The Art of Taking Ourselves Less Seriously For the Public Good

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Silly Motivational Posters about Deception, Tanks and Teamwork

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The Catholic Bishop Holocaust Denier Is Making the News and, ba-da-da-da-da, I’m Lovin’ It

Find out why in my latest column in the Nashville Free Press! Click HERE.

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The Boys Uncover the Cough Syrup Conspiracy in South Park Episode 811, “Quest for Ratings”

In this episode, the boys have a South Park Elementary television show, and they’re competing with Craig’s show for ratings. If they can’t do better than he does in teh ratings their show will be canceled and they will all fail. At first, they dramatically alter what they’re giving their viewers, adding all kinds of ridiculous elements and making fun of local area news.

They decide that they need to do some real investigating in order to break a real news story, and for inspiration they drink a bunch of cough syrup and trip balls. What they end up uncovering is that everyone is doing cough syrup – how they come to this conclusion is something that you’ll need to watch the episode to find out.

I think the episode is a good commentary about a. the terrible quality of local news, b. the unnecessary emphasis on television ratings and how that can destroy a show’s integrity and actual quality and c. the crappy television that children like to watch…and why.

What did you think of this episode?

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Democratic and Republican Jews Battle for Jewish Florida Voters with Jackie Mason and the Great Schlep

As some of you may know, there’s an election coming up in early November, when the good (and bad) people of the United States of America will have to decide who they want as their next president: John McCain or Barack Obama.

Because Florida is often such an important swing state in any election (think Bush-Gore 2000), and because Florida is filled with elderly Jewish voters, both campaigns are going after the state and the old Jews who live there quite vigorously. Joe Lieberman has been campaigning for McCain for months and now, some younger Jews from around the country are fighting back.

Over Columbus Day Weekend they are instituting The Great Schlep, which is designed to send thousands of Jewish youth to Florida to speak with their grandparents about why they should vote for Barack Obama. It’s an incredibly large, grassroots campaign that’s not affiliated with the Obama campaign but is a cause that has been taken up by young Jews who want their grandparents to know the facts about the candidates before voting (rather than thinking that Obama cavorts with Muslim terrorists as certain ads have led them to believe).

This Sarah Silverman video is on The Great Schlep homepage, and I’ve embedded it here for your viewing convenience:

Jackie Mason and the Republican Jewish Coalition responded with the following video, which isn’t as funny but it’s definitely got a point:

What do you think about this campaign? Are you participating? Do you know anyone who is? What did you think about the videos?

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U.S. Gov’t Report on Religious Freedom Strongly Criticizes China

The U.S. recently issued its annual report on religious freedom, knocking a variety of different nations – most to be expected – including North Korea, Iran, and Vietnam. Go figure. One of the report’s primary criticisms was of China, however, mostly due to its treatment of the Uighur people, a Muslim group living in Xinjiang.

Condoleezza Rice, who issued the report, summarized the U.S. stance on religious freedom by saying:

“The United States rejects actions that are offensive to particular religious traditions, but we do not condone the prohibition of free speech. That only weakens societies.”

Religious freedom is always a topic particularly close to my heart, and it’s interesting that she made this comment and that this report was issued today, as I am currently engaged in a fascinating conversation with one of my regular commenters and guide for reading the Quran, JDsg. We have been talking about the value placed on religious freedom in the United States and the permissibility or impermissibility of actions offensive to religious traditions. Obviously, South Park has been a part of our conversation.

To check out this conversation, click HERE.

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The French Finally Get Something Right by Allowing a Woman to Sue the Church of Scientology for Fraudulent Practices

No, it’s not often that I like anything done by the French government, but finally, they’ve got something right. Let’s just hope that they can keep it that way.

Currently, in France, Scientology is not on a list of recognized religions and it is considered a commercial enterprise. Indeed, it is. The ‘church’ sells numerous products, makes outrageous and false claims about what they do, and only really cares about money.

After a woman gave the church nearly 20,000 Euros for illegally prescribed drugs, courses, books and counseling with an e-meter (that nonsensical device with no scientific backing), she finally realized (guess she wasn’t that bright to begin with) that the stuff was hocus pocus and is suing Scientology for fraud. Good for her.

Scientologists protest because they insist that they have already been cleared of similar charges. Shouldn’t they take a hint considering how many people are pissed and consider this fraudulent nonsense? Well, they probably have – it’s the people who keep joining Scientology that don’t get it.

In any case, I hope this woman sues successfully and wins, because Scientology is a scam that deserves to be shut down. At least booting it out of France and requiring it to give money to people will be a small start.

What do you think about suing Scientology?

To read about more Scientology in the news click HERE, which will lead you to South Park episodes about Scientology.

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