Category Archives: Religion

Story: S01E04 “The Language of Monsters”

Posting this free story for a minimum of seven days — probably more, because I usually forget. This one’s a bit longer than most of the freebies I put up on the blog: 7000 words.

I once worried that the story would date quickly. Surely rendition would be long behind us before now? I was overly optimistic. The story, however, does not suffer from the same flaw.


Jason comes to my cell, sets his watch’s alarm. No more than a hour’s exposure at a time, no more than every other day.
In the hour we talk about many things: the world, politics, God—and we talk about light. At opposite corners this cell has two naked bulbs, in sockets screwed into the brick.

“I’ll see the next locale has a window—and natural exposure.”

I thank him. I haven’t felt sunlight in so long. The guards had orders to give me an hour a week here, but didn’t. I don’t trouble Jason with this; he works hard. He holds a responsible position despite his youth; he has more important concerns. Today I leave Egypt for another site anyway, so the matter loses significance.

Instead, I ask about my next assignment.

“You’re worried,” Jason says.

My previous assignment: the black-bearded Saudi, heavy browed, black eyed, yielded no intel. To date none have. I tell Jason I fear if I fail again I’ll receive no more assignments and he will no longer handle me.

“That’s irrational,” Jason waves the notion away. “We’re a team.”

“I doubt my abilities,” I tell him.

Jason frowns, wounded. “You have done everything I’ve asked. It’s on me.”

Before Jason gave me a job, I had no meaningful existence. Meaninglessness make solitude unbearable. I can’t return there. I spare Jason this, but he feels it anyway.

“Look at me,” says Jason. “This is the one. A high-value subject. A driver, from Yemen, detained in Basra. This is the break I’ve … that we’ve waited for.”

Jason checks his watch. He calls it a diver’s watch. It resists water, it shows direction, it does many useful things, and now it tells him our time together draws short. “We should pray,” he says.

Continue reading the whole story free until at least 11/01/11.

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If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Shermer

Nah, probably you won’t.

Skepticblog » Gay Marriage: Stone Them to Death! : “Mark my words. Here is what is going to happen. Within a decade, maybe two, Christians will come around to treating gays no differently than they now treat members of other groups whom they previously persecuted — women, Jews, blacks — but not because of some new interpretation of a biblical passage, or because of a new revelation from God. These changes will come about the same way that they always do: by the oppressed minority fighting for the right to be treated equally, and by a few enlightened members of the oppressing majority supporting their cause.”

— Michael Shermer

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What do Tarzan of the Apes, Twelfth Night, and Death of Salesman have in common?

  1. A. They are all known beloved stories stories.
  2. B. Among my personal favorites.
  3. C. Mayor Sarah Palin tried to ban them from her hometown public library.
  4. D. All of the above.

If you said “D.” you win a front row seat to the decline and fall. Here is a list: Stop Sarah Palin! The Books She Wanted BANNED! « Mike Cane 2008. These books she wanted banned from the PUBLIC library, not, say, a school library (which would have been bad enough)> Honestly, I’ve never heard of a public servant trying anything on the level in book banning. I’m sure there are others, but I just haven’t heard about them. Palin later tried to fire the librarian.

It’s not sexist to bring this stuff up, is it Mr. McCain?

Update: This list has not been validated (or vetted). The article in TIME discusses the allegation that Palin sought to bans books she found objectionable, and also that she tried to fire the city librarian as well as other city officials over “loyalty issues” but so far I can’t find any confirmed list of what books, if any, she actually identified for banning.

The Palin Equation (first draft)

Jesus (Thatcher – Foreign Policy Experience – evolution + Succession Party Background+Trooper Gate) / Palin = Armageddon 2013.

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Could Palin be the most effective VP pick for McCain?

No they were not going to dump her ala Eagleton no matter how many scandals came out. The Republicans make their own reality. But Palin is clearly energizing the religious base of the party who might have stayed home this time. Add that votes lost to the expertise Republicans have gained over the past decade in vote stealing (Greg Palast » Steal Back Your Vote!) and it might be just enough for McCain to take the Electoral College plurality.

Then an increasingly infirm McCain, embittered and withdrawn after being bogged down with military actions in Iraq and Iran without an end in sight, is convinced to resign three and a half years into his third term. Palin/Huckabee 2012. The religious right can put up with McCain for one term or less. They’ve waited 2000 years for the Second Coming after all.

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