Saturday, January 3, 2009

A devotional on Christ and his bride

The Holy Ghost - Hear him coo, calling you!

[Photo by Oleg Babinets]

I apologize to all my readers for printing this. But after about two seconds of internal debate, I concluded that it is important for reasonable people to try to understand the mind of the christianist wingnut.

Of course, reading this will not help you understand the mind of a christianist wingnut. But it will, I believe, confirm in your own mind that christianist wingnuts live in their own little wingnut world, and should wear badges that proclaim them to be of the wingnuttery clan.

What follows is a "devotional" by Maria Woodworth-Etter, who is no doubt a true christianist and a good person. That does not, however, excuse this so-called "devotional." Perhaps if you took a little Pepto-Bismol before reading...whatever, here it is:

"Christ is Preparing His Bride

"The King of Glory will be married to His Bride. Don't you know that every good thing the world enjoys, God is going to let us enjoy ten-thousand fold? There will be the greatest banquet, the most wonderful occasion ever heard of, when we shall eat bread and drink wine in the kingdom. The bride is now in training. The Holy Ghost is the dove.

"The singing is the cooing of the dove before the storm. Did you ever hear the doves before the storm, call to their mates to seek shelter? So the Holy Ghost is cooing and chirping, calling us to seek shelter from the tribulation storms that are coming upon the earth. The Lord has us in training, making our bodies light and supple so that we can go up.

"May the Lord help us to be filled with the Holy Ghost so that we can rise. It is the only moving power in the church of Christ, His mighty agent. He wants us to carry on His business through His body. Let us get the fire from heaven that will enable us to do business for God, and be careful that we do not attribute the power of God to the devil, lest we commit the unpardonable sin."

What can possibly be said about that?

[Above devotional from Charisma magazine]

Financial Armageddon by John Hagee

The christianist TV evangelist, war-monger, Iran bomber, rapture ready, Jew-hater John Hagee has, for reasons unknown, put the spiritual Armageddon on the back burner and has come out with a new work titled "Financial Armageddon."

It's obvious that Hagee isn't too worried about the spiritual Armageddon any more, because if he thought it was imminent he would not be writing about surviving "the devastation of an economic collapse."

It is also likely with Mr. Bush soon to leave the Oval Office (not soon enough, however) Hagee's dreams of a war between the U.S., Iran and Israel which he believes the precursor to the end of the world has been postponed. Obama is not as likely to be taken in as Bush was by Hagee's insane rantings.

And a man's gotta make a few million out of whatever crisis is at hand, right? Yup. So ol' John wrote this new book and because "We are in a battle for our very survival," he's gonna tell you what you need to know. In this tract, you will:

1. Discover how oil will become the ultimate weapon of war. (that's from the Song of Solomon, I think - body oil?).

2. Learn the four events that will cause the West to implode. (the Rose Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Cotton Bowl and the Super Bowl).

3. Keep your investments from funding the enemy's advance. (send your money directly to John Hagee's account at the San Antonio National Bank, #555478777666 - I'magettit).

4. Why energy independence is key to our survival. (drill, baby, drill).

Now you can treat yourself to a download of this important stuff by clicking here which will bring you to the christianist Charisma magazine site.

Just try not to get too excited if you read the Song of Solomon. Bring your own oil.

Bush wants Australia to resettle Gitmo detainees

[Photo from DPA]

Welt Online is reporting today that Australia has rejected requests by the Bush administration to resettle Guantanamo Bay detainees in that country.

The Bushites asked about a month ago and were turned down. They made another request yesterday which was also rejected by the Australian government.

"Those resettlement requests have been considered on a case-by-case basis, against our stringent national security and immigration criteria" and they did not meet that criteria, said Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Over 100 countries have been asked to take Gitmo detainees by the Bush administration. There was no information as to how many have agreed.

Read the entire article here.

Bush's war is now illegal

According to Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway, "The Bush administration's infatuation with presidential power has finally pushed the country over a constitutional precipice. As of New Year's Day, ongoing combat in Iraq is illegal under US law."

Ackerman and Hathaway note that in 2002, Congress authorized a two-purpose invasion of Iraq: first it was to "defend the national security of the US from the threat posed by Iraq," and secondly, to "enforce all relevant UN Security Council resolutions."

Any supposed threat from Iraq is long gone. "Our continuing intervention has been based on the second clause of Congress' grant of war-making power. Coalition troops have been acting under a series of Security Council resolutions athorizing the continuing occupation of Iraq."

Bush, however, let the UN mandate expire as of December 31. "At precisely one second after midnight, Congress' authorization of the war expired along with this mandate."

So, why are coalition troops still in Iraq? Ackerman and Hathaway report that "Bush is trying to fill the legal vacuum with the new Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) he signed with the Iraqis. But the president's agreement is unconstitutional, since it lacks the approval of Congress. Bush even refused to allow Congress access to the terms of the deal." [My emphasis]

What to do?

Read all of what Ackerman and Hathaway have to say here.

Another Palin Power Play?

You may have realized over the course of the past several months that Palin has a perverse relationship with the truth and tends to stretch personal and political parameters in her favor.

Dan Fagan, in a commentary at the Anchorage Daily News, asks this pertinent question: "Have you noticed how our governor seems to have convinced herself only some of the rules apply to her?"

He's referring to the fact that Palin's daughter's boyfriend, Levi Johnston, is working as an electrical apprentice on the North Slope.

Levi has not completed his high school education. Palin, pissed at media coverage which indicated Levi is a high school drop-out, put out a statement claiming that he is not a high school drop-out as he is "continuing his online high school work in addition to working as an electrical apprentice on the North Slope."

Problem No 1. How did Levi get into the apprentice program? As Fagan notes, according to federal regulations, all apprentice folks must have a high a high school diploma.

Problem No 2. How did Levi jump to the head of the line? Fagan writes that "Rebecca Logan, executive director of Associated Builders and Contractors, an organization that also has an electrical workers apprentice program, says waiting lists always accompany apprenticeship programs. Her organization's electrical apprentice program, one of only three in the state, has a waiting list of 100 people."

Problem No 3. Did Palin pull some strings and skirt the rules to get Levi "favored person" status?

Palin tends to pull lots of strings which work to her benefit, like charging the state to fly her family around the country, and charging the state to work at home when she has a perfectly good office in Juneau, and using her office to pursue a personal vendetta against an ex-brother-in-law.

Dan Fagan's entire article is here.

The bioethical Vatican document

[Representatives of the "updated" Roman Church]

About a month ago, the Vatican put out a document defining its stance on various bioethical issues.

The following are immoral, according to God's poohbahs in Rome:

Artificial insemination (and other fertilization techniques)

Human cloning and freezing embryos

Embryonic stem-cell research

"Morning-after" drugs (or any drugs that block a pregnancy, such as the RU-486 drug). Such drugs, as well as the IUD, are considered "within the sin of abortion."

You will be glad to know that the Vatican document, known as "Dignitas Personae, an Instruction of Certain Bioethical Questions," is the Vatican's method of bringing the Roman Catholic Church "up to date with recent advances in science and medicine."

Heh. Heh.

Papal Kitsch No. 3

For your drinking pleasure - Papal Beer!

Click here to purchase.

Biblical marriage

[Image of King David at]

Leaders of the christianist right are, so far as I can tell, without exception, against same-sex marriage.

Also, without exception (so far as I can tell), they base their opposition on the Bible - the Christian version of "Old" and "New" Testaments, citing a couple of chapters and verses.

Many, if not most, of these christianist rightists, complained mightily about the Newsweek article by Lisa Miller which suggested that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality or same-sex marriage.

Opposition to same-sex marriage is invariably posited on the claim that the Bible speaks of marriage as being between one man and one woman. The nutcase that runs the Traditional Values Coalition, Lou Sheldon, writes that "Miller falsely claims that the Bible and Jesus talk about love and family, but never explicitly define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. This is clearly untrue as evidenced by Genesis 2:24-25 and the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 19:1-8."

Without getting into an exegetical discussion over a few verses that may or may not say what Sheldon would like them to say, I thought it would be interesting to look at one particular example of marriage as defined by the Bible, the example of King David, the ancestor of Jesus.

(Remember marriage is the union between one man and one woman - according to the Christian right.)

"David first wed Ahinoam, a Jezreelite, who may have first married King Saul. David then married Abigail, a widow, but only after threatening her then-husband's life. He then wed Maacha, a foreign princess, simply to facilitate a treaty that protected Israel's northern border. He then wed Haggith, and then Eglah. He then formally married Michal, the younger daughter of King Saul, who although once betrothed to David, was by then wed to a loving husband, by kidnapping her from her spouse to give David a better claim to the throne.

"As the king in Jerusalem, David, seeing Bathsheba naked while bathing, was seized with overpowering lust and, heedless of the consequences, slept with Bathsheba, who was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of the officers in David's army. When David could not hide the fact that he had impregnated Bathsheba, he had her husband killed, married her, and made her his queen."

In his later years, "...King David was old and stricken ... and they covered him with clothes, but [his body] gat no heat....So they sought a fair damsel ... and brought her to the king. And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king and ministered to him: but the King knew her not."
(I Kings 1)

It could be he didn't have sex with her because of all those older, very jealous wives, hanging around waiting to dispatch him to the happy hunting ground if he did!

This is a biblical marriage. One man and one woman?

[The section on King David comes from an article by Fred Simmons, "A New Look at King David, 1010-970 B.C.E.," which appears in the magazine of Humanistic Judaism, Autumn 2008.]

Hamas hypocrisy

[Iraqi children killed by U.S. Marines]

Pundits around the world have called in to pronounce Israel guilty of over-reacting to the acts of Hamas. Protestors are marching in a number of cities, demanding the militant Israelis stop their attacks on Gaza.

While others, directly involved in this latest Israeli-Gazan violence, and much more knowledgeable than I, have defended the Israeli action with some cogency, I would raise a question with the naysayers: Where were all these protesters five years ago when the United States invaded Iraq setting off a conflagration which has left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead (many of which were civilians, including women and children), and millions more fleeing the country?

And how is it that we are treated to multiple photos of dead and dying Gazans but our media has conveniently forgotten to show us images of the havoc wreaked by our own forces in Iraq?

Israel has been under daily assault by Hamas for years. Israelis, for years, have lived with the threat, not only of rockets which appear suddenly and without warning over and over again, but also suicide bombers which turn Israeli marketplaces into bloody scenes of death.

Hamas denies Israel's right to exist, and in turn exists ONLY to drive Israel into the sea! Hamas is dedicated to the death of Israel. Hamas turns its resources into weapons and fires those weapons at Israel.

In 2003, the United States invaded a sovereign nation that posed no threat to us whatsoever! Iraq never attacked us! Iraq never attacked our allies. We attacked Iraq, leading to the destruction of the country, damage that has been been massive and pointless. Dead bodies, including those of women and children continue to litter the streets.

We not only do not see such things on the evening news, we are not allowed by our leaders to even view the caskets of our dead soldiers as they are brought back home for burial. Such sights might make people wonder if maybe God didn't tell Bush and company to take out Saddam.

Those who wish to protest what they feel is unnecessary war and gratuitous violence should head to Washington, D.C. and lead marches against the Bush administration and all of its subdivisions, which created the world's largest killing machine and which, for the past five years, has used that killing machine to extend American hegemony over the Middle East.

Unfortunately, that killing machine not only killed Iraqis who stood in the way of the Bushite dream, but is responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocents men, women and children.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Peter, Paul & Mary - "Where Have All The Flowers Gone"

This song was always one of the most popular and emotional numbers at a Peter, Paul & Mary concert.

Peter, Paul & Mary - "Early In The Morning"

A hit from the early days.

Peter, Paul & Mary - "In The Early Morning Rain"

Here's the trio in 1966!

Peter, Paul & Mary - "The Times They Are A-Changin'"

Heading into 2009, here's Peter, Paul & Mary, not so long ago, singing Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'."

Paul Krugman on the Republican Meltdown

Referencing a quote from the infamous Repugnican nogoodnik, Phil Gramm, Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times, says the Republican Party has become "a party of whiners."

Krugman, incredulous, takes notice of the former AG, Alberto Gonzales, who said he considered himself one of the casualties of the war on terror. Then there's Rush Limberger who suggested "that the financial crisis was the result of a conspiracy, masterminded by that evil genius Chuck Schumer."

More importantly, says Krugman, the Republicans are whining "that the Bush administration's failure was simply a matter of bad luck."

Heh, heh.

Luck, good or bad, says Krugman, had nothing to do with the Republican meltdown!

"The fault ... lies not in Republicans' stars but in themselves. Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party's champion, to the Bush administration's pervasive incompetence, to the party's shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision."

The heart of the Republican party was rotten - resting "on contempt for government in general."

It all goes downhill from there.

You can read all of Krugman's article here.

h/t to BuzzFlash

An Israeli speaks out on Hamas

[Jerusalem - the Old City]

A guest post by Bob Poris.

This derives from an hospital administrator in Jerusalem.

Our speech at the UN

Members of the United Nations, Democracies, dictatorships, republics, and the honorable secretary-general:

Within a few hours, media outlets in your countries shall present horrific photos of blood, fire, and rubble from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians will be screaming, in front of the cameras, about the massacre undertaken by the State of Israel. Initially, you may show understanding for our operations in the Strip, yet once the photos of wounded civilians reach you, you shall press us, as is your custom, to stop defending ourselves.

The first signs of this phenomenon can already be seen. Calls to "end the violence" from across the world are being heard loud and clear - yet they are only being heard now, after years of violence, and after Israel finally decided to respond. The European Union already rushed to declare that it condemns Israel's "disproportional use of force." Several news networks have brought together panels whose members are scrutinizing the law books at this very moment in order to ascertain whether the Jewish State violated some international law.

I do not intend to deal with the question of where were these condemners and critics for the past seven years, when Hamas' murderers set the timers of their rockets to coincidence with the end of the school day in Israel, because of a declared aim to kill as many children as possible.

The question we should be discussing at this time is as follows: Why do the countries of the world and global media outlets obsessively engage in strict criticism that is only directed at Israel? After all, there is not even one country out there that is required to adhere to the moral criteria which the world demands of us - of us of all people, the ones who as opposed to the rest of the world face threats of extermination.

Our Arab neighbors are well familiar with this double standard vulnerability. On their part, they are not bound by any kind of moral code.

And so, they learned to exploit the international strictness towards Israel. A long time ago, they already understood that they cannot face the State of Israel on the battlefield. Indeed, when it comes to photographs and videos, they boast uniforms and weapons, yet once the fighting gets underway, they are quick to take off their uniforms and assimilate among women and children used as human shields. They also make sure to place their arms depots in hospital basements and to fire rockets at population centers out of schoolyards.

Their great hope is to elicit an Israeli response that would unintentionally hurt a few children. Once that happens, they will wave their bodies before the cameras and cry out to the world for help.

This was the case in Lebanon, and this may happen tomorrow in the Gaza Strip.

Easing Europe's conscience the states demanding that Israel adhere to certain moral standards do not even dream of asking the same of her enemies.

After all, we are dealing with theocracies and dictatorships, where homosexuals are publicly hanged, where women are regularly stoned for undermining their "family's honor," and where children suspected of theft have their arms severed.

What do these states have to do with the value of human life?

We should therefore ask representatives of global opinion: Be honest with yourselves - Do the lives of humans being butchered daily in Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur arouse you into similar action?

Reality indicates this is not the case. My answer to the question regarding the obsessive preoccupation with the actions of the Jews is purely sociological.

Many of you, the shapers of public opinion, and mostly the Europeans amongst you, are interested in easing your conscience: If only can only show that the Israelis-Jews are not so moral or innocent, perhaps they deserve everything you did to them before they were able to establish their state? After all, here they are, occupying and butchering the poor Palestinians; they are certainly no better than us!

To that end, you are willing to help out the lowliest terrorists. Therefore, you bought into their slanderous Mohammed al-Dura tale, and therefore you will rush to buy into various blood libels in the coming days.

Those who launch missiles and mortar shells into kindergartens know that they will always enjoy a protective umbrella from you.

They draw their self-confidence from the intolerable ease with which they enlist your public opinion in their favor.

Therefore, you would do well to think twice before you move to stop the punishment they lawfully deserve.

After all, you are the only lifesaver that can spare this radical terror group the measure of justice hovering above it.

Update from another Israeli:

Today the new Consul General for the Pacific Northwest was on  a local talk
show. When questioned about the civilian casualties, he replied that
before targeting the Hamas headquarters in Gaza, Israel made 90,000 phone
calls to Gaza residents warning them to remove themselves from that area.
Do other nations do that?

Italy, the Vatican and the Devil

[Photo of Fr. Gabriele Amorth]

I almost laughed out loud. The question was: "Is the Devil Gaining a Foothold in Rome?" That's the title of a CBN article. One wonders if the author has a clue as to the history of the Catholic Church over the past 2,000 plus years.

But it's a serious article, and yes, the Devil is gaining a foothold in the Holy City. We've written about the Vatican's chief magician (exorcist) previously, but Father Gabriele Amorth, pontificates that "There is a greater openness towards the devil."

Would you believe that Rome is "the most satanized city in Italy"? Hell, what a disappointment. I had always been told and believed it was the most "sanitized" city in Italy, although when I visited there a number of years ago, it seemed kinda old and dirty.

Father Pedro Barrajon, a Roman priest, claims "Satanism and the occult are in fashion."

How could this happen in the seat of Catholicism? Doth not the Vatican and the Pope and the Papal Poohbahs have any power whatsoever?

Then there's an "evangelical" clergyman, Silvano Lilli, also an inhabitant of Rome, who says there are "an estimated 800 satanic cults operating in the country, with more than 600,000 followers."

And, says Lilli, the situation is getting worse by the day. "The devil's diabolical influence is growing is so many areas of our society. He needs to be driven out."

I don't have a clue where Lilli gets his statistics, and he doesn't say, but they sound good (or bad). And I'm not sure what he thinks about Father Amorth (Amorth being of the Roman priestly caste) who has his little exorcist room not far from the Vatican to shoo the devil out of the demon-possessed. The violent ones are the worst, says Amorth. They have to be tied down.

But the good Father doesn't want any tape-recordings of his exorcisms. I wonder why? Especially since he insists that "exorcism is God's true miracle" (as opposed to what - God's false miracle?), and "Medicine and science have cases they can't solve but which are instead solved by exorcism."

Hmmm. Maybe we could try that on Bush and Cheney?

Seriously, there are all kinds of satan-related crimes in Italy. "Many Italians are forsaking priests for magicians, fortunetellers and faith healers."

Hmmm, again. Sounds like priests to me!

It's so bad, though, that law enforcement has enlisted the assistance of Catholic priests to help solve violent crimes.

That should do the job.

They need a prayer box in Rensselaer, Indiana

[Image from]

Can't pray without a prayer box? Of course you can! But a prayer box helps!

But 'tis a problem in Rensselaer, Indiana. Local pastors in that city asked the city government to install a prayer box in City Hall in which they could deposit their prayers. Prayers for what? Better city council members? Less taxes on the rich? Put the homeless on buses out of town?

I guess they figured with the entire city council comprised of Repugnicans, and because Repugnicans like to nod to god, they would have no problem getting a prayer box installed at the center of the city's government.

Not to be. The Repugnican city council members are afraid they'll get sued by people like the ACLU or other atheistic, agnostic nasties.

Rensselaer is the place to go, though, if you are a devoutly desperate. According to the Rev Garry Wickert, there are prayer boxes all over the city in which people can deposit "notes with requests for prayers." Someone comes by weekly and collects these prayer notes and gives them to local churches. I'd guess the pious in the churches then pray the prayers on the prayer notes.

Back a few years ago, someone (probably the Gideons) had a policy of handing out bibles to all the public school 5th graders. Someone sued. That policy was abandoned.

That's the trouble. Damn near every time you try to do something to help God out in this world, the nogoodniks show up with a lawyer. If only we could get rid of our Constitution! What were our Founding Fathers thinking not to even so much as mention god in our Constitution? How can we be good people and do good things without a constitutional god?

Will Tim Tebow and God win again?

[Image from]

January 8, 2009. The University of Florida, led by quarterback Tim Tebow, meets the No. 1 team, Oklahoma, for the BCS national championship in Miami, Florida.

Will God help Tim pull it out again?

We put that question to our heavenly reporter, LuLu (that may be her in the photo with Tebow?).

"I've just returned from heaven," said LuLu, breathlessly and breastfully (it's a long trip!). "Word is that just yesterday in the main throne room, Jesus was talking with the Father and the Holy Ghost who are, in fact, the same person as he is, and the Father told himself in the form of Jesus to ask the angel, Gabriel, to get St. Philip.

"What was so thrilling," trilled LuLu, "was that the three-in-one were talking about our national college football championships. I had to run to the bathroom to pee twice!

"Well, seconds later, Gabe and Philip arrived and Jesus asked what the heck he really meant in Chapter 4, verse 13 of his little book."

"I didn't write that!" Philip told Jesus indignantly.

"Well, who did, then? It's got your name on it!" responded Jesus.

"Oh, please, you must remember. It's one of St. Paul's seven authentic letters. It was written to those chosen few and converts in Philippi!"

"Oops!" said the Father, laughing.

"Ho, ho, ho" said the Holy Ghost, rolling on the golden floor.

"Well," said LuLu, "Jesus was a little miffed that he'd forgotten Paul had written the Letter to the Philippians. He sort of stormed out of the throne room and slammed the door which knocked poor Philip on his behind.

"But a few minutes later, Jesus came back in with St. Paul trailing behind, mumbling about how he never gets credit for anything.

"I missed part of the conversation after that, but here's what I remember."

"Who in heaven is Tim Tebow?" asked St. Paul.

The Holy Ghost chuckled. "He's not in heaven yet, Pablo." (The HG always teased St. Paul by using his Spanish name.)

"He's the quarterback this year for the University of Florida," said Jesus.

"Oh, for My sake," said the Father. "Is he still writing the silly verse on his face thinking we care?"

"Oh, that Tim Tebow," said St. Paul. "Well, I think it's pretty great and indicates he's a true follower of you guys."

"You're just saying that 'cause you wrote the verse," said Jesus. "But, you know what, you didn't check with me before your put pen to paper! Did I ever say you could do "all things" through me? Huh?"

"Hmm. No," said St. Paul. "But I figured you'd approve."

"That's the trouble with you, Paul or Saul or whatever you're calling yourself now. You make too many assumptions."

"Ok," said the Father. "Enough, already, with all this foolishness. We've got work to do today and we're way behind as it is. What do we do about Tebow and his scripture facial?"

"Well," sighed the Holy Ghost. "What's Oklahoma done for us lately? Do any of their players write bible verses on their faces? Seems like an open and shut case to me."

"I agree," said Jesus. "He might have picked a better verse, though. Philippians 4:13 makes it sound like I'm going to be throwing the football for him, but what the hey, let's give it to him."

"I would be honored. Again." said St. Paul.

"What if Oklahoma wins?" asked the Father. "We'd look kind of stupid. Well, maybe Tebow would look stupid. Should we break the Oklahoma quarterback's leg in practice?"

"Whoa," said the Holy Ghost, rising abruptly and smoothing his robe while brushing his hair back with upturned hand. "That would be really cheating. It's one thing to give Tebow a little bump, but wow, what you're suggesting, not even I can go along with that!"

"And that about's it," said LuLu. "God the Father stood up, which meant, of course, that God the Son and God the Holy Ghost also stood up. Then they left the room to get some lunch. As they walked out, arm in arm, St. Paul tagging behind but smiling now, God the Father said:

"Okay, are I in agreement now? Tebow wins?"

"Yup!" He said in unison.

Pro-Hamas Demonstration in Ft. Lauderdale!

A guest post by Bob Poris:

This is very scary!!!! The video is rather long but I sat riveted as I watched this. These people felt secure enough in a heavily Jewish area to have a mass demonstration calling for the death of Jews, not necessarily Israelis, and for the elimination of Israel.

It just goes on and on!

Papal Kitsch No. 2

This is just the thing for people who collect bobbleheads! Bobblehead Benny! You could put it on your car's dash, or in your kitchen (sorta works with "kitsch"), or even in a front window thus showing your suspicious neighbor's how pious you really are.

Bobblehead Benny is made of polyresin, but the best part is it's only about $12.95. Click here to order.

C'mon, make your suspicious neighbors jealous!

Video for Alternative Invocation

From Blue Gal.

More on an alternative invocation here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nostalgia - Puff The Magic Dragon

Sometimes, as one moves forward in time, it is good to step back and let some of the old times wash away the years, if only temporarily.

Peter Yarrow, the co-writer of "Puff The Magic Dragon," has always denied those nasty rumors that his children's tune contained hidden references to drugs. In this version of the song, Peter explains...

Featuring Noel Paul Stookey (Paul), Mary Travers, and Peter Yarrow some years after the song was first introduced, they reprise "Puff The Magic Dragon," with their special kind of magic.

You can find an update on the trio's doings here.

h/t to Down With Tyranny

Papal Kitsch No. 1

For my good Catholic readers, I will, from time to time, be posting information on items for sale relating to Pope Benedict XVI.

For example, "The Enforcer" and "Papa Ratz!" T-shirts are now available here.

Just the thing for the New Year.

(P.S. I do not get a cut!)

The lies of Bill Donohue

Bill Donohue is the right-wing fruitcake, stuck in the Middle Ages, who heads up the Catholic League, an organization ready to take the Roman Church back to the good old days when heretics were burned at the stake, God was in heaven, Galileo was denounced, and the Pope's word was law for all.

The Catholic League is up in arms these days because "More than 60 organizations have issued a 55-page report advising the incoming Obama administration on the need to provide more money for abortion-related services. ... Significantly, it endorses the Freedom of Choice Act, the most radical abortion-rights bill ever proposed."

Oh boy. Those bad pro-choice people are persecuting Christians right and left!

Donohue is irate. My God, this is an "assault on religious liberty." Donohue says "From the very beginning, the pro-abortion industry has not only opposed any religion which is pro-life, it has adopted a confrontational approach."

The "pro-abortion industry"? Sounds like the Mafia. But Donohue, being a "good" Catholic would probably have less problem with the Mafia, cf. "The Godfather."

Donohue goes on to attack those "religions" which support a woman's right to choose: Reform Judaism, Unitarian/Universalists, and "an anti-Catholic front group, Catholics for Choice," all of which have signed on in support of the Freedom of Choice Act.

The "passion for abortion rights" among these groups, says Donohue, "is so extreme that it eclipses any interest in the religious liberty rights of others."

In other words, Donohue and his cohorts believe they have the right to impose their particular religious beliefs (re: abortion) on the population as a whole. That "right" is what "religious liberty" means. If they are denied their "right" to write the laws for all the rest of us, that is to deny them their religious liberty.

How screwed is that?

Donohue, the Catholic League and all the rest of the extremist anti-abortion groups can believe any damn thing they want. THAT is their "religious liberty"! They do not, however, have the "right" to impose their beliefs on the nation as a whole. That is religious totalitarianism!

Oh yeah, Donohue is also a homophobe, hates all things he thinks impinge negatively on his Catholic conscience, and goes crazy if the Eucharist Host is "desecrated."

Media Matters has more: Donohue says "People don't trust Muslims when it comes to liberty." The gay lifestyle is a lifestyle of death and the gay community should "apologize to straight people for all the damage they have done." Catholics who voted for John Kerry because they agreed with him on abortion have cooperated "in evil." "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. ... Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. ... They like abortions."

Read the entire Media Matters' article here.

Another take on Donohue at Take Action here.

Meanwhile, go jump, Donohue!

Muslims, dreams and Christ

According to Charisma magazine, a fundy rag for the super-righteous, there is right now, this minute, "A quiet revolution ... under way in the Middle East as vast numbers of Muslims, propelled by dreams and visions, are coming to faith in Christ."

Vast numbers!

Yup. "Although it takes a back seat to rumors of war, a tsunami of faith is quietly overtaking the Muslim world. Islamic adherents are laying aside their allegiance to Muhammed to follow Jesus Christ ... Propelled by dreams, visions and miracles, this wave of revival is bringing vast numbers of Muslims-some say millions-into God's kingdom."


This is so big that such a Middle East "expert" as Joel Rosenberg thinks that "more Muslims have come to faith in Christ in the last 30 years than at any time in history. 'The vast majority of those conversions have happened since 9/11,' he notes. He relates some of their stories in his upcoming book, Inside the Revolution, releasing March 10."

"Dreams, visions and miracles." Well, maybe not. Perhaps Rosenberg's book gives evidence of the "millions" of Muslims converting to Christianity, as well as all of these "dreams, visions and miracles," but the article does not.

More like wishful thinking and propaganda to con the good Christian folks back home into letting loose of their cash to fund a bunch of international con artists playing the Jesus game.

Then there's the story of an American woman who's been an Episcopal priest for 20 years AND a Muslim for 15 months! Click here. Talk about confusing the issue!

And in Gaza, Christians can survive only if they adopt Islamic rule. Click here.

Read the entire article here.

The Paliban has arrived

The Paliban, which is not quite the same as the Afghan Taliban, is in town; has arrived; is on the Web; and you can join up to help Sarah Palin make her "clear vision for a pure America" a reality!

The Paliban includes a blog, the Paliban Daily! which is updated every day (naturally); a Discussion Forum where you can connect with other Christian Reconstructionists and goofballs; the Issue Pages where you can find out exactly what real Christians like Governor Palin think about things; a MySpace Page, which has something to do with evangelism; and a store which offers a variety of Palin-based merchandise.

Isn't this wonderful? Finally, some folks are taking Palin and her Christian Reconstructionist dream of making the US of A a truly Christian country, seriously!

In their own words, "The Paliban is a grassroots organization inspired by the principles of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and the Evangelical and Christian Reconstructionist movements."

If you click here, you can find out all you need to know about the Paliban.

The birthing of a new year

Life goes on
The possibilities are endless
A new year becomes
Only what we make of it.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance"

Those were the days, my friend. And some of us old enough to remember will find this video an emotional blast from the past - sad, entrancing, familiar, yet strangely hopeful. Dylan sang "The Times They Are A-changing," but maybe he was wrong. The actors change, but the play's the same. Hope is bound up, defined and recharged by keeping on keeping on.

Welcome to 2009.

h/t to Cynical-C

Republican rule and financial ruin

[Photo of Bobby Jindal by Richard Alan Hannon]

Consider the rule of Republican politicians: California under Schwarzenegger is bankrupt; Jeb Bush left Florida in dire financial straits; George W. Bush has run the United States into the ground; and then we have Louisiana.

The state of Louisiana is important because the governor of Louisiana is considered by many in the Republican Party to be a potential candidate for president in 2012. Bobby Jindal, the former Hindu turned fundamentalist Roman Catholic exorcist, has been seen in public in states like Iowa which generally portend a presidential interest.

Why would anyone other than Rush Limberger think Jindal an appropriate candidate for the presidency?

The New York Times tells the sad story, writ over and over again in the pages of the Republican playbook, as it has taken shape in the bayou state.

Once upon a time, Louisiana was rolling in oil money. Not so long ago, in fact, Louisiana had an $865 billion surplus. It was time to spend said the pols, including the chief cheerleader for fiscal irresponsibility, Bobby Jindal.

So first off, taxes were cut, to the tune of $360 million. Jindal said that was "terrific news" and gleefully signed the tax cut bill into law.

"Admonitions on fiscal prudence went unheeded, as they have so often here, and the bill is now due."

As The NYT put it, "Mr. Jindal entered office this year with the happy duty of spending a $1 billion surplus -- and he and the legislators promptly did so, appropriating millions of dollars for highways, ports and a medical research facility, and widely dispensing tax breaks, including one to parents of private school students. The cheery mood in the state Capitol continued all spring, as the legislators then decided to roll back a much-hated income tax increase earlier in the decade, costing the state hundreds of millions in revenue in coming years."

Louisiana is looking at a $341 million deficit this year and next year the budget deficit is projected at $2 billion.

Guess what's gonna get cut! Health care and higher education. That might hurt Jindal's plan to partly privatize Medicaid!

So what's new. Under Republican rule the rule is the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. With all the evidence to the contrary, how the hell do Republicans keep fooling so many people with the pretense that they are the party of fiscal prudence when, historically, the Republicans lead us from one depression to another?

To paraphrase another observer of the America scene, the stupidity of the American people cannot be underestimated.

You can read the entire NYT article by Adam Nossiter here. There's more here.

Beck be a bad Mormon says Focus on da Family

[Glenn Beck image from The Daily Gotham]

The irony is delicious. My god is better than your god, but if I talk the right language, I can fool you into thinking that we both believe in the same god.

So might have thought that damn Mormon, Glenn Beck. Perhaps one of the nastiest SOBs cluttering the airwaves in our time, Beck found Jesus back when he was 35, got hisself born again and has lived for Jesus while castigating liberals ever since. Now he has written a book containing a sentimental little story called "The Christmas Sweater." Beck says the "Christmas sweater is the metaphor for me of the atonement of Christ."

Focus on the Family, the organ of da christianist bozo, James Dobson, thought the book was nice, and so invited Beck to do an interview, which he did. The interview was posted on FOF's CitizenLink website.

Oops! A bunch of militant fundy christianists got their shorts in a knot about that! Beck is a Mormon, for Christ's sake! Well, they didn't say "for Christ's sake," but that's what they meant. Mormons can't know Christ. They bow to a different god.

For example, this paragon of christianist virtue, one Dustin S. Seger, pastor of the Shepherd's Fellowship in Greensboro, N.C., wrote that "They use Mr. Beck's story as a way to show that hope can be found in God, which is true enough; the problem is that Mr. Beck's god is not the Triune God of the Bible nor is his Jesus the Jesus of the Bible."

Oh, oh.

And Monkey, er, McConkey of Underground Apologetics, says that promoting a Mormon as a Christian is not helpful to the cause of Jesus Christ." Mormonism is, he says, a "false religion."

Of course. What is the "cause of Jesus Christ," according to McConkey? Oh, right. It has to do with the time Jesus told his disciples to beat the crap out of everybody who disagreed with them when he sent them out to evangelize the country folks. Well, actually, he said to shake the dust off their sandals, and get out of town, which is pretty much the same thing.

With the uproar rising, FOF pulled the interview from CitizenLink. Heh, heh!

A pox on all their houses in 2009!

For a spicy tidbit on Beck, click here.

New Bible to be written by real people

Zondervan, the largest publisher of Bibles in the world, got a brilliant idea. Why not have real people write the Bible?

Why not, indeed?

So Zondervan put together a "Bible Across America Tour." In a 42-foot motor home, Zondervan reps are rolling across the country "to enlist thousands of Americans to each handwrite a verse for its latest 'America's NIV' Bible."


Each person involved will pen "a single verse on actual thin-stock Bible paper, which will give America's NIV an unprecedented index of 31,173 contributors, one for every verse of the Bible."

Moe Girkins, prez of Zondervan believes "that a completely handwritten version of the NIV Bible by people from all across our country will help America rediscover the Bible in a fresh, new way."


I want to write the verse in which god tells parents to stone their children to death if they fail to observe the Sabbath!

I'll betcha they'll have a ton of editors working on this to ensure that some wacko doesn't write something that doesn't belong in the good book. It's a good thing, too, 'cause the folks in the first few centuries messed up pretty badly at times and that's one of the reasons why the Bible is so darn confusing in places. Well, the later scribes made a lot of mistakes, too.

Do you think this is a gimmick to help Zondervan sell more NIV Bibles? Nah, they wouldn't do anything like that!

Get yourself a Jesus chair for the New Year

Isn't it beautiful? Just what everyone needs to get properly seated as we roll into 2009!

You can buy it for about $700 at Nim Pot Centro De Textiles in Antiqua, Guatemala.

h/t to Ship of Fools

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

They offered a Bible class and no one came

The christianist wingnuts in this country have been on the warpath for years to bring the Bible into our public schools, claiming that it has been the lack of prayer and Bible reading that has led to our educational decline, moral lapses, pestilences like evolution, and the election of Barack Obama.

Well, up in Coweta County, Georgia, high school students are offered Bible classes as electives, but no one cared enough to sign up!

Two years ago, Georgia authorized Bible classes as electives in public schools. Dean Jackson, representing the Coweta County School System, says "Since this came up, we have not had anyone ask to explore the class."

No one!

Well, hell's bells, the problem is, according to wingnut state Senate Majority Leader Tommie Williams, a Repugnican (of course), is that school districts have not promoted the Bible courses!

Williams goes on to protest that none of this is about "proselytizing," but about biblical literacy. Ha, ha.

These idiots promoting biblical study in the schools are ALL about proselytizing! Their talk about biblical literacy is bullshit. You can't teach the bible in public schools because every single teacher brings his/her personal interpretation to such a program. How would a fundamentalist, as opposed to a non-christian, teach the first two chapters of Genesis? Or the Exodus? Or the Song of Solomon? There is no consensus, even among Christian groups, as to what the Bible says or what the Bible means, or even what the Bible contains!

So, it's a good thing no one showed up. Now if we could only get clowns like Tommie Williams to shut up!

A 100-mile constitution-free zone

[Border Patrol training photo - LA Times]

BSAlert tells a frightful and cautionary tale for those concerned with personal freedom and constitutional liberties.

Although the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects Americans from "random and arbitrary stops and searches," there has "always been an exception" and that exception prevails at our country's borders. "There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply. For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a 'routine search.'"

What is the meaning of "border"? "According to the government, it is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the 'external boundary' of the United States."

Here's the problem: "As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit."

Consider that if you live anywhere in Florida you are within that 100-mile wide strip and thus subject to being stopped and searched without any suspicion of malfeasance.

'Tis another in a series of scary episodes in how Americans are losing the very freedoms that so many millions have fought and died for since our inception as a country!

Read more here.

The greatest country in the world by Bill Maher

You don't even need to like Bill Maher to realize the truth in this segment.

h/t to BSAlert

A myth busted and Robertson's pissed

I've been taken in, slightly, by those who claim that the recession has increased attendance at worship in our nation's churches, temples and mosques.

Well, hell, that's what The New York Times said! The paper "based this conclusion on a 'spot check of large Roman Catholic parishes and mainline Protestant churches around the nation,' and reported that since September, '[P]astors nationwide say they have seen such a burst of new interest that they find themselves contending with powerful conflicting emotions -- deep empathy and quiet excitement -- as they re-encounter an old piece of religious lore: Bad times are good for evangelical churches.'"

Hmm. That doesn't make sense on the face of it. Roman Catholic and mainline Protestants are not considered "evangelical" churches.

Steve Benen tells us that "Slate's Jack Shafter dug a little deeper and has his doubts" about this renewed religious enthusiasm. It seems that Gallup has reviewed "almost 300,000 interviews conducted by Gallup so far in 2008" and they show "no evidence that church attendance in America has been increasing late this year as a result of bad economic times."

This one I love because it seems the TV preacher freak, Pat Robertson no longer loves George W. Bush, while at the same time is "remarkably pleased" with Barack Obama. Bush has done too many stupid things, thinks Robertson (who should know from stupid!).

One more tidbit: God is gonna get Rick Warren for giving the invocation at Obama's inauguration, says Wiley Drake, a "radical Southern Baptist Pastor." Obama, says Drake, is an "evil illegal alien" and Warren's invocation is "an abomination before God..."

Heh, Heh!

More here.

Was the bailout a scam based on a lie?

[Photo of Henry Paulson from Yahoo]

Joshua Holland, writing at AlterNet, notes that more and more people are coming to the conclusion that Paulson's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) "was a boondoggle of an intervention that's flailed from one approach to the next, with little oversight and less effect on the financial meltdown."

There's more, however: Holland suggests that TARP (involving hundreds of billions of dollars) "was sold to Congress and the public based on a Big Lie."

In other words, the so-called "credit-crunch" may have been mythical. Holland quotes Columnist David Sirota who came to the conclusion that the American public had been scammed, that "'the major claims about a credit crisis that justified Congress cutting a trillion-dollar blank check to Wall Street were demonstrably false,' and the threat of a systemic banking crash was used by the Bush administration to overcome popular resistance to the 'bailout.'"

There's much, much more, to the effect that as usual, the rich got richer and the rest of us got screwed. Royally.

Read Holland's entire article here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

God's "truth" and the penumbra

Janie B. Cheaney, in a World magazine article titled "The invisible crown," suggests that the world is "distressed," and that while we know many things, we don't know the most important things. "For all our discoveries and advances over 6,000 years, something stubbornly stays hidden. They are penumbra; life itself eludes us."

First off, you notice she's a creationist who believes, against a monumental mass of evidence, that the world and all that exists is a mere 6,000 years old!

Somewhere she found the word "penumbra" and figured she could work it into an article. If you don't know, penumbra (singular) derives from from the Latin paene "almost" and umbra, meaning "shadow." The plural, which appears to be the way she uses the word, is penumbrae.

There are several definitions of the word. Cheaney seems to have chosen this one: "something that covers, surrounds, or obscures."

In her article she refers to the beliefs of John Derbyshire, a conservative who writes for the right wing National Review. Poor John has lost his faith and no longer believes in the virgin birth or the incarnation. Cheaney says that Derbyshire "accuses Christianity of being anti-science" because "Christianity establishes itself on a (sic) 'historical' event that defies reality, namely the incarnation. We are asked to believe that a human female was impregnated by a non-human spirit and gave birth to a god-man." Derbyshire thinks such a doctrine is "ridiculous."

Cheaney responds by proclaiming God has given humanity special honor. He did this first of all by making humans "'a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor.'" That's what creation is all about.

(What that really means is elusive. We know from nothing about angels -- The Bible tells us that in some cases they are friends of God and in other instances, they are his opponents.)

Secondly, God has given us special honor by incarnation--by becoming a human being in the form of Jesus: "Thought an unbelievable condescension ... our Lord considered it no shame to knit Himself into the creation He designed and blessed." She quotes a hymn by Brian Wren which says, "Good is the flesh that the Word has become. Good is the body, for good and for God."

(She uses the right word, there - "unbelievable.")

The third way God gave us special honor was by resurrection. "As Christ's physical body snapped the bonds of death, His spiritual life blooms and multiplies." Jesus' resurrection ensures that believers will also revive and live forever in heaven.

All of this, Cheaney claims, is "Not scientific, but hardly anti-science. It's rather beyond science, in the realm of the unknowable." We know lots of things, she says, "But we don't know how life began and we don't know the force that holds all its tiny components together. For all our discoveries and advances over 6,000 years, something stubbornly stays hidden. They are penumbra (sic); life itself eludes us."

We just have to hang on and believe all kinds of nonsense that has no basis in reality and eventually God will show us what is up.

This is the kind of junk theology that permeates the world of fundamentalist Christianity and Creationism.

If you tend to think that Cheaney has something of importance to say, I offer the following for consideration:

The myth of the god man permeated the ancient world and is found is almost all cultures in various forms. A virgin birth is very much part of the myth and many facets of the Christian nativity story appear also, e.g., the cave, shepherds, wise men bearing gifts, etc. Osiris-Dionysus was called "The wondrous babe of God, the Mystery" and "He of the miraculous birth." One scholar writes of the Elusian mysteries: "The mystic child at Eleusis was born of a maiden; the ancients made for themselves the sacred dogma 'A virgin shall conceive and bear a son,' by night there was declared 'Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.'"

Most interesting is that an early church father, Justin Martyr, aware of various points of coherence between the myths of paganism and Christianity, wrote: "In saying that the Word was born for us without sexual union as Jesus Christ our teacher, we introduce nothing beyond what is said of those called the Sons of Zeus."

A virgin birth is important in mythology for the "son of God" must be born of a virgin. The incarnation--a god taking on human flesh depends on such a birth. Almost without exception, the various god men were virgin born. And thus, according to Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, (The Jesus Mysteries), "Osiris-Dionysis, in all his many forms, is also hailed as the Son of God. Jesus is the Son of God, yet equal with the Father. Dionysus is the 'Son of Zeus, in his full nature God, most terrible, although most gentle to mankind.' Jesus is 'Very God of Very God.' Dionysus is 'Lord God of God born.'"

So far as the resurrection goes, the god man mythology includes dying (often by crucifixion) and resurrection, the latter providing immortality for his followers.

For example, again from Freke and Gandy: "The Megalensia was a spring festival in the Mysteries of attis which, like Easter, lasted for three days. During this time the myth of Attis was performed as a passion play, just as the story of Jesus was performed as a passion play in the Middle Ages. An effigy of the corpse of Attis was tied to a sacred pine tree and decorated with flowers sacred to both Attis and his Syrian counterpart Adonis. It was then buried in a sepulchre. But like Jesus, on the third day Attis rose again. In the darkness of the night a light was brought to his open grave, while the presiding priest anointed the lips of the initiates with holy oil, comforting them with the words: 'To you likewise shall come salvation from your trouble.'"

There is no penumbra involved in any of this. The main foci of pagan mythology was reconstituted to become part and parcel of the Jesus myth.

While there may be value in the god man mythologies, they are certainly anti-science in that they propose a world view and a life style that is out of sync with reality and for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

Cheaney is right when she says we have learned many things. What she doesn't say is that as a result of that learning, many religious beliefs have had to be discarded. But she is wrong when she says we don't know how life began and how it holds together. Science has a handle on both of those things, although that's another whole subject.

And it's not a matter of hanging on, waiting for a god to make everything clear. That's our job. The kind of theology Cheaney proposes as "truth" has always merely cluttered things up and made our job much more difficult. Penumbrae is the word for her theological understandings. We need less of that and more science.

For more on the conflict between religion and science, click here.

When is a pardon not a pardon?

First George W. Bush pardoned Isaac Tousie, a real estate scammer from Brooklyn - one of those guys whose victims were always of the poor, minority type.

Then Bush revoked the pardon.

Evidently, Bush acted precipitously in the first instance, "despite the fact that the Pardon Attorney, Ronald L. Rogers, had not given a formal recommendation for it." Furthermore, Toussie was not qualified for a pardon in that "it had not yet been five years since the completion of his sentence."

But...Toussie's father, Robert, gave $28,500 to the NRC in April.

Bush's White House says George didn't know Robert or that he was a GOP donor. Oops. It appears that Bush and Toussie met about the time Robert made his donation.

The photo above is of George and Robert (thanks to Firedoglake).

What I don't get is how you revoke a pardon. Can Bush do that? On what grounds? What does a pardon mean if it can be revoked a day later? Is time the crucial factor? Can a pardon be revoked if it is done within a week? A month? A year?

What about pardons given ten years ago? Or more? Can a new president revoke those and send the pardonee back to prison?

George sure muddies the waters every time he goes for a swim!

Virginity pledges don't work

According to the latest studies, "Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control whey they do..."

That's according to Rob Stein, writing for the Washington Post.

It isn't surprising. A variety of studies over the years have discovered that abstinence education simply does not work. Nevertheless, our president, being a man of faith who needs not reality or truth, and beholden to the christianists on the right, has instructed his administration to keep blowing millions of dollars on the farce of abstinence education.

These same devoted christianists will not believe this study either, and will come up with all kinds of convoluted reasons as to why it is not valid and will insist that our schools continue to offer abstinence only classes, and pressure teens to make pledges they will not keep.

The worst part of it is that the teens get a raw deal. Less condom use means more sexually-related diseases and more pregnancies.

All in the name of god, you know.

Steins' Washington Post article is here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Israel's response to Gaza attacks

[Hamas Gunman - AP Photo by Hatem Moussa]

Guest post by Bob Poris

I have no way of knowing how the Israeli attacks against the Gaza terrorists will end, but it didn’t have to come to this.

Israel voluntarily withdrew from Gaza in 2005 as part of a "land for peace" deal that had been pushed upon it for decades. It left prosperous businesses intact for the Gazans to use to shore up its economy.

That's not what happened!

Instead of instituting programs and policies which would benefit the citizens of Gaza, Hamas turned Gaza into a front line military base in a long-term Islamist confrontation with Israel, backed by Iran. It has rejected any attempts to negotiate a two-state solution with Israel.

Hamas began a daily barrage of rockets into Israeli towns over a year ago! Over four thousand rockets have been fired into Israel since 2005! These rockets have narrowly missed blowing up Israeli children in kindergartens and giant fuel storage facilities in built-up areas of Southern Israel.

The various cease fires have been used by Hamas to smuggle more sophisticated rockets and weapons into Israel and to build up its forces to wage terror against Israel.

Israel’s attacks are not the result of the end of the last cease fire. They are a response to eighteen months of rockets being launched against Israeli cities and civilians by the elected governing body of Gaza and seven years of attacks from Gaza, and the ideology which fuels them.

What nation on earth would have waited so long for talks to stop a war waged against it? Why should Israel be asked to not react to the indiscriminate killing of its citizens over so many years?

Why indeed?

Jeb Bush - Senator?

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush is of the opinion the damage he did in Florida as governor was insufficient and thus is planning to run for the U.S. Senate when Mel Martinez gives up his seat, in order to wreak further Bush-based havoc on the rest of the country from Washington, D.C.

Maybe. Supposedly, Jeb hasn't made his mind up yet.

That according to Politico and other political prognosticators.

'Tis a worrisome thing. The Bush brothers come in different wrapping, but the package is the same: ultra-conservative, hard-line Republican chicanery.

Jeb, being the younger brother of George W., is said to be smarter than George. That is yet to be proven, however. As the 43rd governor of Florida, serving two terms, his "smarts" were not much in evidence.

There are differences of opinion as to how smart Jeb is, but his rightist leanings and his hard line, take-no-prisoners attitude, which he tried to soften with a smirky "little boy" grin, were always on view.

Florida's moneyed Republican leaders thought Jeb was the cat's meow, but that was because he did his best to enrich their coffers. One of his first moves after setting up residence in Tallahassee, was to cut taxes for the rich. At his departure, the State of Florida was (and still is) in desperate financial straits.

Jeb's education program turned out to be a disaster. He continued to push charter schools even when the evidence indicated they were not any better, and often worse, than public schools. The linchpin of his education effort was to provide vouchers for parents to use taxpayers' dollars to send their kiddos to private (mostly religious) schools. That was shot down by the Florida Supremes.

Jeb fought to teach Creationism in public schools. This past year, though no longer governor, he worked behind the scenes with committee people he had appointed to try to again secure vouchers for private schools and the teaching of creationism in public schools.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact he converted to Catholicism (a religion which believes it has a right to taxpayer dollars) that he pushed faith-based operations in a variety of areas - including prisons; all of which were of questionable constitutionality.

Like his brother, George, Jeb thinks the death penalty is an important method of reducing the crime rate, and thus oversaw 21 executions during his time in office, which was more than his three predecessors combined.

Jeb also parroted the Republican line regarding off-shore drilling, and pushed hard to get Congress to allow drilling off the Florida shores.

And who will forget the law he got passed to allow him to continue feeding poor Terry Schiavo? This, too, derived from his religious and political right-wing conservatism.

Politico says Jeb hasn't made up his mind about running for the U.S. Senate. Some Repugnican poohbahs in Florida figure he would be a shoe-in. They are excited about the prospect of another Bush in Washington, which indicates clearly the moral poverty of the Republican Party in Florida!

Not all Floridians agree that Senator Jeb is a good idea, however. Politico quotes Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a truly fine politician, who thinks Jeb might find the road to the Senate a bit rougher than he and his friends anticipate. Wasserman notes rightly that Jeb "left the education system in tatters," and calls him "literally the most inflexible public official I've ever encountered in my 16 years in office."

"He does not play nice with others," says Wasserman. "This is not a person who was sensitive to people who have needs and who are struggling. He's focused on people who are doing well."

Of course. What the hell else would you expect from a Bush?

All of which is to say we do NOT want or need Jeb Bush in Washington in any capacity!

How we know Jesus was the real Messiah

[Image from]

I really should leave this alone, but sometimes something comes along that is so moronic, so illogical, and so stupid that, ripe for ridicule, it cannot be ignored!

Someone by name of Andree Seu wrote an article for the right-wing christianist World magazine called "An honest Messiah." Seu is excited because he believes we can KNOW Jesus was the true Messiah because he was honest with us.

All other Messiahs, said Seu, "especially those who have had a successful miracle-filled career, would have predicted peaceful and prosperous days ahead as far as the eye can see." He, he. He fails to disclose who these "successful" Messiahs were, unfortunately.

But that's simply a straw man that he proceeds to strike down.

Jesus, was not like those successful Messiahs. Jesus told it like it is. He warned us of all the bad things that were coming and no faux messiah would do that! Really! Jesus warned us that nations will rise up against one another and that there willl be earthquakes and famines and "pestilences."

Please. John the fisherman could have said exactly the same thing every year since the beginning of time!

But Seu goes farther. The fact that Jesus doesn't do anything to help the starving children "shores up" Seu's faith. Why is that? Because Jesus is so honest - "Jesus told us point blank to expect these tribulations," while at the same time claiming that he holds all authority in heaven and earth in his hands.

"If Jesus knew about the starving children, and still represented hiimself as the Son of a good God, then that just thickens the mystery."

Yup. Shore does. And every fundy christianist loves a good thick mystery in which he/she can believe without any evidence whatsoever!

The problem, says Seu, is that we can't know the mind of God and the angels are laughing at us for trying to figure it out and "Hey, you don't have to understand God to trust Him," and all these things will be revealed to us at some point in the future and we must remember our "only real treasure is Christ."

So, to put it all together:

We can know Jesus is the Messiah because he didn't hesitate to tell us we were in for some rough times. And our faith just gets stronger when we realize that even though he could stop war and famine and help people, he refuses to do so.

We can find peace of mind by believing that God has the whole world in his hands and the ways of God are mysterious and even though God doesn't do what we would expect any loving father to do for his children, we just have to believe and hang on to Jesus for dear life because he is the real deal -- the REAL Messiah -- and in the end everything will be revealed to us and we'll see how silly we were to worry and fuss about any of this.

Ta Dah!

Seu's entire article is here.