Thursday, June 30, 2005
[+/-] The perfect gift for a wingnut
[+/-] Who's weak on terror?
When liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attack, they wanted to prepare an effective, nimble response combining military action with intelligence-gathering and law enforcement, as well as addressing the root causes of terrorism; conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and simply prepared to sell George W. Bush as a "war president."
Turns out they were pretty good at that. But fighting terror? These guys make Larry, Moe and Curly look like icons of competence.
[+/-] Swear words
In a court of law, you will also be asked to swear on a bible. It is the “default setting” for jurors and witnesses. A secular affirmation is available if requested, but it seldom is. This is partially because people don’t know it’s available. For witnesses and defendants, it’s often because a failure to swear on a bible is considered prejudicial to a jury that is almost always predominantly Christian. So, for atheists (and other non-Christians), the intellectual honesty of refusing to swear on a book you find meaningless could increase your chances of conviction. So much for fair and impartial. So much for equal protection. While there is no legal compulsion for a politician or a participant in our judicial system to swear on a bible or invoke the name of god, the fact that anyone is allowed to do so makes the system unfair to nonbelievers.
[+/-] Dangerous incompetence
The incompetence at the highest levels of government in Washington has undermined the U.S. troops who have fought honorably and bravely in Iraq, which is why the troops are now stuck in a murderous quagmire. If a Democratic administration had conducted a war this incompetently, the Republicans in Congress would be dusting off their impeachment manuals.
[+/-] Legal guide for bloggers
The guide isn't intended to substitute for sound legal advice if you're challenged, rather, "the goal here is to give you a basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger, to let you know you have rights, and to encourage you to blog freely with the knowledge that your legitimate speech is protected."
The guide discusses issues like defamation, privacy, election law, reporters' privilege, and more. Check it out.
[+/-] Today's quote: Edison
~ Thomas Edison
[+/-] Ice cream for los Guantanameras
(Click to enlarge)
So stop worrying. That makes everything okay!
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
[+/-] Today's quote: Wilde
~ Oscar Wilde
[+/-] Recap of Bush speech
9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, mission, mission, mission, mission, mission, mission, mission, mission, mission, mission, mission.
That's five references to "September 11," 21 references to "freedom", 35 references to terror/terrorists, two references each to "Saddam Hussein" and "Osama Bin Laden," and eleven references to "mission."
References to "weapons of mass destruction": 0
References to "exit strategy": 0
References to "a mistake": 1 (setting a timetable for withdrawal)
References to "mission accomplished": 0
As Bush spoke:
(1) the White House advance team faked the applause. No wonder: even the red states seem to be experiencing some buyer's remorse, and
(2) The Pentagon said another 17 American soldiers are feared dead after a Chinook helicopter went down in Afghanistan, the military action that actually does have something to do with 9/11.
Thanks a lot, you fucking fascist dumbass chimp!
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
[+/-] Murderous christian
"I told Mrs. Vian that I had a problem with sexual fantasies and I was going to tie her up and may that I might have to tie the kids up. And if she would cooperate with us — cooperate with me at that time. We went back. She was extremely nervous. I think she even smoked a cigarette. And we went back to one of the back areas of the porch, explained that I had done this before."
"So anyway, we went back to her bedroom. And I proceeded to tie the kids up and they started crying and got real upset, so I said, oh, this is not going work. So we moved them to the bathroom. She helped me. And then I tied the door shut. We put toys and blankets and odds and ends in there for the kids, to make them as comfortable as we could. We tied the — we tied one of the bathroom doors shut so they couldn’t open it, and we shoved — she went back to help me shove a bed up against the other bathroom door. And then I proceeded to tie her up. She got sick and threw up. I got her a glass of water, comforted her a little bit and then I went ahead and tied her up and put a bag over her head and strangled her."
~ Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer, who plead guilty to 10 counts of 1st degree murder.
[+/-] Today's quote: Clifford
~ W. K. Clifford, The Ethics of Belief: An Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism
[+/-] GOP harrassment of scientists
[+/-] Ex-Guantanamo inmate tells of Koran abuse
A Russian citizen released last year from Guantanamo Bay prison said on Tuesday U.S. guards at the camp regularly threw copies of the Koran into toilets.
Earlier this month, the U.S. military described cases of "mishandling" of a Koran by U.S. personnel at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including splashing it with urine and kicking it.
"In Cuba, they used to take them (the Koran) and throw them, take them and throw them, into lavatories or elsewhere. It happened regularly and this was to provoke protests," Airat Vakhitov, told reporters.
"In the summer of 2003, there was a big hunger strike, which 300 people took part in, over the abuse of the Koran."
[+/-] 95 Theses on the Religious Right
The received view is that the conservative christians have taken over the Republican Party. I think the reverse happened. The right wing of the Republican Party has taken over the church. Nothing could be more clear to me. In a fit of revulsion, and with a nod to Marty Luther, I wrote up the following 95 theses on the religious right...
Monday, June 27, 2005
[+/-] Guantanamo: a hoax staged by Bush-hating liberal elitists
[+/-] Lies, damn lies and the fools who believe them
"We’re making enemies faster than we can kill them."
You didn’t used to see such bumper stickers in a conservative town like Floyd where American flags fly from every light pole on holidays and adorn most pickup trucks on the road.
Now they seem to pop up everywhere.
"These colors don’t run…the rest of the world" proclaims another. My wife is fond of one that says "Born just fine the first time..."
If opposition to Bush’s lies-backed invasion of Iraq can appear openly in a traditional, flag-waving Blue Ridge mountain community like Floyd, you can be sure it runs rampant in other, larger places in America.
[+/-] US general admits to secret air war
The American general who commanded allied air forces during the Iraq war appears to have admitted in a briefing to American and British officers that coalition aircraft waged a secret air war against Iraq from the middle of 2002, nine months before the invasion began.
Addressing a briefing on lessons learnt from the Iraq war Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley said that in 2002 and early 2003 allied aircraft flew 21,736 sorties, dropping more than 600 bombs on 391 "carefully selected targets" before the war officially started.
The nine months of allied raids "laid the foundations" for the allied victory, Moseley said. They ensured that allied forces did not have to start the war with a protracted bombardment of Iraqi positions.
If those raids exceeded the need to maintain security in the no-fly zones of southern and northern Iraq, they would leave President George W Bush and Tony Blair vulnerable to allegations that they had acted illegally.
Full story is here.
[+/-] Today's quote: Lincoln
~ Abraham Lincoln
[+/-] People blaming Bush, not Saddam
Sunday, June 26, 2005
[+/-] Today's quote: Nietzsche
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, 1890
Friday, June 24, 2005
[+/-] Zeus is alive and well and living in Slovenia
LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - A man died after lightning struck a metal cross he was holding during a funeral in a village near Ljubljana, the Slovenian news agency STA reported Thursday.
It said the 62-year-old man died in hospital Wednesday evening, several hours after the incident in the village of Brezovica. Another person at the funeral was slightly injured.
While it is sad that this guy died, his dumbass move is worthy of a Darwin Award. Perhaps he was thinking that god would protect him?
Last year we had a violent thunderstorm that seemed to be localized directly above the three-story building where I work. It was about 5:00 pm and people were huddled by the doors watching lightning strike the parking lot and surrounding area. People were rightfully wary about trying to get to their cars.
After about five minutes, a woman in her late twenties blurted out: "I'm not afraid! God will protect me!" She stepped outside and opened her umbrella and proceeded to her car. I was flabbergasted by the complete dumbass-itude of that move. She was grounded in a half-inch of water holding a metal rod in a lightning storm.
Fortunately she made it unharmed to her car. Unfortunately she will probably use her stroke of luck as "evidence" of a supernatural deity that will personally protect her from all manner of nasty things. I expect one day I will see her and her car wrapped around a tree, bible in hand.
[+/-] Today's quote: Mill
~ John Stuart Mill
[Ed. note: Depending on which poll you trust, the United States is between 75% and 85% Christian. That’s a pretty big majority.]
[+/-] Rove is right
Believe capturing the person primarily responsible for the attack should be a top priority.
It's been four years, and Osama bin Laden is still free, even though Bush's CIA chief says he knows where he is.
Investigate the intelligence failures that led to 9/11.
Do everything in their power to block the 9/11 Commission from doing its work.
Propose creating the Department of Homeland Security.
Push tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Believe we should have stayed the course in Afghanistan, not allowing the Taliban to resurge, the warlords to take power, and the opium trade to skyrocket.
Ignore Afghanistan as the situation worsens.
Believe that we should be honest with our troops about the reasons we go to war, give them everything they need to be safe, and make sure we go in with an exit plan.
Manipulate intelligence to trump up reasons to go to war, don't give our troops the support they need, constantly mislead the public about the direction the war is going, and fail to make an exit plan. And turn Iraq into the ultimate terrorist training ground.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
[+/-] Jeb kicks off 2008 campaign by necro-humping Terri Schiavo
I can't begin to express how much I miss Terri. Sure, I never met her, or her husband, or the doctors who treated her, but that didn't stop me and Tom DeLay and Bill Frist from scrambling atop her doughy shell of a body, then using it as a pulpit from which to announce America's unconditional surrender to the Christian Taliban. Why, I can almost still feel her sweet autonomic twitching through the soles of… my… my Florsheim penny loafers. (Sobs.)....
[H]aving indulged in a kind of necrophilia-lite when Terri was merely brain-dead, my fear is that some folks might think I'm flip-flopping if I didn't keep humpin' away now that's she's lung-dead and heart-dead, too.
As such, today I have ordered a murder investigation be launched, with Terri's husband Michael Schiavo as the prime suspect. Because if you ask me, there's nothing quite so suspicious as a man who stands up for his wife's wishes – for fifteen long years – despite overwhelming opposition, vicious ad hominem attacks, and threats of physical violence. Which is why – facts and evidence be damned – we can and will try and convict that powerless, mustachioed nobody through the media, thereby enabling me to ride his sweetheart's corpse bareback – all the way to the 2008 Republican nomination!
[+/-] Today's quote: Anonymous
[+/-] What religion are you?
1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (88%)
3. Non-theist (86%)
26. Roman Catholic (7%) [The religion I was raised in]
What religion are you?
[+/-] Is this progress?
I do believe that we are, in many respects, better than we were. But I am fearful of our capacity to move backwards as well as forwards, to return like a dog to our own vomit. Why would we do that? Don't we truly want to be better than we were, and if we do, shouldn't it trouble us that reports from our detention centers suggest that our official policy on the treatment of prisoners is regressing instead of progressing? Progress, I am aware, is a loaded term, with conceptual liabilities all its own. But part of me craves the return of a certain usage of the word 'progress' in our political discourse. Usually, when you hear a government official say something like 'we're making progress in Iraq,' it's intended first and foremost as a spatial term: we've pushed back insurgents in this neighborhood, we've secured this city, we've pushed the borders of the Green Zone out a little farther. What I want to know is, are we making progress in time? Are we becoming better? If we cannot ask of our policies whether they are better than the practices of the gulag, let us ask of them: are they better than the practices of our great-great-grandparents, our great-grandparents, our grandparents, our parents? Will we be proud to report this policy to future generations? Or is that question, too, un-American?
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
[+/-] Contract that spawned Guantanamo prisons awarded to Halliburton during Cheney's tenure as CEO
A contract awarded to a Halliburton subsidiary in June 2000 while Vice President Dick Cheney was still at the helm of the firm spawned the detention centers at Gitmo (Link).
The contract, which allocated funds for "emergency construction capabilities" at "worldwide locations," authorized the Defense Department to award Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root any number of specific naval construction deals abroad.
Also note that the Defense Department announced on Thursday that Halliburton will build a new $30 million detention facility and security fence at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States is holding about 520 foreign terrorism suspects.
[+/-] Faith-based family planning
A US court has convicted a man of killing nine of his children, many of whom he had fathered through incest.
Marcus Wesson, a 58-year-old religious zealot who ran his family like a cult, could face the death penalty.
He was arrested last year after police found nine bodies with identical bullet wounds at his home - a massacre that shocked the Californian town of Fresno.
Wesson's lawyers had argued that eight of the victims were shot dead by his daughter, who then killed herself.
The victims were between one and 25 years old.
The jury took two weeks to convict Wesson on all nine counts of murder.
It also found him guilty of 14 counts of raping and molesting seven of his daughters and nieces.
There must be a link between mental illness and the propensity to believe in the supernatural. I've never heard of a humanist murdering his own kids, have you?
[+/-] Today's quote - Anonymous
~ Italian Proverb
[+/-] Bush: the Osama wanna-be
The CIA believes the Iraq insurgency poses an international threat and may produce better-trained Islamic terrorists than the 1980s Afghanistan war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, a U.S. counterterrorism official said on Wednesday.
You can't deny that there are some amazing similarities between the two men.
[+/-] Republicans blew billions in Iraq spending spree
The United States wasted nearly $20 billion of Iraq's funds in a spending spree the final days before transferring power to the Iraqis nearly a year ago, a report said on Tuesday.
A report by Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California, said in the week before the hand-over on June 28, 2004, the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority ordered the urgent delivery of more than $4 billion in Iraqi funds from the U.S. Federal Reserve in New York.
One single shipment amounted to $2.4 billion -- the largest movement of cash in the bank's history, said Waxman.
Most of these funds came from frozen and seized assets and from the Development Fund for Iraq, which succeeded the U.N.'s oil-for-food program. After the U.S. invasion, the U.N. directed this money should be used by the CPA for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
Cash was loaded onto giant pallets for shipment by plane to Iraq, and paid out to contractors who carried it away in duffel bags.
The report, released at a House of Representatives committee hearing, said despite the huge amount of money, there was little U.S. scrutiny in how these assets were managed.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
[+/-] The meaning of today
[+/-] Today's quote: Napoleon
~ Napoleon Bonaparte
[+/-] Torquemada considered for promotion
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is considering new top command assignments that would possibly include promoting Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the former American commander in Iraq during the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, Pentagon and military officials say.
It's the new American way!
Saturday, June 18, 2005
[+/-] Today's quote: Smith
~ Adam Smith
[+/-] Pair tie knot at humanist wedding
Britain's first legally recognised humanist wedding has taken place in Edinburgh....
Karen Watts and Martin Reijns were united by a humanist celebrant after it was agreed that previous rules were restrictive and discriminatory.
Rules on the venues in which Scottish couples can marry had been relaxed, but services still had to be carried out by a minister of religion or registrar.
Humanist representatives have demanded the same changes in England and Wales.
Humanists believe that people can live ethical lives without religious beliefs.
Before the changes, anyone choosing a humanist wedding had to have a civil ceremony beforehand to legalise the marriage....
Ms Watts, a community development worker, said: "Neither of us are religious and it would have felt hypocritical to get married in a church. But at the same time we wanted something more meaningful than the legal civil ceremony."
Thanks to Brinstar for the link!
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
[+/-] Carnival of the Godless 15
The next COTG, number 16, will be held on Sunday, June 26, 2005 at Positive Liberty.
Submissions should be sent to email@example.com. If you'd like to host a future COTG, please send your hosting request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
[+/-] Today's quote: Sagan
~ Carl Sagan
[+/-] The Chimpress visits Potemkin
Upon Laura Bush’s recent trip to Egypt, it was planned that she, along with her host Mrs. Mubarak, would visit a USAID funded school in Alexandria. One week before the scheduled visit, the tattered school was painted anew, tidied up, and the sewage system was fixed. The dirty roads around the school were cleaned up and trees were miraculously planted all around the area. A sign in English was written to welcome the 2 first ladies.Link
Nevertheless, the Alexandria education officials didn’t like how the Om el Qura school kids looked like! The girls were poor and wore dirty school uniforms. Instead of cleaning them out and distributing clean clothes that would have definitely drew a huge smile on their faces, the officials decided to replaced the kids with new kids brought from a language school!
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
[+/-] Today's quote: Emerson
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Friday, June 03, 2005
[+/-] Today's quote: Huxley
~ Aldous Huxley
Thursday, June 02, 2005
[+/-] Take back women's right to vote
[+/-] School won't hire atheist
[+/-] Today's quote: Pascal
~ Blaise Pascal, 1670
[+/-] The Nixon effect
Nixon knows that his contempt for the truth has become de rigeur for this White House, and he knows that if he had been born into wealth... he would have gotten away with it. The apparatuses of cover-up would have been in place a long, long time before he ever stepped his shit-covered foot onto the Presidential Seal on the carpet in the Oval Office. And he knows... that if the media had been then the way it is now, there's no fuckin' way two nobody reporters with anonymous sources and hippie hair would have been believed.... They'd've sliced and diced Woodward and Bernstein until "traitor" was the only word that stuck.
[Nixon's] crimes are but pallid antecedents to the crimes that are going on now, crimes for which no one will ever be punished.
[+/-] Red church blue church
A member of my church gave to me a copy of the Ohio Restoration Project. This project is led by so-called Christians who have a plan for Ohio. The project will target 2,000 pastors throughout the state to become "patriot pastors." These patriot pastors will be briefed on a specific political agenda and asked to submit names of their parishioners in order to increase a database to 300,000 names. These pastors will be asked to place voter guides in their church pews....
It is time for the citizens of Ohio to wake up. This group and those like it will stop at nothing in making America a theocracy shaped by one very limited interpretation of scripture.
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