Atheist Billboard Hits Grand Rapids

The Center for Inquiry’s Living Without Religion campaign has reached Grand Rapids, Michigan, where a new billboard now displays this message:

You don’t need God — to hope, to care, to love, to live.

I like that. It’s a positive message, better than some of the alternatives I’ve seen in such campaigns. Below the fold, a picture of the billboard along with two friends, Jeff Seaver and Jennifer Beahan, who run the CFI Michigan chapter that I’ve long been involved with.
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Bachmann Listens to God. And the People.

Michele Bachmann got into the act of blaming recent natural disasters on God sending us a message. This time it’s about spending. Or it might be. She doesn’t make that clear. In fact, she quite obviously changes her argument around right in the middle of it. Speaking at a campaign rally in Florida, Bachmann said:

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

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CIA Censoring Soufan Book

If you don’t know who Ali Soufan is, you should. He is a former FBI interrogator who played a vital role in the war on terrorism before he became an even more vital opponent of the government’s torture regime. He’s trying to publish a book that reveals even more, but the CIA is preventing him from doing so — even with information that is already in the public domain. Glenn Greenwood has the details:

He has written a book exposing the abuses of the CIA’s interrogation program as well as pervasive ineptitude and corruption in the War on Terror.  He is, however, encountering a significant problem: the CIA is barring the publication of vast amounts of information in his book including, as Scott Shane details in The New York Times today, many facts that are not remotely secret and others that have been publicly available for years, including ones featured in the 9/11 Report and even in Soufan’s own public Congressional testimony.

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CAP’s Islamophobia Report

The Center for American Progress has issued a detailed report on the foundations and individuals who have been funding the self-described anti-jihadists. It focuses particularly on five people:

• Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Policy
• David Yerushalmi at the Society of Americans for National Existence
• Daniel Pipes at the Middle East Forum
• Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Stop Islamization of America
• Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism
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Mayor Drives Illegally Seized Vehicle

Here’s yet another asset forfeiture horror story. The mayor of Tampa, Florida is now driving around in a vehicle seized from someone last month who hasn’t even been tried yet, much less convicted.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s city vehicle, a jet black GMC Yukon Denali with tinted windows, was seized from a man charged last month with sex trafficking, sexual battery and forcing someone to become a prostitute.

Tampa police seized the SUV on Sept. 28 during their investigation. In addition to transporting prostitutes and the proceeds of prostitution, the SUV was purchased from proceeds of prostitution, police maintain in court documents. In a letter, Fox denied that, saying a cousin’s husband bought the SUV at a Clearwater car auction.

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Bill Donohue’s Latest Bit of Buffoonery

Is there a bigger and more ridiculous blowhard than Bill Donohue of the Catholic League? I’d be hard pressed to name one. He’s all verklempt over an organized boycott of an organization that funds anti-gay groups and he was distributing some major league manure on a radio show with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

Yesterday, Bill Donohue joined Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, on his radio program Washington Watch. “Radical proponents of gay marriage have taken the culture war to the marketplace,” Donohue said in a statement on the CGBG controversy, charging them with declaring “economic war against any organization that embraces the Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage.” He told activists: “If these extremists get their way, they will silence the Christian voice. Which is why the bullies must be defeated.”

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NY Clerk Won’t Issue Marriage Licenses

Another clerk in New York thinks they can pick and choose which parts of their job they’d like to do and refuse to do their job for those they disapprove of.

Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti submitted a letter to the Ledyard Town Board saying that her religious beliefs prevented her from signing marriage licenses for same-sex couples and the board discussed Belforti’s letter at Monday’s meeting, according to John Binns, a member of the town board.

When reached for comment Thursday, Belforti said “that’s not your business” before hanging up the phone.

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Robert O’Brien Nominee: Linda Harvey

This one is a real doozy. Wingnut Linda Harvey of Mission America says gay people don’t even exist:

Harvey: There’s one big fact that’s not backed up. There is no proof that there’s ever anything like a gay, lesbian or bisexual or transgendered child, or teen or human. One of the other things you’re gonna see as I mentioned is a big campaign GLSEN’s gonna roll out this year calling for ‘respect,’ respect! Not just for people, but for homosexual lifestyle. The PR campaign to hold up gay as a good thing: the lifestyle, not the person, because there are no such humans.

Great. If they don’t exist, maybe you should stop trying to oppress them.

Jacobs: Earthquake is a Sign From God

Add another whacko who thinks the recent earthquake was a message from god. Cindy Jacobs, one of the craziest of all the wingnuts, says she prophesied the whole thing in 1999 when the Holy Spirit told her that God would shake the earth.

I’d just like to say that Mother Nature is going to make it rain in the future. And every time it rains, it will prove me right. So you’d better all listen to me of you could lose some shingles on your house or end up with all your neighbor’s leaves in your yard. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. You have been warned.
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Pastor Wants National Registry for Atheists

Pastor Mike Stahl of the Living Water internet church thinks atheists should be registered.

Brothers and Sisters , I have been seriously considering forming a ( Christian ) grassroots type of organization to be named “The Christian National Registry of Atheists” or something similar . I mean , think about it . There are already National Registrys for convicted sex offenders , ex-convicts , terrorist cells , hate groups like the KKK , skinheads , radical Islamists , etc..

This type of “National Registry” would merely be for information purposes . To inform the public of KNOWN ( i.e., self-admitted) atheists . For example , let’s say you live in Colorado Springs , Colorado , you could simply scroll down ( from the I-Net site /Blog ) I would have , to the State of Colorado , and then when you see “Colorado Springs” , you will see the names of all the self-admitted atheist(s) who live there ( e.g., if an atheist’s name happened to be “Phil Small” ) . The individual’s physical address , and other known personal information would NOT be disclosed ( though , perhaps a photo could be ).

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Allah Sent the Earthquake to Punish America!

Here’s an amusing twist on our theme from the last few days, a crazy Muslim claiming that the earthquake was sent by Allah to punish America.

According to a posting titled “Allah’s punishment on Americans” on the Shoumokh Al-Islam jihadi forum by someone writing under the name Abu Ibrahim, “Allah has struck New York and the capital city Washington by an earthquake as a punishment for their disbelief.”

“Such a little earthquake that measured 6.0 has terrified the tyrant American people and forced them to leave their houses and places of work,” Ibrahim continued…

“[T]his earthquake is a warning to the crusaders to stop their infidel policy, abandon their crusader religion and convert to the true Islamic religion,” Ibrahim explained. “If they don’t listen and don’t stop, Allah will strike them again by an earthquake or a hurricane. You have no other way but to repent and move away from your path that will take you to the abyss.”

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Most Important Op-Ed You’ll Read This Year

Thomas Drake, the former NSA employee who blew the whistle on that agency’s unconstitutional surveillance programs, had an op-ed piece in the Washington Post last week that should be required reading in every high school government and civics class and should be read by every American. What he reveals here is enormously important, especially that there was a system in place that allowed the government to comply with the constitution while getting the information it needed to combat terrorism, but it was scrapped in favor of the unconstitutional data mining program.
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1st Circuit Rules Recording Police Protected by First Amendment

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an enormously important ruling that says recording police officers during an arrest is not only constitutionally protected, but so clearly constitutionally protected that it overrides qualified immunity for an officer who arrests someone for doing it. You can read the full ruling here (PDF).

As Balko notes, that distinction is important. This was not a criminal case; the charges were dropped in this case. But the plaintiff then filed a civil suit, arguing that the arrest violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights. The district court ruled in his favor and the appeals court has now upheld that ruling.
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Underwear Bomber Doesn’t Get the Law

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the infamous underwear bomber, is filing some rather interesting handwritten motions with the federal court in Detroit. Like he wants to be released because only Allah can judge him:

The Defendant Abdulmutallah, is a Muslim who believes in Allah and His messenger Muhammad [Peace be Upon Him], and believes that all Muslims should only be ruled by the law of the Quran.

The Defendant is being unjustly detained, in the United States of America, and subjected to the Rule of Man.

The Defendant Abdulmutallah moves the Court to order his release, and that the Defendant only be judged and ruled by the law of the Quran.

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