Sunday, September 28, 2008

The view from Alaska

Sarah Palin spoke with Katie Couric on September 25.  I watched. It blew my mind. How can anyone vote for her? My problem is simple. She lies. How can anyone trust a person who lies about their experience for office? I don't mean the simple lies, like saying "I'm qualified for office". Obama says this all the time. when he does, a little voice in my head says "No you are not".  I don't think there are many people qualified for the job of President. Certainly none of the current candidates qualify.

Sarah Palin says "I'm qualified for office", but then goes on to say, "because of my foreign policy experience". The first statement is a small lie which I can overlook, the second statement is a big lie. I cannot overlook it. Her position is built on layer after layer of lies.  Take this exchange.

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We -- we do -- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where -- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is -- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to -- to our state.

It all sounds good, except for that nobody knows anything about a Russian trade mission on Palin's watch. The last trade mission with Russia was in 1997. And those Russian flyovers, if they happened, the US Military would have handled the response. Palin would not have even been consulted.

She claims you can stand on an island in the Bering Straight and look across to a neighboring island in Russia. In reality, Little Diomede Island sits 2.4 miles from Big Diomede island. They are two rocks in the middle of the Bering Straight with almost nothing of value between them. If Sarah Palin had ever stood on Little Diomede island and looked across to it's Russian neighbor she would have seen nothing but rocks, water, and ice.  You can look for yourself here.

What could she possibly learn from looking at Russia from Little Diomede? Nothing! Of course, I give her too much credit, because she has never set foot on Little Diomede.

There is no Russian Consulate in Alaska. The nearest one is in Seattle. The is no Russian Trade Mission in Alaska, the nearest one is located in San Francisco. I'm not even sure if she can fly from Alaska direct to any city in Russia. I looked but could not find anything. In short, Palin is lying. She has no connection to Russia at all.

If she lies about something as dumb as this. What will she do on important issues? How can we trust her? The answer is that she is not worthy of our trust. How sad is that?

Technorati tags: , ,

Brad's wedding

My cousin Brad Evans was married to his beautiful bride Jennifer this weekend in Newport Beach. The wedding was beautiful, as was the reception. I screwed up my casual photos. There was something wrong with the sensor, everything came out blue. By the time I noticed, the reception was over. This shot is the best of the lot.

Brad and Jennifer arrived at their reception by boat. It made for a great day.

Convicted pedophile arrested

Pastor Lawrence Webber, whom police call an associate pastor at Reeder Memorial Baptist church in Charlotte, NC, was arrested for sexually molesting children


Lawrence Webber, 60, is charged with three counts of first-degree rape and five counts of indecent liberties with a child. Police said there are at least two victims.

Webber is a convicted pedophile. He is registered as a sex offender in the state of North Carolina for a 1997 conviction. His church will not confirm if Webber worked in any capacity, nor will they confirm if the alleged victims were members of the church.

Hiring a convicted pedophile must come with some legal entanglements. I'm sure the church is acting to protect its bottom line. It is a shame. This church needs to tell the community and its members how they let a wolf feed among the sheep.

Police think there may be more victims.

Police are encouraging anyone with information on the most recent alleged crimes to call the department's Special Victims Division at 704-336-2418 or Detective Pierette Perry at 704-336-2507.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tony Alamo busted on sex charges

Christian con man and convicted tax cheat Tony Alamo has been arrested for transporting minors across state lines for sexual purposes. If the DA plays his cards right, this will be the end of Tony Alamo.

The one-time rock promoter and street preacher was arrested by the FBI while leaving a Flagstaff hotel Thursday on charges of violating the Mann Act, usually used in interstate prostitution cases.

Federal prosecutors sought Alamo's arrest after interviewing six girls taken into state custody during a raid of his southwestern Arkansas compound on Saturday.

Source: Evangelist Alamo agrees to return to Arkansas -

My favorite Alamo quote:

"It's a hoax," Alamo told CNN by phone from Los Angeles. "They're just trying to make our church look evil ...... by saying I'm a pornographer. Saying that I rape little children. ...... I love children. I don't abuse them."

I'll watch this one closely.

Hansen trial update

Fred Douglas Hanson has elected a trial by judge and jury.  Hansen is a Baptist pastor accused sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. Some of the charges stem from encounters with children.

You can read more about Hanson at this post: Another Baptists Falls

Another child pornography arrest

I have an hour to go before three hours in the dentist's chair. I might as well make a post on another potential wayward pastor. This incident is from Texas (again).

Pastor Steve Richardson of the First Methodist Church of Royse City, was arrested for possession of Child Pornography on September 25.  Richardson has been a pastor at the church for two years. He was immediately suspended.

Richardson is accused of receiving and distributing child pornography.

Mr. Richardson, who used the name "cowboysspades" online, is accused of receiving and distributing dozens of images of child pornography, including "images of infants engaged in sexually explicit conduct," according to U.S. Attorney Richard Roper's office.

A Sept. 26, 2007 investigation led to the arrest of a man who remembered that "cowboysspades" had sent him "homemade" images within the past three months, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

This case is creepy. How does any sane person get off on pictures of infants having sex? How does this same man then get up in front of a congregation and preach? It blows my mind.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An atheism survey

Brother Richard asked for some help soliciting responses to a survey on atheism.  Brother Richard writes...

Several months ago, I began assisting Dr. Tom Arcaro from Elon University in designing this survey. Once the data has been analyzed we will seek to publish it not only in a trade journal, but in a magazine the general public would read. It is our goal to use the information gathered to encourage others to come out of the religious closet and to destigmatize atheism altogether.

I have attached to this email, an article written by Dr. Arcaro introducing the survey for the Atheist Nexus newsletter. Feel free to repost it our use any part of it as you see fit.

I've agreed to help promote the survey. It seems like a good idea to me. I've reposed Dr. Arcaro's article below.

by Tom Arcaro
In the academic world, sabbaticals come around only once in seven years and each faculty person knows to invest that precious time away from the classroom effectively. In my case, when the time came to write my sabbatical proposal I had recently finished reading all of the books from the “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse”, namely Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. I have been reading Dennett and Dawkins for years as I followed closely their work in evolutionary psychology (I have written several essays that touch on this topic; go the, and when Dawkin’s The God Delusion came out I devoured it quickly, finding myself in agreement with much of what he said. 

The semester after I read Dawkin's book, I had an Intro to Sociology student who needed a research project, and she and I surveyed over 100 undergraduates using Dawkin’s scale of belief (he introduces in the first chapter). Those data indicated what I already knew from living North Carolina for the last 23 years: I was living in the Bible Belt. That short experience with researching people’s religious beliefs whet my appetite for more in depth data, and I began some preliminary reading of what other sociologists had written about being an atheist, particularly in the so-called Bible Belt where I lived. I found some reasonably interesting work, but none that sated my interest in the social consequences of coming out public as an atheist.

As a bit more background, I have been working for a number of years on the issue of HIV and AIDS and have studied in some detail the problem of the social stigma attached to being HIV+. A good friend of mine, Anita Isaacs from Oshakati, Namibia, became HIV+ in the late 90’s and then came out public in November of 2002. This brave act changed her life and has defined her ever since. In no way do I want to say that being HIV+ is the same as being an atheist, but what I do argue is that the phenomena of stigmatization, described so well by the sociologist Irving Goffman in his classic book Stigma, is the same in both cases: both are devalued social statuses.

Immediately after the topic of my sabbatical research was published on our university web site I began getting calls and emails from colleagues who supported my work and wished me well. Many of them shared their own stories of being in the closet about their atheism and, in fact, the survey that I am asking you to take was written with the critical feedback of many colleagues both on campus and elsewhere. Two colleagues who also happen to be lesbians talked to me about the differences and similarities of dealing with the social responses to their sexuality and their atheism.

Why am I doing this research? As a tenured full professor I have no pressing need to add to my curriculum vita. My motivation for this research is to reach out to other atheists and provide them with an additional sounding board for their experiences. I want to describe the population of self-proclaimed atheists and ferret out some of the correlations between their gender, age, and other demographic variables with their responses to the array of questions that are posed in the survey. After the data is collected, I will openly share to summarized results both in the popular press (and, of course, appropriate web sites) and in sociological journals. I pledge to do my best to describe, analyze, summarize and present the data carefully and, importantly, to absolutely maintain the confidentiality of each participant.

Ultimately I hope that this survey and the publication of the results will, in some a small way, encourage more of us to more openly be who we are, atheists.

Finally, I want to publicly thank Richard Haynes (“Brother Richard”) for working closely with me on the final versions of the survey and, more importantly, for all of his patience as we developed this project over the last five months. That he shares my vision and is willing to use his resources to maximize the exposure of this survey is a great gift to me and to the atheist community.

This is the full URL for the survey:

Technorati tags:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Annoying public prayer

I witnessed an odd thing the other day. Two women seated near me in a restaurant joined hands and then started to pray. Their table was in the middle of five other occupied tables, in the corner of a crowed dinning room. I see Christians pray frequently. It is no big deal. It's one of those ubiquitous parts of American life that is as normal as men shaving on the way to work. Normally, one sees it and says nothing. Except for this time. The women prayed for five minutes. They cried too. I saw them wiping tears. At times they would raise a hand toward the sky, and at other times they would raise the hands the held together. It was some kind of ritualized movement that seemed important to the process.

I noticed them pray, so did others. I think that was the point. It was important to the ladies that they witness to the restaurant through prayer. It was like they were putting on a little pre-meal Christian stage show just of the restaurant audience. I watched them until they finished. A few other dinners did the same. When they finished, they looked around. One of the women made eye contact with me and said, "Jesus loves you."

I whispered back in a voice much too low to hear, "Vacuum".

A few minutes later I bit down on a piece of calamari and broke a tooth. I am sure the two items were unrelated.

Technorati tags: , ,

Ray Ray liked bling-bling

Pastor Donald Ray Robinson pleaded guilty to stealing $300,000 from his church. I love an honest thief, especially an honest thief who likes to tell others "thou shall not steal". 

Ray Ray liked bling-bling

...he went to casinos and fine restaurants and bought fancy rims for his car, jewelry, clothes, manicures and cable television service.

Robinson stole the money over a year in addition to collecting a six figure salary. He could spend up to 27 years in prison. What a shame when he could be spreading the Word instead.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

After rapture pet care

I found an interesting story on Serial Youth Pastor. I seems some enterprising con man on Craig's List who is masquerading as Atheist providing after rapture pet care for a small fee. For $50, Christians can be assured their pets will be looked after. At least the Christians who posted comments were able to laugh about it. Although I am afraid they believe an atheist is behind the ad. Which pisses me off the  little bit.

The original link it here. The article is a few months old so I'm sure this is old news to some of you.

There is a sucker born every minute.

Technorati tags: ,

Minister accused of bigamy

This story is missing so much information. I wonder if it is bigamy, as in married and living with both wives, or married but living with his latest wife? The first option is a religious issue. The second option is a personal integrity issue, as in Spencer Osborne has none.

An associate pastor at an Indianapolis church has been arrested for allegedly being married to two women at the same time, police say.

Lt. Dave Young, the head of a metropolitan police special investigations unit, said Spencer K. Osborne, 36, of an unidentified Indianapolis church allegedly had once been married to three different women but has since divorced one, The Indianapolis Star reported Monday.

Source: Minister accused of bigamy -

I have no doubt that this is a case for Hypocrisy watch. When a supposed man of god lets his personal life run wild, it is a clear indication of fraud. He is not what he would have us believe.

Technorati tags: ,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blogroll update « Obsessed with reality

Obsessed with Reality was kind enough to provide an introduction.

Obsessed with reality is a term I picked up from the eternal Carl Sagan. I call this blog OWR because I consider learning about reality, if not the noblest, then definitely the most humbling adventure one can partake in.

OWR will be mostly about science, atheism and religion, and a cursory glance at my blog immediately gives away on which side I am. Its also a personal platform that will allow, as blogs often blissfully do, emotional relief whenever there's a persistent rumination on my mind. Since I’m pathologically curious, I'm probably going to write a lot about whatever it is I run into that intrigues me, such as ethics, language, and ancient Egyptian rainwear.

Read the rest at Obsessed with Reality

For those of you counting, the Atheist Blogroll stands at 796 members. We will hit 800 by the weekend.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh what a lonely boy

I'm sitting in front of my computer playing music loud enough to cause me wife to give me "that look". I'm happy. Music has a strange influence over me. It always has. In this case, I am listening to a cover of Lonely Boy off the album Guilty Pleasures by Lazlo Bane (my space).  Guilty Pleasures is a cover album of songs from when I came of age in the 70s. Most are sappy love songs that plagued  the airwaves and cause us no end of embarrassment. Yet somehow the songs are reborn as warm nostalgic flashbacks. I've had the best time listening to this album. I've  posted the track list below. My favorite is the cover of Supertramp's Take the Long Way Home.

  • All By Myself
  • Alone Again
  • Baby Come Back
  • Come and Get It
  • Could It Be Magic
  • Cruel to Be Kind
  • Get Right Back
  • Highway to Hell
  • I'm Not In Love
  • I Can't Tell You Why
  • I Love You
  • In the Summertime
  • Lime In the Coconut
  • Lonely Boy
  • Love Will Keep Us Together
  • Mama Told Me Not to Come
  • Nothing from Nothing
  • Stuck In the Middle With You
  • Take the Long Way Home
  • Things We Do for Love

I first came across Lazlo Bane when they released 11 Transistor in 1997. This album is on my top ten list. Every song is amazing. I recommend it highly.

Lazlo Bane is best known for Superman (youtube), the theme for Scrubs. I loved that show.

My all time favorite Lazlo Bane song is a cover of Men at Work's Overkill. I found it on youtube, Colin Hay makes an appearance - enjoy.

Technorati tags: ,

Even the Mormons have a problem


Mormon Bishop (which is like a pastor, but without any training) Gerald Tapp has a problem with child porn...

Tapp had accessed the internet and found he could create a persona and be someone else.

This became like an addiction for him.

Tapp, who was formerly a bishop in the Mormon church, had images and movies of children ranging from six months to 12 years old.

Alistair Keith, mitigating, said: "He accepts he must be punished."

Tapp thought he was communicating with a 12-year-old girl. It turned out to be a 33 year old pervert. What a sad little man.

Can you imagine? Your wife walks up and sees you looking at kiddie porn on the family PC? What happens then? If she divorces him, he would still claim her as his wife in heaven. There is no escape from the pervert. The LDS is so bizarre.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pastor is arrested in sexual assaults

Pastor George C. Benbow was arrested for sexual assault. He was lead from his parish in handcuffs after being charged with abusing four young girls.  The abuse started when the girls were as young as eight. Benbow is a longtime pastor and political activist. He started the Christian Fellowship Gospel Church in 1981. Apparently, his entire life has been a lie.

I'll leave you with this cheerful thought, there may be more victims.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh sweet justice

Shalonda McGill and Pastor Rodney McGill have been arrested for running a real estate scam. I normally post on Pastor McGill because he's been arrested twice this year for beating his daughter. This time around the McGill's alleged crimes are based on self enrichment.

Shalonda McGill and her husband Rodney, a pastor and popular radio show host, face numerous charges, including racketeering, grand theft and obtaining a mortgage by false representation.

“It appears that these individuals used their positions in the community to take advantage of people who trusted them,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services, which investigated the case.

“The evidence our investigation uncovered indicates these two improved their own bottom line while financially devastating the Floridians they promised to help.”

Source: Pastor, wife arrested in alleged mortgage scam - South Florida Business Journal

People have been sending me emails since my last post on the McGills. They asked that I help get their money back, or help bring the issue to the attention of the authorities. I did little. Based on the McGill's previous arrests, I was sure that they were already under investigation. 

These people run a church. They claim to be Christians. I am sure there are people out there in fundie land who will take their side. It is all so insane. But that is the nature of religion in America, right?

Devout Catholic my ass

Italian model Raffella Fico plans to sell her virginity for $1.5 million. She claims to be a virgin. Her brother says she is a devout Catholic who prays every night. Um, is prostitution part of the whole Catholic thing?

She's a little overpriced at $1.5 million. I wonder what she will charge her second customer?

Blogroll update: Freethinker Nation

I am happy to announce that the Homeless Atheists has been born again as Freethinker Nation. Welcome back!

Turkey bans biologist Richard Dawkins' website

I know Turkey is a long way from joining the EU. I happy with their situation. There is something fundamentally wrong with Turkey, something un-European. I need to look no further for truth of this than Turkey's banning of Richard Dawkin's website.

A court in Istanbul ordered that Turk Telekom block access to because Dawkins defames the Islamic creationist book 'Atlas of Creation'. In fact, what Dawkins does is point out the factual errors in the book and then draws the conclusion that the book worthless.

I am at a loss to reconcile the expensive and glossy production values of this book with the breathtaking inanity of the content- Richard Dawkins.

How can Dawkins website be guilty of defamation if there are no lies or falsehoods involved? Read the content for yourself. Dawkins points out item after item of inaccuracy. Turkey is stifling intellectual debate in the name of Islam. It's wrong on so many levels. And, it is further proof that Turkey should not be admitted to the EU.

Technorati tags: , ,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

God talk and blogging

My longtime friend Brad Hightower started blogging again. Brad's my token Christian friend. He's also a pastor, although he is in-between jobs currently. Brad's a smart guy. His posts are interesting and thought provoking. He even references me in a recent post on his current theological fanboi crush, N.T. Wright.

Such a view takes many forms in the popular mind. For example, I have an acquaintance, an intelligent and educated man, who believes that the most likely scenario is that Jesus didn’t even ever exist. This reconstruction starts with the idea that there is a gap between the historical Jesus and the Christian faith as developed by the biblical writers and takes this gap to its logical extreme.

He thinks I'm smart, so be nice.

Brad and I had one of our fundamental God disconnects today. We were discussing comments made by survivors and relatives of victims from a local commuter train wreck. 25 people died a horrible death. The local news is full of stories of people claiming the untimely deaths were "God's will", or stories of survivors who missed certain death because "God had a plan" for their lives. In one case, a woman who normally rides in the front car sat in the back of the train instead and thereby avoided certain death. When asked why, she said it was God's will that she live (instead of admitting that the car was full). I understand if people need a higher power to help in the grieving process, but thinking that God had a plan and it somehow involved saving your life while 25 other people were killed and another 135 were injured, well... that's just nuts.

I pressed on... so God has a plan, but he does not actually ever step in and do anything, right? Brad's answers are contradictory, and confusing. Apparently God sends messages to your heart and you know this through knowing the bible. But God does not ever actually step in and cause train wrecks. You see, people who believe that God takes an active hand in their life's don't really understand the bible. At this point my mind goes POP.

Dear Brad. I would venture a guess that 8 out of 10 Christians would disagree. They pray for a new car, or thank God when they survive a train wreck. They believe God guides their fate. You either have freewill or you don't. From where I sit it looks like Christians think they have both when they have neither.

Welcome back Brad. Now go forth and write.

Technorati tags: , ,

Monday, September 15, 2008

W.I.P. Richard Wright

It is a sad day for music fans. Richard Wright, a founding member of Pink Floyd, passed away today. I grew up to Pink Floyd's music. Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall defined my high school years.  He co-wrote Shine On You Crazy Diamond, I've listened to it a thousand time. It is one of a handful of songs I can play in my head without actually hearing the  music.

Everybody dies - so very few leave anything of value behind. Thanks for the memories, the music, and concerts that blew my mind. Shine on...


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pastor sentenced to more jail time

Former Methodist pastor Steven R. McGuigan will spend three more months in Jail. His problems started after the state Attorney General's Office accused him of sexually soliciting a state agent posing as a 13-year-old girl on the Internet. McGuigan lost his wife, his job, and his freedom. All because he felt a need to show his genitals to a little girl. Some moral example he set to the members of his former church. I hope they do not follow his example.

Convicted Pedophile McGuigan could have spent seven years in prison. All things considered, he is a lucky man.

Palin "Energetically Wrong"

Getting the facts right is something I expect from political candidates, especially when the facts come from newcomer Sarah Palin. She's been quoted in her stump speeches as saying that Alaska produces 20% of America's energy. McCain has repeated the same assertion. It sounds wrong to me, it turns out that it's complete bullshit.

Palin claims Alaska "produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy." That's not true.
Alaska did produce 14 percent of all the oil from U.S. wells last year, but that's a far cry from all the "energy" produced in the U.S.

Alaska's share of domestic energy production was 3.5 percent, according to the official figures kept by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

And if by "supply" Palin meant all the energy consumed in the U.S., and not just produced here, then Alaska's production accounted for only 2.4 percent.

Don't you just love

Is this a lie or just a campaign exaggeration? Is it ok to lie in a campaign? I don't think so. The 20% oil lie is closely tied to the assertion that Sarah Palin is an "America's best energy expert". The link is tenuous at  best. There are better ways to tell the story. Palin  has some energy experience. However,  saying Palin negotiated a favorable contract for Alaska is a far cry from her being America's best energy expert. That's just a bold faced lie.

Pastor with a thing for panties


Pastor Paul Marmon has some explaining to do. Like... what was he doing in a public park picking up a 15-year-old girl's panties? Or why did he send emails asking for nude pictures from the same girl? 

A retired 62-year-old pastor from South Whitehall Township is facing charges that he sexually propositioned a 15-year-old Montgomery County girl on the Internet while pretending to be 19 years old, state authorities announced today.

Paul A. Marmon, who once served as pastor of St. James United Church of Christ Church at 15th and Walnut streets in Allentown, is being held in Montgomery County Prison under $1 million cash bail, according to a news release issued by Attorney General Tom Corbett.

Source: AG: Retired LV pastor propositioned girl on Internet --

This type of crime leaves me thinking that people like Marmon are damaged. Normal people pick up used panties with tongs. Yuck. It's like my wife's relationship with my socks. Unless I put them in the hamper properly, they get thrown away. Normal people just don't seek out use panties (or Joe's socks!). It's sick.

Marmon is a fine example of a Christian hypocrite. He works his whole life leading a church, and then in is spare time gets arrested for solicitation. How does this happen? I thought he was morally imprinted with the ten commandments. I guess being a Christian, even being a Christian pastor, does not make one moral.

I am sure there is more to the story. Marmon looks like he's been around the block a few times. I wonder if there are other victims?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Them are fighting words

I'm already tired of the hyperbole. It is only going to get worse. This time it's John McCain calling Sarah Palin the most popular governor in America. I'd go with newsworthy, but most popular seem a stretch.

Popular - regarded with great favor, approval, or affection especially by the general public;

Are we forgetting California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger? Come on now, who would you rather meet, Arnold or Sarah?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Spore, it's a game stupid

Spore has come under attack by a creationist (Anti Spore). I held off posting on this story because I thought it was a hoax, or maybe viral marketing. It turns out to be real and just dumb. The blog's author does not want our kids learning about evolution. The only reason for this is a fear that out kids will somehow connect playing around with the mechanics of evolution as teaching evolution. I don't see how that would be possible, nope, not a chance in the world

Technorati tags: ,

The Crackpot index

Because we all know somebody with a bad theory - the Crackpot index.

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, September 08, 2008

A dose of common sense

Pastor Patrick Shaffer of Chicago's City of Faith Christian Church spoke a few words of common sense which I want to recognize.

The Palin candidacy for Vice President has brought to the forefront a myriad of issues for all Americans to consider: gender, equality, and now parenting and responsible discourse on teen sex. It may be ironic that the conservatives are grappling with theses issues, especially since data has consistently shown that the abstinence-only approach is wishful thinking.

Abstinence only sex education is a theocratic approach to a social problem. It does not work. Anybody who has the courage to stand up and proclaim the truth is OK in my book. Good for you Pastor Patrick Shaffer.

And for the record... I teach my children abstinence as the best approach avoiding teen pregnancy and STDs. I then move on to birth control, condoms, sexual maturity, and sexual responsibility. It is the responsible thing to do.

What bothers me is that conservatives and Christians who push abstinence only education as the only answer to teen pregnancy are actually addressing teen sex instead. It follows that an ineffective focus results in more teen pregnancies, which in turn results in more abortions, adoptions, and teen mothers. Why don't they see this?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Examining Sarah Palin #4

Sarah Palin has no foreign policy experience

My first thought upon hearing Sarah Palin was tapped for the vice-presidental slot was that McCain had made a big mistake. He was running on an experience based platform, and it was working. Choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate invalidates this strategy. Palin has little experience related to the office she seeks, and what experience she has will damage McCain's chances... because her experience is meaningless, trivial, even laughable.

Republican talking heads started to manage the message soon after the convention. I heard that Palin's experience as the commander of Alaska's National Guard qualified as foreign policy experience. The rational was that if Alaskan troops were in Iraq, and Palin was their commander, then her command of the troops is foreign policy experience. Of course, once the Alaska National Guard deploys overseas, they fall under the command of the Pentagon. Governors has no say of their troops abroad. At most, the coordinate care packages. Where is Palin's foreign policy experience? 

I looked up the definition for foreign policy to be sure. It is defined as policies of the federal government directed to matters beyond US borders, especially relations with other countries.

Palin has never been part of the federal government, nor has she participated in treaty negotiations, nor has she been a diplomat, or official emissary of the United States. She has no foreign policy experience whatsoever. The cake is a lie.

CNN's Campbell Brown talks about Palin's experience with McCain's media point man Tucker Bounds. In the video, Bounds does his best to paint Palin's non-existent foreign policy experience in a positive light. He fails and looks like an idiot in the process.

Hat tip: Donklephant

Bad pastor round up

Rev. John W. Broderick, was associated with an un-recognized Catholic group known as the Dominican Sisters and another un-recognized group called the Society of St. Pius X. Or maybe not, I think they just let him at the kids while looking the other way. Anyway, Broderick is in the shit now.

A priest arrested in February in Massenahas been indicted on three felony counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He faces a maximum of 24 years in prison, according to New York City attorney John A. Aretakis.


Pastor Rodney Keith Boothe, formerly of the Greater Church of Deliverance in Winston-Salem, was sentenced to 100 years in prison. Boothe liked to sexually abuse young boys in his care.

A jury found Boothe guilty today on 28 of 29 charges it considered: six statutory sex offenses, one attempted statutory sex offense, 12 counts of sex by an adult in a parental role, eight counts of indecent liberties, and one count of second-degree exploitation of a child.

I posted on Boothe before: Pedophile pastor in Winston-Salem.


Rev. John Banko, a former pastor of a Roman Catholic church, and who happens to already be serving time for molesting children, has been sentenced to even more time.

The Rev. John Banko, 62, was sentenced Friday morning to 18 years in prison for first-degree aggravated sexual assault and eight years for second-degree endangering the welfare of a child from 1994-95 during his tenure at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Milford.


Pastor Louis D. Lamonica, of the now defunct Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula, has been convicted for raping two of his sons. I don't know what to say... Did the bible tell you to do that? is it someplace in the Old Testament?


71 year old pastor Thomas Howell was sentenced to two year probation for a road rage incident. He only waved his gun around. He did not shoot anybody.


A former Catholic priest is being sued for abuse that allegedly occurred in the the 70s. Christopher Breen, now 71 and no longer a priest, is being sued along with the Catholic Diocese of Yakima. Cases like this bother me. Unless the accuser has proof, it turns into a treasure hunt. Well... we can only wait and see.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Examining Sarah Palin #3

Sarah Palin is hiding from the press.  She will not stand in front of the media for two weeks. That's right, two weeks. What the hell? Andrew Sullivan says is better than I ever can in his post, Palin in Hiding

Another pastor off to prison

Pastor Elie Quinonez will serve 6 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography.  His story is sick.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, an officer with the New Waterford, Ohio police department went online using an undercover persona designed to identify individuals who were interested in engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors. Part of that undercover persona included that the adult had a 14 year old daughter. While on line, the officer received an instant message from an individual asking for pornographic pictures of the 14 year old.

The New Waterford police department identified the screen name of the person requesting the illegal photos. The investigation then progressed to the point that the Greeley, Colorado and Pueblo, Colorado police departments were contacted to try and identify and locate the individual sending the instant messages. Investigators found that Quinonez was the person using the identified instant messager screen name, and that he resided in Pueblo. Quinonez’s computer was seized, along with numerous electronic storage media, and later given to the FBI, which conducted a forensic examination and analysis. The FBI found that the electronic storage media contained in excess of 1000 images and videos depicting child pornography. Additionally, the FBI found more than 500 email messages in which the defendant either sent or received child pornography.

At least he pleaded guilty. Quinonez had been pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy in Pueblo.

Some poor bastard had to do the forensic work on Quinonez's computer. That is not a job I want.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Texas housewife busted

This is not my normal subject matter. But, I have a point to make. When a state legislates Christian morality, the results can be uncomfortable. For example, Joanne Webb of Cleburne, Texas, conducted a legitimate business from the privacy of her home. Her customers were discrete woman with special needs. In this case the needs were, vibrators, lubricants, lotions and other erotic toys.  Passion Parties is like Tupperware parties were in the 70s, except now the target audience is the 30 something horny set. To a reasonable person, there is nothing wrong here.

The arrest of Webb in Cleburne, a small town 50 miles southwest of Dallas, was the first time that any of the company's 3,000 sales consultants have been busted, said Pat Davis, the president of Passion Parties. She said the company was outraged by the charges and stood behind Webb.

"It makes you wonder what they're thinking out there in Texas,'' Davis said. "They sound like prudes, with antiquated laws. They must have all their street crime under control in Texas if they're going to spend tax money arresting us.''

Source: Texas housewife busted for hawking erotic toys / Sales rep for Brisbane firm sold vibrator to undercover agents

I want to know the background story on this one. Who's idea was it to shut down Webb's harmless little business by pressing obscenity charges? Cleburne, a town of 30,000 people in northern Texas, must have it share of Christians who think they have the right to dictate what people do in their bedrooms, right? I counted 57 churches in a quick poll. I wonder which disgruntled customer tipped her pastor, who then pressured the cops to shut down this obvious den of inequity?

Here is my issue. I live in America. If I want to buy a vibrator at a neighbors sex toy party, then I should be allowed to do so without the fear of big brother (and his fundie overlords) looking over my shoulder - even if I lived in Texas.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Mona Lisa stencil

Abany Bulb 6

See more stencils and public art  from the Albany Bulb here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Examining Sarah Palin #2

I have an axiom which says, if James Dobson is for something, it is wrong. And that is the problem, James Dobson supports Sarah Palin, so that makes Sarah Palin and by extension, John McCain wrong.

Sarah Palin is a direct attempt to snare the evangelical vote. Their intent was simple, give the evangelical voter an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage fundie mouthpiece, who is dressed up to put a good face on the same old tired right wing theocratic crap. Dobson says it best.

He applauded the Republicans' stronger wording against embryonic stem-cell research in the new party platform, which many consider the most pro-life in history, concluding, "If I went into the polling booth today, I would pull the lever for John McCain."

Dobson first commented on Palin when she was chosen as McCain's running mate last week.  He exclaimed, "Sen. McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is an outstanding choice that should be extremely reassuring to the conservative base of his party. She is a strong executive who hates corruption and puts principle above politics."

Dr. Dobson joins a chorus of pro-life and pro-family leaders supporting McCain for solidifying his ticket with the strongly pro-life and pro-family Palin, and giving voters confidence that the Republican nominees will actively champion the rights of the unborn if elected to the White House.

Source: Dobson: 'If I Went into the Polling Booth Today, I Would Pull the Lever for John McCain

By selecting Palin, McCain has sold his political soul to the very people he as been distancing himself from for the last decade. He has thrown in his lot with the haters.

Former Pastor Retrial Planned

People have long memories. Pastor James Kirkman is learning this lesson the hard way. He's about to be retried for molesting a teen age boy. 

The first trial of this former Blair County pastor was held here at the Hollidaysburg courthouse back in June. It ended in a mistrial when the 12 member jury could not agree on a verdict. Now Assistant District Attorney Jackie Bernard is seeking to retry James Kirkman as soon as possible. But moves by Kirkman's Defense Attorney, Tom Forr, could delay that. The prosecution has petitioned the court to move ahead with the re-trial of James Kirkman and schedule the jury trial to take place during the October term of court.

Kirkman was the pastor at Faith Assembly of God Church in Blair county. He was in his 60 when the alleged crime took place. Kirkman is in trouble, two men from his past are willing to testify that he molested them 25 years ago.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Examining Sarah Palin #1

I am disturbed by John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as a vice presidential running mate. My objections are founded in her religiosity. I do not want a person with theocratic tendencies anywhere near presidential power. Besides voting against McCain in the election, my only option is to blog my disgust.

With this post I will start gathering objections to Palin's qualifications. Some post will be my own objection, some posts will come from the wider Atheist community. Let's start with Sam Harris.

When Average isn't good enough

By Sam Harris, September 03, 2008 in the Los Angeles Times.

So let us ask the question that should be on the mind of every thinking person in the world at this moment: If John McCain becomes the 44th president of the United States, what are the odds that a blood clot or falling object will make Sarah Palin the 45th?

The actuarial tables on the Social Security Administration website suggest that there is a better than 10% chance that McCain will die during his first term in office. Needless to say, the Reaper’s scything only grows more insistent thereafter. Should President McCain survive his first term and get elected to a second, there is a 27% chance that Palin will become the first female U.S. president by 2015. If we take into account McCain’s medical history and the pressures of the presidency, the odds probably increase considerably that this bright-eyed Alaskan will become the most powerful woman in history.


Sam Harris published a follow-up to address criticism regarding sexism.

I've received more than the usual amount of criticism for my recent opinion piece on Sarah Palin, most of it alleging sexism and/or an unseemly infatuation with Barack Obama. For those who care, I'd like to briefly respond:

My alleged sexism: It is true that I used some hackneyed, gender-slanted language in the piece ("get sassy," "girl-next-door," etc.). This was deliberate. Clearly, I played this game at my peril. I can say that if Sarah Palin were a man of similar qualifications, I would have used equally slanted language to describe him. I might have called Mr. Palin a "frat-boy" or a "lumberjack." I would have invoked some silly macho phrasing like,"Watch Cousin Jim flip Putin the bird."

Harris' point is that Sarah Palin is average. And frankly, average is not good enough when it comes to running our country. I look at Obama, Biden, McCain, and Clinton and do not see average. I look at Palin and see a manager from the meat packing plant. Are there any comments?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Albany Bulb dude

Albany bulb dude

I visited the Albany Bulb (Yelp) this past weekend. It's amazing. I walked for hours with my family and took hundreds of pictures. This site has a few nice pictures of the public art on display. I'll put my own tribute site up in a few days after I process my pictures. I don't know how long it will exist. If you are in the area, check it out while you still have the chance.

Technorati tags: , ,

This and that

Pastor Louis D. Lamonica's child-rape trail is expected to resume after Lousiana recovers from Hurrican Gustav.

Lamonica, 49, of Hammond, faces four counts of aggravated rape in the alleged abuse of his two sons when they were 11 years old or younger. He is the second of seven church members to face trial after being accused of molesting children. All seven people were indicted in 2005.

The Rev. Thomas Kane of Whitinsvillel, therapist to a Rev. Edward Paquette,  for treatment after molesting two young boys, has been accused of the same crime.

Court papers in Vermont and Massachusetts indicate the dates of Kane's alleged abuse of the Uxbridge, Mass., boy -- 1968 to 1977 -- coincide with the period from 1974 to 1978 that Paquette was being treated, for much of the time via monthly visits, at the House of Affirmation.

I think the Catholic Church is  do over. Are they all child molesters?

Pastor Jay Virtue Robinson admits he had an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl.

On Friday afternoon, his admission came in the form of the word "guilty" before Judge Everett Young and the victim’s family in a Tarrant County courtroom.

In exchange for pleading guilty to sexual assault, Robinson was sentenced to 10 years of deferred-adjudication probation. He will have to register as a sex offender for life.

Robinson admitted to his crime to his church. He also admitted lying during the entire process. In the end, he was only interested in his own skin. Watch for him in a Baptist church near you.

Disgraced Baptist pastor Royden Wood, was convicted of nine sexual assaults on three boys. He was sentenced to one year and jail and three years probation. Wood is looking forward to hard time.

"I had a good time there," he said of his time awaiting bail. "I have an intense and passionate desire to help people and I was a tremendous blessing to many in jail. The other inmates were constantly asking me, 'Why are you so happy?' It's easy to be in jail. It's hard to be out here."

I feel sorry for his fellow prisoners.

Pastor Matthew Kidd is being sued for allegedly molesting five children. Cases like this bother me. No criminal charges have been filed, nor has Kidd been arrested. In a case like this, I am neutral.

A couple and their five children have filed a lawsuit against a Muncie pastor, his church and Ontario Systems, where he also works, alleging the clergyman sexually abused the children.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Delaware Circuit Court 1, targets Matthew Kidd, pastor at Freedom Point Apostolic Church (formerly known as the United Pentecostal Church), 6460 E. Jackson St.

I'll watch his case. If Kidd is arrested, then this is news. Otherwise, it could just be a gold digger. It happens.

Asshat pastor Scott Allen Snyder may have fudged his past a little. That is before he kissed a 13-year-old and sent graphic sexual images to a 14-year-old.

The incorrect credentials include academic degrees from schools he did not graduate from, pastoral jobs he did not hold and a police task-force position he never filled, according to interviews with school officials, people who worked with him and police.

The Rev. Scott Allen Snyder, 35, of Windsor said he did not know where the information posted on his church Web site came from. He did not respond to requests for comment about resumes said to be from him that were provided by a previous employer, and he repeatedly declined to disclose an accurate educational history.

The end is coming for Pastor Snyder. When the end comes, it will be brutal. I'm thinking a suicide watch may be necessary.

I love this lie:

The typed resume also includes a line that states:"Certified/License- Sharpshooter/fugitive taskforce officer Pa. State Police"

State police officials said last week they neither certify nor license sharpshooters who are not state troopers, and Snyder has never served as a trooper, according to the state police human resources department in Harrisburg.

I'm behind on my updates for Hypocrisy Watch. Sometimes I grow weary of reporting on this idiots. I'll get back in the grove soon.

Monday, September 01, 2008

R.I.P. Karen Ffolkes

A colleague of mine died on Saturday. She was too young, and much too nice, to die so young. Cancer took her.

Karen supplied me with a steady stream of talented IT professionals. She was good at her job. I would not work with anybody else.

Karen was also kind enough to take an interest in me. She went beyond the normal business only relationship by showing an active interest in me and my team of loveable misfits. Plus, she bought lunch on occasion. We would meet at the Yard House from time-to-time. It was always fun. You see, I liked Karen, because... she was kind enough to like me first.

Cancer is vicious. Several people I know, including my own stepfather and uncle, are struggling with the disease. When I learned of Karen's passing, I swore aloud. My thoughts turned to the plight of my friends and family's battle with cancer, and then again to the injustice of somebody so young and full of life succumbing to the disease. I was truly sad. If I were not with my family in a public place, I would have broke down and cried. Because I know the truth. Death is the end of the story.

Technorati tags: , ,