Saturday, January 31, 2009

Veggie Love - PETA's banned Super Bowl Ad

You know you wanted to watch it. So here 'tis.

Thanks to Rumproast.


'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad

Trickle down, just one more time?

[Image from stoneofakind.com]

The trickle down theory: helping the rich help the economy

I'd be the first to admit I'm not an economist, but I can't help observing how certain economic ideas have played out in our country's recent history.

Consider this business of helping the rich.

Geoff Colvin, writing in the February 2 edition of Fortune magazine, suggests that's exactly how President Obama should design his economic plan. Stimulus plans, tax rebates, and increasing the capital gains and dividend taxes on people earning more than $250K a year, just won't do it, says Colvin. While they may provide a short-term boost, they won't succeed in the long-term.

Here's Colvin's idea: "Let's help corporations and the rich."

Why would we want to do that? Because we all want to create jobs and increase investment, and those things come from "companies and the wealthy."

Now, that doesn't mean we just hand out checks to very rich people. "Rather than spending more, our plutocrats need to invest more, since private investment creates long-term jobs. So let's offer high earners the very modest help of just leaving them alone..."

Oh, one other thing: we need to reduce our corporate income tax, which says Colvin [untruthfully] is "among the world's highest."

Colvin sums up his ideas by referring to that late great, but very sleepy president, Ronald Reagan. The initiatives he proposes "could be parts of what will surely be the most ambitious economic program since Ronald Reagan's first term."


Yeah? And we all know how that turned out! What is it with these guys? They never give up. Colvin is doing nothing more than offering the same old failed "trickle down" economics that didn't work before and won't work now.

It's witchcraft!

[Image from onlineweblibrary.com]

Bewitched in Oklahoma

Sometimes it's difficult to know which century we are living in. Crazed fanatics look forward to the reappearance of their skygod who, they believe, will whoosh them up into the sky to a heavenly kingdom among the stars. Others strive to bring about WWIII, which they describe as a biblical Armageddon designed to end the world as we know it resulting in a rearrangement of power so their illusory god will rule according to the laws laid down in what they call the Old Testament.

In the great State of Oklahoma, land of the flat-earth, global-warming denying senators, a school district suspended a student accused of witchcraft. Yup, good old witchcraft, just like Sinatra sang about; well, more or less.

It seems that back in 1999, Brandi Blackbear, 15, put a hex on a teacher who then proceeded to become ill. Blackbear was a member of the Wicca religion, which, as everyone knows, has tremendous power to cast spells that can make people sick!

Blackbear was, from all accounts, a good student with no discipline problems and a perfect attendance record. Nevertheless, suspicious school officials searched her book bag, in which they found "dastardly" writings, and suspended her for 19 days.

Yesterday, the Oklahoma ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the school district, two principals and two counselors.

Let's see if these school officials, who preyed on this supposed "witch," can pray their way out of this one. Maybe they can ask Brandi to put a hex on the ACLU?

Witchcraft, indeed!

Tom "Welfare" Delay should be in jail

Tom DeLay, the insane christianist criminal from Texas, who should be in jail, is running around spewing typical Repugnican bullshit about the stimulus bill.

Typically, DeLay, like other criminal Repugnican types, claim the stimulus bill is nothing but welfare - for poor folks (read Black).

"The proposal is full of welfare -- welfare for local governments, welfare for people, subsidies for health insurance, expanding the federal government's involvement in our educational system," said the criminally-insane DeLay.

Now, for most Repugnicans, "welfare" is a tricky word. When Repugnicans speak, it becomes like the novel 1984, where words mean the opposite of their original meaning. You know, like when Bush says "War is peace."

So, when the government gives humongous tax breaks to rich people, that is NOT welfare and don't you dare say it is! When the government bails out financially-stressed banks, which then proceed to use government funds to buy other banks and pay CEO bonuses, that is NOT welfare and don't you dare say it is! When the government bails out Wall Street firms in order for them to hold corporate retreats at swanky resorts, increase bonuses for their execs, and purchase brand-new jets, that is NOT welfare, and don't you dare say it is!


But, when the government spends money on education, housing, healthcare, food stamps, unemployment insurance -- money that goes to the non-rich, (and probably to a lot of black people) THAT is welfare! And THAT is bad! THAT is socialism! THAT is leftist Marxism!

So, DeLay, the dimwitted Repugnican criminal, cries "I'm very frightened of what I see." We have a leftist president. Omigod!

Oh, DeLay, the criminally-insane Repugnican, also said that the stimulus plan is nothing more than "just complete, out-and-out writing of checks to people that don't pay taxes. These are welfare check that are called tax cuts."


To such depths has the Repugnican Party sunk. Bye, bye!

Gov. Mark Sanford opposes stimulus money for South Carolina

It must be something in the water. More kooks come crawling out of South Carolina than most any other state in the Union. That's always been true, come to think of it.

Now, Mark Sanford, the Repugnican guv of South Carolina says he ain't gonna take no $3.2 billion in stimulus money for his state! That should warm the hearts of his constituents! Yup, he's agin' the fedural gov'mint payin' fer stuff with money they don't got.

Hold on, says a couple of Republican legislative leaders...we could sure use some of that money, like $480 mil to fix our infrastructure.

Nope, says Sanford.


In Congress, though, South Carolina Democrat, Jim Clyburn, (one of the good guys) snuck in a little provision to the stimulus act which would do an end-run around Sanford. It says if a governor does not act within 45 days after the bill passes, state legislative leaders can, with a statement, accept the federal aid.

Sanford claims to be all worried about deficit spending. Well, where has he been for eight long years? How the hell does he think we've "paid" for Iraq and Afghanistan and all the other monkey business dreamed up by the bozos in the Bush administration?

But maybe there's more to it. You see, Clyburn got his eyes on using the stimulus money to help the poor folks in South Carolina. Now, if there's anything that Republicans don't want to do it is use guv'mint money to help poor folks (read Black). Guv'mint money's good for the rich white folks, but let's not go crazy here.

Clyburn's going a bit crazy. He wants to help the nation's poorest counties and bump up aid to "historically black colleges and universities."

Can't have that; 'specially in South Carolina!

Oh, yeah, Jim DeMint, da Candy Man, is gonna "help lead Senate opposition to the stimulus plan."

Of course he is.


[One final moment of terror: there are Repugs who are talking about Sanford running for prez in 2012. Aaargh!]

Man of Steele paid by Repubs to be politician

It is likely, in 2002, that the Repugnican Party in Maryland could find few blacks wearing a Republican name tag.

And that may be why the Maryland Republican Party paid Michael S. Steele, the new RNC Chairman, $5,000 per month to run "as gubernatorial candidate Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s running mate."

Oh, the Repugs called the $5 grand a month a "consulting fee."

But, saith Steele at the time, the consulting fee was not a "condition of his candidacy." Because he was chair of the Maryland Republican Party, the "deal [was] a way to continue working on party issues while he [campaigned]."


Or, maybe, just maybe, it was like a spokesman for the Democratic Party said: "It looks to me like they've hired themselves a candidate."

You think?


Read more at BuzzFlash here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Persecution

Freedom of religion, for many christianists, involves making their religious views the law of the land. Any criticism of their religious views is characterized as intolerance and persecution. This wonderful cartoon from FleaSnobbery captures the essence of that twisted reasoning.

Dittoheads




This was "borrowed" with gratitude and thanks from Rumproast who got it from Americans United for Change to whom we also offer gratitude and thanks.

Justice Roy Moore is an unconstitutional moron


You remember Justice Roy Moore, formerly of the Supreme Court of Alabama, who was tossed out on his ass for disobeying the law.

Moore is still kicking around his unconstitutional notions, working with the right wing Foundation for Moral Law out of Montgomery, Alabama.

Back in 1999, two Kentucky counties -- McCreary and Pulaski -- put a copy of the Ten Commandments in their courthouses. The Kentucky ACLU sued. So the two counties decided to display material from the Declaration of Independence, the Kentucky Constitution, Lincoln's proclamation of a National Day of Prayer and Humiliation, and Reagan's 1983 proclamation of the Year of the Bible, along with the Ten Commandments.

The federal courts said "No, no, no. You can't do that. It's not constitutional."

The people running these counties, being offshoots of one of the lower branches of the Tree of Life, then decided to put up nine documents of equal size, which included, naturally, the Ten Commandments, as well as the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, etc.

The federal district court said, "Please! You tried to fool us before with your unconstitutional stuff and now you're doing it again! No, no, no."


Enter former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (whom, you will remember was thrown out on his ass for disobeying the law which is kind of amazing when you think he's a really good christianist and God-believer), along with the FFML. They have filed a brief arguing that the actions of the two Kentucky Counties were indeed constitutional, because "this nation was founded upon an acknowledgment of God, as evidenced by the colonial charters, the Thanksgiving proclamations of Presidents Washington and Lincoln, and a host of other documents."

As if that wasn't enough... Wait, the colonial charters were written before this country was a country. Hmmm. Something's a bit fishy.

Well, Moore and the FFML further said that while the First Amendment forbids a "law" establishing a religion, a display on a wall of a courthouse is not a "law," and to acknowledge God does not "establish" a religion. So there, you damnable federal court!

Don't go away, 'cause I've saved the bestest for lastest:

The famed Justice Moore (who was thrown out on his ass, you will recall!) also said:

"The people of the State of Kentucky have the right and the duty to acknowledge God as the source of governmental authority and human rights, and no federal court has any authority to interfere with that right and duty." [Emphasis added]

I did not make that up! That's what he said!

No wonder he was thrown out on his ass. He doesn't know history and he doesn't understand the Constitution of the United States. The "right and duty to acknowledge God"? Which God? Maybe Zeus? Mithra? Osiris? Yahweh? Elohim? Zoroaster? The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?


Everyone stand now. All together: "God bless America!"

Thank you. Bow before the Ten Commandments as you leave. And be sure, this being Friday, you keep the Sabbath, or God's gonna throw YOU out on your ass!


Read Moore here. The freepy FFML is here.

Overheated Coleman sparks desperation


From Daily Kos.

Someone from the Coleman camp in Minnesota decided to post the following item which was then picked up by the local media, and everyone said, "Wow! Look at all the support Norm Coleman has in Minnesota. Poor Al Franken! He doesn't have a chance!

"THOUSAND OF HITS CRASH COLEMAN WEBSITE"

ST. PAUL - Information recently added to the Coleman for Senate website, whereby people can find out which Minnesota voters the Franken campaign is trying to disenfranchise, has resulted in the website being inundated by tens of thousands of hits today - temporarily crashing the website."


Oops. Not so. The crash was FAKED! As Daily Kos put it, "...all part of a desperate bid to make Norm Coleman seem popular."


Read more here. And here.

Seagull in thought (Photo)


What's on yer mind, buster?

Republican wingnuts want "life begins at conception" law

Here are the Repugnican wingnuts, well known for their religious perniciousness, in all their wingnuttery glory:

Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla)
Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss)
Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan)
Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla)
Sen. Jim DeMint (da Candy Man) (SC)
Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo)
Sen. James Inhofe (Okla)
Sen. John Thune (SD)
Sen. David Vitter (La.)
Sen. George Voinovich (Ohio)

These morons have re-introduced the so-called "Life at Conception Act," which states that human life begins at conception, but also specifies that the "unborn" are "persons" under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Wicker, the Mississippi moron, says that "most" Americans agree with this perverse nonsense!

Da Candy Man, DeMint, thinks that fetuses "must" have the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Thune opines that fetuses are unique human beings "fully deserving our society's attention, provision and care."

And good ol' prostitute chaser Dave Vitter, renowned in certain areas of New Orleans, insists that we know life begins at conception because science has so concluded. Not!


Do you wonder why, with all of the immediate, profound, threatening, and demanding crises we face in this country, these idiots are futzing around with crap like this? Yes?

Well, I'll tell you. First of all, collectively, they don't have enough brains to offer any meaningful suggestions to deal with our multiple crises! Secondly, they have drunk the koolaid of religious theocrats and thus are trying to force their religious beliefs on the entire country. (This is nothing more than fundamentalist Roman Catholicism and fundy christianist Protestantism wrapped in legalese). Thirdly, (and perhaps this is their main goal), the legislation is a transparent attempt to reverse Roe v. Wade. If life begins at conception, then abortion is murder, pure and simple.

Oh, contraception also must become illegal, too. To halt conception by artificial means would also be murder.


Fortunately, the legislation doesn't have a chance in hell of being passed (I hope!), but it impresses the hell out of the wingnuts in the states these bozos represent.

Meanwhile, the rest of us non-wingnuts, who live in one of the aforementioned states, must live with a sense of frustration and shame because of the asshats who represent us in Congress.

Iraq elections: How can you run a country this way?

[Photo of Baghdad by Trekearth.com]

Dahr Jamail from IPS News describes what's happening:

Iraq is conducting provincial elections on January 31. "Uncertainty and tension are running high in Baghdad ... But this time fears are also touched by a new hope.

"'Iraq is transitioning into something more stable,'" says Ayad Allawi, former Iraqi interim prime minister.

He also said that Iraq wasn't a "sectarian" country. What?


Consider this:

"The elections, for 444 seats in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces, will be contested by 14,431 candidates from more than 400 parties." [Emphasis added]

How do you run a country this way?


Read Jamail's full article here.

Republicans are all talk

[Image from courier-journal.com]

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave a speech to a bunch of Repugnicans gathered for the annual meeting of the Republican National Committee.

He bemoaned the fact that nobody likes Republicans anymore. He's worried that the Republican Party will become a "minority" party. He doesn't seem to get it, yet. The Republican Party IS a minority party - a minority party of the rich and the rednecks.

"We're all concerned about the fact that the very wealthy and the very poor, the most and least educated, and a majority of minority voters, seem to have more or less stopped paying attention to us."

Heh, heh.

Gee. I wonder why?

McConnell has a solution, though: "We need to communicate our ideas to everyone who ran away from the Republican Party in November - and to many others."

Oops. That's the problem, Mitch. You did communicate your ideas. The Repugnicans have been communicating their ideas for years, and under Bush Jr. you got a chance to put them in play and look where we are now!

The problem, Mitch, is not "communication," it's your ideas themselves.

And your Republican Party doesn't have a fricking clue, Mitch. What do you think people are saying about the fact that not one cotton-pickin' Republican in the House voted for the stimulus package? Your Republican legislators, in that one bold move, told the world you don't give a rat's ass about people and jobs and you don't care one whit about the United States of America. You told the world you're all about power -- getting it, holding on to it, and using it to enrich yourselves.

And in that vote, you told the world you care a lot about your Republican "ideology."

Hey, Mitch, we are way past ideology now. People are hurting, Mitch. It's bad, Mitch, and it's getting worse. Do you read the papers, Mitch?


So, I think it's a good idea that you communicate your ideas and your policies and your plans, Mitch. Communicate loudly and clearly.

That should take care of what's left of your party!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Armageddon" may be caused by religion


There is no such thing as a biblical "Armageddon" to haunt us in the future. The pap promoted by prophetic preachers is pablum for the masses but has no relationship either to the Bible or the truth or reality.

In other words, their "prophetic" words are unadulterated bullshit derived from what I often think are deliberate and conscious misinterpretations of scripture.

Unfortunately, millions of ignorant and naive people all over the world listen to them in awed silence, send them money to continue promoting their deadly delusions, and suck in their toxic sermonizing which results in a bleak, spiritual darkness. Oh, it also leaves the preachers incredibly wealthy!


Robert Taft, writing at the guardian.co.uk today, notes that "One of Iran's most powerful clerics issued a stern warning against rapprochement with the US ... and denounced supporters of the idea as 'troublemakers' who belong to 'hated groups.'

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, chairman of the guardian's council and strong supporter of Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said:

"I am warning some of society's most abandoned and hated groups who are intending to establish relations with the US, want to meet with Obama and give the US president a green light: do not go in this direction. You are just troublemakers. Do not damage yourselves more. Do not rely on America and do not hurt people."


In the United States, the religious right (Jewish and Christian) also oppose rapprochement - US rapprochement with Iran!

For years, the religious right has been calling for war with Iran, a number of our crazy clerics actually believing such a war would hasten the end of the world, the battle of Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ!

Crazy, goddamn clerics indeed!

Back in 2007, James Dobson met privately with Bush and about a dozen other right wing fruitcakes to support Bush's policies on Iraq and Iran. Other meetings of christianists on the right were held at the same time in Washington. Here's what Dobson had to say:

"I heard about this danger [from Iran] not only at the White House but from our pro-family leaders that I met that week in Washington. Many people in a position to know are talking about the possibility of losing a city to nuclear or chemical attack. And if we can lose one we can lose ten."

Joel Rosenberg, a dangerous right wingnut, appeared on Dobson's program where he compared the Iranian president with Hitler and said we cannot appease the Iranians because "We are being threatened and we are going to meet this with force -- whatever's necessary."

Then there's the special case of perhaps the most wicked of the wingnuts, John Hagee, who has long called for the United States to attack Iran in order to cause Armageddon. He, too, compared the Iranian president with Hitler, and said, "We must stop Iran's nuclear threat and stop it now and stand boldly [with] Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East."

During the 2008 election process, Hagee was out in front of a group of christianist right wingers "urging President George W. Bush to deal more forcefully with Iran."

Back to Joel Rosenberg. Raised an Orthodox Jew, now an "evangelical" Christian, he advocates military action against Iran based upon biblical prophecies he dug out of the book of Ezekiel, which he claims describe an alliance between Russia and Iran, along with Lebanon, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries which have the purpose of destroying Israel.

Unfortunately, Rosenberg's interpretation of the bible would be laughable if it weren't for the fact that people believe the kook. But he doesn't know what he's talking about. He claimed at one time that 2007 would be "the Year of Decision" for the US to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat. "...after all," he said, "time is short, and the stakes are high."

Pat Robertson is another creepy christianist who thinks the US should attack Iran. In July of this year, on The 700 Club, he critized the "moderate tone" of the Bush administration toward Iran. He thought it necessary that for Israel to ensure its safety it should "make some kind of strike" against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The late Jerry Falwell would have agreed with Robertson. At a lunch with Reform rabbi Eric Yoffie in 2005, Falwell said if Bush wasn't going to take out Iran's nuclear weapons program, Israel should.

And, "The day Israel takes out the weapons of these barbarians, there will be eighty million evangelicals at the gates of the White House cheering...."

Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. That's been the cry of the Christian (and otherwise religious) right for years!

(Don't these righteous folks remind you a lot of the Jesus portrayed in the gospels? You know, the one who went about teaching, healing and doing good things; the one who talked about turning the other cheek, loving your enemy, following the Law, forgiving your enemy seventy times seven?)


Please understand, I'm not naive enough to think Iran does not pose a danger to the Middle East and the rest of the world.

At the same time, it really isn't surprising that Iranians in general, or Iranian clerics in particular, react negatively to attempts at rapprochement after years of bitter words, and threats of attack.

Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, saith the Republican nominee for president. And the people cheered.

Jesus wept.

Another "Great Awakening"?

[Image of Jonathan Edwards, preacher of the Great Awakening, and of sermon called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. From findagrave.com]


We've had several "Great Awakenings" in this country since its inception - revivals in which thousands of people "came to Christ." There was no long-lasting damage, though, and soon things were back to normal.

Fundamentalist christianists are all excited these days because, according to the Religion News Blog, "Large evangelical churches across the United States have ... experienced a burst in attendance since September."

Holy Crap! This could mean another Great Awakening is in the offing because evangelicals believe that previous "Great Awakening" revivals were "touched off by economic turmoil."

Here's their rationale: money's tight, people can't buy what they want anymore, and this deficit of material things, say the evangelicals, will cause people to realize they have a "void in life that only God can fulfill," so they'll return in big bunches to the churches; they'll come back to Jesus; and there will be a "widespread spiritual awakening."

Whoopee!

Unfortunately, when the economy turns around again, and people once more have cash to spend, the "God void" will be filled with material stuff and the churches will empty out.

Maybe not such a "great" awakening, after all?

Florida flag waving (Photo)

In Florida, folks find flag flying fun and, or course, patriotic. Flags are everywhere. This one flies alone.

Cows with names live happier lives

[Image from photobucket.com]

Yup. If you give a cow a name she will live a happier life and produce more milk.

That's what research scientists at Newcastle University (UK) claim they discovered in a recent study: "...naming cows encourages farmers to treat them as individuals, cutting stress levels and boosting milk yields."

In fact, milk yields can increase by as much as a pint and a half a day, which "equates to an extra 6,800 gallons a year at an average-sized dairy farm."

According to Dr. Catherine Douglas, "Just as people respond better to the personal touch, cows also feel happier and more relaxed if they are given a bit more one-to-one attention."


Most of us who have pets would not find these findings all that surprising, as we have learned kindness and love is reciprocated many times over by our little furry creatures.

Cows, however, are a different story. Talk about dumb animals! They don't know enough to come in out of the rain! That's the accepted wisdom of many people.

Not so. Call her Daisy, Buttercup or Mama's Baby, and treat her with affection, your cow will love you for it and respond by doing what she does best - give milk and more of it.


Once again, we relearn the lesson that when it comes to basic needs, there isn't that much difference between the human animal and all the other animals.

Republicans on the brink


The so-called stimulus bill passed the House of Representatives. Not one single Republican voted in favor of it, while 177 Republicans voted against it. It had too much "wasteful spending," said Cathy McMorris Rodgers, GOP House leader.

P.M. Carpenter described what Republicans see as wasteful spending: "more needed funds for food stamps, more needed funds for children's healthcare and more needed funds for the still-unemployed, all of whom are bathing in the putrid afterwash and decadent desolation of her party's Gilded Age policies."

Other Republicans thought the bill "excessive," says Carpenter, and some considered it "insufficient," while a few believed it to be a "political ploy to buy working- and under-class votes."

Carpenter sums up the lack of bipartisanship of Republicans in the House of Representatives this way:

"Each House GOPer had his or her little militant manual in hand -- their very own prized edition of Mein Dummkampf, penned by the macroeconomically ignorant likes of the party's Rush Limbaughs and dedicated to their stormstrooping baboon-corps of Sean Hannitys."

Damn! I couldn't have said it better myself.


Republicans in the House of Representatives are now blocking a delay in the implementation of our digital TV transition. The switch is to be made on February 17, but the FCC has concluded that because of poor publicity millions of non-digital people are not aware their TV screens are about to go blank; about 6 1/2 million people, actually.

And the great majority of these live in rural areas, are poor and elderly; you know, the people on every Republican shit-list everywhere.

Guess what: The Republicans are blaming Obama for not getting the job done. Heh, heh.


So, standing hand in hand to fight the Obama administration, egged on by a big, fat, idiotic talk radio host and neanderthalically ignorant TV pundits, the Republican Party teeters on the brink of irrelevance.

Just how irrelevant becomes clearer with the apology of Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., to Rush Limbaugh for lobbing a few softballs at the big, fat, idiot's tendency to "stand back and throw bricks" rather than offer anything of substance.

When the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee is forced to kneel down before the likes of Limbaugh and beg for mercy, the irrelevance of the Republican Party is etched in the blood of it's victims for all the world to see.


The Republicans have reached the brink. There is no turning back and the demise of the party lies ahead. R.I.P. Republicans!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Palin plugging for Alaska

[Photo from US News]

So what's new? In Wasilla, she got about $30 mil in those dastardly earmarks. Trouble is no one really wanted them and now the town has got a huge debt to pay off.

But in spite of all her blathering about Alaska providing vital resources for the United States, she's still looking to Washington to bail her out.

This morning, in Juneau, she took a few questions from reporters. One reporter asked her if she planned to go to D.C. this coming weekend.

Palin said:

"Yeah, I'm going to meet with those who are making decisions for Alaska in the stimulus package, including senators Feinstein and (I'll) be having dinner with Mitch McConnell and others, having dinner with them and meeting with John Katz in our D.C. office on what it is that we can support in the stimulus package.

"Advocating tough too for an exemption that Alaska needs in terms of timelines for some of these shovel ready projects. Congress is saying the projects involved in the infrastructure aspect of the stimulus package have to be shovel ready, have to get them out the door, whether it be 90 days of 120 days. Well, we're Alaska and we need an exemption there so that we're not left out in the cold in terms of some of the projects that will take a northern climate a longer period of time to make sure that we our projects ready to go."


If you read that very slowly, you can probably get the gist of what she is saying.

But...the Republicans in Congress are opposing the stimulus package and now have come up with their own measure which is merely a replay of Repugnican stupidity, consisting primarily of more tax cuts with no provision for the debt said cuts would incur. Same old, same old!

Maybe one way to bring these Repugnican nogoodniks in line is to cut out from the stimulus package goodies from those states ruled by Republican governors. Why should they reap the benefits when all they can do is say "We can't! We won't! We wanta do it our way! Our way or the highway!"

I know, I know. That wouldn't be fair to the "real" people in those states. Still...

But didn't these clowns lose the last couple of elections, big time?

Now, the stimulus package is not thought of as containing "earmarks," but it might be considered as one great big earmark. And notice Palin is prancing right off to D.C. to make sure she gets her share of what the big, bad (read "socialist") government is going to hand out.

Not only so, but this self-styled, independent, pit bull governor who stresses the great independence of her state, right off the bat wants exemptions or Alaska might not be able to meet the standards and would be left "out in the cold."


Don't you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that this woman had a shot at becoming the vice president of the United States?

Raffish, rabblerousing RV (Photo)


I didn't know what to think when I first saw this. Notice the horns at the top and the skull in the window. How'd you like to see that bearing down on you in your rear view mirror? Heh, heh.

Sarah Palin should "pac" it in


Ever looking out for herself and opportunities that come her way (the "doors" that God opens), Sarah has formed a political action committee (PAC) supposedly "to support like-minded aspiring politicians."

According to Erika Bolstad, writing at the Alaska Politics Blog at the Anchorage Daily News, political action committees are "a way for elected officials to funnel money to other candidates they want to support, often from donors who have already maxed out on the amount of money they can give to the candidates."

This is not unusual and politicos from both sides of aisle looking at higher office put PACs together.

Sarah's PAC has a website, here, "which says that the goal of the committee is to 'make it possible for Gov. Palin to continue to be a strong voice for energy independence and reform. ... SarahPac will support local and national candidates who share Gov. Palin's ideas and goals for our country.'"


Holy crap. Are there really other politicians who share Sarah's "ideas and goals for our country"?

Nah. Couldn't be. Oh, wait. There must be a few; she's a Repugnican!

But what terrible thing have we done as a country that we keep getting punished by having this terrible woman theocrat constantly in our face?

Sarah doesn't need a PAC. She needs to "pac" it in, go back to Alaska, speak in tongues, pray with witch doctors, hunt some mooses, screw up the state of Alaska, and/or get lost in a snowbank.

Juan Williams on Michelle Obama

Think Progress notes that Juan Williams, a "contributor" to Faux News, is not a fan of First Lady, Michelle Obama, and has commented previously about her "militant anger" that she exhibits on occasion.

"Appearing on the O'Reilly Factor, Williams agreed with conservative commentator Mary Katherine Ham that Obama will have to watch what she says since, according to Williams, she is 'Stokely Carmichael in a dress.'"

Watch below:

Lisa Miller on the resurrection of the body

[The Ascension by Brian Jekel - from Pictures of Jesus]

Lisa Miller has done it again...another "controversial" (more or less) article in Newsweek. This time she takes on a question with an eternal significance.

What happens when we die? That's the question. According to Ms. Miller, about 80 percent of Americans think they're going to heaven. (Gonna be crowded!)

But when you ask these believers what form they will take, "the consensus breaks down. According to a 2005 NEWSWEEK poll, only half of Americans think of resurrection as a physical event, a revivification of flesh after death. More than a third think of it as something spiritual, an ascension of the soul that leaves the corpse behind."


That "spiritual" stuff just isn't good enough for the real God-lovers. Miller says that "a small group of orthodox Christian and Jewish scholars are trying to force the issue" by arguing "that from the beginning, Jews and Christians have understood resurrection as a physical transformation -- a literal reversal of death."

And if you're going to call yourself a "true" believer, you must believe in a physical resurrection!

Miller refers to books by an Anglican bishop and an "evangelical" Christian, both of which insist that the notion of a physical resurrection is "central to Christian faith."

Then there's a Jewish scholar from Harvard who "argues that a Jewish belief in the resurrection has its origins in the Torah (a controversial claim in scholarly circles) and a long tradition in rabbinic Judaism."

Well, I wonder what Torah he's been reading. Resurrection of the body in the Torah? I don't think so!

Fundamentalists of any stripe are interesting creatures. They tend to go backward instead of forward, and become increasingly reliant upon ancient tribal customs and beliefs to nourish their need for spirituality.

Ms. Miller also refers to St. Augustine who wrote "of the real, resurrected body. In heaven, he wrote in 'City of God,' you will be your perfect self: unblemished and 30-something. If you were fat in life, you will become pleasingly thinner; if too thin, you will become robust."

Or, as Paula Fredriksen said in her book about Augustine: "Our bodies will be the very same ones we had in life, but buff and beautiful."

Well, Augustine wrote lots of things and much of it is pure nonsense and utterly stupid from a scientific point of view and worthless so far a modern human beings go. And some of it's evil -- especially his diatribes against the Jews. So, why would anyone believe his delusions about heaven and the resurrection of the body.

Furthermore, all of this resurrection of the body theology is predicated on the belief that God can and does do miracles and should have no problem revivifying our physicality, no matter how decomposed or non-existent it might be.

Which leads one to wonder, of course, why, if God is so good at miracles, we need to go through the process of death in the first place, especially if that process includes incredible physical and mental pain and suffering.

We might also wonder, why, if God is so good at miracles, he couldn't have left us clear instructions or an unambiguous "Manual for Heaven" in which all our questions would be answered without the need for scholars and theologians to dissect materials written by ignorant goat herders living three millennia ago.

Which brings up the last point. Nobody knows anything about any of this! What happens after we die will remain a mystery until we die. The scholars don't know. The theologians don't know. The psychics don't know. The Republicans don't know. Nobody knows!

So, you're quite free to believe anything you wish. And don't worry about "orthodox" Christian or Jewish scholars, 'cause they don't know, either, in spite of their pretensions to the contrary. But, if you choose to believe that your physical body is somehow going to be put back together but in a form that would make Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie envious, you're choosing to believe something for which there is not a shred of evidence anywhere!

There is no evidence for any kind of life after death, much less a physical resurrection.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Work Makes One Free - by Distributor Cap NY

Distributor Cap NY has an absolutely excellent summary of the holocaust. It begins thusly:

64 years ago today - January 27, 1945 - the 322nd Rifle Division of the Red Army marched into an almost deserted outpost of the Nazis in Southern Poland and found 7,000 starving, sick and emaciated prisoners. What they also found was hundreds of thousands garments, suits, pairs of shoes, suitcases, eyeglasses, hairbrushes, and family pictures. They also were standing on the grounds of where somewhere between 1,500,000 and 3,000,000 people were systematically put to death for no reason other than the Nazis said they should be.



Please read the entire post (with photos) here.

Obama's interview with al-Arabiya



Just in case you haven't seen this: Anderson Cooper discusses some of the interview. Someone else noted, favorably, that the interview was impressive: a change in tone, not policy.

The Huffington Post and the entire transcript here.

Thanks to Crooks and Liars.

Vatican to the Jews: Stop bitching!

[Riccardo di Segni - Chief Rabbi of Rome
Image from European Jewish Press]


In the second century, Literalist (orthodox as opposed to gnostic) Christians began turning against the Jews with a vengeance. They wanted to claim the Jewish bible but not the Jewish faith or Jewish traditions.

Thus they began calling the Jewish bible the "Old" Testament, and ensured that it was "suitably rearranged so that it ended with a prophesy, which appeared to lead seamlessly into its apparent fulfillment in the gospels."

Not only that, but New Testament material was rewritten to cast aspersions on the Jews. Thus in the Gospel of Matthew we read that at the trial of Jesus, the "Jews" cried out to crucify him and demanded that "His blood be on us and our children."

One modern theologian notes:

"The legacy of these words has been terrible. They have been cited to justify centuries of Christian persecution of the Jews. It is significant that only at the recent Vatican council has a formal declaration been made exonerating subsequent generations of Jews from responsibility for the murder of Christ."


Hatred for the Jews was fired up as early as the second century by numerous Church "fathers." "Bishop Melito of Sardis (c. 170) denounced them as 'God-killers'--criminals who had invented an 'entirely new sort of crime.' The devastation the Jewish nation had suffered at the hands of the Roman Empire was deemed to be God's just revenge. The Jews had brought their sufferings upon themselves."

Circumcision became a rallying point for Christian anti-Judaism. Justin Martyr wrote:

"For the circumcision according to the flesh was given to you from Abraham as a sign so that you might be distinguished from other nations and from us, and so that you alone might suffer what you now rightly suffer; so that your land might become desolate, and your cities burned, and strangers eat the fruits of your land before you, and not one of you set foot in Jerusalem."

Many other church leaders wrote even stronger and more hateful diatribes against the Jews, including the revered St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom.


All of which brings us to the present. Pope Benedict XVI is bringing back the old Latin Mass, and with it the Good Friday prayers which pray for the conversion of the Jews. Minor, but insufficient changes have been made in the modern mass.

Although the Roman Church has backed away from blaming Jews and their descendants from killing Christ, and even though the Roman Church has said that the Jews are God's chosen people and will be saved in the end, offensive language remains. It appears to many that the Roman Church speaks with forked tongue.

Jewish leaders in Italy and elsewhere have made their feelings known and relations between the Vatican and these leaders have cooled considerably.

Now the Vatican is hitting back. L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, is complaining about "excessive" Jewish complaints relative to the Good Friday prayers in the traditional Latin Missal, which does, still, pray for the conversion of the Jews.

Damian Thompson, a conservative/traditional Catholic writer for the Telegraph in the UK, says "'Enough, already!' is the message from Rome. And quite right, too."

You see, Thompson and evidently Pope Benedict and probably most of the high and mighty poohbahs don't believe that the Jews are or will be saved. Thompson is forthright, if nothing else:

"But if you ban all prayers for the conversion of the chosen people, then you end up misrepresenting the founder of Christianity. It's an inconvenient fact that Jesus of Nazareth called loudly for the conversion of the Jews."


Not even close to true! I wonder if Thompson has read the Gospels. His first error is to claim Jesus founded Christianity. Oops! Not so! Paul would be the most likely founder of Christianity if you had to blame any one person. The legendary Jesus as presented in the gospels was a devout Jew for all of his brief life. There was no such thing as Christianity when he walked the earth so what on earth would he have the Jews to convert to?

Thompson simply does not know what he's talking about. In fact, Jesus said that he had come to fulfill the law, every single piece of it. He knew nothing about converting anyone.

And the entire Passion story is suspect from beginning to end, with contradictory tales told by the writers of the four gospels which contain episodes that could not have happened in any first century context, such as a Sanhedrin trial on the eve of Passover.

In other words, the trial and crucifixion of Jesus is so garbled and non-historical in content, even if it weren't essentially mythology, we would have no clue as to what actually happened.

The Jews were made the scapegoats for Jesus' death many years later, and anti-Judaism reached fever pitch in the late second century when Christian writers edited the gospels in such a way as to remove the blame for the crucifixion from their Roman rulers, and forged other letters which now appear in the "New" Testament and which target the Jews for the death of the Christ.


So, I would urge Jewish leaders around the world to stand up to the Vatican, which remains an historically anti-Semitic organization, and insist that if religious dialogue is to continue, Benedict needs to delete, excise, erase, burn those prayers for the conversion of the Jews!

Then we'll talk.

[Some of the material above comes from "The Jesus Mysteries," by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy]

Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-FL, advocate of BIG government

U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns, a Repugnican phenomenon from Florida, is co-sponsor with Rick Boucher, a Democratic phenomenon from Virginia, of a bill which would allow persons who hold concealed-weapons permits in one state to legally carry their concealed weapons in other states.

In other words, these two characters want a national law to usurp all state laws relative to concealed weapons.

I am not arguing in favor or against the proposal.

Rather, I would point out how, once again, Republican "principles" cave to political ideology. We hear over and over again, ad nauseum, how Republicans are opposed to BIG government; how we need less government (especially of the federal type) interference in our lives; how big government smacks of socialism; how big government will take away our freedoms; how we must stand up for states' rights, etc.

The proposal contains a few exceptions. It would not apply to people who are barred from owning or transporting firearms, and you can't carry a machine gun or a "destructive" devine across state lines.

Stearns and Boucher have all kinds of reasons why they think this is a good and appropriate law but all of that is beside the point I'm making:

Stearns is noted for being an ultra-conservative "Bush Republican." I don't know, but wouldn't be surprised if he has a statue of Ronald Reagan in a worshipful spot in his home. It is a wonder that he would be trying to establish a federal law that would trump states' rights.

Well, it really isn't a wonder at all. As we noted above, Republicans routinely trump principles for ideology.

Hyprocrisy is a part of the Republican playbook.

That's one reason Barack Obama is president.


There's more here on what an embarrassment Mr. Stearns is to Florida and his remarkable hypocrisy. Note especially why he requested that Nancy Pelosi change the House voting schedule.

Socialism brings about collapse

Yup. "Socialism" means financial collapse, according to the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, Christopher Monckton.

Well, maybe not. Sweden, Norway, and other nations are among the most stable and most advanced countries in the world and operate on a "socialistic" financial system.

Maybe Viscount Monckton doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. For example, he says of his beloved England:

"Every Labor government there has ever been from 1926 to the present day has always ended in exactly the same way because they essentially try to run a communist financial system."

Huh? Someone please explain to the Viscount the difference between apples and oranges. Communism and democracy are political systems. Socialism and capitalism are economic systems.

Thus, a democracy like Sweden may operate very well under a socialistic economic system. In the United States we have had a partially socialist system for years. Public schools are socialistic. The U.S. Post Office is socialistic. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid might be termed socialistic.

Socialism is not necessarily bad, nor is capitalism necessarily good. In fact, recently we have seen just how bad free-market, unregulated capitalism can be! Thus, the government has had to step in and enact "socialistic" measures to keep the economy from collapsing. And, the funny thing, good ol' not-so-conservative George W. Bush is the one who did it!


To people like Viscount Monckton, however, reality, reason and truth seldom make an impression. Thus, he pontificates that the United States will surely collapse if it falls prey to "socialism."

Monckton is worried about Obama. He's afraid Obama is going to "redistribute the wealth," and the poor folks might get a chunk of it. My God, dontcha know "redistribution of the wealth" only works when it's redistributed into the greedy hands of the rich?


Been there, done that. We're in a terrible mess right now, not because of socialism, but because of unfettered, free-market capitalism and an insane redistribution of the country's wealth to the very rich through a system of misguided tax cuts by the Bush administration!

Mr. Monckton is a gasbag who ought to head back to his estate and contemplate chasing the foxes instead long-deceased conservative fantasies about the evils of socialism.

(Monckton is also a "journalist," a failed politician, a Roman Catholic, an amateur scientiest, and a global-warming denier. He is very rich. No wonder he doesn't like socialism. If there's wealth to be redistributed, he wants it!)

Goin' fishin' (Photo)


Ev'rything's ready. Goin' fishin' just as soon as the yard work's done. Maybe tomorrow?

The Bush legacy, in part


Fareed Zakaria, in the latest Newsweek says this:

"Even in the depths of the Iraq War, when much of the globe was enraged by George W. Bush's unilateralism, people everywhere believed that the United States had the world's most advanced economy and that its capital markets in particular were the most sophisticated and developed.

"American officials, businessmen and economists lectured far and wide on the need to copy the American system. That system is now seen across the world as a sham, a risky casino game in which the highly paid participants mismanaged risk and highly respected speculators cheered them on.

"I have traveled to Europe, Asia and the Middle East in these last three months and am writing this from Canada. The attitudes of officials and businessmen range from shock to rage at what they see in the United States."


While one might question the statement that people "everywhere" considered the U.S. economic system as God's gift to humanity or something like it, there is little doubt that Zakaria is right on with the "shock and rage" bit.

And this, too, is part of the Bush legacy: a disregard for the rule of law, a disregard for rules, generally, a financial free-for-all blessed by the Bush administration and its cronies, many, if not most of which, were tied like an umbilical cord to the financial industry.

Now we are left to clean up the mess while Bush clears scrub in Crawford and meditates on how he might resurrect his image already buried in the trash bin of history.

To do that, though, we have to move beyond "Yes, we can," to "Yes, we will."

That means the Obama administration will probably have to jettison its dream of bipartisanship, and tell the Republicans to take a hike in order to get the job done.

Killing future taxpayers via the stimulus bill

Shaun Kenney is executive director of a right wingnut Roman Catholic anti-abortion outfit called American Life League .

When he heard about a provision in the proposed stimulus bill that would include funds for family planning and (gasp!) contraceptives, Shaun went batshit crazy:

"At a time of financial crisis," he said, "Nancy Pelosi's solution is to kill future taxpayers."

It's hard to know how to response to such a moronic statement. Let's try this: A woman gets pregnant but soon thereafter has a miscarriage. What does Shaun say about that? Damn his goddamn God for killing a baby? Logically, of course. If a miscarriage is often nature's way of aborting a damaged fetus, and if God is the creator of all things, then God killed the baby!


The stimulus bill under attack by the morons of the Roman Church and Protestant fundamentalist christianists contains a provision which would allow states to provide family planning services -- including contraceptives -- for low-income people on Medicaid.

You'd think that would be a good thing! You'd think the anti-abortion nuts would be happy with that, as it would help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and thus the number of abortions.

But, you can't reason with anti-abortion nuts, especially of the Roman Catholic kind because they are still caught up in moribund medieval theological nonsense that every sperm is sacred -- a "potential" child of God, so therefore, contraception is bad, wrong, evil, and will send you directly to hell.

Most Roman Catholics don't believe that moribund medieval theological nonsense, but the Romanists continue to perpetrate it.

Thus, Shaun Kenney, again on Pelosi:

"Pelosi has described herself as 'an ardent, practicing Catholic.' But ardent, practicing Catholics do not treat destruction of human beings and human dignity as an economic stimulus plan. They do not see the death of countless preborn Americans through the use of abortifacient birth control as an opportunity to 'reduce state costs.'"

Note how nuts like this are going even nuttier: Contraception, which blocks those swimming little sperm from reaching their goal is considered the "destruction of human beings and human dignity." These swimming little sperm are referred to as "countless preborn Americans."

Kenney is echoed by another fruitcake, Patrict Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition. He says Pelosi's dastardly deeds are "bigoted, racist, elitist, and anti-child."

Of course they are. Furthermore, says Mahoney, America's leaders should "support and encourage America's children, not crush and destroy them."


Evidently, these asshats on the right have made enough noise that the Obama administration is considering removing this provision from the stimulus bill. That would be one hell of a mistake!

Life begins at birth! A fetus is not a human being. A fetus is a fetus! A fetus becomes a human being when it is born.

Sperm are not human beings. Sperm are wiggly little things that may or may not have the potential to help create a human being. Blocking sperm from realizing that potential is not "killing" children!

Contraceptives do not kill children, either! Contraceptives offer people the means by which to prevent unwanted children. And that reduces the number of abortions.

Contraception is a wonderful thing. The world has suffered mightily for many years from overpopulation.

These anti-abortion morons would rather have more children born into the world so the children can experience multitudinous opportunities for suffering -- disease, hunger, poverty, and early death.

Enough already! Leave the family planning provision in the stimulus bill.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The christianist patriarchy movement

[Image from current.com]

The christianist wingnuts in our midst would like nothing better than to return to what they perceive as the "good old days."

I can remember when they began their latest battle against evolutionary theory. Actually, I was stunned, thinking it just wasn't possible. That particular fight was long over, arguments opposing the theory of evolution long since put to rest. Or, so I thought.


Just recently, when someone near and dear to me expressed her desire to be submissive to her new husband, I got a glimpse of a new cultural battle being waged called the "patriarchy movement," the goal of which is to spark "a counterrevolution to the feminist movement of the 1960s."

What?


Kathryn Joyce, at Religion Dispatches, tells the story in her article, "Women's 'Liberation' Through Submission: An Evangelical Anti-Feminism Is Born."


"This October," says Joyce, "more than 6,000 women gathered in Chicago for the True Woman Conference '08: a stadium-style event to promote what its proponents call 'biblical womanhood,' 'complementarianism,' or -- most bluntly -- 'the patriarchy movement.'"

According to the Associated Baptist Press, "an ambitious initiative ... arose from the meeting: a signature drive seeking 100,000 women to endorse its 'True Woman Manifesto,' which, the ABP writes, aims at sparking a counterrevolution to the feminist movement of the 1960s."

Joyce says that while only 3,000 women have signed this "manifesto," it is important to note that the women involved "don't view themselves simply as a remnant of polite, churchy women, holding out against a crass culture, but rather as a revolutionary body waging 'countercultural' rebellion against what they see as the feminist status quo."

They are counting on millions of women becoming part of this movement who are "able to capture all kinds of battlefronts for Christ."


Here's what they believe: "women and men were designed to reflect God in 'complementary and distinct ways'; that today's culture has gone astray distinctly because of its egalitarian approach to gender (and that it's 'experiencing the consequences of abandoning God's design for men and women'); and that while men and women are equally valuable in the eyes of God, here on earth they are relegated to spheres at home and in the church."

Yup. Furthermore, as Joyce notes, "women are called to affirm and encourage godly masculinity, and honor the God-ordained male headship of their husbands and pastors; that wifely submission to male leadership in the home and church reflects Christ's submission to God."

Oh, yeah, they should also be willing to "receive children as a blessing from the Lord."


Okay, girls. Line up and submit. Make your man "godly masculine." Bow down before his decisions. Keep the cooking good, the house clean, the sex kinky and most of all keep your damn mouth shut in church and in the home. God ordained a patriarchal system. That's just the way it is.

This is the kind of ungodly nonsense that derives from a literalistic reading of certain biblical books written by MEN who had no understanding of a real relationship between a man and a woman, but felt threatened by women (and their sexual enticements), and most importantly, wanted to keep women down in order to maintain their own authority.

This is the kind of ungodly nonsense that derives from a lack of knowledge and understanding with regard to the early church in the first few centuries.

Not that it matters. To organize one's life around principles devised by ignorant, superstitious and misogynous males who lived some 2,000 years ago is at best stupid and a losing proposition for all involved.

Furthermore, if it matters, women were an important part of the early church, especially among the gnostics who, in spite of orthodox propaganda, were an extremely large and important part of the church as it developed in the first few centuries. In gnostic (and in some "orthodox") settings, women preached, taught, baptized, conducted the eucharist, and sometimes became bishops.

It wasn't until a couple of hundred years had passed and the "orthodox" Christians had gained enough power that women began to be shut out from their earlier roles. Orthodox writers, scared to death of females, wrote extensively about how dangerous they were because of sex, sex, sex, and therefore were not to have any positions in the church. Indeed, in some cases, the sexes were separated during worship!

Thus, the church father Tertullian writes: "It is not permitted for a woman to speak in the church, nor is it permitted for her to teach, nor to baptize, nor to offer the eucharist, nor to claim for herself a share in any masculine function--not to mention any priestly office."

Tertullian was deathly afraid of women: "You are," he wrote of women, "the Devil's gateway. you are she who persuaded him whom the Devil did not dare attack. Do you not know that every one of you is an Eve? The sentence of God on your sex lives on in this age; the guilt, of necessity, lives on too."


In spite of all this, the women involved in the patriarchy movement would probably find history of no account. Notice their argument that the culture has gone "astray" because of the feminist movement! Some christianists argue that it's because of abortion, or the "homosexual agenda," or liberals in general, or simply that we've backslid from the wonderful religious beliefs of our founding fathers. Whatever, these women think they can make things right if only they submit to their husbands at home and in the church.

John Piper, a Southern Baptist theologue is one of the promoters of this nonsense. Joyce explains that he considers "submission is a wife's divine calling, and truest form of power. 'I distinguish between authority and influence,' he said. 'A woman on her knees sways more in this nation than a thousand three-piece suited Wall Street jerks.'"


It's all so stupid and so sad that women believe this crap and submissively fall in line with what is moronic on the face of it and does nothing but degrade them as human beings and in the end, is not biblical at all (if that matters), but derives from the ravings of angry and fearful old men living about the year 200 C.E.


You can read Joyce's entire article (there's much more) here.

Downsizing in Florida (Photo)


Downsizing, Central Florida style

Catholic schools - when "education" is not education

[Poster from Natural Book Craft]

The Huffington Post carried an article about a month ago about a Catholic priest in Blue Springs, Missouri, who "removed books related to President-elect Barack Obama from the Catholic school's library because of his position on abortion."

The priest's name is Ron Elliott. The school is St. John LaLande School.

Evidently, "someone" [that same old "someone"] complained about the content of the books, and he [Elliott] wanted to look them over to see, I suppose, if they contained any dangerous heresy that would put the immortal souls of his kiddos in danger.

The reverend, being a Catolic, is very concerned and very opposed to abortion. He is very pro-life.


So, someone complained. Elliott removed the books. Without reading them!!!

Then he did read them. Concluded they were OK. He's going to put the books back in the library "after the dust kind of settles."


This, hopefully, is not illustrative of all Catholic education. But it's instructive, still. When one believes they hold the "truth" in their hands and that "truth" is of eternal significance, one can justify a variety of unhappy, even dastardly actions.

A most extreme example, would be the Islamist suicide bombers, called by Allah to kill infidels. In that light, Elliott's action seems almost benign. But it isn't benign, for it represents the same approach to education that turns out Islamist suicide bombers.

And that approach to education means that those in your charge must be "protected" from any information which might lead them to question the "truth" that you possess. So, if there are books in the library about President Obama that could possibly lead a student to conclude reasonable people, Christians even, disagree about abortion, one must do everything possible to keep such inflammatory material out of the children's hands.

Education, thus, becomes indoctrination. Indoctrination leads to ignorance and sometimes to fanaticism.

Unfortunately, this is too often exactly what happens in the religious schools of our country, and in the homes where children are being home-schooled. Home-schooling has gained prominence and popularity precisely because it allows parents to indoctrinate their children in their own prejudices and keep them ignorant of any facts which are contrary to those prejudices.

Again, that is not education, that is indoctrination.

Of course, in this, the land of the free, religions have the right to teach their flock whatever they so desire and parents have the right to teach their children whatever religious quackery they believe in.

The problem, of course, is that some of these people will achieve positions of power and authority in our society. We have enough fools in those positions already.


The Huffington Post article is here.

Texas BOE and science standards

For a long time, public school students in Texas have been forced to hear about evolution's so-called "weaknesses" in their science classes. This is because the Texas State Board of Education has been dominated by christianist wingnuts.

Real scientists and people who live in the real world everywhere are happy as a lark because the Texas BOE just voted to scrap that nonsense. But, it was a merely a preliminary vote and the vote was almost evenly divided, and the final vote will come in March and the christianist wingnuts are marshalling their forces.

Furthermore, the Dallas Morning News reports that while the "weakness" requirement was dropped, an amendment was added "that calls for students to discuss the 'sufficiency or insufficiency' of Charles Darwin's tenet that humans and other living things have common ancestors." In the hands of a real scientist, that would be no problem; in the hands of a christianist wingnut teacher, it could be detrimental to her students.


The outfit behind the "weakness" stuff is the Discovery Institute, an organization devoted to replacing science in public school classrooms with "creationism" or its phony sister, Intelligent Design, both of which are not scientific at all, but religion in disguise.

The Discovery Institute is going to work hard to see that the "weakness" requirement is reinstated.


Meanwhile, the Texas Freedom Network is working to rescind the amendment when the board conducts its final vote in March.

Kathy Miller, TFN president said that the amendment "could provide a small foothold for teaching creationist ideas and dumbing down biology instruction in Texas."

Yup. And the kicker is that whatever the board decides will likely be in effect for 10 years plus!


But the christianists have a different take, naturally. And they lie. Here's what they say about the Texas BOE's decision to scuttle the "weakness" provision:

"Proponents of critical thinking in science classrooms were handed a blow by the Texas State Board of Education." Heh, heh.

Right. It is exactly the opposite! Now, students in Texas public schools will not be subjected to creationist nonsense which is faith-based, and rooted in the notion that the first chapters of Genesis are history not myth.

The truth is that proponents of critical thinking were handed a wonderful and long-overdue victory by the State Board of Education.

No more bible-based mythology parading as science!



Sunday, January 25, 2009

Joseph Smith, prophet of the Mormon cult, was a con man



This video, featuring Bill Maher at his sardonic best, Carly Fiorina (defending Mitt Romney) and Craig Ferguson, relates to an article I posted earlier today, which, if you missed it, can be found
here.

Thanks to Pensito Review.

Jerry Falwell is dead. Jerry Falwell lives.

[Photo from Liberty University website]

Jerry Falwell has come back again in the form of his son, Jerry Falwell, Jr. Jerry and Jonathan Falwell are running Daddy's "ministry" now which you can check out here, if you're so inclined. Jerry Jr. is the president of the right wing Liberty University.

In a recent article at onenewsnow, Falwell Jr. reminded fundamentalist christianists that the election of Barack Obama did not destroy the Christian right; but rather that the movement remains strong. He further says that "Christians ... have a responsibility to pray for the president-elect [this was published on January 24, so maybe Falwell Jr. hadn't received word that Obama had actually become president] and not only to support him when he makes good decisions but also to lawfully oppose him when he promotes anti-Christian policies."

What are those anti-Christian policies you ask? Ah, heck, you know: homosexuality, abortion, blah, blah, blah. Rather than spell them out, Falwell refers to an article by another christianist who refers to an article by J. Matt Barber which is a vicious attack on the President and his faith.

Falwell then goes on to say that it has never "been the goal of conservative Christians to obtain political power or legislate morality! What?

Here's his logic: "Are we legislating morality when we, as citizens, fight for laws to protect marriage and life?"

Evidently, something is not connecting in his brain. The answer is clearly "Yes!" "Hell, yes!"

But, wait, there's more: "When my father [Falwell, Sr.] began organizing the religious right as a movement, leaders were reluctant to become involved in social reform. They were not seeking political power."

Excuse me! They were from the beginning seeking political power in order to put people in place to establish laws based upon their interpretation of select passages from the Bible! That was their exact purpose! When the Christian Coalition was formed some years ago, Pat Robertson warned the nation that his right wingnuts intended to get their christianist friends elected to school boards, to city councils, to county commissions, to state legislatures, to Congress, and to the presidency, if possible, in order to ensure their particular religious delusions became the law of the land!

How can Falwell, Jr., lie with such a straight pen?

Falwell thinks that da "candy man," Jim DeMint, from South Carolina was right when he said that it wasn't conservative ideals that were defeated in November. "Americans haven't changed," said da candy man, "Republicans have." And Falwell pines for the "good old days" of Ronnie Reagan and 1994 when Republicans were in control and all was well.

"We are hungry for a Ronald Reagan to lead us." Heh, heh.


Obama, of course, is leading the nation down the wrong path to perdition. As Reagan said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." And, says, Falwell, Jr., "These words should incite Christians to action. ... we must ensure that our government does not make us unwelcome in our own country."


Let's recap. According to Falwell, Jr., the christianist wingnuts on the right are not about gaining political power. But they must fight to gain political power to stop any and all attempts by Obama and other politicians to make keep abortion legal and provide for civil rights of homosexuals, etc. If Obama and other politicos who support his views are able to deny the "family values" as promoted by the christianist wingnuts on the right, the christianist wingnuts on the right will become "unwelcome" in their own country.

It's okay, it seems, if people who disagree with them and their conservative values are made "unwelcome."

God works in mysterious ways.


You can read Falwell, Jr.'s entire article here. And more here from RightWingWatch.

Branching out (Photo)


Sometimes you just need to branch out on your own.

An epic promotion of Mormonism

A couple of generations ago, conservative Christians (which were not quite the same as today's fundamentalist christianists; they were less belligerent for one thing) railed against any involvement of the church with the government. Many of these folks were rabidly anti-Catholic and deathly afraid that if the Catholic church got its hands on government money it would not be long before they were running things and boarding up all the Protestant churches.

Really. That's what they believed.

In fact, many people whom I knew personally were avid supporters of the organization, Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Today, Americans United is vilified by the christianist right, which has swung around to the position that their particular theological, moral and ethical beliefs should be enshrined as governmental policy.


In addition, a couple of generations ago, you couldn't find a Christian who would deign to even consider the notion that Mormonism had a speck of validity or value and you couldn't find a Christian who would deign to even consider giving a Mormon the time of day.

Mormons were not Christians, period!

While that is still generally true - few Christians accept Mormonism as Christian - what has changed is the willingness to work together on certain issues. (See the fight against Proposition 8 in California!)

Christianists these days have shed their fear and hatred of Catholics and Mormons in order to combine forces in hopes of defeating the spread of paganism in our culture as defined by abortion, homosexuality, and more recently, "socialism."

But I still found it surprising that an outfit like Christian News Wire would blatantly promote Mormon nonsense on its website.


This particular Mormon nonsense incarnates in the form of one Christine Davidson, a "Christian family advocate," who has written a book called "Escape to Epic World," which is "a collection of epic stories from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, for families to discuss at dinner times."

Doesn't that sound like fun?

Christian News Wire actually began their ode to Christine thusly:

"An ancient Central American history, written by descendants of the 'remnant' of Israel, is found to contain numerous verifications of historic episodes in the Bible, including the ministry of Jesus Christ, the creation of man in the image of God, abundant testimony of Adam as the first man, and the Ten Commandments, which defend the sanctity of life.

"Some people are surprised that this history, known today as the Book of Mormon, could support the Bible so strongly," says Christine. [Emphasis added]


Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Please. The Book of Mormon, written by the nearly illiterate phony, Joseph Smith, with the help of a friend, consists of his deluded fantasies interwoven with material from the King James Version of the Bible. It isn't surprising in the least that the Book of Mormon "supports the Bible so strongly." Hell, it was plagiarized from the Bible!

What Christine is peddling is Mormonism dressed up as christianist fundamentalism. Thus, you can head to her website -- the part that deals with "creation," and find these subjects:

* Why teach children the Creation
* Effects of atheism in schools
* Bible's Allies in Era of Unbelief
* The Remnant


The question remains: Why would a fundamentalist christianist outfit like Christian News Wire promote moronic Mormonism?

A Vatican parable - "Fleecing the Sheep"


This story has been discussed by several excellent bloggers, but I can't help myself.

An AP article sets the scene:

"Pope Benedict XVI has blessed two lambs whose wool will be shorn to make shawls for newly appointed archbishops to wear."

Annually, on St. Agnes' feast day, two sheep are placed in a basket, tied down, and a crown of flowers is placed on their heads.

The pope then says the magic words and the sheep are "blessed" and can be shorn to make the appropriate shawls.

"New archbishops receive the wool pallium on June 29. The pallium is a band of white wool decorated with black crosses that is a sign of pastoral authority and a symbol of the archbishops' bond with the pope."


The Freethinker tells us more. These sheep are raised by Trappist monks. But it wasn't all so warm and woolly. In the Middle Ages, popes charged a fee from the prelates who received the pallium, "earning hundreds of millions of gold florin for the papacy."

That didn't go over so well and the Council of Basle, in 1342, condemned the practice.


Today, the pope is still blessing sheep to be shorn and handing out the pallium to his new archbishops. In fact, you can see a YouTube video of him doing so here.

But there's more to all of this pretty, pious, pallium performance.

'Tis a parable, methinks. For 2000 years, the church's sheep have been shorn of their hard-earned cash to promote the lavish lifestyle of popes and princes. These sheep, though, received no pallium, but rather a palliative (the latter word being derived from the Latin, pallium). They were treated to the illusion that safely ensconced in the bosom of Mother Church, they would live forever with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in the heavenly places.

Today, the church's sheep are also being shorn of their hard-earned cash to finance the payoffs to thousands of the lambs who were molested by the church's priestly pedophiles.

And that because the Church, for years, tried to pull the wool over everyone's eyes!