That was never her intention, but she is, in fact, a Mormon. Because, Mormons can baptize anyone they want and make them into a Mormon. (Catholics can do this too, but for Catholics, I think the person has to be present. For Mormons, the Baptism can be transported through spacetime.)

From ABC:

Last June 4 — the day after then-Sen. Obama secured enough delegates to win the Democratic presidential nominee — someone had the president’s mother Stanley Ann Dunham, who died in 1995 of cancer, baptized.

On June 11, she received the endowment.

The White House had no comment.

That was reported in May, 2009. I totally missed it, but America Blog has decided to remind us all of it at this appropriate time. In relation to the Mormon Church officially saying that this was inappropriate and some sort of goof:

Yeah, I’m sure no one at Mormon headquarters noticed that the woman’s husband was named Barack Hussein Obama. She just “happened” to be baptized 13 years after her death, five months before the presidential election. All a big unfortunate coincidence.

All I can say is this: Chair.

As I understand it, the Saint Paul Police are getting an increasingly bad reputation for bad behavior and brutality. A while ago I posted this in relation to the Saint Paul 8. The video below is of an incident that happened on Tuesday. The video is violent and disturbing, and is probably evidence enough to have at least one police officer lose his job.

The chief of police and the mayor should be held accountable. The Star Tribune has more.

The “police officer’s” name (and I use that term lightly) is Officer Jesse Zilge.

Zilge was involved in an incident in 2006, described here.

You’ve heard about Chicks with Bics. I decided to see if there was an equivilant for the guys, and there really isn’t. But these items did some up in a search:

The Bic Cristal For Her Ball Pen (which I would have named the Bic Cristal For Her Point Pen, but whatever) is a thing. These are pens for the ladies. It says:

BIC Cristal For Her has an elegant design – just for Her! It features a thin barrel designed to fit a women’s hand. It has a diamond engraved barrel for an elegant and unique feminine style.

Bic actually makes several feminine pens:

I recommend getting the assorted pack, and they you can try them all out and see how each one feels, and then if you settle on one that works really well for you, order that one on line in bulk to save money. Always carry a couple of the with you in case you want to write something.

Oh, and just in case you did’t know, the reviews on these products are a blast! Its a new internet meme.

Someone has answered my gentle prayers and FINALLY designed a pen that I can use all month long!…

Finally! For years I’ve had to rely on pencils, or at worst, a twig and some drops of my feminine blood to write down recipes …

I don’t know why they didn’t put a clearer warning on the label, they really should have because if you are a boy and use this pen you put yourself at great risk. My little brother turned into a unicorn…

See also Menz with Penz

I remember back in the old days when failure to wear an American Flag Lapel Pin was a politically bad move for any politician. I wonder if Mitt Romney and his friends wore American Flag Pins on their lapel’s while they had a fund raiser earlier today on a foreign yacht that flew the flag of the Cayman Islands. And, I wonder if that place…the Cayman Islands…is where Romney keeps all his money, and if some of the “Missing Tax Returns” would show that?

The yacht, called the Cracker Bay and which has a dinging room large enough to seat 30 people, is owned by Gary Morse, who has given about $1,000,000 to a pro-Romney superPac. Morse is one of the very few super donors who have been supporting Romney who’s name we know, as Romney has refused to allow any of their names to be known. He is the first candidate in over a decade to withhold the names of his major donors. I assume that this is because among them there are names of criminals or leaders of terrorist states or something. I mean, why would you risk the bad press from being so secretive otherwise? I quickly add that when asked about all this, a top Romney aid said “”I think Gov. Romney is going to do what he has to to follow the law.” OK, whatever.

Also among those dining with the presidential hopeful were Mel Sembler, a supporter of Georg Bush, and oil executive Charlie Moncrief. The press was able to ascertain the names of these individuals by looking at their name tags as they left the area of the Yacth, but other attendees covered up their name tags like common criminals cover their faces with their prison-provided t-shirts or hoodies.

“I think it’s ironic they do this aboard a yacht that doesn’t even pay its taxes,” said a woman who lives aboard a much smaller boat moored at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina.

Romney’s Cayman-based investments have come under fire during the campaign.

“It was a really nice event. These are good supporters,” said billionaire Wilbur Ross, an energy industry executive.

Source: ABC News

According to the New York Times:

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee.

When he was caught doing it, he lied and claimed it wasn’t true. In fact, it is kind of a normal thing for The Church, and it even has a name: laicization. It is sometimes called Defrocking.

Cardinal Dolan is a friend of VP candidate Paul Ryan. Dolan will be giving the closing prayer at the Republican National Convention.

I would love to say that this helps us to differentiate between Republicans and Democrats, but apparently Dolan will also be giving the closing prayer at the DNC…

Cardinal Dolan, an opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage who is among the Catholic bishops suing the Obama administration over its contraception health care mandate, will bless a gathering of thousands of delegates who passionately disagree with him.

Obviously, the best choice is to leave prayer out of the process. Why can’t we just do that?

… for dancing.

“The victims threw a late-night dance and music party when the Taliban attacked” on Sunday night, Nimatullah told Reuters.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

In ultra-conservative Afghanistan, men and women do not usually mingle unless they are related, and parties involving both genders together are rare and highly secretive affairs.

For the Taliban, flirting, open displays of affection and the mixing of men and women are vehemently condemned.


This sort of thing happens on a regular basis in Afghanistan.

The American Atheists put up a set of billboards in Charlotte, NC, planned site of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, with messages pertaining to Christianity and Mormonism. There were so many threats against the people at American Atheists and the billboard company that they were forced to take them down early.

Here is the statement from American Atheists

Large Volume of Threats by Email, Phone Ends Campaign to Question Faith in Politics

Cranford, NJ – American Atheists announced today that the billboards the organization had placed in Charlotte, NC, ahead of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, criticizing Christianity and Mormonism would be coming down weeks early.

“It is with regret that we tell our members and all of those who treasure free speech and the separation of religion and government that American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising have mutually agreed to remove the billboards immediately,” said Amanda Knief, American Atheists’ Managing Director.

“No subject, no idea should be above scrutiny—and this includes religion in all forms,” Ms. Knief said. “We are saddened that by choosing to express our rights as atheists through questioning the religious beliefs of the men who want to be our president that our fellow citizens have responded with vitriol, threats, and hate speech against our staff, volunteers, and Adams Outdoor Advertising.”

Teresa MacBain, American Atheists’ Public Relations Director said, “It saddens me to think that our country is not a safe place for all people to publicly question religious belief. How can we grow as a nation when such censorship exists from our own citizens?”

The billboards are scheduled to be removed by the end of day Thursday, August 23, 2012.

A commenter at the American Atheist site left a link to a video I think you might be interested in seeing:

I’m not sure if the FBI plans to investigate the incidents that caused the removal of the billboards or not, but for your information, here is the FBI page on hate crimes.

Atheist Voices of Minnesota is a unique book. Other books on atheism are mostly philosophical or political. They are written by people who derive their income from their writing. They argue for atheism, or at least for secularism, and tell atheists how to be atheists. They are often specifically about religion.

Atheist Voices of Minnesota is none of those things. It is instead a collection of personal writings, talking about the effects of atheism on our lives and on our values. It covers voices who are not usually included in atheist projects. And it is receiving rave reviews.

This Sunday, we are doing an unusual show to talk about this unusual book. Nine of the contributors will gather in the studio to. Join us to hear:

  • Bill Lehto (editor)
  • George Kane
  • Jill Carlson
  • Ryan Bolin
  • Stephanie Zvan
  • Eric Jayne
  • James Zimmerman
  • Michelle Huber
  • Kim Socha

They will be talking about how the book was made and their contributions to it.

Get the details here.

Floyd Lee Corkins, armed with a gun, spare ammo, and 15 uneaten Chick-Fil-A sandwiches attacked the Family Research Council wounding an unarmed guard. Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, blamed the Southern Poverty Law Center for giving Corkins “license” to shoot at them. Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog discusses the question of assigning blame, suggesting that Perkins got that wrong.

Here’s the thing. One could say that Corkins was acting under some sort of inspiration created by organizations like the SPLC and other leftish or progressive organizations or groups who have spoken out against anti-gay rhetoric and policies. Similarly, one could say that when Jared Loughner killed and wounded a bunch of people at a Democratic Congresswoman’s public event people could have assigned blame to right wing rhetoric which is plenty enough laced with references to violence.

Is either of these assignations of blame valid? Yes. One is, one isn’t. Generally speaking these days, progressive movements and for the most part the “left” in America speaks out against violence, is more or less either anti-gun or pro gun regulation, mostly anti-war, and mostly pacifist, while the right wing tends to form heavily armed paramilitary militias, is totally against almost any kind of gun related regulations, is pro war, and bellicose. So when someone from the right shoots someone on the left, it really is a natural extension of what they talk about. When someone on the left shoots someone on the right, that’s a crazy person.


Atheist Voices of Minnesota: an Anthology of Personal Stories will be officially released on August 28th, though you can of course get it now if you click on this secret link (or this secret link for the Kindle edition).

I just received a press release for the book, and thought I’d pass it on to you.

Atheist Voices of Minnesota: an Anthology of Personal Stories will be released August 28th

“A chorus not of arguments and positions but of shared human lives . . . At turns smart, funny, and deeply touching.”Dale McGowan, author of Parenting Beyond Belief

ST. PAUL, Minn. (8/14/2012) —Atheists have turned a corner in public visibility in recent years, but they nevertheless remain one of America’s most misunderstood and mistrusted groups of people. A new anthology, Atheist Voices of Minnesota, attempts to address these preconceptions by letting thirty-six atheists from Minnesota openly share their personal and unique stories. The results are touching, fascinating, and diverse.

Since this is a cross section of how everyday atheists think and feel, this collection is an excellent introduction to atheism, and will inspire other atheists to come out to their family and friends. It includes contributions from well known atheists, such as PZ Myers, the world’s most popular atheist blogger, and Chris Stedman, a Huffington Post and Washington Post blogger. But it also contains previously unheard voices, part of its power and uniqueness.

The book has already received endorsements from major figures in the freethought community, and has a foreword by Greta Christina, a prominent atheist blogger, speaker, and author. Kendyl Gibbons, senior minister of the First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis, writes that the authors’ “thoughtful perspectives will be illuminating to people of any faith, or none.”

Several upcoming events offer a chance to hear from contributors, including:

  • Aug 26: Atheists Talk radio show, on AM 950 KTNF at 9am, will be devoted to the book
  • Aug 28: Official publication date of Atheist Voices of Minnesota
  • Sep 16: The Minnesota Atheist public lecture at Southdale Library in Edina from 2 – 3:30pm will be devoted to author readings from the book. PZ Myers is one of the authors reading
  • Oct 10: Several authors will read from the book at 7pm at Barnes & Noble in the HarMar Mall in Rosedale
  • ct 13: Author reading at Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bloomington, MN, at 10:30am

For a complete and updated listing of events, visit Freethought House.

Atheist Voices of Minnesota is published by Freethought House. All net proceeds will go to Minnesota Atheists, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with authors, editors, designers, and other volunteers receiving no financial benefit. Minnesota Atheists is Minnesota’s oldest, largest, and most active atheist organization. Its mission is to promote the positive contributions of atheism to society and to maintain separation of state and church. For more information, visit