Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Meet Al Stefanelli: "The Myth of Christian Persecution in the United States"

I personally do not find it confidence-inspiring to learn that a secular, political 'leader' consults with imaginary beings--gods, angels, saviors, etc--before or while considering and/or enacting public policy. Stolen whole:
It’s getting to that time of year again when the Christian whiners start complaining about being persecuted because the evil, heathen, baby-eating, godless horde of devil-worshipping atheist are trying to steal Christmas. This is in addition to the whining they normally do, which is sickening enough. They walk around with a Gibralter-sized chip on their shoulders, crying about how they are being treated unfairly and compare themselves with David in that mythical story we all know so well. I won’t even get into the rages they fly into when we have the unmitigated gall to throw up a billboard here and there about godlessness because we all know there are almost NO Christian billboards out there…

The fact is that Christians are very much privileged in the United States. Christianity is an ideology in the US that enjoys implicit, unreflecting, and uncritical acceptance and one would have to be a complete fucking idiot to counter the fact that the mythical delusion of Christianity is dominant here. Christians are continuously told that they are special and deserve privileges. Many stores take the Christian sabbath into account and are not open for business on Sundays. Most Christians don’t have to work on their holidays. They can assume that television programming will be geared toward their holidays. They can generally construct holiday displays such as nativities without fearing vandalism. “Merry Christmas” is a greeting that they will most often hear during this time of year and can, with impunity, ignore and be ignorant of the holidays celebrated by other religious groups. In fact, many school events will probably address Christian holidays. There is no shortage of churches for a traveling Christian to worship at and whenever someone talks about or thanks god, Christians can assume it’s their god. Almost every hotel in the United States has bibles in their rooms and when there is a need, Christians have many charities to donate to or get assistance from.

Persecuted? Please… Unlike those of us who do not believe in a deity, christians won’t be discriminated against because of their religion and can assume that their opinion won’t be ignored because of their religion and they never have to worry about living in a place where they are not welcome because they will almost never encounter groups that exclude Christians. While it can be a gut-wrenching decision for an unbeliever to “come out”, Christians don’t worry about revealing their religion to parents, friends, etc. Without worry of being labeled a bigot amongst their own, they christians can discriminate in ways not otherwise allowed.

Christians can wear evangelistic clothing or jewelry without fear of persecution, as well, and can promote their religion on cars or houses without fear of vandalism. They rarely have to worry if their religion will hinder their professional ambitions, but if you are known as atheist, it becomes very difficult to find or keep a job. In fact, Christians can assume that most neighbors and coworkers share their beliefs and many Christian owned businesses participate in advertising in directories of other Christian-owned businesses. In short, Christians can assume that almost anywhere they go and anything they do, they’ll feel normal.

Many of the laws in the United States come with built-in exemptions for Christians and their beliefs and Christians can assume that most politicians are Christians who represent Christian interests and this is reflected in that almost without exception, government prayers are Christian in nature. Yes, many of these privileges are seeing a decline as more and more of the godless are becoming vocal and getting involved, and so Christians interpret this as persecution, but this is only because privilege is all they have ever known. They have been on top of the food chain in this country for so long that they are largely clueless that in a free society, such privileges are inappropriate.

Of course, you will never get them to admit that as long as they continue suffer under their memetic viral delusions. They will continue to whine like petulant children until they either come to their senses and embrace reason and abandon their silly, outdated and completely ridiculous superstitions, indoctrination and dogmatic bullshit or they manage to die off without infecting their own progeny.

I, for one, refuse to be accommodating. I refuse to stand idly and quietly on the sidelines while my fellow unbelievers get routinely thrown under the bus. I cannot bring myself to keep my mouth shut while the children of our Nation get mentally mind-fucked every Sunday morning, rendering them totally and completely unequipped to integrate into a post-modern society because they believe the earth was created six-thousand years ago, that a nine-hundred-year-old man crammed a shitload of animals into a boat for forty days, that donkeys and snakes talk and all the other countless and totally insane bollocks that they are taught as unmitigated truth. That I should be tolerant and accommodating is an insult to the collective of human intellect and I won’t have any part of it. Call me what you want, I don’t give a shit, really. I am done being nice to these fundamentalist ass-fedoras, and that includes Muslims, as well. You can only beat a dog so much before it bites back.

Peggy McIntosh, 20 years bestowed upon us the contents of the knapsack of White privilege. I thank Al for doing us the same service enumerating the extent of Christian privilege.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Symphony of Science: "A New Wave of Reason"

Part, the Seventh:

Welcome to the Symphony of Science
NEWS (11/22/2010):
I'm proud to present the latest in the Symphony of Science series, "A Wave of Reason"! It is intended to promote scientific reasoning and skepticism in the face of growing amounts of pseudoscientific pursuits, such as Astrology and Homeopathy, and also to promote the scientific worldview as equally enlightening as religion. The video features Carl Sagan, Bertrand Russell, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Lawrence Krauss, Carolyn Porco, Richard Dawkins, Richard Feynman, Phil Plait, and James Randi. Enjoy!

The Symphony of Science is a musical project headed by John Boswell, designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form. Here you can watch music videos, download songs, read lyrics and find links relating to the messages conveyed by the music.

The project owes its existence in large measure to the wonderful work of Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steve Soter, of Druyan-Sagan Associates, and their production of the classic PBS Series Cosmos, as well as all the other featured figures and visuals.

Continuation of the videos relies on generous support from fans and followers. You can make a donation if you wish to contribute support to the project. Thanks to everybody who has donated - enjoy what you find!

I am currently available for hire as a composer and / or video producer. If you like what you see and you have a job in mind, contact me at !

The Previous Six:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Anthem For The TSA

Normally, I'd have posted this on WG's Guitar. But given 1) its topicality, and 2) I just put Jim Terr's latest up over there, I'll risk it. It's frisky and funny...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Position Wanted: Local Vicar Near Porthcurno

Times are getting tight for the Official Anglican Church, as recently another cabal of 50 disaffected (presumably unmarried--and there for suspect) 'conservative' Anglican priests deserted Westminster Abbey for the Vatican.

Here's how The Guardian reported it:
Around 50 Anglican priests are expected to defect to the Catholic church, it emerged today, as the first details were disclosed of an unprecedented initiative that will allow Anglicans disaffected over the ordination of women to convert. The clergy have registered their interest in the Vatican scheme and will undergo training for priesthood in the Catholic church.

The initiative, known as a personal ordinariate, is the response by Benedict XVI to the demands of traditionalists who are unhappy with liberal developments in the Church of England and want to convert to Catholicism but retain elements of their Anglican heritage.

A statement from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales said five bishops who earlier this month announced their resignation would "enter into full communion" with Rome in early January. The Catholic church is providing £250,000 to set up the ordinariate and said local dioceses will "respond generously" with "regard to housing and looking for ways in the beginning in which they can be sustained financially."

The details were released as the archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Rev Rowan Williams, warned that the departure of clergy could pose practical challenges to the Church of England. But in an interview with Vatican Radio he said there was "no ill feeling" between him and the five bishops who were heading to Rome.
In reply to the current crisis, I today sent Bishop Williams the following missive:
Dear Prelate Williams: I am currently at leisure and would be willing to relocate to some nice, little, sea-side village in Cornwall--with a decent wave nearby--and take up residence there as the local "priest."
I assure you I would faithfully extol the wonders of prayer, God's divine beneficence, Anglicanism, and would pump relentlessly for the new roof for the vestry, for a reasonable emolument and transportation expenses for me and the dogs...
Rev. Woody

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Dreaded Taiwanese Animators Take On TSA

With subtitles: a relatively rare chance to "see ourselves as others see us"; always a salutary objective...

Aerial Operations: "Drop Trou For FREEDOM!"

The "Pirate Party" in Germany gets into the act.

Now, jump over here and enjoy the prankster Penn Jillette as he takes the TSA down a peg or two for messing with his junk (Don't try this at home, unless you are a white celebrity):
Federal V.I.P Penn - 11/13/02
Last Thursday I was flying to LA on the Midnight flight. I went through security my usual sour stuff. I beeped, of course, and was shuttled to the "toss-em" line. A security guy came over. I assumed the position. I had a button up shirt on that was untucked. He reached around while he was behind me and grabbed around my front pocket. I guess he was going for my flashlight, but the area could have loosely been called "crotch." I said, "You have to ask me before you touch me or it's assault."

He said, "Once you cross that line, I can do whatever I want."

I said that wasn't true. I say that I have the option of saying no and not flying. He said, "Are you going to let me search you, or do I just throw you out?"

I said, "Finish up, and then call the police please."

When he was finished with my shoes, he said, "Okay, you can go."

I said, "I'd like to see your supervisor and I'd like LVPD to come here as well. I was assaulted by you."

He said, "You're free to go, there's no problem."

I said, "I have a problem, please send someone over."

They sent a guy over and I said that I'd like to register a complaint. I insisted on his name and badge number. I filled it out with my name. The supervisor, I think trying to intimidate me, asked for my license, and I gave it to him happily as he wrote down information. I kept saying, "Please get the police," and they kept saying, "You're free to go, we don't need the police." I insisted and they got a higher up, female, supervisor. I was polite, cold, and a little funny. "Anyone is welcome to grab my crotch, I don't require dinner and a movie, just ask me. Is that asking too much? You wanna grab my crotch, please ask. Does that seem like a crazy person to you?" I had about 4 of them standing around. Finally Metro PD shows up. It's really interesting. First of all, the cop is a BIG P&T fan and that ain't hurting. Second, I get the vibe that he is WAY sick of these federal leather-sniffers. He has that vibe that real cops have toward renta-cops. This is working WAY to my advantage, so I play it.

The supervisor says to the cop, 'He's free to go. We have no problem, you don't have to be here." Which shows me that the Feds are afraid of local. This is really cool. She says, "We have no trouble and he doesn't want to miss his flight."

I say, "I can take an early morning flight or a private jet. " The cop says, "If I have a citizen who is saying he was assaulted, you can't just send me away."

I tell the cop the story, in a very funny way. The cop, the voice of sanity says, "What's wrong with you people? You can't just grab a guy's crank without his permission." I tell him that my genitals weren't grabbed and the cop says, "I don't care, you can't do that to people. That's assault and battery in my book."

The supervisor says that they'll take care of the security guy. The cop says, "I'm not leaving until Penn tells me to. Now do you want to fill out all the paper work and show up in court, because I'll be right there beside you."

The supervisor says it's an internal matter, and they'll take care of it. "If you want to pursue this, we're going to have to go through the electronic evidence."

I say, "You mean videotape? Yeah, go get it."

She says, "Well, it'll take a long time, and you don't want to miss your flight. We have no problem with you, you're free to go."

The cop says, "Your guy grabbed his crank. That ain't right."

So, I fill out all the paper work and insist on a number to call to register a complaint. She says that I filled out a complaint, and I say, "I want more, give me another number. " She gives me a number that I find out later has been disconnected. I leave. I have a card with the name and number on it and the bad 800 number for the FAA.

My flight is way delayed, so I go to Burger King with Glenn - and all the feds are now off duty and at BK and sneering at us.

The next day the woman in charge of public relations calls me to "do anything to make my McCarran experience more enjoyable." I was a little under the weather with allergies and busy, so I didn't call back until yesterday.

It took some phone tag, but I finally got the woman on the phone. I was very cool and sweet. I explained the problem. "Do you allow your crotch to be grabbed without being asked?" I didn't exaggerate, I said that there was nothing sexual, I wasn't hurt, and it wasn't my genitals. I just said it was wrong. She said "Well, your feedback is really important because most people are afraid of us." She said, "I'd love to meet you so we could clear this up, and everyone wants to meet a celebrity." She said she had watched the videotape and there was no sound, but she saw him reach around. She said she couldn't tell me what was being done to him but . . . and I stopped her and said, she shouldn't do anything wrong.

I said that I had talked to two lawyers and they said it was really a weird case because no one knows if he can be charged with assault and battery while working in that job. But I told her, that some of my lawyer friends really wanted to find out. She said, "Well, we're very new to this job . . ." and I said, "Yeah, so we need these test cases to find out where you stand."

She said, "Well, you know a LOT about this." I said, "Well, it's not really the right word, but freedom is kind of a hobby with me, and I have disposable income that I'll spend to find out how to get people more of it."

She said, "Well, the airport is very important to all of our incomes and we don't want bad press. It'll hurt everyone, but you have to do what you think is right. But, if you give me your itinerary every time you fly, I'll be at the airport with you and we can make sure it's very pleasant for you."

I have no idea what this means, does it mean that they have a special area where all the friskers are topless showgirls, "We have nothing to hide, do you?" I have no idea. She pushes me for the next time I'm flying. I tell her I'm flying to Chicago around 2 on Sunday, if she wants to get that security guy there to sneer at me. She says, she'll be there, and it'll be very easy for me. I have no idea what this means.

I tell her that I'm still thinking about pressing charges, and I don't just care about me, it's freedom in general. I say the only thing that was good about it, was that while they were dealing with me, maybe they weren't beating up people in wheelchairs. It was amazing. All she was trying to do was make me happy. She said she'd burned a CD ROM of my video and it was being sent all around and they were going to change their training. She said, "We're federal employees, we're working for you, you pay us and we want customer satisfaction. It doesn't matter what the law is, we have to make you very happy so your flying experience is a pleasurable one, and most people don't give us this kind of intelligent feedback."

So, that was it. I'm flying on Sunday, I have no idea what will happen. How crazy is this? Do I really have some sort of mysterious VIP status to shut me up? Should I press charges? She said she was going to talk to the cop. I said he didn't see anything. She said, "Well, he may be able to see the forest for the trees, because he was right there." I quoted his "crank" comment and she laughed and then knew that was a very bad sign. I said, "He'll tell you I was polite, cold, angry, and funny" - that's more than should be expected of me. I still don't know what I'm going to do, but my advice to everyone is complain all you can and call the cops. I think it might make a little difference. Maybe you can become a VIP too.
And here is just some gratuitous titty, from Ukraine; there is no such thing as too mych pretty titty!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Diane Ravitch: The Return of the Prodi-Gal?

It's nigh on 90 minutes, but they'd be well spent. The Obama/Duncan "Education" plan varies in almost NO particulars from the Bushevik plan, NCLB. Prof. Ravitch was an advocate and acolyte of the corpoRat "reform" movement which has fucked up the public schools beyond ALL recognition over the past 30 years since she signed on as one of the 'school-killers' with bibulous Bill Bennett and "Chucker"--the Fucker--Finn in the Raygun camp in the '80s.

REEP, KIPP and TFA Lecture Series from Jon Paul Estrada on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honest To Crap, I Was Only Kidding...

By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, November 10, 2010; 6:42 PM

I miss George W. Bush.

I don't miss him in the sense that I wish he were still president. If he were, we might be at war with Iran and North Korea by now, and perhaps Portugal. Neither do I miss the endless debates over waterboarding and the Iraq war - bad memories that have returned to the news as Bush has re-emerged into public view this week to launch his book.

Rather, I miss him because in the end he was willing to toss aside his ideological orthodoxy when the national interest required it - a trait conspicuously absent among his fellow conservatives these last two years.

It was the final chapter of Bush's presidency, and is correspondingly the final chapter of his memoir, "Decision Points." As Bush describes it, he had just been told by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson that they should spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to buy up mortgage assets, and he approved the plan in full. "If we're really looking at another Great Depression," he recalls saying, "you can be damn sure I'm going to be Roosevelt, not Hoover."

By Tea Party doctrine, that's heresy. But Bush, in "Decision Points," doesn't back off at all from his defense of the auto industry rescue and the federal ownership of financial companies - even though those positions today would make him a pariah in his own party.

"The strategy was a breathtaking intervention in the free market," he writes of the TARP bank-bailout program. "It flew against all my instincts. But it was necessary to pull the country out of the panic. I decided that the only way to preserve the free market in the long run was to intervene in the short run."

In an extended book-launch interview with Bush, NBC anchor Matt Lauer referred to a Pew Research Center poll that found nearly half of Americans hold the false belief that TARP was passed under President Obama, while only 34 percent know it originated under Bush.

"Oh, yeah?" Bush replied. "Fifty percent of the people were wrong." He defended his rationale for supporting TARP: "Do you adhere to your philosophy and say, let them all fail? . . . Or do you take taxpayers' money and inject it into the system in hopes that you prevent a depression? And I chose the latter."
To quote a poster which has had some prominence in the Left-ward protuberances of the Book: Heh, heh. I fucked ya. Thanks for blaming the Negro..."

If The TSA Wants To See You Nude, Flash The Fux

The main reason I am loathe to travel via public conveyance since 9/11, why I no longer cherish even the slightest desire to travel overseas, or to any quite distant locale, is because I deeply resent and utterly detest having to subject myself to the ham-handed, knuckle-dragging, prognathous, slack-jawed, pimply-faced, vile -smelling attentions of the cretins and morons employed by the TSA as 'inspectors.'

They, themselves, mostly have never been further from home than the airport or rail/bus terminal where they make the lives of travellers unbearable. The seem to harbor insane, lumpen-prole jealousies toward the travelling public.

I don't go anywhere anymore that I cannot drive.

The German people are very good at this sort of thing.
The underwear bomber's Christmas Day 'attack' has prompted calls for the increased use of full-body scanners at airports.

So to protest, members of the Pirate Party in Germany organized a fleshmob of people who stripped down to their skivvies last Sunday and converged on the Berlin-Tegal airport.

The protesters marked their bodies with a number of messages such as, Something to hide? and Be a good citizen — drop your pants.

One woman has the word diaper scrawled on her lower back with an arrow pointing to her underwear and the word prosthetic printed on her leg. The word piercing and an arrow point to one of her breasts.

The full-body scanners use high-frequency radio waves to produce an image of a passengers naked body beneath clothes. Anything a passenger is carrying against the body — weapons, drugs or explosives — would be exposed. The scanners would also reveal the presence of prosthetic devices and breast implants.

As such, there have been privacy and legal concerns raised about the invasive equipment, particularly because its unclear if the scanners would be able to detect explosives hidden in body cavities and would therefore likely provide only minimal security.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

"Inside Job": The Facts About Wall Street's Massive Larceny

Here's the 'trailer' for "Inside Job," the documentary which presents the plain, unvarnished facts about the late financial melt-down: It was NOT "just one of those things." It was a deliberate act of larceny.

There's a guy in a $10THOUSAND suit who, very archly, declares he doesn't owe us an explanation? What the fuck? I would argue that if you lost a job in consequence of these skeevy fux and their financial fun-and-games, you have the RIGHT to search out one or some of these dirty, vile, evil, vicious fuckers and kick their asses til they whine.

Inside Job: Film Brings Us Face to Face with the People Who Nearly Destroyed Our Economy
Director Ferguson makes the case that the meltdown wasn't just an unfortunate accident, it was totally avoidable.
November 6, 2010 |

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Inside Job, the infuriating and compelling new documentary from Charles Ferguson, tells the story of the global financial crisis of 2008, which led to millions of people around the world losing their homes and jobs.

Critics have been raving about the film's insight and incisiveness. Kenneth Turan from the Los Angeles Times wrote, "After watching Charles Ferguson's powerhouse documentary about the global economic crisis, you will more than understand what went down -- you will be thunderstruck and boiling with rage."

Ferguson makes the case that the meltdown wasn't just an unfortunate accident -- it was totally avoidable. Through interviews with financial experts such as International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, French Minister of Finance Christine Lagarde, and former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, and detailed explanations of credit default swaps and derivatives, Ferguson paints a picture of an unethical industry driven by greed, rampant deregulation and an indifferent government. Ferguson, who also made No End In Sight, about the Iraq war, has a PhD in political science, and worked as a government consultant and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. He is clearly outraged about what happened. "You can't be serious," he tells a former governor of the Federal Reserve who claims they tried to find out who was responsible.

Ferguson sat down with AlterNet in San Francisco to talk about how he felt compelled to make this movie after recognizing the level of criminality to which the financial industry had sunk.
If you see even one of these skeevy, scurvy fux, approach 'em casually, then kick 'em in the nutz, hard! I'll send you a couple of bucks for bail, and so would any other red-blooded Murkin...

Monday, November 08, 2010

Hanging Ten Off A Sailboat! Radical

Via BoingBoing:
This is what luck looks like. Luck, combined with a whole lot of skill. Notice the person at the front. I'm sure they're locked in with a harness, but that would still be a wild ride.

The harbor is Svaneke, a town on an island in the Baltic Sea. According to this thread at the Wooden Boat Forum, local guides say you shouldn't even attempt entering Svaneke harbor during strong onshore winds. I have no idea what prompted this crew to take a shot, but I'm guessing they decided the alternatives were worse.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A 10-Year Ban On The DC Revolving Door? Great Idea, But...

39 Tea Party party candidates will be inaugurated into the House of Representatives come February. It has just become exponentially LESS likely that ANY reforms Cenk urges here will EVER be adopted.

Who is going to vote to FUCK the Owners?

Short Answer: No Fucking Body! If yesterday's results demonstrated one thing, it is that the day of even the faux-independent is OVER. CorpoRats win, where a LOT of money can make a BIG difference, in small district, House races, local and state races, judgeships, etc.