Monday, April 30, 2007

Flock of Dodos comes to Wichita

The hilarious documentary Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus is being shown twice in Wichita in early Day.

First, on May 4, it will be showing at Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd. in Wichita, at 6:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion; tickets are $5, $3 for Exploration Place members. For further information, visit:

Then, on May 7, it will be showing in Wichita State University's CAC Theater, at 7:00 p.m. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer panel discussion featuring director Randy Olson; the event is free and open to the public. For further details, visit:

For further details about the film, visit:

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Workers Memorial Day


Each year, over two million women and men die as a result of 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million new cases of occupational disease each year, figures that are supplemented by ILO/WHO estimates that occupational diseases alone cause over 1.7 million deaths, and that at least 268 million non-fatal workplace accidents occur each year. It is furthermore estimated that over half of the 355,000 on-the-job fatalities occur in agriculture, the sector with half the world’s workforce. Other high risk sectors are mining, construction and commercial fishing. Four percent of the world’s gross domestic product (US $1,251 billion) is lost through absence of work from injury, death and disease, sickness treatment, disability and survivor benefits. Illness results in a loss of four or more working days in at least 1/3 of all cases. The loss in GDP resulting from the cost of death and illness in the work force is 20 times greater than all official development assistance to developing countries. Each year, 12,000 children are killed on the job and hazardous substances kill 340,000 workers annually, while asbestos alone claims about 100,000 lives.

Source: ILO

AFL-CIO Worker's Memorial Day Page

Hazards, a UK based safety site has a round-up of Worker's Memorial Day events around the globe.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Masterson: Pay Raise for Me, Not Thee

Some nerve. I think I've got my nominee for Kansas hypocrite of the year.

Kansas State Representative Ty Masterson wants a pay raise--and a majority of the House Appropriations Committee agrees. He thinks that he and other legislators should be paid at a rate above the annual federal poverty level. And that amount should be adjusted for family size. (Materson has a wife and six children). And this for a part time job.

Serving the legislature is a part-time job. Presently legislators are paid $84.80 per day when they are in session, plus $99 per day for expenses. That adds up to about $17,000 per session in salary and expenses. Masterson would get $34,750 under his proposal.

But Masterson thinks it okay for other Kansas workers to live under the poverty level.

Kansas has a $2.65 an hour minimum wage. Masterson voted against raising it as did 62 other state reps.

But that's not the depth of Masterson's hypocrisy. He thinks $2.65 an hour is too much. He actually voted along with 54 others to abolish the Kansas minimum wage.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Yom HaShoah Event: : Escape Under Fire

Yom haShoah Ve'Hagvura or Yom HaShoah (יום השואה yom ha-sho’āh, יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה-Yom ha-zikaron la-Shoah v'la-Gvura), "Holocaust Martyrs' Remembrance Day" or, literally, "Remembrance day for The Holocaust and Heroism." It is held every year in remembrance of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust

Wichita's Community Yom HaShoah event features Sobibor Escapee and Survivor, Philip Bialowitz

Philip Bialowitz's message is one of survival, hope and history. He was born in Izbica, Poland in 1929. He is one of only eight remaining survivors of the Nazi extermination camp, Sobibor, where an estimated 250,000 Jews were murdered. He participated in the famous revolt at Sobibor, which led to the Nazi's discontinuing killing operations at the camp. Bialowitz's story was featured in the movie "Escape from Sobibor".

"Most people only dream their nightmares. However, my fellow survivors and I actually lived this experience."

Bialowitz will be sharing his story with the Wichita community on Wednesday, April 11 at the Newman Univeristy De Mattias Fine Arts Center. The program will begin at 7:00 pm, and there is no charge for entry.

The Mid Kansas Jewish Federation is sponsoring this event in conjunction with Newman University, Wichita State, Inter-Faith Ministries, Congregation Emanu-El and Ahavath Achim Hebrew Congregation.

On April 15 at 3:00 PM, the movie Fateless will be shown at the Murdock theater. This looks like an extremely moving film.

Forward at 110

April marks the 110th anniversary of the Forward. Launched as a Yiddish-language daily newspaper on April 22, 1897, the Forward entered the din of New York's immigrant press as a defender of trade unionism and moderate, democratic socialism. Today, the Forward publishes weekly English and Yiddish newsmagazine and connects a new generation of Jewish social activists with labor struggles.

Here's a page with a number of special features on the history of the Forward.

They've also launced ForwardBooks in conjunction with W.W. Norton. They first titel title, in bookstores this month, is “A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life From the Pages of the Forward. Judging from the book's website, it will a stunning book with essays from an outstanding group of writers.

There's a national book check for details here (scroll to the bottom).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Two reports on Taner Edis Talk on Islam and Evolution

Taner Edis, a physicist at Truman State University, gave a talk Tuesday night in Lawrence on Islam and creationism and related topics.

Josh Rosenau at Thoughts from Kansas

... science in the Muslim world is seen through the lens of technology. Improvements in living conditions and advancement of a people or a nation through technological advances are good. Connecting those technical advances to broader theoretical frameworks has always been seen as a dangerous and potentially heretical act. Islamic philosophers have would argue that the Quran provides the necessary overarching framework, and that attempts by the sciences to usurp any part of that role have always found resistance.

Thus, efforts to harmonize science and Islam have tended to focus on finding ways to show that particular scientific discoveries are explained by the Quran. The Prophet referred to the seven levels of the heavens, so exegetes seek to identify seven meteorological or astronomical layers. Vague descriptions of the formation of a fetus are presented as perfect brief descriptions of modern embryology. As Edis writes, "it is striking how little writers of the science-in-the-Quran genre know about science. … [T]hey conceive of science as a set of practical applications and concrete facts to be collected and organized like stamps. This view is not even medieval; medieval science at least enriched its stamp collections with an elaborate God-centered perception of nature."
Red State Rable, notes the contradiction between the efforts of the the Discovery Institute to globalize ID and statements like the following on prominent ID blogs

"Islam is a cancer growing on the planet. It needs to be killed not accomodated
Unfortunatley, RSR seems to accepts the myth of Islamic tolerance.

RSR promises more posts on the talk in coming days.

Meanwhile, take a look at The Illusion of Harmony, the latest book by Taner Edis.

Romney, lifetime hunter--NOT

Newsday reports


o hear Mitt Romney talk on the campaign trail, you might think the Republican presidential candidate had a gun rack in the back of his pickup truck.

"I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," he said this week in Keene, N.H., to a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap.

o hear Mitt Romney talk on the campaign trail, you might think the Republican presidential candidate had a gun rack in the back of his pickup truck.

"I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," he said this week in Keene, N.H., to a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap.

Yet the former Massachusetts governor's hunting experience is limited to two trips at the bookends of his 60 years: as a 15-year-old, when he hunted rabbits with his cousins on a ranch in Idaho, and last year, when he shot quail on a fenced game preserve in Georgia.

Romney did buy a lifetime membership in the NRA last August as part of an effort to obscure his history of being pro-gun control

Romney's father was considered to be a leading GOP Presidential contender in 1968 until he broke with LBJ's Vietnam policy and used an unfortunate expression, saying he had been brain-washed. Seems to me, that Mitt is trying to brainwash the Republican electorate.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Something new about the anti-Tiller, anti-Morrison vendetta

By now you are probably familiar with the latest chapter in the Kansas Christian right's vendetta against abortion doctor George Tiller and Attorney General Paul Morrison and seemingly anyone who gets in their way. I think I've found an illuminating connection that shows just how extreme Kline and his allies are.

First, the quick background. Shortly before leaving office and after having been resoundingly defeated by ex-AG Phill Kline brought 31 misdemeanor charges against Tiller which were thrown out by the court. This last week, some of the right-wing pastors brought a crowd to Topeka to push for the passage of a bill directing the Attorney General to bring charges against Tiller. This was based on the questionable interpretation of an obscure 1879 law. Although the House Federal and State Affairs committee rushed through the resolution, by midweek, Republican House leaders had backed away from the resolution. House Democrats had caught the committee violating House rules, meaning that the bill would have needed a 2/3 vote to proceed.

Web discoveries. Mainstream media pays attention to news releases, rallies, and legislative action. Progressive bloggers like Diane Silver at In This Moment have done an excellent job of monitoring the press and covering the controversy. (see here , here, and here.) There's an extra step that is often over-looked. Today's right-wing has an internet presence and there's a lot that can be learned there.

The anti-Tiller campaign has a website Charge Here's something surprising. The website, which has gathered about 3400 petition signatures, isn't owned by Operation Rescue, Kansas Right to Life, or any similar Kansas-based group. It is copyrighted by an Ohio organization called Women Influencing the Nation and designed by a Kentucky web design firm, Bonaventure Design.

Women Influencing the Nation describe themselves in this manner

An entire generation has now been misled and deceived in the areas of abortion, contraception, relationships, morality, homosexuality, education, medical ethics and politics. WIN will strive to give voice to the families who so desperately work to reclaim the forgotten truths for our children and grandchildren. WIN defends the full teachings of the Catholic faith and the dignity of all women.
They go on to say that their goal is
to give this country back to God. isn't the first WIN project. In 2004, they set up website See the Passion , ran commercials on 175 radio stations, and circulated a petition.

The petition shows just how extreme WIN is

We know that the enemies of Christian civilization -- who are identifying themselves for all to see by announcing themselves as the enemies of this movie project -
Elsewhere, WIN proclaims

This extraordinary movie and its producer, Mel Gibson, were under intense, public attack from all the worst elements of the major news media and the entertainment industry. Powerful forces in Hollywood, New York City, and Washington D.C. were trying to prevent this movie from getting in our local theaters!

The Passion of The Christ movie was threatened with obstruction and even censorship by some of the most powerful behind-the-scenes forces in New York City, Washington D.C., and Hollywood. These are the same forces which supported the absolutely blasphemous 1987 movie, The Last Temptation of Christ, -- a movie which viciously falsified the Gospels, defamed Christ, the Apostles -- and made Judas the good guy and hero!
Bonaventure Design has some interesting connections to the radical traditionalist Catholic extremists recently portrayed in a Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report. According to the SPLC,
this movement "is characterized by open anti-Semitism and blames Jews for conspiring to destroy the Catholic Church."

Bonaventure lists eight projects in their portfolio.

Except for a site for a fiddle festival and one promoting saying Merry Christmas all the sites appear to traditionalist Catholic of the extreme sort.

Two are included in SPLC's dirty dozen of radical traditionalist Catholic organizations.

  • Slave of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
SPLC says"the Slaves are followers of the anti-Semitic priest Leonard Feeney...the Slaves today see the Vatican II reforms as the product of Jewish pressures and argue that the "Jewish nation is at enmity with Our Lord's Plan." They have denounced the Vatican's moves to reconcile with Jews as "capitulation to the tyrannical demands of the most insidious elements within Jewry (e.g., the Vatican audiences granted to the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, anti-Christ Jewish Anti-Defamation League)." In fact, the Slaves say that Jews will be the first people to accept the Antichrist and will quickly join "in launching the most savage persecution of the Church in the history of the world." This kind of ugly rhetoric earned the Slaves a sharp rebuke in 2004 from Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., who called their teachings "blatantly anti-Semitic" and "offensive to all people of good will."
A privately run organization dedicated to "addressing the root causes of the crisis in the Church," the St. Joseph Forum specializes in popularizing the writings of the anti-Semitic Irish priest, Father Denis Fahey, through its "Project Awaken" program. In several books, the late Fahey wrote that society and the church had been twisted by "the leadership of the Jews, who wield such enormous power in the modern world through the subjection of man to production and production to finance."

There are still more connections to bad guys. Bonaventure also did the website for NEO-CONNED, a book which contains several articles by racists and antisemites and which is published by another dirty dozen group, the Legion of St. Louis/IHS Press. Other Bonaventure sites are for the Oretes Brownson Society (a 19th century Transcendalist turned right-wing Catholic and anti-Protestant polemicist) and Gerry Matatics (, a schismatic Catholic who seems to believes, like Mel Gibson, that recent Popes are illegitimate.