Monday, April 27, 2009

What Digby Said-link

 I hadn't realized that one of the costs the Republicans ridiculed and ultimately took out of the stimulus bill was money to fight pandemics. Susan Collins made sure it was stripped from the Senate version.

It's very tempting to say that those states whose leaders refused to fund this should be at the end of the line, but unfortunately it won't do any good when it comes to public health. You have to make sure the jackasses get treated as well or we all suffer. But I would hope that someone will remind their constituents of their shortsighted partisanship when the time comes.

Let's hope the Mexican Swine Flu doesn't become as virulent as the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918, as always, the adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure seems to make good sense.

More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops-link

The link is to an article in the N.Y. Times about the rise of interest in atheist organizations  nationwide  and in particular a group in South Carolina calling itself Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry.

According to a recent study (cited in the article), Americans who self-identify as nonreligious have increased to 15% nationwide, up from 8% less than 20 years ago. In S.C. that growth has tripled, up to 10% from only 3% in the same time. The article notes that while not all who say they're nonreligious can be called atheists, they may represent a pool of potential supporters.

As you might expect, an atheist organization centered in the midst of the Bible Belt, like this South Carolina group, might expect to encounter some local opposition. Indeed, some members relate fears of employment discrimination and some report being shunned in other ways;  Until recent years, the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry were local pariahs. Mr. Silverman — whose specialty license plate, one of many offered by the state, says “In Reason We Trust” — was invited to give the invocation at the Charleston City Council once, but half the council members walked out. The local chapter of Habitat for Humanitywould not let the Secular Humanists volunteer to build houses wearing T-shirts that said “Non Prophet Organization,” he said.

The movement is fueled by it's popularity on college campuses, Bob Jones University excepted. Not surprisingly, some students take a light-hearted approach to atheism, claiming devotion to a new religion, the Pastafarians, who are followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Torture Memos-link

graphic by the heretik

You would think that a nation that celebrates the summary execution of Somali pirates would have the stomach for prosecuting war criminals.....maybe not.

Perhaps the best way to solve our dilemma is to out-source justice to Spain.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Hunter S. Thompson of Real Estate-link


Jim Klinge is a realtor in San Deigo county in southern California. In an article in the L.A. Times( follow link ) he's glossed as the Hunter S. Thompson of real estate. More than that, he's created a kind of time capsule that documents the anomilies of the housing bubble crisis that has plagued much of California and other parts of the country. Check out his blog, for the insider view of the disasterous SoCal real estate market from a man on the ground, also lots more video such as the one above.