Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pierre Sprey And Marilyn Young On Bill Moyers Journal

Pierre Sprey and Marilyn Young were guests on Bill Moyers Journal this week. What a great interview.

I am disappointed and saddened that Barack Obama has decided it is OK to bomb citizens in other countries.

From Transcript: January 30, 2009 here is Bill Moyers:

Very often in the White House, the most momentous decisions are, at the time, the least dramatic, the least discussed. And they don't make news, or history, until much later, when their consequences bubble to the surface downstream. There are observers who think that could prove to be the case with a decision made within hours of Barack Obama's swearing in last week.

It started as a few lines in wire reports - a bit of buzz on the web - then a story here and there in the weekend papers. Unmanned American drones like this one, called Predators, honing in on villages in Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan, striking like silent intruders in the night, against suspected terrorists.

Early accounts of casualties varied from a dozen to more than 20 dead and wounded. One Pakistani security official told THE WASHINGTON POST that perhaps ten insurgents had been killed, maybe even a high value target, a senior member of al Qaeda or the Taliban. Then the TIMES of London quoted locals who said "... three children lost their lives" when the missiles destroyed several homes.

Since last August, 38 suspected U.S. missile strikes have killed at least 132 people in Pakistan, where allegedly we are not at war.
Read more here. There is an excellent discussion about how constantly bombing people only strengthens their resolve and solidifies them as your enemies. Winston Churchill and the German bombing of England during World War II and the bombing of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War are given as examples of this. Also, the point is made that the problems of the Middle East are of a political nature, and that trying to solve them militarily is futile.

Later in the program Pierre Sprey said something about 9/11 and its aftermath that I have been saying for years. From the transcript:
PIERRE SPREY: 9/11 was not an act of war.

BILL MOYERS: What was it?

PIERRE SPREY: It was a criminal act. It was a simple.


PIERRE SPREY: Criminal act by a bunch of lunatic fanatic violent people who needed to be tracked down and apprehended and tried exactly as you would with any other lunatic violent person, like we do with our own domestic terrorists, like the guy who bombed the Oklahoma federal building.

BILL MOYERS: Federal building. Right.

PIERRE SPREY: You know? Exactly the same thing we did to him is what we should have launched on a huge basis, of course, on a huge international police basis and not called it.

MARILYN YOUNG: And there would have been totally international support.

PIERRE SPREY: It's not a war.


PIERRE SPREY: We, by calling it a war, we have glorified al Qaeda. We have glorified the cause of violent radical Islam. All that tiny minority have become heroes. And we made them heroes. We made their propaganda. We made their case for them.
It’s nice (if that's the right word) to hear someone saying this on television. I wonder how many others share our point of view?

What Shall We Do With John Yoo?

From Yoo for the Defense by Scott Horton:

John Yoo is at it again. In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, the indefatigable advocate of crushing the testicles of small children to extract actionable intelligence launches a full frontal attack on President Obama. What’s Obama’s offense? He banned torture. Of course, every U.S. president has banned torture, with one solitary exception: George W. Bush, acting on the advice of John Yoo. Obama, Yoo says, has put the safety of Americans on the line: his torture ban will “seriously handicap our intelligence agencies from preventing future terrorist attacks.” Never mind, of course, that no evidence has been advanced of a single instance in which the use of torture produced intelligence that prevented a future terrorist attack, while detailed and specific evidence has now been put forward that torture produced bad intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Those are irritating details that detract from a nice narrative.

So what’s all this about? Is Yoo suffering from withdrawal pangs coming off an addiction to torture? Or is he a “sadist” as MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann argues? I’ve followed John Yoo and his writings with some care for a while now, and I think I finally understand what this is about. Namely, a pending probe by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is looking at serious ethical issues surrounding the issuance of Yoo’s legal opinions.

But the OPR probe is far from Yoo’s only or even most pressing worry. The likelihood that he will face a criminal probe and then possibly prosecution is growing.
Read the rest here.

This Site May Harm Your Computer

This is weird. I just googled Bill Moyers. All the results tell me that “This site may harm your computer.” Even and wikipedia. What’s going on here Mr. Google?

It’s not doing it anymore. Apparently Mr. Google thinks Bill Moyers is now safe for computer consumption.

Plastic Soup

Plastic soup is on the menu for all of us.

From Floating rubbish dump 'bigger than US' by Xavier La Canna:

It has been described as the world's largest rubbish dump, or the Pacific plastic soup, and it is starting to alarm scientists.

It is a vast area of plastic debris and other flotsam drifting in the northern Pacific Ocean, held there by swirling ocean currents.

Discovered in 1997 by American sailor Charles Moore, what is also called the great Pacific garbage patch is now alarming some with its ever-growing size and possible impact on human health.

The "patch" is in fact two massive, linked areas of circulating rubbish, says Dr Marcus Eriksen, research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, founded by Moore.

Although the boundaries change, it stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the coast of California, across the northern Pacific to near the coast of Japan.

The islands of Hawaii are placed almost in the middle, so piles of plastic regularly wash up on some beaches there.
Historically, flotsam in the gyres has biodegraded. But modern plastics do not break down like other oceanic debris, meaning objects half a century old have been found in the North Pacific Gyre.

Instead the plastic slowly photodegrades, becoming brittle and disintegrating into smaller and smaller pieces which enter the food chain and end up in the stomachs of birds and other animals.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Make Music, Not War

Music and humor have the power to unite us. War and violence keep us apart. Embracing those who are different from us can lead to things that are wonderful and spectacular. Will we ever stop fearing and demonizing that which we do not understand?

Hoedown - Bela Fleck and the Flecktones:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama's Remarks Are Shameful

These remarks by President Obama are shameful if this is all he’s going to do about this. The bailout money given to the financial industry is theft on a grand scale. These guys all belong behind bars! Right now I am so disgusted that I would rather see the whole system fall about rather than see these greedy bastards getting any more of the taxpayer’s money.

From Obama calls $18B in Wall Street bonuses 'shameful' by Ben Feller:

President Barack Obama issued a withering critique Thursday of Wall Street corporate behavior, calling it "the height of irresponsibility" for employees to be paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year while their crumbling financial sector received a bailout from taxpayers.

"It is shameful," Obama said from the Oval Office. "And part of what we're going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, and show some discipline, and show some sense of responsibility."

The president's comments, made with new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at his side, came in swift response to a report that employees of the New York financial world garnered an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses last year. The figure, from the New York state comptroller, drew prominent news coverage.
Read the rest here.

Dan Perkins Speaks

From Obama's War on Humor by Christopher Arnott:

Rees chronicled Bush's incompetence for seven long years but he's a newbie compared to Dan Perkins. For more than 20 years, under the nom-de-toon "Tom Tomorrow," the New Haven–based Perkins has written and drawn This Modern World, a weekly strip he syndicates to this newspaper and more than 100 others.

Perkins says in a recent phone interview that he's been receiving e-mails from conservatives snarkily saying, "I hope you're going to be as hard on Obama as you were on Bush." To which he responds, "Of course not. Bush was a fucking moron, a moral criminal. I used to take pride in not doing cartoons about the politics of the moment, but with Bush I've been chained to this, every week, because it's been so fucking outrageous. I'm feeling immense relief, giddy exhaustion."

Perkins adds, "With Obama, there's not anything to make fun of that's immediately apparent. Where the humor may turn out to be is how crazy he drives his detractors. I've been listening to [right-wing] talk radio, and their heads are about to explode.

"But I'm sure there'll be plenty of missteps. I remain appropriately cynical of any politician." Moreover, Perkins exclaims, "I reject the inherent supposition that my only job is to make fun of the occupant of the White House." He's just been working on a strip that "I don't know if you'd call it critical of Obama, but it says that after all we've been through in the past eight years, we should really go through an intensive self-examination, so it doesn't happen again. But what we will probably do is shrug and move on."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Giving Without God

From Atheist Bill Gates to give more during economic crisis by Trina Hoaks:

Many statistics and people say that atheists aren’t charitable people. However, they seem to miss that the nation’s largest charitable foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was founded by an atheist – Bill Gates.
Is Bill Gates really an atheist?

From Is Bill Gates really an athiest really an Athiest? I find that hard to believe.? by Jesus is the best:
It is hard to believe, because I viewed him from a distant unresearched point of view. I do have a tendacy to see people through rose colored glasses. I know many intelligent people have a tendacy to be criminal minded. It doesn't take much to be ruthless and rise above others. It is just that he appeared gentle, when a lot of athiests have a really nasty spirit.
Nasty spirit? “Judge not lest ye be judged."

Jesus may be the best for some people, but Jesus does not seem to have given any assistance to “Jesus is the best” who really did really did ask the question “Is Bill Gates really an athiest really an Athiest?” Jesus seems to have not helped with the spelling of the word atheist as well. I also have a tendency to believe that tendacy is not really a word. I’ve also learned that sometimes I can be incredibly petty.

From Meet A Few Rich Atheists!
Microsoft Cofounder and CEO, was interviewed November 1995 on PBS by David Frost. Below is the transcript with minor edits...
Frost: Do you believe in the Sermon on the Mount?

Gates: I don't. I'm not somebody who goes to church on a regular basis. The specific elements of Christianity are not something I'm a huge believer in. There's a lot of merit in the moral aspects of religion. I think it can have a very, very positive impact.

Frost: I sometimes say to people, do you believe there is a god, or do you know there is a god? And, you'd say you don't know?

Gates: In terms of doing things I take a fairly scientific approach to why things happen and how they happen. I don't know if there's a god or not, but I think religious principles are quite valid.
At the bottom of the page we learn that “Judgment Day is Coming!” and “It is tragic and sad when men deny their Divine Creator, the very One Who keeps them breathing.” This little bit of religious wacky weirdness does not change the fact that Bill Gates was interviewed by David Frost and the quotes above are accurate.

If there really is a God, I wonder who he would look more favorably upon, Bill Gates (who is doing so much to fight AIDS) or people who have nothing better to do than judge people who question God’s existence?

Drum Majors Aren't Supposed To Think For Themselves

"Protocol and proper decorum had to be followed at all times.”

The United States of America would not exist if our founders had not decided to think for themselves, act for themselves, and break from authority. If they had followed protocol and proper decorum we would all be British citizens.

From After suspension for nodding at Obama, drum major quits by Melissa Roberts:

An Ohio man who was suspended as the drum major of a band for giving President Obama a nod during last week's inaugural parade is calling it quits.

Common Hopes And Common Dreams

And non-believers, too.

From Obama Addresses Muslim World On Arab Television by Adam Hutton:

President Obama reached out to the Muslim world Monday in an exclusive interview on Arab television network Al Arabiya.

"In all my travels throughout the Muslim world, what I've come to understand is that regardless of your faith – and America is a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers – regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams," Obama said in the wide ranging interview, a transcript of which can be found below.

The freshly-minted president spoke about the prospects for peace in the Middle East, the nuclear threat posed by Iran and the stake that America has in the overall well-being of the Arab world. Mr. Obama praised the people of Iran, but chided their government for stirring up trouble in the region.

"Iran has acted in ways that's not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region: their threats against Israel; their pursuit of a nuclear weapon which could potentially set off an arms race in the region that would make everybody less safe; their support of terrorist organizations in the past – none of these things have been helpful," Obama said.
The transcript of President Obama's interview with Al Arabiya News Channel by Hisham Melhem is here.

George W. Bush seemed to want to pick a fight with anyone he disagreed with, while Obama seems to want to talk and listen with those he disagrees with. Which is the more rational approach? Which is the more moral approach? Which is the more Christian approach?

From Obama’s message is crystal clear by Ramzy Baroud:
When former US President George W. Bush departed on his final trip home, that very moment represented the end of a long and unbearable nightmare, one that Bush epitomized until his last day in office. Americans may decry what we can finally dub the “Bush legacy,” for it not only brought economic ruin but also pushed the country into avoidable if not completely preventable wars, disgracing the collective history of a nation that for long imposed its sense of moral authority on the world.
Aside from Obama’s unparalleled clarity, thus far, on his utter and “unconditional” commitment to Israel, he, along with his officials, continue to borrow similar vague slogans that were used enthusiastically by the Bush administration: National security, national interests, spreading of American ideals, values, and all the rest.

Commenting on such sloganeering, Howard Zinn, one of America’s most celebrated historians, said: “We have to think about these words and phrases that are thrown at us without giving us a time to think. And we have to redefine such words as ‘national security.’ What is national security? Having military bases all over the world (or) having health care, having jobs?”

Americans will have four years to determine how Obama and his administration define these tired slogans, ones that also include democracy and “terrorism” (is the latter an exclusively Arab tendency, never an Israeli one, no matter how many the latter kill?)

Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza hardly have the leverage of time as tens of thousands remain homeless and destitute. They have little hope and expectations from Obama or even Mitchell, despite his “wealth of experience and credibility.”

“Obama won’t bring my husband back to life,” Leila Khalil, a Gazan woman whose husband was killed during Israel’s bloody offensive, told AFP. “He was martyred and left me with six children to feed on my own.”

Obama’s also made himself “clear” regarding the fate of Leila’s husband and thousands like him: “For years, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at innocent Israeli citizens. No democracy can tolerate such danger to its people nor should the international community and neither should the Palestinian people themselves whose interests are only set back by acts of terror.”

Luckily, Leila no longer has a TV set to listen to Obama’s remarks. It was, along with her home, pulverized by Israeli missiles, courtesy of the United States. For Gazans, and most Palestinians, things cannot be any clearer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Rush Limbaugh is a bully. Weak people side with bullies. Bullies offer nothing positive, only negativity. You do not ignore bullies. You do not give in to them. You stand up to them. If you are smart, you get more people on your side than the bully has on his.

From Limbaugh: Obama is 'frightened of me' by Rebecca Sinderbrand:

Radio host Rush Limbaugh said Monday that President Obama is “frightened of me.”
From Commentary: Is Obama having second thoughts? by Jack Cafferty:
Picking a fight with that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, will mobilize a bunch more on the conservative right and begin to bring those approval ratings down from 83 percent, where they were before you actually started working as the president, to a more mortal 68 percent in the Gallup Poll taken on those first three days in office.

Sour grapes Limbaugh seems to be having trouble coming to terms with the fact that all the stuff he embraced so fervently during the eight years of the Bush nightmare got swept out the door in November. Limbaugh disagrees with Obama's policies and fears he could take the country in the direction of socialism.

Fair enough -- but to come right out and say "I want him to fail," exposes Limbaugh for the petulant, shallow gasbag that he is.

In December, Colin Powell, who was himself a member of the Bush administration who switched parties and supported Obama, suggested that people need to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh. Does he really add anything to the national dialogue by wishing failure on our newly inaugurated president?

Let me help you there, the answer is no. And in case Limbaugh hasn't noticed, our country is failing thanks to the misguided policies of the right-wing nuts that have called the shots for the last eight years.
Rush Limbaugh has given conservatism a bad name, and he’s been at it for a lot longer than George W. Bush has. At least Bush did do a few good things while he was president, all that Limbaugh contributes is vile bile.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stuff Happens

I have no idea what the solution is to our current financial and economic problems. However, I don’t think that tax cuts for the wealthy are the solution, and I don’t think that giving money to the people who screwed up in the first place is the solution. I do think that lowering the pay of CEO’s while raising the pay of workers who are lower down on the pay scale would help. What most people need more than anything else are good paying jobs. Anything that the government can do to help with that seems to me to be the best solution. The government should stop favoring the rich and screwing the poor.

From Bad Faith Economics by Paul Krugman:

Next, write off anyone who asserts that it’s always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money.

Here’s how to think about this argument: it implies that we should shut down the air traffic control system. After all, that system is paid for with fees on air tickets — and surely it would be better to let the flying public keep its money rather than hand it over to government bureaucrats. If that would mean lots of midair collisions, hey, stuff happens.
I like this comment from Dave to Bad Faith Economics by Paul Krugman:
Look, I know I didn't win the Nobel Prize, but it seems to me that two points have never been satisfactorily addressed by Krugman and his fellow travelers:

(1) Too much debt and spending is what created this mess. Now we're supposed to do the same, only more, to get us OUT of the mess? What happens when the stimulus is gone? Maybe we'll have sparkling infrastructure, but will we have a sustainable economy? I think the last thing we need is more stimulation. Do we give alcoholics even more alcohol to cure them?

(2) Since we, as a nation, don't have $1 trillion laying around, we either need to borrow or print, right? Re: borrowing, see my first point. Plus, how do we know the rest of the world will even lend us another $1 trillion or more? And, if we end up printing, well, how's that going to work? If printing was a solution, every country in Africa would be a wealthy paradise.

I think Americans are beginning to realize that they are a lot poorer than previously believed. This stimulus won't change that. At best, it will just delay the inevitable and make it worse when it arrives.
Wouldn’t we be in better shape if less things were broken? Wall Street and the banking system are broken, but our news media and our government are also broken. Wouldn’t it be better if the government was able to provide safety nets for those who need one? Wouldn’t a better welfare system actually be something that is useful to many people right now? (Thank you, Bill Clinton.)

"Much worse than we ever suspected"

From “Of course…” by Tom Tomorrow:

Olbermann’s guest, the NSA whistleblower, got me to thinking: what other things that we already pretty much understand to be true will be confirmed as fact in the weeks and months ahead? This is the list that I’ve come up with so far. (Spoiler alert: this feels like something that will probably turn into a cartoon in the next week or two, so if you prefer to be surprised there, you might want to skip this one.)

1. The aforementioned spying on journalists. Of course they were spying on journalists. And there was that oddly specific moment where Andrea Mitchell, in the course of interviewing New York Times reporter James Risen about his reporting on the NSA and government wiretapping, asked if he knew anything about the administration spying on Christiane Amanpour — a question the network promptly scrubbed from the transcription.

2. Of course Cheney was running everything, at least for the first term.

3. Of course they made backroom deals with their pals at Halliburton, Enron, etc.

4. Of course they were lying about Iraq from the start.

5. Of course torture was sanctioned at the highest levels.

6. Of course Valerie Plame was deliberately outed in retaliation for Joe Wilson’s op-ed debunking the yellowcake uranium story.

7. Of course male prostitute turned fake journalist Jeff Gannon was having an affair with someone in the White House.

8. Of course we came close to war with Iran.

9. Of course someone was feeding Bush answers during that presidential debate where you could clearly see a square shape under the back of his jacket — a camera angle that the administration had specifically demanded the network not use. And there’s the point where he interrupts his own answer to chastise someone no one else can see — of course he was wearing a wire.

10. I’m not sure if this one counts as an “of course,” but I’ve long suspected that Bush has some sort of neurological disorder which worsened over the course of the past eight years. If you go back and look at clips from his days as governor, it’s almost shocking how articulate and quick he seems. I mean, yes, we can all chuckle, ha ha those wacky malapropisms, in the way that you might have had a good natured chuckle about Ronald Reagan’s absent mindedness, until years later when you realize with dawning horror that the man with his finger on the button probably had early stage Alzheimers. Bush was inarticulate eight years ago but these days he can barely string a sentence together.

11. And maybe an overall generic entry: of course the truth will turn out to be much, much worse than we ever suspected.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"A grownup in a house overrun for too long by children"

From Adult Supervision by Bruce A. Jacobs:

At last: we have an adult in the White House.

The joy on The Mall, where a million-plus of us stood gleefully freezing our asses off to personally experience the transfer of power; the satisfaction that must now be felt by the Iraq vet who once told me that if Dick Cheney had paid a review-the-troops visit to his unit he would have shown Cheney his back and accepted the consequences; the calmly surgical tone with which the inaugural Obama politely dressed down the joy-riding Bush and challenged we citizens to heft the nation's instruction manual and begin repairs of the wreckage; the global relief and celebration at the moment of the inauguration. It all comes down, I think, to the same shared feeling: Whew. Thank God there is now an adult in charge in Washington.

That is what this is about. Beneath the crying need for new policy, for honesty and trust, for intelligent and well-informed governance, is our simple need to know that the United States is no longer being led by a child, a churlish boy who lied when it suited him and blamed others for his failures and who could not be bothered to think hard or to govern thoughtfully. And so off he trots now, back to his spread in Texas, grinning about his presidential frolic, joking about the good times he's had, high-fiving his half-ruined country and the smoking wreckage of Iraq on his way out the door.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"That's about the time when they came after me to fire me"

From Whistleblower: NSA spied on everyone, targeted journalists by David Edwards and Muriel Kane:

Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who helped expose the NSA's warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, has now come forward with even more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists.

"The National Security Agency had access to all Americans' communications -- faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications," Tice claimed. "It didn't matter whether you were in Kansas, in the middle of the country, and you never made foreign communications at all. They monitored all communications."
According to Tice, in addition to this "low-tech, dragnet" approach, the NSA also had the ability to hone in on specific groups, and that was the aspect he himself was involved with. However, even within the NSA there was a cover story meant to prevent people like Tice from realizing what they were doing.

"In one of the operations that I was in, we looked at organizations, just supposedly so that we would not target them," Tice told Olbermann. "What I was finding out, though, is that the collection on those organizations was 24/7 and 365 days a year -- and it made no sense. ... I started to investigate that. That's about the time when they came after me to fire me."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bush's Biggest Fiasco?

The previous Straw Poll over at

What was President Bush's biggest fiasco?
  • THE IRAQ WAR. The lead on his obit. Conceived in obsession, sold with lies, executed with stunning incompetence, our unprovoked dismantling of a nation, killing tens of thousands, driving millions from their homes, torturing suspects, squandering global goodwill, handing Al Qaeda a new front, is a widening stain on American honor, one that will take generations to remove.

  • KATRINA. Why clueless cronies in critical positions are a bad idea. Hard to pick a favorite moment of callousness. Barbara Bush telling the Superdome inhabitants how good they had it was breath-taking, but the iconic shot of Bush touring the drowning city at 30,000 feet said it best. Heckuva job, Junior.

  • THE ECONOMY. Endless tax cuts for the rich, skyrocketing deficits, a weakening dollar, unconscionable lack of regulation. Unfortunately, you go into a depression with the economy you have, not the one you wish you still had. By the way, the entire world blames us for the mess. No pass for Clinton, but this was on your watch.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Do Solemnly Swear

Right now I’m swearing at the NewsHour on PBS. One of the news stories they reported on tonight was the do over of the Presidential Oath of Office because of John Roberts incompetence. It’s only thirty-five words. The incompetence of George W. Bush (who nominated Roberts as Chief Justice) was at the inauguration in spirit it seems.

The reason I’m swearing at the NewsHour is because they used the phrase “the exact words in the Constitution" while the sound clip playing in the background had the words “so help me God.”

Perhaps none of our presidents have been properly sworn in. Obama still hasn't been.

They should do it over again until they get it right.

There's A Bailout Coming But It's Not For You

Fork in the Road - Neil Young:

Lyrics to "Fork in the Road"

Got a pot belly,
It's not too big
Gets in my way
When I'm driving my rig

Driving this country
In a big old rig
Things I've seen
Mean a lot

A friend has a pickup
Drives his kid to school
Then he takes his wife
To beauty school

Now she's doin' nails
Gonna get a job
Got a good teacher

There's a fork in the road ahead
I don't know which way I'm gonna turn
There's a fork in the road ahead

About this year
We salute the troops
They're all still there
In a fucking war
It's no good
Whose idea was that?

I've got hope
But you can't eat hope
I'm not done
Not giving up
Not cashing in
Too late

There's a bailout coming but it's not for me
It's for all of those creeps watching tickers on TV
There's a bailout coming but it's not for me

I'm a big rock star
My sales have tanked
But I still got you
Download this
Sounds like shit

Keep on bloggin'
'Til the power goes out
Your battery's dead
Twist and shout

On the radio
Those were the days
Bring 'em back

There's a bailout coming but it's not for you
It's for all those creeps hiding what they do
There's a bailout coming but it's not for you
Bailout coming but it's not for you

Got my flat screen
Got it repo'd now
They picked it up
Left a hole in the wall
Last Saturday
Missed the Raiders game

There's a bailout coming but it's not for you
There's a bailout coming but it's not for you
It's for all those creeps hiding what they do

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Faith In Obama?

One reaction I have to the inauguration yesterday is to wonder how skeptical Americans actually are. I find it difficult to express the amount of adulation and unbridled joy that so many expressed. I am too skeptical for that. I will wait and see what happens before I even think about expressing joyfulness about Obama. Right now I am simply joyful that Bush is no longer president, and Cheney is no longer vice president.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


George has left the building.

Wonkette On Inauguration

From It’s Like Christmas Morning For Atheist Liberals! by Wonkette:

If Barack Obama’s inaugural address does not make 250 million people collectively wet their pants with joy, he will be tarred and feathered and forced to spend the rest of the day in a porta-potty. [Time]

Indubitably, Absolutely, Completely

From Bush mission mercifully over but sorry legacy is foreign wars and domestic woes:

Patricia Williams, a law professor at Columbia University and Nation columnist, argues that the elation surrounding the inauguration tomorrow is as much to do with the Bush departure as with the elevation of Barack Obama: “As important as all that, I think, is a kind of Wizard of Oz-ish fizzy relief about George W Bush’s exit – as in Ding Dong, the Wicked Warlock is melting into a nice little past-tense puddle. There’s a giddily celebratory sweeping out of the indubitably, absolutely, completely, very worst president in our history.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lord Have Mercy

From Inaugural Freak Show by Max Blumenthal:

You’ll never believe how a Christian right congressman and two anti-abortion protestors have prepared the Capitol for the Obama’s inauguration.

On January 7, second-term Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia and two friends prayed over a door. It was not just any door, but the entranceway beneath the Capitol that President-elect Barack Obama will pass through as he walks onto the inaugural stage to take the oath of office. “I hope and pray that as God stirs the heart of our new president that President Obama will listen and will heed God’s direction,” Broun proclaimed.

Standing beside Broun, Rev. Patrick Mahoney launched into a prayer originally delivered by Billy Graham at Richard Nixon’s inauguration in 1969. “For too long we have neglected thy word and ignored thy laws,” Mahoney preached. “…We have sowed to the wind and are now reaping a whirlwind of crime, division, and rebellion. And now with the wages of sin staring us in the face, we remember thy words.”

While Mahoney prayed, Rev. Rob Schenck turned his palms to the sky and muttered, “Yes” and “Have mercy” over and over. Then, he dipped his fingers in a jar of oil and painted several crosses on the door’s brass framing “as they did the furnishings of the tabernacle in the temple to the use of God and his word,” he prayed.

Tell Him I'm Not Here

Bush spends final day calling world leaders

On The Sides Of Buses

From Around the world, atheists hit road to knock down God:

An atheist drive to persuade people that God doesn't exist is catching on in a surprising fashion -- on the sides of buses in a growing number of countries around the world.

With the concise message "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life," the campaign took to the road in Britain this month, while similar drives are underway or planned in Spain, Italy, Canada and Australia.

The British campaign was originally floated by comedy writer Ariane Sherine in a newspaper column in June, and is hoping to reach the majority of the country's population in some fashion or another over the next three weeks.

"We could never have imagined it would have gotten this big, and we would have raised quite this amount of cash," campaign co-founder Jon Worth, a political blogger and website designer, told AFP.

"It's astounding."

Sherine wrote her column after advertisements began appearing on central London buses directing passers-by to a website that told those who did not accept Christianity that they would suffer for eternity in hell.

Soon after it was published, Worth contacted her asking if he could set up a pledgebank based on her idea, and shortly thereafter, the Atheist Bus Campaign began taking donations, initially hoping to raise 5,500 pounds (6,200 euros, 8,200 dollars).

To date, it has raised upwards of 140,000 pounds, enough to pay for advertisements on 800 buses across Britain -- 200 in central London alone -- along with 1,000 posters in London's Underground trains and two video screens in a popular Tube station, all for a full month ending in early February.

Unsurprisingly, the campaign has struck a nerve among God-fearing commuters, prompting around 200 complaints to Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which regulates commercials here.

By way of comparison, the most complaints the ASA has ever received over an advert was 1,600.

The watchdog needs just one complaint to investigate an advertisement, which are judged on a variety of factors including harm, offence, taste and deceny as well as factual accuracy, but will wait until next week to decide whether or not to probe the Atheist Bus Campaign's ads.

"A few religious people have complained to the ASA, which seems rather odd, as if they (the ASA) will be able to make a judgment about the evidence on that sort of issue," said Peter Cave, chair of the Humanist Philosopher's Group, which advises the British Humanist Association.
Read more here.

From Catholic Church blocks plans for atheist bus adverts:

The Roman Catholic Church has blocked a plan to put atheist slogans on buses in Italy.
A spokesman for the Italian Union of Atheists and Rationalist Agnostics, which organised the campaign, said yesterday: 'It appears that buses can carry campaigns for underwear and holidays with no problem but if you ask for space to say God doesn't exist then you are denied.'
From Christian driver refuses to board bus carrying atheist slogan by Martin Hodgson:
You're either on the bus, or you're off the bus. And if the vehicle in question bears an advert proclaiming the (probable) non-existence of God, one churchgoing bus driver would rather not climb aboard.

Ron Heather, 62, an evangelical Christian from Southampton, refused to drive a bus bearing an advert from a national campaign aimed at persuading more people to "come out" as atheists.

About 800 buses across the country are to carry the adverts, which read: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and go and enjoy your life." Heather said he was "aghast" when he realized last Saturday that he would have to drive a double decker emblazoned with the slogan. He walked out of his shift in protest.

He said: "I was just about to board and there it was staring me in the face - my first reaction was shock horror. I felt that I could not drive that bus, I told my managers and they said they had not got another one and I thought I better go home, so I did."
I wonder how many times Mr. Heather has driven his bus while passengers were either thinking about or discussing the non-existence of God.


His days are numbered. Only one day left in office.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Charles Darwin And Adam Smith

From The Natural Order Of Things by Matt Ridley:

Today, generally, Adam Smith is claimed by the Right, Darwin by the Left. In the American South and Midwest, where Smith’s individualist, libertarian, small-government philosophy is all the rage, Darwin is reviled for his contradiction of creation. Yet if the market needs no central planner, why should life need an intelligent designer?
Dirigisme has a place, of course, in the regulation and operation if not the design of institutions. A school cannot work without a teacher, a firm without a manager, or an army without a general — just as a body is directed by a brain in its everyday operations. But hubristic human beings tend to exaggerate the degree to which they are in charge of, rather than at the mercy of, organizations.
Dirigisme? I had to look it up. It means “economic planning and control by the state.”

If ever there was an argument against No Child Left Behind this seems to be it. No Child Left Behind puts the concept of learning into a tiny box and excludes multitudes of influences that could have an effect on how and what someone learns.

Invocationing And Benedictioning

From The Power of Prayer by Steve Waldman:

In 1949, the year of Harry S. Truman's inauguration ceremony, America was a much less tolerant and diverse place. It would be another decade before Americans would be comfortable electing a Catholic president. Jews were still excluded from the upper echelons of government and business. The levers of power were held by Protestants, who made up the vast majority of the population.

But there on the podium with Harry Truman, to deliver prayers, were a Protestant minister, a Catholic priest and a rabbi.

Flash forward to 2001. America is a much more diverse nation. Protestants make up barely half the population. We've had a Catholic president and numerous Catholic Supreme Court justices. Jewish politicians and businessmen have risen to the highest levels of government and finance, and increasingly Islam is being treated as a mainstream American religion.

Yet at that inauguration, of George W. Bush, there were two clergymen, both Protestants, and they both preached with enthusiastically Christian language. Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell prayed in "the name that's above all other names, Jesus the Christ." And Rev. Franklin Graham asked the American people to "acknowledge You alone as our Lord, our Savior and our Redeemer. We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit."

In fact, if one looks at the roster of clergy and the prayers they gave over the past 70 years, it appears that America has actually become less inclusive and pluralistic over time.
Read the rest here.

So help me God, watch out for the invisible hand. "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States." George Washington, April 30, 1789 What would Adam Smith say? Perhaps Washington was warning us to watch out for the dangers of the financiers.

What If Bush Had Never Been President?

Newsflash! A new poll states the obvious!

From Most see Bush presidency as a failure, poll shows by Paul Steinhauser:

As George W. Bush spends his final days in office, a national poll suggests that two-thirds of Americans see his presidency as a failure.

Sixty-eight percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Sunday said that Bush's eight years in the White House were a failure, with 44 percent saying this was because of his personal shortcomings and 22 percent blaming the failure on circumstances beyond his control.

Thirty-one percent said they consider Bush's presidency a success.

Half of those polled say the United States could be better off today if Al Gore had been elected president in 2000 rather than Bush, with 27 percent saying the country would be worse off if Gore had won.


His days are numbered. Only two days left in office.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Monday, Then Tuesday

From By Chance, Two Memorable Days by Mary Jo Patterson:

For Sheryl Goodine, an educator in Glen Cove, on Long Island, a rare moment to step back and think about the way the world has changed is about to occur: It will begin on Monday, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, and end the next day, with the inauguration of Barack Obama as president.

The two days fall side by side by a quirk of the calendar. Yet for Mrs. Goodine, and millions of other Americans, they are intertwined. The confluence of events, she says, has left her reeling, but in a good way.

“On Monday we celebrate Martin Luther King, and on Tuesday we celebrate our first black president. I have to punch myself sometimes — it’s hard to explain how I feel. It’s life-changing,” said Mrs. Goodine, 58, who long ago played a role in the nation’s civil rights movement herself.
“President-elect Obama’s success is definitely an exciting moment. But the civil rights movement should never be reduced to the success of one individual,” said Dr. West, who is an ordained minister. “There were so many other civil rights movement heroes.”
“As we stand at the brink of Obama’s inauguration, many people are connecting King and seeing the inauguration as a fulfillment of King’s dream,” Dr. Alderman said recently in Ithaca, N.Y., where he was consulting with public officials considering renaming a street. “That connection is very real and organic. But we shouldn’t see the civil rights movement as done. All the troubles with race and boundaries in America are not over.”


His days are numbered. Only three days left in office.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Looking All Around

When I look forward I see hope. I don’t see as much as I would like to, however. I would have more hope if we didn’t have a president-elect who seems intent on wanting us to blindly go forward. If all you do is look forward, then you end up having tunnel vision. Obama wants us to put the blinders on and not look back. Never mind looking from side to side. The Bush administration needs to be held accountable!

From Forgive and Forget? by Paul Krugman:

Now, it’s true that a serious investigation of Bush-era abuses would make Washington an uncomfortable place, both for those who abused power and those who acted as their enablers or apologists. And these people have a lot of friends. But the price of protecting their comfort would be high: If we whitewash the abuses of the past eight years, we’ll guarantee that they will happen again.

Meanwhile, about Mr. Obama: while it’s probably in his short-term political interests to forgive and forget, next week he’s going to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That’s not a conditional oath to be honored only when it’s convenient.

And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make.
I am already growing tired of Obama’s evasive and indecisive statements that don’t really say anything at all.

Farewell To The Liar-In-Chief

Bye George, I don't think he's got it. (Bush that is).

From Bush's Farewell Fabrication by John Nichols:

The soon-to-be (but not soon enough) former president devoted his final address to the country to telling the people that the vast majority of them were wrong.

Three quarters of Americans may disapprove of how he led the United States. But Bush said in his 13-minute address to the nation that he did just fine.
Reading the talking points of the Bush Legacy Project, which is being managed by former White House political czar, the outgoing president reprised the Orwellian themes of his tenure: freedom promoted at the point of a gun, occupations framed as "liberations," fearmongering and a cowboy's claim of victory in a "war on terror" that still has no direction, no endgame, no capture of Osama bin Laden.
Jonathan Schwarz thinks that someone should get George a waiver.


His days are numbered. Only four days left in office.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mainstream Media Idiots

Mean people suck. Why are there so many mean people in the media? Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly, etc. Add Joe Nocera to the list. I’m sick and tired of mean people making lots of money at other people’s expense! (I'm also sick and tired of Rush Limbaugh trying to pass himself off as an entertainer, and Ann Coulter trying to pass herself off as a comedian, so that they can cry immunity when they are criticized.)

Facts is facts. Or are they? You would think that people in the media would care about the facts. But do they? NNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Worse is when they become hostile and arrogant simply because of a rumor. And it’s even worse when it is they who have created the rumor. Such is the case with Steve Jobs and his health.

I saw someone on one of the morning shows (probably the Today Show) say that basically Mr. Jobs was lying when he gave an earlier report on his health. The guy is sick and people are treating him as if he has no right to privacy just because he is the CEO of Apple.

It’s not as if Mr. Jobs has his finger on the button like Reagan did when he had Alzheimer’s disease, or Bush (who is a faith-based psychotic moron) does now.

From Steve Jobs Can't Be Trusted, But 'Real Crime' by Board, Nocera Says by Aaron Task:

When Steve Jobs' health became a major issue last summer, the one guy he spoke to was Joe Nocera, business columnist with The New York Times.

Last July, Jobs told Nocera - off the record - about the state of his health and provided a memorable quote: "This is Steve Jobs. You think I'm an arrogant [expletive] who thinks he's above the law, and I think you're a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong."

The thrust of Nocera's piece last summer was that "Apple simply can't be trusted to tell truth about its chief executive."

We can personally attest that Nocera is no slime bucket, and his analysis appears spot-on given Wednesday's revelation that Jobs is taking a leave of absence to deal with his health.

This week's news is inconsistent with what Jobs said on Jan. 5 - that he had a "hormonal imbalance" and "the remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward" - which itself was inconsistent with what he told Nocera in July, the reporter says.

"The most indispensable chief executive in the United States, beloved by customers and investors for his magnificent turnaround of the company he founded - and for the amazing gadgets his company produces - can no longer be trusted on the subject of whether he is healthy enough to continue running the company," Nocera writes in his blog today.
First of all, let me be petty here and say that Steve Jobs Can't Be Trusted, But 'Real Crime' by Board, Nocera Says is one really bad bit of headline writing.

One day you’re alive, the next day you’re dead. One day you’re healthy, the next day you’re sick. Here’s a news flash for both Joe Nocera and Aaron Task: The state of a person's health changes all the time and doctors sometimes misdiagnose! Give Steve Jobs and the rest of us a break!!!

If either Joe Nocera or Aaron Task were battling some mysterious illness would they make their doctors' diagnoses public for everyone to see? I wouldn’t want to do that, for all kinds of reasons. There are a lot of kooks out there.

By the way, Joe Nocera may or may not be a slime bucket. He sure seems like one. And this proves that he is full of bullshit:
There are certain people who simply don’t have the same privacy rights as others, whether they like it or not. Presidents. Celebrities. Sports figures. And, at least in terms of his health, Steve Jobs. His health has become a material fact for Apple shareholders. His vagueness about his health, his dissembling, his constantly changing story line — it is simply not an appropriate way to act when you are the most important person at one of the most high-profile companies in America. On the contrary: it is infuriating.
Presidents, yes. Celebrities and sports figures? What the hell is wrong with this guy?!?!? His cruelness about someone else’s health, his nasty and constantly idiotic opinion — it is simply not an appropriate way to act when you are the least important person at one of the most high-profile news companies in America. On the contrary: it is infuriating. (Wait a minute. Isn’t “on the contrary” simply wrong here? Wouldn’t “on top of that” make more sense and also be better writing?) On top of that: it is infuriating. (There, that’s better.) Steve Jobs could be dying and all Nocera cares about is the price of Apple’s stock. Even if Steve Jobs is being evasive, I don’t blame him. Like I said, there are a lot of kooks out there. I personally wouldn't tell Nocera the truth about anything.

Best wishes to Steve Jobs. I hope that his health improves. It really sucks to have health problems. Give the poor guy a break, as well as his Constitutionally granted right to privacy!!!

Constitutional Accountability

Isn’t it our duty as citizens of the United States of America to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for violations to the United States Constitution?

From Memo to Obama: Moving Forward Doesn't Mean You Can't Also Look Back by Arianna Huffington:

In one week, the U.S. Constitution will be front and center as Barack Obama solemnly swears to "preserve, protect, and defend" it. Given all that has happened over the last eight years, that oath is not nearly as pro-forma as it used to be.

During his final press conference yesterday, President Bush said that when it came time "to protect the homeland" he "wouldn't worry about popularity." He would "worry about the Constitution of the United States." It wasn't clear, as it hasn't been for most of his time in office, whether his concern was directed at upholding the document or circumventing it.

So as the Obama Years are about to begin, one of the questions facing the new president is what will he do about the transgressions of the Bush Years? Will his promise to protect and defend the Constitution include an investigation into the assaults on it perpetrated by members of the Bush administration?
Given the multiple -- and massive -- obstacles looming directly in front of him, Obama is wise not to be driving into the Oval Office looking in his rearview mirror. But I hope he will realize that moving forward and looking backwards are not mutually exclusive. Particularly if he isn't the one focused on the past.

There is no doubt that the economic crisis, Iraq and Afghanistan, health care reform, and the regulation of Wall Street should be the Obama administration's primary concerns.

But that doesn't mean we, as a country, should allow Bush and Cheney's offenses to accompany their perpetrators to a peaceful retirement in Texas and Wyoming.


His days are numbered. Only five days left in office.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And Now For Some Ann Coulter Weirdness

Crucifixion, a saint, and sex.

From Ann Coulter faces off against Harry Smith by Matea Gold:

When Coulter responded that all would-be or successful presidential assassins were "anarchists, communists, liberals, they were some form of basically Obama's base," Smith urged her five times to "take a breath."

"I'm breathing fine," she responded.

Smith said that as he read her book, "the more I kept thinking, well, you're the whiner. You're the one who's claiming victimhood here."

"You should put yourself up on a cross," he added, extending his arms wide.
From Me-ow! Ann Coulter hits Michelle Obama over styles by Michael Saul:
Lashing out at the President-elect's wife, Coulter wrote, "Her obvious imitation of Jackie O's style - the flipped-under hair, the sleeveless A-line dresses, the short strands of fake pearls - would have been laughable if done by anyone other than a media-designated saint."
In the book, Coulter repeatedly refers to the President-elect as "B. Hussein Obama" and complains that the media "literally wanted to have sex with him."


His days are numbered. Only six days left in office.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I love it when someone claims that atheists are the ones who are supposed to be illogical, as if faith is the epitome of logic.

From Atheists' view illogical by Marty Dhabolt:

The barriers to truth on this issue regarding prayer by government officials are primarily psychological, not logical. Most of the confusion is born from a misunderstanding of proper “church” and state separation, along with two logical impossibilities — actual neutrality in government and genuine religious pluralism. Both assertions are nonsense.

Our local cadre of atheists have a Godless goal in mind. Atheists, including The American Gestapo, aka the ACLU, are intellectual hypocrites; their bankrupt worldview has been beaten like a drum on philosophical, historical and even pragmatic grounds. Although their arguments are tired they remain tenacious out of desperation. It’s been almost 50 years since it was determined that atheism actually presupposes and surreptitiously relies on theism to even have the appearance of cogency.

As no world renowned atheist has ever intelligently answered, let alone refuted that reality, what chance is there that local atheists are encumbered by any justification or coherency for their views based on their atheistic presuppositions?
Anyone care to translate this for me? Mr. Dhabolt seems to like to write in some form of George Will derived dialect that I am not familiar with. I will, however, do my best to try to understand this and give my thoughts.

How can one separate logic from the psychological? Psychology is generally defined as the study of the human mind. Where exactly does Mr. Dhabolt think that logic comes from? Perhaps he meant to use the word emotional? If so, I must ask if it is actually the atheists who are the ones being emotional here.

What exactly is “proper” church and state separation? One that is polite and has good manners? Perhaps Mr. Dhabolt could give us some proof as to why “actual neutrality in government and genuine religious pluralism” are nonsense and logical impossibilities. Perhaps something with a little more weight than “because I say so.” (Ahh, the basis of all religious belief and all religious argument: "Because I say so.")

From Myth: Religious Neutrality is Hostility toward Religion & Religious Beliefs by Austin Cline:
…the most devoutly religious people should also be the staunchest defenders of government neutrality in matters of religion. Given the awesome power of the modern state, religious people should want to do everything reasonable to reduce the risk that the state will interfere with their religious institutions, and that would include the state coming down against them in theological matters. Accomplishing this requires removing from the government the authority to support them in theological matters as well. How does a ban on government support of religion inhibit people from acting as individuals to express their religious beliefs? Christians have been expressing themselves quite well for millennia, and not always with the government supporting them. Just how weak is Christianity that it requires government backing today? The government doesn’t help atheists express their views, but you won’t hear atheists arguing that this a sign of government hostility towards atheism.
Mr. Dhabolt says that atheists are the illogical ones and that anyone who believes in “neutrality in government and genuine religious pluralism” believes in nonsense. This is, of course, nonsense. Actual nonsense runs through everything that Mr. Dhabolt has written. According to Mr. Dhabolt the idea of civil liberties is “bankrupt” and “tired.” Does Mr. Dhabolt want the Bill of Rights to be repealed and abolished? Why is Mr. Dhabolt arguing against his own self interest? Let’s remember that the Bill of Rights begins with: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The “American Gestapo” vows to “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country." Mr. Dhabolt throws around many big words, yet he does not seem to know the meaning of many of them. He claims that the ACLU as a group are intellectual hypocrites. The dictionary says this of the word hypocrite: “1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion 2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” How anyone can describe the ACLU as a group of hypocrites is beyond belief!

There is even more illogical nonsense from Mr. Dhabolt. Mr. Dhabolt gives us the completely meaningless belief that atheists only exist because of non-atheists. (I find the response by Zephyr to this to be humorous: “Next, they’re going to prove that Christ exists because they found the Anti-Christ.”) Dhabolt then claims that “no world renowned atheist has ever intelligently answered, let alone refuted that reality.” Mr. Dhabolt should write his own dictionary so that we all would know what he means when he uses words like atheist and reality. Clearly his “reality” is simply not real.

It seems that there are nearly as many definitions for the word atheist as there are people. Of course the reason for that is because there are nearly as many definitions for the word God as there are people.

From Atheism:
Some of the ambiguity and controversy involved in defining atheism arises from difficulty in reaching a consensus for the definitions of words like deity and god. The plurality of wildly different conceptions of god and deities leads to differing ideas regarding atheism's applicability.
As far back as 1772, Baron d'Holbach said that "All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God." Similarly, George H. Smith (1979) suggested that: "The man who is unacquainted with theism is an atheist because he does not believe in a god. This category would also include the child with the conceptual capacity to grasp the issues involved, but who is still unaware of those issues. The fact that this child does not believe in god qualifies him as an atheist."
It appears that Mr. Dhabolt thinks that he has scored a few points by writing: “It’s been almost 50 years since it was determined that atheism actually presupposes and surreptitiously relies on theism to even have the appearance of cogency. As no world renowned atheist has ever intelligently answered, let alone refuted that reality, what chance is there that local atheists are encumbered by any justification or coherency for their views based on their atheistic presuppositions?” Writing something so pointless does not entitle anyone to any points at all.

Who was it exactly that “determined that atheism actually presupposes and surreptitiously relies on theism to even have the appearance of cogency.”? If those damn sneaky atheists are so clandestine and stealthy, how did anyone notice this? Does something have to exist for someone to have no belief in it? One source describes the etymology of “atheist” as deriving from the Greek word “atheos” (a- "without" + theos "a god"). “Without a god” does not seem to me like it is dependent on the existence of a god. One definition of the word "nothingness" is “void.” As in “no thing.” Does the word "nothingness" depend on there first being a thing before there was nothingness? Of course not. It all depends on what your definition of "is" is”. Or in this case it all depends on what your definition of “atheism” is.

All of this points to one of the dangers of faith. Faith is the actual barrier to truth. By the way, that is a logical statement, not a psychological one. Faith allows you to believe whatever the hell you want to without having to think about it. It also allows you to think that you have won the argument, when actually you haven’t made one at all.

Who really is the illogical one here?


His days are numbered. Only seven days left in office.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Godless Atheists Threaten Christian Civilization

The Godless Carders Association

Double Standard

I wish I was a better writer. I wish it were easier for me sometimes. I’ve had the idea for this post for some time now, but I’ve found it to be a difficult one to actually write. So I hope that there is at least a modicum of clarity in what follows.

Barack Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to say the invocation at the inauguration infuriates me. Why does Obama want to reach out to someone as intolerant as Rick Warren? But more importantly, why is Barack Obama himself demonstrating intolerance?

Obama talks very often about wanting to be all inclusive and wanting to listen to all sides, even the far right. This might be a good thing. I have my doubts about it and only time will tell if it will be a good thing. However, Obama is off to a bad start. He talks about being all inclusive, but he is not. Obama goes out of his way to reach out to the far right, but he has not demonstrated the same courtesy to the far left. In fact, he has gone one step further and denounced at least one spokesperson for the far left. Progressives, along with the non-religious are being ignored and banished while people like Rick Warren are being elevated to positions of stature, both real and symbolic. Just looking at how Obama has treated two very politically different people demonstrates the point I am trying to make. Obama has severed all ties to Jeremiah Wright and fallen over backwards to embrace Rick Warren. You would think that Obama was George W. Bush here. The politics of Jeremiah Wright are actually quite close to the politics of Noam Chomsky, and to my own. Why has Obama chosen to ostracize this part of the political dialog? Obama is a liar. Every time he says something like “I will listen to you when we disagree. And most importantly, I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again" he is lying. He slammed the door shut on Jeremiah Wright and locked it. He has locked out progressive and non-religious thought. Hell, he has even locked out religious progressive thought. Will he ever listen to the ideas of someone like Noam Chomsky? Rick Warren is no progressive. His politics are very far to the right. Obama is a hypocrite. He is too much of a right leaning centrist. He places the game of politics before all else. Unfortunately, this is probably the only way he could have been elected. I don’t imagine he would have won if he had not denounced Jeremiah Wright. Embracing Rick Warren, however, is simply going too far.

If there is one thing that infuriates me, it is exclusion. The politics of Bush/Cheney is all about exclusion. Their great efforts at secrecy prove this. Their great efforts on the part of the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class are also strikingly exclusionary. The religious politics of Rick Warren is all about exclusion, even though he is supposed to be the prince of inclusion. His efforts to diminish the civil rights of gay people proves this. Jeremiah Wright did not exclude gays from his church while he was pastor. Exclusion hampers and suppresses equality. I thought the United States was supposed to be all about equality. The fact that Obama has excluded Jeremiah Wright simply so that Obama could have political gain infuriates me. How can Obama exclude the extreme left, embrace the extreme right, and then claim that he wants to wants to listen to all sides? Hypocrite!

Where is the "change" that Obama talks about? Who exactly is he referring to when he says “I will listen to you when we disagree.”? It certainly is not Jeremiah Wright. Like so many other politicians Obama doesn’t seem to want to listen to gays, atheists, and progressives. Where is the "change" in that?

Why is Obama “outraged” and “saddened” by Jeremiah Wright and not “outraged” and “saddened” by Rick Warren?

Noam Chomsky and Jeremiah Wright talk about things that most Americans don’t want to hear about. They talk about our imperfections, things that desperately need fixing, things that too many Americans either don’t know about, or don’t want to know about. We desperately need this kind of dissent and criticism. I am “outraged” and “saddened” by Barack Obama.

Obama may be better than Bush, but don't we deserve more than that?


His days are numbered. Only eight days left in office.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cheney's Can Of Worms

From Cheney's Legacy of Deception by Robert Scheer:

In the end, the shame of Vice President Dick Cheney was total: unmitigated by any notion of a graceful departure, let alone the slightest obligation of honest accounting. Although firmly ensconced, even in the popular imagination, as an example of evil incarnate--nearly a quarter of those polled in this week's CNN poll rated him the worst vice president in US history, and 41 percent as "poor"--Cheney exudes the confidence of one fully convinced that he will get away with it all.

And why not? Nothing, not his suspect role in the Enron debacle, which foretold the economic meltdown, or his office's fabrication of the false reasons for invading Iraq, has ever been seriously investigated, because of White House stonewalling. Nor will the new president, committed as he is to nonpartisanship, be likely to open up Cheney's can of worms.
Read the rest here.


His days are numbered. Only nine days left in office.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Is This Just Another Bush Lie?

From Bush on His Record by Kimberley A. Strassel:

I ask the president what he's learned from his time in office -- not from a policy perspective, but as a person. His answer is unsurprising from a man who has always talked openly of his faith -- though that, too, has earned him criticism.

"I've learned that God is good. All the time."
I suppose that this is what I should have expected from Bush. After eight years all that he managed to learn was something that is not true.

Couldn’t he have learned that without becoming president? Couldn’t he have learned that without screwing the country and killing, maiming, and displacing thousands of Iraqis?

If God is good all the time, why did he allow Bush to become president?

Does Bush honestly believe he has a chance of getting into heaven? If there really is a God, and if there really is a heaven and hell, what are Bush’s chances that he’s going to hell?


His days are numbered. Only ten days left in office.

Hooey And Bunk

I think that Hooey and Bunk make nice nicknames for Stephen Hadley and Joshua Bolten.

From Two Advisers Reflect on Eight Years With Bush by Michael Abramowitz:

"One of the mythologies," Hadley said, "is that it was the vice president that somehow was pulling the strings on foreign policy in the first term and made it very ideologically driven and that somehow in the second term, the vice president's influence is in decline and, therefore, somehow the real Bush has come forward, and we have a more pragmatic foreign policy."

"That's just hooey -- it's just hooey," the ever-polite Hadley concluded, with the strongest language he would muster for print. (Bolten chuckled and suggested earthier epithets, such as "bunk.")
Bolten thinks that Bush is “a good decision maker.” Bolton said that it is his job to make sure that the president is “well positioned to make good decisions." He also thinks "The president is, possibly contrary to public opinion, very good about hearing and wanting contrary advice."

Let me get this straight. Bush's "good decisions" put us into the hellhole we now exist in. Where would we be now if Bush had made bad decisions?

Hadley thinks that the troop surge in Iraq was "the most remarkable thing" Bush did in office.
"I think the balance that you can strike now, after you have not been attacked for seven years, may be a little bit different than the balance that you would strike in the immediate year after the attack when you don't know who the enemy is," Hadley said. "You've got to be careful about that kind of second-guessing, because it's hard to re-create the environment in which those decisions were made in the immediate aftermath of 9/11."
What?!?!? Most think Osama bin Laden is responsible. As I recall this was news on the day of 9/11. Only Bush and his minions thought that Saddam Hussein was responsible. (Or at least that’s what they pretended to think.)

Bolten admits his cluelessness: "maybe there's stuff you would go back and do differently in this administration, but I don't know what that is today."

Again I say What?!?!? Is it even necessary to go into this? What would have happened if we had not attacked Iraq, if the Feds had helped after Katrina (they’re still waiting, you know), if we didn’t torture, spy on our own citizens, and on and on?
Bolten said another of his goals when he took over was to try to get the country to see the likable boss he and other aides saw in private, convinced that would boost Bush's popularity. "I failed miserably," he conceded. "Maybe in the beginning of the sixth year of a presidency, that's a quixotic task. . . . But everybody who has actual personal exposure to the president, almost everybody, appreciates what a good leader he is, how smart he is and, especially, how humane he is."

Hadley invoked Bush's 2000 campaign theme in summing up the president's personal qualities. "He has got this great compassion which was not just a slogan, 'compassionate conservative.' It is who he is. It is one of the great things he brought to this office," Hadley concluded. "This is the one thing that just drives me crazy, that somehow this is an arrogant administration, an arrogant president running an arrogant policy. This guy -- one thing he is not is arrogant."
Let’s look at some definitions of arrogant:
1. Having or displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance.
2. Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one's superiority toward others: an arrogant contempt for the weak.

having an exaggerated opinion of one's own importance or ability

having or showing feelings of unwarranted importance out of overbearing pride; "an arrogant official"; "arrogant claims"; "chesty as a peacock"

conceited, lordly, assuming, proud, swaggering, pompous, pretentious, stuck up (informal) cocky, contemptuous, blustering, imperious, overbearing, haughty, scornful, puffed up, egotistical, disdainful, self-important, presumptuous, high-handed, insolent, supercilious, high and mighty (informal) overweening, immodest, swollen-headed, bigheaded (informal) uppish Brit. (informal)
Many think that Bush is the worst president of all time, yet Bush says that time will judge him differently. (“When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom.”) If that isn’t arrogance, I don’t know what is.

From They still don't get it by Jed Lewison:
Here's the thing these guys need to get through their thick skulls: the American public has rendered a sour verdict on the Bush Presidency because of what he has done.

This isn't about personality. It's about the fact that Bush is one of the few presidents in history who has left this country in worse condition than when he arrived.

These two clowns still don't understand that the problem isn't the "do I want to have a beer with him?" test, it's the "did he do a good job?" test.

And in case they haven't figured it out yet, the answer is 'no.'

I think that Hooey and Bunk should take their comedy act on the road and see how it plays in the real world.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Question Authority

From And there lie the bodies by Gideon Levy:

The legend, lest it be a true story, tells of how the late mathematician, Professor Haim Hanani, asked his students at the Technion to draw up a plan for constructing a pipe to transport blood from Haifa to Eilat. The obedient students did as they were told. Using logarithmic rulers, they sketched the design for a sophisticated pipeline. They meticulously planned its route, taking into account the landscape's topography, the possibility of corrosion, the pipe's diameter and the flow calibration. When they presented their final product, the professor rendered his judgment: You failed. None of you asked why we need such a pipe, whose blood will fill it, and why it is flowing in the first place.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why Would Anyone Listen To A Raving Lunatic?

Is Ann Coulter a raving lunatic? I’ll let you be the judge. Watch this clip from the Today Show and decide for yourself.

If Ann Coulter ever made a valid point would anyone notice?

Does anyone else find her remarks about single mothers having children that end up in prison to be racist? To top it off she throws Charles Murray into the mix.

Is Matt Lauer an idiot, simply incompetent, or a pawn in the game of bad media? Or is he all three? Hey Lauer, if the children of single mothers are the root of all of our problems why not ask some of the obvious questions of the raving loon? Things like: Would it be better if all these mothers had abortions? Would it be better if all these mothers had used contraception? Isn’t our prison population disproportionately full of black men? Do you think that the justice system is biased against black men? Why are only single mothers to blame, what about the fathers? (To be fair, Mr. Lauer did sort of dance around that question.) Do you think that if there were more available jobs in the inner cities that this “problem” would be lessened? Do you think that if there were better schools in the inner cities that this “problem” would be lessened? Wouldn’t allowing gay couples to marry decrease the number of single mothers? Hasn’t George W. Bush screwed everything up much worse than any single mother possibly could? Name me some of the articles in the New York Times that have “promoted” single motherhood. Name me some of the court cases that have been responsible for “destroying the institution of marriage.” If marriage has been destroyed as an institution why are people still getting married? How can liberals possibly destroy America, hasn’t George W. Bush already beaten them to it? When has Barbara Ehrenreich ever denounced the nuclear family? Do you think that extremely rude people like yourself are more detrimental to society than single mothers are?

And the most obvious question of all: If single motherhood is the root of all of our problems, then what is the solution to this problem?

Notice the cross necklace? “Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.”

Obviously I listened to Ann Coulter. Does that make me a raving lunatic as well?

All In The Family

Oh the insanity! The Bush family seems determined to prove that they are all out of their minds!

From Elder Bush On Son's Failures: Google It (VIDEO) by Rachel Weiner:

On "Fox News Sunday," former President George H. W. Bush defended his son's record. "His mother and father" are "very proud of him," Bush said. Host Chris Wallace pointed out that the former president had acknowledged some failures in his son's two terms and asked him to elaborate. "No! You can go back to your, what do you call it, your Google, and you figure out all that," Bush responded.
From Elder Bush: Jeb Should Run For President (VIDEO) by Rachel Weiner:
On "Fox News Sunday," former President George H. W. Bush said he's ready for another Bush in the White House. He hopes his son Jeb runs for Senate in Florida and one day for president.

"I think he'd be an outstanding senator ... I'd like to see him be president some day," Bush said. "Right now is probably a bad time because maybe we've had enough Bushes in there."
From Quote of the Day:
"The opposition should be about ideas, and not what my brother suffered through in the last eight years. I don't wish that on President Obama."

-- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, advising Republicans to lay off partisan attacks.

The Good Old Days

From The Bush Years -- Then and Now by Mark Murray:

With President Bush set to leave the White House less than two weeks from now, here's a "Then and Now" to show what the United States looked like when Bush was entering office and what it looks like now as he's leaving. The "Then" is the best-available figure as Bush was taking office in 2001. The "Now" is the most recent figure.

Then: 4.2% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2001)
Now: 6.7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2008)

Then: 10,587 (close of Friday, Jan. 19, 2001)
Now: 9,015 (close of Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009)

Then: 50% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 31% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

Then: 49% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 21% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

Then: 48% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 21% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

Then: 45% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 26% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)

Then: 115.7 (Conference Board, January 2001)
Now: 38.0, which is an all-time low (Conference Board, December 2008)

Then: 6.4 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 7.6 million (Census numbers for 2007 -- most recent numbers available)

Then: 39.8 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 45.7 million (Census numbers for 2007 -- most recent available)

Then: +236.2 billion (2000, Congressional Budget Office)
Now: -$1.2 trillion (projected figure for 2009, Congressional Budget Office)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Quote Of Note - Jimmy Carter

“We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children.” Jimmy Carter

Rules Are Rules

Rules are rules, unless you’re George W. Bush or Dick Cheney, of course.

I agree with Josh Marshall about the Blagojevich/Burris matter. You can’t blame Burris for accepting the appointment, however. It has given him much publicity. I wonder if it will come back in the future and bite him on the ass; say, the next time he runs for office.

I don’t understand why the media is giving this topic so much exposure.

From Alas, I Think She's Right by Josh Marshall:

But Blagojevich is the governor of the Illinois. And the Governor appoints senators to vacant seats. He hasn't been convicted of anything, which is no mere technicality. And I don't think anyone has seriously claimed that this appointment is tainted by corruption.

If there was a real belief that Burris's appointment had been bought, then I think more aggressive and expansive refusal would be justified. But as I said, I don't think anyone is really suggesting that. So as awkward and untoward as the whole thing may be, I really question the wisdom and possibly also the legality of not swearing him in. Rules are rules.

I could be persuaded otherwise. And I'm not losing much sleep over Burris's plight. But rules are rules. And I'm not sure what's being accomplished with this spectacle.
Why go after Blagojevich and Burris with such intensity while omitting Bush and Cheney from accountability? Why go after Thomas Tamm with such intensity while omitting Bush and Cheney from accountability?

From The DOJ puruses the "real criminal" in the NSA spying scandal by Glenn Greenwald:
That's America's justice system in a nutshell: the President who deliberately and knowingly violated our 30-year-old law making it a felony offense to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants has the entire political and media class eagerly defend him against prosecution. Those who enabled him -- in both parties -- block investigations into what was done. Ruth Marcus and Cass Sunstein and friends offer one excuse after the next to justify this immunity. But the powerless and defenseless -- though definitively courageous -- public servant who blew the whistle on this lawbreaking is harassed, investigated, and pursued by the DOJ's Criminal Division to the point of bankruptcy and depression, while the lawbreakers and their enablers stand by mute and satisfied.
We desperately need to hold the most powerful among us accountable for what they do. We will only be screwed over and over again until we do. Pardon me from the sins of the rich and powerful.

Here is the address of the Thomas Tamm Legal Defense Fund:

Thomas Tamm Legal Defense Fund
Bank of Georgetown
5236 44th Street
Washington, DC 20015.