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  • Bad Faith Awards 2009: Pope Benedict XVI emerges victorious
    Every year, New Humanist presents its Bad Faith Award to the individual deemed by readers to have made the most outstanding contribution to the cause of unreason. Last year saw a runaway victory for erstwhile US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, as she romped home with a stunning 33 per cent of the vote. The polls for this year’s award opened in November, and once again they produced a clear winner – the Holy Father himself, Pope Benedict XVI. He polled an enormous 32 per cent of the 7,037 votes cast – here's a pie chart breaking it all down, and below is the order in which the ten contenders came.
    (tip to Pedantsareus)
  • More on coincidence – or, did space aliens build Woolworths?
  • Israel's Gaza blockade continues to suffocate daily life
    The reality is that the blockade does not target armed groups but rather punishes Gaza’s entire population by restricting the entry of food, medical supplies, educational equipment and building materials,” said Malcolm Smart, Middle East and North Africa Director, Amnesty International.
  • Ricky Gervais on His Atheism

 

Comments

I'd heard that story from Gervais before, but this line is great:

I wish there was a god [...]but the impossibility is overwhelming

FYI, there is an extra quotation mark in the HTML for the second link. It causes it not to work properly in my RSS reader.

Wow - I thought Ricky Gervais was just very funny - I didn't know about his background or thinking. I had no idea. He is a very appealing man.

He is a very appealing man.

i'm not gay (no, really! i promise!) but this is the truth. it's the "secret" of his celebrity, and i wish him the best, he's really great.

re: gaza:

i just wonder why the blockade of gaza is always referred to as "israeli" instead of "israeli/egyptian". the egyptians, fellow arabs and theoretically sympathetic to the suffering of their bretheren, control gaza's southern border and if they wanted to allow freedom of movement or trade they could. could it be that hamas is considered a danger to public security by a nation other than israel? an arab nation, at that? how could this be?

also, norm, why not post something about the amazing work the israeli ARMY is doing in haiti? last i heard they have the only properly functioning field hospital in the whole country. and that includes the americans, who seem to be more concerned with security issues and flipping the bird to the french. god knows why.

last i heard they have the only properly functioning field hospital in the whole country.
the americans...seem to be more concerned with...flipping the bird to the french.

So, there is apparently a connection here, since Israel would not have had the "only" field hospital in the country if it wasn't for the US Army.

I don't want to be too cynical, but this sure smacks of the US setting up the stories about the heroic Israeli aid effort for PR purposes...

well, that is one of the most cynical things i've ever seen you say, bugjah. it's not backed up by your article, though it does seem to provide some insight into the jostling between the u.s. and france.

the idf team sent to haiti was and is completely self-sufficient. if the u.s. hadn't decided to secure the airport i have no doubt israel could have done so with aplomb. there's no doubt a p.r. aspect to ALL the missions sent but i don't see some u.s./israeli conspiracy to make israel look good here. the fact is israel is better at disaster relief than anyone, that's just how it is. the reasons for this may be unfortunate but there you go.

btw if i wasn't clear: yes the u.s. turned away a french unit (which arrived the next day) but it certainly hasn't prevented the setting up of field hospitals in general, including their own. there are plenty of field hospitals operating there now, it's just that there's only one (israel's) that's fully functional and independant.

...but why would you turn away a field hospital under these circumstances?

I haven't seen an explanation; maybe there is one.

I also wonder what the chain of command is on these decisions about who lands and who doesn't. I certainly don't envision Obama's white house staff making a priority landing list. Maybe it's a Bush era general who still hates the French for trying to block the Iraq war. Who knows.

What I wrote when I said "US", thus, was obverstated. Still there's something fishy here.

the IDF delegation is also giving assistance "to people from emergency crews from all over the world, who simply are not capable of dealing with everyone who needs help and giving them treatment. For example, when we understood that the Dominican team is not set up to provide full treatment, we created an order by which they stabilize the patients and we give them the remainder of the treatment.”

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