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Who Won the VP Debate? 02 Oct 2008

Posted by Jessa in Politics.
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I didn’t watch it, but I’m pretty sure that the following are true:  Obama/Biden supporters think Biden won.  McCain/Palin supporters thought Palin won.

In reality, nobody really “wins” debates – they’re just 90-minute talking-point-flinging festivals, more fanfare than substance.

I’m also going to venture a guess that the people who drew the words “change”, “reform” or “maverick” in the debate drinking game are now on the verge of alcohol poisoning.

Why I Won’t Watch the VP Debate 02 Oct 2008

Posted by Jessa in Politics.
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Even though I am a political junkie, I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I’ve had enough of Sarah Palin to last several lifetimes.

Why?  Because she’s a walking example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.  It’s not just that she does she not seem to know much about the things a VP should know.  It’s that, after she rambles through an incoherent non-answer that leaves even Katie Couric shaking her head, she sits back looking so pleased with herself.  There’s self-confidence, and then there’s complete delusion.

I’m sure she’ll get through tonight.  After all, the bar has now been set so low that if she manages not to throw up or pass out, it will be deemed a success.

Meanwhile, I will be in a much happier place, watching my DVDs of season two of Torchwood.

Southern Baptist Bookstores Pull Magazine Featuring Women Pastors 21 Sep 2008

Posted by Jessa in Politics, Religion.
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From the Christian Post:

Over 100 Christian bookstores run by the Southern Baptist Convention have pulled from their shelves this month’s issue of Gospel Today Magazine, which features a cover story about female pastors.

Customers to Lifeway Christian Bookstores, located mostly in the Bible Belt with a handful of locations along the West Coast, will now have to request to buy the Sept./Oct. issue of Gospel Today Magazine, which have been placed behind the stores’ counters.

The front cover of the latest issue of Gospel Today, an urban publication with a circulation of nearly a quarter of a million, features five smiling female pastors and was titled “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Female Pastors.” In the cover story, the five preachers talk about their roles and responsibilities, struggles and successes.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s second largest Christian denomination, officially opposes females serving as pastors. In 2000, the denomination overwhelmingly adopted a revised statement of faith that said the pastoral role should be restricted to men.

“We have removed the September/October issue of Gospel Today from our shelves because the cover story, featuring female pastors, clearly advocates a position contrary to our denomination’s statement of faith, the Baptist Faith & Message,” Chris Turner, a spokesman for Lifeway Resources, told The Christian Post.

The Baptist Faith and Message declares that “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

Teresa Hairston, the magazine’s publisher, could not be reached for comment. But according to reports by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Associated Press, Hairston said she was just reporting on an emerging trend in churches, and not trying to promote women pastors.

“They basically treated it like pornography and put it behind the counter,” said Hairston, according to AP. “Unless a person goes into the store and asks for it, they won’t see it displayed.”

Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also weighed in the topic of women serving in leadership roles in his recent commentary on women and the election.

He rejected misunderstandings that the denomination wants women to be “subservient” to men, citing the SBC’s confession of faith that states woman and man are “equal worth before God.”

But he drew from teachings in the New Testament to support the Southern Baptist position on women pastors. In 1 Timothy 2:12, “the Apostle Paul instructs that ‘a woman is not to usurp authority over the man,'” explained Land.

“Most Southern Baptists have understood this to mean that women are not to be pastors of local churches, since the pastoral office is a position of authority,” he said.

And the kicker:

Although the denomination doesn’t agree with women serving as pastors, said Land, it does not oppose women serving in leadership roles in public service, such as the vice presidency.

Emphasis mine.  So women pastors on the cover of a magazine = bad.  But women serving in the second-highest office in the country = fine.

Palin For President 11 Sep 2008

Posted by Jessa in Politics.
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No, not THAT Palin.

Elizabeth Dole Brings the Hate 07 Sep 2008

Posted by Jessa in Non-Religion, Politics, Religion.
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The Senate campaign in North Carolina is really getting weird.

I didn’t have any real issues with Liddy Dole.  Well, other than the fact that she hasn’t really done anything during her Senate tenure.  Now she’s bringing the fear-mongering to a whole new level by attacking her opponent, Kay Hagan, for meeting with (gasp!) nonbelievers.

On September 15th, Kay Hagan is heading to Boston, Massachusetts to attend a fundraiser for her Senate campaign.  What may surprise mainstream North Carolinians is that the fundraiser will be in the home of leading anti religion activists Wendy Kaminer and her lawyer husband Woody Kaplan — who is an advisor to the “Godless Americans Political Action Committee.”

Oh dear!  Anti religion activists?  Not so much.

Kaminer is also an advisory board member (Woody is the chairman) of The Secular Coalition for America which is “the national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans with the unique mission of protecting their civil rights.” (Secular Coalition For America, Press Release, 1/16/08)

Kaminer’s husband, Woody Kaplan, is also an advisor to the Godless Americans Political Action Committee which sees itself as a counter-force to religious groups in public policy debates.

That darn Secular Coalition for America – wanting to protect civil rights for all Americans, even the ones of nonbelievers.  How dare they do something as un-American as try to uphold the principles of the Constitution!

“Kay Hagan is trying to run a campaign in North Carolina that casts her as a moderate but the money that’s paying for it is coming from the left-wing fringe of political thought,” said Dole Campaign Communications Director Dan McLagan.  “You can tell a lot about a person by their friends and these are friends most North Carolinians would not be comfortable having over for dinner.”

….

“Kay Hagan does not represent the values of this state; she is a Trojan Horse for a long list of wacky left-wing outside groups bent on policies that would horrify most North Carolinians if they knew about it,” McLagan said.  “This latest revelation of support from anti-religion activists will not sit well with the 90% of state residents who identify with a specific religious faith.”

Emphasis mine.

I’m going to assume, for the sake of charity, that Mr. McLagan is just tragically ignorant rather than a raving bigot.  So for clarification:  nontheists are united only by their lack of belief in a personal god.  Any other label you try to attach to us won’t work, because we’re an extremely diverse bunch.  I’ve met atheists of all political leanings (yes, including Republican).  I know of at least one nonbeliever working for Dole’s campaign as a volunteer.  To paint us all as “wacky left-wing” just reveals the depth of Mr. McLagan’s epic misunderstanding of nontheists.

I shouldn’t have to remind Senator Dole that her duty is to represent the interests of all North Carolinians, not just the ones with which she agrees on matters of religion.  Her press release just convinces me that she is unwilling to fulfill that duty.

And that’s why I’m voting for Kay Hagan.

UPDATE: I see that someone from the domain “senate.gov” has visited the site.  Welcome, Dole staffers!

Obama = Hitler?? 30 Jul 2008

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Wait. What? Is that Stein’s thing now? Comparing everything he dislikes to Nazis?

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.)

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.