Saturday, February 14, 2009

A literal understanding of the Bible

Thanks to Dan Florien at Unreasonable Faith for this enlightening video.

U.S. terrorism, anarchists and memory

[Photo of 1920 Wall Street bombing. Credit to Bettman/Corbis and The National]

David Wallace-Wells, writing in the February 16 issue of Newsweek magazine, discusses terrorism in the United States; the anarchists involved and their rationale; our kinship with them; and how we've responded to them historically.

While "the history of anarchist terrorism does not deliver to us today any guidance in the practical defense of a liberal society, nor any lessons in counter-terrorism," it is important we remember that history for other reasons, as we shall see.

Wallace-Wells describes the "first car-bomb," which was actually a wagon loaded with 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of cast-iron slugs which was blown up "at the start of the noon lunch hour at the busiest corner in New York's financial district" on a September morning in 1920.

"...the explosion killed 39, wounded hundreds more and remained, until the Oklahoma City bombing, the worst terrorist attack in American history."

Actually, however, "our first encounter with terrorism ... stretched for several decades on either side of the turn of the 20th century, when radicals of many stripes, horrified by the brutality of industrial capitalism and outraged at the state power that supported it, took up arms against the men they believed their oppressors, bombing symbols of civic order, staging assassinations of civic leaders and embracing a cult of violence that condoned any death produced by the struggle."

Thus, a bomb at Chicago's Haymarket resulted in 8 dead policemen, and a number of workers. In the offices of the Los Angeles Times, dynamite killed 21 workers and injured many more. Anarchists mailed 30 bombs to American politicos, journalists and businessmen in April of 1919, geared to blow on May Day. Wallace-Wells says most never arrived "because of insufficient postage."

Anarchist terror spread around the world. "Anarchists assassinated Russia's tsar in 1898, the French president in 1894 and the Spanish prime minister in 1897. They killed the empress of Austria-Hungary in 1898 and U.S. President William McKinley in 1901. Italy's King Umberto I, who had survived an 1878 attempt on his life, said that he considered the threat of assassination a 'professional risk.' In 1900 they got him, too."

Wallace-Wells suggests that we have more in common with the anarchists than we might like to believe.

He describes them thusly: "These men and women," he says, "were atheists, though they had romantic notions of duty and sacrifice, they celebrated the values of liberty and equality. They considered themselves, rightfully, descendants of the Enlightenment and heirs to the French Revolution. They decried the damage done by modern society to the autonomy and worth of the individual, even as they casually killed dozens of individuals in large symbolic attacks. They were motivated by a sense of injustice, not indignity, and their cause seems to us today a familiar if quixotic protest against the growth of the shape-shifting liberal order under which we still live today."

Then Wallace-Wells makes his point:

"That order is not weakened but strengthened by the memory of turmoil." We need to remember. The history of anarchistic terrorism is important, for:

It calls to mind the fact "that though we live in a dangerous era, it is not a uniquely dangerous one, and that Enlightenment values have triumphed over terroristic ones before, not by defeating but by absorbing them through progressive legislation, unionization, rising wages and the formalization of civil liberties." [Emphasis mine]

That is a critical sentence. The Bushites wanted us to believe that our era was so dangerous we must give up our Enlightenment values; regressive legislation was the order of the day; breaking up the unions was and remains a Republican goal; rising wages were only for the rich; and who gave a damn about civil liberties or our Constitution when, as Bush and company reminded us over and over again, we were under attack.

I think it's precisely this overt willingness to chuck Enlightenment values that prompted Barack Obama to run for president and was the impetus for his slogan about bringing change to America.

The history of anarchistic terrorism is also important for us to remember as we are faced with increasing cries by the Religious Right, the fundamentalist christianist wingnuts, that our salvation is to be found in the God of the Bible as they understand that God, and the Laws of the Bible as they interpret those laws. Many of these people are dominionists and reconstructionists (like Sarah Palin), and are determined to replace our Enlightenment values with their own perverted religious values.

That's why the Religious Right hates Obama (and that hatred has become intense and unrelenting on christianist wingnut websites!). He represents the values they feel threatened by: progressive legislation, unionization, rising wages and the formalization of civil liberties.

And that's why the Republican Party will not work with Obama and will do everything in its power to destroy Obama. Their values are represented by regressive legislation, breaking up the unions, keeping wages low, and the denial of civil liberties.

That's also why we must remember the history. Not because we revere the anarchists, but to remind ourselves that our values have been derived, not from the Bible nor from a god, but from the Enlightenment and the rule of reason. And, in fact, these are the values upon which our nation was founded.

To reiterate: Wallace-Wells reminds us that we have triumphed over terroristic values before, not by defeating them but by absorbing them through programs and policies built upon the values of the Enlightenment.

Maybe we can do it again.

Prophetic goofiness of christianist wingnut

Nicki Pfeifer is a christianist wingnut who believes that every year "God speaks a significant prophetic word" to her.

Yup. To her.

Thus, she can extrapolate from that "word" how the rest of us should live our lives. Every year, God speaks. Whoopee!

Now, are you ready? This year, says Nicki, "God has given me what my husband, Mark, and I believe to be five strategic keys for 2009." Not only so, but with the keys that she's going to tell us about, comes a mini-sermon: "Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we hear God and follow His word. Never before have we found ourselves at such a crucial stage in history! It seems that everything is changing so fast. Indeed, the overwhelming outcry of our nation has been for change. ..."

When people actually believe they can hear the voice or "word" of their skygod, you know they're lunatics. Furthermore, to speak of this time as "a crucial stage in history" is mere hyperbole, and not close to true. But it fits her purpose which is to say:

"There has been a major shift in both the natural and the spiritual realms ... As we watch the news and listen to celebrities, we see that the spirit of this nation has swung from godliness to unrighteousness."

Bush/McCain to Obama - that's moving away from God: "In 2008, God gave us the option of going through the gate and making our way back to Him. Sadly, as a nation, we continue to slip further and further away from the principles that this nation was founded upon. We have chosen to do what seems right in our own eyes."

I go along with that: witness the promotion of torture by the Bush administration; the shredding of our Constitution by the Bushites; the illegal war in Iraq and the millions dead as a result; the Bush administration's thumbing their collective noses at the rule of law; and the push by christianists to make this nation a theocracy!

Yup. We've moved a long way from our founding principles!

Now Nicki Wingnut gets even goofier: "The number 9 (2009) represents finality, the ending of an era, if you will. God is saying the year 2009 signifies we have crossed over, and what we have always known will never be the same again.

"No longer will our nation be known as a 'Christian' nation. Those days are behind us. As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, 'We're not in Kansas anymore!' [Huh? What the hell does that have to do with anything?]

"Through the sins of our nation, there has been a loss of innocence in our nation. We have so blatantly denied holiness and righteousness and have strayed so far from God ... that a spirit of anti-Christ has risen in our land."

Oh, oh. There's that anti-Christ again.

The problems, naturally, as with every other christianist wingnut, come down to abortion, homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Nicki Wingnut goes on to say that we must not despair, that although we may well be in the "last days" as confirmed by the Bible, "Our best days are ahead of us!"

Then, she lays out her five strategic keys for facing the future.

The problem is not that Nicki is full of incredible bullshit, but rather, that many people, Pentecostals mostly, will read this crap and nod their heads and think it is true and wonderful and get down on their knees and thank their god for Nicki Wingnut.

Meanwhile, the real problems in our nation and the world are ignored by millions of christianists on the right who are led down the primrose path by ignorant, biblical literalists who make up all sorts of insanity and call it God's prophetic voice.

It is not. It is their own pathetic voices!

If you're up to it, you can read all of Nicki Wingnut's article here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Palin Planned Parenthood party

Actually, Palin didn't plan this party for Planned Parenthood, but it worked out well for the organization, which just goes to show God works in mysterious ways.

Someone or some group (not Planned Parenthood) got the idea of donating money to Planned Parenthood "in honor of Sarah Palin." The idea, which took the form of e-mails asking for donations in Palin's name, took off across the Internet and enough people responded to raise over $1 million for PP.

The christianists wingnuts on the right see Planned Parenthood as the devil's workshop because PP is are supportive of a woman's right to choose with regard to abortion.

Palin responded to this fund-raising effort in her name by calling it "political theater."

She did, however, make a comment that is likely to raise the fundy's hackles: "But on the issue of Planned Parenthood and abortion, at least Planned Parenthood, officials there and, I, we agree on a mission here that we'd like to see fewer and fewer abortions. And I, embracing the culture of life, have perhaps a different approach in how I would like to see that goal reached."

Damn, she has a hard time putting two sentences together!

Actually, I was surprised at the mildness of her statement, but it may fit into the theory of some pundits that she's modifying her strident, nasally nasty approach to gain more support for a presidential run in 2012.

Embedded video from CNN Video

Republicans are strange, eerie hypocrites

[Mica on left; Young on right]

Every GOP member of the House of Representatives voted against the stimulus package today! Every single, damn one of them!

Meaning, of course, that they believe playing politics is more important than the well-being of the people they are supposed to represent!

Eric Cantor, the nogoodnik from Virginia, spoke for them all when he said: "This bill is loaded with wasteful deficit spending on the majority's favorite government programs."

But the strange, eerie part of it all, is that after the bill was passed:

1) Florida Repug, John Mica, "gushed," in a press release, "I applaud President Obama's recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America's future." Well, maybe, the bill was loaded with one of Mica's "favorite government programs."

2) Don Young, Repug from Alaska, crowed that he "won a victory for the Alaska Native contracting program and other Alaska small business owners..." The bill must have had at least one of Young's "favorite government programs."

It is very much godly behavior, of course, according to Repugnican doctrine, to vote against a bill even though you are very much in favor of pieces of it. That's the way it always is with Republicans: they want what they want and the hell with everyone else. And if the Dems aren't going to give them everything they want, they're going to take their marbles and go home.

Of course, most of them lost all of their marbles a long time ago!

All of this comes via McClatchy and you can read the entire McClatchy article here.

Americans are increasingly more ignorant

This from Matt Corley at Think Progress.

On this, the 200th anniversay of Charles Darwin's birth,
Gallup has released a new poll which indicates that a mere 39% of Americans believe in the theory of evolution; 36 percent say they don't have an opinion about evolution; and 25% indicate they do not believe.

Where the hell have we gone wrong?

Almost two-thirds of Americans either don't believe in evolution or don't care enough to have an opinion.

The theory of evolution is not a "theory" such as the theory that American cars are better than foreign-made cars, or that blondes have more fun, or that Republicans have family values.

The theory of evolution is fundamental to all science and is arguably the most important scientific theory of all time. While it doesn't answer all of our questions and has been and will be modified over time, it is the ONLY theory that answers the question as to how life arose and how we got to where we are.

Americans are a bunch of ignoramuses!

What's really sad is that when you factor in the 2 million or so kids that are being home-schooled, almost exclusively by religious nutcases who think the book of Genesis is history and that evolution is evil, and perhaps even Communistic, as well as the efforts of the genetic fruitcakes at the Discovery Institute who are working (with some success) to introduce their religious nonsense in the public schools, the ignorance of the American people will increase exponentially!

God, wherever she may be, help us!

Summary of the Stimulus Bill

John Avarosis at Americablog posted a summary of the contents of the stimulus bill yesterday.

Very informative. It's helpful when you're confronted by some dumbass Repugnican who starts ranting and raving about "socialism."

Click here.

Goodbye Gregg, and good riddance!

What was Obama thinking?

Well, we know he's been thinking about how nice it would be to work hand in hand with Republicans in Congress and elsewhere in order to proceed quickly with his agenda of putting the nation back together again.

I guess we all like to dream on occasion.

By now, however, our worst fears are confirmed and we know it ain't gonna happen. The Repugnican nogoodniks decided from day one that Obama and the Dems are the "enemy," and they are the "insurgents," and they're gonna fight tooth and nail to continue to disrupt any semblance of cooperation and continue their demented and destructive policies.

They learned well from Newt Gingrich and the likes of the crook, Tom DeLay!

So, when Judd Gregg withdrew his name for Commerce, all I felt was a sense of relief. We don't need him or anyone like him anywhere near the Obama Cabinet.

According to P. M. Carpenter writing for BuzzFlash, it was Gregg who approached the Obama people, it was Gregg who reached out and offered his name to Obama for a cabinet position. Then, all of sudden, he said he realized he didn't agree with Obama on too many things. "I couldn't be Judd Gregg and serve in the Cabinet."

Did he just figure that out? How stupid is he?

Obama was taken aback: "It comes as something of a surprise," he said, because the truth, you know, Mr. Gregg approached us with interest and seemed enthusiastic."


Carpenter wants to give Gregg the benefit of the doubt. "He did seem conflicted," writes Carpenter, "and somewhat tormented at his embarrassed debutantish, not-coming-out-after-all press conference -- he seemed sincere in wishing Obama the best, as well as the president's receding dreams of bipartisanship -- but why it took so bloody long for the New England senator to comprehend that 'this is simply a bridge too far' is, for now, a mystery perhaps too deep."

I don't think it's all that big a mystery. If this whole crummy scenario was not dreamed up by the Repugs in the first place to embarrass Obama, then it is likely the Repugnican rotters in Congress got to Gregg; the purpose, no doubt, to imply Obama didn't properly vet Gregg, and thus is incompetent or naive, and that Obama's policies are just too radical for a decent, god-fearing, family values Republican.

Bipartisanship? The dream is broken! It's over! Forget the Repugs. All they do is drag down the country anyway. You can't dance with the devil and expect to come away without reeking of the scent of evil!

Goodbye Gregg, and good riddance!

Read Carpenter's entire article here.

And here's a video of Obama's speech at the Lincoln bash where he takes a shot at Judd. Video courtesy of Video Cafe.

Barack the Commie

The right wingnuts are cracking these days. Obama, they say, is a socialist, or even worse, a communist. Omigod, what are we going to do? Everybody knows God hates commies and socialists! Everybody knows free market capitalism was designed by God at the beginning of the world. Everybody knows the government is the problem, not the solution. I mean, isn't that what Ronnie, the B-grade movie actor, somnolent chief executive, "savior" of the world from the Soviet yoke, said?

I guess because Soviet Russia cracked down on religion (probably because Stalin was spiritually abused in his youth by Russian Orthodoxy), "communism," and/or "socialism" have been the most EVIL things ever in the minds of American's rightwingnuts.

Thus, Star Parker, the christianist rightwingnut, who scribbles her opinions for onenewsnow, is worried sick that Obama is bringing down the country with his "socialistic" plans. Parker is black and claims that she grew up with all those terrible government programs which did not solve the problems of the black community, but made those problems worse.

Parker wrote a book awhile back (Uncle Sam's Plantation) in which she argued that "there are two Americas -- a poor America on socialism and a wealthy America on captialism."

Heh. Heh.

And she wrote this: "Instead of solving economic problems, government welfare socialist created monstrous moral and spiritual problems -- the kind of problems that are inevitable when individuals turn responsibility for their lives over to others."

Heh. Heh.

Let's see. The truth is we give a pittance to our poor folks. The "real" welfare in this country is essentially for the rich, and always has been. We subsidized the railroads and the airlines. We bail out failed savings and loan company to the tune of billions of dollars; we subsidize a host of other industries; we bail out banks and investment firms and auto companies; we cut taxes on the rich which is just another handout the cost of which is borne on the backs of the middle class and the poor.

Parker doesn't seem to understand any of that. So, she says that with the help of her god, she was able to get out of that terrible socialism that was her childhood and now she has found the light which is that socialism is bad, bad, bad, and an unfettered free market is godly, right, and splendiforous.

The problem, for Parker, is that "socialism seems to be the element of our new young president. And maybe even more troubling, our corporate executives seem happy to move onto the plantation." Hah! They've been on the plantation, baby! For years, grabbing as many handfuls of government loot as they could get by with.

Parker, though is a pansy when it comes to accusing our president of bad things. WorldNetDaily - now that's where you want to go if you want really nasty stuff. Janet Porter has an article at that site which is titled, "Socialism Communism scheduled for a vote in Senate." The word, "socialism," is crossed out, leaving "communism."

See, it's not merely socialism that our new young president is about - it's COMMUNISM! Omigod! Yup. And Porter tells how the Communist Party USA "is doing Communist cartwheels becauses [they] believe that [the] communist agenda is being embraced." Yup. Why, recently, Sam Webb, the leader of the Communist Party USA said, "We now have not simply a friend, but a people's advocate in the White House."

It get's worse. Porter says that last fall, before the election, the former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, sent her an e-mail which came from a software developer named Tom Fife "who hold of how he first heard of the name 'Barack.'"

Are you ready? Fife was in Moscow in the early 90s. He was attending a dinner party. At the dinner party a woman spoke up and said, "Well, I think you are going to be surprised when you get a black president very soon."

And then: "What if I told you that you will have a black president very soon and he will be a Communist?"

She continued: "Well, you will; and he will be a Communist."

To make a long story short, the woman described how "This is not some idle talk. He is already born, and he is educated and being groomed to be president right now." Yup. She said he went to an "Ivy League" college, his name is Barack, his mother is white and father is a black African.

"He's [Barack] intelligent and he is half white and has been raised from the cradle to be an atheist and a Communist. He's gone to the finest schools. He is being guided every step of the way and he will be irresistible to America."

This woman also knew he was from Hawaii, went to school in California, lived in Chicago. He would soon be elected to the Illinois Legislature.

"Have no doubt," she said, "he is one of us, a Soviet."

Janet Porter has to be a certified idiot to print this crap. I print it only to bring to the forefront the kind of rotten, evil garbage that is coming down the pike from the christianist wingnuts.

Beware, the creepy christianists are out to get you, Obama!

You can read Porter's article here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Christianist thanks God for atheists

It's sort of like how cops would be out of business without crooks. And God would be out of business without sinners.

Or, God-believers would be out of business without atheists.

Charisma magazine tells how the Rev. George Hargreaves, who heads up the United Kingdom's (Scottish) Christian Party, noted on his website that "he's almost grateful for the opportunity atheists have presented him with since they launched bus ads in January targeting people's beliefs in the Almighty."

Before we go further, you should know that Hargreaves is considered a "bible-thumping moralist," and his "party" is based primarily on an anti-homosexual platform.

Hargreaves is quoted as saying how "[Over] the past month I have had to be at my most tolerant." He was patting himself on the back because he didn't go publicly ballistic at those bus ads that said "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

Hargreaves' tolerance only went so far, though. He promptly launched his own bus ads: "There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life."

Heh. Heh.

Well, hell, at least it gave Hargreaves something to do, and the opportunity to publicize his little political party.

Thank God for atheists. She must be rolling on the golden streets laughing.

There's more here. Charisma magazine is a right-wingnut, fundamental Christian, Pentecostal operation - here.

Eric Cantor's profane anti-union video

When the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, in conjunction with Americans United for Change, began running ads blasting the House Minority Whip, Eric Cantor (R-VA) for leading Republican opposition to the stimulus package, Cantor responded by dredging up a profane video which portrays "AFSCME workers as curse-spewing bullies."

Brad Woodhouse, President of Americans United for Change, had a few pertinent things to say:

"Does Eric Cantor believe that peddling profanity-laced filth around the Internet is consistent with the values of the people of Virgina or the country? This is childish, inappropriate and disgusting behavior from someone who is supposed to be a leader in Congress and a role model to others. ... This video has been floating around on YouTube for years - but Eric Cantor's use of it in this context shows how completely and utterly out of touch he is with the current economic crisis and the lives of his constituents. Eric Cantor should be ashamed and he should apologize."

Yup. But this really isn't surprising behavior for a Repugnican.

[Beware, this video contains much profanity and vulgar language.]

Read the entire post at Alternet here.

Stephen Wise the unwise anti-evolutionist

Stephen Wise is a Repugnican Florida State Senator from Jacksonville. He's a fan of the non-intelligent nonsense, Intelligent Design. He's introduced a bill into the Florida legislature which would require Florida teachers to "discuss the idea of Intelligent Design."

Why, again, you ask, can't these christianists leave their religion in their churches?

To show you just how unwise (read ignorant) this Repug is, consider this statement: "If you're going to teach evolution, then you have to teach the other side so you can have critical thinking."

Yup. He'd probably agree with the notion that if you're going to teach astronomy, then you have to teach astrology - you know, the "other side" in order to have critical thinking.

Obviously Senator Wise doesn't know critical thinking from a critical coma.

There is no "other" side when it comes to evolution. The theory of evolution is the ONLY scientific theory that explains the origins of life and is THE theory upon which all biological science is based! Intelligent Design, which is essentially nothing more than Creationism in a new dress, is not science at all, but religion.

Religion does not belong in the science classroom!

As a judge said in 2005 when the courts barred a Pennsylvania school district from teaching Intelligent Design: The attempt to introduce ID into the schools was an example of "breaktaking inanity." He said further that the evidence was overwhelming - ID is a "religious view," and not scientific.

So, Senator Wise, in his profound ignorance, is raising this whole stupid issue again, and it may even end up in the courts which will cost the State of Florida gobs of money and if it passes, will do nothing more than confuse our already confused public school students.

Perhaps Senator Wise could go back to school. Perhaps he could study evolution. Perhaps he would find out that some humans have evolved less than others - most of whom are now Republican politicians.

An article from is here.

George W. Bush and Press Conferences

Media Matters reports on a Wall Street Journal editorial claiming (falsely) that "unlike President Obama, former President Bush never used a 'list of reporters preselected to ask questions' when deciding who would be called on at presidential press conferences."

Heh. Heh.

The numbnuts who wrote the editorial also made this hilariously ridiculous statement: "We doubt that President Bush, who was notorious for being parsimonious with follow-ups, would have gotten away with prescreening his interlocutors."


First of all, as Media Matters points out, "... Bush also used a list, as then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters in a March 7, 2003, press briefing."

This is all so silly. The WSJ, typically more concerned with ideology than facts these days, failed in its elemental responsibility of checking their information. I've done the same thing, of course, but hell, I'm just a blogger, not the wusses at the WSJ!

Secondly, who gives a rat's ass? This piddly little editorial is simply an excuse to bitch at Obama, to try to show him in a bad light.

Thirdly, Bush didn't ever allow anyone to question him with a real question. In public appearances, every single person in his presence was prescreened to make sure they were Republicans, and secondly, would not ask him a difficult question, like "Where is Iraq?"

Bush's press conferences were few, thankfully, for they were an exercise in futility and boredom! On those few occasions when someone did actually ask him a question that required a minimal amount of brain power to answer, the results became fodder for our late-night comics.

Finally, why would anyone read the Wall Street Journal anymore? It's merely FAUX News in print!

Read the Media Matters entire article here.

Wall Street CEO's should live on the minimum wage...

in Kansas!

Currently, the federal minimum wage level is $6.55. It is to increase to $7.25 on July 24.

Our paragons of financial disaster on the street of Wall are crying because a few of them - and only a few - are going to be forced to make-do with a mere $500k for a whole year! Omigod! Some of their nannies' wages run as high as $40-45,000 alone!

I think Wall Street CEO's and other nogoodniks responsible for this global financial crisis should be forced to live on Kansas' minimum wage - for a year, at least. Kansas' minimum wage is $2.65 per hour.

That works out to a whopping $5,412 every single year!

Evidently, some people, like labor advocates and Kansans with disabilities are trying to raise Kansas' minimum wage. It is an "embarrassment," says Kansas AFL-CIO exec Andy Sanchez. You think?

Who could possibly oppose raising the minimum wage in Kansas? Yes, you're right! According to Kansas Jackass, the opposition is coming from "Kansas business interests- and, interestingly, my favorite anti-government tax group Americans for Prosperity."

Raising the minumum wage, they weep, will "hurt Kansas workers."


Chamber of Commerce types, like Kent Eckles, claim the "free market" should determine wages. Unfortunately, that's been the mantra of the anti-people, anti-union, anti-worker SOBs since the beginning of time.

Or, as Kansas Jackass put its: "God bless the heartless idolaters of 'The Market' - they really just are clueless, aren't they? The minimum wage was established to correct the failing of the Market - to make sure greedy business people couldn't take advantage of their employees who were desperately in need of work by only paying them, oh, $2.65 an hour."

Actually, I don't think these "heartless idolaters" are clueless, at all. They know exactly what the hell they are doing. And what they are doing is keeping almost all the loot they con out of the people in their own sweaty, greedy, little hands! Hell, they'd pay workers NOTHING if they thought they could get by with it.

In fact, in some areas of Florida, I've heard that's exactly what happens to migrant workers, who have, of course, no recourse at all!

Andy Sanchez, of the Kansas AFL-CIO, says only about 20,000 Kansas workers are paid according to the Kansas minimum wage because in most cases, the Kansas minimum wage is co-opted by the federal minimum wage.

Still, 20,000 is one hell of a lot of people living at 50% percent BELOW the poverty line!

I think the first person to be forced to live on $2.65 an hour should be Mr. Eckles of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. We'd hear him howling all the way to Florida!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A FAUX News surprise?

Media Matters noted a couple days ago that FOX (FAUX) News used a "GOP press release as its own research -- typo and all.

" purporting to 'take a look back' at how the economic recovery plan 'grew, and grew, and grew,' Fox News' Jon Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various new sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release."

This is, of course, no surprise, and I'm sure it did not surprise the folks at Media Matters. By now everyone in the country who can stay awake more than an hour at a time should be well aware of the fact that FOX News is and has been, not a real news station at all, but the mouthpiece of the Republican Party.

"Fair and balanced" has become a standing joke amongst real media people. When one uses the words "fair and balanced" and FOX News in the same sentence, they can only be refering to Bill O'Reilly's "fair" skin and the fact that FOX News keeps all their reports "balanced" by having a conservative on both sides of an issue.

FOX (FAUX) News is so outrageously unbalanced and so obviously a propaganda machine for the Republican Party that almost nothing FOX News says could surprise us.

Unless, of course, they actually decided on any given day to report the news.

Or, if O'Reilly and Hannity finally took their religious blatherings seriously and told the truth for a change.

Or, if they fired the bigoted, ignorant asshat, Glenn Beck.

Don't hold your breath.

Click here for the FAUX News report using a Republican press release.

God's got your back according to GOD TV

[Cartoon from here.]

If you are one of those folks living with relatives because you lost your house to foreclosure after you lost your job, then we've got good news for you. If you're one of those people who got fired from a long-time position and you can no longer pay the bills or buy groceries and are standing in a bread line at a Lutheran church in Florida, we've got good news for you, too.

God's got your back.

At least that's what GOD TV is preaching. Jeffrey Levinson of GOD TV wants you to know that "As budgets tighten, job security is threatened and the world continues to reel in the face of economic meltdown, GOD TV offers a powerful message of hope this month encouraging viewers to trust God more than ever before for their provision, tackle money problems head on and live free from fear."

Powerful message!

GOD TV is featuring those giants of financial wisdom, "Rory and Wendy Alec who interview global economist, Dr. Larry Bates on their series, 'Apocalypse and the End-Times.'" Dr. Bates, you should know, "is an international authority on financial markets." He's going to tell you how to "weather financial storms and keep [your] assets safe."

Hmmm. But I'm drowning and my ass is sinking, and I've got no assets.

Well, then, you need to hear this message of "hope" from Rory Alec:

"We are not governed by the world's economy, but by God's economy. Jehovah Jireh is still our provider and He will never fail us! The economic meltdown is not something that has caught God by surprise, and so I encourage viewers to tune in and watch our special financial programming because the Lord has a plan to see His peopole come through these difficult times."

Oh, yeah. Send money.

Sheesh. If God saw it coming and now plans to do something about it, why the hell didn't he do something to stop it in the first place? What's he gonna say to all those folks who committed suicide when they step up to his heavenly throne and ask what the hell he was thinking?

Maybe you ought to sacrifice a chicken instead.

h/t on cartoon here.

Bush's banana republic and General Petraeus

One of the things about a banana republic is that they are usually headed by an idiot who is controlled by and follows the orders of the military.

That possibility bothered our founders, and thus they separated the military from the government and made sure that civilians were in charge of the military; viola, the president (a civilian) is commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

But under Bush, we came alarmingly close to a banana republic.

That's likely one reason why the CENTCOM commander, General David Petraeus, who evidently disagrees with his commander-in-chief about an Iraqi withdrawal timetable, thought he could get by with leaking a false report indicating Obama may be moving away from his 16-month plan to get the troops out of Iraq.

As the Huffington Post writes: "The real story of the leak by Petraeus is that the most powerful figure in the U.S. military has tried to shape the media coverage of Obama and combat troop withdrawal from Iraq to advance his policy agenda - and, very likely, his personal political interests as well. ...

"It is also reported that Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and retired Army general Jack Keane, a close ally of Petraeus, had both made public statements indicating a determination to get Obama to abandon the 16-month plan."

This is not the first time a general has attempted to manipulate the president/commander-in-chief. Gen. Douglas McArthur did the same to President Truman, with somewhat unhappy results for the general, who was removed from command.

Military people tend to think they know everything there is to know and often fall victim to the
delusion that they can run the country better than their civilian bosses.

The other thing to remember is that generals need wars to fight. That's what they are about. Evidently, Afghanistan is not enough for Petraeus.

That crap must stop. Especially if Petraeus is looking to run for president in 2012 on the Republican ticket.

In fact, this is public insubordination and cannot be allowed. Obama should fire Petraeus now.

The Huffington Post article is here (with links). An article on Obama not bowing to the brass, here. An article similar to HuffPo's here. More here.

Abortion and breast cancer

[Race for the Cure - 2008 - Photo by Alex Bentley]

The christianist wingnuts are at it again!

An outfit called The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer (an "international" organization) which is dedicated to the notion that abortion may cause breast cancer, has put out a video titled "Komen's Dark Side."

According to christiannewswire, this video "exposes the irregular relationship between the breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Planned Parenthood and reports on the cover-up of the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link."

Just so you know enough to avoid watching the damn thing, it's called "Facing Life Head-On," and selected cable outlets will feature it on March 8.

Here's what the video is all about:

1. ABC (abortion/breast cancer link) "makes good biological sense." (Notice this is a "belief" statement, not a scientific statement!)

2. The cancer fundraising industry is covering up the link in order to raise more money from its donors. (Notice this accuses the people dedicated to the eradication of cancer of criminal, or at least "sinful" activity: denying the abortion/breast cancer link just to raise money!)

3. The "abortion industry feminists lead the breast cancer raising industry."

It's all a crock, of course.

There is no link between abortion and breast cancer!

Christianists will lie about anything and everything because they operate from the position that the ends justify the means.

Read more here. And here. The Susan G. Komen organization here.

Please don't move to Florida

There are gazillions of home foreclosures in Florida. In Lehigh Acres, near Fort Myers, hundreds of people are standing in bread lines at Faith Lutheran Church. According to the New York Times, homes in Lehigh Acres "are selling at 80 percent off their peak prices. Only two years after there were more jobs than people to work them, fast-food restaurants are laying people off or closing. Crime is up, school enrollment is down, and one in four residents received food stamps in December..."

There has been an explosion of foreclosures in Lee County, home of Lehigh Acres. In March of 2007, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent. By November of 2008 it was 9.8 percent and is no doubt higher now.

Things are much the same in what was just a short time ago the fastest growing city in the country -- Port St. Lucie. In 2007, the Port St. Lucie area was booming - jobs and wages were up and home construction was booming. Today, Port St. Lucie is a shell of itself. Construction is down by 70 percent, unemployment is at 10 percent and one in every 113 homes is in foreclosure.

It is the same situation in Marion county, where unemployment has also gone past the 10 percent mark. Houses on the market sit for months with nobody even looking at them.

Florida now leads the nation in job losses. It is in second place as per mortgage foreclosures. Florida now has the 9th highest unemployment rate in the country. In terms of gross domestic product, Florida (which was number one in 2005) is now ranked 47th. The state is paying bills with money it doesn't have. Alex Sink, the chief financial officer, says "We writing checks like crazy and the money isn't coming in."

Like the rest of the country, Florida's been living in a fantasy land, dependent upon well-heeled retirees moving to the state to buy homes and products, and on the old standby - tourism. Thus, hooters and rooters have cried the more people the better, even though anyone with half a brain has known for years that our ecology cannot support the kind of growth we've been experiencing, even without an economic crisis.

So maybe there's a silver lining in the economic downturn. Maybe Florida can rid itself of its Chamber of Commerce mentality and Disney World optimism, and make the changes necessarily to ensure its long-term survival. This will involve fewer people moving to the state, more taxes, more attention paid to the environment and the damage it has sustained, more production of real goods, immediate work on the state's infrastructure, better education, and more.

I know, it's a dream. It's also unlikely to happen with the Republicans in control of the State House. But you can help. If you're thinking about moving to Florida, don't: For your sake and ours.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The New Ten Commandments

The so-called Ten Commandments, which may in fact be 11, or 9 commandments depending on who's counting, are derived from a couple of places in the Bible but were not actually original with the god, Yahweh or his servant, Moses. They are a refinement of previous ancient Near Eastern legal codes, such as the one attributed to Hammurabi.

But, hell, nobody except for some christianist right wingnuts cares about the Ten Commandments these days, anyway. I mean, who takes the prohibition of sculptured images literally, and lots of people put their hand on a bible and swear falsely all the time, and except for Orthodox Jews, not many folks bother to keep the Sabbath holy.

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew verbiage relating to the Decalogue is better translated "ten words," or "ten statements," than the traditional "ten commandments." Notice how that puts the whole business in another context - less legal, more instructive.

It's time for something NEW, something more relevant, more instructive, less legal, less religious. It's time for a new set of "commandments," or "words," or "statements."

Fortunately, my friend, Ken, at Fergie's Dribble has come up with such a list!

1. Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.

2. In all things, strive to cause no harm.

3. Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.

4. Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.

5. Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.

6. Always seek to be learning something new.

7. Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.

8. Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.

9. Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.

10. Question everything.

Richard Dawkin's in his book, "The God Delusion" adds a couple or [sic] more which I also like:

11. Enjoy your sex life (so long as it damages nobody else) and leave others to enjoy theirs in private whatever their inclinations, which are none of your business.

12. Do not discriminate or oppress on the basis of sex, race, or (as far as possible) species.

13. Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you.

14. Value the future on a timescale longer than your own.

Having said all that, it's time to watch one of Mel Brooks' funniest videos which tends to put things in perspective.

Norm Coleman, godly corruption

Norm Coleman, embattled former U.S. Senator, is now claiming the backing of Yahweh or some god like him.

According to Smart Politics, Coleman sat for an interview with Mike Gallagher, Gallagher being defined much too nicely as "an unyielding fiscal and religious conservative." A more correct description would be rabid, right wingnut.

Coleman was asked about the stimulus package and responded by saying he would not sign it, which is par for the course.

Then Gallagher asked Coleman how the recount was "affecting him personally," the implication being that those damn Democrats are running poor Norm into the ground with their uncalled for and egregious demands to recount ballots when everyone knows Norm should be the winner.

"Coleman said he starts every day with a prayer and that he knows 'God wants me to serve.'"

Heh. Heh.

Coleman is Jewish, and Franken is Jewish. How does Coleman know that Yahweh prefers him over Franken. I'd guess it was the opposite. I mean we know Yahweh has one hell of a sense of humor, which would pretty much sew up things for Franken, if ya know what I mean.

Furthermore, if Yahweh was rooting for Coleman, why didn't he simply arrange the votes to go Coleman's way in the first place like he usually does for Republicans when there's a question as to whether a Repub or a Dem actually got elected?

I don't get it.

Maybe Coleman is just full of bullshit. Some think he's very corrupt; click here. Others think he's a weasel; click here. A few think he's "exceptional"; click here. Click here to find out what some Jewish folks think.

And, if you're worried about Norm losing his Senate seat, well, he's already go a new job; he's working for the Jewish Republicans! Click here.

Can't bury influence (Photo)

At first they told me I "couldn't take it with me" when I died and went to the Happy Hunting Ground. I always figured they were talking about money the point being that one should not work so hard to obtain money and the things money can buy that one misses out on the joys of life because "you can't take it with you."

Actually, you could take it with you, I suppose. Just arrange to have your wealth transformed into $100 bills, say, and bury them right next to you in the coffin. If you had a lot of $100 bills, you might need a bigger coffin; maybe a double-decker.

But you could do it.

Now, they're telling me (according to this sign) that "it" might be my "influence" and I can't take that with me, either! Sheesh! They don't want me to take anything!

This is kinda funny, though, because "influence" is a tricky thing. What does it mean? Can you have a good influence and/or a bad influence? And do you really think you have much influence over anybody?

Lastly, do you think your influence will live on after you're gone? In other words, is anybody gonna miss you for any reason?

This is just too difficult to think about. I'm gonna go have a beer.

"Centrists" in Congress. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

This from the Rude Pundit at walled-in-pond.

Repugnican "class warfare."

The so-called "centrists" had no problem supporting:

1. AIG bailout - c. $85 million
2. Citibank bailout - c. $45 billion
3. Bank of America bailout - c. $45 billion (with guarantees on $118 billion in loans)
4. Bush overpayment of $78 billion for bailed-out bank assests.

The so-called "centrists" couldn't find it in their heart to support the following stimulus bill items:

1. Head Start - $1 billion
2. Funds to cover state education shortfalls - $24.8 billion
3. Additional funding for state education - $15 billion
4. Child Development Block Grants - $2 billion
5. Programs in the Violence Against Woman Act - $150 million

Hypocrisy really "R" Repugnicans.

Walled-in-Pond has more here.

Bring the "good book" to Sunday School

Click here for more of the same.

h/t to the Friendly Atheist

Vote "No"? Yes, you get no money

Not long ago, I suggested that the states represented by House and Senate members who vote[d] "No" on the stimulus package be denied any funds from that stimulus package.

BuzzFlash has suggested the same thing. Chad, writing at BuzzFlash yesterday, made some interesting observations related to the continuing, nauseating mantra bleated by Repugnican Congresspeople about "big" government, "socialism," "pork," blah, blah, blah.

Turns out that "the states that voted for John McCain [in other words, the "red" states] in 2008 by and large get way more money in federal outlays than they pay in taxes."


Yup. With one exception. New Mexico a blue state in 2008 won the prize for the most federal money. But the states ranked 2-9 were all red, red, red, in 2008: Mississippi, Alaska, Louisiana, West Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama, South Dakota, and Kentucky.

Heh. Heh.

Chad sums up the situation this way: "The states that voted for Barack Obama clearly have been neglected when it comes to federal funds vs. taxes sent to Washington. This stimulus package can do a lot toward making those numbers a bit more balanced. And the ones who are already getting the money are standing in the way."

Repugnicans: ideological hypocrites of the lowest order!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Congressional Insanity, Republican style

For more of these delightful, smart-ass cartoons, click here.

h/t to BuzzFlash

The Hamas wall of defense

Check out DryBonesBlog for more.

Speed trap (Photo)

Right wingnuts get screwed at Gitmo

[A military inspection]

Think Progress tells how Senator Jim Inhofe, a Repugnican from Oklahoma, who disbelieves in global warming, evolution, and most things invented since 1900, took off to "find facts" at Guantanamo Bay.

When he got back, he was effusive in his praise. He seeks to "rally opposition to President Obama's executive order demanding the closure of the prison within one year."

Inhofe gave a little speech on the Senate floor: "The detainee complex at GTMO is the only complex in the world that can safely and humanely hold these individuals who pose such a grave security risk to the US."

I'm sorry, but how the hell would he know that? Has he personally checked out every other "complex" in the world?

Think Progress notes that other Repug wingnuts are also singing GITMO's praises. House Minority leader, the weepy John Boehner, actually said, "I don't know that there's a terrorist treated better anywhere in the world than what has happened at Guantanamo."

And Sam Brownback, Repug senator from Kansas said, "Well, I agree that its gotten an image. I don't know that that's all completely deserved."

In fact, "according to a Guantanamo military lawyer, detainees are still being 'beaten' and are living in horrific conditions." Conditions are a mess.

Senators David Vitter, the hooker chaser from Louisiana, Richard Burr, from North Carolina, and Pat Roberts from Kansas went along on Inhofe's little jaunt to GITMO.

Think Progress wonders how these wingnuts "failed to see 50 detainees on [a] hunger strike, some near death, while touring the prison."

That's easy. If you've ever been in the military, you know how it works. Word is put out that a VIP or group of VIPs are coming to visit the base. Everything stops while every scrap of dust is cleaned up; anything that might suggest things are not 100% are hidden away; the rest is nailed down, cleaned and buffed and shined to the point it looks surreal.

The poohbahs come. They are directed about the camp/base by bemedaled commanders who take them on a little "tour" designed specifically to keep the visitors out of sight of anything that might give them the "wrong" impression.

You can bet your bippy that when a few wingnut senators fly down to GITMO, the folks in charge are not going to let them anywhere near the truth.

That's the way it always has been and that's the way it always will be, world without end.

But everyone should know that. So when Inhofe returns from his GITMO trip and begins pontificating about how wonderful conditions are there, his fellow senators and people everywhere should begin laughing uproariously at the asshat; roll in the aisles, even.

Read the entire article from Think Progress here.

Obama clean-up

This wonderful cartoon, which says it all, comes from Cat in the Bag.

RNC Chairman, Steele, on work and jobs

You may have seen this elsewhere, but if not, it is worth a look. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Steele insisted that the government can only make work, not jobs. He further insisted that only the private sector can create jobs; all the government can do is create work. And government work, which creates jobs, does not really create jobs, just work.

Isn't it wonderful to see that the head of the Republican Party exemplies so well Repugnicans everywhere: He, like the rest, doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

A Typical Republican Budget (in Minnesota)

As the stimulus bill is being fought over in the Congress of the United States, and as the Repugnicans fight to get provisions which would truly help people removed, and as the Repugnicans continue to insist that stimulus means reducing taxes on the rich, similar budgetary chicanery is going on elsewhere, especially in states unfortunate enough to be stuck with a Repugnican governor.

Consider Minnesota. Down through the years, Minnesota has been deemed one of the more enlightened, progressive states. I mean what other state has produced a Garrison Keilor or an Al Franken? Well, Missouri produced Mark Twain and Illinois produced Carl Sandburg...but, you know what I mean!

The governor of Minnesota is a christianist wingnut by name of Tim Pawlenty who lives the typical Repugnican ideology which holds as a matter of principle that it's better to have principles than people with jobs.

So, a couple of weeks ago, the Minnesota gov unwrapped his 2010-11 budget proposal. You know already what's coming:


Tax cuts for the rich (corporations).

Oh, this sounds good: Increased funding for K-12 education.

Uh, oh. Steep reductions in money for higher education, local government aid and health and human services.

More bad news: "adults without children would no longer be eligible for state health insurance programs, while coverage for adults with kids would be limited to those earning less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level ($21,200 for a family of four). It's estimated that 84,000 Minnesotans would lose their health insurance under the proposal."

And more bad news. The increase in K-12 spending comes with a mandate that all school districts have to implement a "compensation system that bases teacher salaries on student performance." [That doesn't work, by the way; and is grossly unfair in every respect; and no teacher worth his/her salt would consider such a stupid proposal!]

It also seems to me that no politician should be able to vote to reduce someone's health insurance without taking a comparable cut himself or herself. And if a politician voted to cut off completely someone's health insurance, then he/she should lose their health insurance also. Seems only fair.

More at The Minnesota Independent, here.

Mailbox evangelism in Aiken, South Carolina

It seems one of those damnable "activisit" federal judges done denied the state of South Carolina the privilege of placing the words, "I Believe," on the state's vehicle license plates. Something about separation of church or state, I think.

Well, let me tell ya, that got Scot Newcom truly pissed off, Scot being a good christianist and all. Now Scot also happens to be the circulation director of The Aiken Standard right there in Aiken, South Carolina.

So, he got the idea from somewhere that he ought to put together newspaper boxes with the words, "I Believe" on them which good christianist folks could put up in front of their houses. Scot is such a good christianist he'd rather advertise his faith than his newspaper, so "I Believe" is where the newspaper's name would normally be.

Newcom says, righteously, that Christian people should have the right to share their faith with others.

[Nobody said they couldn't do that, of course; just that they couldn't do it on state license plates, which seems reasonable to most sane people.]

Anyway, if y'all live in Aiken and are achin' to get in on this christianist mailbox evangelism, just call up ol' Scot and tell him y'all want one of them mailboxes and send him a check for just $13 buckeroos and your all set!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Spanish Inquisition Musical...

Once again, thanks to Daniel Florien at Unreasonable Faith.

Beach house (Photo)

This is a modified photo of a beach house in Ormond Beach, Florida. It has a clear and very nice view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Magic, the devil, and Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

The devil, demons and magic are big in the Roman Catholic Church. Always have been.

That's why the RC Church "authorizes" certain priestly types to conduct rituals which, through the use of magic, will exorcise the devil and demons from people an places.

One such authoritzed exorcist is Father Thomas Euteneuer, president of an outfit called "Human Life International." According to an article in The Bulletin, Father Euteneuer "is an exorcist authorized to perform exorcisms in several states."


The Rev. Euteneuer was a speaker at a recent luncheon of In His Sign Network (IHS). Some of the folks attending brought salt with them so that Father could bless them to ward off demons. Which he did.

Father Euteneuer believes that the devil is behind and in and through the "abortion industry." I wonder if the abortion industry is anything like the magic religion industry? Anyway, Father Euteneuer told The Bulletin:

"Abortion is a demonic industry. Abortion is blood sacrifice of innocent blood to the devil. The clinics are like temples, the doctors are like priests, the medical table is their altar. It's a ritualized sacrifice. They have a dogma called choice, a hierarchy called Planned Parenthood, and guardian angels in the form of police guards that will arrest you if you try to stop them."


Wait. Father also said that some abortionists have called abortion their "sacrament."

[I think that's bullshit!]

Would a priest lie? You betcha!

How to deal with this terrible demonic industry which is just like the Catholic Church except for the object of its affections?

'Tis a spiritual evil, says Father Euteneuer, so we gotta pray. We can't fight the devil by political means alone, we've gotta use our spiritual weapons. Pray, pray, pray ... "you need a massive amount of prayer."

Yup. And lots of magic.

You can read the entire article here. The IHS site is here.

Christianist chicanery in Alaska

[Image of Alaska State Capitol by Leoville]

Sean Cockerham at the Anchorage Daily News tells of some christianist chicanery goings on in Alaska.

Get this: Six Repugnican nogoodniks in the Alaska Legislature "hired" a bunch of christianist lawyers to try to STOP their legislature from LOOKING INTO whether or not Sarah Palin was GUILTY of acting improperly.

Why would they do that? There can be only one reason. They knew good and goddamn well she was guilty as hell!

But, the christianist legal beagles were from the Liberty Legal Institute, a christianist outfit tied to the Free Market Foundation, which is "associated with evangelical leader James Dobson's Focus on the Family, and lists its guiding principles as limited government and promotion of Judeo-Christian values."

Hmm. Something stinks! Could it be that the theocrats are willing to put up just about any amount of money and do just about any devious thing to protect their god-given candidate for president, Sarah Palin?

God was in heaven at the moment, though, for these Repugnican nogoodniks lost when the case was dismissed, as you know. And it turns out all this foolishness cost Liberty Legal (and 2 other firms working with Liberty Legal) $185,000! Yeah!

But why is it that christianists so often prefer darkness rather than light?

Chain mail and the changing times

[Armored soldier/horse at French National Army Museum - Paris]

Mail, or maille, or chain mail refers to a kind of body armor comprised of metal links or rings chained together. It has been used in different parts of the world as a protective covering for various parts of the body for almost 2,000 years.

The Hotel des Invalides, just south of the Seine, across from the beautiful Pont Alexandre III bridge in Paris, was begun under Louis XIV in 1671 and completed in 1674, its purpose being to serve as a veteran's home for soldiers who fought in Louis' wars. It has housed thousands of veterans (including soldiers who fought for Napoleon) over the years, and there are still a few veterans who make it their home.

Much of the Invalides today, however, is comprised of the French National Army Museum. It contains "some of the most spectacular examples of arms, armor and art of 500 years of warfare."

When I visited there a couple of years ago, I was fascinated by the numerous examples of body armor, not only for humans, but for the horses the humans rode. That makes good sense, of course, for if you are in a battle and your horse goes down, you become extremely vulnerable.

In this museum, you will find many different types of mail, or maille, or chain mail, all designed to protect a soldier from projectiles intended to cause mortal wounds.

Soldiers in our U.S. armed forces still use a variety of body armor to increase their chances of avoiding becoming a battlefield statistic. While materials and styles have changed, the basic purpose of body armor has not.

But body armor isn't only for the military these days. A few months ago, Time magazine discussed a new kind of body armor available to those who have the resources to pay for it. The rich, the powerful, and celebrities are often targets for the deranged. Many spend fortunes on security. These are the people who have become customers of Miguel Caballero, who designs bulletproof fashions which allow the high and mighty to "maintain their security without sacrificing style."

Caballero began selling his fashions at Harrods in London. "His new collection includes blazers, raincoats and suede jackets, some replete with a comforting stab-proof lining. Customers get to select from three levels of ballistic protection. For instance, a polo shirt that can withstand a slug from a 9-mm revolver costs roughly $7,500; a version for about $9,800 protects wearers from automatic weapons, including mini-Uzis."

The company is doing very well, and Caballero is now selling in 16 countries. His clients include King Abdullah of Jordan, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and the action actor, Stephen Segal.

No doubt Caballero is doing his customers a great service. It is sad, however, to think that over thousands of years, the human race has made such minimal strides in learning how to live in peace with one another. Two thousand years after mail or maille or chain mail came on the scene, we're still wearing it, although in a different and more comfortable and more effective form.

Chain mail has changed with the times.

And it does not protect, of course, against a head shot. Bang! You're dead!