Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fail Quote: Fischer on Christian vs. Muslim patriotism

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Bryan Fischer (Director of Issues Analysis, American Family Association)
Bryan Fischer

From the American Family Association’s inimitably bigoted Bryan Fischer:

Nearly half of Muslims in the US say that they think of themselves first as Muslims rather than Americans. Now that's a problem. It's not a problem when a Christian says that. For the Christian to say "I am a Christian first and an American second," that's what we all ought to say. Our ultimate allegiance is not to country, not to the Constitution, it's to God and the the Scripture. If you have to make a choice between the two, we must obey God rather than man.

But when a Christan says "I'm a Christian first and an American second," the fact that he is a Christian first, he's got devotion and allegiance to Jesus Christ means he's going to be a better American. He's going to be an asset to his country, he's going to love his country, he's going to become more fervent in his patriotism. His love for his country and for its traditions are going to deepen because those traditions are rooted in the soil of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Now if you have a Muslim, on the other hand, that says that - "I am a Muslim first and an American second" - look out! Because that indicates his ultimate devotion is to the Quran, it's to Allah, it's to Muhammad. It's not to Jesus Christ, it's not to the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is not to American values and American tradition and American history and American heroes - it is to Allah and Allah tells him to slay the idolaters wherever you find them.

So the more devout a Muslim gets, the more of a threat he becomes to America's nation security.

In short: Being a Christian-American makes you a better patriot, whilst being a Muslim-American makes you an evil would-be terrorist.

Glad that’s all cleared up.

Think God out of existence, Bubby

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The best of things often come from the most obscure of sources. From a relatively unknown 1993 film called Bad Boy Bubby:

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

[Transcript via Pharyngula]

You see, no one’s going to help you Bubby, because there isn’t anybody out there to do it. No one. We’re all just complicated arrangements of atoms and subatomic particles – we don’t live. But our atoms do move about in such a way as to give us identity and consciousness. We don’t die; our atoms just rearrange themselves. There is no God. There can be no God; it’s ridiculous to think in terms of a superior being. An inferior being, maybe, because we, we who don’t even exist, we arrange our lives with more order and harmony than God ever arranged the earth. We measure; we plot; we create wonderful new things. We are the architects of our own existence. What a lunatic concept to bow down before a God who slaughters millions of innocent children, slowly and agonizingly starves them to death, beats them, tortures them, rejects them. What folly to even think that we should not insult such a God, damn him, think him out of existence. It is our duty to think God out of existence. It is our duty to insult him. Fuck you, God! Strike me down if you dare, you tyrant, you non-existent fraud! It is the duty of all human beings to think God out of existence. Then we have a future. Because then – and only then – do we take full responsibility for who we are. And that’s what you must do, Bubby: think God out of existence; take responsibility for who you are.

It is our duty to think God out of existence.” I like that.

(via Pharyngula)


Daily Blend: Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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“Nikki - Psychic to the Stars”
The picture of credibility

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

‘xkcd’ on sympathy vs. remorse

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So true:

‘I’m Sorry’ [@ 08/31/11 12:00 AM] | ‘xkcd’ by Randall Munroe: “My mom’s house burned down.” “Oh! I’m sorry!” “Why? It’s not your fault.” “It’s nice of you to say that, but I know what I did.” Subtext: “It annoys me when people interpret an obviously sympathetic “I’m sorry” as an apology, so I’ve started responding by making it one.”
Mouse-over text: “You know I’ve always hated her.”

To be fair, it doesn’t actually annoy me so much as perplex me. If I say ‘I’m sorry’ upon hearing about the death of your mother or so some such, then unless I’m renown for displaying murderous tendencies towards your old lady (or some such), I’m obviously not apologizing for what happened out of remorse. Thus, it must be out of sympathy.

Honestly, you’d be shocked at how difficult this seems to understand for some people … unless you encounter this sort of weird attitude as frequently as I do.


Quote of the Day: Joe Jervis on free speech vs. intimidation

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Joe Jervis
Joe Jervis

From Joe Jervis at Joe. My. God.:

When anti-gay Christianist hate groups call for nationwide boycotts of LGBT-friendly companies, that is a righteous use of the free market in order to preserve morality, marriage, family, and the American way. But when GAY groups use or threaten the use of a boycott, THAT is homofascist intimidation, intolerance, bullying, and an attempt to deny the freedom of speech.

Just so we're all clear [warning: auto-play video].

Well, duh, obviously. ’Cause one side is just following God’s will while the other is trying to queerify us all into being sexually attracted to pink poodles, or something. Makes perfect sense.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Daily Blend: Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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Pastor Mike Stahl
Pastor Mike Stahl

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Remembering why Americans hate Dick Cheney

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Former VP Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney

When Vice-President Dick Cheney finally left office in 2008, his approval rating was at an abysmal 13 percent, officially making him one of the most widely hated public officials in history. Now, seeing as how the average human memory apparently has a duration spanning the length of Superbowl intermissions, and especially with the added distraction of the man himself now making the rounds promoting his admission-of-guilt-slash-memoir, it might help us to be reminded just why the former adjunct leader of the United States stepped down with the public perception ranging somewhere between troll and Hitler.

As it so happens, The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf, one of the last remaining rational conservatives in prominence, is happy to oblige:

Dick Cheney was a self-aggrandizing criminal who used his knowledge as a Washington insider to subvert both informed public debate about matters of war and peace and to manipulate presidential decisionmaking, sometimes in ways that angered even George W. Bush.

After his early years of public service, he capitalized on connections he made while being paid by taxpayers to earn tens of millions of dollars presiding over Halliburton. While there, he did business with corrupt Arab autocrats, including some in countries that were enemies of the United States. Upon returning to government, he advanced a theory of the executive that is at odds with the intentions of the founders, successfully encouraged the federal government to illegally spy on innocent Americans, passed on to the public false information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and became directly complicit in a regime of torture for which he should be in jail.

Thus his unpopularity circa 2008, when he left office.

Good riddance.

The above is merely the conclusion to a long but deliciously detailed piece listing the reasons why Cheney was as terrible as he was, both as a politician and as a man in general. Of course, the only question left is how long before Americans are once again overwhelmed by fear and division into electing another tyrannic demagogue who somehow sinks even lower.

Now that’s nightmare fuel.

(via @todayspolitics)

The Germanic States of America

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(via @bill_easterly)


More wealthy Europeans want higher taxes for the rich

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Liliane Bettencourt
Liliane Bettencourt

Like the French before them, a number of other European entities are now considering sensible measures economic self-flagellation:

First it was Warren Buffett announcing that he and his chums had been "coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress".

Then Liliane Bettencourt, France's richest woman, who was at the centre of a tax scandal last year, signed a letter along with 15 other billionaires begging to make a special contribution to the treasury to help drag France out of the financial crisis.

Even an Italian got in the action, with the boss of Ferrari saying that as he was rich, it was only "right" that he stump up more cash.

Now, as both France and Spain consider introducing a wealth tax, a group of 50 rich Germans have joined the "tax me harder" movement by renewing their open call to Angela Merkel to "stop the gap between rich and poor getting even bigger".

The German group, Vermögende für eine Vermögensabgabe (The Wealthy for a Capital Levy) is the latest manifestation of a feeling among some well-off individuals that the spare cash in their bank accounts might be able to ease, if not solve, the financial crises threatening to cripple their countries.

"None of us are in Buffett's or Bettencourt's league," said the founder, Dieter Lehmkuhl, a retired doctor with assets of €1.5m (£1.3m). "We're a broad church – teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs. Most of our wealth is inherited. But we have more money than we need."

The group's manifesto claims Germany could raise €100bn (£88.5bn) if the richest paid a 5% wealth tax for two years.


"I would say to Merkel that the answer to sorting out Germany's financial problems, our public debt, is not to bring in cuts, which will disproportionately hit poorer people, but to tax the wealthy more," said Lehmkuhl. "We are always hearing about savings packages, but never tax rises. Yet tax increases are a way out of this mess. That's where the money is: rich people.

"Something needs to be done to stop the gap between rich and poor getting even bigger."


Last week in France Nicolas Sarkozy proposed a similar idea: a temporary tax on the very rich. This would arrive in the form of an "exceptional contribution" of 3% on taxable earnings for those earning above €500,000. It will probably only last until 2013.

Christian paper shocked to discover that gays act all … normal

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Peggy Staley of Charter Oak, Iowa, holding sign reading “CHILDREN NEED A MOM+DAD” during anti-gay-marriage rally at the Des Moines, Iowa Statehouse on Monday, 04/13/09
She’s not arguing biology

This is amusing enough. We have new U.S. Census statistics showing that the number of reported same-sex couples has virtually exploded in the last decade, with various states reporting increases averaging at 50% since 2000. Researchers are making it clear that this isn’t so much a case of people suddenly turning queer and shacking up with the first same-sex person they see, but simply because of increased social acceptance that leads to more gay couples feeling safe enough to declare themselves.

Of course, the primary tack from the religious-Right about gay folks is about how they’re supposedly all cunning and deviant (and cunningly deviant) and out to forcefully transform heterosexual society into a perverted mecca of steamy gay sex and pink poodles and kids eating raw bunnies around a campfire made from the bones of Sarah Palin. (… Okay, I may have stretched that one a bit.) Either way, the very last thing that anti-gay conservatives seem to expect is for gays to actually end up behaving like, well, normal folks. I mean, queers, acting like you and me? Now that’s an abomination.

So, cue the Christian Post, who presents us with a breathless report under this beauty of a title: “Gay Couples Spread in U.S., Behave Like Straight Couples” As opposed to what, behaving like … gay couples? Wouldn’t that be a bit redundant?

Oh, right – as opposed to acting like cunningly deviant, pink-poodle-breeding steamy-gay-sex addicts. Right.

As the Post notes:

According to the research, many same-sex couples are doing something straight couples have been doing for generations: getting older, having kids, and moving to the suburbs.

These trends, both the spread of gay people living openly, and of gay populations mirroring trends in the straight population, are playing out nationwide.

Wait. I don’t get it. Are aging, reproducing and settling down supposed to be uniquely heterosexual traits? Why all the surprise over the news that homosexual folks actually end up acting, not like “straight couples”, but plain ol’ normal citizens like you and me?

Oh, right, pink poodles.

Not that I have much more to add, but I thought this was revealing enough:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good family planning advice

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That’s certainly the simplest way to do it …

Sign at Northampton General Hospital: “Family planning advice / Use rear entrance”

(via Joe. My. God.)

Texas judge slaps down meddling anti-choice lawmakers again – and again

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Judge Sam Sparks
Judge Sam Sparks

Recently, Texas federal district judge Sam Sparks ordered a couple of lawmakers to slag off when they tried to intervene in a federal lawsuit brought on by abortion rights groups who were suing to stop the state’s new “women must have a sonogram 24 hours before undergoing pregnancy termination” law, which the aforementioned lawmakers, themselves, had presented.

Amusingly enough, the duo then filed the exact same motion again, only for Judge Sparks to smack them down once more and pretty much tell them to fuck off in the process (albeit in a more legalistic vernacular):

As stated in its August 9, 2011, Order, the Court will not allow this lawsuit to be used as a vehicle for advancing a political agenda, or as a platform for rhetorical grandstanding. Although the outcome of this case will likely have repercussions outside these proceedings, the resolution of this case will depend solely upon the legal issues presented. The Court’s time is better spent considering the arguments of the parties than addressing the opportunistic petitions of outsiders.

Somehow, though, Sen. Patrick and Rep. Miller just didn’t seem to get it. They filed the same damn motion a third time. And Judge Sparks sent his namesakes ricocheting off the courtroom walls:

BE IT REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the above-styled cause, and specifically the latest in an unfortunately long line of motions for leave to file an amicus brief. Having reviewed the document, the relevant law, and the file as a whole, the Court now enters the following opinion and order DENYING the motions:

The Court has already turned down two extremely tempting offers to transform this case from a boring old federal lawsuit into an exciting, politically charged media circus. As any competent attorney could have predicted, the Court declines the latest invitation as well.

However, the Court is forced to conclude that Allen E. Parker, Jr., the attorney whose signature appears on this motion, is anything but competent. A competent attorney would not have filed this motion in the first place; if he did, he certainly would not have attached exhibits that are both highly prejudicial and legally irrelevant; and if he foolishly did both things, he surely would not be so prejudicial as to file such exhibits unsealed. A competent attorney who did these things would be deliberately disrespecting this Court and knowingly shirking his professional responsibilities, offenses for which he would be lucky to retain his bar card, much less an intact bank balance.

Daily Blend: Monday, August 29, 2011

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Jessie Kessinger (14)
Jessie Kessinger (14)

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Revealing Quote of the Day: Who cares about “dumb” Presidential candidates?

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To say that right-wing outlets like Fox News put a premium on intelligence is a wee bit of a stretch. Consider this latest example, one of the more telling ones I’ve yet seen: Concerning attacks against Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) over running for President whilst possessing the IQ of a moldy turnip, America Live host Megyn Kelly actually asks, “Does it matter – should it matter – if somebody is dumb?” Watch it for yourself:

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

[From Fox News’s America Live, aired 08/29/11, with guest Michelle Malkin]

MEGYN KELLY: I wanna ask you this: Does it matter – should it matter – if somebody is dumb?

[Rest of video is utterly unmemorable mix of description of “partisan attacks” against Rick Perry and Malkin’s babbling about it. Not transcribing that.]

To answer Ms. Kelly’s question: Seeing as how we’re talking about a candidate vying for the position of President of the United States, a supreme role of political and military might wherein he is put in charge of the entire nation’s present and future direction and well-being, not to mention at which point he receives the allegiance of the most powerful military force in human history … then yeah, I’d say it’s pretty fucking important that he have some modicum of brains in his head.

The far-Right these days gets all verklempt over the idea that any “elite” should run for President. This was characterized perfectly when Rush Limbaugh actually criticized President Obama for sounding “smart” and “articulate” during a speech. No; to the modern Right, the best candidate for presidency should be some half-witted yokel whose academic credentials ended with their high school graduation. After all, what’s so hard about being in charge of a society of over 300 million people, anyway? Surely one don’t need no stinkin’ school smarts fer that?

One thing that’s growing increasingly clear is that if the far-Right does end up running the United States into the ground, it sure as hell won’t have been as a result of some complicated and brainy plot.

Real-life ‘Minecraft’ block

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Random coolness:

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

Man knocks on a Minecraft-grass-block-textured cube, which shows Minecraft-like damage until it “breaks” into particles. He then switches the displayed texture to a wood block (ie. tree trunk) and repeats the breakage. (Read description below this transcript for technical details.)

From the video page:

There’s a piezo element taped to the box and hooked up to an arduino. The arduino senses the physical impact with the piezo element and sends serial data to my PC. Processing picks up the serial signal and takes care of the projection and interaction (particles, etc).

I have no idea what most of that means. But it’s still cool.

(via @Toumal)


Fail Quote: Republican blames Obama for own committee’s disaster relief cuts

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Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) (Chm., House Appropriations Committee)
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY)

From US House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), urging the Senate to approve a Republican bill for immediate disaster relief funds in light of the latest natural calamity to strike the U.S. and, predictably enough, blaming their budgetary shortcomings on President Obama & co.:

"Time and time again, the [Obama] administration has ignored the obvious funding needs of the Disaster Relief Fund, purposefully and irresponsibly underfunding the account and putting families and communities who have suffered from terrible disasters on the back burner," Rogers said. "Now the administration has let the fund reach critically low levels, putting continued recovery at risk, without a plan for the future or a clear method for dealing with new disasters."

There’s only one problem with that. The reason for those “critically low levels” is actually a number of sweeping budget cuts that were proposed and passed by his own Committee and under his advisement.

There just aren’t enough words to describe such sheer assclownery anymore.

(via @PersonalFailure)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Doggycide in Richland, Mississippi

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Rosco, 4-year-old German shepherd

Same story as always: Cops claim they put down an aggressive and dangerous dog while the owner and others maintain they carelessly slaughtered an innocent and cowering family pet. The Clarion-Ledger reports:

RICHLAND — Controversy swirls around whether a Richland police officer was justified in shooting a family pet after receiving a complaint about a vicious dog.

Police were called to Richland East Circle when a dog allegedly growled and showed his teeth to some neighbors Wednesday night, Police Chief Russel James.

An officer shot the dog after it became aggressive and rushed several officers when its owner stepped outside his home around 8:40 p.m.

"The dog posed a serious threat," James said.

But John Harrison, the dog's owner, and his son, Adam, tell a different story about Rosco. They say the 4-year-old German shepherd was under their carport waiting to come inside when officers arrived at their home.

Adam Harrison said Rosco was cowering in the corner by the door with his ears back when he looked outside.

"When his ears were down, that meant he was scared," Adam Harrison said.

He said as he opened the door, it hit Rosco causing the dog to bolt toward the officers, who had spotlights and guns aimed at the dog.

"It looked like they brought out the SWAT team to take down a bear," he said.

By the time he reached the edge of the carport, Adam Harrison said the dog was about 10 feet away from police and they fired.

John Harrison pointed out that his son was in the line of fire, as were two other people sitting inside the house.

Adam Harrison said he took the dog into the kitchen and attempted to stop the bleeding, then repeatedly asked officers to move their cars so he could take Rosco to a veterinarian.

At one point, he said one of the officers said to him, "We can drag him back outside and put another bullet in his head and end this s---."

Daily Blend: Sunday, August 28, 2011

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Patrick Michaels
Patrick Michaels

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

* The idea that consent is (or should be) only valid if made verbally explicit is both moronic and dangerous. Individuals who jump at each other in a fit of snogging and fucking are hardly going to pause and go, ‘I want to have sex with you, do you reciprocate?’ Someone who has sexual contact with another willing person who later turns rogue should not be held liable simply because both parties failed to verbalize their sentiments at the time of the act.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Four-year-old preacher paraded around on ‘The TODAY Show’

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Child abuse paraded around as spiritual enlightenment on MSNBC’s The TODAY Show. I only skimmed it and I’m still nauseated.

(No transcript – didn’t watch the whole thing and not going to.)

How clearer can it get that the poor kid has no idea what the fuck he’s even chanting about on stage? Mere regurgitation of whatever preachy crap he gets from his parents or assorted televangelists hardly seems like a worthwhile sermon. If this doesn’t illustrate how religion likes to rot your mind while you’re still young and malleable, I don’t know what does.

This is child abuse. And it’s being presented as if it were some sort of holy and virtuous phenomenon. I don’t even know what to say.

(via Joe. My. God.)

Daily Blend: Saturday, August 27, 2011

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Bryan Fischer (Director of Issues Analysis, American Family Association)
Bryan Fischer

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Friday, August 26, 2011

‘Minecraft’ v1.8 “Adventure Update” rundown

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This will interest either two or all of my readers, but to whomever it concerns: A 22-minute rundown of what we can expect from the upcoming Minecraft Beta v1.8 (“Adventure Update”). Prognosis: Awesome.

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

YouTuber Static (“777static777”) presents a rundown of both the expected and speculated changes in the upcoming “Adventure Update” (Beta v1.8), which is due out sometime “after August 28” (Minecraft is scheduled to exit the Beta stage in early-to-mid-November).

Firstly, it’s presumed that players will need to create new worlds (or explore previously uncharted regions of pre-1.8 worlds) for the new features to kick in.

  • The first new feature is NPC (Non-Player-Controlled) villages that spawn at random (comprised of a few little stone houses) and can be “claimed” somehow.
  • There will also be wells for water, which leads to speculation that infinite water (such as the two-buckets-spring glitch) will disappear.
  • There will also be NPC blacksmiths in NPC villages who use forges that run on lava (players can already use lava to power their furnaces; it just lasts longer). Speculation: Maybe smelting new items/ores.
  • There will be ravines and canyons.
  • There will be strongholds (random areas that resemble ruins) with new blocks: stone bricks, moss stone bricks, cracked stone bricks, and iron bars (like a gate).
  • New mobs: Endermen, silverfish, and possibly more.
  • More interesting farming options, including plantable pumpkins and melons.
  • Introduces animal breeding (speculation: will animals stop spawning infinitely?).
  • New food system; food will no longer heal instantly but will take more time to eat and will heal players gradually, depending on how full you keep your food meter. Food will also be stackable (though stacks may only be limited at 16). Will also probably include eating sounds and animations. New foods include raw and cooked chicken, and beef (with possibly re-textured pork chops).
  • Players will be able to sprint (which will probably deplete food meter faster), which can be used to send mobs flying back.
  • New block: Flat glass planes and possibly spike blocks (which might be hard to hide).
  • Arrows will now stay stuck in mobs (and may be recoverable after mobs die).
  • New combat mechanics: Critical hits (different blows deal different amounts of damage), bows now require charging for longer distance shots, and attack blocking/dodging (unknown how this will work).
  • New mushroom biome with giant brown & red mushrooms.
  • Biomes will be expanded/made larger.
  • Possibly rivers (long, winding bodies of water). Unknown if water would be still or flowing.
  • User-placed leaf blocks will no longer decay (despite not being within range of wood blocks).
  • Clouds will no longer pass through buildings (finally!).
  • Zombies will no longer drop feathers when killed (though new item is unknown).
  • Vertical map height limit seems to be increased greatly.
  • Day/night cycles will have improved, smoother lighting change.
  • Torches will give off warmer light.
  • Graphic sliders for field-of-view and gamma (ie. brightness/contrast).
  • Redesigned HUD with new food and experience bars.
  • Possibly new particle effects (maybe blood?).
  • New sounds (added minecart sounds, revamped rain and bow sounds)
  • Improved multiplayer server join screen with server lists (and hopefully filters) and in-game player lists.
  • Mods will be able to enter Creative Mode even when in SMP.
  • Improved modding support (possibly turning mods on/off in-game).

Do want.


Daily Blend: Friday, August 26, 2011

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Ali Soufan in Afghanistan after 9/11
Ali Soufan

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Son of murdered Pakistani governor kidnapped

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Shahbaz Taseer
Shahbaz Taseer

It’s not enough that Pakistani Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was murdered by his own bodyguard earlier this year when he came out in support of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of four who was sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy against Islam. Now, the late governor’s son has been kidnapped with no-one yet claiming responsibility:

LAHORE: The son of a Pakistani governor who was killed by his bodyguard for his opposition to a harsh blasphemy law this year was kidnapped in the eastern city of Lahore on Friday, police and the family said.

Four men on motorbikes intercepted Shahbaz Taseer in his car in the upscale Gulberg area and took him to a nearby street before kidnapping him, police said, quoting witnesses.

Shahbaz’s aunt Ayesha Tammy Haq, lawyer and columnist, has filed a petition in the court, DawnNews reported.

Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that the recovery of Shahbaz Taseer is going to be a big challenge for the Punjab Police.

“Shahbaz was out with a friend when four unidentified people kidnapped him,” his brother Shehryar Taseer told Reuters.

Shahbaz Taseer is a director in several companies his father founded, including Pace Pakistan Ltd., First Capital Equities Ltd., Media Times Ltd. and First Capital Securities Corp. Ltd.

“Our family has been receiving threats from the Taliban and extremist groups,” Shehryar said, adding they could be behind the abduction.

No one has yet claimed responsibility.

Punjab Governor Latif Khosa said the kidnappers were riding motorbikes and a jeep. “Many people saw the kidnappers,” he said. “They were not wearing masks.”

Don’t expect that to help much, however. More than one person have been killed for their opposition to Pakistan’s Islam-centric blasphemy law, and many more have perished as a direct result of it, whether by official execution or mob lynching.

At least Pakistani officials’ efforts to force other countries to adopt similar laws have consistently failed. Because if we are to follow the ways of another country, it should obviously be one whose people is oppressed and routinely culled under the rule of tyrants who put to death anyone who dares toe the line of religious impropriety.

(via @BreakingNews)

Friday Canine: Foxies can be vicious, too

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vox Day once more advocates Christian theocracy

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Theodore “Vox Day” Beale
Theodore “Vox Day” Beale

Over at The New York Times, columnist Bill Keller offers a list of basic and sensible questions for presidential candidates in order to gauge their positions on various issues, primarily regarding religious and social ideology. For his part, Vox Day responds to the list, presumably to enlighten us lowly commoners with his expert opinion, but a select few of his answers stood out to me and I thought I would bother examining them here.

3. (a) Do you agree with those religious leaders who say that America is a “Christian nation” or “Judeo-Christian nation?” (b) What does that mean in practice?

Of course America is a Christian nation.[1] It was founded by Christians[2] on predominantly Christian concepts[3] and most of its citizens are Christians[4]. No other nation is described by virtue of what its constitution says about religion or anything else, so why would we describe America that way?

For a “superintelligence”, he certainly doesn’t make rebutting him hard work. Four basic arguments, four obvious canards:

[1] Christian nation? Bullshit: Its very founding document (and not to mention generations of court rulings since) explicitly declares that its government must remain strictly secular and afford no preferential treatment to any particular faith(s). In addition, the Founding Fathers, themselves, made it explicitly clear that the country was “not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” in the Treaty of Tripoli (1796). I don’t see how anyone with any kind of reading comprehension could mistake that to mean that the U.S. somehow espouses Christianity as its official religion. You know, what with it saying the exact opposite.

[2] Founded by Christians? Bullshit, but with a caveat: Technically, the Founding Fathers all belonged to one Christian denomination or another, but many of them were Christian-in-name-only. A good number of them held anti-clerical views, and others even outright doubted or dismissed the existence of God and other key precepts of the Christian faith, and virtually all of the cosignatories were ardent secularists who openly denied the notion that their newborn country was established on the basis of any single religion (again, see the aforementioned Treaty of Tripoli where this is made abundantly clear). The implied notion that a bunch of Christians got together to create a nation that held Christianity as some sort of foundation is bunkum.

Actual patriotism amongst the rich … in France

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Liliane Bettencourt
Liliane Bettencourt

In the US, you are considered a patriot (at least by some) if you go around clamoring for your own elected leader to fail and for your government to be overthrown and replaced by anti-reality theocrats. Elsewhere, you are considered a patriot if you actually do something to help your country, especially if no-one even asked you to in the first place. Cue France [original emphasis]:

The French government will add an extra tax of 3 percent on annual income above 500,000 euros ($721,000). Prime Minister said the increase will remain in place until France’s deficit is back under 3 percent of its GDP, and the tax increase comes after some of France’s wealthiest citizens asked for a tax increase in a spirit of “solidarity.”

More details from the BBC:

Sixteen executives, including Europe's richest woman, the L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, had offered in an open letter to pay a "special contribution" in a spirit of "solidarity".

It appeared on the website of the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur.

It was signed by some of France's most high-profile chief executives, including Christophe de Margerie of oil firm Total, Frederic Oudea of bank Societe Generale, and Air France's Jean-Cyril Spinetta.

They said: "We, the presidents and leaders of industry, businessmen and women, bankers and wealthy citizens would like the richest people to have to pay a 'special contribution'."

They said they had benefited from the French system and that: "When the public finances deficit and the prospects of a worsening state debt threaten the future of France and Europe and when the government is asking everybody for solidarity, it seems necessary for us to contribute."

Traitors! Socialists! Marxists! Cheese-eating surrender monkeys!

Or – just maybe – they’re intelligent and reasonable people who realize that sharing a tiny fraction more of their considerable wealth to help their fellow countryfolk in a time of economic hardship may actually be the right thing to do. Such a radical theory, I know.

Daily Blend: Thursday, April 25, 2011

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Dr. Michael Mann
Dr. Michael Mann

If you have any story suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in.

Report: US teachers have one of longest work weeks in the world

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You know how those lazy, overpaid and underachieving US teachers are hogging all the job benefits and destroying the economy and whatnot? At least, that’s what it seems like at times, to hear the Right talk about it. And yet, the latest statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) seem to paint quite a different picture, as it turns out that American educators actually have one of the longest and most productive work weeks on average of all the world’s developed nations:

Graph: “At the Blackboard: Average number of hours primary-school teachers spend per year on instruction” with “U.S.” at #1 spot with “1,097” hours (Note: 2008; latest data available / Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)

Of course, all those many long hours are probably just spent sleeping off their hangovers during class and staying in late to watch the ball game on the 60-inch plasma TV in the teacher’s lounge whilst yearning for daily paychecks and paid vacations to Cuba. Or something.

(via @todayspolitics)


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WND’s Farah claims earthquake was warning from God

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Joseph Farah (editor-in-chief, WorldNetDaily)
Joseph Farah

They’re really crawling out of the woodwork now: Here’s Joseph Farah, editor-in-chief at the crackpot online news-rag WorldNetDaily, making some decidedly grandiose claims about the real reasons for yesterday’s tiny little earthquake that rattled distracted the East Coast:

Occasionally God really does shake things up as a sign to us of the consequences of disobedience and indifference to our Creator.

Yes, I really believe that.

I have no doubt that you do. It’s just not the mark of credibility that you seem to think it is, though.

Look, this earthquake turned out to be a warning only, without loss of life or serious property damage. But there will be a bigger one coming, as everyone should understand.

Your life can change dramatically in the blink of an eye.

I don't know what to expect from this hurricane on its way toward the East Coast. It could be devastating for some or nothing at all.

Nevertheless, it's always a good time to get right with God.

Your life can be snatched away at any time without warning. So, when we get them, we should take heed.

“Something may or may not happen that may or may not be bad for you. Isn’t that good enough reason to change your lifelong beliefs and suddenly convert to God-belief anyway? Oh, and I’m sure he’ll still accept you within his ranks despite your cowardly disingenuousness in groveling at his feet out of lowly fear (see: Pascal’s Wager) as opposed to genuine belief. After all, he’s a pretty forgiving guy, right?”

I say this in love to everyone reading.

You can laugh about it. You can cry about it. But take the message seriously.

It is offered earnestly in love.

Washington, D.C., deserves more than the wallop it got today. It needs a much bigger shaking up than it got. And I have no doubts that it is coming – unless there is a real change of heart in the leadership of this country.