As an Honorable Skeptic, one of my basic values is Truth in Advertising, the idea that what you see from any organization is exactly what you should expect and nothing else whatsoever. So I was offended by this website after hearing about it from a friend:
It has come to our attention that there appears to be a case of mistaken identity between the ACL and another similarly named Australian lobby group.
PLEASE NOTE, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT CONFUSE ‘Cat-Holics’ with ‘Catholics‘. (Although of course you can be both at the same time!)
The vision of the Australian Cat Ladies is to see feline principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed, do business and relate to each other as a community. The ACL aims to foster a more compassionate and just society by encouraging inclusivity, actively working against oppression of all kinds, and disseminating cat .gifs wherever they may be needed.
The ACL recognises the validity and right to exist of all families, whether they be straight, LGBTQ, childless, single parent, single cat, multiple cat or catless. The ACL actively encourages family values such as love, consent, communication, regular nap times, and scratches under the chin/behind the ears.
The ACL believes all love is equal, but the love between a lady and her cat(s) is more equal than others.
The ACL believes in the importance of human and cat life, and as such, is a staunchly pro-choice organisation. No one should have anything less than full bodily autonomy, and no human or cat should have to suffer an unwanted pregnancy. Thus, the ACL advocates for full decriminalisation of abortion across Australia, the covering of RU486 (or “medical abortion drug”) by the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme, and desexing of cats of all genders at the age of approximately 3 months.
Poverty & Injustice
The ACL strives for a world where all humans and cats may have a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, and someone to clean their litter tray.
We stand against sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, religious discrimination, fatphobia, whorephobia, and all forms of injustice. We understand that cat ladies come in all shapes, sizes, genders, sexualities, backgrounds and ethnicities, and encourage ACL membership by anyone who identifies as a cat lady or a cat lady ally.
We believe in creating a sustainable and healthy environment for ourselves, future generations, and cats for many years to come.
On this note, please keep your cats inside at night and make sure there is a bell on their collar, to prevent them from killing native wildlife.
Youth and education
Education is pivotal in the creation and maintenance of healthy families and communities. All cats have the right to be toilet trained, and all humans have the right to a comprehensive, well-resourced public education. The League of Australian Cat Ladies believes in extensive, evidence based sex education, as it is proven to lower teen and unplanned pregnancies, decrease rates of STI infection, and increase knowledge of consent. We believe all cat owners should be properly educated on cat care, including desexing, vaccinations and the correct procedure for tummy rubs.
That website may be about cats, but it is not about Christianity at all. So why did they take the domain name http://australianchristianlobby.org ? To poke fun at another advocacy group they oppose.
This is the REAL website for the Australian Christian Lobby: http://www.acl.org.au/
The vision of the Australian Christian Lobby is to see Christian principles and ethics accepted and influencing the way we are governed, do business and relate to each other as a community.
ACL aims to foster a more compassionate, just and moral society by seeking to have the positive public contributions of the Christian faith reflected in the political life of the nation.
ACL, established in 1995, operates in the Federal Parliament, and in all the state and territory parliaments, and is neither party partisan nor denominationally-aligned.
ACL does not seek to be the peak political voice for the church, but to facilitate a professional engagement of church with the state which allows for the voice of the church and individual Christians to be effective in the public square.
Read more about the Australian Christian Lobby here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Christian_Lobby
Sorry, but while I support gay rights and oppose Christians messing around with politics to force religious values on the people in general, what the Australian Cat Ladies did was clearly unethical. If the real ACL decides to sue the fake ACL over the taking of a domain name the real one should have had, I will support such a lawsuit. The domain of the Australian Cat Ladies should be australiancatladies.org
This statement was made by a woman on Facebook who used to be an anti-abortion activist. Her name will not be mentioned, but her words should be shared far and wide:
Sometime in college it occurred to me through logical, empathetic thinking that [having an abortion] must be a very scary and difficult position to be in and I couldn’t help but have the utmost respect for any woman who made a choice for herself and her life, whatever her choice was. That was a turning point for me, somehow suddenly recognizing the human involved in the situation.
I was fed a lot of false statistics about the relationship between abortion, depression, breast cancer, etc., and I believed it all. They (youth pastors) told us too that there were far fewer abortions before Roe v. Wade, and that was proof that banning it would decrease the number happening, that the back alley abortion was an insignificant number, mythical almost. I’ve since learned international statistics don’t support that and that all the other stuff is false, too.
I was skeptical about different aspects of the Church since about middle school, but I had no support for those thoughts, and it took a long time to get to where I am today on my own.
First, it never acceptable to lie to support a cause, however well intentioned. Second, if banning abortion will not save the lives of unborn children, but instead endanger the pregnant women, then anti-abortionists have no right to call themselves “pro-life”. NRA members often say, “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” The same is true of abortions.
Traditionally, fetuses have never been considered citizens; personhood was always said to begin at birth, not conception, which is why you always to this day see birthdates on gravestones, followed by the date of a person’s death; the date of conception would be irrelevant even if it were known. Indeed, the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution says: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (emphasis mine)
A pregnant woman who was born in the United States is unquestionably a citizen, unlike her unborn fetus. And nothing could be more depriving that woman of her liberty than forcing her to bear a child she does not want to carry to term!
And that is the legal basis for the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973.
Check out this nonsense on the official U.S. Libertarian Party website. I will post the original statements in red and my responses in green.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
A Libertarian’s New Year’s Resolutions
Written in 1998 by Harry Browne, 1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Nominee for President
- I resolve to sell liberty by appealing to the self-interest of each prospect, rather than preaching to people and expecting them to suddenly adopt my ideas of right and wrong.
- I resolve to keep from being drawn into arguments or debates. My purpose is to inspire people to want liberty — not to prove that they’re wrong.
- I resolve to listen when people tell me of their wants and needs, so I can help them see how a free society will satisfy those needs.
- I resolve to identify myself, when appropriate, with the social goals someone may seek — a cleaner environment, more help for the poor, a less divisive society — and try to show him that those goals can never be achieved by government, but will be well served in a free society.
- I resolve to be compassionate and respectful of the beliefs and needs that lead people to seek government help. I don’t have to approve of their subsidies or policies — but if I don’t acknowledge their needs, I have no hope of helping them find a better way to solve their problems.
- No matter what the issue, I resolve to keep returning to the central point: how much better off the individual will be in a free society.
- I resolve to acknowledge my good fortune in having been born an American. Any plan for improvement must begin with a recognition of the good things we have. To speak only of America’s defects will make me a tiresome crank.
- I resolve to focus on the ways America could be so much better with a very small government — not to dwell on all the wrongs that exist today.
- I resolve to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness. Such things steal time and attention from the work that must be done.
- I resolve to speak, dress, and act in a respectable manner. I may be the first Libertarian someone has encountered, and it’s important that he get a good first impression. No one will hear the message if the messenger is unattractive.
- I resolve to remind myself that someone’s “stupid” opinion may be an opinion I once held. If I can grow, why can’t I help him grow?
- I resolve not to raise my voice in any discussion. In a shouting match, no one wins, no one changes his mind, and no one will be inspired to join our quest for a free society.
- I resolve not to adopt the tactics of Republicans and Democrats. They use character assassination, evasions, and intimidation because they have no real benefits to offer Americans. We, on the other hand, are offering to set people free — and so we can win simply by focusing on the better life our proposals will bring.
- I resolve to be civil to my opponents, and treat them with respect. However anyone chooses to treat me, it’s important that I be a better person than my enemies.
- Appealing to selfishness and ignoring standards of right and wrong is exactly what leads to social and moral degeneracy. No thanks!
- How can you possibly promote a political viewpoint without arguing against other views?
- Not everyone would necessarily benefit from a “free” society according to your definition. That’s why there are other political viewpoints.
- And you would be lying, because history already proved you wrong.
- And even if those private services are not nearly as effective as governmental programs, they must be eliminated anyway, right?
- See green point 3 above.
- Everyone knows there are plenty of good things about America. But appealing to nationalism would be dangerous.
- What an idiot! It is government used in the wrong way that is the real problem. Make government too small and you have virtual anarchy, which benefits very few people, usually the rich who can set up and run their own private armies…..ultimately creating their own little tyrannies.
- Good point, actually.
- Another valid point.
- As long as you allow for the possibility that you also may need to grow up some more. An infallibility complex is dangerous no matter what you believe or how old you are.
- Still another valid point.
- Does this mean you won’t accept the tactics and personalities associated with the Tea Party movement that was supposed to be libertarian, but ended up firmly in the Republican Party? I would hope so, but I am not so naive to think you won’t also be corrupted in time.
- Still another valid point.
When you mix good points with bad ones, it is like mixing contaminated food or water with those that are clean; eventually the entire collection becomes filthy. That is why, though I used to admire the Libertarians for their strong opposition to the Iraq War, I reject them now. Their obsessive hatred of government and what it can do for the people is irrational, regardless of how much they try to make it look appealing to the ignorant. I won’t be fooled again!
First, read this:
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Passed on October 12, 1998, by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of on-line services for copyright infringement by their users.
The DMCA’s principal innovation in the field of copyright, the exemption from direct and indirect liability of internet service providers and other intermediaries, was adopted by the European Union in the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000. The Copyright Directive 2001 implemented the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty in the EU.
Google asserted misuse of the DMCA in a filing concerning New Zealand’s copyright act, quoting results from a 2005 study by Californian academics Laura Quilter and Jennifer Urban based on data from the Chilling Effects clearinghouse. Takedown notices targeting a competing business made up over half (57%) of the notices Google has received, the company said, and more than one-third (37%), “were not valid copyright claims.”
The original purpose of copyright laws was to protect creativity by allowing artists, both of visual arts and music, to make their fair share of money from selling their own creations. It is certainly unethical for anyone to claim another’s original work as his own and then make a profit from that work being sold.
Too often, however, what happens is that people wanting to censor a viewpoint they find offensive make claims based on their interpretation of the DMCA to claim copyright infringement that is not valid or, even if technically valid, really is not fair at all.
Here is a perfect example. Watch this video by YouTube user cdk007:
Did you enjoy it? Maybe if you were a younger person you were bored by the classical music track that was used for it. But in fact, that was not the original music that was used for the video. Instead, cdk007 used this music first:
That DOES sound 100% better, in my opinion. But soon after cdk007 posted the video about evolution, he was slapped with a DMCA takedown notice and he was forced to replace the soundtrack. But he never claimed the song “Jesus of Suburbia” was his creation, nor did he make money from that video. I doubt that Green Day, the artist that made the song, was to blame for what happened, it seems so unlike them!
What happened in this case was de facto censorship. The DMCA actually SUPPRESSES creativity and freedom of speech and it should be repealed.
This is the direct sequel to
At the time, I assumed she was being attacked by people who were against her being an atheist and/or hated her sex positive stand. I later learned that she was being attacked by transgendered people and others because she had used the word “tranny” which they considered offensive. Continue reading →
First, read this:
For fans like me, Lance Armstrong doping saga spoils memories
Peter Ford, who covered Lance Armstrong’s winning streak at the Tour de France for the Monitor, writes that Armstrong’s doping has ‘tainted some of my happiest memories of reporting in France.’
By Peter Ford | Christian Science Monitor – 1 hr 21 mins ago
Thirteen years ago, on an idyllic summer’s afternoon, I stood by the side of a road in the cheesemaking region of Cantal and watched Lance Armstrong speed by, tucked into the peloton, on his way to his first victory in the Tour de France.
It was 1999. A year earlier the Tour had been in tatters, devastated by a doping scandal that had seen police and judges raiding riders’ hotel rooms in the middle of the night, seizing drugs. Armstrong’s successful arrival on the scene after overcoming cancer “is symbolic of the way the Tour de France is emerging from its own battle against disappearance,” said the tour director at the time.
His victory would be “highly symbolic of the combat he fought against death, and that we are fighting against doping,” promised Jean-Marie Leblanc.
It turns out that Mr. Armstrong beat the Tour de France organizers just as he had beaten death. Today the International Cycling Union (UCI), accepting evidence gathered by the US Anti-Doping Agency that Armstrong was a serial drug-taker, stripped the US “champion” of all his titles.
Even back in 1999, people suspected something was wrong. “Armstrong is very strong, too strong, incredibly strong,” commented one French TV journalist the evening that the US rider won a punishing stage in the Alps.
But that could be dismissed as sour grapes, as an American charged into a sport long dominated by the French and swept all before him, “winning” a record seven Tours.
And we all wanted to believe in Armstrong, from the UCI – for whom he was a magnificent money-spinning mascot for his sport – down to the lowliest spectator standing by the side of the road who admired his comeback courage.
Well, not all of us. My (French) wife never believed Armstrong was clean. She never believed that any of the top riders were clean. In argument after argument over the years I called her cynical, pointing out that my hero had never failed a drug test. Now I know that she was just clear-eyed.
Everybody who followed Lance during his “glory days” will have his or her own way of feeling disappointed now that the truth, it seems, is out. (Armstrong has not acknowledged any guilt but says he will not challenge the USADA report.)
For me, the news has tainted some of my happiest memories of reporting in France. I used to love covering the Tour, driving halfway up an Alp one July afternoon, parking my car near a steep hairpin bend, picnicking sociably with whomever I found parked next to me (and there were always crowds of families waiting for the Tour to come by), sleeping in the car, and then the next day enjoying the hoopla of the publicity caravan before the riders themselves came by, just an arm’s length away, thighs straining, sweat pouring from their chins, teeth gritted.
It was an annual treat for me, the most fun I have ever had at work. And watching these men at the outer edges of endurance even inspired me to take up cycling myself: I had a go at one of the Tour’s mountain stages in 2005 and I spend my weekends now cycling up and down mountains. (You can imagine what my wife thinks about that….)
Lance Armstrong, whose feats excited a lot of interest in American newspaper readers, was my passport to this kind of fun, and now that we know he was cheating, it feels almost as though I was piggyback cheating by having that fun.
Even at the time though, I realize, I could not entirely ignore my wife’s doubts. That evening in July 1999, as I dictated my article over the phone to my editor, I ended it with something the spokesman for Credit Lyonnais bank, the Tour’s leading sponsor, had told me.
“We cannot be certain that a scandal won’t drop on our heads,” he said. “I have just one hope: that the rumors about Lance Armstrong are not true.”
The fact that Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times in a row, rather than just two or three times, despite having suffered from cancer, should have made us all suspicious. Not content with merely competing and producing a realistic result, Armstrong overreached.
The cheating by Armstrong could have been swept under the rug by a sporting establishment that wanted to keep making vast amounts of money due to his name and influence. But that would have sent the wrong message among young people that wanted to become cyclists as well as athletes in general.
Also, it is never acceptable to do a dishonorable thing for a good cause. Lance Armstrong was well known for promoting research on cures for cancer, having suffered from cancer himself. He still would have been a credible spokesperson for that cause even if he had never won a Tour de France race. Now, he is useless to any cause.
This is a sequel to
Last night, my faith in one of the oldest and largest guilds in all of World of Warcraft, Order of Knights Templar (OKT) of Lothar realm, was destroyed after several of its officers conspired to kick my main character, Bichorak, from the guild, claiming I caused “drama” in it. My actual crime: Reporting to Blizzard cheating activities by one of the members, Kibblenbits, and discussing it privately with at least two of those same officers, one of whom dismissed it with the comment “Who cares?”. The actual officer who kicked me from the guild, with no warning whatsoever, was Kymophobia.
This was after I had been a member of the guild for many months and worked hard to help make the guild one of the best and most popular in Lothar realm. I’d had many, many great experiences with the guild and its members and thought nothing would ever end that. But another member, who had first alerted me to the cheating, also warned me that the corruption of the guild was not limited to that one member. I should have listened to her! Continue reading →
First, look at this:
Are all Christian schools this bigoted? Appearantly!
Former coach of the year fired from Christian school for out-of-wedlock pregnancy
In an incredibly bizarre situation that appears headed for a legal challenge, a Dallas-area volleyball coach and science teacher was fired by the Christian school at which she worked for becoming pregnant before being married.
As first reported by Dallas Fort Worth network WFAA, Rockwall (Texas) Heritage Christian Academy volleyball coach and science teacher Cathy Samford was fired during the fall semester after she became pregnant out of wedlock. Samford had led the volleyball program for three years and had been named the school’s coach of the year once during that span.
Still, that couldn’t help save her job when she first admitted her pregnancy during the fall semester, with the school terminating her based on a violation of her contract’s morals clause because it was determined her pregnancy meant she could not serve as “a Christian role model.”
“I looked it up and thought, ‘They can’t do this,’” the 29-year-old Samford told WFAA. “We all have different views and interpretations. It’s not necessarily the Christian thing to do to throw somebody aside because of those.”
While Samford and her lawyer, Colin Walsh, are working toward filing a discrimination suit against the school, their case may be complicated by the fact that Heritage Christian Academy is a private school, and recent Supreme Court decisions have defended the right of Christian schools to exert more influence on their hirings and firings because they consider teachers to be “ministers in the classroom.”
“The Supreme Court, as a matter of fact in the last month, has ruled 9-to-0 that a Christian school does have that right, because this is a ministry, so we have the right to have standards of conduct,” Heritage Christian Academy headmaster Dr. Ron Taylor, who acknowledged that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had contacted the school, told WFAA. “How’s it going to look to a little fourth-grade girl that sees she’s pregnant and she’s not married?”
While the two parties attempted mediation, those efforts failed quickly because the school refused to consider a settlement for the case.
That has left Samford uninsured and in financial distress as she heads towards giving birth, a situation she never considered possible when she was a proud member of Heritage Christian Academy’s faculty.
Would it have been better if this teacher and coach had chosen abortion to hide that she was ever pregnant? According to traditional Christian morals, isn’t having an abortion even worse than having the baby out of wedlock? And have any men been fired for getting a woman pregnant out of wedlock? I’ve never heard of that happening!
This is why I will never teach at or send any children I have to such a school….most of them seem to be run by sexist hypocrites! This is not about enforcing morals, this is about a school trying to save money by denying an insurance claim, something you would expect only from corrupt private businesses! And even if having a baby out of wedlock is considered immoral, the BABY should not be punished for her parents’ mistakes!
I just got a comment from someone named Sally. Rather than approve it where it was placed, I will copy and paste it here, along with the identifying information on it, and attempt to respond to its points in red.
I have a question for you, please don’t consider that I’m attacking you.
Usually when someone opens with something like that, he is about to make a statement that really IS an attack.
I like how you expose ignorants and bigots in this blog, but I fail to notice something important now you’re bringing up the subject of homophobia. As a bisexual woman myself in a same-sex long term relationship, I am definitely against homophobia, and as a liberal person I condemn any kind of discrimination. I’m also agnostic, so I don’t refrain from critizing religions. So far I guess we pretty much agree in our views, but I haven’t seen you (maybe you did and I’m not aware) critizing the criminalization of consensual incest between adults.
Of course, she would equate the prohibition of incest with the prohibition of homosexuality, since both were condemned in the Bible and in all Abrahamic religions. But just because the Bible condemns something doesn’t make that thing good for atheists to accept. Unless you think atheists should also accept stealing and murder.
Please note that I’m not talking about incestuous rape or incestuous abuse of minors, only consensual incest and between consenting adults. I’m sure you’re aware that consenting adults involved in consensual incestuous relationships are going to jail, punished by archaic laws because of a victimless crime like this.
I wonder if she saw my blog entries about prostitution. But even prostitution is not the same as incest, just as homosexuality is not the same as incest.
I’m not incestuous myself nor planning to ever be, but seeing how a good number of people is threatened with a long imprisonment (until 14 years in Canada, for example) only for loving a person of their family causes me too much indignation, even more noting that almost none of these self-avowed liberal activists seem to care or speak in their favour.
Loving a family member? Sorry, but in fact I do not equate “love” with having sex. If you do, I think you have some serious issues.
Please, if you really hate hypocrisy and bigotry this much, I encourage you to show support to consenting incestuous adults, they deserve to live and love in freedom.
Hypocrisy is when you profess a system of values that you fail to live up to in practice. Since I have never professed support for legalizing incest, I would not be a hypocrite. As for bigotry, that charge would make sense only if it could be proven that incest was something as fundamental to human nature as skin color. All the evidence indicates just the opposite. Unlike homosexuals, who are compelled by their nature to engage in sexual relations with members of their own gender, there is no evidence that people who practice incest are obeying some natural instinct. In most cases, there are plenty of other possible mates for the incestuous partners to avoid having sex with each other.
And I beg you not to perpetuate the offensive “deformed offspring” myth, deformed is NEVER an aceptable [sic] word to qualify a human being.
Why not? It’s only descriptive of the person’s physical nature. It’s not a racial slur like the N-word is for black people of African descent.
Yes, disabled children may be born from incestuous couples, but most of consenting incestuous couples are NOT interested in having offspring and even if they can’t help loving a relative they’re consciously against inbreeding, besides sex is not longer only for procreation purposes (my partner and I are both women and still have sex, that’s pretty much self-explanatory), and contraceptives and sterilization exist for a good reason.
You earlier called the issue of “deformed offspring” a myth, then admitted it is not so. It seems interesting that you try to make incest more palatable by claiming that incestuous couples need not have children, but in fact there are cases of such couples who do, and often those children ARE deformed. Indeed, ONE such child resulting from such a union would be one too many!
Consensual incest between adults cause no harm to anybody, people shouldn’t be punished for loving or having sex with another consenting adult. Please, help us end the hatred and spread the tolerance, it’s very much appreciated.
Incest is harmful because it limits genetic diversity in the offspring that result from it, and thus it negates the most obvious evolutionary benefits of sexual reproduction, indeed making it pointless. The accumulation of recessive genetic mutations results in a inbred line being weakened over time. Consider this sad case:
- One of the most famous example of a genetic disorder aggravated by royal family intermarriage was the House of Habsburg, which inmarried particularly often. Famous in this case is the Habsburger (Unter) Lippe (Habsburg jaw/Habsburg lip/”Austrian lip”) (mandibular prognathism), typical for many Habsburg relatives over a period of six centuries. The condition progressed through the generations to the point that the last of the Spanish Habsburgs, Charles II of Spain, could not properly chew his food.
- Besides the jaw deformity, Charles II also had a huge number of other genetic physical, intellectual, sexual, and emotional problems. It is speculated that the simultaneous occurrence in Charles II of two different genetic disorders: combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis could explain most of the complex clinical profile of this king, including his impotence/infertility which in the last instance led to the extinction of the dynasty.
And it’s not just humans that are affected badly by inbreeding. Animals like dogs in Japan have also suffered as well!
Rare dogs are highly prized here, and can set buyers back more than $10,000. But the real problem is what often arrives in the same litter: genetically defective sister and brother puppies born with missing paws or faces lacking eyes and a nose.
There have been dogs with brain disorders so severe that they spent all day running in circles, and others with bones so frail they dissolved in their bodies. Many carry hidden diseases that crop up years later, veterinarians and breeders say.
Kiyomi Miyauchi was heartbroken to discover this after one of two Boston terriers she bought years ago suddenly collapsed last year into spasms on the living room floor and died. In March, one of its puppies died the same way; another went blind.
Ms. Miyauchi stumbled across a widespread problem here that is only starting to get attention. Rampant inbreeding has given Japanese dogs some of the highest rates of genetic defects in the world, sometimes four times higher than in the United States and Europe.
Hirofumi Sasaki, a pet store owner in the western city of Hiroshima, has seen so many defective dogs that last year he converted an old bar into a hospice to care for them. So far he has taken in 32 dogs, though only 12 have survived.
One is Keika, a deaf 1-year-old female dachshund with eyes that wander aimlessly. Her breeder was originally selling her for about $7,500 because she is half-white, a rare trait in dachshunds.
“That is an unnatural color, like a person with blue skin,” Mr. Sasaki said.
The breeder told Mr. Sasaki that he had bred a dog with three generations of offspring — in human terms, first with its daughter, then a granddaughter and then a great-granddaughter — until Keika was born. The other four puppies in the litter were so hideously deformed that they were killed right after birth.
Therefore, my decision is that I will NOT support legalizing incest. I don’t want to see any more people like Charles II or those unfortunate puppies in the future.
The structure of the United Nations (UN) reflects the political realities shortly after World War II. Since that war ended nearly three generations ago, it’s time for a change in the UN, starting with its Security Council. Until such reforms are made, it will only be a laughingstock for decades to come.
There are five permanent members of that Council: The United States, Russia, France, Great Britain, and China. These have veto power over all Council decisions. I would recommend that the veto power within the Council be done away with; it only makes paralysis of the Council more likely than not. I would also recommend that Germany, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Brazil be made permanent members of the Council, with at least 20 others subject to election. The number of nations on the Security Council must always be a prime number to prevent tie votes. Only the UN Secretary-General could veto a UN resolution, but his veto could still be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote of the Security Council. In any case, no single nation should have the power to veto a resolution, because as the chart above shows, the Soviet Union abused that power more than any other nation in the early years of the UN. One wonders how many innocent people died in wars or armed uprisings of one kind or another because of this.
- Reforming the UN Security Council? ¡Ay Dios Mio! (diplomaticscrutiny.com)
- Russia to veto Western-backed SC resolution on Syria (laaska.wordpress.com)
Unitarian Universalists have recently started an effort to engage in the sort of civil disobedience that civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr and his followers did in the 1950s and 60s, and Mohandas Ghandi did in India a generation earlier.
Utah UU convicted for environmental activism
Federal jury faults Tim DeChristopher for blocking auction of oil and gases leases.
By Donald E. Skinner
Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher, a member of First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, Utah, was convicted Thursday of two felony counts of disrupting a federal auction of oil and gas leases more than two years ago. He faces up to ten years in prison.
DeChristopher made false bids of close to $1.8 million for more than a dozen properties in Utah during a Dec. 19, 2008, Bureau of Land Management auction, in an effort to block development near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and bring attention to the global climate crisis.
The jury deliberated nearly five hours after the four-day trial. Sentencing is scheduled for June. Prosecutors said in a news conference they would not seek the maximum penalty.
DeChristopher’s supporters on Thursday worked to put the best possible face on the verdict. “This is a beginning, not the end,” said Joan Gregory, First Unitarian’s Environmental Ministry coordinator. “We are looking at this as a turning point in the fight for climate justice. This verdict will not stop us.”
After the verdict, DeChristopher told his supporters, “We know that now I’ll have to go to prison. We know now that’s the reality, but that’s just the job I have to do. And many before me have gone to jail . . . If we’re going to achieve our vision, many after me will have to join me as well.”
Said Gregory, “What Tim wants, what we all want, is for everyone, wherever they live, to feel the urgency and be empowered by Tim’s actions and take actions in their own communities. This may have been a guilty verdict, but we have a very positive message to send out into the world. We need to take responsibility for change.”
And it’s not just a few of the rank and file members doing this!
UUA President Responds to Sentence in Arizona Protest Trial
August 23, 2011
(Boston, MA) The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), was convicted August 5, 2011, on misdemeanor charges stemming from his nonviolent civil disobedience in Phoenix, Ariz., in July 2011.
Rev. Morales was arrested while protesting Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation, SB 1070. Today, August 23, 2011, his sentence was announced in Maricopa County court. For his act of conscience, he received a sentence of one day in jail, with credit for the one day already served.
Rev. Morales released the following statement upon hearing of his sentence:
“While my trial has finally ended, my determination to oppose Arizona’s SB 1070 and the inhumane practices of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is stronger than ever.
“As people of faith, we are called to oppose injustice and help protect the most vulnerable among us. We cannot turn a blind eye to the inhumane immigration enforcement practices of Sheriff Arpaio, nor should we accept similar policies in other parts of our country.
“We Unitarian Universalists will continue to stand on the side of love against such legislation and the anti-immigrant sentiment it represents. We look forward to an opportunity to witness publicly against such injustices at our Justice General Assembly in Phoenix in 2012.”
The UUA is a faith community of more than 1,000 congregations that bring to the world a vision of religious freedom, tolerance and social justice. For more information, please visit our online press room.
And the movement is spreading like a virus!
Tar Sands Action inspired by a UU’s civil disobedience
A proposed pipeline could be ‘game over’ for climate change, say environmentalists.
By Donald E. Skinner
In late August, Barbara Ford will cross the country from her home in Portland, Ore., with several other members of that city’s First Unitarian Church. They’re headed for Washington, D.C., to participate in a large public witness event calling attention to the threat of global climate change.
Religious activists and organizations are gathering August 29 outside the White House as part of a two-week protest called Tar Sands Action, which is aimed at pressuring President Obama to reject a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil extracted from clay and other materials in the tar sands region of Alberta. Environmental groups describe tar sands oil as one of the dirtiest fuels on earth, resulting in higher emissions during the refining process. Investing in tar sands oil will delay investment in clean and safe alternatives, environmentalists add.
Construction of the pipeline requires the signature of President Obama. The Tar Sands Action, which will extend from August 20 through September 3, is aimed at convincing him to not approve it.
“I’ve been feeling for the past five years that civil disobedience was going to be necessary in the climate movement,” said Ford, a former chair of the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth, an independent organization that works closely with the Unitarian Universalist Association on environmental justice issues. “It seems clear we can’t count on our government to do the right thing without our influence. To me, we’re at a similar crossroads as the civil rights movement was in the 1960s. There is no choice but to step forth and work for justice. We all need to do something besides recycling. This is my opportunity.”
The Tar Sands Action is the latest in a series of public witness events that have grown, at least in part, out of the arrest and conviction of Unitarian Universalist Tim DeChristopher, a 29-year-old climate activist, for disrupting a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction in 2008 in Salt Lake City. Last month he was sentenced to two years in prison. DeChristopher’s actions have inspired UUs and many others across the country, and have caused them to take to the streets in pursuit of climate justice.
Five members of his congregation, First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, were arrested in Washington in April in a protest against energy policies as part of the Power Shift 2011 energy and climate conference. They went as part of a group DeChristopher formed, Peaceful Uprising. Other UUs took part in a march across West Virginia in June to raise awareness of mountaintop removal mining. They cited DeChristopher’s actions as a reason for their own. When DeChristopher was sentenced, 26 people were arrested outside the courthouse.
Tar Sands Action was organized by Peaceful Uprising. DeChristopher is in prison, but his impact is still being felt.
What’s going on? Why are UUs doing these things now? The answer, quite simply, is that in the face of the almost total corporate domination of our politics made possible by that contemptible Citizens United decision by the U S Supreme Court, rejecting and physically fighting back against unjust and dishonorable governmental and corporate policies that are not in the best interests of the people have become fashionable once more, just as they were 40 to 50 years ago. And a possible side effect of these efforts will be more people seeing the Unitarian Universalist Association and its churches as the organization to join for finding more progressive social and environmental activists. After all, if it had not been for those stupid Jim Crow racist policies of the southern states, would most of us even know who Martin Luther King Jr was? UUs marched alongside him too.
- Tim DeChristopher’s Court Speech: ‘This Is What Patriotism Looks Like’ (via Food Freedom) (wilderside.wordpress.com)
- Tim DeChristopher supporters issue oil protest ‘call to action’ (revolutionwithoutborder.org)
- The Sentencing of Tim DeChristopher Highlights the Conflict Between the People and Corporate-Government (susansayler.wordpress.com)
- Tim DeChristopher supporters issue oil protest ‘call to action’ (guardian.co.uk)
- 1 day in jail for Arizona immigration protesters (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
The atheist community, of which Richard Dawkins has been seen as a leader for many years, has been rocked by this latest controversy which has shown, once and for all, that just because you are atheist doesn’t mean you leave behind all your outdated attitudes and become consistently rational. If anything, Dawkins’ blatant sexism has only made him and his atheism look worse.
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.
Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .
And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.
Talk about missing the point!
Others have denounced Dawkins and defended Rebecca on this, including Rebecca herself:
Dawkins is dead wrong about this! Indeed, he couldn’t be more wrong if he were to suddenly endorse Young Earth Creationism. And since his position is so repulsive, the only honorable thing for him to do at this point is for him to state, in a public forum or even on his own website: “I’m sorry, I was being sexist and hypocritical and I will never make such foolish statements again.” And then shut the hell up afterwards for a long time.
Until he does that, I will never listen to him again.
This story, and variations of it, are all over the web now:
Japanese turn sex doll into dental-training robotTokyo university reveals realistic synthi-patient, claims “root canal” gags play no part in its appealBy Mark Hiratsuka 1 July, 2011
Tokyo frequently presents a story that’s borderline fiction — sex dolls for cavity-filling practice, puhlease — but the pedigree of the new Hanako Showa 2 dental training robot tells us this is no product of a fevered imagination.
We previously saw big sister, plain Jane Hanako Showa, in early 2010, noting that the synthetic patient was being used in the Showa University dental school for more than simple caries-evacuation practice on her plumbed-in dentures.
That model even incorporated the concept of being female simply so junior dentists could learn not to accidentally fondle her breasts. We kid you not.
So, a year and a half later, little sis makes her bow sheathed not in her sibling’s PVC skin, but lifelike silicone, and sporting a host of internal modifications besides.
Hanako 2 genuinely is based on a Dutch Wife-style love doll from Orient Industry in Tokyo’s Taito Ward — trust us, you don’t want to click that link at work — giving her a head start in the “realistic” stakes.
Aside from the human-feel skin on her face, mouth and tongue, she also contains robotics that allow her to mimic a range of motions, including sneezing and gagging when clumsy trainees dip their instruments too far into her gullet.
Talkative, ain’t she?
Hanako 2 also has the gift of the gab and can chat with her human companions about how she’s feeling, what ails her and, probably, how she can manage to speak with all that medical metal in her face.
Japan being Japan, there’s clearly no scope for the tried-and-trusted medical school technique of pulling passersby in off the street for a free “checkup.”
Rather, Tokyo’s finest would-be dentists get to grapple with a chimera created originally for self-gratification, but packed instead with cutting-edge robotics and put to work in the name of a nation’s oral health. It’s a beautiful thing.
My first reaction to this was, “Wow, here’s another example of Japanese technical wizardry being put to a good use! It’s certain better to train dentists with dolls that can react like real patients than with real patients that might be injured or infected due to a mistake.” Continue reading →
For a long time, I’ve been concerned about how popular music trends tend to make teenagers look stupid and shallow. Now, pop music seems to have hit rock bottom with THIS video by Rebecca Black:
The basic goal of all businesses in a free market capitalist system is to make as much profit as possible. Of course, there is nothing wrong with making money, as long as you are honest and fair about it. But sometimes companies look at only ONE issue of making a profit and fail to see the big picture. Consider these stories:
Micheal was hired to be a delivery assistant for Southside Deliveries in mid-November, doing what he was told would be a temporary job that would last until Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, he was terminated after just two weeks (early December) and the excuse the company gave was “You are too slow.” Micheal was so disgusted at being tossed so quickly that he vowed never to even use Southside Deliveries as a customer. Thus Southside Deliveries, by firing him to save profits, actually lost profits they might have made from him over the next few years.
Mary was a loyal customer of Blue River Energy for years, so she reasoned that she would be an ideal employee for it as well. She was hired to be one of its Sales Representatives and was sent to public places like shopping malls, grocery stores, convention centers, and electronics stores. At these places, she set up her booth and tried to persuade people coming there for other things to switch to using Blue River Energy as their electricity retailer. Despite her going by the book over a two month period, she never sold enough policies to satisfy management, and she was suddenly terminated by her supervisor when she went out to do another day’s work. He simply took her materials and table from her and left her in shock. Soon afterwards, she switched to another electric company, AP Power, because she felt totally betrayed.
Henry signed up for employment with a temp agency, and was sent out a week later to do work at a factory owned by Masters Manufacturing. He worked hard all day, and never got the impression from the supervisors that anything was amiss. But the next day, he got a call from the temp agency that Masters Manufacturing had rejected him. “They said you were too slow, ” was all Henry was told. Henry felt that was unjust, since he’d only done as he was told by those same people who rejected him….and vowed never to buy another cell phone or other electronic device made by Masters Manufacturing.
Now, there is nothing wrong with firing a worker who commits acts of direct insubordination or disrespect for either management or customers, vandalism, assault of another employee, theft, drunkeness or drug abuse on the job, or some other illegal activity. In my opinion, those should be the reasons to fire employees and nothing else. Terminating someone because he is slightly less productive than someone else is a form of discrimination. What if this is due to a mental or physical disability, rather than laziness? What if the employee is new and just needs time to get used to his job? What if the employee’s contributions still count for something, as does the decision of the former employee to boycott the business after his termination?
Workers need to get together and stop letting companies bully them into ruin. They can do that by boycotting any company that treats them as disposable. Maybe if enough people start doing that, then the companies will start treating workers with more respect!
- You Cannot Tolerate Talented Terrors – Here’s How to Fire Them (appliedhumanresources.wordpress.com)
- Termination of Employment & Updaterules for the Department of Business Development In Thailand [Lily Tran] (ecademy.com)
- Is this clause in my temp agency agreement fair? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Rewards for “Good” Business Ethics (businessethicsreview.wordpress.com)
Read this outrageous story:
Blogger admits ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ hoax
LONDON (AFP) – Rights campaigners reacted furiously after a US student based in Scotland unmasked himself as the author of the “Gay Girl in Damascus” blogs, which charted the security crackdown in Syria.
Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old Edinburgh University masters student, admitted Sunday that he was “Amina Abdullah”, who had described “herself” as a Syrian political blogger.
The Abdullah character rose to fame with her reports on the pro-reform movement, posting as “an out Syrian lesbian’s thoughts on life, the universe and so on”.
Then last Tuesday someone claiming to be her cousin wrote on the website that Abdullah had been snatched off the street by three armed men and bundled into a car bearing a pro-government window sticker.
The report sparked a wave of alarm among her online followers. Supporters even set up a “Free Amina Abdullah” group on the social networking site Facebook, attracting nearly 15,000 followers.
MacMaster finally came clean in a posting on his blog Sunday, after doubts began to emerge as to whether Abdullah really was for real. He admitted that he was the sole author of the posts.
“I never expected this level of attention,” MacMaster wrote in an “Apology to readers” posted on the blog.
“While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading as to the situation on the ground.
“I do not believe that I have harmed anyone — I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about,” MacMaster added.
“I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in this year of revolutions.”
The Guardian newspaper said that in recent days, bloggers had uncovered evidence that pointed towards MacMaster and his wife Britta Froelicher.
MacMaster is a Middle East activist, while his wife is studying at Scotland’s St Andrews University for a doctorate in Syrian economic development.
In his apology, MacMaster said he had been touched by the reaction of readers.
But the revelation of the hoax has sparked fury among some former followers of the blog, particularly those who had been campaigning for Abdullah’s release.
“This just makes me so angry,” said one comment on the Facebook group set up to press for her release.
“The situation in Syria is too dire for this sort of gameplaying!”
“Time and effort was taken away from other vitally important news stories happening in Syria,” another contributor protested.
As an Honorable Skeptic, I took little notice of “Amina”, but find the case of someone pretending to be her intolerable! Now the voices of REAL Arab political activists, gay rights activists, and others communicating via the internet will be less likely to be taken seriously, for how do we know they are not fake? Tom McMaster (or perhaps I should call him McBastard) should immediately be arrested, tried and either heavily fined or imprisoned for fraud. If Amina had been a real person that McMaster had been impersonating, he would have been committing identity theft. How can making up and portraying a fictional person, but claimed to be real, be any better?
Indeed, one of my basic principles is that it is NEVER acceptable to do bad things for a good reason or cause. The long term credibility of the cause is more important than any possible short-term gains from the deception.
Incidentally, this relates somewhat to what Rep. Anthony Weiner did with his Twitter account and the aftermath of that incident. Putting a picture of your crotch publicly on Twitter, intending it to be a private message to a woman not your wife, is stupid, but it can be overlooked. What CANNOT be tolerated or ignored is that Weiner LIED afterwards about the matter, claiming that a hacker had broken into the Twitter account. He should be condemned for that and made to resign. Back in the 1990s, I was appalled at that Bill Clinton did, having affairs with women, including Monica Lewenski, and then lying to everyone about it. He should have resigned too. But I also recognize that the attempts by Republicans to get rid of him were self-serving as well, and they have had too many of their own scandals among themselves to be taken seriously when they condemn people like Clinton or Weiner.
First, read this:
If you actually said what Rebecca Watson quoted of you, then you are one contemptible hypocrite. Not a true skeptic anymore, and certainly not an Honorable Skeptic like I try to be. Close friendship is no excuse for selling out!
Jeffrey Epstein is the infamous media mogul who was jailed in 2008 for paying underage prostitutes who said they were recruited by his aides. Some girls were allegedly flown in from Eastern Europe, their visas arranged by his bookkeeper.
Then she quotes you as saying:
Based on my direct experience with Jeffrey, which is all I can base my assessment on, he is a thoughtful, kind, considerate man who is generous to his friends, and all of the women I have known who have been associated with Jeffrey speak glowingly in the same words……jeffrey apparently paid for massages with sex… I believe him when he told me he had no idea the girls were underage, and I doubt that people normally are asked for or present a driver’s license under such circumstances… Moreover, I also believe that Jeffrey is an easy target for those who want to take advantage of him…
You sound like an IDIOT there! WTF is wrong with you?! I wonder if you are a sex offender yourself, to rationalize away the actions of Epstein and claim that he isn’t so bad because he has so many other “good” qualities. NO! A MURDERER is a MURDERER, and child rapist is a child rapist, period! And a skeptic is a skeptic also, and you are NOT one anymore!
Another thing I am adamant about is my sense of honor, which I hold more dear to me than my life. It allows for no exceptions whatsoever. So if I have lost friends or even made enemies for standing up for my honor, so be it. If I see someone who comes across to me as a liar, a bully, or just plain rude and stupid, then I usually try to fight back. If I see someone doing or saying things that damage the credibility of the causes I happen to believe in, I deeply take offense at that because I want those causes to be protected, even at the expense of picking fights with those who are unworthy to support those causes. I believe in absolute standards of right and wrong and so I see no point in ever excusing something that is wrong because the wrongdoer is otherwise a friendly or nice guy. That’s how corruption sets in.
No matter how great the pressure, I feel that one must never “sell out”. It is being able to stand up to the urge to conform to the shallow desires and priorites of others who have a limited vision that makes one truly heroic. I choose my friends according to my ideals; I never bend my ideals for the sake of keeping friends.
That is MY standard, and I am saddened that it is not yours. Grow up!
Read this story:
Texan declared innocent after 30 years in prison
In 1975, a movie was made depicting the Hindenburg disaster. It was directed by Robert Wise and starred George C Scott. With such talent, it should have been a masterpiece. Instead, it became known as a farce.
Too much of the movie was fictional and even inaccurate, including the unsupported claim that a crew member planted a bomb on the airship. The crew member was given a different name (Karl Boerth) but in the book the movie was loosely based on, the crew member is identified as Eric Spehl, who was actually at the nose of the Hindenburg and was burned to death.
In 1981, Pac-Man was the hottest video game in the world, and Atari was one of the most respected video game companies. So when Atari decided to make a home version of Pac-Man for its 2600 system, people expected it to be fantastic.
It wasn’t! Indeed, it was nothing like the original! Read this review for one reaction:
But look at how Atari described the game in its own manual:
1. HERE’S PAC-MAN
We know that millions of people all over the world just love the PAC-MAN arcade game. PAC-MAN has won the hearts of men, women, and children everywhere. We also know that PAC-MAN has traditionally been an arcade game. Well, we at ATARI know all about arcade games. After all, we make some of the greatest arcade games in the world, and we know how to bring the same dynamite game play into your home.
Our PAC-MAN has all of the excitement and challenge of the standard arcade game, and you get to play in the comfort and convenience of your own home. This is especially advantageous if you still plan to make an occasional appearance at the arcade to show off your great playing skills. (Little do they know that you’ve been practicing at home all along.)
Having played both the original arcade game and the Atari home version of Pac-Man, I knew immediately that Atari was bullshitting everyone, but it somehow got away with it!
It shouldn’t have! I would have gladly taken part in a class action lawsuit against Atari for that act of fraud on its part. If I had been the CEO of Midway Manufacturing Company, which made the arcade Pac-Man that Atari was supposed to duplicate, I would have sued Atari too!