Please. Please, Please, Please, Please.

This would make me so happy:

Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, is considering a run against U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur in 2012, according to Republican Party sources.

Jon Stainbrook, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, said there is “high-level interest in the national Republican Party” in a potential Wurzelbacher candidacy.

“We are encouraging Joe to run,” Mr. Stainbrook said. “He hasn’t made any official decision yet.”

I’ll be praying for this to happen.

Parsonage Tax Breaks Too Generous

The Wall Street Journal reports on a new ruling from a tax court that makes the parsonage allowance for ministers unlimited.

The U.S. Tax Court ruled that Phil Driscoll, an ordained minister and Grammy Award-winning trumpeter who went to prison for tax evasion, didn’t owe federal income taxes on $408,638 provided to him by his ministry to buy a second home on a lake near Cleveland, Tenn.

Under a provision of the tax code known as the parsonage allowance, first passed in 1921, an ordained clergy member may live tax-free in a home owned by his or her religious organization or receive a tax-free annual payment to buy or rent a home if the congregation approves.

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The Futility of Prayer

An old schoolmate posted on her Facebook account that she is praying for Hurricane Irene to go back out to sea and not hit the US, where it will likely do enormous damage. But there is no doubt that in every single hurricane that has ever threatened anywhere, huge numbers of people in every location where it might hit have prayed that it not hit them and not cause damage. And yet hurricanes hit land and do enormous damage all the time.

Pat Robertson claimed long ago that he had successfully prayed a hurricane away from Virginia, but it continued up the east coast and did enormous damage in states north of there. And yet there were undoubtedly lots and lots of good Christian folks in New Jersey and on Long Island praying the same thing Robertson had prayed. Does this mean God likes Virginia better than New Jersey? That he pays special attention to Robertson’s prayers? That there were more people praying in Virginia than on Long Island?
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More Weird PR Email

I’ve noted before that once you get a radio show you start to get on mailing lists for public relations people, who then send you emails promoting the people they’re paid to promote. And about half the time they’re promoting something that is the exact opposite of what you’d be interested in talking about. Here’s a great example that I received last week. Notice how informal it is and how the guy just acts like he knows me when I’ve never heard of him and haven’t the slightest interest in reading his tales of joy and triumph.
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Three Cheers for Tim Hardaway

You may remember that a few years ago former NBA star Tim Hardaway made some anti-gay comments on a radio show and took a lot of heat for it. He said:

“You know, I hate gay people, so let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t want to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the United States.”

He apologized for it after taking a lot of heat. And now he’s actually doing something to make a difference.
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And the Nostradamus Award Goes To…

Balko spotted this hilarious article from Newsweek in 1995, where Cliff Stoll declares that the internet is never going to amount to much. Online shopping? Only a fool would think that’s ever gonna catch on.

After two decades online, I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.

Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.

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Stars and Stripes on Military Atheists

Stars and Stripes magazine has an article that looks at the fight for equal treatment by atheists in the American military. For instance, it mentions an atheist group at Ft. Meade that is not allowed to use on-base facilities to meet:

It’s this rejection of supernatural belief that pushes the group off base instead of having the dedicated meeting space that religious groups get, said Army Capt. Ryan Jean, one of group’s organizers. That’s not fair, he said, because ATOM mostly does what religions do — provide fellowship and a chance for ethical and moral development.

“If there’s a reason to support religion in the military, it’s the ethics and values that come out of it, not the supernatural claims,” he said. “We also have constructive ethics and values, but we rally around humanism rather than the supernatural.”

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The View From Planet Wingnuttia

If you want a perfect view into the mind of someone who lives full time on Planet Wingnuttia, where up is down and black is white, you should read this column by Sher Zieve. It’s positively breathtaking in its wrongheadedness. Let’s just start from the top.

And now Obama has decided — as he promised to do but, the leftist elite and enough mentally deficient American voters chose to elect him anyway — to shut down coal (even the refurbished “clean coal” plants) production operations by using his EPA regulation hammer to drive them out of business. Remember that Obama couldn’t get his Cap % Trade through Congress so, he issued a dictatorial fiat. This is completely illegal and unconstitutional but…no one is stopping him.

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Glenn Beck’s Messiah Complex

You have to see this video of Glenn Beck speaking in Israel, where he gives a very Jesus-like speech telling the audience that if they follow him they will be mocked and persecuted and quite possibly even killed. I’ve gotten death threats too, Glenn. Lots and lots of them. That doesn’t mean I’m right, it doesn’t make what I have to say important and it doesn’t make me the second coming of Christ. The same goes for you.

Seriously, Beck is starting to sound very much like a typical cult leader.
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Gay People Caused the Earthquake

If you bet that the second wingnut to blame this week’s earthquake on gay people would be Jewish, congratulations. Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who is every bit as whacked as any Christian wingnut, says it was all about The Gay. But he doesn’t hate homosexuals, he says; he just blames them for massive death and destruction. Video below the fold.
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Carpenter: Prop 8 Lawsuit Bad for Equality

Dale Carpenter, a proponent of marriage equality and law professor, makes a very interesting argument that the legal challenge to California’s Prop 8 that banned same-sex marriage has — so far — done more harm than good for the cause of equality. His main argument is that the trial has diminished efforts to affect change through non-legal means, particularly by putting Prop 8 back on the ballot in 2012 and trying to repeal it through the democratic process. He writes:
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Televangelist Attacks Barton, Hagee, TBN

One of the big names in evangelism is attacking David Barton, John Hagee and the Trinity Broadcasting Network for their support of Glenn Beck.

Bill Keller, leader of the world’s largest interactive Christian website for 12 years, Liveprayer.com, with over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide reading his Daily Devotional, is calling for a boycott of Christian TV network TBN, along with Pastor John Hagee and David Barton, for supporting the efforts a Mormon cult member Glenn Beck in his latest SCAM on the Christian community.

Beck, a member of the satanic Mormon cult, is currently in Israel holding several public events under the guise of “standing with Israel,” when in fact these are simply huge money making opportunities for his media business by conning people, mostly Christians, into sending him donations, buying merchandise, and subscriptions to his new “GBTV” webcasts that became necessary after he was forced off FOX news.

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How Much the Pentagon Spends Pushing Christianity

This was done last week but I really should link to it. Chris Rodda has an important post based on her work with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation about how much money the Pentagon spends on programs that advocate and promote Christianity. It’s much worse than you could possibly have imagined. It’s tens of millions of dollars, bare minimum. And that does not include chaplain’s programs. It’s long but worth reading the whole thing.

The Lowdown on Dominionism

Lisa Miller’s column in the Washington Post about dominionism has gotten a lot of comment in secular circles. Let me add my voice to the mix. She writes:

Here we go again. The Republican primaries are six months away, and already news stories are raising fears on the left about “crazy Christians.”

One piece connects Texas Gov. Rick Perry with a previously unknown Christian group called “The New Apostolic Reformation,” whose main objective is to “infiltrate government.” Another highlights whacko-sounding Christian influences on Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. A third cautions readers to be afraid, very afraid, of “dominionists.”

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