#0047 RRS Newsletter for August 22, 2007

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



Table of Contents

Click HERE to find your local affiliate!

Rational Response Squad News

RRS at Austin Rally September 8th! Submit your questions! AAI 2007 Conference

RRS Affiliate News

RRS Michigan social gathering at Alberts and "field trip"! Is anybody in the "Colorado RRS" even interested in meeting?

Science News

Greatest Mysteries: Where is the Rest of the Universe? Possible Closest Neutron Star To Earth Found Two Telescopes Combine To Probe Young 'Family' Of Stars Scientist who studied solar surface dies

Religion

Gadget gimmick for God: Church offers free iTunes, iPhone Better a Devil Worshiper than an Agnostic - August 16, 2007 Suicide bombers' motivations are studied Jesus Says: Stop Snitchin

Government

Book chief: Conservatives want slogans Beloved DC Think Tank Calls For Bush To Nuke Iraq and Become World Dictator White House, Senate headed for subpoena showdown EU urges Texas to halt executions before 400 mark

Community

Atheist Blood Drive Atheists for Autism Research Charity! Religious Victim of the day Faceoff looms at new Planned Parenthood

Entertainment

Xtian Fiction Show (spoof of Science Fiction Picture Show from Rocky Horror) Todd Friel interviews creator of Jesus Comedy Show CARLIN ON ABORTION Muhammad My Friend -Tori Amos & Maynard James Keenan





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RRS at Austin Rally September 8th!





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Submit your questions! AAI 2007 Conference





It's getting close to arguably the largest atheist event this year (perhaps the most important in history?), the 2007 Atheist Alliance International conference in the Washington DC metro area! I will be attending (special thanks go out to Sapient) along with, yes, Sapient and the whole RRS crew, not to mention plenty of other well knows in our community. Well the big stars here are really the guest speakers, and damn is there an impressive list. One of the ways RRS is preparing to take advantage of this incredible collection of skeptical super-stars by asking YOU, our dedicated base, for INTERVIEW QUESTIONS.

During the conference, the Squad will have the opportunity to interview most, if not all of the impressive speakers. Why not help us out by offering up your own ideas for questions?

 

Conference Info:

September 28th-30th,

The Crown Plaza Hotel, Arlington/Crystal City, Virginia

Thurday
September 27
Fundraising events - 8:00pm

Friday
September 28

Board Meeting - 9-5
(observers welcome)
RDFRS presentation - 11am
Registration - 3pm
Reception - 5pm
Welcome - 7pm

Saturday
September 29

Workshops - 9am
Lunch - 11:30pm
Plenary Session - 12pm
Banquet - 7pm

Sunday
September 30

Sessions - 9am
Closing Ceremony - 11am
Convention concludes at noon

Speakers:

What they say about the RRS:

Quote:
"(The Rational Response Squad will be on hand throughout

the convention to conduct interviews and to film anyone

interested in participating in their “Blasphemy Challenge.”

Please visit them in the Mt. Vernon Room and sign up for a

specific appointment time.)"

And

"Create your lunch to-go and

take it back to the Arlington Ballroom to enjoy a 20 minute

show featuring atheist rapper Greydon Square. This artist

has appeared on Nightline, on a special about online atheism

that focused on the Rational Response Squad’s “Blasphemy

Challenge.”

So please, let us know what your questions are, and look forward to some great stuff from RRS in the future.





Comment on this forum post HERE!





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RRS Michigan social gathering at Alberts and a "field trip"!





I've decided the next meeting will simply be a social gathering at a nearby restaurant/bar called Alberts on the Alley on Thursday, August 30th. I'll be getting there around 6:00 pm. If your not familiar, it's at the corner of Ford Rd. and Middlebelt at 5651 Middlebelt Rd, Garden City, MI - (734) 525-5231. The food is good, and the drink and food prices are great! I'm hoping this will draw more of you reclusive bastards out so we can discuss and just get to know each other. Hope to see you all there, but please RSVP me at rrsjack@yahoo.com so I know how many will be attending. I am also still planing a "field trip" to the Detroit Science Center to see the Universe within exhibit, for Friday, August 24th. We'll meet there at 7:00 pm. Admission is $24.95, for details on this exhibit Click HERE!

CLICK HERE for directions to Alberts on the Alley!





CLICK HERE for directions to the Detroit Science Center!





Hope to see you there!
Stay rational,
Jack
and the RRS MI team





Is anybody in the "Colorado RRS" even interested in meeting?





Do you guys want to meet up? I want to kick it with you guys.... give me some feedback please...


Editorial note: Bumbklaat is the head of this chapter. He's a man of few words, unless he's making a prank call...

You can reach Bumbklaatt HERE!





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Greatest Mysteries: Where is the Rest of the Universe?

Dave Mosher
Staff Writer
SPACE.com
Mon Aug 20, 6:30 AM ET





Scientists trying to create a detailed inventory of all the matter and energy in the cosmos run into a curious problem--the vast majority of it is missing.

"I call it the dark side of the universe," said Michael Turner, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago, referring to the great mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

In fact, only 4 percent of the matter and energy in the universe has been found. The other 96 percent remains elusive, but scientists are looking in the farthest reaches of space and deepest depths of Earth to solve the two dark riddles.

Missing matter

Einstein's famous equation "E=mc^2" describes energy and matter (or mass) as one and the same--maps of the cosmos refer to the energy-matter combination as energy density, for short. The problem with detecting dark matter, thought to make up 22 percent of the universe's mass/energy pie, is that light doesn't interact with it.

But it does exhibit the tug of gravity.

Initial evidence for the mysterious matter was discovered 75 years ago when astrophysicists noticed an anomaly in a jumble of galaxies: The galactic cluster had hundreds of times more gravitational pull than it should have, far outweighing its visible mass of stars.

"We can predict the motions of the sun and planets very accurately, but when we measure distant things we see anomalies," said Scott Dodelson, an astrophysicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. "Dark matter is currently the best possible solution, even though we've never seen any of it."

Another hallmark of dark matter is gravitational lensing, similar to the effect of light passing through a piece of polished glass. Massive objects like the sun can bend light, but colossal clouds of dark matter create "bubbles" in the cosmos that magnify, distort and duplicate the light of galaxies or stars behind them.

Gravitational lensing recently exposed evidence of the unseen mass in the Bullet cluster as well as in a ring around a cluster of colliding galaxies called ZwCl0024+1652.

Particle hunt

In spite of the ghostly evidence, pieces of dark matter have yet to be pinned down by researchers. "Until we actually discover particles, we're not home yet," Dodelson said.

Particle physicists have detected neutrinos, which are extremely lightweight particles that pour out of the sun and hardly interact into ordinary matter, but Turner said they make up an extremely small fraction of dark matter in the universe.

"We arrested one of the members of the gang, but not the leader of the gang," Turner said of neutrinos. He thinks the leader is actually a WIMP: a weakly interactive, massive particle. Unfortunately, WIMPS are just a theory so far.

The thinking goes that WIMPs are very heavy, yet like neutrinos they rarely bump into matter to produce a detectable signal. But the idea that WIMPS--such as theoretical axion or neutralino particles--can bump into visible matter at all gives scientists hope.

"This is a story that may soon be at its end," Turner said, noting that the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search in the Soudan mine of Minnesota and other experiments below the ground should be sensitive enough to detect a WIMP.

The anti-gravity

Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is dark matter's big cousin, dark energy.

The invisible force is thought to be a large-scale "anti-gravity," pushing apart galactic clusters and causing the unexplainable, accelerating expansion of the universe. Turner thinks dark energy is the biggest mystery of them all--and quite literally, since physicists predict that it makes up 74 percent of energy density in the universe.

"So far, the greatest achievement with dark energy is giving it a name," Turner said of the elusive force. "We are really at the very beginning of this puzzle."

Turner described dark energy as "really weird stuff," best thought of as an elastic, repulsive gravity that can't be broken down into particles. "We know what it does, but we don't know what it is," Turner said.

While astrophysicists look deep into space to gather more details about dark energy's effects, Turner noted that theoretical physicists are focusing on explaining how the force actually works. And at this point, he joked, any physicist's explanation for dark energy is probably good enough to consider.

"We're
at this very early stage, at the crime scene of dark energy's existence, if you
will," Turner said. "It's a highly creative period, and now is the
time for ideas."





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Possible Closest Neutron Star To Earth Found





Science Daily Using NASA's Swift satellite, McGill University and Penn State University astronomers have identified an object that is likely one of the closest neutron stars to Earth -- and possibly the closest.

The object, located in the constellation Ursa Minor, is nicknamed Calvera, after the villain in the movie "The Magnificent Seven." If confirmed, it would be only the eighth known "isolated neutron star" -- meaning a neutron star that does not have an associated supernova remnant, binary companion, or radio pulsations. "The seven previously known isolated neutron stars are known collectively as 'The Magnificent Seven' within the community and so the name Calvera is a bit of an inside joke on our part," says co-discoverer Derek Fox of Penn State. A paper describing the research will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

First author Robert Rutledge of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, originally called attention to the source. He compared a catalog of 18,000 X-ray sources from the German-American ROSAT satellite, which operated from 1990 to 1999, with catalogs of objects that appear in visible light, infrared light, and radio waves. He realized that the ROSAT source known as 1RXS J141256.0+792204 did not appear to have a counterpart at any other wavelength.

The group aimed Swift at the object in August 2006. Swift's X-ray Telescope showed that the source was still there, and emitting about the same amount of X-ray energy as it had during the ROSAT era. The Swift observations enabled the group to pinpoint the object's position more accurately, and showed that it was not associated with any known object.

"The Swift observation of this source is what got the show going," says paper coauthor and Penn State undergraduate Andrew Shevchuk. "As soon as I saw the data, I knew Calvera was a great neutron-star candidate."

The team next targeted Calvera with the 8.1-meter Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii. These observations, along with a short observation by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, showed that the object is not associated with any optical counterpart down to a very faint magnitude. Chandra's sharper X-ray vision sees the object as point-like, consistent with the neutron-star interpretation.

According to Rutledge, there are no widely accepted alternate theories for objects like Calvera that are bright in X-rays and faint in visible light. Exactly which type of neutron star it is, however, remains a mystery. As Rutledge says, "Either Calvera is an unusual example of a known type of neutron star, or it is some new type of neutron star, the first of its kind."

Calvera's location high above the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy is part of its mystery. In all likelihood, the neutron star is the remnant of a star that lived in our galaxy's starry disk before exploding as a supernova. In order to reach its current position, it had to wander some distance out of the disk. But exactly how far" "The best guess is that it is still close to its birthplace, and therefore close to Earth," says Rutledge. If this interpretation is correct, the object is 250 to 1,000 light-years away. This would make Calvera one of the closest known neutron stars -- possibly the closest.

"Because it is so bright, and probably close to Earth, it is a promising target for many types of observations," says Fox. Indeed, to clear up the mysteries surrounding Calvera the team will be taking a longer observation with Chandra to see if the source pulsates in X-rays, and to measure its spectrum. They also joined a group using a radio telescope to search for radio pulsations, which were not seen.

Calvera could represent the tip of the iceberg for isolated neutron stars. "There could easily be dozens," says Fox. "The key point is that until our Swift survey, no one was able to refine the X-ray positions of large numbers of ROSAT sources to the point where it became clear which ROSAT sources were 'missing' their optical counterparts."



Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Penn State.






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Two Telescopes Combine To Probe Young 'Family' Of Stars





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This Spitzer Space Telescope photograph shows the Serpens South star cluster -- a relatively dense group of 50 young stars, 35 of which are protostars just beginning to form. Tints of green in the image represent hot hydrogen gas excited when high-speed jets of gas ejected by infant stars collide with the cool gas in the surrounding cloud. Wisps of red in the background are organic molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/L. Allen (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) & Gould's Belt Legacy Team)

Science Daily A spectacular new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope uncovers a small group of young stellar "siblings" in the southern portion of the Serpens cloud – located approximately 848 light-years away from Earth. Scientists suspect that this discovery will lead them to more clues about how these cosmic families, which contain hundreds of gravitationally bound stars, form and interact.

"It's amazing how these stars really stand out in the Spitzer images. At visible wavelengths the stars can't be seen at all; they are completely obscured by the dust in the cloud," says Robert Gutermuth, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "This is the first time that anyone has ever seen these stars."

Astronomers dubbed the newfound cluster “Serpens South” for its location on the sky.

Spitzer uncovered the young star cluster, but couldn’t determine whether they are forming a new "family unit," or are members of an established stellar "clan." In the case of Serpens South, Dr. Tyler Bourke, also of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, used the Smithsonian’s Submillimeter Array (SMA) to solve this mystery of stellar ancestry.

From the ground, he measured motions of the gas surrounding the newly formed cluster, and determined that the newly discovered stars belonged to the Serpens star-forming cloud, which also hosts the famous and massive Serpens star cluster.

“With the SMA, we were able to show that Serpens South is moving at the same speed as the Serpens Cluster,” said Bourke. “It looks like the smaller families are sticking together.”

Spitzer’s Family Portrait

In the Spitzer photograph, the newly discovered Serpens South stars are shown as green, yellow, and orange specks, sitting atop a black line that runs through the middle of the image. The "line" is a long, dense patch of cosmic dust and gas, which is currently condensing to form stars. Like raindrops, stars form when thick cosmic clouds collapse.

Tints of green represent hot hydrogen gas. Spitzer can see this hydrogen gas "fingerprint" when the high-speed jets shooting out of the young stars violently collide with cool gas in the surrounding cloud.

Wisps of red in the background are organic molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are being excited by stellar radiation from a neighboring star-forming region called W40. On Earth, PAHs are found on charred barbeque grills and in sooty automobile exhaust.

"This image provides just a taste of the exciting science that will come from the Gould's Belt Legacy project," says Lori Allen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, principal investigator of the Gould’s Belt Legacy program, which discovered the Serpens South Cluster.

The Gould’s Belt Survey will study all prominent star-forming regions within about 1,600 light-years of Earth. Taken together, these regions comprise a ring of molecular clouds and associated young stars known as the Gould’s Belt. Data from Spitzer will be combined with observations from the James Clerk Maxwell telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory to better characterize Gould’s Belt, which was first described by astronomer Benjamin Gould in 1879.

Cluster Beginnings

For years, astronomers have debated how members of large stellar families, which can contain hundreds of stars, are related. Some astronomers suspect that the stars may be "fraternal siblings" – born at the same time from the same "parent" cloud of gas and dust. Meanwhile, other scientists suspect that these stellar family members are "adopted" – meaning the stars are born in small batches of a few at a time, and eventually many of these small stellar groups will "bond" to form a massive star cluster, or family.

According to Allen, one of the greatest challenges in determining how a cluster's stars are related is finding the smaller, younger star clusters in the first place.

"Spitzer is currently the only telescope with the capabilities to find young star clusters like Serpens South, which are deeply embedded inside giant cosmic clouds of gas and dust," says Allen.

The Gould’s Belt Legacy project will examine the evidence for “fraternal” versus “adopted” star families in detail for a well-defined region of space. The answers thereby generated will lead to a greater understanding of how stars, including our Sun, form. The project’s CfA team members include Allen, Tracy Huard, Dawn Peterson and Phil Myers.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. Spitzer's infrared array camera was built by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The instrument's principal investigator is Giovanni Fazio of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.


Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.






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Scientist who studied solar surface dies





PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. astronomer and engineer who pioneered the study of the sun's surface by radio telescope has died at age 86.

Ronald Bracewell suffered a heart attack Aug. 12 at his home in California, The New York Times reported.

Bracewell and his colleagues at Stanford University designed the spectroheliograph, which allowed him to draw contour maps of the solar surface. The telescope, a series of linked dishes, also could track temperature shifts in more distant stars.

Techniques developed for the telescope were later used in the study of cancer tumors.

A native of Australia, Bracewell also studied rocks there to demonstrate that sunspots had affected temperatures on Earth.

Bracewell was born in Sydney and studied at Cambridge University in England. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1955 and remained there throughout his career. He was named a professor emeritus of electrical engineering in 1991.

Bracewell is survived by his wife of 55 years, Helen Bracewell.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.





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Gadget gimmick for God: Church offers free iTunes, iPhone

By LONA O'CONNOR

Palm Beach Post Religion Writer



Saturday, August 18, 2007

CORAL SPRINGS — Move over iPod, make room for iSermon.

Church by the Glades is hoping to bribe - its word - new people into attending.

Anyone who comes to its iThemed services for the first time during the next three weekends can get a $15 iTunes gift card by filling out a "connection card." Today, one new visitor will win an iPhone.

The series of sermons is called "i: Successful Living in a Self-Absorbed World."

The iDea came from David Hughes, the Baptist church's breezy pastor.

"I'm an iPod guy," he said.

American preachers have always employed creative methods, including rousing music, tent revivals and wagon rides to church, said Southern Baptist Convention spokesman Roger S. "Sing" Oldham.

"The method is fair game as long as it's not illegal, immoral or against scripture," Oldham said. "The message must never be compromised."

In January, Church by the Glades put a head-snapping message on a billboard in Broward County: "The Bare Naked Truth on Sex," drawing 50,000 hits on its Web site, www.cbglades.com.

In Hughes' eight-year tenure, weekend attendance has grown from 500 to 2,500.

"I can't reach them if they don't come in the door," he said.




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Better a Devil Worshiper than an Agnostic - August 16, 2007

This story from a psychotherapists blog.



"How much Hebrew do you know?"

AJ and I were sitting on the floor playing Connect Four during our most recent session. I always let her go first since she is only 9 years old and takes every game we play very seriously. It's a surprisingly difficult game to win when you don't get to make the first move, so I need to truly focus just to win every other contest. Currently I'm down seven games to three.

"Hebrew?"

"Yeah, my mom said it would be nice if we talked in Hebrew while we played."

Mom is definitely spot-on about the talking part. Play therapy ideally involves conversation about a child's difficulties while engaging in a playful activity. In fact, the game itself can serve as a medium for conversation. Some practitioners use board games such as the "Talking, Feeling and Doing Game" (which basically involves sharing emotions while moving pieces around a board in a game format that doesn't allow anyone to win) to help a child express him or herself in a non-threatening environment. I myself prefer to utilize games that a child is already familiar with and enjoys so that he or she wants to return to future sessions. I always let the child win the first game or two so that she feels good about herself, but also will win a few rounds (or at least try to win) in order to see how a child handles disappointment.

In AJ's case, I'm currently hoping to learn more about her fear of school (called a "Specific Phobia" in therapist terminology). Rather than sit her down on the couch and demand "Why are you afraid to go to school?," we play and talk about Connect Four while I periodically throw in questions and reassuring statements like, "What are some things that kids your age hate about school?" and "I've helped other girls your age who have been nervous about school, maybe I could help you too." This therapeutic style lets AJ know that sessions with me aren't all about her explaining or defending herself, and it tells her that she isn't the only person in the world with this sort of difficulty.

"I actually don't know any Hebrew," I confessed, wondering why the conversation isn't about school, but rather my language capabilities.

"You don't remember any from Hebrew school?"

"I never went to Hebrew school like you."

"But you're Jewish, right?"

"No, I'm not."

AJ recoiled in horror, like I had just handed her a jar of my own urine. "Are you Christian?"

"No, I'm what they call 'agnostic.' Do you know what that means?"

"Everyone is either Jewish or Christian, unless you're a terrorist," she said with a hint of fear in her voice.

"Actually, that's not true at all," I said, trying to be reassuring. "There are lots of religions in the world."

"No no no! Terrorist!" she screamed and ran out of the office.

I pulled myself up from the floor and worked my way to the waiting room, empty save for AJ cowering behind the left leg of her very large non-Agnostic (and therefore non-terrorist) father.

"What the fuck is going on here?" thundered Mr. AJ.

"There was a misunderstanding with AJ. She thinks I'm a terrorist."

"Why would she think that? Are you from the Middle East?" he asked me, probably the whitest person in New York City.

"No, I'm agnostic."

"What the hell is 'agnostic?'"

"It means that I'm not sure if there is a God or not. I think it's from the Greek word..."

"Jesus Christ, Dobrenski" said Mr. AJ. "This isn't religion class, it's counseling."

"She asked me, and I don't lie to my clients. And I would appreciate it if you wouldn't use curse words or blaspheme in the waiting room."

"He's an Anti-Semite!" screamed AJ.

"AJ, I am not an Anti-Semite."

"Since when did you turn Goyum, Dobrenski?" queried Mr. AJ.

"I didn't turn Goyum, I've always been non-Jewish," I said, starting to feel defective for my non-Chosen status.

"I guess it doesn't matter, just keep the whole anti-God thing to a minimum in future sessions, okay? See you next week."

"I was just trying to do play therapy..."

By now AJ had heard enough and took off, running out of the office, into the elevator, and presumably onto 3rd Avenue.

"Wow, you really scared the shit out of her, huh?" said Mr. AJ. "I'll talk to her, see if she wants to come back again."

Mrs. AJ wasn't as understanding about my agnostic status, and so I was essentially fired two days later, via telephone. "You're all well and good, Dobrenski," said Mr. AJ, "but we really need someone with a more religious bent. My wife isn't too keen on this whole 'agnostic' thing. You could be a Goddamn Devil-Worshipper for all we care, but make a commitment for Christ's sake! Mrs. AJ said she's pretty sure you're not a terrorist, but that we can't be too careful these days. Who knows what you're capable of!"

That was the first client I lost due to my perceived potential for mass destruction.




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Suicide bombers' motivations are studied





NOTTINGHAM, England, June 21 (UPI) -- A British scientist says the view that suicide bombers are brainwashed, religious fanatics vulnerable through poverty and youth is not accurate.

University of Nottingham researcher David Stevens argues that while religion plays a central role -- there are few instances of non-religiously motivated suicide attacks -- the suicide bomber is also driven on another level by a rational thought process. That is the desire to be part of a group that engenders strength and solidarity from strictness, and encourages members to submit totally to the collective aims of the group.

"Seen in this light, suicide bombing is explicable in terms of rationally motivated actions, and not in terms of theological and/or irrational motives," said Stevens.

But, he noted, suicide bombing is very rare.

"Rare, that is, when it is remembered that extreme religious groups make up only a tiny fraction of religious groups as a whole, and 99.99 percent of those groups are, in fact, peaceable," he said.

Statistically, finding one or two people willing to make such a sacrifice is incredibly rare, he added.

"However, given the nature of suicide bombing, it only takes one or two."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.





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Jesus Says: Stop Snitchin





As a pastor, former national Southern Baptist leader, radio talk show host, author, and political expert, Wiley S. Drake is something of a modern day Renaissance man, except in how he rejects all tenets of the Enlightenment. When he recently used Church letterhead — and his talk show, broadcast directly from his First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, CA — to endorse former fatty Mike Huckabee for president, some atheist jerks at Americans United for Separation of Church and State ratted him out to the IRS, who are now investigating the church’s tax-exempt status. Drake responded as any good Christian would: by imploring his congregation to pray for the immediate, painful deaths of his enemies.

“God says to pray imprecatory prayer against people who attack God’s church,” he said. “The Bible says that if anybody attacks God’s people, David said this is what will happen to them… . Children will become orphans and wives will become widows.”

Imprecatory prayers are alternately defined as praying for someone’s misfortune, or an appeal to God for justice.

“Let his days be few; and let another take his office,” the prayer reads. “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”

God is not expected to answer Drake’s prayer, though, as He’s supporting His Son Barry Hussein Obama in the 2008 election.





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Book chief: Conservatives want slogans







By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer

Tue Aug 21, 5:50 PM ET



WASHINGTON - Liberals read more books than conservatives. The head of the book publishing industry's trade group says she knows why — and there's little flattering about conservative readers in her explanation.

"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."

Schroeder, who as a Colorado Democrat was once one of Congress' most liberal House members, was responding to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that found people who consider themselves liberals are more prodigious book readers than conservatives.

She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who "can't say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion."

The book publishing industry is predominantly liberal, though conservative books by authors like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and pundit Ann Coulter have been best sellers in recent years. Overall, book sales have been flat as publishers seek to woo readers lured away by the Internet, movies and television.

Rove, President Bush's departing political adviser, is known as a prodigious reader. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Schroeder was "confusing volume with quality" with her remarks.

"Obfuscation usually requires a lot more words than if you simply focus on fundamental principles, so I'm not at all surprised by the loquaciousness of liberals," he said.

"As head of a book publishing association, she probably shouldn't malign any readers," said Mary Matalin, a GOP strategist who oversees a line of books by conservative authors, Threshold, at Simon & Schuster. Matalin said conservatives and others aren't necessarily reading less, but are getting more information online and from magazines.

The AP-Ipsos poll found 22 percent of liberals and moderates said they had not read a book within the past year, compared with 34 percent of conservatives.

Among those who had read at least one book, liberals typically read nine books in the year, with half reading more than that and half less. Conservatives typically read eight, moderates five.

By slightly wider margins, Democrats tended to read more books than Republicans and independents. There were no differences by political party in the percentage of those who said they had not read at least one book.

The poll involved telephone interviews with 1,003 adults and was conducted August 6 to 8. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.





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Beloved DC Think Tank Calls For Bush To Nuke Iraq and Become World Dictator





A brave group of wingnuts is demanding that George W. Bush nuke all the brown folk and become Dictator of the World. Why? We don’t know, something about how democracy is sort of a pain when all you want to do is nuke the fucking Moslems so Emperor Jesus can return as written in the popular “Left Behind” comic books. Anyway, some local dingbat right-wing “think tank” posted some insane bullshit about how Bush is so hated by everybody that he must become dictator by nuking Iraq as the obvious first part of the bold plan to “empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans.”

The Family Security Matters “think tank,” which boasts a Board of Directors including former CIA boss James Woolsey, has literally vanished off the Interwebs, overnight — even the Google cache of its pages has vanished, because it helps to have an ex-CIA director on your board. But plenty of copies of the offending documents were collected and reposted yesterday, and here’s a reprint — complete with multiple redundant titles and bylines — of the bold plan to Save Our Country from, uh, democracy:

Exclusive: Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
Philip Atkinson

Author: Philip Atkinson
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: August 3, 2007

While democratic government is better than dictatorships and theocracies, it has its pitfalls. FSM Contributing Editor Philip Atkinson describes some of the difficulties facing President Bush today.

Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
By Philip Atkinson

President George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005 after being chosen by the majority of citizens in America to be president.

Yet in 2007 he is generally despised, with many citizens of Western civilization expressing contempt for his person and his policies, sentiments which now abound on the Internet. This rage at President Bush is an inevitable result of the system of government demanded by the people, which is Democracy.

The inadequacy of Democracy, rule by the majority, is undeniable - for it demands adopting ideas because they are popular, rather than because they are wise. This means that any man chosen to act as an agent of the people is placed in an invidious position: if he commits folly because it is popular, then he will be held responsible for the inevitable result. If he refuses to commit folly, then he will be detested by most citizens because he is frustrating their demands.

When faced with the possible threat that the Iraqis might be amassing terrible weapons that could be used to slay millions of citizens of Western Civilization, President Bush took the only action prudence demanded and the electorate allowed: he conquered Iraq with an army.

This dangerous and expensive act did destroy the Iraqi regime, but left an American army without any clear purpose in a hostile country and subject to attack. If the Army merely returns to its home, then the threat it ended would simply return.

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.

The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide. Israel provides the perfect example. If the Israelis do not raze Iran, the Iranians will fulfill their boast and wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Yet Israel is not popular, and so is denied permission to defend itself. In the same vein, President Bush cannot do what is necessary for the survival of Americans. He cannot use the nation’s powerful weapons. All he can do is try and discover a result that will be popular with Americans.

As there appears to be no sensible result of the invasion of Iraq that will be popular with his countrymen other than retreat, President Bush is reviled; he has become another victim of Democracy.

By elevating popular fancy over truth, Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government. President Bush must overcome not just the situation in Iraq, but democratic government.

However, President Bush has a valuable historical example that he could choose to follow.

When the ancient Roman general Julius Caesar was struggling to conquer ancient Gaul, he not only had to defeat the Gauls, but he also had to defeat his political enemies in Rome who would destroy him the moment his tenure as consul (president) ended.

Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome - thus marking the start of the ancient Roman Empire that gave peace and prosperity to the known world.

If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

He could then follow Caesar’s example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.





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White House, Senate headed for subpoena showdown

Nick Juliano Published: Monday August 20, 2007



The Bush Administration and a Senate committee have entered an apparent standoff as the White House failed to meet a 2:30 p.m. deadline from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which seeks compliance with subpoenas related to President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program. The committee's chairman threatened criminal charges if the administration continues to withhold requested documents.

"We should not have to legislate in the dark when the administration hides behind a fictitious veil of secrecy," Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said at a Capitol Hill press conference Monday afternoon.

The Vermont Senator said he'll begin contempt proceedings in the Judiciary Committee if the Bush administration does not comply with the subpoenas by the end of the current congressional recess. A majority of Judiciary Committee members would have to endorse the decision to begin criminal proceedings before the full Senate could consider pursuing prosecution.

"The time is up," Leahy told a few dozen reporters in the Judiciary Committee's hearing room. "We've waited long enough."

However, the White House has been granted a de facto extension for compliance because contempt hearings could not begin until Congress reconvenes after Labor Day. Leahy did not specify which administration officials could face charges.

Leahy said he hoped the White House and committee would be able to avoid criminal charges by working out an agreement over access to the requested documents, but he criticized the administration's unwillingness to negotiate or lay out reasonable accommodations in the past.

"The only accommodations we tend to get from the White House is, 'Do it our way and we'll be happy,'" Leahy said.

Leahy also said he had received a letter Monday from the Office of the Vice President indicating that Vice President Dick Cheney is not part of the Executive Office of the President. Because of that, Cheney's lawyer Shannen W. Coffin wrote, he is not required to respond to subpoenas targeting him that were sent to the President's office and Department of Justice.

"That is wrong," Leahy said, explaining that the subpoenas were clearly crafted to include the vice president.

Senator Leahy imposed the Monday deadline for his demand of legal justifications for the National Security Agency's surveillance of Americans without court approval. On Friday, White House counsel Fred Fielding told the committee he would not be producing the requested documents in time.

By withholding the documents, the White House has handicapped Congress' ability to oversee the spying program and has delayed a permanent overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which regulates such activity, Democrats say. Just before a monthlong recess, the House and Senate approved a temporary overhaul that dramatically expanded the NSA's ability to eavesdrop in on Americans' phone calls and e-mails abroad.

The temporary expansion, which Leahy opposed, expires in six months, and Leahy said he would continue to fight against a FISA overhaul unless the administration complies with the subpoena.

"I made my position clear by not voting for it," Leahy said in response to a question from RAW STORY, but he would not predict what the Democrats as a whole would do.

In a letter to President Bush earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urged the White House to comply with the subpoenas and other requests for information.

"Prompt action on these requests and full access to this information is critical as the Congress considers modifications to FISA that will ensure effective intelligence gathering in a manner that protects national security and is consistent with fundamental American freedoms," the Congressional leaders wrote.

In a separate letter to Leahy and Intelligence Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Reid deferred to the chairmen on specifics of a permanent FISA update but said he would like to see a bill come before the Senate "as soon as possible."

The House Judiciary Committee authorized contempt of Congress charges against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton and former-counsel Harriet Miers last month when they failed to comply with subpoenas demanding testimony about the administration's decision to fire nine US Attorneys last year.

It's been nearly two months since Leahy first subpoenaed the wiretapping documents on June 27th. And more than a month has passed since the White House missed its first compliance deadline of July 18.

Leahy had agreed to extend the initial deadline if the White House would produce the documents by the beginning of this month. Nearly three weeks later, the White House continues to withhold the documents.

In his Friday letter, Fielding asked Leahy to grant the White House another extension until after Labor Day. The White House lawyer said the request called for the production of "extraordinarily sensitive national security information," and warned much of the information could be kept secret because of executive privilege.




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EU urges Texas to halt executions before 400 mark





BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union urged the governor of Texas on Tuesday to halt all executions before the U.S. state carries out its 400th death sentence since reinstatement of the penalty in 1976.

"The European Union notes with great regret the upcoming execution in the State of Texas," the Portuguese presidency of the 27-nation bloc said in a statement.

Texas is expected to hit the 400 mark on Wednesday -- putting it far ahead of any other U.S. state -- with the execution of Johnny Ray Conner for the 1998 shooting of a grocery store clerk.

"The European Union strongly urges Governor Rick Perry to exercise all powers vested in his office to halt all upcoming executions and to consider the introduction of a moratorium in the State of Texas," the EU statement said.

The European Union, which on Tuesday called the death penalty "cruel and inhumane", is opposed to all capital punishment and has called for its worldwide abolition.

"There is no evidence to suggest that the use of the death penalty serves as a deterrent against violent crime," the statement said, adding that its irreversibility meant that miscarriages of justice could not be redressed.

The U.S. Supreme Court lifted a ban on capital punishment in 1976. Around 1,090 executions have taken place in the United States in what some refer to as the 'modern' capital punishment era which began in Utah in January 1977, with the firing squad execution of Gary Gilmore.

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.




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Atheist Blood Drive





In an attempt to show the world that atheists are every bit as charitable as the religious of society, and that we need no "divine warrent" to be so, the RRS has set up a daughter organization called Atheist Volunteers. We hope you will all chip in. The most prominent of it's projects is the Atheist Blood drive.

Click HERE to get more info on this important project!

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Atheists for Autism Research Charity!





Check these guys out, and donate if you can!



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Religious Victim of the day





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Faceoff looms at new Planned Parenthood

Abortion foes vow to launch protests and urge boycotts when the organization begins building the $4.2 million center at Stapleton, a site previously kept secret.By Karen Augé
Denver Post Staff WriterArticle Last Updated: 08/20/2007 06:08:23 AM MDT



Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains will break ground in November on a $4.2 million headquarters and clinic on northeast Denver property it bought secretly last year, the organization has confirmed.

The organization initially intended to complete the whole project in secrecy in order to avoid the kind of protests and delays that Planned Parenthood's building projects have ignited elsewhere, said Leslie Durgin, a Planned Parenthood senior vice president.

"We changed that several months ago. We just decided that wasn't right for us," Durgin said.

"We anticipate we will have protests," she said.

But the organization decided the best way to handle that was to be forthright about its plans.

The 50,000-square-foot, three-story center at 38th Avenue and Pontiac would be the first new clinic the 90-year-old organization has built in the metro area. Durgin said Planned Parenthood has outgrown its current locations.

"We really wanted to build a state-of-the-art health-care facility and to consolidate our programs and services. To do that in the current facilities was not realistic," she said.

Leslie Hanks, vice president of Colorado Right to Life, said her organization will continue its opposition to Planned Parenthood and likely would fight efforts to build a clinic.

"Let's face it, they're in the business to kill babies for profit," she said. "First and foremost, they get young girls hooked on their birth control pills, which don't work," Hanks said.

Right to Life followers are among the regular protesters - Hanks calls them "rescuers" - at Planned Parenthood's current locations, she said.

The block-long work site will be fenced, and protesters will not be allowed inside the boundaries of private property, Durgin said.

"We don't expect to have a police presence on a daily basis unless we need it, in which case we'll call for it, and I have been assured we will get it," Durgin said.

Planned Parenthood construction projects in other cities have run into problems. Most notably, work on a new clinic in Austin, Texas, slammed to a halt in 2003 after anti-abortion activists persuaded contractors to walk off the job or face future boycotts.

"We might think along the lines of trying to do something like that," Hanks said. "Companies in the business of trying to build a death camp need to be exposed."

The Austin effort and the national notoriety it generated didn't do lasting damage, said Sarah Wheat of Planned Parenthood in Austin.

"Frankly, that boycott ended up being more of a help to the clinic than anything else. It absolutely galvanized and mobilized community support of the clinic," Wheat said.

She said the clinic opened months late but that fundraising progressed ahead of schedule.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains moved to its current Denver location, a former bank on Vine Street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, in 1973.

In 1996, it added a second location, on North Broadway, for administrative offices.

Hanks, who was not aware of Planned Parenthood's plans, said her group would escalate opposition if the new clinic is in a minority neighborhood.

Lolita Hanks,another member of Colorado Right to Life and no relation, said that, "As an African-American woman, I find it disturbing that their clinics that do abortions tend to be in African-American neighborhoods."

Organization officials said African-American women received 7 percent of the abortions it provided in 2006, compared with 55.5 percent for white women.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains says it served 125,000 patients in five states last year. Of those, 8,800 received abortions.

Staff writer Karen Augé can be reached at 303-954-1733 or kauge@denverpost.com.




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Xtian Fiction Show (spoof of Science Fiction Picture Show from Rocky Horror)





Sadly, no gods were injured in the making of this video...




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Todd Friel interviews creator of Jesus Comedy Show







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CARLIN ON ABORTION





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Muhammad My Friend -Tori Amos & Maynard James Keenan





Muhammad my friend
It's time to tell the world
We both know it was a girl back in Bethlehem
And on that fateful day
When she was crucified
She wore Shiseido Red an dwe drank tea
By her side

Sweet sweet
Used to be so sweet to me

Muhammad my friend
I'm getting very scared
Teach me how to love my brothers
Who don't know the law
And what aobut the deal on the flying
Trapeze got a peanut butter hand
But honey do drop in at the
Dew Drop Inn

Sweet sweet
Between the boys and the bees

And Moses I know
I know you've seen fire
But you've never seen fire
Until you've seen Pele blow
And I've never seen light
But I sure have seen gold
And Gladys save the place for me
On your grapevine
Till I get my own TV Show

Ashre ashre ashre ashre
And if I lose my Cracker Jacks at the
Tidal wave I got a place
In the Pope's rubber robe
Muhammad my friend
It's time to tell the world
We both know it was a girl
Back in Bethlehem

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Huge thanks go to everyone that has helped me out on this endeavor. Specifically, Zombie, head of RRS Ontario for bringing my attention to multiple news articles, Voiderest of RRS Texas, my coding guru without whom many of the features of this newsletter (like the Table of Contents) would not be in place, Brian Sapient for his guiding hand and for the space in which this is published, and all of you who have brought bits of news to me. Cheers go out to you all!!!