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Beware Al-Coucha

Hey all I just read an article about the recent terrorism report for 2011 from the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC). As it turns out the report breaks down the number of people killed in terrorism events over the past year and while the results were of no surprise to me, they might be a surprise to some Americans.

As the Atlantic puts it:

According to the report, the number of U.S. citizens who died in terrorist attacks increased by two between 2010 and 2011; overall, a comparable number of Americans are crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year.

That’s right folks, we have given up our rights, created the TSA, and spent billions on an increased defense budget (while our schools continue to languish) all in the name of protecting us from something which is about as dangerous as your TV or couch.

Hooray Germany!

What’s that sound you say??? It’s the sound of penises all over Germany celebrating.

As it turns out last Tuesday:

A court in Cologne ruled on Tuesday that involuntary religious circumcision should be illegal as it could inflict serious bodily harm on people who had not consented to it.

That’s right people, just because your God or whomever tells you that you must, MUST chop off part of your newborn baby’s body, apparently in Germany, you won’t be allowed to any more.

These are children, their bodies belong to them, and you as adults have no right to cause them irrevocable bodily harm for any reason. Listen up America because you seem to be missing the message here too. Your religious freedoms stop at my body. My body is mine and mine alone, and you have no right to alter it without my consent.

I know there are those of you out there who think this is just me over reacting. Let’s say that it’s my religious belief that the pinky is offensive to my God…you see where I’m going here…right? Is it okay for me to cut off the little fingers of my children when they are born? NO! Of course not, it would be fucking ludicrous, and shame on anyone who would say that such a practice would be acceptable, because you know…it’s just me practicing my religion. Fuck your religion, little baby boys have a right to 100% of their penises, not 95%, not 99%, 100%. If they grow up to the age of consent and choose to have their bits carved up, then that’s their choice, but don’t dare make that choice for them.

So, yay Germany! It’s a seemingly obvious step in the right direction, but someone had to do it…let’s see who’s next? America?

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Update:
Also, just to be clear here…just in case you were wondering…there are no medical benefits to circumcision.

Lock down your wireless routers!

I read an article today about how a town in Indiana had a small problem.

See, someone in the town was making threats against the police in Evansville using the interwebs. The police started to shake in their panties so they set out to track down the offending internet poster. Well they narrowed down where the poster was coming from by his/her IP address, and then used that IP to track down the house.

Problem was, it was the wrong house. This house had a wireless router, but they never bothered to secure it. So basically anyone within 300 feet could use this open wireless router to surf the internet, and post threats to the police force. The police force however weren’t interested in doing any due diligence…what they were interested in was mobilizing SWAT, kicking down doors, throwing flash bang grenades, and terrorizing the wrong people.

As it turns out the front door of the hapless home was even open during the raid. Yeah, the front door was open, and the occupant of the home was sitting on the living room couch watching TV in full sight of the front door. So while the police could have walked up, knocked on the jamb and explained their position, they took the much more reasonable approach and threw in flash bang grenades, and stormed the house in full body armor…weapons hot!

I bet they felt brave.

Don’t stand up for a church that won’t stand up for you.

Dear Friends and Family of faith,
Please don’t read the following as an attempt to convert you. I never have and never would try to rob you of your faith. However, your faith and your church are two very different things. Your faith has never hurt anyone, your church has. Your faith doesn’t demand that you, as a woman, limit yourself to the roles and responsibilities of women in the Dark Ages…your church does. Your faith doesn’t misguidedly insist on a ban on contraception that has left millions dead and orphaned in Africa…your church does.

I read a really good article today about how liberal Catholics are, by their attendance and tithing, giving consent to the wrongs done in the name of the church. If you are a liberal Catholic, you are an enabler, and it’s got to stop.

Dear ‘Liberal’ Catholic:

It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church.

It’s your moment of truth. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages? Do you choose women and their rights, or Bishops and their wrongs? Whose side are you on, anyway?

It is time to make known your dissent from the Catholic Church, in light of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ ruthless campaign endangering the right to contraception. If you’re part of the Catholic Church, you’re part of the problem.

Why are you propping up the pillars of a tyrannical and autocratic, woman-hating, sex-perverting, antediluvian Old Boys Club? Why are you aiding and abetting a church that has repeatedly and publicly announced a crusade to ban contraception, abortion and sterilization, and to deny the right of all women everywhere, Catholic or not, to decide whether and when to become mothers? When it comes to reproductive freedom, the Roman Catholic Church is Public Enemy Number One. Think of the acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, social evils and deaths that can be laid directly at the door of the Church’s antiquated doctrine that birth control is a sin and must be outlawed.

A backer of the Roman Catholic presidential candidate says that if women want to avoid pregnancy we should put an aspirin between our knees? Catholic politicians are urging that the right to contraception should be left up to states? Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court upheld contraception as a privacy right, we’re going to have to defend this basic freedom all over again?

You’re better than your church. So why? Why continue to attend Mass? Tithe? Why dutifully sacrifice to send your children to parochial schools so they can be brainwashed into the next generation of myrmidons (and, potentially, become the next Church victims)? For that matter, why have you put up with an institution that won’t put up with women priests, that excludes half of humanity?

No self-respecting feminist, civil libertarian or progressive should cling to the Catholic faith. As a Cafeteria Catholic, you chuck out the stale doctrine and moldy decrees of your religion, but keep patronizing the establishment that menaces public health by serving rotten offerings. Your continuing Catholic membership, as a “liberal,” casts a veneer of respectability upon an irrational sect determined to blow out the Enlightenment and threaten liberty for women worldwide. You are an enabler. And it’s got to stop.

If you imagine you can change the church from within — get it to lighten up on birth control, gay rights, marriage equality, embryonic stem-cell research — you are deluding yourself. If you remain a “good Catholic,” you are doing “bad” to women’s rights. You’re kidding yourself if you think the Church is ever going to add a Doctrine of Immaculate ContraCeption.

It is disgraceful that U.S. health care reform is being held hostage to the Catholic Church’s bizarre opposition to medically prescribed contraception. No politician should jeopardize electability for failure to genuflect before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (Question to ask your Bishop: Does he hold up an umbrella against the rain? Isn’t that just as “unnatural” as using a condom or diaphragm?)

Your Church hysterically claims that secular medical policy is “an assault against religious liberty.” You are savvy enough to realize that the real assault is by the Church against women’s rights and health care. As Nation columnist Katha Pollitt asks: Is it an offense against Jehovah Witnesses that health care coverage will include blood transfusions? The Amish, as Pollitt points out, don’t label cars “an assault on religious liberty” and try to force everyone to drive buggies. The louder the Church cries “offense against religious liberty” the harder it works to take away women’s liberty.

Obama has compromised, but the Church never budges, instead launching a vengeful modern-day Inquisition. Look at its continuing directives to parish priests to use their pulpits every Sunday to lobby you against Obama’s policy, the Church’s announcement of a major anti-contraception media campaign — using your tithes, contributions and donations — to defeat Obama’s laudable health care policy. The Church has introduced into Congress the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, ” a bill to place the conscienceless Catholic Church’s “rights of conscience” above the rights of conscience of 53 percent of Americans. That the Church has “conscience rights” to deny women their rights is a kissing cousin to the claim that “corporations are people.” The Church that hasn’t persuaded you to oppose contraception now wants to use the force of secular law to deny contraceptive rights to non-Catholics.

But is there any point in going on? After all, your misplaced loyalty has lasted through two decades of public sex scandals involving preying priests, children you may have known as victims, and church complicity, collusion and coverup going all the way to the top. Are you like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go?

But we have a more welcoming home to offer, free of incense-fogged ritual, free of what freethinker Bertrand Russell called “ideas uttered long ago by ignorant men,” free of blind obedience to an illusory religious authority. Join those of us who put humanity above dogma.

As a member of the “flock” of an avowedly antidemocratic club, isn’t it time you vote with your feet? Please, exit en Mass.

Very truly,

Annie Laurie Gaylor
Co-President
Freedom From Religion Foundation

I love you all, when you wake up next Sunday morning, please think hard about who you choose to support, and who you don’t.

ARGH! Bad police ruin it for everyone.

So a while ago I was in court as a possible jury member. I was thrown off the jury because when asked by the prosecutor if I had any bias against police officers, my answer was a resounding Hell Yeah!

That whole episode continues to haunt me. I really want to believe in the police and what they do. There are good men and women who serve as officers whom I’m sure would take my breath away with their acts of bravery and compassion…

This post is not about them. I was surfing the interwebs today when I found this.

It’s a video series of a guy (or a couple of guys) who just stroll into a police precinct and ask if there is a form that they can get to file a complaint against an officer. The short answer is that there is such a form, and that upon request it should be handed over to the citizen immediately.

That’s not what happened however. The most polite response shown in the video is the officers flat out lying and saying that there is no such form. The rest of the examples range from outright hostility to one officer (hand on gun) saying “why don’t you take one more step and lets see what happens.” Oh yeah, the guy was also put under arrest (cuffed) simply for asking for the form.

Fuck you bad cops!

You assholes undermine the authority of every man and woman who wears a badge. You make people like me question and second guess everything every other officer says. You make is so much worse for yourselves and the good officers around you. You make me so mad!!!

…and for the sake of clarity, FUCK YOU!!!

Now I know there are those of you out there that will try to excuse the behavior of the officers on the video. My very short response to you is that there is no defense for their behavior. They are intimidating, bullying, and threatening a citizen asking for a piece of paper they have every right to ask for. The only appropriate response to “can I have a complaint form” is “yes.”

The reason it is wrong for these cops to question the guy wanting the form is…what if the complaint is against that cop. It’s a clear conflict of interest for me to file a complaint about and officer to the officer I’m complaining about. Even if it’s not the cop I’m complaining about, it’s inappropriate for the cop to say “tell me what happened” because then he can collude with his cop buddy and tell him that he’s being investigated and that he’d better get his story straight.

The reason the complaint form is a form is so that you can mail your complaint directly to internal affairs without it having to pass through the hands of a precinct that would directly benefit from that complaint somehow disappearing. They know this. They know that they have one chance to get you to pass up your complaint. Once that form is in your hands, it’s out of theirs and these cowards don’t dare take the chance. I suspect they are all up to some wrong doing (other than the abuse of a citizen asking for a piece of paper) and they know that if this complaint gets filed that there is a chance that their larger wrongdoings will come to light.

So congrats bad cops! Your sickening example gives people like me ample reason to distrust your whole profession. Just another days work cowering behind a shield I guess.

Dear Catholic Church…please die alreay!

Okay, I know I rail against the Catholic Church (any church for that matter) a lot, but you have to admit few organizations go so far out of their way to raise my ire.

Yesterday I got wind of a documentary being queued up for the BBC. It’s about how the Catholic church in Spain has been taking the children of young, usually single mothers, and selling them to other couples while telling the birth mother that their child was dead.

You see, they were doing it in the name of God. A young, vulnerable girl would come in to the Church run hospital to deliver her baby. After the baby was born it would be whisked away and sold to other people who the church deemed “better” (read: can fork over more money to the Church) and more godly.

Then a nurse would go back to the woman who just gave birth and say “Ooops sorry, your child died.” The birth mothers were then refused seeing the remains of their children (because they were alive) or were shown a picture of a dead baby in a freezer. Nice. Stay classy Catholicism. But wait there’s more…

300,000 babies over 50 years. You read correctly.

300,000 babies who never knew their real parents. 300,000 mothers who not only had to survive the loss of a child, but never even got the chance to hold or see their little ones. 300,000 chances for the church to profit on the immeasurable suffering of the vulnerable.

It’s not often that words fail me, but what words can truly capture the scale of this crime? What words can connote the degree of outright evil perpetrated by the church? I can think of none.

So, Catholics, congratulations you are card carrying members of a criminal organization! Yay for you. But wait, you say that you had nothing to do with the selling of newborns and that the church you attend has nothing to do with the churches in Spain? Well you’re right and you’re wrong.

You support churches who sell babies, you support priests who rape children because you attend and tithe to the very organizations they use to conduct those deeds. Your faith puts them in a position of power which they are then free to abuse. And abuse it they do. Whether it be selling babies for 50 years, or priests all over the world sexually abusing children, or even the Church excommunicating one of it’s own because he has the audacity to believe that a woman’s call to god is just as valid, just as authentic as a mans, the only reason these people have power to abuse is because you give it to them. Every time you walk in the church door you give it to them. Every time you kneel in mass you give it to them. Every time you turn a blind eye to the countless abuses done in the church you give it to them.

The Catholic Church by any measure is a criminal organization. They have a history of abuse to the most vulnerable and a record of cover ups and non-cooperation with legitimate authorities who try to ferret out where abuses have taken place. I implore my Catholic friends and family…leave the church. Love God, fine. Worship Jesus, fine. Get together with friends and talk about your spiritual selves, fine. But please leave the church. Take power away from the criminals who run it. Walk with a clear conscience knowing that you’ve turned your back on the numerous atrocities committed by the church. The abusers can only abuse from a position of power, take that power away from them!

300,000 babies…and I thought I knew evil.

Ann Coulter is a horrible human being

Okay, well the title may have given it all away, but this post is all about how horrible a human being Ann Coulter is.

I was watching Bill Maher’s talk show and she was one of the guests. I had heard the name before, and kind of generally knew her as some talking head on the right, but the show was the first time that I had ever heard her speak on anything. How shall I describe hearing the woman talk?

It’s as if she were a life sized Pez dispenser. She has three flavors of Pez: lie flavor, rhetoric flavor, and blatant misrepresentation flavor. At any given time throughout the conversation, her head would slide back and one of these three Pez bricks of bullshit would pop out of her neck hole.

It was amazing to watch, I’ve never seen anyone speak so confidently while knowing so little. She also had this weird Stevie Nicks head bobble thing going on that was either her trying to shake loose an original thought, or the early onset of palsy.

All of that aside, crazy people are nothing new. I was completely ready to write her off like any number of crazy republican talking heads. However, she went on this one particularly obnoxious tirade that I just can’t let go. I’ve heard this nugget of republican thinking echoed more and more over the last couple of years and I just have to take a minute to address it.

She says during the course of the show that “government employees” are a drain on the country. She said that they were getting bigger raises (not true, our pay has been frozen by the President for the next five years), and getting bigger benefit packages (again not true, we’re getting the same Federal offerings we’ve always gotten) the implication being that we’re providing nothing in return.

Careful readers will note that I’ve already tipped my hat. I am one of said government employees, so I guess that this line of argument comes a little close to home. However it also gives me a prime position to tell you that I know what I’m talking about and Ann Coulter doesn’t.

How can so much contempt fit in such a tiny frame?


Ann Coulter woke up this morning and didn’t have to breathe smoggy air, you know why? Because government employees got together to set standards for air quality and government regulators enforce those standards. Ann Coulter drove to work this morning, you know how? Because government employees built the roads she drove on, built the stop lights controlling the traffic, and power the street lights that show her the way. Ann Coulter is allowed to broadcast her ignorant tirades against the working class because government employees at the FCC dedicated the bandwidth on the spectrum to allow her to be broadcast without interference.

From the moment Ann Coulter wakes up to the moment she goes to bed she walks, like stones across a river, on the backs of government employees who have spent lifetimes making her world a little better, a little safer, and a little more free. And yet, asshole that she is, after she has finished using the backs of government employees to wipe her feet she spits on them and calls them the parasites on society.

Republicans, listen up. You benefit in a million little ways every single day of your lives from the government. I know, I know it doesn’t fit it the rhetoric machine to say thanks to the people who build the schools you learned in, the parks your kids play in, or the people who installed the pipes that bring clean water to your faucets. But it is unfair, disingenuous, and dare I say un-American for you to at the end of the day say that the government employee is siphoning off America when you’ve spent all day siphoning off the work of the government employee.

Ann, get your bobble head out of your ass and start thanking the people that you blithely take for granted every single day, because quite frankly lady at the end of the day when I consider who has done more in support of America, I’ll take one government employee over five hundred Ann Coulters.