Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Just a short post to wish everyone "out there" a very happy new year. Enjoy the holiday and here's hoping we have a great 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Democrats Have Accomplished Quite a Bit

I keep hearing that the Democratic congress has been ineffective and it would seem that many agree since congress actually has a lower approval rating than GWB. How the hell can that be? Well, I think it has to do with the Iraq war. Most Democrats ran on the promise of working to end the war. And the war rages on... of course, with only a slim majority there is really not much the congress could actually do to end the war.

So what has congress actually accomplished in a year? Quite a bit!

They raised the minimum wage from $5.15 to $5.85 an hour in July 2007. And the minimum wage will rise again to $7.25 an hour in 2009. And no, small businesses have not shut down or had massive lay offs (as the right wing nutjobs predicted).

Congress also reduced interest rates (by half) on federal student loans and boosted annual Pell grants. And Congress passed a new energy bill requiring automakers to achieve an industry-wide average fuel efficiency for cars, SUVs and small trucks of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

And for the first time Congress overrode a GWB veto - - on a $23 billion bill for restoring hurricane-ravaged wetlands along the Gulf Coast and other water projects. Of course, the Dems needed the support of some Republicans to succeed on this one (34 Senate Republicans defied GWB to override the veto).

Democrats also improved oversight. A Democrat-led investigation forced Alberto Gonzales to resign.

So, yes, more can be asked of congress, but they are doing a heckuva job.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ya Just Gotta Love Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens' most recent column on Slate from this past Monday is a wonderfully reasonable view on religion and the election. Here are a few of the juiciest tidbits that I enjoyed most, but I urge you to click on any of the links here to read the entire article:

Luvya, Christopher!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No Torture, No Immunity!

I received an e-mail today from the Committee for a Democratic Majority and it seemed like a worthy cause, so I thought I'd share part of it with everyone here:

The Bush Administration is trying to cover its tracks - and it's up to our Democratic Majority in
Congress to stop them.

The Administration wants Congress to pass a law to grant immunity to any phone company that participated in President Bush's secret domestic spying program. The CIA now admits it destroyed video tapes showing agents using torture to interrogate suspects. Torture is illegal, and covering it up is a crime too.

It's obvious this Administration thinks it's a law unto itself. They don't trust the American people with the truth. That's unacceptable.

Demand the truth from President Bush:

President Bush doesn't accept the rule of law, and apparently the phone companies don't either. With their help, the Bush Administration secretly spied on Americans for years, without any court orders or oversight. Now the president wants Congress to grant retroactive immunity to companies that broke the law at his bidding.

President Bush claims that American lives will be lost unless Congress changes FISA. He also says he'll veto any legislation changing FISA unless it includes immunity for the phone companies.

So if we take the President at his word, he's willing to sacrifice American lives to protect phone companies! Who's next? The private contractors they've let run amok in Iraq? The airlines they use to take suspects to other countries where torture is legal?

Enough is enough is enough is enough. Tell President Bush our laws apply to him too - and anyone who helps the Administration violate them: ttp://

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Beg Your Pardon?

Have you heard about the latest Republican jabfest? A recent television commercial from Mitt Romney accuses the surging Mike Huckabee of issuing too many pardons when he was the governor of Arkansas. The commercial talks of how Huckabee issued 1,033 pardons and commutations as governor of Arkansas while Romney issued none while leading Massachusetts.

This is kinda reminiscent of the Willie Horton stupidity of the 1988 election. You remember that, don't you? George Bush (the elder) accused Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis of poor judgement for allowing the weekend furlough granted to Willie Horton, a convicted murderer who went on to rape a woman and beat her boyfriend while free.

But if you dig a little deeper you have to start questioning old Mitt's motives. First of all, zero pardons? None? Doesn't that seem a little extreme in the other direction? You could almost make the point that Romney was planning a presidential run and avoided all pardons, even though it is a duty of state governors to review and consider reasonable pardons. Anything to not be lumped in with Dukakis, that liberal governor from Massachusetts!

Romney's most noteworthy pardon denial was his rejection of the request of an Iraq war veteran who was trying to become a police officer after his National Guard service. What did the guy do? Well, when he was 13 years old he shot a friend in the arm with a BB gun... and it didn't even break the skin.

The best thing about all of this ridiculousness though is that it is one Republican doing it to another. Let those fools bang on each other about useless things like this and none of them will look presidential come November 2008... and we'll elect the Democratic nominee (whoever that may be).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Can You Fart Like a Kangaroo?

I challenge anyone just surfing the web to come across that headline and then not click on over here to read this post. The headline is compelling and amusing and impossible to ignore!

When I ran across this story I just had to blog about it. According to The Age:

AUSTRALIAN scientists are trying to give kangaroo-style stomachs to cattle and sheep in a bid to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, researchers say. Thanks to special bacteria in their stomachs, kangaroo flatulence contains no methane and scientists want to transfer that bacteria to cattle and sheep who emit large quantities of the harmful gas.

So, instead of altering our diet to reduce our intake of red meat, we appear to be more eager to alter the red meat?!?! Let's hope they just modify the stomachs and not the legs. I mean, who'd want to have to keep track of a field of hopping cattle? And who'd want to try to milk a kangaroo-like cow?

Just when I thought nothing new could ever surprise me...

Naturalist vs. Atheist

Both of the terms in the title of this blog post describe me, but after reading an essay in Christopher Hitchens' latest book I have decided that the first one (naturalist) better describes me than the second one (atheist). More on that in a moment.

The book, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever, is highly recommended reading. It is a compendium of articles and essays written by a variety of different atheist luminaries. The book is thought-provoking and easily digested in small bites.

Anyway, one of the essays toward the end of the book succicntly discusses why the term naturalist is better (for atheists) than the term atheist. Basically, it is because the term "naturalist" defines the person in terms of what s/he embraces and not in terms of what s/he does not. A naturalist "believes in" the natural world around him and what can be viewed, measured, and enjoyed in nature. I like this and it defines me well.

Secondarily, being defined as a naturalist allows me to define theists as supernaturalists. That is they "believe in" things that can not be seen or measured in nature. It lumps them in with believers in ghosts, fairies, unicorns, and leprachauns. And rightly so, for these things are all supernatural.

Ahh.... do you feel it? I feel all refreshed and redefined heading into the holiday season and next year...

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Do Not Heart Huckabee

Well, according to the latest national polls it looks like Mike Huckabee is now running neck and neck with Giuliani for the Republican nomination. This amiable and likeable guy - at least on the surface - is a complete wreck of a candidate. The only reason he is surging in the polls is due to the lemming-like nature of evangelical xians who only want to vote for another brain-dead xian. When Huckabee was asked what he attributed his surge to he said something so stupid that only a xian could like it:

“There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one,” Huckabee said. “It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people and that’s the only way that our campaign could be doing what it’s doing.

"And I’m not being facetious nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across who are praying that a little will become much and it has, and it defies all explanation. It has confounded the pundits, and I’m enjoying every minute of their trying to figure it out. And until they look at it from a just experience beyond human, they’ll never figure it out. And that’s probably just as well. That’s honestly why it’s happening.”

I think I even prefer Giuliani to this nonsense.

At the same time Mormon Mitt is trying to convert his raging Mormonism into a plus by touting his "faith." Well, you all know what I think of faith, but this whole speech is a crock of crap. If he were honest he would admit that he does NOT believe what most xian believers believe. But he won't do that... no, no... that would be too... gasp... honest.

Anyway, the whole field of Republicans is nothing but a fetid, stinking bouquet of turds.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rupert Snags God Online

Did everyone hear that News Corp., that behemoth headed by Rupert Murdoch, has purchased, a faith portal whose mission "is to help people like you find, and walk, a spiritual path that will bring comfort, hope, clarity, strength, and happiness". Well, I doubt they meant people specifically like "me"...

Anyway, the same guy that owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal now owns an online site for jeebus believers. Not that I think this particular acquisition is all that significant, but does anyone else think that there should be limits on the number of "news" organizations that one company can own? (Like there used to be...)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ron Paul Strikes Back

Those of you who have read Mona Charen’s column attacking Ron Paul should take note that Jesse Benton, Communications Director for Ron Paul, has responded to the article in a very impressive, articulate, and convincing letter to the editor of the National Review.

I reproduce it for your edification here:

I read Mona Charen’s column on Friday and I had to clear a few things up. Outside of the name-calling (“kook,” as I’m sure you remember, was the attack word of choice used by critics of Barry Goldwater), Charen was way off base.

1. Dr. Paul’s commitment to principle is second to none, so to attack him, Charen twists the understanding of what a presidential pardon really is. A pardon is a constitutional check by the executive branch on the judiciary to protect against cruel or unusual punishment. When considering a pardon, a president examines extenuating circumstances to decide whether a punishment for a conviction under the law was unjust. Scooter Libby was convicted of a crime; that is not the issue here. Dr. Paul is not sympathetic to issuing him a pardon because he finds Libby an unsympathetic character. There is nothing inconsistent here. President Bush, who has issued the fewest pardons of any president since World War II, hasn’t pardoned Libby either, by the way.

2. If Charen paid much attention to the campaign, she would know that Dr. Paul never utters the word “isolationist” except to explain why he is not one. He believes in the foreign policy of the founders: peace, commerce, and open friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none. When he references Nixon and Eisenhower, he is clearly talking about past successful Republican campaign strategies, not what they did in office. Eisenhower campaigned to end the Korean War, Nixon to get us out of Vietnam. Dr. Paul argues that the GOP can only win in 2008 with a candidate who will bring hope troops form Iraq. Last I checked, many National Review readers cared a thing or two about Republicans winning elections.

3. Ron Paul is dead serious and very sober about what it will take to reform things like our oppressive tax system. Clearly, a Paul administration cannot end the IRS on January 29, 2009. Ending the income tax, a goal all real conservatives should share, would take major cooperation with the Congress. But, with honest communication and a lot of hard work, Dr. Paul knows that we can end the end the income tax over the course of just a few years. Over half of federal government revenue presently comes from sources other than the income tax. The United States could end the IRS and still fund the same level of big government we had less than ten years ago. There is nothing “unserious” about that.

4. Dr. Paul is a modest man with a sparkling record and unimpeachable personal integrity. I understand why you need to attack him by linking him to less-than-savory individuals (there is simply nothing else to use), but it is just not going to work. Some of your charges are silly. Dr. Paul’s “Texas Straight Talk Column,” for example, is public record and anyone, from the American Free Press to Cat Fancy, has the right to reprint it.

Yes, Ron appears on the Alex Jones radio program. But you know who else talks to Alex Jones? People like Judge Anthony Napolitano. Guess who hosts Alex Jones? FOX’s John Gibson and National Public Radio. Dr. Paul has said time and again that he does not believe 9/11 was an inside job. He does, however, think we should always question authority. When, by the way, were conservatives supposed to become trusting of big government?

Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity, and the protection of inalienable individual rights. He knows that liberty is the antidote for racism, anti-Semitism, and other small minded ideologies. Dr. Paul has focused all of his energy on winning the presidency so he can cut the size of government and protect the freedom of every American. Neither he nor his staff is going to waste time screening donors. If a handful of individuals with views anathema to Dr. Paul’s send in checks, then they have wasted their money. I cannot profess to understand the motivations of Don Black as neither Dr. Paul nor I know who he is, but a simple Google search shows that his $500 contribution has netted him at least 88 news hits, including Charen’s column. Perhaps a better explanation for his “contribution” is not support for Ron, but the attention he knew he would receive.

Mona, I can not expect everyone to support Dr. Paul, especially those who have sunk so much of their own credibility into supporting the Iraq war. In fact, Dr. Paul welcomes open and spirited discussions, and even legitimate criticism. But, I had to get a few things off my chest.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And I Thought the Press Had Wrapped Up This Presidential Election Already?

Things are wonderfully helter skelter right now in the world of presidential politics. Just about when all the journalists had all but conceded the Democratic primary race to Hillary Clinton, recent poll results don't look so good for her any more. It looks like she now trails five top Republican presidential contenders in general election match-ups. But that could change in a flash -- just ask Hillary who this past Summer had polls showing she beat every Republican thrown at her.

Most polls still show Hillary ahead in Iowa, but Obama is inching up on her. In New Hampshire, though, Hillary is still ahead by a substantial margin in most polls. And it is the same story in the next primary, South Carolina, with Hillary comfortably ahead. Unless something significant happens (and it could) it looks like Hillary will win two, maybe three of these first contests.

Things are more interesting on the Republican side of the race, though. Romney and Giuliani are attacking each other, while the unfortunately-named Huckabee rises. And so, too, does Ron Paul who

Poll-wise, Romney leads by a lot in both Iowa and New Hampshire, with South Carolina somewhat of a mixed bag. If Romney can capture two of these I think it will be a big blow to the perception that Giuliani is the inevitable Republican nominee.

Oh, and among all this foo-fa-rah Trent Lott announces his upcoming resignation. Buh-bye, Trent!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Has the Senate Grown a Pair?

Well, well, well, looks like the Senate has finally taken a step to stand up to that self-appointed little dictator Bush. Senators have been taking turns standing sentry duty this week — just to prevent Bush from circumventing the confirmation process by immediately installing people in federal posts while the chamber is in recess.

I like it! A 22 second session, presided over by a single Democratic Senator, just for procedural measure to block Bush from just naming people to appointments that require approval. It is a damn shame it has to come to this, but at least they are starting to stand up to the little despot for a change!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Am Holier Than Thou! (Said One Republican to the Other)

Looks like those holier than thou Republican presidential candidates can’t keep their holy feet out of their holy mouths. Let’s see what this inauspicious crowd has been up to lately:

Three of the 10 Republican candidates have publicly proclaimed that they don’t believe in evolution. Of course, one of these three “wise men,” Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas has since dropped out of the race. Good riddance. The other two bozos, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, are still slogging it out. I wonder if they "believe" in other science like nuclear technology?

Then there is Mitt the Mormon. The Mittster seems to be trying to paint himself as the “moral” candidate. He has changed his position on gay marriage and he has indicated that he loves reading the Gideon bible. Confusing, isn’t it? What about the book of Mormon? Oh, no, we can’t have the mindless Christians out there finding out that Jesus visited the US can we? “The values of my faith are much like, or are identical to, the values of other faiths that have a Judeo-Christian philosophical background,” he said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. Well, I kind of agree with him there, I s'pose, because there is a lot of craziness in all of these faiths.

Then we have John McCain’s Mom trashing the Mormons - - although, somewhat to his credit, McCain quickly said that the “views of my mother are not necessarily mine.” Which leaves the question, just what does McCain think about Mormonism? I can guess, because he has stated on the record that the president should be a Christian because the nation was founded on Christian principles. And I can guess, too, that like most Christians he wouldn't categorize Mormons as Christians.

But let’s face it, Mormonism is about as whack-a-doo as you can get (this side of Scientology). OK, I think that most religions are nutso, but at least they are sufficiently ancient that tradition and culture play a big role in their on-going proliferation. To be a Mormon you’d have to be pretty much out to lunch. Mormonism teaches that an American named Joseph Smith was a prophet who received visions from God about how to restore the true and original Christian church. This happened in the 1800s. He supposedly found gold plates that outlined the story, but he wouldn’t let anyone see them. He dictated the book of Mormon by putting the gold plates into a hat and reading them with a magic stone. No, I am not making this shit up. There were around 1.7 million Mormons in 1960. Today there are 13 million. Damn, people are gullible. Enough about Mormon (but if you want to read more about it I heartily recommend Jon Krakauer’s excellent book Under The Banner of Heaven).

Rudy Giuliani is probably the least religious of the motley Republican crew. But he recently received the endorsement of Pat Robertson. And he got this endorsement despite his positions supporting abortion rights and gay rights. Seems the Republicans are desperate for a candidate they think stands at least a fighting chance against Hillary Clinton. But Giuliani is still a scary bastard - mostly by whom he chooses to associate with. Example? New York Rep. Pete King, a Giuliani adviser, proclaimed that there are "too many mosques in this country." So I guess it is cool for a Christian religious fanatic to bash a muslim religious fanatic?

The bottom line though is that none of these fuckers are as scary as George W. Bush, who thinks he talks to god. So even if one of the Democrats does not win (I so hope they do!) the country should be better off in late January 2009.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Modest Proposal for Colorado

A proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution that would give legal rights to fertilized human eggs may be headed for the ballot next year, raising the prospect of a heated local debate over abortion at the same time that Democrats are gathering (t)here for their national convention.

So, this bill will give legal rights to a fertilized egg, huh? You know, I don't think this goes far enough. Why should only fertilized eggs be protected? Why shouldn't every human egg be given protection under the law because every egg is a potential human being?

That mean little girls should be encouraged to have sex as soon as they begin to menstruate. Otherwise they are just murdering all of those potential human beings every time they get their period.

And heck, why stop with eggs? I think semen should be protected under the law, too! That would make you a mass murderer every time you masturbate.

Now that is a notion that could win me support from the Catholics, isn't it?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Christianity: World's Largest Case of Stockholm Syndrome

I ran across this interesting treatise calling organized religion, and Christianity in particular, the world's largest undiagnosed, and untreated, case of Stockholm Syndrome.

I had never thought of it that way, but the author makes an interesting case. If true, then it is reasonable to think of your religious friends as being in the control of a psychosis. Which kinda makes some of them easier to understand, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

You Really Should Read James Carroll 's Columns

Today I want to promote the columns of James Carroll, columnist for the Boston Globe. He almost always seems to hit the nail spot on its head and get to the heart of matters. For example, consider his most recent column on Turkey and the war in Iraq:

HERE IN TURKEY, Condoleezza Rice offered sage advice to Turkish leaders ahead of the Washington meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan. "Effective action means action that can deal with the threat," she said Friday, but won't "make the situation worse." The Turkish military, with a deployed force of up to 100,000 soldiers, is poised to attack positions of militant Kurdish separatist fighters in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq. Their cross-border forays into Turkey over the last five weeks have killed dozens of Turks, both soldiers and civilians. Iraqi Kurds tacitly support their fellow Kurds, and Americans have done nothing to dissuade either group. Erdogan is under enormous pressure to respond to such attacks, but Rice highlighted "the need to look for an effective strategy, not just one that's going to strike out, somehow, and not deal with the problem."

As viewed from Turkey, American responses throughout this crisis range from duplicity to double standards. The cautionary message that Rice conveyed to her foreign ministry counterparts here, and that Bush is expected to echo, defines the exact opposite of policies pursued to this day by the Bush administration itself. The conditions that created the terrible prospect facing Turkey - an immediate war with rebel Kurds based in Iraq -- have been wholly manufactured in Washington, which displays an unending capacity to "make the situation worse." Turkey, a staunch US ally, urged restraint four-and-a-half years ago when Bush rolled his dice in Iraq. But when the gamble was lost, it was nations in the Middle East - not America - that paid. Turkey's turn to pony up has come.

The mood here is somber because when war begins, it will be real. Turks understand that the United States, thousands of miles away, is only virtually at war. US soldiers are killing and being killed, to be sure. Yet the main result of their presence as an occupation force has been to ignite and sustain a set of civil wars - now including Turkey's - that have nothing to do with America. Indeed, despite the neo-con rhetoric of "fight them there instead of here," the US occupation of Iraq defends against no direct threat to America. As Saddam's weapons of mass destruction were a paranoid myth, so is the much-hyped dread of "Islamofascism," a phenomenon that, if it did exist, would threaten Islamic peoples and values far more than anything in the West. The problem, of course, is that militant Islamic extremists, however defined, are empowered by the US occupation, not disarmed. Iraq has become a West Point for suicide bombers. Even then, the threat remains local. And although all the belligerents target the American occupiers, and will do so as long as the occupation continues, America has no authentic enemy among Iraq's sectarian belligerents. Turkey does.

In the United States, meanwhile, confusion reigns. After effectively voting against the Iraq occupation last November; after denouncing it in successive polls; after seeing the Bush administration reject its own review panel's call for a shift to diplomacy; after the touted "surge" led to more of the same; after the shock of current oil prices made the real Bush agenda in Iraq plainer ever; and after Dick Cheney and George Bush made the mad prospect of attack on Iran seem possible - the American public has sunk into a dispirited, and perhaps guilt-induced, detachment from the entire mess. (Again last week, Congressional Democrats, debating appropriations, dared look the Pentagon in the eye - and promptly blinked.) No such detachment is possible here in Turkey.

Before Bush's war changed everything in this region, Turkish hopes were high. An expansive European Union beckoned. Turks were poised to play a historic role as the bridge between Islam and the West. But then they found that, in the "us against them" war on terror, no such bridge was wanted. Europe got nervous about Turks already in its cities, and lately European countries have taken actions Turkey regards as friendly to the Kurdish rebels it is fighting. Now come warnings that, if Turkey responds to its made-in-Washington terror threat exactly as Washington does - "to strike out, somehow" - then Turkey can kiss EU admission goodbye.
The question is sharper here than at home: How much higher can the rubble pile of Bush's wreckage mount before Americans emerge from the stupor of shame to stop him?

That is a helluva a good question: when will the US emerge from our stupor of shame?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

How Can We Continue to Support Pakistan?

I feel like I am hallucinating. Musharraf has suspended Pakistan's consitution and essentially declared martial law. This would seem to run counter to the expressed goal of the administration of George W. Bush, that being the further spread of democracy throughout the world. Yet, there is no unilateral condemnation of this attack of democracy from the Bush administration. And it would appear that the US will continue to funnel loads of money to Pakistan as a "partner" in the war on terror.

How fucking crazy is that? Pakistan is imprisoning opposition leaders. Pakistani police beat and arrested lawyers protesting Musharraf's terroristic power-grab. And the US contributes to it by continuing to send funds for the Pakistani military?

Truly, any sentient human being at this point should be able to condemn the Bush administration as muddled and having no clear focus. Anyone still supporting Bush at this point must be a petrified turd lacking a brainstem... but I guess there are more of those laying about than I would imagine, huh?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Another Stupid Bush Tactic

Have you been following the Mukasey nomination hearings? Earlier this week, Bush's nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, refused to answer Senator's questions about whether he considers waterboarding torture. IMHO this is a perfectly legitimate question and any Attorney General nominee should be asked the question... and expected to answer it.

What was Bush's response? He said, and I quote, "If the Senate Judiciary Committee were to block Judge Mukasey on these grounds, they would set a new standard for confirmation that could not be met by any responsible nominee for attorney general," Bush said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

"That would guarantee that America would have no attorney general during this time of war," the president said.

It is obvious that this president does not like America. He does not like the checks and balances of a three branch government where each branch is equal. He does not like our Constitution. He is an enemy of freedom. And if he doesn't get his way, well, then he is taking his ball and going home.

January 2009 cannot come soon enough!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yosemite McCain

When talking about Osama Bin Laden, John McCain has previously stated, in one of the many debates, "He is going to pay and he will die" . . . "We will bring him to justice" . . . "I will follow him to the gates of hell."

Then last Tuesday (October 23, 2007), during a speach at Thompson Center Arms, a subsidiary of Smith & Wesson, McCain elabtorated saying: "I will follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell and I will shoot him with your products."

This is not the type of thing I want a presidential candidate, let alone a president of the USA, to say. OK, so Bush has lowered the level of discourse and eloquence that we expect in a president with his continual, almost daily mangling of the English language and absurd comments. But I want Bush to be an aberration, not the first in a line of idiots.

And then, to make matters worse, the two-faced idiot (that would be McCain) later told reporters he was joking. He must think it is one helluva funny joke if he keeps telling versions of it over and over.

What's next? I guess if he speaks in Detroit he'll say something like: "I will drive down to the gates of hell and run Osama Bin Laden over with your SUVs."

Or if he speaks a Bob Jones University he can say "I will follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell and lynch him just like youse guys like."

What do you think? Let's all help Yosemite McCain write his upcoming speeches... do you have any ideas on how he can tweak this compelling message for other audiences?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Recently Uncovered Nostradamus Quatrain

Under the sands was the darkened liquid
So dear to the westerners
That the eagle arose to shatter Babylon
All because of that bastard Bush

Friday, October 26, 2007

President Colbert?

By now you may have already heard about Stephen Colbert's announcement that he is going to run for president, as both a Republican and a Democrat, but only in his home state of South Carolina.

I find Colbert and his nightly program, The Colbert Report, hilarious - and it is high time that another fake campaign for president (such as those run by Pogo and Pat Paulsen) was conducted. We need all the humor we can get given the group we have running this time around, don't we?

But Colbert may have actual momentum! Computerworld reports that Colbert has already accumulated more than 1 million supporters on his Facebook site. They contrast this with Barack Obama's One Million Strong For Barack group which has accumulated just over 380,000 members over the past nine months.

And Colbert's campaign has caused others to speculate what might happen if federal election officials take his campaign seriously. How could anyone take it seriously when he has stated that Larry Craig might be his running mate!?!?

I guess it just goes to show that Americans love celebrity...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rudy Giuliani: One Scary Bastard

Of all the presidential candidates with a chance to actually win, Rudolph Giuliani is the one that scares me the most. Oh, none of the Republicans excite me, but Giuliani could actually continue the ways of the worst administration ever (that would be GW Bush's).

Why do I say this? Well, consider this piece from the New York Times. Among the many nuggets in this article is this paragraph that should send shivers down the spine of any sentient being:

Mr. Giuliani’s team includes Norman Podhoretz, a prominent neoconservative who advocates bombing Iran “as soon as it is logistically possible”; Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, who has called for profiling Muslims at airports and scrutinizing American Muslims in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps; and Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has written in favor of revoking the United States’ ban on assassination.

I guess I'd prefer Fred Thompson (even if he is a lazy, looney bird) to that!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halle Nose Better Than to Try to Be Funny

Did everyone hear about the stupid Halle Berry comment that is now making the rounds as the latest "offensive" joke? Evidently she was on The Tonight Show (anyone with a mind would have been watching either Stewart or Letterman) and made a crack about Jews having long noses. Of course, she has since apologized.

Is the Jewish shnozz off limits now?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Atheist Philanthropy

Greeting everybody... sorry that I haven't posted anything new here in more than a week, but I was qutie busy at a work-related conference this week in Las Vegas. And yes, I did work, not play... (I'm not a gambler anyway).

On to the point of this post. One of the annoying little things that the faithful regularly "pull out" when they try to denigrate atheists is the philanthopy card. That is, they say something like "Well, it is always Christians who give to the needy and charitable causes... you never see atheists doing that!"

This is a red herring, of course, but it is also a big fat old lie. First of all, let me state that I admire the charitable causes taken on by many christians. There are tons of good people "out there" giving of themselves to help others that are less fortunate. When they do this without proselytizing (that eliminates a bunch of 'em) I think this is great.

With that said, here is a wonderful blog post that highlights many examples of atheists giving to charities.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Flag for "Honoring God"?

I thought this was an interesting piece of news:

A 17-year-old Eagle scout wanting to honor his grandfather's "love of God, country and family" with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol has helped remove a ban on the word "God" in certificates that accompany these flags...The boy had asked that the certificate read: "this flag was flown in honor of Marcel Larochelle, my grandfather, for his dedication and love of God, country and family." But the Architect excised "God" from the inscription, saying it violated a policy, set in 2003, banning religious and political expressions on the certificates.

My position on this bit of stupidity might surprise you. I don't see the harm in putting what your constituent wants in such a certificate. Of course, it must be handled equally. My relatives should be able to request a flag to be flown in my honor with a certificate that reads something like: "this flag was flown in honor of csm, for his dedication to truth and country, and his long-standing battle against belief in gods."

Who wants to make a bet on whether that inscription would ever get put on any such a certificate?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On The GOP Candidates for President 2008

I just had to share this comment from Mitt Romney on comparing the 2008 Republican primary race to the TV series "Law & Order":

"It has a huge cast. The series seems to go on forever. And Fred Thompson shows up at the end," Romney said.

Here's hoping it ends the same way... with Thompson no longer participating.

Sad, But No Surprise in Recent Survey

A recent survey conducted by Gallup indicates some non-surprising results:
  • Religious folks tend to disbelieve the science of evolution

  • Republicans tend to disbelieve the science of evolution
Gee, I wonder if there is any connection?

Friday, October 5, 2007

MSU Has Been Touched By His Noodly Appendage

Pastafarianism - that is, the church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster - is the number two religious group at Missouri State University.

Watch this video for a news coverage. To me, the saddest part of this is the final statement made by the reporter about threats the group has received.

Ya just gotta love a good satire - and lament the humorlessness of some christians.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Is Norway's Princess Any Nuttier Than the Average God Believer?

Ever heard of Princess Martha Louise of Norway? She thinks she can talk to angels. And she claims to be able to communicate with horses (and not just by pulling on the reigns).

Now this may sound crazy to you... and it does to me, too. These things, in and of themselves, are ridiculous. But I'm an atheist and I don't "believe" in supernatural horse shit. However, why should a christian (for example) think this is nuts? If you are a christian, mull that around in your cranium for a minute or two...

Christians believe plants were created before the sun existed, that a man named Noah lived for more than 500 years (and, oh, by the way, he built a boat and put pairs of ALL the world's animals on it and sailed it around the world during a global flood), giants used to walk the earth (Genesis 6), and that Abraham had more than a half dozen kids after he was 100 years old... and that is all from just the first chapter of the christian "holy" book. Christians also believe in a man/god, a virgin birth, talking animals, and on and on and on....

I think you're all nuts... just like Princess Martha Louise!

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Statesman Whose Time Has Arrived

The time has come for Al Gore to run for president. Here is a compelling case taken from the Draft Gore web site.

Whether the issue is global warming, war and peace, reforming government, or leading a technological revolution, Al Gore has always been ahead of the curve. The climate crisis may be hot today, but Congressman Gore was pounding on this issue long before Washington had even heard of global warming.

At a time when politicians have lost the art of inspiring and leading, Al Gore speaks the truth and speaks it from the heart. His message is born out of conviction and is often decades ahead of its time. And he never gives in to politics as usual.

In 2002, he became the first prominent political figure to speak out against the war in Iraq. His predictions came to pass with painful precision. In the months and years that followed, Gore continued to brave the political winds by speaking out forcefully and compellingly on this and other issues of moral imperative: the assault on the Constitution, the abuses of executive power, the dire consequences of the Administration’s economic and environmental policies. He called for Rumsfeld’s resignation in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal and for the repeal of most of the Patriot Act.

Again and again, Gore has blasted open the national debate on the most important issues of our time. The opposition movement in America, desperate for a voice and a leader, has found one in Al Gore.

A proven winner

Only Gore has demonstrated he can take the heat and win the presidency of the United States. Even without considering the Florida fiasco, in 2000 he defeated George W. Bush by more than half a million votes, receiving the second largest number of votes ever cast in a presidential election.

As a moderate with a populist message and strong support among independents, Gore can unite the different factions within his party as well as draw support from voters of other partisan or non-partisan persuasions.

And recent polls indicate that Gore would be the favorite both for the nomination (see primary polls in New Hampshire, Michigan) and the general election.

A statesman with experience to be President

Gore’s credentials and experience are second to none. As vice president for eight years of peace and prosperity, he worked closer than any of his predecessors with the President, and many have called him the most successful vice president in history. Previously he served eight years in the House and was elected to a second term in the Senate. He has since worked with heads of state and other influential individuals and groups worldwide, and is respected by leaders around the globe.

Should he be elected, Al Gore would need no on-the-job training. He would hit the ground running from Day 1 with a vision and experience second to none.

And a cause that shall never die

Al Gore personifies a cause to millions of people who fiercely believe he was rightfully elected in 2000, and who will never get over the events that stopped the counting of the votes in Florida and put the election in the hands of a partisan Supreme Court. To this day people continue to address him as President Gore. As Martin Peretz wrote in a June 2006 op-ed in The New Republic, “there is an undercurrent of guilt around the country about the fact that the presidency was taken from him by a vote of 5 to 4."

Without a Gore candidacy, the country will be forever divided by a profound sense of justice denied. He may not have wished to become a cause, but millions of Americans cannot forget, and many more wonder each day, “What could have been?”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Sad Veto History Likely to Worsen

George Bush is threatening to do it again.

First he vetoed the stem cell research bill. Then he vetoed the bill with a withdrawal timetable for our troops in Iraq. Now President Bush is at it again and is ready to veto the Children's Health Insurance Bill this week.

Within the next two days, Congress will pass legislation to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance for millions of children whose parents can't afford it on their own. But President Bush's veto will cut millions of children from the program.

Every day, countless parents live in fear that their sons and daughters may get sick or injure themselves, and then won't be able to pay the medical bills. A sudden illness or a broken arm shouldn't mean financial ruin -- but this is the price that hard-working families have to pay when Republicans put their own interests before the needs of the American people.

For the billions of dollars we spend in Iraq each month, every uninsured child could have access to the health care they need. Our society should promise every family that no child in America will be denied access to good medical care.

That's a huge difference between Democratic priorities and Republican priorities.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

House Getting a Bad "Rap"

House panel debates hip-hop lyrics: Two rappers, sitting side-by-side in an ornate House hearing room, went in different directions Monday on the need for hip hop artists to expunge their work of sexist and violent language.


At the hearing, music videos showing scantily clad women were played; music executives in dark suits testified on the uses of the "B," H" and "N" words, and black civil rights leaders talked of corporate exploitation.

[sarcasm on]
Oh, I'm just so glad that the House is investigating the lyrics of hip hop music. It is not like there is a war going on, is it? And everyone had health coverage, our borders are protected, and the executive branch isn't full of power hungry, wiretapping, oil-drunk, rich white shit heads, right?
[sarcasm off]

Friday, September 21, 2007

Republicans Should Stick to Outing Other Republicans

What with hypocritical gay-basheing Republicans like Larry Craig, David Dreier, Mark Foley and others you'd think Republican operatives would have enough gay folks to out just by looking among their own ranks. Why do I say this now? Well, Hillary Clinton was forced to come out as "not gay" because of the back-handed sniping and comments out there insinutating that she is a lesbian.

Really, why should anyone give a flying fuck whether someone is gay or not?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Death of Habeus Corpus

Yesterday's (9/19) vote in the US Senate fell four votes short of restoring habeas corpus. That is, the basic right to challenge government detention. Here is the record of the vote on the Cloture Motion to restore Habeas Corpus.

The US Constitution states this: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." Does anybody acually think that either of those situations apply today?

But we've actually undone more than just the US Constitution. And I use the term just with some reservation because I revere the US Constitution. The concept of habeas corpus was actually introduced in the Magna Carta, way back in the year 1215.

So, what this means is that the right wing assholes in the executive branch, coupled with the go-along pussies in congress, have managed to dismantle not only basic tenets of the US Consitution, but also the Magna Carta, the document that guided the framers of our Constitution.

We've not just regressed 200 years in civility, but almost 800 years.

When will this bullshit stop?

Monday, September 17, 2007

The First Thing Kathy Griffin Has Done That I Enjoyed

Now I'm not normally a Kathy Griffin fan; I find her campy and not very funny. But I enjoyed her speech at the Emmy Awards, even if it was cut from the aired version of the show. If you want to watch it, go here.

Here's what she said: ''A lot of people get up here and thank Jesus for helping them win this award, but I have to say nobody has been less helpful in getting me to this moment than Jesus. I don't know what I ever did to him, I just think he doesn't like me that much, and if he had his way, Caesar Milan would be holding this statue right now, but he's not and I am! So I guess all I can really say is, 'Suck it, Jesus! This statue is my God now!'''

Evidently the Catholic League (whoever those fuckers are) didn't like it. They wanted an apology. Fuck them. If the Academy apologizes for this they should also apologize to all the atheists who have to listen to the blathering idiots who thank Jeebus all the time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Today is a solemn day for all Americans as we reflect on the horrors of six years ago. It is my sincere wish that all of us - Republican/Democrat, athiest/theist, man/woman, all races and creeds - use this day to carefully consider our lives and way of living... and how quickly it all could end.

The events of 9/11 should never be used as a political tool or ploy. Instead 9/11 should be a day of national reflection and consideration for our future. Not a day of mourning, but a day of hope. Not a day of fear, but a day of thoughtful preparation for what needs to be done. Not a day of sadness, but a day of pride.

Join me today, if you will, in reflecting on our national spirit and ability to do the right things. And then do your own little bit to make your reflections reality over the course of the next 12 months...

Thank you.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

According to Republicans Prostitution Must be OK

Have you noticed the virtual (by comparison to the Larry Craig fiasco) silence from Republicans on Senator David Vitter breaking the law? Vitter's phone number was found on the records of the D.C. Madam.

So why aren't the Republicans calling for Vitter to step down? There are many similarities between Craig and Vitter. Like Craig, a self-righteous Republican has committed the "sin" he rails against (going to a prostitute instead of gay sex in a public rest room). So he is a hypocrite. And both actions are against the law.

On the other hand, there are differences. Vitter did not plead guilty to the police, although he did basically admit to seeing the prostitute. And I guess the other difference is that Vitter claims that the transgressions happened before he was in Congress. But, really, the big difference to the Republicans is probably where Vitter stuck his dick, not when.

I guess the Republicans are okay with prostitution as long as it is of the heterosexual variety.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Explaining the Rise of Christianity

Here Comes Looney Bird Fred Thompson!

Even before Fred Thompson formally entered the 2008 White House race (which will supposedly happen Thursday, Spet 6, 2007), he aired his first television advertisement on Wednesday during a presidential debate he is skipping.

The lazy bastard won't join the debate, but will show a filmed (actor that he is) commercial entitled "Debate" during the debate. If this sad fucker actually wins the Republican nomination it'll be truly unfortunate... but it won't be all that surprising.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Faith Poll Results

I'd like to thank the folks who clicked over to The Serenity of Reason's religion/faith poll. I wanted to tak a moment to post the results of the poll (as of September 4, 2007).

You can see that we had 12 folks take the poll and that we are predominantly atheists and agnostics.

And to the one lone christian respondent, thanks for joining us.

In other news, Larry Craig has resigned (good riddance to that hypocrite) even though his children believe he is not gay (of course, they are an unbiased source). For an interesting read, try the transcript of his conversation with the officer that arrested him.

And maybe GWB is starting to feel the pressure from the Senate Democrats pushing to start withdrawing troops from Iraq.

All of this even though the GAO says that Iraq has failed to meet 11 of 18 benchmarks.

Friday, August 31, 2007

"The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine

If you are looking for something to read over the upcoming holiday weekend (at least here in the USA it will be a holiday weekend), then look no further than The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. The link goes to a web site that contains the entire text of both parts of Paine's epic book and you can read it there (or print it off) free of charge. Hey, just try to find a better bargain that that!

In The Age of Reason, Paine criticizes Christian doctrines and advocated deism. Whereas I'm reasonable sure that most of the regulars around here know who Thomas Paine is, perhaps others who stumble in here might not, so here is a short synopsis of Paine.

Thomas Paine is one of the founding fathers of the USA. His biggest contribution to the revolution was perhaps the pamphlet he authored (anonymously) in 1776 titled Common Sense, in which he called for the colonies to declare their independence and break away from Great Britain. Later, he also contributed to the French revolution.

Even if you do not know Paine, you may know some of his words. One famous quote attributed to Paine is "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." From the American Crisis, he wrote "These are the times that try men's souls." And there from Common Sense: "That government is best that governs least."

What a better world it would be if we had more men (and women) like Thomas Paine alive today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Do We Like Personal Attacks or What?

I was going over the 50+ posts I've made to The Serenity of Reason and I noticed a pattern. It seems like the most commented-upon posts are the ones that start as personal attacks. That would be the Ben Stein post and the Chuck Norris post.

I wonder if that is because people want to come to the rescue of the attacked? Or is it because we want to pile on? Probably a tad more of the latter than the former if you read the comments, but there is a smattering of both.

I suppose I'll have to find another asshole to attack if I want to rile up the troops into commenting... any suggestions?

Share Your Religious Persuasion

Please share your current religious ideology by answering this quick poll question. I'm curious as to the make-up of The Serenity of Reason participants. Even if you are just a lurker and do not post comments, I'd be pleased if you'd just click here and answer the poll question:

And, by the way, the comments feed from the Blogger service is broken, so that is why the RECENT COMMENTS box isn't showing the most recent comments. Hopefully, Blogger will correct their service soon, but until then you'll have to snoop around for the newly posted comments.

Hail Holy Jug of Milk, Hallowed be Thy Name!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

USA Continues to Arm the Whole Fucking Middle East

President Bush plans to sell $20 billion of advanced military hardware to Saudi Arabia and five other Persian Gulf states, and provide more aid to Israel threatens to further destabilize the region and fuel religion-based terrorism.

And loookie here, American Atheists speaks out against it. Those damn atheists, why can't they just shut the fuck up and let all those good, pious religious people destroy our planet?

When will we stop sticking our nose in the business of other nations? Maybe when we curtail our need to stop sucking on those big middle eastern oil titties?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Little Something for the Intelligent Design Crowd

This is for all the folks who think that "intelligent" design should be taught in our schools...

I think it says it all!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hypocrites Rule - - And I'm Kinda Happy About That

I hope that the title of this little blog entry was surprising enough to get you to read this. I know that my little description of myself off to the right of the screen says that I hate hypocrites, and in theory that is still true. But I think I've found an exception to the rule.

That exception is the vast number of so-called christians who hold positions of power in our government. I'm glad that most of these christians are hypocrites instead of full-fledged, dyed-in-the wool, smote-you-in-the-eye chrisitans. You see, my theory is that many politicians claim to have "faith" and a "unflagging belief in god" in order to get elected. But, in actuality, many of them are faking. Oh, sure, they probably still "believe" in a god, but they don't really buy into the whole shebang of christianity.

By that I mean that many of them rarely, if ever, attend church services. And other than claiming faith and faking piety they don't do much of anything else that is religious. And I'm glad of this, because if everyone who claimed to be religious or "have faith" actually did, and actually acted that way, man, we'd be royally fucked. I think we'd be on the road to a theocracy in the good old US of A... and we aren't (which kinda backs up my thesis).

I know there are folks "out there" who sound the alarms that we are on the verge of a theocracy here, but that is just alarmist bullshit. It is true that we have a lot of religious bullshit where it does not belong (faith-based initiatives, god in the pledge of allegiance and on our money, religious stupidity dictating policy [as in no stem cell research], etc.)... but we are in no danger of using the bible as the law of the land. Shit, christians don't even know most of what is in the bible, so they'd have to learn that first.

Now do I wish that these politicians did not have to be hypocrites? Of course I do. But until more people start using their brain I embrace their hypocritical nature. Lie to us you fuckers! And make us like it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ben Stein is a Fool

You know Ben Stein, don't you? He is that mousy little pipsqueak who used to host a game show with Jimmy Kimmel (until Jimmy left the show and there was no longer a reason for anyone to watch it). He was also a speechwriter for Richard Nixon. Or maybe you know him as the Economics teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Bueller.... Bueller...).

So what the fuck, csm, you may be asking yourself. Who gives a damn about that old weasel? Well, I bring to your attention, an impending movie titled Expelled. Evidently the old coot is going to champion the blatantly ridiculous intelligent (sic) design movement in this upcoming cinematic turd.

But perhaps I am being too hard on Benny boy. He is, after all, just an actor these days, and maybe the jobs are getting harder to come by. There cannot be much demand for a short, uppity-acting, doughy-faced old-timer like Stein in this day-and-age, can there? Then again, I cannot imagine any circumstance under which I would participate in anything that promotes anti-science as Stein will be doing in this movie.

Of course, Stein has made some incredibly fucking stupid statements in the recent past that seem to indicate that he is off his rocker. Here is a good one from Stein: I think Mr. Bush is going to go down in history as one of the great peacemakers and democracy-builders in the history of the world.

Go back to your Clear Eyes commercials, Ben - - at least that stuff probably works.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hillary Clinton: The Next Ronald Reagan?

If the polls are accurate, then for only the second time in 30 years are the most loyal partisans in the Out-of-Power political party and their most partisan opponents in the In-Power party backing the same candidate to be the next presidential nominee of the Out-of-Power party.

Three decades ago, the first choice of then-out-of-office Republicans was the conservative champion from California, Ronald Reagan. Democrats of that era were nervous about Jimmy Carter, their embattled incumbent, facing Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker or even former U.N. Ambassador George H.W. Bush.

But Democrats were positive that American voters would reject a far-right, 69-year-old, ex-movie actor with, what former President Ford had called, "prematurely orange hair." Reagan carried 44 states in 1980.

Today, it is Republicans who are publicly salivating over the prospect of running against the Democrats' front-runner, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Some see her candidacy motivating conservatives to vote in record numbers, guaranteeing GOP retention of the White House and Congress. Others see themselves becoming wealthy tapping the nervous checkbooks of donors who view the Clintons as proof of the impending Apocalypse. Very few even see the remote possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Like 1978 Democrats, 2005 Republicans may be making the serious mistake of talking only to people who agree with them. That is the warning sounded by some wise, battle-scarred Republican veterans of GOP presidential politics, who take a Hillary Clinton candidacy very seriously indeed.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Have You Seen "Which Circle?" Yet

Just stumbled across this funny web comic that is worth keeping up with. The comic is basically a satire of the Campus Crusade for Christ organization. It is called "Which Circle?" and a portion of the latest strip is shown below (click on it to go to the full comic):

If you go here you can review all 21 of the "Which Circle?" comics.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship?

With Karl Rove moving on to the next chapter of his life, does this signal the start of the rats abandoning the sinking ship that is the lame duck portion of GWB's presidency? Or is it just Rove accepting the reality that he can no longer play war and cut taxes for the rich? I'm guessing Rover realizes that his friend (the president) has poll numbers stuck in the mud, is a lame duck, and has to work with Congress having a majority for the opposition - - and therefore nothing of consequence will happen in the final 17 months or so of the GWB administration.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Mormon in the White House? Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll.

Republican Mitt Romney won the first test of the 2008 White House race on Saturday, using a big wallet and broad organization to muscle aside a field of second-tier rivals in a low-turnout Iowa straw poll.

Romney won 31 percent of the votes cast in the nonbinding mock election, a traditional early gauge of support in the state that holds the first nominating contest leading up to the November 2008 election.

Competing on a shoestring budget, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee finished a surprising second with 18 percent of the 14,302 votes cast -- a much smaller turnout than the approximately 24,000 who voted in the last Republican straw poll in 1999.

Romney was a heavy favorite after the other top three national Republican candidates -- former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson -- skipped the poll.

For the biggest losers, the results could mean a quick campaign exit. Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who said he needed to finish in the top two to go on, came in sixth. With little money to continue, other laggards could face similar decisions.

Romney matched the 31 percent of the vote won by then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in his 1999 straw poll victory on the road to the White House. He said his performance was not devalued by the absence of his top rivals or the low voter turnout in the sweltering heat.
"You've got to be successful in Iowa if you want to be president of the United States," said Romney, who leads state polls but trails Giuliani and the other top contenders nationally. "I'm still an underdog."

- - - - -

Who knows what this could portend? A strong start for Romney in Iowa could help to propel him along and raise him above the current perception that Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson are the Republicans to beat.

Friday, August 10, 2007

New Addition to "Some Sites I Like"

Every now and then I stumble across a web site that I really like, and if I really, really like it, I add it to The Serenity of Reason's list titled "Some Sites I Like" (which can be found down a little bit and on the right hand side of the page).

Well, I found a great FAQ on God that I added today called The Official God FAQ. If you have God-related questions click on over to it - it should answer any questions you have about god.

If you have a favorite site that you think needs to be shared with everybody feel free to drop me an e-mail... same as if you have a pertinent news item or web thingy that you think should be mentioned here... I'm open to everyone's ideas.

Learn the Truth about the Catholic Church

Louis CK learns about the Catholic Church

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

God Must Hate Amputees

While out surfing the web I ran across this great web site that asks the question "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" I know, it sounds ridiculous but take the time to follow the link and read the material on the web site. It is a reasoned and well-written piece that takes Christian preachers and the Bible at their word.

Basically, the gist of the piece is this: if God answers prayers (Matthew 17:20, Mark 11:24, and more) and can do anything why are there no amputees claiming that God grew them a new arm or leg? The author talks about Christian claims where supposedly God's interceded to cure a tumor and such, but such claims, though extraordinary are actually common. But have you ever seen someone who re-grew an appendage? If God is working his mojo out there to cure tumors then surely he is re-growing legs somewhere...

or, in the case of those less needy praying Christians, maybe growing hair on a bald guy somewhere or erasing that regrettable tattoo above that new Mom's ass? But then again, I guess we can turn to science (Minoxidil and lasers) for that stuff!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Ned Flanders, creationist.

I enjoyed the hell out of this... thought you folks might, too.

E-Voting Still Deplorable

According to a recent eWeek report, problems are still rampant with e-voting systems in the United States.

Evidently the office of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on July 30 published investigation results showing that three major e-voting systems are liable to having their accuracy, security and/or integrity compromised.

You can view the California report in Adobe/PDF format at this link.

Until we get politics out of the voting process things will not improve. We need voting machines that are manufactured and supplied by non-partisan companies. We need a full and complete paper audit trail of each person's vote, with a slip showing the actual vote held both by the voter and the voting authority. (Of course, none of this removes the need to have the appropriate non-computer security in place to protect the paper audit trail.)

For national elections we need a consistent interface and mechanism to avoid confusion and fraud. And we need to ensure that all personnel overseeing the actual voting process are trained in how to use the machinery - - and how to explain that usage to voters of all ages.

Finally, there needs to be a contingency plan in place whenever e-voting is used. If the machines are compromised or broken, the electricity goes out, or some other eventuality occurs, there should be a manual process ready and available to move in place so that voters are not delayed, or worse, prevented from voting.

What say you?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Not Agnostic, Not an Atheist? Maybe You are Apatheistic

Ran across this new term, apatheism, on the Double-Tongued Dictionary. It is defined as follows:

apatheism n. the attitude of not caring about religion or whether there is a God.

I'm just guessing, but I think there might be more apatheists in the USA than there are theists, atheists, and agnostics. I say this because a good many folks who claim to believe in god do nothing to back up that "belief" at all. They don't go to church, except maybe on Christmas and perhaps Easter, and then only because it is a family outing or tradition, of sorts.

Oh, most folks would never label themselves an apatheist, but their actions and lives tell a different story.

Then again, maybe I am delusional. A recent Newsweek poll indeed shows dismal numbers of those of us embracing reason in the good old US of A. Evidently, if this poll is to be believed (and it probably should), 91 percent of American adults surveyed believe in God—and 48 percent reject the scientific theory of evolution.

Maybe I should invent a new term:

apollplectic adj. pissed off at the results of recent polls and apparent stupidity of the poll-taking public

Here, I'll use it in a sentence... That blogger csm reacted in an apollplectic manner as he viewed the results of the Newsweek poll.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

L.A. Religious Beat Writer Loses Faith

This is an interesting story about a Christian who stopped believing. I found his tale to be quite interesting and I thought you might, too - - so decided to blog about it.

William Lobdell, religion beat writer for the LA Times, outlines his journey from faith to reason. He discusses how he lobbied to write about religion, the stories he covered, and his own path from belief to unbelief. The penultimate paragraph reads:

Clearly, I saw now that belief in God, no matter how grounded, requires at some point a leap of faith. Either you have the gift of faith or you don't. It's not a choice. It can't be willed into existence. And there's no faking it if you're honest about the state of your soul.

Visit Yellowstone Soon

...or it may be too late.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Abolish IRS and Adopt the Fair Tax Proposal

Have you heard about the Fair Tax proposal that has been advocated by Rep. John Linder (R-GA)? Basically, it calls for the complete elimination of income tax and replacing it with a consumption tax set at 23 percent. The IRS would be disbanded and defunded. The FairTax taxes everyone only on what they choose to spend on new goods or services, not on what they earn. Whenever you buy anything, you'd be hit with a 23% tax. But you would pay zero income tax... and that includes FICA (social security tax).

Simple, right? Linder has put together a list of FAQs on the Fair Tax here, so check 'em out before making any assumptions. And here is the text of the bill (H.R. 25) sponsored by Linder. With 60 sponsors in the House, the Fair Tax bill is the most widely supported fundamental tax reform bill on Capitol Hill.

The biggest concern I initially had was that it would be over-burdensome on those below the poverty level. But they've got that covered with a family consumption allowance. Basically, what it boils down to, is that every family would be eligible to receive a monthly sales tax rebate. The amount of the rebate would be the monthly poverty level multiplied by the tax rate. So everybody would get a rebate at the subsistence level.

I think it is a great idea. What do you think?

But I doubt it will ever get done because it makes so much sense and Congress is basically a group of horse's asses.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Define "Spiritual" Please

The post below this one on the Spiritual Ministry Department caused me to start thinking about the word "spiritual" and what it means. If we are to have this department, then we ought to know what we (collective "we") mean by this word "spiritual" shouldn't we?

So, where to start? How about Webster's Universal College Dictionary. The first four definitions found in the 1997 Random House edition I own read as follows:

spiritual adj. 1. pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature 2. of or pertaining to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature 3. of or pertaining to sacred things or matters; religious 4. pertaining to or consisting of spirit; incorporeal

So, then, spiritual matters are not physical. And they are usually religious. What about the definition of spirit? Same source, first three definitions:

spirit n. adj., v. 1. the animating principle of life, esp. humans; vital essence 2. the incorporeal part of humans or an aspect of this, as the mind or soul 3. conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter

It seems to me that we have a word here that is attempting to describe something that is indescribable, at least in its intended meaning for the Spiritual Ministry Department. It is a word that I find no use for, at least in this meaning. If something is incorporeal then we cannot know anything about it unless it chooses to manifest itself somehow in our world - - that is, becomes corporeal. And then it is no longer spiritual, by definition.

So spending tax dollars on the spiritual would be a big fat fucking waste of money even if it were constitutional, which I still contend it is not. Of course, there is no hope of getting the current Supreme Court to agree with me, hell, they don't think tax payers have standing to contest how tax dollars are spent (fucking right wing shitheads). But that is another issue altogether.

So spiritual is another in a list of words that I have discarded from my vocabulary as useless. What are some of the others?

How about sin... as an atheist I cannot sin. Sin is a concept that makes no sense to me because one cannot sin unless there is a god that one is sinning against. So there goes "sin" into my vocabulary waste bin.

Another useless word for me is believe. I don't believe anything. I make reasoned decisions based on evidence, research, and the best knowledge that humans have accumulated over time. I therefore know facts as much as anyone can know anything. I have no need to believe or believe in anything outside of this scope. As such, I avoid the words believe and belief.

Faith is another useless word. Basically, one relies on faith when one has no evidence or facts to back up his beliefs. There is nothing that you can know by faith, it is only a crutch word used by religious believers to attempt to give credibility to their choice to believe in the unbelieveable.

What do you think? Are there any words that my fellow atheists out there have ejected from use after finding them to be devoid of meaning and worthless?

Separation of Church and State? It is Almost Completely Dead!

Did you know that our government has a Spiritual Ministry Department? This department supposedly (1) Provides spiritual ministry to Clinical Center patients and their families; (2) holds religious services in the Clinical Center; (3) acts as liaison with religious groups not represented by the staff chaplains; and (4) conducts research and training programs in hospital ministry.

It is part of the National Institute of Health whose mission is described on its web site as follows:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the steward of biomedical and behavioral research for the Nation. Its mission is science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.

Why is this "department" part of the NIH? What does anything "spiritual" have to do with science or the fundamental behavior of living systems? And why is it staffed and funded by our government? Doesn't the first amendment to the US Constitution still read as follows? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. And doesn't this still mean, as Thomas Jefferson explained way back in 1802, that there should be a wall of separation between church and state?

Guess not... and that sucks.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good Riddance Grandpa!

According to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times: Officers responding to a report of an exorcism on a young girl (age 3) found her grandfather choking her and used stun guns to subdue the man, who later died...

I say, good. It'd be nice if every exorcist were killed. Anyone who harms someone for the patently ridiculous reason that they were trying to get Satan or demons out of that person is of low intelligence and the world would be much improved if the exorcist were eliminated.

And evidently the little girl's mother was in the room, too. The child should be removed from that crazy mother and placed into the custody of child protective services. I don't care what you believe, but allowing a child to be harmed because of it is unacceptable.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Zeus At It Again?

Looks like the almighty Zeus is up to his old tricks again. After burning down a church he is now going after individual folks spreading lies about other gods. Earlier this month a guy selling religious materials door-to-door in Florida was struck by lightning.

When will those christians learn that Zeus , angry ruler of the skies, will not stop until he has smoted them all?!?!?!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished me to the Second Level of Hell!

Here is how I matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test