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Friday, January 28, 2005

 Condi does classical

A humanist, she ain't.


Blogger Electro said...

She is much to smart to be a humanist.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Your smart-assed comment betrays your ignorance, Dan, so let me educate you: Humanism is a system of thought that defines a socio-political doctrine whose bounds exceed those of locally developed cultures, to include all of humanity and all issues common to human beings. Many humanists are religious (although I am not), however, and see humanism as simply a mature expression of a common truth present in most religions.

Perhaps if you devoted more time to your fellow human beings and less time to your narrow, supernaturalist fears, your small and strange little world would be a bit brighter.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

My world is so much wider than yours you couldn't fathom it. I know what Humanism is and it sits there in all its hipocracy with people claiming to care and doing nothing. I have no fear and if you knew anything real Christians fear nothing. Fear of the Lord is an expression which could be translated repect the Lord, only the word repect does not demand the attention that the word fear does. I travel a narrow path with vision wider than that of all your humanist friends. Where have you been in this world beside you nice little home in America worried that someone will take away your right to something you might be better off not doing to begin with while you look to limit the rights of people which are clearly spelled out in the Constitution. How many national parks have you visited in how many states? If you can coun't them on your fingers and toes I have been to at least twice as many. How many countries have you visited and how many people have you helped this week? Have you ever given a job to a homeless man to lift him out of the gutter he is in?I am not fond of the Bush Administration and I didn't vote for the jackass. But you act as if the whole world will come to an end over it. And in 10 years you will be complaining about something else. I work in my community my country and my world to better myself and all who are around me. I am no Humanist I am a Human being with the knowledge that I am small and insignificant in the big picture of life, but can do great things with great love and try try try to do that. You think I am ignorant because I have the knowledge of something you reject, I have told you I once rejected it, I don't have a great story to tell on how I know what I know, but it is real knowledge and I can no longer deny it. I don't think I asked to know this I was seemingly happy when I didn't believe. Sorry it is all I have. Your posturing that you are so smart and wise has often made me think you are really just a high school kid playing here. I don't think that is the case but it goes to show how mature I think you are.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Oh, please, let the Rapture come right, fucking now!

4:29 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

Barbara, The rapture is bad theology, it isint going to come the way fundamentalist Christians think of it in those poorly writen books "Left Behind". Do I make you that sick?

5:18 PM  

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 "Flat Earth Award" nominees announced

Yesderday students at Middlebury College announced the creation of the first annual Flat Earth Award. The award will be presented to the public figure who has been the most vocal climate change naysayer over the course of the previous year. It is named for doubters who continued to insist that the Earth was flat even after years of scientific research established that the planet was round.

This year’s nominees are talk show host Rush Limbaugh, bestselling novelist Michael Crichton, and S. Fred Singer, president and founder of the Arlington, Va.-based Science and Environmental Policy Project.

You may vote in the online election; the winner be announced on April 22, which is Earth Day.


Blogger Dezakin said...

This is absoloutely assinine. While some political pundits are truely stupid and latch onto whatever figure is avaliable that can support party philosophy, there is ample reason to be suspicious of climate change in terms of 'public policy' rather than an environmental phenomenon.

The entire debate has been wrapped up in politics, and science riding with political motivation is little better than politics riding with religeous motivation.

First: Is climate change occuring? Who knows. Many, with not­ just a little twinge of partisanship claim it absolutely isn't, and­ many others claim it is. Lets assume it is.

Second: Is it detrimental to the global economy? This is muc­h harder to calculate. There are winners and losers in this, from inc­reased crop yields, to lost coastline, higher air conditioning pric­es, to increased shipping opportunities in the northern passage. Le­ts assume its a net cost, why not. We can even assume that the cost is­ huge.

Third: Is there anything that can be done to mitigate the ef­fects? Maybe. Some people argue that reducing carbon emitions by im­mense amounts, or at least agreeing to not raise them will have so­me effect
of slowing climate change and its economic effects, though b­y how much is also quite debatable.

Fourth: Are the costs of the mitigations _after_ applying th­e discount rate (opportunity cost) less than the cost of dealing with t­he supposed immense economic harm that we will supposedly have ­to endure by not making any policy changes. Good luck actually coming ­up with a definitive answer on this one. You have to come up with a ve­ry small discount rate and absolutely immense economic costs for clim­ate change for this to be worthwhile.

So you have to have very accurate data to have public policy­ that isn't just appeasing alarmism. In my opinion, climate change is oc­curing, it doesnt matter if its our fault, and we shouldnt do anything ­about it
except work on policies to _deal_ with climate change rather­ than to mitigate it.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Alright, look: the Earth is not warming, OK? It's actually cooling. There are studies that prove it! And even if it was warming, that would be a good thing for humans, and we'll easily adapt. Anyway, aren't all those environmentalists the real problem, what with their "actions" and protests and hysteria? I wouldn't be surprised if they're buying enormous drilling machines on the black market to cause earthquakes and tsunamis and raise heaps of cash for their shady nonprofit organizations!

9:50 AM  

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

 Republican family values in action

Here are two Republican family values in action. First, deport rather than care for:
A frail grandmother from Albania could face deportation to the country she left five years ago as Waukesha County tries to avoid having to pay perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars for her medical care.

Second, mock seniors -- as W does in this video (courtesy of AmericaBlog) -- where he criticized a reporter at a news conference by telling the reporter he's acting like a senior because the reporter, according to Bush, has poor memory.


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 Seymour Hersh: "We've Been Taken Over by a Cult"

Seymour Hersh says we've been taken over by a cult:
One of the ways -- one of the things that you could say is, the amazing thing is we are been taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way.

He sees two ways out: a military coup to depose Bush, or an economic meltdown:

There's a lot of anxiety inside the -- you know, our professional military and our intelligence people. Many of them respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as much as anybody here, and individual freedom. So, they do -- there's a tremendous sense of fear. These are punitive people....

Another salvation may be the economy. It's going to go very bad, folks. You know, if you have not sold your stocks and bought property in Italy, you better do it quick. And the third thing is Europe -- Europe is not going to tolerate us much longer. The rage there is enormous. I'm talking about our old-fashioned allies. We could see something there, collective action against us. Certainly, nobody -- it's going to be an awful lot of dancing on our graves as the dollar goes bad and everybody stops buying our bonds, our credit -- our -- we're spending $2 billion a day to float the debt, and one of these days, the Japanese and the Russians, everybody is going to start buying oil in Euros instead of dollars. We're going to see enormous panic here.

Movement on the economic front has already begun. A top Chinese economist said yesterday at the World Economic Forum that his country has lost faith in the stability of the US dollar. Fan Gang, director of the National Economic Research Institute at the China Reform Foundation, said the issue for China isn't whether to devalue the yuan but "to limit it from the U.S. dollar."


Blogger Dave S. said...

Hersh is deranged

1:16 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

No, he is not.

9:45 AM  

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

 Quiz: Who said it?

Take a guess. Who said
"This so-called ill treatment and torture in detention centers, stories of which were spread everywhere among the people, and later by the prisoners who were freed... were not, as some assumed, inflicted methodically, but were excesses committed by individual prison guards..."

The answer is in the comments section...


Blogger Nanovirus said...

If you guessed Alberto Gonzales, Bush's choice to be attorney general, you guessed incorrectly.

That quote was by Rudolf Hoess, history's greatest mass murderer. As Nazi Commandant of the death camp Auschwitz, the largest killing center ever created, Hoess oversaw the killing of 2,5 million persons through gassing, starvation, disease, shooting, and burning. Hoess was sentenced to death by hanging on April 11, 1947.

4:04 PM  

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 Helicopters, armored shock troops deployed against peaceful protesters

The major media won't report how the inaugural was like a giant funeral:
The vibe throughout Pennsylvania Ave. was downright funereal; Bush’s supporters appearing even more defeated and depressed than any of the protesters. My theory is that they didn’t fully realize just how nerve-wracking and demeaning the checkpoints would be ("Buh-buh-but we’re the GOOD guys! Why are you treating US like potential terrorists?!?!" Welcome to the Brave New World, sweetie-pie.) I was reminded of footage I’d seen of peasants in any random banana republic dutifully and joylessly lining the streets as el presidente drove through.

Nor would it report that later it turned bloody:

"We are peaceful!" I shouted. "We are non-violent!" An officer very calmly and deliberately walked up to us, extended his baton, and with all his strength smashed it against the face of the fellow to my right. If you’ve never heard the sound of a billy-club collide with a person’s skull, it is one of most disturbing noises you’re likely to ever hear. It isn’t so much of a crack, really. More of a crunch and a squish. The guy crumbled to the ground beside me spilling puddles of blood all over the sidewalk.... Apparently these cops had been training for the arrival of al qaeda, and when they didn’t show this collection of young American would-be radicals would have to suffice....

Like being trapped in an out-take from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, I watched as well-dressed yuppie couples exited their nightspots and dance clubs and walked out onto blood stained sidewalks into the war zone, obliviously chatting away about meaningless trivial bullshit as people lay cuffed on the streets, helicopters slashed open the air above, and armored shock troops lined the sidewalks.

Welcome to George W. Bush's Amerikkka. You reap what you sow.


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 Gonzales approved, for now

Gonzales' nomination gets out of committee, but Dems stuck together in opposing this modern-day Torquemada:
A divided Senate Judiciary Committee (news - web sites) on Wednesday approved Alberto Gonzales as U.S. attorney general, rejecting Democratic complaints about his role in formulating administration policies blamed for contributing to the torture of detainees.

On a party-line vote of 10-8, the Republican-led panel sent President Bush (news - web sites)'s nomination of Gonzales to become the nation's highest ranking lawman to the full Senate for anticipated confirmation, possibly as early as next week.

The committee Democrats who opposed all deserve praise: Leahy (VT), Kennedy (MA), Biden (DE), Kohl (WI), Durbin (IL), Feinstein (CA), Feingold (WI) and Schumer (NY).

Democrats MUST hang together in the full Senate to go on record against this bastard. NO ONE who supports him deserves re-election, much less American citizenship.


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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

 No on Gonzales

I'm writing this to add my voice to Daily Kos :: No on Gonzales:
"With this nomination, we have arrived at a crossroads as a nation. Now is the time for all citizens of conscience to stand up and take responsibility for what the world saw, and, truly, much that we have not seen, at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. We oppose the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States, and we urge the Senate to reject him."


Blogger DarkSyde said...

It's nice to see the opposition actually grow a goddamn spine. You'd think opposing methods used during Inquisition wouldn't be too large a political risk.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If boxer would keep crawling up these guy's asses, I swear to god I'd go to washington and kiss her bony ass. She's showing more courage than any 3 of her male counterparts.

9:01 PM  

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 Do we have to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over again?

Salman Rushdie thinks so:
It seems we need to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over again....

That battle was about the church's desire to place limits on thought. The Enlightenment wasn't a battle against the state but against the church. Diderot's novel La Religieuse, with its portrayal of nuns and their behaviour, was deliberately blasphemous: it challenged religious authority, with its indexes and inquisitions, on what it was possible to say. Most of our contemporary ideas about freedom of speech and imagination come from the Enlightenment. We may have thought the battle won, but if we aren't careful, it is about to be "un-won"....

The idea that any kind of free society can be constructed in which people will never be offended or insulted, have the right to call on the law to defend them against being offended or insulted, is absurd. In the end a fundamental decision needs to be made: do we want to live in a free society or not? Democracy is not a tea party where people sit around making polite conversation. In democracies people get extremely upset with each other. They argue vehemently against each other's positions. (But they don't shoot.)


Blogger Barbara said...

Democracy is not a tea party where people sit around making polite conversation. In democracies people get extremely upset with each other. They argue vehemently against each other's positions. (But they don't shoot.)Like a blog.

11:33 AM  

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Monday, January 24, 2005

 Judy Bachrach rips Brigitte Quinn a new one

Check out Judy Bachrach of Vanity Fair ripping Brigitte Quinn of Fox "News" a new one. Transcript follows, video is here.
BQ: Judy, welcome to you. We were noticing all the snow in Washington. I hope that doesn't put a crimp on anybody's plans.

JB: Well, I have a feeling that maybe it should put a crimp, or at least something should put a crimp in the plans of the White House, to have such a very lavish Inaugural at a time of war.

BQ: Really?

JB: Yes. What I've noticed is that the worse a war is going the more lavish the Inaugural festivities. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President, during a time of war...he had a very modest Inauguration and a very tiny party where he served chicken salad...and that was when we were winning.

BQ: Right..eh..but..Judy

JB: When it seems like...Sorry?

BQ: Well...no...I...look...I mean...The President has addressed this hasn't he? He's said that this is a...I believe the quote was that we're celebrating. We're celebrating democracy, we're celebrating a peaceful transfer of democracy...what's wrong with doing that?

JB: Have you noticed any peace or any transfer of democracy in Iraq? If you have, you're the first person to have seen it....?

BQ: I've noticed the elections coming up, and Judy, to be honest with you, I didn't really want to argue politics with you this morning...

JB: Oh really? I thought was allowed to talk about what I wanted to talk about.

BQ: Weh..You certainly...certainly have that right. Let me ask you this--what should they have cut back on?

JB: How about 40 million dollars.

BQ: Alright....well, how would you have planned it?

JB: May I say something...may I say something...may I say something?

BQ: Sure

JB: We have soldiers who are incapable of protecting themselves in their humvees in Iraq. They have to use bits of scrap metal in order to make their humvees secure. Their humvees are sitting ducks for bombs, and we have a President who is using 40 million dollars to have a party. That's a start.

BQ: Judy, what would suggest for the Inauguration--how would you do it?

JB: How about a modest party, just like FDR. I'm sure you will agree he was a pretty good President with a fine sense of what's appropriate, and what's not, and during a time of war, ten parties are not appropriate when your own soldiers are sitting ducks in very very bad vehicles.

BQ: Well, don't you think that the President has...has given his proper respect to our troops, I mean, yesterday as far as I can tell, the festivities opened with the military gala, they ended with a prayer service, there just seemed to have certainly been a tremendous effort over the past couple of days and more than that, to honor our troops?

JB: Well gee, that prayer service should sure keep them safe and warm in their flimsy vehicles in Iraq. I'd rather see that money going to them rather than to a guy who already is President for a second time...

BQ: Alright...Well, Judy Bachrach, I think we've given you more than your time to give us your point of view this morning.

JB: Well, thanks for having me on.

BQ: Alright.


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 Approved stem cell lines contaminated

As if we needed any more reasons to oppose the Bush administrations policy on stem cells:
All human embryonic stem cell lines approved for use in federally funded research are contaminated with a foreign molecule from mice that may make them risky for use in medical therapies, according to a study released Sunday.

Researchers at the UC San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla report that if the stem cells are transplanted into people, the cells could provoke an immune system attack that would wipe out their ability to deliver cures for diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes.

The finding is a setback to the Bush administration's controversial policy of providing federal funding only for research using a limited number of embryonic stem cell lines already in existence.


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 Dethrone the fundies to protect the environment

Humanists care about the natural world, which we all depend on and which will have to sustain our descendants. Because humanists have no belief in a god or supernatural force that will solve our problems for us, they know humans must take sole responsibility for sorting out environmental problems.

Some religious people think that God created the world and gave humans "stewardship" over it. This is not a belief shared by humanists, who believe that human beings evolved and go on evolving, along with the rest of nature. Others on the far fringe of the religious right see no reason to protect the environment, since the rapture is expected soon:

[M]any Christian fundamentalists feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are living in the End Time, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They may also believe, along with millions of other Christian fundamentalists, that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed -- even hastened -- as a sign of the coming Apocalypse.

Humanists are unlikely to subscribe to deep ecological beliefs about the intrinsic value and superiority of nature. Rather, humanists have a scientific view of the world, and would not automatically blame science and technology for environmental problems. Indeed, it was and is scientists - mainly biologists and ecologists - who notice and monitor environmental problems.

The rise of Christian fundamentalism in America has been indirectly responsible for much of the lasting damage that has been inflicted on the national -- and indeed world -- environment. You might recall in 1981, when President Reagan's first secretary of the interior, James Watt, told the US Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ:

"God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back," Watt said in public testimony that helped get him fired.

Today's Christian fundamentalist politicians are more politically savvy than Reagan's interior secretary was; you're unlikely to catch them overtly attributing public-policy decisions to private religious views. But their words and actions suggest that many share Watt's beliefs.

If you doubt it, consider that nearly half of Congress in 2003 earned nearly perfect approval ratings from the nation's three most influential Christian right advocacy groups, while simultaneously receiving flunking grades from the League of Conservation Voters.

The environmental effect is real. Today's NYT reports, for example, that the US currently ranks 45th of 146 in protecting the environment:

Countries from Northern and Central Europe and South America dominated the top spots in the 2005 index of environmental sustainability, which ranks nations on their success at such tasks as maintaining or improving air and water quality, maximizing biodiversity and cooperating with other countries on environmental problems.

Finland, Norway and Uruguay held the top three spots in the ranking, prepared by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities. The United States ranked 45th of the 146 countries studied, behind such countries as Japan, Botswana and the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, and most of Western Europe.

The lowest-ranking country was North Korea. Among those near the bottom were Haiti, Taiwan, Iraq and Kuwait....

The rapturistas may not have to wait long. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told an international conference attended by 114 governments in Mauritius this month that he personally believes that the world has "already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere" and called for immediate and "very deep" cuts in the pollution if humanity is to "survive".

What is especially notable about Pachauri's comments is that he is a Bush guy, appointed to his post after Exxon complained that his predecessor was too "aggressive" on the issue.

In sum, if you care about the environment, you must dethrone the fundies.


Blogger The Old Hippie said...

Dethrone the fundies?  That would require the dethroning of the entire administration, starting with the president, whom it is well known doesn't believe in evolution, all the way down and through the entire top levels of the management of all of the federal regulatory agencies.  Not to make a pun, there's not a hope in hell of doing that anywhere in the near future, at least not before it is too late, as it already basically is, to reverse all of the damage, damage I might add, that all of us Americans allowed them to do.  (They successfully did it, therefore we allowed them - Right?)

2:04 AM  

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 Bush violated Posse Comitatus during inaugural

In what might amount to a violation of Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which restricts military forces from performing domestic law enforcement duties, a group of super-secret commandos stood ready to protect Bush during the inauguration.

The NYT reports that
As part of the extraordinary army of 13,000 troops, police officers and federal agents marshaled to secure the inauguration, these elite forces were poised to act under a 1997 program that was updated and enhanced after the Sept. 11 attacks, but nonetheless departs from how the military has historically been used on American soil....

The precise number of these Special Operations forces in Washington this week is highly classified, but military officials say the number is very small. The special-missions units belong to the Joint Special Operations Command, a secretive command based at Fort Bragg, N.C., whose elements include the Army unit Delta Force....

[T]he contingency plan, called JCS Conplan 0300-97, calls for "special-mission units in extra-legal missions to combat terrorism in the United States" based on top-secret orders that are managed by the military's Joint Staff and coordinated with the military's Special Operations Command and Northern Command, which is the lead military headquarters for domestic defense.


Blogger Dave S. said...

Keep digging, I'm sure you'll get 'em somehow.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

Well I guess The NYT isint a good source of accurate information since there is no such unit named "Delta Force" accept in the movies. Don't try to argue the point. At best it is bad reserch and writing.

5:20 PM  

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 Bush forgets Poland

The White House has scrapped its list of Iraq allies known as the 45-member "coalition of the willing," which the Chimperor used to back its argument that the 2003 invasion was a multilateral action.


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 FBI trying to limit info searches

I want a more closed and secretive government.

Not really, but why is my top law enforcement agency acting like I do?
The FBI is fighting in court to limit how hard it has to search for government documents requested by the public under the Freedom of Information Act, one of the main laws for ensuring openness in government.


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 The tsunami photos you weren't supposed to see

Jeebus, no wonder they hate westerners.


Blogger Angie said...

That's a joke, right? I mean, those people did not really continue on with their vacation while the world around them was falling apart?? Please don't tell me we are that thoughtless and uncaring!

12:05 PM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

I bet they were liberal Europeans waiting for the government to help. I hate those liberals!

4:44 PM  

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 Senate must vote NO on Gonzales

The Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General is scheduled for Wednesday, January 26, at 9:30 a.m.

A "yes" vote for Gonzales is a vote condoning torture. No American -- Democrat or Republican -- should vote that way. If you agree, please join American military leaders and others to urge the Senators on the Committee to say no to torture. Here is the contact information.

If you do not agree, please read this and consider whether you still feel that way after.


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Saturday, January 22, 2005

 Remembering America before Roe v. Wade

Dr. Elizabeth Connell tells a compelling story from before Roe v. Wade. She saw firsthand the devastation and loss of life before abortion was legal in the United States. Today, Connell is blunt about the worsening state of reproductive rights for women, a cause she has championed for more than 50 years:
"It’s hard to conceptualize what it was like before Roe v. Wade unless you were actually there," Connell says, barely containing her anger. "In the large hospitals, ward after ward was filled with women suffering and dying from botched abortions. In some hospitals, it was the job of the first-year resident to sleep all day, because he would be up all night scraping out the remains of illegal abortions, giving blood to the women who were bleeding, trying desperately to keep them out of shock and treating their infections. This was the norm until we got Roe v. Wade and the New York law that preceded it. I’m very much afraid that the way things are going now, we could go right back to that again."...

"What I remember so clearly—every day and every night—was the constant stream of women coming in for help with their botched abortions. Over time, we saw the patterns," she says. "You got to know pretty quickly who had done the abortion. We knew who was out there," including one man who did 'nice clean abortions,' putting a little red rubber catheter into the uterus to start the abortion. "We also knew the absolute butchers. The women ran the gamut of circumstances, but they kept coming into the Philadelphia hospitals, and we had to deal with them. It made me sick at heart but also very angry."

Roe is 32 years old today. For the humanist take on abortion, please refer to my earlier post.


Blogger Angie said...

But what they don't understand is that if they ever succeed in reversing Roe vs Wade, abortions wont' suddenly stop. Women will go back to getting them illegally.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

Maybe if we taught women to be more responsible with their bodies to begin with and taught men to respect women for who they are and not what pleasure they may give them, then you would not need to think abortion is necessary. I have to repeat the question since it has not been answered.

Abortion is legal. Infanticide is illegal. If a woman wishes to terminate her pregnancy at any time before birth, she is said to have "exercised her right" to do so. If she wishes to terminate her child’s life at any time after birth, she is viewed as a killer and prosecuted as such. Why the difference?

The answer must be that there is a quality or set of qualities (let’s call it "x") that all newborns have and no fetuses have that makes newborns worthy of protection by the law and the fetus unworthy of such protection.

So, the question is: What is x?

11:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

for Electro again: "Exterminate the brutes!"

Values: already-existing humans with lives of connections vs. possible, hypothetical lives. Winner: the one with the power to decide, so that she then has a chance to be the responsible person you want her to be.

I think that's what you want to hear.

We know you want person status for the fetus so that abortion fits the category murder. That would be a hell of a situation for tax exemption, though, eh? I guess I'm entitled to a slippery slope argument--when do we start prosecuting women for flushing away an egg every month--you know those eggs are forms of life, too.

As for this post: you're only preaching to the choir. The absolutists will counter with, "what about the horror for the aborted..."

9:01 AM  
Blogger Electro said...

So you think it is safe?

Please pause a moment and review a few incidents that occurred inside abortion clinics I have summarized below

Abortion providers have preyed on women in a crisis and have even raped and killed their patients. Some abortion doctors have performed abortion while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. They have been caught selling controlled substances, telling non-pregnant women they were pregnant and doing abortions anyway, creating private pornography files with photos of their patients. Some have just operated filthy facilities to maximize profits.

Considering that abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures in the country and yet the most unregulated why aren't lawmakers improving clinic standards and safety?


Ghanaian Woman Eunice Agabgaa entered Y&P Medical Clinic in New York. Dr. Abram Zelikman allegedly left the clinic while Eunice was in recovery from an abortion Zelikman had performed. Unfortunately the abortion was so bad, it resulted in her death. A friend who was present at the clinic testified that she pleaded with the clinic staff to call paramedics once she noticed Eunice's bloodied body and poor vital signs. her friend stated" I felt if I hadn't been there they would have wrapped her dead body and thrown it in the garbage. New York Newsday 7/9/89


The California Medical Board #11593, investigated action by Dr. Tati Okereke, A/K/A High Street Medical. In 1982, Dr. Okereke was accused of fondling a female patients breast without medical justification He subsequently was accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with her without her consent. This doctor who performed abortions was also accused of injecting patients with anestectics , then engaging in sexual intercourse without the permission of the woman. One woman testified to the medical board that she could not move any muscles during this ordeal, but just kept crying "What are you doing?" Another patient testified that after Okereke examined her vagina that he licked his finger. She said the doctor tried to pay her of to keep her quiet following the incident Okereke's Medical License was revoked in November of 1989.


In March of 1993, Abortion doctor Nareshkumar Patel of Shawnee Oklahoma was accused of Forcible Oral Sodomy and sexual battery by a patient he was treating after hours in his clinic. Patel was the focus of a controversy in 1992 when several aborted fetuses from his clinic were found partially burned in an open field owned by Patel. Officials could not cite any law that prohibited the burning of aborted fetuses in that manner and those charges were dropped. The Daily Oklahoman 5/28/93 Oklahoma Medical Board Case # 90-09-1129


The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure revoked the license of Milan D. Chepko in 1991. Dr. Chepko, who performed abortions at the New Women Medical Center in Jackson, MS was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury (Case # J89-00064 W) involving interstate transportation of a VHS cassette showing minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The tape contained scenes with children as young as four years old in sexual conduct with adult males and females. One incident allegedly involved children and adults engaged in sodomy. Jackson Herald 9/30/89 and Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure vs. Milan Chepko.


In 1990 the Florida Medical Board disciplined male nurse Barry A. Hill. Hill was employed at Today's Woman Medical Center of Coral Gables, FL , an abortion clinic owned by Dr. Vladimar Rosenthal. On October 26, 1989 HRS inspector Diane Robie discovered two envelopes in the clinic containing pictures of several women undressed with their legs apart. According to Medical Board reports the perineal area was the focal point of the photographer. Hill, the clinics anestisists claimed ownership of the photographs. Former employees of the clinic also accused Hill of fondling their breasts of several female patients while they were under anestesia. The former clinic employees told news reporters that they were fired by clinic owner Rosenthal after he heard them complaining to a National Abortion Federation Representative (the clinic was a member) of the conditions at the clinic and Mr. Hills activities. Florida Department of Professional Regulation Case # 89-010853 and Miami Herald 10-7-89.


The Miami Herald in August of 1990 reported that abortion doctor Pravin Thakker was convicted of performing abortions on his former lovers without their consent. Thakker was also investigated by the Indiana Medical board for lewd and immoral conduct toward female patients under his care. On June 11,1991 a jury found Thakker guilty of two counts of battery, two counts of illegal abortion and two counts of criminal recklessness. Thakker was sentenced on July 31, 1991 to prison in the Indiana Department of Corrections. The Indiana Health Profession Bureau Case # 89 MLB 003.


In 1987 the Tamarac, FL police department began an investigation into allegations of sexual assault by abortion doctor Jeffrey Goldenberg. Dr. Goldenberg was employed by the University Women's Center abortion clinic in Tamarac. Goldenberg was never tried on charges developed during investigations. Dr. Goldenberg was killed in a traffic accident prior to trial. Florida Department of Professional Regulation case numbers -102532,73882,70744,75174,80918,85142, 94175, and 76, 95832, 102527, and 528,529,531,598, 103134 and 466,467,468,489, 103751 and 752,755, 867793,86772,32342,77112,86774,959320.


The Minnesota Board of Medical Examiners suspended the license of Dr. Hideo D. Mori, a past volunteer at Planned Parenthood in Austin Minnesota. Dr. Mori was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with several of his female patients. The charges against Mori included, massaging the clitoris and vagina of a patient during pelvic exams, kissing the face neck and breasts of patients during exams and embracing a patient. Mori allegedly told one of his patients that she should have sex with her husband in front of him so he could observe and determine why the patient was not climaxing. Minnesota Board of Medical Examiners vs. Hideo Mori.


In 1983 Dr. Nabil Ghali's medical license in Kentucky was revoked following his conviction on four counts of unlawful sexual transaction with a minor. (A fourteen year old female neighbor) The victims younger sister also testified she has seen Ghali improperly touching a five year old child. In 1989 while Ghali was operating an abortion clinic in Florida and performing abortions in several other South Florida clinics, the states medical board began revocation procedures of his license due to falsification of his license application. When Ghali later lost his license in Florida he moved to Ohio and continued to perform abortions. The State of Ohio after learning of Ghali's history began revocation procedures. In February 1993 the Ohio Medical Board won an appeal upholding Ghali's license revocation. In addition to Ghali's sexual conduct he was involved in the death of at least one woman from an abortion procedure in Florida. Kentucky Medical Licensing Board case #190, State Medical Board of Ohio vs. Ghali's, Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services inspection reports, 1989, The Miami Herald Tropic Magazine September 17, 1989.


Dr. Ronald Tauber had his Florida medical license suspended following the abortion related death of Gloria Small. In 1985 after moving to Michigan Tauber's License to practice osteopathic medicine in that state was revoked following his conviction of First Degree criminal sexual assault, and second degree criminal sexual conduct. In the case of People vs. Ronald Tauber (Michigan Case # 80-46749-FY) the doctor was convicted after the state proved he had forcibly transported a six year old girl in his car against her will. Tauber admitted exposing himself to the girl and placing her hand on his penis. He also lifted the child's undergarment to expose her vulva. Tauber released the girl when she began to cry. Tauber was also cited for masturbating in his car outside a high school where young girls were exiting. Tauber was released from prison on January 3, 1990 and his parole ended on August 15, 1991. Tauber was licensed to practice by the state of New York in August of 1992 Michigan Medical Board case #82-202 and California Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners case # 90-6 and OAH # N-37351.


Dr. Chris Simpoulous of the American Women's Clinic in Norfolk, VA was accused of scheduling dozens of women for abortions who were not pregnant. Simpoulous was arrested in July of 1984 following an attempted abortion on an undercover police woman who was not pregnant. New York Times 7/28/84.


In April of 1992, Dr. Larry Thompson's Nevada medical license was revoked. The Board of Medical Examiners of Nevada determined that while performing an abortion at The Women's Place in North Las Vegas, Dr. Thompson lacerated the uterus of his patient. The board said Thompson failed to monitor the woman's condition adequately, and the clinic did not have adequate medical equipment. As a result of the laceration and inadequate care that followed the woman died. Dr. Thompson also failed to recognize the cause of the patients death. Nevada Board of Medical Examiners case # 8289.


In February of 1993, Dr. Abu Hayat was convicted of performing an illegal third trimester abortion in which he ripped the child's arm from its body in the abortion attempt. The child was later born alive and has recovered with just one arm. In addition to the above occurrence Dr. Hayat, (an individual member of the National Abortion Federation) was cited by the Medical Board for refusing to complete an abortion on a patient after he demanded an additional payment of $500. The woman left the clinic bleeding and with an incomplete abortion when she told Hayat she could not pay the extra $500. New York Times 2/23/93, New York Department of Health and Professional Conduct, and New York Times 1/22/91.


In January 1993 police arrested the owner of Clinica Feminina de la Cominidad an abortion clinic in Orange County, CA after the suspicious death of a patient at the clinic. News reports alleged Alicia Ruiz Hanna a non-physician performed numerous abortions at the clinic. The body of one of the clinic patients was found outside in the parking lot. Clinic employees have stated that the patient, Angela Sanchez suffered complications and Ruiz refused to call for help and would not allow her employees to call either. The Orange County Register August 24, 1993.


Abortion doctor David Benjamin (A.K.A. Elysa Bonrouhi) was implicated in charges of negligent homicide and tampering with physical evidence following the death of Guadalupe Negron. Police reports said that Negron was bleeding profusely and complaining of pain following her 2nd trimester abortion at the Metro Women's Clinic in Corona, Queens New York. Benjamin ordered the patient to be cleaned up and began an abortion on another patient. Benjamin delayed calling an ambulance to transport Ms. Negron and attempted emergency treatment in such a negligent manner that Ms. Negron was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival at a local hospital. Associated Press 8/12/93 and New York Times 7/17/93.


If these stories horrify you, they should. Abortion is one of the most unregulated businesses in this country. Minors can walk into the hands of unqualified physicians with questionable and even criminal backgrounds.

The incidents outlined above are just a few incidents involving women and their abortion experiences. Many women never report their negative abortion experiences because of the fear that someone may find out they had an abortion. We have other anecdotal information and more court documents from hundreds of women. The abortion business continues to makes no effort to clean up it's act.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Electro seems to be one of the "head in the sand" folks that tolerate malpractice and abuse as long as it doesn't upset HER set of values....
My first born was delivered by a OB/Gyn that was called in from a night out and not until after delivery when his mask was off did several of us detect his having been drinking. Only a bigot would pin this type of activity to the "EVIL" ones doing lawfull abortion procedures. Only a bigot thinks that abortion is a method of birth control being used by 'druggies'. Just as prohibition didn't work, doing away with roe/wade will not serve to end abortions. Both my grandmother and mother were RNs and my sister is a nurse-practitioner in ob/gyn, and believe me they are personally against abortion but they all are definately pro roe/wade......show a little compassion if it's within your person.

11:58 AM  

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Friday, January 21, 2005

 Krugman on Bush's SocSec plan

Paul Krugman sums up the working of the Chimperor's plan to gut Social Security:
President Bush is like a financial adviser who tells you that at the rate you're going, you won't be able to afford retirement - but that you shouldn't do anything mundane like trying to save more. Instead, you should take out a huge loan, put the money in a mutual fund run by his friends (with management fees to be determined later) and place your faith in capital gains.

That, once you cut through all the fine phrases about an "ownership society," is how the Bush privatization plan works.


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 Conservatives dominate inaugural news coverage

According to Media Matters, the coverage of the inaugural was far from balanced:
Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Republican and conservative guests and commentators outnumbered Democrats and progressives 19 to 7 on FOX, 10 to 1 on CNN (not including a Republican-skewed panel featuring Ohio voters), and 13 to 2 on MSNBC. Moreover, the rare Democrat or progressive guest usually appeared opposite conservatives, whereas most Republican and conservative guests and commentators appeared solo or alongside fellow conservatives.

As Eric Alterman explains:

In a careful 1999 study published in the academic journal Communications Research, four scholars examined the use of the "liberal media" argument and discovered a fourfold increase in the number of Americans telling pollsters that they discerned a liberal bias in their news. But a review of the media's actual ideological content, collected and coded over a twelve-year period, offered no corroboration whatever for this view. The obvious conclusion: News consumers were responding to "increasing news coverage of liberal bias media claims, which have been increasingly emanating from Republican Party candidates and officials."

The right is working the refs. And it's working. Much of the public believes a useful but unsupportable myth about the so-called liberal media, and the media themselves have been cowed by conservatives into repeating their nonsensical nostrums virtually nonstop.


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 "Christian" missionaries refuse tsunami aid to nonbelievers

Rage and fury has gripped the tsunami-hit tiny Hindu village of Samanthapettai after a group of "Christian" missionaries refused them aid for not agreeing to follow their religion.

Like the song says, "And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love."


Blogger Electro said...

This part of the story intriques me...

"Many NGOs (volunteer groups) are extending help to us but there in our village the NGO, which was till now helping us is now asking us to follow the Christian religion. We are staunch followers of Hindu religion and refused their request. And after that these people with their aid materials are leaving the village without distributing that to us," Rajni Kumar, a villager said.

Oh yeah it was alegedly refused.

Ofcourse the missionary people will ask them to follow their religion. I don't think these people were not distributing the food items any longer due to their refusal to follow but my quess is just maybe there were also others who needed help and they were trying to help everyone. Have you ever heard just one side of the story and found it to be accurate? I saw the word nun in this story, I think we have all heard of Mother Theresa.

8:13 AM  

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 Certitude leads to violence

The lesson [Oliver Wendell] Holmes took from the war can be put in a sentence. It is that certitude leads to violence. This is a proposition that has an easy application and a difficult one. The easy application is to ideologues, dogmatists, and bullies--people who think that their rightness justifies them in imposing on anyone who does not happen to subscribe to their particular ideology, dogma, or notion of turf. If the conviction of rightness is powerful enough, resistance to it will be met, sooner or later, by force. There are people like this in every sphere of life, and it is natural to feel that the world would be a better places without them.

-- Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America (Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for History)

Sounds like Holmes was thinking of modern-day reTHUGlican fundies.


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 9/11 ten years later

This is a chilling address given by terrorism expert Richard Clarke on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, September 11, 2011. He provides a frightening picture of a country still at war in 2011:
On December 2, 2005, the Mall of the States became a victim of a low-tech terrorist attack. In the preceding years malls in Israel, Finland, and the Philippines had been attacked; so far, American malls had been spared. As security professionals knew, this was partly luck; such targets are difficult to protect. In June of 2004, after learning of intelligence reports indicating that the Madrid train bombers had originally planned to strike a suburban shopping area, Charles Schumer, a Democratic senator from New York, called for increased funding to secure U.S. shopping centers and malls. Congress chose instead to focus on defending other targets against more-sophisticated terrorist acts.

The 4.2-million-square-foot mall, located in Minnesota, was globally recognized as the largest entertainment and retail complex in America, welcoming more than 42 million visitors each year, or 117,000 a day. On this day neither the 160 security cameras surveying the mall nor the 150 safety officers guarding it were able to detect, deter, or defend against the terrorists. Four men, disguised as private mall-security officers and armed with TEC-9 submachine guns, street-sweeper 12-gauge shotguns, and dynamite, entered the mall at two points and began executing shoppers at will....

At the same moment, at the Tower Place, in Chicago; the Crystal Place, in Dallas; the Rappamassis Mall, in Virginia; and the Beverly Forest Mall, in Los Angeles, the scene was much the same: four shooters and hundreds of dead shoppers. America's holiday mall shopping effectively ended that day, as customers retreated to the safety of online retail. read more...


Blogger Dave S. said...

Let's surrender immediately and convert.

7:44 AM  

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 SpongeBob is gay

In a hilarious example of life imitating art, "Christian" groups are turning their attention to a new target: the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. Much as Jerry Falwell once targeted the Teletubbie "Tinky Winky" for assassination, Dr. James C. Dobson has SpongeBob in his sights.

Here's the art, from two years ago; and yes, it is satire:
"From what we've found... is that we have what appears to be a little yellow sponge that talks like a pervert. When you turn it upside down, there are two unmistakable testicles and a semi-erect penis hanging from its face. Thank Jesus that children are not watching this program standing on their heads, or we'd all be in trouble."

At a black-tie dinner for members of Congress and political allies to celebrate the election results, Dobson said that

...SpongeBob's creators had enlisted him in a "pro-homosexual video,"... The makers of the video, he said, planned to mail it to thousands of elementary schools to promote a "tolerance pledge" that includes tolerance for differences of "sexual identity."... "We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids," he said. "It is a classic bait and switch."

Fucking nutcase.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

u suck my dick spongebob is ausome u christians r weird and he is not a pervert he is not brain washing us he is a loveable person that we all love and care for...
deal with it.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

u guys r a fuckin nutcase not spongebob

6:33 PM  

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 Global poll: Bush has made world more dangerous

A new BBC poll of 22,000 people from 21 countries showed 58% believed Bush's re-election made the world more dangerous. Only three countries -- India, the Philippines and Poland -- thought the world was safer. Bush got his lowest rating (just 82% opposed) from Turkey, the only Muslim democracy in the Middle East.

Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan, which carried out the poll, said "Our research makes very clear that the re-election of President Bush has further isolated America from the world."


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 Can Dean help win red states?

Scott Maddox, the Florida Democratic chairman, thinks so:
"The only knock against Howard Dean is that he's seen as too liberal," Mr. Maddox said. "I'm a gun-owning pickup-truck driver and I have a bulldog named Lockjaw. I am a Southern chairman of a Southern state, and I am perfectly comfortable with Howard Dean as D.N.C. chair."

"What our party needs right now is energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to do things differently," he said. "I think Howard Dean brings all three of those things to the party."

You know the country has become radicalized when Dean, a pro-gun fiscal conservative, is perceived as "liberal".


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Thursday, January 20, 2005

 Inaugural images

Click for larger images:

Not everyone was thrilled:

Police violently break up a peaceful protest:

Police indiscriminately use pepper spray to disperse a legal protest:

A snowball melts off Cheney's limo.

Jenna loves Satan (maybe that's why she can't get a job?):

Four moron years!

"Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty."
-- G.W. Bush, 01-20-2005

My thoughts exactly:


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 In honor of the inaugural


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 The Eiffel Tower is a portal to hell!

Gotta love the Weekly World News:
For generations, Parisians have known that the Eiffel Tower is a portal to hell, and have left unsuspecting tourists prey to Satan's sinister minions who enter our world through a secret trap door under the tower. "People frequently say they leave the tower changed, and they do. The demons sometimes take people back down with them, but more often they suck their souls and leave the bodies to climb back down in a daze and carry out their evil missions," says Jacques Boudreau, visibly shuddering.


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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

 Why you can't decide scientific questions using religion

"History aside, the almost universal opinion that one's own religious convictions are the reasoned outcome of a dispassionate evaluation of all the major alternatives is almost demonstrably false for humanity in general. If that really were the genesis of most people's convictions, then one would expect the major faiths to be distributed more or less randomly or evenly over the globe. But in fact they show a very strong tendency to cluster...which illustrates what we all suspected anyway: that social forces are the primary determinants of religious belief for people in general. To decide scientific questions by appeal to religious orthodoxy would therefore be to put social forces in place of empirical evidence..."

-- Paul Churchland, Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind


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 There is no Social Security crisis

Social Security is America's promise that those who work hard and play by the rules will retire with dignity. Even the most pessimistic of economists agree it will remain solvent for decades. There is no crisis.


Blogger Electro said...

That's Funny because Clinton and Gore were always talking about how SS needed to be fixed. And have you seen the rate that people get at retirement from SS you can't quite retire on it so what is the point? Another thing didn't the Nazi's use the letters SS?

6:39 PM  

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

 Episcopal church supports euthanasia

The Church of England has taken a bold step towards backing euthanasia of terminally ill patients:
Canon Professor Robin Gill, a chief adviser to Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said people should not be prosecuted for helping dying relatives who are in pain end their lives....

"There is a very strong compassionate case for voluntary euthanasia," Gill told The Observer . "In certain cases, such as that which involved Diane Pretty [the woman who was terminally ill with motor neurone disease and who campaigned for the right to be helped to die], there is an overwhelming case for it."

This position conforms to what most humanists -- myself included -- support. Humanist concern for quality of life and respect for personal autonomy lead to the view that in many circumstances voluntary euthanasia is the morally right course under the proper circumstances, including extreme pain and suffering; helplessness and loss of personal dignity; and permanent loss of those things which have made life worth living.

To postpone the inevitable with no intervening benefit is not a moral act. Indeed, there is no rational moral distinction at all between allowing someone to die and actively assisting them to die in these circumstances: the intention and the outcome (the death of the patient) are the same in both cases, but the more active means is probably the more compassionate one.

Some religious people maintain that there is a moral distinction between acts which cause death (active euthanasia) and omissions which cause death (passive euthanasia), only the second being morally permissible. I think they've got it the wrong way round, because the first is quicker and thus kinder for everyone involved, though both are probably painless for the patient.


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 The 'Bush Rule of Journalism'

Check out what veteran reporter Robert Parry calls The Bush Rule of Journalism:
“Don’t take on the Bushes” is becoming an unwritten rule in American journalism. Reporters can make mistakes in covering other politicians and suffer little or no consequence, but a false step when doing a critical piece on the Bushes is a career killer.

So my question is why isn't failure within his own administration considered a fireable offense?


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 34 Bush administration scandals

Salon has a very brief summary of each one:
1. Memogate: The Senate Computer Theft
2. Doctor Detroit: The DOJ's Bungled Terrorism Case
3. Dark Matter: The Energy Task Force
4. The Indian Gaming Scandal
5. Halliburton's No-Bid Bonanza
6. Halliburton: Pumping Up Prices
7. Halliburton's Vanishing Iraq Money
8. The Halliburton Bribe-apalooza
9. Halliburton: One Fine Company
10. Halliburton's Iran End Run
11. Money Order: Afghanistan's Missing $700 Million Turns Up in Iraq
12. Iraq: More Loose Change
13. The Pentagon-Israel Spy Case
14. Gone to Taiwan
15. Wiretapping the United Nations
16. The Boeing Boondoggle
17. The Medicare Bribe Scandal
18. Tom DeLay's PAC Problems
19. Tom DeLay's FAA: Following Americans Anywhere
20. In the Rough: Tom DeLay's Golf Fundraiser
21. Busy, Busy, Busy in New Hampshire
22. The Medicare Money Scandal
23. The Bogus Medicare "Video News Release"
24. Pundits on the Payroll: The Armstrong Williams Case
25. Ground Zero's Unsafe Air
26. John Ashcroft's Illegal Campaign Contributions
27. Intel Inside ... The White House
28. Duck! Antonin Scalia's Legal Conflicts
29. AWOL
30. Iraq: The Case for War
31. Niger Forgeries: Whodunit?
32. In Plame Sight
33. Abu Ghraib
34. Guantánamo Bay Torture?

Could these scandals account for the findings of the latest Annenberg poll?

  • Only 43% of Americans approve of the President's handling of the economy.

  • Only 42% approve of his handling of Iraq.

  • Only 40% think it was worth going to war over, while 54% say it wasn't.

  • Only 32% think Bush has a clear plan for what bringing Iraq to a conclusion.

  • Only 29% think the Iraq election will produce a stable government.

  • 67% agree with this statement: "Democracy and freedom in Iraq are important, but the war has cost the United States too much in lives and money already to stay much longer."

  • For the first time, as many people disapprove of Bush's handling of the terrorism issue as approve (48% - 48%).

  • 65% responded "No" to this statement: "Do you think that George W. Bush's victory in November means that the American people support his ideas about changing Social Security, or don't you think it means that?"


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Monday, January 17, 2005

 Atheists in foxholes

Be careful you red-state mouth breathers! Next time you salute a veteran, you might be saluting an atheist!
There ARE in fact many “Atheists in foxholes” who have served and are serving our country proudly, in all branches of the armed forces. In fact, nearly thirty million Americans do not profess a religious belief. This group includes many people who describe themselves as Atheists, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists or with other appellations.

Isn’t it time that we acknowledged and saluted them?


Blogger Electro said...

I still have my dog tags. it has the word "none" stamped on it. I keep it to remind me of my youthful ignorance. By the way noone saluted me I was enlisted.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

Well I went on to read about the "event", and you have got to be kidding me. Most people who I knew in the military were very open about their belief or lack of it. Atheist military members do not feel discriminated against nor would they like to have "special" recognition. The person who came up with this inane idea could not have been in the military. The military is a family like any other family, and you like and dislike people for different reasons but to suggest that non-beleivers feel some how left out is asinine. This is just a way that some people have decided they will segregate and divide and give "special" attention to those in the military that think are like them. I wonder what you would say about a march called "Christians in Foxholes"? Military people don't separate themselves that way, they have one objective, to serve their country and ALL its people. By the way sailors and airmen would not like to be lumped in with the "foxhole" bunch.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I looked at the site, too, and it looks pretty hastily thrown together--no credible associations listed. I can't tell whether such a movement exists and don't really think of atheists as being activists for that aspect of their lives. I wonder if it is a reaction to this odd gem from Bush the other day in the Washington Times:

"'I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person,' Mr. Bush said. 'I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is.'"

I guess I never thought anyone took the "no atheists in foxholes" cliche seriously. I always thought of it as a metaphor for being scared shitless, so to speak.

10:28 PM  
Blogger MediumDave said...

My brother, who's a SeaBee, is very non-religious. But as some kind of joke, the Navy put RC on his dog tags, for Roman Catholic, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

12:59 PM  

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Friday, January 14, 2005

 Earth is getting darker and hotter

Scientists examining five decades of sunlight measurements have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface has been gradually falling. The cause is air pollution, but paradoxically, this "global dimming" may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought:
[I]t now appears the warming from greenhouse gases has been offset by a strong cooling effect from dimming - in effect two of our pollutants have been cancelling each other out.

This means that the climate may in fact be more sensitive to the greenhouse effect than previously thought.

If so, then this is bad news, according to Dr Peter Cox, one of the world's leading climate modellers.

As things stand, CO2 levels are projected to rise strongly over coming decades, whereas there are encouraging signs that particle pollution is at last being brought under control.

"We're going to be in a situation unless we act where the cooling pollutant is dropping off while the warming pollutant is going up.

"That means we'll get reducing cooling and increased heating at the same time and that's a problem for us," says Dr Cox.

Even the most pessimistic forecasts of global warming may now have to be drastically revised upwards.

That means a temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius by 2100 could be on the cards, giving the UK a climate like that of North Africa, and rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.


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Thursday, January 13, 2005

 Rolling back theocracy

A federal judge today ordered the removal of stickers placed in high school biology textbooks that call evolution "a theory, not a fact," saying they were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

Six parents of students and the American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the stickers in court, arguing they violated the constitutional separation of church and state: "The Cobb County school board is doing more than accommodating religion," Manely, the attorney for the parents, argued during the trial. "They are promoting religious dogma to all students."


Blogger Electro said...

I think Government should get out of the education business anyway. They do a crappy job of it, if your going to do someting poorly just don't do it. And for those who think they can make public schools teach some type of religion, I think they are nuts. Why would you want public schools to teach religion? They can't even teach kids to read or do math properly. If you want your kids to get a good quality religion based education pay for it and stop whining. Will someone just shut them up?

On a side note I like the little car sticker thing on the site, I hate those stupid ass things and they are selling them everywhere to every fool who thinks the war is great. They shouldn't read "Proud to be American" they should read "lucky to be American". I put up with them 'cuz everyone has to read my Pro-life bumperstickers.

8:21 PM  

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

 Non-religious join forces to battle zealots

People who don't believe in the supernatural are joining forces to ensure their rights don't get trampled by the Bush Cartel's stampede of religious zeal. The Humanist News Network reports:
  • Membership in the Washington-based American Humanist Association has jumped 5 percent since the election and 15 percent since January to reach the 7,000 mark.

  • The Secular Coalition for America has grown its lobbying fund from $8,000 a year ago to $50,000 today. At $100,000, the group intends to hire a lobbyist and possibly an administrative staffer.

  • At the Los Angeles-based Atheist Alliance International, donations in November 2004 outpaced those of the prior three months put together as donors, apparently troubled by President Bush's re-election, began giving in four- and five-figure amounts.

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     They are coming for you

    That we are even considering Alberto "Abu Ghraib" Gonzales for the highest law enforcement position in the land is terrifying. Where is the America I was raised to believe in?

    With apologies to Martin Niemoeller:
    First they came for the terrorists, and I did not speak out --
    because I was not a terrorist;

    Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out --
    because I was not a Muslim;

    Then they came for the atheists, and I did not speak out --
    because I was not an atheist;

    Then they came for the Democrats, and I did not speak out --
    because I was not a Democrat;

    Then they came for me --
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.


    Blogger Dave S. said...

    Where is the America I was raised to believe in?

    It's right here more than ever, and it's beautiful.

    11:20 AM  
    Blogger Nanovirus said...

    Gee, you're right!

    3:15 PM  

    Post a Comment

     Iraq WMD hunt ends

    In case you missed it, the White House announced today that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has quietly concluded. No evidence of the banned weapons has been found.

    1,200 military and intelligence specialists and support staff spent nearly two years searching military installations, factories and laboratories whose equipment and products might be converted quickly to making weapons. They found nothing.


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     How to prepare your kid to join a cult

    Author and pastor Reb Bradley wrote a book that uses biblical wisdom [sic] as its basis. Entitled simply "Child Training Tips," Bradley warns against the "child-run" home, where decisions are made or influenced by the children. To re-establish control of the home, he writes, parents must:
    1. Keep your objective in mind – subjection of their will
    2. Require quick obedience
    3. Teach your children to obey without being told "why."

    I am a father, and I find this to be literally sickening. The last thing I would ever do to my four wonderful kids is crush their free will, and train them to obey (quickly), and not think for themselves. WTF is this asshole thinking? Sir, are your children mere automatons?

    A bit of advice to new parents from a veteran parent: if you want to maximize the chance that your child will fall prey to a cult, teach them like Bradley. When your children are older, and all they know how to do is obey, they will: to the first "leader" that comes along. David Koresh and Jim Jones and their ilk do not find their recruits among critical thinkers, be they atheists, scientists, or even Christian humanists.

    You must teach children how to think for themselves. Yes, fundies, this will increase the chance that they may reject your religion. So what? What are you afraid of? That your beliefs will not stand up to scrutiny? If so... perhaps your beliefs are wrong.


    Blogger wjoelbrooks said...

    Unfortunately, it seems like Americans have, for generations, been subjected to this sort of child-raising philosophy. How else can we account for the unswerving, unquestioning, fanatical loyalty to a presidential administration that is obviously corrupt and operating without America’s best interests in mind? People in America no longer learn to think critically, in part because the Christian Right has demonized free, rational thought as leading to evil. The best way to keep a culture docile and complacent is to unconsciously convince them that they can’t think for themselves. This is what the majority of Christianity (and now the Christian Right) has always done.

    I too am a father. I think the best we can do for our children is to foster in them their own abilities to think critically. A healthy dose of skepticism is a wonderful thing; many will try to tell you that skepticism leads to an unhealthy, pessimistic attitude, but I disagree. I suggest that instead, it leads to a free mind that can more fully and completely appreciate the things we should really value—liberty, freedom, compassion, etc. We should teach our children to question everything. Unwavering faith in anything is ridiculous and downright dangerous.

    Remember that Benjamin Franklin said, “Distrust and caution are the parents of security.”

    2:00 PM  
    Blogger Angie said...

    Firstly I would like to respond to the comment above, 51% of those that voted do fall under that category. But please don't group those of us that are able to think with that group. Not ALL americans fall are as you state Joel.

    As to the post, I have two boys myself, the oldest being 13, and I have always taught them to think for themselves. And any decision being made, they are to be included. After all, the decisions made will impact their lives as well. And they should have a voice and be heard.

    My boys know to question and always ask why. I want them to be prepared for life. And only way to understand is by questioning.

    Too bad so many don't see that.

    2:14 PM  
    Blogger wjoelbrooks said...

    I stand mildly corrected. Admittedly, I should not have used the phrases "Americans . . ." or "All Americans . . . ." What I should have written is "Many Americans . . ." or perhaps "An uncomfortably large portion of Americans . . ." or even "The Christian Right in America . . . ."

    I know that not every American is a proto-fascist, neo-conservative, right-wing, religion-wielding nut job, but unfortunately, many are.

    11:03 AM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    Are you all the parents of those rotten brats in the store that knock things down and never listen to their parents? I detest those parents. When I tell my boys no they never ask why, I hope they will always ask why they are here and learn all they can to better themselves. But they way you talk here it seems to me that you are all those nut job "disipline is bad" people.

    11:36 AM  
    Blogger Nanovirus said...

    I hate those brats, too!

    I hope you are not conflating "discipline" with physical violence: we certainly employ the former; never the latter. The result? My wife and I regularly receive compliments on how well-behaved our children are. Really. A LOT.

    Children should be taught to think for themselves. If you succeed in that, good behavior will follow naturally. I seek to raise good persons, not obedient automatons. That is a more difficult task that Bradley lays out, but the extra effort is worth it.

    Try this: when you give your boys an order and one asks "why?" instead of slapping him upside the head, or tieing him up and hitting him with a belt (or whatever you do...) explain yourself to him respectfully. I will bet you the next time you find yourselves in a similar situation your son will not need to ask why.

    2:23 PM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    Well you have me laughing. I don't smack them upside the head. My boys know when I say no that I have good reason. They learned that from me, I talk with them all the time. They don't ask me why when I say no because they know there is no hope in changing my mind. But when I talk about good disipline it doesn't need to be physical, but the ocasional threat of it sure gets them to think I just might do what I said since I always do. A good example I give parents who ask me how I managed to raise three such well behaved, well mannered, respectful boys is this. You explain to them at an early age that what you tell them is for their own good, set rules and give the consequences to those rules if they are broken, and ALWAYS follow through. I once told my boys if they are playing out in the neighborhood in the afternoon and I call them for dinner that I will call three times, if they don't show and I have to look for them they go to bed without dinner when I find them. I told them if you think you are outside of earshot of my voice then you come in and tell me where you are. One day they were out and only one heard me, the other two were asked when I found them down the street a little too far to hear me, "what does this mean?" I received the answer to the question exactly as I told them, they went home changed into bed clothes and went to bed without me saying another word. And that was the last time they received that punishment it was four years ago.

    I will add that I have been raising these boys on my own with no help from their mom and little help from others for 8 years now. She left when my youngest was 3 months old and we haven't seen her since. Occasionally a child needs a good "kick in the ass" so to speak, most often they don't if a parent doesn't need one theirself.

    I did joke one time after church with a woman who was pregnate when she asked me "How do you raise such well behaved boys? I am having my first child." I looked at her and said straight faced, "Daily beatings." She didn't know me very well and her face almost went pail. I had to appologize and through my laughter and I told her, "It is simply a matter of being very patient"

    7:48 PM  

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     Armstrong Williams criticized Bush education plan before he was paid to defend it

    In 2001, Armstrong Williams criticized aspect of plan he was later paid to promote:
    In an attempt to defend his decision to accept $240,000 from the Bush administration in return for promoting the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education law, Armstrong Williams has claimed that he always supported the policy. But in 2001, he strongly criticized the administration's decision to drop private school vouchers from NCLB, even touting this criticism on television and going so far as to write in his nationally syndicated column that by dropping the voucher provision, Bush had "scooped out" the legislation's "soul."...

    According to a Media Matters search, Williams mentioned No Child Left Behind in only one article prior to accepting the money to promote the law in December 2003 -- and specifically praised NCLB in at least five columns since....

    D'Oh! Hannity, Limbaugh, and every other conservative pundit should be asked a simple question: "Are you now taking, or have you ever taken, money from the administration for a favorable op-ed piece?"


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     AIDS cure via gene therapy?

    According to the BBC, the National Institute for Medical Research has isolated a gene in rhesus monkeys that makes them immune to HIV:
    Scientists say... [t]hey have pinpointed crucial differences in a gene found in rhesus monkeys that can prevent HIV infection, and its human counterpart, that cannot.

    It appears that only a single change to the human gene is needed to enable it to block HIV infection.

    The scientists say their work indicates that HIV would not have become established in the human population if mankind carried the same version of the gene found in rhesus monkeys.


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    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

     "All Unitarians or Jews who don’t 'accept' Jesus can’t get a passport"

    This is a good read from November that somehow slipped by me:
    Bush himself is neither an evangelical nor a fundamentalist Christian. Take it from someone who knows. A good and decent family-values fundamentalist Christian would not allow his daughters to drink all night with Secret Service agents, appear in public in tight pants with their boobs hanging out, hair uncombed, and allow gays to work for him. A good and decent family-values evangelical Christian would not allow his wife to smoke and drink (Laura professes to taking sneak smokes and to enjoying Margaritas with her friends). Bush’s “Christianity,” like all of Bush, is a fraud, a fake, a mask, a political tool. He is no more a Christian than my pet rock. (Ashcroft, now there is a Christian for you. Not my type of Christian, mind you, but at least the man walks the walk. He covers bare breasts on statues with drapes. Bush’s daughters let theirs hang out.)...

    Before [November 2], I never thought we had evil in the White House. Those of you who hated Nixon, Johnson, and Clinton will look more kindly on them when you watch a puppet for Ralph Reed, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson try to destroy your life. In a couple of years, we will all be longing for the moderation of a Rehnquist Supreme Court. You think weapons of mass destruction was a lie? Wait until you hear the lies that will be told in the name of religion. Wait until Bush tells you that God told him that all Unitarians or Jews who don’t “accept” Jesus can’t get a passport. Wait until he tells you that AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and more are God’s way of punishing you for sins past. Wait until he tells you that if God meant for you to have health insurance he would have given you a job to pay for it. I know this will come to pass because this is what they believe. This is what they say. This is what they do.


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     Howard Dean announces candidacy

    Howard Dean announces his candidacy:
    Today, I'm announcing my candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, and I am asking for your vote....

    That word -- 'values' -- has lately become a codeword for appeasement of the right-wing fringe. But when political calculations make us soften our opposition to bigotry, or sign on to policies that add to the burden of ordinary Americans, we have abandoned our true values.

    We cannot let that happen. And we cannot just mouth the words. Our party must speak plainly and our agenda must clearly reflect the socially progressive, fiscally responsible values that bring our party -- and the vast majority of Americans -- together.

    Go Howard go!


    Blogger Dave S. said...

    If you want to see more Red states, vote for Howie.

    Actually, he is probably more moderate than his candidacy for President, so he might not kill off the Democrats. And he would be fun to have around.

    11:24 AM  

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     Tsunami an inaugural downer

    Greg Palast writes about compassionate conservative in action:
    In response to news of the death of over one hundred thousand Asians drowned by the December tsunami, Americans swiftly raised $18 million towards the ultimate goal of $40 million ... to pay for the several lavish parties that will follow George Bush's inauguration on January 20....

    The privately-funded inaugural celebration organization had considered inviting a family of survivors of the tsunami as a gesture of sympathy, but the idea was rejected, said Weinot, as "kind of a downer." She noted, however, that leftover food will be donated to Washington area soup kitchens.

    Meanwhile, Dan Thomasson asks some important ethical questions about the whole affair:

    Wouldn't it have been appropriate for the president to declare a moratorium on the usual outpouring of merriment surrounding his swearing-in? Wouldn't it have been far more seemly to ask that money raised for that purpose be added to the huge amount already donated to tsunami relief efforts? What would have been wrong with just a simple inauguration in the Capitol Rotunda followed by a compassionate speech and a few fireworks?


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    Monday, January 10, 2005

     Bush vs. Rather


    Post a Comment

     A question for every conservative pundit

    Q. What is ten inches long and hangs between W's legs?
    A. Sean Hannity's necktie.

    In light of the recent payola pundit case, Hannity, Limbaugh, and every other conservative pundit should be asked a simple question: "Are you now taking, or have you ever taken, money from the administration for a favorable op-ed piece?"


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     The details of Bush's $10,000 tsunami charity gift

    In response to the recent cataclysmic earthquake and tidal waves in South Asia, President and Mrs. Bush are taking aggressive steps to serve as the very personifications of Christian altruism.


    Post a Comment

     I am a Nerd King God!

    Bow before me!

    I am nerdier than 97% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


    Blogger Director Mitch said...

    I just took the quiz and am a low-rank nerd, and to get that high a score, you have to be pretty hard core.

    11:10 PM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    I took it twice, I scored a 98 when trying to get a high nerd score, and a seven when I did it honestly. guess I have a life after all.

    6:30 AM  

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    Friday, January 07, 2005

     The push to expand the 2nd Amendment

    "This is a Justice Department with a blatantly political agenda which sees its task as translating right-wing ideology into proposed constitutional law."

    That is the opinion of Robert Post, a constitutional-law professor at Yale Law School, on the Bush Cartel's 109-page memorandum aiming to prove that the Second Amendment grants individuals nearly unrestricted access to firearms.

    The memorandum, requested by Attorney General John Ashcroft, was completed in August but made public only last month:
    [T]he memorandum represents the administration's latest legal salvo to overturn judicial interpretations that have prevailed since the Supreme Court last spoke on the Second Amendment, in 1939. Although scholars long have noted the ambiguity of the 27-word amendment, courts generally have interpreted the right to "keep and bear arms" as applying not to individuals but rather to the "well-regulated militia" maintained by each state.

    Agree? Disagree?


    Blogger Electro said...

    I think it is important to read the document in the order it was written, and in order to maintain a well regulated militia was the reason to not infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms. With that said, I don't think the average person needs to have an AK47 or AR15, that is being handled pretty well by the state now. But if you want it to continue to be a free state, and you fear the state may take your rights away, you may be required to fight for them, as the founders were. You cannot equate the word people in the document to mean state unless you do it throughout the document and it just doesn't hold water. I have to come down on the side of individuals to own fire arms (some regulation). It's logical and I am libertarian and I prefer freedom. Some here like to point out what Hitler did, one of the first things was to have everyone register their firearms, step two...take them away, we all know step three.

    6:22 PM  
    Blogger Barbara said...

    Here Electro and I agree, you have to look at the order of phrases in the sentence, and at which ones are subordinate. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Everything before "the right of the people" is a subordinate idea, an example, if you will. The well-regulated Militia can easily be interpreted as a group that can be called together at the last minute, one made up of citizens, who would be the "people" granted the right to keep and bear arms. It would be difficult to turn this sentence into meaning a state militia, but the controversy often turns on the idea of "well-regulated." I also agree that it does not have to include such firearms as communities find unacceptable, like assault weapons. Did you ever shoot an assoult weapon? I have and they are cheaply constructed and inaccurate--not at all for hunting, for example.

    [I am an English professor, but won't parse the sentence as that has been done for centuries. Pardon my casual references to how the sentence is constructed.]

    On the ideology of the Bush political agenda, though, I do agree with the post that there is a disturbing sense that Bush, et al is aiming to turn the Constitution into its own Ten Commanments. And I thought the Reagan years would be hard to reverse--we still hadn't accomplished that and here we go again--farther.

    6:54 AM  
    Blogger Barbara said...

    And let me add here, as a liberal/radical, feminist, Democrat, that when there comes that knock on the door in the middle of the night, a few of us might do well to have a few guns. I dont' want to see the day when the only people with guns are right-wing Republicans. Is that chilling? Good.

    6:58 AM  

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     Paul Krugman's bad novel

    Really really great op-ed today by Paul Krugman:
    In my bad novel, a famous moralist who demanded national outrage over an affair and writes best-selling books about virtue will turn out to be hiding an expensive gambling habit. A talk radio host who advocates harsh penalties for drug violators will turn out to be hiding his own drug addiction.

    In my bad novel, crusaders for moral values will be driven by strange obsessions. One senator's diatribe against gay marriage will link it to "man on dog" sex. Another will rant about the dangers of lesbians in high school bathrooms.

    In my bad novel the administration will use the slogan "support the troops" to suppress criticism of its war policy. But it will ignore repeated complaints that the troops lack armor....

    Last but not least, in my bad novel the president, who portrays himself as the defender of good against evil, will preside over the widespread use of torture.

    How did we find ourselves living in a bad novel?


    Blogger phil said...

    If Mr. Krugman's book could have been worse, I suppose it would have to come up with some crazy conspiracy about a president who bankrupted a solvent public program and then proceeded to use his bully pulpit to declare the program in crisis. The saviour of our nation would then proceed to redirect funds from the program to "private investment accounts" that in the end only benefit the investor class and eviscerated the original intent of the program. Now that...would be a bad book

    11:22 AM  

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    Thursday, January 06, 2005

     Questions for Gonzales, and one for YOU

    Senator Patrick Leahy's questioning of Gonzales:
    LEAHY: "Does U.S. law allow for torture, in your opinion?"

    GONZALES: "Bush has already said there won't be any torture."

    LEAHY: "That's not what I asked. In your opinion, does U.S. law allow for torture?"

    GONZALES: "That's a hypothetical question that I won't answer."

    LEAHY: "U.S. law. Torture."

    GONZALES: "That involves a lot of complex law that I don't know."

    Did you catch that? He doesn't know the law.

    Two memos written or ordered by Gonzales in his role as the president's chief legal adviser, are at the heart of this questioning. In January 25, 2002, a memo to President Bush from Mr Gonzales asserted:

  • "I note that you have the constitutional authority to make the determination you made on January 18 that the [Geneva Convention] does not apply to al-Qaeda and the Taleban."

  • "...this is a new type of warfare - one not contemplated in 1949 when the [Geneva Convention] was framed - and requires a new approach in our actions towards captured terrorists."

  • "You should be aware that the Legal Adviser to the secretary of state (Colin Powell) has expressed a different view."

  • That the US would continue to be constrained by its commitments to treat detainees humanely, by applicable treaty obligations, by minimum standards of treatment universally recognised by the nations of the world and by applicable military regulations regarding the treatment of detainees.
  • On August 1, 2002, Jay Bybee, an official at the justice department and now an appeals court judge, wrote a 50-page memo at the request of Mr Gonzales. In that memo, Mr Bybee asserted:

  • "Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

  • "Any effort by Congress to regulate the interrogation of battlefield combatants would violate the constitution's sole vesting of the commander-in-chief authority in the president."

  • That if certain interrogation methods "crossed the line" of the US anti-torture laws, soldiers or US officials might defend themselves from prosecution if "the threat of an impending terrorist attack threatens the lives of hundreds if not thousands of American citizens".
  • Josh Marshall asks a good question: "What if Gonzales had had some roughly equivalent position in Argentina or Chile in the late 1970s? Would he have faced subsequent legal vulnerability and/or consequences?"


    Blogger Electro said...

    A good candidate for Moron status!

    7:41 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident....that all men are created equal". That says it all to me. You treat people right, by your nation's standards, not by some other standards. This idea that we should treat non-Americans differently absolutely disgusts me. Let's talk about morals here!

    7:58 PM  

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     Don't forget to 'Turn Your Back On Bush'

    Turn Your Back On Bush


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     The absence of god in the universe

    Keith Cantrell has written a concise explanation of how genuine scientists differ from the creationists/ID folk:
    [T]he most noble aspect of scientific inquiry is that it is self-correcting. In fact, in science skepticism is a virtue. In religion it's a vice. In other words science welcomes opposition, but religion avoids it. Religious institutions condemn those who disagree but science thrives on open debate.

    This illustrates the major difference between scientific evolution and fundamentalist creationism. Creationists don't care about facts. They only want to convince the world that God exists, that the Bible is infallible and that they are right.

    I've believed for a long time that the main philosophical difference between naturalists and supernaturalists is the importance of evidence.

    Imagine that it were possible to prove beyond all doubt that a god really did exist. Scientists, being concerned with empirical evidence, would eventually accept it. Now imagine the reverse: if we proved beyond all doubt that a god did NOT exist, do you think supernaturalists would accept it? Of course not. Evidence (i.e. facts) are simply not as important as belief. This is why "intelligent [sic] design" rings so hollow: it isn't concerned with evidence.


    Blogger Electro said...

    I could pose many questions, but I will only pose one. In Yellowstone National Park you will find many varieties of "pine" trees, one type and forgive me for not knowing off hand which type it is, has two types of cones. The cones at the top of the tree only fall off and and release their seeds in the event of fire. The evolutionist would say that this is a mutatios that occured for the survival of the tree, the creationist would say God designed it that way. My question therefore is: How do you prove one is correct?

    I would like to further explain that I am not a fundalmentalist Christian either by definition or creed.

    7:20 PM  
    Blogger Nanovirus said...

    Scientific knowledge is not about "proving" anything. Perhaps this will help.

    11:34 AM  
    Blogger wjoelbrooks said...

    Science should never be about proof; real, serious scientists don’t use those kinds of terms. Proof implies a finality of knowledge that is simply just not possible. The human quest for knowledge is unending; paradigms shift, values change, and what passes for knowledge in one epoch devolves into the next epoch’s myth. The best science can do is provide reasonable explanations that satisfy us enough to be able to operate in life; our understanding is continually evolving because knowledge is not based on anything universal. Ptolemy “proved” that the earth is at the center of the universe. Later Copernicus “proved” that the sun is at the center of the universe. We now understand that both are incorrect, but both theories still served as proven fact for centuries.

    Science really just tries to keep up with the changing times—and the “times” are beginning to change very quickly. That’s why the death of religion—especially Christianity—is happening so quickly; it is simply unable to change. Most religions contain a chronic, endemic, inherent inability to evolve; they cling to principles, the efficacy of which is passing further and further into the past. People like Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps must struggle (i.e. become increasingly aggressive) in order to keep their religions afloat. But no one can swim against the current forever . . . .

    7:22 PM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    It gladdens me to see here that after you talk about proving God exists or not, you return to the fact that proof in science is not possible. Nor is it possible in religion, I keep seeing posts that say religion does not change, the fact is that it does, in the Church you have peole called theologians and they are constantly at work trying to understand better what God wants from His people. What we don't change (unless you are a protestant) Are what we believe to be the basic Truths. That God is one, that He created all things for Himself, and that He wishes us to take part in His work. He has given us the choice to do that or not. It is understood today that it is possible to be doing for God what He wishes, without knowing of Him personally, therefore salvation is yours as much as the most religious of people. Religion did not understand God this way centeries ago and so it shows "change". That fact is when I ask for proof that evolution is correct I get, "you can't prove it". If that satisfies you and you look at your evidence your way then the same is true for me. I am not going to be able to prove God, I can only look at the evidence I have and use it for me. It doesn't come down to how smart a person is, it comes down to how you look at the world around you. I would only suggest that you not close off any evidence in your search for the reason we are here.

    8:43 AM  
    Blogger wjoelbrooks said...

    If you can convince yourself that you really believe in all that, and still sleep at night, more power to you . . . .

    11:45 AM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    I didn't convince myself of that. I don't have any problem sleeping, and I am sure that we both have the same concerns about people like Pat Robertson. My problems with him are different than yours in that he helps keep you from the truth, and yours is that you find no truth in what he says, I guess that our problem with him is the same.

    9:55 PM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    10:02 PM  

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     Don't torture yourself

    Check out MoDo's latest:
    You know how bad the situation is when the president's choice for attorney general has to formally pledge not to support torture anymore....

    How are you to believe Mr. Gonzales when he says he's through with torture? His mission is clearly to do whatever he thinks Mr. Bush wants.

    All gall is divided into parts, so what's next?

    The Commerce Department nominee promising that giveaways to big business will be done with subtlety?

    The Environmental Protection Agency nominee promising that the toxin content in water will never rise to Yushchenko level?

    It's comforting to start the new year in the hands of a party that cares so much about morals and values.


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     Confessions of an abortion doctor

    What causes a doctor to want to offer abortion services?
    One morning years ago, when I was working as a resident, a nurse brought me in to talk to a pregnant girl. When I walked into the room, there was this child -- an 11-year-old. She had come in for a procedure, and it soon became obvious that she had no understanding of sex -- she didn't really understand that she'd even had it, or that it had any connection to her pregnancy. We literally had to teach this girl about what it means to have sex -- about STDS, abstinence, and pregnancy. I remember thinking: In a world where people don't want kids to learn about these things, how can you not give them the choice to terminate a pregnancy? Even if she had chosen to continue the pregnancy and opt for adoption, what would that have done to her own childhood? How can we not provide a child with any education about sex, then force her to become a parent long before she's ready?

    Humanists respect life and value happiness and personal choice, so they (I include myself here) would likely agree with this physician's rationale. Because humanists take happiness and suffering into consideration, they tend to be more concerned with the quality of life than the right to life, if the two come into conflict. The probable quality of life of the baby, the woman, the father and the rest of the family, the doctors and nurses involved, would all have to be given due weight. There is plenty of room for debate about how much weight each individual should have, but most humanists would probably put the interests of the woman first, since she would have to complete the pregnancy and probably care for the baby, whose happiness would largely depend on hers. She also exists already with other responsibilities and rights and desires which can be taken into account - unlike those of the unborn fetus which cannot be so surely ascertained.


    Blogger Barbara said...

    I like your characterization of our concerns about suffering and quality of life in the whole issue of respect for life. One thing I find objectionable about the right-to-life absolutists, is that they seem to be swayed more by the idea of "hypothetical" children than by the potential realities of those children's lives. Hypothetical children are wanted, loved, nurtured, protected; hypothetical children don't smell or scream or demand what you might not be able to give them. A second thing I find objectionable is the lack of regard for the quality of life of the woman and children who already exist. Finally, if all the right-to-life energy were focused on improving the lives of people who already exist, then something real rather than hypothetical could be accomplished.

    5:03 PM  
    Blogger Nanovirus said...

    I have become increasingly convinced that "pro-life" is a misnomer. "Pro-birth" might be more accurate. After a child is born, the attitude seems to be "screw 'em".

    5:10 PM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    Well I have to ask a question here for those of you who seem so interested in human and personal rights.

    Abortion is legal. Infanticide is illegal. If a woman wishes to terminate her pregnancy at any time before birth, she is said to have "exercised her right" to do so. If she wishes to terminate her child’s life at any time after birth, she is viewed as a killer and prosecuted as such. Why the difference?

    The answer must be that there is a quality or set of qualities (let’s call it "x") that all newborns have and no fetuses have that makes newborns worthy of protection by the law and the fetus unworthy of such protection.

    So, the question is: What is x?

    I will add that I am pro life and have never had the "screw um" attitude nor do any pro life people I know.

    7:38 PM  
    Blogger Nanovirus said...

    For society as a whole, as well as for the children themselves, the it is better if every child is a wanted child. However, abortion is not the best way of avoiding unwanted children, and improved sex education, easily available contraception, and better education and opportunities for young women, can all help to reduce the number of abortions. But as long as abortion is needed as a last resort, most humanists would agree that society should provide safe legal facilities. The alternatives, which would inevitably include illegal abortions, are far worse.

    7:59 PM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    That doesn't exactly answer my question. I understand the view of the Pro choice side, I just see it as a crime to humanity to destroy innocent human life because people don't want to take responsiblility for their actions. For people who are so concerned about the rights of people who may or may not be innocent of horrific crimes against humanity, (and I am one of those people) I would think they would be screaming at the top of their voices to end the atrocity of abortion. Not hiding behind the "It will still happen just not safely." comment. Safely for who? Thats a good question. Have you wondered if maybe the next great human achievement may have come from one of those wonderful aborted children. many of the worlds great discoveries have come from people who had to deal with great hardships. Happiness does not come from avoiding hardship in life. I think it is quite the opposite, I think happiness comes from overcoming hardship and making a difference in the world around you. Just ask yourself what would make you happy today.

    8:50 PM  
    Blogger Nanovirus said...

    You are parroting the pro-birth minority. Where is your compassion for the innocent child in the story: the eleven year old girl?This is an embryo. These are children. I can tell the difference, Dan. Why can't you?

    9:34 PM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    That is a nice image of an embryo. Though you and I are both smart enough to know that just a few days later that image will look more like the image you post of the children. My question still remains the same and unanswered. What is "x"? I have all the compassion in the world for the eleven year old girl. Taking the baby which now grows inside her does not really change her real problem. If you look to the real problem, it possibly is with whom she lives and is being raised by, or maybe she was raped by some stranger. The story doesn't really say. It is just a story that tries to support abortion and sex education. I am not against sex education but at what point do you start teaching it and does it help if the girl was raped. I will have to assume that she was since not knowing anything about sex can't really make you a willing participant. So the story is not so simple and the answer to the problem is very complex. I remember when I was in high school, a story of a 10 year old girl in the Chicago area who had a baby. Her uncle had apparently raped her and noone knew she was preganate. The baby was adopted out and was at birth apparently healthy. I agree that the world in which we live is mixed up, and fixing the problems of the "already born" would be nice so that we wouldn't use them as an excuse to terminate the not yet born. The eleven year old is in the extream minority of who is having abortions in this country. I may be pro birth but am also pro life, the pro life movement is also against the death penalty. And while the media and Democrats don't acknowledge our work there it doesn't mean we are absent from that fight. Lastly I am no "parrot" I just happen to see the logic in affording the same basic human rights to the ones who cannot speak for themselves. Unless you can show me "x" it is logical for me to be "Pro birth".

    5:43 AM  
    Blogger Barbara said...

    Just as you rightly object to being lumped with a group that only cares about the fetus before birth, it does no good to characterize all women who choose abortion as those who would "destroy innocent human life because [they] don't want to take responsiblility for their actions." Complexity of motivation is not the sole property of either side.

    But that line does bring up for me a question about the oft-cited word "innocent" in reference to a human life. It still seems to me that this hypothetical innocence is another way of justifying our neglect of the "guilty" who are already here, especially when I see the poor admonished for their lack of "taking responsibility for their actions" when they have children beyond their means.

    10:43 AM  
    Blogger Dave S. said...

    I can't tell the difference between those 2 pics.

    11:25 AM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    Here is the way I will describe innocent for you as it pertains to me and my view. If you have committed no crime and are not in need of punishment you are innocent. I have three boys ages 13, 12, and 8 none are "innocent" they have all lied to me, taken things that don't belong to them, and hurt others. I have always dished out an appropriate punishment, and they are all still living. I don't think a baby inside its mother can be guilty of anything. I don't have any stats but if I had to give an estimate on how many abortions are performed as a "choice" of convenience it would be about 90%. About the neglect of the "guilty" I am not sure that is even happening or relevent in the U.S. trust me the poorest of the poor in this country live like kings compared to others in the world (not that I don't have compassion for them) I do all I can to help the under privliged in Indianapolis but they own their lives and must do their part as well. I don't think my question was difficult to answer. What is "x"? But it is being ignored. I understand very well the pro choice side, and I think it is a terrible crime that we don't do some thing to stop abortion, because it is simply not necessary.

    4:44 PM  
    Blogger Barbara said...

    Electro: X? I don't know that there is an absolute answer to your question about a set of values that apply to born and unborn. For example, we do, in some places, allow parents to make the decision to withhold feeding of born children. And in my own city of Erie, PA, there has been a court case in the past few years over charging with murder a woman who kicked a pregnant woman, causing the death of her unborn child. Maybe that at least addresses your question. I wasn't trying to ignore it, I guess I just don't see it as that important.

    I doubt that pro-choice people all have the same views. I don't think there are gods, so I don't have a religious or eternal or "sinful" view. I don't have a problem with people calling unborn children unborn children or fetuses or whatever. I don't disagree that the purpose of abortion is to prevent a child from being born--if it wasn't a child, then you wouldn't need an abortion.

    I simply think that under any circumstances or any set of beliefs that it is the woman's decision, and that she has to live with the consequences of her decision.

    But you probably want to know whether I think that a woman should be able to kill her child after it is born and if there is an age limit at which I would object to that. I'm thinking.... It's my understanding that some ancient culture (maybe Greek) did not permit abortion, but did permit killing the born child. Perhaps that's true; maybe some see it as a precedent. Maybe we object to it for the same reason we have the value of being opposed to the murder of other born people--self-preservation--maintaining the reciprocal situation of you-don't-kill-me and I-wont-kill-you. Or maybe it's just that the abortion is less traumatic for the parent (even though there is evidence of lots of trauma for some).

    I, too, have children (much older than yours), but I apparently have a different view of innocence, not one based on original sin, for example.

    8:11 PM  
    Blogger Barbara said...

    And, whoa, I didn't mean to suggest your crime and punishment example was based on original sin. But I guess I do think innocence is not so easily lost as in your example; apparently I think innocence and guilt are not an either/or category, or that innocence is a characteristic that is permanently lost as a result of any action or experience.

    I would like to think that abortion could be less necessary with the appropriate education and attitudes about sex, but I don't think it can be eliminated as an option.

    8:19 PM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    The question is important because the whole Roe vs Wade argument revolved around it. When the prolife side decided not to argue that the fetus was a person the court had no objection to allowing abortion. It is true that people are convicted of murder when they kill an unborn baby, it is because the intent of the mother was to have the baby. I have never heard of a case where a mother is allowed to starve her baby and it was legal. My discusion of innocents was to take it to an extream to demonstrate how even small children need punishment of some kind, but that an unborn baby does not, it has done nothing wrong. Yet because of the choice of its mother it can be given the death penalty. My argument on innocents can not be based on original sin as one would believe that you are created into original sin and I would then have to believe that the unborn baby has that sin. The penalty for original sin is already death in as far as we all have to die, but that is a theological discusion and not needed for the discussion of "x". It would be impossible for you to logically come up with "x" because it does not exist, that is why I ask the question. If "x" does not exist it is illogical for us to allow the death of one and not the other or the opposite protect one and not the other. The real reason for the existance of abortion is convenience. People can hide behind all the other reasons they want to make up, the truth is that they made a choice and are not willing to live with it. (rare instances of rape and incest aside) there was some discusion of bumper stickers on another post. I have some about abortion, a friend of mine does too. One day a woman came up to her and told her of a delema she was in after being raped, she saw those bumper stickers and desided to have the baby, she has been very glad for it. It is a aweful thing of how we treat human life when it is not ours, whether it is in far away Iraqi, the prisoner who has done terrible things, the immigrant who wants a better life, a woman walking in puplic, or the baby that grows inside a woman. I think it is in the best interest of humanity to stop the killing, and stop it now.

    9:43 AM  
    Anonymous *PATIENT* said...

    No one knows what it's like to be up on the pedestal and in this "hot seat", unless you have either been a patient or dr. of abortion. The "right to lifer's" are ignorant to other people's personal situations and/or feelings-beliefs; I have an abusive mother who chooses to stay estranged, a father who rejected me since being 3 yrs old, no siblings, or any other "blood" related support system. I am educated, responsible, but always find myself with men like my father; manipulators who show me a nice side at first, but only to move in with their control or emotional abuse. I have a low self esteem level, the absense of a decent support system, and find that I always dedicate myself 100% to this man and think that he should reciprocate in the same manner; unfortunatly these men are users and can't be depended on in the end. My last relationship had ADD, Anxiety, Depression ... lacked taking responsibility for any and everything that he ever did or does. I thought I was going crazy; he'd dissappear for 6 mos and then stay for 6 mos as though he forgot I ever existed. This last time he promised to control the birth control on his end since I had been by myself and temporarily stopped taking my birth control pills after 10 yrs, but one night he went against what we had agreed. It only happened once and his response was "I wanted to see if I could still reproduce". I found out I was pregnant, missed two weeks of my newly started return to college, and was sick non stop through my 7th week when I saught an abortion. I was so betrayed that this man who promised me the world if only I did this or that and his latest ploy was this (baby). I stayed home by myself not wanting to move for 2 weeks straight and he appeared twice and that was it. It was his game to control, not genuine feelings or words that he meant to follow through with. I am almost 30 and want a child now, but knew there was no way that I could ever support this child on my college loans, nor did I ever want to raise a child on my own, like my mother raised me; in poverty and isolated from the world leading to my social and general depression as an adult. I know I have to take care of myself first, before a child will be able to enjoy a life on earth. I kept the abortion to myself; only my partner knew; he threatened to kidnap and hold me until I delivered "his" child; it scared me and I was forced to go by myself to the dr. appt. The nurses and dr. are people of much compassion and understanding. With them I felt a little less isolated; I actually felt almost like I bonded with them in a stange way; instead of bonding with a mate during child birth it was the opposite. These caregivers should be given a lot of credit; everyday they risk something to do this for those of us who have to make this difficult choice in our lifes. There need to be more support groups for people who seek abortion, it is only hurting us to keep it quiet.

    7:36 PM  

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    Wednesday, January 05, 2005

     Let's just kill all the liberals

    Click to enlargeBack from a red-state jaunt, David Neiwert of Orcinus writes about the right-wing's eliminationist rhetoric:
    [I]t is now becoming a commonly spoken sentiment on the right to wish for violence against liberals and to simultaneously suggest they and all "traitors" (including Muslim Americans) should be locked away....

    Now, you won't hear this talk on the upper levels of the conservative movement.... You hear it when conservatives -- especially those red-state cultural conservatives from the working class who are most likely to vote against their own self-interest, and then blame liberals for how lousy their lives are -- get together among themselves for their communal liberal-bashing hatefests. They'll say it when they think no one else is listening. You can hear it from "fringe" radio figures like Michael Savage. Or you can read it in the unpublished letters to the editor that most publications choose not to run....

    My very clear impression of the rank-and-file American right is that many if not most of them, at the behest of their leaders, now believe that opposing George W. Bush and the Iraq War, as well as his handling of the War on Terror, is an act of genuine treason worthy of the ultimate social condemnation, including incarceration and execution. They feel not only vindicated but profoundly empowered by the election result, empowered to silence their opposition, by force if need be.

    I absolutely agree that eliminationism is on the rise in America, but only on the right; I know of no lefties writing about how all the wingnuts are traitors and demanding that they be shot. But those wingnuts, damn. Tom Corbett, for example, equated a vote for Kerry as equivalent to treason. Or check out this post by Adam Teiichi Yoshida from 2003:

    The enemy we are facing has several columns. Of these, the fifth is the strongest.... In these days of danger, the old divisions of party and ideology have become almost meaningless. There are but two parties now: patriots and traitors. Active opposition to this war is treason, and nothing less.

    Note how anyone who dissents is an enemy: not wrong-headed, not stupid, an enemy. You don't compromise with enemies: you rout, defeat and kill them. That is exactly what Yoshida suggests:

    Sometimes I think that the treason is so deeply ingrained in our society that nothing short of martial law, the suspension of habeas corpus, and the repeal of Posse Comitatus will do. Sometimes I think that we will need to think to the Revolution, where Tories and other traitors were dealt with harshly by a righteous people.... This is too important to be dealt with civilly. Civility will bring us only defeat.... [W]e need to drive anti-war sentiments underground by making it difficult to be anti-war. For example, if you know for a fact that the owner of a small business is opposed to the war, look for ways to hurt that specific small business.

    Yesterday I reported the news that Bush Administration officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries. World War II had the Japanese Internment; will the "War on Terra" have an "Muslim Internment?" If so, do you doubt that a "Liberal Internment" would follow?


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Amen. It's about time conservatives rise to action. Liberals beware. Move to China, Cuba or Russia if you're too dumb to make your own way in the world and want to pray at the altar of communism.

    12:25 AM  

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     Fundies views on the tsunami

    Muslim and Christian fundamentalists agree: the tsunami is god's (or Allah's) punishment against Muslims. Fundie muslims:
    "God is angry with Aceh people, because most of them do not do what is written in the Koran and the Hadith," the collected sayings and actions of the prophet Muhammad, explained Cut Bukhaini, 35, an imam. "I hope this will lead all Muslims in Aceh to do what is in the Koran and its teachings. If we do so, God will be merciful and compassionate."
    Fundie christians:
    "The Biblical proportions of this disaster become clearly apparent upon reports of miraculous Christian survival. Christian persecution in these countries is some of the worst in the world." Eight of the 12 countries hit -- Malaysia, Burma, Bangladesh, Somalia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia, he says -- "are among the top 50 nations who persecute Christians."

    Fascinating how fundies of different religions think alike, isn't it? Check out what that corrupt rat bastard Tom DeLay had to say during a live C-SPAN telecast of the 109th Congressional Prayer Service from a church on Capitol Hill yesterday:

    Matthew 7:21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    24. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
    25. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
    26. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
    27. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

    28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
    29. For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes.

    So what are you saying, Tom? You are thankful that there are 150,000 dead? Fucker.

    On a related note, check out what the religious right values voters are doing for tsunami victims.


    Blogger wjoelbrooks said...

    On a related note, Westboro Baptist Church and its fanatical, fascist leader Fred Phelps recently released a flier stating the following: "Thank God for the tsunamis--and for the 5,000 dead Sweded. God is laughing, mocking and taunting Swedes and Sweden [. . .]" They hate Sweden because of its open acceptance of homosexuals. These are the same folks involved in the monument to Matthew Shepard back in the late 90s. It looks like religious fundamentalism is gaining momentum in the postmodern world. It's pretty scary that these sick, subhuman bastards can wield that much power.

    1:18 PM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    Here is what the leader of the largest population of Christians has to say.

    Pope John Paul II celebrated a special Mass early Saturday in his private chapel for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunamis and later publicly praised the outpouring of aid for the stricken populations as a sign of hope for 2005.

    "Once more I express my nearness to the populations struck by the tragic cataclysm of these past days," John Paul said in a New Year's Day greeting from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at noon.

    "In assuring my prayer for the victims of the catastrophe and for their families, I note favorably the solidarity efforts which are developing in every part of the world," the pontiff said, sitting in a chair in front of the window as thousands of pilgrims, tourists and Romans listened below in the square.

    The Vatican gave no details of the private Mass that began at midnight in the pope's chapel in his apartment, but on Friday the Holy See's press office had said the pontiff would "remember the families of the victims and how much they are suffering in these days because of the consequences of the disaster, as well as those who are working to relieve the immense suffering of the stricken populations."

    John Paul has made several appeals to encourage international relief efforts for victims of the earthquake-triggered tsunamis that swamped coastlines in Asia and Africa.

    Many national governments around the world have pledged millions of dollars in aid, and United Nations, Red Cross and private aid groups have been working to relieve suffering with medical, food and logistical aid. Private citizens have also flooded humanitarian organizations.

    The Roman Catholic Church dedicates the first day of each year to the theme of global peace.

    "World Peace Day constitutes an invitation to Christians and to all men of good will to renew their determined commitment to build peace," John Paul said in his homily in a public service in late-morning in St. Peter's Basilica.

    In the face of evil, he said, it is necessary to promote peace through dialogue, justice and teaching about pardon, John Paul said.

    "To conquer evil with the arms of love becomes the way in which each one can contribute to the peace of everybody," the pontiff said.

    John Paul, 84, suffers from Parkinson's disease, which makes it difficult for him to speak and move. Wearing gold-colored robes, he read the homily slowly but in a clear voice as he sat in a chair in front of the central altar of the basilica.

    7:49 PM  
    Blogger wjoelbrooks said...

    Even as a humanist, I agree that the Pope can be a force for good in the world. Of course I can’t bring myself to agree with the tenets of the religion, Catholicism is generally the least offensive forms the religion takes. The wacky Baptists and Pentecostals are the ones who scare the hell out of me. Even though Catholics are sometimes regressive (sex education, birth control, etc), they are still generally more tolerable than most of America’s “homegrown” forms of Christianity; America could use a lot more of the Catholic attitude.

    But the bat-shit-crazy, right-wing, Fundamentalist versions of Christianity are the ones that are prospering and proliferating here in the West. Unfortunately, here in America (and perhaps other places in the West), for every one Pope John Paul, there are three Jerry Falwells, three Pat Robertsons, three Fred Phelps . . . .

    8:50 AM  

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    Tuesday, January 04, 2005

     Military expresses 'deep concern' over Gonzales

    The military weighs in on the man who provided legal cover for torture:
    A dozen high-ranking retired military officers took the unusual step yesterday of signing a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing "deep concern" over the nomination of White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general, marking a rare military foray into the debate over a civilian post. The group includes retired Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The officers are one of several groups to separately urge the Senate to sharply question Gonzales during a confirmation hearing Thursday about his role in shaping legal policies on torture and interrogation methods....

    Other prominent signatories to the letter include retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, former chief of the Central Command; former Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill A. McPeak; and Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy, the Army's first female three-star general.

    Wow! These guys must really hate America! How dare they criticize our glorious leader!

    This letter arrives on the heels of news that Bush Administration officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries.

    You hear that giant sucking sound? It is your civil liberties -- your freedom -- being taken away.


    Blogger Electro said...

    I am familiar with most of the folks who signed this. I think they are all fine former military leaders except for McPeak, he is a MORON! and George H.W. Bush made him chief of staff. It is improper to call it a military foray since these folks are civilians. I also think you can hear that sucking sound from some in the "left". You find me in the minority party that I hope can make some ground in the next four years and make the Dems and Reps finally look at us.

    7:11 PM  
    Blogger Nanovirus said...

    What is your definition of a moron? McPeak has impressive credentials: Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service Medal with four service stars, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.

    This is the guy who who directed the air campaign in Operation Desert Storm. He was critical of the cuts in defense forces during the Clinton administration and also of the decision to invade Iraq without specific UN support.

    How does his record point to being moronic?

    8:16 AM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    Moron is a harsh word for how I feel McPeak used his position as chief of staff to make changes in the Air force, like uniform changes that cost millions and were very badly received had no merit, and after he was gone were reversed. There were a multitude of personel related decisions he pushed that were short sighted and bad for enlisted and officers alike. It is not likely you will find the things I don't like about him published. He was a fine pilot.

    7:31 PM  

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    Monday, January 03, 2005

     662,000 to 1 odds Bush stole election

    In a revised study, University of Pennsylvania Professor Steven F. Freeman demonstrates a 662,000-to-one probability that Bush stole the election. Another way of thinking about this statistic is that there is only a one-in-662,000 chance the election was legitimate
    As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error.

    Let the debate end here. Bush was never elected. Not in 2000. Not in 2004.


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     Red-state fascism worrying libertarians

    Libertarians are starting to see Bush and his supporters for what they are. Lew Rockwell:
    If you follow hate-filled sites such as Free Republic, you know that the populist right in this country has been advocating nuclear holocaust and mass bloodshed for more than a year now. The militarism and nationalism dwarfs anything I saw at any point during the Cold War. It celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth – not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself.

    Along with this goes a kind of worship of the presidency, and a celebration of all things public sector, including egregious law like the Patriot Act, egregious bureaucracies like the Department of Homeland Security, and egregious centrally imposed regimentation like the No Child Left Behind Act. It longs for the state to throw its weight behind institutions like the two-parent heterosexual family, the Christian charity, the homogeneous community of native-born patriots.

    Paul Roberts:

    In the ranks of the new conservatives... I see and experience much hate.... There appears to be a large number of Americans who are prepared to kill anyone for George Bush.

    The Iraqi War is serving as a great catharsis for multiple conservative frustrations: job loss, drugs, crime, homosexuals, pornography, female promiscuity, abortion, restrictions on prayer in public places, Darwinism and attacks on religion. Liberals are the cause. Liberals are against America. Anyone against the war is against America and is a liberal. "You are with us or against us."...

    Like Brownshirts, the new conservatives take personally any criticism of their leader and his policies. To be a critic is to be an enemy. I went overnight from being an object of conservative adulation to one of derision when I wrote that the US invasion of Iraq was a "strategic blunder."

    It is amazing that only a short time ago the Bush administration and its supporters believed that all the US had to do was to appear in Iraq and we would be greeted with flowers. Has there ever been a greater example of delusion? Isn’t this on a par with the Children’s Crusade against the Saracens in the Middle Ages?


    Blogger wjoelbrooks said...

    A big problem for me has been this: How does a (relatively) liberal, humanistic, atheistic person like me react to the Neo-Conservative Christian Right in a positive manner? I love America based on the principles upon which it was conceived and founded, but those principles seem to be meaningless to these folks. They value exclusion over inclusion. They value crusade over cooperation. They value hatred over love.

    I find that even friendly attempts at constructive discussion are met with outright resistance in the best of cases and hostility in the worst of cases. How can we continue to be positive in the face of these obstacles. The refusal to admit falliblility is a dangerous trait in individuals—especially leaders.

    I am reminded of Nietzsche: “Madness in individuals is rare—but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.” How does someone like me operate in the face of so much growing madness?

    11:36 AM  
    Blogger Nanovirus said...

    You have asked an important question. I don't believe a humanistic morality demands tolerance of anti-humanistic forces.

    4:32 PM  

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     Drink deep, or taste not

    Worth a read:
    "My professor told me that you have to be careful not to get too much education, because you could lose your foundation, your core values."...

    What will happen to higher education in America if this fear of "too much education," and this presumption that liberal views are the devil's snare rather than natural consequences of uncensored exposure to science, philosophy, literature and diversity, becomes widespread?

    It seems true: the best-educated, most-informed people in the world overwhelmingly reject the religious wingnut version of reality.

    In 1914, psychologist James H. Leuba conducted a landmark survey of belief among scientists. Leuba found that the majority of a randomly selected scientist doubted the existence of god. In 1998, the Nature repeated Leuba’s survey. The results are summarized here:

    1914 1933 1998

    Atheist 52% 68% 72%
    Agnostic 21% 17% 21%
    Believer 27% 15% 7%

    Doubt is highest among National Academy of Science biologists (95%). Physicists come in a close second (93%). Mathematicians scored the lowest (86% -- still pretty high).


    Blogger Devendra said...

    Its my personal experience, that there are many agnostic scientists. These results seem unlikely.

    7:21 PM  

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     Worse than 9/11?

    Would it be too cynical to suggest that this is the reason Bush has increased aid to the tsunami victims from the original $35 million figure to a sum ten times greater?
    As many as 5,000 Americans are still unaccounted for a week after the world's deadliest tsunami pounded a dozen countries across the Indian Ocean, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said.



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    Saturday, January 01, 2005

     20 Amazing facts about voting in the USA

    20 Amazing Facts about Voting in the USA


    Post a Comment

     An atheist confronts disaster

    Jason Kuznicki nicely summarizes my own thoughts about the tragedy in Indonesia:
    We find it meaningless to invoke God in the good times; we find it both meaningless and cruel to invoke him in the bad.

    Atheists don't expect life to be fair, except insofar as we make it so. Look at nature: Does anything within it correspond, except by merest chance, to the human conception of justice? Is there any reason, discernible in nature, to expect that it should?

    Atheists fight disaster with penicillin and iodine, with airlifted rice and, proactively, with seismic early-warning networks. This is not to say that believers reject such methods--on the contrary, they tend to be quite charitable about them. We unbelievers, though, hold that in life there is no reckoning--save the one we create for ourselves. The good is here, and now--or never. We embrace nature, in all its unfairness, and seek to change it. We hold that the height of human purpose is to redress the wrongs of mere nature, to bring it--at least as far as humans are concerned--into accord with the justice we imagine.


    Blogger Barbara said...

    I agree except maybe on the "seek to change" nature. I see the atheist response to nature more as a willingness to adapt our habitat structures to the possibilities of nature, and to, as you say, deal with the here and now of the unexpected. Maybe this is a different perspective; maybe a different way of saying the same thing (?).

    9:53 AM  
    Blogger Electro said...

    I have a couple of questions. In the copied comments above there are a few things that are new to me in human thought. Nature is unfair? I am wondering in what way nature is unfair. Seeking to change nature, I hear more from you about the evil of changing nature and how we are destroying the enviornment. I think leaving nature alone is the better approach or we may find ourselves in a bigger mess than we are now. How does humanity go about correcting the "wrongs" of nature and bring it to our norms of justice? Is nature being used in a way I am unfamiliar with here? And who desides all of this if it were even remotly possible?

    I simply don't follow his thought process. As an atheist I always saw the hipocracy in the actions of so called Christians and religious. I seemed to be the one more willing to help the person on the side of the road not fearing what might happen, always helping my friends and co-workers when they were in need, While I saw the "Christian" doing for himself. I didn't consern myself though with the larger problems of humanity, look at the condition of certain peoples as merely a problem they need to deal with in their enviornment, i.e. if your starving move to fertile ground. That is a little over simplified but you shoud get my point. As an atheist I didn't concern myself with trying to change nature but to enjoy it as long as I could, I even "worshiped" it to a degree, worship is a strong word but still accurate enough, after all I was posesed by it, living in it and it in me. And I loved conservation, so that all I have my prodigy could have. The last thing I would have thought of doing would have been to change myself. I have seen great devastaion from natural events first hand. I think they give us a great opportunity to show charity to all of mankind. I guess my last question is why do you think it is important to show charity to others, I have my reasons I am curious if they are simular to yours. And lastly I hope you will take time to answer me I am not trolling. Thanks for your good wishes to me.

    11:04 AM  
    Blogger Nanovirus said...

    Good questions, all. The original post is not mine, so I can't address what the author means, I will just provide my own thoughts.

    Nature is unfair in the sense that it lacks justice. If you ever watch a nature show -- especially those designed for younger audiences -- there will likely be a scene that unfolds like this: the predator is searching for its prey... prey is alerted... there is a brief struggle, and they prey escapes this time.The outcome seems "just" (as in justice): the poor (and usually cute) prey gets away from the big bad scary predator. Outside of tv, however, nature has no concept of justice. Perhaps this is also what the author means about "changing nature." That is, trying to create a more just world. Ask him?

    As for your question of why it is important to show charity to others, my answer is humanistic: humanity is better off when we all show charity, and worse off when we do not. No deity required.

    8:40 AM  
    Blogger Ur Not Alone said...

    I don't think that doing what is good for humanity is part of human instinct. Otherwise the people that are taking advantage of this tragedy must be inhuman. CS Lewis argues that if we only acted on instinct then we would have sex whenever we wanted to for example. There is something we have learned, some voice that tells us to think before we act. (Or at least strive to!) It is not instinct. What does this come from? Why is that some people do not think about how their actions affect everyone? Are they not human? Are they evil? Are they republican? (ha-ha) Whatever you call your it, a God or Humanism, there is something spiritual, something intangible that makes some of us want to do good.

    2:47 PM  
    Anonymous Lawrence said...

    sheer arrogance.

    11:11 AM  

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     Don’t risk rousing the wrath of the gods

    Pharyngula has a good post on reflexive anti-atheism that is worth a read:
    The religious are victims. I don’t hate them or want to hurt them, I feel sympathy for them. I reserve my contempt for the vehicles of their infection, the church, the evangelists, the entire nasty cultural edifice that raises people to identify with their affliction.


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