Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
Gee, this is *so* surprising:
Atheist advertising signs on Des Moines Area Regional Transit buses that created a storm of controversy when they first went up on Aug. 1 have been taken down.
And what did these offensive, despicable, inflammatory advertisements say? Did they mock the absurdity of Zombie Jesus, or point out that the Mormon magical underwear was just silly? Did they cite conflicting verses of the Bible, or run a tally of how many people God killed in the Old Testament? Maybe show chanting kooks at soldier's funerals or members of the Taliban beheading some infidel?
Of course not.
What they did was say this: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."
And then give the name of the group sponsoring the ads: Iowa Atheist and Free Thinkers. Here's their comment on the whole absurd thing:
OK, I'm having a hard time believing this, good skeptic that I am:
Government wants more CCTV cameras in homes
Latest Home Office initiative wants to watch 20,000 problem families 24/7
The UK Government's Children's Secretary Ed Balls has announced a controversial new CCTV monitoring scheme, in which thousands of problem families are to be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Balls claims that the £400 million "sin bin" scheme will put up to 20,000 problem families under 24-hour surveillance in their own homes, to ensure children go to bed and school on time and eat proper meals.
"Private security guards will also be sent round to carry out home checks, while parents will be given help to combat drug and alcohol addiction," reads a report in the Sunday Express.
The other sources I find also link to the Express article, which can be seen here. Here's a bit from Wired:
OK, everyone on the planet should know by now that the president is having a sit-down summit tomorrow, to have a beer with Cambridge police Sgt. Jim Crowley and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
But what you may not have heard was what kinds of beer each of the three men has already ordered.
In a stunning development revealed on NPR this afternoon, it was disclosed that President Obama will be having a Bud Light. (Lite? Gods, I don't drink that crap - why should I know how to spell it??)
I must admit, I thought the man had more taste than that. Oh well. Though I'm sure the GOP would get behind it, I can't really say it is grounds for impeachment.
But it made me wonder - if you were going to have a beer with the prez, what would *you* choose? C'mon, fess up!
I'd go with a local DC microbrew, if I could get a good rec from someone who lived there. Nice creamy dark ale. But if I had to pick a 'national' beer, I'd go with the New Belgium 1554.
Following up to the March revelation that the Bush Administration had concluded that it had the legal authority to effectively suspend civil liberties, comes a piece in the New York Times about how they almost used that authority in 2002:
Bush Weighed Using Military in Arrests
WASHINGTON — Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.
Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.
Ah, nothing like a good ol' "ban & burn them EVIL books" news item to get the blood flowing in the morning. From CNN:
(CNN) -- A fight over books depicting sex and homosexuality has riled up a small Wisconsin city, cost some library board members their positions and prompted a call for a public book burning.
The battle has stirred much of West Bend, a city of roughly 30,000 people about 35 miles north of Milwaukee. Residents have sparred for months on blogs, airwaves and at meetings, including one where a man told the city's library director he should be tarred and feathered.
Well, you gotta die from something, so you might as well make it interesting. Here are the latest stats on what your odds are of dying from various non-natural causes:
The table below was prepared in response to frequent inquiries asking questions such as, "What are the odds of being killed by lightning?" or "What are the chances of dying in a plane crash?"
The odds given below are statistical averages over the whole U.S. population and do not necessarily reflect the chances of death for a particular person from a particular external cause. Any individual’s odds of dying from various external causes are affected by the activities in which they participate, where they live and drive, what kind of work they do, and other factors.
I think "Ignition or melting of nightwear" is probably my favorite. That's some hot sex, folks.
. . . that all the good Christians who read this piece were just shaking their heads:
Abuja, Nigeria – In Nigeria recently, an angry mob demanded that police jail a goat. Vigilantes insisted the animal was a human car thief who transmogrified upon being apprehended. Nigerian law doesn't recognize magic, witchcraft, or voodoo. Yet, faced with an angry mob, police acquiesced, arresting the goat.
* * *
Not infrequently, police hear reports that a man claims someone cast a spell to capture his spirit. Tradition here holds that if you sleep in bed with your feet at the headboard, you are communing with witches. Criminals buy charms from witch doctors to become invisible and escape arrest. A hairdresser tells of a client of another customer who reported a snake in her house that turned into a young woman. When the girl was taken to a Pentecostal church service she turned back into a snake. The journalistic canon of having two independent sources to confirm a news story becomes irrelevant when an entire congregation insists "it really happened."
Would you pledge your soul as loan collateral?
RIGA (Reuters) – Ready to give your soul for a loan in these difficult economic times? In Latvia, where the crisis has raged more than in the rest of the European Union, you can.
Such a deal is being offered by the Kontora loan company, whose public face is Viktor Mirosiichenko, 34.
Clients have to sign a contract, with the words "Agreement" in bold letters at the top. The client agrees to the collateral, "that is, my immortal soul."
Mirosiichenko said his company would not employ debt collectors to get its money back if people refused to repay, and promised no physical violence.
No, they don't employ debt collectors. But they do have a standing agreement to outsource collections to the Dementors.
STANBUL (Reuters) – What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists?
Turkish television station Kanal T hopes the answer is a ratings success as it prepares to launch a gameshow where spiritual guides from the four faiths will seek to convert a group of non-believers.
The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews and Tibet for Buddhists.
Hmm . . . no, I can't see where someone would lie about being either an atheist to begin with, or about their "conversion", just to get a free trip out of the deal (not to mention the fame from being on TV). Nope, can't see that happening at all.
HT to ML for the story.
Well, at least the court ruled against him:
Man Burned at Burning Man Assumed Risk of Being Burned by Burning Man, Says Court
On June 30, the California Court of Appeal held that a man who was burned by the huge bonfire that ends the Burning Man festival each year could not sue the festival organizers. Anthony Beninati admitted he had intentionally walked into the fire, and that he had previously known fire was hot. But he argued, basically, that the organizers were negligent because they should not have let him approach the fire so closely.
He did not win.
Seemed like the perfect item to post for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, as a cautionary tale. Here's a bit more Schadenfreude:
So, will the next press conference Gov. Mark Sanford holds feature a "highlights of my sex life" video, or what? I mean, seriously, the guy seems to be going out of his way to see just how far he can push things before even the Republicans in his state get fed up. From yesterday's presser:
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Tuesday that he "crossed lines" with a handful of women other than his mistress — but never had sex with them. The governor said he "never crossed the ultimate line" with anyone but Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentine at the center of a scandal that has derailed his once-promising political career.
* * *
He said that during the encounters with other women he "let his guard down" with some physical contact but "didn't cross the sex line." He wouldn't go into detail.
Sanford said the casual encounters happened outside the U.S. while he was married but before he met Chapur, on trips to "blow off steam" with male friends.
You know, this *almost* seems like a parody, but I recognize enough of the Westboro crowd in it to know that it is serious:
From the info posted:
The following video shows the reactions of ghosts and demons to Holy water made from SSRF incense sticks. The Holy water imparts positive energy and destroys negative black energy of ghosts (demons, negative energies) possessing a person. The healers sprinkling Holy water as a spiritual healing remedy are above the 60% spiritual level and this further contributes to the potency of the Holy water.
And now, the exciting video!
Now, seriously, I'd be more impressed if they spontaneously burst into flame from the holy water. I think I saw that in a movie once.
Most recent pet peeve: Referring to someone as an "avowed" atheist. Unless there's some special atheist vow out there that you have to take before you can be considered an atheist, there's not a lot of reason to use that label.
Perhaps it's meant more in the context of I vow that I'm an atheist. This doesn't make much sense either. Why would you need to vow that you're an atheist?
"Hey Frank, what religion are you?"
"None. I'm an atheist."
"Really? Huh. Um...really, dude? I don't know..."
"No, seriously, I swear dude!"
Or perhaps it's meant as I'll be an atheist for the rest of my life. This would make a little bit more sense, then. But it seems like you could get away with the cliched "ardent atheist" or "staunch atheist" titles, instead of resorting to this confusing "avowed atheist" label.
It's almost as bad as "fundamentalist atheist" (What fundamentals!?)
That is all. Carry on.
I'll let the ad speak for itself.
Good lord. Advertising has sunk to a new low.
Got this in my inbox this morning (happily, my spam filter caught it):
What is Mind Mapping
Mind Mapping is a great technique that will enhance your thinking skills and memory. A Mind Map uses key words, colours and images to stimulate your brain.
Your brain has the ability to learn and remember large amounts of information. It works by linking ideas together. When you think, your brain starts off from one idea and radiates outwards to other ideas. This radiant thinking ability is natural and automatic.
For your brain to function effectively, it must express itself in a radiant form that reflects its thought processes. In other words, to use your brain effectively, you have to think radiantly. A Mind Map, when drawn, radiates from a central idea and can be considered an expression of the radiant thinking brain.
This workshop will show you how to use Mind Mapping techniques to boost your productivity. It will give you the knowledge and techniques to be a more effective manager.
By the end of the workshop, you will be able to:
* Use your brain effectively
* Increase your concentration
* Achieve a higher level of creativity
Well, I suppose I should have, since I was 'raised Catholic' and grew up listening to (and loving) The Beatles:
A book by Joseph Niezgoda - The Lennon Prophecy, A New Examination of the Death Clues of the Beatles - makes a good case for John Lennon making a pact with Satan in exchange for fame and fortune. The author is a first generation Beatle fan, has read every book out on the rock group, and admits conflict with his love of the music and the evil that he perceives surrounds it. His book - a 15-year project - was an effort, he said, to try to define or make sense of that evil.
In fact, this is the book I was always planning to write about the Beatles. Since I threw out my Beatles albums along with the rest of my rock music many years ago, I've been gathering facts about the clues and signs of a Satanic link, evidence of camaraderie with occultists and their dabbling with the occult. Believe me, plenty exists.
Man, it just gets better from there.
Hire someone to help you plant carrots?
LONDON (Reuters) – A 74-year-old amateur gardener who scooped a 25 million pound lottery prize said Tuesday he would spend part of his winnings hiring an expert to learn how to grow better carrots.
Brian Caswell said he had always struggled with the vegetable on the prize-winning allotment he maintains with his Joan, 71, in Halliwell, near Bolton.
"I've been trying to grow carrots ever since I've been on that allotment and I've never had any success," he told reporters at a televised briefing.
"What I'm going to do now is bring a professional in and say, 'Right, sort that out.'"
Not my cuppa, as the Brits might say, but more power to ya, buddy. I hope you grow the best carrots on the planet.
Now, do you need someone to show you how to enjoy a pint or something? I'm available for consultation . . .