The hypocrisy of Orthodox Jews

This article struck me as a case of Earth’s core irony:

http://news.yahoo.com/orthodox-nyc-jews-protest-proposed-israeli-draft-173200761.html

Orthodox NYC Jews protest proposed Israeli draft
Associated PressBy VERENA DOBNIK

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews filled the streets in lower Manhattan on Sunday to protest Israel’s proposal to draft strictly religious citizens into its army.

The gathering took up a stretch of 10 blocks, with dark-clothed demonstrators standing behind police barricades amid tight security. Organizers kept to tradition, with men and women in separate groups as they are at religious events.

Shmuel Gruis, 18, a rabbinical student from Phoenix studying at a Long Island yeshiva, was clutching two tomes of Jewish prayers as he hurried to the male section of the rally.

Of the Israeli Orthodox young men who would be affected by a mandatory draft, he said, “These kids, a lot of them don’t know how to hold a gun. They don’t know what physical warfare is.”

“Their whole world and their whole lifestyle is peace and love and in doing mitzvahs,” he said, using the Yiddish word for good deeds. “And you take a bunch of kids out of the environment where they come from — in my eyes, it’s wrong.”

Sunday’s prayer event brought together a community of New York’s most Orthodox Jews, based in Brooklyn and in the town of Kiryas Joel in Orange County, north of the city.

“We’re all united against military service for religious men in Israel because it doesn’t allow for religious learning,” said Peggy Blier, an interior designer from Brooklyn. “The Israeli government is looking to destroy religious society and make the country into a secular melting pot.”

A week ago, hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews rallied in the streets of Jerusalem, blocking roads and paralyzing the city in a massive show of force against plans to require them to serve in the Israeli military.

The widespread opposition to the draft poses a challenge to the country, which is grappling with a cultural war over the place of the ultra-Orthodox in Israeli society.

The issue of army service is at the core of that struggle. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, the ultra-Orthodox, who make up about 8 percent of Israel’s 8 million citizens, largely have been allowed to avoid military service, compulsory for most Jewish men, to pursue their religious studies. Older men often don’t work and collect welfare stipends while continuing to study full time.

The ultra-Orthodox insist their young men serve the nation through prayer and study, thus preserving Jewish learning and heritage, and by maintaining a pious way of life that has kept Jewish culture alive through centuries of persecution.

But the exemption has enraged secular Israelis who say the ultra-Orthodox are not doing their fair share. The issue featured prominently in last year’s election, which led to the establishment of a center-right government that has been pushing for reforms that will require ultra-Orthodox to serve in the army. Parliament is expected to vote on the conscription bill later this month.

Let me get this straight; Israel was founded in 1948 as an expression of Jewish nationalism, yet the very ones known as the most devout Jews refuse to accept the responsibility to defend the Jewish state, but expect others to?

Either Orthodox Jews in Israel accept the draft, or they work to abolish the draft for all Israeli citizens. There should be no exemption for religious reasons, because anyone can claim to be an ultra-Orthodox Jew to avoid military service in Israel. And drafting anyone, even in wartime, is a violation of a citizen’s civil rights.

And you can preserve Jewish culture even while serving in the Israeli military in your younger years or even most of your life.  Even the U S military has Jewish chaplains.

Wayne Christian and Todd Staples, libeled!

Texas politicians are overwhelmingly Conservative and Republican, which as a liberal often makes me feel like an alien in my own state, despite being born and raised here. In looking at the candidates running for office in Texas, I stumbled upon some propaganda against them. Specifically, Wayne Christian and Todd Staples. Continue reading

Rape Apologists!

I would occasionally see the term “rape apologist” thrown around by feminists and I assumed for a long time that this was merely hyperbole. What man, in his right mind, would publicly defend the act of forcing a woman to have sex with him? Instead, I figured the only proper definition of a rape apology would be a rapist saying to his victim months or years later, “I’m sorry that I violated your dignity as a fellow human being and I promise I will never do that again to anyone.”

Boy was I mistaken! Continue reading

Truth in Advertising: Photoshopping must be outlawed.

Photoshopping is using a special computer program that manipulates a photo to alter its appearance. Models that appear on magazine covers often have their pictures photoshopped to make them look more attractive than they really are (according to some standard of beauty held in most of the Western world, but not a universal one).

This unethical practice has been criticized for giving most girls a terrible self image by making them compare their imperfect bodies to what they see in magazines. A similar  argument has been made about Barbie dolls, with their unrealistic body proportions, but at least pictures of Barbie dolls are not photoshopped. Doing that to actual human models should be considered fraud. And fraud IS illegal, so it is not a stretch to outlaw photoshopping and require all magazines, newspapers, and news websites to only publish pictures that are not photoshopped. We should be able to see what is real, not someone’s idea of beauty that is not real!

Thou shalt not steal!

Imagine my shock at the sheer stupidity and arrogance of this group of radical “Christians”:

http://www.jesusradicals.com/calendar-grrlz/

On the weekend of Black Friday, a group of three people emptied a calendar stand of its entire stock of sexist and objectifying products.

Every day on the way to work, we had to walk by this kiosk.  Each passing encounter forced a specific sexuality and beauty standard upon us, and we couldn’t take it anymore.  We were sick of being told that our worth is equivalent to what aesthetic pleasure our bodies can afford someone else (typically a man).

If your environment disturbs you, disturb it.

Or even better, disturb it with your friends.  Together, we formulated a plan and decided upon roles that we were all comfortable with: the distraction, the bagger, and the lookout.  The area was scoped out beforehand for cameras, number of employees, and general foot traffic, and escape routes were elaborated.  We created placards with anti-sexist rhetoric to replace the calendars, being cautious to touch them only with gloves on.

The distraction pretended to shop until the other two entered separately, and then began to engage the sole employee in conversation.  The bagger stashed the product in a trash bag, while the lookout stood beside watching for passersby and police.  After the product had been replaced with the placards, the bagger took the trash out through a side door, appearing as a mall employee.  Once sure the bagger hadn’t been followed, the lookout exited and headed to the meetup spot.  The distraction ended the conversation with the employee and walked away without incident.  We all left laughing.

A big part of any action is strengthening bonds of trust with those whom you already know and love.  We invite you to disturb your own environments, with these suggestions:

- Always use gloves for everything you handle (no fingerprints)

- Make sure you have enough bags/baggers (we had to make several trips, and the employee at your kiosk may not be so inattentive)

- Wear a very different change of clothes underneath your outfit–if followed, you can hide and remove the outer clothing.

- Wear something to obscure your face from cameras and passersby (if a hat, look down at the ground while passing a camera)

Be cautious, but don’t be paranoid.  This was (and should be) easy and fun!

I would have expected this sort of crap from a group of radical atheists and feminists, not Christians!  But then again, we do have Christian bigots that have murdered abortion doctors too, even though the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.”

If these people were at all sincere, they would have  destroyed the calendars in front of the store employees and customers and allowed themselves to be arrested and proceed afterwards to take a stand for their cause in court. Instead, they are just cowards, thieves and self-righteous @$$holes. In any case, I would put them in jail for a long time and/or fine them thousands of dollars!

Weapons of Mass Destruction

OK, let me get this straight.

  1. We Americans are opposed to Iran gaining nuclear weapons.
  2. We went to war against Iraq in 2003 over claims that it had chemical and biological weapons and was even trying to get nuclear weapons. Those claims were debunked after the invasion.
  3. We may soon be going to war with Syria over the claim that its government used chemical weapons against the rebels in its own civil war.

And yet the facts are that:

  1. The United States is the ONLY nation that has EVER used nuclear weapons in wartime (1945 against Japan).
  2. The United States has THOUSANDS of nuclear weapons and can launch them to anywhere else in the world.
  3. The United States has no plans to disarm its nuclear weapons program.
  4. Other nations, including Russia, China, France, Great Britain, India and Pakistan, have developed nuclear weapons and the world civilization has not (yet) destroyed itself in a nuclear war.

Why aren’t the nations of the world demanding that WE give up our weapons of mass destruction? How can we condemn others for wanting such weapons to protect themselves from invasion when we have had them for many decades? Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y?!

It would be like a man armed at his home with dozens of machine guns being alarmed that his neighbors want to get themselves a few pistols. We Americans really do seem like a bunch of chickenshit cowards, don’t we?

An Open Letter to the American People

August 3, 2013

To the concerned citizens of the United States of America,

The Republicans in the House of Representatives have tried 40 times to repeal Obamacare and 39 times they have failed. They will always fail as long as the Democrats have a majority in the Senate and Obama, or any other Democrat, is President. So why do they bother?  If anyone else was caught wasting as much time at their jobs as the Republicans have, they would be fired. So the obvious solution is to vote at least some of the Republicans out of the House next year.

The truth is that the Republicans are living on borrowed time. It is a given that they will never capture the Presidency again; George W. Bush will be the last Republican ever to hold it. But once Obamacare is fully implemented and its benefits become obvious, the insane opposition the Republicans have shown to it will cause them to never be able to hold a majority in either chamber of Congress and their status as a major party in the United States will be finished.

If you really want limited government, vote for Libertarians. Most of them are not hypocrites. They are indeed the only true followers of the U S Constitution left. No, not even the “Tea Party” bigots among Republicans. The Tea Party was just another right-wing scam to get votes from people who were scared out of their wits by the election of a black man to the Presidency. Ironically, I think Obama has not been liberal enough and that we need to push government even more to the left over the next few decades.

Indeed, if we were true to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence (“we hold there truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…..”) there would be absolutely NO place in American politics for Conservatism. Why? Because Conservatism by its very nature is based on trying to maintain some sort of social inequality; some traditionally privileged class seeking to maintain its exalted status as opposed to some other disadvantaged class. It could be rich vs. poor, whites vs. blacks, men vs. women, Christians vs. non-Christians, or heterosexuals vs. homosexuals. Conservatism works by constantly appealing to the irrational prejudices of those who are in power and seek to keep the power to themselves rather than share power with those who do not have it. Both the Democrats in the late 19th Century and the Republicans in the late 20th Century to today were infested by Conservatism.

The Republicans today have caved in so deeply to bigotry that they are not even capable of representing the real needs of the people anymore; they are controlled by giant corporations that have been holding most of our economy hostage for decades and own media outlets like FOX News to lie to the American people constantly. These same corporations that outsourced so much of our manufacturing to China, but blame illegal immigrants for taking jobs from real Americans. Those same corporations that make vast profits from wars overseas and a military budget at least six times greater than that of any other nation while causing us to drown in public debt. Hypocrites! They are the real parasites and traitors to our nation, not welfare recipients or those who dare to blow the whistle on the corruption and abuses of our government!

So let us destroy the Republican Party! The madness must end!

Sincerely,

Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic

 

Truth in Advertising: The Staffmark and Exel screwup

Corporate Logo of Exel Logistics (now a subsid...

Corporate Logo of Exel Logistics (now a subsidiary of DHL) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a new job and so I responded to an ad on Craigslist:

http://dallas.craigslist.org/ftw/lab/3855558236.html

Want to beat the heat while working? (North Fort Worth)

Looking for energetic, sharp assemblers that build special packaging for food products to work in a logistics warehouse with opportunity to advance to team leads for second shift (6:00pm – 2:30am). The work week is Sunday through Thursday. Need to have great attendance and strong safety habits to be eligible for bonus. This is a long term assignment – 40 current openings! After verification of employment will start immediately.
If interested, please contact Jacob Holsinger at jacob.holsinger@staffmark.com

The employment agency that put out the ad was Staffmark. I visited their office and after orientation I started work at a nearby warehouse that was owned by a company called Exel and distributed General Mills products. So I went out there and found:

1. The actual work at night schedule was 6:00 PM to FOUR AM, not 2:30 AM.

2. We were told by the Exel managers at the work site that we may be working SEVEN DAYS A WEEK for several weeks, maybe even a month!

3. Beating the heat was not an issue. In fact, the warehouse was very HOT inside and we were told to keep ourselves hydrated constantly with water bottles due to our sweating so much. That we worked at night was little help: even after sunset, summer nights in Texas are often very warm. I cannot imagine anyone working at such a warehouse in the daytime when the temperatures outside may soar to 100 degrees F for weeks!

I went back to the Staffmark people and complained about the schedule changes bitterly, feeling like I’d been lied to. But I proceeded to work at the warehouse anyway for a week.

This morning, I was awakened by a call from Staffmark:  I’d been terminated because I’d not been “agreeable” to the changes that were made to my work. Uh, right, because I remember what I see and I insist as a matter of integrity that companies KEEP THEIR WORD! No one should be working seven days a week at anything, period!

But this is what happens when you live in a “right-to-work” state where labor unions have almost no power.

Atheists on Facebook

The Center for Inquiry hosted a conference for women in which it’s CEO, Ron Lindsay, made a total idiot of himself and offended a LOT of the women (and enlightened men) for whom the conference was made by implying that feminists who wanted men to listen to them were no better than the men who were being disrespectful to them.

Continue reading

Mike Adams vs. Angelina Jolie

English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film fes...

The media has been buzzing about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have both her breasts removed to prevent her from coming down with breast cancer.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/showbiz/angelina-jolie-double-mastectomy/index.html

(CNN) — Actress Angelina Jolie announced in a New York Times op-ed article on Tuesday that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning that she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Continue reading

Destroy the Atheist movement!

Read this, which I have edited for the sake of brevity:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/05/08/policing-their-own/

We want religious believers to police their own.

We want religious believers to stop being silent about atrocities committed in the name of religion. …….And when they don’t, we call them hypocrites.

So why is it that when atheists speak out against screwed-up shit that other atheists are doing, it gets called “divisive”?

I have been hearing a lot of calls for unity in the atheist community. I have been hearing a lot of calls for an end to the debates, an end to the infighting. I have been hearing a lot of calls for atheists to stop focusing on our differences, and look at our common ground….But all too often, calling for unity equals silencing dissent. All too often, calling for unity equals a de facto defense of the status quo. All too often, calling for unity equals telling people who are speaking up for themselves to shut up.

I do not want to be in unity with atheists who [speak, write, or behave in misogynous ways]. And I do not want to be in unity with atheists who consistently rationalize this behavior, who trivialize it, who make excuses for it.

And I don’t think I should be expected to. I don’t think anyone in this movement should be asking that of me. I don’t think anyone in this movement should be asking that of anyone.

And when people, however well-meaning, make generic calls for unity — when they tell all of us to stop fighting and just get along — they’re basically telling those of us on the short ends of those sticks to shut up.

Quite simply, we as civilized people cannot unite around atheism. Atheism is merely rejection of theism, and lots of people who rejected theism in the past were part of governments that not only mistreated women, but mass murdered people outright.

So if you wish to profess atheism, go for it. But we cannot define ourselves only as atheists. Doing so is meaningless. The Atheist movement itself is meaningless.

Let us turn to this instead:

http://www.uua.org/beliefs/principles/index.shtml

There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

What Greta Christina wrote about on her own blog is exactly why I have fought with atheist fanatics and hypocrites on the internet. Being an atheist is not enough, and there is nothing wrong with someone choosing to believe in a god of some kind if he affirms the seven principles stated above.

We do not need atheism, nor do we need religious bigotry. We do need tolerance and a world embracing vision and thus we need firm principles, which we may find among Unitarian Universalists. Let it be so.

http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/why-more-people-should-join-the-unitarian-universalists/

 

A powerful statement about abortion

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.

If Israel shouldn’t exist….

……neither should Pakistan. BOTH states were founded after World War II by followers of a specific religion who wanted to establish a society in which that religion would dominate it. Pakistan excluded Hindus and remains a hotbed of Muslim extremism to this day (which is why it was stupid for President Bush Jr. to accept Pakistan as an ally in his “War on Terrorism”, when in fact Osama Bin Ladin was hiding out in Pakistan for years until President Obama finally had him killed). And Israel continues to violate the rights of Palestinians by building and keeping Jewish settlements on the West Bank, thus stealing land the United Nations said was not theirs in 1947. Yet the United States also continues to support Israel, no matter what. Why is Jewish extremism more acceptable than Muslim extremism? Either accept both and the states made from them or condemn both and the states made from them. Not only one or the other, unless you are a religious bigot.

This understanding came to me after reading this:

http://skepchick.org/2013/03/whitefeminism/

While other countries are “Muslim” or “Islamic” because they just so happen to have a large Muslim population, Pakistan was founded by Muslims as a Muslim country in rather deliberate fashion.

I replied as follows:

Likewise, Israel was founded by Jews as a Jewish country in rather deliberate fashion. If one is illegitimate, so is the other. Can you discuss this too?

The blog author replied:

That isn’t at all part of my focus or within my scope as a blogger. There are plenty of critics of Israel and Zionism who can speak to such matters better than I can.

I then said:

I understand. My actual point is that I know of no anti-Zionists that also attack Pakistan for its existence as a Muslim state founded to separate its people from mostly Hindu India. Proving that they are more biased towards Islam and against Jews than any just person should be.

As an non-theist, I’m one of those “a plague on both your houses” people that gets it from both sides.

Another Creationist bigot goes to hell!

At least if there is a hell, there should be a place in it for frauds like this guy:

http://ncse.com/news/2013/03/duane-t-gish-dies-0014753

Duane T. Gish dies

  • March 6th, 2013

The young-earth creationist Duane T. Gish died on March 5, 2013, at the age of 92, according to Answers in Genesis’s obituary. Born on February 17, 1921, in White City, Kansas, he served in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1946 in the Pacific Theater of Operations, attaining the rank of captain. He earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1949, and then a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1953. After a stint as a postdoctoral fellow and then assistant professor of biochemistry at Cornell University Medical College, he returned as a researcher to the University of California, Berkeley, from 1956 to 1960, before joining the Upjohn Company as a researcher from 1960 to 1971. In 1971, he became the vice president of the Institute for Creation Research, founded in 1970 by Henry Morris. In 2005, Gish retired, becoming the ICR’s Senior Vice President Emeritus. A prolific writer, his most famous book was Evolution: The Fossils Say No! (Master Books, 1973), entitled in later editions Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record (Master Books, 1985) and Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! (Master Books, 1995). His most recent book was Letter to a Theistic Evolutionist (ICON, 2012).

But Gish was famous, or notorious, principally on account of his debates with scientists, including such opponents as George Bakken, Kenneth R. Miller, Massimo Pigliucci, Kenneth Saladin, Michael Shermer, and William Thwaites. “If the mild-mannered professorial Morris was the Darwin of the creationist movement,” wrote Ronald L. Numbers in The Creationists (2006), “then the bumptious Gish was its T. H. Huxley.” Gish boasted of having engaged in over three hundred debates. He was certainly a lively debater, whose style involved a rapid delivery of arguments on widely varying topics; his debate style was dubbed the “Gish Gallop” by NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott in 1994. But scientists quickly concluded — in the words of Karl Fezer, writing (PDF) in 1993 — that “Gish will say, with rhetorical flourish and dramatic emphasis, whatever he thinks will serve to maintain, in the minds of his uncritical followers, his image as a knowledgeable ‘creation scientist.’ An essential component is to lard his remarks with technical detail; whether that detail is accurate or relevant or based on unambiguous evidence is of no concern. When confronted with evidence of his own error, he resorts to diversionary tactics and outright denial.”

Creationism, especially the Bible based kind, never had any legitimacy. To understand why, just read this.

No King Rules Forever….or Should

First, read this:

http://news.yahoo.com/fans-lance-armstrong-doping-saga-spoils-memories-174746249.html

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.

Two Types of Corruption

There are two types of corruption in society: direct and indirect.

Direct corruption is when someone engages in unethical actions to make a gain for himself. An example is a public official taking funds that were paid to the government in taxes and embezzling  the money to make himself rich.

Indirect corruption is when someone enables the corrupt acts of someone else by not taking action against the other person or, even worse, taking action against anyone who tries to stop the direct corruption. Like a Catholic bishop who may never molest children himself, but upon learning that a priest under his jurisdiction has done that, he simply moves that priest to a different church and digs up dirt on the accusers of the priest to try to blackmail them. It is easier to do that than do the honorable thing, because the entire system is corrupted and removing all the corrupt members would make it fall apart.

Of course, one might argue that both types of corruption are equally bad. Indeed, if there were no examples of the indirect kind, the direct kind would not be able to do as much damage as it has. Therefore, we must have zero tolerance for either kind. A system with both direct and indirect corruption for too long will eventually rot from within and will have to be torn down anyway.

Corruption and Betrayal in a WoW Guild

This is a sequel to

http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/some-thoughts-on-world-of-warcraft/

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

Andrew Breitbart is Dead

Conservative media activist and trickster Andrew Breitbart died today at the age of 43. As far as I’m concerned,  that was simply justice after all the contemptible lies he told using media manipulation to advance his right-wing agenda, which I see as itself dishonorable. He was even responsible for the unjustified downfall of ACORN shortly after Barack Obama became President, which ACORN had helped get elected.

I think we need to do what we can to either reestablish ACORN or replace it with a simular organization. I only regret that Breitbart will not live to see that happen. But there are plenty of other Republican bigots out there we can seek to punish! Their day of reckoning will come if we just have enough backbone to go after them and make them pay!

What goes around comes around to climate denialists

The Heartland Institute (HI), a think tank devoted to “pro-business” policies and climate change denialism, has suffered its own embarrassing data breach, simular to what happened with Climategate to some climatologists. The results have been most amusing and show clearly the hypocritical nature of the HI.

http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-institute-exposed-internal-documents-unmask-heart-climate-denial-machine

http://www.desmogblog.com/mashey-report-confirms-heartland-s-manipulation-exposes-singer-s-deception

http://www.desmogblog.com/climategate-victims-chide-heartland-double-standard

http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-demands-desmogblog-remove-climate-strategy-document

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/-the-origin-of-the-heartl_b_1289669.html

BTW, we never did find out who leaked the stolen e-mails that started the Climategate uproar, did we?

Related articles

Pete Hoekstra, a bigoted idiot!

During the television broadcast of this years SuperBowl, former Congressman Pete Hoekstra had the gall to put out a ridiculous commercial attacking his opponent in the 2012 U. S. Senate race, Debbie Stabenow. It has since been removed from Hoekstra’s YouTube account.

Fortunately, another person made a copy of that video with an explanation for how stupid it really was:

Feel free to comment there.

Indeed, Republicans have actually been the biggest “spend it now” lunatics since Reagan was President. We had a chance to start paying off the U. S. public debt under Clinton, but Bush Jr ruined it with his absurd tax cuts for the rich! Pete Hoekstra is a LIAR!

Oh, and when he was a Congressman, and even Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he committed some blunders which should have got him removed from that Committee, if not expelled from Congress outright!

Don’t allow this bastard to come anywhere near the U. S. Senate! We already had a disgusting racist, Jesse Helms, in the Senate for decades. We don’t need another!

Some thoughts on World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

Image via Wikipedia

In August of this year, I was looking into Facebook like I did almost every day, and I saw this ad that said “World of Warcraft – Free to play up to level 20″. Up until this time, I’d had no interest in any MMO games, thinking they were just for teens. I’d read about Everquest, but my reluctance to pay for games like that made me miss out on what could have been some great experiences.

Prior to seeing that ad, I saw these videos:

Even though World of Warcraft was never mentioned, they sparked my interest in the game. The Facebook ad only pushed me to take the plunge I otherwise never would have.

Once I was in the game, I proceeded to experiment with different races and classes of characters, but the one I came to love playing with the most was a Gnome warrior I named Bichorak.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/lothar/Bichorak/simple

Then in October, I paid for an upgrade to the game and played it more than ever. The limited exposure to the game from the trial account had only made me eagar to get more from it.

Some critical thoughts on the game and concepts related to it:

  1. This game IS addictive, but so can anything be that triggers pleasure to the body and mind, so to be consistent we would have to ban literally everything, including things that are essential to life, like sex and food. The “Drug Wars” waged by law enforcement over several decades have been a total waste of time, money, and lives and should be ended. Possession and use of a substance shouldn’t be banned; only if its use actually leads to harm of another person should legal action be taken.
  2. At first glance, the game seems to be all about violence and hatred between races. But in fact the actual theme of the World of Warcraft storylines is redemption from the mistakes of the past. ALL races have potential for both good and evil.
  3. Likewise, there is no point to stereotyping game players. I met some sweet people there who were very helpful to me, often asking nothing in return. And I also met some real jerks too. Inspired by the help I got as a new player, I in turn began helping others that were of lower levels once I reached the higher levels with my main character.
  4. Children who play the game soon learn the value of discipline, cooperation, and following orders. While playing solo is perfectly doable, the greatest rewards are for those who are willing to join groups and fight in dungeons, which provide richer loot and experience.
  5. Nothing lasts forever. A decade ago, Everquest was the greatest MMO ever. But it was overthrown by World of Warcraft, which is very simular in concept to Everquest. Perhaps a decade from now, something will overthrow WoW.
  6. The storylines of WoW are as rich and compelling as those of any other mythology….including those of the ancient Greeks and of modern religions like Judaism and Christianity. I can’t help but wonder if most of the stories in the Bible began merely as tales told for entertaiment, but hundreds of years later were mistaken for literal truth.

Herman Cain, God, and black Republicans

I’ve not been blogging much lately, mainly because I’ve been spending much of my free time since April (1) looking for a job and (2) playing World of Warcraft. A blog entry about World of Warcraft will be produced later, but other issues must be dealt with first.

First, read this article:

http://news.yahoo.com/cain-says-god-persuaded-him-run-president-204548374.html

 

Cain says God persuaded him to run for president

ATLANTA (AP) — Republican Herman Cain said God convinced him to enter the race for president, comparing himself to Moses: “‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’”

The Georgia business executive played up his faith Saturday after battling sexual harassment allegations for two weeks, trying to shift the conversation to religion, an issue vital to conservative Republicans, especially in the South.

In a speech Saturday to a national meeting of young Republicans, Cain said the Lord persuaded him after much prayer.

“That’s when I prayed and prayed and prayed. I’m a man of faith — I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I’ve ever done before in my life,” Cain said. “And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’”

Once he made the decision, Cain said, he did not look back.

Four women have now accused Cain of sexually harassing them when he led the National Restaurant Association more than a decade ago. Cain, who has denied wrongdoing, was silent about the allegations and did not take reporters’ questions.

Cain isn’t the first to say God prodded him toward a campaign. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s wife, Anita, has said she felt God was speaking to her about the race, adding that her husband needed to see a “burning bush,” a Biblical reference to God’s first appearance to Moses.

During his speech, Cain also criticized President Barack Obama for canceling the space shuttle program — a decision actually made by President George W. Bush — as NASA shifts its focus on travel farther from Earth’s orbit.

“I can tell you that as president of the United States, we are not going to bum a ride to outer space with Russia,” Cain said to loud applause. “We’re going to regain our rightful place in terms of technology, space technology.”

Cain was talking about U.S. plans, now that the space shuttle is retired, to use Russian rockets to send astronauts to the International Space Station. In the meantime, NASA is focused on explorations deeper in space.

It was Bush who decided in 2004 to retire the space shuttle program. The Republican president still supported sending astronauts to the moon and Mars.

Obama, once in office, dropped the goal of a moon mission. Instead, NASA has plans to build a giant rocket capable of sending astronauts to an asteroid and eventually Mars. It wants to outsource to private companies the task of ferrying astronauts and cargo to the space station — a job previously performed by the space shuttle.

Until private companies are ready, NASA will keep buying seats on Russian Soyuz capsules to get astronauts to the space station. The cost per person to fly on a Soyuz is expected to rise from $56 million to $63 million, which is still cheaper than flying on the shuttle.

Cain spoke in advance of a Republican debate Saturday in South Carolina focused on foreign policy.

Cain is an idiot! If he thinks dragging God into his campaign is going to save it after being accused of sexual misconduct, he should talk to some Catholic priests who have been convicted of sexually abusing children. Not to mention getting a basic fact about the Space Shuttle cancellation wrong!

And while you can criticize those women for not revealing their claims until after Cain began running for President, the simple fact that Cain took such desperate measures to do damage control shows he is losing credibility with all but the most delusional religious bigots.

And why is there so much media hype about Herman Cain anyway? I think just because he is a Black Republican. Indeed, it seems the Republicans have been struggling ever since Obama became President to project the image of rejecting racism. But combating racism is more than just having a few token black people in your party; it’s  about really doing what’s best for both black and while people in general. That the Republicans have not been doing.

I remember when George Bush Sr was President and he said he was against racial quotas for helping more black people get jobs and education. But he proved to be a total hypocrite when the venerable Thurgood Marshall, who had been a prominent civil rights activist in the 1960s and later a Supreme Court Justice, retired from the bench. Bush Sr then appointed to replace Marshall with…..another black man, Clarence Thomas. And then there was the uproar over Anita Hill and her accusations of sexual harassment against Thomas. Despite this, Thomas got on the court and has been a consistently conservative justice ever since, just as the Republicans wanted.

Being black means absolutely nothing if you are selling out and backstabbing most of your own race to get yourself ahead, that’s for sure!

With Barack Obama, the first black man to become President of the USA, the Republicans countered by electing Micheal Steele, another black man, as Republican National Committee Chairperson. But Steele proved to be so incompetent and controversial that he was replaced this year by a white man, Reince Priebus. Steele later made appearances on the Rachel Maddow Show of MSNBC as a political commentator. Poor fellow!

This nonsense has to stop. It is only tolerated because so many people are too ignorant to understand how stupid it is.

Climate “skeptic” attempting damage control after being discredited

It should have been obvious from the 1990s onward that global warming was indeed real and that human activities were chiefly to blame, but many who were entrenched in conservative or libertarian political positions found those conclusions offensive and a threat to their interests, hence the ever-present attacks by climate change “skeptics” who would do everything they could to cast doubt on the evidence regarding the issue. They did that instead of examining their political positions, which a true skeptic should have done!

Now one of them, Richard Muller, has changed sides, but is still trying to justify his earlier attitude. That’s an example of a “notpology“, which is dishonest.

http://news.yahoo.com/skeptic-finds-now-agrees-global-warming-real-142616605.html

WASHINGTON (AP) — A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly.

The study of the world’s surface temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. He was spurred to action because of “Climategate,” a British scandal involving hacked emails of scientists.

<snip>

“The skeptics raised valid points and everybody should have been a skeptic two years ago,” Muller said in a telephone interview. “And now we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias.”

Muller said that he came into the study “with a proper skepticism,” something scientists “should always have. I was somewhat bothered by the fact that there was not enough skepticism” before.  (Emphasis mine)

That is bullcrap. If Muller was wrong before, he was certainly wrong a decade ago, so why not just say that and leave his ego out of it? Scientists, including proponents of the man-made global warming hypothesis, have to be responsible skeptics to do their work at all and prove it by subjecting their findings to peer review, and it was the peer review process that made that hypothesis credible in the first place. Saying otherwise as Muller is doing is slander.

http://www.dictionaryslang.com/notpology

An apology that doesnt ACTUALLY apologise, but is simply given to make the evil person LOOK/feel better.

The Earth’s core irony of anti-Muslim bigotry in Europe

Take a look at this video:

There are several issues here that the video does not address.

First, Islamic immigrants who come to a Western nation tend to be more moderate in their views even upon arrival, and their children and grandchildren may become even more liberal in turn. The only reason why some Muslims may become radicalized later is because they are treated as second-class citizens in a country they were born in because they are Muslim.

Second, immigrants are allowed into a European country because its native population is falling or not growing fast enough already, and such a situation results in workers becoming more valued for their labor, thus labor movements become stronger and workers’ wages will increase, making it harder for business owners to get extremely rich. To counter this, corporations that dominate an industry will seek to increase the workers’ population through encouraging immigration. But doing this means introducing new people with different cultures. And this is a problem? Only for bigots.

Third, European nations seemed to have no problem invading and taking over Islamic parts of the world in the past. In particular, France not only conquered areas like Algeria and Tunisia, it legally made Algeria a part of France, not just a colony, and the Algerians had to fight long and hard to throw off French rule.

Note that immigration of Latinos to the United States is also mentioned in the video. Bigotry against Hispanic culture also fuels immigration restrictions in the USA. Also, the USA conquered and still holds land once controlled by Mexico.

You cannot take in millions of people to lower workers’ value, then turn around and scream about those workers being different from you. That sort of crock needs to be put down.

If you expel the Muslims from Europe, then the workers remaining will demand greater wages because there are fewer of them. Are you prepared to pay them more?

If you keep the Muslims in Europe, then treat them as equals, and accept that your demographics will change.

Also, people raised in Muslim families do not necessarily stay Muslim forever. There are plenty of former Muslims:

http://www.apostatesofislam.com/

http://formermuslimsunited.org/

Need I also mention that the idea that a culture will die out because its population growth drops and reverses itself is bull$#it? You can have a culture evolving and prospering no matter what the size of the families that make it up. You just pass on that culture to the fewer children you have, period.