Sunday, December 31, 2006

Top Ten Orwellian Moments of 2006

Refers to 1984, but if it refers to Animal Farm, it's an accident.

1) Fox News airs an infomercial for torture. On the November 3rd Greta Van Susteren show, reporter Steve Harrigan submitted himself to waterboarding

2) Federal semantics eliminates the hunger problem. In November, The United States Department of Agriculture replaces the word "hunger" with the phrase "low food security" in its annual report on hunger in America.

3) Defending the First Amendment by proposing that we scrap it. At a New Hampshire event dedicated to freedom of speech, Newt Gingrich declares that the United States will have to re-examine that particular constitutional right as it fights terrorism.

4) Halliburton contracts to build large detention camps in the US. In January, KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton was awarded a 385 million dollar contract from the Department of Homeland Security to build "Detention and Removal" facilities to help "in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs that require additional detention space."

5) The Inexorable Worldwide Rollout of RFID Chips. Although it's not moving as quickly as the RFID industry would like, 2006 saw the addition of electronic ID chips to US passports, Nikes and iPods, Florida pythons, Japanese schoolchildren, German hospital patients and boozing Brits.

6) Stay What? After years of characterizing US policy in Iraq as "Stay the course," the Bush administration not only drops the phrase, but denies it ever existed. On October 23rd, Bush declared "We've never been 'stay the course.'"

7) Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Carrying Cash is a Crime. In August, a federal court ruled that the government can seize cash from an individual, even if that individual has not been accused of a crime and has no criminal record.

8) The Automated Targeting System. In November, the Federal Register revealed the existence of the Automated Targeting System, a Department of Homeland Security program for identifying terrorists and criminals, which cross references all people entering or leaving the country with a host of personal data which they are not allowed to see or correct.

9) NSA Warrantless Surveillance and Crypto-City. Although the NSA's secret spying program broke in late 2005, the controversy took up much of 2006, culminating in the August ruling by Detroit District Court that the program was unconstitutional and illegal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It continues nonetheless. And yet, through all of this, there's been almost no discussion of the NSA's secret city north of Washington, DC, called Crypto-City.

All links, videos and articles can be found by following the link to WFMU.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Black Faces do not always Minstrels Make

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI consider it to be a good opportunity for folks who may have expressed "concern" or disappointment over the picture I used for my latest podcast of Mondo Diablo: Noel en l'Enfer.

The opportunity is great because for one, we can expand our horizons beyond the VERY young holiday known as the American Christmas, to find out what a great deal of the REST of the world is doing. But even better is a chance to understand a little bit more about "our" own culture, that of early American "Black" music, and the horror and taboo against the Minstrel Show.

"Bamboozled" was an interesting film about racist black Americana, but it failed miserably at educating its viewers about the traditions of vaudeville and Barbershop Harmony that originated with black Americans. Yes, Minstrel Shows were started/imported by people with dark skin. This began a very solid basis for "American" entertainment that gave us today's delights: Trade Show barkers selling Oxy Klean, Stepping/Stomping competions, and Saturday Night Live.

And no, I would not be so bold as to forget the contributions of "Romany" people of all shades and geological locations to "American" entertainment that was so very well co-opted by darker-or-not-so dark-skinned people.

As for the picture on the blog: the podcast itself does a very good job of explaining what those strange blackfaced men are doing. I would have hoped this would have been enough, but I suppose this link might help.

No Races! Just individuals, please!

PS: Let us give credit where credit is due: the group is called The Rainbow Jazz Valentines. Surely most of us are aware of the hugeness of traditional jazz in the Netherlands, right?

Weihnachten in der Hölle! Who is Pere Fouettard?

New Podcast up: Noël dans L'Enfer

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Even an 8 Year-Old Can See...

The funniest part is that Bill O'Reilly and Fox News is so retarded and appeals to the same that they had to slander the girl and her family in order to defend their obscene rantings. They didn't even bother to criticize what she said.


Door-Knocking Atheist Bothers Mormons

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Australian filmmaker John Safran is so fed up with mormons ringing his doorbell early in the morning that he flies to Salt Lake City Utah and tries to convert Mormons to atheism. Needless to say, the locals were not pleased. (See video).

Hellbound Alleee 131: Personal Responsibility

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If a murder is no one's responsibility during wartime, then no injustice can be taken responsibility for within such a system. Imagine no religion, no countries: what if we were all responsible for our own actions?

Download here

For more download options, see the Hellbound Alleee site.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Charlie Brown Christmas Alternate Ending

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You know that part where Linus preaches the Luke bible verses? Well, I have experienced a terrible physical reaction to that part ever since I was a child. It was so bad and unexplained that I once wondered if I blocked out some childhood trauma that occurred at the same time. It makes me want to puke, and I have to leave the room.

This Quicktime video may have cured my phobia. (Not for work.)

It's Official: Morality is Purely Contingent on God's Attention

Christian "morality" is not supposed to be a matter of judgement (Judge not lest, etc) between Right and Wrong. Christians would therefore be amoral "animals," which is just as they want you to believe, about everyone.

The Political Importance of Fearing God by Amy Barath

The fear of God is the reason why I do not steal from a jewelry store even if nobody is looking. I must choose right over wrong because I am looking, and through me, God is looking.


The fear of God is the reason why we do not kick our neighbor's dog, whether our neighbor is a Buddhist or a Jew or his dog is a purebred or a mutt.

Fortunately, an overwhelming majority of them would simply pay lipservice (or, lie about their adherence) to this tenet. The rest of them are in prison with the rest of the deeply, consistently religious.

A brief moment of reason could stop a normal person from stealing, whether he is being watched or not. It's called "judgement," and Christians sin in this way all the time.

We fear God so that we may not fear men. This fear allows us to discern between what is right and what is wrong.

Amy, you either judge or you do not, and it doesn't matter if you call it "discernment." One way or another, you're going to have to judge whether or not to follow your scriptures, so you're trapped in a little paradox. You can't follow scripture at all. It must be really frustrating.

Thank reason--for moral realism.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Vox Populi Episode 19

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  • Does not Christianity, even if one believes in it, ultimately reduce itself to “might makes right”? Why should we accept God’s commandments?
  • If prayer actually worked, what would the world be like?
  • What is more important, actions, or intentions?
  • How could a hypothetically existent God prove its existence? How should we deal with Christians who claim that atheists just deny the evidence?