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Monday, February 28, 2005

[+/-]
 Corporate profits higher under Democrats

Thanks to Liberal Truths for pointing out that corporate profits rise during Democratic presidencies:
Republican President George Herbert Walker Bush:
In 1990 Corporate Profits Before Tax was $236,000,000,000.

Democratic President William Jefferson Clinton:
Started his Presidency in 1993 with Corporate Profits Before Tax increasing to $305,000,000,000.
Ended his Presidency in 2000 with Corporate Profits Before Tax further increasing to $436,000,000,000.

Republican President George Walker Bush:
Started his Presidency in 2001 with Corporate Profits Before Tax reducing to $327,000,000,000.
By the end of 2002 Corporate Profits Before Tax were further reduced to $316,000,000,000.

The highest rate of Corporate Profits Before Tax between 1990 and 2002 was in 1997 with $494,000,000,000 when William Jefferson Clinton was President.

The same holds true in other areas of the economy. For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the 20th century rose an average of 7.3% a year under Republican presidents. Under Democrats, it jumped 10.3%, a whopping 41% gain for investors. During George W. Bush's first three years as president, the stock market declined 4%.

Moreover, since World War II, the national debt increased on average by 3.7% a year under Democratic administrations, compared with 9.1% when Republicans occupied the Oval Office. During the same period, Democratic presidents oversaw on average an unemployment rate of 4.8%. For Republicans, it was 6.3%.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Liberal-Truths said...

Hello.
I've been trying to find a way to say "thank you", but I could not find an email address on your site. You were the first place to include a link to my site and I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate that.
Sincerely,
Liberal-Truths.com

2:39 AM  

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Friday, February 25, 2005

[+/-]
 Ashcroft's name substitutes for obscenity in movie

You're an Ashcroft! No, you're the Ashcroft!:
Imagine hearing that exchange in a movie - you'd think that Hollywood had come up with a crazy new insult. Well, it turns out that some airline passengers watching the Oscar-nominated film "Sideways" on foreign flights are, in fact, hearing "Ashcroft" as a substitute for a certain seven-letter epithet commonly used to denote a human orifice.

0 Comments:

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[+/-]
 Dinner with White Supremacists

I've been swamped with work this week, hence very few posts. In the meantime, this is a good read. Check it out.

0 Comments:

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

[+/-]
 Payola for pro-privatization Social Security TV experts

An analysis of guests who have appeared on cable or network news since the November 2, 2004, election to discuss Social Security failed to find one independent expert with a graduate degree in economics who supported allowing workers to divert Social Security payroll taxes into private accounts.

The analysis, conducted by Media Matters for America found eight guests who held graduate degrees in economics; three supported privatizing Social Security, and five opposed it. While all five opponents of privatization are supported by independent universities and organizations, all three privatization proponents are funded by right-wing organizations and foundations.

1 Comments:

Blogger Dave S. said...

Krugman and Reich are well known for being independent thinkers. Right...

1:53 PM  

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

[+/-]
 Hersh wins fifth Polk Award

Congratulations to Seymour Hersh, who won his fifth George Polk Award for his accounts of prisoner abuse in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. This award makes him the most-honored individual in the history of the awards.

0 Comments:

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[+/-]
 The talented Mr. Dean

Check out what republican Reed Davis, associate professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University, has to say about the damage Howard Dean can do to the reThuglican party:
Republicans may think that the nomination of Dean is hysterically funny — a scream, in fact, as George Will recently put it — but they are deluding themselves if they think Dean is nothing more than a wild-eyed ideologue with a temper and a cult following.

Dean brings three talents to the chairmanship that can potentially sink not just a GOP presidential candidate in 2008 but the Republican-controlled House and maybe even the Senate well before then....

Don't doubt Davis' wingnut credentials: he ran for the GOP nomination to the US Senate last year, and is a former chairman of the King County (Washington state) Republican Party.

0 Comments:

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[+/-]
 An open letter to W

Dear W,

What a budget!

There's so much I like about it, but I want to thank you specifically for your efforts to slash 154 programs that benefit middle-class and working-class Americans. Who needs the Centers for Disease Control? Who needs a world-class public education system? Who needs police officers on the streets? Not me. That's why you cut the successful COPS program by 96 percent. That's right, 96 percent!

I was most impressed that your budget completely "overlooked" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will cost at least $350 billion over the next 10 years. (I make my corporate accountants do the same thing when we cook the books.) Brilliant!

You also did a great job of ignoring the costs of our plan to eliminate -- I know, I know, I'm supposed to say "privatize" -- Social Security. Sure, Social Security is running a huge surplus (unlike the rest of our government). And yes, your Social Security plan would cost almost $5,000,000,000,000 over the next 20 years... but that doesn't mean you have to put it in your budget!

It's just a matter of time before public investments in schools, housing, and roads are a thing of the past. In no time, the middle class will struggle further to make ends meet, working three jobs while we reap even greater profits off their backs. I can't wait!

Our joyful journey continues: More backdoor tax cuts for the richest 0.01 percent! More hidden costs for the middle class! Take from Main Street and give to Wall Street! Make Social Security neither! Budget cuts for schools and police! Huzzah!

Sincerely,

Max Affluence
Billionaire

0 Comments:

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

[+/-]
 What the Internet will look like in 10 years

Check out "Imagining the Internet," [PDF] an examination of the potential future of the Internet. Nearly 1,300 technology pioneers participated by responding to a survey posing questions about the effects of the internet on a wide range of topics, as well as giving their comments and impressions. Those predictions are also indexed into a searchable database. Here are the report's major findings:
  1. A broad-ranging survey of technology leaders, scholars, industry officials, and interested members of the public finds that most experts expect attacks on the network infrastructure in the coming decade. Some argue that serious assaults on the internet infrastructure will become a regular part of life.
  2. The internet will be more deeply integrated in our physical environments and high-speed connections will proliferate – with mixed results.
  3. In the emerging era of the blog, experts believe the internet will bring yet more dramatic change to the news and publishing worlds. They predict the least amount of change to religion.
  4. Experts are both in awe and in frustration about the state of the internet. They celebrate search technology, peer-to-peer networks, and blogs; they bemoan institutions that have been slow to change.
  5. These survey results and written commentary from experts add to a growing database of predictions and analysis from trendsetters about the impact of the internet.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I will wait and see what these dreams may hold since the BushCo bunch want to start taking control of the Internet. I am looking for the stories/info on that now. The Thought Police are on the way.

Will post findings.

Worried1984

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long before laws passed to "protect" us like the Patriot Act are turned against a free and open communication tool like the Internet? "Sweeping powers" sounds more ominous than reassuring.

http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,34659,00.html

Still Worried1984

11:26 AM  

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[+/-]
 Carnival of the Godless #4

Join the godless hell-bound at the fourth Carnival of the Godless. I think the Carnival's posts are truly getting better week-by-week.

Next week the Carnival will be hosted by Smijer & Buck. Be sure to get your submissions in by Friday.

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

[+/-]
 Forget armor: send glowsticks

The quagmire in Iraq is about to turn into a a giant rave:
American soldiers traumatised by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be offered the drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares.

The US food and drug administration has given the go-ahead for the soldiers to be included in an experiment to see if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

I wonder if this will help the Pentagon's falling recruitment levels? I can see it now: "Uncle Sam wants you... to DANCE! (cue the music)"

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[+/-]
 Turning the corner on Iraq

We are closer than ever. Right?

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[+/-]
 Unpatriotic terrorist slimeballs

The Bush administration is filled with unpatriotic terrorist slimeballs. Why else would they be squarely against their own war heroes and the Geneva Convention?

American pilots who were beaten and abused by Iraqis during the 1991 Persian Gulf War have found a new enemy: the Bush administration is fighting the former prisoners of war in court, trying to prevent them from collecting nearly $1 billion from Iraq that a federal judge awarded them as compensation for their torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Many of the pilots were tortured in the same Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib, where American soldiers abused Iraqis 15 months ago. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that those Iraqi victims deserve compensation from the United States.

But the American victims of Iraqi torturers are not entitled to similar payments from Iraq, BushCo says. The rationale? Today's Iraqis are good guys, and they need the money.

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[+/-]
 SCOTUS rally on March 2nd

Supporters of church-state separation are planning a major rally in front of the US Supreme Court on Wednesday, March, 2, 2005 -- the day the Court hears oral arguments in two cases regarding government-sponsored displays of the Ten Commandments (McCreary County vs. ACLU of Kentucky, and Van Orden vs. Perry).

The organizers of this event -- an informal coalition of freethought groups and others wishing to preserve our important constitutional protections -- stress the importance of this public affirmation of our core ideals, and hope people will turn out in force as a demonstration of our strength and unity. The rally will begin at 8:30 a.m., and participants are urged to arrive early to claim visible positions before the throngs of theocrats do so. Although no formal agenda is planned for this event, notable advocates of church-state separation are expected to address those in attendance.

Additional information and contact information will be available on the Web sites of the American Humanist Association and the Washington Area Secular Humanists.

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[+/-]
 Bush: creepier than Nixon

MoDo's latest nails Bush on the Gannon/Guckert debacle:
With the Bushies, if you're their friend, anything goes. If you're their critic, nothing goes. They're waging a jihad against journalists - buying them off so they'll promote administration programs, trying to put them in jail for doing their jobs and replacing them with ringers....

Even the Nixon White House didn't do anything this creepy. It's worse than hating the press. It's an attempt to reinvent it.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

[+/-]
 "The liberal media:" a right-wing myth

Joe Conason says that James Guckert is proof that "the liberal media" is but a figment of right-wing mythology:
Were the American media truly liberal — or merely unafraid to be called liberal — the saga of Mr. Guckert’s short, strange, [gay prostitution,] quasi-journalistic career would be resounding across the airwaves....

Imagine the media explosion if a male escort had been discovered operating as a correspondent in the Clinton White House. Imagine that he was paid by an outfit owned by Arkansas Democrats and had been trained in journalism by James Carville. Imagine that this gentleman had been cultivated and called upon by Mike McCurry or Joe Lockhart—or by President Clinton himself. Imagine that this "journalist" had smeared a Republican Presidential candidate and had previously claimed access to classified documents in a national-security scandal.

Then imagine the constant screaming on radio, on television, on Capitol Hill, in the Washington press corps—and listen to the placid mumbling of the "liberal" media now.

Exactly.

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[+/-]
 FDR's grandson: Hume should resign

James Roosevelt Jr., grandson of our 32nd president, and former associate commissioner on Social Security, says Brit Hume should resign:
ROOSEVELT: It is really quite amazing that all of the folks supporting privatization, from the president on down, keep invoking the name of my grandfather, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I think it's, in a way, it is flattering to him. It's a testimony to how successful the program that he put in place has been and continues to be. And there's -- on the screen you just saw my dad standing next to my grandfather. There he is again.

OLBERMANN: But you are convinced from all that you know, and if anyone actually literally took all of the words of your grandfather and went through them with the proverbial fine-tooth comb, they would have never found anything in his mind, ultimate privatization, in whole or in part, of Social Security.

ROOSEVELT: I'm definitely convinced of that. And I'm convinced he never intended to phase it out.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

[+/-]
 55 years of Americans spying on America

The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive has posted a report by the Defense Personnel Security Research Center called "Espionage Against the United States by American Citizens, 1947-2001" [PDF]. It's a longish read, so here is the abstract:
Analyses of 150 cases of espionage against the United States by American citizens between 1947 and 2001 provide detailed data on the demographic and employment characteristics of American spies, on the means and methods they used to commit espionage, on their motivations, and on the consequences they suffered. Collected materials on the cases supplement the analyses conducted with a database that allows comparison of groups and the identification of trends. Factors highlighted include changes in espionage by Americans since the end of the Cold War and the impact of
globalization and networked information systems on the practice of espionage.

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[+/-]
 Impeach Bush, get a free iPod!

Check out Lepton's cool original flash banner!

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Monday, February 14, 2005

[+/-]
 Military lawyers objected to interrogation methods at Guantanamo

According to the New York Daily News, military lawyers at the Guantanamo Bay terrorist prison tried to stop inhumane interrogations, but were ignored by senior Pentagon officials:
Judge advocates - uniformed legal advisers known as JAGs who were assigned to a secret war crimes task force - repeatedly objected to aggressive interrogations by a separate intelligence unit at Camp Delta, where Taliban and al-Qaida suspects have been jailed since January 2002.

But Pentagon officials "didn't think this was a big deal, so they just ignored the JAGs," a senior military source said....

The lawyers' objections were that battlefield interrogation methods, where slapping around a prisoner might be justifiable if it immediately saved lives, were immoral and possibly illegal if used on prisoners far from a war zone and long after their capture, three sources said. Abuse cases reported in FBI memos obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union are now being probed by the Justice Department and the U.S. Southern Command, the Pentagon unit that oversees Guantanamo.

0 Comments:

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[+/-]
 14 characteristics of fascism: does the US fit?

Check out this flash presentastion on the current state of democracy in America.

3 Comments:

Blogger lepton said...

I made an Impeach Bush and Get a Free iPod flash banner.

Probably not that good, but i posted the Flash source file so anyone who wants to mess around with it can do so.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Excellent! I would love to use it. However, I suggest that you correct the spelling: it is "villain".

8:32 AM  
Blogger lepton said...

thanks for the tip. I changed the graphic like you said..

3:04 PM  

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[+/-]
 The pagan origins of Valentines Day

If you want to annoy your religious friends who insist that today is named after a saint, remind them that Valentines Day is just one more celebration that the Catholic Church hijacked from the pre-christian pagans.

The celebration did indeed originate as a pagan tradition in the third century. During this time hordes of hungry wolves roamed outside of Rome where shepherds kept their flocks. The God Lupercus, was said to watch over the shepherds and their flocks and keep them from the wolves. Every February the Romans celebrated a feast called Lupercalia to honor Lupercus so that no harm would come to the shepherds and their flocks. The focal point of this festival was a site on the Palatine hill: the Lupercal, the cave in which, according to legend, the wolf suckled Romulus and Remus.

February occurred later on the ancient Roman calendar than it does today, so Lupercalia was held in the spring and regarded as a festival of purification and fertility. The ritual involved the sacrifice of goats and a dog in the Lupercal by priests who smeared the foreheads of two noble young men with the blood of the sacrificed animals and then wiped it off. The priests, clothed only in loincloths, then ran about the area, lashing everyone they met with strips of skin from the sacrificed goats. Young wives were particularly eager to receive these blows, because it was believed that the ritual promoted fertility and easy childbirth. Of course, these ceremonies were accompanied by much revelry and drinking :)

Apropos to today's traditions, the names of young women were put into a box and names were drawn by lot. The boys and girls who were matched would be considered partners for the year, which began in March.

This celebration continued long after wolves were a problem to Rome.

As Christianity began to slowly and systematically dismantle the pagan pantheons, it frequently replaced the festivals of the pagan gods with more ecumenical celebrations. Lupercalia, with its lover lottery, had no place in the new Christian order.

In 494 AD, Pope Gelasius I made February 15 the feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary. Two years later, Gelasius did away with the festival of Lupercalia, citing that it was pagan and immoral. He chose Valentine as the patron saint of lovers, who would be honored at the new festival on the fourteenth of every February. The church decided to come up with its own lottery and so the feast of St. Valentine featured a lottery of Saints. One would pull the name of a saint out of a box, and for the following year, study and attempt to emulate that saint.

Leave it to the Catholic Church to take the fun out of a party....

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Sunday, February 13, 2005

[+/-]
 Carnival of the Godless #3

Check it out. Some excellent reading for your Sunday.

Next week the Carnival wil be hosted by Philosophy, et cetera. Get your submissions there by Friday.

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Saturday, February 12, 2005

[+/-]
 Governor Dean Elected DNC Chair

Good medicine for the DNC:
Amid joyous cheers, Governor Dean was nominated for Chair of the Democratic National Committee by Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.

After a moving video tribute to Governor Dean from DNC Members, a few DNC members added their voices of support to the nomination. Like Jay Parmley, Chair of the Oklahoma State Democratic Party, who offered the reasons why he supports Governor Dean for Chair—"he knows what it takes to lead and he knows what it takes to win."

Alexandra Gallardo Rooker, Vice-Chair of the California Democratic Party, DNC Hispanic Caucus member, said, "My friend, Howard Dean, is a proud democrat... reminds of of how great a Party we are."

The nomination was brought to a vote by acclamation. The "ayes" thundered through the ballroom, there was not a nay to be heard. Governor Dean was named the new Chair of the Democratic National Committee to a standing ovation and cheers of "Howard Dean!"

Congratulations to newly-elected Chair of the DNC, Howard Dean!

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[+/-]
 Happy Darwin Day

Happy Darwin Day! Go celebrate!

The big celebration should occur in four more years, which will be both Darwin's 200th Birthday and the 150th Anniversary of the publication of his famous book On The Origin of Species.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

[+/-]
 Declassified Clarke memo proves Rice lied

Here is the January 25, 2001, memo from counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke to national security advisor Condoleezza Rice - the first terrorism strategy paper of the Bush administration. The document was central to debates in the 9/11 hearings over the Bush administration's policies and actions on terrorism before September 11, 2001.

Clarke's memo requests an immediate meeting of the National Security Council's Principals Committee to discuss broad strategies for combating al-Qaeda by giving counterterrorism aid to the Northern Alliance and Uzbekistan, expanding the counterterrorism budget and responding to the U.S.S. Cole attack. Despite Clarke's request, there was no Principals Committee meeting on al-Qaeda until September 4, 2001.

Note that the memo bears a declassification stamp of April 7, 2004, one day prior to Rice's testimony before the 9/11 Commission on April 8, 2004. Responding to claims that she ignored the al-Qaeda threat before September 11, Rice lied in a March 22, 2004 Washington Post op-ed when she wrote that, "No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration."

2 Comments:

Blogger Dave S. said...

She didn't lie. That memo only references Al Qida.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

This version is a better read ;)

5:33 PM  

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[+/-]
 Crackdown on the payola pundits

Via The Onion:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

1 Comments:

Blogger MediumDave said...

The Coulter line is amazingly accurate. It hits me below the belt. I simply Hate that woman.

3:39 PM  

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

[+/-]
 Sub-$100 laptop

Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of MIT's Media Labs, says he is developing a Linux-based laptop PC that will go on sale for less than $100.

Hoping it would become an education tool in developing countries, Negroponte said that one laptop per child could be "very important to the development of not just that child but now the whole family, village and neighborhood."

1 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

Great Idea and a great plan. I hope he can pull it off.

12:45 AM  

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Monday, February 07, 2005

[+/-]
 Beatitudes for a new millennium

Here are some Beautitudes for a new millennium:
Blessed are the rich, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Why not, they own everything else?

Blessed are the arrogant, for they will inherit the earth, and pay no inheritance tax on it.

Blessed are those who have declared themselves full of righteousness, for they need nothing from anybody.

Blessed are the merciless, for they need no mercy.

Blessed are the war-makers, for they shall be called patriots and Children of the Almighty.

Blessed are those who persecute others who are not as righteous as them, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when you revile and persecute and utter judgment against the lowly and despised of this world, for they are the cause of all our problems.

2 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

You must have been at Mass this weekend.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Yup. That's where I found a copy of this.

9:28 AM  

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[+/-]
 American fascism on the ground

Martin Mubanga went on holiday to Zambia, but ended up spending 33 months in Guantanamo Bay, some of the time in the feared Camp Echo. Free at last and still protesting his innocence, he tells the full story to David Rose.

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[+/-]
 There can be only one

Tim Roemer, the only remaining opponent of Howard Dean in the race to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said today he's bowing out of the race. Dean, the former presidential candidate and governor of Vermont, is expected to win the DNC chairmanship at the election Feb. 12. He has said he will focus his efforts as chairman more on building the party at the local, state and national level, raising money and winning elections - while elected officials will be more responsible for policy positions.

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[+/-]
 Conservatives warn of American fascism

The American Conservative magazine has a brief exposition on the rise of fascism in America. Yes, the American Conservative. That is how real it has become, people.
The last weeks of 2004 saw several explicit warnings from the antiwar Right about the coming of an American fascism. Paul Craig Roberts in these pages wrote of the “brownshirting” of American conservatism—a word that might not have surprised had it come from Michael Moore or Michael Lerner. But from a Hoover Institution senior fellow, former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, and one-time Wall Street Journal editor, it was striking.

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[+/-]
 Carnival of the Godless #2

The second Carnival of the Godless is up at Pharyngula. Check it out. Next week's carnival is being hosted by Coturnix's Science & Politics. Get your submissions in by this Friday.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

[+/-]
 God designs the ass

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[+/-]
 The birth tax

1 Comments:

Blogger lepton said...

see, no child is left behind

12:19 AM  

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[+/-]
 Our godless constitution

Check out The Nation:
Like Jefferson, every recent President has understood the necessity of at least paying lip service to the piety of most American voters. All of our leaders, Democrat and Republican, have attended church, and have made very sure they are seen to do so. But there is a difference between offering this gesture of respect for majority beliefs and manipulating and pandering to the bigotry, prejudice and millennial fantasies of Christian extremists. Though for public consumption the Founding Fathers identified themselves as Christians, they were, at least by today's standards, remarkably honest about their misgivings when it came to theological doctrine, and religion in general came very low on the list of their concerns and priorities--always excepting, that is, their determination to keep the new nation free from bondage to its rule.

1 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

It is interesting to note that none of these men had the courage to stand up against the slave trade and slavery in the states. As cowardly as they were in their public stance on their own religious beliefs or lack of them they were equally cowardly to attempt to end what would later take more lives than all wars fought before and since combined to end. There are many arguments as to why they did nothing at the time they could. Don't get me wrong I think they were all great men of their time and well educated and couragous in their stance against what was and would be until WWII the greatest power in the world. It took couragous men like John Brown and Abraham Lincoln to end the horrors that slavery brought to a whole race of people in this country. Both of these men were devout Christian men, along with the many thousand who marched to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. and the many more thousand who risked life and limb to work in the underground railroad. These were Christian people who believed in the human rights of all people. I know you will tell me that those who enslaved that same people also were Christian. It is just not a case that can be made by historical evidence. While they may have used the Bible to make a case they were not Christian. And today good Christian people continue the fight for human rights for all.

7:01 PM  

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[+/-]
 T.O.: 'God is my orthopedist'??

"God has already cleared me," Owens told the assembled hordes that had come to find out if he would be able to play on his surgically repaired ankle. "It doesn’t matter what the doctor said. I have the best doctor in God."

I’ve heard of God is my co-pilot, but God is my orthopedist?...

T.O. would have you believe he’s a terrific Christian. But there he is quoting the Gospel of John with those enormous diamonds glowing like headlights in his ears. Guess he hasn’t gotten to Chapter 19 of Matthew yet, starting with Verse 21: "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."

And a bit further along: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

You’d think that if Owens were as good a Christian as he wants us to believe, he’d at least have the decency to sell the diamonds and feed Haiti for a couple of weeks.

Unless, while He was clearing Owens to play, He said He was cool with the bling.

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[+/-]
 Science teachers! Here’s your chance to speak out on talk radio!

Via Pharyngula:
I have a request from Benjamin Temchine, a producer with the program Your Call on KALW in the bay area—it’s a daily political affairs and cultural call-in show. He is looking for teachers who are facing increasing difficulties in teaching evolution in the way they feel is scientifically justified, and would like to interview you live on the program on Monday, 7 February, at 10-11 AM PT, 1-2 PM ET. If you are interested in being interviewed, call him at (415) 516-5971.

The rest of us can also call in and give our opinions during the show at (866) 798-TALK, and listen in via the KALW RealAudio stream.

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[+/-]
 Rumsfeld and Hoess

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense:
"What was going on in the midnight shift in Abu Ghraib prison halfway across the world is something that clearly someone in Washington DC can't manage or deal with. And so I have no regrets."

Rudolf Hoess, Nazi Commandant of Auschwitz:

"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..."

It's not fascism when we do it, right?

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

[+/-]
 Harper's hammers Bush cartel

Some factoids from the current Harpers Index underscore a few things I hate about the Bush cartel:
Years since the Justice Department last released the number of U.S. terror suspects taken into "preventive detention": 3

Estimated number of people who have been taken into such detention since then: 4,000...

Estimated value of a diamond-and-sapphire jewelry set given to Laura Bush in 2003 by the Saudi crown prince: $95,500...

Number of House members in 1979 who voted against making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday: 133

Number who are still in the House: 9

Number who are Vice President: 1...

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Average number of suicides per 100,000 residents in states carried by President Bush in November : 13.5 [Michael Miller, Harvard Medical School (Boston)/Harper's research ]

Average number of suicides in states carried by John Kerry : 9.9

5:35 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

I would have to postulate that Kerry supporter must be more apt to kill themselves when their state went against them than are Bush supporters. Or maybe it doesn't mean a damn thing. My guy lost by a huge margin.

10:45 PM  

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[+/-]
 Groundhog analysis

Today is Groundhog Day, and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. That means six more weeks of winter, right?

Nope: statistically it means an early spring. The rodent has seen his shadow 94 out of 108 times and been correct 39 percent of the time, suggesting the shadow/no shadow prediction is backwards.

So go have yourself a party! Spring's a commin'!

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[+/-]
 Evolution takes a back seat in US classes

According to researchers, school districts around the country are leaving evolution out of the classroom even when it is part of the approved curriculum:
Teaching guides and textbooks may meet the approval of biologists, but superintendents or principals discourage teachers from discussing it. Or teachers themselves avoid the topic, fearing protests from fundamentalists in their communities.

"The most common remark I've heard from teachers was that the chapter on evolution was assigned as reading but that virtually no discussion in class was taken," said Dr. John R. Christy, a climatologist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, an evangelical Christian and a member of Alabama's curriculum review board who advocates the teaching of evolution. Teachers are afraid to raise the issue, he said in an e-mail message, and they are afraid to discuss the issue in public.

Dr. Frandsen, former chairman of the committee on science and public policy of the Alabama Academy of Science, said in an interview that this fear made it impossible to say precisely how many teachers avoid the topic.

"You're not going to hear about it," he said. "And for political reasons nobody will do a survey among randomly selected public school children and parents to ask just what is being taught in science classes."...

Dr. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, said she heard "all the time" from teachers who did not teach evolution 'because it's just too much trouble."

"Or their principals tell them, 'We just don't have time to teach everything so let's leave out the things that will cause us problems,'" she said.

1 Comments:

Blogger lepton said...

yeah i went to a secular high-school where evolution wasn't talked about at all

then i went to a Christian college and spent a whole semester in Anthro learning about human evolution... at this evangelical Christian college a prof can get fired for being too supportive of evolution (but this doesn't keep many if not most of the science profs from teaching it)

11:32 PM  

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[+/-]
 It's not an easy time to be an atheist

I uncovered a good read about being a nonbeliever in America:
"We are among the most hated groups in America," says David Silverman, national spokesman for American Atheists. "Jews are OK, but if you're an atheist, you're at the bottom of the barrel, and it's politically acceptable to hate us. USA Today put the number of nonreligious Americans at 30 million," he says. "There are 5 million Americans who are Jewish, but everybody knows a lot more Jews than they know atheists, and why? Because atheists are afraid to come out of the proverbial closet. All of us know more atheists than we think, because they're in every family and they're in every church."...

What is it like to be atheist in America?

"It's like being gay in the South," says [NC teacher of psychology Jason] McCoy. "No matter who you're around, if you say something that gives the impression their religion isn't better than every other religion, well, you're walking on eggshells."

In the way that many gays camouflage their sexuality, many atheists are reluctant to confide their ideology to family and friends, and when they do, they refer to it as "coming out."

Like many gays, my atheism is "out" to my family and closest friends, but not to my work associates or others in the community. I have also hidden it from my children, who we are raising as liberal Catholics with highly critical minds (a story for another time).

If you can relate to this article, please leave some comments about your own personal experiences.

6 Comments:

Blogger Angie said...

Perhaps its due to where I live, but there are many atheists here, and we are not afraid to say so. My family, friends, co-workers, all know. It is no secret. But as I mentioned, perhaps it's due to location. The Bay Area is known for accepting others as they are. Not what you wish them to be.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I teach at a liberal Catholic college and a good number of my colleagues know and don't care. My students are often shocked if the subject comes up in a class--I will say so if asked directly, but don't try to intentionally shock them. My husband and children (grown) are atheists, but pretty much stay in the closet. We don't discuss it with other family members or neighbors.

I have had students assert that atheists must be amoral because "where would they get their morals if not from religion?" A discussion of existential responsibility generally ensues. It's funny how most religionists think that humans couldn't have figured out that killing people can come back to bite you without some supernatural being carving it on a rock.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

BARBARA: I completely agree. "Do unto others..." is at its root a humanist value. We are better off as a species not killing and stealing from each other regardless of whether there is a big guy in the sky.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

Jesus still loves you, even if you are an atheist.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Electro said...

I am curious why you chose the Catholic church as a place to raise your children atheist?

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say I'm an indifferentist as I don't care enough about religion to be an atheist... Seriously, I've known "atheists" who just keep going on & on & on about the wonders of their "atheism" like it was some kind of religion or something. Me, I'm quiet about it, when they pray in public I don't bow or close my eyes, there are no religious items in my home, proselyting xtians get the door slammed in their faces, at xmas last year I made a point of "happy holidays" et al. Until the next inquisition comes it's more "don't ask, don't tell" but that works ok for me as I do not care what someone else wants to believe as long as they don't expect me to pay for it, listen to it or participate.
And FWIW, I've been a tolerant man my 48 years but these days I've started to really dislike evangelicals and to bait them whenever I can get away with it...

3:17 PM  

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

[+/-]
 Happy happy joy joy

The Rude Pundit tells us how to be happy for the Iraq elections.

1 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

A great read. I must agree with 95% of it.

4:54 PM  

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[+/-]
 A clue that Dean is the man

Bob Novak is writing columns against him. We must be in the right track!

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[+/-]
 Are you drinking liberally?

I just came across this and wanted to share. Looks like a decent way to meet like-minded folks.

     

I will attend a local meeting soon and report back here.

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[+/-]
 No economist left behind

Paul Krugman explains the Catch-22 facing those who want to privatize Social Security:
They can rescue their happy vision for stock returns by claiming that the Social Security actuaries are vastly underestimating future economic growth. But in that case, we don't need to worry about Social Security's future: if the economy grows fast enough to generate a rate of return that makes privatization work, it will also yield a bonanza of payroll tax revenue that will keep the current system sound for generations to come.

Alternatively, privatizers can unhappily admit that future stock returns will be much lower than they have been claiming. But without those high returns, the arithmetic of their schemes collapses.

It really is that stark: any growth projection that would permit the stock returns the privatizers need to make their schemes work would put Social Security solidly in the black.

Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has devised a test he calls "no economist left behind," challenging economists to make a projection of economic growth, dividends and capital gains that will yield a sufficient rate of return over 75 years to support privatization.

Krugman says that not one economist who supports privatization has been willing to take the test. Of course not: there is no crisis.

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