Thursday, 26 June 2008

John McCain and the C-Word

Not safe for work, but absolutely hysterical.

I guess he wasn't expecting someone to bring this up at a town meeting. HehHehHeh.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Red Sky Ministries Nutcases

Check out the Red Sky Ministries. I guess the End-Times craziness is not confined to the United States alone. There is a creepy video of a man, perhaps the founder of the site on the front page. He is either one brain damaged specimen of humanity, or perhaps a badly done video. Very creepy.

Apparently these guys have now embraced Global Warming instead of denying it. I knew this would happen once they could figure out how to link this with Revelations and the Rapture. They are a bit slow on the uptake, but I knew they would eventually get there. After all, don't these people use any natural disaster they can wrap their grimy paws around, for their own nefarious purposes? The tsunami in SE Asia, Hurricane Katrina, and any other natural disasters with a large loss of life are used by these people to try to scare others into becoming Christians.

A lot of their links don't seem to come up, but I love the Practical Advice page. It says "coming soon...". And it won't be too soon for these fruitcakes. I have some advice for their Advice Page, "Learn some basic science before commenting on climate change and weather".

Selecting Meet The Antichrist is absolutely surreal and very antisemitic at the end. Check out this:
Here’s the trick. The Star of David didn’t always belong to Israel. Originally, it was used by the Egyptians for Satan worship and still is. They call it a hexagram or a hex. Anyone with a hex is cursed.
The word hexagram means six sides, you idiots. Hex means six not curse in this usage. What a bunch of ignorant twits. You have to see the site to believe it. These people desparately need a good basic science education.

Oh, look here. There's a free e-book to download, The Global Meltdown Domino Effect: God's Judgment of Fire. Oh and they have a special notice for Christians only located at the back of the pdf file. I looked. Ooops. I guess I wasn't supposed to. I thought I would see their secret plans. But no, all I saw was mangled science and a bunch of boring Bible verses. is our official web site. It contains details of the Global Meltdown Domino Effect plus practical advice on what you should do during the coming years. There is also a section called “Meet The AntiChrist” where we reveal what he is doing at the moment, how he will take over, what the mark of the beast is, plus we virtually name him.
But their advice page had no advice. How the hell are they keeping track of the Antichrist? Did they snag him, drug him, rectally probe him, and implant him with a tracking device? Inquiring minds want to know.

I'm laughing so hard now it's difficult to continue this post....

Monday, 23 June 2008

Pervert Alert: Horrifying Molestion Case or Swinger Panic?

This is quite possibly the worst molestation case that I've read about in sometime.
The third trial of an alleged member of a swingers club accused of forcing children into sex shows was postponed Monday amid allegations that the foster father to the young victims molested other children.

Prosecutors said the California child sex charges against John Cantrell, who has custody of three siblings who allegedly performed inside the club, has nothing to do with their case in Texas.

Cantrell, 64, was charged last week with sexually assaulting two of his foster children in 1990. His wife has denied the allegations.

Margie Cantrell first told authorities in 2005 about what the children -- now ages 12, 10, and 7 -- revealed to her about having being forced into sex at the former daycare.

These poor children. First made to be the "stars" for these perverts, then the foster father who is now taking care of them is being charged with molestation from a couple of foster children he took care of 18 years ago. I hope for the kids that their current foster father is innocent of the charges. What a nightmare.


Brockulsen in the comments in this post on Dark Christianity has a link to this story about the case.

Many have wondered how the club let people know about these events. Investigators say though a website was never found specifically for the club they think that it was probably solicited through individual messages on swingers websites or social networking sites, many of which have specific East Texas communities like Mineola.

"It's either word of mouth or through the internet somehow. Specifically to this case. We don't know how they got there but we know a lot of people got there," said Murphy.

On just one website, we found 7,000 swingers within a 100 miles of Mineola, although they are adults it shows the interest is there, and now authorities are asking for help.

"I think there are individuals out there who know what went on in that building. I think there are grown adults who know, just like those children testified about, what went on in that building. For law enforcement to bring those people to justice we need the help of the general public. We need people to look down and standup and do the right thing. Let us know who was there because everybody involved needs to be brought to justice," said murphy.

This is almost starting to sound like some of the cases of "Satanic Panic" in the 1980's. 7000 people? 7000 swingers who were also into kiddie porn and no one has evidence of the thousands who supposedly visited the club?

Jeremy Hall Update

Jews on First has a very good overview of the lawsuit that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is filing on behalf of Jeremy Hall. Hall as you may remember from previous posts on this blog, is a soldier who is suing the Department of Defense for the religious discrimination that he has received from superior officers and enlisted soldiers, as well as from the bureaucracy of the Army as well.

This case has been on going for nearly a year, and the government has asked for more time until sometime in July to prepare their case. Currently, the MRFF has received over 8000 complaints from soldiers, airmen, and sailors who have experienced harassment from conservative, fundamentalist evangelists. 96% of these complaints are from Christians, whom the evangelists consider "not Christian enough". There is a podcast of a Mikey Weinstein and Jeremy Hall interview here.

An excerpt from the report and the interview:
Maj. Welborn’s tirade notwithstanding, the Constitution’s First Amendment forbids the establishment of an official religion. In practice, however, according to Hall, fundamentalist evangelical Christianity pervaded his combat experience in Iraq. Before seeing any combat, his unit was lined up and a chaplain handed each soldier a New Testament. When a bullet hit the shield on the turret in which he was riding, leaving him “as scared as I’ve ever been,” the convoy stopped, “and the first thing I was asked was ‘Hey, Hall. Do you believe in Jesus now?’ And not ‘hey are you okay?’ Or ‘what happened?’ or anything like that, just immediately my eternal soul was in question; my religious beliefs were automatically brought into question as a test or as a means to gauge me, all the time.“ After this particular episode Hall replied, “’No but I believe in ballistic glass.’ And I knocked on the shield which had just saved me.”
Wow, these Jesus pushers are like telemarketers, they really don't know when to stop. And to know when they have crossed the boundaries of respectful behavior. Perhaps the Department of Defense can have an opt out list for members. They can call it the Proselytization Opt Out List (POOL). This can work just like with telemarketers. Violators can have their pay docked each time they violate the list by trying to convert those on the list. And anyone can be on the list, even Christians who are tired of their fellow Christian's bullshit.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Looks Like John Freshwater is Finally Out the Door

Cafe Philos has a very good discussion of the case of a science teacher in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. There are a lot of links in his post. Very good reading. John Freshwater is the science teacher who has had various complaints by both parents and students for many years.

His behavior this year has finally landed him in extremely hot water. In addition to continually proselytizing his students with right-wing fundamentalist Christianity, he is accused of burning a cross into a student with an electrical device which is not designed for this purpose. See the photograph at the left for a picture of the scar left but he burn.

If this was my child he burned, I would have raised hell the moment I found out about it. The parents of the burned child have been much more lenient than I would have ever been.

It looks like Freshwater has some extremely scary supporters, I can see why the parents wanted to remain anonymous.
Yet, despite Mr. Freshwater’s behavior, quite a few people in Mount Vernon support him. Apparently among his most ardent supporters are the members of a local Christian group that calls itself “Minutemen United“, and who envision themselves as existing “…to wage war against a culture of God-haters”.
Wow, it looks like a mini religious war starting up in Mt. Vernon. It seems like John Freshwater views all those who don't have the exact same religious views as "god-haters". What a dick.
His colleagues over at the high school, for instance, claim his teaching of evolution is so flawed they are forced to re-teach the subject to his students when they get into high school. It has also come out that Mr. Freshwater has been told on at least several occasions to change his behavior, but has refused to do so. Only now, years after the complaints first started coming in, has anything been done about them.
It looks like he really sucks at teaching science.
By the time the School Board met to discuss the matter, many more allegations had surfaced. Consequently, the Board met in executive session to decide to have an independent organization investigate the allegations, and Superintendent Steve Short announced, “The allegations against Mr. Freshwater are very serious. This is not about his personal Bible on his desktop. It is about the totality of his conduct.”
Freshwater seems to be trying unsuccessfully to make this about his personal Bible at work, when the real issue is the religious teaching during science class and his burning of a student. The School Board hired an independent firm to investigate Freshwater's conduct as a teacher. The report is here. And it looks like John Freshwater is as bad a liar as he is a science teacher.

Some excerpts from John Freshwater:
Mr. Freshwater said the State sets the benchmark standards and the school has adopted them. He said that all three eighth grade science teachers follow the same curriculum but exercise flexibility in how they present the curriculum. He said that he teaches evolution.

He denied that his teachings have varied from the District’s curriculum in any way due to his religious beliefs or that he has ever told students that although he is forced to teach from the text books the teachings are wrong or not proven according to the Bible.
Some excerpts from how others see his teaching (there is really so much more, read the report):
Dr. Weston stated that she has had to deal with internal and external complaints about his failure to follow the curriculum for much of her 11 years at Mount Vernon. It has come to her attention many times. She has reported these events to administrators and there have been some attempts to make changes and other instances where they seem to have been disregarded, particularly by one former assistant principal. She said that Mr. Freshwater cannot separate creationism/intelligent design from teaching to the science standards. She stated Mr. Freshwater has a lot of influence with his students that causes her concern.
The High School Principal said that Mr. Freshwater has caused issues for her high school teachers in having to reeducate students from his teachings. The specific issues include a number of areas -- his failure to follow the curriculum regarding teaching creationism/intelligent design rather than evolution and his teaching of the Periodic Table, as examples. The High School Principal specifically asked that her daughter not be assigned to Mr. Freshwater for her 8th grade science due to her concern about his teaching not being consistent with the curriculum.
It looks like the other teachers were aware of how bad a science teacher he was, but did nothing to stop him. As long as their children did not have to be taught by him, it seems like they were willing to let things slide. It took being sued by the parents of an injured student for them to do anything at all.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Adoptic Blogging Communities

I've been invited to try out the beta Adoptic blogging communities with the javascript on the left side of my blog. I'm in the academic community. I'll see how it works out, though I'm really not that worried about promoting my blog. I use my blog as a way to blow off a little steam.

Adoptic is similar to other blogging communities where post snippets are displayed in the Adoptic widget displayed. These snippets change over time as the web page is displayed. Going to Adoptic and logging in lets you quickly browse the communities and friends posts.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Passive-Aggressive Conversion Attempt?

Last November our housing subdivision held a Thanksgiving potluck lunch. One of our neighbors decided to take it upon himself to deliver a very sectarian Christian prayer/invocation. Never mind that several of us are not Christian and made it a point to not participate. Our host made a sarcastic crack to the prayer guy in support of us.

Later, after we had eaten, one of our neighbors and her husband kept following me around and talking about her church. I usually don't like to deliberately alienate people so I gave a few noncommittal answers. Eventually, I managed to turn the conversation to other topics, thus letting her figure out (or not) that I really was not interested in her church.

A couple of weeks later, we started receiving a church bulletin from her church. I didn't really put it all together until today when I received one of these things in the mail again. I asked myself "When did we start receiving these church bulletins?" It's been since last December. Is it a coincidence or did someone put us on their mailing list?

Some intriguing titles here in the church bulletin:
  • In Some Ways We Live in a Scary World (Looks like fear mongering always works well as an evangelism tool.)
  • What's So Great About Following Jesus? (Apparently nothing except an unproven afterlife.)
  • Sir Edmund Hillary Falls To His Death (Better be a Christian, or you go to the scary, bad, hot place.)
  • Divine GPS (So you want to know where heaven is? Who knew that a GPS could tell you. Does it also show you where hell is?)
There is a reference to a website on the church bulletin,something called House To House. Looking at their website, I see an article "What is a Religious Cult?" Hmmm, it looks like the pot is calling the kettle black. As far as I'm concerned all religions are cults, it's just that some are far more controlling than others. They also have an "Ask a Bible Question" page. Perhaps I'll submit some interesting questions later this week and post any responses.

If we did get put on their mailing list, why? Do they think that I'll read it and suddenly drop to my knees and start screaming "Jesus, I believe in you"? Or some such crap? And why would a piece of paper make me do this? Do they expect people to easily fall for such drivel? And why could they not respect my position and viewpoint?

I guess some people cannot take no for an answer and prefer to keep on like telemarketers. If you have to market or sell your religion like some sort of cheap product, it makes me wonder why. If it were so obviously true, then there would be no marketing or faith needed. After all, no one has to sell me on the idea that the sun will rise tomorrow.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Holy Antisemitism Batman!

John McCain's favorite preacher seems to have quite the hate-on for Jews. Bruce Wilson over at Talk2Action has been covering this story for the last several months. In addition to some transcripts of Hagee's speeches,there is also plenty of incriminating video.
Last year, at Texas megachurch Pastor John Hagee's July 16-18 2007 "Christians United For Israel" conference in Washington D.C., US Senator Joseph Lieberman made a warmly received appearance and delivered a speech likening Pastor Hagee, Christians United For Israel's founder, to Moses. "He is an Ish Elochim," said the Senator, "A man of God." Lieberman went on, "and, like Moses, he is the leader of a mighty multitude." But in March 2003, on three consecutive Sundays at his San Antonio-based Cornerstone Church, Pastor John Hagee gave a series of three sermons heavily loaded with anti-Jewish memes, stereotypes, slurs and conspiracy theories, one of which was almost identical to what was perhaps Adolf Hitler's favorite conspiracy theory, which alleged that an international Jewish banking cabal, led by the The Jewish Rothschild banking family, controls the fates of entire nation, even the progression of world events and history, through the manipulation of global money markets.
Wow, just wow. And why doesn't the main stream media cover any of this? And what's with Joe Lieberman ignoring Hagee's antisemitic remarks? Well, I say if it walks like a Nazi and quacks like a Nazi, then it must be a Nazi and a Nazi enabler.
John Hagee has also, to wide public notice, declared that God sent Hitler, to chase Europe's Jew towards Palestine with Nazi persecution and with the Holocaust. Hagee, additionally has stated that Jews are not "spiritually alive."
Check out the first two videos, just frightening. How the hell can his group, Christians United For Israel, get any Jewish support at all? Check out the multitude of links at the end of the article. There were too many articles for me to have time to read them all.

Here are the two videos:

Absolutely fucking scary.

It looks like the Jewish community is starting to get wind of exactly how bad Hagee's antisemitism is.
Will Lieberman and Pipes continue backing Hagee regardless of what other anti-Jewish commentaries might be discovered? Will CUFI continue to escalate its push for the Bush Administration to deal militarily with Iran? These questions might be answered when CUFI members flock to Washington next month.
The folks over at JStreet are asking Joe Lieberman not to go to the CUFI convention on July 22nd. Perhaps the word is getting out, or perhaps not.

Stay tuned folks, same Bat channel, same Bat time.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Fake Fundy Chaplains

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is currently investigating an outfit called Marshall Minutes Military Ministries. The Milwaukee MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) is being targeted by Marshal in order to "harvest young vulnerable recruits". According to Chris Rhodda:
Marshall Minutes is run by Michael G. Marshall of the Armed Forces Baptist Missions (AFBM), an organization on "A Worldwide Quest for the Souls of Men and Women in Uniform and their families." AFBM's primary means of evangelizing the military is "church planting," establishing churches near military bases and then opening "Military Service Centers" to help these churches "reach young, single military men and women with the Gospel of Christ." Marshall Minutes' particular "field white for the harvest" is the Milwaukee Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), where new recruits are tested and processed before being sent to basic training, and the ministry plans to "plant" a church near the Great Lakes Naval Base in late 2008 or early 2009.
Yikes. Sounds like a cult to me. "Harvest" sounds soooo creepy.
But it's not the misleading names of these organizations that makes them significant enough for me to be writing this piece about them. Unofficial organizations with official sounding names are a dime a dozen. Many have logos that incorporate images such as the Great Seal of the United States, and some use ".us" rather than ".com" or ".org" URLs for their websites to further the impression that they are government entities. What's different about the USOSC, and formerly the USSC, is that their members wear military uniforms and rank. This is not only deceptive. IT'S ILLEGAL!
More Christians, lying for Jesus. When are they going to learn that the ends don't justify the means? Clicking on the link for Marshall Ministries reveals that the website has been emptied of content. Looks like the cockroaches are scattering when the light shines on them.
Title 10 of the U.S. Code strictly prohibits any person who isn't a member of the armed forces from wearing "the uniform, or a distinctive part of the uniform, of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps" or "a uniform any part of which is similar to a distinctive part of the uniform of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps."

According to Title 18 of the U.S. Code, (Crimes and Criminal Procedures): "Whoever, in any place within the jurisdiction of the United States or in the Canal Zone, without authority, wears the uniform or a distinctive part thereof or anything similar to a distinctive part of the uniform of any of the armed forces of the United States, Public Health Service or any auxiliary of such, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both."
And even scarier, members of this ministry are putting on military uniforms and giving themselves superior officer rank that they did not even earn. This is not only illegal, IT'S A FEDERAL CRIME.

What part of this do they not understand? It looks like another case of right-wing religious kooks pretending they have qualifications they did not earn. Just like fake college degrees in the Homeland Security Dept. It's bad enough that some of the non-denominational or Pentecostal chaplains have very little or no college education. Now we have wannabe chaplains who don't even want to get accreditation and sponsorship of a religious organization with little or no educational requirements.

Who the hell is even checking up on these people? What is wrong with the current military leadership these days? So anyone calling themselves Christian can do anything they want to young recruits these days? Is this the start of right-wing Christians just putting on military officer uniforms and waltzing in and taking command? WTF?
Michael Marshall, listed in Maj. Alan Shaw's endorsement letter as a Lieutenant Colonel in the USSC, doesn't provide his highest real military rank in his biography, but he was an enlisted man in the Navy from 1972 to 1976. By wearing the USSC uniform, which was essentially the U.S. Army uniform, and the rank insignia of a Lieutenant Colonel, Marshall was doing nothing short of impersonating an Army officer. Even the MEPS Inspector General didn't recognize the illegality of these Army chaplain look-alikes. According to Maj. Shaw's letter of endorsement, the IG actually commended them in a report.
I worked very hard for my rank as an officer in the US Air Force. I graduated with a degree in Applied math and passed Officer Training School. I made all of my promotions and held the rank of Captain when I left the service. I worked my ass off and earned a regular commission as a First Lieutenant instead of having to wait until the rank of Major. I'm extremely pissed that these assholes think that all they have to do is simply put on the uniform, walk in and get treated like an officer.
Thus, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is now officially demanding that those responsible within the penumbra of the Department of Defense, and there are many, including Inspectors General, for the aiding, abetting, and endorsing of USOSC proselytizers, feloniously impersonating active duty U.S. military officers and senior NCOs must be subjected immediately to trial by courts martial. Additionally, MRFF is now likewise demanding that all United States Attorneys whose jurisdictions cover localities where USOSC personnel are illegally wearing their proselytizing-enabling, intentionally confusing military 'uniforms' in blatant violation of Title 10 of the U.S. Code immediately refer these violations to the FBI for aggressive and swift investigation."
Way to go Mikey, get these assholes. Everyone, please read and forward links to this very informative article or these articles. These pricks need to be held accountable. If anyone has any photographs or video of these guys in uniform, please email the photos to me or send a link to video or photographs.

This is not much better than the Nazi Chaplains from last year.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Kern County Clerk says "I don't" to Same Sex Marriage

I live in Kern County, a large, rural, and very conservative county in Southern California. Tuesday, all counties must treat all people the same as regards to performing marriages. Apparently, the Kern County Clerk has decreed that Kern County stopped performing any marriages last Friday. According to the Antelope Valley Press, the Kern County Clerk will not perform any marriages at all, now that they also have to perform same sex marriages.

"The county clerk's office will not solemnize weddings after June 13, 2008," according to a post on the county clerk's Web site. "We will not have the staff or space to deal with an increase in both licenses and ceremonies. Because of long-term administrative plans, budgetary reasons and the need to increase security for elections, the clerk's office will cease solemnizing weddings, which is discretionary on the part of the county clerk."

But, the site notes, "the county clerk's office will issue the new marriage licenses as of June 17 in accordance with California law."

The move allows the county to avoid performing same-sex weddings while not discriminating against same-sex couples - heterosexual couples won't be able to say "I do" at county offices, either.

Looks like a case of "well if I can't get my way, then I'm taking my ball home, so no-one can play." What absolutely childish behavior. Talk about unprofessional.

Kern County Clerk Ann Barnett, who made the decision to stop performing weddings, declined to comment Friday, referring an Antelope Valley Press reporter to Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defense Fund, and Brian Raum, a senior fund attorney. Scott referred questions to Raum, who did not return phone calls Friday.

The Alliance Defense Fund is a conservative Christian legal organization that opposes same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples and abortion, as well as the inclusion of contraception in sex education classes.

Syndicated Christian radio host James Dobson is one of the group's founders.

Looks like another conservative Christian group is interfering with County buisness. And exactly why is the County Clerk being represented by a right-wing Christian group instead of a state attorney?

Butte County, north of Sacramento, also is ceasing its wedding ceremonies. Like Barnett, Butte County Clerk Candace J. Grubbs said the change has nothing to do with values.

"The decision to discontinue marriage ceremonies is about budgetary issues," stated a press release from Grubbs' office. "The decision was made during a budget preparation in early spring when it was determined there were not sufficient anticipated revenues to support all current staff positions."

I'm calling bullshit on this one. It seems that there was plenty of budget for performing weddings before the decision mandating that same sex couples be allowed marry like hetero couples. Why no money now?

While Kern and Butte counties won't perform wedding ceremonies, Los Angeles County will open its doors Tuesday, offering extended hours for ceremonies at some county offices. The county clerk's Lancaster office, 1028 West Ave. J-2, will offer marriage licenses from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Wedding ceremonies are by appointment only.

The county clerk's office in Norwalk will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will remain open for ceremonies until 8 p.m. from Tuesday until June 27.

The Norwalk office will offer a first-come, first-served wedding event from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 21, with 12 civil marriage commissioners on hand to perform ceremonies.

Good for you Los Angles County. Show those jerks what acting like professionals looks like. It looks like some County Clerks are acting like bigoted jerks. They seem to forget that they are here to follow the laws, not force their personal religious views on everyone.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Dismaying Shopping Experience at Walmart

We needed to get new tires today for the car and after checking prices, the hubby decided to get the new tires at Walmart. I usually don't shop at Walmart, but the hubby does. While he was over in the Auto department waiting for the tires to be installed, I decided to walk around the store. I saw that they had moved the magazines and books to the front of the store.

I walked up the the book display and saw a large Father's Day display consisting of the book, No Atheists in Foxholes by Chaplain Patrick McLaughlin. As an atheist veteran, I'm flabbergasted at the denial of reality some Christians have about the existence of atheists in the military. When I was in the Air Force, I knew plenty of people who were either atheist or agnostic. In fact it seemed that it was more common to be nonreligious than in the regular civilian world.

The December 2004 Population Bulletin - America's Military Population, Vol. 59, No.4 which analyzes the US Armed Forces regarding race, religion, ethnicity, civilian background, education, etc. A copy of the report is located at the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.

Religious affiliation or the lack of it is addressed on page 25 of the bulletin. According to the bulletin, the percentage of service members identifing themselves as nonreligious is larger than in the civilian population, even taking into account the younger average age of service members. In the civilian population, younger people are significantly more nonreligious than older people.
We do know the civilian American population has been moving away from the traditional Christian religions and toward other religious groups or eschewing any religious affiliation.34 This latter trend is particularly pronounced among young adults, exactly the age groups most likely to enter the military. In general, the armed forces show lower religious affiliation than the civilian population, even among civilians ages 20 to 39 (see Table 5). A larger share of military than civilians reported they are Christians but are not Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox or Protestant, or do not specify a denomination.
This report shows the higher number of the nonreligious in the services, but also the higher number of non-denominational Christians in the military. A lot of non-denominational churches are heavily evangelical. The large number of non-denominational chaplains who have entered the service in the last 15 years may account for the increased friction between the nonreligious service members and the evangelical Christians that have made the news in the last few years.

Oh and this blog is one year old today. It's been a lot of fun and I hope to continue for another year. A big thanks to all of my readers.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

No More Anonymous Posting in Kentucky?

There is a long and valuable history of anonymous writing in the United States, especially with the anonymous pamphleteering by writers such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. I choose to write anonymously because I prefer to keep my views private until I disclose them myself to someone.

This past March, Kentucky Representative Tim Couch(R) introduced House Bill 775, which would require all sites allowing comments to require the person identify themselves. There would be no anonymous posting of comments allowed on the Internet for Kentucky residents.
"In summary, House Bill 775 would require Kentucky residents who want to leave a comment on a Web site to register their real name, address, and e-mail address with the Web site. They would be expected to use their real name whenever they commented. Web site operators who would not abide by the law would be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for any additional violation."
Is the man daft? Does he even know how impossible it would be to implement this scheme?
Mr.Couch says his name has been slashed all over the blogosphere for this bill. I tried to persuade him the interview would give him the opportunity to explain to the blogosphere his original intentions, but he still declined saying:

“I only wanted to make a statement, and I did.”

Mr. Couch told me over the phone that he is being attacked on the Internet. He has received countless e-mails and phone calls not only at his office, but also at his home. His daughter received a call that contained severe “foul language.”

He said, “I am not a Communist,” like he thinks the blogosphere is making him out to be.

Well, you're a public servant, and when you do something this idiotic, people are going to voice their opinions. It appears that your constituents don't suffer fools gladly.
Mr. Couch also told WebProNews that he does not think the bill will go anywhere especially after the strong response he’s received. He said he would like the negativity to stop, and he’s very busy at the moment working on the state budget.
So why waste everyone's time with this sort of foolishness? Poor baby. The bill seems to be dead as of now. But I expect some power hungry control freak to try this again.

Quite a few bloggers use anonymity when blogging. There are a few disadvantages to anonymous blogging. Anonymous bloggers are more likely not to be taken seriously and usually have to compensate for this with more and higher quality posts. There is also a lack of some personal and uniquely identifying information in the posting, qualities that would allow readers to emotionally connect with the blogger. I find that I have to sometimes make small changes in identifying information in my posts. I also have to choose not to post some personal stories. This restricts my content somewhat.

But I feel that anonymous activism can be a very powerful force. Anonymous has turned the act of anonymous protesting to an art form. It allows someone a freedom to express themselves with a possibly reduced risks of threats and harm. Though in the Keiffe & Sons Ford ad, I would have probably written as myself anyway, at least to the Ford Corporation. But publicly writing about this in the very conservative Antelope Valley almost requires me to write anonymously if I want to keep my family and property safe from some "Loving Christians."

Later, I will write about a few incidents that have prompted me to keep this blog anonymous. I enjoy my secret identity. It's turning out to be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Home State Woes

It's been a crazy news week for my home state of Louisiana. These stories are the reason why I will never return to live there. I lived there for the first 25 years of my life, going to school, then college until I went into the Air Force.

Wacky Pentecostals in Shreveport, LA had themselves a book burning, a real good old-fashioned mini Nazi-style book burning. The guy on the right needs to close his fingers to give a proper Nazi salute. And a burning cross or a couple of swastikas would give the book burning that special fascistic atmosphere. Hitler would feel so at home there.

According to the preachers at this insane church:
"It is allowed for Harry Potter to be taught in our schools, but not the Bible," International House of Prayer pastor James Crawford said during the Shreveport Regional Unity of Faith Revival.

The book burning was a statement to reach out to people in Shreveport-Bossier City against sin, Crawford said.
Yeah, reach out and scare someone shitless. And some of the comments on the Shreveport Times website are scary indeed.

And on the creationism front, the NCSE has the latest news about the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act. La Senate Bill 733 singles out evolution from any other scientific theory and lets teachers use non-scientific materials to critique it.
After the bill passed the state Senate, Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, wrote to the New Orleans Times-Picayune (May 6, 2008), and echoed the same sentiments. "Proponents offer deceptive arguments about encouraging students to think critically," he observed. "But Louisiana's education standards already do that. The real intent is to introduce classroom materials that raise misleading objections to the well-documented science of evolution and offer a religious idea called intelligent design as a supposed alternative. That would unleash an assault against scientific integrity, leaving students confused about science and unprepared to excel in a modern workforce."
When I attended high school in Louisiana, evolution was not taught. Our biology teacher told us he was not allowed to teach about evolution. He said that out of class he could discuss it and answer any questions. I feel I was lucky that my parents encouraged questions and learning about science.

We watched science shows at home and my favorite books were the Time-Life Nature series that came in every month. That was my favorite present at Christmas. Those books taught me more about biology than ever I learned in high school. To me, evolution was a basic fact of biology. How could it not be? There is simply too much evidence in favor of evolution and no evidence for any alternative.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Poe's Law for J W Horne?

As I perused J W Horne's third blog (now removed), I'm thinking that the entire blog is probably an implementation of Poe's Law. But I'll go ahead and take the bait. Poe's Law states:
Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing.
Horne has created 3 differing blogs over the last couple of weeks. Each blog consists of only one post containing one paragraph only. The first blog was entitled "Kieffe & Sons Ford" and consisted of the one long rambling paragraph, in which he apparently was trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to respond to my posts over here.

When people responded to his posts, pointing out his hypocrisy, he removed the first blog as well as all of the comments responding to his posts. He also created a new, renamed blog. It looks like Kieffe & Sons Ford seemed pretty unhappy with Horne's "defense" of the radio ad, ergo, the new name. In the comments to the Blogs o' One Post, he gave out his buisness address and personal phone number for anyone on the Internet to see.

Now, that people have apparently been calling him and giving him a piece of their minds, he seems rather surprised people would call him. I don't advocate people calling and harassing anyone. He has every right to express his opinion no matter how hypocritical and bigoted. The lack of common sense in posting a phone number on the Internet is really mind boggling. He has now taken down that blog and created a new one. Again, with one post, though this time he finally uses paragraphs. Here are a few excerpts with my comments:
Because some of you respondents have crossed the line, I will issue this word of warning. Any attempt to be destructive, abusive or intimidating will not be tolerated. I have already reported some of you to the proper authorities. They have informed me that two have been identified and are now on a watch list. If you think you can hide behind the proxy servers and remain invisible and completely anonymous, you are mistaken.
Ooohhh, scary. What "watch list"? Blogger has checked on a couple of IP addresses for him? Well, I for one, have only visited his site, but have left no comments as there is really nothing to reply to. As for what Blogger can do, they could be easily defeated by using FireFox with TOR onion anonymous routing, and a throwaway email account from DodgeIt.
Now all the details:
I wanted to get the attention of the 86 percent of Americans who say they believe in God. That includes Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans and Christians. I wanted to gauge their response. The ones who chose to be a part of the 14 percent spoke first. Calls were loud, vulgar and profane. After a few days, the believers started to contact the client. The positive calls and emails were far greater in number than the loud obnoxious ones. The majority woke up and responded. Included among them were the TV stations, the radio stations, other automobile dealers and people from all walks of life. I wrote the ad and produced it to get the attention of the believers. It is as simple as that.
J W Horne, you stated in the ad that 86% of Americans were Christians, who believe in God, and those are the people who are allowed to state their opinions in your perfect, Christian America. All others need to "sit down and shut up". Well, you are incorrect in your figures. It's closer to 73% identify as Christian, and about 10% identify as atheist or agnostic, with the remaining identifying as Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, New Age, etc.

As far as pissed off callers, I simply placed your words for all to hear. You refer to a minority as if we are second class citizens and placed your phone number on your blog, and now act surprised that you received a lot of calls? Poor, oppressed baby.
It worked and the atheists helped. Thanks.
Oh and you're welcome, though your customers may have an increase in their fundy customers, it may not be so easy to get new customers outside of your Christian buisness directory.
PS. My relationship with the dealership is as strong as ever. Be sure to be listening for more ads
Go ahead, it will be fun to do this all over again. But I think that your customers may eventually get a bit gun shy from the excitement.

Even though I posted a reply here to Horne, I suspect his blog may possibly be a Poe. Could someone in professional media really be this bad at conveying information?


It appears that JW's latest blog has been taken down as well. It seems that he does not stand behind his words. Now just who is afraid to let their words stand on their own?

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Pushing Christian Conversion in Iraq

This article describes how some Marines are pushing for Christian conversions of Iraqis. Apparently, some Marines are taking it upon themselves to try to convert Iraqis by handing out some coins with John 3:16 on them.

FALLUJAH, Iraq - At the western entrance to the Iraqi city of Fallujah Tuesday, Muamar Anad handed his residence badge to the U.S. Marines guarding the city. They checked to be sure that he was a city resident, and when they were done, Anad said, a Marine slipped a coin out of his pocket and put it in his hand.

Out of fear, he accepted it, Anad said. When he was inside the city, the college student said, he looked at one side of the coin. “Where will you spend eternity?” it asked.

He flipped it over, and on the other side it read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.”

“They are trying to convert us to Christianity,” said Anad, a Sunni Muslim like most residents of this city in Anbar province. At home, he told his story, and his relatives echoed their disapproval: They’d been given the coins, too, he said.

Dogemporer over at DailyKos has a series of 3 stories covering this in more details: coin source,
history, and current proselytizing in Iraq.
As it turns out, one group of folks promoting these "bible coins" specifically to Marines are a group calling themselves Basic Training Bible Ministries and specifically a group calling itself Osborne Coinage.

Osborne Coinage would appear to be primarily a token manufacturer--making the sorts of coins formerly used in the NYC subway system, the tokens at old arcades and present-day casinos, and so on. (One of their more popular lines apparently seems to be custom coins for Mardi Gras krewes.) Hence, we must look more at the group promoting the coins.

The proprietor of these coins, one Gene Cunningham, is linked with at least two fundamentalist "Bible churches" (and maintains links with several others. (As best can be determined, his group would fit more in the vein of "Fundamentalist Baptist" than neopentecostal.)

It appears that this is an organized effort by several Christian ministries to try to convert Iraqi citizens to Christianity. The only problem to this scheme is that if an Iraqi converts to Christianity, the only choice the person has is to leave the country. Also, these "ministries"have helped destroy the existing Christian communities in Iraq by aggravating tensions between these old Christian communities and the Muslim majority. Two million Christians have already left Iraq as refugees.

Additionally, this will drastically increase the tensions between the mostly Christian US forces and the mostly Muslim Iraqis. Why allow this to happen?

Of course, as soon as this hit the press, a scapegoat or scapegoats have to be found.
A military statement said "appropriate action" will be taken if the reports are substantiated.
Yeah, but what about the commanders and chaplains who encourage this type of behavior? Will they be punished?

Sunday, 1 June 2008

The Hypocrisy Continues, Notpology Moved, Ad Continues

It looks like the Kieffe & Sons Ford radio ad is continuing according to several people that I've heard from.

The local Bakersfield station quotes Rick Kieffe:

Rick Kieffe, owner of Kieffe and Sons Ford, said he doesn't regret running the ad, which aired on radio stations in eastern Kern County and the Antelope Valley, but he does apologize for offending anyone.
So he wants to keep running an ad that drives away potential customers by insulting and calling them second class citizens. Real good buisness sense there, buddy. First, Placing an apology on your website which has been removed as of today, then continuing to play the ad, really shows that you like to talk out of both sides of your ass. Typical used car salesman.

But I guess he's "technically" not lying. He just like to piss off potential customers. As for caring not to offend people, why air an ad that says he does not care who he offends? Just so much hypocrisy and weaseling out. Well I know one car dealership I will never shop at. Since I'll never get a straight story about the ad, why think that I could ever get the truth about a car?

It looks like the notpology has been moved to their contacts page instead of being removed altogether.

This statement is provided in response to reaction prompted by a radio commercial that Kieffe & Sons Ford recently ran referring to issues of God in our schools and on our money.

"For 15 years, Kieffe and Sons Ford has run ad campaigns that focus on current events. We have chosen to do this rather than presenting typical car sales ads. We do this through an agency that develops the material and sends us a package of commercials to review. From this, we select commercials that we distribute to area radio stations. Frequently we emphasize humor and patriotic themes, as we are located adjacent to two military bases. Public response over these 15 years has been hugely positive, often eliciting calls and visits from appreciative individuals. Regrettably, the commercial that has prompted the current objection to religious sentiment ("Under God", "In God We Trust") was not closely reviewed by our dealership before it went live. The commercial has been replaced. We apologize to all who were offended. It is Kieffe and Sons' intention to support America and the freedoms that make this country great."

Rick Kieffe, President

It looks like Rick Kieffe is completely missing the point of the ruckus over the ad. The reason most people, including myself, were pissed is the "sit down and shutup" for nonbelievers in the ad. I think he is deliberately being obtuse.