Archive for April, 2007

Super Quick News Roundup

April 23, 2007

Here it goes:

VA allows Wiccan symbols on headstones

The Wiccan pentacle has been added to the list of emblems allowed in national cemeteries and on goverment-issued headstones of fallen soldiers, according to a settlement announced Monday.

A settlement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wiccans adds the five-pointed star to the list of “emblems of belief” allowed on VA grave markers.

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The pentacle has been added to 38 symbols the VA already permits on gravestones. They include commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.

As someone who was openly Pagan in the military, all I can say is good, about time.

Gonzales Vows to Stay on the Job

Alberto Gonzales, with a fresh vote of confidence from President Bush, vowed Monday to remain as attorney general despite lingering differences with senators over the firing of federal prosecutors.

They deserve each other. The rest of us don’t. Maybe we could all pitch in and buy them a cruise together. A cruise that never comes back.

Democrats Challenge Bush on Iraq Bill

A historic veto showdown assured, Democratic leaders agreed Monday on legislation that requires the first U.S. combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by Oct. 1 with a goal of a complete pullout six months later.

“No more will Congress turn a blind eye to the Bush administration’s incompetence and dishonesty,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a speech in which he accused the president of living in a state of denial about events in Iraq more than four years after the U.S.-led invasion.

About damn time. Give ’em hell Harry.

Abortion Ruling Causes Worries, Confusion for Angry City Docs

The Supreme Court decision last week banning so-called partial-birth abortions is causing confusion and apprehension in the city’s hospitals. At Bellevue’s Reproductive Choice Unit, for example, unnerved residents circulated stories about the hospital’s sordid past, when floors were once full of women who attempted termination on their own. “I don’t think many of us know what partial birth is — it’s not a medical term at all,” said Kiran Chawal, a third-year resident there. “We’ve all looked it up to figure out what they’re talking about. It’s difficult to understand or interpret.”

The legislation of medicine is what angers doctors most, regardless of their political leanings. “It’s not a pro-choice issue as much as it is a medical issue,” says Chawal. “You’re telling doctors how to perform a procedure. Are they going to tell me next week that I can’t use a speculum to do a Pap smear?” Jessica Salas, one of the chief OB residents at Bellevue, doesn’t perform abortions because of her own moral concerns, but she is nevertheless opposed to the ban. “I don’t feel like a lawyer has the right to tell me how to practice medicine,” she said. “It’s a sad day for practitioners in general. They’re telling us how to do our jobs and to do something that’s not safe for the patient.”

Even worse, the legislation is, by medical standards, imprecise. The term “partial-birth abortion” is an evocative phrase used by pro-life advocates, and by the Supreme Court last week, but it isn’t used by doctors, who prefer “intact dilation and evacuation” to describe the procedure. And the ban doesn’t outlaw abortion itself, just this one particular method, so it makes for complicated decisions should emergencies arise. “You want to be thinking about what’s the safest thing for the patient, not taking your gloves off and calling the ACLU to figure out if you’re going to be breaking the law,” said one attending OB/GYN at a large city hospital. “It takes away tools from doctors. Now we have to worry about criminal prosecution while we watch a woman bleed.”

The sick fucks who carry around pictures of aborted fetuses will no doubt rejoice when women start dying from this ruling.

And last but not least:

Soldier: Honor Troops Like Va. Tech Dead

In the article issued Monday by the public affairs office at Bagram military base north of Kabul, Sgt. Jim Wilt lamented that his comrades’ deaths have become a mere blip on the TV screen, lacking the “shock factor” to be honored by the Stars and Stripes as the deaths at Virginia Tech were.

“I find it ironic that the flags were flown at half-staff for the young men and women who were killed at VT, yet it is never lowered for the death of a U.S. service member,” Wilt wrote.

He noted that Bagram obeyed President Bush’s order last week that all U.S. flags at federal locations be flown at half-staff through April 22 to honor 32 people killed at Virginia Tech by a 23-year-old student gunman who then killed himself.

“I think it is sad that we do not raise the bases’ flag to half-staff when a member of our own task force dies,” Wilt said.

Excellent observation. No doubt completely lost on those fine ‘mericans with yellow magnets on their SUVs.

Forgot to post this the other day

April 18, 2007

Don’t you just hate those damn chain emails? I know I do. Here is an example of the worst kind.

More below the fold……….

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Gun Violence: symptom or disease?

April 18, 2007

Originally posted at DKos.

Building from a comment I left in Obvious To Me’s diary Get Rid of the Guns, I wonder if we as a community are missing out on other ways to reduce gun violence in this country that we can agree on.

There is obviously a lot of passion in both sides of the debate, and while we may disagree on whether or not guns should be legal, I think we can all agree that reducing gun violence is a good and worthy cause. So I ask, is gun violence the symptom or the disease? Are there things in our culture that lead us to use guns to commit violence, or to commit any other form of violence for that matter, that we can agree on fixing that would lead to our common purpose, to reduce gun violence in this country?

Follow me below the fold and lets see if we can work this out.

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What he said…..

April 6, 2007

P. Z. Myers nails it:

If you want to grasp the goals of scientists (and, tellingly, the goals of atheists), you have to understand that distinction between believing and understanding.

He is referring to a YouTooCanMakeAnAssOfYourselfAndShareItWithTheWorld video that attempts to explain evolution.

If you are interested in learning more about evolution, here’s a good place to start