Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quote of the Week

Michael Rataj, attorney for Tina Stone, one of the nine Hutaree defendants, told CNN he heard no evidence of any crime being committed.

"This is going to be a free-speech case," he said.

So the attorneys for the Hutaree 9 think that terrorism is protected by the First Amendment. Free speech, that's the ticket?

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MSNBC: An Intelligence success when Iranian scientist defects to U.S.

March 31 | updated 8:25 p.m. ET March 30, 2010
WASHINGTON - An Iranian nuclear scientist who had been reported missing since last summer has defected to the U.S. The scientist is assisting the CIA in its efforts to undermine Iran's nuclear program, ABC News reported Tuesday.

The government confirms that an Iranian nuclear scientist missing since last summer has defected to the U.S. and provided "critical information" on Iran's nuclear weapons program. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports.

The scientist, Shahram Amiri, has been resettled in the U.S., according to the report. The CIA had no comment on the report, a spokesman said.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday he hopes international sanctions against Iran for pursuing its nuclear ambitions will be in place this spring. Iran maintains that its nuclear research is for peaceful purposes and not to develop weapons.

Amiri, who worked at Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, an institution closely connected to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, disappeared last June while in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage.

While his disappearance led to speculation that he had defected and was assisting the West in its efforts to keep track of Iran's nuclear program, the foreign minister for Iran accused the U.S. of helping to kidnap him.

Citing people briefed on the intelligence operation, ABC News said Amiri's disappearance was part of a long-planned CIA operation to persuade him to defect. The CIA reportedly approached Amiri in Iran through an intermediary who made an offer of resettlement on behalf of the United States, ABC News said.

Amiri has been extensively debriefed since his defection, according to the report, and has helped to confirm U.S. intelligence assessments about the Iranian nuclear program.

Rightardia comment: We have often heard about intelligence failures when Republicans have been in office. In Melvin A. Goodman's book, Failure of intelligence, his principal criticism is that CIA directors are in collusion with the executive branch have routinely politicized not merely intelligence products, but the very processes of research and analysis basic to intelligence production. 

He further argues that most intelligence `failures' can be traced to the practice of far too many at CIA to distort the intelligence process to support policy decisions and even to suppress sound, contrary intelligence.  In other words, the so-called intelligence failures are really political and organizational failures

One of the big problems in the Intelligence Community according to The Major is that many of the Senior Intelligence Officers in the CIA have been political appointees. This was quite apparent during the Reagan presidency.

Regardless of the past intelligence failures, Let's give the CIA credit for an big intelligence success.  Well done!

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The party of hell, No?

Another fine cartoon from

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Federal Judge Rules Bush wiretaps illegal

PAUL ELIAS | 03/31/10 08:30 PM | AP

SAN FRANCISCO — In a repudiation of the Bush administration's now-defunct terrorist surveillance effort, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that government investigators illegally wiretapped the phone conversations of an Islamic charity and two American lawyers without a search warrant.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker said the plaintiffs provided enough evidence to show "they were subjected to warrantless electronic surveillance" by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The judge's 45-page ruling focused narrowly on the case involving the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, touching vaguely on the larger question of the program's legality.

Nonetheless, Al-Haramain lawyer Jon Eisenberg said the ruling had larger implications.

"By virtue of finding what the Bush administration did to our clients was illegal, he found that the Terrorist Surveillance Program was unlawful," Eisenberg said.

President Bush authorized the surveillance program shortly after 9/11, allowing NSA officials to bypass the courts and intercept electronic communications believed connected to al-Qaida. This program also violated a Presidential Exective Order (EO) that forbade the NSA form conducting domestic surveillance.

Generally, government investigators are required to obtain search warrants signed by judges to eavesdrop on domestic phone calls, e-mail traffic and other electronic communications. A special FISA Court had also been set up by Congress to help the Executive Branch conduct necessary wiretaps quickly.

At issue Wednesday was a 2006 lawsuit filed by the Ashland, Ore., branch of the Saudi-based foundation and two American lawyers Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor.

Belew and Ghafoor claimed their 2004 phone conversations with foundation official Soliman al-Buthi were wiretapped without warrants soon after the Treasury Department had declared the Oregon branch a supporter of terrorism. They argued that wiretaps installed without a judge's authorization are illegal.

It was the last active case pending before a trial judge challenging the wiretapping program that ended in 2007.

"The ruling ends the case, but without the fireworks everyone expected," George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr said. "It ended with a whimper."

The plaintiffs were seeking $1 million each, plus attorney fees in the case. Walker ordered more legal arguments before deciding on possible damages.

The ruling came after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the lawsuit threatened to expose ongoing intelligence work and must be thrown out.

See the rest of the story at

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fox News: Tanning salon tax is racist because only white people use them

Glen Beck's sub Thompson:

Tanning tax makes health bill "racist" because "dark-skinned people" don't use tanning salons. 

Wow, a white tax. That Obama fellow is tricky!

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RT: Jail for rehabilitation of Nazism

Published 30 March, 2010, 15:15

A draft law imposing criminal liability of up to five years behind bars for the rehabilitation of Nazism. The law has been submitted to the State Duma by a group of MPs from the ruling United Russia party.

As Russia is preparing to celebrate the 65th anniversary of victory in WWII on Victory Day (May 9th), the deputies are determined to combat any attempts of historical revisionism.

The parliamentarians, headed by the speaker of the house Boris Gryzlov, suggested amendments to the country’s penal law. The idea is to include a new article – “The Rehabilitation of Nazism” – into Russia’s Criminal Code.

That would mean that anyone who publicly approves or denies Nazi war crimes determined by the Nuremberg Trials would be fined for up to 300,000 roubles (US$10,000) or imprisoned for up to three years.

Moreover, if such an offense is committed by a person using one’s official position or mass media, the punishment will be even harsher: up to half a million roubles in fines or up to five years in jail.

“We believe it is necessary to include such a rule into the Criminal Code,” said United Russia deputy Irina Yarovaya, as published on the party’s official website. “There is no doubt that the Nuremberg Trials’ decisions were made based on the results of the Second World War and by the participants of the events.”

The entire international community condemned the war crimes committed during the years of WWII.

“We believe it is unacceptable if today politicians or any other figures attempted to distort history, rewrite the past, trying to change the future that way,” the deputy said. “We think that is the least the deputies could do in order to protect the historic truth, and honor and dignity of a Soviet soldier-liberator.”

In the explanatory letter submitted with the draft, RIA Novosti writes, the MPs – citing Article 107 of the UN Charter – stated that revaluation of the International Tribunal decisions by giving approval to the Nazi policies or by denying the Nazi crimes is an international crime itself.

The draft submitted on Tuesday is the second version of the law, since the first one did not get the government’s approval.

Rightardia comment:  This is a good idea. Russia should also take a look at US hate crimes legislation. The US needs a law to stop the rehabilitation of the Confederacy as well.

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Politico: Two great Wuerker cartoons

The cartoonist outdid himself on these two cartoons. 

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The Christian Science Monitor : GOP fires Allison Meyers over strip-club scandal

By Dave Cook, Staff writer
March 30, 2010 Washington

Allison Meyers, the director of the Young Eagles, a Republican program aimed at wooing donors under 45 years old to the GOP cause, was fired as a result of the strip-club scandal that has embroiled the party this week, according to media reports. The scandal could hurt the GOP in three ways, in particular.

The Republican National Committee reimbursed about $2,000 in expenses rung up by the Young Eagles at a Hollywood nightclub featuring topless dancers and bondage outfits. Ms. Meyers allegedly approved the expense.

Hot women of science: Amy Mainzer

This is Rightarida's first pick. We will try to do one of these every month. 

Nationality American
Fields Astrophysics
Institutions Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Alma mater Stanford University
California Institute of Technology
University of California
Known for Astrophysical instrumentation and galactic astronomy
Amy Mainzer (born 1974) is an American astronomer, specializing in astrophysical instrumentation and galactic astronomy. She is the Deputy Project Scientist for the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. She has appeared a number of times in the History Channel series The Universe.

Dr. Mainzer is a Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion lab (JPL). She has worked at Lockheed Martin, where she worked on the Spitzer Space Telescope. She was the Principal Investigator of a cryogenic camera, the Pointing Calibration and Reference Sensor (PCRS), which serves as the fine guidance sensor for Spitzer.

After receiving her M.S. at Caltech, she finished her Ph.D. at UCLA with Dr. Ian McLean. For her thesis, she built the First Light Camera for SOFIA (FLITECAM) and observed brown dwarfs with it.

She received her Ph.D. in 2003 just before Spitzer’s launch. The PCRS was the first camera to see light on Spitzer and has been operating since 2003. S

She joined the WISE team and JPL in 2003 as the WISE Deputy Project Scientist. She is also the principal investigator of a project to enhance WISE’s ability to find new asteroids.

Mainzer holds the following degrees:
Her research interests include; asteroids, brown dwarfs, planetary atmospheres, debris disks, star formation as well as design and construction of novel instrumentation for ground and space.

source: Wikipedia and Amy Mainzer's blog

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Sarkozy lays into US health care debate in NYC

March 30, 2010 - 7:24AM
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his beautiful wife

With a podium flown in from France and his fingers firmly entwined with those of his smiling wife, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has made a splash even before he opened his mouth for a no-holds-barred speech at Colombia University.

"Welcome to the club of states who don't turn their back on the sick and the poor," Sarkozy said, referring to the US health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama last week.

From the European perspective, he said, "when we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it's difficult to believe".

"The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate simply on the fact that the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them... is something astonishing to us."

Then to hearty applause, he added: "If you come to France and something happens to you, you won't be asked for your credit card before you're rushed to the hospital."

Rightardia comment: Nicolas Sarkozy is a center right French politician. In Europe the right wing has not always opposed health care. Conservative governments established health care in Germany in the 19th Century and the Tories the UK in the 20th.

We think the problem in the US is that the GOP has become increasingly fascist and ideological. The GOP bitterly resists any reforms that affect corporations. The words corporatism and fascism are synonyms.

FDR understood the fascism of Germany and Italy well. FDR said:

That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group."

The GOP also likes to perpetuate the myth that corporations cannot thrive with regulation. Then why does the European Union's economy today rival that of the US. Most of the European countries have social reforms that go well beyond what our government provides to Americans.

Denmark was rated the happiest country in the world by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). All Danes get six weeks of vacation a year, free medical care and free college. If a women has a child, she gets a year off with pay to raise the child.

American need to wake up. We are not the greatest country in the world and all the right wing offers with its corporate serfdom is low wages, reduced benefits and a low probability of retiring with a corporate pension. Many corporations no longer even offer a pension. Corporations prefer the 401K and Roth IRAs that are really just employee savings plans.

Source: Associated Press

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Government gives America a new board game

click on graphic to enlarge

The player that racks up the most medical expenses at the end of the game is declared the winner. Each complete circuit of the board represents one year, so the length of the game can be set for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc.

It is not as risky as the old game called Medical Insurance Monopoly that was rigged with Pre-Existing Conditions and life time caps.  Once you drew a Pre-Existing Condition Card from the Gated Community chest, you automatically lost.

You would also go bankrupt if you drew this card: 

source: and

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Robert Shiller Sees murky U.S. Housing Market Outlook

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Robert Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC and a professor at Yale University, talks with Bloomberg's Betty Liu about the U.S. housing market.

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities unexpectedly rose in January, as the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index climbed 0.3 percent from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis, matching the gain in December. The gauge was down 0.7 percent from January 2009, the smallest year-over-year decrease in three years.

The government is not expected to renew the $8,000 tax credit for new home buyers who purchase homes costing $80,000 or more. This will certainly affect housing sales.

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Sarah Palin, the Movie Star

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Dancing with the stars has some clear front runners

Olympic skating champion Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskayathe petite red head, were my favorites last night. Evan is an excellent dancer and athlete and will finish in either of the top two spots. No Olympian has ever lost on Dancing with the Stars. Frankly Evan is a much better dancer than Shawn Johnson, the gymnast, who won two seasons ago. 

Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough finished at the top of the leader board last night. Nicole Scherzinger is a strong and excellent dancer. Derek Hough is one of the finest dancers and choreographers on the show. This team will finish at the top, too.

ESPN host Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy finished third last night. Erin is very graceful and will finish in the top three.  Maksim is a tough and demanding instructor, but it appears to be paying off. Erin is rumored to be dating Maksim.

Comedienne and host Niecy Nash and Louis Van Amstel are dark horses. Nicecy is a crowd pleaser and can dance. As the season progresses she will drop more weight. She should have a good fan base from Reno 911. Lous Van Amstel placed third last season.

Actress and model Pamela Anderson and Damian Whitewood are holding thier their own and should do well in the competition.

Rightardia would expect TLC star Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovolani to be booted off the show in the next week or so. Kate really can't dance well and she has gotten overly temperamental with Tony. Tony briefly quit the show but returned. Over several seasons, the best Tony has ever done was forth place on Dancing With the Stars.

We would also expect astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Ashly Costa to be eliminated this week. Aldrin is 80 years old. Do we really need to explain why Buzz should be allowed to go home? However, the viewers may keep him around out of respect as they did with Cloris Leachman.

Who was the biggest disapointment of the night? That would have to be NFL star Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke. Athletes usually ramp up fast on the show, but no on this team. Burke is one of the most distinguished dancers and choreographers on the show. We would expect to see some big improvement tonight.

By the way, the Beach Boys are on tonight's show. 
The audience vote makes the predictions difficult because some of the contestants have fans.  Marie Osmond made it to the semi-finals during one season, but she really never distinguished herself as a dancer. Donny clearly wears the dancing shoes in the Osmond family. 

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Sebelius To Insurers: It's Over, You Lost

Kathleen Sebelius

First Posted: 03-29-10 05:18 PM | Updated: 03-29-10 05:51 PM

Kathleen Sebelius warned the insurance industry Monday not to look for loopholes in health care legislation and informed it that she will be writing regulations to ensure that the industry covers children with preexisting conditions, which some insurers insist is not a requirement of the law.

"The American people debated and discussed health insurance reform for more than a year. Congress and the President have acted. Now is not the time to search for non-existent loopholes that preserve a broken system," writes Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary. The letter was sent to top insurance lobbyist Karen Ignagni on Monday and provided to HuffPost by a third party.
Karen Ignagni, the dragon lady of the health care industry

President Obama made the ban on denying children with preexisting conditions a central part of his argument in the closing weeks of the reform fight, saying that kids would be protected almost immediately after the bill passed. (The rule would activate in six months.)

But insurers argued that what the law really said was that if they choose to cover children, they must cover expenses arising from preexisting conditions. But they claim that doesn't mean they have to offer insurance at all to that child. Without a public insurance plan for children to opt in to, their only choice is the private market.

Sebelius's letter is an attempt to persuade the private industry to follow the spirit of the law. When Congress returns after the two-week recess, progressive Democrats will again be looking at ways to add a public option to the law. By threatening to refuse to insure sick children, insurers only make the case that more persuasive.

Rightardia comment: You can be sure that insurance attorneys are looking for loopholes in the law. It is sad that the industry would be looking for ways to uninusre children.

Seniors are disappointing, too. I have been paying 1.45 per cent of my income to pay for Medicare for my entire life. This tax will not beneifit me until i reach age 65 when I become eligible for Medicare. Many Seniors are afraid that extending medical insurance to to other Americans will jeopardize Medicare. How Christian of them!

source: Huffington Post

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Genesis contradicts science: How life on Earth was really created

by Secular Human

In the Beginning

We know the universe in at least 15 billion years old and the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old according to Wikipedia. We even know where in the sky the 'Big Bang' originated which the constellation of Virgo. Clearly the universe was not created in seven days or even 7 billion years.

In Genesis, the Earth is created before light and stars, birds and whales before reptiles and insects, and flowering plants before any animals. The order of events known from science is the opposite. 

Scientists know that solar systems are created around suns from whirling disks of dust, gas and water. The dust aggregates into larger and larger spheres until small planets emerge that grow larger over billions of years.

One of the big questions scientists are still working on is where did all of the water on Earth come from. Some scientists believe the water was already into the dust cloud that surrounded the early sun. Others believe that the Earth got most of its water form comets and asteroids during the Great Bombardment. which occurred about 4.1 billion years ago.

According to Genesis God separated light from darkness, and day from night, on the first day. Yet he/she/it didn't make the light producing objects (the sun and the stars) until the fourth day (1:14-19).  How could there be "the evening and  the morning" on the first day if there was no sun to mark them? 1:3-5

Plants were made on the third day before there was a sun to drive their photosynthetic processes (1:14-19). 1:11. How is this possible? No plant can survive without sunlight. God then lets "the Earth bring forth" the plants, rather than creating them directly.

God makes two lights: "the greater light [the sun] to rule the day, and the lesser light [the moon] to rule the night." But the moon is not a light, but only reflects light from the sun. If God made the moon to "rule the night", why does it spend half of its time moving through the daytime sky? 1:16. Of course, the people of Ur (modern Iraq) worshiped a moon goddess which may explain this reference.

After making the animals, God has Adam name them all. The naming of several million species must have kept Adam busy for a while. 2:18-22. We also know not every species of animal lived near the Garden of Eden which was probably in modern day Iraq.

God fashions a woman out of one of Adam's ribs. Because of this story, it was commonly believed that males have one less rib than females. When Vesalius showed in 1543 that the number of ribs was the same in males and females, it created a storm of controversy. 2:19

More importantly, the first living creatures were asexual and could reproduce spontaneously. Males have vestigial breasts that suggest when the first sexual animals evolved which was around 1.5 billion years ago, males actually evolved from females.

Noah is told to make an ark that is 450 feet long. 6:14-15. Archaeologists know that the story of the Great Flood appears in many different cultures and believe the Israelites added this story to the Bible during the Babylonian Captivity. 

The Babylonian story is far older than the story that appears in the Bible. Archaeologists believed the Great Flood really describes the a flood that started when the Tigris and Euphrates overflowed their banks pushing out a barge filled with caged animals and other goods into the Persian Gulf. 

The real story of creation

How was the Earth really created?  Rightardia has alluded to dust cloud around our G-class sun that eventually formed planets. G-class suns have along life cycle of 10-billion years. Fortunately, the Earth was created in a zone around the sun where life was possible. The planet was neither too close to the sun or too far away for life to survive.

The Earth also got the benefit of huge gas giants much farther out in the solar system which had huge gravitational pulls. These gas giants attracted a lot of debris that is floating around our solar system and prevented asteroids and comets for hitting the Earth. Jupiter, if fact, is so large it could have became a sun. However, it would have had to have been 60 times as large as it is to ignite into a sun. tore massive

Around 4.5 billion years ago, the MOON is carved out of Earth by a huge impact. The Mars sized object that hit the Earth deposited most of it iron core on the Earth. This larger iron core created a huge magnetic field around the Earth and also drove plate tectonics. Mars, on the other hand, lost most of its magnetic filed and most of it atmosphere billions of year ago.

Al Jazeera: J Street Survey indicates AIPAC does not represent the majority of the Amerrican Jewish community

Rightardia comment: We have been impressed with the journalistic standards and impartiality of Al Jazeera. Today Al Jazeera  ran a J Street survey. J Street is a progressive American  Jewish organization. 

Despite the continued strength of the Israel lobby, it is increasingly clear that its hard-line, uncritical stance does not represent the majority of the American Jewish community.

A new poll of American Jews from the pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby J Street reveals that Obama enjoys significant Jewish community support for a strong US role in the peace process.

Obama's approval rating in the Jewish community remains strong, holding steady at 62 per cent (Gallup previously reported 64 per cent approval rating in an October 2009 poll).

Obama's approval rating among Jews is 15 points higher than among all Americans (47 per cent) according to a Gallup poll conducted during the same period.

American Jews by a four-to-one margin, 82-18 per cent, support the US playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Some 73 per cent of American Jews support this active role even if it resulted in public disagreements with both the Israelis and the Arabs.

According to the same polls, 60 per cent of American Jews believe Israel's announcement of new housing in East Jerusalem caused damage to US-Israel relations.

Fifty-five per cent say the White House was right to strongly criticise the Israeli announcement of new housing in East Jerusalem during Biden's visit.

source: Al Jazeera

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Netcraft rank: 7465 Michael Steele was at a bondage-themed nightclub?

The Republican National Committee is pushing back hard Monday on a story in The Daily Caller. The RNC denies that Chairman Michael Steele was “never” at a bondage-themed nightclub in West Hollywood, Calif., as the web site suggests.

The Daily Caller story claims that Steele wanted to buy a private jet with RNC funds.  the Daily Caller stated that “Steele travels in style,” citing, among other things, $1,946.25 “spent at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.”

While Steele has not purchased a plane, he continues to charter them. According to federal disclosure records, the RNC spent $17,514 on private aircraft in the month of February alone as well as $12,691 on limousines during the same period. There are no readily identifiable private plane expenses for Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine in the DNC’s last three months of filings.

POLITICO confirmed the RNC expense by examining the committee’s February Federal Election Commission filing. The information provided on $1,946 in RNC funds spent Feb. 4 matches the nightclub’s Santa Monica address. It is not clear who actually made the expenditure at the club.

Daily Caller Founder Tucker Carlson defended the story to POLITICO and said his outlet intends to provide more details on the reporting of the story. He also questioned the accuracy of the RNC’s response. For now, the only official response offered by the Daily Caller comes in a short post about the RNC’s comment.

“Jonathan Strong, who broke the story about the RNC’s expenditures at a Hollywood strip club, asked about the strip club expense, and was rebuffed by an RNC spokesperson who said that the organization doesn’t comment on specific expenditures,” the post reads.

Steele himself declined numerous interview requests, though his defenders point out that luxurious accommodations are sometimes necessary to attract big-time donors, especially since Republicans remain in the minority in Washington.

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Liberals and atheists are smarter

"General intelligence, the ability to think and reason, endowed our ancestors with advantages in solving evolutionarily novel problems for which they did not have innate solutions," says Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa's hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as "very liberal" have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as "very conservative" have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.

Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see "the hands of God" at work behind otherwise natural phenomena.

"Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid," says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. "So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists."

Young adults who identify themselves as "not at all religious" have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as "very religious" have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.

In addition, humans have always been mildly polygynous in evolutionary history. Men in polygynous marriages were not expected to be sexually exclusive to one mate, whereas men in monogamous marriages were.

In sharp contrast, whether they are in a monogamous or polygynous marriage, women were always expected to be sexually exclusive to one mate. So being sexually exclusive is evolutionarily novel for men, but not for women.

And the theory predicts that more intelligent men are more likely to value sexual exclusivity than less intelligent men, but general intelligence makes no difference for women's value on sexual exclusivity. Kanazawa's analysis of Add Health data supports these sex-specific predictions as well.

Rightardia comment: Other studies have shown that conservatives are more fearful about the world than liberals. in addition, Lawrence Kohlberg did a lot of research on conventional and post-conventional thought. 

Post-conventional or liberal people have almost always attended college and develop liberal thought  in their mid-thirties or later. Although such post-conventional thinkers can understand lower level conventional or conservative thinking, conventional thinkers have a much harder time understanding liberal ideas.

The health care debate heightened the differences of thinking between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives were prone to gross exaggeration and incendiary language. 

The Tea Partiers seemed to the least astute group of conservatives. The Tea Partiers feared health care changes which should have made them less fearful. Clearly IQ and education had something to do with the extreme perceptions Tea Partiers has toward universal health care and change in general.

See the complete article at

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Paul Krugman: Holtz-Eakin's "shameful" column on CBO score of health care assertions "that are just not true"

Doug Holtz-Eakin, was John McCain's economic adviser. He recently made some questionable assertions about the cost of the Affordable health Care Act of 2009. Paul Krugman, who recently won the Noble Prize in Economics, was not impressed with Holtz-Eakins 'fuzzy math."

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WSJ: Tivo Premier looks good but no new features

by Wirehead

Rightardia has been looking at lot of different options for streaming video from the Internet in our office. Since we already have a DVD Blu-Ray player, we didn't want to buy another DVD player with Internet Access.

We have seen some excellent streaming media products from both Western Digital and Patriot Memory, but these products had no feeds from either Netflix of Amazon Video on Demand, the two big streaming video content providers.

We are leaning toward a Roku Player for the office. The two HD versions display 720p video which is not as good as TIVO, but the box only costs around $100. This is a lot less than TIVO Premier which costs around $300. You may also need a cable card from your cable provider before a TIVO will work.

However, HD TIVO can produce a 1080 HD image, something a Roku player cannot do. The Roku Player also requires that you download shows from your PC while the TIVO can do this from your home HDTV screen with a TIVO controller.

We consider the Roku Player to be a Better Buy than the TIVO and plan to purchase either the Roku HD or Roku HD-SR. The SR includes the faster 802.11n wireless receiver while the Roku HD only supports 802.11g. If you don't have an 802.11n router in you home, you will not need the Roku HD-SR. Both Roku Players also have standard wired Ethernet ports

We would like to hear from our readers on experiences with either player or any other HDTV product that receives streaming video from the Internet.

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'Battlefield Earth' Screenwriter Writes Apology for worst movie of the decade

First Posted: 03-28-10 09:16 AM | Updated: 03-28-10 09:33 AM

'Battlefield Earth' won a Razzie for the worst movie of the decade this month, and screenwriter J.D. Shapiro has written a long, hilarious apology and explanation for in the NY Post.

The movie was a sci-fi bomb based on a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The movie starred John Travolta.

Shapiro came about the project in 1994 by reading that the Scientology Center was a "great place to meet women," but found it wasn't. He ended up meeting Karen Hollander, president of the center, who was a fan of the Shapiro-penned "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." She suggested a movie based on a book by Hubbard.

He agreed, dined with John Travolta, wrote and sold a script to studios that he was proud of, and then had that script radically altered.

But first he tried Scientology:

I took a few courses, including the Purification Rundown, or Purif. You go to CC [Celebrity Center] every day, take vitamins and go in and out of a sauna so toxins are released from your body. You're supposed to reach an "End Point." I never did, but I was bored so I told them I had a vision of L. Ron.

The resident Scientologists said, "What did he say?" "Pull my finger," was my response. They said I was done.

source: Huffington Post

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Russian airborne perform drop with soldiers inside BMD-2 armored vehicles

A BMD-2 airborne infantry combat vehicle took its first manned drop during the drills that the 76th Guards Airborne Division held in the Pskov Region on March 25. The vehicles had already been parachuted in 2003 but without paratroopers inside them.

“Over 750 paratroopers and 14 military vehicles were dropped from military transport Il-76 aircraft,” said Alexander Cherednik, the Defense Ministry’s spokesperson for Airborne Troops.

The first to land were scouts with Arbalet steerable parachutes. After they secured the landing area the manned vehicles were dropped with multi-cupola systems. Once on the ground, the paratroopers primed the vehicles and set about capturing their targets.

Representatives of 13 countries watched the drills. Military attaches from China, Pakistan, Japan, the U.S., Germany, France, Italy and other countries were able to assess the capability of Russia’s military vehicles and this new tactic..

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Another fine political music video from Mario Piperni dot Com

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China Daily: View of US health care reform

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Florida conservatives have some really bad ideas about reforming education

One of the Florida bills would do away with teacher tenure. A new teacher would be on probation for five years and then be offered a one year contract.

Essentially teachers will serve 'at will' like people in corporations except for the extended probation.

Tallahassee also plans to expand the vouchers program. The vouchers issue is touchy because it can result in a government subsidy for private schools which would not withstand a court challenge. Florida has a vouchers program at this time but is restricted to kids with disabilities that need to be placed into smaller classrooms.

Rightardia would imagine the older teachers will hang on until they reach retirement age while Many of the younger teachers will move to other states.

Many young people enter teaching because they do not want to be corporate serfs. They like the collaboration with master teachers which has suffered when Republicans instituted competitive pay. Now teachers are less open and secretive about their teaching methods.

Who will end up losing the most: the students, of course.

Florida also modified the Bright Futures scholarship program. Students must now have a 3.5 grade point average instead of 3.0 to qualify as well as placing in the top 10 per cent of test takers on the SAT or ACT exam.

The Major taught at the high school and college level after he retired from the Air Force. He would advise all prospective teachers to consider teaching at the college level rather than high school. The classes are smaller and teachers have a lot more independence.

We do not think the legislators in Tallahassee are qualified to tell teachers how they do their jobs. We suspect the radical counter-reforms will produce teacher walk-outs and strikes.

Will the Floridian teachers have the intestinal fortitude to take on Tallahassee? Rightardia has it doubts.

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Chinese corporation now owns Volvo

Xinhua, Updated: 2010-03-28 21:09

Geely Chairman Li Shufu (front left) and Ford's Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth celebrate at the takeover deal signing ceremony at the headquarters of Volvo Cars in Goteborg in Sweden on March 28, 2010. [Xinhua]

GOTEBORG, Sweden - China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group signed a deal with Ford Motor Co here today to acquire the US auto giant's Volvo car unit for nearly $1.8 billion.

The deal was inked by Geely Chairman Li Shufu and Ford's Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth at the headquarters of Volvo Cars in the second largest city of Sweden.

The Swedish carmaker, which has about 20,000 workers, was purchased by Ford in 1999 for $6.45 million.

But Ford had been attempting to sell Volo since late 2008, due to its poor market performance. Geely was named as the preferred bidder for the Swedish subsidiary in October 2009.

Geely, which started to manufacture cars in 1998, is a major private automaker headquartered in southeast China's Zhejian province. Geely Holding Group is the parent company of Geely Automobile Holdings.
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The big box store conundrum

Why can't Tea baggers figure this out?

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Haaretz: U.S. will 'consider abstaining' if UN votes on East Jerusalem

By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service

The United States would "seriously consider abstaining" should the United Nations Security Council pass a resolution condemning Israel's housing construction in East Jerusalem, the BBC reported on Sunday.

That message was passed during a meeting between a senior U.S. official and Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad Bin Jasim Al Thani, a diplomatic source told the BBC.

Sheikh Hamad reportedly asked a senior official from the Obama administration whether the U.S. would promise not to veto a Security Council resolution condemning Israel's settlement activity in East Jerusalem.

The U.S. official reportedly told Hamad in response that the current U.S. position was that it would "seriously consider abstention", according to the BBC.

Tensions between Israel and the U.S. flared earlier this month when Jerusalem announced its approval of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region.

The U.S. termed the timing of the announcement an "insult," and both sides have declared that the incident would not harm the close relations. Obama also snubbed Benjamin Netayahu when he walked out of a meeting with israli diplomats after Bibi refused to sign a 13 point memorandum.

Prime Minister Netanyahu last year declared a temporary 10-month settlement halt in the West Bank, but would not include East Jerusalem in that freeze. Netanyahu and members of his coalition have repeatedly declared that construction in Jerusalem would continue.

Rightardia applauds the US position to consider abstaining from voting. It is time to use the stick with Israel. Economic and military aid should be cut if the Likud intransigence continues. 

The US should also assist progressive elements in Israel to force the Likud out of power. Rightardia do not believe there is any chance for peace as long as Netanyahu is the prime minister. 

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Turnabout is fair play with Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin gave a typically fiery speech in support of John McCain's re-election campaign today in Arizona. At one point, she was interrupted by a heckler, but he was quickly overwhelmed by the roar of the crowd and eventually escorted physically from the rally.

Palin's biggest bold faced lie during her speech is that the GOP "is putting government back on the side of the people."  Well, the GOP has rarely been on the side of the people since the Civil War. It has been primarily on the side of corporations and the affluent.

Responding to the heckler, Palin said, "Young man, stick around and listen to what we're going to say. Sir, maybe you'll learn something."  

Rightardia  does't think a Democrat protester will learn much from an undereducated bimbo like Sarah Palin.

Palin has a very fragile ego and some people in Alaska believe she is a narcissist. Democrats would be wise to demonstrate against her whenever she speaks. She has never been able to handle criticism well.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Open Salon: Blink on health care

"Love is the fruit of sacrifice (and) Wealth is the fruit of generosity."

That's an excerpt from Chapter 44 of the  Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Lao Tzu and translated by Jonathan Star)  

 Source: Blink, by Max Ink

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Quiz for war loving chicken hawks

by The Major

How well you do know military history, chicken hawk? This Rightardia quiz is about US wars. If the quiz was supposed to be easy, the government would have issued the answers.

1. The Civil War was fought according to the majority of US historians and Wikipedia because the US government
a. wanted to abolish slavery in the US

b. wanted to prevent the institution of slavery from expanding into new US territories

c. wanted to quell a growing state's rights movement in the South

d. all of the above are correct

2. Many historians believe the Civil War would have ended sooner if Lincoln

a. had chosen a more able general than George B. McClellan to lead union forces at the start of the war

b. had promoted Robert E. Lee to brigadier so he would have remained with the Union Army

c. had authorized the assassination of Jefferson Davis in 1862

d. had allowed Major General William T. Sherman to start his March to the Sea in 1862

3. General John J. Pershing was criticized for his leadership during World War 1

a. because he was not an aggressive leader during battles

b. he was often drunk during combat

c. he sacrificed many American soldiers just days before the war ended

d. he married a German baroness shortly after the war ended

4. Many historians indicate the US would have suffered even worse losses during Pearl harbor if

a. the battleships in the harbor had been attacked while at sea

b. the US aircraft carriers had been in the harbor

c. the Japanese had used two man submarines to attack Pearl harbor

d. both A and B are correct

5. The biggest battle is World War 2 was

a. the Normandy Invasion

b. the invasion of Okinawa

c. the Battle of Kursk

d. the Battle of Stalingrad

6. According to Wikipedia and most military historians, the best tank in World War 2 was

a. the M4 Sherman

b. German Mk. V Panther

c. German Mk. IV Tiger

d. Russian T-34

7. Which of the following tactical weapons were invented during World War 2 

a. the assault rifle

b. night vision goggles

c. jet aircraft

d. all of the above

8. Which of the following are true about Japanese in World War 2.

a. the Japanese believed the fighting spirit of its armed forces were more important than technology.

b. the Japanese used bacteriological warfare against Chinese forces.

c. the Japanese Zero was superior to US fighter aircraft when World War 2 started.

d. all of the above are true.

9. This aircraft was the best fighter aircraft during the Korean War
a. the MiG 15

b. Grumman F9F Panther

c. Lockheed P-80 shooting Star

d. North American F86 Sabre Jet

10. The North Vietnamese fired volleys of these telephone polls at B-52 aircraft during Rolling Thunder

a. SA-2 Guideline

b. SA-3 Goa

c. SA-5 Gammon

d. SA-9 Gaskin

Answers: 1-B, 2-A, 3-C, 4-D, 5-C, 6-D, 7-D, 8-D, 9-A, 10-A

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Tea Partiers are modeled after the Nazi SA

 The Tea Baggers are useful conservative idiots 

The Sturmabteilung or Storm Division, usually translated as stormtroop(er)s) abbreviated SA, functioned as a paramilitary  organization of the Nazi Party. It played a key role in thew rise of German fascism in the 1920s and 1930s.

SA men were often called "brownshirts" for the colour of their uniforms; this distinguished them from the Schutzstaffel (SS), who wore black and brown uniforms (similar to Benito Mussolini's blackshirts). The men is the SA were working class men who established a paramilitary German organization.

Brown-coloured shirts were chosen as the SA uniform because a large batch of them were cheaply available after World War I, having originally been ordered during the war for colonial troops posted to Germany's former African colonies.

The SA was also the first Nazi paramilitary group to develop pseudo-military titles for bestowal upon its members. The SA ranks were adopted by several other Nazi Party groups such as the the SS.

The SA was very important to Adolf Hitler's rise to power, but was largely irrelevant after he took control of Germany in 1933; it was effectively superseded by the SS after the Night of the Long Knives.

The precursor to the SA had acted informally and on an ad hoc basis for some time before this. Hitler, with an eye always to helping the party to grow through propaganda.

The future SA developed by organizing and formalizing the groups of ex-soldiers and beer hall brawlers who were to protect gatherings of the Nazi Party from disruptions by Social Democrats and Communists.

By September 1921 the name Sturmabteilung was being used informally for the group. Hitler, it should be noted, was the official head of the Nazi Party by this time

Under their popular leader, Stabschef Ernst Röhm, the SA grew in importance within the Nazi power structure, initially growing in size to thousands of members. In 1922, the Nazi Party created a youth section, the Jugendbund, for young men between the ages of 14 and 18 years. Its successor was called the Hitler Youth or Hitler Jugend.

There were also key socioeconomic conflicts between the SS and SA. SS members generally came from the middle class, while the SA had its base among the unemployed and working class. This is very similar to the difference between the working class Tea Party members and the upper middle class frats boys and sorority sisters in the Republican Party.

Politically speaking, the SA were more radical than the SS, with its leaders arguing the Nazi revolution had not ended when Hitler achieved power, but rather needed to implement socialism in Germany.

Hitler eliminated the SA and Röhm during the Night of the Long Knives. The SA took socialism too seriously and also wanted control of the nation's ground forces.

President Paul von Hindenburg would not stand for this, and threatened to impose martial law if Hitler did not act against Röhm. Hitler ordered the arrest and subsequent execution of the leadership of the SA and actually led the attack on the SA known as the Night of the Long Knives.

Tea Partiers are arming themselves

In the end the SA were useful idiots for the rise of a fascist state in Germany.  The same scenario could be repeated in the US with the recent rise of violence and vandalism in the US since the health care reform was signed into law.
source: Wikipedia

Subscribe to the Rightardia feed: Republicans continue to support violence and vandalism

By ANDY BARR | 3/26/10 6:36 PM EDT

The Republican National Committee has rejected a proposal from its Democratic counterpart to sign a joint “civility” statement, POLITICO has learned.

Various members of the DNC such as Chairman Tim Kaine, Executive Director Jen O’Malley Dillon and Communications Director Brad Woodhouse contacted their respective RNC counterparts this week.

The DNC members hoped to get RNC Chairman Michael Steele to co-sign a document with Kaine that, in part, called for “elected officials of both parties to set an example of the civility we want to see in our citizenry.”

“We also call on all Americans to respect differences of opinion, to refrain from inappropriate forms of intimidation, to reject violence and vandalism, and to scale back rhetoric that might reasonably be misinterpreted by those prone to such behavior,” read the proposed joint statement.
The initiative came at the end of a week which saw acts of vandalism and threats of violence directed at members of Congress from both parties, but mostly aimed at Democrats who voted “yes” on the health care bill.

Republicans see the statement as an attempt to force them to either reject the statement — allowing Democrats to say the RNC finds the incidents acceptable — or to sign on to something that the DNC would later wield against them.

The proposed statement was faxed and hand-delivered to the RNC at midmorning Friday. POLITICO learned Friday afternoon that the RNC would not sign the DNC statement.

RNC Communications Director Doug Heye told POLITICO that Steele chose not to agree to the statement because “we don’t need to do anything on their schedule or on their timetable.”

Rightardia comment
: The Republicans continue to act like spoiled children who throw tantrums because of the health care defeat.

See the rest of the article at
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Friday, March 26, 2010

No media coverage for pariah Israeli PM

The White House has waved off suggestions that President Barak Obama was "embarrassed" to be photographed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, amid questions over the minimal media coverage of their meeting in Washington this week.

When asked in a press conference on Wednesday whether he saw "any contradiction at all when the Secretary of State goes before AIPAC and says that the U.S. has no stronger, no closer ally than Israel - and then the President won't even allow a photograph of him and the Israeli Prime Minister", Gibbs responded: "No, I don't see a contradiction at all."  

Why is there such a frosty relationship between Obama and Netanyahu?  Rightardia can think of a couple of reasons. 

1. Neo-conservative Americans Jews lobbied for the US to invade Iran to neutralize an enemy of Israel using  flimsy pretenses. This proxy war has already cost the US nearly $ one trillion. Even Washington Republicans are now admitting the war was a mistake.

2. The Israeli government made it very clear they preferred John McCain aover Obama during the 2008 Presidential campaign. 

3. The Birther conspiracy of Orly Taitz has some connections to the Likud government of Netanyahu. Taitz  was supposed to be going to London to have Obama's "Kenyan birth certificate' authenticated, but then ended up in Tel Aviv for unknown reasons. Taitz has also claimed that Natenyahu made a request to be added to Taitz's Facebook account.

Rightardia finds the You Tube video amusing because Israel is hardly in the same league as Russia and China or for that matter any of the other nations in the video.

source: Hareetz

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