Tim Minchin

We have gone for months with barely a drop of rain here in the Dallas Area.

Rick Perry gathered a bunch of power Bible Thumpers together to pray in Houston, among other things they prayed for rain.

We got wildfires and more drought.

Tonight Tina and I attended a concert here at the Lakewood Theater, one of our favorite local venues.

We and about 600 or so other agnostic, atheistic free thinking people saw Tim Minchin, an out spoken atheist perform for over two hours.

When we came out of the theater it was pouring.  Not a heavy flash flood producing deluge but a nice soaking rain…

Now if I weren’t a free thinking atheist I might attribute some higher power, instead I’m glad summer is over and hope this signals the shift to the wet season weather patterns.

The concert was great.  We laughed our asses off.

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Pot Calls Kettle Black: Or My Imaginary Sky Daddy is Realer than Your Imaginary Sky Daddy

Prominent Cult Pastor Calls Romney’s Church a Cult

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/08/us/politics/prominent-pastor-calls-romneys-church-a-cult.html?ref=politics

By Jr. and
Published: October 7, 2011

WASHINGTON — A Texas pastor introduced Rick Perry at a major conference of Christian conservatives here on Friday as “a genuine follower of Jesus Christ” and then walked outside and attacked Mitt Romney’s religion, calling the Mormon Church a cult and stating that Mr. Romney “is not a Christian.”

The comments by the pastor, Robert Jeffress of Dallas, injected a potentially explosive issue into the presidential campaign: the belief held by many evangelicals that Mormons are not Christians.

And it raised immediate suspicions that the attack might have been a way for surrogates or supporters of Mr. Perry, the Texas governor, who has stumbled in recent weeks, to gain ground by raising religious concerns about Mr. Romney. Mr. Jeffress similarly attacked Mr. Romney and his faith during the 2008 campaign.

The Perry campaign sought to put some distance between Mr. Perry and Mr. Jeffress, stating that the governor “does not believe Mormonism is a cult” and that Mr. Jeffress was chosen to speak by the organizers of the event, the Values Voter Summit, which was put on by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and other evangelical Christian groups.

But in a statement, the Family Research Council president, Tony Perkins, said the Perry campaign had approved using Mr. Jeffress to introduce the governor.  “Pastor Jeffress was suggested to us as a possible introductory speaker because he serves as pastor of one of the largest churches in Texas,” Mr. Perkins said. “We sent the request to the Perry campaign which then signed off on the request.”

Aides to Mr. Perry did not respond to a number of questions, including whether he  was aware of Mr. Jeffress’s record of calling the Mormon Church a “cult” and denying Mr. Romney’s Christianity; whether he has ever talked with Mr. Jeffress about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and the nature of their relationship.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/08/us/politics/prominent-pastor-calls-romneys-church-a-cult.html?ref=politics

Believing in imaginary people who talk to you and tell what to do should be a category in the DSM not a qualification to hold elected office.

Hedges: No way in US system to vote against banks

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‘Enough is Enough’: Anti-war protest calls for Afghan pullout

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To Tax the Rich, Stop Arguing About Who’s “Rich”

From New Deal 2.0: http://www.newdeal20.org/2011/10/07/to-tax-the-rich-stop-arguing-about-who%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%9crich%e2%80%9d-61172/

by Mark Schmitt
Friday, 10/7/2011

Taxes aren’t punishment for the rich. They are a shared obligation.

It’s happening again. As Congress finally begins to take President Obama’s proposal seriously to let taxes return to their 2001 level, but only for households with over $250,000 in income, along with the newer “Buffett Rule” proposal to limit tax breaks for millionaires, even liberal Democrats are starting to get squeamish about whether $250,000 or even a million is really “rich.”

Here’s Senator Chuck Schumer on Wednesday: ”In the eyes of many, it is hard to ask more of households making $250,000 or $300,000 a year. In large parts of the country, that kind of income does not get you a big home or lots of vacations or anything else that is associated with wealth.”

Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who made the same argument in 2009, aren’t totally wrong. In New York or San Francisco there are certainly plenty of two-income families edging over the $250,000 line who aren’t lighting their cigars with $100 bills. If they have student loans, or can’t imagine their kids going to public school, or are paying a mortgage on a three-bedroom house or apartment in what they consider an acceptable neighborhood, they often find themselves living right at the edge.

On the other hand, the very things those families think of as the basic necessities of life, like private school and nannies, are in fact things that are “associated with wealth,” as Schumer puts it. These are people who earn almost five times the median income in the U.S. They may not feel rich compared to their college classmates who went to Wall Street instead of law school, but by any real measure they are very wealthy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.newdeal20.org/2011/10/07/to-tax-the-rich-stop-arguing-about-who%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%9crich%e2%80%9d-61172/

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‘Anarchy’ in America: Occupy Wall Street spreads nationwide

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Why I Can’t Celebrate the End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/10/08-5

by Gary Lehring
Published on Saturday, October 8, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Many are applauding the repeal of DADT as an advance for gay and lesbian civil rights. And while any advance in civil rights is difficult to oppose, I am troubled by the celebration and fanfare that has accompanied the repeal of this policy. After eighteen years of such a costly and repugnant policy, why do I not rejoice at this step forward in legal protections for LGB individuals? Why can’t I celebrate the end of DADT as an advance in civil rights?

Part of my reticence to celebrate comes from the current news coverage that suggests that the repeal of DADT is the final victory of a monolithic LGBT community that has been fighting for inclusion in the military for decades. But the gay community has never been uniform in its support for military inclusion. Eighteen years ago Clinton’s decision to lift a ban on homosexuality in the military was met with reservation from many quarters of the LGBT communities who opposed the creeping militarization o f our lives and communities . This reticence and resistance from within our communities is missing from this celebration of civil rights. While “inside the beltway” activists honor and defend as a civil right every individual’s decision to serve their country through military service, are LGBT communities obligated to support such a corrupt, misogynistic, and homophobic institution? Have we forgotten the Pentagon’s plan in 1994 to develop a “gay bomb” that would release female pheromones on the battlefield, thereby triggering uncontrollable lust among enemy combatants on the battlefield, rendering this newly created gay enemy unable to fight? Such adolescent misunderstandings of masculinity, sexuality, and human nature should be enough to make LGBT communities question if the military is really an institution worth joining.

What might a progressive and/or a radical LGBT community response to the repeal of DADT look like today? We might begin by acknowledging that while ending this ban will make it easier for LGB people in the military to stay there, and easier for others to join, there are larger political implications to this inclusion. This civil rights victory entitles LGB persons to serve as “the mercenaries of a military industrial complex” as Barbara Smith said. These “mercenaries” have succeeded in killing more than 110,000 civilian non combatants in Iraq, and more than 10,000 civilian noncombatants in Afghanistan. Is this truly progress, and if so for whom? Our military leaders claim that the creation of a stable democratic society is the goal in these countries. Nonetheless the Pentagon was slow to condemn anti-gay honor killings in Iraq and seems not to think that rampant violence directed at sexual minorities is incompatible with a democratic society. Should progressive LGBT communities not also be globally engaged ones? Should civil rights victories here manipulate us into abandoning our moral courage and outrage at homophobia and sexual violence abroad ? When Abu Ghraib revealed homosexual rape to be part of the military’s humiliation of prisoners, I wondered if that could have happened if an LGBT service member had been present. Yet, today, I fear that misplaced patriotism, jingoism, demonization of the enemy– all well worn practices of the United States Military–will create camaraderie among queer and straight soldiers long before it would help gay servicemen and women see their own connection to sexually subjugated enemy combatants.

A truly radical LGBT response would go further still. We might be working to dismantle the military industrial complex and shift those billions of dollars to help the very economically distressed communities and individuals that military recruiters target to make their monthly enlistment quotas– sites which will now include LGBT community centers. Deploying promises of a steady income, high tech training, college grants, and upward social mobility, the US Military targets the highest risk populations in our society for recruitment. Suspect under normal conditions, during a prolonged recession this strategy is simply dishonest and exploitive. It seems even more exploitative when one realizes that all of these promised benefits have become comparatively less generous and less effective in recent decades.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/10/08-5

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