Thursday, July 31, 2008


You know that rhetorical device where you take something absurd to its logical conclusion to demonstrate its absurdity?

What do you do when your opponents do it for you?
Saudi religious police ban pet cats and dogs

Saudi Arabia's religious police have announced a ban on selling cats and dogs as pets, or walking them in public in the Saudi capital, because of men using them as a means of making passes at women, an official said on Wednesday.

Othman al-Othman, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Riyadh, known as the Muttawa, told the Saudi edition of al-Hayat daily that the commission has started enforcing an old religious edict.

He said the commission was implementing a decision taken a month ago by the acting governor of the capital, Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, adding that it follows an old edict issued by the supreme council of Saudi scholars.

The reason behind reinforcing the edict now was a rising fashion among some men using pets in public "to make passes on women and disturb families," he said, without giving more details.

Othman said that the commission has instructed its offices in the capital to tell pet shops "to stop selling cats and dogs".

The 5,000-strong religious police oversees the adherence to Wahabism -- a strict version of Sunni Islam, which also forces women to cover from head to toe when in public, and bans them from driving.

Wahabism: hilariouly absurd, yet strangely popular.

I thought at first they were just trying to prevent the sale of a Christ-cat or a Jesus dog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I sure fucking hope so.

On another note, there are rumblings that our government might fall this fall, which will give me something to talk about besides the US election.

This is from our favourite wingnuts over at Christian Worldview Network:

By Jan Markell

The President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, isn’t surprised that many young evangelicals are moving to the left politically. He states, “There is a sense among younger evangelicals that the conservative movement has gained a bad reputation as being against things rather than for them.” Mohler continues, “I think the younger generation of evangelicals looks at a lot of older evangelicals and says, ‘You just don’t get it. You’re not connecting with the issues. You’re too happy, too consumerist, and too materialistic. You’re living in an evangelical subculture.’”...
I've never understood how the religious right managed to be both "pro-life" and pro-death penalty, gun ownership and war. I guess once you're out of the birth canal, they don't give a shit. Finally, some young religious folk are waking up to this fact and pointing out the obvious: the religious right is full of killjoys and self-righteous jerks. It's also odd that the "emergent church" sees the older evangelicals as "too happy", when all they do is bitch and moan about blastocysts and monogamous gays.

...Dr. James Dobson says, “With evangelical leaders who fought against abortion and for protection of the institution of marriage now retiring or passing away, a void is starting to appear. Just like a little wooden boat floating downstream, many evangelical Christians are adrift in new swift currents of a ‘social gospel.’”

Researcher and author Berit Kjos suggests that there is now an emphasis on deeds instead of creeds. She suggests that behind its noble appearance hides a post-modern version of “Christian Socialism,” which many of these young people have bought into. They are more world-centered and perhaps less Word- centered.

Their focus is not that of their parents’ generation. This generation is not bound by anything the “Christian Right” may have focused on. They primarily want to think about caring for the planet and the poor, and will vote accordingly in November...
Unfortunately for the staid old conservatives with god on their side, part of the answer to both poverty and environmental concerns is birth control. Jesus would be spinning if his grave, if he ever existed, and was supposed to still be in said grave. But the news is ultimately good: these believers are putting their money, and probably their votes, where their mouths are. Jesus supposedly wanted us to be nice to each other, and wedge politics, hawkish foreign policy, and letting the poor starve to death are not very nice. If only they could see the rest of the way to the fact that they've been duped, not only by their church, but by their state.

It just occurred to me that part of the problem with Dobson is that he makes other believers seem so damn reasonable.

...Conservatives are not against helping the sick and needy; however, they also will not abandon the defenseless unborn to the grinder of modern secular abortion mills. The “Christian Right” will remain more concerned about “spiritual poverty” and biblical illiteracy. But neither side has a lock on morality or anything else...
So they might help you if you're sick and needy, so long as you remain chaste and read your Bible. It's astounding how abortion got all tangled up with biblical literacy, because, and I may be wrong on this, I don't think the Bible has a great deal to say about abortions. At least, not directly. There are verses that can be interpreted that way, along with the mixed fibres thing and the menstruating women are unclean thing.

Oh, and who does have a lock on morality? Xenophobic hate-mongers? Closeted anti-gay preachers? Super-rich men who teach that poverty is a virtue, and god needs your money? People who scour holy text to find scraps to justify their bigotry?

...It remains to be seen if these young people who are Emergent Church enthusiasts or followers of the pied pipers of the “Religious Left” will actually solve the problems for which they have a burden. One has to wonder if the post-modern generation even has a grasp on what true Socialism is and its failure around the globe upon masses of people. To hear some of their leaders talk, today’s religious conservatives should hang their head in shame for the sin of neglect of . . . you fill in the blank....
Because Jesus was clearly a capitalist. And big on democracy, too.

...In the 1990s my home state of Minnesota elected a buffoon of a Governor named Jesse Ventura. We paid a steep price for that, and he sailed into office on the vote of the under-30 generation...
Fucking kids. Let's raise the goddamn voting age. Jesse Ventura is a bit of a clown, I'll grant, but he has sounded pretty fucking sensible of late. And can anyone tell me what the steep price for Ventura was? Is it PZ Myers?

...If the post-moderns have their way in November, a similar result is guaranteed as they sweep the Left into office. McLaren, Campollo, Wallis, and associates have paved the way for them and made the grass look much greener on the other side of conservatism. But thanks to the Fall in the Garden, every square foot of grass on either side is full of weeds, and there is really no panacea for the world’s desperate problems except for the Lord’s return...
What the hell does that even mean? And how does saying that both leftie and rightie evangelicals are wrong help your cause? And Jesus has been "just around the corner" for the better part of two millenia. Dude's running late, kids. You'd better make other plans.

...That does not mean that until that time some of the issues being raised should not be attended to. But expectations should be kept relatively low. And no matter what administration rides into the White House on January 20, 2009, much of the glowing campaign rhetoric will fizzle out as man is not the problem solver nor is bigger government. The only solution is the government that is upon His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6)...
More craziness here. We should try to help the poor, sick and the environment, but really, there's no hope. WTF? And the current government's chief order of business seems to be getting out of the government business. So obviously, they're on your side. Do you want a smaller government so you can ride roughshod on the Bill of Rights? And are you suggesting that Jesus get the write-in vote? He can't be President. He's not an American citizen. You're going to need a constitutional amendment for that one (though it looks like the Republicans might try for one to get Arnie in the White House someday).

As I've said, neither Obama or McCain are going to be particularly good for the US or the rest of the planet. Obama will be marginally better (It's like electing Abbott as opposed to Costello). There are three other options, and it'd be nice to hear about them once in a while, but let's face it: barring a few notable exceptions, the POTUS is either a Democrat or a Republican.

The idea that biblical literacy is the most important issue facing the US today is batshit crazy. Monogamous gays and unborn babies aren't what's fucking things up for the US. It's all the other sneaky shit the government has been able to pull while its citizens were looking the other way: at their pastor, at American Idol, or at their GPS systems.
Marx was right about the opiate thing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Real classy

It's Michael Coren time again. Today, it's not about his religion, his bigotry or his hypocrisy. Today we add a new dimension to the complex character that is Mr. Coren.

Saturday's column was about, ultimately, the previous Saturday's column, which I've already commented on here.

Hundreds of e-mails arrived, of course. Most in my favour, but many against, which is all a healthy indication of democracy and free speech. One, however, was particularly interesting, in that it was sent by someone who is paid by our tax dollars to be objective and balanced.

"You were kidding, right? No matter. That material is about as funny as a good old-fashioned waterboarding joke. Disgraceful."
Richard Goddard
o (+001) 416-205-5950
f (+001) 416-205-5731.
Q on CBC Radio ONE.
Canada Qs up: Afternoons 2 - 3:30, Evenings 10 - 11.
Shipping Address: Office 2H109-D,
Canadian Broadcasting Centre,
205 Wellington St. W., Toronto, Ont. M5V 3G7."

Way to call him out, Michael. Very classy.

Perhaps I don't quite understand the mandate of the CBC and its employees, but I assumed that public time, money and equipment were supposed to be used for the public interest and not for private opinion and political vendettas.

If the message were purely personal, at the very least it revealed an intense ideological position from a producer who makes decisions about what should be on the public airwaves. But if it were purely personal why did it list so many CBC contact details? Was this an official CBC statement and if so could the directors of the corporation please explain their stance in greater detail?

Allow me to help you out, Mr. Coren. It took me almost fifty seconds to find this information:
The CBC is fully committed to maintaining accuracy, integrity and fairness in its journalism.
Fairly straightforward. Goddard is a producer on an A&E show. Commenting on your column is not really within his professional purview, but he didn't do it on air, so that's irrelevant. Furthermore, using the word "disgraceful" hardly reveals an "intense ideological position". You essentially said the kid was spoiled, and that is disgraceful. It also listed so many personal details because it's his freaking email signature, you Luddite.

The best bit is that Coren spent time researching Goddard's resumé, but failed to find the mandate of the CBC.

I guess what really bugged me is this: it probably took two minutes to shoot off that email. You visit Coren's website, click on "E-Mail", and it opens your email program. Goddard may or may not have done it from his home computer. But it sent from his email address. Probably not cool, but hardly worthy of this public outing.

Coren, not only are you hateful, bigoted, and close-minded, you are over sensitive and classless. I should have known that a bully like you couldn't take it. I almost hope you don't find out about me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Phoning it in

I am home sick today (actually a scheduled day off, but I'm sick), and since the details of my illness are distasteful, I shan't bore you with them.

So, I'm phoning it in. Here is a cartoon:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

God v. My Libido

When you read this, assuming all has gone to plan, I will be sitting in a pew at a Baptist Church, awaiting the o'erhasty marriage of a young woman to a young man.

Why o'erhasty you ask? Well first, I saw Hamlet last weekend:

...He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.

I doubt it is no other but the main,
His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage.
I like the word, and I like to give the PTGHWAC to Shakespeare when I think of it.

Second, the young lady in question is 20, her boyfriend one year older, and she is not yet done school. In fact, she has at least three years left to complete her degree if my latest intelligence is correct.

Third, I don't think the two are that well suited to each other. They're small town, but she wants more (sometimes), and he's cool with living in Hicksville. They're both naive, they're both kinda smart (but not really in any useful way), and they're both terribly immature.

And finally, they are, in essence, marrying themselves, which amplifies their weaknesses, and adds little to their strengths.

And though I am related to one of them (I shan't tell you which), this isn't sour grapes, or the proprietary reaction that you sometimes get when family gets married. I just don't really think this is a good idea. I won't stand up when (if) the pastor asks, but I have my doubts. In fact, I'm watching another o'erhasty marriage go through a rough time, and it doesn't bode well for the newlyweds.

So why are they getting married, you ask?

Pure and simple. I'll bet they're horny as hell, and they simply can't wait to fuck.

So why don't they fuck? Because they're Baptists.

Baptists carry around a lot of sexual baggage. A lot of baggage in general, but most of it is related in some way to crotches. I was led to believe not that the original sin was disobedience, but fucking. Seriously. And I went to this church when I was young.

I've said before that my atheism is pretty emotional, rather than logical, and this is a good example. I often felt bad about my penis, about playing with it, about wanting to use it for more than pissing, about erections, about the unnatural desires (I honestly thought they were unnatural!) it engendered. For me sex was supposed to be a necessary evil, and it was the Devil, not God, that made it feel so good.

Yeah, I know. It's pretty messed up.

But I'm out of the woods now. My libido weathered the storms, survived the scarring, and is healthy and happy. My penis is relatively unscathed. In short, I like to fuck.

I never could understand a god that would make people essentially fall from grace as soon as they reached puberty.

Good luck, kids. You're going to need it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

God's Earth

(With a pelvic thrust, gun hands, a wink and a clicking noise to "Bay of Fundie". Isn't that cooler than a hat tip? It will henceforth be known as a PTGHWAC. Bookmark this page.)

I was thinking about climate change deniers and how their denial of the science relates to their religion, and something occurred to me.

Accepting the fact that human activities can affect the climate puts a human limit on god's creation, and therefore god's power.

It's as simple as that, possums, and at the same time not nearly that simple.

The reasons that many fundies don't dig on environmental issues are legion, my children, and the issue is complicated by nefarious political alleigances, the communism/capitalism dichotomy, free will, the fact that evangelism is strongest in the US, and just palin distrust of science in general. But I think one of the strongest contributing factors is this god's creation angle.

If you believe that god created the planet for us, and then accept that we are fucking it up, the implications are staggering.

First, it's Eden all over again. We've been given limits, and we've exceeded them. Thus, it's original sin in a larger, dirtier, and more popular form.

Second, it means that god's not looking out for us anymore, not even the faithful. Christians are losing their homes in forest fires, being drowned when the levee breaks, and are being killed in foreign wars over resources. Christian children are starving to death because of drought. ANd in fact, Christian children might be part of the problem. I joked the other night that, environmentally speaking, the only thing worse than having a Canadian baby is having an American baby.

Third, to reiterate, it means that, once again, humans are fucking up god's plans, and that makes him less than omnipotent or omniscient. He should have seen this coming, and he should have prevented it. Worse, this destruction hasn't even been deliberate. Man's carelessness is more powerful than god's creation.

Fourth, the American Way of Life is supposed to be a reward for bing good Christians. If that reward is hollow, then it calls into question the authorship of the reward. Maybe it wasn't god on our side all these years...

And finally, it underscores the inherent foolishness, arrogance, and inefficiency of the belief that a god created an entire fucking universe just as a terrarium for a few billion monkeys. Monkeys who, incidentally, are flinging poo all over the whole place.

As I've said, there are a bunch of other reasons for denying anthropic (is that the word) climate change. And the most immediate is that changing is going to be a pain in the ass. But I think creation theology is definitely a factor.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


It's here, just so's ya know. But you knew that already.

Kazakhstan weighs new religion restrictions

Posted on Jul 22, 2008 by Staff

WASHINGTON (BP)--Kazakhstan, which already places burdens on religious organizations, will substantially increase restrictions on expressions of faith if new legislation becomes law, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

On the face of it, this would make me happy. It doesn't, for two reasons.
First, when you tell people they can't worship in this way or that way, followers have a nasty tendency to get tenacious about it. Here's a parallel that will make Baptists squirm: My brother (gay), once said, "I never wanted to get married, until they told me I couldn't."
He's getting married next year.
The second reason is simple human rights. You want to go to church? Go crazy. You want to worship Baal? Have fun with that. Speak in tongues? Not my thing, but neither is death metal. Knock yourself out. Handle snakes? I suggest you don't, but I won't try to stop you. Build a church? Here's a hammer. Just give it back. I don't get it, but people have every right to believe whatever nonsense they want, they can worship whatever they want, and they can give their money away if it makes them happy. Religion is foolish, but it's not like there oughta be a law. You know?

The former member of the Soviet bloc already requires religious groups to register with the government. Under current law, unregistered groups have to pay fines and supposedly "non-traditional" religious bodies are prohibited from registering or have their registration applications significantly delayed, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reported.The new measure, according to USCIRF, would:

-- increase the number of members a religious group must have to register from 10 to 50.

-- prohibit smaller religious bodies from teaching or professing their faith, owning property or renting public buildings.

-- prohibit gifts from anonymous or foreign donors.

"The religion bill threatens Kazakhstan's international obligations as a nation to safeguard religious freedom and non-discrimination," USCIRF Chair Felice Gaer said in a written release. "Kazakhstan appears to be following the lead of other former Soviet republics that are narrowing the space for religious freedom rather than bolstering protections for it."

This is stupid. It's pointless, and it won't work.

A little bit about Omar Khadr

Everybody knows who this kid is. He was captured fighting US forces in Afghanistan, rushed to Gitmo, declared an enemy combatant, and tortured for six year while awaiting trial in a US military court. He was either 15 or 16 when captured. Reports I've read differ.

Actually the whole thing backfired, in that it was supposed to break our hearts and make us angry at the awful Americans who dared to keep a sort of Canadian in prison on suspicion of terrorism and of throwing a hand grenade that killed one of their medics.

Problem is, it showed a well-fed, well-nourished, obviously defiant and healthy young man blubbing and moaning and claiming, rather absurdly, that he has no feet or eyes.
"You do have feet" replied a tolerant Canadian agent, "they're on the end of your legs."
Translation: "That spoiled little wog."

I'll give you a little more, but wait a second.

Michael Coren has had the ridiculously good fortune to live in two of the best countries on the planet: Canada and the UK. Born late enough to avoid defending his country from invaders, he emigrated to a country that hasn't been invaded in nearly 200 years. Born into a faith that is not in a minority in either his homeland or his adopted nation, his faith in God is unshakeable, simply because he's right. Jesus is the way, the truth and the light, you know, and Coren knows it because his parents were Christians.

The fact that he hates Khadr says a great deal about Coren. The fact that doesn't even empathise with him says much more. I'm ashamed of my country for first allowing this hateful little man into the country, and for giving him a forum for his bile. He vomits onto the pages of the Sun once a week, and onto the airwaves daily (fortunately on a Christian network), and makes his money by hating homosexuals, liberals, atheists, Muslims and environmentalists.

And furthermore, a man who clearly has eyes and feet, and cries that he doesn't, isn't just trying to get sympathy, you vile fuck. He's damaged goods.
The only valid criticism of the United States is that this young man should have
faced a trial by now. If, however, he had been in prison just a few miles away from Guantanamo on Cuba he would have been beaten to death in one of Castro's death camps. If he had been captured by friends of his family in Afghanistan or Iraq he likely would have been raped, tortured and then slowly decapitated. Irony's a funny old thing.
A few things here. I would like to offer my criticism of the US for invading the country in the first place. I am also criticizing the US for capturing and torturing an "enemy combatant". The US made shit up so they could claim the rules didn't apply. I'm also questioning the legitimacy of trying a man (who once was a boy who may or may not have killed a soldier), for defending what he may have thought of as his home, but certainly though of as his faith
Further, Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq are not engaged in colonial wars (well, the latter two are, but they didn't exactly start them), so the idea that he might have been captured by their forces is a red herring. It's been a long time since Cuba was involved in a military conflict on foreign soil. They tended to be the recipients of foreign force (much like Afghanistan), until they kicked the occupiers out (putting aside all arguments about whether "communism" was good for Cuba). And finally, being captured and tortured by US forces is not ironic. I'd expect a writer to understand irony.
If there has been any abuse over the years it is clearly at the hands of Khadr's own kin.
Which clearly excuses any subsequent abuse.

On Khadr's mother:

She has also, of course, loudly expressed her hatred for western culture and condemned Canada as a vile place where all children are drug addicts or homosexuals.
Coren gets a yellow card for hypocrisy, here, because he feels the same way.
Omar Khadr is a tenuous Canadian at best, unlike most newcomers to the country who love it with pride and passion. If we feel sorry for him and his family, consider the family of the young medic smashed beyond recognition that horrible day six years ago. Good Lord, most people don't even know his name. But they know the name of Omar Khadr.
I don't care about Khadr because he's a Canadian. I feel bad about every poor loser held in that kennel. An accident of geography means I know more about Khadr than any of the other prisoners. As for the medic, I do consider his family, and I feel bad for them, too. They lost their son in a pointless, illegal war for no good reason. Happens all the time. About 9000 other Americans have met similar fates in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fifty-eight thousand in Vietnam (wikipedia), and more than 36,000 in Korea. If the US would stop going to kill yellow and brown people, they might not have so many war memorials.

You know I'm not a fan of this war, and I'm not a fan of the War on Terror, or the War on Drugs, or any other war, really. Supporting this war is bad enough. Supporting the US as they publicly railroad this poor bastard to the gallows is deplorable.

Michael Coren is not only a bigot, he's stupid and hypocritical.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My atheism is more emotional than logical. I came to disbelief by examining my beliefs, and then the beliefs of others, and concluding that they were just stupid, hateful, and exclusionary. Any of my logical support has come afterward, by reading blogs, books, and news articles (and occasionally death threats). I suppose it was the problem of evil that first caused doubt, but not because the idea of a benevolent god is incompatible with the existence of evil in any logical sense, but because a god that allows evil but does nothing about it, even for our own good, is an asshole.

See? Emotional, not rational.

That's not to say that I can't parry with logic when confronted by silliness.

Last night at dinner, while my daughter was stuffing her face (literally, two hands, crumbs on her chin, not her most attractive), I laughed out loud, and my wife referred to Mickie as "my little miracle". Then she said, "Your daddy doesn't believe in miracles. Do you?"


"Well, I think she's a miracle."

Okay, I said, deciding that I was going to let it go, because we've discussed this before, and gotten nowhere.

But she said something else; she believes that Mickie is proof that god exists, the hand of god interfering in our lives, and unique occurences are miracles.

In my opinion, that's stretching the definition of miracle to a point where it becomes meaningless: every occurence is unique, either spacially, temporally or both, and there are no two things repeated. If everything that happens is a miracle, then miracles aren't proof of anything.

I love Mickie, and I think she's beautiful, but she's proof of Mickie, and little else. She's proof that my wife (and I, presumably), are fertile, but not much beyond that. Furthermore, although she's unique, she's not really that special. Hundreds of thousands of people are born every day. People are disgustingly fertile. People are as common as dirt, and although Mickie is beautiful, she's not a miracle, unless you make it mean nothing, the way that Christians do.

A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined. Why is it more than probable, that all men must die; that lead cannot, of itself, remain suspended in the air; that fire consumes wood, and is extinguished by water; unless it be, that these events are found agreeable to the laws of nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or in other words, a miracle to prevent them? Nothing is esteemed a miracle, if it ever happen in the common course of nature. It is no miracle that a man, seemingly in good health, should die on a sudden: because such a kind of death, though more unusual than any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it is a miracle, that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age or country. There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation. And as a uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any miracle; nor can such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle rendered credible, but by an opposite proof, which is superior.
A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature: burning bushes that aren't consumed, dead men coming back to life, wet altars being struck by lighning on command. These are miracles, and they just don't happen. Common things aren't miracles, no matter how cool we think they are. Unique just isn't miraculous, no matter what Christians would enter into the vernacular as an alternate definition.

A baby is born, and she's beautiful? Happens all the time.

It's a recurring theme in my discussions with theists: we aren't speaking the same language, even. It's another essential gap in our expectations.
For theists, things are proof of god.
For atheists, things are proof of things.

Monday, July 21, 2008


You'll find that most Canadians follow the US elections quite intensely, though it seems to me that most of us are flagging. One relatively uncotroversial piece of advice I have to the American Electorate is to shorten your campaigns. You'd think that with a two year election, you'd be able to discuss some substantive issues, and really find out where the candidates stand on issues, but clearly that's not the case. Since all you're doing is wasting your time, why not waste less, and get on with the business of actually running the country, instead of desicing who's going to run it into the ground.

Because either frontrunner will. Quite simply, they are not substantively different.

Oh, I know. Hope and change and war heroes and all that shit. I've been listening. Muslim or Christian, or old man or young guy, or black dude, or Panamanian (yeah, he was born there), or being shot down, or flag lapel pins or the hand on the fucking heart during the pledge of allegiance, and controversial pastors, or Jesse Jackson, or sleeping with lobbyists, or when did he divorce his wife, or whatever the fuck you want to talk about, none of it means shit.

They'll both keep fighting illegal wars. They'll both block single-payer health care. They'll both cave to corporate interests. They'll both do sweet fuck all for poor people. They'll both fight for oil. They'll both keep Gitmo open. And they'll both do further damage to your reputation internationally. And they'll both tell you that they really, really care about you while they fuck you, but they won't call in the morning.

Obama's candidacy is over; kaput. He's already stated that he has no intention of stopping the war, so he has disqualified himself. That's his prerogative; no one put a gun to his head. His op-ed in Monday's New York Times just removes any lingering doubt about the matter. What Obama proposes is moving the central theater of operation from Iraq to Afghanistan. Big deal. Why is it more acceptable to kill a man who is fighting for his country in Afghanistan than in Iraq?
I've read that you don't care what the rest of the world thinks. And I'm sure many of you don't. That's your prerogative. But a third-party candidate would be a gesture of good faith. Impeachment might put the rest of the world (over 5 billion of us) at ease a little. If we knew that the US actually cared about its own Constitution, we might be a little less nervous about you starting other "democracies" in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan:

Obama is not an antiwar candidate, that is merely a fiction maintained by his public relations team. In fact, he wants to beef up the military with 65,000 additional ground forces and 27,000 more marines. He's also stated that he will add “two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan” and encourage NATO to make “greater contributions—with fewer restrictions”. In his op-ed he boasted, "As president, I will make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win.”

He also added this ominous warning:

“The greatest threat to that security lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train and insurgents strike into Afghanistan. We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary, and as president, I won’t. We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights.”
The candidate that's supposed to be different actually plans to make more war. He said so himself. And since it's likely that Israel will attack Iran in the near future, that means a four-front war. Have fun with that.
Part of the problem is that you have a two party system. The big interests really only have to buy two candidates. I'll grant that no system is perfect, and the parliamentary system is only marginally better (and weaker in some areas), but the fact that most countries have three or more political parties works in their favour. You can talk about vote splitting on the Left all you want, but the fact is you have no real left. You have centre-right and right wing parties. And your centre right is lying to you. They were elected last time on a platform of punishing the president and vice president. Hasn't happened.

But you've got it set up so that alternate parties, like the Greens led by Cynthia McKinney, and the Libertarians, led by Barr, or independents, like Nader, have a really hard time even getting on the ballot. That's not democracy.

You've been lied to, deceived, and screwed. Go ahead and vote, but know that it won't make any real difference. You (and many other countries, this one included) don't need an election.

You need a revolution.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Well, she was asking for it...

Yeah, that's the tenor of this piece, here. Via

One reason that men abuse their wives is because women rebel against their husband's God-given authority, a Southern Baptist scholar said Sunday in a Texas church.
That, and she doesn't know when to keep her goddamn mouth shut.

I understand that men still feel this way (I understand that there are men like that, I don't understand the men): that women are inferior and you're just doing your job if you slap her back into line, but I don't understand how men can think that other people will put up with you saying out loud.
Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said women desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husbands because of sin.

"And husbands on their parts, because they're sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged--or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches," Ware said from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas.
Now isn't this guy charming? It's not the fault of the men it's the women. Or Adam, and by extension, God.

It's just another way that religion can be twisted to justify any sick thing you'd like.
Commenting on selected passages from the first three chapters of Genesis, Ware said Eve's curse in the Garden of Eden meant "her desire will be to have her way" instead of her obeying her husband, "because she's a sinner.

"What that means to the man, Ware said, is: "He will have to rule, and because he's a sinner, this can happen in one of two ways. It can happen either through ruling that is abusive and oppressive--and of course we all know the horrors of that and the ugliness of that--but here's the other way in which he can respond when his authority is threatened. He can acquiesce. He can become passive. He can give up any responsibility that he thought he had to the leader in the relationship and just say 'OK dear,' 'Whatever you say dear,' 'Fine dear' and become a passive husband, because of sin."
I apologise for the lateness of this post. It was the weekend, and I got distracted. On the bright side, I saw Hamlet at Stratford yesterday. Very good.

If Obama is a Committed Christian, When Was he Baptized?

My answer: Who cares?

The answer to that? Don Boys, Ph.D. Ph.D. in what? I have no idea.

Senator Barack Hussein Obama claims to be a Christian; however, he gives no evidence of that. In fact, his heretical statement indicates that he, like many others, is simply a professor rather than a possessor of Christ. His revealing statement: “I believe there are many paths to the same place.” He is correct if one wants to go to Hoboken but not if one wants to go to Heaven. Christ is still the only way.

One does not have to be a Christian to be a good President, and a person might be a good President even if he were a Muslim. The big question: Is he lying and if so then we have every reason to question him before he gets to the Oval Office. It’s bad enough to have a liberal whose policies are like the elastic in an old lady’s drawers—stretching to fit any shape or circumstance but to have a liar in the Oval office (as we have seen before) could destroy us.
I wonder who he's referring to. The current president, who is a committed christian, and lied so he could go kill a couple million Arabs? Probaby not, since a guy this delusional probably thinks that Bush is a fine man and a helluva president.

This Boys dude has a pretty serious hard on for Muslims. You should check it out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Lowest Common Denominator

I learned something today.

My post about Billie Piper that included gratuitous thong wearing generated more comments than anything I posted previously. Climate change? Who gives a fuck? The US is not-so-slowly becoming a fascist state? Yeah, yeah, whatever. Israel? What about it? GAY SEX? No thanks, I just had some.

Pithy, witty, insightful commentary on current issues of interest to all of us generates no commentary, no discussion, no indignation, outrage, or even agreement.

Jennifer Connelly with no top on? Three freaking comments, which, as sad as it is, is a personal best. One previous thread contains five, but three of those comments are mine, so they don't count.

I think we just explained Fox News, ladies and gentlemen.

Well, in the interest of giving you what you want (T&A), here is another beautiful woman, but today with some fetish action. I give you Pauley Perrette, also on my shortlist:

Sorry. No nudity. Believe me. I looked. This is all I could find (except for one image that looked like she was hammered, and she wasn't showing much anyway):

Although these are quite nice, too:

Tomorrow, I link to to raise the bar once again.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Can't live with 'em...

John/Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man) once remarked that he was fated to fall in love with every woman he met.

I understand where he's coming from. I spent most of my twenties infatuated with various barmaids, wenches and waitresses. They brought me beer, and they were nice to me. They were young and beautiful. I was doomed.

Well, I've learned that I am, in at least one way, like Joseph/John Merrick. I learn to appreciate the beauty of virtually every woman I interact with, and I often become a little infatuated with them. Tonight I fell in love with another.

It's Greta Christina's fault, really. If she hadn't favourably reviewed the show, I'd never have watched. But tonight, I watched the first two episodes of "Secret Diary of a Call Girl", and I fell in love with Billie Piper.

She's hot, and she's talented. And the show is good. Not great, but smart and sexy.

She may have made the celebrity exception short list, with Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightley, and Jennifer Connelly.

And yes. I am gross.


Ah, the boycotts.

You will all remember this, a boycott of McDonald's for "refusing to stay neutral in the culture wars":

It is about McDonald's, as a corporation, refusing to remain neutral in the culture wars. McDonald's has chosen not to remain neutral but to give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.
That's right. McDonald's doesn't hate gay people, so there's a boycott afoot. Again, I wonder aloud, what the hell is with these people and homosexuals?

McDonald's has signed on to a nationwide effort to promote "gay" and "lesbian" business ventures.

April 2, 2008

According to McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner, McDonald's will aggressively promote the homosexual agenda. In remarks on McDonald's Web site concerning the company becoming a member of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Skinner wrote: "Being a socially responsible organization is a fundamental part of who we are. We have an obligation to use our size and resources to make a difference in the world … and we do."

The company gave an undisclosed amount of money to the NGLCC in return for being recognized as a major promoter of the homosexual agenda. In return, NGLCC placed Richard Ellis, vice president of communications of McDonald’s USA, on the NGLCC Board of Directors.

Ellis was quoted as saying: "I'm thrilled to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce team and ready to get to work. I share the NGLCC's passion for business growth and development within the LGBT community, and I look forward to playing a role in moving these important initiatives forward."

McDonald's refused to comment to World Net Daily on the placement of its executive on the board of the "gay" advocacy organization but did send an e-mail confirming the corporation's support for the agenda of the homosexual business lobby.
It's just horrible, what McDonald's is doing to society:

  • high-calorie, high-fat foods
  • encouraging car culture
  • destroying local differences in cuisine
  • dumbing down the job market
  • pulling down the minimum wage, and actively agitating agains unions and fair work practices
  • encouraging (to put it mildly) a factory farm system, which:
  • threatens the food supply
  • destroys the family farm, and consequently small towns
  • is horribly cruel to animals
  • and is incredibly wasteful and environmentally damaging
Oh, and they don't hate gay people.


Donation to Same-Sex Marriage Foes Brings Boycott Calls


Published: July 17, 2008

LOS ANGELES — A hotel owner’s $125,000 donation to support a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in the state has become a flashpoint, with opponents calling for a boycott of two of his hotels and supporters highlighting the donation in a
fund-raising letter.

The hotelier, Doug Manchester, donated the money to support the collection of signatures to qualify the initiative, which would amend the state’s Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, for the November ballot.
See? Now we're actually getting somewhere. We're going to punish someone for being a hateful bastard, not because they're trying to reach out to marginalized communities.

It's not going to be hard for me to participate in this boycott. I have no plans to go to California soon. But if you're in the region, or will be, check it out, and avoid this homophobe's hotels. You might even want to call the hotel and teel them why you're not staying there. I'm kicking around the idea of calling or writing them myself.

You also might want to point out this charming bit of piosonous hypocrisy, which incidentally frames religious views as strictly political ones, in a subtle bit of obfuscation that actually snuck by me on the first reading:

Mr. Manchester said Wednesday: “This really is a free-speech, First Amendment issue. While I respect everyone’s choice of partner, my Catholic faith and longtime affiliation with the Catholic Church leads me to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

The hotel boycott has been framed by supporters of the ballot initiative as intimidation of those who express their political views.

On Tuesday, Brian S. Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage California, a group supporting Proposition 8, sent out an e-mail message warning of the boycott, calling it a “bullying” tactic.
(Emphasis is mine.)
Excuse me, kettle? It's the pot on line one.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Liar, Loony or Lord

I'm sure you've all heard the argument. Jesus was either a insane, lying or he really is god and the son of god at the same time (put forth, I understand, by C.S. Lewis). Since there is addtional corroborating evidence (which I have never seen), this particular delusion MUST be right.

I don't remember where I saw it, but another blogger added two possibilities (if anyone knows who, please let me know so I can give them credit): Jesus never claimed to be what people say he was, and the story came after (entirely plausible, considering that the Bible was written hundreds of years after he was supposedly crucified), or he never existed, and the whole thing is made up (again, entirely plausible).

It would never occur to Christians to consider these possibilities. I mean, many are prepared to accept that parts of the Bible are allegorical, or even untrue. But if the whole Jesus thing never happened, then there's really no such thing as a Christian. And so, if the idea is presented, they have to reject it completely.

I don't know what it is about this Howse guy, but Christian Worldview's on a hitting streak. I was emailed an article from a week ago, Jesus: Messiah, Prophet or Liar?, by Walter Martin. Obviously, it brings up the Loony, Liar or Lord argument, while omitting the crazy bit, and obviously ignoring the other two options:

Jesus prophesied His resurrection. He even prophesied the nature of His resurrection. He put it to rest forever when He said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The prophecy of His bodily resurrection is the foundation of all Christian theology. Without its fulfillment, He was a liar. He was a false prophet. He was deservedly executed, and Deuteronomy 13 could be applied to Him without question.

But if Jesus is the Messiah, then He is in the true, classic sense of prophetic fulfillment, a Person with enormous power; not just charisma, but a Person with enormous power. The Old Testament record reveals in Daniel 8 and 9 that Messiah will die—but not for Himself. He will die for the sins of the people. He would be the conqueror, and David said it would not be possible that death should hold Him hostage. This is more than just an earthly ruler. This is someone with enormous power. We’re talking about the Redeemer, we’re talking about the Conqueror of death, we’re talking about someone who died not for Himself, but for the sins of all mankind.

Christianity is the exclusive way to Heaven. Why? Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. If He didn’t rise from the dead, He was a phony. He was a false Messiah, a false prophet, a liar, a deceiver and demon possessed—at the very worst.
It's awfully neat, really, but it underlines the essential problem with religion. It is internally consistent (for the most part), but it need not rely on evidence, corroboration, or reality. Quite simply, if you accept the Bible is true, then Jesus is the way to heaven. Martin puts it right out there, pointing at his only evidence. And it's the only evidence he needs, really. Asking for more is quite simply asking too much. He explains his point a little more clearly, but it's ultimately a reiteration of what he's already said.

If He rose from the dead, as the Scripture says, then He is the Son of God with power, because of His resurrection. He is the way, the truth and the life because no one else could rise from the dead and no one else could conquer death as He did. His unique claim to everything is by virtue of His resurrection. Therefore, He is the Son of God. He is the Savior of the World, and that’s why Christianity is the truth.
"[A]s the Scripture says" is all he's got. The fact that nobody else comes back from the dead? Doesn't matter. The fact that the only evidence you need a messiah at all comes from earlier parts of the same book? Who cares. It's a closed system, folks, and we'd do well to remember it.

There are several things I don't understand. Here are two: Apologists' constant attempts to "prove" their faith is the right one, and other people's attention to those attempts. Religion can't be proven, so it's pointless to try. When we pay attention, it only encourages them.

And I'm aware of the irony.

But the certainty of that last sentence is worth noting, too: "He is the Savior of the World, and that’s why Christianity is the truth. "It's circular reasoning at it's finest, and Martin is absolutely sure of his position. It's more than a little frightening, honestly. And many believers are like that.

(Please give me credit for the image if you use it. Email me if you'd like a larger version. Thanks.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Political Activism

I haven't seen much about Brannon Howse on the atheosphere, and I'm starting to feel like he's my own pet whackjob. I don't mind sharing, however, and there's plenty of nuttiness to go around. Which is why you guys get a twofer tonight. I'll try to keep this one brief.

Last week he complained that judges were rewriting the constitution to suit their godlees commie liberal ways. Today, it's the actual elected officials.

Is there a branch of US government that is not out to destroy government? I don't know. I'm pretty sure the executive branch is having a go at it, and the congress seems to be constantly distracted by bright shiny things. He may have something here.

There are tens of thousands of federal and state laws. Many of these laws are leading us down the path of socialism or the redistribution of wealth...
Howse gets off a good one right off the hop. I can't think of a less socialist country than the US. Any suggestions?

Hearing none, let's move on.

...Fredrick Bastiat wrote his book, The Law in 1850 when France was going through one of its many transitions in government. Bastiat so accurately proclaims that the purpose of the law is to make justice reign or more precisely to eliminate injustice. The law is simply the organization of justice, it is a collection of people coming together to do as a group what we can do as individuals which is protect our life, liberty and property...
But apparently only rich people's property. Poor people can kiss the richest part of Howse's ass. It's also Frédéric. Dude was French.
...The law nor government give us our liberties for if they do then what the government gives the government can take away. The law exists to protect our God
given liberties or as the Scriptures say, “every good and perfect gift comes down from above from the Father who made the heavenly lights”.

Before we can see justice reign we must first stop the politicians from making an unjust living through the work of the taxpayers while also gathering power unto themselves through plunder...
Two things here. First, nobody cares what the scripture says about the law (at least they shouldn't). It's irrelevant. The law came from man. You could read the constitution if you don't believe me. Doesn't say too much about god's laws. Second, politicians aren't lining their pockets (not really, anyway). Guys like Cheney, Rove and Rice took a pay cut to work for the feds. The problem is not the politicians, it's the folks who control the politicians. Okay, three things. The government gives and takes liberties all the time. Giving these people the right to marry, taking away those people's rights to own other people, giving these people the right to vote, and giving these people the right to control their reproductive lives. See?

It really is a twofer tonight: god and politics, all at once.

...When the law is used to take from one and give to another, this can be called nothing less than socialism, the re-distribution of wealth. As Bastiat explains, those that desire to be involved in plunder will change the laws so that their actions, while unjust and immoral, will be legal:

Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialists like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism?

So, these “do gooders” use the law, and the force that makes it the law, to steal from one citizen the fruit of his labor in order to give to another. The bottom line is we have too many politicians, too many bureaucrats, too much government, and not enough freedom and liberty. Bastiat put it this way:

This must be said: There are too many…legislators, organizers, do-gooders, leaders of the people, fathers of nations, and so on, and so on. Too many persons place themselves above mankind; they make a career of organizing it, patronizing it, and ruling it...
There's the glaring omission of corporate socialism, here, and unequal tax burdens. What's really troubling is that most of the people who read Howse's nonsense are getting the shaft, and it's not for the benefit of other citizens. And further, how is it that a lot of politicians means a socialist government? Howse is up to his sneaky rhetorical tricks again, possums.

...Some may have accused Bastiat of seeking to become part of the leaders and thus claimed he was being hypocritical in his criticism of the government. Bastiat’s response should be the mission statement of every conservative seeking public
office. Bastiat wrote:

Now someone will say: ‘You yourself are doing this very thing’ True. But it must be admitted that I act in an entirely different sense; if I have joined the ranks of the
reformers, it is solely for the purpose of persuading them to leave people alone...
(Sorry about the lack of blockquote. It's just not working for me here.) I like this one. "Sure I want to be part of the government. But I'm different."

Aren't we all, Bastiat. Aren't we all. Although I actually am.

..Some may argue that if we leave the people unto themselves then some will starve, some will not have clothes, some will not have healthcare, and medical treatment. However, the reality is if the government would get out of the way and fulfill its limited purpose, prosperity would be distributed to far more people because the choice would be to either work and eat or not to work and not to eat. Today, our government rewards laziness and irresponsibility through our growing welfare state...
I'm just gonna call bullshit and be done with it. Actually, I'm gonna point to examples: Canada, France, Sweden, Netherlands, UK and Denmark. That's hardly a comprehensive list, but it gets the ball rolling.

...The Apostle Paul, in the book of Romans, says that the purpose of the law and civil government is to reward those involved in right living and to punish the wicked. In America the purpose of the law has been turned on its head as those who are involved in right living are punished through a punitive tax system that rewards with a monthly welfare check those involved in all sorts of irresponsible, destructive and often illegal and immoral behavior...
That just don't make any damn sense at all. It has no relationship to reality. But clearly, reality's not Howse's strong suit.

There's more, but it's just nonsense. Apparently liberty includes the right to starve or to have your house taken because the corporations need welfare. I think that's what he's getting at. Or he wants anarchy (but not really, because most anarchists tend to lean left).

He also doesn't say anything to support his purported thesis. Did you get that?

Judicial Activism

We get the same thing up here in Canada, though it's usually left alone, and there's not quite the hue and cry that seems to come with controversial judicial decisions on touchy subjects. In fact, there is little enthusiasm from most of the country to revisit an issue once the courts have decided the way the law ought to work. What usually happens is that Parliament and the Senate play catch-up if the court is right, and tighten the legislation if the court is wrong. The feds came back and legalized gay marriage after two provincial (might have been three) supreme courts ruled the ban violated the charter. This essentially ratified the courts' decisions federally, and all provinces had to follow suit afterwards. Occasionally, as with abortion, the courts, and the House simply ignore it once the decision is made. As such, there is no law in Canada regarding abortion, except such laws that govern medical practice already.

In the States, though, there's a lot of noise about Judges legislating from the bench. Part of it is due to the fact that the SCOTUS has four liberals and four conservatives on the bench, and one waffly swing vote. The US is one judicial appointment from reversing abortion law and kareening wildly towards a blurry separation of church and state. This is what will likely happen if McCain wins the presidency. You've been warned.

Perhaps not so oddly, it's conservatives that seem to have the most problems with "activist judges" (it's a conservative buzzword, even though it's actually two words), and our funny little friend Brannon Howse is no exception. He was the one obsessed with GAY SEX. I'd like to tell you about the latest panic-inducing screed by this charming homophobe.

The course of action by our judiciary is no innocent drift in legal interpretation. The judges’ unconstitutional moves have been calculated by a few to thrust their will upon Americans while the U.S. Congress has been asleep at the switch, seemingly unaware that the legislators’ very reason for existence is being chipped away.
Actually, US Congress is ignoring a hell of a lot of stuff, but the Supreme Court is not one of them. If I'm not mistaken, there are three separate branches of government, and the greatest threat to Congress' contitutionally prescribed authority is not coming from the judges. He's right that they are asleep at the switch, though, but you know what they say about stopped clocks...

Benjamin Cardozo, appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1932, proudly proclaimed a belief in his right to usurp powers of the U.S. Congress and to violate the check-and-balance separations of the U.S. Constitution: “I take judge-made law as one of the existing realities of life.”1
Umm, it is.
Cardozo not only held the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Congress in contempt; he saw little purpose for people of faith—which includes most Americans—who want to apply a moral law as foundation for the legal process: “If there is any law which is back of the sovereignty of the state, and superior thereto, it is not law in such a sense as to concern the judge or lawyer, however much it concerns the statesman or the moralist.”
And really, this is easily the gravest error that Howse could make. The job of the judicial branch has nothing at all to do with morality. It is concerned with laws. It's funny like that. And, it can only be concerned with the laws of the state (I think there's an oath, or something, and it's probably to god), since it is the state which governs the country, and the people which govern the state.

Only in wacky countries like Canada is god even mentioned, and even here he's not consulted, his ass is kissed and he's dismissed. Howse is confused, like many members of the religious right, and it's really frustrating. Men make man-made laws (pardon the sexist language, I just like the way it sounds), and it's likely that men make god's laws, too. But all (or at least most) men agree with most of the man-made laws, and god's laws are various and sundry. And that's just Abraham's god. When other gods get involved, it gets even uglier.

Justice Cardozo was not the first to sound this theme. In 1907, Charles Evans Hughes, who would later become chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, declared, “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.”3
So clearly this is urgent.

How can judges fulfill their sworn oath to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution while helping themselves to large portions of unconstitutional power and authority? How can they uphold the U.S. Constitution when they often don’t even consider the Constitution when rendering decisions? Or how can federal judges claim to fulfill their sworn duty when the majority of federal judges have endeavored to replace the U.S. Constitution with a different judicial standard?
Howse is really all over the place here. He rips into the judges for enforcing the law of the land, and then claims they don't. How many people caught that? Please raise your hands. This is a bait and switch, children. Keep your eyes open. He'll do it again.

The separation of power among the three branches of our government—executive, judicial, and legislative—was designed to safeguard our nation from the very thing we now face: a runaway branch of the government. But make no mistake. The check system is still in place. It just isn’t being used by Congress. Instead, our elected representatives go on allowing judges to enforce their new standard for law.
Actually, as I said before, they're letting the POTUS do this. Judges are still working from the prepared script.

Secular humanism and its penchant for moral relativism, along with misapplied Darwinism, has now become the postmodern foundation on which America’s courts and law schools are built. Constitutional and legal scholar John Eidsmoe observes: “Twentieth-century jurisprudence is based on a Darwinian worldview. Life evolves, men evolve, society evolves, and therefore laws and the constitution’s meaning evolves and changes with time.”5

This new legal formulation is known as “legal positivism.” In his book, Christianity and the Constitution, John Eidsmoe reviews the writings of the Critical Legal Studies movement, a group of radical lawyers, law professors, and law students. He summarizes legal positivism with the following points:
• There are no objective, God-given standards of law, or if there are, they are irrelevant to the modern legal system.
• Since God is not the author of law, the author of law must be man; in other
words, law is law simply because the highest human authority, the state, has
said it is law and is able to back it up by force.
• Since man and society evolve, therefore law must evolve as well.
• Judges, through their decisions, guide the evolution of law (Note again: judges “make law”).
• To study law, get at the original sources of law, the decisions of judges; hence most law schools today use the “case law” method of teaching law.6
See that? He did it again. I told you he would. Howse is a slippery one. I'll give him that. He says this: "elected representatives go on allowing judges to enforce their new standard for law", which claims that judges are rewriting man's law, and then says this: "There are no objective, God-given standards of law, or if there are, they are irrelevant to the modern legal system.", as if one means the other.

I'd also like to point out that the "new standard for law" of these judges is about 220 years old. It's not as old as Moses' tablets (assuming they existed, or if they did, there was only one version...), to be sure, but it's hardly still in the wrapper.

And as a special bonus track, I'd like to ask Howse what method he'd suggest for teaching law, aside from case studies. Rabbinical study?

Another, simpler definition of legal positivism is: moral relativism applied to law. Moral relativism is the belief there is no such thing as moral absolutes—no standard of right or wrong for all people in all places at all times. At times, moral relativism is also called, simply, pragmatism. Moral relativism is closely tied to situational ethics, the belief that individuals are free to decide for themselves what is best for them to secure the most desirable outcome in any given situation.
There's a little obfuscation happening here, too. He's right, in that laws have changed. But he's claiming it's a bad thing. And maybe he thinks it is. For instance, it's no longer okay to castrate or lynch a black man because he had sex with a white woman. Are we really sure that's progress? It's no longer okay to beat your wife. So now what are you supposed to do after you drink fifteen beers and shoot all the cans? You're not allowed to go out driving then, either! Further, women can vote, too, which has caused no end of difficulties. Those activist judges are fucking up everything.

The fact is that things are relative. What's right for you may not be right for some. It takes diff'rent strokes to move the world. Even fucking sitcoms know it, and that's from the goddamn 80s. Brannon Howse is a neanderthal, which is funny, because he doesn't even think they existed (I'm assuming. He may be strangely rational when it comes to things like paleontology, geology, and biology.)

And furthermore, even god has no fucking consistency in his laws. He gave the Law to Moses, a different law to Jesus, another one to Mohammad, then another to John Smith. And again, that's just one fucking god. And even within those groups, there're differing rules: Catholicism v. Anglicanism v. Pentacostalism v. everybody else. Shia v. Sunni. Orthodox Jews v. Reformed Jews. The Buddha (who is not a god), presented another set of rules (though they're not as binding), Lao Tze came up with another, and Confucius wrote hundreds of rules. And that's just China (And I know I'm leaving some out). In the 20th century, L. Ron Hubbard hit another. And I haven't dealt with the "dead" religions, the smaller ones, the cults, the sects, the creeds, and a bunch of other major religions that I just don't have time for.

The cool thing about something like a Constitution is that although it's occasionally vague and open to interpretation (such as determining which groups of people actually qualify as human, and therefore are entitled to "human rights"), it's written by people, for people, and thus able to be interpreted by consensus. Sometimes consnsus is led by a few (as happened in Canada with gay marriage and abortion), and sometimes it's led by many (like the abolition of slavery in the US). But it's only about people, and that lowers the stakes somewhat.

Sorry about that. I'll finish up with Howse, now.

Langdell’s thought was advanced further by Dean Roscoe Pound and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Holmes argued there is no fixed moral foundation for law: “The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories . . . have a good deal more to do than the syllogism [legal reasoning process] in determining the rules by which men should be governed.”8

Did you catch that? The “felt necessities of the time” and “prevalent moral and political theories” should be the basis of the rules by which men are governed.]
I caught it. He's trying to say that Holmes tried to pull a fast one on us. We're paying attention, Brannon. Carry on.

Using the “felt necessities” and “prevalent theories” model, judges can allow just about anything to be legal, depending on whose feelings, morals, and political theories are chosen for reference. Guided by this dangerous thinking, we have seen countless abortions performed in America. Even the grisly partial-birth abortion procedure has passed legal muster—a practice the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan called “near infanticide.”

Along with millions of babies, matters of decency have also been aborted. Current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while serving as an attorney for the ACLU in 1977, wrote a paper, entitled “Sex Bias in the U.S. Code,” for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In it, she argued that the legal age for sexual activity should be lowered to twelve years old.9 If enough judges agree the age change “is a necessity” based on the perverted “moral and political theories” of Alfred Kinsey, for instance, Americans would have to accept that it would be legal for an adult to have sex with a child of age twelve. Lest you think that too crazy to happen, bear in mind that famed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey actually promoted the idea of adults having sex with children, and there are other forces pushing in similar directions. A University of Minnesota publisher produced a book that discusses the “benefits” of children having sex with adults, and the North American Man/Boy Love Association has promoted this idea for years. These are the kinds of philosophical foundations that are now in play with relativistic judges.
Howse tries some "slippery slope" shit on us. I did the same thing myself, earlier. But Howse was asking for it. Holmes' "felt necessities of the time" did include slavery, suffrage, and allowing gay marriage, too, so my slippery slope stunt was retroactive. He pulls out that tired old lint-covered chestnut of gay marriage equalling pedophilia, but not before ignoring the fact that judges still have to work with the fucking Constitution as their rule book, and judge new laws against that.

It's stupid, but it's really the best he's got. Further, he gets to blame Kinsey for it. At least that's new. Oh, and apparently NAMBLA runs the SCOTUS. Did you guys get that one? Bonus points!

So there you have it. Howse's reactionary screeching, and my reaction.

Response from A Channel

As promised, and it has been cleared with the "Virtuous Consumer". I don't agree with everything she says, but I understand her position. I've told her so.

This is the original text; I have just made a couple changes to formatting for aesthetic purposes.

Hi Brett,

Your letter to A Channel was forwarded to me so I hope you don't mind me taking this opportunity to respond.

You might be surprised to know that you and I share similar views -- though I tend to come at it from a different angle.

Like you, I agree that our incredible over-consumption and depletion of resources is obscene and the horrifying reality is that those in the world least responsible for climate change will be the most negatively impacted by it. And before I conceived of writing The Virtuous Consumer, I struggled long and hard with a sense of total despair about where our planet was headed -- and taking me and my family with it. However, I came to the conclusion that simmering in despair and guilt was leaving me paralyzed and ill-equipped to take steps that might improve our plight -- or at the very least improve my family's and community's health in the short-term. I realized that the more I educated myself about what I COULD do -- alter my family's eating habits, avoid plastics that weren't recyclable or contained toxic chemicals, drive less and bike more, source my family's power from a green power provider, open windows and turn off the AC, refuse to purchase from sweatshops, avoid hormone-disrupting chemicals in plastics and personal care product, the list goes on and on -- the more empowered I felt. I also became aware that the more I did, the more I inspired those around me to take positive steps themselves.

Thus The Virtuous Consumer was created -- a tongue-in-cheek title aimed at an audience that is looking for answers to questions they've only just begun to ask. Of course, consumption isn't necessarily "virtuous" -- however, unless we move ourselves off the grid, grow our own food, generate our own power, etc. etc., we consume. The Virtuous Consumer guides people through making choices that are better. There is no black and white in the environmental world -- as we've seen with various one-size-fits-all "solutions" to environmental crises: ethanol, wind power, compostable plastics... However, there are better -- dare I say more virtuous -- consumer choices that absolutely can generate powerful change.

You and I both know that purchasing a bamboo cutting board over a plastic one (for example) isn't going to stop climate change in its tracks. However, by talking to a wide audience about the bamboo cutting board, I might get people thinking about what plastic is made from. It might get them thinking about deforestation for wood products. It might get them thinking about how far our goods have to travel (emitting greenhouse gases the whole way) to get to us. In short, it might get them thinking about the impact EVERY purchase we make has on the planet -- and take steps to reduce that negative impact.

I'm not going to get a Hummer driver to start taking public transit any time soon. However, I might be able to convince them to drive in a more fuel-efficient manner. I might get them to consider carpooling. I might get them to consider a hybrid or biking one day a week.

And there's no question that these changes can add up significantly when enough people undertake them. So I hope you'll consider that, while you're clearly farther along the trajectory than many, what I'm doing is nudging people's farther along the path. I often talk about buying second-hand. I often talk about purchasing fair-trade. And I frequently talk about buying less by citing stats that show how our increased consumption isn't paving a path to nirvana, but to increased debt and depression.

I appreciate the broader audience that the A Channel allows me to reach with my segment. I hope you'll continue to urge broadcasters and journalists to present news that highlights the severity of the climate change crisis. But I hope you'll also consider this: You have to meet people where they are...then take them where you want them to go.

Kind regards,
Leslie Garrett

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Big Time!

I've made it! I'm somebody!

Drunk in Ontario has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. I've had the blogroll on my sidebar for a while, but I think now I'll upgrade it, since I'm on it. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information. I don't know if that mailto: link will work. It's an experiment.

Mojoey himself spends a lot of time on hypocrisy. I'll bet it's very depressing. Go over and cheer him up. Or you could troll the newswires looking for stories about nastiness in church, and send it his way. It might contribute to his deep, dark existential angst and his despair over the human condition, or perversely brighten his day. At the very least, he'll send a thank you note.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bishop Bill

You've all heard, no doubt, about the dumb kid in Florida who left church with Jesus up his sleeve. You've also heard, no doubt, about PZ Myers desecration contest, and the hyped up inflammatory nonsense that has ensued.

It got me thinking.

Just who the fuck is Bill Donohue? And how did he get to speak for American Catholics?

I mean, don't they already have someone who speaks for all Catholics, everywhere? Doesn't catholic mean "universal"? Shouldn't the Pope get to say jump to American Catholics? Do they ask Bill, "How high?"?

The Catholic Church is one of the few religions on the planet that actually has a central authority. I can only think of two others (granted, I'm not trying very hard): Scientology, and Catholicism Lite/Anglicanism (5% less hypocrisy, 100% less Pope!)

So Bill Donohue is not only bigoted, furious, and apopleptic (a lot of "p"s in that word), he's redundant!

I know it's tough in these troubled economic times, Bill, but maybe it's time you got a real job.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hear me out

I'll concede that it is possible that God exists. A God with infinte power and unlimited knowledge.

It's possible, though very unlikely, that He created the universe about 6 000 years ago. That He loves us, and listens to our prayers. Yes, I'll concede that it is possible that an actual interceding God exists. It is possible that he made us the way the Bible tells us: first the heavens and the earth, then the sky (WTF), then the light and the darkness, and then the sun (WTF), and that He hung all the stars in the sky to keep us amused, and that He put everything here on the planet for our use, and let us name it all, and I'll even concede that if He actually did that, then it's not arrogant to believe it.

I'll admit that, although it's unlikely, it's possible that God killed everyone a few years after that because he was pissed off, but that he's still essentially a good God. And I'll concede that if such a diety exists, we are in no position to question Him.

I'll admit that it's possible that the burning bush, the plagues, the stairway to heaven, the parting of the Red Sea, the unliklely military victories, the taming of the lions and the survival of the fire and the great fish actually happened. Why not? He's God after all, and if He can't break the rules, then who can?

It is conceivable (obviously, because we've conceived it) that Jesus actually was God made flesh, and let us kill Him, and then came back from the dead. I'll even allow that if He could do that, he could hang out with the Natives in North America for a while.

I'll admit that He could perform great miracles, and has in the past. And it is also possible that even though he is omnipotent and omniscient, He limits Himself to saving a few people in car, bus or plane crashes, the occasional window washer who falls to certain death, or some of the people with terminal illnesses. He also likes to make sure a handful of young black men from poor neighbourhoods grow up to play professional football, as opposed to selling drugs (that's a cliché, not racism). He also cares which team wins each game. He chooses presidents. He sends Arabs to kill people because the US is too lenient with gays and abortionists, but leaves Canada and the Netherlands alone. He floods parts of the UK for the same reason. He lowers the price of gasoline $.08/gal. if you ask nicely and sing hymns. He gets a church in Etobicoke some temporary parking. He appears in toast, crackers, and tree stumps. He makes statues cry. He punishes a whole congregation because one guy stole a piece of the Eucharist.

But he loves us, and he really is all powerful.

All of these things are possible. Can't disprove any of them. But they're stupid.

And if a guy like that did exist, I might like to hoist a few pints with him, but I wouldn't trust him with my soul.

Assuming I have one. Which is also possible.