Sunday, December 30, 2007

Seven True Lies?

UPDATE: The lie is revealed, and there is info about each true statement in the Comments. Thanks again for playing!

Randal tagged me with the Seven Deadly Lies meme, in which you tell seven lies about yourself. I remembered that I did something similar a couple of years ago - it was a meme called True Lies, in which you list four things about yourself, three of which are true, and one is a lie. People would try to guess which one was the lie.

I'm going to do the seven lies meme with a twist - I'll list seven things about myself, but only six of them are true. You guess which is the lie. Here goes:

1. I've been married three times.

2. I've had two house fires.

3. I've been in an earthquake.

4. I've been in a tornado.

5. I can't drive a stick shift.

6. I once met Pete Townshend.

7. I'm afraid of cows.

I tag Mandlebrot's Chaos, Seshat, and Pooks.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Post post

I love the responses from everyone to the last post - thank you! I'll respond here instead of in Comments.

Mary Ellen raises the point that Jesus, like George Washington, was a real historical person, and not an invention. Of course that's right, and I'm sorry for not being more clear. I did not mean to imply that historical persons were inventions, only the theology that surrounds them. Was Jesus the Son of God? Was Buddha The Enlightened One? Was Mohammad God's Holy Prophet? These are theological questions. (The "Big Hairy Thunderer," along with Zeus and Oden, for example, are inventions, however.) The theology that is connected to deity(ies) is the part that is man-made. I am sensitive to the fact that people who are devoted to any one of these are sincere and fervent in their belief that, for example, Jesus is the Messiah. That is a matter of faith, and it is quite profound and very personal. (I know; I've been there.) It is faith, not fact. You could not prove it to a Muslim any more than a Muslim could prove to you that Jesus was not divine, but only a minor prophet. If any of this could be proved, we wouldn't have had all these wars over it. What I want to point out is that the theology that surrounds religious figures was invented. For example, it wasn't until almost 400 years after the death of Jesus that the church fathers sat down and decided which books to include, and to exclude, in a bible. Over the centuries since that time, people kept killing each other over the contents of that book, a book which was put together by committee.

Dan wondered if my post was saying that religion serves no real purpose to humanity. Tom Harper mentioned the question over whether or not religion is "hard-wired" into us. Garnie says now she wants to go read more Joseph Campbell. Randal says this (religion) is a way of explaining things. I think all of these comments are tied together. We don't know yet if humanity is hard-wired for religion. What seems evident is that intelligent beings want to explain things - they are intelligent enough to ask questions and speculate about the answers. As Niose's article pointed out, there is evidence that even Neanderthals had religion. Joseph Campbell's outstanding work examines man's quest for purpose and meaning.

I think there is a real need inside of us to know "Who's in charge." Going off on my own tangent now about this, I think this need is one of survival. We are primates, and we live in tribes. We call them countries now, but essentially, we are tribal. Tribes have social structure, and must have leaders. It's a matter of survival to know exactly who is in charge, because if we don't, we run the terrible risk of accidentally pissing that person off. The penalty could be severe - anything from death to being ostracized. Therefore, as a matter of survival, we must know who's in charge. Not only that, we must know what the rules are.

Imagine that you are the leader of a primitive tribe. You got there by being the strongest. You kept your power because you are savvy. Like all tribal groups, you, as leader, have a few select lieutenants around you to enforce your wishes. They've got your back. Now say that there's a great thunderstorm and everyone is afraid (including yourself, but you don't show that because it's a sign of unacceptable weakness in a leader.) Lightening strikes the tree that one of the tribe members is sitting in, and he is killed. Everyone wants to know why - why was Ernie struck down, and not Joe? Everyone is frightened, traumatized. They come to you demanding an answer. What are you going to tell them? Either you or one of your homeboys had better come up with something. It's easy to see how the theology of a Big Hairy Thunderer is born. Even the leader needs to have a Leader. He can promote one of his lieutenants to priest (shaman, medicine man, etc.) to intervene with the BHT, and the priest - usually with the assistance of some magic herbal sacrament - tells everyone what the rules are. It was the BHT's will that Ernie be struck down by a mighty lightening bolt, as punishment for some infraction - did not everyone see Ernie hoarding food last week? Well, there ya go... Hey, someone points out, Joe did stuff even worse than Ernie, yet he lives - what about that? Oh, well - the BHT works in mysterious ways, and in fact, now that you've questioned Him, you'd better look out the next time He brings a storm. In fact, why don't you all STFU and we, the Church, will tell you, the ignorant masses, what to believe. And so on.

The point of Niose's article was that we no longer need to rely on theology to explain what we don't understand. To go back to the epilepsy example in the previous post, it must have been scary to watch people having seizures, and because we are such a curious species, we needed to know why. Demonic possession seemed to fit the bill, until - centuries later - we discovered that epilepsy is a disease, just as plague is a disease, not a divine scourge. This is the progress spoken of, the freedom to discover what is, as opposed to what has been conjured.

These subjects fascinate me. I know there's lots more to discuss, and I appreciate everyone's viewpoints. It's great to be able to discuss this stuff in a non-hostile manner. I hope we don't get a troll.

Speaking of trolls, and to address the question of how atheists are perceived in this society, take a look at this letter to the editor that I Stumbled upon. (I also ran across a poll somewhere stating that most Americans would rather have a (gasp!) homosexual president than an atheist president. Atheists are in the last closet.)

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Post-Theological Era

Have you ever struggled to find just the right word to express a concept? Of course you have, and writers, especially, are familiar with that thrilling eureka! moment when The Precise Word presents Itself. (Oh yes, writers have thrilling moments, too.)

I've had a concept rattling around the dusty floor of my brain for at least a year now that I just couldn't adequately express. It concerns my atheism. Now see, right there? That word, "atheism?" It means "without theism," and that was the word I used for myself because it was the only one I knew. But it wasn't quite right. I toyed with "nontheist" for a while, but that didn't exactly fit the concept, either.

When you say you're an atheist, people immediately want to argue the existence/non-existence of deity(ies.) That always set off my unnamed concept. It would shake off the dust rhinos clinging to it and start rattling around rather loudly. "No, no , no!" it insisted. "Look at the big picture, look beyond the deity bit because that's only a small part of my conceptness." So, I would try to tell the theist, "Step way back and look at this whole dang thing in a larger context." I would say, "Look up." Meaning, realize that this planet is only one of billions of other waterworlds out there with sapient beings on it. Do you suppose they are all actually arguing over whether females can be in the clergy, or if it's okay to be gay? Don't waste your life on this crap. Broaden your outlook for ricecakes! At which point, I only annoyed the theist and got myself all worked up because I couldn't express my concept properly.

Until now. I may still annoy the theists, but at least I can clearly express my concept and move beyond the existence/non-existence thingy. I subscribe to The Humanist magazine, and in an article in the latest issue (Jan.-Feb. 2008) I found The Precise Word to express the concept. Okay, okay - it's two words, but it's hyphenated, so it's permitted, gimme a break.

The article is The Post-Theological Umbrella, by David Niose, board member and treasurer of the American Humanist Association. Niose's article focuses on the poor image we atheists have and how it adversely affects the advancement of humanism. At a recent conference, he met a woman who said, "When people ask me about atheism, I just tell them I consider myself post-theological."

Post-Theological. Eureka! [imagine my joy] Niose points out that (according to a 2001 survey) "over 13 percent of the population identifies as secular/nonreligious, but only 1 percent identify as atheist, agnostic, or humanist." It seems to be a question of labels, so if we put all of the labels under one umbrella, then probably more people would feel comfortable identifying themselves as post-theological.

My concept wasn't concerned so much with labels, though, but with how to say, "Let's move on to the big picture." The "big picture" is this:

The period before humans became intelligent enough to ask, "Why are we here, and Who's in charge?" might be called the "pre-theological" stage.

When we advanced enough to ask those questions, we began to speculate on the answers. Thus, the theology of The Big Hairy Thunderer evolved, as well as many, many others over time. This might be called the "theological stage." (The more knowledge we gained, the more our theology had to be altered. For example, we discovered that epilepsy is a disease, not a manifestation of demonic possession.)

Now, we are entering (just barely) the post-theological stage of our development. "By calling herself post-theological," Niose says about the woman he met at the conference, "she isn't making the rejection of God-belief the key ingredient in her identity; she is pointing out that, from a historical perspective, theological inquiry itself is no longer a valid means of finding truth or morality." This expresses that concept I had rattling around in my head perfectly. I am post-theological.

It is interesting to read about the various theologies that mankind has come up with over the eons. Interesting from a historical perspective, but not relevant because each theology was invented. Once we let go of our emotional attachment to whatever variety of Thunderer we believed in, we are truly free to look beyond what we have conjured and see what we can discover about what is. Now we are in the realm of science. We are free to look up, without bias, preconceived notions, or (if in a fully post-theological world), persecution. (As Niose suggests, "Given time, the image of atheism in America might improve, as people slowly realize that atheists are more likely to be found in research labs than in prisons or drug hideouts.")

I'll be writing more about this from time to time. I think it's important, especially now that it looks like another Fundie nutjob is going to be the Republican front-runner. We simply must move beyond the theological stage if we're going to survive as a species (it may already be too late.)

I leave you with this latest gem from Fundies Say the Darndest Things:

[> Right. We spend a few years growing a tree and all the Christians can
> think of is killing the tree, dragging it inside, covering it with
> unsafe electrical wiring, and then throwing it away after about a
> month. If I had my way, I would correct such ecologically incorrect
> bad habits and make Christians plant trees instead of killing them. ]

You didn't grow the tree. Show me a Jew that is anywhere near a
Christmas tree farm and I will show you a Jew masquerading as a

In any case, your interference with our rights is why you all ought to
be either deported back to Jewistan or sent up the smokestacks.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Kitchen Sink

Ooh! Tomcat's parents gave us iPods for Christmas! The first thing I downloaded? LIVE AT LEEDS, Deluxe Edition. Best live album ever. Definitive My Generation. Serious Magic Bus. Shakin' All Over. Young Man Blues. Raw, pure, back when Keith Moon and John "Thunderfingers" Entwhistle were still alive. Great banter between Pete and Keith. Deluxe edition includes the "new" rock opera, Tommy. Best ever "Sparks."

Check it out, here , also here (for a bit about the follow-up Live at Leeds II).


A man ahead of his time: J. Edgar (Who needs habeas corpus?) Hoover, who wanted to round up 12,000 Americans shortly after the Korean War began.
Check it out, here.


From the Fundies Say the Darndest Things department, we learn:

There are four main religions in this country that are engaged in a holy war against Christianity. The number one religion, The Abortion Charismatics.The abortion religion in truth has as its foundation the worshipping of anti-submission to men. These death Stalinists use accusations of oppression as their guardian while marching on, putting the sword to the enemy, the trespassing fetus. Conversly, The Bible advises us to choose life and states that those who side with death are with the devil.

Religion number two, The Orthodox Homosexuals. The homosexual hit squad, they worship immoral sex and preach its acceptance with a formidable vigor. The religion of orgasms, just as long as you partake with someone of the same gender.

Religion number three, The Pentecostal Environmentalists. They worship myths and have as their god mother nature. This includes the global warming cash cow. They worship animals, the same animals God instructed us to subdue in Genesis. They worship the earth, the same earth God advises us in the Bible not to love due to the fact that it is fallen and ruled by Satan.

And the forth religion, The United Church of Envy. The religion of envy has as its decree welfare, social programs of all kinds, and higher taxes. It wishes to crucify anyone who is successful. The wealth of others is condemned. They fiercely seek conversion, not conversion of souls...conversion of other people?s money - to themselves. This faction is represented by Poverty Pastors from all status levels in society.

The Mega Church of Liberalism houses all these religions. They are extremely tolerant of any religion so long as its not that of the true God. Their enemy is not Satan as in Christianity, but their common enemy is in fact Christ. Hence the unity among the various religions.Their strategy is to incrementally replace Christianity with their false gods and religions of idolatry. At the same time they are attempting to diminish the credibility of God of the Bible and of Christianity.

And finally, here's "my" Cranberry Chutney recipe, from Cooking Light Magazine:

Cranberry Chutney


1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries


Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Serve with turkey, chicken, roast pork, or ham.

Note: Refrigerate remaining chutney.


4 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup)


Thursday, December 20, 2007

More idiocy from the TEA

In a previous previous post, here, there was the story about the Texas Education Agency forcing the resignation of its Science Curriculum Director, Christine Comer, because she might have suggested a bias toward science. Yes, you read that right - a bias toward science.

Now read this, reported in The New York Times:

Green Light for Institute on Creation in Texas
Published: December 19, 2007

HOUSTON — A Texas higher education panel has recommended allowing a Bible-based group called the Institute for Creation Research to offer online master’s degrees in science education.

The action comes weeks after the Texas Education Agency’s director of science, Christine Castillo Comer, lost her job after superiors accused her of displaying bias against creationism and failing to be “neutral” over the teaching of evolution.

The state’s commissioner of higher education, Raymund A. Paredes, said late Monday that he was aware of the institute’s opposition to evolution but was withholding judgment until the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board meets Jan. 24 to rule on the recommendation, made last Friday, by the board’s certification advisory council.

Henry Morris III, the chief executive of the Institute for Creation Research, said Tuesday that the proposed curriculum, taught in California, used faculty and textbooks “from all the top schools” along with, he said, the “value added” of challenges to standard teachings of evolution.

“Where the difference is, we provide both sides of the story,” Mr. Morris said. On its Web site, the institute declares, “All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the creation week” and says it “equips believers with evidences of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research, educational programs, and media presentations, all conducted within a thoroughly biblical framework.”

It also says “the harmful consequences of evolutionary thinking on families and society (abortion, promiscuity, drug abuse, homosexuality and many others) are evident all around us.”

Asked how the institute could educate students to teach science, Dr. Paredes, who holds a doctorate in American civilization from the University of Texas and served 10 years as vice chancellor for academic development at the University of California, said, “I don’t know. I’m not a scientist.”

He said he had no ready explanation for the panel’s recommendation. “I asked about the decision,” Dr. Paredes said Monday in a phone interview from Austin. “I got a three-inch-thick folder an hour ago. We’re going to give it a full review.” But, he said, “If it’s approved, we’ll make sure it’s of high quality.”

Approval would allow the institute, which moved to Dallas this year from near San Diego, to offer the online graduate program almost immediately while seeking accreditation from national academic authorities like the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges within two years.

In California, the only other state where Mr. Morris said the institute was offering degrees, it won recognition from the state superintendent of public instruction in 1981 but was denied license renewal in 1988. The institute sued and in 1992 won a $225,000 settlement that allowed it to continue offering degrees; it now operates under the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Dr. Morris said his program was accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, which is not recognized by Texas.

Last month, in a sign that Texas was being drawn deeper into creationism controversy, Ms. Comer, 57, was put under pressure to resign as science director after forwarding an e-mail message about a talk by a creationism critic, Barbara Forrest, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana State University.

Lizzette Reynolds, a deputy commissioner who called for Ms. Comer’s dismissal, later told The Austin American-Statesman she was surprised she resigned. Ms. Reynolds did not respond to a message left at her office.

The Texas Education commissioner, Robert Scott, told The Dallas Morning News that Ms. Comer was not forced out over the message, adding, “You can be in favor of science without bashing people’s faith.” He did not return phone calls to his office.

Ms. Comer said the commissioner should show her where she was bashing anyone’s faith. “He just doesn’t get it,” she said.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Weird-ass Wednesday #9

I recently Stumbled this gem, which is a list of Useful Condescending Phrases. You're welcome.

  1. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
  2. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.
  3. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
  4. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
  5. I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't care.
  6. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.
  7. What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?
  8. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
  9. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
  10. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
  11. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.
  12. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
  13. No, my powers can only be used for good.
  14. How about never? Is never good for you?
  15. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.
  16. You sound reasonable...Time to up my medication.
  17. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.
  18. I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...
  19. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.
  20. Who me? I just wander from room to room.
  21. My toys! My toys! I can't do this job without my toys!
  22. It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.
  23. At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits.
  24. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
  25. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
  26. Someday, we'll look back on this, laugh nervously and change the subject.
I love Stumble! By the way, if you become, or already are, a Stumbler, did you know that you can give a thumbs-up whenever you run across a site you like? You know, like, say, someone's BLOG? Ahem.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Pooks tagged me with this one.

Write a drabble, which is a story containing exactly 100 words. It does not have to be a poem. (my word count includes the title)

This is about our new cat, named Shadow. Click here for a pic.

A Cat's Tale

I lived on the street
in summer's heat and winter's sleet.

I was sealed in an attic
by a local fanatic.

After a three-week fast
I was rescued at last

And given a home, so lovely, so nice
(except for the diet, which doesn't have mice.)

I've gained some weight 'round my middle.
I have my own place to piddle,

Plus a shelf at the window for sunning
and toys that are squeaky and cunning.

It's a big house to roam
with a bed of my own.

Say, life's pretty good
since I left the 'hood!

I tag John.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just wondering

Just wondering ...
(click links for the full story)

Why Joe Lieberman is such an asswipe.

What the hell happened to the Dallas Cowboys last night.
Tell me it wasn't because Jessica Simpson was there in her little pink No. 9 jersey.

Why someone would call themselves Christian and write to an atheist website saying they hope the recipients enjoy getting AIDS.
Do they not, like, have a brain in their head?

How the hell did Courtney make it to the final three on Survivor?
Did she have a brain in her head, after all?

Why someone posing as Santa would write nasty, obscene letters to little kids.

How can Saudi King Abdullah think he's merciful for pardoning the VICTIM of rape?
She won't have to serve the usual sentence for being raped, which is six months in jail and 200 lashes.

What are you wondering about today?

Friday, December 14, 2007

For your weekend perusal

To get into that Christmas spirit, I like to peruse the Cavalcade of Bad Nativities over at GoingJesus, a website run by the marvelously witty Sarah, former church lady secretary, divinity student, and now full-time mom and web geek. Enjoy!

Original Cavalcade of Bad Nativities

Second Cavalcade of Bad Nativities

Current Cavalcade of Bad Nativities

(Check the Current Cavalcade often - she adds a new bad nativity every day during Advent.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Weird-ass Wednesday #8

Okay, this is possibly offensive to some people, but it's just ... so damn funny!

From Miss Poppy dot Com

Protect our troops - from the womb to the war. What if the fetus you were going to abort would grow up to be a soldier bringing democracy to a godless dictatorship? Plastic replica of an 11-12 week old fetus, 3" long, holding a firearm in its precious little hand, with an assortment of other military paraphernalia, encased in a translucent plastic ornament, with a patriotic yellow ribbon on top. Includes a metal ornament hanger. If only a womb were this safe, attractive and reasonably priced! Show that you support the "culture of life" by buying and proudly displaying one of these patriotic unborn Americans. Also available in a "Brown" model Note to the confused:This is a real product, from a real site. The product is a satire, but it is also a real product - FOR SALE. This is a real store.

Unborn Baby Ornament - US Troop Model
fetal attractions troop ornament

Dang - It's out of stock.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No wonder I feel rushed

Researchers: Human evolution speeding up

No wonder I feel rushed - according to a recent study of the human genome, our evolution is speeding up.

Get this: a mere 10,000 years ago (thousand, not million!), no one had blue eyes, most people had dark skin, and few people were able to metabolize cow's milk.

The protection of melatonin in darker skin was needed in equatorial Africa where the Sun's UVs are more plentiful. People who could metabolize cow's milk would have survived where food was scarce, and thus gone on to reproduce.

But the researchers wonder how blue eyes affected survival or reproduction. Isn't it obvious? Blue eyes are more attractive, so blue-eyed people would have attracted mates more easily than brown-eyed people.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Splotchy's Viral Theater

Splotchy's instructions:

"This has probably been done before, but that is not stopping me, oh no.

Here's what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a variety of different, unexpected ways. I don't know how realistic it is, but that's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make a decent number of hops before it dies out.

If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.

Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours."


I woke up hungry. I pulled my bedroom curtain to the side and looked out on a hazy morning. I dragged myself into the kitchen, in search of something to eat. I reached for a jar of applesauce sitting next to the sink, and found it very cold to the touch. I opened the jar and realized it was frozen. (Splotchy)

I was used to the house being quite cold in the mornings, as the night log usually burns out around one AM when I am dreaming cozily under my covers, not normally waking to put a new one on until morning. I was surprised because on the rare occasions that it actually had reached sub-freezing temperatures in the house, I had awakened in the night to restart the fire. I would have been worried about the pipes before P-Day, but there hadn’t been running water in two years and that was one of the few advantages to being dependent on rainwater, no pipes. (Freida Bee)

Shivering, I moved through the cloud of my nearly-crystallizing breath over to the frost-encrusted window. Unable to see outside, I feebly attempted to brush the flakes away with my sleeve. I sighed, the warm exhalation upon the upper panes only further decreasing visibility. I thoughtlessly tried my fingernails, having forgotten that I continuously bite them when nervous. I've recently been nervous a lot. I didn't know why, and failed to give it a second thought. Shuffling across the well-worn wooden planks, strangely as cold as the jar, I opened a drawer to grab a spoon and begin the task at hand, chipping away at the frost. After some moments, I stopped to peek outside, managing to see only white. The window was again frozen.

There's no way it can be that cold, I thought to myself. I began to chip once more, with the same result. Frustrated, I sprinted the ten feet back to the drawer, taking a larger soup spoon and returned to my assault on the ice. Harder and harder I pushed the spoon into the wintry glaze, intermittently stopping to wipe the chill sweat from my brow, pushing harder, my arms flailing upwards, now coming down as if wielding an axe, ignoring the stinging salt of perspiration in my eyes, the ice growing along with my anger, overcome by a violence, a berserker rage, up and down I swung that makeshift blade into the white, into the red, grunting, screaming, my hands sliced open as the spoon blasted through the broken glass.

I didn't see anything but the dew-haunted lawn before I slumped down, fainting on the cold wooden floor. (Randal Graves)

I awoke to the touch of my cat, Scheiser, as he gently licked my cold cheek. His rough tongue against my cold, sensitive skin jolted me like electricity, popping my eyes wide open.

"Hey fella," I mumbled, propping myself up on one elbow. Scheiser purred in my ear, and I scratched his forehead with numb fingers.

I noticed the window was still encrusted with ice... if anything, it had thickened while I was out. I got myself onto all fours, then pulled myself up on the old couch. This was nuts. The lawn outside had been dew-laden, yet things were frozen in here.

Scheiser was at the kitchen door, meowing to be let out. Why not, I thought. Better to have him do his wretched business outside than in. Feeling sluggish, I shuffled to the door, unlocked it and opened it. Cool morning air filled my nostrils as I looked out on the front "yard"... not a speck of ice anywhere to be seen in the dirt and weeds. It actually seemed kind of balmy. I followed Scheiser outside into the day. (Snave)

"Scheiser," I said, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

"Nyerh," spoke Scheiser, rubbing against my legs.

I looked down and saw a drop of crimson on his glossy black fur. Blood was dripping from my hands. Another drop hit the cat, this time on his head, right between his ears. His whole body flinched in that way cats have of telling you that you are finished petting them, for now. He stalked off, flicking his tail, while I stared dumbly at my hands.

It was as if my brain had also frozen inside the house, and was just now beginning to thaw, because I suddenly remembered my insane attack on a defenseless jar of applesauce. I really must do something about my OCD, I thought, as I followed the blood splatters back to the kitchen.

The cold assaulted me as soon as I opened the door. I propped it open, sliding the antique iron doorstop over with one blood-splashed slipper. My teeth chattered, my breath sending frosty puffs ahead of me as I picked my way around the shattered glass. At the hall, I flipped the lightswitch with my elbow, not wanting to bloody the wall, but no light came on.

I trudged down the dark hallway to the bathroom. I grabbed a towel and wiped my hands. Despite all the blood, my hands weren't painful. They were numb with cold, but surely, I thought, not enough to anesthetize them? The bathroom window was frosted solid, but at least I had enough light to rummage for bandages in the deep wall cabinet.

Sha-whop! The walls rattled. I froze. I knew that sound. It was the slam of the kitchen door.

Let's see ... I tag Pooks and Dan.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Texas State Science Curriculum Director, Chris Comer, resigned - well, more correctly, she was forced out - because she may have, possibly, you know, implied that the Texas Education Agency might have a slight bias against "intelligent design" by forwarding an email "announcing a presentation being given by Barbara Forrest, author of Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse, a book that says creationist politics are behind the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools .... Comer sent the e-mail to several individuals and a few online communities, saying, 'FYI.' " Well Jeebus Gawd, we can't have the Science Director for the entire State of Texas' public schools even suggesting that she is, like, pro-science, now can we? How dare she forward such an email, and put "FYI" on it!

The email upset TEA senior adviser Lizzette Reynolds, formerly deputy legislative director for then Governor Dumbya, that she immediately sent a memo to Comer's bosses. Ms. Reynolds felt this was so important that she sent it from her sickbed less than two hours after someone sent it to her at home. "This is highly inappropriate," Reynolds said in an e-mail to Comer's supervisors. "I believe this is an offense that calls for termination or, at the very least, reassignment of responsibilities. This is something that the State Board, the Governor's Office and members of the Legislature would be extremely upset to see because it assumes this [science?] is a subject that the agency supports."

They've forced Comer out just months before a scheduled comprehensive review of the Agency's curriculum. Coinkydink? I think not.

The article goes on to state:

State science curriculum director resigns
copyright By Laura Heinauer
Thursday, November 29, 2007


Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, which sent the original e-mail to Comer announcing the event, said Comer's situation seems to be a warning to agency employees.

"This just underscores the politicization of science education in Texas," Scott said. "In most states, the department of education takes a leadership role in fostering sound science education. Apparently TEA employees are supposed to be kept in the closet and only let out to do the bidding of the board."

Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, an advocacy group that monitors state textbook content, said the group wants to know more about the case. The network has raised questions about past comments made by State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy about teaching creationism.

"It's important to know whether politics and ideology are standing in the way of Texas kids getting a 21st century science education," Miller said. "We've already seen a faction of the State Board of Education try to politicize and censor what our schoolchildren learn. It would be even more alarming if the same thing is now happening inside TEA itself."


Speaking of Christo-fascism, did you see the latest about Mike Huckabee? 'Seems back in 1992, as a candidate for the Senate, he wanted people with AIDS to be rounded up and quarantined.
"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague."

He also said back then that there was too much money going to find a cure for AIDS, and that if people like Elizabeth Taylor and Madonna wanted to do something about it, fine - let them donate from their own funds.

Now, however, as a Presidential candidate, Huckabee says he's in favor of funding through the NIH. On his website, he says:

"My administration will be the first to have an overarching strategy for dealing with HIV and AIDS here in the United States, with a partnership between the public and private sectors that will provide necessary financing and a realistic path toward our goals."
(I shudder to think what he really means by "our goals.")

Read the full article here.

Get ready for a rough ride in '08, America.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Color me gobsmacked

Finally, a presidential candidate said what needed to be said when it comes to politics and religion. The fact that this came from a Republican candidate, and MITT ROMNEY, of all people, leaves me gobsmacked.

Some quotes:

"Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle, indeed, if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree."

"There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution."

"No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes president he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."

"Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone." [Okay, I have no idea what he thinks he means here, but it's poetic and doesn't seem to be harmful, IMO]

"Like him [John F. Kennedy], I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith."

"If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States."

Well hallelujah! Of course, this speech of his will likely cost him the Fundies' vote (what? tolerance?), but I've got to give Romney credit for being the voice of reason on this issue.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dumber than Dumbya?

Did you see where Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee didn't know about the NIE Report yesterday? You know, the one Bush was hammered about in the press conference? Huckabee didn't know about it, and apparently didn't even know what it was. Here's the transcript:

Huckabee not aware of NIE report on Iran

My colleague David Paul Kuhn attended an on-the-record dinner with Mike Huckabee and a group of reporters tonight in Des Moines.

The transcript speaks for itself:

Kuhn: I don’t know to what extent you have been briefed or been able to take a look at the NIE report that came out yesterday ...

Huckabee: I’m sorry?

Kuhn: The NIE report, the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. Have you been briefed or been able to take a look at it —

Huckabee: No.

Kuhn: Have you heard of the finding?

Huckabee: No.

Kuhn then summarized the NIE finding that Iran had stopped work on a clandestine nuclear program four years ago and asked if it “adjusts your view on Iran in any sense."

Kuhn: What is your concern on Iran as of now?

Huckabee: I’ve a serious concern if they were to be able to weaponize nuclear material, and I think we all should, mainly because the statements of Ahmadinejad are certainly not conducive to a peaceful purpose for his having it and the fear that he would in fact weaponize it and use it. (He pauses and thinks) I don’t know where the intelligence is coming from that says they have suspended the program or how credible that is versus the view that they actually are expanding it. … [*] And I’ve heard, the last two weeks, supposed reports that they are accelerating it and it could be having a reactor in a much shorter period of time than originally been thought. [**]

Kuhn: Does the United States face a higher burden of proof on Iran in light of Iraq, in the international community?

Huckabee: Probably so. First time I’ve been asked a question like that. [***] But I think probably so because there is going to be a real anxiety for us to take any type of action without there being some very credible and almost irrefutable intelligence to validate our decision.

Kuhn: And then on the flip side of that. a conservative concern might be, does the United States, might they hedge, might they be timid from taking necessary aggressive action due to the failures of intelligence on Iraq, and our failures in Iraq itself?

Huckabee: I think that’s a possibility as well. And that would be unfortunate if we actually knew we needed to take action but were fearful of doing so because of getting burned in the Iraq situation. That would be a serious challenge for us.

Oh noes! I didn't think we could possibly see another Republican as dumb as Dumbya.

[*] Um, that would be from 16 different government agencies.
[**] Really? I guess that would have been from your little Talking Points Memo?
[***] He's apparently never given this any thought, either. I really couldn't take another four years of this shit.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tell Us Tuesday #17

Tell us, what's your favorite cookie?
Oh hell - who cares? Tell us something about your dark side! (Okay, you can tell us your favorite cookie, too.)

Monday, December 03, 2007


I realize many bloggers will do posts about this story, and they'll even have witty commentary to accompany it. I just am not up to it. This is the same old shit, from the same old shitty administration, and more blood will be spilled because of it, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I can't think of anything to say about it other than that at the moment. I'm sorry. Here it is, in full:

Report contradicts Bush on Iran nuclear program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new U.S. intelligence report says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and it remains on hold, contradicting the Bush administration's earlier assertion that Tehran was intent on developing a bomb.

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released on Monday could undermine U.S. efforts to convince other world powers to agree on a third package of U.N. sanctions against Iran for defying demands to halt uranium enrichment activities.

Tensions have escalated in recent months as Washington has ratcheted up the rhetoric against Tehran, with U.S. President George W. Bush insisting in October that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War Three.

But in a finding likely to surprise U.S. friends and foes alike, the latest NIE concluded: "We do not know whether (Iran) currently intends to develop nuclear weapons."

That marked a sharp contrast to an intelligence report two years ago that stated Iran was "determined to develop nuclear weapons."

But the new assessment found Iran was continuing to develop technical means that could be used to build a bomb and it would likely be capable of producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon "sometime during the 2010-2015 time-frame."

The shift in the intelligence community's thinking on Iran comes five years after a flawed NIE concluded neighboring Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction -- a report that helped pave the way for the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

No nuclear, chemical or biological weapons were ever found in Iraq and intelligence agencies since have been more cautious about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who have repeatedly accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, were briefed on the new NIE last Wednesday.

Washington, which insists it wants to solve the Iran problem diplomatically while leaving military options "on the table," is pushing for tougher U.N. sanctions against Tehran but faces resistance from China and Russia.

Iran insists it wants nuclear technology only for civilian purposes, such as electricity generation.

The nuclear standoff has become a major issue in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, with candidates weighing in on the prospects for military action against Iran.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, among senior Democrats who had requested the updated report on Iran, said the assessment challenged some of the administration's "alarming rhetoric about the threat posed by Iran."

He and other critics had accused Bush trying to rush the country into war again based on faulty intelligence.

Bush's national security adviser said that on balance the report was "good news," insisting it showed Tehran was susceptible to international pressure but that the risk of it acquiring nuclear weapons "remains a very serious problem."

But he added: "The international community has to understand that if we want to avoid a situation where we either have to accept Iran on a road to a nuclear weapon ... or the possibility of having to use force to stop it with all the connotations of World War III, then we need to step up the diplomacy, step up the pressure."

Administration officials denied the new NIE had exposed a serious intelligence lapse but could not explain how agencies failed to detect for four years that Iran's nuclear weapons program had been halted.

Intelligence officials said the suspension involved design and engineering for a bomb and covert uranium-conversion work.

A key NIE finding was that: "Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005."

Still, the report said: "We also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons."

So last night we're contemplating the positive aspects of (possibly) moving out of a hundred-year-old house into a (temporary) apartment:

He: Central heat and air.

She: Dishwasher.

He: Garbage disposer.

She: I love it when you talk like that.

Saturday, December 01, 2007