[+/-] Today's quote: Twain
~ Mark Twain
America, which separated church and state precisely to protect the private right to worship, has long had its share of religious absolutists who have wanted to harness the power of the state to their own view of revealed truth. But never before in our history has the government deliberately and cynically intervened on the side of the zealots....
What's under siege here is nothing less than the Enlightenment.... The philosophers of the Enlightenment were men of science who understood that faith could not be disputed but that reason could be subjected to the test of logic and evidence....
Today's religious extremists are not only trying to use the state, with all its power, as religious proselytizer. They oppose science when it happens to conflict with their version of revealed truth. They twist history to claim that the Republic's freethinking Founders, like Jefferson, Adams, and Madison, were really theocrats like themselves. They long for the predemocratic world of absolutes circa 1500.
In America at least, our culture would be offended by an owner who only traded with people he approved of morally, politically and religiously. Privacy is respected by both buyers and sellers. The only disclosure requirement is the color of your money (or the validity of your credit card) and the quality of the product that is received in return.
That culture that respects privacy helps produce the extended order of human cooperation that sustains our well-being.
I have traveled halfway around the earth to spare you certain assassination in my homeland. And so, as reimbursement for my valuable time wasted here in your cesspool nation, I shall feminize you in the eyes of your rabidly homophobic countrymen, so that they might see you for what you (and they) are: the petrochemical equivalent of a crack whore, an addicted slave to her pimp, who'll surrender her last shred of dignity in exchange for a fix.
[H]ow is it that politicians, entertainers or whomever can expound ad nauseam about God and, yet, the views of atheists are scrupulously omitted from the media. (With all the religious programming on TV and radio, have you ever heard an atheist offering his point of view?) If 90% of the population were so secure in their beliefs, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get a second opinion, would it?
The fact is atheism simply doesn’t exist in America. It is the forbidden topic, like homosexuality 20 years ago.... The fact that the vast majority of Americans accept the existence of some super-human phenomenon, of which there is no scientific proof, shows that religion has been the most successful PR campaign in the history of mankind. Regrettably, in our "free" society, no one is even allowed to openly debate the issue.
Why do you suppose it is that a child born in Iraq will likely become a Muslim while a child born in Utah will likely become Mormon and a child born in Central America is likely to become a Catholic while a child born in Alabama is likely to become a Protestant? Do you think the argument for Islam is any more compelling in Iraq than it is where you live? Do you think the argument for fundamentalist Christianity is any more compelling in Alabama than in Utah? No. We are products of our environments. Link
"After more than 18 months, the WMD investigation and debriefing of the WMD-related detainees has been exhausted," wrote Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, in an addendum to the final report he issued last fall.
"As matters now stand, the WMD investigation has gone as far as feasible."
In 92 pages posted online Monday evening, Duelfer provides a final look at an investigation that occupied over 1,000 military and civilian translators, weapons specialists and other experts at its peak. His latest addenda conclude a roughly 1,500-page report released last fall.
If this report does cause any consternation among the wingnuts they should enlist. After all, it is unfair to let others suffer for your mistakes.
If you conservatively assume that these are the End Times and that Jesus will soon be completely consumed (a detail that I do not believe is a part of mainstream Christian dogma), then he weighs twenty million times more than you, and contains ninety-two billion times as much blood. (20,282,528× and 92,000,000,000×).
(If you assume that only the priest drinks the wine instead of every supplicant having a sip, then the blood ratio is smaller by around two orders of magnitude, depending on the priest/non-priest ratio.)
By comparison, the largest living animal on Earth is the Blue Whale, at a paltry 150 tons (a mere 2,500× bigger than you). It is believed that the largest dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus, weighed only 90 tons.
Religious groups, including the National Council of Churches and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, plan to conduct a conference call with journalists on Friday to criticize Senator Frist's participation in the telecast.
The National Council of Churches is asking members to organize news conferences denouncing Dr. Frist.
Additionally, 406 clergy members signed a petition prepared by the Interfaith Alliance urging Frist "to defend the nation from efforts utilizing deception and fear-mongering to manipulate Americans of faith."
...the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") has invoked privacy right protections on behalf of al Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden. In a September 24, 2003 declassified "Secret" FBI report obtained by Judicial Watch, the FBI invoked Exemption 6 under FOIA law on behalf of bin Laden, which permits the government to withhold all information about U.S. persons in "personnel and medical files and similar files" when the disclosure of such information "would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." (5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) (2000))...
"It is dumbfounding that the United States government has placed a higher priority on the supposed privacy rights of Osama bin Laden than the public's right to know what happened in the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "It is difficult for me to imagine a greater insult to the American people, especially those whose loved ones were murdered by bin Laden on that day."
With the selection of a medieval, Hitler Youth, Pope, it is now clear that there can no longer be a middle ground in the so-called "culture war." On one side stands reactionary Catholics, fundamentalist Protestants, Orthodox Jews and Taliban Muslims. These forces, relatively harmless when separate, have now joined, officially or unofficially, in a movement to take the world back to the middle ages.
On the other side stands the forces of the Enlightenment: modernism, science, humanism, separation of church and state and constitutional democracy. The time of tolerating and humoring the neanderthals on the other side is over. Those on the side of the enlightenment need to start fighting back and setting forth a positive case on such issues as the rights of gays and women or else see the world fall back into an age of darkness.
It shouldn't be too difficult to figure out which side I am on. I hope that the future is on my side, too. Even a god couldn't help us if it isn't.
UPDATED! Check out the Pope Palpatine I photo gallery!
Cardinal Ratzinger is an ape. He is driven by oh-so-typical ape motivations, the desire for dominance, the need to control the reproductive behavior of other members of his clan, the back-and-forth of social feedback. His brain contains circuits of reward and punishment we can find in rats. His neurotransmitters and the signalling cascades that modulate his neuronal activity are present in worms. The ion channels that mediate transmembrane potentials are inherited from single-celled eukaryotes. The machinery of his cells can be mapped back billions of years. I suspect that troop of primates dwelling in the Vatican could learn a great deal from the objective eye of a primatologist.
Who has the more sophisticated understanding of human nature: the man who thinks he can squeeze our history into a span of a few thousand years and the isolated vision of a single species and worse, the limited traditions of a single culture, or the one who aspires to comprehend the full breadth and depth of our place in the universe?
[A]s two dudes who are firmly committed to building a bridge back to the 13th Century, me and Veinydick agree on lots of stuff.
For instance, based on his record of virulently anti-gay rhetoric, I am totally confident that Pope Veinydick will stand up to the homos – which I think is especially admirable coming from a guy who looks like the anal love child of Zell Miller and that Beretta guy.
This new Pope also understands that the fight for the life of one white Florida vegetard who'd been declared mentally dead fifteen years ago is worth way more than the lives of thousands of Nigras in the Sudan, Mooooslim children in Bahgdad, or the five million juveniles in the wealthiest nation on earth who can't even get basic medical care. And that's the kind of Compassionate Conservatism I groove on.
Yes, that is satire :) Here's some non-satire:
South Africa's Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu expressed disappointment on Wednesday in the choice of Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope, calling him a "rigid conservative" out of step with the times.
Turkey's Daily Sabah and daily Cumhuriyet reported the election the new pope on Tuesday under the headline, "New Pope is anti-Turk," because of Joey Ratz's opposition to Turkey's aspiration to join the European Union because it's an Islamic society.
UPDATED! Check out the Pope Palpatine I photo gallery!
As a secular humanist, I often wonder if faith-based-moralizers are capable of morality. Faith of course is basically believing without evidence. It follows then that all faiths are correct, and since many faithful folk cling strongly to their own set of “morals”, and since many faiths directly conflict, it would seem that what's right and what's wrong is indeterminate at best once you step outside and look at humanity as a whole; a type of extreme relative morality.
And so the Catholic church accelerates its turn toward authoritarianism, hostility to modernity, assertion of papal supremacy and quashing of internal debate and dissent. We are back to the nineteenth century. Maybe this is a necessary moment. Maybe pressing this movement to its logical conclusion will clarify things. But those of us who are struggling against what our Church is becoming, and the repressive priorities it is embracing, can only contemplate a form of despair. The Grand Inquisitor, who has essentially run the Church for the last few years, is now the public face. John Paul II will soon be seen as a liberal. The hard right has now cemented its complete control of the Catholic church....
[W]hat is the creed of the Church? That is for the Grand Inquisitor to decide. Everything else - especially faithful attempts to question and understand the faith itself - is "human trickery." It would be hard to over-state the radicalism of this decision. It's not simply a continuation of John Paul II. It's a full-scale attack on the reformist wing of the church. The swiftness of the decision and the polarizing nature of this selection foretell a coming civil war within Catholicism. The space for dissidence, previously tiny, is now extinct. And the attack on individual political freedom is just beginning.
A former trainee priest who has accused the founder of an influential Catholic order of sexual abuse said today that new Pope Palpatine I deliberately shelved a probe into his claims for six years.
With a pedophelia epidemic running rampant among heterosexual males and Catholic priests, the question on everyone's mind, of course, is, "What Would a Texan Do?" The answer: approve legislation that would prohibit homosexuals and bisexuals from becoming foster parents. Nice job, asshats. Exclude people who could be good foster parents to thousands of children who need them.
Speaking of Texans, you know what hemorrhoids and cowboy hats have in common? Sooner or later, every asshole has one.
Speaking of assholes, Herr Gropenfuhrer says America should "close the borders in California and all across Mexico and in the United States." Gropenfuhrer, you should recall, emigrated from Austria as a young man.
The American Taliban are everywhere. The NYT reports that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment have become pervasive at the Air Force Academy. There have been 55 complaints of religious discrimination at the academy in the past four years, including cases in which a Jewish cadet was told the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus and another was called a Christ killer by a fellow cadet.
As they slowly hack democracy to death, we’re as alone — we citizens — as we’ve ever been, protected only by the dust-covered clichés of the nation’s founding: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
It’s time to blow off the dust and start paying the price.
Over 11,000 children were sexually abused and close to $1 billion in settlement money has been paid-out but the Pope did not go much beyond decrying "the sins of some of our brothers". He never met with any victims, he never offered practical solutions to dealing with the problem, he never addressed the decades-long cover up of the abuse. He even rejected a "zero tolerance" policy calling for the immediate removal of molester-priests, concerned that it was too harsh.
Too harsh?! This is a man who wouldn't allow a priest to become a bishop unless they were unequivocally opposed to masturbation, premarital sex, and condoms. So, in his perversion pecking order, you had to be dead-set against "self-love" but when it came to buggering little kids, there was some wiggle room.
Does it strike you as odd that persons calling themselves Christians are furious that the U.S. Supreme Court found executing juveniles unconstitutional? Do you find even odder that such individuals describe themselves, straight-faced, as adherents of the "culture of life"? Are you surprised to learn that people called conservatives would quote Joseph Stalin?
A sprawling body of visual evidence, made possible by inexpensive, lightweight cameras in the hands of private citizens, volunteer observers and the police themselves, has shifted the debate over precisely what happened on the streets during the week of the convention.
For [Dennis] Kyne and 400 others arrested that week, video recordings provided evidence that they had not committed a crime or that the charges against them could not be proved, according to defense lawyers and prosecutors....
Of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with the charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after trial.
If Tom DeLay wore a little more Bling Bling and 50 Cents could get the Russians to pay for his next $70,000 luxury vacation, we could hardly tell them apart.
Check it out.
The threat of increased misuse of consumer personal data by offshore criminals was first made publicly known with the UCSF Pakistani medical transcriber scandal. Then, in a logical progression of events, it was discovered that foreign criminal interests were offering money to offshored call center workers to surrender consumer data. Now that threat has been realized: Offshored call center staffers at Mphasis BPO have allegedly stolen £200,000 using United States customers' personal information.
It is believed that East Indian police reacted swiftly to catch the thieves, but only £12,000 has been recovered so far, and it is not really known who orchestrated this theft or where the rest of that money is now. It is also unknown as of yet how much of a mess this has created for the US citizens who were victimized. Let's hope that the people whose information was stolen don't have to go through what other identity theft victims have to endure, to clean up their good name.
Offensive content filter off: 1,920,000 results
Offensive content filter on: 1,640,000 results
Offensive content filter off: 215,000,000 results
Offensive content filter on: 195,000,000 results
Family Filter preference set to "None": 1,970,000 results
Family Filter preference set to "All": 1,680,000 results
Family Filter preference set to "None": 233,000,000 results
Family Filter preference set to "All": 210,000,000 results
Content filtering = Display Adult content without a "warning page": 708,600 results
Content filtering = Limit my exposure to Adult content: 708,500 results
Content filtering = Display Adult content without a "warning page": 67,340,000 results
Content filtering = Limit my exposure to Adult content: 67,340,000 results
SafeSearch Filtering = Do not filter my search results: 2,170,000
SafeSearch Filtering = Use strict filtering: 1,510,000
SafeSearch Filtering = Do not filter my search results: 158,000,000
SafeSearch Filtering = Use strict filtering: 59,900,000
SafeSearch = Do not filter search results: 1,123,890
SafeSearch = Strict: 1,178,531
SafeSearch = Do not filter search results: 82,433,752
SafeSearch = Strict: 82,672,962
[Leave it to the brainiacs at Micro$oft to figure out a way to retrieve more results with a filter!]
SafeSearch Filter = Do not filter results: 1,990,000 results
SafeSearch Filter = Filter out adult Web, video, and image search results: 1,800,000
SafeSearch Filter = Do not filter results: 233,000,000 results
SafeSearch Filter = Filter out adult Web, video, and image search results: 215,000,000
Query: What is atheism?
Result: "I'm Sorry, No Results Were Found."
Query: What is god?
Result: "Jeeves knows these answers: What is the religion" followed by a dropdown menu containing 26 religions.
Result: "Sorry no results were found matching: atheism."
Result: 84 matches
Result: 1 match
Result: 13 matches
Result: "Sorry, no results were found for 'atheism.'"
Result: 108 matches
Result: No results returned
Result: Three results returned
Result: 0 matches
Result: 33 matches
Result: 17 results
Result: 90 results
Result: 0 results
Result: 0 results
[Does this search engine do anything? :) ]
Result: 20 results
Result: 100 results
Result: 5279 matching documents
Result: 36601 matching documents
Result: "Sorry no sites found"
Result: 105 results
[Apparently anti-atheist discrimination is not solely an American phenomenon.]
Result: "Your search for atheism did not return any matches (5734 documents were searched)"
Result: 21 matching documents
Result: 1 result
Result: 103 results
The Army fell almost one-third short of its recruiting goal in March, its second consecutive month of shortfall amid concerns that the Iraq war is discouraging young people from enlisting.
Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey had said recently that internal forecasts indicated the Army was likely to miss its monthly recruiting goals in March and April, although he and other Army officials have said they remain cautiously optimistic of reaching the full-year target of 80,000 recruits.
The Army has not missed its full-year target since 1999.
It will be interesting to watch the wingnuts squirm as they struggle to find more cannon fodder for their oil war while people like Stout who wish to serve get barred from doing so.
A further 14 people have died from the Marburg virus in Angola, taking the death toll to 173 in the world's worst outbreak of the Ebola-like virus....
A senior WHO official told the AFP news agency that the outbreak would still "get worse before it gets better"....
Early symptoms of Marburg are diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting, which give way to bleeding....
Marburg, a severe form of haemorrhagic fever, has no known vaccine or medical treatment. Link
US doctors warn of small but alarming rates of a flesh-eating type of superbug....
The infections in the US community have typically manifested as skin infections, such as pimples and boils, in otherwise healthy people.
Although none of the 14 patients died, they had serious complications, including the need for reconstructive surgery and prolonged stay in the intensive care unit.
The disease is different to MRSA infections seen in the UK, which occur most frequently among people in hospitals who have weakened immune systems. Link
For the first time in 2005, a bird found in San Mateo County [California] has tested positive for West Nile Virus, the San Mateo County Health Department reported today.
Though this is the first bird with the virus found in the county this year. Link
Finally, something to cheer you up:
Scientists from China and the United States said they have found a chemical that could stop AIDS virus from reproducing itself in the human body, raising hopes for a cure for AIDS. Link
The technique suggested in the patent is entirely non-invasive. It describes a device that fires pulses of ultrasound at the head to modify firing patterns in targeted parts of the brain, creating "sensory experiences" ranging from moving images to tastes and sounds.
I, _________________________ (fill in the blank), being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.
He serves to remind that faith -- the quality most of us lack and which we therefore admire most in others -- can be a form of blindness. As the driving force behind the pope's willingness to duke it out with communism, it did wonders for us all. On the other hand, a faith-based inability to distinguish between the taking of life and the prevention of a pregnancy -- or the spread of AIDS -- is not something to be admired or, to my mind, understood.
[T]oday's Republican Party - increasingly dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research - doesn't respect science, or scholarship in general. It shouldn't be surprising that scholars have returned the favor by losing respect for the Republican Party.
Conservatives should be worried by the alienation of the universities; they should at least wonder if some of the fault lies not in the professors, but in themselves. Instead, they're seeking a Lysenkoist solution that would have politics determine courses' content.
Here are the ratings for presidents as recorded by Gallup in the March following their re-election:
Truman, 1949: 57%.
Eisenhower, 1957: 65%.
Johnson, 1965: 69%.
Nixon, 1973: 57%.
Reagan, 1985: 56%.
Clinton, 1997: 59%.
Bush, 2005: 45%
The Chimperor is 11 points less popular than the next least popular president at this point in their term.
A "consensus view" amongst climate scientists holds that the Northern Hemisphere will be warming this month, as spring is coming.... In a new novel, State of Euphoria, bestselling author Michael Crikey uncovers major flaws in this theory and warns against false hopes for the arrival of spring....
He says we should not trust computer models projecting that June will be much warmer than March in most of the Northern Hemisphere. "These models cannot even predict the weather in two weeks time - why should we believe what they say about temperatures in two months?"
For when it comes to organized religion, no burden of proof is required. On the contrary, by definition, religion requires faith and faith renounces evidence. Taking a proposition "on faith" means to consciously and willfully refuse to examine the facts.
There is a word for this type of thinking: Superstition....
It is long past time we stopped giving a free pass to organizations that refuse to be guided by reason and would force their unreason on the entire society. A first step would be to stop calling these "faith-based institutions" and start calling them by the synonymous and much more instructive term, "superstition-based institutions."
You are NOT on the Nanovirus home page. Go here to read more articles!