Friday, December 14, 2007

Even Chinese Feel Their Toys Are Dangerous

So when affluent parents go shopping for toys in China they try to find foreign made products. Why? Better quality and safety, according to an article in the Associated Press. Seems even the Chinese know the toys they make are shoddy and dangerous. Wonder why American companies haven’t figured that out?

Rep. Steve King & Christmas Wishes

Ah Christmas! A time for families, celebrations and remembrances of what the season is really about. In Washington that memory is painfully short, especially among Republican lawmakers, Rep. King (R-IA) who introduced the resolution recognizing Christmas and "the importance of … Christian faith" got into the spirit of the season by attacking the 9 Democrats who votes against his resolution. The problem is his memory, because if I am not correct, Jesus (the reason for the season) specifically told his disciples to heal the sick and feed the hungry.

Rep Steve King was one of the Republicans who voted against expanding the SCHIP program to provide health care for children of lower income families. I guess in his version of the Christmas story, Jesus was born not to a poor unwed mother of a carpenter, but to a rich suburban family in a gated community of North Bethlehem.

May his Christmas be filled with visions of sugar plums dangled just out of reach of the less well-off children he is consciously hurting.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bush Becomes a "Leper" to the GOP

Seems like nobody wants to get close to Bush lately. During the Republican debate yesterday in Iowa, the Republican candidates referenced Mr. Bush exactly “0” times! It’s been quite a while since the sitting president was such a liability. Glad to see it.

Nigerian Churches Hunt Children Accused of Being "Witches"

So here is the danger of exporting a biblical literalism version of Christianity. In Nigeria, hundreds of children are being branded as "witches" and being put to death in the name of Christianity. Sounds like a bad movie plot but it’s real.

In areas of Nigeria as well as other parts of the developing world, "Christian" churches are offering exorcisms and "deliverances" from witchcraft for money. Never underestimate the ingenuity of people to make a buck on other people’s beliefs! The sad part is this time it’s leading to murder.

You will perhaps remember that it is some of the Nigerian bishops in the Episcopal church that are screaming the loudest about ordaining gay priests. It seems to me that in that country fundamentalism, the brand of Christianity that was brought by missionaries years ago has finally reaped its reward. It saddens me that any church dedicated to the "Prince of Peace" could sanction this kind of brutality.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bush Vetos SCHIP - Merry F#@king Christmas Kids!

Just in time for Christmas the Grinch, AKA President Bush, vetoed the SCHIP bill today taking affordable health care away from millions of poor children. That’s the Christian spirit Mr. Bush!

This marks the second time Bush has vetoed the SCHIP legislation. Call the White House and let the president know how you feel about it. 202 456-1414

Ike Turner Dead At 76

Sometimes abusive, sometimes crazy but always soulful, Ike Turner passed away today at age 76. Turner who was once married to Tina Turner is credited by many rock historians with making the first rock 'n' roll record, "Rocket 88," in 1951. In 1959 he met and married Anna Mae Bullock, who he reimaged as Tina Turner. Together through their rocky marriage they produced some of R&B’s most memorable hits including “Proud Mary”.

Tina divorced her abusive husband and went on to continued fame as one of rocks superstars. Ike faded from the spotlight but his contribution to Rock will last for a long time. He is immortalized in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Take a final bow, Ike.

Rep. King And The Tired War On Christmas Fiasco

Well it’s that time of year again.. Shopping, parties, holiday hustle and bustle and of course, “the War on Christmas”. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has taken this opportunity to use the Christmas season for his own political gain. In the holiday spirit he has introduced a bogus resolution to recognizing the “importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.”

In an interview on (where else) Fox News the Representative stated, “ I recognized that we’re a Christian nation founded on Christian principles, and we’re coming up to Christmastime. … It’s time we stood up and said so, and said to the rest of America, Be who you are and be confident. And let’s worship Christ and let’s celebrate Christmas for the right reasons.

I find it amazing anyone can get as far as the House of Representatives without knowing or at least having a passing acquaintance with the Constitution. America is not a Christian nation, and never has been. Nobody is waging a war on Christmas, in fact the only problem I see is that Christmas has become a secular holiday with almost no mention of Jesus at all.

Rep. King. Stop posturing with a cross in one hand and the bible in the other, you are a civic official. If you want to be a preacher, there are numerous theological schools who would love having you as a student.

Bush White House Under Court Order Not To Destroy Tapes - Destroyed Them Anyway!

The last time I remember the CIA being in so much hot water was back during the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Seems Congress has woken from its long sleep and realized that the foxes are in charge of the hen house. Here is the real kicker, the Bush administration was under a court order not to destroy any evidence of detainee torture and abuse months before the CIA took it upon themselves to destroy the tapes!

The out for the CIA may lie in their secret network of overseas prison that they denied having for so long. The technicality may be that the judge’s order pertained to Guantanamo Bay and may not be relevant to "secret locations" elsewhere. Either way, this whole thing smacks of the kind of stuff you expect to find in an old James Bond flick. The only difference is that there the people with the secret prisons and torture were the "Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union. Sad that we have managed to drop so far in our tactics that we look more like the old Russia than the new one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Colorado Gunman Was Home-Schooled Fundamentalist

The latest in the Colorado tragedy is that the gunman, Matthew Murray was actually a home-schooled fundamentalist, or at least he was raised that way. Apparently Murray once attended the Youth With A mission training center but was thrown out. Since that time he was sending the school hate mail recently.

The really sad thing is a rant he wrote on a web site for people who have left fundamentalist sects. Murray is reported to have written, "You Christians brought this on yourselves'' and ``All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you ... as I can especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.''

Now I am going to go out on a limb here, but what the heck. When you are raised with a simplistic and "bible literalism" theology, you tend to see everything as either good or evil. Fundamentalist theology rarely accounts for shades of gray, and unfortunately that is what the real world is made of. In the end, when your understanding of spiritual and moral matters has not progressed beyond the "Golden Book of Bible Stories" you are headed for a crisis of faith. Seems to me that is what Mr. Murray had, and having no tools to deal with it, he resorted to the "smite or flight" mentality that these kinds of belief systems create.

What happened is tragic, and perhaps there would be no way to stop this kind of senseless killing, but I have to wonder if instilling the kinds of black and white values in our kids really helps ferment these actions. After all, if you believe that there is only good or evil in the world, then it is very easy to decide your course of action. Destroy evil? And then what to do with the evil that is created by that destruction?

I personally agree with Albert Einstein who wrote that the concept of good and evil is a mistake. Much like in physics there is no such thing as "cold", merely the absence of heat. There is no such thing as "evil", merely the absence of "good" or as I prefer the absence of God. What a better world it would be if we all tried to encourage this view. It would certainly be better to try to bring good to those situations that lacked it than to compound the problem by destroying or killing and decreasing the overall good of the world.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"If Dick Cheney Didn’t Have Government Care, He’d Probably Be Dead Now" - New Ad Campaign!

Do you have a health problem? If you are like me and millions of other Americans, you can’t get individual health insurance unless you work for a big company with a group policy. Even then it might be prohibitively expensive. Not so for our government folks like Dick Cheney. They enjoy great health care with no expenses. How come single payer health care works for them, but they always vote against it? Well, that is the question being asked by an ad in several Iowa newspapers today.

The California Nurses Association and the Nurses Organizing Committee are sponsoring full page ads that explain how wonderful government health care can be. They use Dick Cheney as an example. If Cheney had no insurance he would undoubtedly be dead today. Instead he gets the best treatment at no expense to him. The group is urging Congress and voters to pressure Congress for a Medicare package for all Americans. Bravo nurses!

Christian Youth Group Puts Teens In Diapers - Kinky!

You just gotta love the folks at the Mt. Lebanon Young Life club, a nondenominational Christian youth group. These nice folks figured out a great ice-breaker for the teenage charges. Several boys were taken to a restroom and told to undress. There they were dressed in adult diapers, bibs and bonnets. The 14 year old boys were brought back in the room and told to sit in girls laps where they were fed baby food and bottles full of soda. The one who finished their "feeding" first won!

Now that’s my kind of Christian youth activity! With any luck it will set these kids on a nice lifelong path toward a really interesting fetish. Personally I think they should have waited until the boys and girls were over 18, but I guess the Mt. Lebanon Young Life club likes to start them early.

Several parents got upset by the whole matter and called police. What party poopers! Seriously, what the heck were these people thinking. Diapering horny teenagers and sitting them in girls laps? Come on people, I’m kinky, but at least I have the good judgement to know that hormone laden teens are all wrong for this kind of stuff.

Colorado Shootings, Some Thoughts

The recent shootings in Colorado should give us all pause. The police have not released the name of the shooter, but I suspect whoever he was the sad truth is that he figured the answers to his questions could be found at the end of the barrel of a gun. What is it that causes people to think this way? I would put my money on a society that looks for vengeance rather than reconciliation.

There was a joke when I was growing up, "Don’t get mad, get even!" Unfortunately that has become a way of life in America and I fear it will be the kind of attitude that will eventually undermine civility all together. The gunman took the lives of numerous people and I suspect he saw that as some kind of solution. Instead it is just another part of the problem.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Huckabee Advocated AIDS Quarantine

It seems Mike Huckabee has some views that are a bit more radical than he lets on. Take his stance on AIDS back in 1992. Then candidate Huckabee advocated isolating AIDS patients. In response to a question about how to handle the crisis he replied, "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.".

Ah, yes. Leper colonies for the new century! Now Mike poses as the enlightened conservative, but underneath he is still the Baptist Minister who even in 1992 failed to educate himself on the nations most pressing health crisis.

(Thanks for the tip, Joshe)