Sunday, January 31, 2010

Is Marriage Obsolete in the 21st Century?

The Walmart of Weed

In a 15,000-square-foot warehouse just down the road from the Oakland Airport, an entrepreneur is opening a one-stop shop for medicinal marijuana cultivation that's believed to be the largest in the state.

Don't know the first thing about growing pot? The folks at iGrow have a doctor on site to get you a cannabis card and sell you all the necessary equipment for indoor, hydroponic cultivation - from pumps, nutrients and tubing to lights and fans.

IGrow: Walmart of weed opens in Oakland

An Atheological Argument from Design

The question “Who made God” is commonly used to argue against the existence of the sort of god traditionally believed in by Christians, Jews, Muslims, and many other monotheists. Strictly speaking, this isn’t an independent argument because it is not offered on its own. Instead, it is used as a rebuttal to the claim that our universe is too complex and intricate not to have been designed.

Who Made God?

Related: Richard Dawkins and the "Who Made God?" Question

The Live Bear Den Cam

Den Cam

Not much to see here really. Some snow and some fur, basically. It's called hibernation.

Atlas Shrugged

Anarcho-Capitalism (Not "Anarcho"-Capitalism)

Are "Anarcho"-Capitalists Anarchists?

Privatize Marriage

The author of this website divides the debaters over "gay marriage" into two camps:

1. The "Religious Conservative" Argument

We can not legalize gay marriage because it would damage the institution of marriage. Marriage should be between one man and one woman - if we let gay people get married, then that legitimizes gay relationships legally, and we don't want that. It makes it seem like gay relationships are the same as straight relationships, which is absurd.

2. The "Right To Marriage" Argument

Gays need to be given the same rights as straight people. If straight couples are allowed to marry, then why not gay couples? Is their love any less worthy of recognition? The government needs to give gays the right to marry right now. They are being treated as second-class citizens, which is unacceptable in the "Land of the Free."

They continue: Now, I have sympathies with both of these arguments. As a Christian, I do not believe homosexual relationships are the same as heterosexual relationships. However, as a lover of liberty, I do not believe we should disallow gay people the right to freely associate. I would like to propose a third option.

So, the answer is to privatize marriage, a proposal (as an anarchist) I've long been in favor of, because you don't need the state to validate or approve what people choose to do when the issue is matrimony or anything else. We can run our own lives, thank you.

And here is a Christian against marriage licenses:

Black’s Law Dictionary defines "license" as, "The permission by competent authority to do an act which without such permission, would be illegal." We need to ask ourselves- why should it be illegal to marry without the State’s permission? More importantly, why should we need the State’s permission to participate in something which God instituted (Gen. 2:18-24)? We should not need the State’s permission to marry nor should we grovel before state officials to seek it. What if you apply and the State says "no"? You must understand that the authority to license implies the power to prohibit. A license by definition "confers a right" to do something. The State cannot grant the right to marry. It is a God-given right.

5 Reasons Why Christians Should Not Obtain a State Marriage License

The Christian above who is against the state granting permission is, unfortunately, not consistently in favor of freedom (like those ridiculous "arachno"-capitalists):

By issuing marriage licenses, the State is saying, "You don’t need your parents permission, you need our permission." If parents are opposed to their child’s marrying a certain person and refuse to give their permission, the child can do an end run around the parents authority by obtaining the State’s permission, and marry anyway. This is an invasion and removal of God-given parental authority by the State.

We can ask the same thing about parenting and parental authority (completely arbitrary) as we do of the state.

And the broader question on licensing restrictions is: Why should we have to get a license for anything? All licensing laws should be abolished.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Arachno-Capitalism is Stupid

Video via Liberty Pulse

Of course, when you think about it, "arachno"-capitalism isn't really arachno at all. Everybody know that historically arachnism is socialist. All spiders have the means of production within them, they don't have to sell their labor to the capitalist spider bosses in order to have the silk to make a web and earn their own living.

Arachnids can truly show us the way to freedom from wage slavery and exploitation. Away with all fake arachnos and the fakest of them all, the phony "arachno"-capitalist!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Decade of Tyranny

Alex Jones on the last decade.


Not Going To Recover

Even though the U.S. financial system nearly experienced a total meltdown in late 2008, the truth is that most Americans simply have no idea what is happening to the U.S. economy. Most people seem to think that the nasty little recession that we have just been through is almost over and that we will be experiencing another time of economic growth and prosperity very shortly. But this time around that is not the case. The reality is that we are being sucked into an economic black hole from which the U.S. economy will never fully recover.

20 Reasons Why The U.S. Economy Is Dying And Is Simply Not Going To Recover

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A decent leftist dies

RIP, Howard Zinn. Your works of revisionist history (extremely anti-state for the most part) will not be forgotten.


I could only watch a few minutes of Obama's Statist of the Union address. It's as painful to endure as nails on a chalkboard.

Move to Amend

Here's a group that wants to amend the First Amendment in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent decision in favor of free speech (paragraph below on the decision is from Wikipedia):

The majority opinion, which was delivered by Justice Kennedy...Kennedy wrote: "If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech." He also noted that since there was no way to distinguish between media and other corporations, these restrictions would allow Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television and blogs.

The group, Move To Amend, a "project" of something called the Campaign to Legalize Democracy (I'm against them just based on their name!) says:

We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

* Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
* Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
* Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.

Well, maybe that last one, depending on interpretation, has some merit.

As for money not being speech, here's what the great Glenn Greenwald has to say:

Anyone who believes that would have to say that there’s no First Amendment problem with any law that restricts the spending of money for political purposes, such as:

“It shall be illegal for anyone to spend money to criticize laws enacted by the Congress; all citizens shall still be free to express their views on such laws, provided no money is spent;” or

“It shall be illegal for anyone to spend money advocating Constitutional rights for accused terrorists; all citizens shall still be free to express their views on such matters, provided no money is spent”; or

“It shall be illegal for anyone to spend money promoting a candidate not registered with either the Democratic or Republican Party; all citizens shall still be free to advocate for such candidates, provided no money is spent.”-source

And here's Greenwald on what the Supreme Court got right.

Repeal the First Amendment!

Here's your chance, Ginx! Let's turn the USA into a Canadian style hate speech-free paradise.

video via THE BIG FEED

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Fear the Boom and Bust" a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem

I found this pretty amusing =)

Smell that?

It's the stench of Bill O'Reilly's hard-core fascism. Bob Barr plays the sane one.

As Paul Craig Roberts put it:

Republicans and American conservatives regard civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals and terrorists. They assume that police and prosecutors are morally pure and, in addition, never make mistakes. An accused person is guilty, or government wouldn't have accused him. All of my life, I have heard self-described conservatives disparage lawyers who defend criminals. Such "conservatives" live in an ideal, not real, world.

Chris Hallquist : The Fragility of Free Speech

So: a non-profit puts out a documentary critical of a presidential candidate. The government tries to stop it. It’s a no-brainer that what the government is doing is wrong, right?

The fragility of free speech

Is US Bank Breaking the Law?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Highly Overrated?

Maybe Ginx (along with Frozen Brain) agrees.

Rahm fits right in with FCC "Diversity" Officer Mark Lloyd: "It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies."

Lloyd is a treasure trove of anti-First Amendment words and ideas. In 2007 while a Senior Fellow at the George Soros-funded, John Podesta-run Center for American Progress, he co-authored (with equally anti-free speech outfit Free Press) the ridiculous "report" entitled The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.

The Left, having given up on reinstating the so-called "Fairness" Doctrine, have since sought alternate routes to arrive at the same censorious destination. This "report" is their road map, using FCC broadcast regulations "localism" and "diversity" to effect the same outcome - the silencing of conservative and Christian talk radio.-WH Chief of Staff Emanuel's Joke - 'The First Amendment...It's Highly Overrated' - and its Proper Context

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Food: Cauliflower Chaos

I probably own more recipe books than my mom, though she does more cooking than I do. Not all of her attempts at culinary artistry are successful, unfortunately. Take for example the recent Case of the Cauliflower Crisis.

It was another one of those lazy days at Mom's house. I visit now and then, and on this particular day, Mom had been busy going through her collection of cookbooks, looking for a good experiment to try out on the rest of us. Glancing over at her between my juggling of a book and the TV remote, I began to get nervous. She was taking notes! That meant only one thing, she was putting together a meal for later in the day.

As nutritional insurance, I got my lazy ass off the couch and made the announcement that I was going to the store for a few things. I figured a couple of frozen entrees would not be a bad idea, just in case Mom's dinner proved inedible.

As I hurriedly put my shoes on, Mom lifted her eyes from her stack of recipes long enough to make a request. "I'll need some cauliflower"

"Sure Mom, sure," I replied, not really hearing a word she'd said.

I returned a short time later.

"Okay." said Mom as I emptied my grocery bags onto the counter, "I'll need that cauliflower now."

Cauliflower? "Uh, what?" I asked.

"Don't tell me you didn't get it! Cause you know I can't start the food without it." Actually, I knew no such thing.

"Uh, it's okay, I'll go up to the closer place, Food Jungle, a little later and get it".

"Food Jungle? That place is a jungle and dirty inside. I don't like it."

I contemplated this for a moment, but couldn't think of anything that could go wrong if you were just buying cauliflower.

"Mom, how can they hurt a cauliflower? Besides, I don't want to drive all the way back to the other store. I'm tired."

After an hour or two of my watching the History Channel, Mom popped her head into the living room.

"Well, when are you going," she said. "I'm getting hungry and I can't cook dinner until I have cauliflower."

I never even thought to ask why we couldn't eat without the cauliflower, but I dragged myself to the car, only to have Mom follow me out to the driveway.

"And don't go to that dirty place, I'll know if you do. I can tell the difference, believe me."

I decided it wasn't worth the chaos that would result if I tried to sneak an unapproved vegetable past her, so I went all the way back to the other store on the other side of town. Once inside, I began to remember things I needed, such as antacid tablets ( I might very well need them that night, after all) and peanuts in the shell. At the checkout I was well satisfied that it hadn't been a wasted trip as I'd feared. Once I was in the car out in the parking lot, it struck me that one thing was missing from this otherwise successful mission. I'D FORGOTTEN THE CAULIFLOWER!!!

I turned the engine off, relocked the car, and headed back inside.

I knew I'd be greeted as the hero I was once I returned home. I burst into the kitchen triumphantly, held high the fresh and very clean giant head of cauliflower, and shouted "I got it!"

"I don't need it," said Mom, who by the look of things had been busy with the pots and pans while I was away. "I made the recipe without it, and I think it will be fine. I'll use the cauliflower for something else another day."

When it was time to finally eat, the side dish that had been so critically in need of cauliflower was placed on the counter.

"What is it?"

"Crispy vegetables!" Mom announced. "It took two whole sticks of real butter, plus bread crumbs and cheese, to make it."

They looked a little like deep fried, unidentifiable, irregularly shaped balls. Except when I looked close I could see some green showing through some of them, which I took to be broccoli. It turns out they weren't fried but baked.

Almost raw vegetables covered with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and who knew what else was not a recipe for getting anyone to eat their greens. More than half of mine went into the garbage when Mom wasn't looking.

Maybe these cauliflower recipes have more potential, but at this point I'd rather eat the vegetable as is. At least that way I'll know what I'm getting before I ever take a bite.

Mike Adams On "Skeptics"

If you really look closely at the beliefs of "skeptics," you discover their skepticism is selective. They're really skeptical about some things -- like vitamins -- but complete pushovers on others such as the scientific credibility of drug company studies.

Here are some of the many things that "skeptics" should be skeptical about, but aren't:

• Skeptics aren't skeptical about the corruption and dishonesty in the pharmaceutical industry. They believe whatever the drug companies say, without asking a single intelligent question.

• Skeptics aren't skeptical about medical journals. They believe whatever they read in those journals, even when much of it turns out to be complete science fraud.

• Skeptics aren't skeptical about the profit motive of the pharmaceutical industry. They believe that drug companies are motivated by goodwill, not by profits.

• Skeptics aren't skeptical about the motivations and loyalties of the FDA. They will swallow, inject or use any product that's FDA approved, without a single reasonable thought about the actual safety of those products.

• Skeptics aren't skeptical about the safety of synthetic chemicals used in the food supply. They just swallow whatever poisons the food companies dump into the foods.

• Skeptics aren't skeptical about the enormous dangers of ionizing radiation from mammograms and CT scans. They have somehow convinced themselves that "early detection saves live" when, in reality, "early radiation causes cancer."

• Skeptics aren't skeptical about the mass-drugging agenda of the psychiatric industry which wants to diagnose everyone with some sort of "mental" disorder. The skeptics just go right along with it without asking a single commonsense question about whether the human brain really needs to be "treated" with a barrage of mind-altering chemicals.

• Skeptics aren't skeptical about mercury fillings. What harm could mercury possibly do anyway? If the ADA says they're safe, they must be!

What 'skeptics' really believe about vaccines, medicine, consciousness and the universe

From the Human Imagination

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It Can't Be Boring?

I've just started writing a screenplay for a movie version of all the Bible's genealogies. In the middle act I throw in an exciting adaptation of the legal codes of the Old Testament.

via Restless Wanderings

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just Some Stuff 10

Just Some Stuff is back. And why shouldn't it be back? I don't blog for any serious reason (I can't speak, of course, for other contributors here) even though you may sometimes think otherwise. It's not that certain things don't often get my blood boiling, and it's not that somewhere in the back of my mind I'm not thinking that maybe a post of mine might make a small difference (you know, if you can change one mind, influence one person for good and all that) but I'm really just here because most of the time I've got nothing better to do. You could change that, of course, by making this blog one those super popular blogs, but then again, I guess you can't do that. Only we can do that by what we post here, and even then, no matter how good we were (and I ain't very good, myself) luck would probably still have something major to do with it.

Is there a theme to this episode? You'll see bubbles a few times, so maybe that's it.

I could never be a creationist; I look too much like I had ape grandparents. My pro-evolution debate opponents would only need to point to my hairy body for proof that I didn't know what I was talking about.

Being the clever lad that I am, though, I would tell them that God just wants to keep me warm in the winter time, so there is a good reason for all my hair. Just as my nose is there to support my spectacles.

So, why do you have bad eyes in the first place, they might ask. Ha! It's the fall, fools! Things were a paradise on earth before Adam and Eve ate that piece of fruit.

Good creationists never let facts get in their way.

Okay, so what I wrote immediately above has nothing to do with bubbles. Then again, there was that Michael Jackson chimp...

Live and Let Die

I've always put a music video of some sort in these posts. Usually at least two. Here's one by Sir Paul, and as I recall, the original idea was to have a woman sing McCartney's composition for the movie's titles, as was normally the case in a James Bond film. But this was ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, and you don't tell him he can't sing his own song.

From the 1973 television special James Paul McCartney:

And the title sequence itself:

David Friedman likes long baths. He also would like a computer he can take to the bath with him. I guess those long hot soaks can get a little boring. What I really like are long, hot showers, like Kramer, only in a bathtub while sitting down. The best of both worlds! The problem is running out of hot water. I once had a perfect setup for such showers, however.

I was in an upstairs apartment and my bathroom was right above the giant multi-resident water heater. Hot water was free, so I could take never ending baths with what amounted to my own personal giant water heater. Since my pipes were so close to the source of heated bliss, I also never had to wait for the flowing water to warm up. Coming home from work never felt so good. And if I had a headache, a couple of hours in the shower, with the hot water streaming over my head, would work wonders. Hangovers weren't as responsive, but at least while I was under the spray of the shower head they were bearable. In an ordinary shower situation you'd have to come out when the hot water finally began to run cold, but not there. One time I even fell asleep in the bathtub with the water running and didn't wake up until the next morning. Who knows how many gallons I went through that time.

My shower habits eventually caught up with me. No, nothing to do with the amount I was using. But apparently water was getting past my glass shower doors and ending up on my bathroom floor. It came to a point where it started to leak into the apartment below me, and the manager sent someone up to my apartment to find out what was causing it. I told them it must be the toilet, which, on my word alone, they followed up on and resealed the toilet. I moved out shortly thereafter.

I tried taking baths again after that, but decided they weren't as good as my showers at the Hot Water Paradise apartments, so I went and bought some Mr. Bubble and added that to the experience. It was okay, but I didn't have as much fun with the makeshift toy boats as I remembered from childhood.

I don't know what the salamander below is on about, but he/she counts to ten with bubbles, and as this is the tenth Just Some Stuff (with added bubbles), that's good enough for me.

A Slave Is A Person Who Is Disarmed

They Believe Only What They See

Christian Missionary Deconverted by Tribe

"They made it clear that if I had not actually seen this guy [Jesus], they weren't interested in any stories about him."

Hmmm, see my post where I make the following point:

Further, how about when you ask Jesus into your heart, you actually see him in the flesh, just like old Doubting Thomas? How many ex-Christians would there be then? You could fall on your knees like in a Chick tract, only instead of just a feeling, you'd see Jesus and talk to him right there! Unbelieving mockers around you would see nothing, and think you'd gone crazy, but you could have them say the sinner's prayer and see Jesus too. Many people continually testifying to the same thing over and over would get even the most hardened skeptic to consider doing the same just to prove whether it was real or not.

"They didn't feel lost, so they didn't feel a need to be saved, either."

Of course! Christianity first has to induce guilt (or fear-Jack Chick tract, anyone?) in order to get people to feel the need for its worthless snake oil.

first video via Check Your Premises

Andy Rooney, Atheist

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Government Is the Real Pervert

An Illinois National Guard soldier in Afghanistan has been charged by the U.S. Army with possessing child pornography over pictures of a young relative his mother says she sent him.- Illinois soldier held in Afghanistan over child porn charges

How about those airport full-body scans that the government wants to impose on us, though? What about the children that fly? If our ruling sickos see child porn everywhere, why not there? As always, it's the state that is the real criminal.

Lysander Spooner: Libertarian Hero

via Who Plans Whom?

The Sadness of Change

What do I do after work? Well, if I believed what I and everyone else at my place of employment says while waiting for the clock to move, I head right home. "I want to go home" is the constant refrain. The other day, Jasmin got to go home early. Less pay, yes, but work stinks so much that it's actually better to lose a few dollars than to endure a few extra hours of wage slavery. Should work be more organic? I mean, more integral to our lives, not something separate and segregated? Not a "job" we go to, but a livelihood that is a natural part of our existence? I guess I'm just talking crazy, aren't I? Forget it. The vulgar "libertarians" must be right. Us skeptics of the existing "free market" are just "beggars and losers", right Unenlightened Rogue?

So, on the day slacker Jasmin cut out early (she is pretty lazy, now that I think about it) I left work not sure what I would do, but settled on the idea of making a stop or two, because, who knows, I might find something somewhere that I need.

I have a friend who moved away a couple of years ago, to the other side of the country, basically, and I think of this friend a lot lately. Sometimes I even have the idea that my friend is still in town, and that I can go visit as I used to, and see my friend, talk to my friend, or even go to the store with my friend. I can't, of course, as my friend isn't here anymore. We talked for many months by phone and sent emails and texts, but now I don't really hear from my friend at all. Things have changed.

As I drive I go by many places I've known for years, some going back to my childhood. So many once familiar spots are now gone, however, either torn down and replaced by newer structures, or housing different establishments than the original fondly remembered ones. One old standby remains. I thought of it and on impulse took the off-ramp I rarely use anymore. At the end of the off-ramp is a stop light, and at that corner sits a very old building. The sign out front has never changed, not in 45 or 50 years (maybe longer) and I make the sharp (and somewhat dangerous, as there is a blind spot and oncoming traffic from another street that runs out into the same lanes) turn into the parking lot.

It's a quiet hour, after lunch and before the dinner crowds arrive. I get out and walk past several cars with their motors running (their drivers waiting for a companion inside to emerge with the good stuff) and climb the few beaten concrete steps to the single glass door.

Inside there has never been a remodeling (and as I look around, it doesn't even appear that the place has ever been repainted), and the tables and chairs are the same ones (you can tell, believe me) that I must have sat at many times as a child. People line up against the far wall to order, and when you arrive you can see over the counter the beef and ham ready to be carved at your demand. I only order my favorite, the beef sandwich, two of them actually, and to go in their little white paper bag, as I'm not ready right now to eat in a restaurant, even one as sparse as this, alone.

My sandwiches smell good and inside the bag along with them are two small containers of barbecue sauce. There was only one time that the bag did not contain the sauce, and that was a very disappointing day (always look inside your bag before you leave the premises).

I decide to head for home, thinking that it is comforting knowing that at least a few things stay the same and remain as they were. I drive down the main boulevard with my food beside me on the passenger seat, and look to my left at another establishment that has been around for at least as...

GONE! What was once an ancient Fosters Freeze is now another of the ubiquitous Mexican taco stands (with names that all seem to be variations of Alberto or Roberto) that line the streets and can be found every few blocks. When did this happen, I wonder? It was less than a year ago that I stopped by this place for an ice cream cone, wasn't it?

Well, my lesson was learned; never take your friends or your favorite soft-serve ice cream place for granted. And whatever you do, expect change (except when a new President of the United States is elected).

Neverfox on Anarchy

Congratulations to Neverfox (with whom I've had many an online debate over the last couple years) for his recent appearance on Winton Edmondson's radio show. It takes a lot of cojones to defend anarchism in person (I've never done it myself) because it goes against everything the sheeple have been taught.

Good job!!

Pat Buchanan: Why they are at war with us

The notorious "leftist" Pat Buchanan has a piece over at the American Conservative that should be required reading for every mindless "national defense" Republican.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I hate, hate, hate I-Tunes

Welp, I'm currently re-uploading nearly half of my music library, since retarded I-Tunes arbitrarily erased half of it for no reason whatsoever. The albums and song names are still there, but they don't play when I click on them. On my i-pod they don't show up at all. I'm probably re-uploading all of it in vain, since it'll likely just do something similar in the near future.

This is a perfect example of why I never buy music off of i-tunes. I just don't trust it one bit. What an utterly worthless, untrustworthy program.

The Wolf Haters

above video via Nature Nutz

But seriously, Ashley, haven't you "liberals" learned anything from liar Obama's continuation of Bush's wars? There is no change!

After eight years of conservation groups fighting tooth and nail to protect America's imperiled wildlife against the plans and rulings of the Bush administration, it looked as though the Obama administration would renew our commitment to conserving endangered species and biodiversity for future generations.

But this relief was short-lived.

Just three days after the president pledged to strengthen and restore scientific integrity to implementation of the Endangered Species Act, Secretary Salazar removed federal protection from gray wolves in the Northern Rockies. In making this decision, he adopted the plan developed by the Bush administration, relying on a flawed legal opinion crafted by that administration. His decision has undermined the protection of the gray wolf and countless other threatened and endangered species.-Interior Department's decision imperils wolves, Endangered Species Act

Humanist Parents

From the British Humanist Association.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Obamacare made easy

Rall does it again!

Army Sets New Suicide Record - Again

With 160 active-duty soldiers killing themselves last year, the US Army set a new record for suicides. As Jason Ditz reports, “This surpassed the previous record of 140 in 2008, and the previous record before that was 115 in 2007. The Army has been keeping track of suicides since 1980, with the level suddenly rising to epidemic levels in recent years.”

First released by the AP on Friday, this story has been almost completely ignored by the mainstream media. Part of the reason, I imagine, is that it was a fairly busy news weekend, what with the president throwing a surprise birthday party for the first lady and all. But I suspect there’s more to it than that. I suspect part of the reason is that the MSM (and I include Fox News here) realizes that people just don’t want to hear it.

The American people, those loveable idiots who drive around with Support Our Troops ribbons on the backs of their cars, just don’t want to hear bad things about our troops. When anonymous government officials claim that Jessica Lynch fought a John McClane-like battle before being taken captive by Iraqi soldiers, that’s all the networks can talk about. That’s all people want to hear about. Rambo in Iraq. Hell yeah, pass the popcorn.

But nobody wants to expose themselves to anything that would challenge their deeply-held, Hollywood-inspired beliefs about war. They’ll give a shout-out to our troops during Sunday morning church service; they’ll encourage their first-graders to write letters showing their support. But they don’t want to know what’s really happening.

They don’t want to hear that, far from turning our boys into men, these wars are destroying them. There’s, of course, the physical destruction, as many American soldiers keep coming home in body bags. (Expect as many as 500 a month come this summer, warns retired General Barry McCaffrey.) But there’s also the tremendous psychological destruction.

Any war is going to inflict hell on its participants, but “the Long War" has been particularly harsh. Multiple deployments, some of them coming as the result of the military’s stop-loss program, have pushed many of our troops to the breaking point. Psychiatrist Kernan Manion, who’s treated several returning Marines, states: “Frankly, in my more than twenty-five years of clinical practice, I’ve never seen such immense emotional suffering and psychological brokenness—literally, a relentless stream of courageous, well-trained and formerly strong Marines deeply wounded psychologically by the immensity of their combat experiences” (h/t Antiwar Radio).

Manion continues: “There’s currently simply no terminology in the APA [American Psychiatric Association] literature for this. When you’re dealing with cumulative stress from constant guardedness because of continuous exposure to danger—multiple firefights, patrols, losses of buddies and utter exhaustion from deployment—and then you have family problems, and relationship problems, and then on top of all of that you have commanders telling you you’re nothing but a worthless piece of shit, you simply can’t think straight anymore, and who could be expected to.”

In an attempt to cope, many soldiers turn to drugs and alcohol, and many others, as Friday’s AP story reminds us, end up killing themselves. Needless to say, the effects of this psychological destruction remain even after one leaves the service. As Dahr Jamail points out, “A 2008 court case in California revealed a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) email that revealed 1,000 veterans who are receiving care from the VA are attempting suicide every single month, and 18 veterans kill themselves daily.”

But again, the American idiocracy, with all its meaningless symbols and gestures, doesn’t want to hear any of this. Which is why we need to bring this to the idiocracy’s attention and explain why it’s yet another reason to bring our troops home.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Did Your Deity Do It?

I feel like a jerk for posting this

but it's funny.

In a van down by...

Going to school without going into debt, and doing it all while living in a Ford van:

For some, van-dwelling may conjure images of pop-culture losers forced into desperate measures during troubled times: losers like Uncle Rico from "Napoleon Dynamite," or "Saturday Night Live's" Chris Farley who'd famously exclaim, "I live in a van down by the river!" before crashing through a coffee table...

I live in a van down by Duke University

Friday, January 15, 2010

KSM, Abdulmutallab, and the Pseudo-cons

The pseudo-cons

“Conservatives” continue decrying President Obama’s decision to try some terror suspects in federal court. I put “conservatives” in quotation marks because these people aren’t actually conservatives. Conservatives—people like Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran, and, of course, all my buddies at the Birch Society—have principles. These bozos—I’m referring to the Sarah Palins and Sean Hannitys of the world—have no principles; they’re partisan hacks and nothing more.

So here we are, two months since the Obama administration announced that KSM would be tried in federal court and three weeks since it announced that Abdulmutallab would receive the same treatment, and these pseudo-conservatives continue running around like a bunch Chicken Littles, warning us how all that is good and noble will somehow be jeopardized if we don’t have these men stand military tribunals.

Now I’d respect these hacks if they truly believed that trying terror suspects in federal court would bring an end to Western civilization. I’d disagree with them, but I’d respect them. But, of course, they don’t believe this; I doubt they believe anything they say.

The Bush administration tried 87 al-Qaeda suspects in federal court and only 6 in military tribunals. Let me repeat that first part: the Bush administration tried 87 al-Qaeda suspects in federal court. And yet I don’t recall any of these pseudo-conservatives raising a fuss back then. To the contrary, these Chicken Littles actually praised Bush’s decision to grant these suspects such trials. (Bill O’Reilly’s hypocrisy can be seen here, Rudy Giuliani’s here.)

Not that I’m defending the Democrats

What upsets me about this pseudo-conservative hypocrisy is not so much the hypocrisy—that’s to be expected, not just from these creeps, but also from many—okay, most—okay, virtually all—Democrats. What upsets me is that all this hubub is causing many to believe that Obama is somehow a good guy. Because when many decent Americans hear these Republicans attacking Obama for upholding due process, they conclude that Obama must be a defender of due process. So yay Obama—right?

But, as Glenn Greenwald keeps pointing out, the truth of the matter is that the Obama administration will only be granting federal trials to those terror suspects it believes it can convict in federal court. The administration will be giving military tribunals to suspects it believes it can’t convict in federal court. And it has affirmed that it has the right to indefinitely detain some suspects, presumably those it believes it can’t even convict in military tribunals.

I have a dream…

That one day Republicans will excoriate President Obama because he’s trashing the Bill of Rights and not because he’s not trashing the Bill of Rights as much as they would like.

Oh yes, I have a dream.

Speaking of Abdulmutallab

The main argument against putting Abdulmutallab (you know, the underwear bomber) in the criminal justice system is that he’s consequently been given a lawyer and the right to remain silent. But retired JAG officer James Cullen has pointed out that Abdulmutallab would have been granted these same protections under the military tribunal system (h/t Scott Horton).

Moreover: “Republican critics of the president insist that Obama forfeited effective interrogation measures by declining to go the route of a military commission. But there are limitations to what even military interrogators could do with Abdulmutallab. Under the Military Commissions Act, the army field manual has come to dictate the scope of interrogations. This means that tough measures are now out of bounds even if prolonged isolation and sleep deprivation are still permissible. It has also compelled the military to adopt the techniques used by their civilian counterparts in the FBI (lest they risk lessening the chance of securing a conviction).”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

James Randi Speaks About Chemotherapy

Lew Rockwell on Freedom Watch

Jacob Hornberger: Conservative Hatred for America

Now, a clarification is in order here. Actually, it’s not so much that conservatives love the entire federal government, it’s actually that they love the executive branch — that is, the ruler branch — the branch that dictates, orders, controls, invades, occupies, sanctions, embargoes, jails, tortures, fines, etc. — the branch that has the president, the military, the CIA, the DEA, the IRS, the bureaucrats, and the other people who employ force against others.

It’s in the executive branch of the federal government that conservatives place their faith and their trust. Thus, not surprisingly, they deeply resent not only criticism of the president, the troops, the CIA, and the other bureaucracies of the executive branch, but also criticism of restrictions on the power of such people.

Read the whole thing here.

A few really annoying things about job hunting

1) Applications that make you retype EVERYTHING in your damn resume. It takes forever to fill out and defeats the entire point of having a resume (to have all the relevant information nestled in one spot).

2) Job postings that preach about all the computer skills you need to be hired, even though the web geniuses constructing the website/application can't figure out how to properly hyperlink two friggin' pages together.

3) Psuedo-scientific "personality profiles." You had better be outgoing! Even if you're applying to be a midnight janitor.

4) Nosy applications that want to know *everything* you've *ever* done. How many times did you take a piss today? HR wants to know!

More when I think of them.

If you *had* to be a Christian, what kind of Christian would you be?

I think I'd be a Quaker. Nearly all of their teachings are the polar opposite of the Religious Right.


CLS: How the most religious states fare

The always-entertaining libertarian blogger on the evidence.

And goody, I live in one of the ten least religious states!

Clawed by Freddy Krueger?

When I stepped into the shower today, I couldn't help notice what looked like huge red gashes on my shoulders. It seriously looks like I've been clawed by Freddy Krueger. And not just on one shoulder but both. Wtf? Was I in a gang fight? Did I fall on a big rake?

After further research, it turns out that it's probably just stretch marks from lifting weights. But damn, these are some huge, nasty stretch marks. If I wasn't so lazy I'd take some pictures and post them. They really, really look like Krueger scratches.

What If Christianity WereTrue?

If Christianity was true, what would we expect? No real historical record of the life of Jesus (outside of the contradictory and apparently legendary accounts in the gospels); a savior who comes to save humankind from the fate of hell, but who tells his disciples that "blessed are they who have not seen me, and yet believe") and who, after his resurrection from the dead, leaves the planet with only a few witnesses watching him disappear into the clouds. Smells awfully like a cult to me, where delusion rather than facts rule the mind.

"Where is Jesus?"

"Uh, he disappeared into the clouds, went up to heaven."

"What! Can't I see him? I really want to believe in this Jesus of yours if he's real."

"Nope, he won't come back until the end of the world."

"Well, when is that?"

"Soon, very soon."

"Well, I'll wait till he's back then."

"He's coming VERY soon, yes, but remember that a thousand years is like a day to the Lord, so you might be dead before He comes back. Besides, if you wait until He returns, it will be too late. He'll cast you into the eternal flames with all the other unbelievers".

"What? Why? I thought he loved me."

"Oh, He does, VERY much, that's why He died on the cross for you. But you have to believe he rose from the dead to be saved."

"I'm not believing any nonsense like people rising from the dead unless I can see the proof for myself!"

"It's there in the Holy Gospels."

"That's no proof! There are lots of fanciful stories I can read. Do you believe everything you read? I sure don't! Now, how am I supposed to get saved without seeing this Jesus myself?"

"Faith. You must have faith."

"Faith? Only a lie needs faith in order to 'believe' that it's true. I'm outta here!"

"Okay. Go to hell!"

Wouldn't we instead expect something like the following if Christianity was true?:

Let's start with a basic, "mere" theism. If there is a God, even an all-powerful, all-knowing one, and quite capable of performing any miracle, it wouldn't automatically follow that God would make miracles part of its plan for the world. All of this God's purposes might be accomplished through "natural" means, without any obvious interventions going on. At the same time, this God could even be answering prayers, but without revealing itself directly (and prayer experiments would therefore be worthless in detecting the efficacy of prayer, as such a God would refuse to make its existence known by such tests).

So it's possible a God exists who accomplishes its ends without overt supernatural means.

But let's now consider the Christian God. Unlike a generic God (the God of a philosophical theist) the specific God imagined by Christianity is out to save the world (John 3:16) by means of a plan that does involve miracles, including the major miracle of the resurrection of Jesus. That being the case, this God would want to make the evidence of his plan indisputable (you would think) since everyone's eternal destiny depends on it. Of course, you could make the assertion that the evidence is adequate (it isn't) or at least that it is enough, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to get people saved. But how many people? God, the Bible tells us, "is not willing that any should perish". So why not make the historical evidence for Jesus' death for our sins something that a reasonable person could at least consider more reliable than it appears to be? Couldn't Jesus have come down from the cross?

Okay, so he HAD to die (why?) but even so, he wouldn't have had to interrupt his suffering on the cross in response to the taunts of "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!" and "He saved others, but he can't save himself", in order to stun the crowd that was watching him die.

After dying he could have come back to life right then and there, instead of being taken down from the cross and buried for LESS than three days and rising without anyone but his followers seeing him afterward. He could have died and then rose right on the cross, with light enveloping him and his limbs freeing themselves from the torture stake. He could have "come down" and partly fulfilled his failed prophecy of "this generation" seeing "the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory" by then rising into the clouds and coming back down again before meeting with his disciples and leaving again until the second coming.

Would there not then have been contemporary historical reports of the resurrection, reports outside the religious documents of the gospels?

If Christianity were true, we might also expect other things, like the passage in Mark 16 (not in the oldest manuscripts, but that's not the point) that says:

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

actually being witnessed among believers (and no, Appalachian snake handling churches don't count) to this day.

Everyday occurrences of ordinary believers laying hands on the sick and having the sick instantly healed (having the power would be a sign that you were really saved) would be a constant, continuing proof that Christianity is the true religion and that all the others are phony baloney.

Further, how about when you ask Jesus into your heart, you actually see him in the flesh, just like old Doubting Thomas? How many ex-Christians would there be then? You could fall on your knees like in a Chick tract, only instead of just a feeling, you'd see Jesus and talk to him right there! Unbelieving mockers around you would see nothing, and think you'd gone crazy, but you could have them say the sinner's prayer and see Jesus too. Many people continually testifying to the same thing over and over would get even the most hardened skeptic to consider doing the same just to prove whether it was real or not.

Of course, the above could only happen in a world where Christianity was not a delusion.

Anapra Education Project

Anapra is a community of Juarez, Mexico. There, Cristina Estrada works to help the children of the community get a better education (she never finished the sixth grade herself, and her original goal was to have kids stay in school to finish that level).

Thanks to the evil war on drugs, drug cartel related violence in Juarez helped the number of murders there reach 2600 last year, but even in the midst of such seeming hopelessness, some, like Cristina, believe in the future, and in helping others achieve a better life.

Unexpected Funding Evokes an Emotional Reaction from Cristina

Alex Jones Is Not Beck-Savage-Limbaugh

At least Alex Jones is consistent. The right wing radio hosts don't want a revolution, they want a restoration, so they can go back to loving big red-state fascist government like they did when Baby Bush and Darth Cheney were in the White House.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

June 12th?

I looked at my cell phone just moments ago and saw what looked like the date Jun 12 on the screen. For a half-second I thought boy, this year is really flying by, until I looked again and saw it said Jan 12 instead.

The Chick Comic Crusade

The YouTube video presents the film's trailer, and the second video is the complete documentary.

h/t to Evolved and Rat/i/onal

A classic early Chick tract:

Ron Paul with Don Imus

Anarcho-capitalist FAQ

I'm not an anarcho-capitalist, but read on for the FAQ:

Anarcho-capitalism is the political philosophy and theory that

1. the State is an unnecessary evil and should be abolished, and
2. a free-market private property economic system is morally permissible.

Anarcho-capitalist FAQ

Monday, January 11, 2010

Seth MacFarlane on the PTC

There was a recent post on Bible-thumping parents trying to ban American Dad. I had to share this great quote from Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy) on the PTC's past complaints about his shows:

"Oh, yeah. That’s like getting hate mail from Hitler. They’re literally terrible human beings. I’ve read their newsletter, I’ve visited their website, and they’re just rotten to the core. For an organization that prides itself on Christian values — I mean, I’m an atheist, so what do I know? — they spend their entire day hating people. They can all suck my d**k as far as I’m concerned."

Haha, too true.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Piggly Wiggly: It's Not Just About the Groceries

He is a Democrat in Republican clothing. He only switched parties because he moved to a Republican district. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. He obviously does not believe that and is so arrogant he thinks no one cares. He was NOT misquoted. He has just found it convenient to say he was. If he is this bad now, what do you think you would get if he were governor? Don't get Byrned, Alabama!

The above was in reaction to Republican candidate for Governor of Alabama Bradley Byrne's statement that he believes "there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be literally true and parts that are not."

You'll notice that Byrne didn't say that there are parts of the Bible that aren't true, just that some parts aren't meant to be taken literally. But apparently in Alabama, if you're not a raving loon fundamentalist Bible believer, you're a servant of Satan.

And if the not-a-complete-crazy Christian shows up at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store to speak, well, it's boycotting time!

"Just got a call from a person at my Church letting me know about this," said uafan1198. "My family will not be shopping at Ragland Piggly Wiggly stores anymore or anything else they own.... I don't shop at places that think it is OK to stand next to people who don't believe the Bible is all true."

Mr/Mrs uafan1198 doesn't inform us of what it means to believe that the Bible is "all true", but for the continued prosperity of all supermarket companies in the Bible Belt, I'd advise not letting people speak at your stores if they doubt that Adam and Eve were real people, that dinosaurs and humans once lived side by side, that snakes can talk and that the Tower of Babel story adequately explains the origins of a diversity of human languages. Oh, and that a whole bunch of other people rose from the dead at the same time Jesus did and were seen by many (one of my favorites, actually).

Ban adult cartoons?

The same old morality-legislating Christian conservatives are wetting their pants over a crude--as if there's any other kind--episode of American Dad, calling for busybodies across the country to write to the FCC (another useless government agency that should be abolished, though that's a subject for another post) and get it taken off the air or something.

This is just silly. American Dad (along with Family Guy, South Park, etc) is obviously not for kids. It's aired at night with multiple disclaimers and you'd have to be a complete moron to let your child watch it just because it's animated. The scene in question is also considerably more tame than they're making it out to be. Kids probably won't even "get" more than 1/3 of the jokes anyway.

But quick--call the government and find a scapegoat for your crappy parenting, stat!

On Sarah Palin and the Underwear Bomber

I really don’t enjoy responding to Sarah Palin’s asinine comments.

It’s like rebutting the drunk, retarded guy you find yourself sitting next to on the bus. The guy’s obviously off his rocker, and the more he talks, the crazier he gets. But you just don’t have the heart to explain to the guy how reality really works. So you just sit there, try to listen to your iPod, look up and nod when he starts to get too rambunctious.

But today I feel the need to respond to Sarah Palin’s latest Facebook post. And, yes, that last sentence made me feel extremely ridiculous. I’m responding to Sarah Palin’s Facebook post. Good God.

But here’s the thing. Unlike the guy on the bus, people actually take Sarah Palin seriously. Millions of Muslim-hating Evangelical Christians throughout the country actually take their marching orders from Sarah Palin. So I’m left with no choice. Really.

In her post, Sarah berates President Obama for his refusal to designate Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (a.k.a. the underwear bomber) an enemy combatant:

It simply makes no sense to treat an al Qaeda-trained operative willing to die in the course of massacring hundreds of people as a common criminal. Reports indicate that Abdulmutallab stated there were many more like him in Yemen but that he stopped talking once he was read his Miranda rights. President Obama’s advisers lamely claim Abdulmutallab might be willing to agree to a plea bargain – pretty doubtful you can cut a deal with a suicide bomber. John Brennan, the President’s top counterterrorism adviser, bizarrely claimed “there are no downsides or upsides” to treating terrorists as enemy combatants. That is absurd. There is a very serious downside to treating them as criminals: terrorists invoke their “right” to remain silent and stop talking. Terrorists don’t tell us where they were trained, what they were trained in, who they were trained by, and who they were trained with. Giving foreign-born, foreign-trained terrorists the right to remain silent does nothing to keep Americans safe from terrorist threats. It only gives our enemies access to courtrooms where they can publicly grandstand, and to defense attorneys who can manipulate the legal process to gain access to classified information.

So, according to Sarah, granting terrorist suspects such constitutional protections as habeas corpus, the right to an attorney, and the right to remain silent precludes the possibility of garnering valuable, potentially life-saving information from them. Because, she claims, once terror suspects are given these rights, they’ll just shut up, refuse to plea-bargain. But surely she must know that people charged with even the most heinous crimes are generally willing to plea-bargain, to divulge important information, even sell-out their buddies for reduced sentences. Why an al-Qaeda suspect would be different isn’t clear. And Sarah, in typical Sarah fashion, never gives us an argument.

Had she bothered to do a simple Google search, she would have learned that al-Qaeda guys aren’t all that different in this regard. For example, take the case of Bryant Neal Vinas, an American-born al-Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan in 2008. Instead of whisking him away to Guantanamo Bay and subjecting him to “enhanced interrogation,” the Bush administration decided to grant Vinas the same protections afforded to other American criminal suspects. And Vinas ended up providing the FBI with what one law enforcement official called “an intelligence gold mine.” Another official claimed that Vinas provided a “treasure trove” of information. Among other things, Vinas told authorities about various al-Qaeda plots and even provided them with “the locations of safe houses and suspected terrorists.”

And Vinas’ story is not unique. Former FBI special agent Ali Soufan has testified how he was able to get Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden’s body guard, to open up just by offering him some sugar-free cookies (h/t Raw Story). “While Abu Jandal was venting his spleen, Soufan noticed that he didn't touch any of the cookies that had been served with tea: ‘He was a diabetic and couldn’t eat anything with sugar in it.’ At their next meeting, the Americans brought him some sugar-free cookies, a gesture that took the edge off Abu Jandal’s angry demeanor. ‘We had showed him respect, and we had done this nice thing for him,’ Soufan recalls. ‘So he started talking to us instead of giving us lectures.’”

But Sarah Palin would send Abdulmuttalab and other terror suspects to Guantanamo Bay and subject them to “enhanced interrogation.” Even though all the available evidence suggests that such techniques don’t work. As former CIA agent Robert Baer writes: “When I was in the CIA I never came across a country that systematically tortures its citizens and at the same time produces useful intelligence.” Baer continues: “For the last three years I have been in and out of Israeli jails interviewing members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Many of them had been in suicide bomber cells — just the kind of people the Israelis would want to extract every last detail out of. None of them, however, claimed to have been tortured. The Israelis found out what they needed to know using traditional, legal police methods. It simply isn't worth it for them to risk damaging their already shaky international reputation by torturing suspects on the slim hope they just may get a lead.”

Along with Baer, many others in the know have concluded that torture, or enhanced interrogation, or whatever the hell you want to call it, doesn’t work—e.g., FBI Director Robert Mueller, FBI agents Ali Soufan, Jack Cloonan, Daniel Coleman, former CIA Director Porter Goss, CIA agent Milt Bearden, numerous other CIA agents, Air Force Col. John Rothrock, Air Force interrogator Matthew Alexander, Army Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine, Army Col. Stuart Herrington, the State Department’s number 2 counterterrorism official, the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rear Admiral John Hutson, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit Michael Scheuer, the Army Field Manual, DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine, the 2004 CIA Inspector General Report, and many others.

If Sarah Palin spent a little more time reading newspapers and magazines and a little less time watching 24, she might actually know this.

Libertarianism's Comeback?

The philosophical casualty of the Great Recession was supposed to be libertarianism. But signs to the contrary are thriving. Americans are increasingly opposed to activist government programs. The most significant social movement of 2009, the Tea Party protests, grew out of that opposition. Libertarian heroine Ayn Rand is as popular today as ever. Rand's brilliant and radical laissez faire novel "Atlas Shrugged," sold roughly 300,000 copies last year, according to BookScan, twice its sales in 2008 and roughly triple annual sales in recent decades.

Read the Rest

Candle Crockpottery

Crock pots have made a comeback. Big in the seventies and eighties, they seemed to disappear for awhile (not literally, but virtually). Now people are going to town, bringing crock pots filled with homemade chili to work for pot luck. Pot luck in a pot! (which is an idea in itself). Imagine a pot luck with only stuff brought in crock pots, enhancing the luck factor of the pot luck immensely, as until you lift the lid, you never know what you're going to get (life is kinda like, wait a minute, that's what a box of chocolates is like).

Okay, so maybe cooking whole meals Huckleberry Finn style in one big pot doesn't appeal to you. Get that damn thing off the shelf (you know you've got one up there somewhere) and put it to good use making candles. Just remember, I'm not responsible for any disaster that results.

And yes, I know the holidays are over for now, but who needs a holiday as an excuse to go crazy with candle making?

Friday, January 8, 2010


And relating to the Brit Hume, Tiger Woods thing, check out the links below.

Ginx on Christian Forgiveness.

And Ann Coulter's If You Can Find a Better Deal, Take It!:

With Christianity, your sins are forgiven, the slate is wiped clean and your eternal life is guaranteed through nothing you did yourself, even though you don't deserve it. It's the best deal in the universe.

h/t on the Coulter piece to Bill Gnade

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