Sunday, December 30, 2007

And Stay Out ... In ... ..Whatever

"The mall doesn't put up with that tomfoolery bullcrap," Palm Beach County sheriff's Lt. Jay Hart said. "No one goes to the mall and wants to see the crack of someone's butt."

Apparently six members of the Leger family were strolling through a mall and 20-year-old son Frantz had been "banned for violating its 'Rules of Common Courtesy' around August." The response, you ask.

An estimated 20 deputies, two canine units and a police helicopter swarmed the area surrounding the mall's food court, shutting down roads ... "It's a family affair. They get to spend the holiday in jail together," Hart said.

Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

"The only thing that comes close to this is dueling," said Associate Chief Justice Michael Wilkins ... Utah Supreme Court justices acknowledged Tuesday that they were struggling to wrap their minds around the concept that a 13-year-old girl could be both an offender and a victim for the same act - in this case, having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend.

Somehow, not surprising in a state with a population 61 per cent Mormon.

Tolerate This

According to the BBC a church and Christian newspaper in Malaysia are suing the government after it decreed that the word "Allah" can only be used by Muslims. In the Malay language "Allah" is used to mean any god, and Christians say they have used the term for centuries. Opponents of the ban say it is unconstitutional and unreasonable.

Some days you get the feeling we're living in the fifteenth century. But then again, who can say for sure that we aren't?

[Update Dec 31]

MALAYSIA has renewed the publishing permit of a Catholic newspaper, reversing an earlier ban forbidding non-Muslims from using the word Allah ...


Friday, December 28, 2007

Pictures From Pakistan

(Photo - AFP)
Following news that former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated in a suicide attack, protesters took to the streets and set fire to vehicles in Karachi.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Politics In Pakistan

(Photo - Getty Images)
The government is manipulating all this in order to force people to stay away from the election rallies. The ongoing wave of terrorist activities in the country is part of a conspiracy to terrorize people from attending political meetings.
-Benazir Bhutto
Wednesday December 26, 2007

(Photo - Getty Images)
Her assassination this morning leads one to the inevitable conclusion that she may have been onto something.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holy War Here We Come

Martyrdom is essentially an act of love - for God, for men, and even for one's persecutors.

Although the above quote may sound like it comes from an Islamic jihadist, unfortunately it doesn't. Fasten your seatbelts folks, it looks like a bumpy ride ahead.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Xmas Suckers

Th[e] spirit of generosity is one of the things that defines us as Canadians and its purest expression today is the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, where our soldiers, diplomats and aid workers are, at great cost to themselves, helping the Afghan people rebuild their shattered country.
That's quite a dose of "in your face" for the Canadian taxpayer, since he's wasting our hard-earned dollars over there. And for those of you who may not know it, if there is one thing our PM is not, it's generous. He may call his tax cuts "generous" - but is it generous to give tax breaks to the richest people while sticking it to the poorest? No. How about getting rid of subsidized child-care, a $5.1 billion agreement to tackle aboriginal poverty and the Canada Health Network? Doesn't sound too generous to me. How about cutting 25,000 unversity student summer jobs? Keep trying. How about showing up "in Bali with an emission-reduction plan that four independent analyses have found will not even meet the government's targets that it has substituted for Kyoto's goals"? Whenever selfish people employ the word generous, assume it only applies to self-aggrandizing praise or stuffing the pockets of their cronies. The rest of us can go fuck ourselves.

Xmas Info

Cromwellian apologists, like the Cromwell Association, argue that there is no evidence to support the myth that Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas ... The Cromwell Association explains that it was "the broader Godly or parliamentary party, working through and within the elected parliament, which in the 1640s clamped down on the celebration of Christmas and other saints’ and holy days."

OK but where is this legislation? Nigel Jamieson, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Otago, New Zealand, has found it and his delightful tale of the research that went into locating the Ordinance 360 years after the fact... The Ordinance, bearing the date of 4 January 1645 and resolved upon before both Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, provides in its 'Appendix touching Dayes and Places for Publique Worship':

There is no Day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy under the Gospel, but the Lord's Day, which is the Christian Sabbath. Festival dayes, vulgarly called Holy dayes, having no Warrant in the Word of God, are not to be continued.

Jamieson explains that the application of this general prohibition against feast-days to the specific celebration of Christmas is clear from an earlier Ordinance, dated 19 December 1644, 'for the better observation of the monethly Fast; and more especially the next Wednesday, commonly called The Feast of the Nativity of Christ, Thorowout the Kingdome (sic) of England and Wales'.

..And that this day in particular is to be kept with the more solemne humiliation, because it may call to remembrance our sinnes, and the sinnes of our forefathers, who have turned this Feast, pretending the memory of Christ into an extreme forgetfulnessse of him, by giving liberty to carnall and sensuall delights, being contrary to the life which Christ himselfe led here upon earth ...

This public service announcement was brought to you by The Law Librarian blog for the benefit of Xmas rapturists like Becky Lauro.

Xmas Rapture

Colorado resident Becky Lauro loves shopping at evangelical stores, where "There is nothing that would embarrass me in front of my mother and kids."

Evangelical shopping habits accounted for $2.1 trillion in 2006 and there's at least one retail chain which boasts 2,050 stores catering to their needs. Obviously Becky and folks like her aren't too worried they might be missing their Lord's message or tainting his good name. Check out this holy list of wacky and tacky items :

... evangelical toys, alarm clocks and books ... "Pick Jesus" T-shirt ... action figures of Moses, Samson and Jesus surfing ... license-plate frames "In case of Rapture, this car's yours" ... David and Goliath dolls ... Sweet Truth Mints and Turtle Doves chocolates ... family-friendly video games, a doll called "Faith" whose chief accessory is a tiny Bible ... board game "Champions of Faith" and "Chronicles of Narnia" ice castle ... "Dance Praise" interactive DVD with Christian music ... Psalm 23 Jewelry Collection, about $85 a bracelet ... wine, The Grapes of Galilee ... Jesus air fresheners ... "I Am" line of Jesus figurines, wearing crown of thorns, bull riding, surfing, panhandling, soccer and particularly "I Am Peace" in which a camouflage-wearing Jesus has a combat rifle slung over his shoulder and holds a dove ...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Xmas Logic?

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said "atheistic fundamentalism" was a new phenomenon ... leading to "virulent, almost irrational" attacks on Christianity.

"This is what I would call the new 'fundamentalism' of our age. It allows no room for disagreement, for doubt, for debate, for discussion."

Perhaps Archbishop Blowhard Bullshit should give his head a shake before advocating a return to the good old days, when "disagreement, doubt and debate" were the exclusive domain of religious authorities which were all too eager to behead anybody who might take undue advantage of their freethinking generosity. Besides, he should know that his former PM, the "nutter" who just converted to Catholicism, was all about giving religious "nutters" of every description all the protection he thought he could get away with.

Friday, December 21, 2007

War On Xmas

(Photo -
Nothing like upholding a tradition for the holidays ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dr. Duh

A Mayo Clinic Hospital surgeon in training used a cellphone to photograph a patient's genitals during surgery and now may face disciplinary action and a patient's attorney.

Dr. Adam Hansen, chief resident of general surgery at the Phoenix hospital, admitted to Mayo administrators he snapped the photo during a Dec. 11 gallbladder surgery on patient Sean Dubowik, whose penis bears the tattooed slogan, "Hot Rod."
The operative phrase in that first paragraph is "may face disciplinary action."

Tokyo Xmas

About 300,000 LED bulbs decorate Tokyo's Shiodome district with Christmas illuminations titled "Blue Ocean." It's the fifth anniversary of its opening.
-CBC (Photo #8)
Some photos from the same display in 2006.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

[R]eel Xmas Green

KAKAMIGAHARA, Gifu -- An aquarium filled with exotic fish here is using an electric eel to power lights on a Christmas tree.

Each time the electric eel at the Aqua Toto Gifu aquarium touches a copper wire in its tank, it sends power that lights up globes decking a Christmas tree.

Officials expect the "eel Christmas tree" to be a popular attraction for dating couples in the lead-up to Christmas Day, when the tree will be removed.

After all the hoopla of that Bali Conference, this green technology might actually catch on ... until the eels find out what they're up against, of course.

Some Like It Stupid

"I think that students should be given the opportunity to view all theories on how man evolved and let their science background and their religious background take over as to which one they believe in," said Jane Gallucci, the immediate past president of the National School Boards Association.

Religious beliefs don't even offer a guess, much less a theory, and anybody who approaches the subject of evolution in the same manner as these yahoos is asking for trouble. As Mark Twain once noted, "The gods offer no rewards for intellect. There was never one yet that showed any interest in it." Goddesses maybe; but never the gods.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Some Like It Hot

The US backtracked yesterday on the climate change agreement reached after marathon talks in Bali, saying it had "serious concerns" about the new global consensus and that developing countries had to do far more if there was to be any pact in two years' time.

The reality check followed the drama and euphoria of the weekend when the US was shamed into joining the rest of the world in working towards a new climate change agreement to come into force after 2012. All 190 countries have agreed to take the talks further.

Does anybody else get the sense that the top priority for these politicos is simply ensuring the profits keep rolling in? And here's another little problem with the logic being employed by these jokers : how do the American and Canadian governments expect China to sign on to more stringent targets while at the same time supplying all of the cheap labour and industrial production capacity the rest of us have come to expect of the world's favourite sweatshop?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Freethought Radio Strikes Back

Click here for a brief summary.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Religion Of Peace Strikes Again

(Photo - CBC)
A 16-year-old girl died in hospital late Monday night, hours after police in Mississauga received a call from a man saying he had killed his daughter. Muhammad Parvez, 57, has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his daughter, Aqsa Parvez. The victim's 26-year-old brother, Waqas Parvez, has been charged with obstructing police.

Some of the teen's schoolmates said the Grade 11 student had rebelled against her parents recently by refusing to wear a hijab.

And to think, the province of Ontario came HOW close to allowing Sharia law to be recognized in its courts? It took months of very loud, very public protests to convince premier Dalton McGuinty (a supporter of the continued public funding of Catholic schools, incidentally) that social solutions for modern, civilized nations begin by reducing the number and influence of religious laws, not expanding them.

Wake up Canada, and take a hint or two from the province of Québec, where women's equality is a NON-NEGOTIABLE right, which makes it much easier to dispense arguments against this kind of barbarism. It also puts groups like le Conseil du statut de la femme logically and squarely in the camp that denounces the wearing of hijabs in public posts (i.e., teachers, civil servants, etc.) for precisely this reason. So Canada, perhaps you could start by demanding that your citizens behave like citizens and not 14th century marauding zealots. In case you haven't noticed, the topic of misogyny comes up far too frequently, regardless of the inspiration. So get it through your thick skulls :


Sunday, December 09, 2007

The High Court

Judge Sunil Kumar Singh in the eastern state of Jharkhand has issued adverts in newspapers asking the gods to "appear before the court personally" ... the judge said that letters addressed to them had gone unanswered.

Can I get a witness?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

le 6 décembre, 1989

On December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine entered the École Polytechnique, in Montréal, Québec. He separated the men from the women and declaring his hatred for feminists, killed the following women :

Geneviève Bergeron, 21
Hélène Colgan, 23
Nathalie Croteau, 23
Barbara Daigneault, 22
Anne-Marie Edward, 21
Maud Haviernick, 29
Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31
Maryse Laganière, 25
Maryse Leclair, 23
Anne-Marie Lemay, 27
Sonia Pelletier, 23
Michèle Richard, 21
Annie St-Arneault, 23
Annie Turcotte, 21

On December 6, in addition to remembering the 14 women who were killed in Montreal, we also mourn the many women who continue to die, each year, as a result of male violence. While the Massacre victims were murdered together, the death toll of women killed alone -- by men they know -- rises annually.

Check out the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women...ou, l'Institut Canadien de Recherche sur les Femmes... for more info. The Fact Sheets are stunning in the litany of horrors being catalogued, but enlightening nevertheless.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Watch Out For That Mistletoe

... we've all locked lips with one: the lizard, the washing machine, the cannibal, the spelunker.

"I knew this girl that I'll call Big Tongue," recalls Craig Hinkle, 38, a Westminster, California-based network administrator. "Her tongue was massive, and she insisted on trying to put the entire thing in my mouth. She was very forceful with it, and I started choking."

-CNN ["the most trusted name in news"]

Spirit Of The Season

About 18 months ago, about 10 homeless men sought refuge on the front steps of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the heart of downtown [and] slept there peacefully, church officials said. In the past few months, though, the crowd sleeping on the steps of the Florida Avenue church swelled to about 70 people. More recently, the problems - fights, cursing, drunkenness, trash - grew, too.

Now Sacred Heart officials say the homeless, at least for the time being, are not welcome to sleep on the church's steps. "The whole scene had changed from people feeling very safe on the steps to people not feeling comfortable," the Rev. Andrew Reitz said.

Surprisingly, people weren't complaining about the Church officials. So obviously, none of the squatters were pre-pubescent lads.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Blasphemy Inc. [Praise Jesus]

NOW we're talking protests!

An American evangelist has jumped into the fray over the fate of a British teacher facing calls for death over a teddy bear named "Muhammad." Bill Keller, host of LivePrayer, has posted a video on YouTube featuring a pink, toy pig named Muhammad after the Muslim prophet.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Blasphemy Inc.

Thousands of Islamic fanatics wielding clubs and knives are marching through the streets of Khartoum demanding the execution of teddy bear teacher Gillian Gibbons.

As the mother-of-two started a 15-day prison term, protestors left mosques across the Sudanese capital to denounce the "lenient verdict" and call for the death penalty.

The chaotic scenes in Sudan followed escalating international tensions after a judge jailed Miss Gibbons, who allowed her pupils to call a teddy bear Mohammed ... insulting Islam.

These protests would make a lot more sense if :
(a) the name wasn't voted on by a group of seven-year-olds ;
(b) the offending teddy bear looked like Twitch, the Roadkill Teddy.