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LongTomH

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Member since: Wed Oct 13, 2004, 05:42 PM
Number of posts: 8,636

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Thomas Jefferson and the Tyranny of Religion



With all the static from the 'Christian' Right about the need to 'get godly,' and the attempts to rewrite American history, it may be instructive to actually review Jefferson on religion.

From his letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush:

"... To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other.... And in confiding it [an enclosed syllabus] to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations and calumnies. I am moreover averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public; because it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavored to draw them before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquisition over the rights of conscience, which the laws have so justly proscribed...."


In his 1787 Notes on the State of Virginia:

"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth. ... Our sister states of Pennsylvania and New York, however, have long subsisted without any establishment at all. The experiment was new and doubtful when they made it. It has answered beyond conception. They flourish infinitely. Religion is well supported; of various kinds, indeed, but all good enough; all sufficient to preserve peace and order: or if a sect arises, whose tenets would subvert morals, good sense has fair play, and reasons and laughs it out of doors, without suffering the state to be troubled with it. They do not hang more malefactors than we do. They are not more disturbed with religious dissensions. On the contrary, their harmony is unparalleled, and can be ascribed to nothing but their unbounded tolerance, because there is no other circumstance in which they differ from every nation on earth. They have made the happy discovery, that the way to silence religious disputes, is to take no notice of them. Let us too give this experiment fair play, and get rid, while we may, of those tyrannical laws."

"Open carry" extremists target women and survivors of gun attacks

This was posted on Mother Jones before the UCSB massacres: Spitting, Stalking, Rape Threats, How Gun Extremists Target Women. There have been stories posted here about open carry advocates in Texas and elsewhere carrying their guns into public places to intimidate people; that bullying behavior has been extended:

AS JENNIFER LONGDON STEERED her wheelchair through the Indianapolis airport on April 25, she thought the roughest part of her trip was over. Earlier that day she'd participated in an emotional press conference with the new group Everytown for Gun Safety, against the backdrop of the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. A mom, gun owner, and Second Amendment supporter, Longdon was paralyzed in 2004 after being shot in her car by unknown assailants, and has since been a vocal advocate for comprehensive background checks and other gun reforms.

As Longdon sat waiting for her flight, a screen in the concourse showed footage of the press conference. A tall, thin man standing nearby stared at Longdon, then back at the screen. Then he walked up to Longdon and spat in her face. No one else blinked.

................//snip

What happened to Longdon in Indianapolis is part of a disturbing pattern. Ever since the Sandy Hook massacre, a small but vocal faction of the gun rights movement has been targeting women who speak up on the issue—whether to propose tighter regulations, educate about the dangers to children, or simply to sell guns with innovative security features. The vicious and often sexually degrading attacks have evolved far beyond online trolling, culminating in severe bullying, harassment, invasion of privacy, and physical aggression. Though vitriol flows from both sides in the gun debate, these menacing tactics have begun to alarm even some entrenched pro-gun conservatives.


A major target for these people is the grassroots organization: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, formed after Sandy Hook. Catch this brave 'Second Amendment advocate's' Mothers' Day message:



There's even more misogyny, like using a female mannequin as a "mad minute" target:



Hate talk radio host Alex Jones has gotten into the act:

Last October, hundreds of armed people gathered for a rally at the Alamo in San Antonio, where Open Carry Texas had invited Alex Jones, the fringe radio host known for whipping up fans with squalls of anti-government paranoia. At the podium, an assault rifle strapped across his back, Jones got into such a lather about Hitler and Mao and the Obama administration preparing to "enslave" Americans that he blew out his voice in less than five minutes. "These scumbags are all the same!" he shouted. He described a worldwide conspiracy to take away everyone's guns, whose perpetrators included "the few dozen Democratic Party operatives they're gonna have marching here in a little while, the so-called moms."

Read on to find out how he tried to intimidate a parent who lost his daughter in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.

Thanks, Octafish! I've long been critical of the way the Space Shuttle's design was........

.....compromised from the beginning. I'm also very critical of the way that some technologies from the Shuttle era are being recycled for asteroid and Mars missions intended for the 2020s and 2030s, mostly the same segmented solid rockets used on the Shuttle.

I did a quick Google search on "Prescription for Disaster Challenger." One of the more interesting sources I found was a pdf file of a report from the University of Texas Austin for a course in Studies in Ethics, Safety, and Liability for Engineers:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=23&ved=0CDkQFjACOBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.engr.sjsu.edu%2Fnikos%2Fcourses%2Fae171%2FSS%2520Design.doc&ei=RdtrU5O2EYqpyAGW6YCQDA&usg=AFQjCNEtDtoynqohGA3QvnWQXbbitPTtJQ&sig2=wA_ZZaBvA4V4K7PSNE1oLA&bvm=bv.66111022,bs.1,d.cWc

The authors asked some very important ethics and safety questions:

There are many questions involving safety and/or ethics that are raised when we examine the history of the development of the Solid Rocket Boosters. The ethics questions are complex. If high standards of ethical conduct are to be maintained, then each person must differentiate between right and wrong and must follow the course which is determined to be the right or ethical course. Frequently, the determination of right or wrong is not simple, and good arguments can be made on both sides of the question. Some of the issues raised by examining the history of the SRBs are listed below.

1. Are solid rocket boosters inherently too dangerous to use on manned spacecraft? If so, why are they a part of the design of the Space Shuttle System?
2. Was safety traded for political acceptability in the design of the Space Shuttle?
3. Did the pressure to succeed cause too many things to be promised to too many people during the design of the Space Shuttle?
4. Did the need to maintain the keep costs low force decision makers to compromise safety in the decision to use SRBs with manned vehicles?
5. In awarding the SRB contract to Morton Thiokol, NASA did not violate any laws--but did it violate ethical standards?

50 years ago, Alan Shepherd was the first American in space

Photos from Space.com: http://www.space.com/11554-photos-nasa-mercury-alan-shepard-freedom-7-spaceflight.html













I've seen actual Mercury capsules at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, AL and at the Johnson Space Center. Once you've seen one of them, you'll realize why the requirements for the Mercury astronauts included a maximum height!
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