Friday, July 31, 2009

Audio Bibles for Texans

Because in Texas, they don’t have enough bibles already.

Faith Comes By Hearing, the world's foremost Audio Bible ministry, was called upon by the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) to provide the Audio Bibles for the Texas Hope 2010 campaign. Texas Hope 2010 is a BGCT outreach to more than 8.8 million homes in Texas.

Audio Bibles for Every Texas Household

The audio version has music and sound effects. plus its drmatized so that it will not be boring. That’s so cool. I bet every single person living in Texas will queue up for these.

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Youth pastor busted

He is school bus driver by day and a church youth pastor by night. He loves the kiddies so much that he allegedly asked one girl over for sex via MySpace.

According to police, Steve Steinbrecher, 38, was instant messaging a 17-year-old girl on the Internet Web-site My-Space. Officials stated that he attempted to seduce and lure the victim fully aware of her age.

I’m guessing this one might not be too bright. We could ask his church, Jenny’s Creek Gospel Church, but I can’t find a website.

Not so innocent now, right David Webb?

July is the month that keeps on giving. Youth pastor William David Webb was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading out to transporting a 15-year-old girl across state lines for sex.

What sucks about this small post is this quote from Webb’s wife.

Mrs. Webb said she went to the victim, who worked for her as a volunteer in the church audio department. "She apologized to me and I forgave her"

Mrs. Webb confronted the victim as if she had done something wrong instead of understanding that when her husband victimized a young girl, the husband owns it, not the girl. If anything, she needs your help, not your forgiveness. What an ass.

Previous Post: Date is set for youth pastor

Another priest falls to temptation

Well… the month’s not over yet. I found another alleged pedophile pastor. Reverend James Patrick Grady of St. Raphael’s Parish in St. Louis was arrested for trying to arrange for sex with an underage girl.

On Wednesday, July 29, in St. Louis County, court documents were filed that show James Patrick Grady is accused by an F.B.I. Agent of, "knowingly in or affecting interstate commerce, attempt to recruit, entice and obtain a person who had not obtained the age of 18 years, and knew that the person would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act."

Those pesky F.B.I. Agents. Always acting so young and stuff online. How is a pervert supposed to tell the difference? As Grady’s career comes crashing down around his head, I’m sure he will be pondering a whole bunch of questions just like this.

Blogroll Update: 941 blogs

Our Atheist Blogrolling community is slowing moving towards 1000 bloggers. I added another 10 this evening. You can find the latest members  in my Twitter feed or my delicious feed.

I created a new blog called the Atheist Blogroll to house the full membership of the blogroll. I can’t display all 941 members on my blog without it taking a long time to load, so I had to move it. All three versions of the blogroll are on display along with some general information.

I’ve had some interest in the Atheist Blogroll Photography contest. I could use some help getting the word out. Please remember me in your tweets and posts.

It’s been a hell of a month here on Deep Thoughts. I made over 90 posts (a new record). Way too many were on bad pastors. I’m trying to gather some statistics for another post. It should be interesting. I think this was the worst month ever. 

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Name calling

A man leaning

I’ve been called a few names in my time. Most recently “Bully” by a friend, which hurt to the core and is a story for another day). Today I was called a “Breeder” by two tweekers. It happened while taking the unremarkable picture to the left while I was out hunting photos on my lunch break. North Long Beach offers so many opportunities.

Today was slim pickings. I shot this relaxed gentleman on my way back to work after finding little of interest in the noon sun. I liked the look of the guy. It was like he did not have a care in the world.

I had stopped at a traffic light with a 300mm lens shooting from my truck’s window when two men started to yell at me. They called me a breeder and yelled for the police. I was perplexed. One even threw a rock at me. I can only assume they were upset by my taking a photo, although I don’t think they knew the man I was shooting. They called for the police, but luckily there were no cops around. As I pulled away, I kept thinking that maybe I had run over a dog or something, but that did not make any sense either. I really don’t understand what happened, but that is North Long Beach for you. They were most likely crack heads. They certainly looked like tweekers.

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Shove a cop, go to jail

Even if you are a pastor. Phillip S. Hodge was convicted of three counts of aggravated battery to a police officer. He could be looking at serious jail time.

Hodge, 48, was found guilty of shoving one officer and throwing another onto the hood of a squad car after police stopped his stepson in the 500 block of Edison Avenue for a loud music violation.

What a dumb thing to shove a cop for. He must of lost his temper. I’ve already learned the don’t lose you temper with a cop rule, precisely for this reason. You would think a 48-year old might have learned this life lesson sometime along the way.

Did I mention that Hodge was really dumb to assault a cop?

Because Hodge had previous felony convictions for aggravated robbery and burglary, he is eligible for an extended term of six to 30 years in prison when sentenced Sept. 10.

I don’t thing he’ll be getting probation.

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Another Catholic Priest placed on leave

JamesSchook Father James R. Schook has been barred from public ministry while allegations that he abused a teenaged boy in 1985 are investigated. I think they should bar him from private ministry too. And contact with teen boys…

Archdiocese spokesman Brian Reynolds told The Associated Press the accuser came forward recently and said Schook sexually abused him in 1985, when he was 16-years-old. Schook, a priest since 1975, has not faced any other abuse allegations and the accusations do not involve his work at St. Ignatius Martyr, Reynolds said.

I can’t wait for the attack of the Catholics. I figure i have two hours before they start telling me what a Catholic hater I am.  That and this kind of tripe.

For those of you who don't know Father Jim, I beg you to reserve judgment until the investigation is over. Father Jim is an amazing man with a zeal for God. I have never seen the least impropriety, let alone anything near this magnitude. 

I don't know what the person's motivations are, but I do know who Father Jim is.

Goodbye Tyrone Moore, I hardly knew you

I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know Tyrone Moore. It’s a moot point anyway. Moore will be spending the next 15-years in prison for performing lewd acts on two young boys.

"Moore is a classic pedophile and has the criminal history to prove it," said Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.

Moore was formerly the pastor of Full Word Ministries on Gordon Street in North Charleston. Investigators say Moore took advantage of the victims at the man's home in Berkeley County in 2004 and 2006.

I am constantly amazed by how many by many pedophile pastors escape my notice. July has been the worst month on record for this type of crime reporting on my blog. I must have reported on 30 or 40 cases this month. More keep falling into my inbox each day. If anybody ever doubted that clergy sexual abuse is a problem, trust me, it is a huge problem.

Tyrone Moore is just the lasted asshole to go to prison. And what the hell is going on in South Carolina?

Contempt of Cop reporting

The cops

A reader named Scott M.  turned me on to Photography is Not a Crime in the comments of Happy Jack. I was complaining about being hassled by The Man for what seems like the 10th time in the last three years. The link was a perfect fit. I even added it to my list of recommended blogs. 

Everybody has a passion, Carlos Miller’s is reporting on Contempt of Cop and the rights of photographers. Give it a look.

About the photo: I’ve been looking for a good cop shot for two weeks now. I finally saw this today on the way to work. It’s not my best work, but it does support the post.

Don’t forget the Atheist Blogroll Photography Contest!

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Cruel to dogs and a pastor too

Pastor Timothy Hayes Woodworth Church of the Brethren in Youngstown Ohio. He was arrested on five counts of animal cruelty. Three of his four dogs were euthanized.

People who are cruel to animals do not rate civil treatment. Too bad we can’t give them a little of what they gave out. Oh… and he should be fired because how is he supposed to take care of his flock if he can’t take care of his dogs?

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Does this make me look fat?

Does this make me look fat?

Seriously…. I’ve seen maybe 10 of these Spiders. Each and every one was under a heavyweight male driver. Is this the bike for the heavyset? Because if it is, then I need to tell a bunch of fat old bikers of the need for a change, and maybe get one for my own.

Pastor caught with child porn

KevinPowers Kevin Jerome Powers is one of three Lowcountry pastors busted in last two weeks for sex related offenses. I missed this one. I must be slipping. Powers was caught red handed.

Kevin Jerome Powers, 47, of 117 Logan Drive, is charged with possession of child pornography and receipt of child pornography, a press release from the U.S. Attorney for South Carolina said. Powers had a computer, disks and other materials that contained images of child pornography, according to the grand jury's indictment.

The freak’s wife caught him looking at the child porn on his home computer. She called the police and gave him a good punch in the face too.

Powers is an ordained minister, but apparently did not do much ministering. His home church was unattended. It’s hard to do God’s work when you are looking at child porn all day.

Another Lowcountry pastor falls

Ronald_Jones I’m not sure where “Lowcountry” is located or what type of area it is. But I know better then to send my children to church there. There have been three cases in the area two weeks.

In the latest case, Charleston County sheriff's deputies charged Ronald Jones, 53, of Wadmalaw Island with second-degree sexual conduct with a minor.

Jones, an associate pastor at the New Jerusalem AME Church on the island, is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy during a baby shower last year at Jones' home, according to an affidavit.

In the case it sounds like his church does the right thing.

The church obtains criminal background checks on all of its clergy, teachers and representatives," Harrison wrote in a statement. "Annually it holds workshops designed to educate its clergy and laity concerning sexual misconduct.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I miss A Load of Bright

My evening perusal of e-mail yielded a message from Tobe38, the writer of A Load of Bright. For a time, this blog was my favorite read because he made me laugh. His email promised more. He urged that that we, the former readers of his blog, jump over an check out his latest post. I am glad I always do what people ask me to do. Tobe38 introduced me to Tim Minchin in his first post of 2009. I am grateful as this YouTube video lifted my funk. Go ahead, press the button.

I listed and laughed because this is what I believe. I just wish I were cool enough to say it as a nine minute beat poem like Storm by Tim Minchin.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sysyphus in Long Beach

Sisyphus

I wish I had the time for a better exposure, but it was a passing moment. I saw this man pushing his burden up a long hot and hostile bridge in an industrial section of the Port of Long Beach. He immediately reminded me of the story of Sisyphus.

I’m betting this guy is pushing a load of cans he has harvested from other areas of the city. The long trek to the aluminum recycling yards will earn him $25 or so. It is a hard life.

Don’t forget the Atheist Blogroll Photography Contest!

Pastor accused of exposing himself

MarionKosier Pastor Marion Kosier was arrested for allegedly exposing himself to a five-year-old girl. But don’t worry, Kosiers wife of 21 year says the victim’s family made everything up in an attempt to ruin the good pastor’s name. Of course she left out that Kosier is a registered sex offender with a prior history of exposing himself to young girls. I wonder why?

Kosier is a part time pastor. I’m guessing because of his criminal history. He’s working the low country minor league churches since he’s already struck out with the Baptists. He is currently the pastor of Harleyville Christian Church. I have a feeling that is about to change. Of course, this is South Carolina, so the standards might be different.

This is not here

This is not here

My frustration with work peaked for the first time near lunch today, so I went on a drive down into the Port of Long Beach on my lunch hour. I tried to ate a taco, but it smelled to much like something nasty, so I walked around with my camera for a few blocks instead. I found this tarp mural stuck on a chain link fence. It was not fooling anyone. It looked old, almost from another era.

Work was no better in the afternoon. But at least I know my problems were self inflicted. I violated two personal rules today, and I honestly don’t know why. 1. Never interfere with an adversary when the are making a mistake. 2. Never volunteer your scarce skills when they are likely to be rejected. I broke both rules in the same breath. What the hell was I thinking?

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Monday, July 27, 2009

A priest falls

A priest falls and many at his parish do not believe the charge of adult sexual misconduct. I am not surprised. This reaction is common but often misplaced.  While it is true that Rev. Pedro Jose Damazio was suspended, there is a more troubling aspect to the story. If I read between the lines correctly, Damzaio has fled the country to avoid a criminal investigation. The press report bills it as Damazio returning to Brazil to inform his infirm mother of the sexual allegations. But he is still in Brazil, while the shit waits to hit the fan here.

Yesterday, Kelly Lynch, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Boston, declined to release any further details about Dam├ízio’s suspension, which was announced Saturday in a press release that said he had been accused of “adult sexual misconduct.’’

She said a law enforcement agency was investigating the matter, but would not identify which agency, and the Cambridge Police Department would not say whether it is involved in the case.

I am sure I will be chastised by rabid Catholics for my tone. I could just accept that the suspension is a mere allegation and his flight to Brazil a humanitarian gesture. But by now I am a complete and total skeptic. I am not inclined to believe the spin.

I need a picture of Damazio for my rogues gallery. Does anyone have one they can send my way?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Catholic Priest Suspended

This time for sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Pedro Jose Damazio, of Santa Catarina, Brazil, was barred from performing any public ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston after church authorities received the allegations against him, according to a statement from the archdiocese. Officials did not describe the accusations against Damazio.

Reading between the lines, sexual misconduct could mean many things. In this case my bet is on sexual misconduct of the adult female type. But you never know.

Atheist Blogroll Photography Contest

I am pleased to announce the 2009  Atheist Blogroll photography contest. This year’s contest is open to any member of the Atheist Blogroll, their family, friends or significant others. By request, I’ve also opened the contest up to members of the Atheist Nexus too. We have five categories this year.

  • Atheism/Religion
  • Travel and People
  • Self-Portrait
  • Altered Images
  • The Natural World

The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2009.  Send your photographs as a .jpg file to the Atheist Blogroll.

Rules:

  1. Contestants may send up to three photos per category.
  2. Each submission must be an original work and may not have won any other contests.
  3. When sending your photographs, you must adhere to the following restriction: Actual file size may not exceed 2,048 KB (2 MB) and must be in .jpg, .jpeg.
  4. Submissions by persons under that age of 18 require parental consent.
  5. No Pornography – I follow the, “I know porn when I see it rule.”

Submission Form:

These fields are required.

  1. Category
  2. Title
  3. Caption and camera information
  4. Where and when the photo was taken: Los Angeles, May 2008
  5. The name or pseudonym of the photographer.
  6. A link the the artists blog or Atheist Nexus page. If a friend of an Atheist Blogroll member, then a link the members blog is appropriate.

By sending a photo you are granting the right for the photo to be displayed at Deep Thoughts as part of the 2009 photography contest or as part of a Google collection linked to the 2009 photography collection. All other rights remain with the artist.

Help Needed:

Please help me promote the contest by posting about it on your blogs or at the Atheist Nexus. I also need help judging the contest. If interested, drop me a note.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Islam, alcohol and justice

I remember sitting in a Moroccan restaurant in Paris a few years back enjoying dolomints while discussing politics with a few friends. Our waiter, a good guy who I eventually befriended, told me he had been caned for drinking a dolomint at a party. He received 10 lashes from a religious court.  He showed me his scars. When I asked what he did about it, because in those days I had no idea that Islam was just nuts, he said, “I came to France.”

Dolomint: Gin, Galliano, Lime Juice, Soda Water, Mint Leaves.

Kartika_Sari_Dewi_ShukarnoI  remember thinking his experience was pathetic because there was no way I was going to take a caning for drinking something as unremarkable as a dolomint. A good beer maybe…

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old model, was arrested on charges of drinking beer after Islamic authorities raided a hotel nightclub last year. She was sentenced Monday to six lashes with a rattan cane after pleading guilty in the Shariah High Court.

Shariah courts are BS. Islam is way to concerned about the behavior of others, which is my rub with religions in general. When you take away a persons right to do as they choose and replace those rights with arbitrary rules interpreted by religious zealots, you end up with 10 lashes for drinking beer. It better have been a good beer. Can you imagine getting canned for a Coors?

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A dollar or a burger?

Homeless with flag This homeless man approached my truck while I was in line for food at a drive through resturant. He smiled a toothless grin at me a put a hopeful look on his face as he stood by my passenger window. I rolled down the window, mindful that my wallet and camera where within easy reach, and asked how I could help him.

He said, "I'm hungry."

I responded with, "I will give you a dollar or buy you a burger."

He held out his hand and said, "I would rather have a stripper."

I gave him a dollar. This shot was taken as he peddled away.

Tony Alamo’s odd little secret

Tony Alamo kept his second wife on ice in the basement of a the Church of the Advent, now Ocean Way Studios, on Music Row in Nashville. Susan Lipowitz died of cancer. Tony Alamo allegedly though she would be resurrected but did now want her to be to zombied out, so he kept her on ice.

The running Nashville legend has it that Alamo preserved her body on ice in the “dungeon” of Oceanway.  It is alleged that he shocked her with electrical current, causing her limbs to convulse and take life. When Susan failed to resurrect Tony blamed his followers as their faith wasn’t strong enough to bring her back. Right. 

Her ghost still haunts the place. Well… not really but I thought it would be a nice way to finish the post.

Hat Tip JaNa KyoMoon

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Keeping track of Republican sex offenders

Somebody else has a hobby like mine. I found a list of Republican sex offenders in my random surfing today. And you know what they say, where there is a Republican, there is a church going evangelical Christian… or so they claim.

They knew

But then, we always knew they did.

The former No. 2 official of the Catholic church in Chicago admitted that he knew 25 priests broke the law by sexually abusing children but did not report them, according to depositions made public Tuesday

They knew and hid the knowledge from those who needed it most. They knew and fought to keep it secret. They knew and kept priests in their jobs. They knew and kept silent.

Bishop Emeritus Raymond E. Goedert's should be prosecuted. He should resign. He should be fired. He should be held accountable. Right?

Introducing Su Nombre en Vano

Diego joined the Atheist Blogroll and been kind enough to provide an introduction to his blog.

In the author’s own words:

Hello! My name is Diego, I'm Peruvian, but now live in Southern California, and just asked Mojoey to include my blog, “Su Nombre en Vano” in the Blogroll. Why “Su Nombre en Vano”? It’s Spanish for “His Name in Vane”, part of the Catholic Church’s second commandment, church in which I grew up.

As you will notice, my blog is written in both English and Spanish, but Spanish will have a little bit of preference. The reason is that Latin-American countries, like mine, suffer from poverty and ignorance much more than English speaking countries. That’s the sad truth. So, in that environment, religion has much more chances to prey on people who desperately need hope to keep on. But that also brings the bigotry, ignorance and hatred that religion preaches, usually disguised as “the word of god”. So, it’s the name of that god that will be mentioned, to point out the atrocities, abuse, hatred and nonsense committed in his name.

If you would like to join the Atheist Blogroll, click here.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Tony Alamo found guilty

It is not like I am surprised at this news. The bastard had it coming.

A jury in Arkansas convicted evangelist Tony Alamo on Friday of 10 federal counts of taking minors across state lines for sex, according to the court in the Western District in Arkansas.

…Jurors reached the verdict after more than eight hours of deliberations. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

It feels right to take the cult nutballs down. The bigger the name the better. Tony Alamo has been preying on the weak and gullible for years. Now he will spend his final days in prison. Like I said, it feels right.

And I can finally say this now. Tony Alamo is a convicted pedophile. I hope they go after the parents of his child brides next.

A Cooper’s Hawk maybe?

A Coopers HawkI love birds, but with my color vision problem identification is always a problem. I think this is a Cooper's Hawk, but I would like to as the group mind. Am I close?

I heard this bird from my bedroom window. I told my wife it sounded like a hawk. She spotted it on the wire outside our driveway. I was able to take a few pictures before it flew away.

And… there have been lots of pigeon feathers around lately.

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Another Baptist pastor busted for child porn

July is the month that just keeps on giving. It must be the heat or something. Another potential pedophile pastor has been taken out of the pulpit.

Bernard Squires, 64, is accused of distributing child pornography. According to court documents, the charge stems from about a week long period at the beginning of June.

Squires is the pastor at Grace Baptist Church. He’s also the Chaplain  for the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.

There is always one that will take his side…right Malissa?

GOD died for all of our sins. it is your right not to trust him. I am not in anyway shape or form condoning what has been done, trust me he is getting what is coming to him, IF he is found to be guilty. Yes he was a farmer , YES he was a carpet salesman, YES he was a pastor. a pastor who obviously went into a very dark life. And needs some serious mental help. what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty, and who are you to judge? GOD?

Good grief.

Happy Jack

happy jace with a flagI'm happy now that I'm shooting photos again. I take may camera with me everyday and shoot a few shots along my route to and from work. I shot today in Long Beach, CA.

Every photo comes with a story. Most are boring. This photo cost me 10 minutes out of my day this morning. A police officer pulled me over after I shot it. He wanted to know what I was doing. When I told him I was taking a picture, he demanded to see what I was shooting. I said no. We discussed the legality of my actions. Since I was stopped at a traffic light, I had not endangered anyone. My actions were legal, but to him they were suspicious. He kept me for ten minutes while he ran my info, then let me go.

I suppose I could have been scouting out a location for an atheist terrorist cell. Let’s see…. a Burger King on one corner, a gas station on another, a bike shop to my right, and a car lot to my left. Yep, a perfect spot to plot my attack.

The police officer exceeded his authority and made unreasonable demands on me. I have every right to take photos wherever I please on public property as long as I’m not posing a danger to others. This marks the seventh time I’ve been pulled over for shooting photos from my truck. I’ve given up complaining. Frankly, they don’t care what I think.

I liked my picture though.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Church volunteer accused of molestation

"It could happen to anybody anywhere” – Detective Rick Decker.

RobertPosey This the second church bus driver turns child molester this month. I hope it is not a new trend.

Robert Posey, 39, is facing a charge of child molestation for allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl he met at church…

…While Posey and the girl met at church, the alleged abuse happened at Posey's apartment in the Deming Center. That's where the victim claims Posey had sexual intercourse with her.

I propose a new rule – Never let your kids ride alone on the church bus. And, Posey’s neck looks odd. I don’t trust him. What do you think the chances are that Pastor Thomas Manbeck of the Good Shepherd Baptist church did a background check on Posey? I’m betting zero.

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In my face every day

Always a cross

I recently had a conversation with a polytheist regarding the display of religious icons in his office. He said they helped ground him in his faith. I’m not really sure what that means. I just know that every time I visit his office, I get to see a statue of his god. The icons are there for me too.

I counted how many religious symbols I spotted today. So far my count is at 144. Most were encountered while driving to and from work. Of course, I saw the obligatory cross above a heaving cleavage a few times today too. Most recently at dinner, where I am lucky I did not get slapped by my wife. No honey, I was just looking at her crucifix, I swear.

On the road the relentless assault is subtle and pervasive.  Religious symbols can be as simple as the outline of a cross like in my photo above. Or it can be a church steeple, billboard, or bumper sticker. My point is, these displays are everywhere. They are a constant reminder that the balance of power rests in the hands of the faithful and they have a message for us. How do you deal with that?

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why mess with benches?

Homeless Bench

I started to notice that bus benches are becoming less and less friendly a few months ago. It started with a visit to LAX where I found that all the benches were at an odd height with rounded  top. I had 50 minutes to kill but could only sit on the damn bench for 15 minutes without developing a sore ass. I asked an airport employee about it, he said it was an anti-homeless design. He seemed proud of it. He actually said, “You don’t see any homeless around here anymore.”

Well were did they go?

I started a project to shoot the homeless  a few days ago. The first thing I noticed is that bus benches are a natural spot to find the homeless. They offer a safe place to sit and often, some protection  from the elements. But increasingly they are designed to prevent the homeless from using them to sleep. Which I think encourages the homeless to sleep someplace less safe, like under a bridge. Is the strategy to remove the eyesore? How does that help?

James here (pictured above) was kind enough to offer an explanation. He said, “I’m not telling you where I sleep, you might steal my shoes.”

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You didn't notice Alamo’s harem?

This is how the story would play out at my house. The wife comes home from a hard day at work and to find  a beautiful young woman with a wedding ring  (no little girls for me thank you) tending the dishes in our kitchen. Wife promptly asks, “Who the hell are you?”

The new bride offers, “Mojoey’s next wife”.

20 minutes later I am found in hacked to pieces in the driveway.

Tony Alamo’s common law wife must either be as dumb as a box of rocks, or dim.

Sharon Alamo, 50, acknowledged to jurors that she had seen young women wearing wedding rings around the house.

"Didn't you notice the girls moving into the defendant's residence ... were getting younger and younger?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Fowlkes asked.

"No, I didn't," she replied.

Um…. I don’t know what to say. Her answer seems somehow off.

Tony Alamo will going to prison for a long time. Just wait a few weeks.

Well that was dumb

HenryLouisGates I heard the news about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates yesterday and said to myself, “Well that was dumb”. I was surprised and happy to hear President Obama refer to the Cambridge Police as having acted “stupidly”. You see, It is not just that I am anti-police. I’ve never trusted the police, and since 911 things have just gotten worse. It is also that I am anti stupidity. The stupidity displayed in this case is off the scale.

I despise law enforcement stupidity. Power mad police officers seem to wear stupidity as a shield. Once Sgt. James Crowley realized he was trying to arrest the tenant  for breaking into his own house, nothing short of a face full of horse manure should have caused the arrest of Gates. But no… Crowley let Gates’ anger get under his skin, and then that whole police power trip kicked in. I can hear it play out in my head, “If you don’t shut up, I”m taking you in.”

Crowley – apologize and explain yourself. It’s OK to say that Gates’ reaction to your investigation caused you to panic and act like  a power mad control freak in fear of his own safety. Go for it. I promise to respect you in the morning. Just don’t say you did it because Gates is black, because then I’m afraid I won’t respect you at all.

Shooting the homeless

Mcdonals homeless

It may not seem like much of a project, but I think it is important for me. I realized over the weekend that I’ve tuned out the homeless. To address this,  I started taking photos of the homeless as I see them each day. I may not publish these shots. I am doing this to reinforce paying attention to my surroundings and the plight of others. There are so many people who need help. Turning a blind eye to them makes me less inclined to help. It is time I pay attention.

I have a question. Do you know how many homeless live on your block or within a mile of your home or work? If you are an urban dweller like me, I’m willing to bet the number is larger than you expect. Take a look around.

This cart was parked at McDonalds in Carson, California. The owner was not around.

The McGills could get 170 years

Pastor Rodney McGill and his lovely wife Shalonda were convicted of mortgage fraud yesterday. When sentenced, they could get 170 years. I wonder what happens to married couple in prison? Do they go for a divorce so that they can change teams? It is questions that this that keep me up at night.

Prosecutors told the jury that Rodney McGill used his radio program to advertise a contest to become the "Fabulous Five," five "winners" who would receive advice from the pastor on making millions through real estate investments. At least three victims called the radio station and provided McGill their social security numbers and other financial information.

The McGills showed their victims the properties that had been "selected" especially for them, but the scheme carefully concealed the fact that the McGills actually owned each of the properties offered up as potential investments.

Don’t worry pastor McGill, 170 years will pass in a lifetime. You can do that on standing on your head you holier than thou man of God. Right?

I wonder how long I will have to wait until somebody tells me the McGills were not really Christians? I’ll just have to push the publish button and see.

Previous Post: Justice may be just two weeks away (I was right!)

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Poor Pastor Tillman

Didn't anybody everybody ever tell you that shooting your wife  was a crime?  And using the “I was cleaning my gun” approach is lame. After a four-year wait, Timothy Dane Tillman’s trial is set for October. He faces life in prison if convicted.

It’s been four-years. I wonder if anybody from the Revival Center in Vincent will stand up for him.

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Vjack posts on The Family

I have not had time to follow up on The Family. I read a few stories which raised my hackles and put them on my watch list. Vjack has a post up that sheds more light on the subject.

I had heard of the secretive Christian extremist organization known as "the Family" before the latest high-profile Republican sex scandals hit the news. However, I did not know much about the group. In fact, all I had really heard was that they were a well-connected Christian dominionist organization in the Washington D.C. area.

Read more…and help spread the word.

Would you buy a loan from this guy?

Obama Sells a Loan

I might not trust this company to sell me a loan. I bet the pitch goes something like this. For a one time credit card charge of $900, we guarantee your loan will get modified. Hurry, our operators are standing by. Loans scams are all the rage right now.

Con men are always fishing for a buck. 5,000 people see this ad every day, 200 will call, 50 will give their credit card numbers. Some jackass buys a prime rib dinner to celebrate. It’s how the  economy works. Everything is interrelated.

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Another priest arrested

This time he is from my area. I know people who attended his church. Rev. Denis Lyons was arrested while playing cards.

He has been charged with four felony counts of lewd conduct with a child younger than 14, along with a sentencing enhancement of committing substantial sexual conduct. If convicted of the charges, Lyons faces 14 years in prison.

Lyons has been criminally charged with molestation in the past.

In 2003, he was charged with molesting another male youth between 1978 and 1981 at St. John the Baptist. Prosecutors also accused him of assaulting two other male victims to corroborate that case.

The previous charges were dismissed. Perhaps this time they will get him.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Photodriving in Socal

Blowling

It was an odd weekend for me. I had planned to go photowalking but screwed up my registration for the event, so I set out to do it on my own instead. It was near 100 degrees, so I did little photowalking and focused on photodriving instead. For the most part it was a complete waste of time. I shot very little of interest. Instead I concentrated on filling in the map. I should explain.

The Los Angeles area  is an unbelievably large place. The only city I’ve visited that comes close in terms of shear sprawl in Shanghai. I’m not talking about people here, just the size of the map. I’ve lived in LA most of my life. I’ve traveled all over the city, but I still have places I’ve never visited and even cities I’ve never visited before. So my weekend photowalking turned photodriving morphed into a map quest of sorts. New roads, new cities, new vistas, all with an ever so boring sameness. I shot few pictures, but enjoyed the ride.

There is one thing I noticed. The homeless problem is way larger than I ever imagined. I stopped counting at 120 street people. I only counted people with shopping carts or bedrolls. They are everywhere. All you need do is look around while driving.

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The impact of church on sin

Going to church does not make you less likely to commit a crime. Heck leading a church does not make you less likely to commit a crime (or commit a sin if you want to call it by its church name). I’ve known that stats show a correlation between high religiosity and higher crime rates for some time now. It is nice to see a Christian talk about it.

Perhaps people who go to church commit sin because they believe they can always repent in the end and God will forgive them later? Perhaps "Church" attracts people looking for "salvation and forgiveness" yet struggle with giving up old "behaviors and coping mechanisms?" Perhaps it's nothing more complicated then "Church" breeds snobbery, exclusiveness and hypocrisy. Christians just do not always practice that which they preach. It would be too expensive and require a lot of self control. After all, they're only human.

So why is it those Europeans have less instances of violent crime if they life without God in their lives? Oh, that’s right, it is because there is no link between being a Christian and moral behavior.

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I see nutballs, now twice daily

Nutball in a truck

It’s the weirdest thing. I ran into this nutball in a parking lot in Buena Park. I’m really close to him with a big lens so my shot is crap. But the old nutter sees me shoot a picture and starts yelling that I’m from the CIA. I make a quick get away. But later I notice him in my rear view mirror. I think he is following me. I was able to lose him at a long signal because I jumped on the freeway.

This morning I looked in my rear view mirror and see this damn truck again. He cruised right by me without any trouble, so I’m pretty sure he was not stalking me. But then on my ride home this afternoon, he is in my mirror once again; and follows quite close, and points my way. I’m getting a little worried now, but he does not follow me home. I’m taking a new route to work tomorrow.

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There are still a few good men in the church

I like hearing good news.  I posted on Mark-Anthony Rassmann back in March. He posted “There are still a few good men in the church” on my blog back a few days back.  He was accused of theft. Rassmann asserted his innocence the entire time, it turns out he was doing nothing wrong.

The Rev. Mark-Anthony Rassmann had a simple explanation for his innocence when he was accused of forging a parishioner's signature to give him ownership of four of her properties.

"Only a fool would steal something to go into debt," he said.

In March, the pastor of Greater Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church in Haddonfield turned himself in after the deceased woman's two daughters accused him of stealing their inheritance. This month, Camden County prosecutors dropped charges against Rassmann.

My apologies to Pastor Rassmann. I am happy to see things worked out for him. In a small way, it helps offset all the bad news I post.

Pastor Rassmann – I have a policy. If I post on your arrest and you are found innocent. I offer you a guest post here at my blog. If you choose to take me up on the offer, I will not alter your words in any way besides a brief introduction.

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Now buy the clothing

NOTW

The stickers keep getting bigger, but the message is still the same. NOTW - you can tell we are Christians by the clothing we wear.

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Youth pastor goes to prison

Brian Neiswender, who pleaded no contest to charges that he fondled three young girls, was sentenced to 16 months in jail. When he gets out, I wonder if he will go back to the ministry? I’m sure the Baptists will take him in.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Padre Juan was God on Earth

Only Padre Juan had an evil side too, he liked little boys. Boys were like cake, and Juan could never get enough.

I read a story this afternoon about a boy who was sexually abused by two catholic priests in two different cities. He’s older now, and dreams of beating priests with baseball bats. He carries the guilt of the abused, and the guilt of enabling the abuse of his younger brother. The $1.2 million settlement is not nearly enough.

The abuse and subsequent manipulation is unconscionable. His first abuser was a Yuma Priest named Rev. Juan Gullen who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for his crimes.  His second abuser was Rev. John Valez, who has fled the country.

The victim discussed the abuse techniques used by both priests.

Like Guillen before him, Velez recruited young John Doe to be an altar boy. His mother encouraged him, thinking it an honor. And, like Guillen before him, Velez began molesting the boy, then 11.

"He used similar tactics," John Doe testified. "They have a method of using confession and advice to tell you how you need to spend time with them and be a good person, and then he began the physical part."

After a few months, the conduct grew "harsher."

"I didn't know what was going on," he said. "I was just a little boy."

I don’t know why people don’t take sexual abuse right to the police. I’m betting is has something to do with being part of an immigrant population and the fear of the authorities.  The mother bears some responsibility in this story. She knew about the abuse but trusted the church. My advice is to never trust the church.  The Catholic church is like a big corporation and its parishioners are the customers. The church will always act to protect itself before it acts to protect it customers. It is common sense. That is the way a business works.

Beware of the big bad wolf

And his little cub of a son too!

Two men have been arrested for sexual molesting  a 7-year-old girl and a 9-year old girl. They are alleged to to have done so while transporting the girls to church.

This story is not my normal subject matter. I stick to pastors, deacons, self-proclaimed bishops, and other official church folk.   For the run-of-the-mill Christian, I give them a pass.  If I reported on their crimes, I would have to work at this full time.

KennethFordSrKennethFordJrHowever, when you’re supposed to take two little girls to church and molest them instead, I might notice. When you molest them and your son joins in, well hell, I’m going to notice and so is the rest of the world. The crime is reprehensible. Now, I am making an assumption that these men are church goers. It makes sense given that they were taking the girls to church.

Kenneth H. Ford Sr., 56, and Kenneth C. Ford Jr. 25, both of 5400 Route 31, Newark, were arrested on Thursday, State Police said.

The father was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

His son was charged with third-degree aggravated sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

There are monsters in the world, truly evil people who feed off the innocent. I know these men are merely accused of their crimes. I know that they may be innocent. It does not stop me from hating them. I need to work on that.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy taco no mas

Happy Taco no mas

I dropped the wife off for a spa day with the cousins and went in search of a taco joint I used to enjoy back when I worked in Santa Ana. It was called El TaCo ntento, or the Happy Taco. It was a cute little play on words. If you were fortunate enough to hit this place at the right time the tacos could kill you, if not, the just put you in the hospital. The only thing that remains of this wonderful little hole-in-the-wall is its sign and a burnt-out old building.

Bummed, I set off in search of a cold beer. My old bar was just a few miles away. Back in the day, I had my own spot at the beat up old rail. What were the chanced it was still around? ZERO is seems. My bar is so gone I had to drive around the block a few times to make sure I was in the right place. I finally got out in the parking lot to look around. There was a good dive bar on this spot. Now its a friggen Rite Aid. Like we need another Rite Aid.

I did not have the heart to go looking for Teri’s Cigars. I would have been crushed if this place was gone. They roll their own cigars. So good….

So, my tacos are gone and my bar is gone, what about the place where I used to work? It’s gone too. I could not even find the block I worked on. It’s covered in condos. I’ve been erased. It’s a weird feeling. It's like death. Nobody will ever remember me there. The people I knew are in the wind. The places I frequented are all but gone. The only bit of reality that remains is locked in my head where it will die with me.

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Turning away from the light

I am watching the Catholic church squirm over letting the public know how New York’s Cardinal Egan handled cases of sexual abuse during his term. The church is sparing no expense in its efforts to ban the public from seeing Egan’s deposition.

"It's somewhat disappointing that the diocese continues to approach the litigation in a way that delays the public's right to see these documents," Albano said. "There's been seven years of litigation."

An advocacy group for victims of church sexual abuse condemned the latest appeal.

"We're disappointed that the complicity of top Catholic officials continues to remain hidden," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "This is not what Connecticut Catholics or citizens deserve. It's one more painful reminder that bishops will do everything possible to protect themselves and their colleagues instead of children."

If there is one thing I’ve learned from watching the Catholic Church  it is that they don’t give a damn about the public. They will delay and delay without regard for the need for truth, or its healing power. People want to know. I want to know. How bad was it?

The Catholic church would not know the truth even if it walked up and kick them in the nuts.

Margeretville priest arrested

Rev. James McDevitt formerly of St. Pius Church in Loudenville and now of Sacred Heart Church in Margaretville has turned himself in to face charges that he molested six boys.

So far this month I’ve reported on three other Catholics. I’m starting to re-think including them in Hypocrisy Watch. They need a category all their own.

El Rocoto’s for Peruvian bliss

three lights My wife and I stopped at El Rocoto's for some killer Peruvian food. I'm hooked on the Tallerin Verde con Pollo. It's chicken with a pesto spaghetti. I could eat it every day.

I had my camera with me so I shot a few low light shots. I liked this one. I also shot the salt & pepper. I liked it too.

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The Atheist Watermelon

Care of a post on the Atheist Experience. I give you The Atheist Watermelon. It’s pretty funny.

Remember when we used to link to each other’s blogs? Damn you Twitter!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

A week later and I still feel it

Maloof jump

I went to the Maloof Money Cup at the Orange County fair last Saturday. It was an amazing place. I’ve never seen so many talented skateboarders in one place. I had my camera. I had time. I had opportunity. But I did not see it. My best shots were just shit, at least by my standards. Then I saw these photos.  I need to start over by taking a photography class. And some long fast glass would help.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A child bride testifies against Alamo

This trail will make Tony Alamo look like a perverted cultist nutball before they send him off to die in prison. Which is fine with me.  One of these days I’ll tell my own Tony Alamo story. He’s been around a long time.

The first witness was a child bride. She testified about Alamo’s marriage to another 8-year-old girl.

…until the Arkansas-based pastor took an 8-year-old as his latest bride. At one point, the woman said, she objected when Alamo graphically described how he fondled the girl as she held a stuffed animal.

"He told me to shut up and that I shouldn't question what 'the Lord told me to do,'" the woman said.

That’s right, don’t question God! I predict that by the end of this trial we will have a new definition of evil. One that includes the Alamo version of a perverted sex God.

Potter nutballs

I knew some fundie nutball would step up to a microphone to spew incomprehensible Harry Potter nonsense. Rev. Doug Taylor started the insanity off with a few comments, then played a video.

"Harry Potter teaches witchcraft to children through children," author Robert McGee said in the documentary. "It's teaching children that witchcraft is something attainable. When a child is captured by witchcraft, they rarely choose to get out until much later in life, after they've led a very miserable life."

OK, it came from a video documentary, but you get my point. Do they seriously believe Harry Potter is corrupting our youth? Don’t these people have a life?

At least there was a voice of reason.

"I didn't come here to argue," said Emily Fuller, 18, of Lisbon, the lone opposing voice at the meeting. "My friends and I came here to hear your views. I firmly believe it's just a book. Reading 'Harry Potter' has never interrupted my life. My friends and I have never cast a spell."

At some point they will give up. Right? There are hungry people to feed and homeless shelters to build. Go do something Christian Rev. Doug Taylor

BTW – I hear Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is great.

Pedophile rapist aspires to the ministry

Another story that made me laugh. In this case at a pathetic display of desperation on the part of a convicted child rapist. Morgan Douglas Jones was pleading for leniencey in a Alabama courtroom. He suggested a 5-year sentence as appropriate punishment for his brutal crime. He offered the following statement as proof of his sincerity.

…pleaded for leniency, saying he does not view this as a setback in life and a five-year term would allow him to get out and pursue a career as a minister.

The judge gave him 9 years, plus 5o-years of monitoring. Jones raped a 14-year-old girl he seduced via World of Warcraft. He deserves every minute of the nine year sentence.

I don’t want to give the impression that I believe Jones will try to become a pastor upon his release. I know he is attempting to link his despicable character to the moral superiority of Christianity in an effort to improve his standing. It is a fools quest, which is a good thing given Jones plays the fool so well.

Hat tip to Hank of Shallow Cogitations. Remember, if you send them, I will post them.

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Because the issue is really about what?

Even so often I read a press release and think, “Are they serious?” Try this paragraph by Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays spokesman Greg Quinlan.

"What will happen when Congress passes a national Hate Crimes law for gays and cross-dressers?" asked Quinlan. "Officially protected by law, homosexuals and the gender confused will expand their aggressive actions and censor ex-gay speech or behavior they disagree with as 'hateful,' 'discriminatory,' 'intimidation,' 'dangerous,' or 'leading to physical violence.' We know because this is what they already label us."

Right. I follow you. This Hate Crimes Prevention Bill is not really about protecting a targeted minority population. It’s all about a group of funding religious fanatics and the imaginary hate they are subjected to for being asshats. Greg Quinlan is an asshat. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Quinlan argues insanity on his blog. I wonder if Quinlan understands the meaning of the term non sequitur?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Disadvantaged children make the best victims

Could that be why so many Baptists setup summer camp programs?  A new case hit the press this week. The director of a Baptist summer camp was arrested for first degree sex offense against a child. Director Stephen Carter has some explaining to do.
Carter is the director of Camp Cale Retreat in Perquimans County. Todd Tilley, the Perquimans Clerk of Superior Court, says Carter is not allowed to have any contact with people under the age 18, with the exception of his own children. That stipulation was imposed by the magistrate.
But wait, there is more…. Let’s not forget the comments.
I grew up with Steve and have known his family all my life. Steve, his wife & children have done wonders for Camp Caale. They are very devoted Christians. I have never once ever thought Steve woould or could do something like this. His reputation is ruined and he has not been proven guilty yet. Camp Cale get children at the camp from all types of homes. Alot of them come from troubled homes. All are welcomed at Cale. If Steve has been director since 2002, why out of all the children that attends the camp each summer, this is the only acccusation that has come about. You talk about background checks, Steve"s is clean!!! His family were missionaries in Belieze before coming to Cale. Please consider what our country is based on that you are innocent until proven guilty. My heart does go out to the child who is going through all of this too. Someone has causes some horrible type of act that has resulted in such fear & mistrust gets the help they need.
Yep – Steve is clean. He was a missionary and nobody ever complained before. That's enough for me. Let him go.

Wait…. Don’t forget the child.
I don't know Steve but I know a LOT of people are standing behind him. You don't know the circumstances of the child that is doing the accusing. I'm not saying the child is lying but sometimes when things have happened in your past, something innocent can be taken the wrong way…
And lets not forget “Christians are the real victim.”
Hope it's not true. If the name of the camp is "Camp Kale Retreat", why is it printed "Christian Camp Director"? The name of the Camp is not "The Christian Camp". Why the emphasis on Christian? Would not Camp Director suffice? It appears the media is focused on smearing Christians. No plea has been made. No verdict has been handed down. So, is WITN willing to bear the responsibility of adding language that potentially misdirects the attention away from the alledged victim and crime and focuses on Christians? The use of the word christian has become quite the punching bag. Welcome to Rome 70 A.D.
Right… pay no attention the Christian it was just your average camp director and a secular summer camp who did these things. That damn media. You can never trust them to get the facts straight.

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