Dissolve into Evergreens
This blog used to be about politics. Not so much anymore as I have worked through my fascination with that subject. It now seems appropriate that with a new president and the end of the Bush nightmare that I move on to new subjects that are more in line with my current interests. I may still occasionally express an opinion about political matters but for the most part I will be commenting on music, photography and personal observations. Thank you for reading.


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7.28.2003
 
Inhofe Watch!

Where is our (not so) esteemed Senator shoving his industry bought nose this time?

At the vanguard to defeat any measure that would address global warming:

McCain, Lieberman plan vote on global warming 2 senators hoping debate adds fuel to pressure for action

Washington -- Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman plan to force a vote on an effort to control global warming when the Senate takes up an energy bill this week.

(snip)

The proposed amendment would set limits on emissions of greenhouse gases from wide swaths of the economy, with exemptions for households, agriculture and small facilities that emit under a certain limit.

(snip)

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who chairs the committee, opposes the bill, characterizing it as a backdoor implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, a binding treaty on climate change that the Clinton administration signed but that the Senate never approved. The Bush administration drew criticism when it later withdrew from the protocol.


No suprises there, he will make the corporate funded Competitive Enterprise Institute proud.



Look, its Tom Delay with American Petroleum Institutes Bill O'Keefe at the recent CEI dinner. Delay was the keynote speaker. You may recall that our good Senator Inhofe once let a member of the CEI sit in on a government meeting on climate change that he was supposed to have attended. Also in attendance was representatives from Koch industries.


Tom Delay with Koch's Tom Pyle.

You remember Koch Industries don't you? Well, here's a little reminder:

US DOJ: KOCH INDUSTRIES INDICTED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES AT REFINERY: September 28, 2000

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal grand jury in Corpus Christi, Tex., today returned a 97-count indictment against Koch Industries Inc., Koch Petroleum Group, L.P., and four corporate employees charging them with environmental crimes at a Texas oil refinery.

The defendants are charged with violating federal air and hazardous waste laws at Koch Petroleum Group's West Plant refinery near Corpus Christi. The indictment also charges the defendants with conspiracy and making false statements to Texas environmental officials.


Are we suprised that Delay and Inhofe are buddy buddy with known criminals that are bankrolling their campaigns to fight back environmental laws that will eat into their profits? Not really. Are we suprised that these hacks are still in office? Yes. Are we outraged that they actually have reached the upper ranks of our government? I am... you may not.


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I'm Starting to Sound like Geroge Will, Ack! Slippery Slopes Everywhere!

Lieberman says Bush mishandling of Iraq 'threatens to give a bad name to a just war':
"'There's a danger there will be a misimpression sent about the historic Democratic Party record of being strong on security,' Lieberman said, 'going back to Wilson, and Roosevelt and Truman and Kennedy and Clinton.'

Asked whether he was losing the debate within the party about the war, reflected in the recent rise in popularity of anti-war candidate Howard Dean, Lieberman responded: 'The battle has just begun,' he said. 'It won't officially begin until next year when the primaries begin, that's why I'm speaking out now.' "


Lieberman finds himself in a sticky situation. Which is the case when you find that you are arguing that this war was "just" but undertaken for the wrong reasons. Would we take the same position if the police were to use illegal methods to catch a criminal? Would we pardon them for unwarranted searches, wiretaps and maybe even the unlawful detainment of innocent people as long as the criminal was caught. We wouldn't, and there is a simple reason for this. Precedent. Once you give a pass for a war executed under false pretences then you must always accept that the ends justify the means, a concept that we have rejected in modern societies. This is the old "law of the land" that we have discarded because of the obvious consequences that follow this doctrine. Abuses always follow when you apologize after the fact. Lieberman tries to walk a fine line, critizing the methods but ultimately saying that the end was justified. Dean has a stronger position, having always said that the war was not justified under the given set of premises.



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7.27.2003
 
Web Morons!

KOTV - The News On Six: "You have chosen a page that doesn't exist or is no longer active"

Ok, this has been an irritant for a while. Oklahoma has some of the worst news websites. Most of the time when you follow a link to one of the news sources located here in the OKieDome you end up with one of two results:

1) The page no longer exists, meaning they posted a story and have either removed it or deleted it. The story I was attempting to find on the KOTV website was posted Two Days Ago! A story about Nordam moving jobs from Texas to Oklahoma. But in their bid to be a bit player on the internet KOTV has made it nearly impossible for a person to read this story except for a brief period of time that it existed on the website.

2) Subscriptions. Its the web equivalent to putting a DEAD END sign at the beggining of your website. As it is I can access regurgitated AP stories on the Tulsa World website. But I can get them other places as well. Any content that might be unique to the Tulsa World website is down in the Cul de Sac where my stingy little self will dare not tread. More importantly I cannot LINK to any of the stories or opinions that are posted on the Tulsa World website because any reader from other places besides Tulsa will find the Member's Only sign flashed before their eyes. In essense this creates a black hole of news about Tulsa to the outside world. Do I really need to explain why this is bad?

Why do I have to pay for certain sections of the online version of Tulsa World now?

We researched the membership issue very carefully before Membership Privileges were launched. Some major American newspapers are starting to offer Membership packages. Others plan to. If you are a print subscriber to the Tulsa World, this membership is free to you along with your paid subscription. If you are not a print subscriber, you can still receive the added value of the local news, sports, and business sections written by the Tulsa World staff, for only $45 a year.

techsupport@tulsaworld.com 918-732-8100


Can you imagine having to pay $45 a year to any and all newspapers that you would be likely to visit in the course of exploring the web. The reason why pay as you go on the internet is a non-starter is due to the very nature of the internet, where you will go from point to point as your interest leads you. You may only visit the Manila Times once as you read about how Rebels Have Returned to their Barracks, but it would be rather foolish to have to pay for a years worth of access just to read that one story! The same holds true for the Tulsa World articles as well. There may be just one story that a visitor wants as they scour the web for related content. But when they reach the membership page they just turn around and head the other way.

I suspect its laziness but I could be wrong.

Hey, while your at it, go listen to some Joseph Arthur: "Honey And The Moon" , free at Amazon.


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Market Forces

Forbes.com: GM U-turns on Brazil layoffs to avoid strike-union:
"SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - U.S. auto maker General Motors has reversed its decision to cut 450 jobs at a Brazilian plant after employees threatened to go on strike to protest the layoffs, a workers union said Thursday."


They say 50% of American households have investments in the Stock Market. But only about 10% of investors are active large share holders, owning nearly 80% of all shares. When the market was growing and the little guy was seeing reasonable gains in his investments his sympathies lay clearly on the side of the market. But as those small guys get squeezed out of the game (no excess income = no investing) by the recent recession the sympathies will shift back towards those of a worker. Articles like this one appearing in Forbes will be seen in a different light. Whereas before it might have been seen as "That will hurt my retirement account" it might now be seen as "Hey, maybe I can save my job!".


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7.24.2003
 
Reuters | Latest Financial News | Full News Coverage:
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Charlton Heston, the Academy Award-winning actor who headed the National Rifle Association and now has Alzheimer's, was awarded the Medal of Freedom on Wednesday by President Bush."


My possible reactions:

1) Post about how this was about as appropriate as when Clinton gave the Medal O' Freedom to Barbra Streisand. But he never did...

2) Just groan and go on about my life...


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7.23.2003
 
Adios Amigos... Now Leaving Las Colinas!

WashTech, CWA:
"Employees estimate that Microsoft is planning to eliminate at least 800 jobs in the next fiscal year at the company's Las Colinas facility outside of Dallas, Texas and shift the work offshore.

If this outsourcing goes as expected, it will be the largest one-time firing of full-time Microsoft employees - in the company’s history.

Lori Moore, Vice President of Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS), visited the Las Colinas site in April for a company-wide meeting to talk about fiscal year 2004 plans. The message, according to Poore, was exceedingly clear.

“It was an open forum and people were asking about Las Colinas expansion plans, but Moore was giving us the standard corporate bob-and-weave answers, clearly giving us the message that there were no plans for expansion or development of our site. She said that Microsoft would focus all of its efforts on India to position them for global expansion,” Poore said.

“The managers here are very clear - by the end of fiscal year 2004, our jobs will all be gone,” Poore said. "


Dallas, and Texas and general played the game the way it was supposed to be played, they passed generous legislation giving multi-millionaires nice bankruptcy protections on real estate, they got rid of the state income tax, they doled out millions in "economic incentives", including property tax abatements, they spent millions on infrastructure, passed "Right to Work" and they succeeded in luring jobs to Texas. For a while it worked. But the fickle favoratism of the corporate world lasts only as long as the handouts and incentives.



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7.22.2003
 
They Came for the Blue Collar Workers and I Didn't Say a Thing

I.B.M. Explores Shift of White-Collar Jobs Overseas:
"'Increased global trade was supposed to lead to better jobs and higher standards of living,' said Donald A. Manzullo, an Illinois Republican who is the committee chairman. 'The assumption was that while lower-skilled jobs would be done elsewhere, it would allow Americans to focus on higher-skilled, higher-paying opportunities. But what do you tell the Ph.D., or professional engineer, or architect, or accountant, or computer scientist to do next? Where do you tell them to go?'"


Well, first you tell them what a gullible idiot you were to believe that line of crap they sold you. Next, you apologize to all the people that pointed this obvious eventuality out but you insisted on calling them "flat earthers" or whatever passed for name calling at the time. Next you start to do your elected duty, to look after the interests of the companies er, I mean people that elected you.

Echoing the consensus of a few years ago: @Slashdot:

It's time to wake up people. Being able to sling a little code, set up a webserver and talk your way around a design meeting is not going to cut it anymore. You need to get off your ass, put the time in on the weekends and:

1) Identify what it is that you can do that cannot be done by anyone else (or at least, anyone who is willing to work for your salary)

2) Train yourself to do it well.


...and the inevitable response, and the new consensus: also from Slashdot:

Make yourself more valuable than those Indian workers by being willing to work 60 hours a week for the same salary

Then of course they don't want to lose their jobs, so they will make themselves more valuable by deciding to work 80 hours a week for the same salary.

And since you have to eat and can't afford to lose your job either, you decide to work 80 hours a week, but now you are willing to work for 80% of your original salary.

But they can't afford to lose their jobs either, so they will work 80 hours for 50% of your original salary and forego all company benefits.

You and your co-workers proclaim that this is not a living wage and that you hardly see your kids anymore, so the company fires its US workforce and moves operations to India, but continues to offer unpaid internships in the more expensive labor markets like yours. Naturally you take one of these unpaid internships so that while you are "looking for a job" you will at least be "gaining new skills".

And fourteen months into your unpaid internship, you see that taxes on the CEO have been lowered and he how has a little windfall in addition to that $44 million salary and bonuses for increasing profits. He uses his windfall to buy a yacht.


What you find is that there is nothing unique about American workers that cannot be duplicated by forign workers in lower cost areas. The only safe job is one tied to a location. And even then, people can be moved. What DOES make the U.S. unique is our rights and protections for workers that has, until now afforded even the lowliest of workers a modest (and livable) wage, as well as safe and clean working conditions. At the core of this issue is the company's desire to escape this responsibility for the livelyhoods of its workers and return to the early part of the 20th century. But why should we allow companies to sell their products produced by labor which we, or our fathers, mothers or children would not subject to?

This is classic as well: NYT article:
In the hourlong I.B.M. conference call, which took place in March, the company's executives were particularly worried that the trend could spur unionization efforts.

"Governments are going to find that they're fairly limited as to what they can do, so unionizing becomes an attractive option," Mr. Lynch said on the recording. "You can see some of the fairly appealing arguments they're making as to why employees need to do some things like organizing to help fight this."

The I.B.M. executives also warned that when workers from China come to the United States to learn to do technology jobs now being done here, some American employees might grow enraged about being forced to train the foreign workers who might ultimately take away their jobs.


you think, gee whiz. Go read the NYT article!


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Who Would have Thought? But Aren't Taxes Bad?
ChannelOklahoma.com - News - Oklahoma City Becoming World Class Concert Venue:
"The Ford Center's success is felt at downtown businesses such as the Bricktown Brewery, which drew capacity crowds when the Dave Matthews Band visited Tuesday night.
'We count on a big crowd every time there is a concert,' said Charles Stout, general manager. 'Ford Center has easily been one of the biggest draws for us. The Ford Center gives you an immediate gratification. You can immediately see the direct impact.' "


Doesn't this fly in the face of what passes for conventional wisdom in Tulsa? Just repeat after me "Government cannot create wealth". And try to ignore the success of OKC.

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The Companies you Keep

Okiedoke - Website for Okies - Little Axe, Oklahoma:
"VF has shuttered several of its clothing manufacturing plants in the United States and has laid off thousands of its employees, shifting its operations to Mexico where labor is cheaper. For example, the company closed its plant in Okemah earlier this year, which idled nearly 200 workers, and shut down its Wrangler jeans plant in Prague in January 2002, which cost more than 200 jobs. VF operates a Wrangler jeans plant in Seminole, a community of 6,800 population. At one time the factory employed approximately 1,200 workers from not only Seminole but also from Wewoka and elsewhere in the vicinity, Boren related. "


Let's say you went out and bought a really nice car, expensive, lots of nice features, but more than you could afford. With this fancy new car you attracted the attention of a member of the opposite sex. They make it obvious that your car was a significant reason for their interest in you. You're fine with that because now you have bitchin' ride and hot date to boot. Eventually you notice that your hottie's attention wandering to another that has an even newer, more expensive, fancier car. You have a couple of options; update you car and go further into debt, or cut your losses and next time go for someone that likes the qualities that are unique to you.

I guess if you're a state with low self esteem you pass "Right to Work" and offer up your last nickel to Boeing instead of nurturing your local businesses and charting a course for independence.


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Going Where the Getting is Good

OkiePundit:
"Millions of Americans are buying their medicines from Canada for the simple reason that the price they pay for a drug from Canada is much lower than the price we pay for the same drug in the USA. Canada puts caps on drug prices - we don't. US pharmacies and drug companies do not like this trend - and rather than lower their prices in the US their greedy solution is to cut off Americans' access to drugs from Canada. "


I wish Alfalfa Bill over at Okiepundit would get a comments section...
yeah, that would be nice. I always like what he has to say.

Another broad issue that comes to bear discussing this Canada/Drug problem is the dawning realization that those crazy "anti-globalization" people may have a point. They (meaning myself included) never thought that trade between peoples of the world was a bad idea. But what happened is that businesses and government set up the chirade of the so called "free trade" movement under a complete set of false pretenses. Anyone in the third world could explain to you why setting up a global system of trade laws that are heavily stacked in the west's favor will ultimately lead to widening global disparity. Its akin to staging a duel where you give yourself a machine gun and your rival a water pistol. Technically you each have a gun, and your both armed but... its hardly going to be a contest. You may or may not realize that giving the investors all the power means that the west (where all the investors live) will always win.

The whole business wrapped itself in the cloth of "free" trade, as opposed to what it should be more rightly called "rigged trade".

I say rigged because the whole process takes as an assumption that investors can migrate around the globe taking advantage of whatever favorable conditions they can profit from while the inhabitants of those communities are bound to their geography.

The instance of people using the laws of Canada to their individual advantage is a rare case where people themselves are using the process that has until now been the sole domain of investors, namely, going to where the getting is good. We see how the system is rigged because this tactic, fair as it is, has raised the hackles of the drug industry who has found itself on the receiving end of the "screwing". Instead of lauding the ingenuity of the individual American, we see that now "something has to be done" about this "problem". And indeed, as we witnessed earlier this month, the American Government has ponied up massive new spending to protect the drug companies interests.

As you may have noticed, many of the issues raised by those "wacky protectors" have now entered the mainstream discourse.

good!


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7.20.2003
 
Pronounced: Ba na' na!

San Francisco Examiner:Banana billboard 'liberated'; Lesbian reference on clothing ads.:
"One discreet phrase was added: 'The Sappho Collection' appeared beneath the words Banana Republic and to the left of two large photos of two women together, playfully modeling Banana Republic's summer line of clothes. "


'Banana Brothers', Girija Shankar's directorial debut
"Actually it so happens that once day disappointed by their luck, the two are just talking to each other saying, 'Kuch ban na padega brother, kuch banana padega' and that's when they stumble upon this idea of doing something which they then call as 'Banana Brothers'. So you see, the title has got nothing to do with the fruit."


Listening to Your Inner Entrepreneur
If you're in the business of, say, remodeling bathtubs, you might think of several ideas for doing so, such as making tubs deeper or wider. Next, though, forget about the tub and consider a completely different object -- let's say, a banana.


Teacher leaves school after contraceptive device demo
On June 7, Mrs. Ehatt wrote a seething letter to State Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick complaining about the condom lesson, as well as poor language and reading instruction at the school.

"While the school has not taught her any of these things, she now knows how to put a condom on a banana," Mrs. Ehatt wrote

"I don't want my daughter to know what some of those other kids know," Mrs. Ehatt said.


Now, go eat some fruit!


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7.19.2003
 
Oklahoma Book Award 1999 Finalists:
"Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies:
The Industrial Workers of the World in Oklahoma, 1905-1930

by Nigel Anthony Sellars

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a radical labor union, played an important role in Oklahoma from the founding of the union in 1905 until its demise in 1930. Nigel Sellars describes union efforts to organize migratory harvest hands and oil-field workers. The rise and fall of the IWW in Oklahoma explains much about the failure of the labor movement in the U.S. during the 1920s. Sellars is instructor of history at the University of Oklahoma."


Good book if you can find a copy.




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Keep Tulsa Weird?

infobong.com: wish i was a balla:
"'Oh, I like it allright. I grew up in Tulsa, so it seems pretty normal to me.'

This created a bit of a stir on the front porch, as I had unintentionally uttered a heresy in a town where seemingly every third car bears a sticker exhorting us to 'Keep Austin Weird.'"


HAHAHAHA!!!!

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Happens all the Time

Judge: Point Blank guilty of labor law violations - 2003-07-16 - South Florida Business Journal:
"'This is the second time the government found Point Blank guilty of violating our rights, but we've known all along that Point Blank wasn't playing fair,' said Virginia Salazar, a Point Blank employee. 'That's why we came together in a union in the first place - to fight against discrimination in the plant.' "



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7.18.2003
 
TAP: Web Feature: Off Sides. by Michael Tomasky. July 16, 2003.:

Apparently ESPN has hired Rush Limbaugh to host a pre-game show.

"ESPN's hiring of Limbaugh starts to change all that. It directly associates a sport with an ideology -- in the form of one of the most viciously ideological people in America, at that -- and tacitly tells people of the other ideology (or no ideology at all) that if they should happen to have any anger about this, well, tough, they just need to repress it. If Mark Shapiro doesn't think that's the case, he should poll his liberal friends. And if this can happen in sports, it can happen in other heretofore apolitical venues. From the network whose hallmark was once explicitly to invite everyone in, one expected much, much better than this. "


Are we asssuming that Limbaugh is a force more powerful than all those embedded in the idea of sport? It is politics of a different stripe, one where you can work with all your soul to defeat your opponent then afterwards give them a hug and a slap on the butt. It is a re-creation of the hunt. (Hence the term "recreation"?) Hunting is an activity that I think man will not give up easily. Its hardwired in the human pysche. But in the modern world we no longer need to go out and hunt for our food, no longer need to pit our skills and wit against the elements of nature to survive. So we must have a substitute, and war will just not do for the long term. So, sports it is.

What Limbaugh will enter is a world where sport is expected to transcend all else. In many ways, sports, like the weather, art or music is a way for people to connect across what might be a huge gulf of differences. I may be on the other end of the political spectrum but we can connect through art, music or sport.

The big question is whether Limbaugh represents a desire by the network to politicize their coverage of sport in the model of NASCAR, which adorns the fascinating sport of car racing with over-the-top jingoism? If so, then that bodes ill for all of us. Rush himself, without broad support from the network has little chance of conforming sport to his politics. Quite the oposite may be true.


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7.17.2003
 
"Where did this come from and what did you have to do to get it?"

Sidestepping Sanctions:
"What defense officials failed to note, however, is that many U.S. companies routinely find ways to bypass economic sanctions and export regulations that bar American citizens and companies from trading with Iran, North Korea, Libya, and Sudan. Taking advantage of legal loopholes, these corporations simply conduct their business through offshore subsidiaries that employ only foreign citizens. "


In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, Suuuprise! Suuuprise! Suuuprise!

"We have used foreign subsidiaries to sell oil equipment in those regions," says Scott Amann, a vice president at the oil-service firm Cooper Cameron. "We're not allowed to have an American company or American operation."


Ok, and the difference is? Its like getting your older brother to buy booze for you isn't it?

In Iran -- "the most active state sponsor of terrorism," according to the State Department -- General Electric is providing four hydroelectric generators to expand a dam on the Kurun River through a Canadian subsidiary called GE Hydro and is also supplying pipeline compressors and gas turbines for Iran's burgeoning oil sector through an Italian unit called Nuovo Pignone. Not far from the Iraqi border, a subsidiary of Halliburton is helping to build a $228 million fertilizer plant, one of the world's largest. Another Halliburton division based in Sweden is providing the Iranian National Oil Co. with a $226 million semi-submersible drilling rig, while other subsidiaries operate in Libya. A British subsidiary of ConocoPhillips helped Iran survey its Azadegan oil field, and ExxonMobil only recently sold its Sudanese gas subsidiary based in Khartoum.


Is the only resposibility that American corporations have to anyone their profit relationship to their shareholders? Should we expect any more from them, or is that unrealistic? Most people seem content to look the other way regarding the conduct of their corporate investments as long as the individuals are getting richer. We have a version of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for public companies. As long as the shareholders never hear about the acts companies commit in their hunt for profits they bear no responsibility for what they do, right?

If you asked a friend to go get you a million dollars and a day later that friend comes back with the money; and you know he doesn't have access to a million dollars. Do you take it? Or do you ask where he got it from first? When it comes to our corporate entities we simply ask them to produce the money and we rarely ask "Where did this come from and what did you have to do to get it?"


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You Know.. He had a Message...

Camedwards.com Comments section: Where you will find a group of God-fearing conservatives goading on the talk show host to call and humiliate a man that got caught writing an extremely nasty email to a fellow female intern (and former "gal pal"). The man was fired, his email circulated and his picture posted on the internet. But the call the more blood still rings loud and clear.

To which I post this reminder:

John 8:

1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. 7 But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

11 "No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."


Just because I'm no longer a card carrying member of the Jesus fan club doesn't mean that I didn't take any lessons away from my 8+ years of catholic school religious education. I am constantly amazed that some of the very same people that are praying for my soul have such a feeble grasp on the actual gospels. I am of the firm belief that if the various different religious denominations were actually trying to put Jesus' teaching into practice they would not resemble what they do now; which I meanly see as self-serving institutions more focused on their own power and influence than anything else.

(disclaimer: I know there are some christians that DO practice what they preach and they do much towards giving the rest of the christians a good name)

Now.. go listen to and buy some Sparklehorse!


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7.16.2003
 
What He Really Meant Was...

George W. Bush; June 18th 2003:
CNN.com - Bush confident of finding banned Iraqi weapons - Jun. 18, 2003:
"'I know there's a lot of revisionist history now going on, but one thing is certain -- he is no longer a threat to the free world, and the people of Iraq are free,' he said during a speech at a community college in Virginia. "


George W. Bush; July 16th 2003:
President Defends Allegation On Iraq
Defending the broader decision to go to war with Iraq, the president said the decision was made after he gave Saddam Hussein "a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."

.....

The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective.


Now all we need is for Bush to start referring to himself in the third person and defending his madness will be all next to impossible.


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7.15.2003
 
OkiePundit:
"The anti-tax and anti-investment crowd in Tulsa has defeated the last two bond issues brought to the citizens and have, as a group, caused the downward spiral of Tulsa over the past decade. "


I agree. This is a prime example of non-graduated thinking. If government is bad then ANYTHING that government does is wrong as well. There is no tax that serves any purpose other than taking money away from people to waste. This is a far cry from what I see as a more rational position where we see government investment as a way to strengthen communities so that private business and citizens can thrive.

Cities are like businesses, without growth and investment they lose their vitality. There is nothing wrong with seeing a direction we would like to go and actually doing something to head there.

I only ask that fellow Tulsan's look over what is in the proposal and decide if they think it is good for Tulsa.


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7.14.2003
 
Outsourcing overseas draws heated debate in US - The Economic Times:
"'It is a cost-savings issue,' says Kumar, pointing out that engineers in India earn about $5,000 to $10,000 a year compared with at least $50,000 a year in the US.

'In the short run, it raises unemployment issues in the US, but in long run it is necessary to compete,' Kumar adds."

.....

Forrester Research Inc predicts American employers will move about 3.3 million white-collar service jobs and $136 billion in wages overseas in the next 15 years.

.....

Those in favour say it enables US companies to compete globally, according to the Journal.


Compete.




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CEO's and Burger Flippers

ZDNet |UK| - News - Story - Indian outsourcing 'saves US jobs':
"Most recently, Microsoft's plans to relocate its customer support work in Texas and North Carolina to India has raised the ire of unions such as the Seattle-based Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, which claimed that hundreds of US jobs could be lost as a result of the move.

When Oracle said last week that it planned to double its workforce in India, it took pains to add that the new jobs would not mean that US jobs would be lost. In Australia, a survey of IT managers has found that an overwhelming majority of them would not recommend IT as a career, mostly due to the poor domestic conditions caused by outsourcing"


The claim of US job saving comes from an Indian IT Association which asserts that since companies save money on outsourcing they can afford to retain workers they might have layed off otherwise.

"US banks, financial services and insurance companies have saved $6bn to $8bn in the past four years owing to IT outsourcing to India," Nasscom claimed. "Helped by these savings, companies have prevented layoffs and instead added 125,000 more jobs."


I cant verify this claim, but I have to ask... what are these new employees doing? Taking a negative attitude I could say that it would hardly be a benefit to the American economy if we lost a thousand decent paying IT jobs and gained two thousand jobs where people get paid pennies to wash the CEO's new cars they bought with all their savings.

We're going to need alot more jobs if we each have to have two or three to live.


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Married Criminals, Single Scientists?

Yahoo! News - Geniuses, Criminals Do Best Work in Their 30s:
"He believes the male competitive urge to attract females is a driving force for the scientific and criminal achievements, according to New Scientist magazine.

'They do whatever they do in order to get laid,' said Kanazawa"


If this is true, I have my best work ahead of me.


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7.13.2003
 
The Enemy That Exists Only in One's Own Paranoia

FrontPage magazine.com:
'Peace' movement demonstrations -- riots, more often than not -- are expensive and well orchestrated. Left-wing radicals don't just 'come together for peace,' as their leaders often say. I think it's time to expose the Marxist, Maoist organizations who are conspiring and financing these treasonous efforts … efforts designed to draw vital resources away from our Homeland Security network and leave us -- you, your family and me -- in danger!

I know who they are, and now I need your help to expose our enemies' sympathizers! Help me pull the mask off the 'peace movement' and show America precisely who's pulling the strings!


You know, I'd heard the name David Horowitz bandied about in comments and discussions but I never realized just who this guy was until I was googling through some pages and came upon Frontpage magazine. He scares the living freaking daylights out of me. He is pulling the most extreme elements of the peace movement and painting everybody with the extremist's label.

Another classic from FrontPage mag:Anders Lewis

Rumors of Karl Marx’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Despite the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet communism, the Old Man is alive and kicking. Indeed, among historians of American labor history, Marx is King and Adam Smith has never been heard of. This will not come as a surprise to readers of Frontpage Magazine, who well know that much of the academic world is dominated by militant left-wing apologists for terrorism. These leftists deny the existence of truth or advocate for the study of anything but Western civilization (unless, of course, one proposes to study the evils of Western civilization). Having lost the battle on the streets in the 1960s, these radicals are now taking the battle to our nation’s schools. Their goal is to replace scholarship with revolutionary politics.


Lies, simple and straight from the horse's mouth. I can only conclude that these people and their followers are fighting an enemy that does not exist, because I have been amongst people of the Peace Movement and NOBODY, I repeat NOBODY even remotely resembles the demonized and distorted caricatures drawn by these two individuals. I have been amongst academics and NONE of them resemble the extremes being presented for your consumption. So I can only conclude that these fellows are either fighting against a miniscule segement of a larger community, which would undercut their assertiosn that they present a great threat - or - they are painting ordinary individuals with horrible mischaracterizations.

Their goal is to replace scholarship with revolutionary politics

...and their goal, with these kinds of gross attacks on people?


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7.12.2003
 
Will George Tenet Hop Up Into his Four Wheel Drive Pickup and Speed Off into the Sunset?

Well, I'm not the kind to kiss and tell,
But I've been seen with Farrah.
I'm never seen with anything less than a nine, so fine.

CIA CHIEF TAKES WMD RAP
I've been on fire with Sally Field,
Gone fast with a girl named Bo,
But somehow they just don't end up as mine.

Tenet accepts blame for Bush's erroneous Iraq weapons allegation
It's a death defyin' life I lead,
I take my chances.
I die for a livin' in the movies and TV.
But the hardest thing I ever do,
Is watch my leadin' ladies,
Kiss some other guy while I'm bandagin' my knee.

White House turns on CIA over uranium claim
I might fall from a tall building,
I might roll a brand new car.
'Cause I'm the unknown stuntman that made Redford such a star.

Text of CIA Director George Tenet's statement
I never spent much time in school,
But I taught ladies plenty.
It's true I hire my body out for pay, Hey Hey.

After discredited report, fingerpointing abounds inside Bush Administration
I've gotten burned over Cheryl Tiegs,
Blown up for Raquel Welch.
But when I end up in the hay it's only hay, Hey Hey.

Bush team united Iraq front unravels
I might jump an open drawbridge,
Or Tarzan from a vine.
'Cause I'm the unknown stuntman that makes Eastwood look so fine.


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7.10.2003
 
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | White House 'lied about Saddam threat':
"Mr (Gregory)Thielmannn said yesterday: 'I believe the Bush administration did not provide an accurate picture to the American people of the military threat posed by Iraq.'

He conceded that part of the problem lay with US intelligence, but added: 'Most of it lies with the way senior officials misused the information they were provided.' "


Thielmann was a director in the state department's bureau of intelligence, so he must be part of the tin-foil hat brigade.

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An Okie Intervention

Operation Oklahoma Freedom

We'll see how it goes in the future. So far so good, but pointing out that Oklahoma is digging itself into a hole with unneccesary drug arrests is hardly breaking new ground. The problem is obvious, but why something hasn't been done aleady, is not so obvious.

Good luck whoever you are...


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Negligence or Deception?

BBC NEWS | Americas | White House 'warned over Iraq claim':
"But a former US diplomat, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, went on the record at the weekend to say that he had travelled to Africa to investigate the uranium claims and found no evidence to support them.

Now the CIA official has told the BBC that Mr Wilson's findings had been passed onto the White House as early as March 2002.

That means that the administration would have known nearly a year before the State of the Union address that the information was likely false.

In response, a US Government official told the BBC that the White House received hundreds of intelligence reports every day. "


ok, there are two possible scenarios:

1)Despite the information being available to the Whitehouse, they didnt bother to double check it before they stuck it in the State of the Union speech. That looks like negligence.

2)They knew the information was bogus and they used it anyways. That looks deceptive.

They are going with #1 because it offers the least chance of long term political damage. They are counting on their spin control to keep this under the radar. But unfortunately for them there exists an actual investigative press, in Britian. So our media will get dragged kicking and screaming into covering the story after all, but with the usual "What will the Democrats say?" angle. Or maybe they'll get distracted by... oh I dont know, a trip to Africa, or conflict in Liberia?


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7.09.2003
 
Dictionary.com/demagoguery: "demagoguery
n : impassioned appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the populace [syn: demagogy]"

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Those Damn Democrats!"
President Bush Receives Cool Reception in South Africa (washingtonpost.com)
PRETORIA, South Africa, July 9 -- President Bush received a cool reception today in the capital of Africa's largest economic power, as opinion leaders across the continent complained about his policies on Iraq, AIDS and the International Criminal Court.

Bush has come with many goodies for this long struggling region: the promise of billions of new dollars for development, disease fighting and counter-terrorism efforts, and the prestige conferred by his making only the third sub-Saharan Africa tour by a U.S. president. But Africans have responded with anti-Bush demonstrations, diplomatic snubs and critical media coverage.


Just another crass partisan slander on our great president by those liberal democrats who just want to take the president down so they can win in the 2004 elections.

The reception for Bush in Africa is not as overtly hostile as those he has received in places such as Germany, where tens of thousands filled the streets to protest what they called his unilateralist and militaristic policies. At the same time, however, the reception contrasts markedly with the large and adoring crowds that greeted former President Bill Clinton five years ago; some still have photos of Clinton in their homes.


What is this? Is the entire world just another arm of the democratic liberals? Do they all live in a fantasy land? Do they not understand that Bush lives in reality and all these people live in a fantasy world? How can they respect Clinton when he lied about Monica Lewinsky? They can't see past his policies that actually addressed global issues. Don't they understand that just because Bush is enacting a self interested corporate aganda that will drastically effect their freedoms and survival that he's a nice guy who talks to God?

They've obviously been brainwashed by hollywood.

sarcasm off

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So Do We

Bangkok Post Thursday 10 July 2003 - Recovered victim thinks Reagan still US president
He also asked to speak to his grandmother, who died several years ago, and even recited her phone number _ something everyone else in the family had forgotten.

``You see, he's still back in 1984,'' said Mr Wallis Sr.

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7.08.2003
 
Divine Right of Kings: Alive and well

The Presidential Prayer Team

love this little quote from a member of the team:
May God continue to guide and lead you into His truths. May you choose His ways and not be distracted by the many voices of the people. May spending time with Him be the greatest gift you desire and receive. Love to you and your family.
--Dolly


Yes, don't let our measly wishes distract you from doing God's work, after all Bush was annointed by God to lead us, not the people.

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It seemed to me at that time...

TBOGG:
"'It seemed to me at that time term limits would be a good idea for the nation,' he said. 'I didn't fully understand what personal relationships and seniority could mean to the district.'"


Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (R-NJ) who entered the House during the Gingrich revolution has decided that one of their key issues, Term Limits, was a bad idea, especially now that he wants to stay in office and milk his influence.

I think this goes into the reversal category with The Balanced Budget Amendment and the Poo-Pooing of Nation Building.

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7.07.2003
7.06.2003
 
Soma this, Soma that.. Presto, a Drug Bill!

USATODAY.com - Drug bill a well-financed victory for industry

This is too juicy. The basics are this: Prescription drugs are becoming too costly. There is building political pressure to do something about it. Some seniors are buying their drugs from Canada where they have price controls. Then people want price controls here, but the drug companies want to maintain their cash cow in the face of political pressure. So, they have spent a ton of money on their party (thats the republicans for those too daft to realize which party is in bed with the drug companies) to get a sweetheart deal that gets rid of some of the political pressure while at the same time protecting their overinflated prices.

Instead, both bills break the nation into 10 or more regions where private insurance companies would offer coverage for prescriptions. Rather than negotiating with the government, the pharmaceutical industry would deal with an array of insurers, each with thousands of clients, rather than millions. The extra costs would be paid by taxpayers and consumers.


Yes, divide and conquer. So in essence they strip out the bargaining power and gain new government spending that does nothing to threaten or question their near 20% profit margins.

A new drug benefit would pump about $400 billion in tax dollars into the health care system over 10 years. Analysts say insurance coverage would lead to increased use of prescription drugs by seniors, particularly those with lower incomes for whom cost is now a barrier.


The issue of drugs is a sticky one. Obviously when people proclaim that we need the benefits that the drugs off we admit that the drugs are beneficial to us. Those same drugs are the product of the phramaceutical companies that people deride for their callous drive for profit over sick people. But without the drugs the people would still be sick, right? The best compromise then would be to have a system where the drug companies will continue to do R&D to develop the drugs that we want but at teh same time providing a way to get those drugs into the hands of people. What could be more immoral than having a drug that can help someone and not letting that person have access to that drug? Maybe kicking a puppy...

What we needed was a good compromise coming out of both sides. What we got instead was the U.S. government saddling up to help pay for senior's drugs. It was a win-win deal for lawmakers and the drug makers. The politicians get the seniors off their backs for a while and the drug companies get a big fat drippy handout from the government. What we didnt get is any real solution to the root problem, and that is price gouging by the drug makers bringing the whole health care business to its knees.

For years, the drug industry fought an effort, mostly by Democrats, to create drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. Drug companies said it would resemble a huge buying cartel that could demand and receive rock-bottom prices. Government buyers such as the Veterans Administration and state-federal Medicaid programs get discounts of up to 40% from average wholesale prices.


That's right, in the face of market pressure the drug companies will lower the price of their drugs. Just like any other industry that doesn't demand a market bubble for its products. We wouldn't have gotten what we did except that some crazy canucks decided to provide cheap drugs to their citizens and some crazy yanks decided to use their brains to get what they needed. Oh Canada....

In 1999, the industry fought to kill a Democratic plan that would have given the government a central role in providing drug coverage for seniors. It sponsored TV ads featuring a character named Flo, who admonished fellow retirees not to allow "big government into your medicine cabinet."


What a suprise! Corporate interests using the same anti-government rhetoric espoused by the right wing propaganda media. You think there's a link? nah... couldn't be. You might have even been fooled into thinking that the right wing propaganda serves the purpose of building public opinion that conforms to corporate interests. Nah.. you would have been wrong there too! Corporate and financial interests are not the hand inside the glove of right wing mentality.

Its a happy coincidence. Now go back to sleep.

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7.05.2003
7.04.2003
 
Why am I Writing about Religion on the 4th of July?

... because it came up recently in a comment board, thats why!

Its seems obvious to me and many others that religious belief is a product of societal influence, otherwise there would be a random distribution of different religious faiths. Instead we see exactly what we expect to see of a social phenomenon, people choosing the faith that they are raised with, passed on by parents and supported by their community.

Few people actively research all possible faiths and choose based on their search. And few parents advise their children to hold off defining their religious beliefs until they have had time to see all competing alternatives. Religious teachings begin at the earliest age possible and are heavily maintained with weekly reaffirmations. Many people are openly hostile to learning about competing faiths and some even work to destroy competing faiths altogether. This is because people that experience other faiths and cultures in many instances realize that their beliefs are a cultural product and while they may still respect their upbringing they also realize the validity of others people's beliefs as well. The most fundamentalist believers will work extra hard to shield their children from the outside world in an attempt to guard their faith. This explains the popularity of homeschooling amongst the fundie crowd.

Multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism or liberalism are seen as great evils because they have the power to weaken religious faith in favor of what I see as a more realistic world view of relativism. Relativism is seen as an enemy of tradition who many feel serves as a necessary foundation for society. If conservatives are working to conserve anything they are trying to preserve tradition on the belief that without which society would not function properly and man will fall from his blessed position in God's eyes.

You can make the case that religion is necessary as a means of social control. That without religion man has no capacity to control his most base instincts. But there is hardly enough evidence that suggests that religion is a product of actual divine intervention into human affairs. Unfortunately for those making the case that religion is an effective means of social control, they will have to admit that it only works if they can convince people that it is in fact the product of God's will. This becomes next to impossible in a modern society with access to knowledge from all over the world and the universe. So what we end up with are modern nations with a majority of people claiming some form of religious faith solely out of recognition to its role as a social adhesive, while at the same time accepting that the world has become a much more complicated place.

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7.03.2003
 
Object in Motion Meets Immovable Force, Object Wins Again

Napier says that neither the bursting of the late-'90s tech bubble nor the doldrums of a poky recovery from the recession explain his layoff and ongoing unemployment. He places the blame for his woes on globalization: the double whammy of American companies flooding an already soft job market with foreign workers brought into the United States on H-1B visas while at the same time employing non-U.S. workers still in their home countries to write code or perform other high-tech services


The trend moves to a new collar.

"But it won't happen to us, only Americans are smart enough to write code and make spreadsheets!"

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The Quiet Shift in Overtime

More problematical is the possibility that more workers — millions, according to pro-labor analysts — could be forced into unpaid overtime under the regulations, which do not affect blue-collar or union-contract workers. Managerial definitions would be relaxed to deny overtime to more white-collar professionals earning over $65,000 a year.


I find this a bit bittersweet as many of my friends who formerly worked in sweet paying telecom jobs now come around unemployed and I have to resist the urge to tell them "told you so". Their jobs were being undermined at the same time they were laughing at the anti-globalization protestors who were actually trying to help them.

Once the hounddogs have dug up the working/blue collar stiffs and wrung them out to dry did you honestly think they wouldn't sniff your bloated paychecks a mile away and not think "fresh meat".




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7.02.2003
 
Apokolips: Where Right Wing Talk Show Hosts Come From? You Decide!

Today on right wing talk radio I heard a guy say that the democrats were the party that creates constituants that feed off the government. After nearly driving off the road in a fit of laughter I remembered something I read recently

Department of Defense:

Budget: 364.634 Billion Dollars
Employees: 2,936,000



I know its the job of these hack jobs to ignore the negatives on your side while you exhaggerate the negatives on the other side, but can this guy be so daft to not realize that BOTH parties are in the same game. Its just that the republicans cater to financial, pharmacuetical, energy and miltary contractors instead of teachers, lawyers, old people and people with hybrid cars.

And you know Howard Dean is making some people sweat over at the Hall of Doom (aka RNC HQ) when the operatives have hit the airwaves and the newsprint with slander pieces. The above mentioned talk show host was basing his show around the theme of "Why Howard Dean is the Democrats worst enemy" with the logical conclusion being that he is evil for wanting to make the democrats less like the republicans.

go figure....


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7.01.2003
 
Get This Man A Sled

George Will sees another slippery slope that he feels needs pointing out. (yawn)
The question is not whether states are wise to criminalize this or that sex act outside of marriage. Rather, the question is: Once the court has said that some such acts are constitutional rights, by what principle are any of the myriad possible permutations of consensual adult sexual activities denied the same standing?


But why do we need to deny people the right to engage in consensual adult sexual activities? By definition, if they are adults and they consent, why do we need to worry about it? There are laws that protect people from injury or abuse, as well as laws that protect you from being forced into non-consensual acts as well. I mean, if thirty women all agree that they want to have sex in a big pool full of pudding why would I try to stop them?

George Will wants the right to stop people from engaging in acts that he finds distasteful. That is why we have rights George.

Once consent -- "choice" -- supplants marriage as the important interest served by cloaking sexual activities as constitutional rights, by what principle is any consensual adult sexual conduct not a protected right? Bigamy? Polygamy? Prostitution? Incest? Even -- if we assume animals can consent, or that their consent does not matter -- bestiality?

This time he says that giving consenting adults rights to bedroom privacy will lead to bestiality. What George likes to ignore is the simple fact that everything resides on a slope of some sort. The first step to bestiality is allowing people to engage in sex, period. Step two is allowing consensual sex between two humans. Step three would be allowing sex between a human and an animal. What he doesn't seem to notice is that there is a pretty large leap between each step, or he thinks that allowing consenting sex between two adults of the same gender is the same as a man and a dog. I fall into the category of people that thinks that the recent supreme court ruling is part of step two, not a new step towards another realm of perversion.

Why should we extend so-called "special" rights to married people? In George Will's perfect world would only people who are married have the right to engage in consensual sex if its only between two people of the opposite sex? Is allowing unmarried people to have sex just gonna lead us to an eventual reality of people having sex with farm animals? I doubt anyone would make that arguement except maybe a 19th century George Will.

He is right to point out as a 80's pop song did that "one thing leads to another" but in his little universe any step he doesn't approve of will invariable lead us into a headlong rush to hell in a handbasket while anything that he approves of is just another inevitable step up to perfection.

Let's call it selective sliding.

Lets see what this post does for my hit count.

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No Muslims, Buddhists or Hindus Allowed!

Religious Affiliation of U.S. Congress
107th U.S. Congress, 2000

Catholic 150
Baptist 72
Methodist 65
Presbyterian 49
Episcopalian 41
Jewish 37
"nondenominational" Protestant 29
Lutheran 20
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 16
United Church of Christ 8
None specified 7
Other 41

Seven members specified no religious affiliation. There are no Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims.


This was some information that I have been looking for, and which I finally found thanks to adherents.com.

Little know fact: Richard Nixon was a Quaker? Who would have thought....

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About Me

bruce
35 yr old
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Okie
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