Saturday, February 21, 2009

Anti-abortion pastor breaks law; found guilty

[Image of Walter Hoye and friends enjoying an anti-abortion rally]

Many modern christianists operate upon the principle that the ends justify the means. Thus, if the law gets in the way of one's interpretation of what it means to follow Jesus, one must break the law.

And that's what Walter Hoye, an anti-abortion, christianist pastor from Berkeley, California, did. The City of Oakland had passed a law which created a buffer zone between abortion protesters and people trying to get into an abortion clinic without being harassed by self-righteous, religious know-it-alls.

Hoye broke the law. He stood on the sidewalk and confronted people with a sign that read "Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help," and he would try to stuff anti-abortion leaflets into the hands of those heading to the clinic.

He was found guilty of disobeying the law, and sentenced to 30 days in the county jail. He also is to pay a fine of $1,130. The judge, however, is allowing him an alternative method of serving his time--like community service.

The anti-abortion theocrats of the Catholic and christianist right are up in arms over what they perceive to be a terrible miscarriage of justice. And the christianist legal beagles are appealing the sentence. Everyone, they say, should be able to speak freely on a public sidewalk.

That's not the issue, of course. The issue is harassment.

Frankly, I don't see a problem. Christianists have, down through the years, fought what they perceived to be "evil" laws. There were a few times when many of them actively sought martyrdom rather than disobey their god.

So, Hoye ought to be rejoicing. He's a martyr for the cause. He'll no doubt get a special place at the heavenly banquet. Jesus will place a crown on his head. It will be wonderful.

I'd say to Hoye, "Pay your fine, do your community service, and go on your way rejoicing.

"But, please stop harassing people trying to do what they feel they need to do. Mind your own damn business!"

Santorum the pretender

I am no expert on Islam. But then, I don't pretend to be. Rick Santorum, the theocratic, right wingnut former Repugnican senator from Pennsylvania, does.

Think Progress reports that Santorum gave a "lecture on Islam" at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He bemoaned the fact that too many Americans know too little about the Islamic religion.

Santorum does not think much of the Islamic faith. He is afraid of the Islamic faith because he believes that Muslims cannot change or modify their religious beliefs and thus Muslims in the Middle East can never accept our democratic principles.

"A democracy could not exist because Mohammed already made the perfect law," saith Rick. "The Quran is perfect just the way it is, that's why it is only written in Islamic."

Like I said, I'm not Islamic expert. Rick pretends he is. He isn't, either. Or, as Think Progress puts it:

"As a self-annointed scholar of Islam, it's surprising that Santorum would assert that the Qur'an is 'written in Islamic.' It is, of course, originally written in Arabic. Islam is not a language, but rather a religion."

It is a wonderful thing that this character no longer inhabits the halls of the United States Senate.

Friday, February 20, 2009

North Dakota morons!

[Image is of christianist freak, Dan Ruby, Repugnican of North Dakota]

They tried this in Colorado. Didn't work. Smarter people in Colorado.

The North Dakota House, passed by a margin of 51-41 a bill which would make a fertilized egg a real human person!

In other words, a fertilized egg would have all the rights of a real human being, "a step that would essentially ban abortion in the state."

It is "a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. Now this idiocy goes to the North Dakota senate.

Dan Ruby is the wingnut who sponsored the bill.

Cara, writing for Feministe, says "the language of this bill is also a direct challenge to contraception as well as abortion, since non-barrier methods of contraception are believed to maybe cause fertilized eggs to fail in attaching themselves to the uterine wall."

She further says that "since that attachment to the uterine wall is the only real way that we are currently able to identify pregnancy, and therefore how we define it, this bill would also give these fertilized eggs rights from the before the moment at which we are currently able to scientifically prove that they even exist.

"Just wrap your head around that one."

'Tis difficult to wrap my head around the fact that legislators in the State of North Dakota are such complete morons!

Why do these religious wingnuts believe they have the right to impose their immoral morality upon the rest of the people in this country? There just can't be a god, 'cause if there were, she'd strike them down where they sit upon their legislative asses.

Ruby, by the way, is a Repugnican, a Roman Catholic, has a high school diploma, and owns a sanitation business. We can understand the last 'cause he is full of shit!

Read the entire article here. More here. And you can learn what christianist freaks think about this here.

McNeill Stokes finds Jesus' missing links?

[Image of part of the Qumran ruins near the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.]

Well, he didn't really.

McNeill Stokes is an attorney. He's written a book which, according to christiannewswire, "compares the Dead Sea Scrolls with the teachings of Jesus and the beliefs and practices of early Christians to allow readers to answer questions about where Jesus spent his missing years."

It's titled Missing Links to Jesus: Evidence in the Dead Sea Scrolls... I have not read the book.

I will not read the book. I hate to waste my time.

I have read material dealing with the Dead Sea Scrolls. I have read what numerous scholars think about this material. I know that there has been a lot of discussion as to what, if any, connection there might be between Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Most biblical historians are skeptical of a connection.

The fact is we know almost nothing about Jesus as a real human person. That's why more and more scholars these days are thinking of him in mythical terms. The birth stories are clearly legendary and borrowed from other ancient god-man tales. There is nothing about his childhood in the New Testament gospels except for one silly little incident where his parents "accidentally" leave him behind and then find him "teaching" the elders in the temple - which again, is clearly legendary.

Nothing. We know nothing. The Gospel writers begin their real story with a series of vignettes about a man who is supposed to be 30 years of age or so. Mark, the earliest gospel, does not have a birth story, as it hadn't been created yet. There is no information as to how he got to be 30 or what he learned getting there, or where he had been for 30 years.

Anything anyone writes about those missing years is pure guesswork.

Stokes wants to tie Jesus to the Essene movement as described in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I know of no biblical scholar that would do that today. Similarities between the teachings and practices of Jesus and the Essenes are not clear in the least. The only way you can make those connections is to ignore a number of Essene teachings as well as much of what Jesus said and did. The Essenes were a sect of apocalyptic ultra-Orthodox Jews who stressed religious purity, among other things and awaited the coming of the Messiah. They also had a "War Scroll," which seems to be their battle plan for the coming of the end of the world. Can't hardly see that in Jesus' hands.

In fact, there is probably more dissolve between Jesus and the Essenes than there are connections. Jesus, as described in the Synoptics, was certainly not concerned much with religious "purity," although he did stress the need to keep the Law.

Stokes wants us to believe that because of the similarities between Jesus and Essenes (notions of salvation and judgment, and heavenly rewards, faith healings, exorcisms, etc.) Jesus must have lived and been schooled as an Essene.:

"Pattern evidence is presented of the high probability that the Essenes raised and influenced Jesus, his cousin John the Baptist, and his brother James. All three exhibited similar Essene values, beliefs, and practices."

This is pure horsehockey.

For more correct info on the Essenes, click here. You can find out what Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, [who never mentions Jesus, by the way, in spite of one small Xtian forgery] thought about the Essenes here.

For another take on Jesus' "missing links," click here. Some gnostic tales here.

Suzette Caldwell and prayer to change the nation

Prayer by itself is just not enough. It's got to be the right kind of prayer. And there's got to be a lot of it. But, it you're willing to learn and put enough effort into it, you can pray the right kind of change for our nation.

Or, so says Pastor Suzette Caldwell who is president of something called The Prayer Institute, and also a pastor of Windsor United Methodist Church, a "mega-church," where hubby is the head honcho.

Pr. Suzette says anything is possible if you pray in the right way and long enough and it helps if there are a lot of people praying, too. Prayer, says Pr. Suzette, is the answer to all of our problems. In order to deal with our failing economy, our deteriorating environment, our lousy health care, global terrorism, etc., we must pray.

And Pr. Suzette knows just how to do it. In fact, she developed a Model Prayer patterned after the Lord's Prayer! Yup. And you know, the darn thing works. She was healed of her breast cancer after using this prayer and she has seen "numerous healings and miraculous answers" using her method of praying.

She and the Prayer Institute team hold classes in how to pray. And they've received a lot of good feedback - you know, "citing positive results."

Pr. Suzette is a crony of George W. Bush, which ought to tell you something. In fact, Bush appointed her to the Houston System Board of Regents in 1997 when Bush was busy screwing up Texas as governor. In response, Pr. Suzette and her Prayer Institute created prayers just for Bush and his administration.

Hah! That ought to tell you how much Pr. Suzy's prayers are worth!

It's fascinating, though, this god to whom these people pray. She must be such a wimp. She needs a special prayer or she won't listen; you just can't get her attention with a simple prayer. And she's fickle. She sure as hell didn't help Bush or our country or the world, and it seems she picks out only certain people to heal, like Pr. Suzy.

I can see her now, sitting upon her heavenly throne, robed in white, a golden, bejeweled tiara adorning her head, checking off a little checklist for the day. She'll listen to Pr. Suzy at 9:30, Fr. Pavone at 10:00, George Bush at 10:30, Tom DeLay at 10:31, Newt Gingrich at 10:31 1/2. Then it's time for coffee and a massage.

She won't listen to Obama at all, that nogoodnik socialist!

If you're still interested, you can buy Suzy's book, Praying to Change Your Life. Just go here. You might be better off, though, to go out for a beer.

There's more here.

A new approach to intercessory prayer

From Atheist Cartoons.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

An anti-Semitic Vatican just does not get it!

My friend, Bob Poris, pointed me to an article by Cnaan Liphshiz, a correspondent for Haaretz.

It begins thusly: "In lifting the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson who has been accused of Holocaust denial last month, the Catholic Church also readmitted a priestly society that openly propagates virulent anti-Semitism, according to a probe by a Belgian Jewish newspaper."

Pope Benny 16 lifted the Church's excommunication of The Society of St. Pius X in January. Since then it has been discovered that the Society has "a slew of anti-Semitic content" in five languages on its website.

For example: You will read the Society thinks Jews are "the enemy of man, whose secret weapon is the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy" ... and that "heads of Jewry have for centuries conspired methodically and out of an undying hatred against the Catholic name."

Worse, the Society would have us believe that "contemporary Jews are for sure guilty of the murder of God, as long as they don't recognize Christ as God."

It is interesting that some of this anti-Semitic crap was being deleted as soon as the Society got wind it was being investigated.

Michael Freelich, editor of an Antwerp-based Jewish news publication involved in the probe, relates that the Society has somewhere between 600,000 and a million followers. But the real problem, says Freelich is its continuing anti-Semitic ravings. "Williamson's Holocaust denial has attracted much attention, but this anti-Semitic content is in many ways worse because he is a lone fool and not taken seriously by the masses, whereas here we are talking about an entire society spreading hatred around the world."

Some folks want us to believe that Benny 16 is unaware of all this; that Benny 16 sits in isolation in the Vatican and is sheltered from the storms brewing in the Church.

That is bullshit. Benny was a Hitler Youth. Benny knows damn well what's going on. Benny would never have lifted the excommunication if he gave a damn about the Jewish people. Benny is trying to play on both sides. It won't work.

Something has to give. And it's about time that the "give" comes from Benny himself and the rest of the pious, pretend prelates who represent an organization that instigated and perpetrated so much murderous anti-Semitism down through the centuries; an organization that, instead of excommunicating Catholic communicant Adolf Hitler and the swarm of Roman Catholic officials who worked for him, bent over and kissed their anti-Semitic asses!

Afghanistan is a no-win situation

[New York Time photo]

For some background on US involvement in Afghanistan, click here.

I knew there would be times when I wouldn't agree with President Obama, and I knew there would be issues where we would have our differences.

I was hoping Afghanistan would not be one of them. I was hoping that Obama had read enough about Afghanistan's history and would enlist advisers who knew something about the fate of Europeans messing around in Afghanistan that he would find it wise to modify his proposed policy with regard to that country.

It appears that is not to be.

Obama announced a couple of days ago that he is approving the deployment of another 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, because of a "deteriorating situation."

Afghanistan and Pakistan demand, he said, "urgent attention and swift action."

He's right. But that's not the issue. The issue is the kind of attention and type of action.

Gen. David McKiernan is the US commander in Afghanistan and he's been crying for 30,000 more troops for a number of months! There is no doubt he needs at least that many and perhaps twice or three times that number to have a military impact and to do the job he has been given.

The problem is McKiernan is a soldier and thus his options are almost unequivocally of a military nature. He's about the business of war and killing. He wants to have the resources to make war and kill the enemy.

We can't win in Afghanistan. That's not being negative, but facing up to the historical and present realities. Afghanistan is not a country as we think of a country, but rather is comprised of a bunch of warring and hostile tribal units for whom war and bloodshed is a way of life. The government in Kabul is covered in corruption and has essentially no control over the rest of the land. The Taliban is resurgent as is Al Qaeda. Opium production is increasing by leaps and bounds.

As Raw Story reports, Kabul is under intense pressure by the Taliban-led insurgency and is impotent to respond effectively. "Last year was the deadliest year in the country in terms of Taliban violence, including suicide attacks, assassinations of government officials and ambushes on Afghan and international troops."

Now, we're sending more of our young men and women into harm's way. It is an exercise in futility.

More of our troops will die for absolutely no reason.

Afghanistan has become another Vietnam. We never learn. But we keep trying. Jim Hightower notes that the CIA has been trying to win the hearts and minds of tribal patriarchs. The CIA has been bribing them to stop protecting Taliban commanders and the Islamist terrorists in their regions with cash, cars and jewelry. That has not been successful.

Then a CIA officer ran into a tribal chief with four young wives who was having problems with his sexual performance. The CIA man gave him four little blue pills. Viagra worked! Within a few days, the satisfied chieftan, grinning from ear to ear began spilling the beans about Taliban movements in his area.

As Hightower said: "The CIA plans to lift us to victory -- one libido at a time.

And that's what it's come down to.

Military power cannot win in Afghanistan. Other countries have learned that very hard lesson, especially the Soviets, who got caught between a rock and a hard place, and barely survived their Afghan adventure. Neither can Viagra in the long run. There has to be a better way, before the casket count begins to mount even higher than it is now.

Sin in the Episcopal Church

Frankly, I'm tired of these pious prelates who claim to be Christian but act like the devil.

Newsweek interviewed one of these christianist wingnuts, Bishop Martyn Minns, a leader of the new Anglican Church in North America, which is aligned with the ultra-conservative Church of Nigeria. Minns is now a bishop in the Church of Nigeria.

Exciting, isn't it?

If you give a rat's ass about this stuff, you know that a number of "traditionalist" (read anti-homosexual) Episcopal congregations in the U.S. have pulled out of the Protestant Episcopal Church because they are mightily pissed about Gene Robinson, an openly gay man who was ordained a bishop back in 2003.

For Minns, as for so many of these other faux christianist leaders, it's all about homosexuality. He claims he preaches "across lines of race, class and geography," but when asked about sexuality, gave this smart-ass comment: "God's love can change us all."

Homosexuality, says Minns, is "clearly sinful. It leads to brokenness." Homosexuals must change before they are welcome in the church or can be leaders in the church.

That's hilarious in a stupid sort of way. It's Minns and the others pulling away from the Episcopal church who are aiding and abetting the brokenness.

And the real "sin" is not homosexuality, but the prideful biblicism that leads them to believe they know the mind of God on homosexuality (as well as other issues).

Perhaps part of the problem is the use of the word, "sin." Literally, to sin means to miss the mark. But biblical literalists ignore that less tendentious meaning. For them "sin" constitutes a grave offense against God which will lead their loving, kind and merciful God to send "sinners" to hell where they will suffer eternal torture.

Maybe not as terrible a torture as listening to Bush give a speech, but close.

When one begins to think he/she knows what "sin" is, it is then an easy step into God's shoes and declare "truth" even when you have no clue what the hell you're talking about.

You can even come to believe you know which pieces of the Bible are crucial and which can be ignored.

Sin, then, becomes whatever you say it is.

Ergo, for Bishop Minns, and hundreds of his cohorts, homosexuality is "sin," a grave offense against God which God will punish with eternal torture.

The end result is momentous and horrific hypocrisy which causes immense pain and suffering and destroys lives: like tearing churches and families apart over the "sin" of homosexuality.

But homosexuality is not the "sin" that is hurting the Episcopal church and so many other churches. In fact, that's not a "sin" at all. It's a genetic accident of birth. It is, if you think in these terms--that God created all that exists - thus a gift from God.

The "sin" in the Episcopal church is the willingness to consign homosexuals to hell and to rend the fabric of Christian union over this issue.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus, in the so-called "Farewell Discourses," is recorded as telling his disciples, "I give you a new commandment: love one another; as I have loved you, so you are to love one another. If there is love among you, then all will know that you are my disciples." (John 13:34-35 - The New English Bible).

That's pretty clear for those who claim to follow Jesus. He doesn't say his disciples will have the power to determine who is and who isn't a sinner, or that they should break the fellowship over such issues. It's very simple: love one another.

And "all will know" Christians follow Jesus, "If there is love among you."

The real sin of the hypocrites rending the Episcopal church and other churches around the world over the issue of homosexuality, is the sin of pride.

Which is, as we know, the most deadly of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gingrich, Newt. Shadowy power broker

He's still hanging around. In the shadows. Brokering power.

Why? He hasn't had a new idea in 20 years. Or more. Well, except when he decided to dump one wife for another. Oh wait, he had that idea several times.

Now Gingivitis, walking out of the shadows where he has been advising such Congressional luminaries as the profane and pitiable Eric Cantor, is promoting an "alternative" to anything Obama might want to do for the economy in the present or future.

This is called, in Republican speak, bipartisanship!

Does Gingivitis think anyone still takes him seriously? Well, except for Bill Bennett, another Repugnican wingnut, who hosted Gingrich on his radio show?

That's where Gingrich hawked "12 American Solutions for Jobs and Prosperity." Oh, stop laughing. Just because he was a major contributor to the downfall of American jobs and prosperity and just because he's hawking the same old tired ideas...

Wait, Gingivitis says they are "new" ideas.


Especially this one: Let's get rid of the capital gains tax. (He proposed that in 1997). Why would we do that? Well, we don't want to tax the rich, right? And, furthermore, if we let the rich keep their all of their capital gains they'll go out and build more factories and hire Americans at good wages and produce stuff that everyone will want to buy and won't it be wonderful and everything will be right once again.

Lower taxes on the rich! One more time.

It's the same old crap. The same old trickle-down stuff. Gingrich, like most of his colleagues, just never lets reality intrude on his fantasies!

The trouble is that some people do listen to him. He's still got his claws in a number of Congress persons who bow and scrape and do his bidding.

I'll betcha, sure as Palin can see Alaska from her house, that Gingivitis will be running for president in 2012 (unless, of course, some other ideologue like Jindal beats him to it).

Jindal jerking Louisiana along

Since it appears the Repugnicans in Congress don't want to play with the adults when it comes to stimulus bills and other attempts to right the wrongs of the hellish Bush administration, it has been my feeling right along that the states they represent no longer be allowed to drink at the federal trough.

If they want to go it alone and if they believe federal money is tainted and if they are so ideologically opposed to "big" government, then they should not get any of the money, and their share should go to those states whose representatives in Congress voted for the bill.

Jindal, the extremist, right-wingnut governor of Louisiana, has the right idea. Even though, according to Think Progress, Louisiana "faces a possible $2 billion budget shortfall next year, and the state is being hit hard by unemployment," the guv of Louisiana said "he may turn down the roughly $3.8 billion for the state in the economy recovery package, which is expected to create 50,000 new jobs."

That's wonderful. More for the rest of us. Even our Florida Governor Crist, no Democrat he, has supported the stimulus package and can't wait to get his hands on that money to begin helping the people of Florida.

But then there are other politicos who actually voted against the bill in Congress who are also drooling from the mouth at the possibilities made possible for their states by the economic recovery package. (Sen. Lindsey Graham, for one.)

They should get no money!

Jindal, who is said to be smart as a whip, may stupidly refuse the money, but then if it's all about "truth" and God and ideology, that's the non-hypocritical thing to do.

Jindal represents the Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay type of Repugs: they believe it is much better to hold to your principles - even if your principles have no practical application in these times - than to give in and obtain ways and means to assist your constituents get out of their economic nightmares.

Of course, a few more Repugs like Jindal (who is said to be thinking about a run at the presidency) would likely mean a quicker demise of the Republican Party.

Palin can't work at home in her jammies no more!

Isn't this too bad? Palin, when confronted with the fact she was getting paid expense money by the taxpayers to work at home, said that was just okey-dokey, that she deserved it because she was doing the state's work right there in Wasilla.

What the hell, Juneau's a long way from home!

Dontcha just love it? Palin the perpetrator of pourous nonsense about her Alaskan budgetary good sense - like selling planes on e-Bay and being against "pork" except when she wasn't, and then how she knew just what the country needed when it came to economics 'cause she had consulted with Sam the Plumber, has been shot down by her own state officials.

In other words, she can no longer sit around in her jammies in her cozy, little Wasilla basement to work on Alaska's pipeline to nowhere and expect the state to pay for her meals and lodging!

At least without paying taxes. That money is income!

Heh. Heh.

And this idiot wanted to be vice president.

Florida and tourism

[Image is of the projected Trump resort to be built on Sunny Isles Beach in Southern Florida.]

South Florida's newspapers are reporting that tourism in Florida this year is bad, bad, bad. In fact, " some ways the vacation market is suffering more than it did after the 2001 attacks."

That's according to the Miami Herald, which also noted that Nikki Grossman, who heads up the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, is expecting "an 8 percent decline in hotel taxes by the fall."

Lots of moaning. Hotel people are weeping. One of them said "To get back to where we were in 2007 or 2008 is going to take years."

Well, I don't get around to many of the "vacation spots," and seldom stay at Florida resorts, so all of that may be true.

Actually, though, for some of us who live here, it doesn't sound all that bad. We have too many people in this state now, anyway.

Except I don't believe it. The roads are jammed, the restaurants are jammed, the stores are jammed, and a goodly percentage of the cars on the road or parked in the parking lots carry out-of-state plates.

Can't wait for May! The heat and humidity send 'em packing!

Michelle Bachmann, Idiot

To paraphrase Mark Twain: Is Michelle Bachmann an idiot? But I repeat myself.

Steve Benen, writing for the Washington Monthly, is convinced she is. Idiotic. Plainly. How the hell she got enough votes to return to Congress is beyond all comprehension. It is a supreme disappointment for me, a former Minnesotan.

Much has been written about her previous comments with regard to Obama and members of Congress.

Benen has some new stuff taken from a recent chat Bachmann had with a conservative radio talk show host.

1. She said ACORN was under indictment by the Feds and ACORN gets $5 billion" from the stimulus bill.

ACORN is not under indictment and is not mentioned in the stimulus bill.

2. She said a number of Congresspeople don't like "capitalism."

3. She said the stimulus bill has a clause which means that "your doctor will no longer be able to make your healthcare decisions for you."

4. She said the stimulus bill is part of a Democratic conspiracy to take money from Republican districts so the Dems can hog all the federal money. It won't work, though, cause according to Michelle "We're running out of rich people in this country."

Blah, blah, blah.

Isn't there some way to impeach a congresswoman for stupidity beyond belief?

Read all of Benen's article here. One of my previous Bachmann articles is here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

John McCain and generational theft

John McCain, poor man, is probably a bit senile. He just can't seem to remember the last eight years when for the most part he gave his willing support to the "almost worst president in history" whose policies have damn near destroyed our country.

Financially, it would hard to find a president with less talent and more ability for screwing up than George W. Bush. But old McCain was right there the whole time, backing him up. Yup, tax cuts and more tax cuts - well, for the rich. That's what we need - so's the rich will stop buying yachts and houses in Cannes and will put up factories right here in the good ol' U.S. of A. where they will hire American workers at a fair wage and produce wonderful products that everyone around the world will rush to buy, and won't it be wonderful, all this trickle-down shit?

Not so. Just didn't seem to work out that way. They took their factories overseas, hired locals and paid them a pittance, hid their shenanigans and profits in off-shore banks and the rest of us got screwed!

But ol' John's still tooting that same horn, still riding that same bandwagon, still just as full of crap as a Christmas goose.

Obama did not include Republicans in writing the stimulus bill, whines old John. Really? Sheesh, then how were Republican freaks able to remove several key items from that bill which will result in the loss of thousands of jobs. Or is John thinking of other ways the Republicans could have "helped"?

It's a damn good thing that the Republicans were not more involved! We would have ended up with more tax cuts for the rich, and nothing for anyone else. In fact, the Republican-sponsored alternative "stimulus bills" had nothing but tax cuts for the rich!

John, in a fit of senile jealous rage, claimed Obama is off to a bad start. It [the stimulus bill] was a bad beginning to his presidency." The stimulus bill will leave us with big, bad debt - "generational theft," he called it. Wonder what he calls the trillions wasted by Bush on wars and payoffs to his corporate buddies?

Obama promised to "sit down together," and cries ol' John, we didn't do that.

So what would John have us do?

"Let's start over now and sit down together."

Heh. Heh.

I wonder if he knows that Obama's signing the bill today?

Too little, too dumb and too late -- one more time, John! Maybe it's time to retire to one of your 16 homes. If you can remember where the hell they are!

Tennis, Israeli Shahar Peer, and Dubai

[Image from - see below]

The World Tennis Association held a tournament in Dubai just the other day - the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Shahar Peer, 21, is an Israeli tennis player, with a world ranking of 48.

Peer was supposed to have played 15th seed Anna Chakvetadze of Russia.

The United Arab Emirates refused to provide Peer with a Dubai visa.

World Tennis officials expressed disappointment and many top tennis players from around the world expressed frustration and anger at the decision.

The UAE has not commented, but some feel it has to do with the Israeli/Gaza conflict. You think? Dubai has no diplomatic relations with Israel. Could that have to do with the fact that Dubai, like most Arab countries, believes Israel has no right to exist and should driven into the sea?

According to Larry Scott, chief executive for the World Tennis Association, the WTA will "review appropriate future actions with regard to the future of the Dubai tournament."

That's nice. Why the hell didn't they cancel it?

But there's some good news, too. This from Americablog:

Many expatriates living high on the hog in Dubai have been caught in the worldwide financial maelstrom. They have acquired "crippling debts," and "are abandoning their cars at the airport and fleeing home rather than risk jail for defaulting on loans.

"Police have found more than 3,000 cars outside Dubai's international airport in recent months. Most of the cars -- four-wheel drives, saloons and 'a few' Mercedes - had keys left in the ignition."

One Western diplomat said, "Dubai is emptying out."

Heh. Heh.

An interesting related article is here.

Newt Gingrich & Tom DeLay - Repub Powerballs

The Republican Party lost the November election for various reasons, not the least of which is the fact they are out of touch with the concerns and the needs of the American people. One might think that would be cause for self-examination, confession, and repentance.

Not so.

The Republican Party, living in the past and dreaming of golden years which never were, have become the party of retrenchment.

Deluded fools they be, thinking if only they can capture what they had under leaders like Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay, all will be well. That is understandable once we realize that the Republican Party doesn't care about the welfare of the country. It really doesn't.

The Republican Party, like so many organizations, exists to perpetuate itself and its power - now lost.

How might a political party recapture power and regain its majority in the three branches of government? The sane and sensible response would have to do with determining how best to meet the needs and desires of the people the party seeks to serve and then construct a platform to meet those needs and desires.

But the Republican Retrenchment Party is insane. Their goal is power, pure and simple. Thus, the Minority Whip in the House, the nogoodnik, Eric Cantor, releases a filthy, profane diatribe against the working class. Thus Cantor and other Repug nogoodniks (with which the House of Representatives is filled) seeks the advice of Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.

Whatever else one may say about Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay, one must say they are two of the biggest scumbags ever to reach high levels of government in the United States. Both are ethically-challenged and both are only about power - obtaining it and holding it, and often abusing it.

Gingrich, however, remains a hero to people like Cantor and other Republican leaders in the House and Senate. Which tells you a lot, none of which you really want to know, because it isn't good for our country.

Gingrich is the asshat who reconstructed the House of Representatives into a massive machine of opposition in the early 90s which had as its only goal the obstruction of President Clinton's programs to better the welfare of the American people.

His only purpose for doing that was to try to bring the Democrats down so the Republicans could take control of Congress! It had nothing to do with serving the people.

This is the man to whom our Republicans are now going to for advice. According to Think Progress, "Cantor said he had studied Mr. Gingrich's years in power and had been in regular touch with him as he sought to help his party find the right tone and message."

"I talk to Newt on a regular basis," said Cantor, "because he was in the position that we are in: in the extreme minority." Well, he got the word, "extreme" right. Right?

Think Progress also notes that "In September, he [Gingrich] 'was whipping against' the first TARP package 'up until the last minute' and was said to have been largely responsible for the GOP voting against it."

Just as an aside, to show what kind of man Gingrich really is: While leading the fight to impeach President Clinton, Gingrich was conducting an illicit affair with a woman who would eventually become his third wife.

Don't you just love Republican "family values"?

But don't forget when Gingrich shut down the government in a fit of pique because Clinton made him sit in the back of the plane!

Here are two links for more dirty details on Gingrich:

And here are two links for more dirty details on DeLay:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mike Ritze, Oklahoma wingnut & the 10 Commands

Of course you can't expect much from politicians in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has a U.S. Senator who disbelieves in evolution, global warming and most other scientifically proven facts.

Now, in keeping with the tradition, an Oklahoma State Representative has presented a bill into the Legislature which would put a "Ten Commandments monument" on the grounds of the State Capitol. People are thrilled. The bill has already made it through a state House committee.

Who is this paragon of private virtue who wishes to foist his private virtue on the pagan public? Mike Ritze. And this guy is such a Biblical scholar he intends to use the verbiage from the King James version of the Bible (which is probably the most inaccurate version in print!).

Some think this monument might alienate folks who don't believe as does Rep. Ritze. Ritze doesn't give a damn. He thinks ours is a "Christian" nation or at least a nation imbued with those elusive "Judeo-Christian" values and that we, as a nation, have gone morally astray and so this monument will remind everyone who looks at the monument (i.e., Ritze and his wife) of "basic values."

Well, let's take a look at the "basic values" of the Nine or Ten Commands. It is interesting that even before God gave Moses the commands, he had already put one into effect: honoring the Sabbath (Exodus 16:25ff).

1. Don't make a sculptured image. I'll bet the State of Oklahoma has broken that one on numerous occasions. Yikes! And if you do make such images, the Lord is a jealous god and he's gonna visit "the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject" him!

I think Ritze should be worried.

2. Don't bow down to false gods. Does that count the ones on American Idol?

3. Don't swear falsely by the name of the Lord your God. Hmm. Has any politician ever kept that little goody?

4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Well, hell, Ritze doesn't do that, either!

5. Honor your father and mother and if you do you'll have a long life on the land. But what if your mother's a drunk and your daddy's in jail for murder? Gotcha!

6. Don't murder. I wonder if Ritze favors the police action in Iraq?

7. Don't commit adultery. No comment.

8. Don't steal. You can't steal anything at all? Not even a pen from the office? Sheesh!

9. Don't lie about your neighbor. There isn't a politician in the world who's kept that one! Ritze is known for lying about President Obama!

10. Don't covet your neighbor's stuff, including his Hummer or his trophy wife!

[I think number one and two are one command. That would make only 9. Tell Ritze before the engraver gets to work!]

These are the "values" that Ritze and his ilk would foist upon us. I wonder if he's ever read the Bible.

I think we can do a lot better than that and we don't need some ancient story about a god blowing smoke on top of a mountain to do it!

Oh, yeah, one more thing: Ritze is so much of a wingnut he tried to mount a challenge to Barack Obama's election because he claims Obama is not a "natural born citizen"!

Joe Kovacs, God and the Bible

Joe Kovacs, an editor for the right wingnut World Net Daily, has written a new book called Shocked by the Bible.

Just so there's no misunderstanding, I haven't read it. I have read what Kovacs and a few others have said about it. I have read that Bill O'Reilly thinks it's the cat's meow. If what I've heard is true, then Kovacs is a moron.

Kovacs is going to tell you all about the "true" facts of the Bible, because he has read the Bible and is a true "Bible believer."

"...I'm trying to educate people about what's there," Kovacs told a right wingnut talk radio host. "I'm trying to get people to go back to the Bible. I can't force people to believe it. That's up to them. But I can try to stun them with some amazing facts that they've never been told that might get them to crack open the pages of the Bible and say, 'I cannot believe that is in the Bible or that is not in the Bible. I've been misinformed all these years.'"

Kovacs thinks that "most people don't know what the Bible says [that's very true, but he isn't going to help overcome that ignorance!], and they're confused with a lot [sic] brainwashing by the media over centuries. This is not something that started 10 or 15 years ago. We're talking centuries and millennia of misconceptions floating around out there."

Heh. Heh. Yup. The reason people don't know what the Bible says is because they've been brainwashed by the "media" for centuries or millennia, even. Please. What is this moron talking about? What "media" existed centuries ago? Millennia ago?

I hate to give this character any more publicity, but he doth provide a good example of what happens when people misunderstand the Bible so completely; treat it as a collection of magical material; and think of the old tales, sagas and myths as historical realities.

For example: Kovacs told the right wingnut radio host that "There is a portion [in the Bible] where God actually reveals Himself in his full glory to him [Moses]. He stuck Moses between the cleft of a rock, because Moses asked to see God, to show him His way. ...

"As He [God] walked by, He put his hand over his eyes so Moses was unable to see God's face. But as He walked away, God lifted His hand, and Moses could see the back side of God as He's walking away, in His full glory. This is the Old Testament stuff that people never hear about. That God actually revealed Himself in his full glory to Moses."

Honestly. I am not making this up. God revealed his back side to Moses! IN ITS FULL GLORY!

And Moses said, "Holy crap!"

[The story is found in Exodus 33:17-23. In Exodus 34, God gives Moses the commandments again along with a bunch of other commandments which seem to have just as much importance as the first "10."]

Now, it gets even more interesting. Here's what this moron, Kovacs said:

"And guess what. He looked like a guy just walking right by you. God does say that He's got eyes and hands and arms and legs and feet and nostrils. So God does look like us. We are made in His image. Some people are not aware of that. They think God is some ethereal cloud floating around out there. We are made in the image of God. We weren't made in the image of puppies or butterflies or snakes or caterpillars. God actually made man after the God kind because we're meant to be with God in His family for all eternity."

Methinks "moron" is too nice a term. God is a physical being? Looks just like us? Then what the hell is Jesus talking about when he's quoted in John 4:24 as saying "God is a spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth"?

I think trying to reason with Kovacs would be like arguing with a doorpost. What he's done is created his own God in Kovacs' own image. Which is pretty much what those ancient storytellers did when they wrote these tall tales about ancient nomads lost in the desert.

Kovacs is one of those guys who makes it really hard to believe in heaven. Would you want to roll around heaven all day with this fruitcake?

I'm not "shocked" by the Bible, I'm shocked there are people as stupid as Kovacs writing a book about it. He is, in spite of his profession to the contrary, a biblical illiterate!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Real science v. Creationism

Thanks to SuperJesus from which this was borrowed.

The irreligious religious right

The Religious Right, which is essentially irreligious and wrong about most everything, wants a name change.

They've come to the conclusion that they have become the pariahs of American society. Nobody loves them anymore! [I wish!] says certain conservative "evangelicals" want to shed their designation as members of the "religious right."

Gary Bauer, for example, the christianist wingnut of American Values, whines that "It amazes me how often in public discourse really pejorative phrases are used, like the 'American Taliban,' 'fundamentalists,' Christian fascists,' and 'extreme Religious Right.'"

Why the hell would that "amaze" him. All those descriptions fit perfectly!

Another character from Focus on the Family is worried that phrases like "Religious Right" and "fundamentalists" carry a negative connotation.

You think?

Richard Land, the extremist, religious right, talibanic, fundamentalist, christianist wingnut, who heads up the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says that "Until Tony Perkins or Jim Dobson puts a pistol on the table and threatens to kill someone, they shouldn't be called ayatollah of the Right or the Jihadists of the Right."

Ah, but Mr. Land, that's exactly what they do, every day! Well, not literally, but through their words and actions they threaten to kill love between people, tolerance for other religious views, and work to enforce their particular fundamentalist, talibanic religious beliefs on everyone in the country!

The trouble is, you see, that all of these phrases are perfectly apt descriptions of the Religious Right. There may be differences between members of the Religious Right, but on the "big" issues, they chant in concert, "Our will be done!"

They are demagogues, and are very much like the Afghani Taliban in their attempts to make their theological positions the law of the land.

So, there really isn't any point in calling them something different? What would we call them?

Oh, we could call them the "Irreligious Right." Most of these clowns claim to be Christians, but they don't seem to understand the message of the Jewish rabbi they profess to follow. They think he was a Repugnican!

The Vatican and Darwin - evolving nicely

[Image from Planetware]

The Roman Catholic Church did not always think much of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. That is not surprising because the Roman church has almost without exception fought scientific insight.

With regard to Darwin, at least, things have changed in Vatican City. In fact, the Vatican is holding a conference on evolution next month, designed to let the world know God thinks that religion and science are compatible, and in honor of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's book, On the Origin of the Species.

What's really funny is that Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, after declaring that the theory of evolution was compatible with Christian faith, said the notion of evolution goes all the way back to St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.

Sure it does. Heh. Heh.

I guess he thought such an idea would give more authority to Darwin's theory. You would think, however, that he could find something Jesus said as reported in the Gospels to show that Darwin was doing the work of God in the world.

What I like about the Vatican position is that it more or less gives a bloody nose to the creationist bunch at the Discovery Institute, and also to the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, a devout "creationist" Catholic!

Republicans, the stimulus & Charlie Crist

If you are a Republican member of Congress with a conscience, you've got a long, hard road these days. Every Republican in Congress has been greatly pressured to vote against the stimulus package with the threat of retribution against those who dare disobey the Republican leadership.

With a couple of exceptions, most every Repug fell in line.

These nogoodnik Repugnicans are not just pressuring members of Congress. They're pressuring every Republican in the country to get on their negative, debilitating bandwagon.

For example, Charlie Crist, governor of Florida, has been a strong supporter of the stimulus bill. Crist knows Florida and the residents of Florida need help. Crist wants every dime he can get out of the stimulus bill to shore up Florida's faltering economy, educational system, and healthcare related services.

While I have strong disagreements with Crist on a number of issues, in this case I applaud his vision and his fortitude. Fortitude because the national Repugs are all over his case, claiming that he's hurting the party and, more damaging to Crist personally, he's hurting his chances at future political success.

Alex Castellanos whined, "I don't think he's helped any national Republican ambitions he may have by stepping up to the plate and batting for the other team...."

Batting for the other team? What the hell is wrong with these Republican assholes? I thought that when it came to the welfare of the country we were supposed to be on the same team? This is not a game! The country is going down the proverbial tubes and these worthless Republicans are talking about the disaster as if it were a game!

Castellanos went on: "There's a difference between working in a bipartisan way for the common good and switching sides and putting on the other team's jersey. At the one moment when we've finally found our voice and remember who we are as Republicans, Charlie Crist forgets. It's stunning."

No, it isn't. What's stunning is the depths of degradation to which the Republican Party has sunk! Castellanos and others of his ilk know nothing of "working in a bipartisan way for the common good." All they know is how to disrupt and deny and lie and cheat.

And then, to threaten the governor of Florida with future punishment for not being a member of the "team"?

Mel Martinez, supposedly a friend of Crist, but a right wingnut Cuban who's still fighting Castro, and Communism and, oh yeah, socialism, too, criticized the Florida governor by implying he doesn't know what he's doing or what he's talking about.

None of this is surprising, of course. The Republican Party in this country, if it ever had any values, lost them long ago. The Republican Party is, above all, about power -- gaining it and keeping it. The Republican Party, at this moment, has shown the people of the United States, they don't give a damn about the mess they created.

Crist, at least, seems to care a little.