Saturday, December 01, 2007

Pope Benedict Criticizes Atheism in Encyclical

This past Thursday, I railed against Pope Benedict for paying lip service to preventing AIDS - one day before World AIDS Day - when Catholic doctrine is strictly against the use of condoms.

Today I almost sharted when I read the story about Pope Benedict's Encyclical attributing the "greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice" ever known to atheism, citing Marx and Lenin. It is followed-up by the Pope's "self-critique" of Christianity:
"We must acknowledge that modern Christianity, faced with the successes of science in progressively structuring the world, has to a large extent restricted its attention to the individual and his salvation," he wrote. "In doing so, it has limited the horizon of its hope and has failed to recognize sufficiently the greatness of its task."
Yes, that piss-poor, job-interview-esque "what's your greatest weakness" of an answer is what the Pope considers "self-critique" of Christianity.

I reiterate what I wrote to the Pope concerning condoms and AIDS: How fucking dare you?

How about the treatment of non-Christian Romans after Constantine adopted Christianity? How about the Spanish Inquisition? How about the burning of witches? How about Hitler was raised Catholic and did continue belief in Christianity during his killin' days? How about that self-critique? And since Popehat is specifically targeting atheism, how about all the wars in the history of the world that were fought, not because the other tribe or ethnic group or country didn't believe, but because they believed something different?

I'm not very fond of organized religion, but I recognize the value it has in billions of lives and the potential good that it can do. And while I see Catholicism specifically as an anachronistic, non-bending, slowly sinking ship in the 21st Century, Bill Donahue take note: I do not hate the Catholic Church. But for the Pope to state that atheism is the cause of pain, war, tragedy, and horror in the world past and present is like King Henry VIII of England berating Bill Clinton for his indiscretion, and is way beyond the scope of pot/kettle territory.

The Encyclical, appallingly entitled "Saved by Hope," can be viewed online at the Vatican website.

So shame on the Pope and shame on AP Reporter Victor L. Simpson for (writing the article and) blindly being his mouthpiece.

I-35: Holy Highway to Batshit Crazy

I-35 goes from Loredo, TX to Duluth, MN. And due to a "series of prophesies, dreams, and visions," many Midwest ministries believe I-35 is the road mentioned in Isaiah 35:8 (it's even Isaiah 35 - OMGLOL!!1!): "And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness."

This 5 minutes may not make you dumber, but you may sustain some damage banging your head against the wall after watching it. The man presiding over the insanity he calls a "report:" none other than the deliciously batshit crazy Pat Robertson, prime backer of Rudy Giuliani.

Ironically, watching this video makes me want to pray for our country.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Putin's Little Soldier

In a rare and candid moment, Russian President Vladimir Putin admits that his penis is, in fact, quite small.

Putin's Tiny Penis
(image source was Drudge front page, unaltered - Russians wear the wedding ring on the right hand)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Notes on the Republican CNN YouTube Debate

Last night I sat through the mental poo-bomb that was the Republican debate and yadda, yadda, let's get on with those notes.

Republican CNN YouTube Debate (AP)
  • Approximately 3000 questions were asked for the YouTube Democratic Debate; 5000 for the YouTube Republican Debate. This is probably attributed to everyone from the first debate, 1900 new Democrats desiring to zing the Repubs, and 100 Republicans who were able to figure out a camera, Windows MovieMaker, and the YouTube on the internets.

  • I thought Anderson Cooper looked rather dapper in his black satin tie, but then again I've always found him a handsome man.

  • The sparky exchange that started out between Giulianai and Romney left Giuliani defeated and looking like a fool for his comments about Romney's workers and wide-open for his non-answer of New York as a sanctuary city. And he was the first booed by the audience.

  • Every boo in this debate was an ecstatic spark of schadenfreude.

Jesus Has Nads!

Yesterday I focused on a talented group of people making art out of balloons in the name of Christ. Today I show you why we can't have anything nice.

Jesus Has Penis

Yes, I just did that.

And even Hillary is talking about it.

Pope Promises to Do Nothing About AIDS

December 1st is World AIDS Day. From the Vatican Information Service:
At the end of today's general audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope launched an appeal for everything possible to be done to halt the spread of AIDS.

"December 1," he said, "marks World AIDS Day. I remain spiritually close to everyone suffering from this terrible sickness, and to their families, especially those who have lost a loved one. To everyone I give assurances of my prayers.

"Furthermore, I wish to exhort all people of good will to increase their efforts to halt the spread of the HIV virus, to combat the disdain which is often directed towards people who are affected by it, and to care for the sick, especially those who are still children."
Unfortunately, since the use of condoms (or any contraception) is strictly against the ever-aging doctrine of the Catholic Church, we have an insulting, damaging non-message here. And without the suggestion of the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, I have one brief message to send to the Pope:

How fucking dare you?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Balloons For Jesus!

Looking for a new way to glorify The Lord? Me too!

How about balloons for Jesus? That's right, balloons for Jesus! Over at, you can find "a place to learn and share ideas with others involved in gospel balloon ministry." Do I kid?

I was at first mildly amused with the routines on the site, specifically the clever slight-of-hand of turning balloon lightning into a balloon cross. And then I found the sanctum sanctorum: the Gallery of Biblical Balloonery and "mildly amused" turned to "Holy shit!"

Jesus and Cross made of balloons
Yes, that is none other than Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Made of balloons. Hauling a balloon cross. But isn't a balloon cross defeating the symbolic message of the weight of our sins?

Noah's Ark Balloon Display
(Click for Bigger)
Didn't the rainbow appear after the flood was over as God's promise that He wouldn't ever ever do that again? Sheesh.

Aside from my snarky comments, I have to hand it to anyone with that much dedication and talent, even if it is spreading the Word with balloons.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kucinich and a Wrap of the November 15th Debate

35 Percenters. Always worth the watch.

[Alternative YouTube Link]

But We Don't Impact the Environment

Since the fallout of Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize (and by "fallout," I mean the sour grapes green envy wrapping itself around and enlivening the deniers of pollution and global warming), we've been treated to a gross swelling of the subcutaneous fart bubble that is the ignorance of right wing talk radio and others that claim - unequivocally - that we don't impact the environment and that to argue such is foolhardy.

In Time Magazine's report, "Peak Possibilities," it states that "In July 2006, the world's oil rigs pumped out crude at a rate of nearly 85.5 million bbl. a day" (current goal is 100 bbl. a day). To put this in perspective (at 42 gal/bbl), at peak, we were pulling the equivalent of 7 and a half Giants Stadiums - full to the brim - out of the ground. Every day. Even now, every three to four hours on this planet, we are extracting a Giants Stadium worth of crude. How does that not affect our planet?

But idiots still say global warming is a scare, that we're not impacting the environment.

I guess if we're taking, we should talk about putting back. And we put back like hell. But, again, we're going to need something of relevance to convey the staggering numbers. How about the Sears Tower? It weighs 440 million pounds or 220,000 tons.

Let's look at some numbers from Wikipedia on Pollution:
Millions of Tons of CO2 per year:
  • United States: 2,790
  • China: 2,680
  • Russia: 661
  • India: 583
  • Japan: 400
  • Germany: 356
  • Australia: 226
  • South Africa: 222
  • United Kingdom: 212
  • South Korea: 185

US Specifically from 1970 to 2006:
  • carbon monoxide emissions fell from 197 million tons to 89 million tons
  • nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons
  • sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 31 million tons to 15 million tons
So according to the previous numbers, the United States alone pumps 12,682 Sears Towers into our atmosphere. The top 10 polluters together pump 37,795 Sears Towers into the air.

And please do not forget to mention carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide. Combined, the United States pumps out 559 more Sears Towers into the air. Yes, those are even more dangerous - to us - than carbon dioxide, and that's the same air we breathe.

I know; it's hard. Imagine the Sears Tower in Chicago. Imagine it being launched into the air and dissolving into breathable particles. Now do that 558 more times: almost twice a day every year.

But we're not impacting the environment.

The numbers, even with the relative, real-world comparisons, are still hard to imagine, but what is very real and very apparent is that we're affecting our environment by pumping out of the earth and into the atmosphere at a terrifying rate. And we're breathing it in.

And we're still wondering what's causing increasing rates of breathing problems and disease as our medical establishment slowly rises to the concern. And that doesn't include the filth corporations are dumping into our water supply by error or effort, the hormones and antibiotics that are in our source water that aren't checked for in water treatment plants, and how those things affect the sad animal casualties of nonchalance and ignorance.

And there are still those saying we're not impacting our environment.

I guess my only question is one of threshold: what the fuck has to happen before some of these whackjobs will admit "Eh, yeah, maybe we're screwing something up."?

Maybe when they can't be connected in a Six Degrees of Corporations game?

Wal-Mart Digs Deeper into Depravity

Most of us are aware of the unfair business practices of Wal-Mart forcing many of its providers to produce in China so it can take advantage of the unregulated, unjust working conditions, as well as the consistent lack of a living wage for its US employees and the secondary "small business killer" service it provides. From Mother Jones we have a new low:
Just when you think that Wal-Mart had already exhausted every last possible strategy for screwing over its employees, here comes this story in the Wall Street Journal. Deborah Shank, a Wal-Mart employee gets into an accident with a semi and ends up permanently brain-damaged a few years back. Her Wal-Mart health insurance paid her medical bills, but she also sued the trucking company for damages. She wins $700,000, which after legal fees and expenses, nets her about $400,000, which was put in a trust to pay the nursing home she now lives in.

But Wal-Mart gets wind of the settlement and turns around and sues Shank for $470,000, the money its insurance company paid for her care from the accident. Now, the woman is reliant on Medicaid and Social Security and Wal-Mart apparently got a much needed windfall.

Wal-Mart isn't alone in such behavior. Insurance companies seizing lawsuit winnings from catastrophically injured Americans is a common practice that gives lie to the notion that anyone gets rich off a personal injury lawsuit these days, as insurance companies often get first dibs on any judgment or settlement in such cases. But Wal-Mart's cruelty, as always, is extreme in this case. Not only is Shenk profoundly disabled, but while her family was fighting off the company in court, her son was killed while fighting the war in Iraq. Not even bad PR like this, apparently, can eke out a drop of compassion from the retail giant.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bill Donahue Loves Hate

Bill Donahue, president of the conservative Catholic League, known for spouting against Harry Potter and those durned gays, was on CNN this weekend spouting off against atheism and the upcoming movie The Golden Compass:
It's very bad to get up in the morning and knowing that you have to go out and hate somebody as part of your job.
Aside from the cringe-worthy, toddler-level mastery of the English language exhibited here, this is textbook pot/kettle fodder; Bill Donahue is best known for how intolerant and hateful he is towards anyone who is not a straight, pro-life Catholic bigot like himself. Media Matters has a lovely collection of his hateful ignorance. Enjoy.