Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Politics: So Long Gerry

And so an era ends. 93 is a good long time to be on Earth. Rest in peace. I don't know why I have a little soft spot for President Ford. Perhaps because he was from my home state of Michigan. I never cared much for his presidency.

Monday, December 25, 2006

So long James

There will never be another like you. Rest in peace.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Solstice

In the dead of winter here in the north daylight is few and far between. Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. I always find myself contemplating new beginnings and the return of the sun at this time of the year. The solstice brings thoughts of joy and rebirth. I know if I just wait for the sun to make it's slow march back to my part of the world, the miracle that is spring will be back once again. I can understand why so many joyous holidays in human history have appeared around this time of the year.

Here's wishing you all a very Happy Solstice.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Religion: Back to the roots

It would seem that ritualistic human behavior is older than previously thought. Archeologists have found evidence of python worship dating back 70,000 years making the discovery the world's oldest ritual. I always did have a soft spot in my heart for snakes.
".... mankind descended from the python and the ancient, arid streambeds around the hills are said to have been created by the python as it circled the hills in its ceaseless search for water."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Fun: How do you say that?

This is a fun little quiz. It was spot on for me.

What is your American accent?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Politcs: Your Turn

Ok Democrats, you better not f*** it up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Politics: VOTE TODAY

I did! Your Turn!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Religion: Still a Hypocrite

So, I haven't commented on the whole Ted Haggard thing until now. I'm not sure whether to pity or loathe the man. He has recently all but confessed to his "sins". But Ted still thinks that god can somehow heal him of his 'homodisease'.
"The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem."

"I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life."

"Our church's overseers have required me to submit to the oversight of Dr. James Dobson, Pastor Jack Hayford, and Pastor Tommy Barnett. Those men will perform a thorough analysis of my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical life. They will guide me through a program with the goal of healing and restoration for my life, my marriage, and my family. "
You really should read his letter. I'm sure it was hard for him to write. But, I don't think he can redeem himself simply by asking for prayer and forgiveness.

What I wonder is if he really means the things he preaches. If he truly believes homosexuals are evil and all the bullshit that he says on the pulpit, then I feel very sorry for him. How tortured his life must be. On the other hand, perhaps he simply was corrupted by the power and the money of his position and he really doesn't believe the crap he spouts. In that case, he is a supreme hypocrite preying on his flock.

Either way it's clear. What Ted needs is not prayer and healing from above, he needs a good honest man to make him a man. Too bad he can't admit it.

Interesting that his wife is sticking by his side.
He should be honest with her.

Well, why not? Afterall, it's her fault!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Politics: Are you a Strawberry or a Blueberry?

So much is going on that I just can't bring myself to comment. We've got hypocrites on all sides going nuts -- John Kerry, Ted Haggard. Enough said. Politics and scandals go on. The elections are right around the corner. Ze Frank has put it all into perspective today.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Religion: Are you there God? It's me, America.

In a recent survey by Harris Poll 42% of US adults indicated that they are not "absolutely certain" there is a god. Interestingly, this number is up by 25% in just the last three years when only 34% were not certain about god. The full details of the survey have not appeared yet on the Harris web site, but you can get a synopsis of them here.

Here is a link to the 2003 Harris Survey.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Politics: Hillary Clinton is a political opportunist

As much as I admire Hillary's intellect and hard work in public office, she has fallen into the trap of political opportunism. She, and other Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter) need to stand up firmly for their principles, not cow to whatever the prevailing senitmental winds are. When will politicians stop worrying about getting elected, and start working toward making America and Americans better. Perhaps I am too idealistic. Yes, yes, I know politicians don't have the opportunity to make changes unless they get elected. Yes, yes, I know the election is important to worry about. But at what point does that balance with your principles? Hillary has flip flopped in the wind to get elected as much or more than most. The latest is her position on *gasp* Gay Marriage! In 2000 when she was running for congress, she was absolutely against it. Now, her position has "evolved". But not really.
"I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out," she said. "From my perspective there is a greater likelihood of us getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered assessment."
If she really believed in full equality, she would believe in marriage rights, not appease her conservative supporters. She's trying to make everyone happy and, in doing so, is sacrificing her principles.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Religion, Hypocrisy: It wasn't rape, he liked it

It seems Mark Foley's Holy Abuser seems to think that fondling teenage boys is ok if they like it. I guess the fact that Mark's priest, Father Anthony Mercieca, was in a position of power over him means nothing. Just like Mark never used his power and influence to get anywhere with the pages. Of COURSE it's abuse! Of COURSE it's wrong to use your stature and power to gain sexual favors. UGH - hypocrisy. This is typical of the denial in the Catholic Church on this issue - abuse is such a harsh word - we like to call it helping our kids.
Mercieca, however, rejected the idea that he sexually abused Foley, saying, "See abuse, it's a bad word, you know, because abuse, you abuse someone against his will. But it involved just spontaneousness, you know?"

"Let's say it was 40 years ago, almost 40 years ago, so why bring this up at this late stage?" Mercieca asked. "Anyway, he will overcome it, with a psychiatrist you know. Mark is a very intelligent man."

Politics, Hypocrisy: GOTV

GOTV - Get Out The Vote. Both parties say they're for it. But a Republican campaign in California is trying to frighten people into not voting.
SANTA ANA, Calif. - State investigators have linked a Republican campaign to letters sent to thousands of Orange County Hispanics warning them they could go to jail or be deported if they vote next month, a spokesman for the attorney general said.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Politics: We're all Terrorists and Sexual Predators

If you listen to FBI Director Robert Mueller, you might think that. Why else would they want Internet Service Providers to record and track their customers' online activities?
"Terrorists coordinate their plans cloaked in the anonymity of the Internet, as do violent sexual predators prowling chat rooms," Mueller said in a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Boston.

Science: Can you believe I'm siding with Bill Frist?

While my political views obviously lie on the left side of the spectrum that society has created, I believe there really is no such thing as a Republican or a Democrat. We all have ideas and positions on issues and they don't always align with whatever political parties we see every day. On the issue of Science Funding, this is definitely a bi-partisan (multi-partisan?) issue and people from all sides can have solid reasonable ideas. These party wars do not solve the problems of our society, they interfere with efforts to solve problems. I was very happy to read this morning an article by Bill Frist published in the Inside Higher Education on-line magazine about congress' efforts to increase funding for basic science. He makes some very accurate arguments.
"While I have nothing against applied research — as a doctor, I never did any other kind — we ultimately need to do more basic research if we want to retain our position as a world leader. The invention of devices like the iPod, a wonderful machine that has changed the way we listen to music, will never result in a Nobel Prize. Without new fundamental discoveries about the nature of the universe and our world, the United States can’t remain the world’s economic and technological leader."
This is truly a bipartisan effort and one that I think Bill takes too much credit for. While I applaud Bill for making the case I do wonder how much he truly believes and how much he is using for political gain. I think back to the Terry Schiavo fiasco and that causes me to pause a bit in my praise for Bill. Never the less, the message is right this time. On a similar note, the Bush administration, and even Sen. Frist, have stood by as the NIH changed it's fundamental support mechanisms away from basic science endangering a whole generation of young scientists trying to get established. Although the NIH budget has doubled from 1999-2003 (initiated during the Clinton administration), the number of individual RO1 grants, the ones that really support researchers in basic biomedical sciences, has, alarmingly, decreased. So, I think we need to do more to fix the NIH, not just increase NSF funding.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Religion, Politcs: If you preach the politics, you gotta pay the taxes

What these religious nuts don't understand about separation of church and state is that it's just as much about preventing government from interfering with religion as it is about preventing religion from interfering in government. The IRS rules are very very clear. If you invite political candidates to your church and promote their platform on your pulpit, you are not eligible for tax exempt status. Well, the holy shit has hit the fan in Minnesota after Michele Bachmann, preaching from the stage at Living Word Christian Center in Brook Park, MN, told the parishoners that God called upon her to run for congress. Now, if that is not bad enough, the pastor of the church told his flock that the church should be wholly involved in politics. You can watch it all here on youtube. For more on this story, see the posts at Minnesota Monitor and Dump Michele Bachmann.

Update: Here's the first 9 minutes of Michele's appearance at Living Word on youtube.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Religion: This time I agree with Hannity and Colmes.

There is absolutely no way to reach people like this.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Politics: Byron and Steve

I should have posted this earlier. I didn't watch Bryon live, but I found the youtube video. I'd say he handled himself well with Steve. Earl? Your turn!!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Religion: PZ and Me

There is a reason why PZ Myer's blog, Pharyngula, was named the top science blog of 2006 by Nature. It's darn good and on my daily reading list. Today I had the pleasure of meeting PZ when he came to NDSU to present a talk entitled, "Accommodation isn't enough: why scientists need to speak out against religion".

He started his talk discussing the poor arguments against religion:
  • Science has NOT disproven God - it is silly to make that argument
  • Atrocities done in the name of religion - there are certainly atrocities done by atheists as well as many good deeds done in the name of religion. This is a very weak argument.
He then presented even worse arguments for religion:
  • Scripture - it is not validated
  • Morality - both religious and non-religious may be moral or immoral
  • Consolation - use religion to console, fear of death
  • Inspiration - Bach could be argued to be inspired by religion. Sure, but was he inspired by God or did that come from himself. PZ had a great comeback for this one - "Have you ever listened to Christian Rock these days?"
  • Non-overlapping ideas - Religion and science can't mix.
PZ then went on to discuss why we should oppose religion, particularly extremist religion. He makes a case for why it should not be a basis for public policy or governance. He discussed a bit of the books by Ken Miller and Francis Collins.

He did have a funny "top 10" list of why Religion is Just Like Pornography. It was amusing and you can read all the details on his blog.

I think the highlight of the talk was his statement:
"Religion has been granted an exalted, priveleged position in our culture. What it deserves is laughter."
We had a nice discussion after the talk, but certainly nothing as heated as I epected. I guess the religious nutjobs stayed away from this one.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hypocrisy, Religion: Cover thy genitalia

(Thanks to the folks at for posting this story)

Art, to Sydney McGee, reflects civilizations past and present and is a thing of utlimate value. For years she has shared her love of art with her 5th grade class in Frisco, Texas. Now, after 28 years of teaching she has been suspended for daring to take her class *gasp* to the Dallas Museum of Art. Of course she should be exposed for the evil person she is! Taking children to such a den of iniquity where they might be exposed to *shudder* nude figurines from ancient mediterranean cultures. All kidding aside, this is a serious issue. Do should we really censor art and elevate it to something grossly sexual when it is not? I think the religious fundamentalists have had a hand in this one. Maybe there's more to this story, but claims of "performance issues" by the school board are not supported by Ms. McGee's record of excellent job evaluations over the last 28 years.

Read the NY Times article.

So . . I'll let you be the judge. Below is a picture of the nude piece in question at the Dallas museum. Next to it a piece of 'art' I found on the prayerful woman's web site. Which would you rather have your children see?

Politics: Today the Conservative Revolution Takes Over

Yes, today the Conservative Right takes over control of the Supreme Court. The new Court opens today without Sandra Day O'Conner leaving a court that is now tipped towards the conservative ideal. Chief Justice John Roberts pushed back a number of important cases until this year when the conservatives will be able to overturn precedent.
President Bush's two conservative appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, give opponents of abortion and affirmative action reason to hope the high court will move in their direction. It was only a few years ago that a different mix of justices seemingly settled some of these questions in high-profile cases.
Take a listen to Nina Totenberg's NPR report on the issue.

Politics, Hypocrisy: The Culture of Corruption Continues

Well, if Friday's news wasn't bad enough, it appears the story is much deeper than we thought. Pages were warned by Republican staffers five years ago to watch out for Mr. Foley.
Matthew Loraditch, a page in the 2001-2002 class, told ABC News he and other pages were warned about Foley by a supervisor in the House Clerk's office.

Loraditch, the president of the Page Alumni Association, said the pages were told "don't get too wrapped up in him being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff."
Republican House Speaker, Dennis Hastert, at first, denied knowing anything, then changed his tune once Tom Reynolds came out saying he had informed Hastert of inappropriate emails in 2005. This sure stinks of a coverup. Why nothing was done is beyond me. It looks pretty obvious that the Republicans cared more about covering up their dirty laundry so the election was not affected and could care less about victimized teenagers.

Oh, and today Mr. Foley is blaming it all on alcohol! . . . Talk about the apology that wasn't!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Politics, hypocrisy: One more closet door opens

After all the grief about Gov. McGreevey last year from the so-called moral right wing, today's news is quite interesting. At least McGreevey was looking for sex from an adult. Today, Republican Representative Mark Foley (Florida) resigned from congress amidst scandalous rumours regarding inappropriate email communication with a 16 year old male page. I don't really care about Foley's sexual orientation, but I am struck by the hypocrisy here. According to his web page, he is the Co-Chairman of the Missing and Exploited Childrens Caucus. Well, it would seem he has some direct experience to bring to the table for that caucus.
Among the latest of these is a program designed to show children how to protect themselves from online predators.

Here is Mr. Foley's statement:
"Today I have delivered a letter to the Speaker of the House informing him of my decision to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives, effective today. I thank the people of Florida's 16th Congressional District for giving me the opportunity to serve them for the last twelve years; it has been an honor.

I am deeply sorry and apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent."
According to ABC News:
Hours earlier, ABC News had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former male pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.
Apparently this is not just one isolated incident.

UPDATE: ABC News has released a transcript of an instant message exchange between Mark Foley (Maf54) and a high school student. (note: sexually explicit content)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Politics: Condi is a liar

A few days ago, President Clinton went on the defensive on Fox News after being questioned about why he did not pursue Osama Bin Laden. In that interview, he said,
"That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now," Clinton said in the interview. "They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try; they did not try."
Ms. Rice just came out with a statement to the contrary.
"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice said during a meeting with editors and reporters at the New York Post.
What she says is a flat out lie and she knows it. She cites the 9/11 report, but obviously she must have read the Bush version and not the version published by the 9/11 commission. It's clear the Bush administration barely gave Al Qaeda a second thought during their first 8 months. To say they were as aggressive as the Clinton administration is complete bull.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Religion: Islam - The religion of submission

Just a commentary on how twisted religion really is. Now, I'm no friend of the Pope, but come on. The Pope reads a quote that questions Mohammed. Protests erupt around the world in the Muslim community. Now, that, in itself is not really that troublesome. I'm all for protest - peaceful protest. But that's where things get carried away. The Pope says he didn't mean to offend and apologizes. In response a nun is shot to death in Somalia, churches around the world are firebombed, and Al Qaeda threatens the Pope and all of us in the west saying we are "Doomed". That we should convert to Islam or die by the sword as the Koran command.

There are no people one more intolerant on earth than religious zealots. And Islamic zealots are by far the worst. In the minds of Islamic fundamentalists, Islam ≠ Peace, Islam = Submission.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fun: Keep your Gentlemen Stockings Fresh

I'll admit it - my socks are getting pretty darn ratty. So, this morning I pulled out a bag of new socks that my wife bought for me some time ago. Fruit of the Loom they are. What do you do with a bag of new socks? If you're like me, you rip open the bag and dump them into your sock drawer. Well, I was quite surprised to find this bag of socks had a great new feature - a zip-lock top! Yup! That's right. A resealable plastic sock bag. Imagine the possibilities! They'll stay fresh in the freezer for decades. You can take one pair out at a time and the rest will stay as fresh as the day you bought them. And, the best part - after you wear them, you can seal them back up to keep the stinky sweat in. I'll bet these were invented with the TSA in mind!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Religion: A Hero gives up her practice in order to save her life

In my eyes Seyran Ates is a hero. Not just a hero, she is an amazingly brave hero. For twenty years she has been fighting against the subjugation of Muslim women by fighting for their rights. She is a lawyer and has represented countless women who have escaped from the tyranny of male domination. She has fought against "honor killings" to prevent the death of Muslim women who are slaughtered for the crime of wanting to be an equal member of society. She has fought against forced marriage and has helped many women escape abuse at the hands of their husbands. In 2005 she was named Germany's Woman of the Year, deservedly so. Facing increased pressure from Muslim men - ok, let me rephrase that - after being shot once, recently attacked outside a courtroom, and after receiving death threats daily, she has decided her life and her daughter's life took priority. She has decided to stop practicing law. What a tragedy that twisted religious ideology that thinks women are second class and should be killed for the honor of their husbands has driven this hero out of her career and more importantly has prevented her from saving the lives of countless women in the future.

Seyran's Web Page (in German)
Telegraph Story
Deutsche Welle Story
Western Resistance Story

Politics, Hypocrisy: Flippity Floppity

Matt Mechtel is running for the US House on the Republican ticket against incumbent Earl Pomeroy. For all the flack that Democrats have received from Republicans regarding the issue of "flip-flopping", I found todays news article in The Forum to be quite funny. It pertains to the issue of immigration.

Back in March, Mr. Mechtel made a statement in an interview about illegal aliens and immigration.

March 29, 2006:
Interviewer: Sure. One quick follow-up. One thought that I’ve had and I wanted to get your thought on it, was a key to maybe making it less, providing less of an incentive to illegal immigrate might be to make our legal immigration process easier, more streamlined. Is that something you agree with?

Mr. Mechtel: Absolutely, absolutely. We can work on streamlining that process and you know to the point right now where we do have illegals in the country, you know, let’s, let’s give them an amnesty period to get signed up and go through a period where they can legalize themselves so we don’t criminalize the people that are already here. They’ve made it here, let’s give them the opportunity to get melded into the system, let’s give them the opportunity to be legal. That way we can get a handle on this thing right to start with. We’ve got to start somewhere and there’s no perfect solution to this so, you know, that’s definitely one way we could start.
September 6, 2006 he made this statement:
“No one who is here illegally will ever get citizenship. There will be no amnesty.”
I love the response of Jim Fuglie, Executive Director of the ND Dem-NPL:

Fuglie said it is “interesting that the first debate on illegal immigrants in North Dakota this year is between Matt Mechtel and Matt Mechtel.”

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Politics: Vote For Us Or Die

I'm getting tired of the administration's fear mongering. So, I did what every citizen should do - I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper. Here's what I sent:

Dear Editor,

It would seem the Republican administration is feeling the pressure of public opinion and is reaching into their bag of tricks to pull out old, familiar messages. Yup. They're laying the fear card flat out on the table. They would have you believe that if you vote for a Democrat our border gates will suddenly be lifted and swarms of islamofacists will come streaming in to rape and murder our citizens. They keep lying about "cut and run" when the Democrats have long said we need a tough and smart approach to address the problems facing our nation and the world. Rumsfeld says we are immoral and stupid to criticize an administration that has never had any idea what threatens our nation or how to face it. This is coming from someone who three years ago said that the war would only last six more months! This is coming from a Secretary of Defense who would not listen to his generals when they pleaded to provide enough troops and equipment to face our enemies. This is coming from a man in power who, along with the vice president, thought the insurgency was "in its last throes". This rhetoric is coming from an administration that demonstrably never had a plan in the beginning and is still floundering and waiting for Jesus to come down and save us. And you believe what they say about Democrats? They are not protecting us. They are not thinking about, nor solving, the problems that face our country. Why? They are too busy worrying about how to make people afraid enough to vote for them. We don't need strategies on how to win elections, we need strategies on how to save the world.

We are seeing the same old tricks. The Republicans say the same lies over and over again until people forget the truth. The truth is Democrats do not want an immediate pullout from Iraq. They know we are entrenched there for some time, but for God's sake, we need to plan beyond tomorrow. We need to start coming up with a strategy to bring our brave men and women back. We need to convince the Iraqi forces they will have to take control of their own security. That will never happen with an open-ended occupation.

Democrats want a smart military. We need to regroup and restore our armed forces that are so thinly stretched now. We have other threats arising around the world. What would we do if the problems in Iran or North Korea suddenly escalated today? We don't have the military resources to address them. Democrats know that our security must start here at home. It has been five years since September the 11th and we are still not protecting our ports, protecting our nuclear plants, or protecting our citizens in meaningful ways.

Democrats know that building our economy, reeling in spending, and supporting all our citizens, not just the richest 1%, is the surest way to build a stronger, more unified nation. Democrats do have plans. Democrats do not want to tax and spend. I can't, for the life of me, understand why people keep supporting an administration that wants to borrow and spend. That is fiscal irresponsibility.

We do not need fear, we need leaders who will roll up their shirtsleeves and get down to work. We need smart leaders who will fight for Americans and our way of life. We need leaders in our elected offices that will reach across partisan boundaries and solve problems. When President Bush stood up and addressed our nation during his inaugural speech and pledged to unite our nation by "reaching out to all who share his beliefs," I knew then the country would be more divided than ever.

Let me say this again. Democrats have plans to turn this country in a new direction, to better the lives of its citizens, and secure our nation. They have plans to restore our status in the world as a strong but caring nation. They will not ignore the world's environmental problems and will do their part to keep our planet alive for generations to come. They have plans to balance our nation's checkbook so our kids will not have to pay for our fiscal ineptitude. Democrats want to instill hope rather than spread fear.

Don't be swayed by lies. Read. Become informed about all candidates who will be coming up for election - locally, statewide, or national. Ask tough questions and expect detailed answers. It is the responsibility of all of us to be informed voters, not ignorant followers. That is how we will change our country for the better.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Terror: Fox guarding the henhouse

The Syrians object to an international peace force on the border of Lebanon so they say THEY will prevent arms shipments to Hizbollah.

Syria to enforce arms embargo
Syria promised to "undertake as soon as possible" measures to increase its number of border guards and give them additional training and equipment, Annan said. Syria will also establish liaisons with the Lebanese armed forces, border police and international personnel "in order to set up an effective interdiction regime," the secretary-general added.

Asked whether such measures would succeed in blocking arms shipments to Hezbollah, Annan replied: "I think it can happen. It may not be 100 percent, but it will make quite a lot of difference if the government puts in place the measures the government has discussed with me. I have no reason to believe it will not be done."

Hmm . . wait a minute . .isn't Syria one of the countries that supports terrorism? Didn't they arm Hizbollah in the first place?

US State Department:
Syria provides safehaven and material support for several Palestinian rejectionist groups, including HAMAS, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Abu Musa Organization (AMO), and the Popular Struggle Front (PSF).

Syria continues to provide safe haven and political cover to Hizbollah in Lebanon, a group responsible for killing hundreds of Americans and numerous others in the past. Syrian support for Hizbollah continues to be a major impediment towards progress in our counterterrorism efforts. Syria allows resupply of Hizbollah from Iran via Damascus. Syria also allows wanted Hizbollah terrorists, including Imad Mugniyah, to transit Syria and find haven there. The Syrian military presence in Lebanon supports Hizbollah actions there.
Nonpartison Council on Foreign Relations:
Syria and Iran work together over issues related to Hezbollah.

After 29 years of occupation, Syria was forced out of Lebanon in April 2005 largely due to massive public and international protests. The results of a preliminary U.N. investigation into the February 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, implicated several top officials in the Syrian government. Following the preliminary report, the United Nations passed a resolution requiring full cooperation from Damascus into the murder investigation. Although Syria has officially withdrawn from Lebanon, experts say it maintains intelligence operations there, and continues to exert some influence, both in politics and through its support of Hezbollah.
While I have respect for Kofi Annan as leader of the United Nations, I think he is seriously ingenuous. To state that he has no reason to believe Syria will not follow through means that he is completely ignorant of Syria's nature and recent history.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Politcs: Critics are immoral and confused says Rumsfeld

Whoa. Thanks, Rummy! I really appreciate your kind words.
In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the administration's critics as suffering from "moral and intellectual confusion" about what threatens the nation's security and accused them of lacking the courage to fight back.
They just don't get it. Plenty of Bush critics understand the threats we face. We just want to solve the problem with some sense of intelligence. Have you ever heard of a strategic plan? Ever thought to equip our troops with the things they need to battle our enemies? Ever thought to go after the people who attacked our country? Have you ever once considered telling the truth and obeying the law? Yes, you can have a courageous, well-planned strategy to to protect our country and our citizens. No, you can't do it without planning. You are calling us confused? Have you listened to your commander in chief lately?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hypocrisy, Politics, Religion: Vote for Jesus or Vote for Sin

Ok, I don't usually follow the frolics of Katherine Harris, but when she says stupid stuff like this, I have to call her on her complete and utter hypocrisy.
"The Bible says we are to be salt and light. And salt and light means not just in the church and not just as a teacher or as a pastor or a banker or a lawyer, but in government and we have to have elected officials in government and we have to have the faithful in government and over time, that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized, thinking that they needed to avoid politics and that is so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers."

"If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you’re not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin."
Oh, so separation of church and state is a lie. Hmmm. And we condone sin if we don't vote fr a christian? Well, now, Katherine has backed off on these statements. Funny, though, she claims she has always professed tolerance and understanding for other faiths.
"My comments were specifically directed toward a Christian group."

"My rallying cry," she said, "has always been people of all faiths should be involved."
Wait a minute . . that has "always been" your rallying cry? Didn't you just tell a bunch of baptists something different? Hello? HYPOCRISY!

Here's another ignorant statement from Ms. Harris.

"And if we are the ones not actively involved in electing those godly men and women and if people aren’t involved in helping godly men in getting elected than we’re going to have a nation of secular laws. That’s not what our founding fathers intended and that’s certainly isn’t what God intended.

Katherine, dear . . you need to go back to school and learn history. That is EXACTLY what our founding fathers intended. Remember? They fled a nation where one religious ideology was thrust upon society. They came to America to create a new world where the government could not meddle in the affairs of relgion and people were free to believe what they want.

Note about the photo. Katherine, you look fabulous in this picture. Out of respect for you as a fellow human being, I did not grab one of the many many horrible photos of you that exist in cyberspace. You're welcome.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Terror: Be careful what you take through security

And for heaven's sake, no matter how embarrassed you are, don't say you have a bomb!
Prosecutors say Amin, who was on his way to Turkey with his mother and two small children last week, twice told security officials that he was carrying a bomb. Only later did he admit he had initially lied about the rubber object's true function because he didn't want his mother to know he was carrying a penis pump, prosecutors say.
Amin does claim that "half of America" uses these. Really?

Read more . . .

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Religion: Rev up your engines and stick the Holy Ghost up your ass!

You think I'm crazy? This woman thinks we should take Holy Ghost enemas. She's filled with something, alright, but I don't think it's the holy spirit!

Science: MVEMJSUN(P) hmmm

My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies

Was that the mnemonic you learned as a kid to remember the planets of our solar system? Well, I guess our children will be learning something else. Pluto has just been demoted to an insignificant blob of once-planetary space junk.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Politics: A Band of Brothers

Many Iraq war veterans are running for public office this year. Most are running on the Democratic ticket. I wonder why. Read more . . .

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Terror, Science: Terrorism of the domestic kind

I wonder if any of these people will ever question their actions when they are suffering from debilitating neurological diseases?
Dario Ringach, an associate neurobiology professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, decided this month to give up his research on primates because of pressure put on him, his neighborhood, and his family by the UCLA Primate Freedom Project, which seeks to stop research that harms animals.

Photography: Playing with my new flash

I just got a new flash for my Canon Rebel XT. I bought the speedlight 580EX. It certainly makes for better portrait shots and my indoor photos should improve. Here are some tomatoes from the garden I was playing with.

Science: The universe is dark

Scientists at the University of Arizona have found direct evidence that the universe is made up of mostly dark matter. Now, what about all that dark energy out there?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Religion: Because the bible told us so

It is unfathomable that in the 21st century people still hold archaic beliefs. Mary Lambert has been teaching Sunday school at the First Baptist Church in Watertown, NY for 54 years. Suddenly, without warning, Rev. Timothy LaBouf and the Diaconate Board fired Ms. Lambert on August 9, because it's a sin for anyone with a womb to teach men. The most scary thing is Rev. LaBouf sits on the Watertown City Council! Yes, that's it, we need sexist religious nuts deciding policy for everyone. Here's link to the First Baptist Church of Watertown where you can find a statement of bigotry by Rev. LaBouf and the Diaconate Board.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Religion: It seems death is always the answer

In Italy, three Pakistani men killed a woman because she dated an Italian man. What kind of crazy world is this?

Italian police were searching yesterday for a man suspected of involvement in the killing of a Pakistani woman after her father and uncle were charged with slitting her throat because she dated an Italian man and refused to conform to an Islamic lifestyle.

Religion: The Absolute Word of God?

There are those who say the bible is 100% truth inspired by God. Every word? Really? Everything it says? If that's true, God should go on trial for crimes against humanity. What kind of God would advocate stoning our children for talking back to us? Repulsive is right!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wine: No Wonder I Get So Sleepy

Melatonin, the neurohormone derived from tryptophan, was once thought to be produced only by vertebrate animals. It has been discovered that melatonin is produced by plants as well. Recently a study by Marcello Iriti, Mara Rossoni and Franco Faoro was published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture reporting that several grape varieties have significant levels of melatonin in their skins. Being the wino that I am, I was immediately drawn to this article as I'm always looking for information about wine and health. Interestingly, the rate of biosynthesis of melatonin in plants follows daily rhythmic fluctuations as it does in animals. The Italian researchers analyzed extracts from grape skins using HPLC and identified significant quantities of it. They examined nine different grape varieties, Barbera, Croatina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Marzemino, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Merlot. Lowest levels (0.005 ng per gram of skin) were found in Cabernet Franc while highest levels (0.965 ng per gram of skin) were detected in Nebbiolo. Interestingly, the levels in Merlot nearly tripled from 0.264 ng/g to 0.726 ng/g if the grape vines were treated with the plant defense activator, benzothiadiazole. One of the main applications of melatonin is in resetting our biological clocks when we travel across time zones. So, heading overseas? Take a bottle of wine with you! Oh, wait! Liquids are not allowed on planes anymore.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Religion: My God! Atheists are the scum of the Earth!

Can you believe who these atheists hang out with? Have you ever looked to see what losers they are? In a recent survey, Americans rated atheists lower than Muslims, Immigrants, and even *gasp* Homosexuals! It's no wonder. They are such a drain on society.

Terror: The Terrorists Have Won

It would seem that way considering all the changes to our way of life that have occurred in the last few years. I tried to send some papers to a colleague in China. I was just flabbergasted when I received my envelope back in the mail. Does this really stop terrorism? How much time, effort, and money were wasted sending this back to me so I could take it in person to the post office. There they ripped off the 'ground transportation only' sticker and stamped it airmail. No questions asked, they just added a $0.00 post office metered stamp. What was the point?