Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Some Are More Equal Than Others

AP-NORC Poll: Religious Rights Most Vital for US Christians:

Americans place a higher priority on preserving the religious freedom of Christians than for other faith groups, ranking Muslims as the least deserving of the protections, according to a new survey.
Ted Cruz supporters explain how President Obama ruined American and Christmas. Oh no, not Christmas!:
"We don't need a President like Obama no more. He's ruined our country...he's ruined Christmas..he's let the Muslims in...we can't say that word, we got to be ashamed of everything. And we're not ashamed people, we're a proud people and we're going to take our country back. So watch out Obama we're coming."

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Is A Day Of Peace

In a grim reminder that violence in America never takes a holiday, 27 people were killed and 63 injured in shooting incidents on Christmas Day this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. This tally does not include people who shot themselves in suicide.

The number of Americans killed in gun homicides on Christmas Day is comparable to the number of people killed in gun homicides in an entire year in places like Australia or Britain. The 27 people killed by guns in America on Christmas this year is equal to the total number of people killed in gun homicides in an entire year in Austria, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Estonia, Bermuda, Hong Kong and Iceland, combined.

Quote Of Note - Jeffrey Tayler

"It’s time we woke up: religion is never the solution, never to be respected, and, always and ever, the problem." - Jeffrey Tayler

Quote Of Note - Jeffrey Tayler

"Stating belief in a sky god and his magic book suggests gullibility, childish wishful thinking, and a damning dearth of cognitive rigor, and, if nothing else, prompts the question, what other absurdities might they believe in?" - Jeffrey Tayler

The True Meaning Of Christmas

Over five million Americans went to see the new Star Wars movie on Christmas Day.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Real People Born On December 25

Musicians born today include Heinz Sauer, Merry Clayton, Jimmy Buffett, Bob James, Annie Lennox, Joe Louis Walker, Noel Redding, Don Pullen and others.

Also Happy Birthday to Ronnie Cuber, someone who provides me with real joy:

Quote Of Note - Tim Burgess

“The NRA and its allies always oppose these common sense steps to shine light on the gun violence epidemic. They have blocked funding for basic gun safety research at the federal level for decades. But in Seattle it is different. Judge Robinson saw through the NRA’s distorted efforts to put gun industry profits ahead of public safety.” - Tim Burgess

Monday, December 7, 2015

Good News

Of Course

Aiding And Abetting Terrorists

It is my belief that the NRA, along with Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, are aiding and abetting terrorists.

Justices Reject Challenge to Local Assault Weapons Ban:

Acting in the aftermath of the San Bernardino mass shooting, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from gun owners who challenged a Chicago suburb's ban on assault weapons.

Two conservative justices said they would have heard the case and struck down the ban.
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, said the Chicago appeals court ruling "flouts two of our Second Amendment precedents." Without mentioning any mass shootings in California and elsewhere that involved semi-automatic guns, Thomas said the weapons ban "is highly suspect because it broadly prohibits common semi-automatic firearms used for lawful purposes" by roughly five million Americans.

"The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting," Thomas wrote.
Five million Americans use semi-automatic firearms for target shooting?

Clarence Thomas was appointed by George H.W. Bush and Antonin Scalia was appointed by Ronald Reagan.

Suspected terrorist who cannot fly in the United States can legally purchase semi-automatic weapons in the United States because of an insane Republican Congress, the NRA, and good old Clarence and Antonin.

Here is a short list of what others are saying about gun violence in the United States:

Obama lays out solution for mass shootings while right-wing gun craziness continues

The Vast Injustice of Linking Gun Purchases to the No Fly List

Is More Required?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

What Would Jesus Carry?

What the hell is wrong with these people?

Tis the season to be packing heat. Nevada Assemblywoman posts Christmas card online festooned with firepower:
Courtesy of TPM: 

For Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore's (R) 2015 family Christmas card, which she posted on Facebook on Monday, her family was each outfitted with a gun. If it wasn't immediately obvious, Fiore is a staunch defender of Second Amendment rights. 

"It's up to Americans to protect America. We're just your ordinary American family. -With love & liberty, Michele," her message read. 

In the top left corner the card lists the guns photographed: a Beretta 92FS, Glock 30 .45ACP, Serbu Super-Shorty 12-gauge shotgun, Extar EXP-556, Walther P22 (LR), Glock 19 9mm and Glock 30 .45ACP. 

Fiore's daughters, Sheena and Savanah as well as her grandchildren Jake, Jayden, Mara and Morrigan, and her mother Lill are pictured. Jake, who a bio on Fiore's website says is at least 5 years old, is pictured holding the Walther P22.
But wait, there's more.

Arm yourselves against ‘Islamic terrorists’, Liberty U. president tells students:
(Reuters) Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Christian-based Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is encouraging students to carry concealed weapons on campus for protection, a local newspaper reported.

Falwell made his remarks at the school’s weekly convocation on Friday night, according to The News & Advance in Lynchburg. The comments came two days after a shooting in San Bernardino, California left 14 people dead and in the wake of other shooting sprees in the United States, including some on college campuses.

“It just blows my mind when I see that the president of the United States that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control,” Falwell said, according to the newspaper. “ I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.”

What Would Jesus Do With His Hands?

I dare you to read all of this. I sure can't. Do endless words that mean nothing get you into heaven?

Posture During the “Our Father” & the Rubrics:
Colin B. Donovan, STL, over at the EWTN website, states that the “orans’ posture in the congregation (arms outstretched in a “praying” or adoration position) is contrary to the rubrics:
The liturgical use of this position by the priest is spelled out in the rubrics (the laws governing how the Mass is said). It indicates his praying on BEHALF of us, acting as alter Christus as pastor of the flock, head of the body. . . .

It is never done by the Deacon, who does not represent the People before God but assists him who does.

Among the laity this practice began with the charismatic renewal. Used in private prayer it has worked its way into the Liturgy. It is a legitimate gesture to use when praying, as history shows, however, it is a private gesture when used in the Mass and in some cases conflicts with the system of signs which the rubrics are intended to protect. The Mass is not a private or merely human ceremony. The symbology of the actions, including such gestures, is definite and precise, and reflects the sacramental character of the Church’s prayer. . . .
Our Father. The intention for lay people using the Orans position at this time is, I suppose, that we pray Our Father, and the unity of people and priest together is expressed by this common gesture of prayer. Although this gesture is not called for in the rubrics, it does at least seem, on the surface, to not be in conflict with the sacramental sign system at the point when we pray Our Father. I say on the surface, however, since while lay people are doing this the deacon, whose postures are governed by the rubrics, may not do it. So, we have the awkward disunity created by the priest making an appropriate liturgical gesture in accordance with the rubrics, the deacon not making the same gesture in accordance with the rubricssome laity making the same gesture as the priest not in accordance with the rubrics, and other laity not making the gesture (for various reasons, including knowing it is not part of their liturgical role). In the end, the desire of the Church for liturgical unity is defeated.

After Our Father. This liturgical disunity continues after the Our Father when some, though not all, who assumed the Orans position during the Our Father continue it through the balance of the prayers, until after “For thine is the kingdom etc.” The rubrics provide that priest-concelebrants lower their extended hands, so that the main celebrant alone continues praying with hands extended, since he represents all, including his brother priests. So, we have the very anomalous situation that no matter how many clergy are present only one of them is praying with hands extended, accompanied by numbers of the laity.

So, while we shouldn’t attribute bad will to those who honestly have felt that there was some virtue in doing this during the Mass, it is yet another case where good will can achieve the opposite of what it intends when not imbued with the truth, in this case the truth about the sacramental nature of the postures at Mass and their meaning.
Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, in an article about postures during the Our Father, agrees, and provides more documentation:
The Holy See has been concerned about the laity unduly aping the priest at Mass, and in the 1997 Instruction on Collaboration, an unprecedented conjunction of Vatican dicasteries wrote:
6 § 2. To promote the proper identity (of various roles) in this area, those abuses which are contrary to the provisions of canon 907 [i.e., "In the celebration of the Eucharist, deacons and lay persons are not permitted to say the prayers, especially the eucharistic prayer, nor to perform the actions which are proper to the celebrating priest."] are to be eradicated. In eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers — e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology — or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to “quasi preside” at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity.
This instruction, incidentally, was approved by John Paul II in forma specifica, meaning that the pope invested it with his own authority and is binding on us with the pope’s authority and not merely the authority of the authoring congregations.

Now, what gestures are proper to the priest celebrant? The orans gesture when praying on behalf of the people is certainly one of them.
An article in Adoremus Bulletin offers yet more proof that this is an abuse:
Many AB readers have been asking about the orans posture during the Our Father (orans means praying; here it refers to the gesture of praying with uplifted hands, as the priest does during various parts of the Mass).

In some dioceses in the United States, people are being told that they should adopt this gesture, though it is not a customary posture for prayer for Catholic laity. Sometimes people are told that their bishop mandates this change because the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) requires it or at least encourages it.

Thus it may be helpful to review the actual regulations on the orans posture.

What does the GIRM say?First of all, nowhere in the current (2002) General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) does it say that the orans posture is recommended for the congregation during the Our Father.
In GIRM 43 and 160, the paragraphs dealing with the people’s posture during Mass, the only posture specified for the congregation at the Lord’s Prayer is standing. It says nothing at all about what people do with their hands. This is not a change from the past.
The confusion arose among bishops in the 1990s, when some were suggesting the orans position in the ICEL Sacramentary, but not in the new Roman Missal. But even the Sacramentary revision was “specifically rejected by the Holy See after the new Missal appeared.” The article continues:
At their November 2001 meeting, the bishops discussed “adaptations” to the new Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (or GIRM) of the new Missal (reported in AB February 2002). The proposal to introduce the orans posture for the people was not included even as an option in the US’ “adaptations” to the GIRM.

Furthermore, the bishops did not forbid hand-holding, either, even though the BCL originally suggested this in 1995. The reason? A bishop said that hand-holding was a common practice in African-American groups and to forbid it would be considered insensitive.

Thus, in the end, all reference to any posture of the hands during the Our Father was omitted in the US-adapted GIRM. The orans posture is not only not required by the new GIRM, it is not even mentioned.

The approved US edition of the GIRM was issued in April 2003, and is accessible on the USCCB web site -
Not on the listThe posture of the people during prayer at Mass is not one of the items in the GIRM list that bishop may change on his own authority (see GIRM 387). Thus it is not legitimate for a bishop to require people to assume the orans posture during the Our Father.

The GIRM does say that a bishop has the “responsibility above all for fostering the spirit of the Sacred Liturgy in the priests, deacons, and faithful”. He has the authority to see that practices in his diocese conform to the norms liturgical law, . . .

Holding hands during the Our Father is also clearly against the rubrics: thus should not be done on that basis alone. Catholic apologist Karl Keating wrote about this:
The current issue of the “Adoremus Bulletin” says this in response to a query from a priest in the Bronx:

“No gesture for the people during the Lord’s Prayer is mentioned in the official documents. The late liturgist Fr. Robert Hovda promoted holding hands during this prayer, a practice he said originated in Alcoholics Anonymous. Some ‘charismatic’ groups took up the practice.”

My long-time sense had been that hand-holding at the Our Father was an intrusion from charismaticism, but I had not been aware of the possible connection with AA. If this is the real origin of the practice, it makes it doubly odd: first, because hand-holding intrudes a false air of chumminess into the Mass (and undercuts the immediately-following sign of peace), and second, because modifications to liturgical rites ought to arise organically and not be borrowed from secular self-help groups.

Periodically, on “Catholic Answers Live” I am asked about hand-holding during Mass and explain that it is contrary to the rubrics. Usually I get follow-up e-mails from people who say, “But it’s my favorite part of the Mass” or “We hold hands as a family, and it makes us feel closer.”

About the latter I think, “It’s good to feel close as a family, but you can hold hands at home or at the mall. The Mass has a formal structure that should be respected. That means you forgo certain things that you might do on the outside.”

About the former comment I think, “If this is the high point of the Mass for you, you need to take Remedial Mass 101. The Mass is not a social event. It is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary, and it is the loftiest form of prayer. It should be attended with appropriate solemnity.”
Further comments, from interaction on the CHNI board. The words of Rick Luquette over there will be in green (official documents indented and in regular black) :
Currently the following is found from the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship:
Many Catholics are in the habit of holding their hands in the “Orans” posture during the Lord’s prayer along with the celebrant. Some do this on their own as a private devotional posture while some congregations make it a general practice for their communities.
Is this practice permissible under the current rubrics, either as a private practice not something adopted by a particular parish as a communal gesture?
No position is prescribed in the present Sacramentary for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.
Well (to use the logical technique of reductio ad absurdum), if all gestures are left open, then could congregations spontaneously decide to hug one another during the Our Father? Or how about lifting up one arm heavenward? Or all turning towards each other (i.e., the center of the church)?
The General Instructions of the Roman Missal includes the following:
390. It is up to the Conferences of Bishops to decide on the adaptations indicated in this General Instruction and in the Order of Mass and, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See, to introduce them into the Missal itself.
These adaptations include

The gestures and posture of the faithful (cf. no. 43 above);

The gestures of veneration toward the altar and the Book of the Gospels (cf. no. 273 above);

The texts of the chants at the entrance, at the presentation of the gifts, and at Communion (cf. nos. 48, 74, 87 above);

The readings from Sacred Scripture to be used in special circumstances (cf. no. 362 above);

The form of the gesture of peace (cf. no. 82 above);

The manner of receiving Holy Communion (cf. nos. 160, 283 above);

The materials for the altar and sacred furnishings, especially the sacred vessels, and also the materials, form, and color of the liturgical vestments (cf. nos. 301, 326, 329, 339, 342-346 above).

Directories or pastoral instructions that the Conferences of Bishops judge useful may, with the prior recognitio of the Apostolic See, be included in the Roman Missal at an appropriate place.
So it appears that at present, there is no recommended position for the hands of the faithful at the Our Father.

I should think it is obvious that it would be either hands at the side or clasped or in the hands-joined prayer position. But is not the orans position specifically prohibited, since it is imitating the posture of the priest? As Colin B. Donovan wrote (as I cited):
. . . since while lay people are doing this the deacon, whose postures are governed by the rubrics, may not do it. So, we have the awkward disunity created by the priest making an appropriate liturgical gesture in accordance with the rubrics, the deacon not making the same gesture in accordance with the rubricssome laity making the same gesture as the priest not in accordance with the rubrics, and other laity not making the gesture (for various reasons, including knowing it is not part of their liturgical role). In the end, the desire of the Church for liturgical unity is defeated.
Also, Jimmy Akin cited the 1997 Instruction on Collaboration (specifically approved by Pope John Paul II):
Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to “quasi preside” at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity.
That precludes the orans position, though it itself doesn’t seem to prohibit hand-holding (because the priest is not doing that at this time). What is your counter-explanation for that? What you decline to call any abuse at all is called “abuses” and “a grave abuse” by this papally-approved document. If bishops say otherwise, then the faithful Catholic still has the right to appeal to Church-wide proclamations from the Vatican, which carry more authority than bishops, and are to be followed in cases of contradiction. Some priests, however, have refused to give communion to a kneeling recipient, when the Church has specifically stated that all Catholics have a right to receive kneeling. The document above also made reference to Canon 907 from the Catholic Code of Canon Law:
Can. 907 In the eucharistic celebration deacons and lay persons are not permitted to offer prayers, especially the eucharistic prayer, or to perform actions which are proper to the celebrating priest.
Lacking specific instruction from the competent authority (the USCCB) you quote Jimmy Akin as saying holding hands during the Our Father is contrary to the rubrics. Following the link you provided to his article, he states:
Standing means standing without doing anything fancy with your arms.
This appears to be his rationale for declaring that holding hands is against the rubrics. Unfortunately, he does not give any authoritative reference for this statement. To the best of my knowledge, the definition of the word “standing” does not include “without doing anything fancy with your arms”.

Let me cite him at greater length from this article:
Standing means standing without doing anything fancy with your arms. It is distinct, for example, from the orans posture, which the priest uses when he stands and prays with arms outstretched. It is also distinct from the hand-holding posture.

The latter is not expressly forbidden in liturgical law because it is one of those “Please don’t eat the daisies” situations. The legislator (the pope) did not envision that anybody would try to alter the standing posture in this way. As a result, the practice is not expressly forbidden, the same way that standing on one foot and hopping up and down as an effort to get closer to God in heaven is not expressly forbidden.

In general what liturgical documents do is to say what people should be doing and not focus on what they should not be doing (though there are exceptions). To prevent “Please don’t eat the daisies” situations, what the law does is prohibit things that aren’t mentioned in the liturgical books. Here’s the basic rule:
Can. 846 §1. In celebrating the sacraments the liturgical books approved by competent authority are to be observed faithfully; accordingly, no one is to add, omit, or alter anything in them on one’s own authority.
Akin is not the magisterium, of course, but he is a highly respected apologist who has written a book about rubrics in the Mass (Mass Confusion: The Do’s and Don’ts of Catholic Worship; San Diego: Catholic Answers, 1999). He also regularly cites folks like canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters (who has written about liturgical confusion and need for further codification).
He also says:
Changing from standing to hand holding during the Lord’s Prayer would be an alteration or addition of something provided for in the liturgical books and thus would be at variance with the law.
Sneezing is an addition not provided in the liturgical books either. Standing and hand-holding are not either/or positions; they are both/and. I can hold hands while I stand.

I can also hug, kiss, clasp my hands far above my head, make a peace sign, clench my fists, point my fingers towards the priest with arms outstretched, or straight up, pick wax out of my ear, scratch my head, comb my hair, wave, put my hands on my waist (like an outfielder in baseball) and do any number of things while standing, that are not mentioned, either. Quite obviously a line has to be drawn somewhere. If these things were spontaneously introduced by the laity during Mass, then the Church has a right to more specifically define what can or can’t be done (and folks should be reasonable in interpreting what “standing” means).

Isn’t it common sense, anyway that “stand” means standing without implied reference to anything else (though not necessarily precluding gestures)? If one is, for example, told to stand in a courtroom, they wouldn’t stand in the orans posture or hold someone’s hands while standing, or put their hands on the top of their head. It would never cross their mind. So why would it be different in church?
I can assume the Orans posture while standing.
Not (or so it seems) according to Canon 907 and the high-level Instruction on Collaboration and deductively from the fact that even a deacon cannot do so. The laity can spontaneously do what a deacon cannot do?
Zenit, in a Q & A with Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum, provides the following:
Some readers asked if the U.S. bishops’ vote against allowing the “orantes” posture meant that this gesture was forbidden in the United States. The bishops, in deciding not to prescribe or suggest any particular gesture during the Our Father, did not therefore proscribe any particular gesture either.
The bishops’ conference decision does limit the possibility of another authority such as a pastor or even a diocesan bishop from prescribing this gesture as obligatory. But it need not constrain an individual from adopting the “orantes” posture nor, in principle, stop a couple or small group from spontaneously holding hands.
While holding hands during the Our Father is very much a novelty in the millenarian history of Catholic liturgy, the “orantes” posture, as one reader from Virginia reminds us, is as old as Christianity, is depicted in the catacombs, has always been preserved in the Eastern rites and was not reserved to the priest until after several centuries in the Latin rite — and even then not everywhere.
The controversy regarding the use of the “orantes” posture for the Our Father appears to be confined to the English-speaking world. In many other places, it is pacifically accepted as an optional gesture which any member of the community is free to perform if so inclined.
I think this is interesting in light of the other things mentioned above. I’d sincerely like to see how Fr. McNamara harmonizes them.
So the Orans (or orantes) posture is not forbidden; it is a historical posture of the Church, and it is commonly accepted throughout the world.
It was not a common posture during Mass, according to canon lawyer Edward Peters, who observed:
While the orans position as such has a rich tradition in Jewish and even ancient Christian prayer life, there is no precedent for Catholic laity assuming the orans position in Western liturgy for at least a millennium and a half; that point alone cautions against its introduction without careful thought. Moreover — and notwithstanding the fact that few liturgical gestures are univocal per se — lay use of the orans gesture in Mass today, besides injecting gestural disunity in liturgy, could further blur the differences between lay liturgical roles and those of priests just at a time when distinctions between the baptismal priesthood and the ordained priesthood are struggling for a healthy articulation.
The previous Zenit article in the series includes the following statement from Fr. McNamara regarding the Orans/Orantes posture:
Despite appearances, this gesture is not, strictly speaking, a case of the laity trying to usurp priestly functions.
The Our Father is the prayer of the entire assembly and not a priestly or presidential prayer. In fact, it is perhaps the only case when the rubrics direct the priest to pray with arms extended in a prayer that he does not say alone or only with other priests. Therefore, in the case of the Our Father, the orantes posture expresses the prayer directed to God by his children.
The U.S. bishops’ conference debated a proposal by some bishops to allow the use of the orantes posture while discussing the “American Adaptations to the General Instruction to the Roman Missal” last year. Some bishops even argued that it was the best way of ridding the country of holding hands. The proposal failed to garner the required two-thirds majority of votes, however, and was dropped from the agenda.
Fr. McNamara adds that this posture is accepted and officially recommended in Italy, with Vatican approval.
As I have said before, I am not in favor of holding hands during the Our Father. I accept the Orans posture but would quite happily do without it. However, given that there are no instructions to the contrary (and the document quoted by Mr. Akin is intended to address a completely different issue), I see no prohibition against it.
Then I look forward to your counter-explanations of what I have reiterated above. Thanks for the discussion.

Sonny Boy Williamson Was Born On December 5, 1912

He first recorded with Elmore James on "Dust My Broom" and some of his popular songs include "Don't Start Me Talkin'", "Help Me", "Checkin' Up on My Baby", and "Bring It On Home". He toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival and recorded with English rock musicians, including the Yardbirds, the Animals, and Jimmy Page. "Help Me" became a blues standard and many blues and rock artists have recorded his songs.

Quote Of Note - Craig Mazin

"I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone. I would rather pick somebody from the phone book." Craig Mazin (Ted Cruz's freshman roommate at Princeton.)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Quote Of Note - Hili

"There are more and more words in these newspapers and less and less content." - Hili

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Quote Of Note - Sam Harris

"The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we will kill you." - Sam Harris

The Religion Of Peace

Hatred and Hell:

One of the more common tricks that today's Muslims disingenuously play on the truly naive is to pretend that that Muhammad instructed his followers to love and not to hate.  This is a partial truth.  There are Hadith that tell Muslims not to hate and not to do harm in word or deed (Muslim (1:65)) but the context and exact wording makes it very clear that this applies within the Muslim community to a believer's relations with fellow Muslims.  These are not commands that govern a Muslim's obligation to the general community.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Question Of Note - Catherine Baab-Muguira

"Why is buying only what you need a weird thing to do?" - Catherine Baab-Muguira

Quote Of Note - Maryam Namazie

"Freedom of expression and the right to criticise and leave Islam without fear and intimidation is a basic human right." - Maryam Namazie

My God, The Hell-Bound Ignoramus Is Right

Wrong again, God boy

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dumbass Quote Of Note - David Brooks

"The good news is there is no reason to be pessimistic during the war on terrorism. Individuals and societies are tough and resilient, and usually emerge from attacks better than before." - David Brooks

Monday, November 23, 2015

Quote Of Note - Jeffrey Tayler

"After all, in the United States, as has already happened across much of Europe, rejection of the supernatural continues its unstoppable expansion, with religion’s demise promising the sunniest pastures mankind has ever known." - Jeffrey Tayler

Dumbass Quote Of Note - Ted Cruz

"There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror." - Ted Cruz

Timothy McVeigh?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Quote Of Note - Jason Rosenhouse

"Mostly they don’t know anything about anything, which is why they are reticent about having serious discussions about anything." - Jason Rosenhouse

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dumbass Quote Of Note - Donald Trump

"If I become president, we're all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you. That I can tell you." - Donald Trump

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Is Bernie Sanders Plagiarizing Red Green?

Sanders doesn’t dodge many questions, but when the ABC late-night host asked the senator whether he believes in God, Sanders replied, “I am who I am, and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about, is that we’re all in this together.
Red gives out sage advice from behind his fly tying workbench, usually talking to older men about married life or coping with changing society ("Let's face it", he quipped in one episode, "these days, if you're not young, you're old.") This segment always concluded with, "Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Good Question

No Comment

I did an internet search for "religious twaddle" and found:

What Does Equality Actually Mean?

Chick-fil-A wins in 'Faith Equality Index':

A website called Faith Driven Consumer that lists which companies are best in terms of espousing Christian values has given top billing to Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby, two businesses that have made media waves in recent months because of attacks on their executives’ faith.
Now both businesses are getting back-pats for the very Christian values that caused previous firestorms. The two filled first and second spots on the Faith Equality Index, the just-released survey to see what companies are most Christian.
First, there were no attacks on "their executives’ faith". Second, how is this a "Faith Equality Index"?

: the same in number, amount, degree, rank, or quality
: having the same mathematical value
: not changing : the same for each person
If things are equal there are no first and second spots. There are no winners.

If things are equal there is room for atheists, satanists, Muslims, Jews, etc.

Perhaps reading the dictionary instead of the Bible would be useful.

Dumbass Quote Of Note - Ben Carson

"The good Lord has provided me with mechanisms like my syndicated column and like Fox News. We'd be Cuba if there were no Fox News." - Ben Carson

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Intelligent Vampires

Intelligent design:

  • Joe finds a computer and sees that the computer is irreducibly complex.

  • Joe claims that because the computer contains irreducible complexity, it can be inferred that it was designed by intelligent vampires.

  • Dan retorts "but wait. How do you know that intelligent vampires will create designs that are irreducibly complex?"

What Does Science Say About Vampires?

As the weather cools and Halloween approaches, creaks in the stairs and scary stories become more believable -- but not to physics professor Costas Efthimiou.

The laws of physics and math debunk popular myths about ghosts and vampires, according to a paper published by Efthimiou and Sohang Gandhi last year.

Using Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion, Efthimiou demonstrates that ghosts would not be able to walk and pass through walls. Basic math disproves the legend of humans turning into vampires after they are bitten, Efthimiou explains, because the entire human population in 1600 would have been wiped out in less than three years.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Can Ideas Have Consequences?

This past weekend, more than 1,500 people attended the National Conference on Christian Apologetics in Charlotte, NC. The theme was "Ideas Have Consequences." Among the speakers was Discovery Institute Fellow Paul Nelson, who gave three separate presentations to highly engaged and enthusiastic attendees. His first session was a premier screening of Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth, in partnership with Illustra Media. This beautifully filmed and wonderfully narrated documentary shows marvelous examples of design in dolphins, turtles, salmon, and whales.

The crowd of over a hundred at the screening thoroughly enjoyed the film. In the Q&A session afterward, Dr. Nelson received many positive comments and excellent queries about current evolutionary explanations for the origin of Cetaceans, how to promote Illustra films, and what people can do to encourage discussions on the evidence for design in nature and the shortcomings of materialist philosophy.
There is more. I read it all and I don't understand any of it. I don't understand how ideas can have consequences, unless you are using the definition "a conclusion derived through logic". I think that actions based on ideas can have consequences.

The only thing that makes sense of this nonsense is that it is produced by The Discovery Institute. How dare they use the URL

Christian Apologetics really are the worst. Their writings are total word salad. They make Sarah Palin look good. I dare you to read Dave Armstrong.

Duping theologians:
In 2012, atheist philosopher Maarten Boudry committed a Sokal-style hoax against a theology conference[12] by submitting an intentionally absurd abstract, under an anagrammatic pseudonym,[13] that was promptly accepted.[14] Conference abstracts are not subject to peer-review, so getting this sort of material under the radar isn't as difficult as it might seem - and should a conference be desperate for the numbers, they might just accept any old rubbish to fill the slots. Yet, even a casual read-through of Boudry's abstract shows it to be clearly a load of nonsense. The opening sentences form a semi-coherent screed about Darwinian evolution:
In the Darwinian perspective, order is not immanent in reality, but it is a self-affirming aspect of reality in so far as it is experienced by situated subjects. However, it is not so much reality that is self-affirming, but the creative order structuring reality which manifests itself to us.
Boudry even managed to shoehorn Dawkins' name into the abstract, too, suggesting that we should "reframe our sense of locatedness of existence within a the space of radical contingency of spiritual destiny"[sic] — which is, somehow, contrary to Dawkins' own assertions. The lesson to draw from this? sometimes, "expertise" really means "using big words," and it doesn't take much to impress people who are eager to have their own views reinforced no matter what. As Jerry Coyne noted:
I defy you to understand what he’s saying, but of course it appeals to those who, steeped in Sophisticated Theology™, love a lot of big words that say nothing but somehow seem to criticize materialism while affirming the divine. It doesn’t hurt if you diss Dawkins a couple of times, either.

Jerry Coyne On Atheists, Antitheists, And Humanists

Self-abasing atheist at the Guardian calls atheism is a “leap of faith”:
Failure to accept gods is no more a leap of faith than is doubting the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, or Santa Claus. It’s not “faith” when you refuse to accept a proposition for which there’s no evidence.

In general I agree with Oluo’s thesis that atheism usually jibes with a liberal outlook. Many conservative political views derive at bottom from religion. And there’s a lot of evidence that religion is often an outgrowth of social injustice: the heart of a heartless world. Ergo, if you’re an antitheist and want to work towards the abolition of faith, one way to do that is to improve the lives of the impoverished and dispossessed.

But not all atheists are antitheists, and not all of them accept the connection between social well-being and nonbelief. Atheism is simply the refusal to accept supernatural deities, and there are plenty of conservative atheists. The view that this life is all we have, and that we should help our fellow creatures, is not atheism but humanism.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Quote Of Note - Gail Collins

"Every seasoned politician is good at answering a difficult question with the answer to something entirely different." - Gail Collins

Monday, October 26, 2015

Quote Of Note - Jeffrey Tayler

"Religion is, after all, implicitly arrogant. It assumes it knows the truth, that its followers are saved and that the rest of us are deluded and even damned. Are we really going to sit by as faith movements demand “tolerance” for such views, and try to make us to submit to their wills? Whether religion offers solace to some isn’t the issue. The submission and control it seeks to impose is. Toss out the Supreme Being and we’re left with one set of humans striving to dominate another, and justifying themselves with ideology based on nothing but myth." - Jeffrey Tayler

Friday, October 23, 2015

History Can Be Interesting

I like to invest in common stocks from time to time. For some reason I started to think about well known companies that have been around for a long time, but have transformed themselves into something different from what they started out as. In particular I was curious about Wells Fargo and Western Union. So I checked them out on Wikipedia and learned some things I did not know.

The Fargo in Wells Fargo was William G. Fargo, not Fargo, North Dakota. Henry Wells and William G. Fargo founded Wells Fargo in 1852. William G. Fargo was mayor of Buffalo, NY from 1862 to 1863 and again from 1864 to 1865. Wells and Fargo previously had founded American Express.

In 1850, American Express was started as an express mail business in Buffalo, New York. American Express is another one of those companies that has been around for a long time, but has transformed itself into something other than what it started as.

Western Union was founded in 1851 in Rochester, NY by Ezra Cornell. Cornell was a co-founder of Cornell University.

Three companies, three years: 1850, 1851 and 1852, plus three people provided us with changing industries that remain to this day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Extremist Views

Why Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky are Both Right:

Bringing the discussion full circle, Harris is correct in asserting that beliefs influence actions. In particular, apocalyptic beliefs can be used to excuse virtually any act of violence and treachery on the grounds that the present moment is one of cosmic significance and urgency. But beliefs don’t exist in a vacuum. The material conditions in which people find themselves can have a profound influence on the sort of worldview they adopt. And this is where Chomsky is correct. The West has an absolutely sordid history of aggressive, self-interested, and morally questionable meddling in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries. The debacle known as the Iraq War created a situation of widespread desperation that's seduced a whole generation of religiously-inclined people to latch onto extremist views they otherwise wouldn't have accepted. In turn, these views then modified their behavioral patterns in ideologically specific ways.

Money Money Money

Tim Egan has been working since he was 14. He’s now 56 and has spent most of his career as a restaurant manager. He has virtually nothing saved for retirement and, until last month, never had a 401(k) account.

Little wonder: Only two of the 20 restaurants where Egan has worked in the past four decades had retirement-savings plans.

“The restaurant business is what I’m good at, but few owners, especially of small places, offer retirement benefits, no matter how much money you help them earn,” says Egan, who worked his way up from dishwasher to waiter to bartender before rising to manager 20 years ago.

Egan’s story isn’t unusual among the legions of Americans who work part time, switch jobs frequently or earn their livings at small companies, which generated two-thirds of all new jobs last year. Even as people live longer and must save more for old age than prior generations, most can not depend on any help from employers. Almost half of U.S. workers didn’t have a company-sponsored retirement plan in 2013, compared with 39 percent in 1999, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York.
Where in America are people the most ready for retirement, financially? Looks like it's the east coast.

Delaware ranks as the most prepared state for retirement, according to data by Personal Capital, an app-focused financial advisor. Personal Capital users in Delaware have the highest average amount of savings to date, at $286,277.
Millennials have grown up with technology playing a leading role in their lives and as a result are quick to embrace the latest and greatest device, app or social network. But that comfort with technology puts them at particular risk for identity theft at a time when the criminals are getting increasingly greedy.

Consider this: According to the Javelin Strategy 2015 Identity Fraud report, thieves stole $16 billion from 12.7 million U.S. consumers in 2014. That amounts to a new identity fraud victim every 2 seconds, according to Javelin.

And, Americans age 20-29 make up 15% of identity theft complaints, according to a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission.

Stupid Motorist Law

POLL: Would You Support a Flood-Related 'Stupid Motorist Law' in Your State?:
Thanks to a piece of legislation nicknamed the "stupid motorist law," drivers who either disobey traffic barricades or who attempt to drive through a roadway covered in high water are liable to pay for any resulting expenses from a rescue.

The law was enacted in 1995 and serves as more of a reminder of what not to do in a flood situation.

Other states have adopted similar laws as well, hoping to prevent motorists from making a fatal mistake.
I'd support a 'stupid gun owner law' as well.

How Many More Times? - 028

8 year old girl dies after gun falls to the floor while her mother braids her hair

By the way, this was officially ruled as an accident.

How Many More Times? - 027

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rand Paul Is Full Of It

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joined South Carolina radio host Vince Coakley yesterday to discuss the first Democratic presidential debate, where he said the candidates were “all trying to outdo each other in their disdain for the economic system of capitalism that made us great.”

The Republican presidential candidate linked Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist in the mold of Northern European countries, to the murderous communist regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, saying that “most of the times when socialism has been tried” there “has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it.”
The "economic system of capitalism" has given us the 1%. Bernie Sanders is simply saying that the remaining 99% deserve a little bit of America's "greatness" as well.

Many countries have existed with varying degrees of democratic socialism: Scandinavian countries, France, Germany, Poland, Canada, Bolivia, Greece, etc. Are these countries rampant with mass genocide?

Many people have associated themselves with democratic socialism: Helen Keller, Nelson Mandela, Eugene V. Debs, Russel Brand, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, Erich Fromm, Howard Zinn, George Orwell, Martin Luther King Jr., Barbara Ehrenreich, Christopher Hitchens, etc. Are these people mass murderers?

Bernie Sanders first started representing the people of Vermont in 1981, first as the mayor of Burlington. How much mass genocide has occurred in Vermont since then?

The good news is that neither Sanders nor European social democratic parties favor the creation of a Soviet-style economy or a Soviet-style political system. There are plenty of other models of socialist society, some of which have worked in practice, and many of which have never been tried.

In particular, the Nordic social democracies that Sanders praises are demonstrably economic success stories. One could fairly argue that these societies have successfully ended, or at least drastically curtailed, the worst excesses of capitalism. In 2012, the relative poverty rate — the share of the population living on less than half the median income — was only 9 percent in Sweden and 5.4 percent in Denmark. In the US, by contrast, it was 17.9 percent. Infant mortality in Finland is roughly half that in the US, largely because poor Finns get better health care than poor Americans.
Implying that Bernie Sanders wants mass genocide makes Rand Paul a very bad man.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fight Or Flight

Police: Man wields brick; pastor wields gun:
A Detroit church service turned tragic Sunday when a man with a brick went after the pastor, but likely didn’t anticipate what would follow: the pastor pulled out a semiautomatic pistol and fatally shot the man, police said.
Jesus loves you. Peace be with you.

I Usually Prefer KISS

An innovative, government-sponsored program aimed at funding energy-saving home improvements has drawn praise from powerful supporters, including President Obama. But complaints from a growing number of homeowners, lenders and realtors in California suggest the financing is making homes more difficult to sell and disrupting the mortgage market.

More than 50,000 California households have signed up for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing since state legislators passed a law in 2008 allowing residents to borrow money for such things as solar panels and energy-efficient windows. The financing method, authorized by cities and counties, and funded  by venture capital-backed startups like Renovate America Inc, Renew Financial LLC and Ygrene Energy Fund Inc, is then paid off through special assessments on property tax bills.

Because the improvements stay with the home, and subsequent owners will reap the benefits of them, the assessments are intended to remain with the property in the event of a sale.

But some homeowners trying to sell their houses have found potential buyers scared off by the higher tax assessments. And now realtors in the state are organizing against PACE, saying it makes getting new mortgages much tougher and can leave sellers stuck in their homes.
It seems to me that if these homeowners had paid for their renovations out of pocket they wouldn't have the problems they are having. I Usually Prefer KISS. Not the band, the acronym which translates to "Keep it simple stupid".

Internet Insecurity

In late 2014, cyber intruders linked to Russia were able to break into the State Department's email system, infecting it so thoroughly that it had to be cut off from the Internet in March while experts worked to eliminate the infestation.
Senior State Department officials disagree. They say the Russian hack was the result of a "well-crafted intelligence operation" designed to look normal to the employee who clicked on the attachment, and it was unrelated to other cybersecurity deficiencies.

No technology can completely thwart the most sophisticated of such hacks, but one official familiar with State's cyber deficiencies argues that the department's sloppy security means officials can't be sure other breaches haven't gone undetected.
Do we rely on the internet too much?

The most secure database is one that is not connected to the internet. I wonder if there are any? I wonder if there should be more?

There are ways of inputting and outputting data to a database without the internet. Should we go back to some of the "old" ways of doing things? I don't know. I do know that hackers would have a harder time of hacking these systems.

Sometimes I think that I would happily give up speed for safety, but I live in a world where 4 to 5 seconds is an eternity.

Since customers will eventually no longer pay with a swipe of a card, the “process can take as long as 4, 5 seconds so it’s really slowing the transaction down,” said Chris Britt, the co-founder and CEO of Chime, a mobile bank account and rewards app. Britt maintains the slowdown will turnoff millennials from using cards as a form of payment altogether.

“We actually think that this is going to result in changing the way people pay and probably shift it even faster to mobile payments,” he said.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Quote Of Note - Hillary Clinton

"We have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone on too long, and it’s time the entire country stood up against the NRA." -  Hillary Clinton

Dumbass Quote Of Note - Grover Norquist

"When they start to say that people with guns are the problem, that they don’t trust people with guns, and that people with guns are somehow connected to mass murders, that’s what turns voters off." - Grover Norquist

Saturday, October 17, 2015

These People Should Call Moose And Squirrel

What Scares Americans: Going Broke, Terrorism and Sometimes Zombies:

The survey also revealed that some Americans fear the supernatural, with 9.7 percent of people have a strong fear of ghosts and 8.5 percent dreading zombies.
What scares me is people who believe in the supernatural.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bern Bern Bern

This may sound like radical, left-wing talk within the elite circles where most of the Washington political and media class travel, but it sounds like common sense to vast numbers of people across the country. Americans of all regions, political affiliations, ages, and races recognize that what Sanders says is true. And they find it refreshing that finally there is a politician who says it with the kind of conviction and track record that makes it believable, not just a campaign posture.

Speaking plainly and saying things that vast numbers of the American people agree with is what makes Bernie Sanders a much more creditable candidate than the mainstream media has recognized. It’s why Sanders is drawing such enormous crowds on the campaign trail. It’s why his poll numbers are close to or better than Clinton’s in key primary states and nationwide. It’s why he is raising as much money as Clinton is, despite forgoing donations from the millionaires and billionaires who dominate every other candidate’s fundraising efforts.

The Big Fool Said To Push On

Barbara Lee has always had the clearest vision when it comes to the US role in Afghanistan—and the rest of the world.

The California congresswoman cast the sole vote in the US Congress against the Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As a veteran congressional aide and legislator who has a long history of highly engaged and thoughtful involvement with global issues, Lee did not oppose responding in appropriate and necessary ways to genuine threats to the United States. But she feared the open-ended authorization would become a blank check for endless war in the targeted country of Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Lee was right. On October 7, 14 years after the launch of the Afghanistan War, she noted that it has become “our nation’s longest war” and said that “sadly, there seems to be no end in sight. Despite a war-weary public, calls continue to keep more U.S. troops in Afghanistan for many more years.”
Waist Deep In The Big Muddy Lyrics

It was back in nineteen forty-two,
I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in-a Loozianna,
One night by the light of the moon.
The captain told us to ford a river,
That's how it all begun.
We were -- knee deep in the Big Muddy,
But the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, are you sure,
This is the best way back to the base?"
"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
'Bout a mile above this place.
It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We'll soon be on dry ground."
We were -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, with all this equipment
No man will be able to swim."
"Sergeant, don't be a Nervous Nellie,"
The Captain said to him.
"All we need is a little determination;
Men, follow me, I'll lead on."
We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

All at once, the moon clouded over,
We heard a gurgling cry.
A few seconds later, the captain's helmet
Was all that floated by.
The Sergeant said, "Turn around men!
I'm in charge from now on."
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the captain dead and gone.

We stripped and dived and found his body
Stuck in the old quicksand.
I guess he didn't know that the water was deeper
Than the place he'd once before been.
Another stream had joined the Big Muddy
'Bout a half mile from where we'd gone.
We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy
When the big fool said to push on.

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!


FUBAR Morality

The Fog of Intelligence:

You get the point. Whatever the efforts of that expansive corps of intelligence analysts (and the vast intelligence edifice behind it), when anything happens in the Greater Middle East, you can essentially assume that the official American reaction, military and political, will be “surprise” and that policymakers will be left “scrambling” in a quagmire of ignorance to rescue American policy from the unexpected. In other words, somehow, with what passes for the best, or at least most extensive and expensive intelligence operation on the planet, with all those satellites and drones and surveillance sweeps and sources, with crowds of analysts, hordes of private contractors, and tens of billions of dollars, with, in short, “intelligence” galore, American officials in the area of their wars are evidently going to continue to find themselves eternally caught “off guard.”
The Republicans think that war is moral and that war deserves as many tax dollars as we can throw at it. Even when it is not working. Even when it lasts FOURTEEN YEARS.

The Republicans think that womens health issues are immoral and deserve zero tax dollars.

FUBAR morality.

The Wonder And Glory Of Religion

Palestinians have torched a Jewish holy site in the West Bank city of Nablus, amid soaring tensions with Israel.

Rioters set fire to a tomb revered as that of the biblical figure Joseph. The site, where Jews go to pray, was badly damaged.
Another example of two religions of peace in action.

This I Know, For The Bible Tells Me So

The King James Bible was the work of 47 translators working in teams, or “companies”, working in London, Oxford and Cambridge. They had been charged by King James I to produce an authorised version of the bible that would support the Church of England over Puritan influence in earlier texts.
It's the word of God, he won't mind if we mess around with it to suit our own agenda.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I Guess Jesus Died On Top Of A Water Tower

Residents of a Kentucky city are pushing back against an atheist group that is attempting to have a cross removed from a water tower with the help of like-minded Christians from across the nation.

A Pro-Cross Rally is scheduled for this upcoming Saturday in Wilmore, Ky., a small city with a population of 6,000. Hundreds of white crosses this week have appeared on residents’ front lawns throughout the city to show support after the Freedom From Religion Foundation demanded that the city remove the cross and a picture of the water tower from the city’s website. The group claims that the cross “unabashedly creates the perception of government endorsement of Christianity” and “has an exclusionary effect, making non-Christian and non-believing residents of Wilmore political outsiders.”

The cross has been located for over four decades on top of a water tower on Asbury University, a Christian school. The city owns the water tower, but the university pays the electric bill for the cross.
Boy, this is a weird one. Forty years! Just when you think you've seen it all, along comes another cross, and it's electric. Isn't this one kind of sacrilegious? Or is a cross on top of a water tower dignified?

What the hell would Jesus think?


Can atheists find spirituality without God?

Depends on what you mean by spirituality. If it means belief in anything supernatural, the answer is no.

 Merriam-Webster says:

the quality or state of being concerned with religion or religious matters : the quality or state of being spiritual
Why ask the question anyway. The implication is that atheists are missing out on something. No, we are not.

Take away the supernatural, and you are still left with everything else. In fact, it's kind of hard to take away the supernatural, because it's not there.

We're Number Two

China has passed the United States in the number of billionaires, driven by the rise of fortunes in technology and manufacturing, according to a survey released Thursday.

Despite a cooling economy, the number of Chinese billionaires rose by 242 this year to 596, according to The Hurun Report, which follows China's wealthy. It said that surpassed the 537 the company found in the United States.

Dumbass Quote Of Note - Rev. Greg Locke

"Let me tell you something, when they are in sixth grade they get a half a page of watered down Christianity that has about as much Bible as a thimble, if you will, and now there’s 28 pages they have to learn about Islam, and Mohammad, and how it all came about, and about the holy Koran, and the Five Pillars of Islam, and how they pray, and when they pray, and where they pray, and how they pray, and why they pray, and about pilgrimages and all this and then they say that Allah is the only God." - Rev. Greg Locke

Faux News, Faux Fair, Faux Balanced, Faux Guest

Fox News Regular Indicted Over Allegedly Concocting Bogus CIA Past:

A frequent guest on Fox News claimed he worked 27 years for the CIA but in fact never worked for the agency, according to a federal indictment announced Thursday.

Wayne Shelby Simmons was arrested following his indictment by a federal grand jury for fraud, accused of lying about his employment at agency, the U.S. Attorney's Office of Eastern Virginia announced. Simmons was often a guest on Fox News and touted as a national security analyst. He is being charged with major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government, the U.S. Attorney's Office press release said.

Quote Of Note - John W. Loftus

"The number one political problem we have today is that people with special interests representing big money have hijacked American democracy." - John W. Loftus

Questions Questions Questions

If the United States government can print money to stabilize the economy why can't it print money to stabilize public education?

If the United States government can print money to stabilize the economy why can't it print money to stabilize social security?

If the United States government can print money to stabilize the economy why can't it print money to stabilize the infrastructure?

Sex Sex Sex

Anti-Abortion Advocates Spill The Beans:

I don’t think they’re supposed to say this out loud to other people (boldface mine):
Dr. Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, one of the main organizers of this weekend’s protest rallies at Planned Parenthood clinics, said on Tuesday that even if Planned Parenthood were to stop performing abortions, she would still want to strip it of federal funding because it promotes a “corrupt view of human sexuality” including “sex for recreation, sex for mere pleasure.”

“Planned Parenthood from the top to the bottom is a corrupt organization,” Miller told Ave Maria Radio’s Teresa Tomeo, “corrupt in its view of the sanctity of human life and corrupt in its view of human sexuality. And I say even if Planned Parenthood didn’t perform one single abortion, just the mere fact that its sexual ethic is corrupted means right there, should be the reason right there, that they should not receive any federal money. The kind of sexual ethic that Planned Parenthood promotes is sex for recreation, sex for mere pleasure.
She says this as if it were a bad thing (SLUTS!!). It puts the lie to the notion that this is simply about preserving the life of the fetus.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Talk Talk Talk

Clinton made $3.15 million in 2013 alone from speaking to firms like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and UBS, according to the list her campaign released of her speaking fees.

"Her closeness with big banks on Wall Street is sincere, it's heart-felt, long-established and well known," former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has said on the campaign trail.

While Clinton has given paid speeches to many groups, Wall Street banks and investment houses made up a third of her speech income.

She even made more money speaking to UBS and Goldman Sachs than her husband Bill did. Goldman Sachs in New York paid Bill $200,000 for a speech in June 2013 and Hillary $225,000 for a speech in October of that year.
I wonder why the headline wasn't Wall Street has made Hillary Clinton a multi-millionaire?

I can't believe that anyone's speech is worth so much money. I think that Wall Street is paying for something else.

Why can't poor people run the country for a change. There are probably plenty of adjunct professors that have plenty of good ideas.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Quote Of Note - Homer Simpson

"I'm not a bad guy, I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to hell?" - Homer Simpson

The Wankiest Generation

Quote Of Note - Samuel Huntington

"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion … but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do." - Samuel Huntington

Stop War Now

Vested in War:

A few weeks ago as summer waned, and another crisis dawned, the Pope like a new product launched in September, donned his vestments of holiness and as if like the don of all such dons presided over a multi-faith ceremony at the monument for the World Trade Center in New York and earlier in Washington DC spoke to the Americans by speaking to the Congress. But never once during his speeches directed to the Americans did he use the word war or say ‘Stop war now.' He spoke of peace, spoke of conflict, spoke of poverty, of excess of wealth, spoke of charity, spoke about the climate, but not once the word war.  He never uttered the word war in the context of today's wars.  Oh right, I stand corrected he mentioned the Great War as in World War in quoting a sentence by a previous Pope. That's it. And please keep in mind that those wars aren't referred to as the Great Conflict One and the Great Conflict Two. They are called wars. That means something. That means something terrible. Words matter. They mean things. The world's most weapon wealthy and weapon powerful and weapon producing nation is at War. It is not at a conflict. It is at War. Conflict suggests, that those involved may be involved in resolving conflict, conflicted—they could be peacemakers. They are not. They are warmongers, warriors and they are involved in making War. They are vested, financial, economically, industrially, psychologically, emotionally, politically, religiously in war. They are vested in war.

Is it so impractical, too unreasonable and idealistic to ask that the word War be used for War? More unreasonable than believing in God? More unreasonable than believing in the Pope's agency?  Believing in God, we have no problem with—believing that he speaks for God—no problem—having him address a secular institution such as the Congress-----no problem---but expecting him to say: stop war—that's a problem? Stop war? For him to use the word ‘War'. Because you see there are declarations and resolutions to go to war. Not conflict. There are colleges for War. And there are weapons for war. These are not labeled as colleges, weapons and soldiers for conflict. To expect the Pope to say the word War and ask him to say Stop War might be like expecting the Pope and other religious headmen to accept women as equal to men. Absurd.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Would Jesus Practice Vandalism?

The Adopt-A-Highway sign heralding a stretch of road occasionally cleaned by a California atheist group has been defaced for a second time in the last three weeks.

The most recent act of vandalism to the sign sponsored by Atheists United San Luis Obispo occurred last week. An unknown perpetrator sawed the sign off its posts and painted over the first letter and the last letters of “Atheists.”

Thus, after the vandalism, the all-caps word “ATHEISTS” was transformed to “THEIST.”

Members of heathen group say they refuse to be intimidated by someone causing damage to their highway sign on the southbound side of Highway 101 near Atascadero, Calif.

“Despite this act of vandalism, AU SLO remains dedicated to making it acceptable to be a non-believer in this county,” group president Steven Arkowitz said is a press release sent to The Daily Caller.
These vandals are simply proving what many atheists already know, that morals and ethics are not exclusive to the religious.

Atheists can do good. I won't comment on the vandals.

I'm not sure why this is on The Daily Caller. Also, it's weird that they have a "poll" question at the bottom: "Does The Highway Sign Deserve To Get Vandalized?"

I think that The Daily Caller thinks that the sign is alive.

An Interesting Interview With Charles Koch

Watch the interview with Charles Koch:

Or read the interview with Charles Koch:

Charles Koch is a billionaire many times over -- and a much-discussed figure in the world of business and political funding. This morning he's making a rare television appearance answering questions from our Anthony Mason.
The Koch brothers have started a propaganda campaign and are trying to prove that they are not Satan incarnate. Fine, if that's what they want to do. As a person Charles Koch may have some decency within him. Mostly, I don't really care. What bothers me about the Koch brothers is not the Koch brothers. It is what they are allowed to do. Because of various legislation about campaign financing the Kochs are more equal than the rest of us. Most Americans don't have billions of dollars to throw around trying to influence politicians. It is interesting that Charles Koch doesn't understand this. I wish I had the power to zap him into the body, mind, and life of a poor, inter-city American, and them have him watch this interview and see what he thinks.

Money and democracy make a very bad combination. One person, one vote is a foreign concept to Charles Koch and he is in denial about this, or he is simply lying.