Friday, October 18, 2013

Term Limits on Congress - Could it fix for the debt limit nonsense?

The recent government shutdown over the debt limit seems ridiculous - if congress doesn't want to raise the debt limit, why approve so much spending? Obviously congress is just a bunch of kids playing games who have found cushy, permanent jobs for life paid for by our taxes. Term limits could make sure that only serious people doing serious work get to work for us. Please consider a grass roots campaign for term limits on congress.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Health Care - Why Does it Cost So Much?

Why does it cost so much? This is the big question that seems to be avoided most of the time.

The answer is transparently simple. It costs so much because there is nearly unlimited demand. There is nearly unlimited demand because the segment of the population that uses the most health care gets it for free.

It's all about supply and demand. If something highly desired is free, what else can happen to the price other than go up?

Medicare is the sole cause of skyrocketing health care insurance costs. Medicare was started in 1965. Before that time, going to the doctor was like going to the car mechanic - it was an unpleasant expense but it was manageable. The health care insurance problem has been growing since 1965.

What would happen if the government gave free cars to all kids between the ages of 16 to 24 years old? Every kid would have an awesome car. The price of cars would go up. The technology in the cars would rapidly improve because price is meaningless to the kids when the government is paying the bill. Pretty soon, only the kids will have cars and the rest of us will be riding the bus.

There are two solutions to the health care crisis
  • Get rid of medicare
  • Give medicare to everyone
Getting rid of medicare is impossible because seniors vote and they won't go for it. No politician is gutsy enough to advocate scaling down medicare. Giving medicare to everyone is therefore the only reasonable solution. And it's a fair solution. Giving free health care insurance to a single segment of the population is NOT fair.

Interestingly, seniors don't like the idea of giving medicare to everyone. Why? Because they correctly realize the country cannot possibly afford to give everyone the same benefits currently enjoyed by seniors. In other words, their privileged portion of the pie will be reduced when everyone gets an equal slice.

Read this for a little more detail.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Simple Fix For Economy That Won't Cost a Dime

Here's a simple fix for our economic woes that won't cost a dime:
  • eliminate all sales taxes.
  • tax only individuals on their income, not businesses.
Sales tax is not fair. Why? Because sales taxes put more burden on poor people than on rich people. Imagine two people, one makes $25 per day and the other makes $100 per day. On a particular day, they both buy a movie DVD for $20 and pay 8% sales tax which is $1.60. Both people paid $1.60 in sales tax but that represents 6.4% of the lower income person's daily salary while it's a mere 1.6% of the other person's daily salary. The reality is - poor people are shouldering a ridiculously unreasonable share of the sales tax burden.

Sales taxes are a terrible idea that should be stopped. Right now, many companies are complaining that Amazon doesn't have to charge sales tax giving Amazon an unfair advantage over their brick and mortar competitors. Eliminating all sales taxes for everyone will fix this.

How about taxing people on income and not taxing businesses? There's no such thing as a business without people. A business is just a concept - there has to be someone receiving the profit. Why not just tax the income when a person actually receives it? Eliminating income tax on busines will free business to focus on good ideas rather than tax impact.

Where can states and cities get their income if there is no sales tax? From income taxes alone.

What would happen in our economy if there were no sales taxes and no tax on businesses? The economy would become highly productive because no one and no business would be wasting time and money trying to control their tax exposure - we would enter a whole new era of productivity and wealth. This would be a positive change in our society on a scale to rival the industrial revolution and at the same time, it would be more fair.

See http://fairsimpletax.blogspot.com/ for more detail.
 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Michael Moore's Sicko is the Best Film he has Made

Just watched "Sicko" by Michael Moore and it was great!

I haven't been a big fan of his films in the past because they tend to be over-sensationalized and emotional without really examining the issues.

Sicko starts off looking like a typical Michael Moore film replete with testimonials of people complaining about our health care system. It then transitions into more of a true documentary by asking the important questions and taking a look at the answers.

The film examines the health care system in Canada, France and England. It looks at the incomes of doctors working in those socialized medicine countries. It looks at the quality of their health care systems and their prescription drug prices.

Unfortunately, the film totally misses the boat when it tries to explain how our American health care system got so broken. For that, please see this article in my blog: Health Care Crisis

I highly recommend everyone to see the film "Sicko" by Michael Moore.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Problem with Healthcare

The soaring cost of healthcare and healthcare insurance is called a crisis. Many people talk about the crisis in healthcare but few ask, where did the crisis come from? As if healthcare is somehow preordained to be in a perpetual crisis by its intrinsic nature.

The simple and obvious truth is, the healthcare crisis is caused by medicare. What is medicare? It's socialized medicine but it's only socialized for a specific segment of the population - the elderly. Any American of a certain age automatically qualifies for medicare and at that point, their healthcare is paid by the government which of course, gets the money from the rest of us via income tax.

Medicare was created in 1965. Before 1965, seeing a doctor or going to the hospital was just like having car trouble or seeing the dentist today. It was an extra expense that was unanticipated and unpleasant but you could deal with it and pay for it out of your own savings. Today, very few people could afford a trip to the hospital. The simplest thing, like a broken leg, is outrageously expensive. Since healthcare is outrageously expensive, naturally the insurance is going to be expensive also.

How did medicare cause the current high-price crisis in healthcare? Remember the principle of supply and demand? The senior segment of the population gets free socialized medicine. Since it's free, there is no control on the demand for healthcare by the elderly. They can go to the doctor as much as they want and the taxpayers will pay for it. They can get expensive MRI scans and drugs as much as they want and the taxpayers will pay for it. MRI and other amazing technology will be invented and implemented at a fast pace because medicare guarantees a deep pocket to pay the inventors and make them rich. And on and on. Socialized medicine has created nearly unlimited demand. High demand means high prices. There's no getting around that.

What if the government decided that all young people between the ages of 16 - 30 have a right to any car of their choice and as many cars as they desire and the government will pay for everything? Car prices would skyrocket just like healthcare prices have skyrocketed. There would be unlimited demand for new cars. Young people would use their government car ticket to buy Porche's and Ferrari's. Some would buy American cars but even the least fancy car acquired by a young person would have all the bells and whistles and extra charges. Car makers would start inventing faster and more impressive cars because there's a guaranteed market to the young people and price is not a problem. New technology would be invented at a fast pace because it's guaranteed to sell to the young people. Meanwhile, prices would skyrocket and the rest of us would have to start riding a bus because owning our own car would be out of reach.

How can we fix this problem? First, recognize and understand the source of the problem. Then, there are quite a few options. We could begin to place restrictions and limits on medicare to slow down the demand. We could eventually phase out medicare but, hopefully, it would be done over a long time span and with the least amount of pain inflicted on the elderly who have grown up paying their share of medicare taxes and expect to be taken care of.

Another possibility is to let young people in the work force sign a contract stipulating they only have to pay half the normal medicare tax but will not receive medicare when they get old, benefiting them now and for the rest of their working life and benefiting society later.

Another possibility is to go the other direction and completely socialize healthcare for the entire population instead of just for the elderly. That would certainly be more fair than the current system. If healthcare is completely socialized, access to healthcare will naturally be restricted (no economy could possibly enable everyone to have as much as they want the way seniors do now - that's as impossible as raising the minimum wage to $500 per hour), quality will go down (from the perspective of wealthy people who get everything they want from our current system) and the system will either bankrupt itself or access will be restricted to an equilibrium point where people are willing to live with the level of service and willing to live with the taxes to pay for it at the same time.

It's possible that if healthcare is socialized completely, eventually the healthcare system will suck so bad that people will finally realize it's bad and get rid of the socialism and move back to a free-enterprise approach to healthcare. Completely socializing medicine could actually be a step towards getting rid of socialized medicine. And, if healthcare is socialized completely, at least it would be more fair than the current corrupt and broken system that only benefits a specific segment of society.

Here's an article from the New York Times which clearly illustrates how seniors are using the medicare system in Florida:
September 13, 2003

RE-EXAMINING MEDICARE

Patients in Florida Lining Up for All That
Medicare Covers

By GINA KOLATA

BOCA RATON, Fla. - It is lunchtime, and the door to Boca Urology's office is locked. But outside, patients are milling about, calling the office on their cellphones, hoping the receptionist will let them in. To say they are eager hardly does them justice.

"We never used to lock the door at lunch, but they came in an hour early," said Ellie Fertel, the office manager. "It's like they're waiting for a concert. Sometimes we forget to lock the door and they come in and sit in the dark."

Yet few have serious medical problems, let alone emergencies. "It's the culture," said Dr. Jeffrey I. Miller, one of four urologists in the practice.

Doctor visits have become a social activity in this place of palm trees and gated retirement communities. Many patients have 8, 10 or 12 specialists and visit one or more of them most days of the week. They bring their spouses and plan their days around their appointments, going out to eat or shopping while they are in the area. They know what they want; they choose specialists for every body part. And every visit, every procedure is covered by Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly.

Boca Raton, researchers agree, is a case study of what happens when people are given free rein to have all the medical care they could imagine. It is also a cautionary tale, they say - timely as Medicare's fate is debated in Congress - for it demonstrates that what the program covers and does not cover, and how much or how little it pays, determines what goes on in a doctor's office and why it is so hard to control costs.

South Florida has all the ingredients for lavish use of medical services, health care researchers say, with its large population of affluent, educated older people and the doctors to accommodate them. As a result, Dr. Elliott Fisher, a health services researcher at Dartmouth Medical School, said, patients have more office visits, see more specialists and have more diagnostic tests than almost anywhere else in the country. Medicare spends more per person in South Florida than almost anywhere else - twice as much as in Minneapolis, for example.

But there is no apparent medical benefit, Dr. Fisher said, adding, "In our research, Medicare enrollees in high intensity regions have 2 to 5 percent higher mortality rates than similar patients in the more conservative regions of the country."

Doctors say that Medicare's policies are guiding medical practice, with many making calculated decisions about whom to treat and how to care for them based on what Medicare covers, and how much it pays.

"The bottom line is that the stuff that reimburses well is easier to get done," Dr. Carl Rosenkrantz, a Boca Raton radiologist, said.

Thomas A. Scully, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said he knew the situation all too well.

"We have a system that does nothing to look at utilization," Mr. Scully said in a telephone interview. "If you send in a bill and you are legitimate, we pay it."

The effect shows up in the way doctors deal with office visits, for example. Medicare in Boca Raton pays $52.46 for a routine visit, in which a doctor sees a patient with no new problem. That is not enough, doctors say; it costs about $1,500 a day to run an office there, they explain. Payments in other states are different, adjusted for cost of living, but doctors say, and Mr. Scully agrees, that they are generally inadequate. Doctors who try to make a living seeing only Medicare patients for routine visits, he said, "have a very rough time."

Medicare bases its payments on a system in which each kind of service is assigned a "relative value," Mr. Scully said. To increase the payment for routine office visits and stay within its budget, Medicare would have to decrease the relative value of other services.

A committee of doctors meets each year to suggest relative values, he said, but "the most aggressive and active groups tend to be the specialists."

"Year after year," Mr. Scully went on, "the specialists come in and make a very strong argument for higher reimbursements. There's eventually a squeeze on the basic office visit."

In many areas of the country, private insurers pay more for office visits than Medicare does, so doctors can essentially subsidize their Medicare patients.

"If we just saw Medicare patients and didn't see anyone with regular insurance, we wouldn't be able to pay the bills," said Dr. James E. Kurtz, an internist at Chatham Crossing Medical Center in Pittsboro, N.C.

Elsewhere, many doctors are refusing to see Medicare patients. "Some counties in Washington have no doctors who take new Medicare patients," Dr. Douglas Paauw, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said.

Doctors in South Florida do not have a choice. Private insurers there pay the same as Medicare or less, and so many old people live in the area that if doctors want to practice, they must accept them. But how to make a living?

One way, Dr. Robert Colton, an internist in Boca Raton, said, is to see lots of patients, spending just a few minutes with each and referring complicated problems to specialists.

Dr. Colton did that for a while, seeing as many as 35 patients a day. A typical busy internist, he said, would see 20 patients a day. "I felt like a glorified triage nurse," he said.

"If you try to handle a complex problem, it slows you down," Dr. Colton said. "You have to sit down with the family, meet with the patients, talk to them. If you say you have coughing and you are short of breath and your knee hurts, I might have sent you to two different specialists."

The goal, Dr. Rosenkrantz said, is to move the patients on. "The worst thing that can happen is for someone to walk into your office and say, `I have an interesting case for you.' Financially, you'd be dead."

Even seeing patients in the hospital can become an exercise in time management, Dr. Rosenkrantz said. "We have doctors who do rounds at 4 a.m."

A second driving force behind medical care in Boca Raton is the demands of patients. They want lots of tests and specialists, they refer themselves to specialists, they ask for and get far more medical attention from specialists than many doctors think is reasonable or advisable.

"This Medicare card is like a gold card that lets you go to any doctor you want," Dr. Colton said. "I see it every day. When there's no control on utilization, it's just the path of least resistance. If a patient says, `My shoulder hurts, I want an M.R.I., I want to see a shoulder specialist,' the path of least resistance is to send them off. You have nothing to gain by refusing."

Patients here say they have mixed emotions. They complain about rushed primary care doctors but readily admit that they seek multiple specialists and multiple procedures.

The primary care doctors are often irritatingly busy, patients say. "In waiting rooms sometimes they are standing against the wall," said Marvin Luxenberg, a retired lawyer who lives in nearby Boynton Beach. Then, he said, "when you get in to see the doctor, you get just three or four minutes of time."

Dr. Colton says he found a way to give his patients more time. He joined a "concierge" practice, in which patients pay an annual fee in addition to the normal charges for medical services. Dr. Colton's group, MDVIP, charges patients $1,500 a year and limits the number of patients each doctor sees.

But not everyone wants to pay that kind of fee. Many patients just spend their time in specialists' offices. Each specialist handles a different aspect of their care, with no one coordinating it.

Specialists get no more than primary care doctors for an office visit, but they provide tests and procedures that demand higher Medicare reimbursements. Doctors say those payments allow them to stay in business, especially if they provide the procedures in their own office.

Medicare pays the doctor and the facility where a procedure is done. For a nuclear stress test, for example, the doctor gets about $200 and the facility gets about $1,200.

"Doctors have incorporated these tests as much as possible into their offices so they can gain from the facility fee," Dr. Thomas Bartzokis, an interventional cardiologist in Boca Raton, said.

Patients say they have lots of specialists, and lots of tests. Asked how many doctors he saw, Leon Bloomberg, 83, a patient of Dr. Miller, thought for a minute and looked at his wife, Esther.

"Between us, we have 10 or 12," Mr. Bloomberg said, including a pain specialist and a neurologist for his neuropathy, a cardiologist for his heart condition, "a pulmonary man" for his asthma, a rheumatologist for his arthritis and Dr. Miller for his prostate. Mrs. Bloomberg has her own doctors, including ones for heart disease and for diabetes. "We have two to four or more doctors' appointments a week," Mr. Bloomberg said.

It is easy to find all these specialists, he said. "You get recommendations at the clubhouse, at the swimming pool. You go to a restaurant here and 9 times out of 10, before the meal is over, you hear people talking about a doctor or a medicine or a surgery." And of course there are the other patients in all those waiting rooms. Mr. Bloomberg even recommends specialists to his own doctors.

But some patients say they are frustrated by what they call a waste of resources. "The doctors are raping Medicare," said Louis Ziegler, a retired manufacturer of flight simulators who lives in Delray Beach.

Mr. Ziegler recalled going to a doctor for a chronic problem, a finger that sometimes freezes. All he wanted was a shot of cortisone. But he got more, much more: "I had diathermy. I had ultrasound. I had a paraffin massage. I had $600 worth of Medicare treatments to get my lousy $35 shot of cortisone."

Dr. Colton, the internist here, is frustrated, too.

"The system is broken," he said. "I'm not being a mean ogre, but when you give something away for free, there is nothing to keep utilization down. And as the doctor, you have nothing to gain by denying them what they want."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Religious Republicans True Goal - Taxpayer Dollars for their Religion

More evidence about the republican's true agenda in this NYTimes article: Bush Aides Say Religious Hiring Doesn’t Bar Aid


 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

McCain Wants to Eliminate Employer-Paid Health Insurance

Here's the article in the NYTimes.

Another article in the NYTimes.

Apparently, McCain's idea is to:
...get families out of employer-paid health coverage and into the health insurance marketplace, where naked competition is supposed to take care of all ills. (We’re seeing in the Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch fiascos just how well the unfettered marketplace has been working.)
The article gives a few reasons why this is a horrible idea. I think something not mentioned is that many people take or keep a specific job primarily for the health insurance. This radical change could significantly alter the dynamics of our job market in unpredictable and possibly devastating ways.

Monday, July 21, 2008

RELIGULOUS - Movie by Bill Maher on Religious Superstition

I can hardly wait for the RELIGULOUS movie coming out on October 3, 2008!

http://lionsgate.com/religulous/

http://my.break.com/content/view.aspx?ContentID=533344

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Atheist Army Spc. Jeremy Hall sues Army for religious discrimination

Good article on CNN about and atheist soldier, Army Spc. Jeremy Hall who says the military has turned into a "christian military." He was denied promotions because of being an atheist and his life was even threatened by other troops to such a degree that the army assigned him a bodyguard.

Michael Weinstein, a retired senior Air Force officer and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is suing along with Hall. The permeation of religion into the military is so bad that he refers to the Pentagon as the "Pentacostalgon."

Here's a very interesting analysis of public opinion as a response to watching a CNN special about this.

Here's the origional article.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Comparing the Health Care Plans of the Presidential Candidates

The New York Times has an article comparing the health care plans of the major presidential candidates (click here to read).

What's missing is an explanation of WHY health care costs are skyrocketing. The reason is simple - it's supply and demand. Demand is unlimited because the government gives free medical care (or nearly free) to a select group of people - the elderly via medicare. With high demand comes high prices. That's all there is to it. I wrote about the problem and the solution here.
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Magna Carta is For Sale

This will be interesting to all lovers of freedom:
The Magna Carta is for sale! (click for article in the New York Times).
 

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Article about Ayn Rand in the New York Times

Here's an article in the New York Times about Ayn Rand. It mentions Alan Greenspan who was influenced by Ayn Rand in the 50's.

Ayn Rand in the New York Times

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Former Bush Chief Speech Writer - We're Being Guided by God!

Here's a telling quote from Michael Gerson, who was chief speechwriter for George W. Bush before becoming a policy adviser and then a magazine columnist.

... I have twice had conversations with Mr. Gerson, when he was a guest at a biannual dinner of former White House speechwriters. He was a bit bashful, but ready to talk about his Christian conservatism. “We’re being guided by God,” he said. Our second conversation, in 2004, included the unsurprising disclosure that Karl Rove was handling all matters related to the re-election.

See: Hey, I Wrote That! But the President Said It — Out Loud!
 

Monday, July 09, 2007

iPhone - Expensive Closed System

"Hacker Jon Johansen claims he can activate a brand new unactivated iPhone without signing up for AT&T service."

Apparently, you are not supposed to be able to use the iPhone for music or web surfing without a two-year commitment to AT&T's cell phone service.

This is a good example of why I hate the current cell phone industry. If I buy an electronic device, shouldn't I be able to use it the way I want without committing to a monthly subscription? Especially if I pay $500 or $600 for the device! How would you like to sign a two-year contract on a new car forcing you to buy gas only from Exxon?

Google is also not happy with the current state of the cell phone business. Here is the way Google thinks the business should work:
In Google’s view of the future, consumers would buy a wireless phone at a store, but instead of being forced to use a specific carrier, they would be free to pick any carrier they wanted. Instead of the wireless carrier choosing what software goes on their phones, users would be free to put any software they want on it.

See: New York Times - Google Pushes for Rules to Aid Wireless Plans, July 21, 2007

I wouldn't buy a digital picture frame back when they required a monthly subscription. I won't buy a Tivo as long as it's only useful with a monthly subscription. And I really hate the way most cell phones are locked to a carrier who wants to charge you for every little trivial thing like putting a ringtone on your phone.

I'm waiting for an open phone that I can OWN rather than merely USE. Apparently, a completely open phone powered by Linux is on the way!!! It's supposed to be mass-market ready by October 2007. Being open means software and hardware developers all over the world can build applications and improve the phone. I can hardly wait.

Links:
Comparison of iPhone and Neo 1973 open phone

iPhone hacked

iPhone hack

Neo1973 news

More Neo1973 news

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bush is a Muslim Terrorist!

Why have there been no terrorist attacks since 9/11?

Because George W. Bush is the greatest ally the terrorists could ever have!

Bush is the unwitting agent of the terrorists, destroying America from within like an insidious cancer. Imagine if the terrorists planted an undercover agent in the American presidency. How could the undercover terrorist inflict the most damage on America?

Here's a potential terrorist game plan:
  1. Destroy America's credibility, ethics and image. Do this by cheating on elections, eviscerating the constitution with domestic spying and sabotaging Habeus Corpus, condoning torture, politicising the justice department and throw in some scandals and corruption in organizations like the world bank just to make sure everyone notices.

  2. Destroy America's economic power. Do this by spending America into bankruptcy by lowering taxes while increasing spending.

  3. Neutralize America's military. Do this by attacking and permanently occupying a previously harmless muslim country, getting permanently bogged down in a pointless yet expensive war that can never be won. If the initial attack is based on claims that later turn out to be false, such as the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction, then the military debacle can help with point #1, destroying America's credibility.

  4. Neutralize objections to theocracies. Do this by destroying America's traditional wall of separation between church and state. If America itself is a theocracy, then how can America argue against an islamic theocracy? Also, since the muslim terrorist's goal is to install islamic theocracies, a good first step is to convert secular governments into religious theocracies. Later, it will be easier to simply replace one type of theocracy with an islamic theocracy.

  5. Enhance terrorist recruitment. Do this by occupying a muslim country with no end in site torturing prisoners so that all terrorists can see the evil of the occupier.
I don't really think the terrorists are smart enough to come up with a plan like this. But maybe they are smart enough to recognize that Bush is their best ally and is unwittingly playing right into their hands. Perhaps this is why there have been no terrorist attacks since 9/11.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fixing the Patent System

The US patent system is broken. It hurts us all more than it helps. It either needs to be fixed or thrown away.

How does it hurt us? Take the "One Click Ordering" patent by Amazon. It's a ridiculously simple idea that anyone and everyone could and would have implemented on their websites but Amazon just happened to get a patent on the concept. Because of this ridiculous patent, all of us have to endure multiple steps when we order products on other websites.

The "One Click Order" patent just happens to be the obvious target of ridicule in the patent system but there are many more subtle absurdities that cause us all harm in the form of higher prices and reduced access to new technology. The harm comes when companies create some new product or technology that innocently and accidentally happens to infringe some obscure, overly broad patent that no one ever heard of only to end up in costly litigation with the cost passed on to us, the consumers.

Technology patents today are a virtual minefield of obvious ideas that have been "claimed" like land in the gold-rush era. But if all these technology patents are so obvious that they get infringed easily by companies that never even heard of the patents, then did they really deserve to be patented in the first place?

The patent system is supposed to rest on this principle - "you tell us how you did it so that we can all do it in the future and, in exchange, we will give you a 20 year monopoly on your idea."

That's a reasonable proposition. But, it implies that if the idea is so simple that many people are going to come up with the same idea then the idea should not be patentable. Likewise, if companies are infringing patents accidentally left and right, then perhaps those original patents should never have been granted in the first place.

HOW TO FIX THE PATENT SYSTEM:

The fix seems simple based on the principle "you tell us how you did it so that we can all do it in the future and, in exchange, we will give you a 20 year monopoly on your idea." Simply add a criteria to the patent process that an idea must be unlikely to be invented by other people. And in patent litigation, if the patent is easily, unintentionally, accidentally and often infringed by people WITHOUT knowledge of the patent, then the patent should be suspected of being too simple and too obvious.

There is currently a push in Congress to fix the patent system. The drug companies want to keep the patent system strong while the technology companies want to reduce the cost of litigating accidental patent infringement. The solution posted here explains and solves the problem cleanly for both of them. Obviously, the creation of a new drug is expensive and time consuming and is not the kind of thing anyone and everyone can do on their own. This is why the drug companies deserve their patents. On the other hand, technology patents, in particular computer programming technology such as Amazon's One-Click Ordering, most definitely are likely to be independently reproduced by hordes of programmers which is why they do NOT deserve to be patented. The technology patents in the computer field are getting accidentally infringed everyday because they are simply ideas that thousands of programmers are likely to independently create - making them not suitable to be patented.

P.S. There is already a "novel" and "non-obvious" test in the patent system today but apparently it has no teeth and is not blocking utterly simple and obvious ideas like Amazon's One-Click patent.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Well Written Article by Conservative Slamming Bush

Just discovered this well-written artiticle:

Doug McIntyre, conservative commentator, slams the Bush presidency.

Here are some notable quotes:

Iraq:
We’re not in the “waning days of the insurgency.” We’re about to slink home with our tail between our legs, leaving civil war in Iraq and a nuclear-armed Iran in our wake. And Bin Laden is still making tapes. It’s unspeakable. The liberal media didn’t create this reality, bad policy did.


Cutting taxes while increasing spending:
He cut taxes and I like tax cuts. But tax cuts combined with reckless spending and borrowing is criminal mismanagement of the public’s money. We’re drunk at the mall with our great grandchildren’s credit cards. We traded tax and spend Liberals for borrow and spend Conservatives.

 

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Why Does God Hate Amputees - Awesome Website

I love this website! It's friendly and well written!

Why Does God Hate Amputees

And here's an excellent article on the website dissecting delusion:

Understanding Delusion
 

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Frank Rich on the Bush Regime's Evil Ways

This is an excellent interview with Frank Rich about the Bush regime.

Frank Rich on the lies and deception of the Bush regime

Here's a notable quote:
For me, watching Bush, Rove, and the GOP is almost like watching Jason or Chucky from the slasher movies. They keep coming back no matter what you do to them. I call them "electoral savants," phenomenally good at demonizing their enemies and winning elections, but with no inclination or competence for governing.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why is Iraq Guaranteed to Fail?

Iraq is absolutely guaranteed to be a failure in the long run.

Why?

Because, even if Bush could get exactly what he wants and all the insurgents in Iraq suddenly stopped fighting, what then? Iraq would still be a muslim country with an islamic constitution and where will that lead? A muslim country with an islamic constitution is guaranteed to turn into a wacko-fanatical muslim country. History proves it.

Even Turkey is leaning closer and closer toward islam everyday. And that's in spite of the fact that Turkey has a secular constitution established by its revered founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Apparently, just the mere presence of a large population of muslims in a country is enough to fatally poison a country's secular heritage and future.

The simple reality is that any superstition that commands its believers to convert unbelievers is a poisonous cancer that perverts and destroys everything in its path. This is true for christianity just as for islam. The koran is more internally consistent and clear than the bible so it grows faster and slightly more dangerously than christianity. But they are clearly twin tumors on humanity.
 

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ted Haggard Gives Marriage Advice

video:
Ted Haggard, a typical christian, gives advice on having a good marriage with a member of the opposite set.
 

Sunday, November 05, 2006

How Should We Deal With Iraq Right Now?

PREMISE: Iraq is already lost and staying the course in Iraq is as sensible as staying the course in Vietnam from 1968 to 1973. In other words, it will accomplish nothing good. Staying the course actually makes us less safe from terrorists because it is a training ground for terrorists and because our presence in Iraq infuriates the muslim world thereby generating more terrorists!

PLAN A:

The obvious solution to really fix Iraq and deliver democracy to the middle east is to partition Iraq into three countries, Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite and impose on each of them a secular constitution similar to America's. We should NOT let them choose their own constitutions because they would choose islamic constitutions. We should give them a proper secular constitution with a written provision that allows them to write their own constitution 15 years down the road. Religious superstition is like cancer, having invaded the body politic it must be deliberately and forcefully removed. Allowing Iraq to write its own constitution was a fatal flaw in the Bush regime's approach to Iraq.

The population at large, after all the religious bloodshed they've seen recently, might now recognize the wisdom of secular government. The religious murderers and death squads in Iraq might have taught a lesson to the majority of the moderate Iraqi population and they just might embrace and defend a secular constitution.

The founding fathers of America recognized the wisdom of secular government, making America the first secular government in the world and that, dear friends, is why America has the oldest continuously operating constitution in the world even though America is one of the youngest countries in the world!

PLAN B:

The big fear in withdrawing from Iraq is that Al Qaeda will take over and make Iraq a base of operations supported by oil revenues. The solution is simple - move our troops to Afghanistan before it's too late and while we still have a chance of accomplishing something good in Afghanistan. In the meantime, tell Iraq and the world we reserve the right to kill any Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq and we reserve the right to kill Moqtada Al Sadr. We can let the civil war proceed and let the wackos in Iraq simmer and stew in their own mess and simply pick off from a distance any Al Qaeda leaders that pop up.

This is what Israel is doing with Gaza - sitting back out of harm's way picking off the leaders of the enemy. It's the most cost effective way of keeping the enemy down and controlled.

CONCLUSION:

Plan A is the right choice but plan B is the easy choice. Both plans are better than the current counter productive debacle that makes us less safe and makes the whole world hate us.

Plan B is not pretty. We created the mess in Iraq by invading and it's unfair to the ordinary citizens of Iraq to foment a civil war and then just leave them to struggle for survival. But what George Bush did is done. At least plan B would accomplish something with minimal waste of America's resources whereas staying the course will accomplish nothing while wasting billions upon billions of dollars and thousands of lives not to mention actually making us LESS safe from terrorism.

WHAT NOT TO DO:

I just heard Jim Webb, senator-elect, say his plan is to have the countries next to Iraq assume responsibility and control for Iraq. What an empty and stupid idea! Most of the countries next to Iraq are wacko muslim countries, specifically Iran. Would giving Iraq to Iran really be that much better than just handing it over to Al Qaeda?

We also hear the Bush regime talking about giving up on democracy in Iraq and supporting the idea of an Iraqi strongman instead. Isn't that exactly what Saddam Hussein was??? This is exactly why the whole Iraq war is such a debacle! We've come full circle to learn that we were better off with Saddam Hussein in power!
 

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Iraq is Already Lost - I Predicted it Two Years Ago

Iraq is already a lost cause. And two years ago I predicted exactly what is happening in Iraq today. See: How to Fix Iraq. I posted that back in September of 2004.

Here are some of the predictions in that article that have now proved true:
  1. For long term stability, Iraq must be split into three separate countries: Kurdish, Shiite, and Sunni, otherwise, it's a certainty that at least one minority group will be brutally oppressed by muslim fanatics.

  2. There must be complete separation of church and state...

  3. We must set a deadline for when we will leave Iraq because any project takes 10 times longer than necessary in the absence of a deadline.
Actually, Iraq could still be salvaged if someone in our government had the guts to say, "let's stop acting like lemmings staying the course right over a cliff - let's split Iraq into three countries, kurdish, sunni and shiite, giving each their own secular constitution modeled on America's constitution."

But since no one in our American goverment has the brains or the guts for strong medicine like this, Iraq is a lost cause.

Afghanistan is not yet a lost cause, though it is rapidly devolving into an Iraq-like disaster. We should get out of Iraq and move all our troops and equipment to Afghanistan for at least a chance at salvaging something good out of this republican debacle.
 

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Charles Darwin Online and Free!

The writings of Charles Darwin: http://darwin-online.org.uk/



Saturday, September 30, 2006

Draft-Dodging President is calling the Democratic Party "Cut and Run"???

President Bush and Karl Rove have labelled the Democratic Party "the party of cut and run."

Why is no one calling attention to the irony of a draft-dodging president labeling ANYONE as a war avoider??? This is so weird and ridiculous it belongs in a David Lynch movie.

For those of you who don't know, little Georgie W. Bush during the Vietnam War had his father get him a cushy position in the "champagne corps" - a velvety national guard assignment nicknamed the "champagne corps" because of all the powerful rich kids using that avenue to avoid the Vietnam draft.

By itself, that's not a big deal. Lots of powerful rich kids avoided the draft that way. The really big deal is that little Georgie failed to complete his national guard committment of 6 years because he decided to skip out and get into politics. He basically went AWOL. But due to his father's clout he was able to get away with it rather than going to jail like an ordinary soldier. Plus, as governor of Texas, little Georgie ordered all records of his national guard service destroyed. A coverup in essence.

Does little Georgie deny this? Does he say he completed his national guard service? No. He doesn't deny it because that would be a direct lie which might get uncovered some day if anyone finds evidence that Georgie failed to destroy. What he does say is that he "was honorably discharged." I saw Bill O'Reilly interviewing little Georgie on TV and directly ask him about the controversy. Little Georgie didn't have much to say. He simply said, "I was honorably discharged." Well duh! Charles Manson could be honorably discharged from prison if he had the same parents as little Georgie.

We should all mock little Georgie the draft dodger next time he has the nerve to refer to the Democratic party as the party of "cut and run".
 

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Who is going to protect us from our president?

Apparently, the Bush regime is going to succed in eviscerating the American Constitution with the new torture bill making its way through congress.

I heard some speeches from congressmen saying, "these people are not soldiers wearing a uniform and fighting for a country, they are terrorists and it's our job to protect the American people from terrorists!"

What I want to know is this - who is going to protect us from our president and our government?

Emotional babbling about terrorists is irrelevant. Considering the amount of unchecked power this bill will concentrate in the presidency, it's our own president we should be worried about, not a few terrorists. This bill that is about to pass pretty much gives the president the power to declare ANY non-citizen an enemy combatant, lock them up for eternity without trial AND eliminates the right of the accused to challenge his imprisonment and torture in court.

This doesn't even sound like it's happening in America, does it?

Imagine someone, a non-citizen, married to an American and having lived in America for 30 years donates money to a charity. If the president decides that charity is connected to terrorists, the person who donated can be taken away in the middle of the night and never heard from again. And you know that once the religious fanatics have the power they've been seeking, pretty soon internet porn and abortion and anything the fanatics don't like will be somehow connected to terrorism.

Where is this going?

This is way too much power concentrated in the presidency. What's to keep the president from abusing this power? History has shown that too much power in the hands of one person will nearly always be abused. King George of England had too much power over the American colonies and that's why we had the American Revolution.

Is Bush trying to protect America or destroy it?

This is getting serious. This is a giant leap towards destroying America. Once our president gets too much power, starts abusing the power and turns us into a totalitarian police state, the only way back to freedom and the American way will be through revolution - once again.

Gee - I hope the unAmerican Bush doesn't interpret that last sentence as a terrorist remark and send the goons to grab me in the middle of the night to spend the rest of my life getting tortured in a secret dungeon. Perhaps after this torture bill passes I better delete this blog and stop saying anything negative about the president.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Torture is Like Police Brutality - The Authorities Become the Bad Guys

Who would have ever thought we would see the day in America when an idiot president is pleading with America to give him the right to torture?

Only a low-forehead, retarded fool could believe wide-scale torture is in America's best interest.

Bush says that if we allow him to torture we will be safer. But who's going to respect a country that tortures? And if nobody has respect for America, is anybody going to care if we're attacked again? If we throw America into the moral cess pool, will the islamic religious fanatics gain respect for us and be less likely to attack us?

If we allowed the police to torture suspects, would it reduce crime? NO! Just like in the movies, when a state becomes authoritarian and the police use brutal force, people begin to side with the criminals. If we gave the police the right to torture suspects, then anybody opposing the police would be seen as the heroes.

There is nothing more dangerous, sinister and un-American than a regime that tortures.

Bush could Pardon in Advance Torture Interrogators

Bush is trying to say that CIA interrogators won't do their job without protection from legal liability due to torture.

If they really did have a significant terrorist who had critical information, Bush could just issue an advance written pardon to the interrogators if torture was really and truly called for, as in the hypothetical example of a terrorist who knows the location of a nuclear bomb hidden in a city.

But this is not good enough for Bush. Why? Because then Bush himself would be liable and responsible and on record. In addition, Bush wants the privilege of ordering torture on a wide scale by entire government departments - he doesn't have time to issue pardons for all the low-level people he'd like to have committing torture.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Let Bush Torture or he will Stop Interrogating Terrorists

The clown in the white house actually had the nerve to tell Congress and the public to give him the legal right to torture suspected terrorists or else he would stop all interrogations!

Think about what he is saying. He is threatening to stop doing his job if he is not allowed to torture the way he wants to torture. He is saying, "you let me torture suspected terrorists the way I want or else I won't try to stop the terrorists from coming after you."

This is like a high school football quarterback telling the coach, "you let me have complete control or else I'll start throwing interceptions and let the other team win."

Anybody who threatens to sabotage their own job should be fired! Threatening to stop interrogating suspected terrorists should be an impeachable offense!

Nobody is telling the Bush regime it's not allowed to interrogate prisoners. But the Supreme Court and we the public ARE telling Bush he must do so legally and ethically and without torture. And we are telling him to stop dragging the already declining image of America through the mud!

Bush is trying to make the case that intelligence interrogators can't interrogate without legislation clarifying how much they can torture. What a load of BS. This is nonsense on the very face of it. Simply stop doing ANYTHING that might be construed as torture and there won't be any risk of legal sanctions. It's as simple as that. If you think waterboarding is borderline, then don't do it. America needs to return to the moral high ground and stop allowing the Bush regime to corrupt and destroy traditional American values.

Would you rather have it known that your country has brutal tactics and tortures prisoners, some of whom happen to be innocent, or would you rather have it known that your country treats all humans decently and never tortures anyone?

Perhaps if America had a world-wide reputation for treating all prisoners decently, some of the enemies would be less likely to fight to the death to avoid capture. If we treated prisoners decently we would probably get a whole lot more information out of them. Most of the middle eastern countries are known for brutally torturing prisoners. Lowering American values to their level is not doing any good for our cause. It's hurting our image and helping to create more terrorists and we need to stop this now.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Why Has America Not Been Attacked in 5 Years?

For the same reason America was not attacked during the eight and a half year time span between the first world trade center bombing on February 26, 1993 and the second on September 1, 2001.

It's certainly not because the Clinton Administration kept us safe during that eight and a half year time span. And this recent 5 years without an attack is NOT because of the Bush regime and its assault on democracy and civil liberties.

Do you really think the religious fanatics would not have done something if they had the capability to inflict harm on lots of Americans? Do you really think they would not have blown up a suitcase atomic bomb in Israel if they had such a device and the capability to deliver it?

The answer is simply that the religious terrorists are impotent and weak and stupid.

It's very easy to kill and destroy and steal. That's why criminals choose a life of crime - it's easier for human parasites to steal the fruits of someone else's labor than to labor themselves. Killing and destroying is easy yet the religious terrorists are only capable of a few significant acts per decade. Obviously, they simply aren't very capable. It's lucky for us they are so stupid and impotent.

Think about it - the most significant act of terrorism to date simply involved 19 men taking over 4 small confined spaces using knives. Is that some big monolithic achievement? Hardly. The only thing that even lends significance to the event is the fact that some beautiful buildings collapsed and 3,000 Americans died because of the buildings.

So, why is there so much terrorism in Iraq right now? Because the entire country is filled with religious fanatics! Duh! If the entire country were filled with cannibals there would be a lot of human flesh eating going on. If the entire country were filled with assassins the killings would be quieter and more effective. But if Iraq was filled with atheists instead of religious fanatics it would be a beautiful, peaceful country on the leading edge of science with a rich history and a thriving tourist industry.

Religious superstition destroys and corrupts!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Osama Bin-Laden is a Religious Conservative, Just Like Bush

These days, when a politican identifies himself as a conservative, most likely he means a religious conservative.

During the Reagan era, conservative meant someone interested in fiscal restraint and smaller, more limited government. That's hardly the case under the current Bush regime. Today the word conservative means little more than simply fundamentalist christianity.

And what is a religious conservative, aka, religious fundamentalist? Here's a good quote from the New York Times that sums it up:

The real underlying issue is that fundamentalism in the Southern Baptist form is incompatible with higher education. In fundamentalism, you have all the truths. In education, you’re searching for truths.

David W. Key, director of Baptist Studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory
New York Times 2006.07.22

One significant fact left out of this quote is that the fundamentalist believes he has all the answers AND he believes all the answers come from books written nearly 2000 years ago by superstitious men who didn't even know the earth is round.

So, when we hear of someone running for political office and identifying themselves as a "conservative", let's remember that Osama Bin-Laden is also a religious conservative from one of the three main world religions.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Iraq Cannot End Well Without Separation of Church and State

Unfortunately, we allowed some Iraqis to choose an islamic constitution. Therefore, Iraq is a lost cause and we should either get out or make a dramtic change in direction and give them a secular government.

Islamic governments either turn wacko like Iran and the Taliban or they turn to absolute, despotic dictatorship like Saddam Hussein and other islamic countries. Islam is simply not a mild mannered religion and doesn't typically lead to moderation. Even if an islamic country does have a period of moderation it's not likely to last long. The islamic religion, when officially part of a government's constitution, is like cancer - it nearly always grows into a bigger problem.

What we've accomplished in Iraq is removing a dictator and installing a fanatical, fundamentalist, islamic theocracy. We replaced something bad by something worse. So what, exactly, is the point of staying the course in Iraq? It cannot end well and we should just cut our losses and get out.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Crack the Power of Incumbency - Consecutive Term Limits

If Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans, can get reelected, it proves the power of incumbency.

Allowing our U.S. senators and representatives to bask in luxury and opulence in our congress for their entire lives promotes corruption, arrogance and back-room politicking. Would Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff have been able to weave their web of illegal deals if Tom Delay had not spent 22 consecutive years in congress making connections and practically getting "made" as they say in the mafia?

Limiting the number of consecutive terms congressmen can serve will do more to cure Washington of its culture of corruption than all the lobbying laws combined.

This is a simple cure for much of the evil in Washington - let's limit the number of consecutive terms for which a congressman can get elected. After two consecutive winning elections to office, senators and representatives should have to sit out a term. During their "out" term, they can mingle with normal people and get reacquainted with reality. If they are really worth their salt, they can always come back for another two consecutive terms after each "out" period.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Presidential Signing Statements = Abuse of Power

I just learned about presidential signing statements today on NPR and I'm blown away!

It's no wonder Bush has never vetoed a bill from Congress. In many ways, a presidential signing statement is more powerful than a veto.

What is a presidential signing statement? When Bush signs a law, he then issues a legal document , known as a signing statement, to go into the federal register along with the bill. In the signing statement Bush issues executive orders declaring which parts of the bill he disaggrees with and intends NOT to follow.

These signing statements can be more powerful than a veto for several reasons:
  • They go unnoticed. Even many congressmen aren't aware of them.
  • They cannot be overridden by congress.
  • In some cases there can never be a plaintiff to force the issue before the supreme court.

This president and his republican party have in the past vigorously whined about "judicial activist" - judges who interpret the law the way the want to interpret it rather than the way congress wrote it. Isn't this exactly what Bush is doing? Isn't presidential activism far more sinister and dangerous to our country than judicial activism could ever be (since the executive branch of government is the one that enforces laws)?

This is just one more example of the dumbest president in American history trying to elevate himself and the office of the president to the level of absolute dictatorship.

"This is an attempt by the president to have the final word on his own constitutional powers, which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy. There is no way for an independent judiciary to check his assertions of power, and Congress isn't doing it, either. So this is moving us toward an unlimited executive power."

-- Bruce Fein
-- a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration

Full Story:
Boston Globe: article by Charlie Savage

Examples: Examples of presidential signing statements

Can you say tyranny?

Can you say impeachment?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Only Karl Rove and Dick Cheney Matter in the Bush Administration

On the surface, there appear to be some changes afoot in the Bush administration but they are merely cosmetic changes. The reality is this - there are only two people running this country, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.

Even President Bush himself is largely inconsequential outside his role as figurehead president and "man of god".

Karl Rove is now going to concentrate on "politics" over "policy" but he is still in the White House and still very much in the seat of power. What's the difference between politics and policy anyway? Don't they go hand in hand? By "politics" they are referring to getting out the republican vote in the upcoming elections. What this really means is that the republican party is worried about upcoming elections so much that they've officially assigned their number one marketing genius, Karl Rove, to attack the problem. And, let's be honest, Karl Rove is a marketing genius. And the fact that he is unencumbered by ethics and morality makes him dangerous. Marketing is Karl's forte. You can see the stroke of his brush on the style and substance of every talking point coming out of the Bush administration.

Nothing changed when Colin Powell departed and nothing changed when Condoleeza Rice was placed in charge of controlling the violence in Iraq (remember when she got that high-profile assignment back when she was the head of the NSA? She certainly didn't improve anything in Iraq). Nothing changed when these high-profile people came and went because no one else really matters in this administration other than Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.

So, unless Karl Rove and/or Dick Cheney are booted out or go to jail, the personnel changes in the White House really don't matter in the least bit.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"Not Superstitious" is a better way to say Atheist

The word atheist has a lot of negative baggage and generally comes across in a negative way in spite of the fact that everyone is born atheist (a newborn can't possibly believe in any gods and therefore is atheist by definition).

A better way for the atheist to answer when asked if he is a "believer" is this:

I'm not superstitious. I don't believe in tarot cards, voodoo, astrology, psychic powers or religion.

This has many benefits over the word atheist as follows:

  1. Being not-superstitious is a positive thing. Would anybody distrust a non-superstitious person? Would anybody say, "oh, that's terrible! you should be more superstitious!"

  2. It differentiates between people who say they are not religious yet believe in astrology, voodoo, reincarnation or any of the other superstitions that are just as silly (though less evil and less dangerous) as religion.

  3. It puts the religious person in the position of trying to explain why his religion is any different than other superstitions. That might actually cause some of them to start thinking.

  4. Since religion is no different from any other superstition, there can be no rational, objective explanation of how religion is not superstition and the religious smut peddlers will be embarassed and religious institutions will begin to look silly instead of occupying an unearned exalted position in our society.

  5. The word "superstition" is well known and well understood. It needs no further explanation and instantly and accurately belittles religion as silly nonsense but without sounding too negative.

  6. This is a crystal clear and absolutely true characterization of religion.

If all atheists start calling themselves "not superstitious", religion will come to be associated with other superstitions like astrology, fortune tellers, voodoo and other such nonsense just as it should be. It will be knocked off its lofty, respected perch which it didn't earn and doesn't deserve. This little thing just might reduce the level of religious fanaticism in the world and make the world a safer place for all of us. Let's get started before it's too late!

I just read a post at: Atheist Revolution that made me realize I was unclear in what I'm advocating here. I'm not trying to say we should do away with the word "atheist", it's a good word that simply means without theism. Hopefully someday, after we rid the world of insidious superstition, it will come to have a positive connotation in the public at large as it deserves. And in any technical conversation, such as when newscasters are talking about the various religions of political candidate, atheist is the correct and proper technical description of an atheist. But I think that when a stranger on the street asks you your religion, "not superstitious" would be a better answer than atheist. And when presidential candidates list their religion in their little bio section on the network news, "not superstitious" would be better than atheist. Why? Because simply answering atheist allows the questioner to shrug and mutter under their breath "oh, he's one of those." But, answering "not superstitious" casts a negative connotation on religion (as it deserves) and forces another question - "is religion just one of many superstitions?"

We, the reality bound, are in a battle with the forces of unreality-based superstition and words play an important role. These two simple little words, "not superstitious", can do a lot to help the side of reason and reality.

Labels:

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sam Harris Hits a Home Run in this Interview with TruthDig

This is most provocative interview with Sam Harris I've ever seen. Sam really hits the nail on the head in this one, pointing out with crystal clear clarity the abject stupidity of religion. The entire thing is worth reading.

Here's a small quote from the article:

www.truthdig.com/report/itemtest/20060403_sam_harris_interview

... every Christian knows exactly what it’s like to be an atheist with respect to the beliefs of Muslims, for instance. Muslims have the same reasons for being Muslim as Christians have for being Christian. They have a book they’re sure was written or dictated by the creator of the universe–because the book says that it was written or dictated by the creator of the universe. Christians look at Muslim discourse and find it fundamentally unpersuasive. Christians aren’t lying awake at night worrying about whether they should convert to Islam. Why not? Because Muslims can’t really back up their claims. They are clearly engaged in a style of discourse that is just not intellectually honest. It’s not purposed to genuine inquiry into the nature of the world. It is a reiteration of dogma, and they are clearly committed to a massive program of self-deception. Every Christian recognizes this about every religion other than Christianity. So every Christian knows exactly what it is like to be atheist. They just don’t turn the same candor and intellectual honesty on to their own faith.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Good Quote: Give a Man a Fish

"Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish."

Friday, March 10, 2006

Bush Gives 2.1 Billion Tax Dollars to Religion

Just read this in the New York Times this morning. I think all superstition practitioners (like astrologers, fortune tellers, psychic surgeons etc.), should jump on this and sue for discrimination if the government won't give them money.

The New York Times

March 10, 2006
Bush Urges More Money for Religious Charities
By ELISABETH BUMILLER

COLLEGE PARK, Ga., March 9 — President Bush said Thursday that his administration had made progress by awarding more than $2.1 billion last year to social programs operated by churches, synagogues and mosques, a modest increase over 2004.

But Mr. Bush said that corporate foundations were not doing enough and that they should give more money to religious charities.

Mr. Bush made his comments at a conference in Washington organized by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives before leaving for a state Republican Party fund-raiser in Georgia.

"I am confident that the faith community is achieving unbelievable successes throughout our country," Mr. Bush said at the Washington Hilton. "And therefore I would urge our corporate foundations to reach beyond the norm, to look for those social entrepreneurs who haven't been recognized heretofore, to continue to find people who are running programs that are making a significant difference in people's lives."

Mr. Bush said that the White House had looked closely at 50 large foundations — he did not say which ones — and that one in five had charters that prohibited them from giving money to religious institutions for social service programs.

"I would hope they would revisit their charters," Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush has made his religion-based initiative a central part of his "compassionate conservative" agenda since his first year in the White House, but has run into hurdles trying to carry it out.

Legislation that would have made it easier for religious charities to seek government money for social programs sputtered in Congress in Mr. Bush's first term. He bypassed Capitol Hill and signed executive orders that created religion-based offices in 10 agencies.

Mr. Bush signed an executive order this week to establish a religion-based office in an 11th agency, the Homeland Security Department.

...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Excellent Article by Sam Harris

This is a very good, straight to the point article:

www.truthdig.com/dig/blogitem/20060206_comments_atheism