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.
The creep of creationism in Texas is not limited to the public school system, which is often held intellectual hostage by backward members its Board of Education, as was discussed in other posts of mine. No, it doesn't end there, for Texas State Rep. Leo Berman wishes to give full scientific legitimacy to biblical literalism at the graduate level. Berman has introduced House Bill 2800 (PDF), which would exempt purely private, nonprofit schools from the authority of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board when it comes to the certification of master's degrees. While the legislation is actually quite sweeping it its implications, Berman's purpose is to allow "schools" such as the Institute for Creation Research to offer Master of Science degrees in, yes, creation science.
Per Nora Zimmett of Fox News, I'm going to let Berman speak for himself here, for he does it better than I could paraphrase:
Well, it's been fun, everyone. But after carefully considering the content of this vid, I have decided that I can no longer continue to write blasphemy nor to deny what my heart tells me: that I am missing a Jesus-shaped piece of myself.
So, adios. I am returning to the faith of my childhood, and even considering becoming a lay-preacher for the true church.
I will pray for all of you.
Here's another in an ongoing series! Robert Heinlein first made me aware of this verse in his book Stranger in a Stranger Land. Here's the verse: 2 Kings 2:23-25.
2:23 He went up from there to Bethel. As he was traveling up the road, some young boys came out of the city and made fun of him, saying, “Go on up, baldy! Go on up, baldy!” 24 When he turned around and saw them, he called God’s judgment down on them. Two female bears came out of the woods and ripped forty-two of the boys to pieces. 25 From there he traveled to Mount Carmel and then back to Samaria.
So...yeah. This has to be a tough verse for Christians. Frankly, this has to be a tough verse for Jews too. It's a little redundant but let me recap.
1. Kids make fun of bald guy (who happens to be a prophet of "God")
2. Kids get killed by bears sent by "God".
Fun! (more below the fold)
Though admittedly more extreme than most:
BALTIMORE – Prosecutors agreed to some unusual terms to win a guilty plea from a former religious cult member charged with starving her 1-year-old son to death: If the child is resurrected, her plea will be withdrawn.
Ria Ramkissoon, 22, also agreed Monday to testify against four other members of the now-defunct religious group known as 1 Mind Ministries. All four are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Javon Thompson, whose body was kept in a suitcase packed with mothballs and fabric softener sheets long after he died.
Ramkissoon's lawyer said the resurrection clause Ramkissoon insisted on shows that she is still "brainwashed" and needs the psychological treatment that is planned as part of her sentencing.
According to a statement of facts, the cult members stopped feeding the boy when he refused to say "Amen" after a meal. After Javon died, Ramkissoon sat next to his decomposing body and prayed for his resurrection.
BITHLO, Fla. – Authorities said a man threw a Molotov cocktail at his neighbor's trailer, but the wind shifted and set fire to two cars, a pickup and a travel trailer in the man's own yard. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that a 51-year-old man got into a fight with his neighbor on Tuesday night and threw the makeshift gasoline bomb.
And the next sentence should come as no surprise whatsoever:
Authorities believe alcohol was involved.
I'm guessing so:
Here is a prime example of home homosexuals have no respect for anything that isn’t sugar plummed with anal sin.
A young boy decided to paint a penis on his families home to show his support and love for other men. I want to know why this young man felt the need to violate his parent’s property with such sin and vulgarity. Did he feel like if he embarrassed his family that they would except his choice to be a twiddle rompus worshiper?
I mean, seriously. But it says something - actually, a lot - that it's so damned hard to tell anymore...
Hard to say:
TOKYO — A 93-year-old Japanese man has become the first person certified as a survivor of both U.S. atomic bombings at the end of the Second World War, officials said Tuesday.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi had already been a certified “hibakusha,” or radiation survivor, of the Aug. 9, 1945, atomic bombing in Nagasaki, but has now been confirmed as surviving the attack on Hiroshima three days earlier as well, city officials said.
Mr. Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on Aug. 6, 1945, when a U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on the city. He suffered serious burns to his upper body and spent the night in the city. He then returned to his hometown of Nagasaki just in time for the second attack, city officials said.
“As far as we know, he is the first one to be officially recognized as a survivor of atomic bombings in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Nagasaki city official Toshiro Miyamoto said. “It's such an unfortunate case, but it is possible that there are more people like him.”
I'm becoming a crank.
Yeah, yeah, I know, what do I mean "becoming?"
But seriously, I am starting to worry a bit. Why? Because I am having a probably unnecessary overreaction to a couple of bits of news here in my hometown. I think it'll become obvious what I mean, when I tell you what they are:
The city of Columbia has installed a cluster of four surveillance cameras at Ninth Street and Broadway as a demo for a larger project to monitor and deter downtown crime.
Watchtower Security is stationing security cameras on Broadway.
The cameras, which are suspended in the air on a post and resemble black fish eyes, were installed Monday by Watchtower Security, a St. Louis-based manager of surveillance equipment. Each camera has “pan, tilt and zoom” capability, allowing a viewer to read a license plate number or identify facial features from several hundred feet away.
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Things are getting really scary in Texas. I'm not kidding. Something is bubbling in the Lone Star State, and it has the stink of 100 percent pure crazy.
First, science communicator Bill Nye was booed during a lecture in Waco for insisting that the Moon reflected light from the Sun. Then we have Chuck Norris advocating for secession and installing himself as president of Texas, presumably as part of Glenn Beck's lunatic "let's bring back the utter terror we all felt after 9/11" faux-movement ("We surround them" he assures his nitwit followers).
But you already knew about that, right?
Tonight I discovered a couple more things that scared the hell out of me. This post will cover the first, because I don't want to give anyone any ulcers.
One of the stations I listen to in the morning is 105.7 out of Baltimore. It used to be a rock station, then it turned in to a talk radio station (one that carried Penn Jillette's broadcast) and now it's a sports radio talk station. One show that has remained on the station in the last couple of years, though it's been moved around a lot, is Ed Norris' show. I like listening to Ed because a lot of the time he voices what I would voice if I had the medium. There are some exceptions, especially related to his religious views...but that's a topic for another post.
This morning, on the Ed Norris show, Ed told a story from his time on the NYPD. His primary profession was police work and he ended that work as commissioner of the Baltimore police department. According to his story, while he was working for the NYPD, there were some tourists coming through the station where he was working. From the details I garnered from the story, I was unsure whether or not he was just in the vicinity or actually giving a tour. He relates the story of 2 Canadians that were touring the facility, a father and son. Ed worked in a precinct where there happened to be a lot of police officers who were killed on the job. On the walls of the precinct there were plaques commemorating the service of these dead officers. Ed pointed out these plaques to the Canadian tourists and explained what they were. The child then innocently asked why there were so many dead policemen. His father replied that (and I must paraphrase here I'm afraid) the reason may be that because American police officers carried guns and often pointed them at people and that the potential criminals felt that they must respond in-kind. This, he surmised, may have lead to the many deaths.
This was a short segment on the show today but it really stuck with me. Ed's response (again paraphrased) was that he simply refrained from pointing out how stupid the Canadian's sentiment was to avoid embarrassing the father in front of the son.
more after the break
Bomb disposal teams were called in and buildings evacuated after workmen mistook a Monty Python film prop for a hand grenade.
Water company engineers spotted the object when they lifted up a fire hydrant cover during work on a street in Shoreditch, east London.
The road was cordoned off and a nearby pub was evacuated amid fears that the "grenade" could explode.
But after nearly an hour of analysis bomb experts realised that the cause of the scare was in fact a copy of the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" used by Eric Idle to slaughter a killer rabbit in the 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail.
Makes me wonder whether there isn't a new version of the DVD coming out - this'd be a brilliant marketing gimmick.
It has been a very odd morning. Just from poking around some of my usual haunts online, and following a link here and there, I've come across some weird weird stuff. There was The Tick fanboi site. And a mock Werner Herzog blog. But if you want a good long look into the face of Christian paranoia & insanity, check out this YouTube clip: Guillotine and FEMA concentration camps. That there is some pharmaceutical-grade crazy, complete with synthetic voice and scary pictures of Obama as a Hitler/Antichrist mashup.
Is it too early to start drinking? I mean, it's almost noon . . .
Well, it's been a year since I started this series, and I should probably offer a refresher on the idea for new readers. From the original post:
OK, it seems to me that one of the advantages that religion has is in dealing with guilt and absolution. Granted, most religions compound those problems for most people by adding in ridiculous rules and behaviours, but that is neither here nor there for my purposes.
Simply put, we all do things that make us feel a little guilty. And now I'm going to kick off an occasional feature called "Confession Time" which will allow us to 'fess up to a guilty pleasure and receive the absolution of our community. Each "Confession Time" will be devoted to one topic, and the rules are simple: confess to a guilty pleasure you have within that topic, and explain why it makes you feel guilty. And don't worry, I'm not serious about this.
Today's topic: What woo did you do, when you used to do woo?
An atheist writes to the God Squad and asks the good Rabbi why people feel a need to plaster "God" on everything. He's a good husband, a good father, but he thinks that god-beliefs are "silly" and when people start spouting off about God when it's really not necessary, he thinks they "just sound crazy".
Ahem. I agree. Heh.
[Rabbi Marc Gellman] In the end, though, I feel for your pain at being castigated as an atheist (actually, you describe yourself as agnostic). If you can get through the valley of the shadow of death without a good shepherd, God bless you...oops. As for me, I’m glad for the addition of any kindness to our broken world, regardless of its source and beliefs.
Shorter Rabbi Gellman:
"The truth scares me, so I lie to myself."
Roy is a freakin' genius, and so funny. Check it out!
(Tip of the do-rag to Daniel Floren over at Unreasonable Faith!)
... I really, really hope that this site is run by atheists:
Information Age Prayer
Information Age Prayer is a subscription service utilizing a computer with text-to-speech capability to incant your prayers each day. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your prayers will always be said even if you wake up late, or forget.
Subscriptions start at $3.95 a month, and there is a discount for volume prayers. No, I am not kidding.
Absolutely brilliant. I love a good scam.
Man, with all the wonderful things this stuff is supposed to do, I'm sure we'll soon see it being sold in health-food stores all around the US. For now, you can only get it in Japan, it seems:
Promotes cellular metabolism; works from deep within to produce a firm, moist complexion; contains 30,000 mg of 100% undiluted horse-origin placenta. Realizes luxuriantly beautiful skin.
Replenishes nourishment to physically fatigued or exhausted bodies. Having no overt aroma the fresh flavor is easy to drink.
100% undiluted horse-origin placenta?? Yum!
A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a Texas law that requires public school students to observe a daily minute of silence in order to pray, reflect or otherwise remain quiet.
A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed a district court ruling, saying the law is constitutional because it expressly allows any silent use of that minute, whether religious or not.
David and Shannon Croft sued on behalf of their three children, who are enrolled in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District. The suburban Dallas couple contended that including the word "pray" in the mandatory moment of silence law was a way for lawmakers to advance religion in schools. Another family joined the Crofts in filing the lawsuit but chose to remain anonymous.
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