Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
From the New York Times. Click here to read the whole article.
BAGHDAD — Commanders of the Multi-National Force-Iraq, as the American-led coalition is formally called, have a looming nomenclature problem.
Two days from now, there will no longer be any other nations with troops in Iraq — no “multi” in the Multi-National Force. As Iraqi forces have increasingly taken the lead, the United States is the last of the “coalition of the willing” that the Bush administration first brought together in 2003.
The rest of the world cannot understand how, after bitter election campaigns, American politicians can kiss and make up. But that they do!
Governor Sarah Palin, who ran for Vice President on John McCain's Republican ticket, is doing her part to do just that. For example, she has invited the men who defeated her, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, to visit her great state of Alaska, now that she has more time after resigning from her post.
To celebrate her new-found freedom from the toils of office, she has set up a moose hunting trip for their enjoyment and hired three prominent experts in their field to assist them:
# Dick Cheney will lead them on the hunt
# Ted Kennedy will drive them back to their cabins each evening, and
# Bill Clinton will entertain their wives and daughters.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
First seen on Boing Boing
Palin lied when she said the dismissal of her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, had nothing to do with his refusal to fire state trooper Mike Wooten; in fact, the Branchflower Report concluded that she repeatedly abused her power when dealing with both men.
Palin lied when she repeatedly claimed to have said, "Thanks, but no thanks" to the Bridge to Nowhere; in fact, she openly campaigned for the federal project when running for governor.
Palin lied when she denied that Wasilla's police chief and librarian had been fired; in fact, both were given letters of termination the previous day.
Palin lied when she wrote in the NYT that a comprehensive review by Alaska wildlife officials showed that polar bears were not endangered; in fact, email correspondence between those scientists showed the opposite.
Palin lied when she claimed in her convention speech that an
oilgas pipeline "began" under her guidance; in fact, the pipeline was years from breaking ground, if at all.
Palin lied when she told Charlie Gibson that she does not pass judgment on gay people; in fact, she opposes all rights between gay spouses and belongs to a church that promotes conversion therapy.
"OK, let me see if I've got this right. Since Barack Obama has taken the presidential oath of office we have witnessed:First seen on Carolina Naturally
a) Hezbollah lose a shoo-in election in Lebanon,
b) Pakistan begin serious efforts to control the Taliban and al Qaeda elements inside its borders,
c) Netanyahu of Israel mumble support about a two state solution and rethink settlements and,
d) A major awakening of the Iranian citizenry against the heavy-handedness of the mullahs.
What hasn't changed? The simple-minded thuggery of the Right when it comes to foreign policy (and Grover Norquist, someone should gently remind him that it's 2009, not 1989). They have long preferred a modified Teddy Roosevelt approach. Speak loudly and wail away with the biggest stick you can find.
I don't know if all this is the results of one speech in Cairo by the President but if it is I hope he gives a second, and soon," - Carl Owen, Politico.
FCC’s Warrantless Household Searches Alarm Experts
You may not know it, but if you have a wireless router, a cordless phone, remote car-door opener, baby monitor or cellphone in your house, the FCC claims the right to enter your home without a warrant at any time of the day or night in order to inspect it.
That’s the upshot of the rules the agency has followed for years to monitor licensed television and radio stations, and to crack down on pirate radio broadcasters. And the commission maintains the same policy applies to any licensed or unlicensed radio-frequency device.
Study: Abstinence-Only Lunch Programs Ineffective At Combating Teen Obesity
WASHINGTON—According to the findings of a recent Department of Health and Human Services study, school lunch programs that teach children to avoid all contact with food may not be an effective method of reducing teen obesity rates.
Students at Culver Junior High are taught the dangers of eating even one tater tot.
Despite the popularity of abstinence-only meal programs in schools across the country, the study found that children who were provided with no food at lunch and cautioned against eating at an early age were no less likely to become overweight than those who were provided with a well-rounded nutritional education.
Click here to read the rest of the article.
Monday, July 27, 2009
You can get the background on this piece at "Down with Tyranny."
Losing my religion for equality
July 15, 2009
Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.
I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.
This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.
The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.
In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.
The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.
It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.
I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy - and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.
The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: "The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable."
We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world's major faiths share.
The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.
I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.
The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.
Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they’re what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there’s not an $800 car in America that’s worth a damn.
Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.
Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.
Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.
Being poor is living next to the freeway.
Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching that box of Raisin Bran you just bought and trying to think of a way to make the kids understand that the box has to last.
Being poor is wondering if your well-off sibling is lying when he says he doesn’t mind when you ask for help.
Being poor is off-brand toys.
Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.
Being poor is knowing you can’t leave $5 on the coffee table when your friends are around.
Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt.
Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn’t have [to] make dinner tonight because you’re not hungry anyway.
Being poor is Goodwill underwear.
Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.
Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your supermarket shoes when you run around the playground.
Being poor is your kid’s school being the one with the 15-year-old textbooks and no air conditioning.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is relying on people who don’t give a damn about you.
Being poor is an overnight shift under fluorescent lights.
Being poor is finding the letter your mom wrote to your dad, begging him for the child support.
Being poor is a bathtub you have to empty into the toilet.
Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger’s trash.
Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.
Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a goddamned difference.
Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.
Being poor is not taking the job because you can’t find someone you trust to watch your kids.
Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.
Being poor is not talking to that girl because she’ll probably just laugh at your clothes.
Being poor is hoping you’ll be invited for dinner.
Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.
Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.
Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.
Being poor is your kid’s teacher assuming you don’t have any books in your home.
Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.
Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy.
Being poor is a six-hour wait in an emergency room with a sick child asleep on your lap.
Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn’t bought first.
Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that’s two extra packages for every dollar.
Being poor is having to live with choices you didn’t know you made when you were 14 years old.
Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.
Being poor is knowing you’re being judged.
Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.
Being poor is checking the coin return slot of every soda machine you go by.
Being poor is deciding that it’s all right to base a relationship on shelter.
Being poor is knowing you really shouldn’t spend that buck on a Lotto ticket.
Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.
Being poor is feeling helpless when your child makes the same mistakes you did, and won’t listen to you beg them against doing so.
Being poor is a cough that doesn’t go away.
Being poor is making sure you don’t spill on the couch, just in case you have to give it back before the lease is up.
Being poor is a $200 paycheck advance from a company that takes $250 when the paycheck comes in.
Being poor is four years of night classes for an Associates of Art degree.
Being poor is a lumpy futon bed.
Being poor is knowing where the shelter is.
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.
Being poor is seeing how few options you have.
Being poor is running in place.
Being poor is people wondering why you didn’t leave.
From Boing Boing (click on the link to see the whole post).
Last year U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave a public speech questioning the need for more privacy protections.
This year a Fordham University law professor teaching a course on privacy gave his class the project of turning up publicly available information on Scalia.
The fifteen-page dossier completely flipped Scalia out.
Friday, July 24, 2009
[I've] randomly picked a few cases to look at a little more closely. In each case, I found that the patriotic CCW holder was simply acting in the manner God and the NRA intended.
Auto Insurance Negotiation
There's noting that settles an auto insurance related negotiation faster than a 9mm.
Edmond, Oklahoma – An angry driver pulls a gun on an Oklahoma couple during a road rage incident. Concealed weapons permit holder, 43-year-old Darryl Inman, charged with felony. Inman is currently a pilot for JetBlue.
A patriot's home is his "Forward Operating Base Alpha Charlie," and he's right to defend it.
Tampa, Florida – Marcos Antonio Truillio, a concealed weapons permit holder, shot Carlos Aris, a graphics artist working for the Seventh Day Adventist Church, because he thought the man was breaking into his house. Family members say he had been going door to door evangelizing.
Click here to read more.
P.S. I am not a gun-hating nut. I own several firearms and have hunted for a good many years. I AM, however, in favor of some regulation over gun ownership.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Born Identity|
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
From Boing Boing (click the link to read the whole story).
Saturday, July 18, 2009
"Hank Paulson never should have had that job in the first place. He had a $700 million conflict of interest, and everything that he did while he was Treasury secretary, every single thing that he did, has one explanation: What's good for Hank Paulson?"Read more regarding this quote at Down With Tyranny
-- Florida Rep. Alan Grayson on MSNBC
And If you've got the time and patience, Matt Taibbi, probably the best investigative reporter working in America today, posted a VERY long and very detailed article in Rolling Stone regarding the role of Goldman Sachs in the housing bubble, the oil bubble and the collapse of the world economic system.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook says Obama can't be president because he hasn't proven he was born in the United States. Therefore, he [Cook] refuses to be deployed to Afghanistan.[Cook] and his lawyer Orly Taitz have filed a lawsuit so the Major does not have to go to war and fight in Afghanistan because that would be, ”in violation of international law by engaging in military actions outside the United States under this President’s command.”Birthers insist that a giant conspiracy has taken place. The birth certificate showing that Obama was born in Honolulu in August 1961 is fake, they say. Birthers are also certain that some kind of time travel treachery has been undertaken by shadow pinko government agents, who warped themselves back to 1961 to insert notices in the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star Bulletin saying that "Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama" gave birth to a son on August 4, 1961.
Heh heh. What an idiot. And what an idiot lawyer. Even if Barack wasn't a legitimate President of the U.S., the soldier still has to follow the orders of his commanding officer - and that's not Barack - that's a General somewhere up the chain of command.
If it weren't for conservatives, we'd have only about half of the stupid in this world to enjoy. Thanks, morons.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Michael Jackson dies and it’s 24/7 news coverage. A real American hero dies and not a mention of it in the news.
You’re a 19-year-old kid. You’re critically wounded and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley , 11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam . Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.
You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you’re not getting out.. Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away and you’ll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter and you look up to see an unarmed Huey, but it doesn’t seem real because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He’s not Medi-Vac, so it’s not his job, but he’s flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.
He’s coming anyway.
And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.
Then he flies you up and out, through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses.
And he kept coming back, 13 more times, and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.
Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died on Wednesday, June 25th, 2009, at the age of 80, in Boise , ID.
From Bits and Pieces
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
This is very moving.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. Deuteronomy 24:1and
If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate.... But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.Read more by clicking here.
Another problem we face in educating our youth to a higher standard are the forces we fight against because of who we are - a nation of immigrants - with differing cultural and religious backgrounds. Just as an example, how do we educate buffoons like the child depicted in the cartoon below? You can't fight it when some folks just WANT to be stupid.