There is a survey by the oddly named Pew Forum about how much people know about religion. ( BTW, a pew is something you sit on in church. If you say PU after the preaching, you are paying attention.) The study shows that this group knows more about religion than that group. PG decided to take the test, and see what the fuss was about.
The quiz is 15 multiple choice questions, about a variety of religions. The multiple choice format makes grading easy, but allows for guesswork. Students learn how to narrow the possible choices, and make the guess more likely.
PG got an 80 the first time he took the test. Trying to recreate this today for purposes of this post, he got an 87. The 87 is better that 97% of the sample group that took the test.
The test is skewed to the Judeo-Christian experience. 9 of the 15 questions are about the Bible religions. 2 are about eastern religions, 2 are about Islam, and 2 are about Supreme Court rulings. The legal questions were prompted by Christian practices and The Bible, so the first category might be 11 of the 15. This includes a question about Mormonism, which some do not consider to be Christian. Whatever. (For purposes of this report, Catholics are considered Christians. )
What astonished PG was how easy the test was, and how many people missed obvious questions. 18% did not know Mother Teresa was Catholic. 49% did not know Joseph Smith was a Mormon , even with multiple choice. 54% did not know that Martin Luther inspired the Protestant Reformation.
It should be noted that the online quiz is different from the telephone survey. Many demographic questions are asked. If you are interested in the methodology, there seems to be plenty to look at. There are lots of statistics, some of which are true. If you care what internet typists think, take a look around you. As Bessie Smith might say, “You’re in the right church brother, but the wrong pew.”
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
There is a discussion going on at obsidianwings about the future of energy in America. It involves crafty politicians and the oil companies who fight them. The dialog says a few things about the future of energy policy, and the difficulties in enacting effective legislation to shape them.
The lame duck Governator of California gave a speech yesterday about something called Proposition 23. Yes, this is another zany ballot measure on the fun loving left coast. Prop 23 is about a law, AB32, which does something to reduce carbon emissions ( more about the “does something” part later. The ” ballot measure … calls for suspending the climate law until the jobless rate hits 5.5 percent for a year, a level achieved only three times in 40 years.”
Some speechwriter did an outstanding job. The Governor had some great lines, and he read them with conviction. “Does anyone really believe that these companies that out of the goodness of their black oil hearts are spending millions and millions of dollars to protect jobs? This is like Eva Braun writing a kosher cookbook — it’s not about jobs at all, ladies and gentlemen, it’s about their ability to pollute and thus protect their profits.”
As could be expected, the supporters of Prop. 23 are well funded, no doubt by the carbon industry. The oil companies like their profits, and don’t want the public to know the total cost of their energy addiction. The only problem is, AB32 is just a bit shifty.
A commenter at obsidianwings named “TheRadicalModerate” raises some issues. “But of course, your argument is pretty much in keeping with the spirit of AB32, which does everything it can to hide the financial burden of its implementation from the voters. Rather than simply implementing a straightforward excise tax on petroleum products, the bill hands off near-plenary regulatory power to the California Air Resources Board and authorizes them to implement a vaguely-defined cap-and-trade system, plus whatever other regulations pop into their heads. The whole scheme is designed to ensure that the voters never find out what the emissions reductions are actually costing them.”
America is addicted to oil. The addiction gets us into wars, keeps us from exploring other sources of energy, and does grave damage to the environment. One way to fight this is through tax based government intervention.
However, an upfront tax on petroleum products will NEVER be passed by our governing bodies. So, they get sneaky and pass something like AB32, which tries to do the same thing by creating an “Air Resources Board”. ( To be honest, this is the first PG has heard of AB 32, and is depending on TheRadicalModerate (spell check suggestions:Therapeutically, Thermodynamical, Thermostatically, Moderateness) for his information.) When the people find out what is going on, they trust the government even less. The damage to the planet by oil addiction continues, with the people helpless to do anything to stop it.
There is much hand wringing about Israel, Palestine, and the Peace Process. ( That is an opening sentence you can use at any time. It is almost like “these things too shall pass away”.)
A lot of this chatter misses the point. They talk about a threat to Israel if this or that happens, or does not happen. There are several things wrong here. To begin with, Israel has the unquestioning support of the United States. The PR battle in the USA is the most important fight Israel has.
A “freeze” in building settlements ended recently. The word settlement is so antiseptic and painless. Settlements are not built on empty land. The people living on the land were evicted, and their homes destroyed. As Juan Cole tells the story: “The poor Palestinians of East Jerusalem have few assured human or civil rights. Anyone may do anything to them at any time, and they have little recourse. They can be thrown out of property they legally purchased after 1948, and made to live in tents in front of their former residences; and then the tents can be demolished by Israeli police. Aggressive, larcenous Jewish squatters continually attempt to effect a slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, using fraud and sometimes force.
The 55,000 Palestinians of the Silwan area (formerly a village but now annexed to Jerusalem) are mad as hell and not going to take it any more. Three hundred militant settlers have been inserted in their midst on the basis of some fable that a legendary King David dwelled there in the 10th century BC (archeology has found Jerusalem largely uninhabited in that period and has never found firm evidence of a Jewish kingdom during that era or even that a David or Solomon existed; they are not mentioned in contemporary Assyrian sources).
It is as though hundreds of armed men showed up in front of your house and demanded you take your family and leave and give it to them because their ancestor was a king and he is buried deep under its foundations. But you have the same ancestors that they do! (Jerusalem was founded some 5000 years ago by the common ancestors of most Jews and Palestinians).”
Apparently, this has gone on since 1948. An article about Israeli Author Gideon Levy tells the story of his father, who left Germany in 1939, and wound up in British Mandate Palestine. His father was traumatized by the experience of being a refugee. “Levy’s father never saw any parallels between the fact he was turned into a refugee, and the 800,000 Palestinians who were turned into refugees by the creation of the state of Israel. “Never! People didn’t think like that. We never discussed it, ever.” Yet in the territories, Levy began to see flickers of his father everywhere – in the broken men and women never able to settle, dreaming forever of going home.
Then, slowly, Levy began to realise their tragedy seeped deeper still into his own life – into the ground beneath his feet and the very bricks of the Israeli town where he lives, Sheikh Munis. It is built on the wreckage of “one of the 416 Palestinian villages Israel wiped off the face of the earth in 1948,” he says. “The swimming pool where I swim every morning was the irrigation grove they used to water the village’s groves. My house stands on one of the groves. The land was ‘redeemed’ by force, its 2,230 inhabitants were surrounded and threatened. They fled, never to return. Somewhere, perhaps in a refugee camp in terrible poverty, lives the family of the farmer who plowed the land where my house now stands.”
Many of those 800,000 wound up in the Gaza Strip. Their ancestors make up a large part of the population of Gaza. Mr. Levy tells another story, about Operation Cast Lead. “He gives an example. During Operation Cast Lead, the Israel bombing of blockaded Gaza in 2008-9, “a dog – an Israeli dog – was killed by a Qassam rocket and it on the front page of the most popular newspaper in Israel. On the very same day, there were tens of Palestinians killed, they were on page 16, in two lines.”
But, morality aside, is this cruelty hurting Israel? Not on some esoteric level of the soul of the country, but on a practical level of survival. A blog called Unqualified Offerings makes a case that Israel has a long term plan to control the territories west of the Jordan River, and that they are winning. Israel is in a military position of strength, and might makes right.
“Viewed institutionally and leaving moral questions aside, it counts as a triumph of grand strategy. Israel bought off Egypt with Egypt’s own territory. It convinced Jordan to bow out, and plain beat Syria like a rodeo clown. Lebanon could be broken any time and was, and the Lebanese were always falling all over themselves to help. At this point, Israel has also destroyed the ability of the Palestinians to mount any consequential resistance of their own. Just as Hezbollah couldn’t occupy a single Israeli exurb in a trial of a thousand years, no Palestinian organization can stop Israel from planting its flag on any particular spot of the West Bank for so much as a week… Any large, political-military enterprise is going to have its ebb and flow. The Israeli conquest and consolidation of what we still quaintly call “the Occupied Territories” has involved tactical setbacks, occasional overreach and strategic withdrawals. The trick is not to get caught up in that. The long view is, Israel wanted control of all the territory west of the Jordan, Israel got control of all the territory west of the Jordan, Israel continues to cement its control over all the territory west of the Jordan. Everything else is details.
Turkey is not going to war for the Freedom Flotilla. It took all of a day for the United States to conclude a deal whereby Israel gets to investigate itself. The Iranians are either not trying to get nukes, or if they do get nukes will be very careful with them. The Iranians will fuck you up, but never at any substantial cost to themselves. Israel can levy a substantial cost on Iran any time it wants. The Palestinians can’t do more than annoy and neither can Hezbollah.
On the other side, frequently foreigners make sad faces. I am thinking that Israel counts this among the acceptable costs.”
Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
This is a repost. Somehow, I never did do any more posts about that “been there done that” list. Mingaling, who started this episode, had a baby, which I am not capable of. I saw Crazy Owl last fall, and he is doing well. Picture for this drama are from The Library of Congress.
There is something called the “meme” in the blogosphere. As best I understand the concept, it is a question about yourself that you send out chain letter style into the void. Like paradigm, a word that people toss about freely ,and I never have quite understood.
At any rate, mingaling has a list of 150 things that you can do. The idea is to read the list, and indicate which of these things you have done.
My life has been my life. (Like Popeye and the sweet potato, I yam what I yam). There are things I have done, things I have not done, and there are regrets and gratitudes on both sides. Anyone who gets to be 53 years old and says they have no regrets is a liar. I have told lies.
I had a friend once named Crazy Owl. (He is still my friend, even if I haven’t seen him in twelve years). He lived in a tract of land on Flat Shoals road near the new Wal Mart. There are lots of houses there now, but twelve years ago he had his “monastery” there.
On certain Friday nights, he would have a sweat lodge. Like a crude outdoor sauna, you would build a fire, heat the rocks, and put them in the lodge, go inside and perspire. It is a Native American thing, and I have heard that they still have them in Candler Park.
So one friday, the people in the lodge made comments about what they were grateful for. The previous friday, I had been in a bar in Tucker, GA. The hostess of the happy hour party had made xerox copies of a coupon for cheap food. The room next to the dining room had a band, and a room full of drunks. Each and every one of those drunks was chain smoking. The band played ” Is that all there is?” I ordered a cup of coffee, and was charged $2.75 for something I would not wash a dog in.
So, when we shared our gratitudes at the sweat lodge, I said ” Last friday night I was in an unbelievably cheesy bar in Tucker Georgia. Tonight I am here. I am grateful for variety in my life.”
The song “Is that all there is” is about life experiences, and the disappointment they sometimes bring. If I ever send this meme out, item 151 will be hearing “Is that all there is” as performed by Sandra Bernhardt. The video at the end is credited to “JEM”, but sounds a lot like Ms. Bernhardt.
Peggy Lee, who passed away a few years ago, made the song famous. Ms. Lee had a stroke and years of bad health, and was by all accounts a vegetable when she moved on. It is highly unlikely that she said “Is that all there is?” on her deathbed
Item 152 on this annotated meme would be staying at the Hostel in Brunswick. I stayed in a treehouse there, on the night before a trip to Cumberland Island. They had a circle before dinner, where all the visitors hold hands and say what they were grateful for. My comment was “ I am grateful for all the people at this meeting who keep there comments down to a short sentence or two.” The inability to shut up before dinner is a serious character flaw.
This meme is good, and may supply fodder for more than one post. Since lunch hour is almost over I will settle for number 23 (23 skidoo), Gotten Drunk on Champagne. One night in Seattle, I went to a bar called WREX. They were giving away bottles of Andre’ Champagne, and I tried to insure that none were left over.
The next day I felt worse than horrible. A champagne hangover is used by the Southern Baptist Convention to convince folks not to ever drink again. Ever. After a while, I pushed the cotton candy in my head to one side, and started to walk down Pike Street to the market. I crossed a street, oblivious to the red light in the yellow box. I also didn’t notice the two policemen waiting for me, one of whom wrote a citation for Jaywalking. A couple of weeks later I went to Pedestrian Safety School. That could be item 153.
When PG was a kid, his grandmother lived in a side apartment, in a house on Virginia Avenue. The owner of the house was Mrs. Stuckey. ( PG never learned her “real” name, and assumed that checks were made out to Mrs.) There was a framed piece of paper in Mrs. Stuckey’s hall. The top said “The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do” , and featured the logo of the Rotary Club. The four rules were simple, on the surface.
Is it the TRUTH?//Is it FAIR to all Concerned?//Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?//Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
The four way test was written by Herbert J. Taylor. In 1932, Mr.Taylor took over the bankrupt Club Aluminum Company of Chicago. Trying to revive the company during the depression, Mr. Taylor wrote a code of ethics, that would be the basis for the company’s actions.
Many said that the four way test was not practical for the business world. The balancing of integrity and ambition can be daunting. It was said that “This emphasis on truth, fairness and consideration provide a moral diet so rich that it gives some people “ethical indigestion.”
PG maintains that fair is a baseball hit between first and third base. Sometimes, the umpire makes the wrong call. In the “real world”, the different points of view in a dispute make rendering a fair judgment a difficult task, if not an impossible one.
There is a story about the revival of Club Aluminum. ” One day, the sales manager announced a possible order for 50,000 utensils. Sales were low and the company was still struggling at the bankruptcy level. The senior managers certainly needed and wanted that sale, but there was a hitch. The sales manager learned that the potential customer intended to sell the products at cut-rate prices. “That wouldn’t be fair to our regular dealers who have been advertising and promoting our product consistently,” he said. In one of the toughest decisions the company made that year, the order was turned down. There was no question this transaction would have made a mockery out of The Four-Way Test the company professed to live by.”
How did the sales manager learn of the intentions of this buyer? Was he tipped off by one of the “regular customers” who feared competition? Was this “regular customer” lying? Many inspirational stories leave out crucial details.
As it turns out, Club Aluminum did sell enough product to emerge from bankruptcy. “By 1937, Club Aluminum’s indebtedness was paid off and during the next 15 years, the firm distributed more than $1 million in dividends to its stockholders. Its net worth climbed to more than $2 million.”
Club Aluminum cookware was cast, not spun. It is heavy, and is a prized collectors item today. As for the Club Aluminum company ” Standard International Corporation bought it in 1968. Regalware made and marketed Club Aluminum for a while, but went out of business in the mid-1980s. The brand name was eventually obtained by the Mirro Company.”
This is a repost. Philosophy and rules for living is always a crowd pleaser. Whether or not you practice what you preach is beside the point. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.
There is a story above. A company, facing bankruptcy, turned down a huge order because of concerns about how the product would be resold. Today, this seems quaint. Today, the moral thing to do would be to take the order, keep your factory busy, and not worry how it was going to be resold. While some pretend that moral rules are unchanging, the truth is that they do change with the times.
This reminds PG of a story from his days as a blueprinter. With ammonia developed prints, every print is fed by hand, and you have the option to adjust the speed of the machine. Slower prints mean less background, which to some is a higher quality print. ( This is not an issue with digital printing. Some change is indeed progress.)
The company PG worked for was affiliated with a small, family run company in a neighboring city. This company was run by an old fashioned lady, who insisted on adjusting every print to get the perfect background. This was different from the company PG worked for, which ran large jobs for the big city market. To his customers, quality meant getting an acceptable print, DELIVERED ON TIME. Who had the higher standards? Maybe that is a question for the customer to judge.
The postcard race for the 81st district of the Georgia House of Representatives is heating up. Republican Incumbent Jill Chambers has sent out three mailers, all in her brash style. Democratic Challenger Elena Parent has sent out four mailers. In the next five weeks, there will probably be more.
Elena Parent is married to Briley Brisendine, and lives in a mcmansion three blocks from PG. Her ads are stylish, and visually appealing. They speak of the need to support education, and bring jobs to the district. One shows a man posing in front of the GM plant in Doraville. It is a stretch to believe either candidate could have persuaded GM to keep that plant open.
The ads from Miss Parent show the “bug”, indicating they were printed at a union shop. The ads from Miss Parent are personally addressed to PG, and his brother GP. The ads from Mrs. Chambers are addressed to “The ***** Family”.
The ads from Mrs. Chambers are much more aggressive. In the first mailer, she discusses her divorce, and the failure of her ex husband’s business. ( Albert Chambers got a bit of attention when he left a nasty message on the answering machine of a political opponent.) In Peach Pundit, Chris Huttman , a former 81st district contender, wondered why she took this approach. None of the mailers from Miss Parent mention the personal difficulties of Mrs. Chambers.
PG has met Mrs. Chambers on a couple of occasions. Last week, PG saw her at the Chamblee post office. She talked about her second mailout, which featured Larry Flynt as the villain. Mrs. Chambers said that Miss Parent’s ads were professional looking, but that hers got more attention. “Wait till you see what I have later this week”.
The third mailer is a doozy. It shows a blond, with her eyes bugging out before a handful of hundreds. It seems that Elena Parent has received donations from lawyers at Sutherland-Asbill. The Dekalb School board seems to need a lot of legal work these days, and one firm it uses is Sutherland-Asbill. What Mrs. Chambers does not mention in this mailer is that Elena Parent is a former employee of Sutherland-Asbill. The blogfordemocracy has a post about this, with a highly entertaining comments.
PG hears the word “racist” tossed casually so much, he suspects it has lost it’s meaning. Dictionary definitions are of little use. The meaning of the word depends on who is saying it.
The modest suggestion here is for a seven point scale to measure racism. Zero would be totally colorblind, and six would be metaphysical hate. For the sake of simplicity, this scale, in the beginning, will only apply to white-black relations in the United States.
The model for this is the Kinsey scale. In his books on human sexuality, Dr. Kinsey described a seven point scale. Zero was totally heterosexual, and six was totally homosexual.
PG does not have a clue how to write a test for this scale, or how to score this test. White people see racism differently than black people. White people are affected by racism in different ways than black people. Different cultures view racism in different ways.
How would PG score on this scale? He has black friends and black enemies. Certain parts of black culture are enjoyable, and certain parts make him want to turn the radio off.
PG does not like people that do not like PG. When it is us against them, you need to remember which one you are. How does this register on this racism scale? It depends on who does the judging.
This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
Brandon Joseph Rhode is scheduled to be executed at 7:00 p.m. tonight. Mr. Rhode was convicted of the murder of Bryan, Steven, and Kristin Moss during a robbery on April 23, 1998. (11 year old Bryan confronted the burglars with a baseball bat.) Daniel Anthony Lucas also participated in the crime, and has been sentenced to die.
Ocmulgee Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright prosecuted the case. Because of the brutality of the crime, a plea bargain was not offered. Mr. Bright wanted the death penalty. “I vividly remember in the guilt-innocence portion of the trial, when the jury had been out five hours, the attorneys asked me about a manslaughter plea. My response was ‘read my lips, I’m not even interested in offering life without parole’.”
The case went through the required series of appeals and reviews. Lawyers claimed that other lawyers did not do a good job, and that it was really Mr. Lucas who did the killing. There seems to be little doubt that Mr. Rhode was at the crime scene at the time of the murders. On Sept. 17, 2009 the verdict was issued. “Brandon Rhode, a Georgia death row inmate, appeals from the district court’s denial of his federal habeas corpus petition. The court granted a certificate of appealability (“COA”) as to Rhode’s claim of ineffective penalty phase investigation and presentation of mitigation evidence by his trial counsel. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the district court’s denial of Rhode’s petition.”
The mitigating circumstances deal largely with Mr. Rhode’s mental capacity. Amnesty International tells the story. Brandon Rhode was born in Mississippi to a young mother, who as a 15-year-old was not even aware she was pregnant for the first five months. During this time she consumed alcohol and drugs. Brandon Rhode has been diagnosed as suffering from organic brain damage, and in 2010, using modern methods of testing, experts concluded that he “definitely suffers from a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder” (FASD), and that his development was significantly delayed as a result of his exposure to alcohol as a foetus. Dr Richard Adler has said that “what we now know for certain in 2010… is that the brain of a healthy child continues to grow and develop and mature into the early 20s. During that time, the executive functions of the brain – impulse control, judgment, planning, appreciation of consequences, empathy, ability to course-correct – are the last areas of brain functioning to develop. This is why adolescents – even 18 year old teenagers like Brandon Rhode was in 1998 – are definitely impaired in these areas of functioning as compared to adults. Furthermore, the characteristic deficits associated with FASD only exacerbate the impairments associated with adolescent brain immaturity… In effect, Brandon was functioning… at a considerably younger level than his chronological age at the time of the subject crimes”.
Brandon Rhode began drinking alcohol at the age of 11, and by the age of 13 was abusing alcohol and drugs regularly. He was hospitalized at the age of 13 after a suicide attempt. At 15, he dropped out of school and was sent by his mother to live with his biological father who was a drug addict and alcoholic. The teenager’s own substance abuse escalated and he began to burgle houses in the pursuit of money to buy alcohol and drugs”
As this is written, Brandon Rhode is held in restraints. He attempted suicide before his scheduled execution Tuesday night. As the fishwrapper tells the story “Rhode tried to kill himself by slitting the side of his neck and both arms. By the time he was discovered, Rhode was unconscious and had lost half the blood in his body; he was revived at the hospital in nearby Griffin…Rhode had concealed the razor blade he used to cut his neck and arms while lying under a blanket, said Joe Drolet, a lawyer for the state attorney general’s office. He was being observed by guards, but they could not see what was happening under the blanket and took action when they saw blood.”
There are reports that the razor was given to Mr. Rhode by a prison guard. This is denied by the officials. “There’s not a pattern of recklessly handing out razors to suicidal death row inmates,” They do not deny that Mr. Rhode was being observed, by guards, while he cut himself under a blanket.
The state is still planning to poison Brandon Rhode tonight at 7:00 p.m. Until that time , “Two guards — and not the guards who were assigned to watch Rhode at the time he tried to kill himself — must be assigned continuously to observe Rhode.”
There have been other suicides on death row recently. On January 1, 2010, Leeland Mark Braley was found hanging in his cell. And then there is the case of Timothy Pruitt.
Timothy Woodrow Pruitt tried to hang himself on November 19. He died on December 6. ( PG is puzzled why it would take 17 days for a botched suicide to have the desired effect). When announcing his demise, the Department of Corrections referred to an “alleged suicide attempt” that is under investigation.
On January 8 , “Georgia’s top Department of Corrections official has now acknowledged that one of two recent reported suicides on Georgia’s death row may not have been a suicide.” And now, there are reports of guards giving an unstable inmate razor blades, on the eve of his execution.
Pictures are from the Georgia Department of Corrections and ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
UPDATE: The Georgia Supreme Court has granted another stay of execution. The procedure is now scheduled for Monday, September 27, at 4:00 p.m..
UPDATE2: Brandon Rhode died Monday night, September 27. He did not make a final statement.
Normally, PG deletes spam comments without a thought. Yea, the ones in Russian are different from others. And if you want to buy generic viagra, something is sure to come up.
Today was an exception. A few days ago, PG wrote a post titled Saint Carrie Prejean. The title had very little to do with the post, which was about internet tests to see if you were liberal or conservative. The question to yield the answer was ” If you could chisel any Americans, living or dead, onto Mt. Rushmore, who would you choose?” The conservative choice is “Revs. James Dobson, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and Saint Carrie Prejean.” In the spirit of diversity, the lib choice is “Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, Harvey Milk, and Angelina Jolie”.
Carrie Prejean was Miss California once. She answered a question about gay marriage at the Miss USA pageant, and Perez Hilton acted like a fool. It became quite the internet sensation for a few days, with revelations about x rated videos and a boob job. Miss Prejean was terminated as Miss California, and the last she was heard from was getting married. The groom is not Micheal Phelps.
The comment today was from songzhibiao.com. Somehow, it got through the spam filter ( which is usually very effective). Out of morbid curiosity, PG clicked on the link.
Songzhibiao (spell check suggestion:songbird) is a travel insurance company. Today’s post is “Important Facts on Pregnant Travel Insurance”. The spell check suggestion for Prejean is pregnant.
PG has a secret source at the office of Senator Saxby Chambliss. There is information about the unpleasantness posted in the comment section at JoemyG-d
The comment in question was “all faggots must die”. The comment was made during a cloture vote, regarding DADT repeal. The comment was garbled in transmission. The full comment was “all faggots must die for their country”. The comment was intended as support for the repeal of DADT.
Senator Chambliss wants to have this hushed up. His “base” consists of Republicans, who believe the Bible tells them to hate queers. To admit that faggots have died in wars for America is an outrage.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
Snitching has a long, if not honorable, history in our republic. If your neighbor is a communist or a pothead, inquiring minds want to know. It should be no surprise that the war on terror is being fought with the same rules. BoingBoing and wired combine forces to inform the public of the latest opportunity to help your government.
The Department of Homeland Security has issued a pamphlet, Identifying Homegrown
Violent Extremists Before They Strike. It is labeled ” unclassified for official use only”. Continuing the official meme, the document states “L)”67$” *&2′,$”&0″&00 (*(+1″+*6(.(6($,C”+)-“6&”67$”$=6$)6” 4$’5 (6 6$-“> /”1+%C”+3 $)*($,”+’$”$) *&2’+3$-“6&” 0&’%+’-” 6&”D6+6$”+)-“M&*+1″N2,(&)”O $)6$’,C “P&()6″: +,B”N&’* $ ,C” +)-” N; L”N ($1-“Q00(*$,”()0& ‘5 +6(&) “&)”$)6(6 ($,”67+6″ +’$”41 +)) ()3″&'” *&55 (66()3″+*6,”& 0″ +”,2,4(*(&2,”) + 62’$C”* ‘(5()+ 1″& ‘”&67$’%(,$C”67+6″5+/” ()-(*+6 $”+”4&6$)6(+1″ 67’$+6″6&”R9 D9″()6$’$,6,”+)-“%+”+ )6″02’67$'”().$,6(3+6(&)9″”:7(,”()0& ;’5+6 & ) “,7&21-“)& 6″> $”*&11$*6$-” ,&1$1/ “&)”N(‘,6″85$)- 5$)6″4’&6$*6$-“+*6(.(6($,”&'”&) “67$”> +,(,”&0″+)/”‘+* (+ 1C”$ 67) (* C” $1(3(&2,C”&'”&67$'” 4’&0(1$9″
Oh my. The first edition of this report was not copy friendly. Not to worry, there is a download here. The site also has a download of Homeland Security Guidance for Response to a Nuclear Detonation.
Now, where were we? Oh yes, the document was telling us what to do with our snitching. “In the course of official activities, and to the extent permitted by law, agencies are encouraged to forward to State and Local Fusion Centers, Joint Task Forces, and FBI Field Offices information on entities that are planning or committing acts of a suspicious nature, criminal or otherwise, that may indicate a potential threat to U.S. interests and warrant further investigation. This information should not be collected solely on First Amendment protected activities or on the basis of any racial, ethnic, religious, or other profile.”
Does a “fusion center” have anything to do with alternative energy or asian food?
Ok, so your neighbor takes mysterious boxes into the basement, and never smiles. Should you report her? That is a tough call to make sometime. The helpful DHS offers a few tips. Think of Jeff Foxworthy saying, you might be a terrorist if…
Indicators of Possible Terrorist Activity
-New or increased advocacy of violence including providing material support or recruiting others to commit criminal acts.
-Adoption of new life styles and segregation from normal peer and family groups in association with advocating criminal or terrorist activity.
-The adoption of a new name.
-Behavior that could indicate participation in surveillance of potential targets.
-Acquisition of excessive quantities of weapons or materials that could be used to produce explosives such as ammonium nitrate-based fertilizers or hydrogen peroxide.
-Travel to or interest in traveling overseas to attend violent extremist institutions or paramilitary training camps.
-New or increased interest in Websites and reading materials that advocate violence and then initiating action in support of this activity.
-New or increased interest in critical infrastructure locations and landmarks, including obtaining aerial views of these locations.
Any reporting should include all of the information that factored into the decision to report the activities.
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
These agencies are rather responsible by government standards. “Note: DHS, FBI, and NCTC are not advocating interference with the rights of law-abiding citizens. There may be a legitimate reason why some of the indicators described in this document are present; it is up to you to determine when that is not the case. If you observe suspicious activities that warrant the attention of federal law enforcement entities, please contact your nearest State and Local Fusion Center and your local FBI Field Office or Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
On the last page of this document, two web addresses are given. “For a listing of information needs related to terrorism and Homegrown Violent Extremist radicalization, please see the following websites to view the Intelligence Community coordinated Terrorism Information Needs (TINs) and FBI and DHS reporting guidance.”
One of these addresses is for something called LEO, or Law Enforcement Online. When you log onto LEO , you are greeted with a warning. “You are accessing a U.S. Government information system, which includes this computer, this computer network, all computers connected to this network, and all devices and/or storage media attached to this network or to a computer on this network. This information system is provided for U.S. Government-authorized use only. Unauthorized or improper use of this system may result in disciplinary action, and civil and criminal penalties. By using this information system, you understand and consent to the following: You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communications transmitted through or data stored on this information system. At any time, the government may monitor, intercept, search and/or seize data transiting or stored on this information system. Any communications transmitted through or data stored on this information system may be disclosed or used for any U.S. Government-authorized purpose.”
The other address is from HSIN, the homeland security information network. ( Is acronym abuse a terror activity?) When you try to connect to the address given, you get this message: “This Connection is Untrusted. You have asked Firefox to connect securely to hsin-intel.dhs.gov, but we can’t confirm that your connection is secure. Normally, when you try to connect securely, sites will present trusted identification to prove that you are going to the right place. However, this site’s identity can’t be verified.” The fusion center will have to get it’s TINs somewhere else.
Pictures for tonight’s entertainment are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
One of the fun things you can do is chase down urban legends. Some of them are true, Some of them are not. Often, when you go looking, you will find surprising things.
There is a blogpost called 50 dumb liberal quotes. In a surprise move, the site has links to the comments. This allows you to go to the source, and see what the person really said. ( Fortunately, these quotes are in English, and you don’t have to depend on a translation.) ( The counterpoint post, Top 50 Dumbest Conservative Quotes , does not supply links.) HT to Morgan K Freeberg.
The quote that caught PG’s eye was by Al Gore. “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” Mr. Gore is someone that conservatives love to hate, and this quote has been widely disseminated. PG has always wondered, what did Mr. Gore really say?
The link goes to a transcript of an interview on CNN, dated March 3, 1999. “BLITZER:Why should Democrats, looking at the Democratic nomination process, support you instead of Bill Bradley, a friend of yours, a former colleague in the Senate? What do you have to bring to this that he doesn’t necessarily bring to this process?
GORE: Well, I will be offering — I’ll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be.
But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.”
It sounds to this reporter that Mr. Gore made efforts in the Senate ( before 1992) to help establish the internet. This is not the same as saying “I invented the internet”. It is the sort of campaign fluffery that no one takes seriously. It would have been best if Mr. Gore had used the word help.
The statement before that… “I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years”… is about as silly. Did Al Gore go to Little Diode Island? That is the island near Alaska that is three miles from Russia. This is the sort of thing politicians say, which few believe.
The rest of the interview is fun to read, from the perspective of eleven years later. At the time, the dot com boom was in full flower. This was the time of a major sex scandal in the White House, countered by a thriving economy.
The major international issue discussed was China. Not one word was said about the middle east or terrorism. In the past eleven years, China has loaned America trillions of dollars to finance wars in Babylon. 1999 was a simpler time and place.