Monday, February 14, 2011

Headlines - Monday February 14

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By my friend, Randy Ramsley:
I Was Thinking ...

Today, as I look out on the social and political landscape, one thing is evident. Our culture is trapped in the illusion of duality.

The illusion of duality manifests itself in many ways. It is a destructive condition. It causes great unhappiness and results in unnatural and unnecessary suffering.

First we must understand the great secret of life. We are what we think. Our thoughts come to life, they manifest. Even the tiniest thought must take form somewhere in our life experience.

Next it needs to be understood that the Universe is one. The Universe is one thing, and we are individuations or pieces of the one. Jesus expressed this understanding when he exclaimed that he and the Father were one. Everything is interconnected. We are seeing evidence of this interconnectedness in the science of physics.

In our limited perception of the world, our senses tell us the opposite. We see up and down, hot and cold, sick and well, rich and poor. This is dualistic thinking. And as long as we go on thinking dualistically, we are going to be force to live in a dualistic world.

One of the things that make us unhappy is the idea that others have more than we do. And we think that we would be happy if we only had what they have. Or we think that if we give someone something it means that we must then, obviously, have less. Our limited thinking leads us to believe that stuff has limitations; there is only so much stuff. And if I am going to have stuff, someone else must have less stuff. This is not true. And yet, this untruth is dominating our lives.

As long as we go about our day thinking that doing good for others is costing us, and that we have less because we have given someone something, the law of mind takes affect, and that is exactly what happens.

As long as we think we have enemies we will have enemies.

This is the great lesson in the Christian teaching of the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This Golden Rule is not meant to have some future effect like getting into heaven. Heaven exists here and now and we can experience heaven right now if we understand our relationship to the Universe.

The human experience is the result of mind unfolding. This unfolding mind must include compassion. All the master teachers have time and again implored us to act with compassion and without greed. I am suggesting that we should take heed. Without right actions we cannot expect a satisfactory outcome in our individual lives or in our society.
Comment by my friend Janet: Yes, and this seems like an intrinsic part of human nature. Think: Adam and Eve, heaven and hell. Not to say that the Bible stories are the cause of thinking in terms of duality, but could these stories exist because they describe human nature?


Keith Moon, reincarnated.


None Dare Call it Welfare

Suzanne Mettler, professor at Cornell, has written an article in Perspectives on Politics that highlights the public ignorance regarding the benefits people receive from the state. Different government programs operate indirectly have made the extent of the US welfare state invisible. These government social programs are rarely stigmatized by equating them to welfare. Welfare, it's not just for the poor.

The table, below the fold, is amazing.

The following table shows the government program and the percentage of people who use that program but claim that they 'have not used a government social program.'


Today in loving christianity

Just added to the YouTube channel of Pastor Donald Spitz, whose Army Of God ministry usually spends its time defending the murderers of abortion providers. Clip labels:
Criminalize Homosexuality, Homosexual activist, Scott Lively, Abiding Truth Ministries, Pink Swastika, Donald Spitz, sodomite, Jesus Christ, Holy Bible, gay, queer, faggot, sexual deviant, lesbian, moffie, pink, Christianity, inspirational.
Video here.
KENTUCKY: Gay Couple Denied Admission To Creation Museum's "Date Night"

On Friday a couple gay was turned away from a special "Date Night" event at Kentucky's Creation Museum after being told that their presence would add an "un-Christian element" to the venue. Blogger Joe Sonka describes his evening:
I rushed back from DC to my old Kentucky home last night to attend the spectacular "Date Night at the Creation Museum", where my date and I were to take in a nice dinner and listen to Ken Ham explain what makes a good relationship work. Unfortunately, we were told at the door that we would not be allowed entry. They explained to us that the Creation Museum Date Night was a "Christian environment", therefore the presence of two men eating dinner together would not be allowed. The very sight of this would "add an un-Christian element to the event" and "disrupt the evening for everyone". The Creation Museum rep further informed us that you cannot be a Christian if you are gay, asking "can you tell me what exactly is Christian about being gay?"
Sonka and his date were also denied refunds on their $71 tickets.

RELATED: In December the museum announced the construction of $25M "full-scale replica" of Noah's Ark.
They're coming to get you Barbara. Look, here's one of them now!
Herman Cain, who has already formed a presidential exploratory committee for the next election cycle, alleged "stupid people are ruining America" on Friday at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference.

"It's sad," he said in a speech at the annual event before going on to take aim at the left side of the political spectrum. "The objective of the liberals is to destroy this country. The objective of the liberals is to make America mediocre."

Gee guys, I guess he has us all figured out. It turns out that rabid socialists who want to redistribute your wealth to help the less-fortunate among us are actually on a secret mission to destroy America! Can't fool him!

Joshua Green of the Atlantic asked Mr. Cain if he thought the president was born in in this country and his deeply insightful response has failed to surprise me.

I have no idea. The fact that it has become an issue, or a controversy, does raise a question that I can't say that I feel one way or the other because I have not reviewed all the various "proof" one way or another.

Stupid people are ruining the country, but they aren't liberal.


Skippy's environmental news stories Sunday.


If you tend to burn your meals when cooking, you might want to consider using more butter in your dishes. There's flame retardant in it.

Flame retardants found in butter: for about a decade, scientists have known that most americans have minute quantities of flame retardants called pbdes, in their bodies, but they were not sure how they got there. now a study has found what the authors say is the first documented case of serious pbde contamination of food in the united states. NYT


Idaho nullificationists poised to kill Medicaid in that state. 


Dude...You're the Speaker of the House! "The Speaker told NBC's David Gregory Sunday that people have a right to their beliefs and it wasn't his job to tell them what to think. ... Last week, 40 percent of Republicans on a Fox News panel insisted that Obama was a Muslim. ... "As the Speaker of the House, as the leader, do you not think it's your responsibility to stand up to that kind of ignorance?" Gregory asked. ... "David, it's not my job to tell the American people what to think," Boehner replied. "Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people.""

Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars:
Remember: When a Republican says, "We have no other choice," what he means is "Because I would never in a million years tax the rich instead."
Egyptian military leaders say they are dissolving the pro-Mubarak parliament and suspending the constitution, with the intention (allegedly) of holding elections within the next two months. Military police are still trying to mop up the remaining protesters in Tahrir Square, and banks are closed until Wednesday due to protests by National Bank workers, so basically anything can happen! (For example: the CIA might decide to murder everyone and then install John Bolton as King of Egypt and Bombing Iran.) Also, John Boehner said flattering things about Obama's diplomatic skillz, which is a Hanukkah miracle. [BBC/CNN/NYT]
Newt Gingrich's latest (?) choose-your-own Homosexual Agenda Adventure paperback was discovered in a tampon receptacle at CPAC. 
Despite earmark ban, Boner brings home pork-barrel defense project the Pentagon doesn't want.

Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller, blogger and ardent opponent of the Park51 Islamic cultural center proposed for downtown New York City, tells attendees at CPAC that CPAC itself has been infiltrated by "Muslim Brotherhood activists." Watch.


America's poorest county.


Shirley Sherrod suing Andrew Breitbart. He was served at the recent CPAC gathering. Salon.


The Guardian: Following Egypt and Tunisia, Iran rallies against government

Bahrain is also having anti-government protests. In Yemen, protesters marched yesterday. 

Americans love their government just fine. Besides, it would be too much work to get off our fat asses and protest.


Priest-ridden, god forsaken

The NYT magazine has a good article about the fall-out from the Catholic Church abuse scandals that took place in Ireland. Church attendance has now fallen 50% over the past 30 years and there are more priests over 70 than under 40. The response from the Vatican has been heavy-handed and top-down: the most prominent local reformer within the church, archbishop Diarmuid Martin, has been passed over for promotion and is now shunned by other bishops.

What I wonder with stories like this is what kind of plan does the Catholic Church have for the future? Young people are leaving the church in droves throughout the west, partly in response to the scandals and the fact that the church hierarchy functions as a proxy for the conservative movement in many parts of the western world (e.g., here). Is the plan just to double down on cover-ups and right-wing theology? Do conservatives ever do anything other than double down anymore?

Update. Morzer has a good summary of the Vatican's plan, such as it is:

They've shown you the plan very clearly over the last 20 years. Pack the upper levels of the church hierarchy with known conservatives, select a conservative as pope, no significant rethinking of theology, roll back the remains of Vatican II, occasional ecumenical gestures while trying to undermine other churches and pick off their angry conservative splinter sects, bring back the formerly unacceptable conservative kooks, raise as much money as possible, put on lots of son et lumiere for the gullible masses, and cling to what they have as grimly and arrogantly as possible. This is exactly what they did under John Paul II, and Benedict was chosen to carry on the good work, so to speak. Ultimately, it will be a losing game, but these things take time.


Yes, I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.....

Jill: Anything...ANYTHING to try to make Republicans like him
This is really getting pathological:
President Obama's budget will propose cutting in half the program that helps low-income families and senior citizens and disabled pay their heating and air conditioning bills, according to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who signed a letter Friday urging the president to change his mind.

The cut would drop about 500,000 New Jersey residents from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program program that assisted nearly 1 million state residents last year, Menendez said in a statement released Friday.

"It defies common sense to shut off the heat to seniors and low-income families,'' Menendez said. "Cutting these resources is colder than this winter. We need to get our fiscal house in order. But we should do it responsibly.''
It wasn't that long ago that Barack Obama signed off on continued tax cuts for billionaires. And now he wants the poor to freeze in the dark. No sacrifice is too great for Barack Obama's need to have Republicans like him. He appears to care not one whit about the people who actually voted for him, it's all about the Republicans.

I'm about to send an extra $200 to the fuel oil company because we've gone through a lot more oil this year than usual because of this year's cold and snow...and we need the tank filled about three weeks earlier than in most years. I'm lucky in that I can absorb it. But there are many families in this country who can't. And now a Democratic President is about to pull the rug out from under them.
Thanks, Hopey.
Mooselini, in her own words

And nobody yet has, nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and no, not, not real enthused about what it is that that's being done on a national level and from DC in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And, in these areas that are so volatile right now, because obviously it's not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House. We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with. And, we do not have all that information yet. – Mooselini ®


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