Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Nonsense Game

“It wouldn’t be cricket…” as the British say.

Politics seems to be a game that has no rules. A game with no rules is a nonsensical game.

From The Endless Nonsense by Josh Marshall:

The truth is, until President Obama got into office and Republicans needed a new political attack angle, the idea barely occurred to anyone that you wouldn't do a regular trial with someone you had plenty of evidence against.

If It Sounds Too Good…

It never ceases to amaze me how scummy some people can be.

From Watch Out for Scams Targeting Seniors by Kathryn A. Walson:

The scams directed toward seniors run the gamut. Many con artists promise outsize returns on IRA investment products. Telemarketers hawk anti-aging products that are never delivered or are worthless.

Con artists are nothing if not creative. Take what’s known as the Grandparent Scam. State attorneys general warn that a caller may say, “It’s your favorite grandson.” The senior may respond with something like, “Is this Joe?” Then “Joe” claims he’s been in an accident or stranded and persuades the senior to wire money.

As much as you want to bolster your sagging retirement savings, remember the adage: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quote Of Note - Amos Tversky

“It’s frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what’s going on.” - Amos Tversky

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quote Of Note - Roger Waters

Who is the strongest
Who is the best
Who holds the aces
The East
Or the West
This is the crap our children are learning -  Roger Waters

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The definition of the word humbug is interesting.

Merriam-Webster gives these definitions:

1 a : something designed to deceive and mislead b : a willfully false, deceptive, or insincere person

2 : an attitude or spirit of pretense and deception

3 : nonsense, drivel
Wikipedia says this of the word:
Humbug is an old term meaning hoax or jest. While the term was first described in 1751 as student slang, its etymology is unknown. Its present meaning as an exclamation is closer to 'nonsense' or 'gibberish', while as a noun, a humbug refers to a fraud or impostor, implying an element of unjustified publicity and spectacle.
Humbug seems to be the perfect word for atheists at Christmastime. Jesus being born a virgin birth. Humbug! Jesus is the son of God. Humbug!

Reason’s Greetings is an OK replacement for Season’s Greetings. However, I would like to propose Happy Humbug and Happy Hoax as replacements for Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. Spread it around, and make Bill O’Reilly even more hopping mad about his imaginary war.

Happy Humbug, everyone! (Especially you, Bill!)

Downsizing Christmas

From Saying No, No, No to the Ho-Ho-Ho by Hilary Stout:

This has been a year for paring back Christmas. Largely by economic necessity, many people have been trimming their gift lists, subduing their celebrations and aiming for a simpler, lower-key holiday.

But some, like Mr. Nainan, are taking that sentiment to the extreme. For them, this is the year of the anti-Christmas, the year when everything — from the pressure to find the perfect present to the prospect of family drama over roast turkey — just got to be too much.

In response, they are opting out of the festivities entirely. This year, they are taking a holiday from the holiday.

“W.W.B.J.D.?” asked Richard Laermer. (That is, What would baby Jesus do?) “Sit it out.”

Jack And Santa

A Very Cheney Christmas

Quote Of Note - Sigmund Freud

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”  Sigmund Freud

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rush Displays His Ignorance

From Rush Limbaugh’s War on Science by Chris Mooney:

Rush is ticked because everybody told him to be afraid of swine flu, and now it turns out that as pandemics go, the current strain of swine flu is probably less like a category 3 hurricane, and more like a category 1 or tropical storm. So what does Rush do? He blames the scientists:
We are the targets of lies, damn lies and science and scientists are rapidly becoming as trustworthy as politicians.
I suppose that some scientists lie, especially those that are paid big bucks by corporations to do so. I would assume that Rush Limbaugh likes those scientists, just as he likes the politicians that lie the most.

It is one thing to accuse scientists of lying. It is another thing to accuse science of lying. Is it possible for science to lie? I don’t think so.

Mathematicians are capable of lying and telling us that two plus two equals five. Why one would choose to do this is a mystery to me. All the rest of the mathematicians would laugh him out his profession. Mathematicians are capable of lying, mathematics is incapable of lying. Two plus two equals four. Scientists are capable of lying, science is incapable of lying.

Why does Mr. Limbaugh attack science and scientists? If he wants to go after someone regarding this issue, why doesn’t he look inward and attack the media? After all who is responsible for most of the hype that is out there?

Sometimes science, like life, requires a little patience. Sometimes science, like life, doesn’t give us all the answers. Rush Limbaugh tries my patience, and provides me with no answers whatsoever. Is he simply ignorant or is he the one doing the lying?

Does Mr. Limbaugh think that radio is magic? Or does he think that the science that allows him to do his job every day is lying to him?

If Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin wish to return to the Dark Ages, fine. I refuse to follow them.

Sarah Palin Wins An Award

I’m sure that the image of Sarah Palin in hot pants is exciting to some. Not to me. I find it to be repulsive.

From PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'Death panels' by Angie Drobnic Holan:

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

"Death panels."

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn't made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, "Death panels? Really?"

The editors of, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural "Lie of the Year."

PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly supported the decision. Nearly 5,000 voted in a national poll to name the biggest lie, and 61 percent chose "death panels" from a field of eight finalists. (See the complete results.)
Gotta love this:

From And the runners-up ... by Angie Drobnic Holan:
Rounding out the rest of the finalists:

• 5.8 percent: The shout of "You lie!" by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., in response to President Obama saying health reform would not insure illegal immigrants.
I’m sure that the image of Joe Wilson in hot pants is exciting to some. Not to me. I find it to be repulsive.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Surprise Surpise

True democracy is simply not possible when moneyed lobbyists call the shots.

From Banks with political ties got bailouts, study shows by Steve Eder:

U.S. banks that spent more money on lobbying were more likely to get government bailout money, according to a study released on Monday.
The system is broken.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Reason's Greetings And HumanLight

From HumanLight:

During the winter holiday season, where the word "holiday" has taken on a more secular meaning, many events are observed. This tradition of celebrations, however, is grounded in supernatural religious beliefs that many people in modern society cannot accept. HumanLight presents an alternative reason to celebrate: a Humanist's vision of a good future. It is a future in which all people can identify with each other, behave with the highest moral standards, and work together toward a happy, just and peaceful world.

Bill O’Reilly probably hates all of this.

From The Real War on Christmas by Paul O’Donnell:
Time cites Fox News host Bill O'Reilly for his annual segments, starting in 2002, on the siege against Christmas. O'Reilly once called the unmerry greeting "Happy Holidays" the first step on the slippery slope toward ""legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage." And Americans have backed O'Reilly up. By 2006, the piece says, 68 percent of Americans "agreed that the holiday was under assault."
If "Happy Holidays" sets O'Reilly off into insane land, I wonder what "Reason's Greetings" would do to him? Maybe it would make him explode.

What’s so funny about reason, compassion, and hope?

Is Rush Limbaugh Overpaid?

From Citadel Broadcasting Files for Chapter 11 and Aims to Restructure by The Associated Press:

Citadel Broadcasting Corp, the nation's third-largest radio broadcasting company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday in an effort to restructure its hefty debt load as it continues to face declining advertising revenue. Citadel's WABC is home to several syndicated hosts, including Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, Joe Scarborough and Mark Levin.

Broke Down

From The coming end of my liberalism. Wish I could predict the same for the President’s. by Lance Mannion:

When the system worked it did what Liberals like me wanted it to do.  It opened up opportunities, it spread the wealth, it gave a leg up to those who needed it, it built things.

It seemed worth fixing when and where it broke down.

It’s been a long, long time since the system worked the way it was supposed to, and it’s looking as though it will not work that way again.

Ronald Reagan and thirty years of Right Wing rule have broke it but good.

Possibly beyond repair.

Definitely beyond repair if the Right Wing, which includes and is run by the Corporate Elitists, continue to wield the power they wield.

The Tea Partiers will get bought off and co-opted the same as the Religious Right.

It’s probably even wrong to say the system’s broken.

The system’s been replaced.

What we have now is a system run by corporate elitists who regard the rest of us as the enemy.

When they don’t regard us as targets.

The system has been turned against us.  The object isn’t to provide jobs and opportunities.  Those cost too much.  The object is to wring every last nickel out of us it can.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Used To Seem Simple Now Seems Very Complicated

Too much information. I am fatigued and overloaded with all of the information concerning the health care debate. I no longer understand what the hell is going on.

If you include the comments, there may be more words in this single post on the health care debate than there are in the entire bill.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do you think that God is pissed because The Evangelical Media Group beat him to his own domain name?

Some Things Never Seem To Change

Why is it OK for the people in power to beat up and detain the less powerful who are simply trying to tell their side of things? Why is it OK for the powerful to use violence, but not OK for those who are powerless?

From Climate talks deadlocked as clashes erupt outside by Charles J. Hanley:

Police fired pepper spray and beat protesters with batons outside the U.N. climate conference Wednesday, as disputes inside left major issues unresolved just two days before world leaders hope to sign a historic agreement to fight global warming.

Hundreds of protesters were trying to disrupt the 193-nation conference, the latest action in days of demonstrations to demand "climate justice" — firm steps to combat global warming. Police said 230 protesters were detained.
Hundreds of protesters marched on the suburban Bella Center, where lines of Danish riot police waited in protective cordons. Some demonstrators said they wanted to take over the global conference and turn it into a "people's assembly." As they approached police lines, they were hit with pepper spray, and TV pictures showed a man being pushed from a police van's roof and struck with a baton by an officer.
Clearly, no one is representing these protesters at this conference. Why not?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Whiskey Fire Tidbits

“Why do the Democrats continually let Lucy Van Lieberman hold the football knowing full well that it won't be there when Charlie B. Reid goes to kick it?”


Sing Along

Limbaugh, O'Reilly & Hannity!

Caution, Balance, And Gambling "Conservatives"

“…everybody knows that most people who trade in the market lose money at it in the end.” Benjamin Graham

Once upon a time caution was considered to be a good thing. Now it seems as though the word has been excised from the dictionary. Caution and balance seem to be nonexistent in the corporate world and in the political world. Unfortunately this affects my world.

Once upon a time gambling was considered to be a bad thing. Now it seems to be the means for greedy people who already own more than most of us to try to own even more. And when they win the rest of us lose, and when they lose the rest of us lose. I’m part of a game that I don’t even want to play.

Once upon a time the word conservative meant “marked by moderation or caution.” Now it seems to mean radical (“marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional”) gambler (“to play a game for money or property, to bet on an uncertain outcome.”)

These changes have caused great loss and hardship for many.

Once upon a time insurance companies and banks were cautious entities. They did not gamble. It was illegal for them to do so.

From The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (page 60):

Our argument against the purchase of corporate bonds and preferred stocks by the defensive investor needs now to be balanced by an argument in favor of placing some part of his funds in high-grade common stocks. In the old days such a proposal was little short of heresy. All common stocks were considered more or less risky and therefore unsuited for a conservative portfolio. This concept was and remains embedded in the state laws governing the investments of trust funds (unless the instrument provides to the contrary) and also those of savings banks and life insurance companies, which in many states may not hold common stocks.
That is from the 1949 edition. Mr. Graham also states that this conservative approach was also mandated by law for university endowment funds. How things have changed. (Also, his argument against the purchase of corporate bonds and preferred stocks had to do with a preference for U.S. Savings Bonds at the time. He did not dislike corporate bonds and preferred stocks, he simply saw that at the time U.S. Savings Bonds paid higher interest and provided more safety.)

From The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (page 12):
Investment requires and presupposes a margin of safety to protect against adverse developments. In market trading, as in most other forms of speculation, there is no real margin for error; you are either right or wrong, and if wrong you lose money. Consequently, even if we believed that the ordinary intelligent reader could learn to make money by trading in the market, we should send him elsewhere for his instruction. But everybody knows that most people who trade in the market lose money at it in the end. The people who persist in trying it are either (a) unintelligent, or (b) willing to lose money for the fun of the game, or (c) gifted with some uncommon and incommunicable talent. In any case they are not investors.
Like I said, the changes that I mentioned earlier have caused great loss and hardship for many. However, I have no sympathy for those at the top of AIG.

From AIG top staff struggle financially: report by Ajay Kamalakaran:
Top executives at troubled insurer American International Group have been struggling financially after taking personal losses in the wake of the near-collapse of the company last year, AIG's chief executive Robert Benmosche told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

The losses were incurred when the executives' cash bonuses were cut and unvested stock salary and stock options that were previously earned were rendered almost worthless after AIG's near-failure in September 2008, the paper said.

Benmosche told the paper that 10 people reporting directly to him lost a combined $168 million in prior years' pay since the insurer was bailed out by the U.S. government last year.

Five other employees at the company's financial-products division, who are unwinding its derivative trades, lost $88 million in prior pay, the paper cited Benmosche as saying.

"Many people think there was no penalty for the executives at AIG when it did poorly and that they need longer-term compensation so they don't benefit from taking inordinate amounts of risk," Benmosche told the paper.

"But if you look at where they've been this year, they've been pretty much wiped out," the paper quoted Benmosche as saying. "And we have to recognize that we're not 100 percent sure about what the value of AIG will be in the future."
How can this be? At an insurance company? Insurance is “a means of guaranteeing protection or safety.” Not only did the “top staff” at AIG fail their customers, they have failed themselves.

Again I ask, how can this be? Let’s do some basic arithmetic. 168 divided by 10 is 16.8. 88 divided by 5 is 17.6. So 10 people lost 16.8 million dollars each. And 5 people lost 17.6 million dollars each. What the hell kind of money were these people making when business was good? And the bigger question, why is all of that money gone now? (“… they've been pretty much wiped out…"). Compared to these people I make very little money. I invest heavily in stocks. Like everyone else my portfolio suffered when the stock market collapsed recently. However, I was not wiped out. Again. How can this be? Perhaps it is because I try to be an intelligent investor and not a greedy gambler. I have also never whined to the Wall Street Journal, or anyone for that matter, about my losses.

At AIG we have “unintelligent” people, “willing to lose money for the fun of the game.” Definitely not “gifted with some uncommon and incommunicable talent.” Clearly “they are not investors.” AIG's chief executive Robert Benmosche seems to think that they deserve our sympathy. They are not getting any from me. Instead I ask a question. Why do they still work at AIG?

Allow me to shift gears here. Did George W. Bush show any moderation and caution when he decided to invade Afghanistan and Iraq? Or was he gambling? Making a high stakes bet using other people's lives, and other people's money?

Allow me to shift gears again. I see a parallel with this issue to the current debate on global warming. Those who side with Sarah Palin, believing in “climategate” and denying global warming seem to be gambling on our future. The stakes are very high. Shouldn’t we at the very least be truly conservative here? What is wrong with a little moderation and caution when it comes to the future of the planet? Could we please put more intelligence into this debate and remove the greed component? Sarah Palin’s either/or argument seems incredibly dangerous. What if she is wrong? Once again I feel like I’m part of a game that I don’t even want to play.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Proposition


I propose that we try Opposite World for one year and see what happens. Pay the people at the bottom of the economic ladder what the CEO’s make and pay the CEO’s minimum wage. Then let’s see if FoxNews has the discussion "Lowering The Minimum Wage: Is It Better for CEO’s?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Big Disconnect

From Hollywood’s Brilliant Coda to America’s Dark Year by Frank Rich:

Those at the top are separated from the consequences of their actions. They are exemplified by Robert Rubin, formerly of Citigroup and a mentor to both Obama’s Treasury secretary and chief economic adviser. He looked the other way when his bank made ruinous high-risk bets, and then cashed out and split, leaving taxpayers to pay for the wreckage while he escaped any accountability. Such economic wise men peer down at the country from a hermetically sealed bubble of privilege and self-interest, much as Ryan does from the plane flying him to his next mass firing. And they tend to think, as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs notoriously put it, that they are doing “God’s work” to sustain our free-market system.
From Comment Number 10 by Dim:
First of all, let me say thank you for such an insightful description of our current state of affairs, Mr. Rich, for pointing out so beautifully the disconnect between Wall Street and the rest of the country. President Obama also mentioned this in his weekly address today, but what bothers me is that, unlike you, he could actually do something about it! He keeps saying the right things but why doesn't he lead more forcefully? Why doesn't he keep up the pressure on Wall Street and on the Congress? Why doesn't he keep politicians of both parties accountable when they look after the interests of Wall Street and not the people? I know he has a lot on his plate, but I hope he is listening to people like you and taking these warnings a little bit more seriously. And I think that journalists like yourself should keep pressure on the President, keep him accountable for his actions instead of giving him a pass for simply saying the right things.
Meanwhile, most of the pundits effectively divide us so that the super rich and powerful can conquer us. As Bill Moyers frequently says, it’s not a question of left and right, it’s a question of top and bottom. (“…populism isn't really- and people's power, isn't really a left or right issue, is it? It's more us versus them, bottom versus top?”)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

God Wishes You The Best Of Good Buys

“Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Jesus Christ

From ETFs get religion: New FaithShares funds target Christian denominations by Sheryl Nance-Nash:

Increasingly, people are choosing to put their money where their values are, and that sentiment isn't lost on money managers. Just this week, the first of three exchange-traded funds targeted at Christian investors hit the market. Two more will launch next week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fear For Dummies

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Beck - Not So Mellow Gold
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thick As A Brick

Sarah Palin responding to the responders:

The response to my op-ed by global warming alarmists has been interesting. Former Vice President Al Gore has called me a “denier” and informs us that climate change is “a principle in physics. It’s like gravity. It exists.”

Perhaps he’s right. Climate change is like gravity – a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it.

However, he’s wrong in calling me a “denier.” As I noted in my op-ed above and in my original Facebook post on Climategate, I have never denied the existence of climate change. I just don’t think we can primarily blame man’s activities for the earth’s cyclical weather changes.
Logic? What is this thing called logic?

Obviously, Al Gore is claiming that Palin denies the existence of global warming. (Gore says “global warming is not a political issue but a moral one.”) So, of course Palin chooses to base her argument on the existence of climate change. Somehow this all makes perfect sense to Palin and to all those who have bought her book and think she is the next saviour of the country, if not the world. How ironic.

If Palin can make such a simple error of logic, why should we believe her when she claims to understand the science of both climate change and global warming?

In case you are wondering what a climategate is, take a look here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Political Action And Scientific Result

Can political action change the outcome of a science experiment? Can ‘scientists’ get away with lying and faking the truth? Correct me if I’m wrong, but Sarah Palin seems to believe that these things are true. I do not believe that either one is true.

We all are participating in one of the largest science experiments that has ever been undertaken. The stakes are enormous. The worst case scenario is the eradication of all life on earth. Sarah Palin seems to think that some petty infighting among some scientists (and yes, perhaps some data fudging and lies) means that global warming is a hoax. She seems to think that because some scientists lie, that means that all scientists must lie. (Makes me think of politicians, for some reason.) Palin also seems to be arguing that the economy trumps all, even science. I wonder how the economy will be doing when we are all dead?

I have a proposal. It could even be a new reality TV show. Would Sarah Palin be willing to participate in a science experiment? How long does she think she could sustain her life if she were put in a sealed enclosure which had a constant source of carbon monoxide being pumped into it. She could have some plants, trees, salmon, and polar bears in there with her to make her feel at home. I know that this is an oversimplification, however the reality is that we put all kinds of bad things into our air, atmosphere, and water. Why is Sarah Palin not concerned about this? I know that I am. Why does she think that global warming is a hoax? I know that I don’t.

From Copenhagen's political science by Sarah Palin:

In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his intention to "restore science to its rightful place." But instead of staying home from Copenhagen and sending a message that the United States will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices, the president has upped the ante. He plans to fly in at the climax of the conference in hopes of sealing a "deal." Whatever deal he gets, it will be no deal for the American people. What Obama really hopes to bring home from Copenhagen is more pressure to pass the Democrats' cap-and-tax proposal. This is a political move. The last thing America needs is misguided legislation that will raise taxes and cost jobs -- particularly when the push for such legislation rests on agenda-driven science.

Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference. The president should boycott Copenhagen.
What “trustworthy science” is Palin basing all of this on? Why isn’t what she is saying and doing “politicizing” the issue? Is it even possible for a political issue to not be politicized?

Palin doesn’t want Obama to go to Copenhagen. I want him to go. Does my wish cancel out hers? The president should not boycott Copenhagen. There. That settles it.

Palin bases much of her outrage over ‘Climate-gate’ (as she calls it) on emails that some hackers discovered. I’m still outraged over these emails. Is she?

Political scandal seems never ending. Scientific scandal always seems to lead to the truth eventually. Is global warming a hoax? Do we want time to tell?

Whether or not global warming is a hoax or not seems to be irrelevant to the argument that Sarah Palin is trying to make. She seems to be in favor of air and water pollution. Does she not think these things are bad for us?

Here is more on all of this. There is also this and this.

Only right wing Republicans use the phrase "cap and tax." The rest use the term "cap and trade." To use the phrase "cap and tax" means that one is making a "political move."

Ass Biting Lies

From Why Do So Many Christians Support The Iraq War? by Kyle West:

If one supports the war, one is also inadvertently supporting the lies that made it possible. It's ironic that Christians, among the strongest supporters of the war, have supported an administration of liars.
And if one supports letting the Bush administration off the hook for this, then the inadvertent support of the lies will continue into perpetuity and continually come back to bite us in the ass.

My ass is beginning to hurt more. Is yours?

Quote Of Note - PZ Myers

“Religion is an act of sedition against reason. Whatever religion is most seductive and likely to draw in victims to surrender their skepticism is the worst.” PZ Myers

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

'Tis Folly To Be Wise

From Corruption threatens "soul and fabric" of U.S.: FBI by Pascal Fletcher:

Addressing businessmen in Florida, where financial fraud cases jumped by 42 percent in the last year, FBI Miami Division Special Agent in Charge John Gillies said failures in personal ethics and integrity sowed the initial poisonous seeds of corruption in a society.

Gillies said transgressions by high-profile public servants and even perceived social role models, like top golfer Tiger Woods, currently embroiled in allegations that he had extramarital affairs, sent the signal to young Americans that cheating and stealing were acceptable.

"Where do our children learn this? They see us, their elected officials, their sports stars, they see how they act and they figure, 'well it's OK,'" he said, citing the case of Woods, whose early morning car accident in Florida last month triggered a storm of media questioning of his clean-living reputation.

"Money can't buy everything," Gillies said in a speech to the West Boca Chamber of Commerce in Boca Raton, Florida.
In one of the most capitalistic and religious countries on the planet I’m sure that many blame the liberals, socialists, and atheists for the lack of morality described here. Or all three combined.

Even though Sarah Palin seems to me to be even dumber and more religious than George W. Bush, I look forward to the day when she will save us all from our great moral decline. Pray for her. Please ignore the fact that Americans have been praying since the beginning of our country, and that corruption seems to be at an all time high in spite of so many prayers. Please ignore the fact that some of the most religious are also some of the most immoral (child abusing Catholic priests anyone?) and corrupt (George W. Bush anyone?) of all. I want you to fall on your knees and pray for an end to this corruption. Oh, and please send me five dollars for me to continue to show you the true way to bliss. Thank you.

Healthcare Model?

From Inside a U.S. healthcare "island of excellence" by Jon Hurdle:

In his healthcare speech to Congress on September 9, President Barack Obama cited Geisinger as a possible model for national reform. Based in central Pennsylvania, a rural region once dominated by coal mining, the system has recently earned a reputation for high-quality care at a lower-than-average cost. The White House refers to it as an "island of excellence" in the nation's murky healthcare waters.
Medical authorities inside and outside Geisinger credit the system's performance to three factors: its salary-based compensation for physicians; an electronic medical records system that reduces the likelihood of treatment duplication by integrating the services of doctors, nurses and administrators; and best-practice protocols that require doctors to follow accepted standards for certain kinds of treatment.
Larry McNeely, a healthcare advocate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which campaigns for citizens' rights, said national health reform should and could follow the Geisinger example.

"I think it's a model that makes a lot of sense all over the country," he said.

Like others, McNeely argues that the key to reforming the U.S. health system is to change the way doctors are paid. The point would be to reward the quality of care, as Geisinger does, rather than the quantity of procedures, drugs or consultations.

"The real barrier is the current payment system," McNeely said. "If you do what Geisinger does -- provide better quality -- you are not rewarded, you are punished. The reward goes to the doctors who order the most care."
Read more here.

The Water, Like A Witch's Oils

From Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show by Charles Duhigg:

More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data.

That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.
If only the politicians would lower my taxes and allow the clean water to trickle down to me. What are they waiting for?

Is My Dictionary Lying To Me?

"'Homophobic' is merely a made-up word to try to force everyone to be politically correct on gay marriage or risk being accused of being hateful." Carrie Prejean

Perhaps I’m stating the obvious. Aren’t all words “made-up?”

Also, I’m trying very hard to remember the last time a word forced me to do anything.

If I call Carrie Prejean an idiot, can I blame the word for making me do so?

Will the word idiot ever force me to become one so that I too can have a book published?

Oh What A Joyous Time Of Year

It’s time for another episode of The War On Christmas. Let’s all play. It’s so much fun.

From For What It’s Worth by Stephen Stills:

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
From No Christmas Presents for the Obama Kids This Year by Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights:
If the Obamas want to deprive their children of celebrating Christmas, that is their business. It is the business of the public to hold them accountable for the way they celebrate Christmas in the White House. We know one thing for sure: no other administration ever entertained internal discussions on whether to display a nativity scene in the White House.
From Fox & Friends Attack Atheists (Again) And Yet Another School For Being Anti Christmas – Ho, Ho, Ho! by Priscilla:
Once again, Fox News, as part of its traditional crusade known as “the war on Christmas,” is creating national controversy about a local school decision which, up till now, wasn’t controversial. While other adult networks are discussing the escalation of troops in Afghanistan, today’s Senate debate on a monumental health care bill, and the unemployment situation, the kids on Fox & Friends are discussing yet another school which doesn’t get its Christmas seal of approval. And to make the point, they brought in Pastor Rick Warren whose refusal to denounce a draconian law mandating life imprisonment for homosexuals in Uganda, supported by one of his pastors, means a less than merry Christmas for Ugandan gays. But it’s Christmas time and it’s Fox News mission to spread less than holiday cheer and drive a sprig of holly into the hearts of those who don’t get right with Jesus.
Read the rest here.

From Atheist Group Says Christmas Isn't a Religious Holiday by American Atheists:
Atheists and others who demand strict separation of church and state seek only to prevent government agents from deciding, for anyone, whether or how to celebrate the season. The multitude of seasonal celebrations underscores the importance of the government's neutrality.

Atheists enjoy parties, celebrations, presents, and life. To those who celebrate America's diversity, we extend our heartfelt wishes for a wonderful season. To those who selfishly try to claim the whole season as their own, we wish a lousy one.
I’m simply quoting that last bit. I don’t wish anyone a lousy season. (However, I like the rest of the quote very much.) With each passing year I simply become more weary of all of this.

Some Cool Stuff

Hubble sees most distant galaxies

Seagate enters solid-state drive market

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bloody Or Well Done?

How do you like your heretic to be cooked?

I’ve been wondering if there is a breaking point for the pissed off and frightened religious people of the world? They seem to be mighty riled up over ‘new’ atheists, atheist billboards, atheist signs, atheist blogs, and atheists ‘killing’ Christmas.

At some point will they try to reinstate the burning of heretics at the stake?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Quote Of Note - Marie Curie

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. Marie Curie

I wish that the people who see Barack Obama as the big scary black socialist hitler felt this way. Even just a little bit.

What's The Deal With Texas?

Ah, Texas. Where everything is big, except their sense of compassion and fairness.

From Texas executes man at centre of mental disability row by Chris McGreal:

Texas has executed a child killer at the centre of a bitter dispute over what defines legal mental impairment after several courts ruled that he could be put to death despite a low IQ.

Bobby Wayne Woods, 44, was killed by lethal injection for raping and murdering his girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter after the US supreme court denied a last minute appeal by lawyers who argued that the condemned man fell within a ruling by the same court in 2002 that the mentally impaired could not be sentenced to death.

After being told that the supreme court had refused to intervene, Woods' last words were: "Bye. I'm ready."

Tests on Woods in prison put his IQ as low as 68, below the widely accepted cut off for mental impairment of 70. However, in pursuing the death penalty, the state fell back on other tests conducted when he was a child that put his IQ as high as 86.
I’m sure that somewhere (probably in Texas) a certain ex-president is having a good laugh.

Gotcha Antics

From The Stimulus and Jobs: Can the GOP Read? by David Corn:

Can we be adults here? There are no programs -- in or out of government -- that don't include some waste. In fact, all human endeavors contain inefficiencies and errors. If the stimulus package were 99 percent cost-effective, that would still leave nearly $8 billion in waste. Picking out a couple of questionable projects is gotcha antics, not serious political debate.

At this point, Republicans have nothing to fear but Republicans themselves. If unemployment stays at or near 10 percent for the coming year, the GOP might well be able to ride the ensuing anti-incumbent anger to victory in the 2010 congressional elections, perhaps even draw close to retaking the House. But the more they act like, well, jerks, the more they will undercut their own chances.
There is a system that is supposed to help the unemployed in times of need. It is a dirty word in the United States. The Republicans hate it, and a Democratic president helped destroy it. And of course it is supposed to be the most wasteful of all government programs. And on that basis alone it must be evil and destroyed according to the Republicans. Never mind that it could be helping some American citizens today. Both Democrats and Republicans.

From Welfare:
Welfare systems differ from country to country, but welfare is commonly provided to those who are unemployed, those with illness or disability, those of old age, those with dependent children and to veterans.
I don’t think that the welfare system that was in existence before Bill Clinton would have given very many benefits to Wall Street. I do think it would be providing some assistance to all the Main Streeters of America who could use a little help right now. Too bad it is no longer around when it is needed the most.

If you are thinking of voting Republican in the near future because of the unemployment situation, try to remember that they are the ones who pushed the hardest to take away your safety net.

Sometimes I think we are a nation of idiots, and that we deserve exactly what we get. Ironically, that sentence sounds like it could come from a Republican.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'd Be Happier If He Wiped It Off

From a Kyle Michel Sullivan comment at Hullabaloo:

People never learn. Bush fucked Afghanistan up but it'll be Obama's fault when we don't win it. Bush fucked the economy up, but it'll be Obama's fault if it doesn't turn around before 2010. Bush destroyed America's credibility around the world with his policies of kidnapping and torture, but it'll be Obama's fault for not throwing every member of Bush's vile cabinet into jail. Yet Obama's acting like we can still all just get along. Obama stepped into shit, but it IS his own damn fault he hasn't wiped it off his shoe. And once again, he's allowing the shit to stay right where it is by escalating the war in Afghanistan, and history be damned for daring to show no one can win in that part of the world. Period.

The Internets Today

I’ve been reading some of what has been rattling around in the internets tubes out there today and that is the best way to describe it. Out there.

After reading this post by Jonathan Schwarz several times my reaction remains the same. Huh? I must be missing something.

There also seems to be a meme spreading out in tube land that the people who are critical of Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan are wrong to criticize Obama because:

  • Obama is simply keeping his campaign promise to escalate the war in Afghanistan, you stupid fucks!

  • Ignore history. The fact that the Soviets couldn’t win in Afghanistan is irrelevant, you stupid fucks!

  • Obama says we will send more troops now so that we can leave Afghanistan in 18 months, you stupid fucks!
And this stuff is from leftist leaning sites. Go figure.

Will Obama 1.0 Help Create Osama 2.0?

From Tomasky, Moore, and Afghanistan by Lindsay Beyerstein:

…when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, a lot of people in the Muslim world saw it as struggle of Christendom vs. Islam. As a result, Afghanistan became a destination for would-be jihadists from all over the world. That's how Osama bin Laden got his start. If our goal is ultimately to marginalize Islamic extremists, we should be wary about escalating the kind of fight that galvanized them in the first place.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why Does Everyone Seem To Ignore This?

From WAR: It's Not the President's Decision by David Swanson:

The U.S. Constitution leaves the decision to wage war to Congress, and Congress can enforce its decision not to wage war by refusing to fund it. Blocking a funding bill for wars requires the House of Representatives alone, and both Democrats and Republicans in the House are rapidly joining us in saying No to war funding.

It's time to finally get serious, to lobby, to protest, to sit in, to nonviolently disrupt and resist in local district offices until enough Representatives commit to voting No on any bill to fund more war.
Public Opposes Wars, Will Our Representatives?

Arianna's Soft Porn

Does the Huffington Post want to be taken seriously?

Again, I ask WTF?

Victoria's Secret? 20 Layers Of Butt Makeup

Joanna Krupa's Naked Crucifix PETA Ad Photo (NSFW Picture)

How low can they go? With each passing day the descent continues.

What Would Jesus Do To Celebrate His Birth?

Would Jesus celebrate his birth with a display of hate and destruction? Would some of those who claim to follow his teachings celebrate his birth with a display of hate and destruction? Of course they would!

From Approaching Holidays Prompt Atheist Campaign by Ian Urbina:

An unusual holiday message began appearing this week in the nation’s capital on the sides of buses and trains.

“No god? ... No problem!” reads the advertisement featuring the smiling faces of people wearing Santa Claus hats. “Be good for goodness’ sake.”
Last year, a similar campaign by the association drew strong reactions.

The head of the Catholic League linked secular humanists to figures like Hitler and the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The publisher of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” complained about the signs. In Cincinnati, a billboard that said “Don’t believe in God? You’re Not Alone” had to be moved after the owner of the billboard property said he had received threats. In Moscow, Idaho, a sign that said “Good without God. Millions of humanists are” was vandalized twice in three weeks.
Obviously the First Amendment does not apply during Christmastime.

Over There

From Here We Go Again by Robert Scheer:

It is already a 30-year war begun by one Democratic president, and thanks to the political opportunism of the current commander in chief the Afghanistan war is still without end or logical purpose. President Barack Obama’s own top national security adviser has stated that there are fewer than 100 al-Qaida members in Afghanistan and that they are not capable of launching attacks. What superheroes they must be, then, to require 100,000 U.S. troops to contain them.
“Over there, over there, send the word, send the word, over there,

That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,

The drums rum-tum-ming everywhere

So prepare, say a prayer, send the word, send the word to beware

We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back 'til it's over Over There!” George M. Cohan

"We're fighting them there, so we don't have to fight them here.”
George W. Bush

Should Obama change his name to George to fit in? Perhaps, King George the Second?

Isn’t there something incredibly immoral about fighting our battles on someone else’s turf? I simply raise the question. I’m not saying that I want the battle to be fought in the United States. I also am not saying that nothing should be done. I simply ask the question. By way of explanation, here is another question. Why should the lives of the civilians of Afghanistan count for less than the lives of the civilians of the United States?

Will it ever be over, over there?

On The Issue Of Hate And The Sky Daddy

As an atheist I do not hate God. I cannot hate something that I do not believe in. Also, I do not hate believers. Even though I believe in their existence, I do not hate them. They sure do scare me sometimes, though. They also frustrate the hell out of me. Sometimes I even get a little angry with them. Jim Downey has helped me understand why I frequently feel this way.

I don’t hate the believers, yet it sure seems that many of them hate me. They also seem to fear me. That confuses me. After all, they have God on their side, and I don’t.

From So, do you "hate God"? by Jim Downey:

…the notion that atheists "hate God" has always struck me as being very insightful. No, no, not into our motivations or beliefs. Into the minds of the believers.

Because I don't give God much thought in my day to day existence. And I certainly don't spend any emotional energy on the Big Guy. Because, you know, I don't believe in Him. Or It. Or Them. In fact, the whole notion is about as silly as hating the Loch Ness Monster. It's just absurd.
Very interesting. Very insightful. Sometimes I think that I am slowly driving myself insane whenever I try to understand people who think and believe things (both political and religious) that are the exact opposite of what I believe. I find it very difficult to do, yet I continue to do it because I feel that I may learn something useful. I also feel that we need to agree on something/anything or we all shall perish into the abyss of total chaos. I wonder if those on the other side of the religious/political fence ever even try to understand the likes of me. It seems that I never have seen any signs of that happening. Even once.

Very often I am overwhelmed at the sheer verbosity of the religious when they try to use logic and evidence to prove the existence of God. They write and talk endlessly and never see that they have missed one little crucial point. You cannot make something out of nothing. Their logic and evidence are nonexistent. Everything that they offer as evidence and logic is actually make believe and pretend. And, as Jim Downey points out, they have some strange beliefs about atheists. They believe these things without evidence. This is why I believe that religion is very dangerous. If you can believe in the existence of God without any evidence, what is to stop you from believing in something else without evidence? (For example, that atheists hate God.) How many other things will you believe in before you truly jump into the deep end of lunacy? “Death panels” anyone?

How can one understand that which is impossible to understand? (I don’t mean God here, I mean the people that Jim Downey so aptly described.) How does one even begin to comprehend that another thinks that I can hate something that does not exist? It is mind boggling.

Thank you Mr. Downey for this little gem. And for Sky Daddy, as well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Perfect Summation Of The Republican Party

"They're very confused. In fact the only thing they are clear about is that they are very angry and unhappy with everything."

The Good News And The Bad News

The good news of the day:
"I have no aspirations for further office," Cheney said in an interview with Politico.

The bad news of the day:
Barack Obama seems to be morphing into Dick Cheney: Obama Sending 30,000 More Troops To Afghanistan.