Thursday, January 29, 2015

Seattle taxman going after garbage

By Donald Sensing

Seattle government now going through citizens’ trash for public shaming, revenue

Let me tell you how it will be.

It is now against the law to throw away food scraps in Seattle. If you exceed the maximum food-garbage allowance of 10 percent (by weight? by volume? they don't say) then you will be fined.

Which, one suspects, is really the main motivation behind the whole rule. Cui bono, "follow the money" and all that.



Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet

Taxman!
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

Don't ask me what I want it for (Aahh Mr. Wilson)
If you don't want to pay some more (Aahh Mr. Heath)
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
Cos I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

And you're working for no one but me
Taxman!

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Out: Islamophobia. In: Christianophobia!

By Donald Sensing


Sociologists: 'Christianophobia,' Anti-Christian Hostility Infects Powerful Elite Subculture
A small, but elite group of Americans demonstrate signs of anti-Christian hostility, sociologists David Williamson and George Yancey claim in their new book, So Many Christians, So Few Lions: Is There Christianophobia in the United States? ...

In the minds of many of the respondents Christians are ignorant, intolerant and stupid individuals who are unable to think for themselves. The general image they have of Christians is that they are a backward, non-critical thinking, child-like people who do not like science and want to interfere with the lives of everyone else.

But even worse, they see ordinary Christians as having been manipulated by evil Christian leaders and will vote in whatever way those leaders want. They believe that those leaders are trying to set up a theocracy to force everybody to accept their Christian beliefs. So, for some with Christianophobia, this is a struggle for our society and our ability to move toward a progressive society. Christians are often seen as the great evil force that blocks our society from achieving this progressive paradise.
In other words, they are completely typical progressives (that is, Leftists) who, in their characterization of Christians described above, perfectly summarize progressive orthodoxy enforces on its own side (see Chait, Jonathan). Moreover,
...unlike other types of intolerances, those who exhibited Christianophobia do not tend to think that they are intolerant. Usually those who do not like blacks or Muslims admit that they are intolerant but simply try to justify their intolerance. Those with Christianophobia tend to deny that they are intolerant but rather that they are fairly interpreting social reality. Envisioning themselves as fair and free of intolerance allows them to blame those they detest rather than recognize how their emotions have distorted their intellectual judgments.
You know, they call themselves the "reality-based community."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Prominent Atheist Professor says Intelligent Design is Plausible

By Donald Sensing

Prominent Atheist Professor of Law and Philosophy Thomas Nagel Calls Intelligent Design Scientific and Constitutional to "Mention" in Science Classes

Prof. Thomas Nagel has published an important essay entitled, "Public Education and Intelligent Design", in the Wiley InterScience Journal Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 36, issue 2, on-line at < http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118493933/home>  His paper is a significant because it encourages all intelligent, educated, informed individuals to consider that intelligent design may be a valid scientific approach to understanding how DNA and the complex chemical systems of life came to attain their present form. Prof. Nagel's article is well worth the price (fee for access US $29.95).  He is a self-declared atheist who earned his PhD. in philosophy at Harvard, has been a professor at U.C. Berkeley, Princeton, and for the last 28 years at New York University, and has published ten books and more than 60 articles.

Prof. Nagel tells us that he "has for a long time been skeptical of the claims of traditional evolutionary theory to be the whole story about the history of life" (p. 202). He reports that it is "difficult to find in the accessible literature the grounds" for these claims.

Moreover, he goes farther. He reports that the "presently available evidence" comes "nothing close" to establishing "the sufficiency of standard evolutionary mechanisms to account for the entire evolution of life" (p. 199).

He notes that his judgment is supported by two prominent scientists (Marc Kirschner and John Gerhart, writing in the Oct. 2005 book Plausibility of Life), who also recognized that (prior to offering their own theory, at least) the "available evidence" did not "decisively settle[]" whether mutations in DNA "are entirely due to chance" (p. 191). And he cites one Stuart Kauffman, a "complexity theorist who defends a naturalistic theory of emergence," that random mutation "is not sufficient" to explain DNA (p. 192).
This is basically the same rationale that the 20th century's leading philosophical atheist, Antony Flew, used finally to reject atheism and declare he was a deist. He said,
There were two factors in particular that were decisive. One was my growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe. The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself—which is far more complex than the physical Universe—can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source. I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so. With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins' comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a "lucky chance." If that's the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion.
Exactly.

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State Dept.: Beheadings not "religious"

By Donald Sensing

It is becoming impossible to satirize this administration any more because it keeps outpacing my satiric abilities. For example:


Meanwhile, the new Saudi King Salman apparently did not get that memo: "Three more beheaded under new Saudi king"
Riyadh (AFP) - Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded two more of its citizens and a Pakistani, continuing the strictest punishment under new King Salman.

Omar bin Yahya bin Ibrahim al-Barkati was tried and convicted of incest, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

"He was executed as punishment for his crime and as a lesson to others," the ministry said, adding that authorities carried out the sentence in southwestern Asir region.

In a separate case, Yassir bin Hussein al-Hamza was executed in northwestern Jawf region after his trial and confession for smuggling amphetamine pills, the ministry said.

A third convict, Latif Khan Nurzada, a Pakistani, was executed for trafficking heroin into the kingdom. He was executed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the ministry said in another statement.

According to an AFP tally, their executions bring to 16 the number of Saudis and foreigners put to death this year under the kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law [italics added].
Get that? They were "put to death under ... Islamic sharia law." Quick, send that Islamic scholar and authority Rick Stengel to Riyadh to educate those stupid Muslim judges there how Islam has nothing to do with the sentences they adjudged because of Islamic law!

As I posted last week, we are still wondering, "Does Islam Have Anything to do With Islam?" Apparently not, at least in the cloud cuckoo land of the US State Department.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Incredible Drone Video of Auschwitz Today

By Donald Sensing

Auschwitz: Drone video of Nazi concentration camp



Drone video shows the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp as it is today - 70 years after it was liberated by Soviet troops. The camp in Poland is now maintained as a World Heritage Site and is visited by thousands of tourists and survivors every year. Auschwitz was the largest camp established by the Germans during World War II. More than a million people - the vast majority of them Jews - died there between 1940, when it was built, and 1945, when it was liberated by the Soviet army.

Railway tracks into Auschwitz-Birkenau - Trains filled with victims from throughout occupied Europe arrived at the camp almost every day between 1942 and the summer of 1944.

Ruins of wooden huts at Birkenau - Birkenau (or Auschwitz II) was erected in 1941 solely as a death camp, the wooden huts are now in ruins with only brick fireplaces and chimneys remaining.

Entrance to Auschwitz I -The wrought-iron sign over the entrance bears the words Arbeit Macht Frei - "Work sets you free".

Auschwitz I - The brick-built buildings were the former cavalry barracks of the Polish Army.

Courtyard between blocks 10 and 11 at Auschwitz I - Block 11 was called "the Block of Death" by prisoners. Executions took place between Block 10 and Block 11 and posts in the yard were used to string up prisoners by their wrists.

Auschwitz Birkenau is now a museum run by the Polish Culture Ministry, and a Unesco world heritage site.
Update:



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But century-long climate modeling is still perfect

By Donald Sensing

The National Weather Service says it will evaluate how it models forecasting after its blown forecast for the big storm in the Northeast.

But don't worry, the computer models used to forecast the climate over the entire Earth for periods of a century or more are flawless and without error.

FOFB:
"It was a storm of hysteric proportions" -- Peter Shalen
"What we lack in accuracy about weather we make up for in certainty about climate" -- Jeffrey Satinover

Monday, January 26, 2015

The blizzard is televised

By Donald Sensing

Update, Jan. 27: NYC snow shutdown a bust: "There Is Basically No Snow In New York — But, Absurdly, The Entire City Is Shut Down"

From last evening: Here is a grab from NBC's live snow cam. This is 7 p.m. Jan 26. I'll post comparo pix tomorrow morning.


Here is the comparo pic, grabbed at 9.20 a.m. Jan 27:



And here is a grab from a live stream set up by a weather photographer in Queens, same time stamp.


And here is this morning's grab, 9.25 EST. Definitely a bigger accumulation there:



Heh:



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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Does Islam Have Anything to do With Islam?

By Donald Sensing

I have posted recently why Muslim "moderates" fail to persuade me with their disclaimers that Islamist terrorism and murders have nothing to do with Islam,  (I use scare quotes because what Muslim moderate really means  is, "doesn't kill people" when such nonviolent Muslims may be as absolutist and dedicated to total Islamic triumph as the most die-hard, sword wielding ISIS jihadis).

See here and here, for example.

Pat Condell comes to the logical conclusion that what we are being asked to believe is that Islam has nothing to do with Islam, actually.



In August 2002 I posted that "Islam is what Muslims do" (no longer online) because Islam is exclusively a religion of deeds - deeds of merit or condemnation. Sayyid Qutb, Egyptian author, educator, Islamic theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s, put it this way:

The basis of the Islamic message is that one should accept the shari’ah without any question and reject all other laws, whatever their shape or form. This is Islam. There is no other meaning of Islam.
Sharia is Islamic law. It is the code of conduct that encompasses every aspect of human life and society. Living faithfully as a Muslim means, as Qutb wrote, doing what sharia requires and not doing what it forbids. That is all. There is nothing else to Islam. Islam is not a "personal religion" as Christianity is, according to Muslim jurist Sam Solomon. A Muslim's feelings or intellect matter not a whit in being justified before Allah. Allah is a sort of cosmic Yoda: "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."



Professor Bala Ambati, writing in Duke University's "Chronicle" newspaper, later echoed my point:
Religions are defined not only by ideals but by realities, not just by their deepest and most beautiful insights, but by their adherents' behavior. . . . When moderate Muslims state terrorist attacks are disconnected from Islam, they ignore the reality that Islamic fundamentalist imperialists act in the name of Islam and Muslims, claiming "true Islam's" mantle from conspicuously absent moderates. . . . Until the realization that theocracies cannot be democracies dawns throughout the Islamic world, saying terrorism is disconnected from Islam is a smokescreen employed to abdicate responsibility to face reality.
Unless the "moderates" can present a more compelling case to 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide on what they mean by true Islam, they will lose the ideological, hence behavioral, war. And right now they are losing.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sunni And Shiite British Imams Denounce ISIS Together

By Donald Sensing

Sunni And Shiite British Imams Denounce ISIS Together In New Video

This is welcome, but I do not put a lot of stock in its effectiveness for reasons I explained in "The unserious stance of "moderate" Muslims."



As I said then, the Quran's "verses of the sword" are later than the verses of peace, hence abrogate the earlier verses. The terrorists know this. And so do moderates. And that's one reason Islamists win the argument - 1,400 years of Muslim exegesis is on their side, not the moderates. The other reason they win, of course, is that they simply kill anyone who opposes them, including moderates.

Meanwhile, this is what Daesh (ISIS) is doing, and warning, it is stomach turning:

Islamic State terrorists have begun their promised killing of Christians in Mosul, and they have started with the children. According to a report via CNN, a Chaldean-American businessman has said that killings have started in Mosul and children's heads are being erected on poles in a city park.
Photos at the link. I have seen some gore in my life, but those are sickening.

Speaking of ISIS and these imams, it's worth remembering the words of just retired British Gen. Jonathan Shaw.
He believes that Isil can only be defeated by political and ideological means. Western air strikes in Iraq and Syria will, in his view, achieve nothing except temporary tactical success.

When it comes to waging that ideological struggle, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are pivotal. "The root problem is that those two countries are the only two countries in the world where Wahhabi Salafism is the state religion – and Isil is a violent expression of Wahabist Salafism," said Gen Shaw. ...

[The bombing campaign against ISIS is] "not addressing the fundamental problem of Wahhabi Salafism as a culture and a creed, which has got out of control and is still the ideological basis of Isil – and which will continue to exist even if we stop their advance in Iraq."
And yet history does show that German and Japanese ideology got changed pretty quick and permanently back in 1941-1945. But that is not like what we are doing against ISIS, not even remotely.

Gen. Shaw also makes clear the bloodstream of this rancid ideology is Saudi and Qatari money. And now even some Pakistani government ministers are starting to get it.

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Does House of Saud intend to destroy Mohammed’s tomb?

By Donald Sensing

It could happen: 
Saudi Arabia's proposal to destroy Prophet Mohammed’s tomb and move remains to anonymous grave risks new Muslim division

Al-Nabawi mosque around the tomb has been expanded by generations of Arabian rulers, particularly the Ottomans. It includes hand-painted calligraphy documenting details of the Prophet’s life and his family. Dr Alawi said the plans also call for these to be destroyed as well as the Green Dome which covers the Prophet’s tomb. The Prophet is venerated by both branches of Islam, Sunni and Shia. The strict Wahhabi sect is a branch of the Sunni faith, however, and removing the Prophet could further inflame tensions between the two groups. ... It was previously revealed how the multibillion-pound expansion of the Grand Mosque has, according to the Washington-based Gulf Institute, led to the destruction of up to 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings. They have been replaced with luxury  hotels, apartments and  shopping malls.
The decision is still pending. 

Related:

Mecca for the rich: Islam's holiest site 'turning into Vegas'
Over the past 10 years the holiest site in Islam has undergone a huge transformation, one that has divided opinion among Muslims all over the world. Once a dusty desert town struggling to cope with the ever-increasing number of pilgrims arriving for the annual Hajj, the city now soars above its surroundings with a glittering array of skyscrapers, shopping malls and luxury hotels.
Osama bin Laden's principal complaint was that the Saudi ruling family was utterly corrupted and apostate from "true" Islam. Hence, one of his goals was the downfall of the House of Saud and replacing it with faithful Muslim rulers. In his 1996 fatwa, bin Laden said of the House of Saud: 
The latest and the greatest of these aggressions, incurred by the Muslims since the death of the Prophet (Allah's blessing and salutations on him) is the occupation of the land of the two Holy Places - the foundation of the house of Islam, the place of the revelation, the source of the message and the place of the noble Ka'ba, the Qiblah of all Muslims - by the armies of the American Crusaders and their allies. . . .

From here, today we begin the work, talking and discussing the ways of correcting what had happened to the Islamic world in general, and the Land of the two Holy Places in particular. . . .

But the competition between influential [Saudi] princes for personal gains and interest had destroyed the country. Through its course of actions the regime has torn off its legitimacy:

(1) Suspension of the Islamic Shari'ah law and exchanging it with man made civil law. . . .

(2) The inability of the regime to protect the country, and allowing the enemy of the Ummah - the American crusader forces- to occupy the land for the longest of years. . . .
There followed a long list of grievances against the Saudi regime, particularly emphasizing its un-Islamic rule, the wealth-corruption of its princes and accusing it of being a puppet of the USA. 
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