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Thursday, March 31, 2005

 National Day of Reason 2005

Now, more than ever, America needs a Day of Reason.

With the religious right firmly in control of the Presidency and Congress, and with the threat to our Judiciary looming large, there has never been as important a moment in which to affirm our commitment to the Constitutional separation of religion and government, and to celebrate Reason as the guiding principle of our secular democracy.

During the past year we have witnessed the intrusion of religious ideology into all spheres of or government, with such assaults on the wall separating church and state as:
  • The biblically-inspired Federal Marriage Amendment, which would codify intolerance and bigotry by withholding civil liberties from one class of people;

  • Faith-based initiatives in federal agencies that give preferential treatment to religious organizations which proselytize and employ discriminatory hiring practices;

  • Restrictions on important scientific research on the basis of religious objections;

  • Attempts to introduce biblical creationism and its alter-ego “Intelligent Design” into our public school science curricula;

  • The appointment of judges who willingly place their religious beliefs above our laws;

  • Battles over the display of the Ten Commandments and other overtly religious icons in schools and on courthouses;

  • Religiously motivated restrictions on access to reproductive services and information;

  • Efforts to permit greater political involvement by houses of worship;

  • Attempts to re-introduce school prayer.
As in previous years, this year’s National Day of Reason is scheduled to coincide with the Congressionally-mandated and federally-supported National Day of Prayer on Thursday, 5 May 2005. We invite all who value the separation of religion and government to join us in commemorating the Day of Reason, and in building awareness for this important cause.

What can you do to demonstrate your support for a Day of Reason?
  • Plan a special event to commemorate the NDR, such as a protest demonstration, special lecture, or social gathering;

  • Work to have a Day of Reason proclaimed by your state or local government;

  • Hold a press conference for your local media to promote respect for the separation of religion and government, and to draw attention to the many breaches of that principle during recent months;

  • Organize a letter-writing campaign urging your elected officials to support the separation of religion and government;

  • Visit the National Day of Reason web site to sign-up as an endorser, to view planned events, or to read some of the media coverage from previous years.
Individuals and organizations to endorse this campaign, and to submit information about their plans to commemorate the National Day of Reason and their efforts to educate the public about the important underlying issues. Those organizations conducting events, activism or outreach in their communities will be featured on the NDR site so that activists can readily identify opportunities to organize and participate in local events.

There is great potential this year to give voice to our shared concerns about the serious threats to the wall separating church and state. Please make the most of it.


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 Kristol gets pied

Neocon-man William Kristol gets a well-deserved pie. Video is here. Heh.


Anonymous Sonny Lyons said...

The people applauding the pied speaker should consider enlisting, instead of sending others to commit murder at their direction. Those calling for the suspension of the Pie Man, well, I think they need a tour of duty in Iraq to give them a little perspective. A pie is symbolic and an incovenience at worst, while a war kills many thousands of innocent people at best.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

Since that's about the best your folks can do, enjoy!

2:57 PM  

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 2005 Bulwer-Lytton contest winners announced

Listed below are the ten winners of this year's Bulwer-Lytton Contest, aka the "Dark and Stormy Night Contest" run by the English Department of San Jose State University, wherein one writes only the first line of a bad novel:

10. "As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it."

9. "Just beyond the Narrows, the river widens."

8. "With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description."

7. "Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the East wall: 'Andre creep... Andre creep... Andre creep.'"

6. "Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was about to give his body and soul to a back alley sex-change surgeon to become the woman he loved."

5. "Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from eeking out a living at a local pet store."

4. "Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do."

3. "Like an over-ripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."

2. "Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know the meaning of the word 'fear'; a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death -- in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies."


1. "The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, 'You lied!"


Blogger Claris said...

I think these might be the 2002 winners or something, but they're definitely a) old and b) not this year's, since today was the deadline for the 2005 contest.

4:03 PM  

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 Wanted: atheist soldiers

For the past year, some of the good folks at the Institute for Humanist Studies have been corresponding with the producer of a national radio program about an upcoming show on "Godlessness."

One of their suggestions was to interview an "atheist in a foxhole" about what it's like to be an atheist in the military. Any readers of Nanovirus currently serving in the military who might like to speak to a reporter about this topic are encouraged to contact IHS. Please note that it is likely you will be asked to speak on the record, identify yourself and verify your status in the service. Send emails to: editor@humaniststudies.org with the subject line: "Foxhole atheist."


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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

 Terri Schiavo's father: just another right-wing hypocrite

As reported in the Guardian:
[G]iven the vehemence with which he has been fighting to prolong Terri's life, it is a little surprising to learn that Robert decided to turn off the life-support system for his mother. She was 79 at the time, and had been ill with pneumonia for a week, when her kidneys gave out.

Right wing hypocrite is a redundancy.


Blogger Electro said...

You were so quiet about this subject i wondered if maybe you had some sence after all. But as you have proved over and over you are senceless. Turning off a vent on a terminal old woman is much different than not feeding a handicap person.

8:39 PM  

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

 Democracies have a hard time dealing with their extremists

Yet another insightful column by Professor Krugman:
Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst. The desire to show respect for other people's beliefs all too easily turns into denial: nobody wants to talk about the threat posed by those whose beliefs include contempt for democracy itself....

And the future seems all too likely to bring more intimidation in the name of God and more political intervention that undermines the rule of law....

America isn't yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren't sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.


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Monday, March 28, 2005

 Does the Schiavo case sound democracy's death knell?

This will be my only post on a legal case that should have been settled a long, long time ago. Ed over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars has a teriffic summary of rebuttals against the "christian" wingnut claptrap that has dominated corporate media. Worth a read. The LA Times had a good editorial this weekend that is also worth checking out:
Republican leaders, eyeing an opportunity to appease their radical right-wing constituents, convened Congress over the weekend to shamelessly interject the federal government into the wrenching Schiavo family dispute. They brushed aside our federalist system of government, which assigns the resolution of such disputes to state law, and state judges. Even President Bush flew back from his ranch to Washington on Sunday to be in on what amounts to a constitutional coup d'etat.

Conservatives are the historical defenders of states' rights, and the supposed proponents of keeping big government out of people's lives, but this case once again shows that some social conservatives are happy to see the federal government acquire Stalinist proportions when imposing their morality on the rest of the country. So breathtaking was this attempted usurpation of power, wresting jurisdiction over a right-to-die case away from Florida's judiciary, that Republican leaders in the end had to agree to limit this legislation's applicability to the Schiavo case.

So much for the era of big government being over. The larger meaning of this case is summarized articulately by Tristero:

I'm struck that many on the left blogosphere have focused on the details of the Schiavo case rather than its larger meaning. That meaning is stark and disturbing: The Bush administration demonstrated in public - not in secret, as with the Gonzales torture memos - that they have the will and the means to overturn any law they disagree with. Regardless of what happens now to the Schiavo case, the right wing extremists who control our government have made their point. Openly, they have asserted, and proven, that they are literally above the law of the United States. They are now unequivocably beyond any judicial control. Only a fool would believe that they won't do this again on a different issue. And again. And again.


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 Carnival of the Godless #9

The ninth Carnival Of The Godless is up at Yeah Whatever!

Please Note As of right now, the Carnival Of The Godless has switched to a two-week rotation. Please check the main COTG page for details and for new COTG dates. That means the next COTG will be held on April 10, 2005 at Wolverine Tom. The cutoff date for submissions for COTG #10 will be on Friday, April 8, 2005 at midnight.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

 Bush lied: bin Laden escaped

Both President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney lied during the 2004 Presidential campaign when he claimed U.S. forces did not miss a chance to capture Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001:
A terror suspect held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, helped the al-Qaida leader escape his mountain hide-out at Tora Bora in 2001, according to a U.S. government document.

The document, provided in response to a Freedom of Information request, says the unidentified detainee ''assisted in the escape of Osama bin Laden from Tora Bora.'' It is the first definitive statement from the Pentagon that bin Laden was at Tora Bora and evaded U.S. pursuers.

The detainee is not identified by name or nationality. He is described as being ''associated with'' al-Qaida and having called for a jihad, or holy war, against the United States.

In an indication that he might be a higher-level operative, the document says he ''had bodyguards'' and collaborated with regional al-Qaida leadership. ''The detainee was one of Osama bin Laden's commanders during the Soviet jihad,'' it says, referring to the holy war against Soviet occupiers.

The events at Tora Bora were a point of contention during last year's presidential race, and Bush asserted that commanders did not know whether bin Laden was there when U.S. and allied Afghan forces attacked the area.

The events at Tora Bora were a point of contention during last year's presidential race, and Bush as well as Vice President Dick Cheney asserted that commanders did not know whether bin Laden was there when U.S. and allied Afghan forces attacked the area in December 2001.


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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

 If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him

Harvey Wasserman examines the antichristian wingnuts:
If Christ came back today to resume preaching the Sermon on the Mount, Karl Rove would slime him in the media, then kill him outright, then turn his words into conservative hatespeak, then kill those who refuse to follow in his name.

If Christ came back to organize against Bush's war, Rove's pet bloviators would shriek about Mary Magdalene. Isn't that her next to Christ in DaVinci's "Last Supper"? Wasn't she pregnant with Christ's bastard child. Who let her catch his blood dripping from the cross?

Rush Limbaugh would demand to how this "Son of God" could have a relationship out of wedlock? Who was he to feed loaves and fishes to the undeserving poor, prolonging the existence of inferior racial stock? Who said he could attack those moneychangers who are the Elect of God and the sponsors of Rush's air time?

Then O'Reilly would slime the Easter thing. A self-anointed "peace prophet" rising from the tomb? Poppycock, he'd say. Just another pinko hippie terrorist conspiracy theory.

But if Christ persisted, and built a following like, say, Martin Luther King or Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez or Nelson Mandela…well….they'd kill him.


Blogger Electro said...

Excuse me but people just like those you mention DID kill him remember. DUH!

12:13 AM  

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Monday, March 21, 2005

 Billionaires auction Social Security on eBay

A special announcement from Max Affluence, billionaire.

America's Most Revered Institution on the Block Monday, March 21st until Monday, March 28th

Fellow billionaires! I have fantastic news. We're bringing our auction of Social Security to eBay!

Frustrated by President Bush's failure to convince the American public to disregard their best interests in support of Wall Street, we at Billionaires For Bush have taken matters into our own hands. We're bypassing the uncooperative House and Senate and will sell the federal program on eBay to the first privately-held brokerage firm that can meet our reserve.

Why spend millions lobbying for Social Security privatization when you can bid on the Government's most popular program from the privacy of your own mansion?

The corporate profits of a privatized Social Security can be had with the click of a mouse! Go here, then forward this invitation to bid on to only every good ol' boy in your extensive private network.

Should eBay stand up for the American People and pull our auction early, you can still follow the action here.

All serious bidders will enjoy increased access to Congress and special favors from the White House. Have no fear - we'll make sure that Social Security doesn't get in the wrong hands. As the auction makes clear:
Employees of the government, their families, and any American who actually needs Social Security (or will one day in the future) are not eligible to bid. But, don't worry!! Ordinary Americans will remain eligible to pay our brokerage houses to manage their private accounts.

Paving the way for the elite to secure private ownership of America's Public Trust, this auction continues B4B's campaign for unchecked corporate power. For updated information on all our campaigns, please visit www.BillionairesForBush.com.

This ambitious effort to sell off Social Security coincides with our upcoming April Fools' Ball on March 31 at Crobar in New York. We're so pleased with President Bush's scheme to fool the American public that we'll celebrate in style with the winner of the auction. That's right: The winner who meets and pays the reserve will get an all-expenses-paid (not that they'll need it!) trip to New York to party with the Billionaires. Who says we don't look out for our own kind?


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Sunday, March 20, 2005

 Carnival of the Godless #8

Welcome to the Carnival of the Godless!

I have found over the past seven weeks that reading these thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) posts is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday. In fact, after you are finished reading this week's batch, I would encourage thee to get thy ass to thy local church and spread the godless gospel.

I'm serious.

Grab a cup of tea or a burrito or what have you, sit back, and enjoy the postings. Then get into your car, and drive to the closest church. I want you to barge into the middle of the service and shout at the top of your lungs something like: "god is dead!" or "god is just Santa Claus for adults!" or "free your mind!" (Fair's fair... the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses interrupt my day all the time.)

I know at least one of this week's godless heathens would support such an action. In "Sects and religion/Fuck the (Intelligent Design) Creationists," JokeBlog says that we godless types, "need to go door to door and convince people that their religious beliefs are built upon the shakiest of foundations and that their holy scriptures are fables, myths, and lies."

I do believe that one of the doors that we should knock on is the door of the local church. Who knows? There may be someone in the congregation like UrNotAlone, who in "Control issues? Confessions of a Chronic Catholic," describes her ongoing philosophical struggle with religion: "I feel nothing when I go to church. Who are these people talking to? Is it that I don’t believe in God or is that I just can’t believe what I am hearing?"

I detect a mind about to be freed. Go out, my fellow heathens, and take with you a pocket full of red pills. There are those who struggle to awaken against socially-induced apophenia.

But beware! You must also be prepared to meet True Believers™. You know the type: so faithful that they filter out any evidence that undermines their faith. You can't argue with these folks because they see "logic" as something pertaining to Vulcans on Star Trek, not something to be applied to religion. Radical Russ knows what I mean. In "God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It!" he dissects the tautological reasoning behind Christianity with his fundie pal Carl. In a second contribution, "The Bible says God Exists, God Wrote the Bible, Therefore, God Exists," Russ continues his conversation and nimbly tears down the fascade of "Intelligent Design" (ID) overlaying creationism.

ID is a topic also addressed by The Pseudo Magazine. In "Idiotic Writing on Intelligent Design," the author struggles to understand the success of the ID movement: "it does appear that rational arguments in favour of ID are weak and easily countered. Is this just an illusion? Am I being blinded by my 'secular European', anti-clerical prejudice?"

Can it be that simple? Can the answer to the question of what makes a True Believer™ a True Believer™ be simply that they are dumbasses, caring neither for reason, nor logic? I don't want to be rude here, but it makes sense on a number of levels. For example, Nick Barlow's, "And I’d like to see them sin after that," suggests some ways that the godless can leverage the gulllibility of True Believers™ (as evidenced in all the bogus religious crap they buy) to our advantage.

True Believerism™ can wear many faces, though, as Brent Rasmussen reminds us in "When You Wish Upon a Starr." In laying a Constitutional smackdown on super-lawyer Kenneth Starr with regards to the Pledge of Allegiance, Brent underscores that otherwise logical persons will stoop to sophistry and deception to get their way: "I would want Ken Starr representing me in any court proceeding. Ever. He's that good. Unfortunately, those two little words inserted into our pledge in 1954 by a paranoid cold war era Congress still aren't constitutional."

Later today, as you are admonishing your local parishoners to wake the hell up, sitting one pew over from those thoughtful people who are trying to break free, and aside the True Believers™ will be a fanatic. Every congregation seems to have at least one. The fanatic would just as soon strike you dead as argue faith with you. As Hank Fox elaborates in "Religion & Ice Cream," "[i]f you go to an ice cream store with friends and you choose no flavor at all, the people around you might crack jokes about it, but they’ll still respect you. They might even admire you. But if you choose no religion at all, there are (were) times and places where you can be (were) killed for it by religious people."

So when you do your godless proselytizing remember to wear your kevlar vest, because if you are godless, be it atheist, agnostic, rationalist, skeptic, apatheistic or free-thinker, you are at risk. Discrimination -- even violence -- against us is smiled upon. In this respect -- at least -- both George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden share similar goals. Goddamn Liberal makes this point well in "How to Destroy America," where he imagines Osama sitting in a cave somewhere plotting the destruction of America, and realizing, "The US may be my enemy, but its leaders are my blood brothers. They are religious fanatics just like me. They are driven by the same berserk, unreasoning hatred."

Of course, hatred is not particular to any one religion. Although all of the world's major religions have their own brand of fanaticism, at the core of each is the commonality of hatred, and it drives fanatical followers to seek to destroy humanity in order to save it. Sick of hearing about the impending apocalypse, for example, SickBox longs for one to wipe away all the BS: "Bring it down. Bring. The fucker. Down. It's time for Mother Nature finally to live up to some promises that people have been making for her."

I hope his wish doesn't come true. Although the poetic, ironic vengeance unleashed would be somewhat satisfying, ultimately it would be unjust. Not withstanding the modern penal system, the concepts of justice and vengeance are distinct. Indeed, this distinction seems to be a defining cleavage in the American political system, where the "left" is more concerned for the former, the "right" is more enamored of the latter. Smijer & Buck discuss "Vengeance as Justice" in light of recent writings by a conservative American blogger who argues that torture is justified.

That's the lot: eleven thought-provoking reads for your Sunday. Now go grab that snack and settle in for the ride. Enjoy the Carnival. And don't forget your kevlar.

Next week the Carnival is being hosted by Yeah Whatever. The submission cutoff date is Friday March 25, 2005 at midnight. The submission address is cotg-submission@brentrasmussen.com.


Blogger Rexx said...

I'm at the top of the list. Nice.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Goddam Liberal said...

Hi dude! Thanks for putting this together. One comment: I clicked on a couple of the links and got taken to the Micro$uck.com home page. Aaaaargh! What's going on? Then I noticed errors in the links, e.g. http://http//www.hankfox.com/Ice%20Cream.htm instead of http://www.hankfox.com/Ice%20Cream.htm. You might want to fix this. Thanks -

8:47 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Sorry 'bout that. Your link and a couple of others have been fixed.

10:27 PM  

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Friday, March 18, 2005

 Last chance to submit an article for Carnival of the Godless #8

Get 'em in by midnight tonight, folks! Details are in this earlier post.


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 Bush cartel planned Iraq oil takeover prior to 9/11

So it turns out that the left has been right all along: invading Iraq really has been all about oil. It turns out that the Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil:
Insiders told [BBC] Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities and pipelines [in Iraq] built on the premise that privatisation is coming. An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d'etat.

Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.

You can see the secret plans here.


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 Scenes from the Cultural Revolution

Check out Billmon's fantastic compilation of comparisons between American antiintellectualism today and during the Chinese "Cultural Revolution":
"The Left has taken over academe. We want it back."

   -- Mike Rosen, Rocky Mountain News columnist
      "CU is Worth Fighting For," March 4, 2005

"In this great Cultural Revolution, the phenomenon of our schools being dominated by bourgeois intellectuals must be completely changed."

   -- Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Resolutions of the Eleventh Plenum, August 1966


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 P2P users demand that Sony release Fiona Apple album

Fiona Apple's fans are downloading her music for free, then demanding that Sony release the album so they can pay for it:
"Extraordinary Machine" is an album that Apple finished over two years ago, but which was quickly shelved by the sad corporate drones over at Sony because they didn't "hear a single" and because it doesn't sound exactly like Norah Jones and because they're, well, corporate drones. They dictate cultural tastes based on relatively narrow and often deeply ignorant criteria related to marketing and money and fear of the new and the different. This is what they do....

But now, a hot new twist. The rest of "Extraordinary Machine" has, somehow, been leaked onto this fair Internet. All of it.... And fans have been whipping the tracks into high-quality MP3s and splaying them all over the Net....

Contrary to the whining of the RIAA, P2P isn't hurting her CD sales. In fact, P2P appears to be Fiona's only chance of actually getting her CD on store shelves at all.


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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

 Give me godlessness, you heathens!

Carnival of the Godless #8 is being hosted right here at Nanovirus this Sunday! So send in a post! The post you send in must be from a godless perspective and address something such as godlessness, atheism, church/state separation, the evolution/creation "debate", theodicy, philosophy of religion as it relates to godlessness, etc. There is a huge amount of wiggle room in the post subject and we will consider every submission carefully for inclusion.

The submission cutoff date is FRIDAY March 18, 2005 at midnight. The submission address is cotg-submission@brentrasmussen.com.

"From a godless perspective" does not mean that you must be an atheist to send in a submission. There are plenty of theists who blog from a godless perspective. We welcome their posts. We will even consider posts criticizing godlessness in general, or atheism in particular. We recognize that there are some damned interesting theists out there who will have written relevant posts. We only ask that you do not submit a post that is just a short linking post, but rather something that shows off yours or someone else's writing ability.

Please pass this information along to anyone you know who may be interested. The godless in the blogosphere have a lot to say and we would like them to have the opportunity to say it to a wider audience.


Anonymous mutant cat said...

You're right about the wiggle room thing, I wrote a thing about god creating the world so he jack off watching his creations procreate and it got in a couple of weeks ago. Most of the posts are about quite relevant subjects though.

2:56 PM  
Blogger lepton said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:00 AM  
Blogger lepton said...

Here's a great in-depth article on St. Matthew's Church

1:06 AM  

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Monday, March 14, 2005

 Which newspaper do you read?

Forwarded by an old friend:
1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country -- if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country ... or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy provided, of course, that they are not Republicans.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

12. None of these is read by the guy who is running the country into the ground.


Blogger Angie said...

I think your link is messed up. I'm sure it should be what you get when you enter "miserable failure" in google and click the "I'm feeling lucky" button (which gives us gwb), but instead it brings up a microsoft site.

By the way, I'm in the San Francisco Chronicle list.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Thanks, Ang. Link is fixed now.

People who read Nanovirus are the most intelligent of all ;)

8:46 AM  
Blogger oyster said...

Well then, I feel so fortunate to have stopped by!

4:02 PM  

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 Protectionism is anti-humanistic

Forbes Magazine's Steven Landsburg criticizes economic protectionism as anti-humanistic. I don't think that was his intent, but the humanistic basis of his argument is sound:
It is just plain ugly to care more about total strangers in Detroit than about total strangers in Juarez....

After all, if it's okay to enrich ourselves by denying foreigners the right to earn a living, why not enrich ourselves by invading peaceful countries and seizing their assets? Most of us don't think that's a good idea, and not just because it might backfire. We don't think it's a good idea because we believe human beings have human rights, whatever their color and wherever they live. Stealing assets is wrong, and so is stealing the right to earn a living, no matter where the victim was born.

Thanks to Don Boudreaux for the link.


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 "They will know we are christians by our love"

Isn't that how the song goes? Here is what "christian love" looks like.


Anonymous hairplug said...

As a Christian myself, I think it's more likely this dude is sent by someone... but definately not Christ. Interesting to note, this guy has a congregation of about 85 people and they are vitrually all his relatives.
This dude is a freak, not anything like the Christ I know.
The Bible actually says that the only people Christians should judge are other Christians (I know thats not how it always is).
1 Corinthians 5:12

11:40 AM  

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 Carnival of the Godless #7

The latest Carnival Of The Godless is up at Frozen Texan. Check out all of the godless goodness!

COTG #8 will be at RIGHT HERE on March 20, 2005. Entries to COTG #8 must be received no later than midnight on Friday, March 18, 2005. Entries may be sent to cotg-submission@brentrasmussen.com.

If you would like to host the COTG, please send your request to cotg-host@brentrasmussen.com.


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Friday, March 11, 2005

 Spanish muslims issue fatwa against Bin Laden

From the Department of Karma & Irony:
Spain's leading Islamic body has issued a religious order declaring Osama bin Laden to have forsaken Islam by backing attacks such as the Madrid train bombings a year ago....

"We declare ... that Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization, responsible for the horrendous crimes against innocent people who were despicably murdered in the March 11 terrorist attack in Madrid, are outside the parameters of Islam," the commission said.

The commission said the Koran barred Muslims from committing crimes against innocent people.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, i was just wondering where you got the pictures of the nanoviridae at the top of your blog, and if they are sized down, ie. could i get them in a bigger size...

thanks for your time/help :)

11:01 PM  

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

 Soldier says Saddam's capture staged

Former U.S. Marine Sargent Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, says Saddam Hussein was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the US Army.
"I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said....

"Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well," Abou Rabeh said.

True or not, BushCo has lost so much credibility that Abou Rabeh could claim that extraterrestrials dropped off Saddam at the local hummus stand and people would believe him.


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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

 Terrorists buying firearms in America

The NRA supports terrorists:
Dozens of terror suspects on federal watch lists were allowed to buy firearms legally in the United States last year, according to a Congressional investigation that points up major vulnerabilities in federal gun laws....

The [Government Accountability Office] study offers the first full-scale examination of the possible dangers posed by gaps in the law, Congressional officials said, and it concludes that the Federal Bureau of Investigation "could better manage" its gun-buying records in matching them against lists of suspected terrorists....

At least 44 times from February 2004 to June, people whom the F.B.I. regards as known or suspected members of terrorist groups sought permission to buy or carry a gun, the investigation found.

In all but nine cases, the F.B.I. or state authorities who handled the requests allowed the applications to proceed because a check of the would-be buyer found no automatic disqualification like being a felon, an illegal immigrant or someone deemed "mentally defective," the report found.

Ask yourself: why do the NRA and its Republican backers hate America?


Anonymous Nelson said...

It isn't so much that they hate America, it's just that they really, really, really, REALLY love guns.

If one of the main purposes of the 2nd amendment is to keep the government's power in check through an armed populace, then why do NRA members consistently undermine this by voting for politicians who strengthen the military? Don't they see that as even slightly counterproductive?

The day Heston dies, every paper needs to run the headline, "Charleton Heston's Gun Stolen." I know that I, for one, have been waiting years to pry that sucker away.

12:01 AM  
Blogger Electro said...

It is interesting to me that this is an issue. Can you tell me one case of a terrorist, and I guess I mean an Arab one who has used a gun to terrorize the U.S. I know they used airplanes and Ryder trucks.

8:36 AM  

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Monday, March 07, 2005

 Wanted: funeral organisers with the Humanist touch

Non-religious equivalents of christenings, weddings, and funerals are booming in popularity, and the Humanist Society of Scotland yesterday appealed for more volunteers to carry them out:
Ivan Middleton, society secretary, said: "Increasingly people instruct their solicitors that they want a humanist ceremony when they die. I think the idea is catching on, because the message is getting through that you can have a dignified, structured, personal and meaningful ceremony without bringing religion into it. We also give the religious members of the congregations the opportunity for prayer and allow the others to reflect on the life of the person who has died."

Spiffy! I've been meaning to update my will.. now I have something to add :)


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 First grader suspended because mom won't spank him

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. A six-year-old boy has been suspended from a Christian school in Illinois after his mother refused to spank him.

That's according to the mother. Michelle Fallaw-Gabrielson says her son had been piling up disciplinary notes for such offenses as talking out of turn, chewing gum, and bringing toys to school.

She says she knew he was a disciplinary problem, but she never anticipated what occurred on Wednesday. She says when she arrived at Schaumburg Christian School to pick the boy up, an assistant administrator ordered her to spank him. When she refused, the official said her son was suspended.

The next day, the mother withdrew the first-grader from the school.

Yet another example of how the "christian" fundamentalists are out of touch with human needs. Talking out of turn? Chewing gum? Holy cow, if this doesn't stop it might lead to independent thought!


Blogger Dave S. said...

Now he can talk out of turn and chew gum all he wants at the public school. Maybe he'll end up as head janitor some day.

2:06 PM  

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 Carnival of the Godless #6

Carnival of the Godless #6 is up for your reading pleasure! Enjoy some thoughtful essays.

COTG #7 will be held at The Frozen Texan and His Rusty Old Claymore. Send your entries, like always, with "COTG Submission" in the title to cotg-submission@brentrasmussen.com by Friday.

If you would like to host a future Carnival Of The Godless (the eighth will be hosted HERE!), then please send your request to cotg-host@brentrasmussen.com with "COTG Host Request" in the subject line.


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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

 New Bush science policies

From The Onion:


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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

 Supremes nix execution for juveniles

The Supreme Court ruled today that the Constitution forbids the execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes, ending a practice used in 19 states.

The 5-4 decision throws out the death sentences of about 70 juvenile murderers and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes.

The executions, the court said, were unconstitutionally cruel.

John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and David H. Souter joined the majority. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented.


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 The effect of marketing on the human brain

Two Caltech researchers are investigating the effect of marketing on the human brain.

Steve Quartz, director of the school's social cognitive neuroscience laboratory, is seeking evidence in the brain of an all but indefinable quality of fashion and product branding — the subjective essence that makes an object irresistibly "cool."
Many seemingly rational decisions are reflexive snap judgments, shaped by networks of neurons acting in concert. These orchestras of cells are surprisingly malleable, readily responding to the influence of experience.

Moreover, researchers suspect that the inescapable influence of marketing does more than change minds. It may alter the brain.

Has science fiction become science fact? Last year consumer group called Commercial Alert sought a congressional investigation of neuromarketing research:

"What would happen in this country if corporate marketers and political consultants could literally peer inside our brains, and chart the neural activity that leads to our selections in the supermarket and the voting booth?" asked Gary Ruskin, the group's executive director, in a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

"What if they then could trigger this neural activity by various means, so as to modify our behavior to serve their own ends?"

The political ramifications are stunning. The research has already found differences in the amygdala —- the anxiety threat detector and bell-ringer in the brain -- between Dems and reTHUGlicans. One day brain scanners, like focus groups and polling, could be a potent tool in probing voter preferences and the effects of campaign ads.

"When we start asking questions about somebody's political disposition and their brain responses, then we start making interpretations about what defines us as people," said Judy Illes, a senior research scholar at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. "That might have some potentially scary possibilities for misuse."


Blogger Phil Plasma said...

I can just imagine that there are also researchers out there who would find a way to shield themselves from just such neurological manipulation. Should such a shield leak to the general public, you'll find masses of unknowning people being pushed or pulled while those in the know will still be at least marginally independent.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous David said...

You should also keep your eye on Bright House, which has an interesting relationship with Emory University.

10:00 PM  

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 Carnival of the Godless #5

The Fifth COTG is up over at Smijer & Buck!. Next week's Carnival Of The Godless will be hosted by the one and only Raving Atheist. Get your submissions in by Friday.

Here are all the Carnivals:
Carnival #1, at Unscrewing the Inscrutable
Carnival #2, at Pharyngula
Carnival #3, at Science and Politics
Carnival #4, at Philosophy, et cetera
Carnival #5, at Smijer & Buck


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