The Suspended Believe: When atheists help christians

On Tuesday, January 28, the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church in Nairobi, Kenya, publicly gave thanks to the group Atheists In Kenya (AIK) for their actions. Earlier in the month, seventeen students from SDA families had been suspended from their high school as punishment for missing a mandatory exam.

The test was on a Saturday. The SDA families were in church.

AIK wants Kenya to be a secular society where no one religion rules over others. They sent a letter of protest to the high school and one to the Nairobi News newspaper, threatening legal action on the students’ behalf.

The school relented and rescinded the suspensions.  The item doesn’t mention retaking the exams.

SDA Church thanks Atheists in Kenya for helping suspended students

The Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) has appreciated the support it received from the Atheists in Kenya that saw 17 students associated with the church who had been suspended on religious grounds allowed back to school.

In a letter seen by Nairobi News, Mr Arap Too an SDA church elder recognized the efforts made by AIK President Harrison Mumia in ensuring that the students are allowed back to school.

“Our pastor, elders and the entire leadership of the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Syokimau Airport view wish to most sincerely thank you for showing solidarity with our members who are learners at Kabianga High School in Kericho County,” Too said in the letter.

According to the letter, the 17 students, who were suspended after they refused to take examinations on Sabbath Day, had already been accepted back to the school.

AIK, through Mr Mumia, had written to the school asking the principal to respect the student’s right to worship and allow them back to school or he would sue the school.

“Religious freedoms must be protected. The cultural majority should be prevented from denying others freedom of worship and belief,” he said.

This is the behaviour of most atheists, not eyebrow raising.  Aside from atheists driven by ideology, most aren’t anti-religious, we just want theists to keep it to themselves.

According to the registration page of the Atheists In Kenya website, they are also Intersectional:

Who can become a member?

Atheists In Kenya Society membership is open to all — whether you’re an atheist, theist, agnostic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, scientist, humanist, free thinker, pantheist, historian, philosopher, feminist, secularist or human rights activist you belong here. We’ve been around since 2013. We are Kenya’s largest and only atheist society. We are a community that cares about science, humanism, secularism and discovery. We reject the notion that religion is a pre-condition for morality.

The AIK sound like good people doing good work.  Below the fold are two more Nairobi News items (from 2018) about the AIK.

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rEUnited: not “Scotxit”

English thickheadedness and xenophobia may have passed “Brexit”, but the feeling wasn’t universal.  Scottish leaders are already eyeing a second independence vote, and the way they’re talking, they have no intention of asking for London’s permission this time.  Scotland never wanted to leave, and it’s a safe bet that the EU knows it and would welcome them back.

The 2014 independence vote may have failed, but only by a 5.4% margin, and being dragged out of the EU against their will may change voter opinion.  When (not if) Scotland secedes, it will not be “Scotxit” or any other silly name. They’re not “leaving”, they’re going home.

Scotland will be rEUnited.

Then the question is how England will respond.  Will it be as violent with the Scots as it was with the Irish or the Spanish were with the Catalans?  Given England’s history of oppression, they’re capable of it.  But knowing they’re alone this time may change London’s attitude.

Scottish Leader Says Its Time for Independence

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Friday said she was ready to step up the campaign for Scottish independence, as Brexit has set the country on the “wrong road.”

[…]

“As of 11 p.m. tonight the U.K. that Scotland voted to remain part of, a U.K. inside the EU, the status quo that a majority voted for, will no longer exist,” she said.

“There will be a material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014,” she said, referring to the last referendum on Scottish independence.

[…]

Scottish newspapers on Friday marked Brexit with pro-European front pages, reflecting the majority vote north of the border with England to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

“Short changed: Isolated, worse off, weaker and divided,” said the Daily Record.

Pro-independence daily The National wrote: “Dear Europe. We didn’t vote for this. Remember to … Leave a light on for Scotland.”

Sturgeon committed to persuade more Scots to back independence, as a new poll suggested a slim majority were now in favor of the country ending its three-centuries union with the United Kingdom.

If any wall needs to be built, it’s Hadrian’s.  Seize the land permanently and make it Scottish.

A Price You Can Live With: In Illinois, insulin is now $100 per month

In a display of basic decency that a republiclown could never muster, Illinois’s governor JB Pritzker has signed legislation capping the price of insulin at US$100 per month.  Compared to Canada and Mexico, it’s still overpriced, but at least now people won’t have to “ration” it and risk their lives.

Illinois governor signs law capping insulin costs at $100 per month

The Illinois governor has signed a new law that will cap out of pocket insulin costs at $100 for a 30-day supply.

Diabetes affects approximately 1,300,000 adults in Illinois. People with Type 1 diabetes and some with Type 2 diabetes need insulin, but price hikes make insulin difficult to afford for the uninsured, and those whose coverage requires significant cost sharing, according to a release from Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s Office on Jan. 24.

“Health care is a right for all, not a privilege and that is why I am so proud that we created an insulin price cap that successfully puts patients above profit,” according to Gov. JB Pritzker.

According to the British Medical Journal, it costs between US$72 and US$133 to produce a year’s supply of insulin for one person.  Not one month, but one year.  At US$50 per month, that’s still a 400-500% profit.  From Business Insider, 2018:

Insulin prices could be much lower and drug makers would still make healthy profits

As prices for diabetes treatments continue to roil consumers, a new study suggests that manufacturers could make both human and analog insulins at low costs and still pocket a profit.

[…]

“Anyone with Type 1 diabetes should be able to buy insulin for under $100 per year, including the long-acting forms,” said Andrew Hill, a study co-author and senior visiting research fellow at the University of Liverpool. “Pharmaceutical companies cannot justify charging governments $532 per person per year in the U.K. and $1,251 in the U.S., let alone similar amounts in low- and middle-income countries.”

As Goldman Sachs asked in 2018, “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?”

 

Cower And Kowtow: When you’d rather kill people than upset Beijing

How serious the coronavirus is depends on where you get your sources and who you believe.  But I think we can all agree it’s a major concern and countries have a good reason to have accurate and up-to-date information on the spread of the disease.

Given that fact, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) needs to explain why they refuse to provide Taiwan with information on the disease, and why a PRC national in charge of their twitter account is banning anyone criticizing the ICAO.  As Jessica Drun of the Project 2049 Institute says, “This is how a virus spreads.”

UN aviation agency blocks critics of Taiwan policy on Twitter

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has blocked numerous Twitter accounts — including ones belonging to Capitol Hill staffers and D.C.-based analysts — after facing online criticism for excluding Taiwan from membership.

[…]

Jessica Drun, a non-resident fellow at the Taiwan-focused Project 2049 Institute criticized ICAO in a Jan. 22 tweet:

Want to drive the point home that two orgs, @WHO & @icao, refuse to share knowledge w/ Taiwan authorities. This means civil aviation authorities for one of busiest regional airports do not receive up-to-date info on any potential ICAO-WHO efforts.

This is how a virus spreads.

Jessica Drun (@jessicadrun) January 22, 2020

Drun noticed on Jan. 25 that ICAO had blocked her on Twitter.

Qining Guang, a Chinese national who previously worked for the Civil Aviation Administration of China, is responsible for ICAO’s social media accounts, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Numerous other Twitter accounts were blocked around the same time, Axios has learned, including the accounts of several Hill staffers, analysts and an English teacher in Guangzhou. The accounts had posted similar criticisms.

It’s reckless and petty behaviour by the criminals in Beijing.

Made To Suffer: Bill Lee cares about rapists, not children

Tennessee, 2020:

Tennessee rape-ublican governor Bill Lee has signed a “law” which allows the state’s adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQIA people, and using public tax dollars to do it.  All under the hate-based fiction of “protecting the children”.

Tennessee governor signs anti-gay adoption bill

Tennessee has become the latest state to assure continued taxpayer funding of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies even if those organizations exclude LGBTQ families and others based on religious beliefs.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill Friday without fanfare or an official announcement, making it the first law to be implemented in Tennessee this year.

Previously, Lee said he endorsed the law because he believed defending religious liberty “is very important.” The Republican has often cited his Christian faith throughout his first term as governor.

It looks to me more like he is protecting rapists, pedophiles and murderers who want access to children, but doesn’t give a damn about the kids.

Tennessee, February 2019:

Father charged with rape after missing Tennessee girl is found in Wisconsin

A 14-year-old girl who disappeared from Tennessee more than two weeks ago has been found alive in Wisconsin and her father is now charged with rape, authorities said Thursday.

The girl is “doing fine,” Sheriff Tommy Jones of Monroe County, Tennessee, said Thursday.

Randall Pruitt, who adopted the girl, was arrested Thursday in Tennessee and charged with rape, the sheriff said. “(The girl) would be the victim in that,” Jones said.

There’s more below the fold….

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Septic Tank: Brexit is the free-for-all before the free fall

Boris Johnson and his cast of clowns decided to “commemorate” brexit by melting down circulating coins to create a septagon.

In five years, they’ll commiserate over the country when its economy has gone septic.  And they’ll blame everyone except themselves.

Brexit day 50p coin unveiled by Chancellor Sajid Javid

A commemorative 50p coin marking the UK’s departure from the EU has been unveiled by Chancellor Sajid Javid.  The coins bear the inscription “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” and the date of 31 January.  Mr Javid had first ordered production of the coins in advance of the UK’s original 31 October departure date.

But the Brexit delay meant about a million coins had to be melted down and the metal put aside until a new exit date was confirmed.

The clowns were melting down coins before the election, so certain they were going to ram it through parliament.

Don’t be surprised if these “commemorative coins” turn out to be lower quality metal than standard coins, and Boris Johnson is the new Septimius Severus.  The Romans destroyed their own coins and economy that way.  And I’ll bet his Tories committed some form of financial corruption as they did it.

Followup: Critics are already at work on this.

 

 

Nancy Drew: The shortest straw, and it broke the camel’s back

In 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote “The Final Problem”, his 24th Sherlock Holmes mystery short story, along with two novels.  He killed off Holmes in a “blaze of glory” because he wanted to move onto other types of fiction.  However the public backlash made the character’s retirement impossible.  It was arguably the first time that fandom affected what the authors did and wrote.  Conan Doyle resurrected Holmes in “The Adventure of The Empty House”, writing 32 more short stories and two more novels.

It’s worth mentioning Conan Doyle killing off Sherlock Holmes, because the writers of Nancy Drew decided to “honour” the ninetieth anniversary of the character by killing her off, and having the Hardy Boys solve her murder.

Where did the HB’s find her body?  In a refrigerator?  Unless the writers plan a return like Holmes in “The Empty House”, this isn’t going to go over well.  Nor should it.

New Nancy Drew comic celebrates beloved sleuth’s 90th birthday by killing her

But it’s okay — the Hardy Boys are on the case

Nancy Drew, one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature, is dead. Don’t worry though, the Hardy Boys are on the case. At least that’s the premise of a new comic from Dynamite meant to celebrate the young sleuth’s 90th anniversary.

[…]

Despite the characters’ long history as friends and collaborators, killing off a female character and handing her job to two young men isn’t a great look. And hey, even if a quick plot twist reveals that Nancy’s death was all a fakeout, it sure doesn’t seem like the best way to publicize your Nancy Drew anniversary story. Especially given how strongly Nancy Drew has resonated with young women for nearly a century. Heck, in the introduction to the Nancy Drew Wikipedia page she’s cited as an inspiration for women like Sandra Day O’Connor and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It’s not a good look, especially whith the way popular media has and still treats women as disposable, still uses the rape and murder of women as a motivator for men’s actions.  Killing one of the brothers and team up the two would not be as outrageous, unless you believe the world revolves around men and women are just tokens and accessories.

As a kid, I mostly read Encyclopedia Brown and Choose Your Own Adventure books, not Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys.  Even I knew then that the second class token treatment of Sally Kimball was problematic.  Imagine the uproar of Donald Sobol had killed off Kimball or Brown’s mother-without-a-personal-name as a plot device.


Nancy Drew books 1-56 can be found here and the Hardy Boys books 1-58 are here on the same site.  The legality of both is questionable.

The entirety of Sherlock Holmes is public domain, so there’s no worry about them.

The Final Show: Jim Lehrer, 1934-2020

Journalist, author and playwright Jim Lehrer died on Thursday, January 23, 2020 (NPR).  He was 85.  The Guardian also wrote an obituary.

Unlike most US journalists, Lehrer was objective and credible, never putting his personal agendas or opinions into his job.  He could (and probably should) have been harder hitting in some of his interviews, but he was respected by all sides (except perhaps Cheetolini and rabid republicans of today).  Even Fox Nuisance managed to publish a respectful obituary of someone who never kowtowed, sold out, or participated in their phony-baloney form of “journalism” (see: Bob Woodward).  Lehrer moderated twelve presidential debates between 1988 and 2012 when he retired. Too bad he wasn’t around in 2016, maybe people would have seen Cheetolini for the clown that he is.

I’m genuinely surprised that no one else has mentioned Lehrer.  He’s one of the few who won’t receive or deserve heavy criticism or endure character assassination when people look back on his career.

Vow To Disavow: Two tales of confessionals in one week

One good, one bad.

“Confessionals” are allegedly absolutes and absolution – You can say anything inside and be “forgiven”, but those who do expect that to apply to the temporal plane as much as the aethereal.  Most of the time, it’s either a way for the abhorrent to be excused of crimes that would result in prison or worse (re: in the 1970s, the current pope giving absolution” to participants in death flights), or a place where deviant individuals can get their jollies telling a priest or pastor what they’ve done with no consequences.  Perverts like showing off.

In Oregon, Timothy Samuel Johnson told members of his mormon church how he had sexually abused his daughter for four years.  To their credit, one of the leaders called the police.  Johnson is now serving fifteen years in prison.  Unfortunately, his wife Kristine Johnson seems to “think” the mormon church owes her US$9million for “violating privacy”.

Child Molester’s Wife Sues Mormon Church for Violating Confidentiality Rules by Reporting His Crimes

Timothy Samuel Johnson of Oregon confessed to sexually abusing his daughter over the span of four years to his church panel, the church reported him to authorities who investigated, convicted and jailed him. Now his wife is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, alleging that they violated his right to confidentiality.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Kristine Johnson filed suit in Marion County Circuit Court on January 3.

In 2017, Kristine discovered that her husband had been involved in inappropriate sexual content with their daughter throughout her tween and teen years. Following church doctrine, he confessed before the clergy and the church court at their ward in Stayton, a small town outside of Salem, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

One of the clergy members who heard his confession reported the act to police. Johnson was then arrested for first-degree sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful sexual penetration, the newspaper reported.

He pled guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual abuse and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He is incarcerated in the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, military priests violated the privacy of gays, lesbians and bisexuals.  They told superior officers, and those outed in violation of “rules” were thrown out.  Hypo-christianity is on display again.

Priests broke confession confidentiality to out gay soldiers to military

A British politician has apologized after it emerged some chaplains with the British armed force told superiors about gay and bisexual military personnel in the 1990s.

The UK dropped its ban on openly LGB people serving in the armed forces in 2000. However, before this time, gay military personnel were routinely dismissed if their sexuality became known. 

[…]

The newspaper spoke to veterans who say they confided in their chaplain, only to be questioned days later by military police.

[…]

It’s believed both Church of England and Roman Catholic chaplains were involved with the practice. It’s uncertain if the information led directly to soldiers being dismissed.

“Confession” is nothing more than a “get out of hell free” card, and it’s used like a credit card with no spending limit.  Priests and pastors are con men, not professionals like doctors or lawyers.  It’s time to end the privilege religion gives to criminals.  If someone tells of a crime they committed, priests and pastors are required to turn them in or face legal consequences.

Would that stop criminals from confessing?  Probably not, because as I said above, sadists and deviants like to brag about their conquests.  They won’t be smart enough to shut up.

 

Word Salad Censors: Vegetable English defeats Korea Fish

It would not surprise you if I said that the mainland mass murderers in Beijing tried to censor any discussion of Taiwan’s election last Saturday with the Great Firewall.  They obviously didn’t want anyone in the prison camp nation getting any ideas like democracy and fair representation.  But people being people, they found a way around it and shared the results around the country by using homophones and coded language.

Re-elected president Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was nicknamed “Vegetable English” because her family name Tsai (蔡) is a homophone for vegetable (菜).  Ing-wen (英文) is the Mandarin word for the English language.

Defeated KMT candidate Han Guo-yu’s (韓國瑜) family name and part of his personal name are the word for Korea (韓國).  The second half of his personal name, Yu (瑜), is a homophone for fish (魚).

Being the ignorant furriner that I am, I didn’t find out about this until after the election.  I couldn’t understand why last Friday and Saturday, kids kept saying “Korea fish!”  Now I know.

Self Harm: Anxiety is taxing

I recently read a FemPositive item from November 2018 about anxiety and the forms it can take.  And while she doesn’t mention all types of mental health issues, they’re certainly included.  I didn’t do the same as her, but I understand her words.

I had my own nervous tics when I was younger.  My hands suffered endless knuckle cracking and nailbiting, but the skin stayed intact.  It was my lips and inner cheeks that suffere, biting and pulling skin to the point of bleeding.  I now only bite my cheeks when nervous.

I have friends with bipolar and other issues, and their compulsive behaviours are obvious even to the untrained eye.  One of my coworkers (not a friend) has an obsessive habit of clicking her pens, 10-20 times per minute.  All day.  Every day.

Woman’s Facebook Post Shows That Anxiety Is So Much More Than An Inability To Relax

The conversations around mental health, fortunately, are becoming more open in today’s society. People are getting more comfortable to talk about their mental health problems and issues, although not everyone experiences them the same. This difference in people’s experiences doesn’t discredit anyone’s pain and struggle in life.

For some people anxiety manifests with panic attacks and hyperventilation, for others, it is simply the inability to relax. For others, all the symptoms are more severe.

Facebook user Megan Lynne Ferrero decided to openly share her experience with anxiety and it went viral because of so many people related to her story.

Ferrero posted a photo of what her hands look like after biting her nails due to anxiety.

 

I Hope I Die…: People over 30 are too old

Well, that’s according to a voluntary survey, anyway.  I turn 53 next month and I’m still dancing until all hours at clubs, though I couldn’t name you a single hit song of the past ten years.

Deezer, a music streaming service, said (in 2018) that on average people hit the wall around 30. I was still into new music and listened to everything until I moved abroad at age 34 (2001) and got “set in my ways” around 37-38.  I was physically isolated from new Canadian or foreign music for years. After I started clubbing again, I thought, “This ‘music’ sucks!” but I still dance anyway.

I live for 1980s parties.

Something Strange Happens To Your Taste In Music At Age 30

There’s a reason your grandparents still listen to Elvis, your mom still loves Bon Jovi, and you still have a strange affiliation with the crap bands you liked when you were 14.

A recent survey by the music streaming service Deezer asked 1,000 people in the UK about their musical preferences and their streaming habits. According to their findings, people tend to experience a “musical paralysis” at around the age of 30.5, whereby they stop listening to new artists or genres and tend to stick to what they know.

Musical discovery peaks at an average age of 24 years and five months, although women generally hit this peak around a year earlier. At this age, almost 75 percent of respondents said they checked out 10 or more new tracks per week, and 64 percent said they listened to five or more new artists every month. Around 60 percent of people feel like they are in a music rut and struggle to break out of playing the same old artists over and over again.

[…]

There is possibly another factor at play. During our younger years, especially as teenagers, we are the most influenced by the music around us. In The New York Times, data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz wrote about how the songs that were popular in our teenage years, particularly between the ages of 11 to 14, tends to remain our most streamed songs on Spotify.

One funny thing: I’ve heard it said that the number 1 song on your 14th birthday defines your life.  I thought it was a load of codswallop until I found out what mine was.  It turns out to be true for most people I know.

“The Tide Is High” was #1 in Canada, the middle of February, 1981: