Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category


American Jihadists? Yee-Fucking-Ha!!

3 March, 2010

I have been asked, through email and through comments, why I, as an atheist, give a flying fuck about theists — about what believers do, or think, or believe.  Why do I blog about religion and belief in god(s) if I am an unbeliever? 

There are many reasons I blog.  I blog to help me understand who I am.  I blog to poke fun at political and religious absurdity.  And I blog because I am scared abso-fucking-lutely shitless about the radical right. Read the rest of this entry ?


Glenn Beck is an Idiot

11 June, 2009

Glenn Beck is an idiot.  (And grass is green, the sky is gray, and scrapple is delicious.)  Either that, or he is severely dyslexic (I am mildly dyslexic (mostly number orders and left-right)).  Why do I say this?  While talking out of his ass about the shooting at the Holocaust Memorial, he said (from C&L): 

Beck: This is not the work of right-wing conservatives. This is the work of someone today who is racist, crazy, or most likely, both. Common sense tells you that there are very hateful people on the Right and the Left. Read the rest of this entry ?


Leader of the Anti-Abortion Movement Calls Followers “Fruits and Lunatics”

8 June, 2009

Nan, who writes the very enjoyable blog All The Good Names Were Taken (which is a great name for a blog), commented today (on Federal Investigation Begins into the Murder of Dr. Tiller):

Given that Cheryl Sullenger was apparently e-mailing back and forth merrily with Roeder, and she’s a major player in Operation Rescue, one can hope the investigation will be serious and a number of the Operation Rescue folks will find themselves doing perp walks. Read the rest of this entry ?


Does Torture Work? Depends On Your Goal.

18 May, 2009

One of the earliest long posts I ever did was an anti-torture post (Three Cases to Consider).  I offered, for your consideration, three historical cases in which torture was used in order to force false confessions from medieval Jews accused of creating and spreading the Black Death, from accused witch Johannes Junius, and from a Syrian Jew named al-Hallaq who had been implicated in the disappearance of a Capuchin Monk.  In all three cases, they were forced to confess to impossibilities:  spreading the plague through poisoned wells, consorting with devils, and using Christian blood for Passover bread. Read the rest of this entry ?


Faith in Torture is Misplaced

28 April, 2009

The radical right likes torture.  They have a great deal of faith that, despite clear illegality and ineffectiveness, torture works.  I find it very difficult to stomach the idea that we, as a nation, are actually debating what torture is and whether it works.  I really cannot add a whole lot to the various discussions going on all around the blogosphere, but I can point out a couple of things. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Ultimate Dummies Book

2 April, 2009

Obstructionism for Dummies.  Like they need it.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Yea Tho’ I Drive Through the Valley of Christians . . . .

29 December, 2008

(((Wife)), (((Boy))), (((Girl))) and I had a wonderful (for the most part) holiday with (((Wife)))’s family down in Florida.   We drove down Monday night into Tuesday morning, spent the 24th at the Magic Kingdom (with a fantastic meal at the Crystal Palace restaurant), enjoyed Christmas day at the in-laws, visited Epcot on Friday, and had a huge meal at the Cheesecake Factory and went for a boat ride on Saturday and drove home on Sunday.  The drive down and back is an easy one:  I-81 to I-77 to I-26 to I-95 to I-4 (and the reverse for the trip home) and just under 1,100 miles (about 18 hours (including stops for meals)).   Here are a few observations from our trip: Read the rest of this entry ?


It’s All Happened Again, and Again, and Again, and Again, and Again.

11 November, 2008

Ninety years ago, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the Great War ended.  It was the longest war in Europe in a century and the bloodiest war in Europe since the 30 Years War in Germany.  It was also the War To End All Wars in which, under the leadership of America, the world would be made Safe For Democracy.

Well, I can’t help but wonder now, Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
Did you really believe this war would end all wars?

Well, the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain.
For William McBride, it’s all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.
                                The Green Fields of France,  by Eric Bogle Read the rest of this entry ?


Memories of September 11, 2001

11 September, 2008

Traffic on I-81 was stop and go for a couple of miles this morning.  I found myself following a tractor trailer.  I don’t think the driver was very experienced.  He kept riding the brakes, filling my car with the smell of burnt metal with a slight aftertaste of plastic.  Add to that, I was stopped cold for about 3 minutes next to a three-day-old deer carcass.

Burnt metal.  Burnt plastic.  Decomposing flesh.

My stomach began to churn.  I knew what was coming.  And it didn’t even dawn on me until later what today is.

Three days after the terrorist attacks in New York City, I was sent down to the Javitz Center to provide security for the Southwest Incident Command Team.  The team supported the search and rescue teams.  I was there for three weeks.

I found myself inspecting trucks for bombs.  Controlling access to a warehouse in which the supplies for the team, FEMA, and the S&R teams were received and stored. 

I worked 16-hour days.  My hotel was a few streets above Times Square (near the Stage Door Deli, if that helps).  Most nights I was so stressed that I walked the 30-minutes up to my hotel rather than catch a ride in the van.

I was at Ground Zero about seven times.  The smell is what sticks with me.

Burnt metal. Burnt plastic.  Decomposing flesh.

As a student in high school, and a trumpet player, I found myself blowing taps during the Memorial Day celebrations and observances in Sharpsburg, Maryland, at the National Cemetery.  Ground Zero gave me the same eerie feeling — too many deaths, too many youngsters killed, too much violence.

Burnt metal.  Burnt plastic.  Decomposing flesh.

Those smells trigger memories that I do not want.  Memories of the towers coming down.  Memories of wasted life.  Memories of violence.  Memories of blowing taps. 

I know what comes next.  Three or four nights of being afraid to go to sleep because I know that the nightmares will come.  For a few nights, I can look forward to dreams about the attack.  And I can look forward to waking up at three in the morning with that smell in my mind.

Burnt metal.  Burnt plastic.  Decomposing flesh.

I look at the violence done in the name of god(s) throughout history and despair.  The inquisition.  The conquistadors.  The Thirty Years War.  The Holocaust. India and Pakistan. Israel and Islam.  The Sudan.  Eritrea.  Iraq.  Iran.  Afghanistan.  Ireland.

Burnt metal.  Burnt plastic.  Decomposing flesh.

These are the smells of religion.  These are the smells of god(s).  These are the smells of violence done in the name of ideologies and theologies.  These are, for me, the smell of despair.

And will I ever get the smell of despair out of my mind?


McC’ain’t Visits Wilkes-Barre

24 July, 2008

Luckily, I had to work, so I missed it.  The most surprising item in the local newspaper was the photo on the front page of the Times Leader.  Please go over an take a look at the photo.  It’s right below the video and show’s the presumptive Republican nominee walking down the stairs.  Click on the photo to enlarge it and look closely at his face.  Notice the wide eyes, the drawn mouth.  Notice the look of abject terror on his face.  Notice the confusion.  I have dealt with people suffering from senile dementia (not a professional level, only personal) and the look on his face is eerily similar to an Alzheimer’s patient being thrust into a new and uncomfortable situation.  If he were a Democrat, that photo alone would lose the election but, if you’re a Republican, our ‘liberal’ main stream media will ignore even the most obvious signs of dementia.

Just to show that the look on his face is an accurate assessment of his mental state, take a gander at some of the idiocy dropping from his lips (another article here).  Folks, those are not pearls of wisdom.  He’s losing his marbles.

He claims that Social Security “won’t be there.”  Without some minor adjustments, and looking out 50 to 75 years from now, he has a point.  But if you want to gaurantee it won’t be there? 

“Setting up private funds where people can save their own money rather than pay into a fund is one option that needs to be looked at. We have to discuss all options at the negotiating table, but I don’t want to privatize Social Security.”

We need to set up private funds, but we won’t privatize Social Security.  Whaaaaaaaa!?!?!?!?!

Next, he said:  “This state has a vast supply of coal. I would invest heavily in that as we look for alternative energy sources.”  Ummm, wouldn’t alternative sources of energy cut the use of coal?  And wouldn’t investing heavily in coal add to global warming?  And what the hell does that have to do with Northeastern Pennsylvania which has anthracite, not bituminous, coal which is hellishly expensive to mine, not real useful for power generation, and extremely high in sulfur?

He also ripped into regulation (less regulation means that big business will behave more better), plans to leave Iraq (a flexible plan based on 100 years is better than a flexible plan based on 2 years (and, by implication, Maliki is wrong to try to act like the President of a soveriegn nation)), and (as a sop to the far right fruitcakes), he repeated his flip flop on immigration and immigration reform.

And he said he would be back.  Damn.