The Catholic church costs Italy 6 billion euros a year

But worth every penny, right? Given all the church does for child welfare, and women’s rights, and the health and well-being of people with Aids and their spouses and children, and education, and…

Well they keep the brocade industry going, at least. Do admit.

But the IHEU refuses to admit.

The findings by Italy’s Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR), a member organization of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, were published the day after Italy’s new government announced a budget filled with new taxes and drastic spending cuts.

But the spending cuts are in this world, while the Catholic church takes care of the other world, so that it will be all clean and shiny when we get to it. No worries. Happy new year.


Sakineh is not safe

Maryam says: Here’s information on what you can and must do about the possible imminent execution of Sakineh Mohamadi Ashtiani.

The International Committee Against Stoning asks the noble people of the world, as well as the press, governments and human-rights organisations, to exert pressure in any way they can in pursuit of Sakineh and Houtan’s release by the Islamic Republic.

International Committee Against Stoning

28 December 2011



Choose ONE

It’s confusing. There’s this college in Dundee, called the Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education. Its

aim is the promotion of intelligent debate and understanding of Islam and the role of Muslims in the contemporary world. We are a place of knowledge and reflection on the issues facing a diverse and multicultural world in the twenty-first century.

Ok. But then you look at its Multiculturalism Course. [Read more…]

Looks more like malpractice

This is worrying.

Authorities say two out-of-state doctors who traveled to Maryland to perform late-term abortions have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder, an unusual use of a law that allows for murder charges in the death of a viable fetus.

A grand jury indicted the two doctors after a 16-month investigation, police said.

The investigation began in August 2010 after what authorities say was a botched procedure at Brigham’s clinic in Elkton, located near the border of Maryland and Delaware. An 18-year-old woman who was 21 weeks pregnant had her uterus ruptured and her bowel injured, and rather than call 911, Brigham and Riley drove her to a nearby hospital, where both were uncooperative and Brigham refused to give his name, according to documents filed in a previous investigation by medical regulators.

A search of the clinic after the botched abortion revealed a freezer containing 35 late-term fetuses, including one believed to have been aborted at 36 weeks, the documents show.

Brigham, 55, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy. Riley, 46, faces one count each of first- and second-degree murder and one conspiracy count.

Mind you, it’s also mystifying. Why was there a freezer full of fetuses? But even with all the mystification, when abortion-providing doctors are charged with first degree murder it’s time to get worried.

The state law allows for murder or manslaughter charges to be brought against a person who intends to kill or seriously injure a fetus or who wantonly disregards the safety of a fetus. It does not apply to doctors administering lawful medical care and does not impinge on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

I don’t see how those two sentences, as they stand, can both be true…No wait, yes I do – “allows for” must mean in cases where a woman is not terminating a pregnancy; assault as opposed to abortion. Is that right?

An item to watch.


Going home

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports more revelations of threats to Pakistani journalists.

Najam Sethi, editor of The Friday Times and host of a popular Urdu-language political program on Geo TV, and Jugnu Mohsin, also a Friday Times editor, said they had lived under threat for years but the level of danger had become so menacing in early 2011 that they were forced to leave Pakistan. A few months later, the two went public with the threats. Then, on Thursday, Sethi told us that he and Mohsin had decided to return to Lahore on Friday.

Pakistan is, according to the CPJ, the worst country in the world for journalists.

A level of danger pervades the industry, and for the last two years, CPJ has ranked Pakistan as the world’s deadliest country for journalists. The courageous steps of some men and women in recent days to confront that menace head-on is admirable, but their courage alone won’t be enough to reverse the trend. The reality is that governance is weak in Pakistan, and it will require a concerted effort over a long time before Pakistani journalists–and normal citizens, for that matter–can live without fear of retribution.

This necessarily means that Pakistanis are starved of good information. They need it more than most people.

More desk chair tourism

I did a post on Google Earth tourism last March.

Something I’ve just discovered in the last few days is that the chateaux of the Loire Valley have been very thoroughly visited by the Google van – blue lines all over everything, so you can see the gardens, the approaches, outbuildings, and the chateau from far and close and from all angles. You could spend hours just looking at one chateau. Look up Chenonceau or Chambord, if you’re interested.

Versailles has also been thoroughly Google-photographed.

I should check out the Taj Mahal one of these days…


You know about Rock Beyond Belief, right? The fun day of music and rabble-rousing for foxhole atheists?

Current Lineup

Dan Barker
Ed Brayton
Richard Dawkins
Margaret Downey
Jen McCreight
Dale McGowan
Hemant Mehta
Nate Phelps
Al Stefanelli
Todd Stiefel
Mikey Weinstein
Baba Brinkman
Jeffrey Lewis
Words Such As Burn
Roy ZimmermanWhen:
Saturday, March 31st, 2012 Time: Noon – 8:00PM
The main post parade field on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Cost: Free to everyone. This includes service members, spouses and family, and civilians from the surrounding areas that may wish to attend.

It should be hella fun, plus a good idea and much needed. Attend and/or spread the word.