Saturday, January 31, 2009

January of 09 is history

I thought it might be a good idea to keep track of my progress toward achieving my 2009 New Year’s Resolutions.

I lost 4 pounds on my journey to another 50 pound loss. by the way, whatever anybody tells you about weight loss, it really comes down to eat less and exercise more .

I’ve come close to paring the La Mirada disc golf course. I’m within two or three shots of this goal. However, to shave those shots off I’ve started a nightly practice session. It is helping. I’m recording my results at my disc golf blog, Rattling the Chains.

I can play two games back to back without a problem. Three will tire me out. My goal is four. That’s about five hours of continuous exercise.  I’m working towards it every day.

I read the Tao of Photography already this year. I have eleven more  nonfiction books to go. I purchased, How To Read A Photography by Ian Jeffrey, and Making It All Work by David Allen  today. Hopefully, I will polish both of them off in February.

I have a goal of visiting 12 museums or galleries (and posting on them). I’ve visited two so far. The Berkeley Art Museum, and the Bowers Museum. I think this goal will be easy. I love visiting museums.

I wrote one poem. 12 poems is a difficult goal. My best guess is that I went through 20 revisions after I managed to finish the first draft. I submitted it for publication. I’ll keep you posted.

Against the goal of adding 12 pictures to my portfolio, I’ve added three. End of the Day, Murder Hands, and At times I do not sleep. I don’t know if they will make the final cut. But three is a good start.

I have a goal of learning to take better HDR photos. I’ve worked on this some. The results are disappointing. I may need to get some outside help.

I wrote 68 posts to deep thoughts against a goal of 50. So I’m on track for this goal.

As for building the Atheist Blogroll to 1000 members. I am powerless at the moment. The powers that be at have yet to return the maintenance interface to production. I have not been able to do updates or deletes. We continue to grow, but I don’t really know how many are active. Suffice it to say that I discussed it with an old profession from the business school at Pepperdine. He thought it would be a good case study for how to alienate your customers.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


PrayerIf prayer is supposed to be this deeply personal conversation with God, then why do people feel compelled to download the prayers of others? Pray-as-you-go facilitates this nonsense. What kind of idiot would listen to somebody else pray? You might as well be spinning a prayer wheel.

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Seven Christian Hypocrites

Here are a seven more hypocrites.

Pastor Pleads to Taking Money from Church

Kenneth L. Montgomery pleaded guilty Tuesday in Virginia Beach Circuit Court to grand larceny and obtaining money or property by false pretenses. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 22.

The 49-year-old Montgomery was accused of taking more than $100,000 from Hilltop Community Church in Virginia Beach.

Molestation Lawsuit Involving Priest Settled For $750,000

It took more than six years and the intervention of a Superior Court judge to get the Rev. Stephen Foley to show up for a deposition, but a molestation lawsuit involving the former fire chaplain has been settled on the eve of trial for $750,000. The settlement in the case also came with a stipulation by the plaintiff — William Noll — that a videotape of the priest being questioned during his deposition be available to victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Monroe youth minister who lives in Newtown admits sending explicit e-mails

A former youth minister at a Monroe church has admitted he sent sexually explicit e-mails, including photos of his genitals, to a 15-year-old girl he had been counseling.

David Esarey, 30, of Newtown, who worked at Stepney Baptist Church at the time of the incident, initially claimed that other teens had used his church computer to send the e-mails, but standing before Superior Court Judge George Thim last Thursday to plead guilty to risk of injury to a child, Esarey told the judge he sent the e-mails.

No seriously... when is sending pictures of ones genitals ever a good idea?

Diocese didn't inform public about 2 accused abusers

A group of priest-abuse survivors says the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix did not adequately report on two alleged sexual predators.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the diocese was too quiet about allegations against the Rev. Loren Riebe and Brother Richard Suttle.

Woman testifies about sexual misconduct by ex-youth pastor

A former youth pastor at Chesapeake Apostolic Church lured a 16-year-old student into an empty house he was renovating and rubbed himself against her, the alleged victim testified in Kanawha Circuit Court Monday.

The alleged victim, now 19, said Timothy Charles Edmonds, 37, told her not to tell anyone about the encounters or he might not be able to preach anymore.

"He started rubbing on my bottom when we were standing up," she said. "I felt something, and I turned around, and he was zipping his pants back up."

Former Youth Minister Arrested On Sex Charges

A Marion County man accused of molesting a girl and her mother worked as a youth minister at several Ocala-area churches.

Joseph Stanavich, 61, was arrested on charges of child porn and lewd and lascivious behavior after he was found hiding in the closet of another home.

Woman Accused of Stealing from Church

29-year-old Jennifer Rice of West Columbia turned herself in Saturday on charges of breach of trust with fraudulent intent and forgery.

Lexington County Sheriff James Metts says the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church contacted authorities in October, after the church treasurer noticed discrepancies in the bookkeeping.

These stories are just the ones that hit my inbox in the last few days. There are many more hypocrites waiting to make an appearance.

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A pedophile pastor with no remorse

This man of God is a stain.

Daniel Cormier, 57, was convicted in October after members of the now-defunct Church of Downtown Montreal became suspicious of his relationship with the girl.

Cormier, who led the church, has maintained he did nothing wrong when he married the girl, then 10 years old, in 1999 during a ceremony at his church.

I’ve actually had people tell me that I have no right to judge men who serve God. This story, and the many other like it, prove them wrong. Cormier though himself a god. He took a ten year old wife for his pleasure. He still sees nothing wrong with it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Regent University Hypocrisy

Regent University is supposed to be America's preeminent Christian University. As such, one would expect certain standards for its staff. Like... not having sex with children.

Stephen McPherson, a former Regent University law school assistant dean, pleaded guilty Friday in Chesapeake Circuit Court to sexually abusing children.

McPherson, 39, of Chesapeake entered guilty pleas to two counts of forcible sodomy and two counts of object sexual penetration. He is set to be sentenced May 22.

I’m sure he specialized in ethics. At least he pleaded guilty.

McPherson took advantage of young girls who where in his care because the came from abusive families. He fits the classic Christian predator model we’ve seen so many times here on Hypocrisy Watch. Easy access to children because of misplaced and undeserved trust enables men who liked to abuse children. When will they learn?

Hat tip to Mike! Thanks mate.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't eat the Jesus Fish

They are poisonous.


No seriously, they are painted with lead based paint. What a way to die. Your teacher gives you a Jesus fish necklace in an attempt to spread the love of Jesus, instead she give you lead poisoning, brain damage, and death. How nice. I feel the love. do you?

hat tip: Jedberg

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David Attenborough...Yes, I'm a fan.

LONDON - MARCH 13:  Sir David Attenborough pos...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

David Attenborough talks about respond to a creationist question about why he does not give credit to God  his documentaries

…Attenborough added: "They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator.

I’ve always like this guy. And I did not even realize he was an atheist.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Healing the abused comes in many forms

What I like about secular society in America is that is is always changing. If we don't like a building, we bulldoze it. If a city's name is offensive, we rebrand it. If we honor a street with the name of some important person, we give it a new name when that person falls into disgrace. Like Catholic Priest Monsignor Mathew J. Thompson. The city of Corona here in sunny Southern California honored him with a street name 30 years ago. Now they renamed the street in an effort to heal the community.  it turns out that Monsignor Thompson was a child molester.

All of the good works Thompson claimed in his long life of service to the local community were for naught. is legacy is tainted, and so is the legacy of the Catholic church. It does not matter that Thompson build schools and educated needy children. He also damaged children horrible ways. Yet the most the Catholic church will admit to is “credible allegations.”

Healing for some comes in the form of simple gestures like renaming street signs. Of course, a few million bucks helps too.

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Albinos taste the best, or so I hear

Sometimes the headlines I read make me thing the world is crazy. But then I realize it's the people who are crazy. More to the point, it's the religious people who are crazy. Take this report about albinos fearing for their lives because local witchdoctors have started to use albino body parts in religious rituals. 40 albinos have been killed since 2007. It's crazy.

In the past, albinos had a difficult enough time because of the superstition surrounding them but, for a few years now, their lives have been made wretched because witch doctors have started making use of their body parts. Mkombozi Omari is the head of Tanzania's Traditional Doctors' Association. Does he chop up albinos? "There are herbal doctors and there are witch doctors," he answers sharply, "I am a herbal doctor".

Herbal doctor…. I wonder if he smokes albinos instead?

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pastor Arrested On Narcotics Charges

crackhead Right about now Pastor Martin Denesse of Grace Harbor Christian Ministries is wishing marijuana were legal... and crack cocaine, and crack pipes, and measuring scales. Oh, did I mention he was arrested with his daughter?

Agents discovered about 4.5 grams of crack cocaine on the pastor when they frisked him. Marshall was then ordered to exit the vehicle. Police said that's when they discovered that she had a crack pipe.

A narcotics K-9 alerted the agents to contraband in the vehicle inside a backpack. Agents recovered the backpack and discovered about 7.5 pounds of marijuana inside of it, along with measuring scales. A second scale was also found in another backpack inside the vehicle.

Pastor Denesse is looking at hard time. Getting busted with a joint of two is one thing, getting busted with seven pounds of weed and scales is another. If I were their connection, I might be a little worried right now. I’m betting Pastor Denesse is looking to cut a deal.

Must we listen to the Vatican?

The Vatican, and they would like us to believe, the majority of Americans, do not support President Obama's lifting the so-called "global gag rule" which cut off funding to overseas family planning clinics if the had anything to do with abortions. Archbishop Rino Fisichella has gone so far as to call our president arrogant.

Fisichella is president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, one of a number of so-called pontifical academies which are formed by or under the direction of the Holy See.

"What is important is to know how to listen... without locking oneself into ideological visions with the arrogance of a person who, having the power, thinks they can decide on life and death," he added.

I’ve always viewed the global gag order as an attempt at legislating morality. It  is also anti-science and anti-women. The whole point of medical care is to provide the widest range of alternatives so that the best solution is chosen. If abortion, even abortion related services like simply talking about it, are off the table, then the possible solutions are limited and the resulting service may in fact not be in the best interest of the patient.

I’ve stayed out of the abortion debate for many reasons. But I think it is time to state my position. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I also believe that abortions are an undesirable. The two positions can coexist. The key to abortion rights (at least in my mind), is giving a woman all the possible information and services available so the she can make the right choice. This includes preventative measures, like contraception. It also includes counseling, the morning after pill,  adoption, and if necessary, abortion. The problem is… all of these were replaced to some extent by a big black hole of misinformation under the theocratic Republicans. And that’s simply wrong.

The Vatican could always forbid Catholics from having abortions… I’m not sure they will listen.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How to spot an Atheist at a wedding

I saw this on Reddit and thought I would share. It brings back some old memories. How to spot an Atheist at a wedding.

Mother of David Koresh murdered

The mother of David Koresh was stabbed to death near Chandler, Texas. Bonnie Clark Halderman was 60, her sister, Beverly Clark, is in custody on a murder charge.

There is no word yet as to if the murder is linked to the cult. My guess is yes. These guys are religious nutters of the highest order. I'm sure some of it rubbed off on Koresh's mother and aunt.

Oddly enough, I did not catch this story in my Google new filter. I use the words "Waco" AND "Cult". I don't understand how it missed this murder. It catches everything else published about Koresh and the Branch Dravidians.

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A Holocaust-denying bishop

Every now and then I read something and say, "what the hell?" Today is was this headline, Jews outraged by Holocaust-denying bishop. But then I thought, Pope Benedict XVI was a Nazi Youth, so all things are plausible. Catholic bishop Richard Williamson is quoted as saying, "I believe that the historical evidence ... is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler,"

So lets take a position on this question. Does an obvious Jew hater get a chance to regain a position of authority in the Catholic Church? I’m betting he does.

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LDS and polygamy

I’ve had a lot of Mormon friends in my life, dozens at least, maybe more. The are good people and good friends. Not a one of the was into polygamy. That’s why I cringe when I hear the term “offshoot Mormon polygamy cult”. I know it’s accurate, but drawing the association seems unfair. I’d prefer they were called simply a polygamist cult. It seems more accurate. The Mormons have enough problems without being painted with that brush.

I’m following the polygamy case of Winston Blackmore and James Oler up in Canada. This quote by Blackmore caught my attention.

“I think if I’m guilty of anything, I’m guilty of being a Canadian and just living my religion.”

Living my religion… What does a society do when confronted with a sect’s religious beliefs if those beliefs include pedophilia? I would hope the society says, “No, stop this insanity.”

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Haggard had another lover

The Cross

News has just broke that Ted Haggard had another lover at the time of his gay sex scandal in 2006. Who knew? The story is interesting too. It seems his church covered up the affair with a young church volunteer. They paid the young man off with college tuition and counseling. I can only guess that the counseling was to "fix him". What a deal… I’m sure it was done in the best interest of truth.

"It wasn't at all a settlement to make him be quiet or not tell his story," Boyd said. "Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance — certainly not hush money. I know what's what everyone will want to say because that's the most salacious thing to say, but that's not at all what it was."

Source: Disgraced pastor faces more gay sex accusations

I get it. You paid hush money to protect the young man. Right... In other news. Ted Haggard is promoting his new documentary on HBO. He plays the victim. I wonder if they will need to revise his official history?

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Police expand ex-pastor sex abuse probe


You never really know about the people you trust WITH your children. Take Pastor Tony Malbrough of Indian Head Maryland. He was originally arrested for allegedly molesting a young boy. His MO was to teach music to children while molesting them and recording the event on video. Did I mention that this guy is a pastor?

Malbrough’s being looked at for other crimes, or I should say, other molestations. The charges are horrific.

…Malbrough was arrested on charges of second-degree child abuse, third-degree sex offense, fourth-degree sex offense, filming child pornography and using a computer to depict child pornography between January 2004 and 2009. He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 18 and is being held in the county jail on a $500,000 bond.

Malbrough started his own church, Safe Haven Ministries Church of God in Christ. I’m sure it was because he “loved the children.”

This quote is from the Churches defunct myspace website.

Elder Tony Malbrough accepted God’s call to preach the gospel over 17 years ago and is a native of Beaumont, Texas and is a graduate of French High school. Upon graduating from high school, he began his 10-year career in the U.S. Navy. While stationed in Norfolk, VA, he met and married the former Debra Jackson. Elder Malbrough and his wife have been married for 22 years and are proud parents of three children – Antonio, Joseph and Jaclyn, daughter-in-law Kristina and one grandson Antonio Jr. A military assignment at Patuxent Naval Air Station, located in Lexington Park, MD, brought Elder Malbrough and his family to Maryland over 15 years ago

His church was a storefront affair. It looks like Malbrough was all about the prosperity doctrine of Creflo Dollar. It looks like the dream is over now. Why did anybody listen to this man?

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Blog tip: Flashlight Worthy

I like to read, well... I should say, I love to read. I polish off a few book each month. It's been a habit of mine since childhood. I recently the blog Flashlight Worthy via a tip from a friend. I've visited everyday since. Their tag line is, "Handpicked book recommendations on dozens of topics."

I follow them on twitter too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mormon Sunday school teacher to stay in prison

You've got to watch Mormon Sunday school teachers too...

The parents of girls molested by a former LDS Sunday school teacher and court bailiff said during a Tuesday parole hearing their daughters continue to struggle years after the abuse.

One of the three girls molested by Aaron Marcos Montoya tried, at one point, to push a knife into her stomach, wrote her mother in a letter her husband read at the hearing for the 37-year-old convict. The girl stills struggles to sleep alone, the letter stated.

I wonder if the Mormons do background checks on their version of clergy and lay workers. I doubt it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today is a great day

Obama Detail #2

But... I have to work, and I have a business dinner schedule tonight. At least I can watch a recording of the day’s events.

I had a dream about Barack Obama last night. He welcomed me into a room at the Whitehouse, shook my hand, and then game me a kiss on the cheek. He asked me to do my part to help America. I fell all over myself saying that I would. I’m so confused. I never dreamed about George Bush.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Catholic Trifecta

With a day to go, the Catholic leadership here in the states wants to make sure President-elect Obama has his marching orders.

The U.S. bishops urged President-elect Barack Obama not to rescind current policies that protect conscience rights of health care workers, prevent foreign aid to organizations promoting abortion, and ban funding of stem cell research that encourages destruction of human embryos.

The Bishops did not mention AIDS prevention. I wonder if that could be because it’s linked to condom use, and you know they don’t support that.

I hope our new presidents resends all of these measures.

This is not a personal attack on Barack Obama

...we just hate everything he stands for.

This is not a personal attack on Barack Obama," says founder Steve Elliott. "On the contrary, this is a call to action for conservatives who profess love for our country and respect for our institutions. Our disagreements with the President are based in ideology and public policy only. From this firm foundation we are mounting a patriotic, resilient, conservative resistance to Obama's agenda.

I love it when people choose sides. At least you know where they stand.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

More stories of clergy debauchery

I'm actually behind on posting these. My inbox overflows with the crap. It seems like the Catholics are dominating the press coverage. In the battle for abusive supremacy, the Baptists and the Catholics seem to relish their position atop the shit pile.

Arkansas Pastor Accused Of Sexual Assault

Leroy Spears Jr., 56, was arrested after the 17-year-old told police Spears called her into his study Dec. 30 at Union Baptist Church, locked the door and tried to kiss her. Police said the girl also reported that Spears grabbed her breast and tried to put his hand down her pants.

Trial set for two Delray priests accused of stealing from parish

The Revs. John Skehan, 81, and Francis "Frank" Guinan, 66, are scheduled for trial Wednesday, each charged with one count of grand theft over $100,000 - a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Each is accused of pilfering hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Roman Catholic parish they were tapped to grow and inspire, St. Vincent Ferrer in Delray Beach.

Va. pastor to serve time for embezzlement

Fr. Rodney L. Rodis, a suspended priest of the Diocese of Richmond, was sentenced Jan. 14 to 13 years in state prison for embezzling funds from two parishes he served as pastor.

He will serve the sentence, handed down by Judge Timothy K. Sanner of the Louisa County Circuit Court, after he completes a 63-month term in federal prison.

Charity founder gets prison for tax evasion

The Rev. Albert Salmon Jr., who founded a mission intended to assist the poor and homeless in Charleston, on Thursday was sentenced to prison, probation and community service.

A jury convicted the Good Samaritan Mission founder of failing to report more than $465,000 in income from tax years 1999-2002. He also pleaded guilty to four counts of providing false information to the S.C. Secretary of State’s Office.

Mass. priest in abuse case returns to ministry

Church leaders said Friday that restrictions on the Rev. Eugene Sullivan's "exercise of public ministry" were lifted after an archdiocesan review board found the allegation against him was unsubstantiated.

Sullivan and two other priests were accused in 2005 of sexually abusing a boy in the 1970s. The church settled the case last month for $475,000 without any admission of guilt

Priest accused of sex abuse to hold town hall meeting

The Catholic Diocese of Venice is investigating claims of sexual misconduct by a priest in 1993. They announced the investigation in late December.

The Priest, Rev. Jean Ronald Joseph denies the allegation. His lawyer has told a local Anna Maria Island newspaper that the Reverend wishes to hold a public forum to discuss the allegations.

Each story is a tragedy of mistrust, abuse, and deceit. My life is so much healthier without religion.

Midnight Express and a bottle of wine

It sounds like date night to me.

Bishop Robert Hermann, the interim leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, has removed one of its priests from active ministry because of a complaint filed against him alleging sexual abuse in the 1980s.

In 2005, a man filed a complaint of sexual abuse against the priest, the Rev. Michael Freymuth. It is unclear if the archdiocese acted on that allegation, but the same man is now threatening to file a lawsuit.

Previously in 2005, Timothy Bartin had accused Freymuth of giving him wine and caressing him while watching "Midnight Express" in the priest's bedroom at St. Joan of Arc's rectory when he was a teenager in the 1980s.

So giving a priest giving a boy a backrub in his private quarters, with wine a a graphic movie is considered proper behavior by the Catholic Church? Geez…

Passages at the Bowers Museum

I set a culture and arts goal for myself of 12 museum visits in 2009. I made my second visit over the weekend. The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana has Passages on exhibition until August.

surma Presented in large format color photographs, photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher’s images of African ritual practices are vivid, rich, intimate and intense. This dynamic exhibition of images from around the African continent is divided into six themes: Coming of Age, Courtship and Marriage, Beliefs and Worship, Masks and Masquerades, Royalty and Power, and Spirits and Ancestors. Six videos bring to life the song, dance and movement of related ceremonies and, objects of personal adornment similar to those as in the photographs will be included. Three-dimensional objects from the Bowers Museum’s permanent collection of African objects will also be on display. Beckwith and Fisher have traveled and lived within Africa together and independently over the last thirty years prolifically documenting tradition and ceremony.

The show is large. It contains images and artifacts from African tribal rituals  It is organized to mark the the various phases on life, from coming of age, to courtship, marriage, and then death. I found it much like walking through a large scale National Geographic magazine.

The photography is technically perfect and visually stunning. I’ve known of the work of Beckwith and Fisher for years. Their contribution to our understanding of the African continent is impressive. Not to mention the endless stream of stunning pictures gracing the pages of various magazines and books.

The Bowers has turned the corner is becoming an impressive museum. This is my third visit in as many years. I love the old California mission style of the place. It feels solid and has what I call a California feel to it. I’ve resisted the temptation to hit the Ringing Rock in front patio. I’m willing to bet hundreds of children do it every weekend. I don’t like the new space as much, but I forget all about it when I’m looking at 200 year old quilts (did I say that?).

I posted on Shea Nuts as a learning experience from my visit. I also have a new ambition. I want to see the Reed Dance in Swaziland. OK… a guy can dream. It must be good to be the King.

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If he believed in the Lord enough, he'd be cured.

Atheist blogroll member Library Grape has a good story up on the misguided piety of religious fanatics. I’ve always like to read the personal experiences of my fellow bloggers when it comes to religious. I am constantly amazed at the insensitivity Christians show toward non-Christians, especially when the chips are down.

[side note – I misspelled 11 words in the brief paragraph above. A new record]

Go Tom

I love it when a big-time celebrity speaks his. Especially when he pokes his finger in the eye of the Mormon church.

“The truth is this takes place in Utah, the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church, and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen,” he told Tarts. “There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them. I do not like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper, any of the 50 states in America, but here's what happens now. A little bit of light can be shed, and people can see who's responsible, and that can motivate the next go around of our self correcting Constitution, and hopefully we can move forward instead of backwards. So let's have faith in not only the American, but Californian, constitutional process.”

Of course, Hanks lost a few fans.

Do you realize that you have offended several million of your devoted fans? You’ve accused us of being “un-American” because of our religious beliefs, and our voting preferences!

But he made a few fans too. Only, with all the negative blog coverage of his remarks it is hard to find supporting posts.

What I read most was people misinterpreting Hanks comments. Most though his his comments bigoted because they criticized their right to vote their conscience. What he actually did was criticize the funding of Proposition 8 by the LDS Church. It’s a big difference. I happen to agree with him.

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I learned a new word today

U.S. President George W. Bush announces his no...Image via Wikipedia

I learned a new word thanks to my soon to be daughter-in-law Leslie - Homunculi. It means small men. Although, in this use of the word, I think the author is referring to Richter's use of the term to describe a politically appointed "Praise Monkey".

His lacklustre attorney-general Alberto Gonzales, who was forced to resign in disgrace, was only the most visible of an army of over-promoted, ideologically vetted homunculi.

The quote comes from the Economist article The frat boy ships out. It is an outstanding assessment of a failed presidency.

The EconomistImage via WikipediaLack of curiosity also led Mr Bush to suspect intellectuals in general and academic experts in particular. David Frum, who wrote speeches for Mr Bush during his first term, noted that “conspicuous intelligence seemed actively unwelcome in the Bush White House”. The Bush cabinet was “solid and reliable”, but contained no “really high-powered brains”. Karen Hughes, one of his closest advisers, “rarely read books and distrusted people who did”. Ron Suskind, a journalist, has argued that Mr Bush created a “faith-based presidency” in which decisions, precisely because they were based on faith, could not be revised subsequently.

Two days to go…

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Blogroll Update: Two new blogs

They trickle in slowly these days, but the trickle in nonetheless. We had two new blogs join the Atheist Blogroll in the last 24 hours. Please follow the links to welcome them aboard.

It never hurts to ask

An won a small victor against religion in government recently. The resident of Newton New Jersey asked the town council to stop the practice of saying the Lord's prayer before meetings. They agreed. Of course, it was out of fear of a lawsuit instead of an understanding that it was the right thing to do.

"It's not a surprise, but I'm disappointed that we had to cave into this or we would've been open to a lawsuit," said longtime Councilwoman Thea Unhoch. "You can't even say 'Merry Christmas' anymore."

Can’t you just here this subtext in her comments, “I’m not bitter… No, not bitter at all.”

Remember – it does not hurt to ask.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Learning About Shea Nuts

Seed of Vitellaria paradoxa, the Shea tree. Ne...

Image via Wikipedia

At this stage in my life, I've shifted away from operations management towards project management, and recently towards mentoring and teaching. I'm passing on what I’ve learned. It's fun and rewarding.

One of the things I teach is to love the process of learning, or more precisely, to have a curious mind. You see, I have this mind that thinks it’s empty, so I feel compelled to fill it.

I”m a generalist. One of my old bosses used to describe me as a mile wide and a mile deep. Of course, he’s talking about work. So in a sense, I’m a specialist in that I specialize in manufacturing operations, but I’m a generalist in that I know it all, Some areas I know well, like IT, and some areas I know because I needed to, like accounting.  What caught my attention today was that I was actively using a technique I’ve been teaching to others. I thought I would post on it to give you some insight into the oddness that is Mojoey.

I visited a museum today to view a photography exhibition (more on that later).  While I was viewing a picture with an old woman shelling nuts outside a hut in Africa, I thought, “I wonder how much her work adds value to her family”. I wanted to know why those nuts were so important that a 80 year old woman was dedicated to shelling nuts as if her life depended on it.

I wrote “Shea Nut” in a notebook. When I returned home, I looked up Shea nuts, which took me to Shea butter, which took me to a folk sinus cure (a dead end), and then on to the universal nut press, which took me to the secular charity, the Full Belly Project.

In the process of leaning about Shea nuts, I also learned about the Vitellaria paradoxa tree , looked at a few dozen pictures of the tree and the animals that consume it’s nuts. The knowledge filled in blank spaces from nature programs.  Things started to click. I could feel myself understand concepts I had missed before.

I also learned about peanut agriculture, the nutritional value of peanuts as a staple food, and the value of peanut byproducts. I looked into the use of Shea butter in cosmetics and chocolate. I explored the economy of Senegal, Ghana, and Niger. I read an old newspaper story on price speculation on Shea nut futures, And then there was my brief foray into the Holy Spirit Movement. What a bunch of nut jobs.

I don’t know if I’ll ever use the information I picked up today. I may not. I will continue to learn about things related to Shea nuts for weeks to come. Question will come up, odd thoughts will enter my head. The overwhelming desire to touch and taste the nuts will be with me until a locate an African foods store and fry up some monkey meat cooked in Shea nut butter (ok, no monkeys, but chicken for sure).

What can I say. I’ve got a curious mind. That’s a good thing…. right?

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Cool tool for iTunes

Image representing TuneUp as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

I went looking for a tool that will help me with my iTunes problem. I am a genre idiot. I had a hand full of genres covering my collection. If I played Alternative & Punk, I was just a likely to hear Supertramp as I was to hear X. I needed help. I forked out 19.95 for TuneUp. It's sweet!

Of course, now I have Alternative Country, Alternative Pop, Alternative Rock, and Alternative Root to content with. Oh, and lets not forget Alt.Metal. Can you see my smile?

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Blogroll Update: A new batch of blogs

We’ve had a new batch of bloggers join the Atheist Blogroll. Please visit our newest members and welcome them to our community.

I hear will return to service soon. I need to do a major cleanup on the blogroll. I’ve not been able to do any editing since it went down months ago. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Three more hypocrites

I'm expanding my coverage to include Christians who claim to be good god fearing men and women, and then go home a molest their children or steal from their fellow Christians. So... here are three more hypocrites to add to the ever growing list.

Operator of Christian non-profit indicted in fraud

Edward Purvis, the man who promised churchgoing investors in Arizona and 12 other states he could make them wealthy while funding Christian causes, was indicted Friday on 43 counts of fraud and theft.

Authorities accuse the 40-year-old Chandler man of operating a multimillion Ponzi-scheme through Nakami Chi Group Ministries International.

Antioch couple accused of sexual abuse on children

Prosecutors filed more than 20 sexual abuse counts against an Antioch couple Thursday, accusing them of committing crimes during the past 25 years.

Zion and Glenda Dutro were arrested Tuesday at their home in the 1900 block of Alpha Way after an eight-month investigation, police said.

The investigation began when six female alleged victims — all of them family members who lived with the suspects — came forward after learning that the Dutros were thinking about adopting children from Mexico, police said

But they were such good Christians! They went to church and everything! Why do people thing that going to church makes people good? These people were so good that their pastor refused to comment.

Pastor Accused Of Soliciting Prostitute

Prosecutors have charged Pastor Randall Townsend of Dayton's Bible Baptist Church with loitering to solicit prostitution and soliciting.

According to police, detectives stopped Townsend after watching him pick up Michelle Sanger, 32, on Steele Avenue last week, and observing suspicious activity in the car.

Clergy Sexual Abuse, Hypocrisy, Child Abuse, Prostitution, Baptists

Friday, January 16, 2009

My top 10 from 2008

I'm a little behind with my yearly tally of the top 10 songs my family listened to for 2008. I use the iTunes’ play count feature. I try to reset it each January, but sometimes I'm a little slow. So, here is my list. Somebody is listening to a lot of Weezer.
  1. My Best Friend, Weezer, 112
  2. Greatest-Hits, Sublime, 103
  3. Drive, Incubs, 97
  4. In The Garage, Weezer, 83
  5. When the World Ends, Dave Matthews Band, 82
  6. A Rush of Blood to the Head, Coldplay, 73
  7. Beverly Hills, Weezer, 73
  8. El Scorch, Weezer, 69
  9. 54-46 That's My Number/Ball And Chain, Sublime, 68
  10. When the World Ends (Live), Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, 66

Cold play entered the top ten list for the first time. My son killed the count with his Weezer addiction. And it looks like Sublime moved down the list. The top song for 2008 is When the World Ends by Dave Matthews Band (and Tim Reynolds) with a total of 148 plays

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

The power of threes

You know how they say bad things happens in threes? Well...

Watertown pastor pleads to pornography charge

A Watertown pastor has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.

Officials say 67-year-old Dennis Hayes entered his plea Wednesday before Judge Ron Rohr in Watertown.

Last June, authorities went to Hayes' home and seized a computer that reportedly contained images of a naked 13-year-old male.

Weleetka pastor charged with abusing kids

Marvin Lowe, 51, heads the Arbeka Indian Baptist Church in the Weleetka area. Many of his accusers are members of the church who claim that Lowe fondled them in the fellowship hall…

…Lowe has been charged with 16 counts of sexually assaulting girls.

Pastor accused of fondling elderly woman

A Malvern pastor, accused of fondling an elderly woman in a nursing home, is free from jail.

Eugene A. Dietz, 59, of 10 Kiowa Trail, was released on a $25,000 bond this morning. He was arrested Monday night on a felony count of gross sexual imposition.

The stories never stop folks. And I’ll never stop posting them.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The end of a long day

End of the day When I emptied my pockets at the end of a long day, I had this thought that I must let the day go. Yet it stays with me still. I think I’m working too hard. I’m being audited by my corporation’s internal audit group. It’s crazy stressful. I simply cannot put it out of my mind. At least I took a picture today. That’s a start, right?

I had an odd conversation about love today. A woman I know told me she wants to start a blog. When I asked what she wanted to write about, she said “love”. I asked her, “why love”. She said that by writing about love she could learn to keep love in her life. I guess love is always escaping her. She want to write and talk about how to keep a hold on the person you love. the tips and tricks one could use to monitor the love level our your partner. She asked me how I do it, how I keep my wife these many years. I told her I don’t try to keep my wife. That the very idea seems odd. My wife is not mine to keep, nor am I hers to keep. We are partners, and that is why it’s worked for the last 28 years.

My friend thinks of love as a possession. I think of things as possessions, but people as individuals. Possessing a person seems like an odd definition for love. I just don’t get it.

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Help a brother out

Atheist Blogroll member Cereal asks a serious question at a post on his blog Separate Spectrum. He calls it the Ultimate Question. Drop in and offer your opinion. My answer is already posted.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

At times I do not sleep

Duck 1

Late at night when I can't sleep, in the quite dark hours, I prowl my house with a camera. I am a hunter of sorts, seeking prey that only exists my mind. Like Mr. Ducky here. We are old friends. He’s been around a while. I don’t know how long though. He appeared one day and it bothered me. I’ve been thinking about shooting him for weeks. I finally had to ask my wife how he appeared on my dirty window sill. “In a gift box” was all she said.

In times of stress I suffer from a mild form of insomnia. I can blog or I can take pictures to pass the time. Sometimes I do both.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Feed The Muse: Portraiture Now

I listened to a podcast called Face Time from the New Yorker about staff photographers Martin Schoeller and Steve Pyke. The podcast was interesting but I found the short audio slide show more stimulating. If you like good portraiture, you will not be disappointed.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Did God make the park?

Disc Golfat El Dorado Park

I've been doing everything I can to turn my brain off this weekend. By turn my brain off I mean not thinking about work. The next fourteen days will be hell. I gave my team permission to blow off some steam over the weekend so that Monday we can dig in on a task none of us want to do. I gave myself the same instructions. I followed them too. My major escapes this weekend were music, writing, photography and disc golf. It's during a disc golf game this morning that I ran into a pretty young fundie mother. It always makes my day.

I played at El Dorado Park in Long Beach. I even blogged my game. It was after the game that things got interesting. I had walked off the course with my friend  intending to head for home when I realized I needed the restroom (I think I'm getting old). Anyway, on my way back to my truck, I stopped to do a little Zen zoning (like daydreaming but with a dumber look on my face) because it was an amazingly beautiful morning. The sun was shining. It was warm. The sky was deep blue. And golden leaves were falling like rain from a dozen trees overhead. It was breathtaking, In situations like this I go all Zen and pine for my camera, which I had left at home.

A lady pulled into the parking lot in a new Volvo. It was  full of kids. They ran to the park’s tennis center. Mom stayed near the car. I thought it odd that she lingered near me. I though it very odd that she walked towards me and started to talk. Her first words confirmed my fears. She said, “It’s amazing what God can do, right?”.

I looked at my toes (I can now, it’s great), and said, “God, I don’t follow.”.

She went on, “You know, the miracle you are watching here, the beauty here at the park. God’s hand is in everything”. She made big had gestures, pointing mostly at the trees.

I smiled. I was amused and pissed at the same time. I did not want to talk to a stranger, and certainly not a fundie trying to make her witnessing quota. I wanted to watch what was going on. It was like watching the great cinematography of say… A River Runs Through It. Who wants to hear the people behind you talking when you’re looking at something like that?

I responded with, “Lady, we’re in a public park. There is not a blade of grass, tree, or contour of the landscape here that was not constructed by the hand of man. God had nothing to do with it”.

I guess my response was a little testy, even though I tried to be nice. She looked at me with wide eyes. I could see her thinking while her mouth worked without issuing words. Her response was epic and unexpected, “I’m going to call the police, you disc golfers are all dope smoking losers”.

I gave her my card. It has the URL to Deep Thoughts, the titles “writer” and “photographer” and my contact information. I told her, “you go right ahead”.

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Pastor Kennedy is in trouble


Pastor Kennedy of the Ebenezer Royal African Methodist Episcopal Church, was arrested for sexually assaulting a teen.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. John Herrell said the victim, who is now 19, said that Kennedy began sexually abusing her when she was around 13 years old, with it ending in her 9th grade year.

Herrell would not give the relationship between the two, other than they are relatives.

I don’t understand many things about Christians. One thing that always bothers me is what they name their churches. I mean, Ebenezer Royal African what the hell? I’m sure it means something. I just don’t get it. Of course, I also don’t understand why the pastors of these important sounding churches like to molest children. Can anyone explain that? I think its related.

Kennedy failed my hypocrisy test.

According to the arrest affidavit, Kennedy allegedly said "everyone makes mistakes, he regretted it but can't change it, and all you can do is pray to God to help people whose life you might have affected."

This mindset is called “fuck and forget”. It’s very Christian.


I looked up Ebenezer. It comes from Sam. 7:12 - Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us. So Ebenezer means GOD ROCK?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I deny the charges

Um, that’s what they all say pastor.

LesterCody According to a Dallas Morning News article (click here to read the DMN article), "The Mesquite police affidavit says that according to the young woman, Mr. Cody engaged in oral and other sex acts with her, but not intercourse, over a five-month period. She told police that the encounters occurred at his home and in his car."

Source: Forney Post, Forney, TX

Pastor Lester Cody claims he is innocent of all charges. His church stands behind him. Oh, wait. I should say what's left of his church. It’s down to just a few members now. I’m sure it was the bad little girl’s fault. She just loved that oral sex. And, what’s a guy to do?

Troop Surge is what?

In President Bush’s weekly radio address, he made the following statement

We saw their valor in battle-tested warriors who signed up for a second, or third, or fourth tour -- and made the troop surge in Iraq that I announced two years ago today one of the great successes in American military history.

I’m willing to admit that the troop surge was a success. But a success along the lines of “Hey Bush, why don’t you send more troops to Iraq?” repeated by a chorus of advisors for two years before he finally, reluctantly, sent troops. As for “…one of the great successes in American military history”, somehow I don’t think so.

Only one weekend left.

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Raelians and adoption

Raelians have recently snuck their way into my thoughts. It is safe to call them an atheist cult? I don’t think atheist applies. It looks like they replace a metaphysical god with an imaginary friend. What is the difference? I don't know. They just seem odd.

The Raelians are pushing a new plan to foster peace through adoption of war orphaned children. They want Palestinian children adopted by and raised as Muslims as a means to build peace and trust.

"It's the only way to show the path for peace and prevent the destruction of Israel," Rael said, adding that because of Israel's attack on Gaza and the resulting civilian deaths -- especially those of children -- the Raelian Movement is increasing its efforts on behalf of peace in the region, including promoting the adoption of Palestinian orphans by Israelis.

He said the new program's name stems from a parallel historical example: Mahatma Gandhi once asked the Hindu father of a child killed by Muslims to adopt a Muslim orphan and raise the child according to the Muslim faith after the man admitted he had killed a Muslim child for revenge

They've run into a small snag. It's illegal for Israeli Jews to adopt non-Jewish children. How screwed up is that? Theocracies are always undesirable. 

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