Thursday, August 30, 2007

La Sécurité Laïque


Les pèlerins du vol inaugural Rome-Lourdes affrété par le Vatican ne s'attendaient certainement pas à pareille contrariété. Alors qu'ils se préparaient à embarquer à l'aéroport de Tarbes (Hautes-Pyrénées),des agents de sécurité ont confisqué leurs flacons d'eau bénite de plus de 100 ml. Motif : le respect des normes antiterroristes appliquées depuis l'été 2006 sur le transport des liquides en cabine. Un des passagers du vol a préféré boire sa bouteille plutôt que de l'abandonner, selon le quotidien Corriere della sera.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Doggone Swedes

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A Swedish newspaper on Wednesday defended its publication of a drawing depicting the head of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad on the body of a dog, following an official protest from Iran.

The drawing was by Swedish artist Lars Vilks and was part of a series which art galleries in Sweden had declined to display. The newspaper published the image in what it called a defence of free speech.

"This is unacceptable self-censorship," the newspaper wrote in an editorial on its Web site on Wednesday, referring to the reluctance by galleries to exhibit Vilks's drawings.

"The right to freedom of religion and the right to blaspheme religions go together," it wrote.

Ho-hum, just another day in the life of blasphemy.

[Update August 31]
Sweden 'regrets' Prophet cartoon

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Breaking Out... The Sunscreen

(Photo : Mark Peterson/Corbis file)

The North-West Passage – the sea route running along the Arctic coastline of North America, normally perilously clogged with thick ice – is nearly ice-free for the first time since records began.

"Analysts confirm that the passage is almost completely clear and that the region is more open than it has ever been since the advent of routine monitoring in 1972," they said in research conclusions published on the centre's website.

Brand new cost-cutting shipping lanes, oil reserves and miles of beach-front property. What's the problem again?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hide Your Balls

A demonstration has been held in south- east Afghanistan accusing US troops of insulting Islam after they distributed footballs bearing the name of Allah. The balls showed the Saudi Arabian flag which features the Koranic declaration of faith.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hip-Hop Hell Yeah

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Goddamn Shame

After a three-hour standoff with minor skirmishes, the tension erupted. Police said they began using tear gas, pepper spray and plastic bullets when a handful of protesters started throwing rocks and water bottles at them.

"I've heard it's nothing. A couple hundred? It's sad," Prime Minister Stephen Harper commented on the protests.

(Photo - Jonathan Hayward/CP)

You know what's even more sad, Mr. Prime Minister? The fact that in a country which makes as much money and gets as much snow as Canada, the government's primary concern is holding summits to enhance "prosperity" while ignoring the fact that there's ample resources to provide housing for our fellow citizens who find themselves living on the streets. It's not Palestine for Christ's sake.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Another Reason To Avoid Church

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yesterday's News

There was no manger, Christ is not the Messiah, and the crucifixion never happened. A forthcoming ITV documentary will portray Jesus as Muslims see him...

Ooooohhhhhh, but when Freethinkers say that kind of stuff you've got an old-fashioned, Inquisitional freak out on your hands.

Doin' The Opposite

"We are doing a little reverse psychology," pastor Mike Lewis said. "You always see signs that say, ‘I love you.’ This is the opposite."

(Photo: Chip Ellis)

[Lewis] wants you to know that Satan hates the New Life Center in Cedar Grove [West Virginia]. The church paid for the billboard.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Smiling Police

“Specially trained security personnel” will be watching passengers for “micro-expressions” that will reveal treacherous agendas and insidious intentions at airports around the country.

"Behavior Detection Officers" are coming to an American airport near you and these officers have been trained in the study of "micro-expressions." According to an article in Newsweek, "when people wish to conceal emotions, the truth of their feelings is revealed in facial flashes. These experts have determined that fear and disgust are the key things to look for because they can hint of deception."

Better hope you don't get a sudden case of the shits while stuck in a 2-hour security line or a 27-hour delay ... 'cause if you do and you ain't whistling Dixie, we'll see how you like getting your disgusted ass tossed in jail!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

At Last, A Little Accountability

From :

"Caltech grad student Virgil Griffith has launched a search tool that uncovers whitewashing and other self-interested editing of Wikipedia. Users can generate lists of every edit to Wikipedia which has been made from a particular IP address range. The tool has already uncovered a number of interesting edits, such as one from the corporate offices of Diebold which removed large sections of content critical of their electronic voting machines.

A Wired story provides more detail and Threat Level is running a contest to see who can come up with the most interesting Wikipedia spin job. I'll bet Slashdot readers know of some interesting IP address ranges to check."

As the title of this entry clearly states, we can only expect a LITTLE accountability in these topsy-turvy times. Fortunately a little is all anybody ever expected out of the Wikipedias, but more than we expected out of the Diebolds of this world. The link to Griffith's new toy is Here's what the folks over at FOX have been up to, for example. Have fun.

Prayers For Preyers

An on-line outdoor retailer in the United States is selling camouflaged Bibles...graced by leaves and tree bark. This enables the devout who also hunt to take their Bible into the woods with them while concealing it from their prey.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Crash And Burn..?

(Photo - AP)

Astronauts from the US space shuttle Endeavour are examining a gouge in its heat shield, sustained during take-off from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday. Nasa experts on Earth detected the damage as the vessel docked with the International Space Station.

It's almost as odd as the vastness of space itself (is it not?) that Nasa could spot a "3-inch (7.6cm) the shuttle approached the International Space Station," but apparently couldn't spot drunk astronauts before letting them board the shuttle.

Oh oh...according to CBC News :

A laser inspection by Endeavour's astronauts has revealed that a nine-centimetre-long gouge the shuttle suffered during its launch penetrates all the way through thermal tiles on its belly.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Damn You All To Hell

(Photo: pilote Charles Sweeney, le 9 août 1945)

...Or Is That "Damn Potestants"?

Church leaders who believe it's their religious right to smoke marijuana have launched a multi-million dollar class-action lawsuit against federal officials.

The lawsuit alleges the federal government is breaching the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is claiming $9,000 worth of damages for the estimated 4,000 church members it represents. It also seeks $25 million in punitive damages.

Damn Protestants

IN what could be the worst news to hit the Vatican since 1517 (Ok, Ok... maybe 1789), [let's hope]* this story is sure to cause some fan-hitting shit.

A leading campaigner for gay equality in Northern Ireland has hit back at criticism of a placard carried at last weekend's Belfast Pride by stating he is convinced Jesus was a gay man.

In a discussion on BBC Radio Ulster P A MacLochlainn responded that in his view the details of Jesus' life as presented in the Bible led him to conclude that he was a homosexual.

*See comment

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Foxhole Fervor

Here's an interesting little item from the UK's Freethinker Magazine, although it's questionable whether we ought to be proud of the fact that non-believers are doing their part in the war. It's called : Christian sabotages atheist gathering in Iraq

A meeting of atheists legally organised by a young American soldier currently on active duty in Iraq was sabotaged by a Christian fundamentalist major, who verbally abused the four junior enlisted soldiers who attended the gathering....

The organiser said he was "absolutely freaked out" about what happened, but he said he is going to continue with the meetings and would not be bullied by "the prayer warriors".

Easy Come Easy Go

(Photo: Stephen Leatherwood/Press Association)

The Yangtze river dolphin, until recently one of the most endangered species on the planet, has been declared officially extinct following an intensive survey of its natural habitat.

The freshwater marine mammal, which could grow to eight feet long and weigh up to a quarter of a tonne, is the first large vertebrate forced to extinction by human activity in 50 years, and only the fourth time an entire evolutionary line of mammals has vanished from the face of the Earth since the year 1500.

Animal Lust

A MAN who was accused of having sex with a sheep has walked free because the animal was unable to testify.... Under Dutch law, bestiality is not a crime unless it can be proved the animal didn't want to have sex.

In other words if you ever visit Holland, go vegan.

Check Please

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Charles Hemmen escaped police custody after he

managed to roll down the back window, wriggle out enough to open the door from the outside with his hands in handcuffs, and take off on foot [leading] to a two-hour manhunt involving six nearby police departments, sent the nearby Pine Run Elementary School into lockdown, and triggered automatic warning calls to hundreds of nearby residents warning them to stay inside and lock their windows and doors.

And what heinous crime led to this frantic response, you ask. "Floating" $1900 worth of bad checks at the Montgomeryville Cycle Center.

Out Of This World [Cup]

If 15 soccer players went missing during a World Cup tournament, you'd expect that to completely screw up the tournament or at the very least the teams involved. Well, for all you ghouls out there, here's the headline you've been waiting for :

15 Soccer Players Vanish During Homeless World Cup

In other news, there's now a "six-day street soccer tournament for teams of homeless people from around the world [and] players said participating in the tournament had boosted their self-confidence."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Toronto The Good

Yesterday's Caribana parade, the 40th anniversary of the biggest West Indian carnival in North America, was a smashing success. Big-ups to all the locals and out-of-towners who chipped in to make for a fabulous weekend, which actually began in earnest with events such as the annual competitions for King and Queen, on Thursday night, and Pan Alive, Friday.

With an estimated 25,000 masqueraders and somewhere between a million and 1.5 million coming out to watch yesterday's bacchanal, this year's event will be difficult to top. But you can bet we'll try.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Be Fruitful And Increase In Number

-Genesis 1:28

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, a pair of "conservative fundamentalist Christians" living in Arkansas must think the good Lord was talking only to them. Michelle yesterday gave birth to child number 17. That is is not a misprint : 17 children.

"And the pair say they're still not ready to give it a rest."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Merry Wives Of Bounty

The Bountiful colony in southeastern B.C. has attracted the attention of Attorney General Wally Oppal. It's

...a breakaway sect of the Mormon church and believe[s] that in order to get into heaven, men must marry as many women as possible. [Special prosecutor] Richard Peck said it's time to find out once and for all if Canada's laws against polygamy will stand [and] warned that the case would likely end up in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Charges against members of the Bountiful colony were recommended by [the] RCMP as far back as 1990. The Crown decided not to proceed based on legal opinions that the polygamy ban would be struck down as an infringement on religious freedom.