Cartoon: let us prey!

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Thanks, Timothy Aeppel

Six seconds of porn is more than enough time for most people to enjoy themselves — Huh? Wha?

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❝ Vine will not be left to shrivel up and die on itself, not if Pornhub has anything to say about it.

Earlier on Thursday Twitter announced it was ending Vine’s short run, and the adult site was quick to come to the rescue…maybe.

❝ In a letter from Pornhub VP Corey Price to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that was shared with CNET, Price lays out the rationale:

“We figure since Twitter has dropped (Vine) and is having significant layoffs, that you and your stakeholders could benefit from a cash infusion from the sale of Vine. Not to mention we would be saving Vine gems like ‘Damn Daniel,’ ‘Awkward Puppets’ and many more.”

Pornhub also promises to “restore Vine to Its NSFW glory,” saying that clips “of porn in six seconds is more than enough time for most people to enjoy themselves.”

❝ Uh…yeah…

❝ …Who knows, maybe Twitter will be willing to deal with Pornhub. Let’s just hope it doesn’t lead to a rash of six-second naked prank vids; that might be the only thing worse than killing off Vine.

CNET’s analysis of financial news is probably the only thing worse than their product reviews. Still, they made it to the humor plateau. Poisonally, I doubt the PornHub folks are kidding or foolish. Unlike most adult industrial nations in the mainstream of Western constitutional democracy the United States still defines most ethics by the morality stored in the fundamentalist Christian guidebook originated to the designs of a 17th Century monarch.

The most successful pornographers know better than that.

Thanks, Om

New Hampshire now the least religious state in the United States

❝ New Hampshire is the least religious state in the U.S., edging out Vermont in Gallup’s 2015 state-by-state analysis…Mississippi has extended its eight-year streak as the most religious state, followed closely by neighboring Alabama…

Hmmm. Think education has anything to do with this?

❝ Gallup classifies Americans into three religious groups based on their responses to a question measuring religious service attendance and how important religion is in their daily life.

Very religious Americans are those who say religion is important to them and who attend services every week or almost every week.

Nonreligious Americans are those for whom religion is not important and who seldom or never attend religious services.

Moderately religious Americans meet just one of the criteria, either saying religion is important or that they attend services almost every week or more.

❝ Gallup began tracking several religious indicators on a daily basis in 2008. Some of these indicators have shown significant change over this time, most notably the percentage of Americans who report no formal religious identity when asked to name their religious preference. But the percentage classified as very religious on the basis of their attendance and view on the importance of religion has stayed remarkably stable.

Yup. My view on the not-usefulness of religion hasn’t changed since 1951. Been an atheist ever since. Extended the depth of that understanding through studies in science and philosophy in following years.

Feds investigating church selling bleach as a cure for autism

❝ Federal prosecutors continue to scrutinize a bizarre church and its exiled founder who claims he was sent here from another galaxy to sell a “miracle cure” for autism.

The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing has been accused of preying on thousands of families with autistic children by selling the corrosive antidote known as “Master Mineral Solution,” which is nothing more than household bleach…

“They might as well be selling Clorox,” Ben Mizer of the U.S. Department of Justice told ABC News in an investigation into the church. Mizer said so far one person has been prosecuted for selling the so-called cure…

❝ Humble, who…now says he is a billion-year-old god from another galaxy, writes on one of his websites that he “discovered” the antidote “whilst prospecting for minerals deep in the jungles of South America” and used it on a companion who fell ill with malaria.

Now the bottles are sold on several fringe websites, including one U.S. based company that charges $12.95 for a 4 ounce bottle, and up to $96 for a package of 12 bottles. The store’s site says all sales are donated to the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing…

❝ Experts in the autism community say there’s no merit to their claims and that Humble and other church members are peddling “poison.”

This is a poison. This is high-strength industrial bleach,” Dr. Paul Wang, the senior vice president of Autism Speaks…“It really scares me that people would give this to their kids, because it is a poison…”

A sucker born every minute is a long-standing American religious proverb.

So, um, how did you celebrate Oilfield Prayer Day?

❝ In an announcement we only wish were part of an SNL cold open, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin proclaimed Oct. 13 Oilfield Prayer Day. All you need to celebrate is rest, relaxation, and a solemn request to the heavens to make fracking great again.

❝ The official statewide initiative is the brainchild of Fallin and Reverend Tom Beddow, who runs the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Oil Path Chaplains ministry. “We’re asking churches all over Oklahoma to open their doors, put on a pot of coffee, and pray for the oil field,” Beddow told The Oklahoman. While originally calling upon only Christians, Fallin revised the proclamation Monday to beseech oil-enthusiasts of all faiths.

❝ Last month, Oklahoma saw a 5.8 magnitude earthquake — the state’s largest in recorded history — in an area regularly injected with wastewater from oil and gas companies. That type of wastewater disposal has been linked to earthquakes. With that in mind, Oilfield Prayer Day seems a distasteful addition to a week filled with real holidays such as Indigenous People’s Day and Yom Kippur.

Given the dedication to 14th Century ideology practiced by both state and citizens in Oklahoma, none of this surprises me. There is little of our Constitutional separation of church and state at offer in that benighted state.

Massive Catholic divestment from fossil fuels


Climate Solidarity Prayer March in ManilaAP/Aaron Favila

❝ If you care deeply about humanity and its role on this planet, climate change represents a significant, existential threat.

The victims of climate change include people who live near the ocean, people who live in forests, people who live in deserts, and people who live in the mountains. Young people. Old people. Poor people and rich people: If they aren’t already feeling the impacts of a changing climate, they will someday.

And human-caused climate change is threatening and destroying many, many species of plants and animals.

❝ It’s with this view that faith groups have become leaders in the climate change movement. Churches were some of the earliest adopters of fossil fuel divestment — the practice of pulling funds from companies for a range of reasons, including mining for coal, selling oil and gas, or financing tar sands development.

A new cadre of Catholic groups joined the movement Tuesday, announcing a coordinated, global divestment push…

Italian, Canadian, Australian, U.S., Brazilian, and international Catholic groups announced a range of measures distancing themselves from fossil fuels. Some goals are relatively modest: For instance, SSM, a U.S. hospital group, will divest from coal companies. But the Brazilian Diocese of Umuarama will become the first diocese and the first Latin American institution to commit to divest from fossil fuels, according to 350.org. The diocese is also reducing its carbon footprint and has joined an anti-fracking coalition in Latin America…

❝ Laudato Si’ is an encyclical, issued by Pope Francis last year, that emphasizes the need to be responsible guardians of the environment, particularly in the face of climate change and carbon pollution.

“Every community may take from the bounty of the earth that which it needs for its own survival, but it also has the duty to protect it and ensure the continuity of its fertility for future generations,” the encyclical, an official, high-level teaching for Catholics, says.

❝ Divestment is commonly seen as a powerful tool to reduce access to financing for fossil fuel companies. It also allows individuals and groups to take ownership of their role in the fossil fuel industrial complex, which, in turn, helps raise awareness.

Done it before. I’ll do it, again. Owning shares in fossil fuel companies is like owning shares in cigarette manufacturers. Trying to profit from firms whose products destroy our lives, our existence, is not ethical in my view of a principled life.

Always nice to see some of the oldest philosophies of good will joining in to a modern struggle.

Broad range driving growth of atheists, agnostics and religious “nones” in the U.S.

The share of Americans who do not identify with a religious group is surely growing: While nationwide surveys in the 1970s and ’80s found that fewer than one-in-ten U.S. adults said they had no religious affiliation, fully 23% now describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular.”

…Two, or even three, closely related things seem to be going on. Americans who are not religiously active and who don’t hold strong religious beliefs are more likely now than similar people were in the past to say they have no religion. But that’s not the whole story, because the share of Americans with low levels of religious commitment (on a scale combining four common measures) also has been growing…

Another factor is generational change. If you think of America as a house of many different faiths, then instead of imagining the “nones” as a roomful of middle-aged people who used to call themselves Presbyterians, Catholics or something else but don’t claim those labels anymore, imagine the unaffiliated as a few rooms rapidly filling with nonreligious people of various backgrounds, including young adults who have never had any religious affiliation in their adult lives.

Indeed, our Religious Landscape Study finds a clear generational pattern: Young people who are not particularly religious seem to be much more comfortable identifying as “nones” than are older people who display a similar level of religious observance. Nearly eight-in-ten Millennials with low levels of religious commitment describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular.” By contrast, just 54% of Americans in the Silent and Greatest generations who have low levels of religious commitment say they are unaffiliated; 45% claim a religion. A similarly striking gap between Millennials and others is also seen among those with a “medium” level of religious commitment…

…Whether Millennials will become more religious as they age remains to be seen, but there is nothing in our data to suggest that Millennials or members of Generation X have become any more religious in recent years. If anything, they have so far become less religious as they have aged.

Education, evidence-based factors, accumulated knowledge appear to be working as you might expect. Even in the United States.

Cripes! Optimism may yet surpass my cynicism.

Kentucky governor joins the chorus of Republicans forecasting Blood in the Streets if Hillary elected

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin told religious conservatives at the Values Voters Summit Sept. 9 that blood might have to be shed if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

“I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically, so that we don’t have to do it physically,” Bevin said Saturday. “But that may, in fact, be the case.”

He added, citing Thomas Jefferson’s “blood of patriots and tyrants” quote: “The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood. Of who? The tyrants, to be sure. But who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren.”…

Bevin, a tea party supporter who has been known to make a controversial comment or two, clarified his comments to the Lexington Herald-Leader, saying blah, blah, blah. The usual craptastic clarification ritual required for right-wing nutballs to cover their butts over advocating/foretelling violence, anarchy and insurrection…

Bevin’s comments echo a tea party rallying cry that has cropped up from time to time. Activists and even some lawmakers have cited Jefferson’s quote to reinforce the stakes for their political movement.

As for the 2016 campaign, Bevin’s comments are the latest example of elected officials promising very bad things if the wrong candidate is elected…Former congresswoman Michele Bachmann warned recently that a Clinton win might mean this could be the “last election” in which Americans would be able to elect a president with “godly moral principles…”

Conservative talk show hosts have warned of even worse, up to and including civil war. But Bevin’s comments appear to be the most full-throated warning about a Clinton presidency so far from a high-ranking GOP elected official.

Easy to blame demagogues. Half the responsibility must be laid at the feet of fools who vote thugs like this into office. It doesn’t matter if their excuse is ignorance or stupidity. They lined up in support of fear-mongering.

Never can tell what you might find at a North Carolina yard sale!

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❝ A woman has been arrested in North Carolina after her mother’s body was discovered in a freezer she sold at a yard sale.

Marcella Jean Lee, 56, was charged on Thursday with concealing and failure to report a death, more than three months after selling the chest freezer to her neighbour for $30.

❝ Ms Lee had told her neighbour not to open the appliance when she sold it to her in May, saying it was being used as a time capsule and that church members would come by at some point to collect the contents inside.

However, the neighbour opened it up later to find the body of Arma Roush, the 75-year-old mother of Ms Lee, whom police had been looking for since the discovery.

She was detained on Thursday about 100 miles south of the city of Goldsboro, where her mother’s remains were found…

❝ A post mortem examination showed no signs of foul play regarding Ms Roush’s death. The pensioner had been living with her daughter and was last seen alive in August 2015.

In a 911 call, obtained by WNCN at the time of the discovery, the neighbour said: “I have a serious problem. My neighbour sold me a deep freezer. I just opened it and there’s a body in there. I am freaking out.”

Certainly nothing you’d want to bring to Antiques Roadshow.

The God business is worth more than Apple, Amazon and Google combined


Did they count the gold?

❝ Religion in the United States is worth $1.2 trillion a year, making it equivalent to the 15th largest national economy in the world…

The faith economy has a higher value than the combined revenues of the top 10 technology companies in the US, including Apple, Amazon and Google, says the analysis from Georgetown University…

❝ The Socioeconomic Contributions of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis calculated the $1.2tn figure by estimating the value of religious institutions, including healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programmes; and staff and overheads for congregations.

Co-author Brian Grim said it was a conservative estimate. More than 344,000 congregations across the US collectively employ hundreds of thousands of staff and buy billions of dollars worth of goods and services.
More than 150 million Americans, almost half the population, are members of faith congregations, according to the report. Although numbers are declining, the sums spent by religious organisations on social programmes have tripled in the past 15 years, to $9bn.

❝ The analysis did not take account of the value of financial or physical assets held by religious groups. Neither did it account for “the negative impacts that occur in some religious communities, including … such things as the abuse of children by some clergy, cases of fraud, and the possibility of being recruitment sites for violent extremism”.

Didn’t notice any mention [in the article] of the dollar value of tax avoidance of religion in America. A nice addition to any profitable business.