Archive for June, 2011

Russian Court Bans Scientology Literature

Posted in Scientology the cult on June 30th, 2011 by Phil Ferguson – 2 Comments

via the Washington Post.

A court in a Moscow suburb has banned works by the founder of the Church of Scientology, officials said Thursday.

The Shchyolkovo court ruled that “What is Scientology?” and other books by L. Ron Hubbard “contain calls for extremist activities,” the Prosecutor General’s office said in a statement.

I’m glad we don’t do this here but, it is funny!  It is better to laugh at Lord Xenu!

Hubbard, a science fiction writer, founded the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology in 1954. It teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems.

Hey… what about the aliens trapped in your body?

The group claims 10 million members around the world, including film stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Oh yeah… Tom Cruise…..

The Greatest Show On Earth – Richard Dawkins Interview On KUER 2011-06-29

Posted in atheists on June 30th, 2011 by Phil Ferguson – Comments Off

50 minutes of Dawkins talking about his book - The Greatest Show On Earth.

I wanted to put it here but the file size is too big.  Just click on the link above and check out his interview.

Ideas Do Not Deserve Respect – People Do

Posted in cartoon on June 30th, 2011 by Phil Ferguson – Comments Off

If an idea cannot stand agaist question it is not worth having.

Ask Sam Harris Anything #1 (video)

Posted in atheists on June 29th, 2011 by Phil Ferguson – Comments Off

Hey Sony – I’m Pissed!

Posted in Personal Stories on June 29th, 2011 by Phil Ferguson – 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, I bought a Blu-ray player made by Vizio for about $100.  It has Wi-Fi built in and works great.  I hooked it up to the TV in our living room and now we can watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon video etc… all through our Wi-Fi router.  It worked so well that I wanted one for the TV in our bedroom.  I ended up getting a Sony machine for the bedroom – I was a little thinner and fit perfectly in the space I had.  It only cost a few dollars more than the Vizio.  After getting the machine all setup (and throwing away the box and losing the receipt) I discovered that the sony machine is only Wi-Fi “ready”!  WTF!  It will handle Wi-Fi only after you plug in a USB Wi-Fi adaptor.

I ordered a USB Wi-Fi adaptor from amazon and it came in the mail today.  Problem solved for only $15.  Whoo – hooo.

Well… I’m sure you can guess from the title of the post – It did not work.  The Blu-ray play does not recognize the adaptor that I bought.  I scoured the manual and found the exact type of adaptor that I need.  It will only work with a special SONY USB Wi-Fi adapter.  It is only $80!   No thanks.  I guess I will put this player in the basement and go by another Vizio Blu-ray player.

Huckabee Disses FFRF In Robocalls

Posted in Church and State on June 29th, 2011 by Phil Ferguson – 2 Comments
Play

via the FFRF.

Ex-governor of Arkansas and FOX TV commentator Mike Huckabee has recorded a fundraising robocall pitch which disses the Freedom From Religion Foundation for “the National Committee for Faith and Family.”

The robocall misleadingly warns that “all public mention of god would be erased if the Freedom From Religion Foundation wins this [National Day of Prayer] case.”

Click on the play button and listen to the msg from Mike Huckabee!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Hi, this is Mike Huckabee, and I want to thank you for taking my call. I’m calling today because the nation’s largest atheist organization, the Freedom From Religious [sic] Foundation, has claimed that our historic National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. This is gonna prevent the time-honored tradition from taking place ever again. Look, my friend, this just isn’t right. Can you imagine our children and grandchildren growing up in a society where we are forbidden to pray as a nation? It’s unthinkable. But the reality is that all public mention of God would be erased if the Freedom From Religion Foundation wins this case. If they see a victory here, there’s gonna be a renewed effort to rewrite our national motto and the Pledge of Allegiance, both of which refer to our creator. That’s why we have to speak out against this right now. As a Christian, I’ve joined the National Committee for Faith and Family, which is dedicated to keeping god alive in our society and defend our god-given right to pray for our country. With so much at stake, I need you to be involved now more than ever. Please stay on the line to add your name to the committee and help us protect the National Day of Prayer. Thanks and god bless you.”

end of Huckabee quote… below is rest of the story from FFRF.

The National Committee for Faith and Family is best known for producing and funding Newt and Callista Gingrich’s pro-Christian, historically misleading “documentaries.” Its purpose, besides raising “awareness of the filth and anti-Christian bigotry in America today,” is “to restore decency, morality and the sanctity of family to America.”

“FFRF has signed up some new members and received some unsolicited donations as a result of this robocall,” noted Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, “but it’s maddening to see the religious right exploit FFRF’s work. The religious right appears to have a bottomless wallet when it comes to spending money to dismantle our precious ‘wall of separation between church and state.’ ”

“Many young freethinkers seem to be finding out about FFRF thanks to Huckabee’s calls, at least if our Facebook page is any indication,” says FFRF staffer Eleanor Wroblewski. Most recently, Cynthia Eck posted, “I’m thrilled to know you’re out there working to keep religious zealotry out of congressional and constitutional matters.”

Huckabee’s call has been going out since spring 2011, and continues even though FFRF’s federal National Day of Prayer lawsuit was thrown out April 14, 2011. The Seventh U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that FFRF and its plaintiffs did not have standing (that is, the right to sue) over the National Day of Prayer. The appeals court did not rule on the merits of the case. That ruling came down nearly a month before the National Day of Prayer, which takes place on the first Thursday of May. (A request by FFRF for review by the entire panel was turned down in June.)

The 1952 National Day of Prayer law, adopted at the behest of Rev. Billy Graham, reads:

“The President shall set aside and proclaim a suitable day each year, other than a Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer, on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”

In 1988, religious-right lobbying groups urged Congress to set a fixed date, to better coordinate events entangling church and state on the prayer day.

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb, in her historic 2010 ruling siding with FFRF, wrote that the law went beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because

“Its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context. In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience. When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual’s decision about whether and how to worship.”

Materials from FFRF’s fascinating court challenge, including exhibits, depositions of National Day of Prayer Task Force head Shirley Dobson, etc., can be read at FFRF’s website here.

FFRF corrected the false Congressional record, which justified the National Day of Prayer by purporting that our founders prayed at the Constitutional Convention. There was no such prayer, and that’s no surprise, since our founders were the first among nations to leave ‘god’ out of government and out of our foundational document.

FFRF is still pursuing two challenges of governor-proclaimed days of prayer, one in state court in Colorado and one in federal court in Arizona.

FFRF is looking closely at local, mayoral and statewide actions around the National Day of Prayer for future litigation. If you become aware of entanglements, such as government officials hosting National Day of Prayer events or prayer breakfasts through their offices and government websites, please contact FFRF legal staff at http://ffrf.org/legal/report/.