#0030 RRS Newsletter for July 17, 2007

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Hello again all! Not much in todays post, but here it is, for what it's worth.

Thanks for reading, if you have any comments or suggestions you can reach me directly HERE.
Stay rational,
Jack
and the RRS MI team

Table of Contents

Rational Response Squad News

RRS Michigan News

Science News

My contributions for today

Baby Mammoth found frozen in Russia
Bullshit Near Death Experiences

Religion

My contributions for today

Theist Challenge - Repost
THE MENTALLY ILL ASSMONKEY, JOSEPH COHEN/YOUSEF AL-KHATTAB
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers
Archdiocese to pay $660M in sexual abuse scandal
Every EVIL would be God's design! (so much for a loving god)

Government

My contributions for today

Community

My contributions for today

Believing the Unbelievable (Sam Harris speech)
Einsteins God/Religion

Entertainment

My contributions for today

Tribute to Kent Hovind
Family Guy takes on abstinence
jesus the second conviction
Why can't I own a Canadian

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I have decided that I will host monthly RRS MI meetings and/or outings in an effort to build a better sense of community. These will be held on the last Thursday of every month. This means the first one will be held on July 26th, and we will be watching the movie "The God Who Wasn't There". If you all have seen this, please let me know, we can choose another, but I thought it fitting to start with that one, and I WILL start the evening off with a group discussion on where and what we would like to see come out of this local chapter (something that was never really talked about in depth at the last meet). Other activities under consideration are things like scientific exhibition outings, protests where needed, and possibly the planning of political activism as our state is concerned.

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Baby Mammoth found frozen in Russia

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 16, 2007 4:01 PM


Pegasus
Beatle bones 'n' smokein' stones
Blu222
Adam


Photo in the News: "Lovely" Baby Mammoth Found Frozen in Russia

 picture of mammoth

July 11, 2007—Talk about a mammoth surprise.

A Russian hunter traipsing through Russia's remote Arctic Yamalo-Nenetsk region in May noticed what he thought was a reindeer carcass sticking out of the damp snow.

Inspection of the "reindeer" turned out to be a 40,000-year-old baby mammoth, perfectly encased in ice.

The six-month-old female mammoth is the most well-preserved example yet found of the beasts, which lumbered across the Earth during the last Ice Age, 1.8 million to 11,500 years ago.

"It's a lovely little baby mammoth indeed, found in perfect condition," Alexei Tikhonov, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Science's Zoological Institute, told the Reuters news agency.

At 110 pounds (50 kilograms) and 51 inches long (130 centimeters long), the baby is the size of a large dog, Reuters reported.

Scientists are banking on the female—named "Lyuba" after the Russian hunter's wife—to reveal some of the genetic secrets of the prehistoric giants.

That's because Lyuda's excellent state—intact except for her shaggy locks—makes her a veritable treasure trove for research.

Emerging DNA technologies have already allowed some scientists to consider resurrecting the mammoth. (Read about the resurrection debate.)

Meanwhile, the newfound body will undergo three-dimensional computer mapping at Japan's Jikei University, followed by an autopsy at the Zoological Museum in St. Petersburg. The Ice Age toddler will end up on display in the Russian Arctic town of Salekhard.

—Christine Dell'Amore

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070711-mammoth-picture.html


Admittedly, this should probably be in Entertainment, but there is some science here.

Bullshit Near Death Experiences

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 16, 2007 7:26 PM

I was declared clinically dead for two minutes before my step father slapped the shit out of me and beat on my chest. Go figure, the fucker I despised the most brought my ass back. I didn't have any Bullshit Near Death Experiences but I did acquire a newfound respect for my stepfather.

Near Death Experiences

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAywxhVvLU4







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Theist Challenge - Repost

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jul 15, 2007 6:02 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jul 15, 2007 2:51 AM


************ARE YOU READY FOR SOMETHING REALLY BIG?*************

Crap Prizes & Scams Inc. (The same people who brought you Ray Comfort’s $10,000 Ten Commandments Challenge) now brings you Christians from our sponsors - Battered Spouses and Kidnapped Slave United – a chance for…

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Yes, you true believer, can receive FORGIVENESS for centuries of bullshit oppression if you can show two (not ten) things from God’s Holy Word:



1. Where in the Bible does it say that slavery is wrong?

2. Where in the Bible does it say battered spouses can divorce?


If you can show us where, you’ll receive the FORGIVENESS of billions of people treated like shit in the name of God!!!

CALL WITHIN THE NEXT 5 MINUTES AND WE’LL THROW IN A SET OF STEAK KNIVES!!!

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And remember…

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Oh yeah, Ray Comfort’s offering ten grand if you can keep the ten commandments, but even he thinks FORGIVENESS is better (even if it is from his imaginary friend).

A message from ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE

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

THE MENTALLY ILL ASSMONKEY, JOSEPH COHEN/YOUSEF AL-KHATTAB

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 15, 2007 6:16 PM

ABOUT THE MENTALLY ILL ASSMONKEY, JOSEPH COHEN/YOUSEF AL-KHATTAB

I knew this lying hypocritical imbecile looked familiar when I saw his video "Daniel Pearl I Am Happy Your DeadSmiling" He is the same POS who Richard Dawkins interviewed in his Root of All Evil ..ary. Yes, Takferi is Yousef Al-Khattab aka Joseph Cohen. A Jew, who grew up secular in Brooklyn, and turned Orthodox at 18. He went to an Israeli settlement, where one day, his already mushed up brain fell for a pitch made by a Muslim on the internet. Since that time he has been an Al Qaeda loving Muslim. His wife, also an ethnic Jew and former Orthodox Jew, stuck with him and he has also polluted the minds of his children.

Here is the Dawkins interview (it is a good one as it includes the Teapot Atheist analogy after Dawkins spits out a piece of Cohen):


Joseph isn't very bright. His Youtube videos are full of double talk and back tracking as well. It isn't very difficult to see right through the retard.

Here is his story of conversion. I'm sure it isn't the exact truth, because of his history of changing his stories:


The Dawkins piece was a little different this time out. The first time I saw it, Cohen stated that he converted because he went to pick up his kids and saw female teachers showing too much leg. He is really a depraved individual.

UPDATE: Youtube pulled his account today. Personally, I want it still there for the world to see.

The Jawa Report has a great post
on him (including a link to my blog). There is a good possibility the POS is in New York once more, and not Morocco. If the loon winds up going to Utah, I wonder if he'll become a Mormon nextSmiling

THE ATHEIST JEW

Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jul 15, 2007 8:33 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Invisible Pink Unicorn
Date: Jul 15, 2007 9:28 PM


LA cardinal apologizes to plaintiffs
By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer
14 minutes ago (7/15/07)


LOS ANGELES - Cardinal Roger Mahony, leader of the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, apologized Sunday to the hundreds of people who will get a share of a $660 million settlement over allegations of clergy sex abuse.

"There really is no way to go back and give them that innocence that was taken from them. ... The one thing I wish I could give the victims, I cannot," he said.

"Once again, I apologize to anyone who has been offended, who has been abused. ... It should not have happened and should not ever happen again."

Mahony said that he has met in the past 14 months with dozens of people alleging clergy abuse and that those meetings helped him understand the importance of a quick resolution to what he called a "terrible sin and crime."

The settlement will not affect the archdiocese's core ministry, Mahony said, but the church will have to sell buildings, use some of its invested funds and borrow money. The archdiocese will not sell any parish property, he said.

"We gather today because this long journey has now come to an end, and a new chapter of that journey is beginning," Mahony told reporters.

The deal between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and more than 500 alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse reached late Saturday is by far the largest payout since the nationwide clergy abuse scandal emerged in 2002 in Boston.

The settlement also calls for the release of priests' confidential personnel files after review by a judge. According to Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the archdiocese, the settlement had not required Mahony to make his public apology.

Earlier Sunday, Mahony presided over Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles without directly addressing the settlement. The service did include a prayer for victims of clergy abuse.

Mahony and all parties are expected before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Monday to enter the settlement into the court record, attorneys said.

"I think for those of us who have been involved in this for more than five years, it's a huge relief," said Michael Hennigan, archdiocese attorney. "But it's a disappointment, too, that we didn't get it done much earlier than this."

Parishioners reacted with disappointment and relief to the settlement.

Vivian Viscarra, 50, who attends Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels three times a month, said the victims deserve the payout even though it could hurt the church's ability to deliver important services. The amount would average a little more than $1.3 million per plaintiff, although individual payouts will vary according to the severity and duration of the abuse.

"I am disappointed," Viscarra said. "And it's making me re-evaluate my views of whether people in the ministry should be married. People do have needs."

Chris Parra, who attends Mass every Sunday, said she couldn't help thinking about the settlement when she shook Mahony's hand on the way out of the cathedral.

"Even when I was standing there, shaking his hand, I was thinking about how he's finally going to release the priests' personnel records and I wondered to myself why didn't he do that sooner," she said, holding her baby, Tomas.

Parra said she was upset that her tithing would go toward paying the settlement.

"I still want my children to follow the church's guidelines and foundation because that's how I was raised," she said. "But there's still a lot of healing to be done."

The deal settles all 508 cases that remained against the archdiocese, which also paid $60 million in December to settle 45 cases that weren't covered by sexual abuse insurance.

Under the latest deal, the archdiocese will pay $250 million, insurance carriers will pay a combined $227 million and several religious orders will chip in $60 million. The remaining $123 million will come from litigation with religious orders that chose not to participate in the deal, with the archdiocese guaranteeing resolution of those 80 to 100 cases within five years, Hennigan said. The archdiocese is released from liability in those claims, Tamberg said.

Plaintiffs' attorneys can expect to receive as much as 40 percent of the settlement money — or $264 million — for their work.

Standing outside the cathedral, Mary Grant, spokeswoman for Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said the settlement did not end suffering for the thousands of victims of clergy abuse.

"This is not over," she said. "Church officials would like to think that this settlement means everything is OK. ... But this is not a magic wand."

The settlements push the total amount paid out by the U.S. church since 1950 to more than $2 billion, with about a quarter of that coming from the Los Angeles archdiocese. A judge must sign off on the agreement.

The Los Angeles archdiocese, its insurers and various Roman Catholic orders have paid more than $114 million to settle 86 claims so far.

Several religious orders in California have also reached multimillion-dollar settlements in recent months, including the Carmelites, the Franciscans and the Jesuits.S. church since 1950 to more than $2 billion, with about a quarter of that coming from the Los Angeles archdiocese. A judge must sign off on the agreement.

The Los Angeles archdiocese, its insurers and various Roman Catholic orders have paid more than $114 million to settle 86 claims so far.

Several religious orders in California have also reached multimillion-dollar settlements in recent months, including the Carmelites, the Franciscans and the Jesuits.

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

Archdiocese to pay $660M in sexual abuse scandal

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 16, 2007 3:51 PM

Archdiocese to pay $660M for claims
Settlement represents Church’s largest payout in sexual abuse scandal


The Associated Press

 Church abuse

LOS ANGELES - The nation’s largest Catholic archdiocese will settle its clergy sex abuse cases for at least $600 million, by far the largest payout in the church’s sexual abuse scandal, The Associated Press learned Saturday.

Attorneys for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the plaintiffs will release a statement Sunday morning and hold a news conference Monday, said Ray Boucher, the lead plaintiff’s attorney.

An anonymous source with knowledge of the deal placed its value at $660 million, by far the largest payout in the church’s sexual abuse scandal. The amount exceeded earlier reports from sources that the settlement would be between $600 million and $650 million — $1.2 million and $1.3 million per plaintiff.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the settlement had not been officially announced.

Priests’ files would be released
Some Roman Catholic orders — the Servites, Clairites and Oblates — will be carved out of the agreement because they refused to participate, the source said. The settlement also calls for the release of confidential priest personnel files after review by a judge assigned to oversee the litigation, Boucher said.

The settlements push the total amount paid out by the U.S. church since 1950 to more than $2 billion, with about a quarter of that coming from the Los Angeles archdiocese.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the payout would be split among the insurers, the archdiocese and several Roman Catholic religious orders. A judge must sign off on the agreement.

The release of the priest documents was important to the agreement, Boucher said, because it could reveal whether archdiocesan leaders were involved in covering up for abusive priests.

“Transparency is a critical part of this and of all resolutions,” he said.

Relief, resentment among alleged victims
Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the archdiocese, did not immediately return a call seeking comment late Saturday. Previously, he said the church would be in court on Monday.

Plaintiff Steven Sanchez, who was expected to testify in the first trial, said he was simultaneously relieved and disappointed. He sued the archdiocese claiming abuse by the late Rev. Clinton Hagenbach, who died in 1987.

“I was really emotionally ready to take on the archdiocese in court in less than 48 hours, but I’m glad all victims are going to be compensated,” he said. “I hope all victims will find some type of healing in this process.”

The settlement is the largest ever by a Roman Catholic diocese since the clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted in Boston in 2002. The largest payout so far has been by the Diocese of Orange, Calif., in 2004, for $100 million.

Facing a flood of abuse claims, five dioceses — Tucson, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Davenport, Iowa, and San Diego — sought bankruptcy protection.

The Los Angeles archdiocese, its insurers and various Roman Catholic orders have paid more than $114 million to settle 86 claims so far. The largest of those came in December, when the archdiocese reached a $60 million settlement with 45 people whose claims dated from before the mid-1950s and after 1987 — periods when it had little or no sexual abuse insurance.

Several religious orders in California have also reached multimillion-dollar settlements in recent months, including the Carmelites, the Franciscans and the Jesuits.

However, more than 500 other lawsuits against the archdiocese had remained unresolved despite years of legal wrangling. Most of the outstanding lawsuits were generated by a 2002 state law that revoked for one year the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse.

Cardinal Roger Mahony recently told parishioners in an open letter that the archdiocese was selling its high-rise administrative building and considering the sale of about 50 other nonessential church properties to raise funds for a settlement.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge overseeing the cases recently ruled that Mahony could be called to testify in the second trial on schedule, and attorneys for plaintiffs wanted to call him in many more.

The same judge also cleared the way for four people to seek punitive damages — something that could have opened the church to tens of millions of dollars in payouts if the ruling had been expanded to other cases.


© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19762878/

Every EVIL would be God's design! (so much for a loving god)

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Reverend AtheiStar
Date: Jul 16, 2007 6:21 PM

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=80649763&blogID=288470758

Monday, July 16, 2007

A new type of Malevolent Design

I've thought up a new name for a type of Malevolent Design that has been, before now, unlabeled. It deals with something I talk about constantly with my debates with theists. It is the type of design that all would fit into if there be a creator deity. I call it chronological Malevolent Design. It is the design of time itself and everything that has ever happened and ever will happen. This puts the blame of absolutely everything on any god or goddess that would happen to be responsible. It completely destroys free will. It is known, within Christianity, as the Divine Plan™, but can be found in other religions, as well. Abortion? God invented it. War? God made it up. Bombs, guns, bullets, poison gas, grenades -- all of it! Every murderer's every action would have been preordained by the loving lord. Every rape, every torture, every fondling perpertrated by a priest, it'd all have been planned down to the smallest detail. We'd all just be actors playing our parts in the script written by a deity. Pretty fucked up, huh? It'll be the closing chapter in the first section.

~RAS
Founder of FSA
Reverend AtheiStar
Free Speech Atheists
Malevolent Design
7 Day Atheist Challenge
Believerbots
Battered Believer's Syndrome

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Believing the Unbelievable

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 15, 2007 6:21 PM

Believing the Unbelievable

Here’s the video:

(Thanks to Maria for the link!)

Einsteins God/Religion

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 16, 2007 11:02 AM

We've probably all heard this lie at least once, "even Einstein believed in God". I've seen this inaccurate portrayal of Einstein in op eds, books, television programs and my inbox many times. Why do so many religious apologists and scientific charlatans continue to confuse the public by trying to claim Einstein as their own. I recently received an email in response to my Atheist's are fools blog making this very claim, even though Einstein was not listed as an Atheist. While browsing the web this morning I noticed that onegoodmove had posted the follow quote by Albert Einstein:

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
Now if the above quote does not provide sufficient clarity for the deceitful and the ignorant, here are a more lines by Albert that Dawkins quoted in "The God Delusion":
I am a deeply religious nonbeliver. This is a somewhat new kind of religion.

I have never imputed to nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.

The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive.
The quotes above should make it clear to any thinking person that Einstein was not talking about the Christian God, or any other God, when he spoke of religion.

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I know I've posted this before, but it's still priceless, so I thought an encore was in order...

Tribute to Kent Hovind

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 15, 2007 6:36 PM

Tribute to Kent Hovind

Family Guy takes on abstinence

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From: The A-Team
Date: Jul 15, 2007 10:18 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Rational Animal
Date: Jul 11, 2007 10:08 PM


----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 11, 2007 2:09 PM


Family Guy takes on abstinence







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jesus the second conviction

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Way of the Monster
Date: Jul 15, 2007 10:22 PM

Why can't I own a Canadian

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 16, 2007 3:22 PM

From:
Bobby of Occasional Monster ~ Official MySpace
Dan of Occasional Monster

From http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,
Jim

The darkness of godlessness lets wisdom shine.