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Friday, August 31

Thursday, August 30

Poor little Miss Teen South Carolina

I'm sure many of you have seen this today. The youtube link is ON FIRE - almost 9 million views and 30 thousand comments.

I don't whether to laugh or cry. Can you imagine what the poor girl is going through today. Maybe it's just another "being beautiful" as usual day- no big deal. I wonder what her parents must be thinking? Probably thinking "hey, great PR for my beauty queen"

Anyway - HERE IT IS for your viewing. It's Miss SC answering this year's question for the Miss Teen USA 2007 title:

"recent polls show that one-fifth of Americans cannot locate the USA on a world map. Why do you suppose that is?"

I think I know what she was trying to say.....

I am curious to see how my 2 teen daughters will answer the same question when I ask them.


I bet "Little Miss Sunshine" would have had a good answer for that question!


************UPDATE**************

READ
The 2006 National Geographic-Roper Survey of Geographic Literacy
AND WEEP

Only 37% of young Americans can find Iraq on a map—though U.S. troops have been there since 2003.

6 in 10 young Americans don't speak a foreign language fluently.

20% of young Americans think Sudan is in Asia. (It's the largest country in Africa.)

48% of young Americans believe the majority population in India is Muslim. (It's Hindu—by a landslide.)

Half of young Americans can't find New York on a map.


These results suggest that young people in the United States—the most recent graduates of our educational system—are unprepared for an increasingly global future. Far too many lack even the most basic skills for navigating the international economy or understanding the relationships among people and places that provide critical context for world events.

That Vatican, I tell ya......they're always thinking ahead!

Inspectors at Tarbes-Lourdes airport in France refused to give their blessing to holy water that passengers tried to bring on board the Vatican's new pilgrim flights this week, saying it was a security threat just like any other liquid.

The water, which is said to have miraculous healing powers, came from a sacred grotto where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared in 1858.

Passenger Paola Saluzzi told Corriere della Sera newspaper she was carrying the water in eight small plastic bottles "in the shape of the little Madonna". But it was not allowed on board.

"If they gave preference to the water from Lourdes it would be an (irregularity) that would not guarantee the proper procedure," she acknowledged.

But the Vatican had foreseen such an eventuality and placed a small complimentary bottle of holy water on the seat of each pilgrim to drink on board, Saluzzi said.

30 miles of sea foam - can you imagine?

Check out these really cool photos!!! WOW - never seen anything like it! Kind of creepy though:

Foam swallowed an entire beach and half the nearby buildings, including the local lifeguards' centre, in a freak display of nature at Yamba in New South Wales.

One minute a group of teenage surfers were waiting to catch a wave, the next they were swallowed up in a giant bubble bath. The foam was so light that they could puff it out of their hands and watch it float away.

The foam stretched for 30 miles out into the Pacific in a phenomenon not seen at the beach for more than three decades.

Scientists explain that the foam is created by impurities in the ocean, such as salts, chemicals, dead plants, decomposed fish and excretions from seaweed.

All are churned up together by powerful currents which cause the water to form.


h/t to Indigus at
godisnotanasshole

TSA surrealist zen

Xeni Jardin over at boingboing told of a strange experience in LAX yesterday where the TSA stopped travelers in their tracks while walking to the baggage claim area. "STOP WHERE YOU ARE. FREEZE. DO NOT MOVE ," they shouted and no one was allowed to move for 30 minutes. No explanation was given. The commenters there recounted their strange and similar experiences with the TSA. It is surreal and worth a gander.

I don't know if this could happen in NYC airports like JFK and LGA because no one can understand a TSA worker here. I have often asked one of them after being barked at in gibberish, "Huh?" or "What language are you speaking?" and my favorite, "How long have you been in this country.... including today?"

If one of them does know a sentence in "English", they only repeat that sentence no matter what you ask or what you do.
ME: "Where is the ladies room?"
THEM: "own onse leequeed lowed" ("One ounce of liquid is allowed.")
ME:" Am I in the right terminal for ...."
THEM: "own onse leequeed lowed"
ME: "May I see your green card?"
THEM: "OWN ONSE LEEEQUEED!"
The same goes for those who make announcements in NYC airports. "Huh?" "What language was that?" "Why don't they give diction lessons to airport employees?" "What the hell are the qualifications for these jobs?" "Goddammit, I am going to apply for a job with the TSA just to see what the hell is going on here!"

I realize that big brother is using these psy-ops to scare us into submission and all, but seriously, I wonder how dozens of passengers can be obedient and freeze in their places with no explanation, simply by being barked at by TSA employees. It's a freaking joke, man.

We here's got "reefer blindness" in this country


There's new terr'rists in town. Them pot growers want to kill you. I just read Pot Growers Are New Target in "War on Terror" and gosh golly I am scared.

Let's take the War on Terra™ to Redding's Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California where the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) czar John Walters explains:
"We have kind of a reefer blindness... " "These people are armed; they're dangerous. [They're] violent criminal terrorists." He even went so far to argue that the "terrorists" growing weed in Shasta County, as the Redding Record Searchlight reported, "wouldn't hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties."
Yowzers. You mean that pot growers mean to cause us harm as a nation? Why yes. Well um, err... they are doing something illegal, you know- "fire violations, unsanitary conditions, littering, smoking, building unauthorized structures, unauthorized camping and cutting trees..." Gosh. They left out the part about Redding having a big meth problem. This war on pot appears to be more of a Mexican immigration thing. Well thanks to the Military Commissions Act we can declare whatever we want 'terrorist activity' and 'declare a war' on it.

I predicted this a few years ago- Pretty soon everything will be labeled "terr'rism" and real terrorism, if it happens again in Murka will have to be named something else... like HOLY F*CKING SHIT, GOD HELP US, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!

Leon Fisher asks WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Leon Fisher from Unknown News speaks for me:

No-one smiles any more. No-one wants to talk about things that matter. If you want to discuss anything other than sports, sex, or Dancing with the Stars, no-one seems interested.

What is happening? Is it something in the water, or is Invasion of the Body Snatchers actually happening for real?

I do not remember people being like this. They are hostile, impatient, full of suppressed anger, abrupt, suspicious, and some even threatening.

Not so many years ago, you couldn't walk down the street without running into your friends and neighbors wanting to talk about anything and everything, and have a good laugh. People, I remember, used to communicate -- now they just glare at you, or completely ignore you.

No-one wants to complain about anything. No-one seems to be bothered by high taxes or inflation. They just look at you and roll their eyes like you are crazy if you dare to express your dissatisfaction with the status quo. And God forbid, do not mention the wars, that topic really gets people uncomfortable. It is as if you are asking some personal question.

Have our fellow human beings, our friends and neighbors, become overwhelmed by the course of events these last six years, so they're burying their heads in the sand? Or have they become closet fascists, who privately support the dictatorship in Washington? Are they over-medicated with prescription drugs, or are they getting off on the horrors which the "Decider" and his handlers are inflicting on humanity?

Are these the same people whose answer to every problem, real or imagined, is "Bomb Them!? No wonder the Bush Cabal and the rubber stamp Congress have no problem disposing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I will not defend them. I will not try to enlighten them any more.

All these vegetables think about is their new shiny cars, the ridiculous clothing they buy, the garbage that passes as entertainment, and the anti-depressant drugs which helps them avoid reality. They do not want to admit to themselves that America is in trouble ... After all, that's not supposed to happen here, we are told.

---------------

I would call myself a "people person". I have been all my life - until recently. It seems all I want to do is shake people when I see them lately. I used to hug everyone I saw. It was a natural reflex, you know, like Baaabra herself says --People who need people are the luckiest people in the world...

I don't know, maybe I never grew up and it's just the child in me, wanting to hug and love all. It just doesn't seem the same anymore. I've noticed more and more people putting up that wall. You know when you see someone and both of your arms kinda go up at the same time? I don't get that "arms up" signal from too many people anymore. More often than not, I just get that "nod the head" greet as they quickly move by.

Even my daughter told me I scare a lot of her friends. I've commented to her that a few seem uncomfortable when they are over. She thinks that they are not used to friendly, touchy people (I'm always hugging them) and that weirds them out. As Leon Fisher says, it's like I am right in the middle of a scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

I am still killing everyone I know with kindness, but I really feel like running for cover instead.

Normally, I would be asking "what has happened to the world these past few years?"; but that's a stupid question.

We all know the answer.

BRAVO Bushies - you have certainly unleashed a mad mad mad mad world.

Wednesday, August 29

Yay! We win

We are number 1!
Americans are the most armed people in the world, baby.
The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens! We own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms!

Reuters: On a per-capita basis, Yemen had the second most heavily armed citizenry behind the United States, with 61 guns per 100 people, followed by Finland with 56, Switzerland with 46, Iraq with 39 and Serbia with 38.
The rest of the world are such pussies.

Since I'm talking about how cool we are--- Americans expect to get the most medals in next year's olympics. This is big news and it would be a national disgrace if our expectations were any lower. However when it comes to our high (and getting higher) infant mortality rate- a baby's chance of survival through it's first year of life, you hardly hear a peep of national outcry. I guess the important thing is that the mother's at least tried to have their babies and let "god" kill them. Freemarketnews.com

2 years after katrina

From Think Progress
Two years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, “none of the 115 ‘critical priority projects’ identified by city officials” for publicly funded rebuilding efforts “has been completed.” Of the $34 billion “earmarked for long-term rebuilding,” less than half “has made its way through federal checks and balances to reach municipal projects.”


It's the hypocrisy, stupid

Sen Craig insisted that he is NOT gay at a press conference.
He would rather be known for being stupid than gay.

Well, he's stupider than I thought.

UPDATE: If you are like me and hadn't a f*cking clue as to how cruising for gay bathroom sex actually works despite all the written explanations lately, a CBS news station recreates it for your edification. Really.

Jesus Christ



He's back. This time as a knot in a fence.
NOT according to me though.
As a theological expert, I would have to discount this particular "appearance" as invalid. True images of Christ must include his nose and mustache. This could be an image of any old bearded dude or old rock star revealed by the wooden backyard fence in Lodi California. He also appears to have some sort of protuberance going over his head starting on his forehead. As everyone knows, Jesus did not have that.

Keep the faith.

Tuesday, August 28

Papua New Guinea Aids victims 'buried alive'

"Some people with HIV/Aids in Papua New Guinea are being buried alive by their relatives, a health worker says.
"Margaret Marabe said families were taking the extreme action because they could no longer look after sufferers or feared catching the disease themselves."


Story at the BBC.

Let's talk about Wall Street

Since I swore off religion and politics, I thought I would see what you all thought about what's happening on Wall Street. It seems everyone has gone
Gekko! It blows my mind how people are allowed to trade securities like this.

Sign of the times has an article up about a major selloff in stocks --

some investors are betting tens of millions of dollars that the market is headed for a selloff -- a major selloff.

It's all about "puts" and I have no idea how it works. The only thing I know how to "put" is my right foot in and shake it all about!

and then blondesense reader "stunned" left this link in Red's Gonzo post

WARNING: PUT this on first before reading the above link

Quote - (from who I am not sure):

The following theories are being discussed widely within the stock and options markets today regarding the enormous and very unusual activity reported above and two stories below. Those theories are:

1) A massive terrorist attack is going to take place before Sept. 21 to tank the markets, OR;

2) China, reeling over losing $10 Billion in bad loans to the sub-prime mortgage collapse presently taking place, is going to dump US currency and tank all of Capitalism with a Communist financial revolution. Either scenario is bad and the clock is ticking. The drop-dead date of these contracts is September 21. Whatever is going to happen MUST take place between now and then or the folks involved in these contracts will lose over $1 billion for having engaged in this activity.



I thought this might be a good one for The Dark Wraith, but I figured he would be busy getting ready for school this week so I didn't bother him. Well, I now see Wraith has left a comment after reading stunned's link:

Good morning, Stunned.

Some very large player—some huge, ginormous player—is positioned either to make an absolute fortune or to take an ass-bath like no one has seen in a long time. The structure of this set of trades is about as stupid as stupid gets... unless it's not.

I'll tell you right now: anyone who would put that kind of insane exposure on a poker table either has twelve aces in his five-card hand, or he's trying to scare everyone else into folding. The problem with the analogy is that, in this poker game, folding isn't going to happen.

This isn't a bluff; it's a bet. And anyone who would place a bet like this knows something: he knows the financial markets of several countries are about to go to Hell, or he knows that he's about to become the poorest man the world has ever known.

Either way, 10K of contracts constructed like this takes more guts than anything I've seen before. Personally, I have no desire to even look at what's become of that situation since it opened up last week.

GOD ALMIGHTY!

The Dark Wraith tries to stay calm, but finally loses it.

----------------


So......

now what do you want to talk about?

(I'm hoping the Dark One is only going to lose it because all of this talk is just hype and bullshit at its finest and just a bunch of greedy Gekko wall street types trying to manipulate the market and none of this could possibly happen -- right DW?)


Crossposted at
BigBrassBlog

The Great Iraq Swindle, by Matt Taibbi

I just finished reading the above article in this month's issue of Rollingstone. It is, in daily kos blogger occams hatchet's words: AN ARTICLE THAT COULD END THE WAR:

"I like to believe that Taibbi's article, if it were read by everyone in America, would bring the occupation of Iraq to an end in a hurry. My guess is that it would make people's blood boil to the point that American taxpayers and military families would be screaming for justice upon those responsible for such a travesty...

"he does the best job I have ever seen anywhere in laying out in nauseating detail the workings of this criminal money-laundering scheme that some people have called "the Iraq War." In it, Matt Taibbi descends into - quite literally - the fecal underbelly of the world of Iraq war profiteering. Giving example after infuriating example, Taibbi relentlessly pushes the needle on his readers' Outrage Meters harder and harder against the peg, until finally one cannot read anymore without leaping up from one's chair and screaming out in sheer, visceral, well, outrage."



I've decided to make a few copies of the article IN FULL to pass around. Here's the direct link to Taibbi's article at Rollingstone if you would like to print it out. Occams hatchet requests that you "Please read it, and make sure as many people as you can, read it as well. Better yet, show Rolling Stone some love, and go out and buy a hard copy or three at the newsstand, and leave them around where others can read them.

I like to believe that Taibbi's article, if it were read by everyone in America, would bring the occupation of Iraq to an end in a hurry. My guess is that it would make people's blood boil to the point that American taxpayers and military families would be screaming for justice upon those responsible for such a travesty."

I would spring for a few copies to hand out, but the crowd I want to view this article would never be able to get past the "hippie freaks" (Maroon 5 - one of my favorites) on the cover!

I was thinking maybe a "pass it around" packet with a note on the front cover: Skip the evening news - PLEASE read this. Or, bring it to work and leave it in the break room. Maybe a "WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION" message, or at the very least, just encourage people to pass it around, step out of their happy places for awhile and discuss this dire situation.

This is going to be my last ditch effort for a while. I am so burnt out and frustrated and I know most of you are also. I was even going to suggest that we try to blog for a week straight about anything but politics and religion. I really can't take it anymore. Hubby and I got into it with an older gent at the bar a few nights ago. I behaved (for the most part) and kept my cool. After about 15 minutes of what was becoming a very heated discussion about politics, capitalism, war, etc... the old gent politely says "well, let's just agree to disagree and talk about something else". Of course I can't just leave well enough alone so I ordered us another pitcher, turned to him and asked "Do you believe in God?" Hubby dragged me out of there at that point!

Maybe we should just blog about this story for a whole week?


Anywho - at the moment, my printer is humming along and I am putting together a few packets to deliver this morning. I am putting this quote from Taibbi's article on the front cover:


What the Bush administration has created in Iraq is a sort of paradise of perverted capitalism, where revenues are forcibly extracted from the customer by the state, and obscene profits are handed out not by the market but by an unaccountable government bureauc­racy. This is the triumphant culmination of two centuries of flawed white-people thinking, a preposterous mix of authoritarian socialism and laissez-faire profit­eering, with all the worst aspects of both ideologies rolled up into one pointless, supremely idiotic military adventure -- American men and women dying by the thousands, so that Karl Marx and Adam Smith can blow each other in a Middle Eastern glory hole.

It was an awful idea, perhaps the worst America has ever tried on foreign soil. But if you were in on it, it was great work while it lasted.

We the people need to stop this war.

We the people need to remove OUR government - it's time. And, it's our patriotic duty.

No more talk.

We need to take action.

"BAM" - kick it up a notch....please


crossposted at BigBrassBlog

Monday, August 27

Oh, God! Not Another One!

Yep. Another Republican DongDiver bites the dust:
"Republican Senator Arrested for "Lewd Conduct"
"Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) "was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men's public restroom," according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call."
More at Signs-of-the-Times.
(Liz, I have an idea. If we start running out of cyber-space reporting these stories, we can just simply report the stories of those political figures who have NOT been arrested for lewd conduct.)

c'm'ere bigboy



click image to find out what it is

YEEEESSSSHHH!!!

Gonzo. Gone.

What do you want to say to him on the way out the door?

Sunday, August 26

Rant of the year - by Layla Anwar, an Arab woman

Her post is titled

Nausea

I think most of us will feel her same frustrations and her complete and utter disgust about what is happening in the middle east.

Here are a few exerpts:

I am so disgusted with everything, I don't even feel like writing.

I am disgusted with the Americans, the Brits, the French, the Germans, the Scandinavians, the Australians, the Iranians, the Arabs, the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews....( am not mentioning the Israelis because they have disgusted me long ago. It's a given)

Everything and everyone disgusts me.

I have run out of words. I don't even know which words to use anymore.
Have you ever felt that way? Not even knowing which words to use?
I can write tons of posts, would not make one single fucking difference.
But I promised someone that I will not stop writing, so here I am...

Imagine, one day, you come to the realization that your country, in the space of 4 years, simply does not exist anymore? Can you even envisage that?
It simply is not there anymore.

Well guess what, you fuckers, I don't have a country anymore!

Are you pleased with yourselves now ? What a great job you have done! Bunch of criminals.

YOU are as responsible as the american army and the american government in the slaughter of innocent Iraqis and the total destruction of their country in the space of 4 fucking years. Just 4 years, you bastards.

You, the academics, the writers, the journalists, the anti- war shit, the political scientists of my ass, the anal-ysts...
All of you are responsible today. All of you.
All of you have the blood of 1 million Iraqis on your hands and all of you have a country in ruins on your conscience.

But you have no fucking conscience, you bunch of paid, sell out bastards. Those of you who sold it to Iran and those who sold it to Israel, and who sold it to America and England.

You are the "intellectual" whores of this world. You are the PROSTITUTES.
I spit on you and on your academic achievements and on your publications and on your press, on your prints and on your books...

I swear even hookers have more integrity than you.......


(there's lots more)

Also, here are some interesting comments at uruknet where I found her post

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

FROM THE PEN OF RONALD REAGAN, FROM THE JUST PUBLISHED REAGAN DIARIES. ENTRY, MAY 17, l986

'A moment I've been dreading. George brought his ne're-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida. The one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.'

Saturday, August 25

Anti-abortion = Anti-sex

Oh I've been so naive. I would write pieces about how we can lower the abortion rate in this country in order to shut the fuck up those so called "pro-life" but pro-war people. I had simply thought that they were obsessed with dead babies. I thought, well duh, let's trump up sex education and create a more nurturing environment so that more women could afford to bring a child into the world- you know, stupid socialist stuff like education, prenatal care, post natal care, healthcare for babies whose parents don't have coverage. Free condoms for horny people. You know, silly stuff like that.

Trolls would arrive here to blast me about the evils of birth control. I would feel like I was reading some sort of crazy sermon written in the 19th century by a hateful and ignorant preacher man. I never heard such craziness from Catholics. And the most interesting part of the troll storms here regarding a woman's control of her own body were always written by men. But their opinions turned out to be the norm for the rabid anti-abortion crowd. It really isn't about being anti-abortion at all. It's against S-E-X. Dirty filthy sex to which the only punishment for such a heinous sin is having to get pregnant, give birth and raise a child. They have turned a loving act into a punishment.

The anti-abortion crowd is out to redefine the beginning of life all the way back to the conception- to that unknown moment when the sperm meets the egg. They incorrectly state that a birth control pill prevents a fertilized egg from reaching the uterus. This would make using birth control, even between loving spouses, akin to an abortion.

Teh GOP presidential candidates are going right along with this nonsense. I don't know if they are just pandering to these groups and most presidential candidates do when they need votes, but it's still pretty alarming.

From The quiet campaign against birth control by Cristina Page in the Baltimore Sun:
Mitt Romney speaking in code "implied an opposition to the birth control pill and a willingness to join in their efforts to scale back access to contraception."

Sen. Sam Brownback... beefed up his anti-contraception resume by co-sponsoring a bill to de-fund the nation's largest contraception provider, Planned Parenthood, by excluding it from Title X family planning for the poor.

Sen. John McCain's campaign officials boast he has "consistently voted against taxpayer-funded contraception. And Mr. McCain reports that his adviser on sexual-health matters is Sen. Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, who leads campaigns claiming condoms are unsafe and opposing emergency contraception.

According to Mr. Tancredo, a Colorado Republican, emergency contraception "cheapens human life and simply uses a woman's body to dispose of the child instead of a doctor."
You won't find these candidates speaking to mainstream voters and media about their stands against contraception though. They speak in code. Theirs is a pretty unpopular view and would alienate women voters. American citizens deserve to know for a fact if presidential candidates would move towards banning birth control.

We've Been Lucky As Hell... So Far.


I thought this article was rather interesting, Rare dead star found near Earth, so I asked Father Tyme to write about it for the blog since a lot of us are interested in the cosmos but didn't major in it in college. So he kindly obliged. From Father Tyme:

One of the really cool things about this universe is the number of ways we’ve escaped death, destruction, annihilation and just general bad times. Call it luck, fate, Divine intervention or whatever but it all boils down to the same thing; we’ve been lucky as hell – so far.

Astronomers discovered a new, rather unique neutron star. What makes this one different is that it emits virtually no visible light but massive amounts of X-Rays. (Makes them hard to find.) More interesting is its proximity to earth and position in the sky. Most neutron stars are scattered around the galactic plane like flying around the earth’s equator. This one is a bit of a maverick. It’s way up in our northern sky. Very unusual. How it got there is a mystery. It’s possible it had its orbit disturbed by something else or it’s just a fluke that we never noticed before. Regardless, it’s moving pretty quickly.

Here’s a link to one of the stories. The news picks up on these and parrots the original with virtually no explanation, just information.

You have to look hard to find any data on the star. Here’s some but it may be a little intense.

“We report discovery of Calvera, a compact object at high Galactic latitude. We initially identified Calvera as a ROSAT All-Sky Survey Bright Source Catalog X-ray source, 1RXS J141256.0+792204, statistically likely to possess a high X-ray to optical flux ratio. Further observations using Swift, Gemini-North, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory refined the source position and confirmed the absence of any optical counterpart to an X-ray to optical flux ratio of FX(0.1-2.4 keV)/FV > 5100 (3 sigma). Interpretation of Calvera as a typical X-ray-dim isolated neutron star would place it at z~6.7 kpc above the Galactic disk -- in the Galactic halo -- implying that it either has an extreme space velocity (vz > 6700 km s-1) or has failed to cool according to theoretical predictions. Interpretations as a persistent anomalous X-ray pulsar, or a ``compact central object'' present conflicts with these classes' typical properties. We conclude the properties of Calvera are most consistent with those of a nearby (150 to 560 pc) radio pulsar, similar to the radio millisecond pulsars of 47 Tuc, with further observations required to confirm this classification. If it is a millisecond pulsar, it would be among the X-ray brightest millisecond pulsars, and only the third northern hemisphere millisecond pulsar at such close distance, making it an interesting target for X-ray study, a radio pulsar timing array, and LIGO.
From the Astrophysical Journal (or so I’m told). Sort of a mouth full!

There were previously seven of these special neutron stars discovered and for a long time, they were it, top of the heap, A-number one! The guys that used to spend time looking at the night sky in person and who now do it from the comfort of their office while flunkies freeze their prominences off actually have a sort of sense of humor. Since there were seven discovered of this unique type they were dubbed “The Magnificent Seven” (groan!)
Well ‘along comes Jones’ number 8. What to do? Let’s call it Calvera; the bad guy from the movie.

The problem with this guy is that he emits a lot more bad stuff but at least he’s far enough away to not cause a problem (about 250 to 1000 light years - or at least a couple of city blocks). If he were closer, say 100 light years, we’d all get free dental X-Rays, removed warts and probably mutations that could account for the Republicans. But we’re still lucky. He’s far enough away.

He’ll make for interesting study over the years. Maybe he’ll help us understand why stars have these nervous breakdowns and undergo catastrophic collapse. Then they continue their inward spiral toward becoming a black hole.

We have a lot of theories but the Xtian god hasn’t blessed us with the ability to go see these things first hand and it does seem as though HE’s doing everything to keep us from scientific discoveries; hence his creation of George Bush! My guess is we couldn’t handle the truth and HE never mentioned these in his novel.

Sooner or later our luck is going to run out. An asteroid that just finds us, a comet (or its brother) from outside the Oort Cloud comes back after 65 million years looking for stray dinosaurs, our sun gets a bug up its butt and fries us with a super radiating prominence, or the Martians really do hate us. (Well maybe they just hate the brown people so we’ll be fine!)
My best bet is on that dastardly group known as humans to extinguish life here on 4 billion or 6 thousand year old Terra.

Oh and the Night Boys just discovered a big, and I mean super big area of nothing! This nothing could be the absolute leftovers from a massive black hole that started out something like Calvera, and totally consumed an entire galaxy and swept the area clean of everything including dust, atoms and even dark matter and energy. The prognosis is still speculative but I’m betting it’s probably still hungry.

By Father Tyme

Ben Stein's Bull Shit/Propaganda Crusade

Ben Stein has a new documentary coming out soon.

It's called EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed.

Ben says:

"it is a controversial, soon-to-be-released documentary that chronicles my confrontation with the widespread suppression and entrenched discrimination that is spreading in our institutions, laboratories and most importantly, in our classrooms, and that is doing irreparable harm to some of the world’s top scientists, educators, and thinkers."

"Human beings are supposed to live in a state of freedom"

"Freedom is God-given."

"A huge part of this freedom is freedom of inquiry."

"Freedom of inquiry is basic to human advancement. There would be no modern medicine, no antibiotics, no brain surgery, no Internet, no air conditioning, no modern travel, no highways, no knowledge of the human body without freedom of inquiry."

"This includes the ability to inquire whether a higher power, a being greater than man, is involved with how the universe operates."

(oh please Ben)

"This has always been basic to science. ALWAYS."

(STOP ben....)

"Some of the greatest scientists of all time, including Galileo, Newton, Einstein, operated under the hypothesis that their work was to understand the principles and phenomena as designed by a creator."

(Ben - PLEASE stop it)

"Operating under that hypothesis, they discovered the most important laws of motion, gravity, thermodynamics, relativity, and even economics."

"Now, I am sorry to say, freedom of inquiry in science is being suppressed."


( OH JUST SHOOT ME NOW!)

read on - it gets even crazier

My first reaction is that this has to be some kind of joke he is pulling. I have to check into this. I saw another comment that mentioned this also: "There's nothing on the site that fully convinces me this is NOT some gigantic practical joke being pulled on all of us by Mr. Stein. I can see this as a grand social experiment"

EXACTLY I thought! good - the world has not gone completely mad!

So, he sets up this blog about his new "documentary" and has almost 500 comments. Looks like it's open and not moderated. Let's check. HEY look at that! By comment #11 Ben is made to look very foolish. Here are 2 comments from the blog:

"Actually, Einstein did not believe in a personal God and would abhor this sort of political strongarming of religion into the classroom. Take note:

"The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously. [Albert Einstein, letter to Hoffman and Dukas, 1946]

"I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals Himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings. [Albert Einstein, in a letter to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein]

(more good quotes in link)

-------------

Sorry Ben, but you’re completely and utterly wrong. The recent legal case in Dover, for example, did NOT deny the teaching of creationism in the schools. It said that there was no evidence for intelligent design and that ID does not meet the criteria to be considered science and therefore should not be taught in school SCIENCE classes.

The judge ruled (correctly) that the only arguments that the ID folks were able to put forth were either “Straw man” fallacies where they misquoted what evolution was in order to shoot it down, or they were “false dichotomy” fallacies. i.e. “If Science can’t explain this (or more likely if the ID proponent’s knowledge of science is not sufficient to explain it) then the alternative must be ‘God did it’”. That’s a false dichotomy. It’s not science.

The judge in the case specifically left open the possibility of ID being taught in a class on religion as a cultural influence or in a class which surveys various religious beliefs. Also, the judge was not a liberal activist judge but a conservative judge appointed by GW Bush himself.

Sorry, but your facts and premise are completely wrong.

---------------

I started to read more about the film and found my way over to PZ Myer's blog (Pharyngula).

OMG - it's really real.

It is an actual film and PZ is in it.
Read how he was tricked into an interview for what he thought was a film project by Rampant Films called "Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion."

He looked up Rampant Films, found this crossroads project, and thought O.K.!

THEN, this new ID creationist movie, Expelled, comes out with a press release with this claim:

"Unlike some other documentary films, Expelled doesn't just talk to people representing one side of the story. The film confronts scientists such as Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, influential biologist and atheist blogger PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education. The creators of Expelled crossed the globe over a two-year period, interviewing scores of scientists, doctors, philosophers and public leaders. The result is a startling revelation that freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled from publicly-funded high schools, universities and research institutions."


PZ learned that Expelled uses the same graphic that Rampant Films used for Crossroads.

Per PZ: "The case is closed -- Ben Stein's propaganda film for ID is the one I was interviewed for."

Oh poor PZ: "I've been trying to recollect what horrible thing I said in that interview with that film crew … what juicy, ghastly, evil comment I might have made that will be plucked out and impaled on a stick and waved to the audience to inflame them.I think I know what's going to be featured in Expelled"


Crossposted at BigBrassBlog

Friday, August 24

Not the Friday Sex Post - "Bromance" Is In The Air

I'm not considering this the actual Friday Sex Post, as it doesn't contain the story about the dwarf at the Edinburgh Festival who accidentally superglued a vacuum cleaner hose to his genitals last week.

But it does strike me as kind of silly.

A Grand Bromance

Umm, "Oops?"

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

God's Warriors

Did anyone watch the 3 Part Documentary- God's Warriors by Christiane Amanpour on CNN this week? There are videos from the series online if you have a good internet connection.
Here are links to segments of the series at YouTube.

Each episode: Jewish Warriors, Muslim Warriors and Christian Warriors confirmed what I always thought- If there is a God, he is fucking with his creatures and I hope he's enjoying it, the sadist.

Don't flame me, but I like Muslim women after seeing that episode. Otherwise I didn't like anything about Jewish, Christian and Muslim radicals. I still maintain that they are nut jobs and they are being led astray by greedy leaders who don't believe iota of the rubbish they preach. Mind you, Ms Amanpour did not suggest that was so in the documentary, but when you take it as a whole, it's quite obvious.

Was Mother Theresa Not Really A Saint?

Mother Theresa spent her life helping the poor because she was a good person... in fact she was extraordinary. Her diaries have been revealed and it turns out that she was even more extraordinary- she spent over 40 years in a crisis of faith. She doubted God.

From the Telegraph
Mother Teresa, who worked for years among the poor of Calcutta, wrote in 1958: "My smile is a great cloak that hides a multitude of pains."

Because she was "forever smiling", people thought "my faith, my hope and my love are overflowing and that my intimacy with God and union with his will fill my heart. If only they knew . . ."
She also wrote:
"The damned of Hell suffer eternal punishment because they experiment with the loss of God.

"In my own soul, I feel the terrible pain of this loss. I feel that God does not want me, that God is not God and that he does not really exist."
Her writings will be published next month as Il Segreto di Madre Teresa (Mother Teresa's Secret). Many "christianistas" will probably revel in this "damning" information because they hate her for not focusing on the "real" christian issues: abortion and homosexuals- even though almost every page of the new testament deals with taking care of the poor. (If anyone finds negative press about this revelation, do send it to me.)

I look forward to reading her diaries because they will reveal the window to the soul of a selfless person, regardless of whether she thought God existed or not. She was a typically tormented human being. How refreshing. Blind faith is getting on my nerves.

The Persistence of Memory

I was having lunch on Wednesday when some complete ass of a coworker put on Fox "News." And there was Dear Leader strutting onto a stage in front of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (who really should know better than to applaud this waste of space and natural resources). After acknowledging the plaudits of the crowd as only a good little Sovereign might do, with a gracious wave of a lily-white paw and that oh-so-condescending faux Texas drawl of his, he began to speak.

I spent the next 20 minutes aghast, my lunch nearly forgotten (it wasn't that memorable anyway).

First, Emperor Empty Suit talked about all the wonderful things he's doing for our veterans (like privatizing the VA hospitals, which precipitated the Walter Reed scandal) and how he's increased health benefits (while at the same time threatening to veto a 3.5% pay increase for active-duty on the grounds that the extra 0.5% is "unnecessary"). The assembled veterans, many of whom seemed to be sliding into dementia, lapped it up like kittens at a creamery exposition.

Then he wandered off into the history books to find just the right analogy to fit the War in Iraq into.

And I almost started choking on my dessert.

An NPR correspondent later that day cited a Shiite proverb that "an analogy is written by the Devil," but in this case it was written by either one of the best gag writers in the business or by El Presidente himself.

He cited World War Two in the Pacific (concentrating on Asian conflicts), as if Iraq had ever attacked us and had the capability to destroy us through its expanding global hegemony. He wanted to point out that there were naysayers regarding the democratization of Japan.

There are ALWAYS naysayers, President Dingbat; dissent is part of the democratic process, a fact that may have escaped your myopia. MacArthur made a deal with the Devil by allowing the Showa Emperor to skate, and to this day many of the authors and perpetrators of Japanese atrocities in that war are honored at the Yasukuni Shrine, a major bone of contention for the rest of Japan's neighbors.

He cited Korea, as if we were fighting an attempt by the Kurdish North to take over the Arab Center and South. That IS the analogy, wasn't it?

Again, holding the line against Communism at South Korea required us to fight only a holding action, especially after Old Asia Hand MacArthur pooh-poohed the idea that China would come to Kim Il-sung's rescue. The ideological struggle of the time was against an expanding wave of Communism fomented by and emanating from two first-rate powers, China and the USSR - and NOT against an ideology that appeals only to alienated and disaffected minorities in impoverished countries (like, say, Iraq now that we've invaded and occupied it).

And he cited Vietnam.

His take on Vietnam was so wrong on so many levels I was very surprised that booing wasn't heard , but then I remembered that the Codpiece only speaks to carefully screened audiences that sign loyalty oaths - oh, and check back to my earlier comment about the vets suffering from dementia. In Vietnam we were fighting Vietnamese - not "insurgents" from Laos, the Phillippines or Japan. The "killing fields" he cited were in Cambodia, and were the result of Pol Pot, whose rise to power was facilitated by our actions in that country.

Also, while there was a level of political violence in Vietnam after the North conquered the South, the dreaded "Domino Theory" never materialized. You DO recall the Domino Theory, Mr. President?

The major problem with El Jefe's oration before the VFW was not that it was transparently flawed, it was that too many people watching it have memories. I grew up during Vietnam, and remember Walter Cronkite on the CBS News talking about the casualties of that war. One of my cousins served there, and wasn't quite right afterward. He's better now, but it took years.

Bush (or his handlers, puppeteers and Cheney) apprently thought that he could rewrite history simply by wishing it so.

It doesn't work that way, Mister "I'll hide out in the National Guard like Dan Quayle."

And it doesn't work that way either, Mister "Five draft deferments."

You can change history books (or burn them, simply by having the Christian al Qaeda declare them "evil" and organize burnings).

But you can't alter or erase people's memories.

Oh, and a good analogy for Iraq, Bushie Baby?

How about Britain's occupation of Iraq in the 1920s? Or don't your books go back that far?

Thursday, August 23

Christian Response Team: Oh Brother

I thought it was nothing to be worried about but according to this story at Talk2Action, it is real. Clergy Response Teams are real and endorsed by the WH should something like Martial Law ever become reality. While most clergy are sincere in helping their country in time of a disaster, there are groups with ulterior motives.

The particular group in question is Christ in Action, which uses quotes from St Paul rather than Jesus to justify its motives to work side by side with the government, thinking that god actually blesses even the most corrupt government. The leadership of Christ in Action is confirmed on the WH website when discussing non-governmental organizations who will act when a disaster hits America:
Dr. Denny Nissley, the Director of Christ in Action, is organizing a Coalition of Faith-Based First Responders from around the Nation to be prepared for the next major disaster. This Coalition will perform disaster relief training for volunteers and will maintain a current roster of thousands of volunteers who can be quickly called upon to provide support during the next major disaster.
The terrifying part is that Dr Nissley is an extremist, partisan, right wing character with a radical agenda. But you already figured that out.

From the story at Talk2Action:
Through its endorsement of Nissley's "Christ In Action" coalition, the federal government would seem to be deputizing a partisan religious faction shaped and led by man who some would characterize as being out on, or close to, the political fringe. The plan could, in essence, subject traumatized, post-disaster populations, perhaps confined by martial law to their homes, to semiofficial proselytizing efforts by partisan Christian fundamentalists embedded within, or working closely with, national guard or US military forces.
I don't think that radical christianistas would be able to pacify me during a time of national crisis. I am glad that they weren't hanging around in NY after 9/11 when it became quite apparent that it was religion and foreign policy that started this whole mess.

There are some good posts by Jersey Cynic on the front page of the blog right now with very interesting discussions in the comments. The christianistas are a threat to democracy in this country whether anyone likes it or not.


Praise The Lord and (don't) Pass The Ammunition!!! - "NOT SO FAST CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS"

Remember last week week we talked about The Pentagon Sending Messengers of Apocalypse to Convert Soldiers in Iraq? Well -- the OSU (Operation Straight Up) aka "the messengers" have abandoned plans to send packages to U.S. troops in Iraq with the controversial Christian video game, “Left Behind: Eternal Force,” along with Christian books, Pentagon officials say.

The group, Operation Straight Up, does not plan to send “any care packages to troops in Iraq,” said a Pentagon public affairs officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read the rest here at ArmyTimes

All the links to OSU have been removed from the first story we talked about.

THERE IS A GODDESS!!

I am seriously considering a visit to my (former) church, and I would urge anyone else who wants to do something about these so called faithful followers, to do the same. "Out of respect" for their beliefs - my (former) church friends that is, I would like to hear what they think about what is going on at the "Pentecostal-gon.” I'll pretend I still go to church when I talk to them. I'm still on the mailing list for my "envelopes" - (no one will ever know - and I'll go to confession on the way out, you know, just in case)

WAY TO GO ARMY TIMES! - Nice coverage of what is happening:

The watchdog group Military Religious Freedom Foundation first revealed OSU’s plans to send care packages to Iraq. Foundation founder and President Mikey Weinstein said the link between the Pentagon and OSU is the worst example the group has seen in the four-year fight to ensure religious freedom for service members.

“OSU is a giant [improvised explosive device] that is blowing up the constitutional wall separating church and state,” said Weinstein, a 1977 graduate of the Air Force Academy who spent 10 years as an Air Force JAG officer, then later spent more than three years as legal counsel in the Reagan administration.

Weinstein also has harsh criticism for the Pentagon, which he called “the Pentecostal-gon.” His book, “With God On Our Side,” published in 2006, details his charges of religious intolerance in the U.S. armed forces. More than 5,000 service members have contacted his organization because “they say they are being preyed upon by groups using the military chain of command,” he said.

About 96 percent of those who said they were pressured are Christians themselves, he said. “But these groups are preying on non-evangelical Christians. They believe they have the only right faith, that everybody else is false.

“We couldn’t care less what someone’s religious faith is,” Weinstein said. “But you cannot use your position of authority to force [your religion] onto military subordinates,” he said. “To send a para-church organization into a war zone undercuts the Chaplain Corps.”

Lawyer and minister Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said: “This is just the thing to convince Islamic militants that America is on a religious crusade to convert Muslims to Christianity. This officially connects DoD to make it look like the U.S. government is on a crusade. There appears to be a very deep connection between this allegedly private group promoting evangelical Christianity and the military itself. It doesn’t matter what the religion is. The government is supposed to be neutral. It is supposed to be hands-off on that.”


Here's another story about what is going on that appeared in the LATimes


Crossposted at
BigBrassBlog

Wednesday, August 22

Something to do for democracy

Robert Greenwald's new short video shows how Fox News is beating the war drums much as it did leading up to the Iraq war. Fox intimidated other networks to do the same for the Iraq war. Visit FoxAttacks.com to see this amazing propaganda.

Fox warns: You don't want another 9/11!
Fox News has the answer: Bomb Iran!

Tell the other news networks to not blindly follow Fox's lead this time around and to report fairly and accurately. There's a letter there.

Free speech doesn't include supposed news organizations spewing deliberate lies.

What really got me in the video was Joe LIEberman saying, "Al Qaida in Iran... these people are out to kill us."

Give me a freaking break. It is no wonder that I cannot have a rational discussion with Fox Noise viewers. I know some viewers. They make me want to rip my hair out.

Why are we spending billions in Iraq?

So get this:
"The U.S. ambassador to Baghdad said on Tuesday Iraq had made "extremely disappointing" progress towards reconciling its warring sects, while President George W. Bush said there was "a certain level of frustration with the leadership in general."

Responding to a question about U.S. criticism, Maliki said: "The Iraqi government was elected by the Iraqi people and nobody (has the right to) put timetables ... on it," referring to conditions set by Washington for his government to achieve political reconciliation among Iraqi groups."

It has been suggested to me that the Iraqi's are deliberately stalling because they know the US wants their oil. They want the US to get fed up and pull out. If this is true, I kind of don't blame them.

This is too much for me. I need to go to the beauty parlor.

Clusterf**ck USA

From Arming the Enemy
"A midsummer report by the Government Accountability Office that the Pentagon “cannot fully account for about 110,000 AK-47 rifles, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armor, and 115,000 helmets” issued to Iraqi forces as of September 2005 did not stir the city’s stifling air."


Tens of thousands of weapons are unaccounted for in Iraq. Who knows who's got them? Planeloads of weapons left over from Bosnia were supposedly sent to Baghdad by the Pentagon, but there is no record that the planes ever made it to Baghdad. All but 3% of weapons that were handed out to Iraqi's are untraceable. In many cases, Iraqi soldiers signed up, got their pay and took their weapons home, never to be seen again. Saddam's stockpiles of weapons were looted- there are 4-6,000 shoulder fired missiles that went missing.

Makes me wonder if the government isn't being totally incompetant on purpose.

Tuesday, August 21

No one goes to a fair for steamed broccoli

The NY Times has a story about the Great Indiana State Fair because of the new ban on Trans Fats in the oils used on the food there. Did it create a hardship for the vendors? Did the food taste different? Was it more expensive to produce? Why are the health police at a State Fair? Indeed.

Some vendors cited that they had to change the oil in the fryers more frequently while some said that they had to change the oil less frequently. There was however less crud buildup in the fryers with the change in oil. bravo.

Forgive me for being so naive but I had no idea that such cuisine existed in America as depicted in the photo above(click to make it larger). I hadn't heard of deep fried Snickers (except in Scotland) and deep fried Oreos, Reeses, Ho-Ho's and Milky-way bars. They even have deep fried Pepsi! That's almost as interesting as deep fried ice-cream (which I have tried in a restaurant out of curiosity, although I felt that it was merely gilding the lily).

I suppose that the irony here is what is being fried. Sure the "officials" don't want their citizens to get fat and have heart attacks so they jumped on the 'trans fats ban' made popular in NYC (home of clean living), but it's not like these are Tempura stands where a change in the oil would make a difference in one's propensity towards a fatal coronary. I mean, WTF.
“This is a slice of heaven,” said Ryan Howell, 31, as he cradled his Combo Plate, which, for the record, consists of one battered Snickers bar, two battered Oreos and a battered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup — all deep-fried in oil that is trans-fat free, thank goodness.
The Health Nazi's have no credibility when they ban the use of trans fats when we're talking about frying foods that are made with trans fats and other artery cloggers or ban outdoor smoking in urban areas. Consistency is the name of the game when trying to affect change in a society. The above example of healthy eating is just laughable.

"Ignore Religion At Our Peil."

This pearl of ineffable wisdom dropped from the mouth of former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, as part of an interview she had for a special report on CNN. In it, she describes the trouble of hammering out a Mideast peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides, and discusses the problem of Jerusalem in the scheme of things.

Which brings me to the quote that titles this post.

Albright rightly points out that fundamentalism started out as a term used to describe American Christians who were extremely conservative and rigid in their religious views. Tolerance had no place in the fundamentalist viewpoint, either in religion (anti-Semitism), race (Jim Crow), politics (isolationism), or science (the Scopes Trial).

So we ignored it.

And look where we are.

I was watching the local news last night and saw footage of happy students at a local 'charter' school, one where the students get in on a 'voucher' program. Not a single African-American or Hispanic to be seen. Segregation forever, huh guys?

Shiite fundamentalism arose in Iran in 1979, and we made fun of it (I still recall "Shiitehead" jokes made over local radio stations), while at the same time our government and the chattering class spun dark scenarios of the end of the world. A film made back then about the prophecies of Nostradamus (narrated by Orson Welles) portrayed one future leader as a cross between a Turkish Sultan and a figure from The Arabian Nights - every Occidental's worst stereotype of an Islamic leader. So, while we were simultaneously denigrating and wetting our pants over this new fundamentalism, we ignored both our own homegrown extremists and Sunni extremists.

Which came back to haunt us at Oklahoma City.

And at the World Trade Center (twice).

So, do I agree with Maddy Albright?

You betcha. We ignore religion at our peril, because in a technological society, in a state governed by secular laws and reason, religion (particularly fundamentalism) is the greatest enemy we face.

No wonder they're trying to stamp out tobacco use:

"While nicotine is highly addictive, researchers have also shown the drug to enhance learning and memory—a property that has launched efforts to develop nicotine-like drugs to treat cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, schizophrenia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder."

Mechanism of nicotine's learning effects explored

(Oops! I was gonna editorialize some more but I just hacked a big oyster on my keyboard.)

UPDATE: And then what to my wondering eyes should appear but a post by Laura Knight-Jadczyk on her blog "Postcards from the Edge of Reality...", entitled Let's All Light Up!, wherein she writes: "Nicotine DOUBLES the efficiency of our thinking. Hmmm... I think that makes it pretty clear why the PTB (Powers That Be) wish to stamp out smoking."


"Don't Bogart that joint my friend..."

Monday, August 20

Sums It All Up

Does faith deserve respect? NO - IT DOES NOT

and after seeing this video I will no longer be keeping my mouth shut "out of respect" to believers. (h/t to j-walkblog)

Pat Condell has a fantastic approach. I like how he doesn't even mention "atheism". You have GOT to watch him tell it like it is! He also has quite a comical website about FAITH HOPE & SANITY and "A few jokes about RELIGION before it kills us all"

NICE JOB!! and just in time, because I have been putting myself through hell reading one of the "discussions" that ABC put up here oh I don't know, back in MARCH I think. It's the way they posed the question that pissed me off:
Atheists are on the offensive. No longer content to keep their disbelief to themselves, they are fighting all the way to the Supreme Court to get religion out of government, and they are writing best-selling books. In an interview with ABC News, Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation," said, "Religion poses one of the more troubling threats to civilization. The world is ablaze with bad ideas and most of these ideas are religious." Needless to say, this kind of talk is lighting a fire under people of faith. Are atheists fanning the flames a little too hard -- or exercising their right to speak their minds?

Most of the discussions are nasty "christians" beating up on atheists. It's NEVER going to end. I don't think this topic will ever get labled "Discussion Closed". People are such assholes when it comes to religion. My father is right "there ARE more assholes in this world than there are asses".

I did come across a beautiful comment somewhere mid-summer and thought it was one of the most well written testaments to atheism that I had ever read:

"An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now - here on earth - for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist thinks that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue, and enjoy it. An Atheist thinks that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man he can find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment. Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An Atheist knows that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethic al way of life. He knows that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end to troubles in the hereafter. He knows that we are our brother's keeper and keepers of our lives; that we are responsible persons, that the job is here and the time is now."
A quote I live by from Madalyn Murray O'Hair


WOW!! Now wasn't that just simply beautiful? I had never heard of Madalyn Murray O'Hair. I looked her up. Didn't find too much other than "The Most Hated Woman in America" Well, Allrighty!

I moved on to whatever it was I was supposed to be doing that day and forgot all about Madalyn. Later that night I climb into bed, start surfing, and come across this documentary that was just starting on sundance channel. "Godless in America". It's been out for about a year. A lot of you may have already seen it.

FREAKED me out! It was about Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Here's a review:
".....the story of Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s notorious life and mysterious death, alongside an account of the current campaigns and struggles of American Atheists.

At a time where the World’s most powerful leader declares that he is inspired and directed by his Christian God, and begins each day by leading his cabinet in prayer, we propose a film about Atheism in America. As a US General speaks of “a Christian nation fighting a Holy War on Islamic terror,” the Atheist campaign to take God out of America defines a gathering battleground of the new millennium.

Godless in America will follow the ongoing struggles of American Atheists to be heard, and to take their case to politicians in Washington and to people across America. They claim that the despite the clamour of the Christian conservatives, there are 30 million non-believers in America, and they are determined to fight back against what they see as the current power of religious fundamentalism in every area of public life.
Here is a short film about her life, much of which was in the documentary

I'm still shocked about what happened to her. Sad that things will never change. Atheist will always be a swear word - just like liberal. Makes me want to keep my mouth shut after learning her fate. I won't remain silent out of respect for the faithful anymore though. It's getting out of hand. Time to lash back - with words that is.

I will now be studying the Pat Condell method!
“I don’t know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is One Nation under God.”
~George W. Bush
Crossposted at BigBrassBlog

Sunday, August 19

National Outrage Fatigue

I read last week in the WSJ that the US government was spying on its citizens via satellites usually reserved for spying on other countries. Yeah, what else is knew? They can read my Email and listen to my phone conversations. This blog has been monitored. This is all for MY protection you know, so I guess I had better shut the hell up and stop complaining because after all I am still alive and that's what it's all about, at least as far as I, an American tax-paying citizen should be concerned. My elected representatives in DC don't seem to mind. After all, I don't have to worry about being blown up by terrorists (unless of course a whistleblower gets media attention), thanks to my government. Although, between Mother Nature, the US infrastructure and lightning, I could still end up being a statistic but not one my government would go to war for, so it doesn't count.

and you?

A Must See, Powerful Video...

The Terrorists Did Not Take Away Our Freedoms. The Terrorists Did Not Suspend Our Constitutional Rights. The Terrorists are Not Spying on Us. Bush Has Done All That, Not the Terrorists. He Does Their Work for Them. He is Their Tool at Destroying Democracy.

On Dehumanization

Those OTHERS
by Pamela Troy at Democratic Underground

It’s become quite fashionable in certain circles to inveigh against well…you know…them.

I mean those hook-nosed, black-haired, filthy-rich, conniving nonChristians with the funny dietary laws who are conspiring against all that is right in just in our society.

Oh come on, you know…them! The swarthy types who want to take over the world, rape our blonde women, kill our children, and steal our stuff. Those others.

The Moslems.
Read on...
This is a very moving essay. It really got me thinking and wondering if I haven't become prejudiced against what some would call "my own." White, christian, westerners. Perhaps it's just a delayed reaction to the horrific hatred perpetrated by people who look like me towards those who are different. As I get older I am sometimes just brought to tears when I think about what "my people" did to others in the name of god or civility.

There are some very good quotes at the essay.

Hat tip to tali

Guzzlers of Mad Dog 20-20 BEWARE!:

From the Chicago Tribune in an article entitled
"Wine before its time alarms Italy":

GROTTAFERRATA, Italy - "Patrizia Filippi has no degree in meteorology or any idea how to calculate what scientists call extreme weather change. But the 43-year-old grape picker has been working this area's silky, volcanic soil for nearly three decades, and she knows what she sees:

"This is an early harvest unlike anything that Italy, or any generation in her family, has experienced in memory.

"I'm a bit scared," Filippi said, pulling and snipping a thick, juicy bunch of white grapes from the vines of the Castel de Paolis estate. "I've never picked grapes this early in the season. We're used to picking grapes in October. That's when the grape festivals are. Even my father is saying: What the hell has gone wrong with the world?"


If I am unable to drive away the agony of living in a trashcan universe by sniffing the familiar sweet bouquet of Mad Dog, or Night Train, or Thunderbird, what'm I gonna do? PoLT begs the Blondes and readers for advice.

Saturday, August 18

Tit for Tat

(And no, this isn't a belated Friday Sex Post.)

First I wish to apologize for not having posted anything in almost a week. I was suffering from outrage fatigue, so apart from random comments I basically avoided blogging and gardened until I felt better about writing something that wouldn't sound like The Rude Pundit with added psychopathies.

So what caught my eye a few days ago was an item on the NBC Nightly News where the United States Government had threatened to declare that the Islamic Republic of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps was a "terrorist organization" because it has supported insurgents and other terrorist groups.

Now, with this article on CNN the Iranians have taken the traditional umbrage at our government's line, complete with bellicose language about "punching" us if we take steps against the Guards.

I just had to say something about this.

First, there is some precedent to the idea of outlawing a part of another nation's armed forces, as the victorious Allies did in Nuremburg by outlawing and prosecuting the German High Command and the SS.

But can our own actions be as closely refereed?

Let's see, shall we?

We supported the Shah of Iran's domestic terrorism of his own people (those very same Iranians).

We lent aid and support to the UNITA terrorists in Angola (to the point of Ronald Reagan praising its leader, Jonas Savimbi, as "the Abraham Lincoln of Africa").

We are currently supporting Sunni Arab insurgent groups in Iraq on the promise that they will help us in stamping out al Qaeda cells there, and will not attack either us or the Shiite majority.

We lent aid and training to insurgents in Afghanistan in the 1980s that led to the Soviet pullout, the Afhgan civil war, and the rise of the Taliban government (which gave shelter to al Qaeda).

We supported Manuel Noriega, who made a mint off of running drugs, racketeering and acting as a double agent.

We are currently giving grants to set up shelters and community centers in American cities for organizations that are fronts for street gangs (which, in my view, are exactly what terrorist organizations are).

So, can anyone tell me where we get off saying that another country aids terrorism?

We're bombing the hell out of Afghanistan

But don't pay any attention to that news cause it's not our fault really.

"It was the fault of civilians for living in populated areas, explained Lt. Col. David Accetta at the time, areas that can provide a shelter for Taliban on the run. So homes were "targeted and hit."

I won't be attending the Olympics in Beijing

a cold front blew through here last night and oh my god, I can breathe again. ahhh
...which reminds me of what it must be like to live in the pollution capital of the world- China.


Last year at this time, my doctor was telling me about his recent vacation to China. He reported that he and his companion could barely breathe, let alone actually see anything in the cities due to the thick air pollution. He was completely disgusted with China's disregard for the environment and he is one of those people who really doesn't complain much about such things being that he lives and jogs daily in Manhattan where it can be pretty hard to breathe in the summer. On a boat cruise around Hong Kong, he said that he couldn't see the skyline at all. They merely took a boat ride in what appeared to be a cloud. Beijing was also a disaster he said. Being an American with money, he was able to spend time in the more expensive and air conditioned places until it was time to leave.

Billydoom's sister has been living in Shanghai for the past few years. Shanghai boasts being a fabulous international city but it is also polluted to the point where it's unbearable in the summertime for those unaccustomed to breathing air that you can see and eat. Her husband comes back to the states in the summer just so he can stay alive. The Chinese citizens don't have the luxury of heat in winter or air conditioning in the summer. It's not like manufacturing plants provide heat and a/c to the workers or they have such luxuries at home either.

The clothes you buy from China are made under extreme conditions by people who wear gloves and coats all day while they sew your garments in winter and sweat all over the garments in the summer and god knows what sort of particulates they cough on said garments.

Why anyone thought Beijing would be a good place for the summer Olympics next year, beats me. Anyone who's been there will tell you that just standing there fills your lungs with un-coughable phlegm. How athletes will compete makes you wonder. Canadian athletes have been practicing there in order to do I don't know what for their lung capacity recently and breathing has become an Olympian effort.

The new "middle class" is in love with big cars in China. Forget mini cars. They are buying big cars faster than the government can build roads for them. China worries about providing gas for these cars and in Beijing if most people were to drive cars, the city would turn into a parking lot. As I mentioned above, the city is already a pollution nightmare.

There are three million cars in Beijing now and a thousand more are being registered every day. The government of Beijing in preparation for next year's the 2008 summer Olympics has banned one million cars from Beijing to see if it will have any effect on the air quality. If nothing else it has eased traffic snarls. Air born particulates from other areas in China are not aware of the ban however and continue to blow in.
An air pollution expert at the World Health Organisation (WHO), however, was on Friday quoted as saying people with heart problems should think twice about visiting Beijing as they could face "serious problems" because of the pollution.

Dr. Michal Krzyzanowski said he doubted there would be much improvement in the city's air quality by Games' time and that the car control measures might not have too great an effect.

"Particles have the ability of travelling thousands of kilometres in the air," he told the BBC.

"So it's possible the beneficial effect of cutting the traffic in the city will be compensated by the transport of pollution from other parts of China."
The Chinese spokesman, who is probably used to the pollution, can kind of-sort of see the implications of Beijing's lack of air quality but gives sort of Bush Administration type assurances to the world. So much for that.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Greenland to see the melting glaciers up close and has declared that China and the US must be a part of the world's goal to reduce pollutants since the US and China are the largest emitters of CO2 (the greenhouse gasses that cause global warming). I would agree with that, but she fails to understand just how freaking greedy are the governments of these 2 nations and how freaking oblivious are those who insist on driving huge cars and flying on their vacations. I'm quite surprised that no one has figured out how to make gobs of money by going green.

UPDATE
Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Record Low

And I do hope that the people who got rich polluting the air don't come crying to me when their waterfront homes become submerged.

China Plays Catchup With U.S.

"China has ordered its media to report only positive news and has imprisoned a pro-democracy dissident amid a clampdown on dissent ahead of the most important meeting of the communist party in five years."

Article's in the Guardian Unlimited.

Friday, August 17

On the Giuliani Trail


Former mayor of NYC and presidential contender Rudy Giuliani took a lot of flack for stating that his experience after 9/11 was akin to that of the actual rescue workers who put in 12 hours days at Ground Zero for weeks or months on end. The NY Times reports today that he spent a grand total of 29 hours at Ground Zero from September 16th through December 27th, 2001. Wow.

I find it kind of ironic that Giuliani probably wouldn't win NY if he were to be the GOP nominee. But that's politics.

Lots of 9/11 rescue workers live on Long Island. Try to find some that would support his candidacy. Fat chance.

Furthermore, America's Mayor would appreciate it if people would leave his family out of his presidential campaign. A woman in the audience in Derry, NH brought up the fact that his children do not support his political aspirations.
"If a person is running for president, I would assume their children would be behind them." she said. "If they're not, you've got to wonder."
On health care, Giuliani thinks people should buy their own healthcare just like they buy any other insurance.
Giuliani wants to give families a $15,000 tax deduction to buy insurance privately rather than through employers, and he proposes that any money left from the credit be kept in tax-free health savings accounts.
Of course he is assuming that most people can afford to do that. Maybe his supporters can do that and expect to also invest in the private insurance companies as well.

fa la la la, la la la la


Despite the fact that the former POTUS never served in Congress, it has been suggested by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that a statue of President Reagan should deck the halls of Congress.

I kind of like him as a cowboy. I know that Bush thinks he is a cowboy, but he only rides a bicycle.

Thursday, August 16

BREAKING

Jenna Bush is engaged.

Who do they think the Pope is? Bush?

He probably doesn't have a say in this but when the previous Pope, John Paul II visited a shrine in Mariazell, Austria in 1983, "4 stately lime trees were ceremoniously planted" near the shrine in his honor.

Next month, when Joey Ratz Pope Benedict XVI visits the same shrine, the commemorative trees will be chopped down to "make room for a 52 1/2-foot-high steel grandstand to accommodate some of the thousands of pilgrims who will flock to the shrine town of Mariazell, 60 miles southwest of Vienna."

The event will last a few hours.

A church spokesman insists that the RCC doesn't sacrifice trees. Mariazell officials say that some more trees may need to be felled to make room for 30,000 pilgrims but also say that the plaza was going to be redecorated anyway.

Not that surprising actually...

Not only will the WH write Gen. Petraeus' report for him, when he and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker brief congress next month, it will now be a private congressional briefing.

"We have met the enemy...."

"Ninety-nine U.S. soldiers killed themselves last year, the highest rate of suicide in the Army in 26 years, a new report says."

Suicide Rate in Army at a 26-Year High

Wednesday, August 15

Bush, President - For - Life?

You, Volvo driving, latte drinking, wind surfing, conspiracy theorist liberals, should think twice before accusing anybody of being a "Conspiracy Theorist".

We throw out ideas that may be more absurd than we could ever imagine, but deep down, don't believe that could happen in this country.
Well, anything goes nowadays.

I found this piece of publication at the Democratic Underground, saved by Google Cache, since it was immediately removed, due to the connection of this group to the White House.

Read this scary stuff for yourselves, put out by Family Security Matters.

Women Talk: Modern Science Marvels


Necessity is the mother of invention, isn't it?
Women's breasts have always been a concern for inventors. What's a little world strife when you could be knocked out by a couple of unharnessed knockers?

I loved my maidenform bra. As you can see from the picture, it shapes women so naturally. What on earth could be better looking during the cold war and then the age of the GWOT than a couple of torpedos on a girl's chest?

Bras can be pesky though. Sometimes they pinch. ow. Sometimes the straps dig into your shoulders. ow.
And they are unsightly when you want to wear a strapless gown.

But they are a necessary evil as gravity takes its toll and one needs super strong straps to hold the girls higher than your waist. The important thing is that you can still look great in clothes and catch lusting leers from strange men when you need it the most.

The worst part happens when you meet a guy at a bar and you take him home (or go out to his car) and he wants you to lay down and take your bra off so he can delight in what he thought was a great pair, and you see his little smile turn into a frown when the girls retreat to your armpits.

Sure, you thought of breast augmentation surgery because that will make you feel much better about yourself because "what defines a woman more than her breasts?" Right? But you have a fear of the knife and fake ones feel so, so fake. But then again they stand up at attention even when you're flat on your back. You're almost convinced to go under the knife until the surgeon tells you that eventually even the fake ones begin to sag.

What's a girl to do?

Bravo Israeli researchers!
Behold the "Cup&Up"

Israeli researchers have figured out a way to install your bra inside you!

"What we've done is build a silicon bra, insert it into the body and attach it to the ribs and to the fascia. It's like a normal external bra," he continues, "where a strip lies on the shoulder and attaches around the body. We attach it to the ribs instead of to the shoulder, and to the fascia in the lower part of the body."

Cohen, who served as an Israeli Air Force captain for seven years before entering the business world heard about the MIM concept from its inventor Dr. Eyal Gur, head of microsurgery at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital.

"I call it an internal bra," Gur told ISRAEL21c. "All women are looking for the right bra that will hold their breasts in the position they like or prefer aesthetically. There's an increasing trend towards buying push-up bras to enhance the upward breast pull.

"So I was thinking that with a harness created from materials used in medicine - silicon, threads and very small anchoring screws - we could support breast tissue and avoid further breast sagging."

The procedure is minimally invasive requiring two small openings through which the device is attached to the ribs."
Fabulous. Sign me up.
Men are just so darn sympathetic to the plight of women. At the moment these marvels are being tested on pigs.