Saturday, October 31, 2009
"The Mysterious Islands': New Galapagos Film Challenges Evolution on 'Ground Zero' of Darwinism." That's the headline from the Creationists who 'created' this film to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Darwin's 1859 book, On the Origin of Species. All of Bibleland is abuzz and tickled pink that this new film will be the perfect tonic to allay the fears that this anniversary presupposes. An antidote to atheism, they say.
Back here in the real world, the anniversary is clearly a triumph of scientific investigation. Scientific inquiry, of course, is the wizardry of the Devil to those who 'believe' and who close their eyes, ears and minds to what the science community presents to the free-thinking people of the world.
No doubt the new film, The Mysterious Islands, will run non-stop at that quirky Creationist Museum in the hill country of Kentucky. The Christian Newswire says,
" As the world prepares to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's landmark book, "On the Origin of Species," Vision Forum has unveiled details on a new documentary, filmed on the Galapagos Islands, that debunks the conclusions Darwin reached during his storied trip to this island chain during the voyage of the HMS Beagle. Shot and directed by the award-winning Jon and Andy Erwin of Erwin Brothers Motion Pictures, the 90-minute film, entitled "The Mysterious Islands," is set for release in early November, just weeks prior to the November 24 anniversary date of Darwin's influential book."
"Debunks," they write. It debunks Darwin; debunks science; debunks scientific methodology; debunks paleontologists, archeologists...
debunk: verb: expose while ridiculing; especially of pretentious or false claims and ideas.
False claims and false ideas. Ha! Pardon me while I laugh. OK, I'm in control now. What a hoot! And the filmmaker's claim? The odd life forms found on the Galapagos Islands show God's creativity.
Personally, the Galapagos Islands, Darwin and evolution are quite dear to me. Lo those many decades ago while I was in college, I signed up for a biology course titled, Evolution. It was offered at the large Jesuit University I attended. The professor announced the first day of class that each student would present a theme to the rest of the class. Nervous and muted laughter swept across the classroom. "Who will be first?" the professor queried. No hands. "Someone has to be first and it is an interesting topic: the Galapagos Islands." he said. Oddly, I found my hand shooting up. "Yes sir, see me after class." the professor said, and then went on.
What had I done? How did my hand get raised? I was unaccustomed to speaking and clearly unprepared to give a one hour university lecture on a topic that I did not even understand. Well, actually, it went quite well, if I do say so, and I received applause from my classmates at the end of the slide-show presentation [no Power Point back then].
Of this new film, some 50 years after my debut performance at the university, the article drones on:
"This October and November, Americans and other Westerners will be confronted with an unprecedented onslaught of pro-evolutionary propaganda as the major media and leaders of academia heap praise on Charles Darwin, the patron saint of evolutionism,"
Propaganda, they write. Is that so. Seems to me that the Creationists and fundamentalists have been deluded through propaganda for those 150 years and continue to propagandize generation after generation with their myth-telling to the children. The poor children are always the victims. And they grow up to, naturally, continue the cycle of myth-telling to the next generation. And so it goes.
"New pro-Darwin feature films will be launched, including 'Creation,' a major motion picture produced by atheists and starring an outspoken atheist that will present a negative perspective on the biblical account of origins."
The biblical account of origins. Oh, THAT account. Yes, read that, used to believe it as a child; Santa and the Tooth Fairy as well. Grew up. Turned on my brain, became a free-thinker, became excited about science, and am quite excited with each new scientific discovery that is announced.
"Told through the eyes of 16-year-old Joshua Phillips, "The Mysterious Islands" presents a remarkable quest to Darwin's Eden with Joshua, his father, and a team of scientists and investigators including Dr. John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research."
Creation Research? Isn't that an oxymoronical phrase? Imagine, a 16-year-old child of Bible-thumping, church-going parents, telling us that he sees God's creative genius at every turn on that mysterious island. The credibility is astounding!
"Christians look to Jerusalem, Muslims to Mecca, but for the followers of Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Archipelago is the spiritual homeland to their evolutionary faith," Phillips observed. "Our film -- shot on ground-zero of evolutionism -- will be a counter-offensive to the Darwin adulation that blows holes in the conclusions he formed while observing the wonder-filled creatures that inhabit the Galapagos Islands."
Oh, for sure it will, especially to the head-bobbing, brainwashed faithful. Don't miss this film. Check your local fundamentalist church for show times.
Friday, October 30, 2009
President Obama signed the Ryan White Act today, a bill that will fund critical HIV/AIDS treatment and some prevention programs. The House passed it 408-9. One can only imagine the intelligence of the 9 'Nay' members- all Republicans, of course, all Christians. Four from Texas, Wyoming, Tennessee, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina.**
Right here in America, just 20 years ago, burning crosses, insulting remarks and death threats. Where did the ignorance and hate come from? Of course, it is not gone here in this nation. Bigots and hateful people still flock to church on Sunday, and write and say hateful things on Tuesday. Many call themselves Christians; Jesus is mocked.
Where are the strongest pockets of fear, ignorance, hate and bigotry against AIDS and homosexuals? Inside of the fundamentalist churches. Yes, right there, but the organ and the choir drown out the hate in their hearts.
Rep. Kevin Brady [TX] Saints Simons and Jude Catholic Church.
Rep. John J. Duncan [TN] Elder at Eastminster Presbyterian Church
Rep. Jeff Flake [AZ] Mormon
Rep. Ted Poe [TX] Church of Christ
Rep. Virginia Foxx [NC] Roman Catholic nut case
The document obtained by The Post offers the most detailed picture yet of a widening inquiry into the relationships between lawmakers and PMA, a lobbying firm founded by Paul Magliocchetti that has been under criminal investigation by the Justice Department. A year ago, the FBI raided PMA's offices and carted away boxes of records dealing with its political donations and the firm's efforts to win congressionally directed funds, known as "earmarks," for clients.
Together, the seven legislators have personally steered more than $200 million in earmarks to clients of the PMA Group in the past two years, and received more than $6.2 million in campaign contributions from PMA and its clients in the past decade, according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly and Taxpayers for Common Sense.
The Post reviewed earmark and campaign records and found that the seven had each supported funding for PMA clients and also received donations.
While lawmakers received generous contributions, PMA used its growing influence with the panel over the past decade to become one of the top 10 lobby shops in Washington and took in $114 million in lobbying fees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.
Several Hill staffers said they are confused by what appears to be a dual track, with the OCE and the ethics committee simultaneously pursuing similar questions.
Kaptur's spokesman said her office does not understand the duplication but is happy to answer all questions. "The congresswoman has always emphasized openness and transparency, and it almost goes without saying she will continue to cooperate with the OCE and, if it goes to the [ethics committee], with that committee as well," said Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought. "She has nothing to hide."
The article appears in the Washington Post today. Whether or not Kaptur has used
the power of her authority to provide earmarks to a power defense lobbying group
and in exchange receive kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions, this is
just further demonstration of how power corrupts. The continued use of taxpayer
money to benefit themselves has long been prevalent with our long term, for life
politicians. The real question is the influence of Congressional lobbying.
There is only way to change this out of control system of providing earmarks for
campaign contributions, namely, term limits. Moreover, the system will try to
bury these charges, ignore them, and hope people forget about it. Why do we continue to support people who take personal risks with taxpayer money?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives.
Part 1, "First Steps," examines the factors that caused us to split from the other great apes. The program explores the fossil of "Selam," also known as "Lucy's Child." Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged spent five years carefully excavating the sandstone-embedded fossil. NOVA's cameras are there to capture the unveiling of the face, spine, and shoulder blades of this 3.3 million-year-old fossil child. And NOVA takes viewers "inside the skull" to show how our ancestors' brains had begun to change from those of the apes.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
With the release of Sarah Palin’s new book, “Going Rogue" not only gives an enlightening, inside look of Sarah Palin’s political success after resigning her position as Governor of Alaska while being investigated for abuse of power, but it is also proving some surprising medical breakthroughs.
The Food and Drug Administration is now considering approving Sarah Palin’s book for some medial uses. The book is not only showing success curing “Chronic Insomnia” sleep disorder, but is also showing much success as a very effective laxative.
Sarah Palin has also made it known that she will accept personal checks for her book when she is selling it out of the trunk of her car so long as the checks are made out to “Ms. Cash!”
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
While listening to the evening news droning on with the same stuff, my right brain kicked in and came up with three ideas that are worth trying. After all, it couldn't get much worse.
But many Afghans, he wrote in his resignation letter, are fighting the United States largely because its troops are there — a growing military presence in villages and valleys where outsiders, including other Afghans, are not welcome and where the corrupt, U.S.-backed national government is rejected. While the Taliban is a malign presence, and Pakistan-based al-Qaeda needs to be confronted, he said, the United States is asking its troops to die in Afghanistan for what is essentially a far-off civil war.
Hoh said he decided to speak out publicly because "I want people in Iowa, people in Arkansas, people in Arizona, to call their congressman and say, 'Listen, I don't think this is right. "I realize what I'm getting into . . . what people are going to say about me," he said. "I never thought I would be doing this."
Hoh was assigned to research the response to a question asked by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during an April visit. Mullen wanted to know why the U.S. military had been operating for years in the Korengal Valley, an isolated spot near Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan where a number of Americans had been killed. Hoh concluded that there was no good reason. The people of Korengal didn't want them; the insurgency appeared to have arrived in strength only after the Americans did, and the battle between the two forces had achieved only a bloody stalemate.
Korengal and other areas, he said, taught him "how localized the insurgency was. I didn't realize that a group in this valley here has no connection with an insurgent group two kilometers away." Hundreds, maybe thousands, of groups across Afghanistan, he decided, had few ideological ties to the Taliban but took its money to fight the foreign intruders and maintain their own local power bases.
"That's really what kind of shook me," he said. "I thought it was more nationalistic. But it's localism. I would call it valley-ism."
"but the truth is that the majority" are residents with "loyalties to their families, villages, valleys and to their financial supporters."
Hoh's doubts increased with Afghanistan's Aug. 20 presidential election, marked by low turnout and widespread fraud. He concluded, he said in his resignation letter, that the war "has violently and savagely pitted the urban, secular, educated and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious, illiterate and traditional. It is this latter group that composes and supports the Pashtun insurgency."
With "multiple, seemingly infinite, local groups," he wrote, the insurgency "is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies. The U.S. and Nato presence in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified."
This week, Hoh is scheduled to meet with Vice President Biden's foreign policy adviser, Antony Blinken, at Blinken's invitation.
If the United States is to remain in Afghanistan, Hoh said, he would advise a reduction in combat forces.
He also would suggest providing more support for Pakistan, better U.S. communication and propaganda skills to match those of al-Qaeda, and more pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to clean up government corruption — all options being discussed in White House deliberations.
"We want to have some kind of governance there, and we have some obligation for it not to be a bloodbath," Hoh said. "But you have to draw the line somewhere, and say this is their problem to solve."
The foregoing is a letter of complete resignation of a career pentagon officer over
the continued presence of the United States in Afghanistan as published on MSN.com.
He has been actively conjoled by the Obama Administration not to resign with
Holbrooke even offering him a position to keep quiet. Hoh seems to be a man of
principle and can't be bribed for his silence.
After about eight hours of deliberations, a jury has found Carla Hughes guilty of two counts of capital murder. Hughes was charged with killing her lover's fiance, Avis Banks, who was five months pregnant.
Prosecutors say Hughes killed Banks and her unborn child. They accused Hughes of fatally shooting, stabbing, and slashing Banks with a knife.
Jurors asked only one question during deliberations: could the prosecution have called Hughes to the stand. The judge sent a note back to the jurors directing them to their jury instructions. Hughes decided not to testify in her own defense during the trial.
This is a very fascinating case, for one reason that a woman could end up on death row in Mississippi. But also for the question of soundness of mind. Could a person do what she did while enjoying soundness of mind? In the midst of such an awful rage, is it possible for someone to understand the difference between right and wrong? Isn't it possible that crimes of passion like this have a built-in temporary insanity?
What's your opinion? What do you think about that decision to not let her testify? Did they think the verdict might be not guilty and she could mess it up by speaking? It makes me wonder what kind of advice she was getting. They must have known which way the jury was leaning and might have benefited from her testimony.
What do you think? Please leave a comment.
Monday, October 26, 2009
We all know that Christian fundamentalists here in America don't like our democracy, but the Islamic fundamentalists are a bit more vocal about it. Yesterday in Kabul, there was an anti-democracy rally during which signs like the one here were raised. Reuters reports:
Protesters, claiming foreign forces had burned a copy of Islam’s holiest book during a raid in Maidan Wardak province last week, blocked traffic in Kabul for more than an hour. A spokeswoman for U.S. and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said none of their troops were involved in the incident and blamed the Taliban for spreading a false rumor that a copy of the Koran had been burned.
Thick plumes of smoke rose above the crowd as protesters set fire to a large effigy of what they said was U.S. President Barack Obama. “Death to America. Down with Israel,” chanted one man at the rally, which was organized mainly by university students. Others threw stones and clashed with police but no casualties were reported.
“No to democracy. We want just Islam,” said one banner carried by protesters, many of whom shook their fists in the air.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Every year the Library of Congress puts on the “National Book Festival” on the Mall in Washington DC. For those who do not know, “The Mall” is the grassy area that is surrounded by the Capital, Washington Monument, Jefferson Monument, National Art Gallery, Air and Space Museums, and the rest of the Smithsonian Museums. The tents were set up on the Mall with scores of authors, illustrators and poet’s presentations on the National Mall throughout the day in Children, Teens & Children, Fiction, Mysteries & Thrillers, History & Biography, and Poetry & Prose pavilions. This year it was held on September 26, 2009 and there were authors like John Grisham (A Time To Kill, The Firm, The Associate), Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Message in a Bottle), Ken Burns (The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The Brooklyn Bridge, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea), just to name a few. People line up and speak with their favorite authors and get their book’s signed….for free! This was our second year attending and my family just loves this time together and we will do it again next year.
We park the car in the New Carrollton Station in the suburbs of DC and ride the “Metro Light Rail” and get off at the subway stop right at the Mall. It is the perfect “One Day Trip” to leave in the morning and be back home that night to sleep in our own beds.
Now what I really want to get to is that as we got on, sat down in our seats on the Light Rail, this “Poindexter Dweeb” type, wearing a clownish bowtie and vest without a suit jacket with pants that did not match any other piece of his clothing, stepped in our rail car and he was carrying his copy of the Glen Beck book, “Arguing With Idiots” so that everyone would see the cover.
Well it came to me how perfect this scene was pointing out the mind set of the type of people who read, follow, and believe the crap within the hard back covers of those pages. This obvious social reject lemming had found his voice and views within the pages of this extreme spouter of hate.
I then went on to think of those who present the counter side opinions like Bill Moyers, Charlie Rose, Bob Schieffer, George Stephanopoulos, etc. and none have ever dressed up like a Nazi to promote their books, shows, or the basis of their opinions. I want to continue by saying that Poindexter did not get off at the Mall to attend the National Book Festival, nor was Glen Beck invited to speak or sign his book. Poindexter was just making his own personal statement….and the rest of us in society were just laughing once again at his blatant display of stupidity.
People writing the constitution never dreamed we'd be letting men marry men and women, women. These two-somes are unnatural --and unnecessary and hazardous to health of body, mind, and the future of civilization, families and nations.