Saturday, December 17, 2005
(a jimmycliff song by the way)
i was raised catholic and i NEVER understood the concept of limbo. why would an INNOCENT baby have to be 'sent' to limbo if she or he wasn't baptized? it certainly wasn't THEIR fault. i never bought it, even then. now it seems i don't really HAVE to buy it, but it's too late. i left all of that behind me long ago.
Limbo to Close: Mass Evictions Expected
by NICHOLAS VON HOFFMAN
[posted online on December 13, 2005]
After 700 years of occupancy, a landlord is entitled to ask the tenants to move. Apparently something like that is happening at the Vatican, where, the Guardian reports, the decision has been made to evict the occupants and close limbo.
You might think anything that's been around for seven centuries would have an established and uncontested place in organized religion, but the newspaper writes, a tad elliptically, that "John Paul II was deeply troubled by limbo and had it dropped from the church's 1992 catechism." Why limbo, a quiet place where nothing was going on as far as we know, a place without misbehaving members of the clergy, should trouble the Pope is not explained. Didn't the Pope have enough to worry him without taking on the consequences of a limbo ouster?
Whether he did or didn't, his successor, Benedict XVI, is also an anti-limboterian, as are some thirty Roman Catholic theologians from around the world who have been meeting in secret and have, if the report is correct, decided to put the kibosh on the place. Limbo, you might say, is on its way to limbo.
Limbo, it must be explained to any unchurched pagans who may be casting an eye on this piece, is where innocent babies who have not been baptized and are, therefore, ineligible for residence in heaven, were thought to reside in a semi-blissful eternity. There was no other place to put the poor blameless things, hence limbo was built and seemed to be going along well enough, paying its taxes and keeping its streets clean before this thunderbolt of an announcement.
All of a sudden the firmament is to be inundated by millions--nay, perhaps billions--of unbaptized babies bumping into angels, clogging up celestial trumpets and interfering with the plucking of harps. The music of the spheres is about to take an awesome drop in quality.............
Friday, December 16, 2005
By Alex Johnson
Updated: 12:22 p.m. ET Dec. 15, 2005
The paper carries the daunting title “Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies.” The writing is appropriately dry, but it is dry like tinder is dry, and when it was discovered, the tinder was set alight. Now it is burning hot under the skin of Christian believers and thinkers.
This is what it finds:
“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies. ... The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly.”
And with that, its author, paleontologist Gregory Paul of Baltimore, joined the Antichrist of the Month Club...............
Clue To White Skin: One Gene Mutation Found Among Europeans
By WILLIAM HATHAWAY
Courant Staff WriterDecember 16 2005
The skin color of Europeans may have turned white after their ancestors migrated from Africa because of a single mutation among the 3 billion genetic "letters" that make up the human genome, scientists reported Thursday.The mutation explains part of the lingering mystery of how human skin colors evolved during the last 50,000 years as modern humans migrated across the world after leaving Africa, according to research published today in the journal Science."This really calls into question our ideas about race," said Mark Shriver, professor of anthropology and genetics at Penn State University and an author of the paper. Cancer researchers discovered the mutation in zebra fish while investigating a gene they suspected might play a role in malignant melanoma, a skin cancer. Researchers found that a mutation of a gene called SLC24A5 seemed to explain why golden zebra fish had lighter pigmentation in their stripes than other zebra fish.In humans as well as fish, variations in skin color are caused by melanin, or specifically the size and number of pigmentation granules called melanosomes within cells. People of European descent - and the golden zebra fish - have few, smaller and lighter granules within skin cells.While scores of genes have been identified in development of skin pigmentation, there is still confusion about which ones are most important in humans. So scientists at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa., wondered whether the mutation of a single specific gene might account for lighter pigmentation in humans as well as in the zebra fish. "When you run into something incredibly interesting, you have an obligation to do the best science you can do," said Dr. Keith Cheng, a cancer researcher at the Penn State Cancer Institute and senior author of the Science paper...........
GOP rises to the defense of candy canes
According to Thomas, Rep. Davis (R-VA) introduced this last week. Here are the deliberations from yesterday:
Dec. 14, 2005 IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESH. RES. 579 Expressing the sense of the House that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected.Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS of Virginia submitted the following Resolved, That the House of Representatives--(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions.**********************
Mr. ISRAEL. Madam Speaker, My difficulty with this resolution is that it excludes some symbols and includes only certain symbols. So I would ask the gentlewoman, in the spirit of diversity, and of the many faiths that we celebrate in this body and throughout America, I would ask her not to withdraw the resolution, but allow this resolution to attract a very significant number of votes, maybe a unanimous vote, simply by adding the words "Kwanzaa,'' "Ramadan,'' and "Chanukah'' to her resolution. . . include holidays of all faiths so that this resolution can reflect the best of America, which is a place of justice for all.
Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS of Virginia. Madam Speaker, The reason for this resolution is that the attack has not been on the menorah or any of the other symbols of the other religions. But the attack has been and is being made on red and green colors, on candy canes, on Santa Claus, which are not even religious symbols. That is the point of the resolution.Read a news account here. I believe we're headed towards a McCarthy-era, "have you no shame?" moment soon.(Thanks to reader LK in South Carolina)....................
(i posted a story a bit ago when this first happened. her killer said he killed the 70+ nun in 'self-denfense'. he thought she was reaching for a gun. it was a bible by the way) a true hero. she stood her ground for over 30 years. not only protecting the rain forest itself, but the people who NEEDED it to live
The nun who died for the Amazon
By Tom Gibb BBC News, Brazil
The case of murdered nun and activist Dorothy Stang has brought into sharp focus the vigilante violence that accompanies the destruction of Brazil's rainforest.
On first appearance, Dorothy Stang - who was 71 when I met her - looked very much the little old lady, as she welcomed us into her small house.
She had snow-white hair, large glasses, red cheeks and a large smile.
But there was also a glint in her eye which suggested convictions and commitment, great strength.
As soon as I sat down she looked straight at me and asked in her quiet voice: "So, whose side are you on?"
Sister Dorothy had no doubt about her place in the battle-lines drawn over the future of the Amazon. She was, she said, for the interests of the huge majority of poor Brazilians who live there.
Sometimes, almost in a whisper, she talked passionately about 30 years she had spent trying to improve the lives of penniless settlers moving into the Amazon, teaching them to live with the forest rather than destroy it.
She described the logging companies coming to the remote town of Anapu where she lived, cutting down the forest illegally. And she talked about corruption.
This was the story I was investigating. ............
yeah yeah, i KNOW the same thing would work for that portly blogger too
Japan zoo walks portly penguins Penguins at a zoo in northern Japan have been taken on their first walk of the season in an attempt to keep them trim during the winter.
Asahiyama Zoo on the northern island of Hokkaido take its King Penguins on a 500-metre walk twice a day to stop them getting too fat during the cold months.
Spokesman Tetsuo Yamazaki said penguins gained weight in winter because they stood still to conserve energy.
The exercise programme takes place between December and the Spring.
"This stroll is done twice - 11 o'clock and 1430 - of every day until the snow disappears," Mr Yamazaki said, adding that each walk lasted about 30 minutes
"Just like in humans... the fat accumulates during the winter months, and the blood-sugar level rises," Mr Yamazaki said.
The penguins can only be taken on walks during the snowy months because their feet are unsuitable for walking on other surfaces, Mr Yamazaki said.
The Democratic National Committee today opened fire on Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) for her attacks on Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), the House Democrat and ex-marine who called for the beginning of an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.
During a Congressional debate on the Iraq War, Schmidt called Murtha a coward. She was also later found to have made up remarks purportedly told to her by a Marine in her district........
Thursday, December 15, 2005
the christians and the pagans
(it's THE best)
ARTIST: Dar Williams
TITLE: The Christians and the Pagans
Lyrics and Chords
Amber called her uncle, said "We're up here for the holiday
Jane and I were having Solstice, now we need a place to stay"
And her Christ-loving uncle watched his wife hang Mary on a tree
He watched his son hang candy canes all made with red dye number three
He told his niece, "It's Christmas eve, I know our life is not your style"
She said, "Christmas is like Solstice, and we miss you and it's been awhile"
/ G C Am D / / Em C Am D / / G C Am D / /
So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able
And just before the meal was served, hands were held and prayers were said
Sending hope for peace on earth to all their gods and goddesses
/ G C Em D / / Em C Am D / Em C Am D G - /
The food was great, the tree plugged in, the meal had gone without a hitch
Till Timmy turned to Amber and said, "Is it true that you're a witch?"
His mom jumped up and said, "The pies are burning," and she hit the kitchen
And it was Jane who spoke, she said, "It's true, your cousin's not a Christian"
"But we love trees, we love the snow, the friends we have, the world we share
And you find magic from your God, and we find magic everywhere"
So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able
And where does magic come from, I think magic's in the learning
Cause now when Christians sit with Pagans only pumpkin pies are burning
When Amber tried to do the dishes, her aunt said, "Really, no, don't bother"
Amber's uncle saw how Amber looked like Tim and like her father
He thought about his brother, how they hadn't spoken in a year
He thought he'd call him up and say, "It's Christmas and your daughter's here"
He thought of fathers, sons and brothers, saw his own son tug his sleeve saying
"Can I be a Pagan?" Dad said, "We'll discuss it when they leave"
So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and
Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold
Earliest Known Maya Painting Found
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Archaeologists reported yesterday that they had uncovered a masterpiece of Maya art showing a surprisingly early flowering of the civilization, well before the classical period that began after A.D. 250.
The find, a 30-by-3-foot mural in vivid colors depicting the ancient culture's mythology of creation and kingship, is the centerpiece of a larger mural, parts of which were first discovered and exposed in Guatemala four years ago. New radiocarbon tests revealed the painting to be 200 years older than originally estimated, dating to about 100 B.C.
"In Western terms," said William Saturno, an archaeologist at the University of New Hampshire who is a research associate at Harvard, "it's like knowing only modern art and then stumbling on a Michelangelo or a Leonardo."
In a statement released by the National Geographic Society, a supporter of the research, Dr. Saturno wrote, "The mural shows that early Maya painting had achieved a high level of sophistication and grace well before the great works of the Classic Maya in the seventh century." The mural appeared to have extended around all four walls of the chamber, only two of which were standing when archaeologists excavated the site, known as San Bartolo. The western wall was the centerpiece, the wall that people faced as they entered the room. The mural there shows two coronation scenes: one mythological, the other the coronation of a real king.
The first part of the mural illustrates the Maya creation story. Four deities represent the creation of water, land, sky and paradise. At the center, the maize god crowns himself king. Archaeologists said they were having trouble deciphering the glyphs of the much earlier Mayan script..............
pump it up, pump it up!
i swear (and i am NOT kidding) if i HAD to listen to metallica i WOULD 'take the pipe' (as my father says). once again, i must ask, WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?
from: the nation
by MOUSTAFA BAYOUMI
[from the December 26, 2005 issue]
Yasir al-Qutaji is a 30-year-old lawyer from Mosul, Iraq. In March 2004, while exploring allegations that US troops were torturing Iraqis, Qutaji was arrested by American forces. News accounts describe how he was then subjected to the same kinds of punishment he was investigating. He was hooded, stripped naked and doused with cold water. He was beaten by American soldiers who wore gloves so as not to leave permanent marks. And he was left in a room soldiers blithely called The Disco, a place where Western music rang out so loud that his interrogators were, in Qutaji's words, forced to "talk to me via a loudspeaker that was placed next to my ears."
Qutaji is hardly the only Iraqi to speak of loud music being blared at him, and the technique echoes far beyond Mosul. In Qaim, near the Syrian border, Newsweek found American soldiers blasting Metallica's "Enter Sandman" at detainees in a shipping crate while flashing lights in their eyes. Near Falluja, three Iraqi journalists working for Reuters were seized by the 82nd Airborne. They charged that "deafening music" was played directly into their ears while soldiers ordered them to dance. And back in Mosul, Haitham al-Mallah described being hooded, handcuffed and delivered to a location where soldiers boomed "extremely loud (and dirty) music" at him. Mallah said the site was "an unknown place which they call 'the disco.'"
Disco isn't dead. It has gone to war. ...............
after all the constitution is just a piece of (damn) paper! (NOT my words mind you but you know who said it)
Antiwar protests monitored by the U.S. Military
12/14/2005 @ 8:00 amFiled by Ron Brynaert
A secret Department of Defense database obtained by NBC News reveals that the Pentagon kept close tabs on nearly 50 antiwar and counter-recruiting demonstrations from November of 2004 to May of 2005, and labeling them potential "threats" and "suspicious incidents."
NBC's report (Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?) details a few of the monitored protests, including a meeting held at a Quaker Meeting House in Lakeland, Florida by the group Truth Project. An examination of the database by RAW STORY sheds new light on some of the other protest groups singled out, including a well-known gay and lesbian activist group.
An anti-nuclear rally at Offut Airforce Base, Nebraska - home of the Strategic Nuclear and USA Military Space Commands - to mark the 59th anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki was considered a "credible" threat on August 9, 2004, and, in fact, resulted in the arrest of Des Moines Catholic Worker Elton Davis, for crossing the property line. Davis was charged with misdemeanor trespassing and later served a 90-day sentence at Leavenworth Detention Center..............
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Murre, rarely seen in state, crash-lands in Stamford
(Weston-AP, Dec. 13, 2005 11:42 AM) _ It looks a little bit like a little penguin. And it looked a little out of place on a busy street in downtown Stamford.
It's a thick-billed murre, an arctic bird with striking black and white plumage, short legs and webbed feet, and it crash-landed on a rain-slicked street last week.
Wildlife in Crisis took in the bird, and wildlife rehabilitator Meredith Sampson reports its doing just fine in the 1,700 acre Devil's Den Preserve in Weston.
Sampson says hurricanes and tropical storms moving north sometimes intercept arctic birds migrating south at this time of year and blows them off course. A barnacle goose, for instance, was recently seen in Newtown.
The theory is that the murre mistook a rain-slicked street for a body of water and was injured in the subsequent collision.
(WTNH, Dec. 13, 2005 6:00 PM) _ Senator Lieberman has earned kudos from the Bush Administration for his staunch support of the President's Iraq policy but that support comes at a high cost from his own constituents here in Connecticut.
by Chief Capitol Correspondent Mark Davis
There seems to be a growing discontentment here in Connecticut with senator lieberman's strong support for the continued war effort in Iraq.
Joe Lieberman's stance on the Iraq war has brought him some praise on his recent visits back to the state. Heavy praise from President Bush.
But today a group called Democracy for America brought a petition to his Hartford office saying that Lieberman is wrong and that President Bush should be challenged on the war.
"We want the senator to know that we believe it's our duty to keep this debate going. We also want the senator to know that we don't believe that the president has the credibility that he thinks he has."
Former Governor Lowell Weicker, who said last week that he is not running but that he feels so strongly about the war that if no one challenges Lieberman he might, seems to be accepting any and all invitations to talk about it. ..............
yes, virginia, there is a war on christmas
[ed. note: this is a reprint of the famous 1897 column from the national review online. we think it is as relevant to today's issues as it was back then]
we take great pleasure in answering at once the communication below, expressing at the same time great gratification that its author is numbered among the friends of nro:
“i am 8 years old. some of my liberal friends say there is no war on christmas. they say it’s just another code-word-filled wedge distraction to keep us from discussing real issues like iraq, the deficit, the patriot act, katrina and the administrations abysmal record on human rights. papa says, 'if you see it on the internets, it’s so.' please tell me the truth, is there a war on christmas?"
virginia, your liberal friends are wrong. they have been affected by the secularism of a secular age. they do not believe except what michael moore tells them. they think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their godless minds.
yes, virginia, there is a war on christmas.
it exists as certainly as lesbian feminazi’s who want to abort all the babies in the world exist, it exists as certainly as communist jewish pinkos who want to force children to worship satan in the schools exist. alas! how dreary would the world be if there were no war on christmas! it would be as dreary as if there were no loofas or falafels. there would be no unquestioning faith in republicans, no pollack jokes, no unfettered greed to make tolerable this tenuous economy. the eternal light with which childishness fills the american dream would be extinguished................
(i am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO laughing!!! thank you skippy)
Bob Dylan to host weekly radio music show
Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:48 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Legendary folk rocker Bob Dylan will start a new career as a radio DJ when he launches a new weekly music show on XM Satellite Radio next March.
The station said on Tuesday the show would feature music hand-picked by Dylan, writer of some of the enduring classics of popular music since the 1960s such as "Mr Tambourine Man," "Like a Rolling Stone" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'."
"Dylan will offer regular commentary on music and other topics, host and interview special guests including other artists and will take emails from XM subscribers," XM said.
Now 64, Dylan's anti-establishment folk songs were the anthems of a generation and he has released over 44 albums in a career spanning more than four decades.
"Songs and music have always inspired me. A lot of my own songs have been played on the radio, but this is the first time I've ever been on the other side of the mic," Dylan said in a statement..............
Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?
Secret database obtained by NBC News tracks ‘suspicious’ domestic groups
By Lisa Myers, Douglas Pasternak, Rich Gardella and the NBC Investigative Unit
Updated: 7:51 p.m. ET Dec. 13, 2005
WASHINGTON - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.
A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.
“This peaceful, educationally oriented group being a threat is incredible,” says Evy Grachow, a member of the Florida group called The Truth Project.
This is incredible,” adds group member Rich Hersh. “It's an example of paranoia by our government,” he says. “We're not doing anything illegal.”
The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups. ...............
Blogged by Brad on 12/13/2005 @ 12:15pm PT...
EXCLUSIVE: SECURITIES FRAUD LITIGATION FILED AGAINST DIEBOLD, INC!
Eight Current and Former Executives Named as Co-Defendants, Including former CEO O'Dell and New CEO Swidarski
Class Action Suit Alleges Fraud, Insider Trading, Manipulation of Stock Prices, Concealment of Known Flaws in Voting Machines and Company Structural Problems
The BRAD BLOG can now report that a Securities Fraud Class Action suit has been filed against Diebold, Inc. (stock symbol: DBD ) naming eight top executive officers in the...
The BRAD BLOG can now report that a Securities Fraud Class Action suit has been filed against Diebold, Inc. (stock symbol: DBD) naming eight top executive officers in the company as co-defendants. The suit has been filed by plaintiff Janice Konkol, alleging securities fraud against the North Canton, Ohio-based manufacturer of Voting Systems and ATM machines on behalf of investors who owned shares of Diebold stock and lost money due to an alleged fraudulent scheme by the company and its executives to deceive shareholders during the "class period" of October 22, 2003 through September 21, 2005.
The suit was filed today in U.S. Federal District Court in Ohio and alleges the company "artificially inflated" stock prices through misleading public information designed to conceal the true nature of Diebold's financial and legal situation. The defendants are also alleged to have attempted to disguise well-known and ongoing problems with Diebold's Voting Machine equipment and software. Additionally, the suit alleges insider trading by defendants resulting in proceeds of $2.7 million. Remedies are sought under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934...........
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
By Ruben CastanedaWashington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, December 13, 2005; B01
A Prince George's judge who has been temporarily removed from the bench amid controversy over a domestic violence case and other issues has exhibited "clear bias" against non-English-speaking women seeking protective orders, even prohibiting one woman from using a translator except with his explicit permission, according to a petition filed yesterday with the Maryland commission that investigates allegations of judicial misconduct.
District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo told the woman's attorney she could take up the matter with an appellate court, according to the complaint by the House of Ruth Domestic Violence Legal Clinic. The House of Ruth is a 30-year-old organization that advocates for the victims of domestic violence in Maryland.
The petition also alleges that Palumbo made insensitive comments to a partially paralyzed man who was seeking a protective order; that, based on an erroneous legal standard, he rejected people seeking protective orders who were representing themselves; and that he routinely made disparaging comments about women.
Palumbo often told men who appeared before him in domestic abuse cases to leave their female partners and look for a new mate because "women are like buses -- they come by every five minutes," according to the petition.
According to the House of Ruth, the petition was filed late yesterday and asks the Maryland Judicial Disabilities Commission to review its allegations against Palumbo. If it finds wrongdoing by a judge, the commission can recommend penalties ranging from a reprimand to removal from the bench. It would be up to the governor and the legislature or the state Court of Appeals to remove a judge.
Palumbo's attorney, William C. Brennan, said he could not comment because he had not seen the petition.
In the 13-page document, a House of Ruth attorney alleges that at an Aug. 8 hearing, Palumbo "makes clear his assumption that anyone who has moved to a new country and not learned the dominant language is not worthy of credence."
After learning that the woman had been in the country for 15 years, Palumbo, over the objection of the woman's attorney, ordered a translator not to interpret "except when I determine it's proper," according to a partial transcript of the hearing prepared by the House of Ruth.......
Reduced to double talk in defending torture policyBy HELEN THOMAS
How long will the American people tolerate the shaming of their nation by the inhumane treatment of prisoners of war and the spiriting of detainees to secret prisons outside the United States?
Is it any wonder that other countries believe that America has lost its moral purpose by surrendering our well-earned reputation for human rights?
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is facing the music on her quick trip to Germany, Russia, Romania, Ukraine and NATO headquarters in Brussels.
She had hoped to mend relations that have been strained by the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Instead, to her exasperation, she has been hounded with questions about whether the United States has maintained secret prisons in two European nations — as reported by the Washington Post. She has steadfastly refused to answer yes or no, thus providing inadvertent confirmation of the report.
In a departure statement before she left, Rice tried to define the perimeter of acceptable questions. "We cannot discuss information that would compromise the success of intelligence, law enforcement and military operations," she declared.
She stressed that other nations are cooperating and the United States would not transgress their sovereignty without permission.
At the same time, she confirmed that the United States has used "renditions" — the secret transport of terrorist suspects from the country where they were captured "to their home country or to other countries where they can be questioned, held or brought to justice."
Rendition is a "vital tool" in combating international terrorism, she said.
The whole process raises the question of why U.S. officials believe that interrogators in another country would be more successful than American questioners in obtaining information from the person being "rendited." And that raises the possibility that the other questioners could use torture to get answers.
Not so, says Rice, speaking very carefully...........
Monday, December 12, 2005
Warning Label on Darwin Sows Division in Suburbia
Parents in Cobb County, Ga., Clash Over Sticker in Textbooks
By Peter WhoriskeyWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, December 11, 2005; A03
MARIETTA, Ga. -- The evolution controversy in this comfortable Atlanta suburb began with one boy's fascination with dinosaurs.
"He was really into 'Jurassic Park,' " his mother recalled. The trouble was, "we kept reading over and over that 'millions and millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth,' " Marjorie Rogers continued. "And that's where I said, 'Hmm -- wait a second.' "
Like others who adhere to a literal reading of the Book of Genesis, Rogers, a lawyer, believes that Earth is several thousand years old, while most scientists, basing their estimates on the radioactive decay of rock samples, say the planet is billions of years old.
Rogers soon began a quest to challenge what she sees as educators' blind faith in evolution. It evoked a groundswell of support from other residents of this affluent suburb of high-tech office parks and shopping malls, and it pushed the county school board to put warning labels on biology textbooks saying that evolution "is a theory, not a fact."
The measure effectively made Cobb a battleground in the national debate on evolution because the textbook stickers, in turn, prompted a lawsuit in federal court from other parents who see the labels as an unwelcome intrusion of religious thought into public life.
But as both sides prepare to restate their arguments before a federal appeals court this week, many others in Cobb County are having a different reaction: Not again.
The fast-growing suburb of about 650,000 people northwest of Atlanta -- in many ways similar to Loudoun and Fairfax counties in Virginia -- has long shown a remarkable flair for high-profile social controversy...............
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (left) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel brief the media in Berlin. (Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP)
A maiming of the soul
Sunday, December 11, 2005
It is hard to feel sorry for a woman who has a supertanker named after her, a woman whose IQ is probably nearly twice as high as most of the men she works with, a woman who if she wanted to change jobs would probably be offered three or four times what she is paid as the second most important official in the US Government.
It is really hard to be sorry for Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state. Last week I felt sorry for her. I was looking at a photograph of Dr Rice and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, taken by the AP's Markus Schreiber at a media briefing in Berlin on Tuesday.Dr Rice had a hunted look; the face of one cornered, surrounded by enemies, with no place to hide, no way to turn. Frau Merkel just looks terribly sad.
They were surrounded only by journalists, who these days are among the most toothless and harmless alleged predators anywhere. Dr Rice's face reflected an entirely different reality: she was trapped, cornered and hunted by the lies of the Bush administration about its treatment of 'unlawful combatants' or 'battlefield detainees' hidden and tortured in dozens of black holes round the world.
We've known about them and their treatment for a long time.On January 19, 2002, before the start of the Iraq War, I wrote: "The American prisoners of war, or, as they call them, 'battlefield detainees' are causing a great deal of trouble for the United States. A large number of people round the world are repulsed and horrified by the treatment meted out to these men, even if, as the Americans claim, they are 'the most dangerous folks in the world'...........
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Some people aren't born stupid. They watch Fox and listen to right wing talk radio, and depend on their Ministers and Rabbis to keep them ignorant. It's time for the Silent Spiritual Majority to Take Back America
by Rob Kall
..........................The vast majority of Americans do not live these third world, medieval lives in darkness and ignorance. The vast majority of Americans who are members of churches, synagogues, mosques and temples are moderate, tolerant people who respect others' faiths and beliefs. They are the silent spiritual majority. It is time for the members of this silent spiritual majority to raise their voices, to meet in interfaith groups and join forces, declaring the immorality of the fundamentalist minority that has foisted itself upon American politics. The gentle, private religion that these folks choose to practice, which respects other faiths and their differences, does not shout out, does not declare loudly.........................
from bob geiger at yellow dog democrat
I wrote a wise-guy column a couple of months ago in which I made fun of people who still give President Bush a positive approval rating. Judging from the reaction I got, it made a lot of liberals laugh and many conservatives very angry – so it was a success. The latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, taken December 2-6, shows Bush's approval rating languishing at 40 percent.And, with so many people in my own Nebraska-based family among those still blindly supporting the president, I've come up with more questions. But this time, my inquiries are serious and meant to truly gauge whether Bush backers understand reality and knowledgably support him or whether the president has just been phenomenally successful at superimposing his face over the American flag.Here we go:
1. Do you understand that no tangible, truthful reason has ever been given for the invasion of Iraq and that the 9/11 Commission Report – which is the de facto, official findings of our government – says there was no reason whatsoever for this war?
2. Have you ever heard of the Downing Street Memos? Would it interest you to know that these official notes, from the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002, show that the Bush administration was dead-set on war with Iraq and twisting intelligence to fit that goal? ..............................
Marine Bodies Sent To Families On Commercial Airliners
POSTED: 4:46 pm PST December 9, 2005
UPDATED: 6:20 pm PST December 9, 2005
SAN DIEGO -- There's controversy over how the military is transporting the bodies of service members killed overseas, 10News reported.
A local family said fallen soldiers and Marines deserve better and that one would think our war heroes are being transported with dignity, care and respect. It said one would think upon arrival in their hometowns they are greeted with honor. But unfortunately, the family said that is just not the case.
Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard.
But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners -- stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo.
John Holley and his wife, Stacey, were stunned when they found out the body of their only child, Matthew, who died in Iraq last month, would be arriving at Lindbergh Field as freight.
"When someone dies in combat, they need to give them due respect they deserve for (the) sacrifice they made," said John Holley.
John and Stacey Holley, who were both in the Army, made some calls, and with the help of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Matthew was greeted with honor and respect.
"Our familiarity with military protocol and things of that sort allowed us to kind of put our foot down -- we're not sure other parents have that same knowledge," said Stacey Holley.....................
Gentle Senator, Presidential Hopeful Empowered U.S. Antiwar Movement
By Bart Barnes and Patricia SullivanWashington Post Staff WritersSunday, December 11, 2005; Page A01
Eugene J. McCarthy, 89, the scholarly and erudite Minnesota senator whose pursuit of the presidency in 1968 galvanized popular opposition to the war in Vietnam and helped drive Lyndon B. Johnson from the White House, died yesterday at the Georgetown Retirement Residence in Washington. He had Parkinson's disease.
McCarthy was among the first of the mainstream Democrats to break ranks with the party leadership on the issue of Vietnam, and his challenge to an incumbent president of the same political party changed the course of history.
He entered the race because he saw the Vietnam War escalating and said that the Johnson administration "seems to have set no limit to the price which it is willing to pay for a military victory."
"I am hopeful that this challenge may alleviate this sense of political helplessness and restore to many people a belief in the processes of American politics and of American government," he said at the time.
Backed by a "children's crusade" of young peace activists and college students who shaved off their beards, cut their hair and went "Clean for Gene," McCarthy stunned the political establishment by taking 42 percent of the Democratic vote in the New Hampshire primary. That was just seven percentage points behind Johnson..............
i was one who did think him a genius. i was glued to the tv set everytime he appeared. i watched his movies. funny, but NOT a true representation of him (except his concert film). you can see his influence in so very many. he WAS groundbreaking and i don't use that word too often.
Richard Pryor; a Groundbreaking, Anguished Comedian
By Lynell George Times Staff Writer December 11, 2005
Richard Pryor, whose blunt, blue and brilliant comedic confrontations confidently tackled what many stand-up comics before him deemed too shocking to broach, died early Saturday. He was 65.Pryor suffered a heart attack at his home in the San Fernando Valley. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.The comedian's body of work, a political movement in itself, was steeped in race, class and social commentary, and encompassed the stage, screen, records and television. He won five Grammys and an Emmy.At one point the highest-paid black performer in the entertainment industry, the lauded but misfortune-dogged comedian inadvertently became a de facto role model: a lone wolf figure to whom many an up-and-coming comic from Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock to Robin Williams and Richard Belzer have paid homage. Pryor kicked stand-up humor into a brand new realm."I've been trying to figure out the analogies to what Richard Pryor meant, and the closest I can come to is Miles Davis," said Reginald Hudlin, the film and TV director and president of entertainment for Black Entertainment Television. "There's music before Miles Davis, and there's music after Miles Davis. And Richard Pryor is that same kind of person."Every new piece kind of transformed the game," Hudlin said. "He was a culturally transcendent hero. His influence is bigger than black comedy; it's bigger than comedy. He was a cultural giant." Comedian Keenen Ivory Wayans once said: "Richard Pryor is the groundbreaker." He "showed us that you can be black and have a black voice and be successful."Pryor had a history both bizarre and grim: self-inflicted burns (1980), a heart attack (1990) and marathon drug and alcohol use (that he finally kicked in the 1990s). Yet he somehow — often miraculously, it seemed — continued on, even after being diagnosed in 1986 with multiple sclerosis, a disease that robbed him of his trademark physical presence...................