3/24/2006

Do they really believe that abortion is murder?

"A lot of people who favor forced childbirth for pregnant women say that they believe that an abortion, even early in pregnancy, is identical to child murder. Have an abortion, shoot a four-year-old in the head; morally, it's the same. Or, anyhow, that's what they claim to believe.

In contrast, pro-choicers tend to think that the abortion criminalization movement is motivated by a desire - perhaps an unconscious desire - to punish women for having sex."

Atheists identified as America's most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study

"MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (3/20/2006) -- American's increasing acceptance of religious diversity doesn't extend to those who don't believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota's department of sociology.

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in "sharing their vision of American society." Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. "Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years," says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study's lead researcher. "

Atheists identified as America's most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study : News Releases: UMNnews: U of M.

"MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (3/20/2006) -- American's increasing acceptance of religious diversity doesn't extend to those who don't believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota's department of sociology.

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in "sharing their vision of American society." Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. "Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years," says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study's lead researcher. "

A Remarkable Life: Tortoise Dies at 250

" One of the world's oldest creatures, a giant tortoise believed to have been about 250 years old, has died in the Calcutta zoo where it spent more than half its long life. "

Sioux leader vows to open Planned Parenthood Clinic

Regarding South Datkota passing laws against abortions -

"The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women.

"To me, it is now a question of sovereignty," she said to me last week. "I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction."

THIS is awesome! Please consider making a donation to the tribe.

3/23/2006

Tiananmen Square revisited?

In 50-Yard Square in Belarus, a Country Within

"They may attack and beat us and inflict great trauma. But we have already achieved a result: we have shown our country that we are not afraid to stand against arbitrary rule."STEPAN SVIDERSKY, 18, a protester in Belarus."

3/22/2006

Mississippi outlaws sex toys

"There is a landmark legal battle of constitutional proportions being fought down in Mississippi. It involves fundamental rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, not to mention the rights of certain small business owners to satisfy their customers. This week, another court refused to recognize Mississippians' right to find companionship for 29.99 and so a law outlawing the sale of sex toys will stand.

"A person commits the offense of distributing unlawful sexual devices when he knowingly sells, advertises, publishes or exhibits to any person any three-dimensional device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs or offers to do so or possesses such devices with the intent to do so."

Well, I am glad to see that the local legislators are focusing on the most pressing issues of the day. I've long believed that a three-dimensional, possibly battery-operated device is far more menacing than a handgun. In Mississippi, people can buy guns at a gun show with no background check and certain weapons can be carried almost anywhere. Sure, guns and toys can bring joy and a sense of comfort to the user, but apparently the legislators concluded that a genital replica is a far greater threat to society. "

But wait, there's more...check out the link.

3/21/2006

Top News Article | Reuters.com

"LONDON (Reuters) - The spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans does not believe that creationism -- the Bible-based account of the world's origins -- should be taught in schools.

'I don't think it should, actually. No, No,' said Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, reflecting on the bitter education debate over religion and science that has so divided the United States in particular.

Williams, head of a church which has no problem with the Darwinian theory of evolution, told the Guardian newspaper: 'I think creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory, like other theories.'

Asked if he was comfortable with the teaching of creationism in schools, the mild-mannered and usually cautious theologian said: 'Not very. Not very.'

In the battle to bring God into the classroom, Christian conservative supporters of creationism and intelligent design seek to deny or downgrade the importance of evolution.

Intelligent design proponents say that nature is so complex that it must have been the work of a creator rather than the result of random natural selection as outlined in Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Williams' stance echoes the position of the Roman Catholic Church, the world's largest single Christian denomination, which has weighed into the debate by praising a U.S. court decision that rejected the intelligent design theory as non-scientific.

Catholicism, which has never rejected evolution, teaches that God created the world and the natural laws by which life developed.

British businessman Peter Vardy has funded schools in northern England that came under attack for teaching creationism in biology classes.

But the creationist movement has certainly not taken holhold as strongly in Britain as it has in the United States.

"Religion has become politicized in America. That is not the case here. This is not a major issue," religious commentator and broadcaster Clifford Longley told Reuters.

"There is no intellectual credibility given to creationism in this country. There is no parallel between English evangelicals and American evangelicals.

"When I wrote an article saying there were no creationists in Britain, they both wrote to me."

YOUTUBE IDOL - VOTING THE WEBCAM STARS

Same concept as the Google Idol, below.

Google Idol... unearthing the world's talent...

"Google Idol is a new online competition for the many talented (and not so talented) people out there who have been waiting for their moment of fame. The competition puts publicly submitted videos from Google Video in a head-to-head knockout tournament of 4 heats and 2 semi finals leading up to the grand final when a winner is announced.

Popularity is judged by the public who vote for their favourite video - and you can vote once a day for the Gidol you want to win. Votes are tallied at the end of the competition and the video with the highest number of votes will be named the winner. Prizes will also be offered for all winners of our major competitions.

The first competition will be based on lip-syncing talent, but watch this space! - new competitions are being developed all the time, and the next one could be just for you.

An experienced panel of critics will comment on your work, giving you tips, hints and advice, and, of course, marks for your performance. The critics will judge your work according to the Google Idol standards, to see how you fit into the Google Idol craze; but in the end, it's the public that counts as they cast the votes. So be seen today. With over 60,000 visitors to the site per week, you could be a household Gidol in no time!

Fame is just one shameless performance away!"

Man Overboard

"I have a new theory about what's behind everything that's wrong with the Bush administration: manliness.

'Manliness' is the unapologetic title of a new book by Harvey C. Mansfield, a conservative professor of government at Harvard University, which makes him a species as rare as a dissenting voice in the Bush White House. Mansfield's thesis is that manliness, which he sums up as 'confidence in the face of risk,' is a misunderstood and unappreciated attribute."

"The problem of manliness is not that it does not exist," Mansfield concludes. "It does exist, but it is unemployed." Well, um, excuse me, but I think -- it's just my opinion, now, maybe you disagree, and I'm sure we could work it out -- Mansfield has it exactly backward. Manliness does exist. The problem is that it's overemployed -- nowhere more than in this administration.

Think about it this way: Is a trait exemplified by reluctance to ask directions -- "for it is out of manliness that men do not like to ask for directions when lost," Mansfield writes -- really what you want in a government deciding whether to take a country to war?

The undisputed manliness of the Bush White House stands in contrast to its predecessors and wannabes. If Republicans are the Daddy Party and Democrats the Mommy Party, the Clinton White House often operated like Mansfield's vision of an estrogen-fueled kaffeeklatsch: indecisive and undisciplined. (Okay, there were some unfortunate, testosterone-filled moments, too.) Bill Clinton's would-be successor, Al Gore, was mocked for enlisting Naomi Wolf to help him emerge as an alpha male; after that, French-speaking John Kerry had to give up windsurfing and don hunting gear to prove he was a real man. And Bush's father, of course, had to battle the Wimp Factor. Mansfield recalls Thatcher's manly admonition to 41 on the eve of the Persian Gulf War: "Don't go wobbly on me, George."

No wimpiness worries now. This is an administration headed by a cowboy boot-wearing brush-clearer, backstopped by a quail-shooting fly fisherman comfortable with long stretches of manly silence -- very "Brokeback Mountain," except this crowd considers itself too manly for such PC Hollywood fare. "I would be glad to talk about ranchin', but I haven't seen the movie," Bush told a questioner."

Daytime TV tied to poorer mental scores in elderly

" Older women who say talk shows and soap operas are their favorite TV programs tend to score more poorly on tests of memory, attention and other cognitive skills, researchers reported Monday. "

3/20/2006

ABC News: Slain Fla. Girl's Mother Sentenced

"The mother of the 11-year-old girl whose abduction was captured by a security camera two years ago pleaded no contest Monday to drug and prostitution charges and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. "

3/17/2006

An Officer Seen as a Hero Faces a Year Behind Bars

"What happened in the next few minutes on that freezing night in December 2004 would leave two men dead, a community in shock and Sergeant Anders, a beloved local sheriff's officer nearing retirement, charged with killing a handcuffed prisoner. A video camera in the sergeant's own patrol truck was unblinking witness.

That the victim was a white supremacist ex-convict, Earl Flippen, who had just killed his pregnant girlfriend and Sergeant Anders's partner, sprayed gunfire around the girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter and barely missed shooting Sergeant Anders at point-blank range, was beside the point. "

Sex

This is a sex test. This is a test of the Emergency Sex System. If this had been actual sex, you would have been instructed where to put the condom.

This has been a test of the Emergency Sex System. We now return you to your regular blog.

Actually, I've heard that if you have the word "sex" in your blog, you'll get lots of hits. I don't usually resort to cheap tricks like that, but I thought it would be a good way to get more people to see the post below about the missing people.

Gloria White Moore McDonald, Curtis McCoy, Brooke Wilberger and Maura Murray

The mainstream media is publicizing two cases of missing girls. As usual, they are both young white girls. Therefore, in an attempt to even things up, I'm posting information about missing people who don't fit into that category.

CURTIS McCOY















Age Progression


DESCRIPTION


Date of Birth:
October 9, 1987
Hair: Black
Sex: Male
Eyes: Brown
Height: 1'8" (at time of disappearance)
Race: Black
Weight: 25 pounds (at time of disappearance)



THE DETAILS

On November 18, 1989, two-year-old Curtis McCoy was kidnapped as he walked a few steps behind his father in Newark, New Jersey. At the time, Curtis was on a shopping trip with his father, his father's girlfriend, and his two half-sisters. As the group approached an intersection, Curtis's father reached back to take his son's hand to cross the street, but Curtis was gone.

Local law enforcement authorities immediately began a search for the boy, but called it off after several hours. At the time of the kidnapping, Curtis McCoy lived with his mother in South Carolina and was visiting his father in New Jersey.


REWARD

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the recovery of Curtis McCoy.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Individuals with information concerning this case should take no action themselves, but instead immediately contact the nearest FBI Office or local law enforcement agency. For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate.
***************************************************************
GLORIA WHITE MOORE MCDONALD



DESCRIPTION

Date of Birth: October 5, 1932
Place of Birth: Unknown
Sex: Female
Hair: Red
Height: 5'6"
Eyes: Brown
Weight: 120 pounds
Race: White

THE DETAILS

Federal and state law enforcement authorities are seeking information regarding the disappearance of Gloria White Moore McDonald. On January 26, 2001 at approximately 12:25 p.m. central time, Gloria McDonald, her husband, her husband's son, and the son's girlfriend, arrived at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, located in Polk County, Arkansas. Once they arrived at the park, all four of them went down the trail toward "Lover's Leap". About 150 to 200 yards down the trail they encountered several trees across the trail and at this point the victim decided not to go any further. The victim subsequently turned around and went toward the lodge (gift shop and restaurant) while the others continued to "Lover's Leap". The others' hike lasted about 30 minutes. When they went to the lodge they could not find the victim. Her whereabouts remain unknown.


REMARKS

Gloria McDonald was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue flannel shirt, a glossy bright yellow hooded jacket, sneakers, and rose colored sunglasses. She was wearing a gold wedding band (no designs), a platinum ring that looked like two balls snapped together, a gold 3 1/2 carat sapphire ring, possibly a small gold filigree ring, and a necklace with a cross. She was carrying a Minolta Riva Zoom Camera, Serial Number 40907425.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Individuals with information concerning this case should take no action themselves, but instead immediately contact the nearest FBI Office or local law enforcement agency. For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate

Our Options Have Changed - To continue in jargon, press 1

"Thank you for calling. To continue in jargon, press 1. Jos haluat jatkaa suomeksi, ole hyva ja paina 2.

Please listen closely to the following menus, as our options have changed. For technical support, press 1. For financial support, press 2. For support of the fleshy parts that jiggle during exercise, press 3. For emotional support, please hang up and call 888 HOT-LIVE. "

This gets better and better the further along it goes.

The Girl's Guide to DIY Abortions

"A feminist blogger has posted explicit directions online for a surgical abortion, in reaction to the new South Dakota law all but banning the procedure.

Her action troubles activists on both sides of the issue: Is it a harbinger of a return to the era of secret, illegal abortions?"

No, it's a harbinger of a complete turnaround in society - to teenage abstinence, no sex outside of marriage, no rape or incest, and peace on earth.

Wanna buy a bridge?

The Dilbert Blog: Ouch Said the Fish

"My comic of 3/12 ended with a fish saying "ouch." When my website becomes unbroken you can see it here:

http://dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/dilbert-20060312.html

This caused one concerned reader to straighten me out on the subject of whether fish feel pain.

This begs the question of what exactly constitutes pain. When you put a hook through a fish’s mouth, then pick him up and watch him twist and suffocate in the air, is that a fish’s way of saying “I am indifferent to this situation”?

I’m no scientists but it sure looks like fish are expressing a preference with all that flopping around and gasping for water. But where is the line between pain and simply not getting your way? It sounds like a Gitmo situation to me. Maybe those fish aren’t gasping for water after all; they’re probably being treated in a humane way and trying to confess where they hid the WMD.

I should note that I’m a vegetarian, but only for selfish reasons. Saving critters from pain is an excellent goal if it’s practical. But I can’t reconcile that goal with what would happen if humans stopped killing animals. The alternative is to wait until the bears – for example – are about to copulate and then swoop in and place the condom on the boy bear without him noticing. Otherwise it seems to me that we’d have too damned many bears. If that happened you’d be all “Where’s that remote control for the TV?” and your spouse would be all “A bear is sitting on it” and you’d be all “Again?!!” And you know how much you hate it when people say “I’m all” instead of “I said.” That has to be at least as bad as killing animals. That’s my only point."

Woman Auctions Self and Kids on EBay

"The latest bizarre episode in the eBay universe is potentially one of the saddest. A Cleveland, Ohio, woman posted an ad asking someone to provide a home for her and her children so that they could escape what the woman described as an abusive husband. "

3/16/2006

Suicidal Cancer

"Capsaicin, which makes peppers hot, can cause prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, U.S. and Japanese researchers said on Wednesday."

3/15/2006

A Quickie

Breakfast at the White House One morning Dick Cheney and George W. Bush were having brunch at a restaurant. The attractive waitress asks Cheney what he would like and he replies,"I'll have a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit."

"And what can I get for you, sir?" she asks George W. He replies," How about a quickie?" "Why, Mr. President," the waitress says,"How rude! You're starting to act like Mr. Clinton and you've been in office for your second term for only a short time now!"

As the waitress storms away, Cheney leans over to Bush and whispers, "It's pronounced "quiche".

Wal-Mart Fair Share

"A new report from the AFL-CIO shows that Wal-Mart's refusal to pay decent wages and provide affordable health insurance is costing state taxpayers millions to provide health care coverage to Wal-Mart workers.

As employer-based health care declines, many working families have been forced to rely on public health care programs to secure coverage. The result has been exploding Medicaid costs that are breaking state budgets.

Three states have enacted the Health Care Disclosure Act, which requires them to report which employers' workers are relying on taxpayer-funded health care programs to cover their families. Thanks to public pressure from the AFL-CIO, unions, and allies, 23 states total have issued public reports.

The reports show that Wal-Mart's workers rely on public funds for health care more than employees from any other company. In at least 19 of the 23 states reporting, Wal-Mart was the No. 1 employer with workers on the public health care rolls."

Vandal Leaves $200 to Fix Car Windshield

"Whoever broke retiree Charlotte Papenbrock's windshield has made her believe that Spring Breakers can be rowdy, but also genteel. "

Bill Gates, good or evil?

"Score card. On the negative side, his company is predatory, anti-competitive and monopolistic. Microsoft's products are not the best you can get, but by God they will force you to use them anyway. They have driven other companies, both large and small, out of business, even if those other companies made better products. (So much for the market as a force for separating the wheat from the chaff.)

On the plus side he is now, with his wife, a significant philanthropist, mainly focusing on the elimination of rampant diseases like Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS in Africa. Surely, this is a good thing."

From David Byrne's site. His blog is always interesting, no matter what he's talking about. And for the next three months, his radio station is featuring a mini-history of latin music.

"Beginning with Afro-Cuban classics mostly from the 40s and 50s, then in the second part Salsa and Merengue favorites from the 60s, 70s and 80s, and then in the third part Latin Rock from the 80s, 90s and 00s. More than 9 hours of music in total — more than you’d get from most box sets. And it’s free." Listen here.

Troops say they want to come home

"Nearly three of every four American troops serving in Iraq think the United States should withdraw all its troops and end the war within a year, according a Zogby-Le Moyne College poll released Tuesday. "

George Bush has my grandma in lockdown

"Classic. George W. Bush, not content with locking up foreigners in Cuba, has sent my 88 year-old grandma to her room."

Via Iggy.

3/14/2006

Poet, 7, Sets Off Racial Controversy

"A 7-year-old New York poet has fired up adults following a racially charged performance at a middle school.

Autum Ashante, who is home-schooled and lives with her father in Mount Vernon, was invited by a music teacher to present her poetry during a Black History Month program at Peekskill Middle School on Feb. 28. She has written her own poetry and performed in front of audiences since she was 4. "

Sorry Everybody

"Some of us - hopefully most of us are trying to understand and appreciate the effect our recent election will have on you, the citizens of the rest of the world. As our so-called leaders redouble their efforts to screw you over, please remember that some of us - hopefully most of us - are truly, truly sorry. And we'll say we're sorry, even on the behalf of the ones who aren't."

Check out the gallery.

The Torn-Up Credit Card Application

"You should probably buy a shredder today.


I get a heck of a lot of credit card applications in the mail.
A bunch for Visa, quite a few from Mastercard and tons of them from American Express.

I almost always tear them in half and throw them away.

Sometimes, if I am feeling particularly paranoid, I'll tear them into little bitty pieces.

Is that good enough? Could a determined and dexterous criminal gather all the bits, tape them together and apply for a card in my name? Would a credit card company balk when confronted with an obviously resurrected application?
A test was in order, and when the latest application arrived from Chase Mastercard, I was equal to the task."

Black Sabbath, Blondie Enter Rock Hall

"Between an ugly feud among Blondie members spilling over onstage and a rancorous letter from the absent Sex Pistols, the latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class did not enter quietly on Monday.

The animosity even made Ozzy Osbourne, inducted with Black Sabbath, seem sedate. "

Tunnels Used by Ancient Jews Discovered

"Underground chambers and tunnels used during a Jewish revolt against the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago have been uncovered in northern Israel, archaeologists said Monday. "

3/13/2006

3/10/2006

Nine People Dead in Japan Mass-Suicides

"Their deaths were the latest in a rash of group suicides in Japan, particularly those set up between strangers over the Internet. "

3/07/2006

Bush Weaves Rug Story Into Many an Occasion

"Nothing says power like the Oval Office. The paintings of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The bust of Dwight D. Eisenhower. The desk used by both Roosevelts.

And then there's the rug. Don't forget the rug. President Bush never does.

For whatever reason, Bush seems fixated on his rug. Virtually all visitors to the Oval Office find him regaling them about how it was chosen and what it represents. Turns out, he always says, the first decision any president makes is what carpet he wants in his office. As a take-charge leader, he then explains, he of course made a command decision -- he delegated the decision to Laura Bush, who chose a yellow sunbeam design."

Deputy fire chief faces indecency charge

"Leroy Donald Johnson was caught this weekend in a barn with his pants down, literally, according to a sheriff's office report.

'You caught me ... I tried to (expletive) your sheep,' Johnson told his neighbor, according to the report.

But the Mesa Fire Department deputy fire chief changed his story when a sheriff's deputy arrived on his doorstep minutes later, denying anything happened."

The time-warp family who walk on all fours

"An extraordinary family who walk on all fours are being hailed as the breakthrough discovery which could shed light on the moment Man first stood upright.

Scientists believe that the five brothers and sisters found in Turkey could hold unique insights into human evolution.

The Kurdish siblings, aged between 18 and 34 and from the rural south, 'bear crawl' on their feet and palms.

Study of the five has shown the astonishing behaviour is not a hoax and they are largely unable to walk otherwise"

3/06/2006

A Nurse's Courage

"In her first broadcast interview, a VA nurse explains how she was investigated for 'sedition' after writing a letter that was critical of the Bush Administration. "

"The response to Berg's letter was harsh. Her office computer was seized. And the government announced it was investigating her for sedition -- that's right, sedition. V.A. human resources chief Mel Hooker wrote in a letter to Berg, "The Agency is bound by law to investigate and pursue any act which potentially represents sedition." "

3/02/2006

Diner Rating System

Diner Rating System

Because these things matter.

Fla. Man Showing Off OnStar Arrested

"ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. Mar 2, 2006 (AP)- A man showing off his OnStar system in his Cadillac Escalade found out the system worked too well. Ralph A. Gomez, 38, was being held Wednesday on $15,000 bond on charges of possession of an illegal narcotic within 1,000 feet of a church and possession of drug paraphernalia. "

I'm confused. Why does it matter how close he was to a church? I could see it being a bigger crime if it's near a school, but a church? Or is a church considered to be full of easily-manipulated people who aren't mature enough to make their own decisions, just like an elementary school?

3/01/2006

Profile of Jon Stewart, Political Comedian - Fake News Taken Seriously

"With his fearlessly brilliant and biting politically-laced humor, comedian Jon Stewart gives a clear voice to widespread American frustration over Bush administration missteps and hypocrisies, and to all of today's politicians and political climate. "

Va. Schools Win Christian Poster Dispute

"RICHMOND, Va. Feb 28, 2006 (AP) - A Virginia school district didn't violate a teacher's free-speech rights by removing Christian-themed postings from his classroom walls, a federal judge has ruled."