#0009 RRS Newsletter for June 8, 2007

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Good day to you all. First I want to say thank you to LunarShadow of RRS Nor-Cal and Bumbklaatt of RRS Colorado for reposting these everyday. It's good to know ones work is appreciated. Second, I'm announcing that I am changing the format of these posts. To give them the feel of a newsletter, I will be categorizing all of the content from now on. The categories I've come up with are basic ones right now, if I need to expand upon that in the future, I will, but for now everything will be in posted in one of six categories, with editorial comments such as this always on top. The categories are as follows:

RRS News
RRS Michigan News
Science
Religion
Community
Entertainment

By doing this I hope to inspire more people to read these, since you will now be able to go straight to the content that most interests you, rather than trolling through material that you may not be interested in and just giving up to move on to your next bulletin. Original articles are also a furture possibility, more on that as it developes.

Thanks for reading everyone!
Stay rational,
Jack,
and RRS MI team

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----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Rational Response Squad Nor*Cal
Date: Jun 8, 2007 5:44 PM

Rational Response Squad - 9pm EST

By special request from over 30 people throughout our first year, we host the owner of CARM.org on our show. Matt Slick, was as "slick" as possible in this broadcast ducking and jiving, slinging insults, and avoiding the questions. He claims to want to host Kelly on his show, we'll let you know what happens there. Don't miss this hilarious show!

Tune in HERE or on the left side of www.RationalResponders.com

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Hosted By: Jack Wynne
When: Wednesday Jul 04, 2007
at 2:00 PM
Where: Jacks house
321 Central
Inkster, MI 48141
United States
Description:
Jack Wynne

Click Here To View Event

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----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: RRS_TX
Date: Jun 8, 2007 5:08 AM

From: The Son of the Self-Aware Universe
Date: Jun 8, 2007 1:46 AM

The Mandelbrot set is a set of points in the complex plane that forms a fractal. Mathematically, the Mandelbrot set can be defined as the set of complex c-values for which the orbit of 0 under iteration of the quadratic map x2 + c remains bounded.

The Mandelbrot set has become popular outside mathematics both for its aesthetic appeal and for being a complicated structure arising from a simple definition. Benoît Mandelbrot and others worked hard to communicate this area of mathematics to the public.

An extremely deep dive into the mandelbrot zoom. If the final frame were the size of your screen, the full set would be larger than the known universe.




----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jun 7, 2007 10:18 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Date: Jun 7, 2007 9:33 PM

The A-Team and we approve this message.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jun 8, 2007 5:37 AM

Evolution is a Fact

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Bill
Date: Jun 8, 2007 9:30 AM

http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

It's official kids. Science has demonstrated that religion is bad for society. No kidding. Read it for yourself. Now, anyone want to take a guess how many people are going to abandon religion? I'll tell you the answer. Three. That's because this report isn't going to be published in America. Notice it's a British paper. Also, notice the date: 2005. We've known this for a while, and even the UK govt is just getting around to mentioning it, because everybody's afraid of pissing off religious nut jobs.

Anyway... here are some highlights. The full summary will be up on my blog in a few minutes.
********

Although the late twentieth century STD epidemic has been curtailed in all prosperous democracies (Aral and Holmes; Panchaud et al.), rates of adolescent gonorrhea infection remain six to three hundred times higher in the U.S. than in less theistic, pro-evolution secular developed democracies

The absence of exceptions to the negative correlation between absolute belief in a creator and acceptance of evolution, plus the lack of a significant religious revival in any developed democracy where evolution is popular, cast doubt on the thesis that societies can combine high rates of both religiosity and agreement with evolutionary science.

The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a “shining city on the hill” to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health.

And... last, but maybe most important...

No democracy is known to have combined strong religiosity and popular denial of evolution with high rates of societal health.

Wowzers, kiddos! This smells of hard science to me! Read the full report on my blog, then stop your silliness and do something constructive with that 10% you've been giving to your invisible friend.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jun 8, 2007 11:55 AM

RationalAtheist.com

First patent claimed on man-made life form, and challenged

A research institute has applied for a pat­ent on what could be the first largely ar­ti­fi­cial or­gan­ism. And peo­ple should be al­armed, claims an ad­vo­ca­cy group that is try­ing to shoot down the bid.

The idea of own­ing a spe­cies breaches “a so­ci­e­tal bound­ary,” said Pat Mooney of the Ot­ta­wa, Canada-based ETC Group, which is asking the pat­ent ap­pli­cants to drop their claim. Creat­ing and own­ing an or­gan­ism, he added, means that “for the first time, God has com­pe­ti­tion.”

The ar­ti­fi­cial or­gan­ism, a mere mi­crobe, is the brain­child of re­search­ers at the Rock­ville, Md.-based J. Craig Ven­ter In­sti­tute. The or­gan­iz­a­tion is named for its found­er and CEO, the ge­net­icist who led the pri­vate sec­tor race to map the hu­man ge­nome in the late 1990s.

The re­search­ers filed their pat­ent claim on the ar­ti­fi­cial or­gan­ism and on its ge­nome. Ge­net­i­cally mo­di­fied life forms have been pa­tented be­fore; but this is the first pa­tent claim for a crea­ture whose genome might be created chem­i­cally from scratch, Mooney said.

Sci­en­tists at the in­sti­tute de­signed the bac­te­ri­um to have a “min­i­mal ge­nome”—the small­est set of genes any or­gan­ism can live on.

The proj­ect, which be­gan in the early 2000s, was partly a phil­o­soph­i­cal ex­er­cise: to help de­fine life it­self bet­ter by iden­ti­fy­ing its bare-bones re­quire­ments. But it was al­so fraught with com­mer­cial pos­si­bil­i­ties: if one could re­liably rec­re­ate a stand­ard­ized, min­i­mal life form, oth­er use­ful genes could be added in as needed for var­i­ous pur­poses.

For in­stance, “If we made an or­gan­ism that pro­duced fu­el, that could be the first billion- or trillion-dollar or­gan­ism,” said Ven­ter in the June 4 is­sue of Newsweek mag­a­zine. The sci­en­tists based the de­sign on the bac­te­ri­um My­coplasma gen­i­tal­ium, in which they had iden­ti­fied an es­ti­mat­ed 265 to 350 co­re genes re­quired for life.

Oth­er re­search­ers, pur­su­ing si­m­i­lar re­search with oth­er spe­cies, have since claimed to be able to re­duce this so-called min­i­mal gene some­what fur­ther. The bound­a­ry of what’s really the “min­i­mum” gets fuzzy be­cause some of these pared-down crea­tures are so ge­net­ic­ally chal­lenged that they hang on to life only with a lot of help.

In their U.S. pat­ent ap­plica­t­ion pub­lished May 31, In­sti­tute sci­en­tists chose a some­what more ro­bust 381 to 386 genes as their “min­i­mal ge­nome” for a hy­po­thet­i­cal mi­crobe, based on M. gen­i­tal­ium, but dubbed My­coplasma lab­o­r­a­to­rium.

In prac­tice, the or­gan­ism is “be­ing pat­ented for what it is not,” ETC said in a state­ment this week.

In the pat­ent ap­plica­t­ion, the sci­en­tists al­so dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing the genes from scratch us­ing chem­i­cal meth­ods, then in­ject­ing these in­to a cell whose own ge­nome has been re­moved. Wheth­er that has ac­tu­ally been done yet is un­clear, but “many peo­ple think Ven­ter’s company has the sci­en­tif­ic ex­pert­ise to do the job,” said Mooney.

“The same pat­ent ap­plica­t­ion has been pub­lished in­terna­t­ionally to be sub­mit­ted at over 100 na­tional pat­ent of­fices,” said ETC’s Jim Thom­as in an e­mail.

The Ven­ter In­sti­tute did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment. But Venter and colleagues have ar­gued that the stripped-down cell or other syn­thetic mi­crobes could be use­ful in tasks rang­ing from gen­er­at­ing cheap en­ergy to aid­ing in ag­ri­cul­ture and cli­mate change re­med­ia­tion.

By cre­at­ing a man-made or­gan­ism as a plat­form for oth­er genes to be added at will, like soft­ware on a com­put­er, “Ven­ter’s en­ter­prises are po­si­tion­ing them­selves to be the Mi­crosoft of syn­thet­ic bi­ol­o­gy,” ETC said in a state­ment.

The or­gan­iz­a­tion claimed there could be draw­backs to al­low­ing one company to mo­nop­o­lize this in­forma­t­ion. For in­stance, the mi­crobe could be har­nessed to build a vir­u­lent path­o­gen, Thom­as said.

It could be a b­low for “o­pen source” bi­ol­o­gy – the idea that re­search­ers should have free ac­cess to the fun­da­men­tal tools and com­po­nents of syn­thet­ic bi­ol­o­gy, the new and grow­ing sci­ence of re-de­signing and re-building nat­u­ral bi­o­log­i­cal sys­tems from the ground up for var­i­ous pur­poses.

“Be­fore these claims go for­ward, so­ci­e­ty must con­sid­er their far-reach­ing so­cial, eth­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts,” Thom­as wrote in the e­mail. In its state­ment, the ETC Group said it will be writ­ing to Ven­ter, to the U.S. Pat­ent Of­fice and the World In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­er­ty Or­gan­iz­a­tion urg­ing them to quash the pat­ent ef­fort un­til such a pub­lic de­bate takes place.

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Just a remider of the mindset of the extremist religious right in this country.

This is (no joke) the official video for the Westborough Baptist Church/Cult.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jun 8, 2007 5:50 AM

The A-Team

This article was taken from the Humanist Network News newsletter

Atheist Books Overtaking Christian Titles in Best-Sellers Lists

COLUMN by TERRY SANDERSON
From NSS Newsline
June 6, 2007

The Association of American Publishers (AAP), the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry, recently released its annual estimate of total book sales in the United States, and according to its findings, religious books had a "difficult year."

The report, which reveals sales from 2006, marked a sharp 10.2 percent drop in religious books sales compared to the previous twelve months. The trend was one of the biggest decreases among all the book categories reported on by AAP. According to AAP, the drop is not critical, however, since "compound growth is still strong at 7.5 percent per year."

Coincidently alongside the sag in sales of religious books has been a rapid interest in atheist books over the past months. Books that had not sold that well in the past are now beginning to turn into purchases. According to some critics, people in the United States are starting to resent the role religion has played in society.

"There is something like a change in the zeitgeist," explained Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, in the Associated Press. "There are a lot of people, in this country in particular, who are fed up with endless lectures by bogus clerics and endless bullying."

Some Christians, however, say they see the rise in atheist literature as only a reaction to the rise of religious influence. Christianity is gaining more strength, with several victories gained throughout the year. "It sort of dawned on the secular establishment that they might lose here," explained the Rev. Douglas Wilson, author of Letter from a Christian Citizen, in a debate on ChristianityToday.com. "All of this is happening precisely because there's a significant force that they have to deal with."

With the growth in the number of anti-religion books being sold, more are expected to come on to the market.

We are The A-Team and we approve this message.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Rich Rodriguez
Date: Jun 8, 2007 9:44 AM

Part One:





Part two:





Embed Code:

Part One:





Part Two:





PLEASE REPOST

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----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jun 8, 2007 5:52 AM

Steven

House Defeats Fake Human Cloning Ban Allowing it For Research

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The House of Representatives defeated a human cloning bill Wednesday that claimed to prohibit the grisly practice but would have allowed scientists to create and destroy human embryos for research. The 213-204 vote comes just one day before the House will consider a measure on embryonic stem cell research. Backers of the phony ban needed a two-thirds vote ot move the bill forward but they were unable to even get a majority vote for their measure. Rep. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and co-sponsor of the measure, claimed the debate was only about reproductive human cloning. "With the enactment of this legislation, reproductive human cloning will be illegal, nothing more, nothing less," he said. Backers of the bill said it would prohibit cloning but the definitions in the bill define human cloning as the implantation of a cloned human being, not the creation of a human embryo. That fact was not lost on opponents of the bill such as New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith. "The fact is, this bill doesn't ban any human cloning at all -- absolutely none. Researchers are able to clone to their heart's content as long as the kill and destroy the human embryo," the Republican said. He pointed out that the bill would make it law requiring scientists to kill cloned human beings because it fails to ban all forms of human cloning. "This bizarre piece of legislation would make it illegal not to kill a cloned human being," Smith added. "This phony ban sanctions unlimited human cloning research. This would allow the creation of human life for its sole purpose of destruction." Find out how your Representative voted by going here. Read the complete story.

Supermodel Giselle Bundchen Attacks Catholic Church Abortion Position

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (LifeNews.com) -- Supermodel Giselle Bundchen made news on Wednesday but not because of a fashion shoot or appearance on the runway. Instead, she's getting press as a result of her speaking out in the overwhelmingly Catholic nation of Brazil about the Church's position on abortion. Bundchen, called the Catholic position on abortion and sexuality outdated because she says it was adopted at a time when "the women were virgins and the guys were virgins." "Today no one is a virgin when they get married ... show me someone who's a virgin!" she demanded. Asked about abortion, the supermodel replied that women should have the right to have one if they want, even in dubious circumstances. "If she thinks she doesn't have the money or the emotional condition to raise a child, why should she give birth?" Giselle's comments differ significantly from comments other top models have made. Supermodel and successful businesswoman Kathy Ireland and actor and model Jennifer O'Neill are among those who have been outspoken about their pro-life beliefs.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jun 8, 2007 6:50 AM

Kristinas World Doug

“It is Cruel for the President’s Theology to Influence Medical Research”
President Bush: Sign the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act - Do not Impede Medical Research
Statement by Secular Coalition for America Director Lori Lipman Brown
Washington, DC – June 7, 2007 -- The Secular Coalition for America strongly urges President Bush to sign the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (S.5), which passed the House today. Medical experts agree that embryonic stem cell research has great potential to help alleviate or even cure many devastating medical conditions.

Last year, President Bush falsely equated each embryo with “unique human life with inherent dignity,” and claimed that stem cell research supported “the taking of human life.” In fact, the stem cells used in medical research are actually taken from blastocysts, spheres of 100-200 cells five to six days after fertilization of a human egg. Imbuing such collections of cells with the qualities of an individual fully formed person, is a theological position, not a scientific or medical one.

The Secular Coalition for America believes it is cruel for the President's personal theology to dictate the limits of medical research.

The President now has a chance to allow the National Institutes of Health to use the most promising materials in its research. These excess cells, developed during in vitro fertilization procedures, are scheduled to be destroyed. The Secular Coalition for America calls on the President to allow these cells to be diverted away from the trash bin, and towards what may prove to be lifesaving uses.

According to recent polls the majority of Americans support the use of embryonic stem cell research. The Secular Coalition for America joins with the majority of the members of both houses of Congress and with the majority of Americans, when we ask of President Bush to please not allow his personal religious belief to interfere with advances which may someday lead to the alleviation of tremendous human suffering.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Bill
Date: Jun 8, 2007 9:56 AM

Religion and Atheism Relative Rank For Violence
Normalizing the rank order to Atheism = 1, table shows monotheism [Judaism, Christianity, Islam] to be some 35 or so multiples more violent than atheism with a 2738% higher occurence of violent events for monotheism than the 1.3 average of eastern religions and Atheism

Belief System Events / Million
Monotheism 35.6
Eastern Religions 1.6
Atheism 1.0

Figure it out for yourself kids. This is taken from U.S. prison statistics. Granted, the U.S. is overwhelmingly monotheistic, so the table is necessarily skewed. However, notice that in all the surveys, something like 13-18% of Americans are non-theists. (Agnostic or Atheist) So... that makes it worse. At worst, Theists outnumber Atheists 10-1, if the margin of error is huge! Yet, Theist violence is 35.6-1.

Are atheists better people than theists? I dunno. But they are less violent, and we can prove it.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jun 8, 2007 12:11 PM

Jason

http://www.webofreason.org/index.html

Hours and hours...nay...days and weeks of links, information, resources.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jun 8, 2007 1:28 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Autism Awareness
Date: Jun 8, 2007 12:59 PM

Thursday, June 07, 2007

South Carolina Legislature Overrides Veto to Pass Autism Insurance Law
By unanimous votes in both the House and Senate today, South Carolina lawmakers overrode Governor Mark Sanford's veto to pass legislation that requires health insurers to cover services for children with autism up to age 16. The bill takes effect July 1, 2008.

You can read the text of the new law here, via the Legislature's website, and more background about the new law here. The text is known as S. 20 and also as Ryan's Law, in honor of the son of one of the legislation's strongest advocates, Lorri Unumb. Lorri sent a dispatch to a list of supporters, describing the scene in the State Capitol today, when families and other supporters of the autism bill lobbied for an override vote today, less than 12 hours after the governor's late-night veto. She recounts watching the lawmakers in the House chamber, deciding to hold a roll call vote. She writes:

A roll call can be a little dangerous – the governor can see which of his friends cast affirmative votes against his veto – so I got nervous again. As each legislator cast his or her vote, his or her name on the display board changed colors. “Green” meant a vote in favor of the override, and I can’t tell you what color signified a vote to uphold the veto, because there were none! 114 members voted, and, one by one, 114 names turned green on the big board.

And then the tears began to flow. But it wasn’t just Marcella [another mother and advocate] and me crying this time. ... My husband beside me started tearing up. Derrick and Sandrine Howle in the front row were crying. Everywhere I looked around in the balcony, a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, a cousin, a friend of a child with autism was weeping. Just then, all members of the House rose to their feet, turned toward us in the balcony, and erupted into applause. They gave us an emotional standing ovation for the tireless efforts of this grassroots gang, and they clearly felt proud of helping us override what some called a “cruel” veto.

Tears, hugs, and celebrations continued in the lobby of the State House, with senators and legislators coming out to greet and congratulate us. So many expressed the sentiment that they were honored to be part of this effort, which to them represented the political system at its purest – citizens petitioning their government for help and succeeding (though not without great difficulty and heartache).

What's interesting about this victory by autism advocates is the perseverance involved. One can imagine that, over the course of two years spent lobbying lawmakers, there were other things that they might have had to accomplish. While they were explaining to countless people why autism services are important, there could have been doctors' appointments for their children. When they were spending time building awareness about the benefits of such services, and arguing why people across the state should help pay for them, they might have had to work on their kids' individualized education programs. Or home behavior management strategies. Or, perhaps, making a living.

And when the governor vetoed the bill, late at night, Lorri Unumb and her fellow advocates could have folded. But they didn't. They were at the State Capitol less than 12 hours later, urging support one more time. And they won.

So, why did Gov. Sanford veto this bill? Well, as he explains in this veto message (a PDF file), he thought it cost too much, an estimated $10 million in its first year, that would add a projected $48 to the average citizen's health insurance premiums. He also objected to the idea of a government mandate for health care when, in his opinion, the free market is best at keeping costs down and deciding what should be covered. Lastly, Sanford said that the state was spending more on special education services and that these should benefit autistic children and their families.

The governor is a Republican, but so are a majority of members in both the House and Senate. And they, members of both parties, today voted unanimously to override Sanford's veto.

Posted by Michael Goldberg at 10:18 PM 0 comments Links to this post

Labels: advocacy, autism services, health insurance, legislation

The A-Team and we approve this message.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jun 8, 2007 3:25 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: JOIN (RED)
Date: Jun 8, 2007 1:29 PM

If you haven’t picked up a copy of this month's VANITY FAIR – THE AFRICA ISSUE, get a subscription now and Vanity Fair will send you the issue, guaranteed, along with a limited-edition poster!

Vanity Fair will contribute $5 to the Global Fund, to fight AIDS in Africa, for every online subscription purchased this month. See how your subscription can impact the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa through the (RED) Impact Calculator. Subscribe now!

A (RED) ALBUM FOR AFRICA, BY AFRICA

For all you music lovers out there, we have Tracks In The Sand, an iTunes album presented by Vanity Fair and (RED). Inspired by Tom Freston's article in this month's Vanity Fair about traveling to an African music festival in Timbuktu, (RED) asked Youssou N'Dour to curate Tracks In The Sand, a compilation of 17 of the best recordings by West African artists, including Salif Keita, Ali Farka Touré, Baaba Maal, and Oumou Sangare. 100% of the sales price of the Tracks In The Sand album will be contributed to the Global Fund.

Download Tracks in the Sand on iTunes now, and find out how your purchase can impact the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa through the (RED) Impact Calculator.

The A-Team and we approve this message.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Dangerous Talk
Date: Jun 8, 2007 5:17 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jun 8, 2007 4:28 PM
----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Autism Awareness
Date: Jun 8, 2007 12:59 PM

Thursday, June 07, 2007

South Carolina Legislature Overrides Veto to Pass Autism Insurance Law
By unanimous votes in both the House and Senate today, South Carolina lawmakers overrode Governor Mark Sanford's veto to pass legislation that requires health insurers to cover services for children with autism up to age 16. The bill takes effect July 1, 2008.

You can read the text of the new law here, via the Legislature's website, and more background about the new law here. The text is known as S. 20 and also as Ryan's Law, in honor of the son of one of the legislation's strongest advocates, Lorri Unumb. Lorri sent a dispatch to a list of supporters, describing the scene in the State Capitol today, when families and other supporters of the autism bill lobbied for an override vote today, less than 12 hours after the governor's late-night veto. She recounts watching the lawmakers in the House chamber, deciding to hold a roll call vote. She writes:

A roll call can be a little dangerous – the governor can see which of his friends cast affirmative votes against his veto – so I got nervous again. As each legislator cast his or her vote, his or her name on the display board changed colors. “Green” meant a vote in favor of the override, and I can’t tell you what color signified a vote to uphold the veto, because there were none! 114 members voted, and, one by one, 114 names turned green on the big board.

And then the tears began to flow. But it wasn’t just Marcella [another mother and advocate] and me crying this time. ... My husband beside me started tearing up. Derrick and Sandrine Howle in the front row were crying. Everywhere I looked around in the balcony, a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, a cousin, a friend of a child with autism was weeping. Just then, all members of the House rose to their feet, turned toward us in the balcony, and erupted into applause. They gave us an emotional standing ovation for the tireless efforts of this grassroots gang, and they clearly felt proud of helping us override what some called a “cruel” veto.

Tears, hugs, and celebrations continued in the lobby of the State House, with senators and legislators coming out to greet and congratulate us. So many expressed the sentiment that they were honored to be part of this effort, which to them represented the political system at its purest – citizens petitioning their government for help and succeeding (though not without great difficulty and heartache).

What's interesting about this victory by autism advocates is the perseverance involved. One can imagine that, over the course of two years spent lobbying lawmakers, there were other things that they might have had to accomplish. While they were explaining to countless people why autism services are important, there could have been doctors' appointments for their children. When they were spending time building awareness about the benefits of such services, and arguing why people across the state should help pay for them, they might have had to work on their kids' individualized education programs. Or home behavior management strategies. Or, perhaps, making a living.

And when the governor vetoed the bill, late at night, Lorri Unumb and her fellow advocates could have folded. But they didn't. They were at the State Capitol less than 12 hours later, urging support one more time. And they won.

So, why did Gov. Sanford veto this bill? Well, as he explains in this veto message (a PDF file), he thought it cost too much, an estimated $10 million in its first year, that would add a projected $48 to the average citizen's health insurance premiums. He also objected to the idea of a government mandate for health care when, in his opinion, the free market is best at keeping costs down and deciding what should be covered. Lastly, Sanford said that the state was spending more on special education services and that these should benefit autistic children and their families.

The governor is a Republican, but so are a majority of members in both the House and Senate. And they, members of both parties, today voted unanimously to override Sanford's veto.

Posted by Michael Goldberg at 10:18 PM 0 comments Links to this post

Labels: advocacy, autism services, health insurance, legislation

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This bulletin has been reposted by your friends atDangerous Talk:

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jun 8, 2007 5:44 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Dangerous Talk
Date: Jun 8, 2007 5:25 PM

(please repost)
Justice in America today and the Democratic and Republican Primary debates. Who kisses Gods ass more the left or the right?
Listen TONIGHT at about 9:45pm est after the Rational Response Squad on FreethoughtMedia.com: part of the Triple Threat Friday line-up. Sunday, this week's show will become available on Dangerous Demand. Check out DangerousTalk.net where you can watch Dangerous TV, read our fantastic Editorial Columns, view and be part of our Picture Gallery, enter our Competitions and projects, and comment on everything through our forums, and more.
Be Dangerous America!
-Staks

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----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jun 7, 2007 10:27 PM

If the season finale of The Riches left you now craving more Izzard, this should help:

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Brian the Dilettante
Date: Jun 7, 2007 8:36 PM

On the birth of the Church of England...

On the origins of Easter and Christmas...

----------------------------

www.fundamentallyflawed.com

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----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Ohio Rational Responders
Date: Jun 8, 2007 10:13 AM

Stolen from The Friendly Atheist


-------------------------------------------------
Linden

This is almost too good

The man picked as Adam by a museum based on the Bible’s version of Earth’s history led quite a different life outside the Garden of Eden, flaunting his sexual exploits online and modeling for a line of clothing with an explicit mascot.

Registration records show that Eric Linden, who portrays Adam taking his first breath in a film at the newly opened Creation Museum, owns a graphic Web site called Bedroom Acrobat. He has been pictured there, smiling alongside a drag queen, in a T-shirt brandishing the site’s sexually suggestive logo.

Linden, a graphic designer, model and actor, also sells clothing for SFX International, whose initials appear on clothing to spell “SEX” from afar and serve as an abbreviation for its mascot, who promotes “free love,” “pleasure” and “Thrillz.”

What did the Answers in Genesis spokesman say?

“We are currently investigating the veracity of these serious claims of his participation in projects that don’t align with the biblical standards and moral code upon which the ministry was founded,” Answers for Genesis spokesman Mark Looy said in an e-mail statement.

It makes you wonder what the museum expected when they searched for actors… did they expect to only find actors who hadn’t done non-”Christian” roles in the past? Surely other actors in the museum videos have been involved in projects (not necessarily sexual ones) that didn’t coincide with the museum’s mission.

Linden does make some good comments about the ordeal:

[Linden] said he learned of the opportunity to play Adam through a childhood friend, and has great respect for the founders of the Creation Museum and their vision.

“For the Creation Museum, I did what I did as an actor. It doesn’t necessarily mean I believe in evolution or a believe in creation,” Linden said. “I’m hired to get a point across. On the flip side, if I was hired to play a murderer, that doesn’t mean I’d go out and kill somebody. It’s make-believe.”

Linden said he was selected for the role from a lineup of contenders because his looks were sufficiently generic.

“I’m very proud to be Adam,” he said. “But just because I’m Adam on the screen, that doesn’t mean I’m Adam off the screen. What I do shouldn’t have anything to do with who they think Adam is.”

He’s right on two counts. His acting life should not be forced to reflect his personal life. He should be free to portray anyone, even in the Creation Museum. If he’s good, he’s good.

And he’s also right in calling his portrayal of Adam “make-believe.”

The Creation Museum is overreacting, of course. They pulled the 40-second video in which Linden appears.

(Thanks to Ashley for the link)

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jun 8, 2007 12:58 PM

Mr. Horrible / the Holy Fish of Destiny

http://www.break.com/index/jewish-girl-prank-calls-her-parents.html

Religion causes peace, love and understanding!

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jun 8, 2007 12:34 PM

Killer of Rathalos

Freehold, Iowa - After working with several church pastors for the better part of two years, James Montrose, principal of Landover Elementary School, announced last week that an abridged KJV Bible, omitting all references to illicit and deviant sex acts, has been finalized for use at the school next year. Montrose formally proposed to the Board of Deacons that the new Bible, roughly the size of a theater program, be required reading in all classes in place of the salacious unabridged version.

“It is beyond question that the Holy Bible, in unedited form, is simply not appropriate for children,” observed Montrose in testimony to the Board. The unabridged Bible is loaded with passages describing in detail such disgusting topics as premature ejaculation (Leviticus 15:2-15; 22:3-5), wet dreams (Leviticus 15:16-18, 32), voyeurism (Leviticus 18:6-20); damaged testicles (Leviticus 21:20; Deuteronomy 23:1); people taking a dump in the middle of camp (Deuteronomy 23:12-14); hemorrhoids (1 Samuel 5:9; 6:4-5), people urinating on a wall (1 Samuel 25:22; 26:34; 1 Kings 14:10; 16:11; 21:22; 2 Kings 9:Cool, people eating their own feces and drinking their urine (2 Kings 18:27; Isaiah 36:12; Ezekiel 4:12, 15), menstruation (just about all of Leviticus), etc., etc., etc. And those are just from a few books I reviewed this morning. Some of these topics are too prurient even for an S&M club. In fact, many parts of the Good Book are so tawdry that the Bible would be the first book hurled into the flames at our weekly book burnings - were it not inspired by God, of course.”

Montrose, along with Pastors Seff Stryker and Don Holmes, prepared the new version of the Bible by scratching out all the X-rated passages in one of Montrose’s old copies of the KJV 1611. “By the time we were finished, my old Bible looked like a White House Enron document produced to a Senate subcommittee,” noted Montrose. “But as a result of our work, children will no longer be exposed to Biblical passages too risque for Penthouse Forum. And children will be able to finish reading the Bible within days of the start of the school year. This will afford their teachers plenty of time to have students memorize passages describing the violence God inflicts upon sinners.”

Not all Board members favor the proposed new version. Brother Harry Hardwick led a minority of deacons opposed to the abridged Bible. “Don’t get me wrong,” cautioned Brother Harry. “I recognize that the definitive version of the Lord’s Word was written by that unrepentant sodomite, King James, and therefore contains far more graphic descriptions of intimacy than any heterosexual author would ever have inserted. Nevertheless, many of these passages offer useful information to children, such as the disastrous fate that awaits them if they lust, masturbate or have premarital sex. Without including the passages describing God’s wrath toward the sexually active, many youngsters may believe they have a green light to practice the most deviant of acts.”

In response to Brother Harry’s concern, Pastor Deacon Fred proposed the following amendment to Montrose’s proposal:

“All children will be told each day during homeroom that any sexual activity before marriage, with or without a partner, will send the culprits hurtling toward Hell where red-tailed demons with giant purple penises will sodomize them for eternity.”

After the Board passed his proposal with the amendment, Montrose agreed to instruct teachers to deliver the homeroom lecture ever morning. However, he warned that he was unsure how teachers would explain to their pupils what “sodomize” means - especially since they will no longer have the full Bible as a reference.

From: Gwiz® , Corey

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The A-Team and we approve this message.

The darkness of godlessness lets wisdom shine.