Saturday, October 24, 2009

Holiday Gift Suggestion: Scintillating Bolometer

Young and budding physicists would be thrilled with a brand new scintillating bolometer this holiday season! Even more desirable than an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

"That dark matter has never been found is no deterrent to the physicists who are looking for it." That oddly constructed English sentence and head-scratching thought fairly well describes the work of particle scientists today. These physicists tell us an astonishing fact: only around five percent of what makes up the universe can be detected. Thus, they hypothesize the existence of a substance/force/entity named, dark matter- a name that sends chills down the spine of SciFi and Star Wars fans everywhere!

The theory contends that the motion of distant galaxies can only be explained by a gravitational pull caused by more mass than can be seen. Estimates of dark matter are about 20 percent of the universe. Curiously, the remaining 75 percent made up of dark energy, a repulsive force that is causing the universe to expand at an ever-quickening pace. [cue the music from Twilight Zone]

WiredScience says, "At the heart of Abancens’ team’s detector, which is called a scintillating bolometer and resembles a prop from The Golden Compass, is a crystal so pure it can conduct the energy ostensibly generated when a particle of dark matter strikes the nucleus of one of its atoms.

"To prevent interference by cosmic rays, the bolometer is sheathed in lead and kept underground, under half a mile of rock. It’s also frozen to near-absolute zero, the temperature at which all motion stops. At the edge of absolute zero, it’s possible to measure expected changes of a few millionths of a degree Fahrenheit."

----------------------------------------------end of article

Frequent commenter, Steve, linked an article in ScienceDaily titled, Is Unknown Force In Universe Acting On Dark Matter? This article begins, " An international team of astronomers have found an unexpected link between mysterious 'dark matter' and the visible stars and gas in galaxies that could revolutionise our current understanding of gravity."

It goes on, " "The dark matter seems to 'know' how the visible matter is distributed. They seem to conspire with each other such that the gravity of the visible matter at the characteristic radius of the dark halo is always the same. This is extremely surprising since one would rather expect the balance between visible and dark matter to strongly depend on the individual history of each galaxy."

Dr. Zhao at the SUPA Centre of Gravity notes, "The pattern that the data reveal is extremely odd. It's like finding a zoo of animals of all ages and sizes miraculously having identical, say, weight in their backbones or something. It is possible that a non-gravitational fifth force is ruling the dark matter with an invisible hand, leaving the same fingerprints on all galaxies, irrespective of their ages, shapes and sizes."

Steve wonders if what many refer to as 'God,' might be this 'force and/or balance in the universe. This line from the article is especially God-inducing: "Such a force might solve an even bigger mystery, known as 'dark energy', which is ruling the accelerated expansion of the Universe."

Surely this highly-technical and coldly abstract version of God/god is way-too impersonal and 'humanless' for the 'believers' among us. God needs to have a human face, human emotions, and, most importantly, preside as a punitive human judge- perhaps residing in the state of Texas.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Israeli War Crimes: Dilemma for the United States


The United Nations Human Rights Council approved the Goldstone Report, which accuses the Jewish state of war crimes against Palestinians. The Goldstone Report also accuses Palestinian militants of war crimes during the Gaza conflict of nearly a year ago. The resolution by the Human Rights Council endorses the Goldstone Report's recommendations that both the Israelis and Palestinian militants show the U.N. Security Council they are investigating the war crimes accusations.

Israel has rejected the report as one-sided and biased and says the Gaza war was a legitimate act of self defense in response to years of Palestinian rocket attacks. Israeli officials say opening a war crimes investigation would be tantamount to accepting guilt.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered officials to prepare for a long diplomatic, legal and public relations battle explaining Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism. As Mr. Netanyahu put it, "We will delegitimize those who try to delegitimize us."

------------------------------------------end of article

Bill Moyer's Journal this evening featured Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the 'disputed' report. Judge Richard Goldstone served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. He also investigated the South African apartheid system and was a member of the International Panel of the Commission of Enquiry into the Activities of Nazism in Argentina. More recently he was appointed by Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to the Independent Inquiry Committee, chaired by Paul Volcker, to investigate the Iraq Oil for Food program.

Goldstone's credentials are outstanding. His life has been endangered by those who do not wish the light of his investigation to uncover their dirty deeds; he is the ultimate muckraker. He has received countless death threats, especially while investigating white supremacy in South Africa, his native country.

It will be difficult for the United States to defend Israel from these charges, yet that is exactly what Israel is hoping that the United States will do. Israel has begun a smear campaign against Goldstone, attempting to 'kill the messenger.' The Obama Administration is placed in a tight spot especially because our nation has historically defended nearly every action that Israel has taken. Israel hopes that the US will veto a UN proposal that Israel set up a credible investigation of its own on this subject.

I would imagine that many Americans will be sympathetic to Israel and hope that Obama will order such a veto. Yet, it is amazing to realize that Judge Goldstone is himself a Jew and a Zionist, which he admitted to Bill Moyers. Many Israelis have branded him a 'traitor.' Clearly, his reputation for fairness and impartiality along with his previous courageous work in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Argentina, and South Africa will make it difficult to charge Goldstone with incompetence.

Knee-jerk 'support' for Israel here in the US may this time be somewhat muted if those supporters open their eyes to the credibility of Judge Goldstone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Incompetence as Usual at the Ohio BMV

Incompetence, is there a stronger word? Stupidity mixed with arrogance, perhaps. Who do they hire at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles anyway? Is there a competency test or is it the good old boy system? I think of my 5 grandchildren in the Ohio school system who must pass proficiency tests to move along, yet these adults at the BMV display no hint that they passed a competency test themselves.

Look at my copy of the check I wrote to the BMV to renew my license plates. Is it crystal clear to you? Each car we own cost $54.87 to renew, for a total of $109.74. Have you seen anything wrong with my check? Neither do I, yet, upon calling the "BMV Citizens Advisory Committee" I was told that my application was denied. By the way, if you notice the date, it is one month to the day and I am without a sticker- a violation of state law, I am told! Try calling 1-800-589-8247 and let me know when you get through. That's the number for "questions regarding your registration." It has been busy since 9 AM. it is noon and still busy.

As a result of not being able to get though ,I found the BMV Citizens Advisory Committee, a service that "is to provide feedback to the BMV on the state of its relations with the public by undertaking a review and evaluation of the client service practices of the BMV and advising the BMV on methods to improve its interaction with the public." Yes, that's what it says. So I called.

"Did you call 1-800-589-8247 before contacting this department?" asked the agent. "Oh, it's busy, been busy for quite some time," I replied in a restrained voice. I the I explained my 'case' to the 'agent' who checked for me and I was told that my application had been denied. "Denied?" I asked, "why is that, an outstanding warrant, a traffic violation?" [joking!] "No sir, they cannot read the amount on your check." "You mean, $109.74?" i said, looking at the copy of my check. "It's the '4'" he said, it looks like an 'x'." "What '4'?" I asked, looking more closely at my copy of the check, "It looks like a '4' to me." "Oh, not the numerical four, the one written," he stated, " the one over the 100." Then he went on, "The 'y' of Boyer obscures the 4 and makes it look like an X or a K." "You must be kidding!" I said. "What else wouild it be other than a 4, for crying out loud!" Then I did the math, "$54.87 plus $54.87 equals a number ending in four, like 7 + 7." "Well that may be, but they could not process the check due to that problem with the 4."

Seriously, that was the conversation. I'd like to tell you that this is a Halloween joke, but it was true, word for word. I told him that this was insane.

"I'm contacting my supervisor," he told me."Good," I told him. "It will be a few minutes." We waited and during this time, he thought it would be a good idea to recap the 'problem' for me as though I were a complete jackass. I told him that the BMV clearly hires incompetent people if they cannot distinguish a 4 from an X or K. Yet, he assured me that each check needed to be verified by a person before continuing the registration process.

By a person. As opposed to? "if the person cannot read the correct amount," he droned on...

Luckily, before he raised my blood pressure even higher, the supervisor came on. Fortunately, she must have passed a competency test along the way. She told me [and the agent] that the check would be processed. I thanked her and she disconnected, but the agent was not yet done. He thought that he should finish his last lecture, but i interrupted and I said to him, "So, you are part of the Citizens Advisory Board created by House Bill 182..." I was reading to him what the website stated. "Surely, you will be passing on my complaint to the Board and Senator Bill Harris, won't you?" "Yes, but you have to remember..."


Return to Pokagon

Chief Simon Pokagon of the Pottawatomie is honored
with his name attached to a great state park in Indiana. My wife and I visited the park yesterday, a warm and breezy last touch-of-summer day. Ah, the childhood memories! The Potawatomi Inn has stood on the edge of Lake James since the late 1930's. It was a project of the CCC and much of it remains just as a kid had imagined it.

We had a great dinner in what is now called the 'historic dining room.' Those CCC workers were great construction crew because much of the inn looks as it did, lo those many decades ago.

Of course, not the indoor swimming pool or deck of the additions to the lodge and the removal of the 'motel' rooms at front. The child mostly recalls the long grassy slope leading down to the sandy beach at the edge of the large lake. Our family spent several days wading and swimming as well as making sand castles on the water's edge. Yesterday the dock lay oddly on the beach- an unusual look for one who recalls it 'floating' in the lake. The trees were in their fall colors rather than the summer's green.

Interestingly, we were not alone at the Inn. There was a large church conference going on [wasn't I lucky!] whose attendees enjoyed walking along the beach and sitting outside soaking in the warm rays of the October day. In fact, some did not leave for the 'afternoon talk,' choosing to find God outside in this beautiful fall day. I'm quite sure that black check marks were not earned for these unorthodox members, as they were from mainline Christian churches.

The quaint town of Angola brings back memories from the past, especially its curious roundabout in the center of town. Today the roundabout is the new trend for intersections, but Angola had one back in the 50's if not earlier. I have a most curious boyhood memory of seeing pneumatic tubes zipping money from one end of the store to another there in downtown Angola. I don't remember which store but surely the tubes have long disappeared. Perhaps the store as well.

Pokagon Park has a toboggan run that was also constructed by the CCC; today, it is updated and electrically cooled to extend the season. Going down was much more fun than dragging the heavy toboggan back up to the beginning.

The cabins are still available for those wishing to stay in more 'privative' surroundings. Many have been restored but this one looks like the one our family used those many summers ago. We would alternate between the lodge and the inn.

The buffalo, moose and deer no longer are penned up for wide-eyed children to examine, yet the Nature Center still offers children exciting 'adventures' deep into the woods or along the shoreline. I wonder if a child can still earn a badge for participating in one of the nature adventures.

Our short but warm and sweet retreat was a needed get-away because we have been much too busy doing things with and for others. Sometimes a bit of narcissism is needed to refresh the spirit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Organic Molecules Surround Another Planet

ScienceDaily (Oct. 21, 2009) — Peering far beyond our solar system, NASA researchers have detected the basic chemistry for life in a second hot gas planet, advancing astronomers toward the goal of being able to characterize planets where life could exist.

"It's the second planet outside our solar system in which water, methane and carbon dioxide have been found, which are potentially important for biological processes in habitable planets," said researcher Mark Swain of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Detecting organic compounds in two exoplanets now raises the possibility that it will become commonplace to find planets with molecules that may be tied to life."


Life beyond earth? From simple organic 'debris' floating in orbit around a planet? A bit of H2O, CO2 and CH4, add some heat, a few million years to cook and, voilé, LIFE!

Way to simple for some who would argue that this formula is oversimplified and needs a little more chutzpa!

╫╨ + ☼(♫♪) ÷[♀♂] • 3y{♠♣♥☻} -☺²ⁿ

Well, yes, that plus just one more special, magical touch- like a super catalyst! Something cosmic- even larger than cosmic!

Any guesses??????????

Flaming Bag of Dog Shit

I often find a bag of dog shit on my doorstep each morning when I turn on my computer. Those who follow this blog regularly know what I am talking about. There was one this morning. Why 'they' send me one so frequently remains a mystery- I never open it. All of their creative bitterness goes directly to the recycle bin without seeing the light of day. Such a waste of talent and time! But then, who would want to look into a bag of poop on the porch anyway?

Well, as Halloween is just around the corner, I recall several rather minor pranks my friends and I would pull on the nasty old ladies in the neighborhood, the ones who yelled at you if you stepped on their grass. Of course we soaped her windows and then threw corn at them before we ran away. Corn was easy to get in late October, just down the dead-end street for me.

Another creative annoyance someone taught us was the thread spool, string and pencil trick. We would get a large spool of thread and notch it all around the circle. Then, we'd wrap a string around it and shove a pencil into the center. Approaching the target window, we would press the notched spool gently to the glass by holding the pencil ends. Finally, we'd pull the string making a horrible noise on the glass.

However, the most creative trick was saved for the absolutely worst grouch on the block. My best friend had a dog, and for a couple of days before Halloween, he would collect his dog's poop. When the time was right, we emptied it into a paper bag, walked to the target house, ring the doorbell, and quickly lit the bag. Although we ran like hell and never saw the result, we hoped that the victim would stamp out the fire and, well, you know the rest.

Now that the poop ladies know this special prank [because they check this blog 24/7] I might get a REAL surprise tomorrow morning when I sign on!

Pope Fishing

The Pope is fishing, cast his rod just yesterday, hoping to lure some fine trout. But, he doesn't want any carp or catfish, only the finer variety. Pope offers Anglicans a place in church is the headline in most papers today. The opening line is this: The Catholic Church said Tuesday that it would make it easier for Anglicans to join the church, reaching out to those upset by the election of female and gay bishops.

It's all too funny. Imagine- what 'church' would want to open its doors to women and those abominable gays! Jesus would weep and demand the same thing, as he often showed during his life. Yes, Jesus is happy with the way things are, the way his church has closed its doors to certain people throughout the years. Surely he supports and encourages that type of bigotry within his church.

"Keep THEM out!" he would surely shout.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fifty Phone Calls

My wife and I spent two hours this evening making phone calls to the citizens of Ohio, urging them to call Republican Senator Voinovich, urging him to vote for health care reform. The gathering reminded me of the days we spent prior to the election; in fact, we were with many of the same people who worked for Obama. Tonight's event served as a great homecoming.

Whether Senator Voinovich will actually buck his party and vote for health care reform is unknown. He has been on the wrong side of most issues during his time in Congress and the hope is that, since he is retiring, maybe he just might make up for his dismal voting record with this positive vote.

I noted the Washington Post poll today that gave support for the public option at 51%, and increase over previous poll numbers. It seems to be a positive trend. On the other hand, the Republican Party continues to shrink to a 26-year low of 20%. Perhaps the party will just die out and take the Do Nothings with it.

I feel invigorated with these numbers and the positive response I received during my calling session. Who could have imagined after that ugly summer of tea-baggers on the loose, that health care might actually pass yet this year.

60,000 Spankings

In the year 2008 there were 60,000 students
receiving the corporeal punishment of
spanking in Mississippi which gives it
bragging rights as a State with most
spankings. Spanking is generally in
areas away from the capitol of Jackson.
Jackson public schools reported no spankings
for 2008. My county reported 742 spankings,
but none in the largest city, Pearl.
There are 152 school districts in the State,
and spanking occurred in 110 districts.

As we might imagine, the research shows that
spankings take place in the more rural
parts of MS, especially in the poverty and
minority areas with white administrators.

Those who support spanking say that it is a
way to get a student's attention, that it
is an immediate consequence, it's embarrassing,
and it's the biblical way. On the otherhand,
those in opposition say that spanking is not
a scientific based process as there is no
study that shows physical punishment is effective.
In Mississippi a spanking, usually three whacks,
must be witnessed by an adult of a different
race. There is parental notification.

There is no doubt that there has to be order in
a public school. It would be nice if it was possible
to have a situation where students, teachers and
principals recognized and respected one another.
However, there are many disruptive kids, and the
school must be able to have a system of discipline.
And, the definition of disruptive runs the spectrum.
Moreover, there are many physical and mental
disabilities which impact the behavior of our
children. Many of these do not improve with a form
of corporeal punishment. What is a public school
to do?

Furious, Foaming Fundamentalists: Genesis by Crumb

I understand that the fantasy world of the christian fundamentalist is all in a tizzy after the release of the Genesis Cartoon Book by cartoonist Robert Crumb. The Telegraph says, "A sexually explicit illustrated Book of Genesis by controversial artist Robert Crumb, which features Bible characters having intercourse, has been condemned by religious groups.

"It is turning the Bible into titillation," said Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, a religious think-tank. "It seems wholly inappropriate for what is essentially God's rescue plan for mankind."If you are going to publish your own version of the Bible it must be done with a great deal of sensitivity. The Bible is a very important text to many many people and should be treated with the respect it deserves."Representing it in your
own way is all very well and good but it must be remembered that it is a matter of people's faith, their religion."Faith is such an important part of people's lives that one must remember to tread very carefully."

------------------------------------------------end of article

What a hoot! "If you are going to publish your own version of the Bible..." Nonsense! Crumb did nothing of the sort. He took the exact words of Genesis and illustrated the nouns, verbs and adjectives. And this chuckle from Mike Judge [interesting name]: "It is turning the Bible into titillation..." Titillation? The book is filled with sex and violence, ripe for a Hollywood film.

What Judge and his set of purist fundamentalists are really upset about is that, for the first time in history, the reader can get a visualization of the harsh words coming from the holy god and the holy men. After all, we all have become visual rather than auditory learners through the age of TV. That's what irks them- that the graphic nature of the words have been put into graphics.

Compare Crumb's illustrations with the Disney characters displayed in the Bible for Children for laughs. The poor, uneducated child has been propagandized into 'believing' that the Bible is a wonderful love story when, in fact, it is essentially porn.

The homophobic fundamentalists will be especially upset, panties all tied in knots, over Crumb's illustration of the Lot section. Rather than depicting the suggestion of homosexual activity- one of the pillars of the bigoted fundamentalist agenda- Crumb shows Lot screwing his two daughters! What a hoot!

Serving the United States

"This student carries a 4.0 average in advanced studies and could demand a high-paying salary in June, when he receives his degree."
You would think so, but the fact is that the country is in a major recession, and the corporations have manipulated a massive down sizing of their work force. To be sure, people do retire and die, but that is a hell of a way to hope for a job with his credentials. It is my opinion that we are in false recovery. In just one example, lets remember what happened when oil hit $100 a couple of years ago. Even if a person in the corporation dies or retires, he/she is not being replaced. Unfortunately, there are few jobs available for experienced workers or for new hires from the graduation of our college seniors.

"Rather, he's going to join the Peace Corps after graduation."
Maybe this is the correct direction for him to go, as it is an out when recession is high. Graduate school and public volunteering have always been alternatives to be productive in a dismal economy. Moreover, in this period of globalization the Peace Corps presents a great learning environment for a young grad who, despite his ability, is still immature. In addition, he will probably learn to read, write, and to speak fluently a foreign language. This will be important when he finishes his service and joins a corporation or a public government enterprise.

However, philosophically, it seems to me a person should chose to be in-service to our own national territory, not the land of a foreign country. We need the "best and the brightest" at work right here in the United States. We must stop exporting our corporations, our jobs, and our brains to other countries. I know that you realize that there are places in the United States that are third world. We need to have people like this student to come and work in these areas. Let's look at Obama's experience. What did he do with a top of the class law degree from Harvard? While he could have joined a major law firm, he went to Chicago and worked the streets and helped United States citizens to organize and improve their position. Sure, he could have joined the Peace Corps, but he didn't. Send that young man down here to Mississippi and the still ravaged Gulf Coast from Katrina or go into destroyed New Orleans. Obama was just in NO for a couple of hours and bobbled the entire visit. It's being compared to the "Bush fly over." In these areas of Katrina, MS, LA, and AL, its as if a nuclear device was detonated. Sure the roads have been repaired(well the interstate), the casinos have been rebuilt, and the NO SuperDome has been repaired and open for NFL games. Do you realize that there is no full functioning hospital yet operating in NO? Many medical professinals from specialists to family doctors, to radiologists, surgical nurses, critical care nurses rns, lpns, cnas, secretaries, receptionists, maintainance, and all support services are lacking. Now, why is this? Poverty and Racism in a nutshell. Let young men and women come to NO and be in-service to their own citizens.Do you realize that whole towns on the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coasts were wiped out. Where there was once a town with schools, churches, businesses, support systems, its all gone, only the foundations are remaining. So, you might ask, where did all the money go? Do I need to say more than these three states have Republican Governors and legislatures? Most of the money has gone to the bureaucracy, to corporations, the casinos, and the support services for those industries such as major transportation. The Governor of Mississippi, our friend Haley Barbour, has appropriated the lion share of the money to rebuild the shipbuilding industry, Ingalls, to build a new export-import trade port, and a cruise ship port. The rationale? Barbour justifies using the money, and Bush agreed, for these purposes as a way to provide for future jobs. In the meantime, human misery continues.
Don't we have a responisibility to take care of our own first? Another example, what do you suppose happened to all the nursing homes residents in Katrina's path? It's suffering that we usually don't think about, yet the needs are immense. Where is the volunteer in America? Tilting at windmills in some foreign global village? Can't we be do-gooders to our own citizens? Do these young men want to speak out against poverty, injustice, and racism? Let them stay home in the United States and provide their exceptionalism to their own citizens. Maybe you can bring this alternative to the young man that you have written about. Hasn't Obama shown the way?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Genesis in Comics! Robert Crumb

USA Today:

Behold! Robert Crumb has found God, or at least a hint
of what he looks like. With a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, the art world has been awaiting Crumb's long-rumored illuminated manuscript, a four-year, monastic-like effort to
adapt every word of the first book of the Bible in distinctive pen and ink.

he result, The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb($24.95, W.W. Norton), out today, is a beautifully drawn and relentlessly faithful rendition of the first 50 chapters of the Bible by an apostle of the 1960s and sometimes profane progenitor of underground comics.

Crumb has produced what could be the ultimate graphic novel — using the Bible's sacred text to retell the stories of Creation and Noah's flood along with Sodom and Gomorrah, the family saga of Abraham and the collaboration of Joseph and Pharaoh.

Its 224 pages are sensual and violent, unblinking when it comes to incest and lust, and at times, like the Bible itself, mystifying. "Nothing left out!" shouts a cover blurb.


Nothing left out! Graphic representation of one of the most violent stories ever told. Just what eager, young minds need to read before bed. Like the one below where 'god' destroys the 'evil' cities [which just happen to be the enemies of the Jews, wink, wink!] and all the people and kids, too. And their grandmothers, and dogs. Even the farm crops, burned to a crisp!

That'll teach people not to mess with the Jews! Not to question the 'almighty!'

They are a Nutty Lot

After my session with the Health Care booth, my wife and I were invited to dinner with some old friends. We love to discuss politics and the church and so my tea-bagger story, naturally, was told. After we all had a good laugh, their 21-year-old son, a senior at a prestigious university, made the casual statement that fundamentalists are a nutty lot.

Recently, one of his professors invited the CEO of a Texas oil exploration company [worth tens of billions] to speak to the class on the topic of leadership. The very wealthy man cited passages in the Old Testament that demanded that christians ought to become wealthy and that wealth was a sign from god that the person had god's blessing. In fact, he handed out a paper with the biblical quotations so that the students could 'verify' that what he told them was true.

The next day, the students were to write a 2-sided, single-spaced critique of the presentation. The student shared it with the assembled group. We all marveled at his wisdom. He 'got it' clearly and exactly. The student wondered where the NEW TESTAMENT fit into the oil man's scenario. Where were the beatitudes, for example? Where was Jesus's message for the poor, the down-trodden, the widow, the beggar in the script?

Then he said, quite sincerely, I don't think that those who call themselves 'fundamentalist christians' are Christians at all.

Imagine that! This student carries a 4.0 average in advanced studies and could demand a high-paying salary in June, when he receives his degree. Rather, he's going to join the Peace Corps after graduation.

Imagine that.

"What Faith Are You?"

My wife and I spent a bright, chilly Sunday afternoon at a Health Care booth at a local fall festival. We had information on the health care plans that are running through Congress, bumper stickers, and petitions to sign for passers-by. Soon after the parade passed by, a smooth-looking gentleman and his wife and well-scrubbed children approached our booth. My intuition lit a bulb in my brain which proved to be accurate.

He approached us and asked, "What faith are you?" Unfortunately, before I could give him my 2¢ worth of opinion, another at the booth said, "Methodist." Then came the lecture. He was fully prepared from the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. It was all about 'taking money out of his wallet,' which he demonstrated as if we were dolts. Why the 'faith' question was asked beats me.

During the endless rant, in which I did not engage, I told my wife, 'See, I should have brought that tea bag to wave for people like that.' I wonder if he would have understood the symbolism; probably not. His wife and two children were obviously irritated with the righteous arrogance and smooth, well-prepared speech.

At the end, no minds were changed, but he was surely content that he got 'the message' to us socialists. Actually we all had a good laugh as he dragged wife and children down the street. I wonder what his boy, about 10, thought of the encounter? And his wife? I have a suspicion that they probably wouldn't open their mouths all too often during and after one of his dissertations. He didn't appear to enjoy confrontation and surely his family learned that long ago.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Lost World Museum: A Creationist's Dreamland

If you live too far from the Creationist Museum in Kentucky, there's another one in New York. The Lost World Museum in Phoenix, New York has just added a 'glorious' exhibit to its collection- the Chupacabra. The what? The Chupacabra is the vampiric "goat sucker" of Hispanic folklore! Or a hoax.

The Lost World Museum is 'dedicated to exploring the origins question through comparing and contrasting archeological, geological and anthropological evidences from both an evolutionary and creationist perspective.' Oh, the 'creationist' perspective?

In other words, the operators of the 'museum' hope to draw gullible Christians who hope like hell that Darwin was wrong. And bring their money to the gift shop where, no doubt, there are Noah's Ark baubles to buy.

In fact, the gift shop is on-line for those fundamentalists who can't make it to Phoenix. For $14.95 [plus shipping] the believer can purchase [great Christmas gifts!] action figures of Moses, Daniel, Noah, Goliath, David, and, in a nod to the women, Esther!

But wait! For an additional $14.95, you can purchase for the children the Two by Two Matching Game. The famous game Memory now has a new look. Noah's Ark picture cards give kids the chance to help Noah get all the animal cards matched and into the ark before the rain starts! Round tin lunchbox type case with clasp and carry handle contains 20 pairs of sturdy square cards for hours of playtime memory game fun! 2 by 2 from BIBLEQUEST is portable and fun for home or Sunday School. Recommended for children over age four.

I wonder if there is a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Noah box?

Yet, one of the best gifts for the entire believing family is the comic book, The True Genesis Story of Creation! For only $2.95, you can brainwash your little fundamentalist children with this: Biblical archeologist Ron Wyatt states that the story of creation is precise, reliable and totally accurate. Part I takes you on a journey through the step-by-step process of the 7 days of Creation. Part II continues with this visual slideshow of the Flood, ice age and possible remains of Noah’s ark and the giant thumb bone of a pre-flood man!

Order several for all of your believing friends and their sponge brains.

All the Answers are in The Bible ran a fascinating story about a Texas jury that consulted the Bible before rendering a verdict of death.

Death-row foes are complaining that a Texas jury ordered to consider only evidence presented in court consulted the Old Testament before condemning a man to death. Jurors examined highlighted passages in Bibles passed around the jury room to help them decide the fate of Khristian Oliver. The con killed a man by shooting him in the face and beating him with a rifle. One of the passages stated that a person who smites somebody with iron "shall surely be put to death."

The use of the Bible made the trial a "travesty," charged an Amnesty International official. "Religious texts provide consolation and spiritual guidance for billions of people the world over, but this use of the Bible to decide life or death in a capital trial is deeply, deeply troubling," she told the Telegraph. The Supreme Court has refused to hear Oliver's appeal and he is due to be executed early next month.This is even worse that the usual Texas Justice we hear about. Usually it's simply that letter-of-the-law, excessively harsh, vigilante justice, you know that one that says, "Let's give 'em a fair trial and then take 'em out and hang 'em." But this is something else again.

Here's a Guardian article with more details about the case.

What's your opinion? Even for Christian jurors, is this kind of thing acceptable? Isn't this the very thing jurors are screened for before being admitted to participate in the trial?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

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