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Sunday, September 30

30.Sept.2012, PART 3: We Do Not Ban Blasphemy, Anti-Atheist Discrimination, Lessons Protesters Can Learn, Immorality of Student Loans, Internet Freedom Fighters, Will Israel Blow Up Something? Climate Change Hurts Global Economy, Does the Universe Need God? Taxing Church Properties, Freedom to Offend God, Childhood Memories, U.S. is Not Broke, Living Under Drones, Biological Basis of Emotion, Bad Pharma Research, Unites States of ALEC, Obama's Regime of Secrecy, You Can't Arrest an Idea

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President Obama to United Nations: ‘We Do Not Ban Blasphemy’

President Obama has disappointed nonbelievers and those who take seriously the concept of church-state separation many times. In his participation in the National Prayer Breakfast, in his continuation and expansion of the Bush-spawned “faith-based initiatives,” and his general pandering to religious figures, such has his inclusion of the risible Rick Warren at his inauguration.

Secular Groups Issue Report on Anti-Atheist Discrimination Around the World

Back in August, five secular organizations — the American Humanist Association, Center for Inquiry, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, and Secular Coalition for America — met with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

3 Big Lies in Religious-Right 'Voter Guide' Hitting 13 Million Cell Phones

The Bible tells us not to bear false witness against one's neighbor. Ralph Reed apparently never got the memo.

10 Lessons American Protesters Can Learn from Quebec’s Students10 Lessons American Protesters Can Learn from Quebec’s StudentsThe students’ diligent approach and subsequent success is not something to be overlooked, notes The Guardian. Here are 10 lessons American protesters can learn from Canada’s student movement:

Crushing Debt And The Immorality Of Student Loans

Hardly anything can be considered more noble or worthwhile than the human pursuit for knowledge. Science, in particular, has advanced us along an incredible path. The fact that you are reading this article, considering our origins, is simply amazing.

Why are Internet Freedom Fighters always fighting against the Internet Freedom of Artists?

We’re always a little amazed when site like Hypebot takes up the fight for internet freedom, as long as that freedom does not include artists rights. Recently the site has confused the difference between a $20 settlement for illegal downloadingversus a $9,250 per song judgement for copyright infringement.

Will Israel Blow Up Something and Falsely Blame It On Iran?

According to U.S. officials, Israel is training and supporting Iranian terrorists who are trying to topple the Iranian government. Those Israeli-funded terrorists have faked documents to falsely indicate that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Israel has admitted to previous use of false flag attacks to justify war against Middle Eastern nations.

America’s Drone Attacks Are ‘Killing 49 People for Every Known Terrorist in Pakistan’

Bombardment: More than 345 strikes have hit Pakistan's tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan in the past eight yearsJust one in 50 victims of America’s deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists – while the rest are innocent civilians, a new report claimed today. The authoritative joint study, by Stanford and New York Universities, concludes that men, women and children are being terrorised by the operations ’24 hours-a-day’.

It's Time for Conservatives to Stop Whining About Relativism! (And Take on the Experts!)

It’s true enough that conservatives still do accuse the Democrats—or, more precisely, the liberals—of being moral relativists.  Rittelmeyer quotes Paul Ryan saying that the big problem of our time is moral relativism.

The Continuing Battle Over Blasphemy Laws

I'm surprised to still be writing about blasphemy laws, but it seems the idea just won't die. At the United Nations this week, the elected leaders of newly democratic Egypt and Yemen called for restrictions on free speech, in addition to similar demands from Turkey and other Islamic-majority nations. Russia, too, is advocating for laws that would criminalize criticism of religion, saying that "the feelings of the faithful must be protected by the state" (HT: IHEU). Unfortunately this doesn't surprise me, since under Vladimir Putin, Russia has basically reverted to the theocratic dictatorship it was in the days of the czars. Even Greece is prosecuting a man for the most harmless poke at religion imaginable, using archaic blasphemy laws.

Emissions cuts are already less costly than climate change<i>(Image: Reuters/Peter Andrews)</i>

Climate change already harming the global economy

According to the Climate Vulnerability Monitor – a report by Spanish non-profit organisation DARA – in 2010 climate change shaved 1.6 per cent off global gross domestic product. The figure was calculated by adding the harmful effects of climate change to the problems of the carbon-based economy, such as air pollution.
Does the Universe Need God?
In many religious traditions, one of the standard roles of the deity has been to create the universe.  The first line of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, is a plain statement of this role.[1] Much has happened, both in our scientific understanding of the universe and in the development of theology, since that line was first written.  It's worth examining what those developments imply for the relationship between God and cosmology.

Financially troubled parts of Europe consider taxing church properties

Cash-strapped officials in Europe are looking for a way to ease their financial burden by upending centuries of tradition and seeking to tap one of the last untouched sources of wealth: the Catholic Church.

On the Freedom to Offend an Imaginary God

The latest wave of Muslim hysteria and violence has now spread to over twenty countries. The walls of our embassies and consulates have been breached, their precincts abandoned to triumphant mobs, and many people have been murdered—all in response to an unwatchable Internet video titled “Innocence of Muslims.” Whether over a film, a cartoon, a novel, a beauty pageant, or an inauspiciously named teddy bear, the coming eruption of pious rage is now as predictable as the dawn. This is already an old and boring story about old, boring, and deadly ideas. And I fear it will be with us for the rest of our lives.

Nothing, however vile, justifies censorship
Even in the hardest of cases such as this anti-Islamic film, the old arguments against censorship remain the best

Childhood Memories Serve as a Moral Compass
Thoughts of innocent times prompt ethical behavior

The US is Broke -- Not!

The conservative network of viral emails has been buzzing about a short video done by a retired accountant that shows our revenue to be insufficient to support any of the Federal discretionary budget once our obligations for debt service and entitlements are paid.  Evidently this is news to many people and the video is presented in a context of shock, fear and great urgency.  My spouse, Marguerite, emailed one of our mutual friends to allay his fears and put the matter in perspective. 

Living Under Drones -- Chilling First-Hand Testimony of Escalating Drone Attacks by the US

Drones unleash shocking psychological and social damage to whole families and communities, along with the horrific deaths of many innocents.

Lie to Me: The Biological Basis of Emotion

Anonymous « You can't arrest an idea »

World News From The Middle East

Bad pharma and research bias

Bloomberg Dismisses NAACP, ‘Life Isn't Always Fair’ 


The United States of ALEC: Bill Moyers on the Secretive Corporate-Legislative Body Writing Our Laws

In U.N. Address, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Urges Obama Admin to End "Regime of Secrecy"

Exposed: U.S. May Have Designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks an "Enemy of the State"

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