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Obama = Hitler?? 30 Jul 2008

Posted by Jessa in Politics.
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Wait. What? Is that Stein’s thing now? Comparing everything he dislikes to Nazis?

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VA Complies With Establishment Clause; Christians Cry Discrimination 06 Jul 2008

Posted by Jessa in Politics, Religion.
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Yet another example of “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed because the government doesn’t grant my religion special privileges over other religions!”:

North Carolina Congressman Robin Hayes says some officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs are engaging in anti-Christian discrimination.

Last year officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs ordered the VA Hospital in Fayetteville to remove all Christian religious symbols from its chapel – crosses, Bibles, and stained glass windows. According to the VA, the chapel must remain “neutral” in order to make worshippers of all faiths “comfortable.” Chaplain Archie Barringer retired from his position as service chief at the hospital in protest.

Congressman Hayes takes issue with the hospital’s actions. “This is the very basic and crux and core of our religious faith and of who we are in this country. And it has certainly offended me, as I know it has a number of other people, to see these articles of faith removed that our veterans have fought, bled, and died in order to preserve,” Hayes explains.

So the VA, in order to make a publicly-financed space inclusive of all faiths represented in our military, decide to remove symbols that are specific to a particular religion.  That’s not anti-Christian discrimination.  Anti-Christian discrimination would be to put a sign on the chapel door saying “No Christians Allowed”.   What they’ve done is remove the pro-Christian discrimination, in compliance with the Establishment Clause.  You’re still free to worship there as you please.

And our veterans “have fought, bled, and died in order to preserve” Christian religious symbols?  I’m sure that would come as news to  the many non-Christian soldiers out there (and, yes, they exist).  Let’s see what the Oath of Enlistment has to say:

I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (So help me God.)

Hmmm.  I do see a mention of “God” in the optional part at the end, but it doesn’t say which God.  It mentions defending and maintaining allegiance to the Constitution and obeying the President and superior officers.  I don’t see any reference to crosses, Bibles, or stained-glass windows. It seems that Mr. Hayes was wrong.  Color me shocked.

And for those Christians out there who don’t understand why the VA wisely decided to remove the crosses and Bibles, ask yourself how comfortable you would feel praying in a chapel (paid with your tax dollars) that contains exclusively Muslim (or Jewish, or Hindu, or Buddhist, etc.) iconography.

Stimulus Package Causes Increase in Package Stimulus 06 Jul 2008

Posted by Jessa in Humor, Politics.
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An amusing result of those $600 stimulus checks: it appears that they have led to an increase in online porn usage:

An unforeseen and surprising beneficiary of the Economic Stimulus Plan, a plan that George Bush contends will “boost our economy and encourage job creation,” has surfaced this week. An independent market-research firm, AIMRCo (Adult Internet Market Research Company), has discovered that many websites focused on adult or erotic material have experienced an upswing in sales in the recent weeks since checks have appeared in millions of Americans’ mailboxes across the country.

According to Kirk Mishkin, Head Research Consultant for AIMRCo, “Many of the sites we surveyed have reported 20-30% growth in membership rates since mid-May when the checks were first sent out, and typically the summer is a slow period for this market.”

And it apparently is no coincidence:

Jillian Fox, spokeswoman for LSGmodels.com, one of the sites reporting figures to AIMRCo, added, “In a June 15, 2008 survey to our members, thirty two percent of respondents referenced the recent stimulus package as part of their decision to either become a new member, or renew an existing membership.”

I wonder how Dubya and his religious-right supporters feel about this interesting development.  It does bring a new level of hilarity to the term economic “stimulus”. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Jesse Helms Dies 04 Jul 2008

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Out of respect for his family (but not the man himself), I won’t speak ill of Jesse Helms right now.  I don’t really have to – his record speaks volumes.  But I won’t pretend that I am sad.  That would be dishonest.

They’re Voting Republican 14 Jun 2008

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Message to Ralph Nader from Anonymous 03 Mar 2008

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 Mildly NSFW.

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Huckabee and Evolution 10 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Science, Politics, Religion, Science.
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I just came across this slightly old post from Wired: Evolution Not ‘Just a Theory’, and Yes, Huckabee It Does Matter. It’s an interesting read, and the comments are quite entertaining.

Putting Candidates’ Religion to the Test 05 Feb 2008

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John Allen Paulos has “Twelve Irreligious Questions for the Candidates Before “Tiw’s Day’s” Elections“.

His book just went on my reading list.

Decidedly Undecided 05 Feb 2008

Posted by Jessa in Politics.
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I’m known among my friends as a politics junkie, so it comes as a surprise to many of them that I haven’t decided for whom I am going to vote.

I have done some elimination.  The Republicans were ruled out almost immediately.  All of the front-runners have one or more deal-breaker positions that make it impossible for me to support them.  So at least it’s narrowed down to the Democrats.

When it comes to Clinton vs. Obama, I’m genuinely undecided.  From my perspective, there’s not much difference between them, policy-wise.  Sure, they have some differences, but they’re not significant enough to sway me to one or the other.  When it comes to Iraq, I don’t care about what someone did in the past as much as what they will do in the future.  They both want a withdrawal – that’s what’s important to me.  As for health care, any legislation will have to go through Congress and will likely bear little resemblance to either candidate’s vision once the House and Senate are through with it.

My choice for president doesn’t really matter anyway because my vote is totally meaningless.  My state’s primary is too late in the season; the choice will already be made by then.  Also, my state has gone Republican for as long as anyone can remember.  The GOP could nominate a bowl of oatmeal for president and it would carry my state.

In the end, the only thing my vote is good for is bitching rights.  And I’ve been exercising that right quite often in the last 7 years.

Candidates Act Like Adults In Debate 01 Feb 2008

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So far I’ve skipped watching the 9000 debates that have been held since the beginning of the election season.  But now that the field is down to a reasonable number, I decided to watch them this week.

I was pleased to see that the Democratic candidates seem to have reached some kind of truce between each other.   The whole tone was very civil, and I felt like I learned some substantive things about both Obama and Clinton.

It was quite a contrast to the previous evening’s debate between the Republicans, which consisted of McCain and Romney arguing over who was more “liberal”, Huckabee whining about how nobody is paying attention to him, and Ron Paul being the weird guy.