Under state law, God is Kentucky’s first line of defense against terrorism.
The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as “stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth.”
Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God’s benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”
State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.
As amended, Homeland Security’s religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.
The time and energy spent crediting God are appropriate, said Riner, D-Louisville, in an interview this week.
“This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky,” Riner said. “Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government.”
Nonetheless, it is government that operates the Office of Homeland Security in Frankfort, with a budget this year of about $28 million, mostly federal funds….
I don’t see why they need $28 million if they’ve got God watching out for them, but what do I know. Maybe it’s a backup plan in case God falls asleep on the job.
If you’re a school principal in Connecticut, it’s possible a group of moms is praying for you every week.
Not because you, specifically, need their prayers (although who among us couldn’t benefit from an extra prayer now and then) but because that’s what these moms do — they get together once a week and pray for their kids’ schools, including the principals, staff and all the students.
They pray for safe classrooms. They pray that bullies will be caught. They pray for an end to the illnesses that sweep through schools, and the homework tantrums their kids throw.
They even pray for Mastery Test scores.
Although there are Moms In Touch groups scattered around Connecticut, Lawrence said there aren’t any in Hartford, which struggles with some of the deepest problems of any school system in the state.
That’s a situation she’d like to correct.
“I totally believe with all my heart that if every school in Connecticut was prayed for every week it would be totally different,” Lawrence said.
See, we don’t even need money for schools! Awesome!
Man, it’s a good thing God’s omnipotent, ‘cuz we sure are putting a lot of important stuff on His plate.
8 commentsNovember 29th, 2008 at 07:40pmPosted by Eli
You know, if I were a Creationist/Intelligent Design nut trying to convince people that God exists, I wouldn’t bother with the axis of Elvis. I wouldn’t blather on about how perfectly designed bananas are, or the fact that life does not spontaneously generate in peanut butter jars (no, seriously, WTF?) as if that somehow proves something.
No, if I wanted to argue the case for some kind of blatantly obvious divine intervention, I would choose water. More specifically, the fact that unlike just about everything else, water is denser in liquid form than solid. If it weren’t, oceans and rivers and lakes would freeze from the bottom up, because the ice couldn’t to rise to the top to be warmed and thawed. With a good chunk of their volume frozen, the oceans’ temperature-regulating capabilities would be pretty seriously reduced as well.
Earth has a relatively temperate climate and healthy biodiversity largely because of this one simple quirk of fate. I’m not religious, but if I wanted to make a case for the existence of God, water is where I’d start. (Granted, it doesn’t really address evolution one way or the other, but the fundies are calling peanut butter and bananas “The Atheist’s Nightmare,” not “The Evolutionist’s Nightmare.” Or “Elvis’s Nutritionist’s Nightmare.”)
I don’t know how to even begin to parse that. Maybe someone has a very specific fetish for three-month-old sex dolls? Or maybe August was just a really good month for sex dolls? I’m grasping at straws here.
We didn’t capture or kill bin Laden. We didn’t destroy al Qaeda. Oh, but at least we liberated the country from the Taliban, established democracy, and ended the oppression of women! Eh, not so much…
The collapse of Afghanistan is closer than the world believes. Kandahar is in Taliban hands – all but a square mile at the centre of the city – and the first Taliban checkpoints are scarcely 15 miles from Kabul. Hamid Karzai’s deeply corrupted government is almost as powerless as the Iraqi cabinet in Baghdad’s “Green Zone”; lorry drivers in the country now carry business permits issued by the Taliban which operate their own courts in remote areas of the country.
The Red Cross has already warned that humanitarian operations are being drastically curtailed in ever larger areas of Afghanistan; more than 4,000 people, at least a third of them civilians, have been killed in the past 11 months, along with scores of Nato troops and about 30 aid workers. Both the Taliban and Mr Karzai’s government are executing their prisoners in ever greater numbers. The Afghan authorities hanged five men this month for murder, kidnap or rape – one prisoner, a distant relative of Mr Karzai, predictably had his sentence commuted – and more than 100 others are now on Kabul’s death row.
This is not the democratic, peaceful, resurgent, “gender-sensitive” Afghanistan that the world promised to create after the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. Outside the capital and the far north of the country, almost every woman wears the all-enshrouding burkha, while fighters are now joining the Taliban’s ranks from Kashmir, Uzbekistan, Chechnya and even Turkey….
Is it really the overriding ambition of Afghans to have “democracy”? Is a strong federal state possible in Afghanistan? Is the international community ready to take on the warlords and drug barons who are within Mr Karzai’s own government? And – most important of all – is development really about “securing the country”? The tired old American adage that “where the Tarmac ends, the Taliban begins” is untrue. The Taliban are mounting checkpoints on those very same newly-built roads.
“We” are not winning in Afghanistan. Talk of crushing the Taliban seems as bleakly unrealistic as it has ever been. Indeed, when the President of Afghanistan tries to talk to Mullah Omar – one of America’s principal targets in this wretched war – you know the writing is on the wall. And even Mullah Omar didn’t want to talk to Mr Karzai.
So… after our supposed victory, Karzai was effectively nothing more than the mayor of Kabul. Now, 7 years later… Karzai is effectively nothing more than the mayor of Kabul. I think the biggest change that we’ve effected in Afghanistan is to make its people hate us. Bravo.
3 commentsNovember 28th, 2008 at 07:13amPosted by Eli
There’s a lot of speculation about who enigmatic NY governor David Paterson will pick to replace Hillary Clinton as New York’s junior senator, with Andrew Cuomo currently leading, as Gail Collins puts it, “in several polls as The Only Person on This List We Have Ever Heard Of.”
o That America finally and decisively rejected the Republican politics of hate and fear to put an intelligent (albeit not progressive) Democrat back in the White House after eight years of corruption, incompetence, and outright malevolence. (Parenthetical Note: Anyone who describes Obama as The Most Liberal Senator Evar automatically and permanently forfeits their right to be taken seriously. This is not subject to appeal.)
o That our intelligent (albeit not progressive) Democratic president will have a Democratic Congress to work with for the first time in fourteen years.
o My totally awesome girlfriend who loves cheesy horror and action movies. Also ninjas, pirates, robots, monkeys, Vikings, and Omar Sharif.
o The Giants won the Superbowl!
o The Giants and Jets are both Superbowl contenders, which is not only awesome in itself, but also means they’re on TV a lot more often.
o That technology keeps getting smaller, cheaper, and more powerful every year. My cellphone is roughly twice as powerful as my first PC, by almost any measure.
I have this theory that Michael Savage’s primary purpose in life is to make Rush Limbaugh look tolerant and sane. Here, let me show you what I mean:
Well, socially, we’re far worse — more degenerate than Weimar Germany. At least in Weimar Germany, men couldn’t marry men and women couldn’t marry women. So we’re probably 10 leagues below the degeneracy that brought about Hitler. We’re probably 50 leagues below the degeneracy that brought about Hitler. We are the sickest, most disgusting country on the earth, and we are… psychotic as a nation.
It’s a psychotic nation when the attorney general of the state of California, when the senator from the state of California named Dianne Feinstein, when the governor from the state of California who posed as a strongman gets up there and says that homosexuals have a right to marry that’s equal to a man and a woman, they’re insane. They are fundamentally insane.
Got that? The fact that there was opposition to Prop 8, that there are actually people who – gasp – believe that gay people should have the same right as everyone else, means that we are the most degenerate country in the world, and that the moral backlash from righteous people like Michael Savage will almost certainly lead to the second coming of Adolf Hitler. Awesome.
In fact, gay marriage is so terrible that it’s actually the single biggest problem that America has, and all our other problems are merely a symptom of our horrific amoral gay tolerance:
[Y]ou may say, “Why should we care about homosexuals trying to destroy families through the mock marriage that they perform in order to mock God, the church, the family, children, the fetus, the DNA of the human species? Why should we care about it while we have a financial meltdown?” Because the spiritual side of the downturn on Wall Street is directly related to the moral downturn in the United States of America.
[T]he government has no right to force people to accept homosexual marriage. It is why the West is dying. It is why we’re melting down as a nation.
So that’s the root cause! And all this time I thought it was the Bush administration and its enablers’ total disrespect for human decency and the rule of law! I am so glad there are superior intellects like Michael Savage around to set me straight and remind me what’s really important.
3 commentsNovember 26th, 2008 at 05:51pmPosted by Eli
For her special this Friday, Diane Sawyer interviewed several unique stories in the sex industry, including a Sasquatch who turned to prostitution to survive.
It started while she was crossing an intersection one night, lost and trying to find her way back to the wilderness. A limousine approached the bewildered Sasquatch, and an unnamed elected official propositioned her. How this unnamed official discreetly bartered for sex with a creature that doesn’t speak English remains unclear. But it worked and she has been in the business ever since.
Standing at 7’2”, 550 pounds and covered in body hair, she tends to attract a certain kind of man. Footage shows she is mostly hired by upper class men who want to be pushed around or risk their lives mid-coitus. If her Prada shoes and matching bag are any indication, she has become quite popular among the well-to-do.
When Diane asked if she was ever scared for her safety at work, the Sasquatch beat on her chest and grunted loudly. Through a series of gestures she indicated that one customer who tried to get rough had his arm ripped off and was beaten with it until she got tired.
Provided the interview does well, Diane Sawyer has indicated she may turn this into a serial expose on cryptid call girls. The very flexible Lizard Woman is believed to be the obvious next choice.
So, um, has anyone noticed any Republican congressmen mysteriously missing an arm lately?
Despite growing pressure from colleagues to mount an internal challenge for the Oversight Committee gavel, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has reiterated to House Democratic leaders his decision to avoid running against his elder on the committee, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.).
Leadership sources said Cummings made his views known — and final — in brief discussions with senior House Democrats on Tuesday morning.
In not bowing to suggestions from within Democratic circles that he should run, Cummings’s decision essentially paves the way for Towns to receive the unanimous recommendation of the Steering and Policy Committee when it meets — presumably in December — to consider the vacant top post on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Everything I hear about Towns is that he’s kind of a lightweight who didn’t show up a whole lot when Waxman was running the show. And it’s not like we can count on his Senate counterpart to pick up the slack.
Only question in my mind is whether Towns and Lieberman will simply be ineffectual do-nothings in their oversight chairs, or if they’ll actively witch-hunt Obama; Towns because he gets rolled by Ranking Member Darrell Issa, and Lieberman because he just hates Democrats.
Mr. Klaus, the 67-year-old president of the Czech Republic — an iconoclast with a perfectly clipped mustache — continues to provoke strong reactions. He has blamed what he calls the misguided fight against global warming for contributing to the international financial crisis, branded Al Gore an “apostle of arrogance” for his role in that fight, and accused the European Union of acting like a Communist state.
Now the Czech Republic is about to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union and there is palpable fear that Mr. Klaus will embarrass the world’s biggest trading bloc and complicate its efforts to address the economic crisis and expand its powers. His role in the Czech Republic is largely ceremonial, but he remains a powerful force here, has devotees throughout Europe and delights in basking in the spotlight.
An economist by training and a free marketeer by ideology, Mr. Klaus has criticized the course set by the union’s departing leader, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. The ambitious Mr. Sarkozy has used France’s European Union presidency to push an agenda that includes broader and more coordinated regulation by the largest economies to tame the worst of the market’s excesses.
Even those who worry about Mr. Klaus’s potential role as a spoiler concede that his influence over policy in the European Union will be circumscribed, given his largely symbolic functions as president in the Czech Republic.
But Mr. Klaus’s sheer will and inflammatory talk — the eminent British historian Timothy Garton Ash once called him “one of the rudest men I have ever met” — are likely to have some impact.
“Klaus is a provocateur who will twist his arguments to get attention,” said Jiri Pehe, a former adviser to Vaclav Havel, Mr. Klaus’s rival and predecessor as president.
A fervent critic of the environmental movement, he has called global warming a dangerous “myth,” arguing that the fight against climate change threatens economic growth.
Perhaps his greatest ire has been reserved for the European Union. In 2005, he called for it to be “scrapped.” Now, he is a vocal opponent of the Lisbon Treaty, which aims to help Europe become more of an international player, but which he argues will strip countries of sovereignty.
Born in 1941, he obtained an economics degree in 1963 and was deeply influenced by free market economists like Milton Friedman.
Mr. Havel recalled in his memoirs that Mr. Klaus had an aversion “to the rest of us, whom he had clearly consigned to the same Dumpster, with a sign on it saying ‘left-wing intellectuals.’ ”
I really do hope that his powers are as limited as the story says – this guy sounds like seriously bad news.
Still, good thing Klaus wasn’t EU prez sooner – he and Dubya would have been like soulmates.
As Obama takes over the wreckage this country is in, one can’t help but feel like something alien to America has been controlling it these past eight years. The wave of emotion that has erupted with the election of Barack Obama reminds me of the Allied victory in France in WWII. After a long foreign occupation in which foreign German interests occupied the agenda of France, French governance would once again be representing the concerns of it’s populace. That hope seems to pervade America after it’s long neocons occupation.
This is what happens when a country is controlled by people who have hatred or contempt for at least 90% of its citizens, and who are more interested in looting and consolidating power than actual governance or the country’s wellbeing.
On second thought, a foreign occupier probably would have done a whole lot better than these bastards.
Nope, still no theme. But I might have some subway photos later – Woohoo!
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The reflection of the blue sky is much more visible in color, but I still think it looks crisper in B&W. As usual.
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If you click to see the larger version, you can see the spiderweb underneath the sign on the left. I don’t think I even noticed it when I took the shot, so… bonus!
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See? I can still do color on occasion. Look how nice and red that button is!
Today only is your opportunity to request a free Dr Pepper coupon, in honor of the release of Guns ‘N’ Roses long-awaited new album, Chinese Democracy. You don’t have to buy it, or listen to it, or even like Guns ‘N’ Roses. All you have to do is go here.
One of the most hilarious and bizarre obsessions to come out of Talkradioland since The Rise of Obama has been the idea that Obama and the Democrats want to reinstate The Fairness Doctrine to take our Rush Limbaughs away. Needless to say, as with most of the emissions from the right-wing fever swamp, the truth content is roughly zero parts per million.
The thing is, as much as I personally find the talk radio screamers offensive and repulsive, they’re doing far more damage to their own cause than they are to ours. McCain and the GOP ran the most talk radio-y election campaign in American history, accusing Obama and other Democratic opponents of socialism, atheism, terrorism, Islamism, being-black-ism, and every other ism they could think of, and it blew up in their faces.
Tom Schaller,Tod Lindberg,Ron Brownstein, and others have all documented how Democrats have gained ground in Republican territory while Republicans have been all but evicted from Democratic territory. Obama dominated the youth and Hispanic votes 2 to 1, both groups that will only grow larger and more influential. The future looks promising for the left, and bleak for the right.
The GOP desperately needs to reckon with America’s inexorable demographic march towards tolerance, and right-wing talk radio makes that difficult, if not impossible. Not only do virulent creatures like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage make the Republican Party look like red-faced, intolerant bigots, but they also exert pressure on the Republican Party to pander to red-faced, intolerant bigots, making it ever more toxic to the growing majority of Americans who are reasonably sane and well-adjusted.
As with any other pollutant, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Limbaugh and company go away, but it’s not Democrats that they’re poisoning.
2 commentsNovember 22nd, 2008 at 05:05pmPosted by Eli
I’m talking about those big outdoor restaurant umbrellas, of course.
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These were a lovely shade of red, but as usual I liked the B&W shadows better. Plus the blown-out sky looks less crap.
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I think this one was beige, so B&W was a no-brainer.
Perhaps “creepy” is a little strong. How about “vaguely unsettling”?
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I usually try to avoid over-processing, but I liked the way it brought out the contrast of the smoothed-over bumps.
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Flute Wizard looks more than a little… manic, no?