daughter for God. This is what happens when you talk to God?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jon Stewart Rips

From Comic rips media's false sense of urgency by Joe Garofoli:

It is a telling media milepost as political convention TV coverage unfolds over the next two weeks: Jon Stewart is now the dean of commercial network political convention anchors. The old guard is either retired, deceased or disgraced.

Like everything on Stewart's Comedy Central network, the line about his status as an anchor is uttered with mock gravitas and a raised eyebrow by the cable network's publicists and show staffers. But behind Stewart's wink is a serious passion about holding government accountable and the need for aggressive reporting that he rarely shows publicly. This week he did.
Read the rest here.

Just Think…

If Barack Obama had picked Hillary Clinton as his running mate. We would end up with the first woman VP, no matter which side wins in November.

What Does This Say About Us?

“Today’s Top Searches” on

  1. Angelina Jolie
  2. Lindsay Lohan
  3. Jennie Garth
  4. Halo 4 Rumors
  5. Michael Jackson
  6. Suge Knight
  7. Valkyrie
  8. Dallas Cowboys
  9. Disaster Movie
  10. Beau Biden

If Jay Nordlinger Said That…

Would you know what the hell he meant?

From If a Republican Said That . . . by Jay Nordlinger:

Gov. Tim Kaine (Va.) said he is a man “who wants to see American values guiding our nation again.” If a Republican said that, he would be denounced as a miserable McCarthyite — and the denunciation might be correct.

Also, Kaine quoted the Gospels, and a gospel hymn — shoutin’ it out. If a Republican does that next week in Minneapolis — this will be proof of the “theocracy” of the GOP.

Right? It’s a tired old point — but right and necessary all the same.
No wonder Republicans were able to put up with the syntax-challenged George W. Bush for eight years.

Trickle Up Economics

From Newsflash! Giving tax breaks to the rich doesn't create jobs, it looks like recession time, and more tales of dumb executives by Dean Baker:

Given the economy's dismal performance during the Bush presidency, a candidate who is running on the Bush economic program would have reason to be defensive, but not Sen. McCain. McCain is turning reality on its head, filling the airwaves with commercials saying that Obama's plan to raise taxes on the rich will kill jobs.

It is truly unbelievable that we are having this argument. We only have to go back to the Clinton years to see how the economy performs when tax rates on the rich are at the level proposed by Sen. Obama.

During the eight years of the Clinton administration, the private sector added 15.8 million jobs. By contrast, in the seven years and six months of the Bush administration, when rich people paid the Bush-McCain tax rates, the private sector added just 3.5 million jobs, and it is now losing jobs at the rate of almost 100,000 a month as President Bush prepares for retirement.
Read the rest here.

$1,930 A Month

This is over a month old, but I have not heard this before. Does McCain really need to cash these checks? From McCain’s perspective this is probably just pocket change. After all, he thinks an income of $4,999,999.99 a year is still middle class.

From McCain gets $1,930 a month from 'broken' Social Security system:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain cashes his monthly Social Security checks despite calling the federal program "a disgrace," the Associated Press reports.

"I'm receiving benefits," McCain told campaign reporters, but added, "the system is broken."

In 2007, he received benefits of $23,157 from Social Security, approximately $1,930 a month. The maximum monthly benefit under Social Security is $2,185. Social Security benefits are determined by age at retirement.

McCain, who is 71, has received benefits since he was 65.

Last week, McCain told observers at a town-hall meeting in Portsmouth, Ohio, "Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers ... and that's a disgrace."

Friday, August 29, 2008

What's Bush Been Up To?

From Bush Administration Pushing Last-Minute Rollbacks:

The Bush administration is trying to finalize several new rules, covering a range of policy issues, before a new administration takes over and despite its own policy directive. The new rules would relax the standards and enforcement of longstanding federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Read the rest here.

My Take On The Choice Of Sarah Palin

No one else wants the job.

Has Taking A Leak Become Illegal In The United States?

This country is getting to be weirder and weirder. What freedom will they go after next?

If God created us and gave us certain bodily functions, wouldn’t he want us to be able to perform those bodily functions?

It appears that it is illegal to use the bathroom, or even move, during the almighty “God Bless America” at Yankee stadium in New York City. My guess is that President Bush insisted this be put in the Patriot Act before he would sign it. (You never know, I don’t think that anyone has read the damn thing from cover to cover.)

This is taking God and country a little too far over the limit, is it not?

From Fan Ejected From Yankee Stadium For Bathroom Break by Hazel Sanchez:

A Queens man is considering legal action against the New York Yankees after he was ejected from Tuesday night's contest against the Boston Red Sox for trying to use the restroom during the playing of "God Bless America."

During the patriotic 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, nature called on Bradford Campeau-Laurion. When he tried to leave his seat during the traditional singing of God Bless America, however, he says he was stopped by a NYPD officer who said he'd have to wait until the song was done.

"I then said to him, 'I don't care about God Bless America. I just need to use the bathroom.' As soon as I said that, he immediately pinned my arm behind my back," Campeau-Laurion told CBS 2.

The 29-year-old says two officers pinned both of his arms behind his back and ejected him from the stadium.

"He shoved me out the front gate and told me get out of their country if I didn't like it," he said.

Campeau-Laurion says he didn't know theYankees had a rule restricting movement in the stands during the playing of God Bless America. The rule is enforced by ushers, stadium security and the NYPD.
Read the rest here.

My Reaction To Barack Obama's Speech

If Barack Obama becomes president, the middle fingers of both my hands will get a well deserved rest, after eight years of flippin’ off George W. Bush every time he appeared on my television.

Remember when the “Dean scream” was not considered presidential? After all this time with Bush, does anyone think that his speeches are presidential? The smirk alone clenches it for me.

Last night, Barack Obama was presidential.

What Is The Point Of This?

This will not make me vote Republican.

Is this supposed to make me dislike Dennis Kucinich? Or is it supposed to make me think that Michael Medved is a foolish and pathetic cretin?

Comparing Kucinich to Hitler is simply ridiculous. However, comparing Mr. Medved to Hitler’s propagandists is not.


And Sheldon Alberts sees things a bit differently than Michael Medved.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Quote Of Note - David Edwards

"The modern susceptibility to conformity and obedience to authority indicates that the truth endorsed by authority is likely to be accepted as such by a majority of people, who are innately obedient to authority. This obedience-truth will then become a consensus-truth accepted by many individuals unable to stand alone against the majority. In this way, the truth promulgated by the propaganda system - however irrational - stands a good chance of becoming the consensus, and may come to seem self-evident common sense." David Edwards, author of Burning All Illusions

Religion Can Give You Gas

From Bless you and here's some gas:

Carol Umsted got more than the word of God during services this summer at the Congregational United Church of Christ of Valley City.

She also got $50 worth of free gas, thanks to winning a raffle. For the local farmer, it was a nice side benefit, at a time when gas was more than $4 a gallon.

Churches nationwide are making similar offers, ranging from gas card raffles to 99-cent gas sales at local stations, to boost attendance during the vacation season and attract new members.

But some Christians question whether a financial incentive should be used to draw people into church.

Robert Kruschwitz, director of The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, called the promotions "unseemly" and "misguided."
Read the rest here.

Schools Are No Place For Imagination

We can’t have our children becoming creative. We can’t encourage them to think for themselves. What would they be like as adults? What would they be like as voters?

From 'Imagine No Religion' signs to go up around town by Astrid Galvan:

A national organization that promotes freedom from religion and separation of church and state is hoping to get Phoenix commuters talking with five controversial billboard ads that will go up this week.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., paid advertising company CBS Outdoor to put up five signs that read "Imagine No Religion."

The message on the billboards will start to go up Monday and will remain there for a month, said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Phoenix will be the first city to have as many as five signs.

But getting the billboards up did not come without hurdles.

The five sites chosen by the organization were changed after CBS Outdoor said they had to be 1,000 feet from any schools or churches, Gaylor said.

The site locations were finalized late last week, and CBS Outdoor was not available for comment over the weekend.

The organization, comprised of 12,000 atheist or agnostic members, aims to promote free thought and separation of church and state.

The billboards debuted last year in Madison and have made their way to cities like Columbus, Ohio, and Seattle.

A billboard reading "Keep Religion OUT of Politics" is currently displayed in Denver and will remain there throughout the Democratic National Convention.

So far, Gaylor said, there has been little opposition to the billboards, and she doesn't anticipate any issues in Phoenix.

"The free thought movement has never been stronger in this country," she said.
Read the rest here.

The free thought movement may be getting stronger, but freedom of speech sure seems to be having more and more restrictions placed on it all the time.

Now I need to go and try to figure out what it was about this news item that caught my eye in the first place.

Visit The Freedom From Religion Foundation.

John Kerry Speech

Now the blogosphere is raving about John Kerry. Are all these speeches really that good?

From Full Text: John Kerry Speech Democratic National Convention:

Thank you so much. Four years ago, you gave me the honor of fighting our fight. I was proud to stand with you then, and I am proud to stand with you now, to help elect Barack Obama as President of the United States.

In 2004, we came so close to victory. We are even closer now, and let me tell you, this time we’re going to win. Today, the call for change is more powerful than ever, and with more seats in Congress, with more people with more passion engaged in our politics, and with a President Obama, we stand on the brink of the greatest opportunity of our generation to move this country forward.

The stakes could not be higher, because we do know what a McCain administration would look like: just like the past, just like George Bush. And this country can’t afford a third Bush term. Just think: John McCain voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Ninety percent of George Bush is just more than we can take.
Read the rest here.

More Weirdness From John McCain

From McCain's Prickly TIME Interview:

For years, John McCain's marathon bull sessions with reporters were more than a means of delivering a message; they were the message. McCain proudly, flagrantly refused direction from handlers, rarely dodged tough questions and considered those who did wimps and frauds. The style told voters that he was unafraid, that he had nothing to hide and that what you see is what you get. "Anything you want to talk about," he promised reporters aboard the Straight Talk Express in Iowa back in March 2007. "One of the fundamental principles of the bus is that there is no such thing as a dumb question." When asked if he would keep the straight talk coming, McCain replied, "You think I could survive if I didn't? We'd never be forgiven ... I'd have to hire a food taster, somebody to start my car in the morning." Even after he won the GOP nomination, he demanded that his new campaign plane be configured to include a sofa up front so he could re-create the Straight Talk Express at 30,000 ft.
Here is part of the interview:
There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?

Read it in my books.

I've read your books.

No, I'm not going to define it.

But honor in politics?

I defined it in five books. Read my books.
I suppose you could call that “straight talk.”

Do You Know What Synaesthesia Is?

If you don’t. Let Professor Funk explain it to you:

I originally found this video at Of Two Minds.

Oh My, A Pastor Who Lied!

Nine Network's Caroline Hillman reports on a pastor who lied about having cancer to cover up his sexual addictions:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are Superiors Ever Happy?

From Italian priest cancels nun beauty contest:

A Mondragone, Italy, priest said he has canceled plans for a nun beauty contest after religious leaders objected to his idea.

Father Antonio Rungi said the contest, which he described as an attempt to dispel the stereotype of all nuns being old and unpleasant looking, will not appear on his blog as planned next month due to objections from local Catholic leaders, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

"My superiors were not happy," Rungi said of the church's reaction to his plan to post pictures and descriptions of each contestant on his blog.

"The local bishop was not happy, but they did not understand me either," he said.
Read the rest here.

Does Barack Obama Stand For Freedom Of Speech?

The revolution will be censored.

Barack Obama appears to be a censor and a control-freak. What happens to your character when you will do anything to be elected president of the United States?

From Obama tightens grip on podium speeches by Betsy Rothstein:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is tightening the reins on campaign speeches and stressing that speakers emphasize a rags-to-riches theme.

Members of Congress and others who have been asked to address the convention must have their speeches approved by the Obama campaign. In many cases, the speeches are drastically changed — to the point where the original speech is completely scrapped, Democratic sources say.

Obama has long expressed his desire to run a positive campaign, but that approach has attracted criticism from some Democrats, who say the Illinois senator must hit Republicans harder.

Still, the practice of making wholesale changes to speeches has some Democrats miffed. “This is politics through and through,” said a Democratic source who has seen firsthand the degree to which the Obama camp has changed some of the speeches of members of Congress. “Everyone gets vetted.”
Yet not every speech has been completely overhauled. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who was asked by Obama to speak about the economy, was scheduled to deliver his speech Tuesday afternoon. The Obama campaign struck just one line from his speech, which slammed the Republicans and the Bush administration, according to a Democratic source.

That line, addressing Republicans, read: “They’re asking for another four years — in a just world, they’d get 10 to 20.”
Read more here.

A Wake-Up Call

The revolution will not be televised.

Kucinich Speech - Democratic Convention 8-26-2008:

Here is my favorite part of the Kucinich speech:

Wake up, America. This is not a call for you to take a new direction from right to left. This is call for you to go from down to up.
From Text: U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich Remarks to DNC:
It’s Election Day 2008. We Democrats are giving America a wake-up call. Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neo-con artists seized the economy and have added 4 trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defense, three times more for gasoline and home heating oil and twice what we paid for health care.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their health care, their pensions. Trillions of dollars for an unnecessary war paid with borrowed money. Tens of billions of dollars in cash and weapons disappeared into thin air, at the cost of the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqis, while all the president’s oilmen are maneuvering to grab Iraq’s oil.

Borrowed money to bomb bridges in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. No money to rebuild bridges in America. Money to start a hot war with Iran. Now we have another cold war with Russia, while the American economy has become a game of Russian roulette.

If there was an Olympics for misleading, mismanaging and misappropriating, this administration would take the gold. World records for violations of national and international laws. They want another four-year term to continue to alienate our allies, spend our children’s inheritance and hollow out our economy.
Read the rest here.

Some Are More Equal Than Others

In the United States of America why does Steny Hoyer get better health care than I do? Why does he get a personal security detail, and I don’t? Why don’t my tax dollars get me what he has? Why should any politician get more than ordinary citizens do from our taxes? How much freedom do we have left with armed guards all over the place?

From Hillary Night by digby:

As a personal aside, I have a telling anecdote to share about the evening. I was waiting at the elevator at the Pepsi center with Julie Bergman Sender, who is shooting a film of the convention, when we were rather brusquely pushed aside by a couple of security guys and told to wait. A large entourage of big men in black suits came marching down the hallway and I thought, this has to be somebody really, really important like Al Gore or Bill Clinton. After all, politicians are casually hobnobbing all over the place this week. Only the biggest names have this kind of security.

It was Steny Hoyer.
One definition of liberty is “freedom from physical restraint.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jim Leach

People seem to be impressed by the speech given last night by Jim Leach at the Democratic Convention.

The short version of the speech is: Bush really, really sucks, and even the Republicans know it. John McCain is just like Bush, and even the Republicans know it. Vote for Obama, not McCain.

From Full Text: Former U.S. Rep. Jim Leach Speech to Democratic National Convention:

As a Republican, I stand before you with deep respect for the history and traditions of my political party. But it is clear to all Americans that something is out of kilter in our great republic. In less than a decade America’s political and economic standing in the world has been diminished. Our nation’s extraordinary leadership in so many areas is simply not reflected in the partisan bickering and ideological politics of Washington. Seldom has the case for an inspiring new political ethic been more compelling. And seldom has an emerging leader so matched the needs of the moment.

The platform of this transformative figure is a call for change. The change Barack Obama is advocating is far more than a break with today’s politics. It is a clarion call for renewal rooted in time-tested American values that tap Republican, as well as Democratic traditions.
Read the rest here.

What's The Big Deal?

So the Democratic Presidential Convention began last night. What’s the big deal?

These things consist of people of privilege giving speeches to people of privilege along with people of privilege interviewing people of privilege, while the dissenters are kept locked out of the proceedings never to be truly heard. This is democracy?

The speeches, the pomp, and the insufferable news people (I can’t stand Katie Couric) are mostly boring as hell. There is only so much of “Hooray for us” that I can take.

The whole spectacle reminds me too much of a preacher preaching to his flock of sheep. The sheep are the true source of all the power and money that somehow is always relinquished to the preacher. The same thing happens in politics.

I did see some of Ted Kennedy last night. I’m glad he seems to be doing so well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"This marching thing" in Denver

Griff Jenkins of FoxNews in Denver:

How much money does FoxNews pay Griff Jenkins and Jamie Colby to come up with these words of wisdom?

  • “This is the recreate 68 crowd” (Yes, they really do exist. How nice it was of Griff and Jamie to give us so much information and background on them. Not!)

  • “This marching thing” (Not to be confused with the talking thing, pretending to be a news person.)

  • “I don’t know how rowdy this is going to be” (How about reporting the news, not predicting it.)

  • “These people say they believe in freedom of speech” (Meaning what, exactly?)

  • “Not all of them are Obama fans. That’s perhaps the biggest surprise of all. Obama’s getting not as much love as even Bush.” (It’s no surprise to me, Obama is simply the lesser of two evils. Where is the proof to support such an inane statement that these people dislike Obama more than Bush, because I really doubt that it is true.)

  • “But Griff, Puerto Rico and Hawaii as well, what is their concern there?” (Don’t the citizens of Puerto Rico and Hawaii vote?)

  • “I guess they don’t believe in freedom of speech” (In response to someone saying: “Fuck corporate media.”)

  • “Let’s just work this crowd, and see who else we can talk to” (Work this crowd?)

  • “Do you not believe in freedom?” (In response to someone saying: “Stop the torture, stop the war.”)

  • “It is out of control” (What? They seemed pretty peaceful and reasonable to me, given who they were talking to.)

  • “This group saying that they want to recreate 68” (But Griff Jenkins had previously said: “There are a lot of different groups represented.” Which is it? One group, or many?)

  • “Giving them a chance to speak out, to tell what their message is, and they’re not even talking, all they’re doing is screaming and yelling at him” (The message is that FoxNews sucks, lady. Clean out your ears.)
Thanks to onegoodmove, where I first stumbled upon this video.

And thanks to johnny dollar's place for the video.

One Reason Why I Am Anti-Religion

In the jargon of the blogosphere, PZ Myers nails it.

From Will we ever stop running away from the source of the problem? by PZ Myers:

This story about the struggles of a high school biology teacher in Florida is depressing. David Campbell, the teacher, is a hero — but it's the kind of hero sent off to suffer and fail in a misplaced struggle, who dutifully falls in battle, a victim of bad leadership and poor strategy. It's the same old tactics the educational bureaucracy has been pushing for 50 years or more: tip-toe gently about the subject of religion, never challenge the idiocy students bring into the classroom with them, always strain to allow them to accommodate science to their personal superstitions…which means pretending that science doesn't directly contradict their cherished myths. It doesn't work and has never worked, and the problem gets worse and worse every year.

Throughout the story, the teacher is striving to be respectful to religion (he's an Anglican himself) while the students are being arrogant dumbasses who refuse to listen to this evolution stuff. There is a villain here, but the article doesn't point a finger directly, nor does David Campbell place the blame: but the willfully anti-science students are victims of church and dogma. It's gotten so bad that it's not just parents and students who are opposing good science education, it's some of the teachers themselves. One of Campbell's fellow biology teachers is busily inculcating students with stupidity, too.
Animals do adapt to their environments, Ms. Yancey tells her students, but evolution alone can hardly account for the appearance of wholly different life forms. She leaves it up to them to draw their own conclusions. But when pressed, she tells them, "I think God did it."

Mr. Campbell was well aware of her opinion. "I don't think we have this great massive change over time where we go from fish to amphibians, from monkeys to man," she once told him. "We see lizards with different-shaped tails, we don't see blizzards—the lizard bird."
That that woman is a public school science teacher is an indictment of the educational system in this country. We can tell right away what has made her stupid, though: I think God did it. She's been infected with religion.

Read the rest here.

Religion, by definition, stomps on the smoldering embers of critical, factual thinking of the youngest among us until the embers are dead. It is not always possible to ignite them again, and most of those among us spend their lives in the dark. They become “sheep” following some of the most insane “shepherds” the world has to offer.

Why does this trouble me? Because I must live in this world with them. They undermine our educational system, as PZ Myers points out. Also, they are responsible for violent leaders like George W. Bush coming to power. How many atheists do you suppose voted for Bush? My guess would be none.

Religion is a dangerous disease.

Oil Money Flows

From The Corrupting Influence Of Oil Money:

Since 2001, gasoline prices have more than doubled, and oil companies have made more than half a trillion dollars in profits. The price of oil has surged from below $30 a barrel to over $125, a fourfold increase. The Big Five oil companies could make a "projected $168 billion in profits" this year alone. The United States has only two percent of the world's oil reserves but consumes 25 percent of the world's oil. "At current oil prices," conservative oil man T. Boone Pickens argued, "we will send $700 billion dollars out of the country this year alone." If we continue on the same path for the next ten years, "the cost will be $10 trillion -- it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind," he added.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We Are CNN And We Are The News

How lame is this? CNN tries to make itself part of the news.

From CNN forces Obama to release VP pick early by Mark Preston:

Barack Obama planned to name Joe Biden as his running mate by text message at 8 a.m. ET Saturday morning, but was forced to move up the announcement when CNN broke the story after midnight, a senior Obama official said.
Read the rest here.

Atheism Rules

No matter how many times some people say that communism equals atheism; atheism is not the same thing as communism.

“1.3 billion people under atheist rule.” How bogus can you get? Is this an example of the liberal media? Since when did atheism become a form of government? I thought that China was still a communist country. Or perhaps more accurately it is a socialist republic. What a load of bull crap from KWTX.

From Foreign Missionaries Defy Ban During Olympics:

Christian groups including Southern Baptists that ignored a Chinese ban on foreign missionaries say their underground evangelism during the Olympic games was a success.

Drawn to a nation of 1.3 billion people under atheist rule, the groups prepared for years for what the Southern Baptists once called "a spiritual harvest unlike any other."

Missionary Mark Taylor of Awaken Generation says 115 people from 12 countries gathered in Thailand for orientation before scattering throughout China.

He said they "did see some conversions."
Read the rest here.

How christian is it to be so deceptive?

"John McCain was a POW with me"

From Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain by Phillip Butler:

As some of you might know, John McCain is a long-time acquaintance of mine that goes way back to our time together at the U.S. Naval Academy and as Prisoners of War in Vietnam. He is a man I respect and admire in some ways. But there are a number of reasons why I will not vote for him for President of the United States.
Read the rest here.

Bible Verse For Sunday 08-24-08

For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
What the hell?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Question For The New York Times

Why do you publish Deborah Solomon?

Read The Wild Card first.

Then read Questions and Answers, in No Particular Order.

Joe Biden

From VP choice Biden unpopular in Iraq for autonomy plan by Peter Graff and Khalid al-Ansary:

Senator Joe Biden may be one of the only U.S. politicians that can get Iraq's feuding Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish politicians to agree. But not in a good way.

Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

"This choice of Biden is disappointing, because he is the creator of the idea of dividing Iraq," Salih al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, one of the main Sunni Arab blocs in parliament, told Reuters.

"We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time."
Read the rest here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Oil And Water

From More Americans Question Religion's Role in Politics:

Some Americans are having a change of heart about mixing religion and politics. A new survey finds a narrow majority of the public saying that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters and not express their views on day-to-day social and political matters. For a decade, majorities of Americans had voiced support for religious institutions speaking out on such issues.
Read the rest here.

God Man And Human Man

God Man & Human Man Team Up

Misgovernment For Profit

From Follow This Dime - Why Misgovernment Was No Accident in George W. Bush's Washington by Thomas Frank:

Washington is the city where the scandals happen. Every American knows this, but we also believe, if only vaguely, that the really monumental scandals are a thing of the past, that the golden age of misgovernment-for-profit ended with the cavalry charge and the robber barons, at about the same time presidents stopped wearing beards.

I moved to Washington in 2003, just in time for the comeback, for the hundred-year flood. At first it was only a trickle in the basement, a little stream released accidentally by the president's friends at Enron. Before long, though, the levees were failing all over town, and the city was inundated with a muddy torrent of graft.

How are we to dissect a deluge like this one? We might begin by categorizing the earmarks handed out by Congress, sorting the foolish earmarks from the costly earmarks from the earmarks made strictly on a cash basis. We could try a similar approach to government contracting: the no-bid contracts, the no-oversight contracts, the no-experience contracts, the contracts handed out to friends of the vice president. We might consider the shoplifting career of one of the president's former domestic policy advisers or the habitual plagiarism of the president's liaison to the Christian right. And we would certainly have to find some way to parse the extraordinary incompetence of the executive branch, incompetence so fulsome and steady and reliable that at some point Americans stopped being surprised and began simply to count on it, to think of incompetence as the way government works.

But the onrushing flow swamps all taxonomies. Mass firing of federal prosecutors; bribing of newspaper columnists; pallets of shrink-wrapped cash "misplaced" in Iraq; inexperienced kids running the Baghdad stock exchange; the discovery that many of Alaska's leading politicians are apparently on the take -- our heads swim. We climb to the rooftop, but we cannot find the heights of irony from which we might laugh off the blend of thug and Pharisee that was Tom DeLay -- or dispel the nauseating suspicion, quickly becoming a certainty, that the government of our nation deliberately fibbed us into a pointless, catastrophic war.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Uninvited And Unwanted

How stupid are politicians? Atheists do vote, you know.

Atheists are treated like second-class citizens, yet according to some we should never express our anger. Screw that! This pisses me off. Exclusion of any kind pisses me off. Interfaith gatherings at political events piss me off. Religious “leaders” (like Rick Warren) involved in politics piss me off. Politicians (like Barack Obama and John McCain) who pander to the religious piss me off. And people telling me I shouldn't be pissed off piss me off most of all.

From Why Weren’t Atheists Invited to the Democratic National Committee’s Interfaith Gathering? by Hemant Mehta:

The Democratic National Convention will open next week with an interfaith gathering. Representatives from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths will be there.

No atheists, though.

We weren’t invited.

The Secular Coalition for America has tried to persuade Convention CEO Leah Daughtry to allow atheists to be a part of the gathering, but to no avail.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In China "Free Speech Zones" Are Called "Protest Zones"

From China Nabs Another Gold Medal: Government sets new record for jailing Olympics protesters by Ken Silverstein:

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Chinese government had refused to allow a single demonstration in any of the official “protest zones” it had created for the Olympic games. Now two elderly woman have been sentenced to a year of “re-education through labor” for seeking a permit to demonstrate.
The women, Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77, had made five visits to the police this month in an effort to get permission to protest what they contended was inadequate compensation for the demolition of their homes in Beijing…Although it is unlikely that women as old as Ms. Wu and Ms. Wang would be forced into hard labor, many of those sentenced to [re-education] often toil in agricultural or factory work and are forced to confess their transgressions.
Two other rights advocates from southern China “have not been heard from since they were seized last week at the Public Security Bureau’s protest application office in Beijing,” the Times reports.
Read the rest here.

Arsenic And Old Water

From Study: Possible diabetes link to arsenic in water:

A new analysis of government data is the first to link low-level arsenic exposure, possibly from drinking water, with type 2 diabetes, researchers say.

The study's limitations make more research necessary. And public water systems were on their way to meeting tougher U.S. arsenic standards as the data were collected.

Still, the analysis of 788 adults' medical tests found a nearly fourfold increase in the risk of diabetes in people with low arsenic concentrations in their urine compared with people with even lower levels.

Research outside the United States has linked high levels of arsenic in drinking water with diabetes. It's the link at low levels that's new.

The findings appear in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hemp Madness

From See No Hemp, Hear No Hemp, Speak No Hemp, Part I by Rand Clifford:

Molders of public opinion work in such insidious ways that their actual methods and means usually go unnoticed. While inculcation of propaganda, lies, and disinformation do much of the shaping, simple omission has profound effect—might even be the favorite because it is, after all, nothing. It’s hard to imagine nothing ever accomplishing so much, but consider that for most people under common awareness manipulation, whatever corporate media (CorpoMedia) omits, to a large extent doesn’t exist.

Flag-draped coffins streaming home in the dead of night from our war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan are under media blackout, and so mean as little to most Americans as the actual reasons for the invasions, or even the hideous war crimes themselves. By its nature, omission is all but limitless; its application by CorpoMedia has grown to enormous proportions as celebrities and sports overpower hard news. So this article focuses on omission of—the calculated disappearing of a single thing that for thousands of years has profoundly benefitted the health and well-being of people all over the world, and today offers so much more: Cannabis hemp.
To the stupendous misfortune of virtually everything but Big Oil, the chemurgy movement was stifled by Big Oil. A new National Energy Program was the subject of many bills in Congress, focused on utilizing part of Americas vast agricultural capacity for production of alcohol fuels. Big Oil responded with withering lobby power, including slogans such as the government’s proposed energy program "robbing taxpayers to make farmers rich". Then, as now, whatever Big Oil wants, Big Oil gets. Ford’s vision of cheap, clean and renewable biofuels spooked early oil barons into keeping oil prices in the range between $1 and $4 per barrel—prices so low that no other energy sources could compete. But once they were sure the competition had been killed off, the price of oil began to soar. They were not only able to eliminate competition from alcohol fuels...but were instrumental in diddling government into effectively banning hemp cultivation—an incredible robbing of the people to protect entrenched corporate profits that still endures.
Read more here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Wall Tumbles Down

With each passing day I become more and more disappointed with Barack Obama. Why did he agree to this interview with Rick Warren? Can we please get the religion out of politics? Especially the evangelical kind!

If only I could vote for none of the above. We need better candidates!

From Faithiness For President? by Susan Jacoby:

What does it mean to you to trust in Jesus Christ? What is your greatest moral failing? A Martian tuning in to the broadcast Saturday night from Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church might be forgiven for concluding that Senators Barack Obama and John McCain were interviewing for a job as assistant pastor rather than running for the presidency of the United States. Obama apologized once again for his teenage drug use. McCain apologized for the failure of his first marriage. Confronted by one of God's televangelists, both candidates sounded like naughty, penitent little boys. Do you think that this event will set a precedent and that future presidential candidates will feel the need to subject themselves to a "faith test" administered by self-appointed representatives of religion?
Read the rest here.

How Many Village Idiots?

From How Anti-Intellectualism Is Destroying America by Terrence McNally:

"It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant." Barack Obama finally said it.

Though a successful political and electoral strategy, the Right's stand against intelligence has steered them far off course, leaving them -- and us -- unable to deal successfully with the complex and dynamic circumstances we face as a nation and a society.

American 15-year-olds rank 24th out of 29 countries in math literacy, and their parents are as likely to believe in flying saucers as in evolution; roughly 30 to 40 percent believe in each. Their president believes "the jury is still out" on evolution.

Steve Colbert interviewed Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland on "The Colbert Report." Westmoreland co-sponsored a bill that would require the display of the Ten Commandments in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but, when asked, couldn't actually list the commandments.

This stuff would be funny if it weren't so dangerous.
Read the rest here.

The Cone Of Silence

From McCain protests NBC coverage by Mike Allen:

Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) campaign manager Rick Davis asked Sunday for a meeting with Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, to protest what the campaign called signs that the network is "abandoning non-partisan coverage of the presidential race."

Davis made the request Sunday in a letter that is part of an aggressive effort by McCain to counter news coverage he considers critical.

In this case, the campaign is objecting to a statement by NBC's Andrea Mitchell on "Meet the Press" questioning whether McCain might have gotten a heads-up on some of the questions that were asked of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who was the first candidate to be interviewed Saturday night by Pastor Rick Warren at a presidential forum on faith.

Warren told the audience that McCain was being held in "a cone of silence" so he wouldn't hear the questions, which were similar for both candidates.

Warren referred again to "the cone of silence" when McCain came onstage, and the senator joked: "I was trying to hear through the wall."

Mitchell reported that some "Obama people" were suggesting "that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama. He seemed so well prepared."
Read the rest here.

A Cross In The Dirt

From McCain Cross Story Raises Eyebrows:

John McCain won major points on Saturday for his story about a POW prison guard drawing a cross in the dirt, but the tale has bloggers crying foul. Apparently the details of the story have changed over the years, and lately they bear more than a passing resemblance to the memories of Russian novelist and gulag survivor Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bible Verse For Sunday 08-17-08

And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.

If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.

Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
What the hell?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What Wall?

It scares me when politicians are all too willing to play the religious card. This only serves to give Rick Warren more power and credibility that he doesn’t deserve, especially secular political power.

From A new-style evangelical pastor ascends the political stage by Jane Lampman:

Bestselling author. A Southern Baptist minister who breaks the conservative mold. Touted by some as the likely successor to Billy Graham.

On Saturday, pastor Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose-Driven Life," will do what no one else has yet accomplished: bring the presumptive GOP and Democratic presidential nominees onto the same stage to discuss their views.

It's a sign of religion's importance in the 2008 presidential campaign. The event, back-to-back one-hour interviews at Mr. Warren's California megachurch, will be broadcast live on CNN and streamed on the Web. It also represents the emergence of a new style of evangelical leadership on the national stage, which is not tied to a single party and has broadened its social agenda beyond that of the religious right.
Read the rest here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

More Huh? And What?

Once again President Bush proves that he is the most arrogant man on the planet earth.

From Bush warns Russians against 'bullying'

President Bush on Friday chided Russia for Cold War-style behavior, saying, "Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Huh? And What?

Weird talking points from Washington about Georgia and Russia:

  • For those who don’t know, it is the 21st century.

  • Even though Georgia invaded first, somehow "Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people.”

  • Invading other countries is just not done in the 21st century, say those who have invaded Afghanistan, and Iraq, in the 21st century.

  • We still don’t like Russia, and we’ll screw ourselves if we have to, before we continue to deal with "those commies."

  • The Bush tradition is to promise the moon, then deliver nothing. Why is Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili surprised when he is on the receiving end of this? My guess? He’s probably a gullible idiot with no morals.
From U.S. knew Georgia trouble was coming, but couldn't stop it by Jonathan S. Landay:
Bush administration officials, worried by what they saw as a series of provocative Russian actions, repeatedly warned Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to avoid giving the Kremlin an excuse to intervene in his country militarily, U.S. officials said Monday.

But in the end, the warnings failed to stop the Georgian president — a Bush favorite — from launching an attack last week that on Monday seemed likely to end not only in his country’s military humiliation but complete occupation by Russian forces.

The cost of the fighting in lives has yet to be tallied. But President Bush on Monday made it clear that the outcome was sure to mark a turning point in Russia’s relations with the West. It might also prove costly for the West’s relationship with the budding democracies of Eastern Europe, which now must contemplate a world where the United States could do little to protect a close ally in the face of a determined Russian onslaught.

"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people," President Bush proclaimed after returning from China. "Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century."
Additionally, the United States had lost access to vital information when Russia dropped out of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty in December to protest U.S. plans to build missile defense sites in Europe.

Under the treaty, Russia had been required to exchange reports on troop, armor and aircraft deployments with the United States and other members on a monthly basis. But once Russia dropped out, that information was no longer available.
Read the rest here.

From The War We Don't Know by Mark Ames:
The question we must ask is: Are we willing to risk war, including nuclear holocaust, in order to fulfill the aspirations of Mikhail Saakashvili? While Bush and McCain speak of Saakashvili as if he's a combination of Thomas Jefferson and Nelson Mandela, he's seen by his own people as increasingly authoritarian and unbalanced. Last year, Saakashvili sent in his special forces to violently disperse opposition protesters in the capital city, followed by a declaration of martial law. He sacked the opposition television station (partly owned by Rupert Murdoch), exiled or jailed his political opponents, and stacked the courts with his own judges while removing neutral observers, leaving even onetime neocon cheerleaders like Bruce Jackson and Anne Applebaum feeling queasy. Hardly the image of the "small democratic nation" that everyone today touts.

The Russian response has, of course, been disproportionate and heavy-handed--exactly what's to be expected of them ever since Boris Yeltsin first showed the world how post-Soviet Russia fights its wars, starting with Chechnya in 1994. Georgia has been terrorized by indiscriminate aerial bombing and the constant threat of invasion by a vastly superior Russian force--eerily reminiscent of NATO's campaign against Serbia in 1999. Indeed, many observers believe that the current Russian response is a direct blowback of the Kosovo campaign, which is why there are so many similarities.

But what is the best way to respond? The neocons and even CNN reports talk about exploring military options, which is absurd given the consequences of war with nuclear-armed Russia. Woofing loudly like John McCain is likely to prove as effective as Bush's woofing did with North Korea, before he was forced to crawl back to the negotiating table.

In fact, one of the most effective ways America could respond to this crisis is by rethinking its entire geopolitical approach of the past two decades, which has been hegemonic, arrogant, hypocritical and reckless. If we set a better example, then we could at least reclaim the moral authority, or "soft power," that we once had.
Read more here.

Out To Lunch

"In the 21st Century, Nations Don't Invade Other Nations." John McCain

He’s going to win, isn’t he?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Freedom Of The Press?

From FBI Apologizes to Post, Times by Carrie Johnson:

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III apologized to two newspaper editors yesterday for what he said was a recently uncovered breach of their reporters' phone records in the course of a national security investigation nearly four years ago.

Mueller called the top editors at The Washington Post and the New York Times to express regret that agents had not followed proper procedures when they sought telephone records under a process that allowed them to bypass grand jury review in emergency cases.

The Justice Department's inspector general, who is reviewing the bureau's procedures in such cases, uncovered lapses that allowed FBI agents in 2004 to obtain telephone records of Post staff writer Ellen Nakashima, who was based in Jakarta, Indonesia, at the time. The FBI also obtained telephone records of an Indonesian researcher in the paper's Jakarta bureau, Natasha Tampubolon.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Favorite Songs

From White House DJ Battle by Jon Coplon:

On the eve of the Democratic and Republican conventions, Blender polled Barack Obama and John McCain for their top 10 songs. Then we enlisted trusted sages Randy Newman and Girl Talk to analyze their picks.

1. Ready or Not - Fugees
2. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
3. I'm On Fire - Bruce Spingsteen
4. Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones
5. Sinnerman - Nina Simone
6. Touch the Sky - Kanye West
7. You'd Be So Easy to Love - Frank Sinatra
8. Think - Aretha Franklin
9. City of Blinding Lights - U2
10. Yes We Can -

1. Dancing Queen - ABBA
2. Blue Bayou - Roy Orbison
3. Take a Chance On Me - ABBA
4. If We Make It Through December - Merle Haggard
5. As Time Goes By - Dooley Wilson
6. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
7. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
8. I've Got You Under My Skin - Frank Sinatra
9. Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - The Platters
Read the rest here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Five Million Dollars

From 'Way Of The World' Sees Fabricated Case For War:

In his new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, author Ron Suskind alleges that the Bush administration knew Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and eventually fabricated intelligence assets to support its case for war. Both the White House and the CIA deny his claims.

Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, tells Steve Inskeep that a secret mission was conducted, in which a British intelligence agent met with the head of Iraqi intelligence in a secret location in Jordan, and that the Iraqi conveyed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"What that meant is that we knew everything that became so obvious by the summer after the invasion, and the president made a decision essentially to ignore that intelligence," Suskind says.

He says once the final report went to President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and others, the U.S. cut off communications with the Iraqi intelligence chief and then moved forward. An agreement was made to resettle the Iraqi and pay him $5 million.
Read the rest here.

Arrogant And Idiotic

From Cokie Roberts on Obama's vacation: "I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state," but it looks "foreign, exotic"

On the August 10 edition of ABC's This Week, ABC News political analyst Cokie Roberts criticized Sen. Barack Obama -- who was born in Hawaii -- for "going off this week to a vacation in Hawaii," which she said "does not make any sense whatsoever." Roberts stated: "I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place." Roberts continued: "He should be in Myrtle Beach, and, you know, if he's going to take a vacation at this time."
How arrogant and idiotic can Cokie Roberts be? I stopped watching ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos after George proved himself to be just another corporate buffoon who is only in it for the money.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Best They've Got

Once upon a time some atheists wrote some books. Some religious people don’t like these books. So some of them wrote some books too. They also wrote articles, columns, and blog posts, too.

All the responses to the books that the hallowed atheists have written that I have read have one thing in common. Lies. They are full of lies and misrepresentations.

Norris Burkes has written something called Turn a deaf ear to whispers of hatred. Even the title is despicable. I’ll come back to why this is so a little later.

Norris Burkes is a civilian hospital chaplain and an Air Force Guard chaplain. He of all people should not be lying to other people. But he does.

Here is lie number one:

But more often than not, people ignore the whisper of hate, which is where we get our word “ignore-ance.”
I have googled the etymology of the word ignorance. Nothing I found says what Burkes claims. If someone finds something which proves what he has written is true, please let me know, and I will correct this.

Burkes then goes on and claims that the big three of book-writing atheists are “infectious carriers” of hatred.
In the world of religion, I’ve yet to see more infectious carriers than I’ve seen in the likes of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. These evangelical atheists would have you believe that all our problems stem from all forms of religious faith.

In his Dec. 3, 2006, New York Times op-ed piece, columnist Nicholas Kristof pleads for a “Truce on Religion.”

Criticizing what he calls “an increasingly assertive, often obnoxious atheist offensive,” Kristof identifies Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion,” as leading the “Charge of the Atheist Brigade.”

“It’s a militant, in-your-face brand of atheism,” Kristof writes. “Such discrimination on the basis of (non) belief is insidious and intolerant, and undermines our ability to have far-reaching discussions about faith and politics.”
Now, let’s go back and look at the title that Burkes chose. Turn a deaf ear to whispers of hatred. What kind of discussion can you have about faith and politics when one side refuses to even listen to the other?

“These evangelical atheists would have you believe that all our problems stem from all forms of religious faith.” This is an outright lie. Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins claim that some of our problems come from religious faith, not all of them.

I can’t speak for all atheists, but I can speak for myself. This atheist is “on the offensive” because I’m tired of being lied to by hypocrites. The hypocrites who aren’t supposed to lie. The hypocrites who resort to calling other people names when they lie. Let’s be clear about something here. Religion is by its definition and practice “insidious and intolerant.” I would not describe atheists as insidious, but we can be intolerant of religion and religious people. So what? Each side can be intolerant of the other. It goes with the territory. Get used to it.

Burkes quotes Nicholas Kristof:
“Every time I travel in the poorest parts of Africa, I see missionary hospitals ... churches (that) galvanize their members to support soup kitchens, homeless shelters and clinics that otherwise would not exist. Religious constituencies have pushed for more action on AIDS, malaria, sex trafficking and Darfur’s genocide, and believers often give large proportions of their incomes to charities that are a lifeline to the neediest.”
As far as I know, no atheist is denying the good things that religious people have done. We just don’t think that doing good and charitable work requires a belief in a god. Simple as that. So the Kristof quote is totally irrelevant to the point that Burkes is trying to make. Which I see as another lie from Burkes.

Here is more from Burkes:
Kristof concludes, “We’ve suffered enough from religious intolerance that the last thing the world needs is irreligious intolerance.”

Amen, Kristof. We can’t allow intolerance of either kind. We must allow room for the conversation.
This is a typically arrogant viewpoint that atheists must deal with when faced with those of faith. Absolutely no empathy with the other side. How rude can you be? The thought of showing tolerance toward the atheist never, ever enters their small, closed minds. “We must allow room for the conversation.” Again, I remind you of the title: Turn a deaf ear to whispers of hatred. The only conversation that Burkes will tolerate is a one-sided one. He gets to talk. Don’t ever listen to those goddamned atheists.

Burkes does at least have some awareness:
Fortunately, I have friends and readers who are the kind of atheists who put the human in “humanist.” When I ask them what they want from the faithful, they tell me two things. First, they are tired of people making the assumption that an atheist can’t possibly be a moral, upstanding, civic-minded person and not believe in God.
It is a myth that atheists have no morals. It is a good thing that Burkes is aware of this.

Burkes closes with something else I agree with. A call to end all the hate. Perhaps Mr. Burkes could start with himself. First, he could stop hating atheists. Second, he could encourage others to stop hating atheists. Try to love your enemies. Love for Hitchens! Love for Harris! Love for Dawkins!

Yes, let’s try to end all the hate. However, before we can do that, we need to end all the lies.

I doubt that people like Burkes will do that. Lies are the best they’ve got.

Bible Verse For Sunday 08-10-08

And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.

They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes, and take away thy fair jewels.

Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more.

For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will deliver thee into the hand of them whom thou hatest, into the hand of them from whom thy mind is alienated:

And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.

I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols.

Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore will I give her cup into thine hand.

Thus saith the Lord God; Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much.

Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria.

Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.
What the hell?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Not The Best Headline

From Atheists are unfortunately regular by Lyndsey Teter:

The godless want you to know that they have a lot in common with the god-fearing.

“People think that because we don’t believe in God, we’re immoral, or that we’ll eat your babies,” said Ashley Paramore, board member of OSU’s chapter of the Secular Student Alliance.

Not only do atheists refrain from munching on infants, Paramore said, but they’re pretty regular—even friendly—folk who aren’t evil or inherently different from their more-spiritual counterparts.

Paramore’s theory proved unfortunately true at the nation’s first Coming Out Party for Atheists held Saturday in Westerville. Uncomfortable potlucks, less-than-dynamic speeches, weird bumper stickers and ritualistic expressions of unshakable beliefs were all a part of the inaugural gathering.

Atheists crammed into the Everal Barn banquet facility on a pleasant Saturday afternoon without any promise of a heavenly reward—or political gain.

“If you announce to a room full of people that you’re an atheist,” the reaction can be a bit icy, said OSU student Daniel Merrit.

And just as atheists are coming to terms with their bad PR, it’s become grossly evident that a publicly professed belief in God is all but required to serve in elected office or a leadership position, to babysit children, or, in some cases, to find a mate, participants said.
Read the rest here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Twenty Years

"I don't think Obama has much fun. I mean, he hasn't hung around people who enjoy life. He hangs around people who are, you know, enraged and angry and ticked off all the time -- from his college professors on down to his terrorist buddies." Rush Limbaugh

Hey Rush! Twenty years of your radio show has created people who are, you know, enraged and angry and ticked off all the time.

Hey Rush!

"I don't think Obama has much fun. I mean, he hasn't hung around people who enjoy life. He hangs around people who are, you know, enraged and angry and ticked off all the time -- from his college professors on down to his terrorist buddies." Rush Limbaugh

Hey Rush! Haven’t you heard? George W. Bush has been the president for the last seven and a half years. Most Americans are, you know, enraged and angry and ticked off all the time.

Rush And Barack Sitting In A Tree

"I don't think Obama has much fun. I mean, he hasn't hung around people who enjoy life. He hangs around people who are, you know, enraged and angry and ticked off all the time -- from his college professors on down to his terrorist buddies." Rush Limbaugh

Maybe Barack Obama should hang around Rush Limbaugh. We all know that Rush is not enraged and angry and ticked off all the time.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer Camp

From Camp Offers Training Ground For Little Skeptics by Barbara Bradley Hagerty:

Camp Inquiry in upstate New York seems at first like an ordinary summer camp: the campfire blazes as camp-goers in shorts and sandals toast marshmallows in anticipation of s'mores. A few yards away, some teenagers take turns squinting into a telescope to see Saturn.

As 12-year-old Chloe Morgan gazes at the stars, she says she does not see the handiwork of God.

"It seems kind of like an accident almost, like the Big Bang that created the universe was an accident," Morgan says. "It was a beautiful mistake or something."

Chloe and a dozen other campers begin discussing God, the planets and humanity's place in the universe. But at Camp Inquiry, which has a secular humanist focus, God takes a back seat to reason. Of course, the camp schedules familiar camp activities like hiking and swimming and arts and crafts for kids ages 7 to 16; but the thrust of the camp is to teach children to think skeptically about everything, including religion and the supernatural.
Read the rest here.

Visit Camp Inquiry.

Dick Meyer

From An Uneasy America: 'Why We Hate Us'

Dick Meyer is a man with a list of hates. Meyer, NPR's new editorial director of digital media, can rattle off plenty of examples: corporations that profess to care about you, the words "managed care," and reality shows that promise a shot at love with a celebrity called Tila Tequila.

Those are some of the gripes to be found in Meyer's new book, Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millennium.

All those little complaints are indicators of something bigger, Meyer told Steve Inskeep: a lack of trust in public leadership and an overall weakening of public morality.

"The 1960s was a symbolic turning point," Meyer said, citing the decade as a time when personal choice became more important than following tradition.

"It became much more important to make all these choices as a witting, conscious consumer of life," Meyer said of formerly tradition-bound elements like religion, where people live, whether they decide to get married.

"And deeper than that, there was a sense that if you did follow a traditional route," Meyer said, "you were an existential weakling."

The realm of personal choice has only expanded since then.

"Now, it means choosing your breast size. It might mean choosing the way your nose looks. Almost every discrete element of our lives now can be looked at as a consumer choice," Meyer said.

It's enough to make Meyer nostalgic for the days when a sense of community and belonging, he says, were not so rare as they are now.

"We accepted, naively, a bill of goods about how one forges an identity and happiness in life. And it doesn't come in a vacuum — it comes in a community with the help of others."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paris Hilton For President?

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

They Whine For You

From Political Perceptions: Who’s the Whiner Now?

Who are the lastest “whiners”? Well the Republican Party, of course, writes The New Republic’s Michael Schaffer. “Whoever foots the bill, it’s a quadrennial Republican pastime to portray a Democratic candidate as unfit to live, much less hold high office. Left with a choice between ignoring the attacks or engaging in rapid rebuttals, Obama seems determined to avoid the fate of doomed predecessors like Michael Dukakis or John Kerry, whose failures to respond to negative campaigning contributed to their election-day losses,” Schaffer writes. So in response, Barack Obama is releasing some ads linking John McCain to President Bush and “Time will tell whether that works out for him.
You can find The Whine-Track Candidate by Michael Schaffer here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

PZ Myers Has Killed Jesus Christ

To all you Catholics out there who haven’t heard the news: Jesus Christ has been killed, yet again. PZ Myers has admitted that he is the one who stabbed Mr. Christ to death. He then threw his body in the trash. After committing this horrible act Myers simply said, “It is finished.”

People have been puzzled by the reason “Mad” Myers gave for carrying out this horrendous crime. “It’s a frackin’ cracker,” he was quoted as saying. What is even more puzzling to this humble blogger is that Myers has not been arrested for murder. After all, he killed Jesus Christ, yet again.

If you are not Catholic you may not realize this. You may not know about transubstantiation. It means: “The miraculous change by which according to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox dogma the eucharistic elements at their consecration become the body and blood of Christ while keeping only the appearances of bread and wine.”

All good Catholics know what transubstantiation means. It means that PZ Myers killed Jesus Christ, yet again. The response from Catholics who have come forward to comment on this incident is, once again, puzzling. The venom directed toward Myers is almost too much to take. The worst of it was when Myers was accused of being a “biology teacher.” I shudder to think of the meaning of this. I cannot comprehend such evil.

Catholics from around the world have come forward with various comments about Myers. Rod Dreher has decided that the death penalty is too good for the evil Myers. Instead he has taken the matter of justice into his own hands and has resorted to… name calling. Dreher has called Myers a “coward”, a “Christian-hating fanatic”, and “Big Man.” (Will Clarence Clemmons sue?) The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy asks “all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again.” Ouch, now we all know that’s worse than life imprisonment or lethal injection.

Myers himself seems to be aware of his guilt. In what can only be thought of as self-flagellation, Myers reads and publishes thousands of comments concerning his disgraceful act on his blog, which is called Pharyngula. Only a deranged murderer would give a name like that to his blog.

Yet despite literally thousands of comments from Catholics on this matter, no Catholics are calling for the arrest of PZ Myers. It is almost as if they do not believe that Myers killed anyone, let alone their Lord and saviour. This cannot be, can it?

The Black Swan

From The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Kevin Cook:

Market commentators this summer will be reflecting on the first anniversary of the subprime meltdown, which may have total losses of more than $500 billion. Many will connect the dots lining up the “obvious” events which led to the inevitable failure of the debacle’s poster boy, Bear Stearns, whose highly leveraged CDO hedge funds collapsed, followed by the investment bank itself eight months later. The story, in hindsight, was certainly “predictable” they will say. Then why, outside of a few persistent—and prudent—bears, did no one do so?

Someone did—sort of. But he will be the last to take any credit for it or to even say that it was predictable. Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote The Black Swan in spring 2007, only weeks before the mortgage and credit implosions began. How did Taleb sort of predict the crisis? It wasn’t by studying the housing market or credit derivatives. In fact, he doesn’t talk about any of that. What Taleb predicted was that a surprising financial event with deep impact (like the subprime crisis) was bound to happen precisely because bankers and professional investors were consistently relying on financial models of probability and risk, making it seem so unlikely and remote. The book, named for the phenomenon of surprising and often shocking events (as was the case when Western explorers first encountered black swans in Australia), is an exercise in the philosophy of knowledge, written by a quantitative trader who earned his stripes responding to and then studying the rare, consequential and unpredictable—his three criteria for defining black swan events.
Read the rest here.