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Freethinkers welcome!

Justin Webb | 23:25 UK time, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Non-believers are welcome in Obama's America! This phrase from his speech struck me as a rather pointed effort to include a group of Americans - those who are not blessed by God - in the general mood. This was it: "A nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and
Hindus - and nonbelievers."

Not in itself a dramatic move away from faith - and he certainly was not referring to himself - but a shuffle at least away from the religiosity of the Bush years. It will be these tonal changes that make Obama's America much more palatable to Europeans. Freethinking, in the old-fashioned sense of not professing a religion, is about to become acceptable in polite American society in a way it has not been since Richard Nixon first began the tradition of invoking the Lord whenever possible.

Comments

  • 1. At 11:44pm on 20 Jan 2009, akhajawall wrote:

    For any organization and or agency it is critical to avoid and minimize following processes:

    1. Personalization.
    2. Privatization.
    3. Favoritism.
    4. Intimidation.
    5. Scapegoating.
    6. Finger pointing.
    7. Blaming.
    8. Collateral language.
    9. Double talk.
    10. Blaming.
    11. Diverse communication.
    12. Faternization.
    13. Discrimnization.

    Solutions come thru improvisation, creativeness, clear and candid communication. Inclusive contribution, effort and time matters during any time particularly during challenging times and tasks.

    Yours truly,

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

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  • 2. At 11:46pm on 20 Jan 2009, mikequentel wrote:

    USA is now an Obama Nation!

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  • 3. At 11:57pm on 20 Jan 2009, juliandbsmith wrote:

    Hallelujah and Amen to that, at last a Christian politician that speaks with the tolerance of Christ.

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  • 4. At 00:02am on 21 Jan 2009, theodg wrote:

    While religion certainly appeared to play a lesser role in the election, and that phrase was interesting, the inauguration as a whole certainly had a religious air to it. I've often thought that America's separation of church and state meant more that it didn't matter which specific church you belonged to than that religion didn't figure in politics at all.

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  • 5. At 00:04am on 21 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    Perhaps if the Chief Justice had not prompted him, President Obama might not have said "So help me, God." It is not obligatory and would have underscored what he was about to say.

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  • 6. At 00:11am on 21 Jan 2009, TimothyR444 wrote:

    What a very, very odd post.

    I wonder if Mr. Webb actually spends time among Americans.

    The polite atheism he extols and praises has been the general view of theAmerican academic, scientific and journalist elite for decades.

    Obama's celebration of "non-believers" is simply acknowledging the general view of the left. If a lack of belief in God makes Europeans feel more secure, they will no doubt revel in this. But it is certainly nothing new.

    Again - what a very, very odd post.

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  • 7. At 00:15am on 21 Jan 2009, MarkSpencer1966 wrote:

    Justin, I think you're absolutely right with this. By its nature, the speech had to be fairly subtle about inserting indicators of change, which included this and references to the US being a friend to "all nations", and hints at a more flexible attitude to climate change and global warming.

    The US has been viewed with a deepening unease by the rest of the world for its often overtly religious shaping of policy and openly hostile view of atheism. Hopefully, the inspirational tone of the speech will be matched by firm, steady policy decisions toward a more tolerant and outward-looking United States.

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  • 8. At 00:17am on 21 Jan 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    How refreshing to hear an Inaugural speech devoid of sound bites, political digs, and feel good assertions! Obama conveyed in 18 minutes a sober assessment of our economic situation and a blueprint of his domestic and foreign policies that are inspiring and much needed at a time when people are demoralized and in desperate need of leadership.

    The pragmatism and vision that are evident in his speech are consistent with the wisdom of his appointments (Panetta notwithstanding) and reflect a centrist vision to problem solving that contrasts with the partisanship and actions of recent Administrations.

    Obviously, it is too early to know how the world - and his fellow citizens - will react to his call for policies of inclusion, tolerance, respect for others, and the need to sacrifice and make an extra effort to solve the problems we are facing.

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  • 9. At 00:25am on 21 Jan 2009, asnac1 wrote:

    This is the best thing Obama has said so far. I hope he genuinely *believes* it.

    It has long infuriated me that the US and UK have explicitly Christian governmental ideologies. In the UK we have come some way towards treating other religions equally. But this is the first instance I can remember of a world leader even mentioning a lack of belief as a credible option.

    Let's hope the next step is to remove the 'one nation indivisible under God' nonsense, and the absurd (Papal) title of Defender of the Faith for the British monarch.

    I also hope that having a seemingly enlightened man in charge of America may end the horrific spectre of religious conflict that is still inexpicably with the modern world. Bush using God as an excuse to justify his invasion of Iraq made me think of Pope Urban launching the Crusades in the eleventh century.

    Let's live in the twenty-first century instead, and use logic and reason to guide our actions...

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  • 10. At 00:30am on 21 Jan 2009, Jordan D wrote:

    In my office, we all commented about how he seemed to brush aside "and all those of other religions".

    Yet another mistake from Obama today?

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  • 11. At 00:39am on 21 Jan 2009, chapelwarf wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 12. At 00:45am on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I liked the offered hand to the unclenched fist...

    I'm a multi-believer ;-)

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  • 13. At 00:54am on 21 Jan 2009, Orville Eastland wrote:

    While I am a Christian and a religious believer, I am glad to see that a President is trying to avoid couching many of his actions in religion, thus taking God's name in vain.

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  • 14. At 01:07am on 21 Jan 2009, allmymarbles wrote:

    As a non-believer, I thank you.

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  • 15. At 01:14am on 21 Jan 2009, selfevidenttruths wrote:

    Glad you noticed it. It struck me as well. There were some other remarks that were interesting too. I have seen the speech criticized for being low key, but I thought it was very good, and will probably get better with time.

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  • 16. At 01:20am on 21 Jan 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    I have trouble accepting the idea of an experienced lawyer, judge, and Chief Justice forgetting the Oath of Office during a Presidential Inauguration. Is this man as qualified for the job as some suggest he is, or was his faux pas intentional?

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  • 17. At 01:23am on 21 Jan 2009, selfevidenttruths wrote:

    Obama is the Tiger Woods of the political world: every other politician seems very ordinary, and in the case of our lot in the UK ... expletive deleted ...

    ps: watched Bush's 'rally', very strange ... I almost was starting to give him a little credit till I saw this. He should have never been president.

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  • 18. At 01:49am on 21 Jan 2009, Marvin wrote:

    "Freethinkers welcome!" What nonsense, everybody thinks. Some choose to put their faith - after careful consideration - into religion and God, others into non-religion, that's all.

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  • 19. At 02:08am on 21 Jan 2009, spader003 wrote:

    One of the prominent messages in Obama's speech today was that of strength through diversity, and the fact that he included the section of non-believers while discussing religious diversity was a surprising and welcomed distinction. Freedom of religion offers Americans the right to worship however we please - or to not worship at all.

    It'll be a great time when we get to the point of respecting each other's belief systems, whether they are opposite or reflective of our own.

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  • 20. At 02:21am on 21 Jan 2009, Cassandra wrote:

    As one who was offended by the hypocrisy of Bush and his cronies - not to mention their attempts to make the rest of us live in accordance with their personal religious agenda - I say Halleluiah!

    How refreshing to have a man of intelligence, a man with a respect for science, take over from an administration where facts were swept under the rug and scientific papers were rewritten by Conservative minions.

    If Bush has left in a cloud of flying monkeys, I could hardly be more pleased to have him gone!

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  • 21. At 02:23am on 21 Jan 2009, chiong wrote:

    I am a non-believer of any religions, cults or sects, but i believe in HEAVEN, TAO OR GOD.
    does that mean I am a freethinker as depicted by Obama. If not, what is a freethinker, an atheiest or theist.
    Surely the word freethinker is misleading.

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  • 22. At 02:30am on 21 Jan 2009, Morgaine_VLB wrote:

    About time! Nonbelievers pay taxes and perform the same civic duties as "believers"; why shouldn't they be welcome?

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  • 23. At 02:43am on 21 Jan 2009, coloradojude wrote:

    That was the line I cheered for today. In my overly-religious public high school, I would never dare to tell any but a few trusted friends that I am an atheist--the subtle mistreatment (not to mention prayers) that would follow would make the situation untenable. Today, as a single parent, I felt included. As a typical USian mutt, I felt included. As a Democrat, I felt included. As an environmentalist, I felt included. As a human rights advocate, I felt included. As an atheist, I felt included. No wonder I'm feeling it--hope.

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  • 24. At 02:51am on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    What a difference between the inauguration of the President of the United States of America and the coronation of a monarch. This was about all 300 million of us and the man we have granted the privilege to hold the highest elected office of power over us temporarily. That power can be revoked at any time if he abuses it beyond our endurance.

    I was switching channels last night between the movie "The Queen" and Charlie Rose who had among his guests BBC's Katty Kay. I hadn't seen The Queen before but I understand it is supposed to be a reasonably accurate portrayal. It reminded me that Britain is where 17th century make believe Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses meet up with late 20th and early 21st century reality. What a farce the place is. People there actually take it seriously. Well that shows that there is more than an ocean of water or even an ocean of culture between the US and the UK but also an ocean of time. I am so reminded of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels and the land of Lilliput every time I think about the UK and its continental siblings. Do Brits think about Brobdingnag when they contemplate America?

    I still have a hunch Katty Kay is job hunting. I know she likes PBS and NPR but the real money is in the commercial networks. Will NBC make her an offer she can't refuse? I wouldn't be surprised on any given day if I learned that she'd made the jump. What irony if her first assignment was as NBC's correspondent based in London.

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  • 25. At 02:58am on 21 Jan 2009, brendanstallard wrote:

    If I had a vote, Obama would get it for that alone. I am heartily fed up with Bush praying all over the shop, and bombing foreigners after the church service.



    brendan

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  • 26. At 03:19am on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    I was hoping he would not end with "God Bless America." "God Bless the World" would have been a nice touch. Or better yet, "God Save America / the World."
    If there is a God I don't know if s/he has time to be blessing countries.

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  • 27. At 03:49am on 21 Jan 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    Separation of church and state! What is so difficult to comprehend? Why stoke the fire needlessly?!
    Oh! Excuse me, I think my toad stew is burning on the stove.

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  • 28. At 03:57am on 21 Jan 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    Stoking the fire, i mean,by having any man of the cloth speak.
    I am a freethinker and all i have to say is baby steps, baby steps, but next time don't cancel one step out with another.

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  • 29. At 04:03am on 21 Jan 2009, todayinchicago wrote:

    I have to agree with TimothyR444...this is an indeed an odd post from Mr. Webb, if for no other reason than the implied link between 'freethinking' and this Obamapalooza. Have you not noticed the absolute lack of tolerance Obama fanatics have for anyone with the nerve to posit an alternative viewpoint? Even Obama mocks journalists who dare ask a question he doesn't want to answer. The hypocricy - and the inability of so many people to even recognize it - is worrisome, to say the least.

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  • 30. At 04:08am on 21 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    All,

    Was it just me, or did Michelle look

    Refined

    and elegant.

    Admiring Sam

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  • 31. At 04:08am on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    16 saintDominick

    "Is this man as qualified for the job as some suggest he is, or was his faux pas intentional?"

    The man is either incompetent, as he was unable to deliver a 35 word oath, or it was intentional. In either case he appears unqualified for the job and should consider resigning.


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  • 32. At 04:11am on 21 Jan 2009, TimothyR444 wrote:

    Mark Spencer 1966:

    "The US has been viewed with a deepening unease by the rest of the world for its often overtly religious shaping of policy and openly hostile view of atheism. Hopefully, the inspirational tone of the speech will be matched by firm, steady policy decisions toward a more tolerant and outward-looking United States."

    This is certainly not the case at all. You need not worry about the prevalence and depth of atheism in the US. It is very widespread, and ridicule and criticism of Christianity are found everywhere.

    There is a strong and very troubling intolerance towards Christianity in Europe: this absence of tolerance is a serious issue. There is no need to be concerned about the US. Europe has a rather more serious problem with intolerance. It is nececcsary in this case to stop going after Americans (enjoyable but not always productive) and the prejudice that is now so widespread.

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  • 33. At 04:15am on 21 Jan 2009, TimothyR444 wrote:

    Chary8:

    "Freethinkers welcome!" What nonsense, everybody thinks. Some choose to put their faith - after careful consideration - into religion and God, others into non-religion, that's all."

    I quite agree.

    The idea that only atheists are free is troubling indeed.

    Truly, there is no intolerance as deep and as profound as the intolerance of the left!

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  • 34. At 04:29am on 21 Jan 2009, priva4221 wrote:

    Justin,
    How's ths for free thinkers?
    As the Bush helicopter passed overhead, most of those in the Mall were not waving, they were waving, pointedly, GoodBye, as in good riddance.
    Now, free thinkers, try doing exaclty half of that, following the example of our new President: THINK, use the grey cells.
    I know, we're all not used to having an intelligent President, at least one without the bombast ego (Clinton), dictatorial ego (Nixon) or inexperience (Carter), or puffery (Reagan), or torpor (Ford), or promoted to Peter principle (Bush 1) or payback well-meaning (Johnson), or, god forbid ever again, hand-up-the-back puppetry (Bush II). But we have a new day, America thrives on "new" and "improved" - now's our chance to look up and aspire for more - more intelligence, more common sense, more honesty and, yes, more prosperity. Within 6 years this train wreck will be steaming ahead once agin, no worries, providing we play our constructive part.

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  • 35. At 04:31am on 21 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    Justin,

    Amen to that.

    Happy sam

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  • 36. At 04:34am on 21 Jan 2009, lawchicago wrote:

    Justin's comment about Nixon is apt as we all know what a right thinking Christian man he was from the tapes of his private conversations.

    perhaps behaving like a person of faith or values will become more appropriate than just mouthing the words

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  • 37. At 05:19am on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    32 TimothyR444 wrote:

    "There is a strong and very troubling intolerance towards Christianity in Europe: this absence of tolerance is a serious issue. There is no need to be concerned about the US. Europe has a rather more serious problem with intolerance."

    I can only really speak for Britain, only otherwise knowing something of Belgium and France. But we are not 'intolerant' of Christianity. We have become over the years a fundamentally secular society of humanists and just not very happy with religious bigotry of any kind in the main.

    It's just that we don't understand all this 'God Bless America" stuff that we've heard (and hear) so often from American politicians in a country that is supposed to constitutionally separate Church (or Meeting House, Synagogue, Temple, Mosque) from State.

    As PM Blair once said, if he'd gone on about his own faith over here, we would have thought he was nuts. Most of us neither know nor care what religion (if any) our elected representatives profess.

    (I didn't know David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, was Jewish, for example, until someone mentioned it on this blog. Whether he actually professes Judaism most I imagine neither know nor care. nor outside idle curiosity could be bothered to ask.)

    I think it was Lord Melbourne (British PM in the 1830's) who said "Religion is all very well as long as it doesn't interfere with one's private life." We've mostly added sotto voce "or public . . ." ever since.

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  • 38. At 06:05am on 21 Jan 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Justin:
    That is excellent news for any and all free-thinkers are being welcome!

    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 39. At 06:18am on 21 Jan 2009, regular_josephina wrote:

    Spirituality is a very personal thing, often quite separate from religion. It's hard to publicly address everybody in the same sentence. But no matter where we settle on the spirituality spectrum, we can always find common ground. Parents of every spiritual persuasion want a better world for their children.

    I'm hoping Obama will set a good example of inclusion and civilized debate - it will remind us to treat each other better as fellow citizens. I'm impressed by how he and Michelle put their family first above all else. It's a great example and reminder to the rest of us of what our priorities should be.

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  • 40. At 06:22am on 21 Jan 2009, asadniazi wrote:

    It is welcome to see the inclusion of atheists or 'non-believers' in the President's speech, and hopefully, in the space more often reserved for 'believers'.

    However, I as an atheist, do consider myself a believer. I just believe in an ever-evolving way of thinking and living, instead of blind faith in any organized religion or even a supreme spiritual power.

    I think I also speak for other atheists (and maybe agnostics) when I say I believe: I believe in asking questions and seeking rational answers. I believe in the fact that a statement is strictly true only until an instance to the contrary is observed. I believe that all religions arose from great philosophers, visionaries and leaders, mortals nevertheless, who understood social behavior and brought their followers together to be able to live in harmony. I believe in equality among people. I believe in the right to be different without being considered wrong.

    Belief in freedom from religion is as affirmative as belief in one's personal choice of religion.

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  • 41. At 06:51am on 21 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #24. MarcusAureliusII: "What a difference between the inauguration of the President of the United States of America and the coronation of a monarch. This was about all 300 million of us and the man we have granted the privilege to hold the highest elected office of power over us temporarily."

    Of that 300 million, only about a fifth of the Electorate voted for President Obama. A trifle over 50 percent of the vote - that means about 237 million - expressed no preference.

    The Coronation of the British Monarch is, as you should well know, a very different constitutional matter to the Inauguration of a President. The system works for the British, so why not accept it for what it is? Not every nation on earth wishes to conform to the American notion of what is right or wrong. Of course, monarchs have been dismissed, being subservient to Parliament - poor King Charles, not to mention Mary, Queen of Scots. Rather more permanent than forced resignation or impeachment.

    "Britain is where 17th century make believe Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses meet up with late 20th and early 21st century reality. What a farce the place is."

    They aren't exactly "make believe" since they really are flesh and bone! This isn't the place for a defence of the British Monarchy, but it serves a useful purpose and does not, as you so glibly phrase it, make Great Britain "a farce". Indeed, today, Aretha Franklin sang the melody of the British national anthem - it just happened to have a different lyric. You see, the British influence is everywhere, even when it's called "America".

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  • 42. At 06:57am on 21 Jan 2009, WillyLawless wrote:

    Obama inserted the phrase "non-believers" into his speech as a cheap way of cashing in on the anti-religious hysteria of the last 8 years. Obama is religious and thus his faith will influence his decisions and actions, just like Bush.

    It's incredible how a carefully calculated piece of verbal fluff in a speech can set the gums of the gullible flapping about a "new political era." One can only assume that such people are prone to believing what they hear on TV commercials, too.

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  • 43. At 07:27am on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    #24. MarcusAureliusII

    "Britain is where 17th century make believe Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses meet up with late 20th and early 21st century reality. What a farce the place is."

    One of those princes actually runs a profitable (and 'green') multi-million pound food business, in case you didn't know. And it isn't peanuts, Marcus . . .(The bikkies and the sausages are great.)

    Just give over, you're boring us. It's about as sensible as me saying it's a farce when a constitution written in the 18th century meets the reality of the 21st. . .

    Just remember that Bush and his cronies have been adapting, or at least reinterpreting to suit, bits of that on the quiet over the last few years for their 'war on terror', and it looks as though Obama (trying to get on-topic again) will not carry that on.

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  • 44. At 07:33am on 21 Jan 2009, AmericanSon wrote:

    Did you really feel unwelcome in the "old" America? That is interesting and sad. But I guess if Mr. Obama's words make you feel welcome, then so be it! Come on in you were always welcome!

    This Christian and his friends are praying for God's blessings on Obama and our government--protection for him and wisdom in leadership for his whole administration. We prayed the same for Bush and would have prayed the same for McCain had he won. God supersedes politics, race, nationality and whether or not you believe in Him or not.

    The prayer "God bless America" (at least to me and those Christians I know) is not to ask for God's special blessings so that we may just be prosperous and secure and have worldly rewards, but so that He may use us as a people to share His blessings with the world. It is also a prayer to acknowledge that it is by His grace that we even exist as a nation and have come as far as we have. Many though, have made this a trite little saying.

    No one is trying to set up a government sponsored religion and no one except maybe a few cranks or perhaps those who promote sharia law want that.

    You can be Christian and support secular separation of religion and state as long as the secular doesn’t crush the religious. To have faith in a God who has no meaning or place in your private or public life is not worth having at all. To be tolerant does not have to be silent--it just means that you have to let those who want to live their lives according to their world view live it, at least so long as they allow you to live yours.

    If a Christian tries to tell you about being saved through Jesus, it is ok to just say "I am not interested". A Christian should then leave you alone.

    I understand that to a non-believer just being confronted by Christ could feel like harassment. But to a Christian, if you have not been saved, then you are lost and it is only because we have been commissioned by Christ to spread his Good News that we have reached out to you.

    To us, it is like the non-Christian is standing on a train track with their back to the on-coming train and we are simply trying to warn you to get off the track; yet the person does not believe there is a train much less a track! To make matters worse, there are other people on the track that are trying to keep you there.

    Conversely, when secular society tries to influence a Christian with non-Christian values and world views, it is up to the Christian to walk away from it. And trust me--there are many more serious "harassments" from secular society that a Christian endures than the random Christian who hands out literature to you, or the occasional "God bless" you may hear (which is usually spoken by someone who doesn't give much care about God at all anyway).

    If a secular view is immoral and being passed as law and forced upon the Christian, then it is up to the Christian to vote against those laws or the people who support those laws and seek their abolishment because it poses a conflict which--to a believer--secular society must lose:

    God tells us to obey our government's laws, but when they oppose His, we cannot follow them as God's law trumps man's laws. If man's laws are not based on that which is right and true, then they are flawed.

    The question of course, is how do you determine what is the truth upon which our laws should be based?

    To a Christian, the answer is simple. To the secularist, it is not so simple.

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  • 45. At 08:05am on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    44, AmericanSon wrote:

    "The question of course, is how do you determine what is the truth upon which our laws should be based?

    To a Christian, the answer is simple. To the secularist, it is not so simple."

    I wonder. The Sixth (or Fifth, depending) Commandment seems to cause believers a lot more trouble than secularists/humanists, though, doesn't it?

    Law, however, is a matter of justice, and has been for thousands of years before Christianity in some parts of the world; it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with 'truth'. That's a very common error. 'Truth' is for philosophy--or religion. Secularists or humanists try to balance the two.

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  • 46. At 08:25am on 21 Jan 2009, Lee Roy Sanders, Jr. wrote:

    Freethinkers welcome! The knowledge of the world not held bound by a religion or some societies idea of science or any subject man held to that not developed by the individual. There is so much misinformation and abuse of the truth life has to be personally held accountable. Else wise we are just spoon fed drones never thinking and only repeating with no understanding and unemotional wishing for a meaning to something we can't think about and must reply with.

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  • 47. At 08:39am on 21 Jan 2009, Belmons wrote:

    18. At 01:49am on 21 Jan 2009, Chary8 wrote:

    "Freethinkers welcome!" What nonsense, everybody thinks. Some choose to put their faith - after careful consideration - into religion and God, others into non-religion, that's all.


    No, Chary8, it's you who are talking nonense.
    "Faith" is the opposite of "thinking". The intelligent non-religious don't have faith, they believe that for which there is evidence. Look up the word faith. It actually means belief in the absence of evidence.

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  • 48. At 09:33am on 21 Jan 2009, Duncan in Edinburgh wrote:

    Chary8, the problem is that many others choose to put their faith in "God" with no consideration at all - except that that is what their families have always done, and they feel safer to think there is some great sky-god looking down on them.

    Thought is truly the opposite of faith. Faith is designed to replace thought with unthinking loyalty to the tribe.

    Perhaps in another 40 years we will see a proudly atheist president taking the inaugural oath. That would truly be a momentous step forward for your country.

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  • 49. At 10:11am on 21 Jan 2009, DNAtheist wrote:

    Let's think about what the term 'Freethinking' might mean in this context: The Freedom from religious dogma and institutionalised faith to Think for oneself, drawing conclusions about the Universe we inhabit based on logic, reason and evidence. Faith is, as has been pointed out ad nauseam, anathema to critical thinking.

    The fact that Obama gave that nod to the 'non-believer' (a fair umbrella term given the occasion to cover such positions as secularism, agnosticism, atheism, etc) I found healthy, in a country whose politics are so overtly mixed with religion...

    ...A fact undoubtedly confirmed by the pastoral prayer, which my wife had to leave the room for (presumably to find a bucket). I, however, watching and listening, whilst stemming the tide of nausea (with great intestinal fortitude I might add), was struck by how, if one removed the references to god, it was a statement that amounted to little more than: Can't we just be nice to each other?

    I note Mr Webb asserts that Obama "certainly was not referring to himself" in relation to 'non-believers'. Personally, I would not be at all surprised if what is professed in public does not match private opinions. Obama is certainly savvy enough to understand that America is, sadly, a long way from being able to accept a secular President, despite its obvious necessity. I'll go no further with that line of speculation, simply leaving the implication open...

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  • 50. At 10:17am on 21 Jan 2009, thornton_reed wrote:

    #37

    I've got to agree. The matter of faith (or lack of) just doesn't hold the same sway over here. It doesn't mean its not respected. Just not put on the same pedestal.

    Oh re: politician's faith. Nobody over here cares...unless, of course, they started having one to one talk-time with God...

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  • 51. At 10:27am on 21 Jan 2009, DNAtheist wrote:

    No.24

    As off topic as such a comment is, yet another typically blanket dismissal of an entire country (as witnessed in the barely veiled bigotry of "What a farce that place is") cannot go unchallenged.

    Britian is oft lauded, perhaps ironically, as the King (Queen, Prince, Princess, take your pick) of farce and satire. A notable proportion of British people would ascribe to the position on the royal family so succinctly coined by Bill Bailey "A bunch of unelected spongers". Still others would wax lyrical on the good works of the future king, who has seen his position as coming with great responsibility and who chooses to challenge politicians and 'make a nuisance of himself' (in a good way). Judging by your commentary your experience of Britain and the British people must be very limited indeed, and is thus, at best, to be chuckled at and dismissed (rather ironically I feel) as quaint and backwater.

    "That power can be revoked at any time if he abuses it beyond our endurance".

    Apparently the reality of the peoples' power falls far short of the principle. Otherwise, Dubya would surely have been out on his sorry backside years ago.

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  • 52. At 10:36am on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    You know, I just can't get my head around Justin's last sentence. Was it really Nixon, of all people, who started that?

    Good . . er, hum, I mean, dear me.

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  • 53. At 10:40am on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    52, thornton_reed wrote:

    #37
    Oh re: politician's faith. Nobody over here cares...unless, of course, they started having one to one talk-time with God...

    We did wonder once or twice, didn't we? I seem to remember Paxo asking and TB looking a bit sheepish. . .

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  • 54. At 10:44am on 21 Jan 2009, Freakontheguitar wrote:

    I liked that particular phrase of the speech.

    I have never understood why, in countries that profess freedom of religion, someone's faith still plays such a big role. In the US and many other countries it is still deemed impossible to become president or prime minister if you are not a Christian.

    It is also said that a Catholic has no chance of becoming prime minister of Britain, whilst a non-Catholic can forget about heading up the European Commission. That practically rules out the Greeks and the Scandinavians for that particular position.

    But then, some people said the same things about the possibility of a black US President, and now we have one. And if it weren't for him there would probably be a woman at the helm now, and that would heve been quite a novelty too.

    So yes, I liked Obama's referral to the nonbelievers. Suddenly anything seems possible!

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  • 55. At 10:44am on 21 Jan 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    I am UU so I am NOT sure!


    To Samtyler1969
    Yes, she is elegant. In eight years you can vote for her!

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  • 56. At 10:53am on 21 Jan 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    What I can't believe is is how several of my e-mails to this Blog keep disappearing in the ether with seemingly no record of them at all!?

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  • 57. At 10:57am on 21 Jan 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    As a non-believer - in hype, in platitudes, in a predeliction for grandstanding without substance - I'm amongst the seemingly few who viewed President Obama's inauguration with real misgivings.

    To compare Barak Obama with the late, great President John F Kennedy, is to show a complete lack of understanding of the formulative moments in each man's life and more especially their individual preparedness for the enormous burden within the Oval Office.

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  • 58. At 11:00am on 21 Jan 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    Addendum to my #55

    About twenty years ago those I have called 'the god squad' produced bumper stickers that read:

    "Honk if you love Jesus"

    Unitarian's replied with their own bumper sticker that read:

    "Honk if you are not sure"

    I am not at all sure but I am open to the wisdom of many.

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  • 59. At 11:03am on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    51 DNAtheist wrote:

    "Apparently the reality of the peoples' power falls far short of the principle."

    I presume he was thinking of impeachment, but I've looked it up, and only two presidents out of (now, just) 44 have ever been impeached (both on pretty flimsy, spurious, or purely party grounds or all three together, really) and both were acquitted.

    My school American history is a bit hazy, but I can think of two (pre-Nixon) who surely should have been. A threat more honoured in the breach than the observance, perhaps.

    Our governing political parties have got rid of three (or four, depending how you count) unpopular PMs by themselves (saving the voters the bother) just since 1956 . . .

    Oh, and a King 70 years ago. But they're dispensable anyway.

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  • 60. At 11:05am on 21 Jan 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Marcus AureliusII for all our sakes including your own just give it a rest will you! The tedium of your often repeated jaundiced views on the rest of the world is at an all time high.

    I repeat my advice of a few days ago: Seek professional help for your condition. I know its very hard for you to take that first, vulnerable and nerve-racking step, but it will feel so much better once you have.

    I'm sure you've seen the films and documentaries... You stand up amongst a bunch of concerned strangers and say, "My name is... and I am an inexorable bore..."

    I'm sure within moments they'll gather round and already your lonely, frightened existence will be behind you as you realise there are others as low as you in the chain whom life has simply passed on by.

    Take heart! You are not alone! Just lonely!

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  • 61. At 11:12am on 21 Jan 2009, SCL wrote:

    God Bless America! Spot on #3.

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  • 62. At 11:14am on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    54. At 10:44am on 21 Jan 2009, Freakontheguitar wrote:

    "It is also said that a Catholic has no chance of becoming prime minister of Britain"

    Is it? TB was near enough, and his kids went to a Catholic school. Are you thinking of the Act of Settlement? That bars a Catholic from becoming King or Queen (Bloody Mary's reign was a rather unpleasant experience, not to be repeated) but an amendment to allow that is actually coming up in Parliament now.

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  • 63. At 11:21am on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    58 aquarizonagal

    A propos the now famous ad on the London buses (there aren't a lot of them about, actually, and I haven't seen one yet) supposedly it had to be changed from "There is no God" to "There probably is no God" because the Advertising Standards Agency said they couldn't actually prove the truth of their claim . . .(Richard Dawkins notwithstanding.) Needs a bit of work . . .

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  • 64. At 11:26am on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    60, ikamaskeip wrote:

    MAII: "Take heart! You are not alone! Just lonely!"

    Well, he did seem to have a couple of mates here, but we suspected they might be him as well. So I think you were right the first time. "Alone" will do. "Isolated" better. "Gone" we can just hope for.

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  • 65. At 11:26am on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Sam (30),

    "did Michelle look
    Refined
    and elegant."
    And, according to some, a "little bit" pregnant....

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 66. At 11:35am on 21 Jan 2009, Scott_From_Columbus wrote:

    I, too, zeroed in on that. It's odd that freethinkers (and that is a perfect choice of word) are basically a majority in the US. Not a silent majority, but a SILENCED majority.

    The main dynamic that has changed is from the rural to the urban - and I think this is a sign of that. In the US, because of the electoral college and the way the Senate is arranged, less populous states have the electoral advantage. So, a politician who wanted elected had to cater to that population. We can debate weather that worked or not, but I do know Obama engaged the urban and north-eastern majorities and won by a landslide. Hopefully, this sets the new paradigm.

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  • 67. At 11:43am on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Chiong (21),.

    " I am a non-believer of any religions, cults or sects, but i believe in HEAVEN, TAO OR GOD"
    The only problem I have with Humanism, "secular" or otherwise, is its lack of humility, not to say its Hubris.
    "Ravish capacity: reap consequences.
    Man claims the first a duty and calls what follows Tragedy.
    Insult -- Backlash. Not even the universe can break
    This primal link. Who, then, has the power
    To put an end to tragedy? Only those who recognize
    Hubris in themselves."
    Garreett Hardin


    Shanthi
    ed
    "Tao ch`ung
    TAO is empty
    Its use never exhausted.
    Bottomless
    The origin of all things.
    It blunts sharp edges,
    Unties knots,
    Softens glare,
    Becomes one with the dusty world.
    Deeply subsistent
    I don't know whose child it is.
    It is older than the Ancestor."
    Lao Tzu, ~450BCE

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  • 68. At 11:43am on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "The polite atheism he extols and praises has been the general view of theAmerican academic, scientific and journalist elite for decades.

    One might assume that these are among the best educated, most intelligent Americans (jounalists excluded, possibly.) What is very odd is how the education and intelligence of these people is being disqualified by basically uneducated people who assume they are right because they 'believe' they are right. One's religion should be a personal thing, not something that one should annoy others with.
    When push comes to shove, American religion doesn't even have that much to do with the teachings of Christ. Acoording to Christ it is, after all, more dificult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. (And yes, He meant that in the most literal sense imaginable.) So the American assumption that material success proves that one is being favoured by God is in actual fact a blasphemy. In America religion has always been used to justify social inequality rather than eradicate it. That is most unchristian.

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  • 69. At 11:46am on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "About twenty years ago those I have called 'the god squad' produced bumper stickers that read:

    "Honk if you love Jesus"

    Unitarian's replied with their own bumper sticker that read:

    "Honk if you are not sure"
    "

    That must have caused quite a din.

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  • 70. At 11:51am on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    ikamaskeip (56)

    "What I can't believe is is how several of my e-mails to this Blog keep disappearing in the ether with seemingly no record of them at all!?"
    1. Before posting, make a copy in a notepad or similar text editor.
    2. If it disappears, check the copy to see if it contains an ampersand (&) and either substitute "and" or & (with semicolon!).
    3. If you're composing your post and "pasting" it into the comment box, try composing it in the box.

    The blog software has several irritating habits, including rejection of some invisible characters which might be included by some text editors....

    Some simple tricks for posting here.

    Good luck
    ed

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  • 71. At 11:51am on 21 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    DANGER! EDUCATED BLACK MAN
    Armed with Knowledge
    Nuff said.

    Black, White, Latino, Asian this DVD represents everyones views
    http://www.mixunit.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=11985

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  • 72. At 11:57am on 21 Jan 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    I am going to be perfectly honest about this. I am one of those "non believers" who has previously felt left out. I would vote in the elections, but I never really forgot Bush Senior's comments that athiests were unamerican. I've never really been a religious sort of person, but I have always believe in the first amendments which gaurentees freedom of religion. To me that means we all have the right to follow our own conscience. We can worship whomever we want. Or we can choose not to worship. That is the beauty of the first amendment.

    However, through the years evangelicals have come to believe that America was founded by Christians. They use this believe to try and inject their point of view on the entire country. That belief is not completely true. Jefferson was a deist who didn't want religion and politics to mix. What is most frieghtening about these evengelicals is that fact that they have used their religions beliefs to pass judgements on people who are differant than themselves. They ave some how managed to twist Christ's message and turn it into a message of hate. Jesus primary message was that we should all love one another.

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  • 73. At 11:58am on 21 Jan 2009, lochraven wrote:

    #41 David_Cunard
    "Indeed, today, Aretha Franklin sang the melody of the British national anthem - it just happened to have a different lyric. You see, the British influence is everywhere, even when it's called "America".

    Yes, British words put to a German melody. I believe you take credit where it isn't due. But hey! Don't sweat it; I'm sure we have more in common than some old melody.

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  • 74. At 12:00pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "But to a Christian, if you have not been saved, then you are lost"

    Will you all stop that nonsense, please? Are you God, to decide who should be saved? Maybe you should reread the parable about the good samaritan. If God exists and judges us, I presume he will look more at what we've done more than at what we professed. Conversion to any particular religion is, even according to Christ himself, completely unnecessary as long as one treats his fellow man with love and respect.
    I saw some artists during the inauguration concert singing abolut 'showering the people you love with love' or words to that effect. That's easy. What Christ wants us to do, as far as I understand it, is to shower the people who hate you with love. Now that is hard.

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  • 75. At 12:06pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "cashing in on the anti-religious hysteria of the last 8 years"

    ????????
    Where have you been for the last 8 years? I might want to go there :)

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  • 76. At 12:12pm on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Scott,

    "The main dynamic that has changed is from the rural to the urban - "
    You might find this interesting.

    Peace
    ed

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  • 77. At 12:16pm on 21 Jan 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Everyone except for the most rigid idelouge fee thinks.

    The most intolerant are those who want to force their beliefs on others.

    It doesn't matter if it Pat Robertson or michael Newdow?

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  • 78. At 12:18pm on 21 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #67 Ed

    To echo your problems with Humanism, I find it a very egotistical belief system in that the individual human becomes the centre of the universe. Human history has been an egotistical rampage where the planet is seen as something to be consumed, and people and animals are something to be used. I quite like Heidegger's notion of care.

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  • 79. At 12:21pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "Truly, there is no intolerance as deep and as profound as the intolerance of the left!"

    Truly, there is no fear as silly and unnecessary as that of the religious right. What atheists and agnostics object to in religion is its unwarranted confidence. Perhaps if millions of people over the centuries had not been slaughtered in the name of one god or another, we might feel slightly different about religion. Tell me, how tolerant are you of abortion? Or the death peanalty? You may believe a woman who resorts to abortion is a mortal sinner who will end up in hell. Then again, you may end up in hell for not allowing her the right to make her own choice. You may believe you have the right to condemn a person to death because of some crime he has committed. Maybe you'll go to hell for that. Who knows? I would be more worried about being fair and respectful towards others, no matter what they say or do, than about following any particular religion. It's better to do the right thing than to speak the right words.

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  • 80. At 12:25pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "I have trouble accepting the idea of an experienced lawyer, judge, and Chief Justice forgetting the Oath of Office during a Presidential Inauguration. Is this man as qualified for the job as some suggest he is, or was his faux pas intentional?"

    Of course it was intentional, lol. What a silly comment. What would the intention be, please?

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  • 81. At 12:25pm on 21 Jan 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 68

    "The polite atheism he extols and praises has been the general view of theAmerican academic, scientific and journalist elite for decades."

    Atheists, polite or otherwise, don't attend Church services or invite well known evangelicals to deliver invocations and sermons. His call for tolerance and compassion may be inconsistent with Christianity, but it is consistent with the teachings of the Man Obama worships.

    Take it from a disappointed agnostic.

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  • 82. At 12:32pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    67. Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The only problem I have with Humanism. . .

    Why I used it with a lower-case h. . .

    Liked the Machiavelli quote. Should be posted in prominent view on the walls of a lot of Washington thinktanks. And the Pentagon and Hillary's desk, come to think of it.

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  • 83. At 12:38pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    73, lochraven wrote:

    "#41 David_Cunard
    "Indeed, today, Aretha Franklin sang the melody of the British national anthem - it just happened to have a different lyric. You see, the British influence is everywhere, even when it's called "America".

    Yes, British words put to a German melody. I believe you take credit where it isn't due. But hey! Don't sweat it; I'm sure we have more in common than some old melody."


    Oh, German is it? Must be confusing; do Brits have to stand up when they sing that in the States?

    I really am getting educated today. If I'm not careful I might end up almost as clever as a journalist :-)

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  • 84. At 1:03pm on 21 Jan 2009, Freakontheguitar wrote:

    Yes British-ish,

    Tony Blair was indeed very close to catholicism, but only joined the Catholic Church after he stood down as PM.

    The theory is that the PM of the UK is a key advisor to the Head of the Church of England (i.e. the Queen) and can therefore not follow a faith that is irreconcilable with the CoE.

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  • 85. At 1:05pm on 21 Jan 2009, Nick-Gotts wrote:

    "Some choose to put their faith - after careful consideration - into religion" - Chary8

    What an odd coincidence that almost all of them choose the religion their parents follow.

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  • 86. At 1:06pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    78, dceilar:

    Heidegger? "Dasein"?!!!! This is all getting too difficult for me . . .

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  • 87. At 1:07pm on 21 Jan 2009, travellingM wrote:

    Re #6

    This was necessary for the new President to spell out. Remember the environmental report that was rewritten by a White House non-scientist?

    The words "We will restore science to its rightful place" from this speech were also highly indicative.

    Having spent some years in the Beltway during the nineties, the amount of 'god-speak' uttered by Americans is truly shocking.

    He knows the economy and the planet are in a mess and it is the sciences he will turn to to rectify the mess.

    Note that most scientists are pretty happy with the "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." buses.

    Obama is warning the evangelical Americans that they can no longer threaten the scientific method, the advances of science for the good of all. He knows if they continue to demonstrate the same level of intolerance, they will continue to struggle to find the home-grown scientific talent they, and we, need.

    If Americans continue to reject non-believers more than any other group, it will be to the advantage of many other nations.



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  • 88. At 1:09pm on 21 Jan 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 54 Freakontheguitar wrote:

    "It is also said that a Catholic has no chance of becoming prime minister of Britain, whilst a non-Catholic can forget about heading up the European Commission. That practically rules out the Greeks and the Scandinavians for that particular position."

    "It is also said...". By whom, I wonder

    Re the first point, I distinctly remember someone pointing out in a newspaper a few years that of the then 3 main party leaders in the UK, T Blair was married to a Catholic , attended Catholic services and was rumoured to be considering converting. [Which he later did.] And the other 2, Ian Duncan-Smith and Charles Kennedy, were both Catholic. [I just checked this on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Duncan_Smith#Catholicism and they confirmed it.]

    Moreover, the most noteworthy aspect of this was how little interest or controversy there was about it. In my experience, Brits tend to see religion as a private matter. As someone once said of homosexuality, 'as long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses'...

    As for the claim re the EU - that's certainly news to me. Wasn't Roy Jenkins President of the European Commission in the 70s? News to me that he was Catholic.

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  • 89. At 1:10pm on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Ish,

    Upper case or lower, it's Hubris in action, but I appreciate the Distinction.

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 90. At 1:19pm on 21 Jan 2009, Ginger Warrior wrote:

    Ref 68

    "What is very odd is how the education and intelligence of these people is being disqualified by basically uneducated people who assume they are right because they 'believe' they are right."

    Isn't the same true for both sides of that fence?

    In my experience of debating the role of religion in the American legislative process, there seems to be two camps; those on the right who believe they are conveying the word of God, and those on the left who believe they are automatically correct through their education and superior reasoning.

    I'm not religious (indeed I'm vehemently opposed to the role of the Anglican Church in my legislature), but I can empathise on why the religious right detests the liberal left so much.

    Of course, both sides fall to the appeal to authority logical fallacy. Thus, the sensible thing to do would be to move the debate away from puerile analogies like 'right vs left', 'religion vs non-believers', and 'conservatism vs liberalism'. America is much more dynamic than that.

    Obama very much implied that he wanted to do this in his speech yesterday.

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  • 91. At 1:26pm on 21 Jan 2009, potatoman65 wrote:

    Americanson said: "To us, it is like the non-Christian is standing on a train track with their back to the on-coming train and we are simply trying to warn you to get off the track; yet the person does not believe there is a train much less a track! To make matters worse, there are other people on the track that are trying to keep you there."

    This has nothing to do with love. Only fear. You think that person has to get off a track they can't see to avoid a train they can't see or they will be damned.

    You are right that grown up adults of sound mind are free to ignore you if you tell them this. But what about children, who are naturally going to have a tendency to believe the adult who clothes and feeds them...the adult who is their first experience of the world. The loving thing to tell a child would be...look at the world, ask questions, learn, make up your own mind. I know from experience that children are taught (and this is considered to be loving) about this mythical train of damnation and are told that the way to avoid it is to believe what you believe. If children were left free to choose they would simply choose life and living...not fear filled dogma.

    You speak with the appearance of love but your beliefs are governed, for their continued acceptance, by fear. If the train existed, and God loved us, then it would all be a little clearer than waiting for someone with special train sight to come along and tell us that a train was there even if we can't see it ourselves.


    "God tells us to obey our government's laws, but when they oppose His, we cannot follow them as God's law trumps man's laws. If man's laws are not based on that which is right and true, then they are flawed."

    Hey, that's convenient. Shame that the bible is so open to interpretation. It says a lot of things that you would call God's law, and another Christian would not. The Jihads of Islam leading to terrorism are extremist interpretations of the Koran. Likewise, people can get up to all sorts of mischief after reading the bible, and calling it God's law. It has happened frequently through history, and will happen again. But of course you have the good interpretation.

    Sorry, for going off topic, but I hate to see fearmongering in the guise of concern.

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  • 92. At 1:26pm on 21 Jan 2009, Nick-Gotts wrote:

    "The question of course, is how do you determine what is the truth upon which our laws should be based?

    To a Christian, the answer is simple." - American Son

    Ah! Now I understand why Christians always agree with each other about legislation, and have never gone around killing and torturing each other (not to mention non-Christians) over differences of opinion about what "God" commands. You've made it all so clear.

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  • 93. At 1:29pm on 21 Jan 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 6 TimothyR444 wrote:

    "What a very, very odd post./I wonder if Mr. Webb actually spends time among Americans./The polite atheism he extols and praises has been the general view of theAmerican academic, scientific and journalist elite for decades./Obama's celebration of "non-believers" is simply acknowledging the general view of the left. If a lack of belief in God makes Europeans feel more secure, they will no doubt revel in this. But it is certainly nothing new./Again - what a very, very odd post."

    Well, I agree about 'What a very, very odd post'. But I would apply that to Mr 444, not to Mr Webb

    I have no idea about the religious beliefs or otherwise of 'the American academic, scientific and journalist elite'? Do you have any proof? Any polls? Any links or references?

    AFAIK , religious belief is extremely widespread in the US - though I wouldn't be surprised if it's somewhat less so among scientists and academics.

    Perhaps more to the point - how many self-professed Atheist, or even Agnostic, Presidents have there been? VPs? Senators? Members of Congress? Governors? [Dogcatchers, for that matter?!]

    I don't have a link, but I clearly recall a recent poll where the percentage of voters who said they wouldn't vote an atheist in as POTUS was v high - high enough to make the event extremely unlikely

    [Also, just for the record, more than one person here has suggested that you have to be a Christian to be PM in the UK. AFAIK, Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader, recently 'came out' as an atheist. Even though his party is small, if there's a hung parliament next time, which seems a distinct possibility, he has a good chance for high office, possibly as Deputy PM.]

    Also, for the sake of accuracy, JW didn't 'extol' atheism, but being polite to atheists. Rather a different thing.

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  • 94. At 1:31pm on 21 Jan 2009, SuperCritical wrote:

    Obama reminds me of a Mac.
    Goodlooking, sleek and trendy with adoring devotees but ultimately he is there to do what Windows is there to do.

    Whether he does it any better remains to be seen.
    I agree with other posters, it is wrong to equate atheism with 'free' thinking and is actually rather patronising. There are many faithful people who have reasoned this to be so.

    He is a refreshing change but let's try and keep things in perspective.

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  • 95. At 1:35pm on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Obama's Vindication of Thomas Paine

    " Obama quoted frequently from Paine, and particularly from Common Sense, during his campaign for the presidency. And he did so, again, on Tuesday, referencing Paine in a speech that spoke of a "return to these truths" of the American experiment.

    So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: "Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

    That line is from Paine's The Crisis, which George Washington did, in fact, have read to the troops in the most difficult days of the revolutionary struggle. "
    I thoroughly a (re-)reading of "Common Sense", simply the best ever political pamphlet , and "the Crisis", from which the words yesterday were taken.
    " THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. "


    Freedom!
    ed

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  • 96. At 1:39pm on 21 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #49 DN

    I note Mr Webb asserts that Obama "certainly was not referring to himself" in relation to 'non-believers'. Personally, I would not be at all surprised if what is professed in public does not match private opinions. Obama is certainly savvy enough to understand that America is, sadly, a long way from being able to accept a secular President, despite its obvious necessity.

    I wonder if Obama is Machiavelli Prince for the 21st century (remember that 'old Nick' isn't the bad guy as he is sometimes portrayed to be). Religion is for the masses; it's the mentality of the herd. Obama is the shepherd that puts us where we need to go.

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  • 97. At 1:47pm on 21 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #63 Brit-ish

    Re: atheist ads on Buses

    I haven't seen them, but I have seen other Christian ones. Shouldn't these too be sent to Advertising Standards as they can't prove God's existence? "Find the meaning of life through God" is a very bold statement that is not backed up by evidence.

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  • 98. At 1:48pm on 21 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #72 SportFan

    Nice post.

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  • 99. At 2:00pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    David_Cunard #41

    That's what I love about the Brits, they set themselves up as such easy targets of ridicule by rationalizing the irrational. I expect and know that you have been indoctrinated in Britain's national religion of its monarchial system and its two house parliament where the only body that all of the citizens can hold office in is the lower house who act more like a gaggle of cackling drunken geese than a deliberative legislative body and can be overruled by the upper house of aristocrats and yet you still believe you have a democracy comparable to a real one like America's. Do the judges still wear red silk Santa Claus suits, horse hair wigs and get addressed as "My Lord?" Of course there is no defense against the truth that Britain's sovereignty will be ceded by fiat of Czar Gordon Brown with the stroke of a pen to an even more undemocratic body, the EUSSR. That's why I can't take you Brits seriously. You remind me of Lilliputians along with all those Belfescus that comprise the rest of Europe. Tiny minds in a tiny world. Those people who are exceptions sooner or later see it for what it is and do everything within their power to leave. That's why so many of them came here.

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  • 100. At 2:12pm on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "he is there to do what Windows is there to do.

    Whether he does it any better remains to be seen."
    Can't do much worse!

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 101. At 2:20pm on 21 Jan 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Thank you for the advice Ed Inglehart and I will try some next time the ether phenomenon occurs.

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  • 102. At 2:30pm on 21 Jan 2009, Robert Bennett wrote:

    What does this trally mean, is evil and harmful ammounts of individual freedom now "equal" to group thoughtfulness, personal goodness and truth? There is just too much BS out there right now to be able to make sense of it all. Will there be any hope left in America with these kind of "changes"?

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  • 103. At 2:32pm on 21 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Start of a new era for the US and the world, and as usual Justin, your freethinkers piece steps on some toes. America's "new royalty" doing a Prince Charles perhaps- Defender of The Faith, Faiths, or just an individual's Faith or lack of it?. Smart move about everything he mentioned.
    Religion aside, what impresses me most is Obama's leading from the front, the intelligent, active thinking athletic figure, gearing himself to his country's needs that has been missing for so long as a world figurehead for English speaking peoples. Education and health lead to wealth, where having the body-weight of 2 men in one frame has become the classical picture of American and English manhood and Michelangelo's David figure, the most aint..
    After many years of Presidents whose functions in the mental department have been adequate to a more or lesser degree, this has not exactly been combined with exemplary examples of the male body beautiful, and the procession of aged couch potatoes has been the norm.
    GWB's only physical exercise was getting up and down on his knees all day for prayers, to be tucked up in bed by 9.0pm.
    Clinton, flab, security agents and all, did a few runs to gain press pictures but his only other physical prowess was chasing interns around the office desk.
    Bush senior- First base at Yale but Golf Buggy 1 as President.
    Reagan played parts of being active in movies; Carter[ peanut shell games], Ford [college football], Nixon.[watersports?] Jack[ back problems!] a sorry lot indeed.
    Only Teddy Roosevelt the last real sporting President [tennis], and Lincoln [ the log splitter] could be regarded as possessing any physical and mental abilities while in office. "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy" so a healthy mind in a healthy body is required to lead us all upwards and onwards.
    I believe the world is getting a stark warning that Obama is no brainless Jurassic clone, no dumb sports jock, but has the passion, physical and mental drive to get all up and running, where only Putin and Sarkozy in Europe come anywhere close.
    Pity the UK. It just has a single brain-celled Gordon Brown. But he can go 15 rounds with a bacon, sausage and egg sandwich.

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  • 104. At 2:32pm on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Dceilar,

    " "Find the meaning of life through God" is a very bold statement that is not backed up by evidence."
    It's a command, and doesn't make any claim...."just follow orders..."

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  • 105. At 2:40pm on 21 Jan 2009, American Sport Fan wrote:

    Re #98

    Thanks!

    As an atheist, I sometimes feel like i have to hide who I am, in part because a lot of my girlfriends circle of friends are deeply religious. I think she is aware that I am not religious, but she some how has gotten the impression that I am a lutheran, because My dad worships at a lutheran church. However, I have repeatedly told her that I was baptised Salvation Army, which is true. But I long ago reached the point where I can not believe.

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  • 106. At 2:40pm on 21 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #86 British-ish

    Heidegger? "Dasein"?!!!! This is all getting too difficult for me . . .

    You're not intelligent enough to be a journalist LOL

    ;-)

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  • 107. At 2:46pm on 21 Jan 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    #44 americanson wrote

    If a secular view is immoral and being passed as law and forced upon the Christian, then it is up to the Christian to vote against those laws or the people who support those laws and seek their abolishment because it poses a conflict which--to a believer--secular society must lose:

    ---------------------------------------------------
    Yes, yes, i think we all understand the faithfuls point of view, no lecture needed on the fundamentals of christian living today.
    The suppression of another human on the grounds of blind faith, and the complete trust in an ancient text baffles me.

    Obama realizes that freethinkers are as legitimate as any other. Remember the quote, "we will restore science to its rightful place"," and get rid of worn out dogmas that for far too long strangle our politics".

    I am not against religion, and know it can be a positive force in the world, but it can be just as equally negative, and distructive.
    You must take a look at nations where His law is above mans law. Look through hundreds of years of past history, when His law was the guiding force to invade or conquer and ultimatly convert other peoples.

    Look at the gay community today. Should those men and women not have the same human rights as you because an unseen force says it should be so?
    I am here, you are here, man is here, that is tangable.
    I wonder what different kind of life we would all be leading if we all put more emphasis on living for today, and the limited time we have on this earth.

    I do not like being catagorized, or dismissed as a left wing loony either. You should go out an experiment a bit, and pretend you are agnostic for awile, and get the true sense of how peolple react, then you might understand why Obamas inclusion was so important. And i don't think it was just lip service. I truely believe he's a all inclusive kind of guy.



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  • 108. At 2:46pm on 21 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Marcus # 99,
    With your compunction to negate everything British, from someone who spreads himself out in a Lincoln, may I wish you a healthy lifestyle too.
    Get on your bike!
    Good health to all.

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  • 109. At 2:58pm on 21 Jan 2009, Feohme wrote:

    MAII - 99#

    Aw...bless him.

    The desire to towsell his hair whilst smiling tolerantly is almost overwhelming!

    It's rare that you come across someone willing to write so much about something they know so little - we really aught to treasure him you know.

    Still it is a bit puzzling why someone who expresses such contempt for British people (and Europeans in general) should persist in posting on a British site.

    The British system of government isn't perfect (but neither is that if the US) and the monarchy is an irrelevancy to the majority of the British people (apart as a source of entertainment) - we accept this and welcome comments on it's drawbacks for other people. That is a mature way to behave and how you keep yourselves grounded in reality. Regrettably, there appears to be section of the US Populace who cannot accept any criticism of of their country or constitution without indulging in a deparate attempt to denigrate the rest of the world to boost their own feelings of superiority.

    Chip on shoulder? Inferiority Complex?

    Anyway - time to read a new book. We are all very impressed that you've read Swifts opus - but now you have finished it, try reading a second book. It might be habit forming.

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  • 110. At 3:04pm on 21 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    80. At 12:25pm on 21 Jan 2009, jimigorilla wrote:
    "I have trouble accepting the idea of an experienced lawyer, judge, and Chief Justice forgetting the Oath of Office during a Presidential Inauguration. Is this man as qualified for the job as some suggest he is, or was his faux pas intentional?"

    Of course it was intentional, lol. What a silly comment. What would the intention be, please?

    -------------------------
    Because if Obama had said exactly what Johny said and got it wrong, them who are the types that think he never was an american can say "look he never said the oath properly"
    Stupid but then things have been pretty stupid up till now.

    Thank God that changed,or not, on the God bit, whaever.

    What a great speech.



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  • 111. At 3:07pm on 21 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #105 SportFan

    You're welcome

    As an atheist I try to hide it so religious people do not try to 'convert' me. It's all about Respect in my opinion. If one respects my beliefs and I'll respect yours etc.

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  • 112. At 3:10pm on 21 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #109 Feomhe

    Does Marcus know that he comes across as a yahoo?

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  • 113. At 3:16pm on 21 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    #86 - british-ish - I agree.
    What I think this demonstrates is that we all have an opinion, we are all individuals, with individual opinion.

    None of what I've read, apart from a few silly, 'just-for-the-heck-of-it-to-get-the-other-guys-back-up' remarks is either right or wrong. The concept of religion has been warped out of original context for the last 2000 years, in the case of Christianity. The Greeks had Zeus to contend with before that, and he fought back. He had his sister (Hera) as his wife, slaughtered his brother (Poseidon) and was Father to the Gods by way of other sisters and daughters. Could you imagine the outrage if anyone on earth today was to stand up in any religious community of any faith, and state that their or any other God was incestuous, barbaric and downright nasty, greedy, warring and so forth. This was considered normal to the civilisations of the day. Godfearing has it's roots in that era.

    Or were they fictional Gods? Oh, now there's a question - a God that is fictional - what are the ramifications of that? At least the Greek and Roman Gods have their name in our culture, language, the planets and so on.

    Opinions change, and will continue to change.

    For my part, the humanist element gets my vote. If we were dogs, we would not all be Labrador or German Shepherd, but we would still be dogs. We are all human. Granted, we are different breeds, races, colour, creed and religion, but we are all human. That is the common ground, followed by our beliefs in that human world. I was brought up to respect others, to treat as you would expect to be treated. Are they Christian beliefs, or are they basic human beliefs? My belief is the Christianity embraced those ideals, not created them.

    Live life for yourself, but not selfishly. Looking after number 1 enables you, as a selfless, giving, human being, to then look after your loved ones, your family, your friends and acquaintances, your colleagues, your co-workers, and the rest of humanity, IN THAT ORDER.

    Religion should have no place in politics. Religion is personal, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddist or like me, and individual thinking human being. Anything more than that and it becomes a control mechanism used to exploit the masses.

    And finally....#24, Marcus, your opinion, valid that it is, is about as outdated as religion itself. As far as the British Monarchy are concerned, they are figureheads only - with no real power, but they generate a huge amount of income for this country, 'quaint' though it might be. You have the houses of Hollywood, UA, Fox, Paramount, we have the house of Windsor. Let's not start throwing stones at glass houses. Let that one lie there I think.

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  • 114. At 3:18pm on 21 Jan 2009, Feohme wrote:

    dceilar #112

    oooo...very good.

    Damn, wish I'd thought of that one!

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  • 115. At 3:35pm on 21 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    #109 Feomhe
    I love it - nice one, perfectly put.
    There are people like this all over the world, he is entitled to his own mind, or whoevers' mind he is quoting.
    I must say though, whatever his intentions, he is generating a lot of responses. The archetypal Devils Advocate.

    I'm sure he is getting a giggle out of the responses, unless, no, maybe, oh, a thought has just occurred to me - maybe he believes :-(((((

    Shhhh - don't let on we know

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  • 116. At 3:38pm on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    SHLA2UK (113)

    "The Greeks had Zeus to contend with before that, and he fought back."
    Aye, and he sent us wimmin a "curse to balance the blessing" of fire... and, as for the Iron age,.....

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 117. At 3:44pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Feohme, you forget that my taxes subsidize BBC indirectly because part of my federal income tax goes to support PBS and NPR which have contracts to rebroadcast BBC. Therefore I feel entitled to comment on what they say and do.

    The British system of government isn't perfect? Isn't perfect? Have you ever looked at your elected officials displaying their actions on behalf of their constituents in Parliament? It often beats the Comedy Channel for gut aching laughs. "Awda, Awda! We'd all like to hear what the Prime Minister has to say. Mr. Prime Minister;" "I refer the right honorable gentleman to the reply I gave some moments ago." "Now aren't we all the better for hearing that bit of sage wisdom from the Prime Minister?" Oh Betty Boothroyd, where are you when we need you?

    In case you have forgotten, the celebration you saw yesterday was not only of an inauguration of a new President of the United States but also of the system which was born not out of merely rejecting Britain as a political ruler but a rejection of the entire European philosophy of government, its relationship to its citizens, and the mentality behind it. And in a real sense that mentality has not substantially changed these last 200 plus years. Instead of calling them Kings, Queens, Earls, Dukes the EUSSR and UK call them "ministers" but it boils down to the same thing when you probe into it.

    When we find flaws in our constitution...we fix them. That is how a real democracy works. The UK's supposed constitution, a mish mash of written and unwritten laws and customs taken collectively is a joke by comparison. Inferiority complex? Don't make me laugh. The American civilization and the documents which gave birth and structure to it is infinitely superior to anything that ever came out of the UK or any other part of Europe. But don't just take my word for it. The demographic evidence is clear. A flood of hundreds of millions of people have migrated from Europe to America over the last 500 years, a mass migration of human beings which may have no parallel in history. And they continue to flood in from all over the world. Yes I know that there are many migrants to Europe too. Why? Because its too far and hard for them to come here instead.

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  • 118. At 3:44pm on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    103 watermanaquarius

    "Pity the UK. It just has a single brain-celled Gordon Brown. But he can go 15 rounds with a bacon, sausage and egg sandwich."

    Very amusing! Don't know that I have ever had a bacon and sausage egg sandwich. Is this a UK delicacy?

    UK and Canadian politics are so similar. We booted out a PM we thought was past his due date and replaced him with a PM in waiting. No election required. It did not work out well for us at all!!

    Re: religion - I don't think it crosses our minds to wonder about our PMs religion. During the funeral of Pierre Trudeau I was surprised at the number of former PMs who crossed themselves. Oh! so-and-so is Catholic - who knew?

    We have had English, French, Protestant, Catholic, a woman (Kim Campbell) albeit briefly - religion unknown. Our Liberal leader is of Russian decent. Perhaps he is Russian orthodox - matters not to me. In fact to many Canadians our present PM is a little too religious for our liking.

    To misquote Tina Turner, "What's religion got to do with it?"

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  • 119. At 3:47pm on 21 Jan 2009, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Nixon needed the extra help. However,
    it wasn't enough for him.

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  • 120. At 3:50pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    109.Feohme wrote:

    "MAII - 99#

    Aw...bless him.

    The desire to towsell his hair whilst smiling tolerantly is almost overwhelming!"

    Is it really? My desire after his showing today inclines more to shaking him vigorously by the throat, frankly.

    He's wasting far too much space here, and in my view (moderators, hello? anybody there?) has been tolerated for his incessant off-topic repetitive rants far too long.

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  • 121. At 3:59pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    106. dceilar wrote:

    #86 British-ish

    Heidegger? "Dasein"?!!!! This is all getting too difficult for me . . .

    You're not intelligent enough to be a journalist LOL

    ;-)


    Hmm. You'll have to give me a bit of time, I'm still working on that one ;-)

    I'm having a bit of bother with the ding an sich here. . . I, er, mentioned my profession once . . .Knew I shouldn't have . . . :-(

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  • 122. At 4:10pm on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "Don't know that I have ever had a bacon and sausage egg sandwich. Is this a UK delicacy? "
    It is, and very delicious too! Beardy folk like myself should ensure the egg yolk isn't too runny....

    ;-)
    ed

    I concur on the compliment to WMA

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  • 123. At 4:16pm on 21 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #99.MarcusAureliusII: "That's what I love about the Brits, they set themselves up as such easy targets of ridicule by rationalizing the irrational."

    You really don't have a clue about the British constitutional monarchy or the role of both houses of Parliament. The "Westminster" model has been adopted by other countries rather than the American system of government, in which the administration cannot be dismissed overnight. One of the beauties of British elections is that an entire government can be changed at one fell swoop; that is impossible in the United States.

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  • 124. At 4:21pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    118. At 3:44pm on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    "Don't know that I have ever had a bacon and sausage egg sandwich. Is this a UK delicacy?"

    Well, there's usually a little bit more to it. The best I ever had was from a van on a Milton Keynes industrial estate at 7.00am in the middle of winter. In a fresh baguette along with fried tomatoes andmushrooms and a good dollop of HP sauce.

    You don't have these in Canada? I'm shocked.

    I'm suddenly feeling hungry, too . . .

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  • 125. At 4:32pm on 21 Jan 2009, Feohme wrote:

    MAI 117#

    Oh goody - nice to know that you are contributing to spread of 'superior' British culture to the beinghted masses of Amercia!

    ;¬)

    Yes - as I said, the British system of government in not perfect. I'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see this. But I note that you are applying you're one eye'd vision again:

    - The addition of unrelated 'pork' to bills to buy votes from Congress/Senate
    - The thrall of you politicians to lobbyists
    - The astronomical cost of your elections - as a barrier to entry
    - The two party system acting as an active bar to true democracy
    - The electoral college system - gerrymandering a result where the guy who got the least votes won.

    Funny - I haven't seen much in the way of fixing going on to these clear flaws.

    You can no doubt a similar list of faults with the British system (and given your history, you probably will). The difference between us is that I will probably recognise and agree with you on most of them - you - on the other hand, are likely to throw your dummy out of the pram when you read the above list.

    Incidentally, I think I'd rather be called a 'minister' than a 'secretary' if that's all right by you.

    Now, time for a scone with clotted cream and a really nice cup of tea.

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  • 126. At 4:35pm on 21 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    I understand Marcus. His train of thought reads much faster and reveals greater logic with the use of the scroll button on the right side of the window.

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  • 127. At 4:38pm on 21 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 124 British-ish

    Sounds good. Do know if they deliver?

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  • 128. At 4:43pm on 21 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman # 118,
    I was a little harsh with the one brain cell but Gordon's lithe, sleek figure is a mirror image of governments everywhere. Worn out, with too many advisors, spin doctors and ancillary staff that help to confuse every issue. Well past his and their sell-by date.
    Gordon is pushing the usual "unique bond between the UK and the USA" theme today which could be interesting if any meeting between the new slim "panther" President and roly-poly Brown should ever occur. Start thinking Laurel and Hardy!
    Hope Obama plays the part of the straight-man, and follows his earlier election remarks. Gordon is perfect for the fall guy, being more a Joe the Plumber type- U bends and U-turns galore. Should be a comical partnership.

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  • 129. At 4:48pm on 21 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    Hey british-ish
    Now we're really going off topic here, but there is a great cafe in west London called the Wondercafe - it's on the Uxbridge Road, and they do full English breakfast in a baguette (that's a French stick to anyone else). See we even embrace multi-culturalism in the food - ha ha.

    It's got sausage, bacon, egg, tomato and black pudding all in one. Heart attack in a sandwich - what could be more British - LOL!

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  • 130. At 4:49pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    124.

    I forgot. You have to have a big mug of hot strong sweet tea with it, or it doesn't taste right.

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  • 131. At 4:50pm on 21 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    british-ish # 124,
    You have been living the high-life for too long.
    Bacon, sausage and egg in a "baguette" with fried tomatoes and mushrooms!
    Go back to eating it with freshly sliced "doorsteps". Turn your back on elite practices, and relive how a sandwich should taste.

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  • 132. At 4:53pm on 21 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    125. At 4:32pm on 21 Jan 2009, Feohme wrote:

    MAI 117#

    Oh goody - nice to know that you are contributing to spread of 'superior' British culture to the beinghted masses of Amercia!

    and

    Now, time for a scone with clotted cream and a really nice cup of tea.


    I know nothing about you, who you are, or where you are, but I must say, I'm really beginning to like you

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  • 133. At 4:55pm on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    123 David_Cunard

    "One of the beauties of British elections is that an entire government can be changed at one fell swoop; that is impossible in the United States."

    As you know Canada has the Westminster system where "an entire government can be changed at one fell swoop." Whereas in the US they must be willing to go through a lot of heart wrenching mud slinging as witnessed by the Clinton fiasco. While (or whilst you might say) the rest of the world sits on the sidelines asking, "Why are they doing such a thing?"

    During the Clinton years, I met a young embarrassed American who asked what the world was thinking of the US having such a President. I told him the world was not wondering about their President, but instead why they were airing all their dirty laundry in public. Mentioned Mitterrand's mistress standing by his graveside but I don't think he had a clue what I was talking about.

    124 british-ish

    Having never been "on a Milton Keynes industrial estate at 7.00am" whatever that might be when it's at home, the answer is "no."

    Bacon and egg, sausage and egg but I can't recall the two (three) together - with or without HP sauce. Nor do I put an egg on my steak! or eat them with "chips." Is this UK love affair with eggs related to war rationing?

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  • 134. At 4:56pm on 21 Jan 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    David (#5), had Obama not added that extra phrase, when prompted by the Chief Justice, there would be a great deal more controversy than there is already, stemming from Mr. Roberts' error in the wording of the actual oath. It can be left out, but should be only if the giver and taker of the oath have discussed it, and are on the same page.

    What surprises me is that it seems Obama and Roberts seemingly did not go over that part of the ceremony beforehand. Besides misplacing the word "faithfully," they were also out of sync on the breaks. All in all, a sloppy job by both.

    Some legal nit-pickers are suggesting that Obama take the oath again, correctly, since he did not speak it exactly as written in the Constitution. I think this is nonsense, myself. It is the meaning of the words that matters, not their order. If a reording does not in any way change the meaning, it should be considered valid by any practical person.

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  • 135. At 5:00pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    "Freethinking, in the old-fashioned sense of not professing a religion, is about to become acceptable in polite American society in a way it has not been since Richard Nixon first began the tradition of invoking the Lord whenever possible."

    While I agree with the rest of your blog, Justin, this sentence doesn't ring true to me. The first amendment guarantees of freedom of religion have long since been internalized by Americans. I'm agnostic myself and have never had my beliefs challenged in any part of society. In fact, I've never even been asked about them by anyone I didn't consider a friend (other than by someone trying to establish my belief system to avoid stepping on my toes during a conversation).

    That said, I do believe the inclusion of "non-believers" in the speech to be significant.

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  • 136. At 5:02pm on 21 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #103 waterman...

    Do not be so mean with our Gordon,its got to be 16 rounds minimum,be fair for goodness sake..

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  • 137. At 5:03pm on 21 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    it started out on religion, and we ended up eating breakfast rolls, drinking tea and talking about food - why can't wars go like that???

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  • 138. At 5:04pm on 21 Jan 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Jordan (#10), I can't find that quote. Whom are you quoting?

    Obama did say "every race and every faith." That's pretty inclusive.

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  • 139. At 5:05pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    David_Cunard I know how easy it is to disband a government in a Parliamentary system. Maybe that's why for so many years the Italians had a new one every other week. It's a system that is very badly flawed. For example, it doesn't have the checks and balances characteristic of division of powers built into the American system. The executive branch in a Parliamentary system is part of the legislative branch as it is in Britain. The ruling party has absolute power every time because of this and controls both branches. It's virtually pointless for MPs of other parties to even show up to Parliament.

    Feohme, I could make a list of what is wrong with British government but it would be so long it would use up the entire internet. Out of consideration for others who want to use the internet also, I will disregard the almost irresistable urge to do that and refrain from it this time.

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  • 140. At 5:08pm on 21 Jan 2009, Feohme wrote:

    Best breakfast roll was on a Seacat from Liverpool to Dublin.

    A foot in diameter roll - with the top cut off and the middle scupped out. Filled with bacon, sausage, mushrooms and baked beans (I swapped out the egg for them).

    Darn messy, but darn tasty - just not the wisest choice for a rough crossing!!

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  • 141. At 5:09pm on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    128 watermanaquarius

    Are you this amusing in person or only in print? Did you not mention you now live in a warmer climate? If the answer to both question 1a and 2 is "yes", perhaps I could come for a visit? It's -14 c today, although they are promising a warm snap of -2 tomorrow, but for one day only! -28 on Saturday. And that is not a 'dry cold' as they are always saying it is out west (whatever that means) but a damp cold which goes through to your bones.

    You gotta love this country!

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  • 142. At 5:12pm on 21 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Gary,

    "it should be considered valid by any practical person."
    Does that include lawyers?

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  • 143. At 5:12pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 123

    "One of the beauties of British elections is that an entire government can be changed at one fell swoop; that is impossible in the United States."

    I believe that is a deliberate restriction in the American governmental system. With so many cultures within our borders and our tendency to be mercurial at times, I think we find it good policy to force ourselves to stick with our choices for a good period of time

    The one thing I don't understand about the British is why if they disapproved of Blair they didn't change their government sooner. The British I know have oft expressed their disdain of Americans for re-electing Bush in 2004, but they don't seem to consider their failure to remove Blair to be in any way analogous.

    Can anyone explain this apparent dichotomy to me?

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  • 144. At 5:16pm on 21 Jan 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    middlecroony (#27), "separation of church and state" is merely an informal shorthand which somewhat misrepresents the actual case. The wording of the Constitution (in the First Amendment) is:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ... "

    Presidents are entitled to "free exercise" of their religion like everyone else, and the Christian aspects of the ceremony, which are not required by any law, are permitted nevertheless under the "free exercise" clause. It is the incoming President's ceremony, who can add whatever he chooses to the required element (the oath). Anyone who can't bear to listen to it should bring earplugs.

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  • 145. At 5:17pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    129. SHLA2UK :

    Thanks for that. Gotta take an (Arab!) friend there next week when she arrives. She loves that.

    (Except the black pudding, I'm not that keen either, and I was brought up in the north of England too . . .)

    Do they do it all day? I could hop on the bus now, it's not that far . . .

    (Apologies to everyone else, esp. publiusdetroit -- they're no good cold, and they really don't microwave well, so I think delivery is out, really, but you could do a DIY one?--but sandwiches like this are important.)

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  • 146. At 5:21pm on 21 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    132
    I liked 125's


    "one eye'd vision" in ref to Mostly Erroneous.



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  • 147. At 5:22pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 103

    You might want to check your facts there. President Bush regularly works out and is in very good condition. Most of our recent Presidents have been in pretty good shape.

    Now, the rest of the country is a different matter.

    Obama is one of the least healthy actually. He must stop smoking. That's not going to be easy with all the stress he's under.

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  • 148. At 5:25pm on 21 Jan 2009, Mark Davidson wrote:

    "Free-thinkers" That's an interesting piece of doublespeak. Like Christians calling atheists 'heretics' or 'heathens'.

    I was honestly more impressed he mentioned Muslims in the positive sense, especially to Bush's referral to the 'crusades' after 9/11. You can argue about whether atheists were out in the cold during the Bush years, but it would be folly to suggest they received anywhere near the treatment of Muslims in America.

    The whole idea of "Obama is a Muslim" was the most disgraceful part of the presidential campaign. Aside from the lies that were perpetuated about the new President's past, the underlying idea of Muslim=evil is a real problem in America.

    Having scientific ideas knocked down may be frustrating (global warming, stem cell research, etc.), but it's not as though atheists don't have a very strong voice in the media to answer those claims.

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  • 149. At 5:29pm on 21 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "Obama inserted the phrase "non-believers" into his speech as a cheap way of cashing in on the anti-religious hysteria of the last 8 years. Obama is religious and thus his faith will influence his decisions and actions, just like Bush. "

    His brain will help .

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  • 150. At 5:29pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    133 timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    "Bacon and egg, sausage and egg but I can't recall the two (three) together - with or without HP sauce. Nor do I put an egg on my steak! or eat them with "chips." Is this UK love affair with eggs related to war rationing?"

    Good heavens. You mean you don't know the blissful pleasure of dipping a chip on the end of your fork into the unbroken yolk of a fried egg either?

    Don't think it's anything to do with the war or rationing. That's a long time ago; I wasn't born then, and anyway, an Arab friend of mine fell in love with it as soon as she arrived in England as a refugee . . .

    (How on earth are we going to get back on topic via egg and chips?)

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  • 151. At 5:34pm on 21 Jan 2009, timohio wrote:

    re. 64. british-ish:

    "Well, he did seem to have a couple of mates here, but we suspected they might be him as well."

    Oh, so he adds Multiple Personality Disorder to his list of problems?

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  • 152. At 5:37pm on 21 Jan 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#134Garyahill

    I may not have this correctly but I believe that our Constitution declares the next president takes office at noon on January 20, with or without an oath of office.

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  • 153. At 5:37pm on 21 Jan 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Ed (#142), I would exclude the lawyers. They, who can make an argument over anything, are the one's thinking it important.

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  • 154. At 5:39pm on 21 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    145 - british-ish
    can't tell you the opening times - sorry - it's a Sunday morning treat for me and the 'other 'alf' - but thoroughly recommended if you get the chance - and it's proper tea as well, in a mug, from a great big metal pot - aye, reet good

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  • 155. At 5:41pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    137. SHLA2UK wrote:

    it started out on religion, and we ended up eating breakfast rolls, drinking tea and talking about food - why can't wars go like that???

    If the French ran them (or the Italians, I'm half one) they might.

    (btw I like the Italian equivalent, a hollowed-out half a loaf with an egg poached in the hollow in a little olive oil in the oven, as well. Or spaghetti carbonora, but you can't get the mushrooms and tomatoes, or black pudding, into those as well, really.)

    Make breakfast, not war?

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  • 156. At 5:46pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    Dear moderators: we're very sorry. We'll try to get back on track when we've all had a good breakfast . . .I blame MAII myself. . .

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  • 157. At 5:46pm on 21 Jan 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#110Happylaze

    You are right on about the speech!

    Also consider this:

    It was a 'first' time for both Obama and Roberts to say this oath in public. Maybe they were nervous. They are both human beings, after all.

    Practice will probably prove helpful for both of them.

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  • 158. At 5:48pm on 21 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    water man I gotta say I think you are harsh on old GW the GONE .
    He ddi like to exercise I heard, and play golf.
    He was a man of leisure for the first 4 years.

    I thought he was actually fit for his age?

    maybe it was just ish.



    Black pudding like marmite, you love it or you hate it.

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  • 159. At 5:50pm on 21 Jan 2009, timohio wrote:

    re. 129. SHLA2UK:

    "It's got sausage, bacon, egg, tomato and black pudding all in one. Heart attack in a sandwich - what could be more British - LOL!"

    I've often thought that traditional British cuisine explains the existence of the British empire. Everybody left the island looking for a good meal. And they all ended up in India.

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  • 160. At 5:50pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    As usual, the Brits don't know what they are talking about. Every 4 years, the President, the entire House of Representatives, and one third of the Senate is up for re-election. In the 2 year cycle between Presidential elections, it's the entire House and one third of the Senate. Also up for elections are dozens of governors, and countless mayors, city councils, state legislators, and other elected officials from sherriffs to judges.

    BTW, the splitting of power between branches is called the seperation of powers. The splitting of power between the state and federal government is called the division of powers. Nobody caught that. I expect this ignorance from the Brits but shame on you Americans for not having noticed it. Have you forgotten high school civics lessons? The states also have separation of powers. The principle of American government and one secret of American corporate success is to push power away from the center as far as possible to as many people as possible...and then hold them accountable for the responsible and succcessful exercise of that power. This is the exact opposite of the European philosophy of the way private and public organizations should be run. This is one reason why America is a success where Europe is a failure. There are many others.

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  • 161. At 5:57pm on 21 Jan 2009, Nick-Gotts wrote:

    "Inferiority complex? Don't make me laugh. The American civilization and the documents which gave birth and structure to it is infinitely superior to anything that ever came out of the UK or any other part of Europe. But don't just take my word for it. The demographic evidence is clear. A flood of hundreds of millions of people have migrated from Europe to America over the last 500 years, a mass migration of human beings which may have no parallel in history. And they continue to flood in from all over the world. Yes I know that there are many migrants to Europe too. Why? Because its too far and hard for them to come here instead." - MAII

    I'm afraid this sort of ludicrous nonsense makes your inferiority complex all too clear: only someone with an enormous (and no doubt justified) sense of their own inferiority feels the need to go in for this kind of hyperbolic nationalist boasting.

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  • 162. At 5:57pm on 21 Jan 2009, timohio wrote:

    re. 150. british-ish:

    "(How on earth are we going to get back on topic via egg and chips?)"

    The food thread is more interesting than the original post, which I thought over-analyzed one phrase in the speech.

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  • 163. At 5:58pm on 21 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    AndyPost # 147.
    I know GWB does knee bends and uses different bibles for weight training.
    Even read he got on a bike at Camp David. Plays golf like all old men do.[badly]
    But being superfit in my book means more than that and just supporting a sporting team. [Unless of course he washes the 100s of jerseys by hand.]
    So Obama smokes eh . Now if you can only get him to breathe his fire under various countries backsides and put them under some heat, we will forgive him this luxury.
    Did you know that stressed is just desserts spelt backwards?
    Stopping smoking and starting eating the wrong things is even worse for ones health.

    Chip butties rule!

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  • 164. At 6:01pm on 21 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    151 surprisingly enough he has not Had to accept another personality because of moderation.

    I still think he is a figment of Justin's brain.


    148 well said
    "I was honestly more impressed he mentioned Muslims in the positive sense, especially to Bush's referral to the 'crusades' after 9/11. You can argue about whether atheists were out in the cold during the Bush years, but it would be folly to suggest they received anywhere near the treatment of Muslims in America. "

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  • 165. At 6:03pm on 21 Jan 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    In Ref. to #155

    I sure could go for some French toast and bacon; that would be enough to prevent just about any war with me. (as long your payin) :D

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  • 166. At 6:04pm on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    150 british-ish

    "Good heavens. You mean you don't know the blissful pleasure of dipping a chip on the end of your fork into the unbroken yolk of a fried egg either?"

    We are terribly cosmopolitan over here. French fries (freedom fries never caught on) "chips" are dipped in ketchup or mayonnaise or sprinkled with vinegar and salt. The last is best if served in a paper bag as shaking is important. If we are served home fries (cubed fried potatoes) we spend most of our time trying to keep them away from the egg yolk.

    To bring it back to topic - We are Freethinkers!

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  • 167. At 6:07pm on 21 Jan 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To Edinglehart

    How can a woman be a "little bit pregnant?"
    Pregnancy either is or is not.

    Michelle Obama actually looks like a human woman and not some kind of genetic mutant that seems to be so fashionable now.

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  • 168. At 6:07pm on 21 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman # 141
    Yes and no. Mostly a twisted sense of humour that I am forced to rein in.
    Tried Holland for many years. Below sea-level and -14C, I understand your damp-cold descriptions.
    Only 15C here with lots of sun but feel it is cold.
    Still- South Europa rocks!

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  • 169. At 6:08pm on 21 Jan 2009, aitchin wrote:

    I too was greatly heartened by Obama's reference to science. Bush demonstrated the line that should not be crossed by religion. Allowing faith to get in the way of scientific progress (stem cells, etc..) is an anachronistic position to take.

    To say 'my faith tells me' can be used to justify virtually anything and is inherently dangerous.

    This America vs Europe thread is so irrational, don't worry about those who seem intent on stoking up trouble. There is considerable co-operation and movement (both ways) between Europe and America in Science, which is the most progressive human endeavor. The future of both continents is bound together and it's foolish to pretend otherwise.

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  • 170. At 6:15pm on 21 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #152 aqua

    I think you are right. Hitchens was on the BBC talking about the ceremony being behind schedule and stated that it doesn't matter if he didn't take the oath at 12 noon - from midday Obama was President whether he liked it or not.

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  • 171. At 6:17pm on 21 Jan 2009, petoskystone wrote:

    i am neither jew, christian, muslim, or hindu. i am also not a "nonbeliever". if president obama wishes to represent the american people maybe he should try a phrase such as "people of all faiths".

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  • 172. At 6:21pm on 21 Jan 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    30. Sam

    Readers of this blog will be aware that Sam has had the hots for Michelle for many months. Down boy! Down!

    Agreed, none the less.


    87. TravellingM
    Exactly right.

    Justin: It wasn't so odd, and it wasn't so subtle. There were several touchstones in the speech that were, in essence, the equivalent of an "Up yours, Delors" to the religious right. E.g., restoring science to its proper place, no longer being stuck in the dogmas of the past, and so on. Long, long overdue.

    Interestingly, the speech seemed to echo a number of the themes of Enlightenment v. religious dogma discussed on this very blog last Autumn. Imagine: Obama the closet BBC reader. Who knew?

    One of your posters the other day wrote that it felt like being a released kidnapping victim. Couldn't agree more. Like stepping out of the darkness of some awful, dank, claustrophic ideological prison into the sunlight: Free at last! This is a President who values education and reason. What a relief.

    Thought the benediction closing the ceremonies was pretty good, too. Now there is a man of genuine faith. The goodness and love just radiated from him.

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  • 173. At 6:49pm on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    Oh! How could I forget. Our national (as in the Province of Quebec) dish is poutine. (fr. pooh tin') French fries covered in gravy with cheese curd. I know, I know it sounds disgusting, but some people almost live on the stuff, debate where the best is made, drive miles (kilometres) out of their way, etc. etc. Some even eat it for breakfast!

    Back to topic: It is a religion to some!

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  • 174. At 7:00pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    160. MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "one secret of American corporate success is to push power away from the center as far as possible to as many people as possible...and then hold them accountable for the responsible and succcessful exercise of that power."

    Oh, stop fantasizing. That is most certainly not how one very big US company operated on one long contract for them I once worked on in London. We were micro-managed from New York daily. (Actually, because of the time difference, nightly. Midnightly, for us, for god's sake.)

    The contract was a disaster -- wasted millions of dollars because the results we got wouldn't fit what New York said they shouldbe. They kept flying a management team over to lecture us about how we'd got it wrong, and wouldn't listen to us at all. It was rather like trying to argue with you, Marcus. We just gave up.

    So they did it all over again with another company; same result. So they went ahead with a product line and concept nobody except them wanted anyway, and spent four years afterwards picking their way through the wreckage.

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  • 175. At 7:03pm on 21 Jan 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 110

    "Of course it was intentional, lol. What a silly comment. What would the intention be, please?

    -------------------------
    Because if Obama had said exactly what Johny said and got it wrong, them who are the types that think he never was an american can say "look he never said the oath properly"

    The Chief Justice may have also tried to get even with a former senator who voted against his appointment a couple of years ago. Of course, such erudite and principled right winger would not even think of such thing as getting even...

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  • 176. At 7:07pm on 21 Jan 2009, Cassandra wrote:

    Re Justice Roberts, timewaitsfornoman said, "The man is either incompetent, as he was unable to deliver a 35 word oath, or it was intentional. In either case he appears unqualified for the job and should consider resigning."

    As a super-conservative on the supreme court, he will hang on to the last breath. As a matter of fact, I expect that were a conservative justice to die today, unless he is actually consumed by fire or eaten by dogs (religious reference: Jezebel), his body would be put on life support until the righties get another shot at damaging our nation (read: winning the presidency) in order to prevent a leftist or even centrist judge from being appointed.

    I apologize for the run-on sentence, but it made my point.

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  • 177. At 7:09pm on 21 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Marcus # 160,
    You missed the infamous American "veto", either Presidential or otherwise that throws soot in your way of thinking [ and everybody else's ways of doing business.]
    But then, any suggestions made to you falls on deaf ears. Are we expecting too much?
    You are making me feel like Wemmick corresponding with his deaf demented father," the aged P" but the idea suits me fine.
    Here is a nod.
    And here is another nod.
    Tonight from my castle, with drawbridge and moat I will try to remember to fire the cannon at 9, to keep you happy through the day.
    Should you not hear it or should I forget to fire it off, I know you will kick up a Dickens of a row so just in case-
    Here is yet another nod.

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  • 178. At 7:09pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    171. At 6:17pm on 21 Jan 2009, petoskystone wrote:

    i am neither jew, christian, muslim, or hindu. i am also not a "nonbeliever". if president obama wishes to represent the american people maybe he should try a phrase such as "people of all faiths".

    I have been wondering where Buddhists are supposed to fit in, but thought maybe Justin might have accidentally left them out.

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  • 179. At 7:13pm on 21 Jan 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    dcellar (#170), yes, but one who becomes President at noon before taking the oath may not execute the powers of the office:

    "Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: ... " (US Constitution)

    The problem is that official acts, such as signing the documents for the appointments to be confirmed by the Senate, could be considered invalid.

    In my opinion, anyone who would challenge these acts on that basis belongs in the same place as those who have questioned Obama's eligibility for the office, or his right to add the words "so help me, God" after the required oath: a lunatic asylum.

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  • 180. At 7:16pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 117

    You are aware, aren't you, that English common law is the basis for the legal system in 49 out of the 50 states? You make too broad a statement when you assert that the Revolution was "a rejection of the entire European philosophy of government, its relationship to its citizens, and the mentality behind it." It was more a rejection of the monarchy (as tyranny) and of taxation by a government in which they had no representation (even though were fair in hindsight). Also, there was at the time in Great Britain still a fair amount of restriction on freedom of religion. Otherwise, Americans embraced many of the ideals of the English system of justice as their own because, well, it was their own.

    Britain and Western Europe have since advanced their democracies in much the same direction as the U.S., but independently of the U.S. for the most part. The governmental system of the U.S., moreover, is an anomaly, not the shining example of democracy you take it to be. While the two party system of the U.S. has benefits (it's easier to get things done), it effectively disenfranchises those citizens who don't agree with either party (and there are a lot of Americans in that bunch). Many Americans believe that voting for a third party candidate is wasting your vote, no matter whether you agree with him or not. The parliamentary system is vastly superior in this regard.

    I think we Americans should show respect for our heritage. It shaped us in so many ways.

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  • 181. At 7:16pm on 21 Jan 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    petoskystone (#171), he did say something to that effect later in his address. Read the whole thing.

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  • 182. At 7:18pm on 21 Jan 2009, Marvin wrote:

    @ 47 Belmons, 48 DoogieH, 85 Nick-Gotts:

    Well, I'm a grad student in science and an atheist myself. I just don't get off on making fun of someone else's faith. Whatever works for people is fine - even if it's the fear of thunderbolts and the sky god. You can't force other people to think like you.

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  • 183. At 7:25pm on 21 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #160. MarcusAureliusII (French: Le Fartiste): "As usual, the Brits don't know what they are talking about. Every 4 years, the President, the entire House of Representatives, and one third of the Senate is up for re-election. In the 2 year cycle between Presidential elections, it's the entire House and one third of the Senate."

    One third of the Senate. So you acknowledge that the entire government of the United States cannot be replaced overnight, as it can be in Britain. When the government in power is dismissed, it is instant, including the Head of Government. If Jesus Christ were to be Prime Minister, you'd find fault with the system. Happily the Head of State is above the fray.

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  • 184. At 7:31pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 185. At 7:31pm on 21 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Somewhere along the thread somebody mentioned a "make dinner not war" suggestion [or something like it]
    My last cuisine remark for the night is "Patat Oorlog " from Holland, which basically translates as a fries battleground./ war.
    Chips / French Fries are universal, but cover them with mayonnaise, tomato, mustard , peanut sauce and chili together and you will end up drinking the canals dry.
    To return to something vaguely on topic could Obama with his Indonesian / Dutch colony years be missing this delicacy?.
    Childhood experiences count double, when you only have a USA GrandMac or General Saunders chicken for comparison.
    All food is foreign and fantastic for those with forgetful taste buds.

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  • 186. At 7:31pm on 21 Jan 2009, sadevito wrote:

    As the mother of a non-believing Obama supporter, I was glad but not surprised that he included them. It was a great speech, that didn't insult our intelligence by over-simplifying the issues and pretending there are easy answers to our problems. Good-bye and good riddance to Mr. Bush. I welcome any kind of 'thinker' in the White House after the Non-thinker we have had for the last 8 years!

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  • 187. At 7:42pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    watermanaquarius, a presidential veto is part of our system of checks and balances which keeps the Congress from establishing a tyranny over the executive. I wouldn't expect Europeans to understand it since in their world, the legislative branch IS the executive branch as well. Fire your cannon. Only don't forget to aim it away from your house so you don't blow it up like Neville Chamberlain did.

    AndyPost, I strongly recommend you take a refresher course in American history and learn what distinguishes our form of government, our laws from those of European ancestry they originally derived from. There has been a strong divergence between European law and American law when you take into account the cultural context of it starting even before the revolution. Also, Europeans often don't enforce their laws. For example, as cited in NPR's program on racism in Europe last week, there are laws prohibiting racial discrimination in places like Germany but they are never enforced. On the other hand, in some European countries, racism is enshrined in their laws, Italy for example as it was in some of our states many decades ago. The difference...they don't even know they have a problem while we are well along in the process of solving ours. Racism is just one of those ticking demographic time bombs Europe has that Barack Obama talked about early on in the campaign. Do you remember that?

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  • 188. At 7:43pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nick-No-Gotts, you are delusional. It takes all of Europe combined to challenge the US's civilization just on superficial numbers like GDP. Qualitatively in terms of the kind of civilzation the US is, things that can't be quantified easily...like electing Barack Obama could not happen in Europe, American is hundreds of years more advanced. Look at how long it took to teach Europeans that every meal does not have to be a two hour ritual. America just whizzed by Europe from out of nowhere because the concept of it is far more powerful. In fact, I think it is fair to say that the United States of America was the greatest thing human beings ever invented. And every minute of every day that America exists, it proves in in countless ways. That is why Europe is at once fascinated by it and detests it. And it is why Americans pay so little attention to Europe. Who cares how walking antiques play Halloween costume ball every day. Yes your majesty, no your majesty, If it please your majesty. And you fools buy into that stuff. I told you, the smartest ones leave...and a lot of them come here.

    timewaitsfornoman/british-ish, I seem to recall that the Lilliputians and Belfescuans went to war over a disagreement over eggs. I think it was which end of an egg should be opened first. When Gulliver was asked his opinion, he told them in the middle. The European mentality will always find something to go to war over.

    british-ish, any American would know that a European firm would have to be micromanaged. That's a given. They have no experience taking responsibility themselves and discharging it, it's not in their culture. Europe is a state of mind as much as a place, it's a culture of automotons. Now tell me it was the CEO who micromanaged you and not some low level flunkie.

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  • 189. At 7:50pm on 21 Jan 2009, uninstall wrote:

    To me, the "separation of church and state" would preclude any reference to any religion (or even mention of a deity) in any US government event or activity. Surely this was infringed by having the two preachers speak at the inauguration?

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  • 190. At 7:52pm on 21 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    Sorry, but I think Satanists should be excluded

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/satanism.htm

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  • 191. At 7:53pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    Re 187:
    I just can't fathom what MarcusAureliusII is on about in his posts. His sentences seem reasonably well constructed, yet somehow the meaning eludes me. If we don't enforce a law, as f.i. the law on cannabis in my country, it is because it would be impractical and prohibitively costly to enforce. Why not abolish it altogether, you ask? Basically because the USA won't let us.
    Maybe he should have picked Caligula2 for a nickname. That particular emperor was also somewhat distanced from reality.

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  • 192. At 7:54pm on 21 Jan 2009, joshkin2001 wrote:

    Re: #152 and #170 -
    US Consitution, Article 2, Section 1, last paragraph:

    Before he [the incoming President] enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    The January 20th date is from the 20th Amendment (not passed until 1933), which reads:

    The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

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  • 193. At 7:55pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "the US's civilization"
    Many people I know have their doubts about the "civilization" bit. Although with an educated man like Obama in office that just might start to change a little bit.

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  • 194. At 7:55pm on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    176 nessie1945

    So no point in suggesting a man of honour would resign, I take it?

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  • 195. At 8:02pm on 21 Jan 2009, Dark Side of the Goon wrote:

    MA II's Troll-Fu is strong today.

    He obviously wasn't taught that the US Constitution was based in parts (and in spirit if not in letter) on the French revolutionary constitution and the Magna Carta - as well as some seriously good ideas on the part of the Founding Fathers I have no doubt.

    I think he's also wrong about his contribution to the BBC. Overseas rebroadcasting rights are, and I stand to be corrected, handled by BBC Worldwide. BBC Worldwide's revenue does not contribute to the program making budget of the BBC, nor the budget that provides the BBC's online presence.

    It's all in the Beeb's annual report, which is on the main site and quite easy to find. I'll do some fact checking later.

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  • 196. At 8:02pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "In fact, I think it is fair to say that the United States of America was the greatest thing human beings ever invented. "
    TYhe problem with that way of thinking is that it totally negates the totally European roots of your revolution. Nothing ever springs from nothing. In fact most European countries have arrived at a similar state of democracy as the USA (maybe even better in practice, in some cases), but they had to do it it the hard way, because they had to change social mores that had been in place for many centuries. Come to think of it, their achievement in that respect was maybe a lot greater than that of the USA, which had the opportunity to start from scratch as a nation. It's just how you look at it. As for the greastest things human beings ever invented, those were and will forever be the use of fire and the invention of language, respectively, as far as I am concerned. And seeing what goes in in this forum, I am not so sure about the language thing :-) Then again, you may well be a creationist, so you would never agree with that.

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  • 197. At 8:15pm on 21 Jan 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    uninstall (#189), you are wrong. Please read me earlier post #144 on this subject.

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  • 198. At 8:18pm on 21 Jan 2009, mrghostr wrote:

    todayinchicago wrote:
    "I have to agree with TimothyR444...this is an indeed an odd post from Mr. Webb, if for no other reason than the implied link between 'freethinking' and this Obamapalooza. Have you not noticed the absolute lack of tolerance Obama fanatics have for anyone with the nerve to posit an alternative viewpoint? Even Obama mocks journalists who dare ask a question he doesn't want to answer. The hypocricy - and the inability of so many people to even recognize it - is worrisome, to say the least."

    I'm not sure what todayinchicago means by "absolute lack of tolerance" that he sees being practiced by "Obama fanatics."(By the way, everybody has a name. I wish that todayinchicago had named some of these so-called intolerant Obama fanatics. Some examples of their intolerance would have been nice, too. Doing so would have made it much easier to gauge the value of todayinchicago's complaint here.) At any rate, if someone is impinging on his right to free speech, he could get a lawyer to help him defend his rights in a court of law. If his complaint is that people he knows won't listen to or agree with his points of view, there's not much to be done about that except, perhaps to make his speech more convincing. America is the land of free speech, not the land of mandatory listening. Nor do I recall Obama answering any journalist in a fashion that I would call "mocking," but if todayinchicago could come up with an example or two of Obama mocking a journalist, I would be interested to see it. After all, I want a picture of our president, at least a picture of the civic part of his life, that is as true as possible. I don't want a false one that might be painted by media workers of any political persuasion for whatever reason. (Laziness, corruption, resentment, dogmatic philosophical opposition are all possible reasons a media person might not do their level best. I imagine there are other motives as well.)

    At any rate, I try, personally, to be tolerant and careful about listening to other people's points-of-view, and if todayinchicago has some specifics to back up his generalizations, I'm all ears.


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  • 199. At 8:19pm on 21 Jan 2009, Mike Mullen wrote:

    The thing with MAII is that the more you offer up facts to refute his comments the more he retreats into grandiose statements that are beyond any rational argument.

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  • 200. At 8:19pm on 21 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    As for marcus..

    He was born stupid,& greatly increased his birthright.

    S.Butler

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  • 201. At 8:23pm on 21 Jan 2009, KathyinTN wrote:

    Actually Justin, left-wingers can be just as bad as right-wingers when it comes to censoring those they disagree with. Also, just because someone is religious doesn't mean that that person is intolerant.

    I absolutely agree with the post that said that Europe has a serious problem with intolerance against Christians.

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  • 202. At 8:24pm on 21 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    Whats the odds MA11 gets post 200 removed

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  • 203. At 8:32pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 187

    I guess it all depends on what you consider "strong divergence." The main difference I see between European democracy and ours is that the Europeans don't have our almost pathological fear of their own governments. I would also say that in general Europeans tend to consider their governments as entities separate from their populations where we tend to see it as part and parcel of the American citizenry.

    As far as your assertion that Europeans don't enforce their laws (you do like sweeping generalizations, don't you?), I assume you're picking and choosing here (the French cop that pulled me over for speeding certainly seemed to be enforcing a law). So they don't enforce their anti-bias laws. That's a damn sight better than what we did which is to write bias into our laws! I think it fair to say that recently we've come further than the Europeans have in this respect, yes, but our history is filled with racism. Indeed, it's hard to find periods when it wasn't a major problem. It still exists and will continue to.

    From my time living in France, I've come to believe that Europeans do have a problem with race, but it's different than ours. Where we abused our minorities, they ignore theirs. They're ostracizing significant parts of their populations. They barely interact with them. That seems dangerous to me.

    I agree with you that the Italians are struggling with governmental bigotry at the moment. I do hope they turn back from it.

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  • 204. At 8:33pm on 21 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 205. At 8:35pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 198

    "America is the land of free speech, not the land of mandatory listening."

    I like that. You wouldn't mind if I use it at some point, would you?

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  • 206. At 8:36pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    Re 202:
    I'm glad I was around to read it then :-)

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  • 207. At 8:37pm on 21 Jan 2009, Mike Mullen wrote:

    #201 KathyinTN:

    "I absolutely agree with the post that said that Europe has a serious problem with intolerance against Christians."

    Sorry but the problem is really that too many people of all faiths insist on shoving their beliefs onto wider society with no better rationale than 'god says so'.

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  • 208. At 8:40pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    "Come to think of it, their achievement in that respect was maybe a lot greater than that of the USA, which had the opportunity to start from scratch as a nation."

    Yes, unquestionably. That and the lack of any real threat of invasion allowed us to make our laws without the need to take security concerns into account.

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  • 209. At 8:43pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    As far as religion goes, I would like to point out that, allegedly, God saved GWB from a life of drug, alcohol and women abuse and general depravity. We may well wonder if that was such a good idea after all where the human race in its entirety is concerned. What I'm saying is that an assumed God (I am agonistic in these matters) can only ever save one person at a time and can never be expected to save one nation of people at the expense of others. Those who think otherwise are blasphemers, surely.

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  • 210. At 8:44pm on 21 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #188. MarcusAureliusII (French: Le Fartiste): "I think it is fair to say that the United States of America was the greatest thing human beings ever invented."

    Actually that was the wheel, definitely not an American invention.

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  • 211. At 8:45pm on 21 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Marcus # 187,
    A balancing / check mechanism possibility, or just the ability to put a stick in the spokes of the wheel?
    GWB got 33% of his vetos overridden. Says a lot for his stand on many matters, where 7.5% is about average. Maybe he should have tried harder to get his batting averages down. You can read others veto history here too.
    Here is a Presidential nod
    Would never think of aiming any cannon away from my "castle" in your direction. Like your replies it is only good at firing blanks. Good fun, amusingly irritating, but totally harmless to life.

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  • 212. At 8:50pm on 21 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    We would all totally agree with everything and whatever Marcus the 2nd was saying IF only he would promise to stop being so horrible (shut up)

    but anyway 'freedom of speech' laws means we must to listen to him, because it's the first amendment of the constitutional law in america

    (whatever or all) god(s) bless america
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Bless_America

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  • 213. At 8:52pm on 21 Jan 2009, Jeebers76 wrote:

    Mr Webb,

    I think you are making a bit too much about a single comment of Obama's. He doesn't have THAT much power/influence. He may be more freethinking as you put it, but that doesn't mean the American public will be.

    I believe that there's no way to determine this early in the presidential term how the rest of the country will react to Obama's suggestions. Remember, he doesn't have the power, really, to issue decrees, despite what Bush Jr would have you believe.

    We shall see, won't we?

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  • 214. At 8:56pm on 21 Jan 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 188, Marcus Ridiculous

    Yes, I know, we should ignore his demented ravings and perhaps he'll go away.

    Then again, they said that about that little Schicklgruber fella with the Charlie Chaplin moustache.

    "It takes all of Europe combined to challenge the US's civilization just on superficial numbers like GDP"

    According to the CIA, the EU's GDP in 07 was 16,620,000 in US Dollars. The US's was 13,840,000. That's probably higher per capita in the US - then again the EU includes a number of former Soviet Bloc countries.

    The reference is here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

    Even more interesting is this link, which gives GDP per capita as estimated by the IMF, the World Bank and the CIA - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita.

    The US appears to be about 12th in the world. And where are these countries with greater GDP per capita than the US?? Well, amazingly enough, several are in poor old backwards, sleep all day, 2 hour lunch, 5 weeks vacation, tug yer forelock to the lord of the manor Yerp.

    Clearly this is wrong, since Muchus Fanaticus has kindly explained that we are as Lilliputians to the Giants of the USA. [He's referring of course to that great American classic, Gulliver's Travels.]

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  • 215. At 8:59pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    "He obviously wasn't taught that the US Constitution was based in parts (and in spirit if not in letter) on the French revolutionary constitution."

    Neither was I. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was modeled on the Declaration of Independence. Furthermore, the French Constitution was ratified in 1791, the U.S. in 1787, four years prior.

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  • 216. At 8:59pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    I am starting to think that MA2nd is just Justin Webb trying to get hits on his blog :-)

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  • 217. At 9:01pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    "'freedom of speech' laws means we must to listen to him, because it's the first amendment of the constitutional law in america."

    Yes, but we're in Britain when on this site.

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  • 218. At 9:02pm on 21 Jan 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    I meant to write "my" instead of "me" in my previous post, of course.

    Those who wish to pontificate on the subject of "separation of church and state" might well first read Justice O'Conner's concurring opinion in US Supreme Court Case 02-1624, Elk Grove v. Newdow:

    http://undergod.procon.org/sourcefiles/SupremeDecision.pdf

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  • 219. At 9:04pm on 21 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    My favorite American Law is the fifth amendment
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

    as used by Al Pacino in Godfather II
    The Godfather Part II is not really a movie about the mafia, it is a movie about a man's life long struggle. Michael controls a vast empire that is constantly slipping out of his hands. He grows increasingly distrustful and paranoid, and even shows signs that he hates his own life.




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  • 220. At 9:11pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    "Basically because the USA won't let us."

    Britain needs U.S. permission to pass a law? News to me.

    What about the Dutch? Did they get permission from the U.S.?

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  • 221. At 9:12pm on 21 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Ukeofwales, all humans are born stupid. The difference is that most Americans grow out of it, most Europeans don't. Those that do...leave. That's why so many came here.

    Andy Post, you don't get it. You didn't get a speeding ticket from a French cop because you were speeding, you got it because you are American. They an spot us a mile away. I lived there too you know and I saw them first hand. They are jealous as hell of us. Now so is the rest of Europe, especially the UK. That's why they are always here, that's why the are always talking about us. Their accents are starting to get on my nerves. I appreciate a southern drawl now more than I ever thought I would.

    You should also learn more American history because you are wrong. The US was scared to death of a Japanese invasion and an internal Japanese "fifth column." That why they had the internment camps during the war.

    jimgorilla, if I had any doubts about evolution you dispelled them. One celled brains? Hmm, something to consider. It would explain a lot.

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  • 222. At 9:13pm on 21 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "Neither was I. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was modeled on the Declaration of Independence. Furthermore, the French Constitution was ratified in 1791, the U.S. in 1787, four years prior."
    I was about to point that out. It is irrelevant however, as they both spring from the same well, which was the (European) Enlightenment movement. As a matter of fact the French revolutionaries had every reason to be somewhat suspicious of their American counterparts, who had after all all too eagerly accepted the support of the (then) royalist French government in their struggle against the English. All a matter of politics, of course. Anyway, as history progresses the time difference between the French and American revolutions will become increasingly less significant, as the years have a tendency to compress as time marches on.

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  • 223. At 9:22pm on 21 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    marcus,

    If I say you are extremely stupid.I do not mean that in a derogatory sence.I simply mean that you are not very intelligent...

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  • 224. At 9:26pm on 21 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #215

    Andy,

    Quite correct. It does, however draw on Magna Carta and the Oxford Articles. The Founding Fathers were smart guys.

    Meanwhile in the real world:

    Habeas Corpus, welcome back! We missed you!

    Happy Sam

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  • 225. At 9:27pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 221

    "French cop because you were speeding, you got it because you are American."

    No, I was speeding, and for the record, he was very courteous and professional.

    "They are jealous as hell of us."

    I didn't see any of that. None. The French are happy being French. They did express their frustration with our military inaction after winning the cold war (this was back in '95). I bet they don't feel that way now!

    "The US was scared to death of a Japanese invasion and an internal Japanese fifth column.

    That was in 1942. The U.S. had all but taken its current form by then.

    "That's why they are always here, that's why the are always talking about us."

    Uh, I believe this is their website. That might have something to do with their presence here, don't you think? Also, this is "Justin Webb's America." Did you expect to see discussions on the Congo?

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  • 226. At 9:30pm on 21 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #221

    Marcus,

    Then there are some who never recognize their own stupidity.

    As for being able to be spotted a mile off. With your open mindedness regarding other cultures, and ability to seamlessly join any gathering or conversation without in any way being obnoxious I am amazed that anyone anywhere could spot you as anything but a native.

    Then again if you dress like Rodney Dangerfield, you ain't going to get no respect.

    Traveller Sam

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  • 227. At 9:30pm on 21 Jan 2009, pciii wrote:

    ~126
    publiusdetroit wrote:
    "I understand Marcus. His train of thought reads much faster and reveals greater logic with the use of the scroll button on the right side of the window"

    How right you are, you'll notice the pattern goes something like this:

    1.Original Topic from BBC
    2.Marcus on why Europe is rubbish and USA is great, complete with inane example from his own life (usually from the 1970s)
    3.Various sensible responses that disprove his original statement
    4.More Marcus hatred, but in a different vein (MAII rule number one - don't respond to an argument you can't win)
    5.Repeat until he goes of to a new blog, usually ending with a smug comment that in no way answers the original topic or any arguments against him

    I do love some of the ridiculous examples he comes up with though. Best one today is that USA is great because they have fast food, whereas Europeans have long meal times. In his world it's a bad thing to work less hours, have good health care and still live comfortably. Ironic that in this respect most Brits would love to be more like France/Spain, where a strong sense of family coming together over extended meal times is seen as a good thing.

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  • 228. At 9:37pm on 21 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #172

    And I would respectfullyt say that she chose a very nice frock.

    It's inappropriate to consider the first lady as 'Hot', and I have therefore gone back to a dangerous obsession with Sheryl Crow.

    Who was at the concert.

    And was smokin'.

    Oh yeah, now we're talking.

    Dirty Sam

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  • 229. At 9:40pm on 21 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #65

    Ooo err Ed, that I did not notice.

    Interested Sam

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  • 230. At 9:41pm on 21 Jan 2009, kikidread wrote:

    Sam,
    I hope you are not related to 'Son of Sam'
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Berkowitz

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  • 231. At 9:42pm on 21 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #221. MarcusAureliusII: "Ukeofwales, all humans are born stupid. The difference is that most Americans grow out of it"

    In that case, we know of one who never did.

    "They can spot us (Americans) a mile away."

    Now I know you're delusional. You really must take your medication on a regular basis.

    "They are jealous as hell of us. Now so is the rest of Europe, especially the UK."

    I'd be interested to know when was the last time you visited continental Europe - jealousy is not an emotion which can be judged by films and television. We know all too well that you've never stepped foot on British soil, so that makes it yet more difficult to ascertain.

    "Their accents are starting to get on my nerves."

    The stop watching British broadcasts!

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  • 232. At 9:44pm on 21 Jan 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 143 AndyPost

    "The one thing I don't understand about the British is why if they disapproved of Blair they didn't change their government sooner. The British I know have oft expressed their disdain of Americans for re-electing Bush in 2004, but they don't seem to consider their failure to remove Blair to be in any way analogous./Can anyone explain this apparent dichotomy to me?"

    Andy, I'm not sure that you understand the parliamentary system in the UK [and various other countries, including mine.]

    The Prime Minister is not directly elected, but elected by Parliament. [Strictly speaking he's appointed by the Monarch, but he would invariably be the person who can command a majority in the House.]

    Blair was by some distance the most successful ever Labour leader in electoral terms. He won 3 elections, including 2 'landslides'. No other Labour leader has ever won 2 consecutive full terms, AFAIK.

    In the last one, his majority, and the turnout, were considerably down, as I recall. However, the opposition Tories, and their leader Michael Howard, were still relatively unpopular. Moreover, much of Blair's loss of popularity was due to Iraq, and, AIR, the Tories backed the war too, so they weren't much of an alternative.

    The British people didn't 'change their government' at all - the Labour party changed its leader. Blair would probably have gone anyway, but I think he went sooner than he hoped, as he had lost support within his party.

    I suspect a lot of British people would say that the difference was that they grudgingly re-elected Blair in 05 because there was no better alternative. The US not only re-elected GWB in 04, but with a higher vote than in 2000 - and against John Kerry, who most Brits would have seen as a better candidate.

    Put it another way - his majority in 04 was greater than his majority of minus half a million votes in 2000.

    However, since Macho Autisticus has explained to us that the USA is the most wunnerful thing in this or any other universe, we now realise that the 2000 election was of course a triumph of democracy and a shining example unto all the nations.....

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  • 233. At 9:49pm on 21 Jan 2009, CindyG3 wrote:

    This is the point when it is best to simply NOT RESPOND to MarcusAureliusII. Some love to promote their mastery of the english language and ability to criticize other rather than hold a meaningful conversation of useful substance.

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  • 234. At 9:49pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    212, kikidread wrote:

    We would all totally agree with everything and whatever Marcus the 2nd was saying IF only he would promise to stop being so horrible (shut up)

    but anyway 'freedom of speech' laws means we must to listen to him, because it's the first amendment of the constitutional law in america


    But this blog is British territory, as it were, so the First Amendment doesn't have anything to do with it.

    Under our law he'd have to libel or defame someone or incite racial hatred (which he does in a way, but escapes because he always refers to nationalities) for us to get rid of him . . .

    I've been considering the Mental Health Act (he's obviously a danger both to himself and us, well to our minds anyway) so we could get him packed off to a nice secure hospital bed free on the NHS, but I'm not sure you can 'section' an alias on a blog . . .

    216. jimigorilla wrote:

    I am starting to think that MA2nd is just Justin Webb trying to get hits on his blog :-)

    I've wondered if he's a bored moderator. Can't see how so many of his off-topic rants get through unscathed otherwise.






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  • 235. At 9:50pm on 21 Jan 2009, Mike Mullen wrote:

    #221 MAII:

    "Andy Post, you don't get it. You didn't get a speeding ticket from a French cop because you were speeding, you got it because you are American. They an spot us a mile away. I lived there too you know and I saw them first hand. They are jealous as hell of us. Now so is the rest of Europe, especially the UK. That's why they are always here, that's why the are always talking about us. Their accents are starting to get on my nerves. I appreciate a southern drawl now more than I ever thought I would."

    Okay sliding from trolling to clinical paranoia now, soon he'll be claming the French are tapping his phones, the Germans following him in their black Mercedes, and the British conducting satellite surveillance. And by the way MAII currently you are in our virtual backyard not the other way around or had that escaped your notice like so many other things?

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  • 236. At 10:13pm on 21 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 190 kikidread

    Aw, come on kiki. If it were not for Satan the "People of The Book" would not have anyone to fight but each other.

    timewaitsfornoman

    Whew! Thanks for amending your post on fries. Poutine is a Canadian culinary treasure not to be overlooked. You came close to being stripped of your maple leaf toque.

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  • 237. At 10:28pm on 21 Jan 2009, mrghostr wrote:

    Andy Post asked:

    Ref. 198

    ""America is the land of free speech, not the land of mandatory listening."

    I like that. You wouldn't mind if I use it at some point, would you?"

    mtghostr answers:
    It's alright by me. (I don't recall if I have heard this elsewhere in the past, so I'm not entirely sure it's original with me, but that's not very important to me either.)

    ref 217 has this

    "'freedom of speech' laws means we must to listen to him, because it's the first amendment of the constitutional law in america."

    In America, freedom of speech simply means that someone's free expression cannot legally be forbidden (unless it endangers others, like crying fire in a crowded theater, or harms them in some other way, in which case one opens oneself up to libel suits.) Nobody is required to listen to anybody. Think how impractical that would be! No one has time to read every newspaper, blog. journal, etc. or to listen to every tv or radio program.

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  • 238. At 10:36pm on 21 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #73. lochraven: "America". . . Yes, British words put to a German melody. I believe you take credit where it isn't due."

    Every reference I've read says that the melody originated in Britain and was adapted in Germany, not the other way around. Just as the melody of the present US National Anthem originated on British shores, possibly Scotland. Le Fartiste must be very upset by that! However, as you say, we have more in common than some old tune - the British lyric is out-of-date (and no doubt an embarrassment to QEII) and the American anthem is nigh impossible to sing.

    Americans of course love what is tantamount to Britain's second national anthem, Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, used as the Recessional at graduations. The A.C. Benson lyric is probably unknown to them, but must be equally as upsetting to our anti-British poster, since they startLand of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free . . .

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  • 239. At 10:41pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    226. SamTyler1969 wrote:

    "Marcus,
    I am amazed that anyone anywhere could spot you as anything but a native."

    That's a native of . . .?

    I think we should alert the anthropolgists that we seem to have discovered one of a tribe which has obviously had no contact with the outside world for the last forty years.

    And seems to have expelled only this single, obviously incorrigibly disruptive member.

    Amazing, isn't it? I think they'd be especially interested in the Lincoln car-go cult this tribe seems to have adopted and their invocations of the god 'Bumper'.

    Do you think he might have been expelled for unorthodoxy, I'd have thought they'd worship the god 'Fender'?

    These primitive societies can be pretty cruel to those who don't conform.

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  • 240. At 10:46pm on 21 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    236 publiusdetroit

    "Poutine is a Canadian culinary treasure"

    Oh I know, I know - it was a close one and I need that tuque!

    Reminds me of the OJ trial. What did they keep calling his hat. Don't remember, a watchman cap or something and we kept saying, "It's a tuque! Everyone knows that!"

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  • 241. At 10:51pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    235, AsaScot wrote:

    "MAII currently you are in our virtual backyard "

    Oh dear. Is he? I'd be very cautious about opening your virtual trashcan, then.

    These marcusaureliuses have a nasty bite when they're cornered. They say they go for the head, you know.

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  • 242. At 11:00pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    238. David_Cunard wrote:

    "the British lyric is out-of-date"

    Not at all actually, especially given Obama's inauguration speech.

    This is one of the verses nobody knows (I didn't until yesterday) and we never get around to singing:

    Not in this land alone
    But be God's mercies known,?From shore to shore!
    Lord make the nations see,
    That men should brothers be,?And form one family,
    The wide world over.

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  • 243. At 11:06pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    240, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    236 publiusdetroit
    "Poutine is a Canadian culinary treasure"

    Since somebody said earlier they reckoned the food thread was better than MA's rantings, maybe we should try sneaking it back in; don't see why the mods shouldn't let us, since MA's rants are much more irrelevant.

    What's "poutine", and can you have it for breakfast? (I seem to be getting hungry again.)

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  • 244. At 11:10pm on 21 Jan 2009, Cassandra wrote:

    Dear timewaitsfornoman,

    Re: "So no point in suggesting a man of honour would resign, I take it?"

    Oh, sorry. You were talking about "a man of honor." I was talking about a neo-conservative.

    Apples and oranges.

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  • 245. At 11:20pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    232, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    "# 143 AndyPost
    I suspect a lot of British people would say that the difference was that they grudgingly re-elected Blair in 05 because there was no better alternative."

    Yes; Labour's majority was seriously reduced, without actually benefiting the opposition much (quite a bit of neat tactical voting, really) and I think kept losing pretty well every bye election.

    You can't really chuck out a whole government which is doing what people thought were more good things than bad things.

    But Blair was given the message pretty loud and clear he wasn't wanted any more because of Iraq.


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  • 246. At 11:42pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 232

    Thank you.

    I do understand that the Prime Minister is a member Parliament and not directly elected. I also was aware that we still have a Labour government in Britain, although as I understand it, Brown and Blair are not peas in a pod, nor even strong political allies, so the government has changed somewhat nonetheless.

    Still, I find the explanation that the British felt they didn't have a choice to be ultimately unsatisfying. While it may be true, I still find fault with the electorate for not demanding proper representation. With so much anti-war sentiment in the country, how could it be that there wasn't a group of politicians available to take advantage of it and roll into power?

    In other words, how could both parties be in favor of such an unpopular war? It is, after all, a representative government, isn't it?

    Obviously, I'm missing something here.



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  • 247. At 11:45pm on 21 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    Hi, Marcus!

    We've just won the record for
    underwater ironing!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7843208.stm

    Yah boo sucks!




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  • 248. At 11:56pm on 21 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 224

    "It does, however draw on Magna Carta and the Oxford Articles."

    Yes, very much so. I do consider our Constitution to trace its lineage back to those and other documents, and, honestly, am proud of it. For all its ambiguity, it represents a milestone in human history.

    It'd be nice if we lived up to its ideals every once and a while. It's not easy.

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  • 249. At 00:07am on 22 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    243 british-ish "What's "poutine"

    See below my #173 from the chips discussion:

    "Oh! How could I forget. Our national (as in the Province of Quebec) dish is poutine. (fr. pooh tin') French fries covered in gravy with cheese curd. I know, I know it sounds disgusting, but some people almost live on the stuff, debate where the best is made, drive miles (kilometres) out of their way, etc. etc. Some even eat it for breakfast!

    Back to topic: It is a religion to some!"

    It seems I answered both your questions before you asked.

    I was very amused by your 241 trashcan, etc.

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  • 250. At 00:21am on 22 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    AndyPost, I didn't say you weren't speeding. I just said that is not why you got a ticket. Just my opinion based on observation of French culture. Had you been say Spanish or Italian, you might have gotten off with a warning. If you were North African, you'd likely have been taken to prison.

    About BBC discussing America so disproportionately to other nations and news, this posting from brianmcclinton on William Crawley's blog in Northern IIreland;

    William:

    "I know that I am stupid, naive, paranoid, suspicious, whining, and anything else you like, but would you or someone else please explain to me in terms that I can understand why the media in Britain give so much publicity to what happens in America?"

    "Please don't fob me off with the usual, "I's an important country, what it does affects us all", crap. Every country and every individual in this world SHOULD be important and SHOULD be treated with equal dignity and respect. American are no better and no worse than any other people. So why on earth do Americans and what happens in America receive so much attention here?"

    I'm not the only one who noticed it.

    I love the way Europeans get so angry when an American bashes their civilization, their culture, their governments, their politics. They've had free reign to do the same about America for a very long time and it has not only gone unchallenged but unresponded to. Now when the shoe is on the other foot and they are on the receiving end, they are furious. And that is not at all surprising to me. One lone American voice against 500 million Europeans seems a fair match up. After all I've got the facts on my side and actually know some of them. What makes you Europeans so angry is that deep down you know they are true. You've heard a lot of them yourselves from other Europeans. Now you are hearing it from an American. Free speech is something you defend only when the voice speaks what you want to hear. When it is otherwise, you betray your instinctive European propensity to crush all opposition...which only goes to prove my point all the more forcefully.



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  • 251. At 00:30am on 22 Jan 2009, Wil wrote:

    I wondered how things become like this. Christ preach peace and tolerance. Muslim the same. How come they have both become the most intolerant religion this century.

    Perhaps the world should consider buddhist or free thinker.

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  • 252. At 00:30am on 22 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Andy Post,

    "The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was modeled on the Declaration of Independence. "
    which was, in turn, paraphrased from John Locke...an Englishman

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  • 253. At 00:34am on 22 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #242. british-ish: "This is one of the verses nobody knows (I didn't until yesterday) and we never get around to singing:

    Not in this land alone . . etc."

    Like yourself, I was not familiar with the verse and research shows that it and others were written in 1836 by William Hixton as an "alternative version".

    God bless our native land!
    May heaven's protecting hand
    Still guard our shore:
    May peace her power extend,
    Foe be transformed to friend,
    And Britain's rights depend
    On war no more.

    2
    O Lord, our monarch bless
    With strength and righteousness:
    Long may she reign:
    Her heart inspire and move
    With wisdom from above;
    And in a nation's love
    Her throne maintain

    3
    May just and righteous laws
    Uphold the public cause,
    And bless our isle:
    Home of the brave and free,
    Thou land of liberty,
    We pray that still on thee
    Kind heaven may smile.

    4
    Nor on this land alone,
    But be God's mercies known
    From shore to shore:
    Lord make the nations see
    That men should brothers be,
    And form one family
    The wide world o'er


    Altogether far more acceptable I think, although the fourth line of verse three does appear familiar!

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  • 254. At 00:37am on 22 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 232

    "You can't really chuck out a whole government which is doing what people thought were more good things than bad things."

    Which is tantamount to saying the British are correct in giving themselves a pass that they've refused Americans. Remember that in 2004 the war was only a year and a half old. Katrina hadn't happened, yet, either. The financial crisis wasn't seen as even being on the horizon. The economy was humming along as a matter of fact.

    Yet, the British seem to think we were remiss in not having chucked out our whole government. That doesn't seem fair. Or does it?

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  • 255. At 00:45am on 22 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #250. MarcusAureliusII (Le Fartiste): "After all I've got the facts on my side and actually know some of them."

    And which would they be?

    PS. "They've had free reign . ." rein is the word you're looking for.

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  • 256. At 00:48am on 22 Jan 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    #144 gary

    Obama or anyone else can exersise their religion freely, i don't mind, just as long as it's not on the steps of a building paid for and maintained by the taxpayer dollars.

    I believe that first amendment would include the protection of my beliefs also, so therefore what i feel has merit, yes?

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  • 257. At 00:48am on 22 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    oh man, I've been offline a few hours now, finished work, got home, had dinner, watched TV, visited friends, wow, sounds like so much. Guess I've got a life - but man, returning to read up on what I've missed and our friend MAII has really given what I can only describe as unlimited entertainment value.

    He's so wrapped up in his 'I'm so right, I'm always right, my country is perfect' that I think he's actually started to believe his own rants.

    The world needs people like this - especially in a doom and gloom credit financial cesspit we are heading toward - even us little tin-pot fairy tale Prince and Princess toyland countries need a clown once in a while - oh yeah - a court Jester.

    Me lud, I rest me case

    Night night!

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  • 258. At 00:59am on 22 Jan 2009, Cassandra wrote:

    Ha! MSNBC just said: "BREAKING NEWS: Obama retakes oath of office at White House due to flub at inauguration"

    Remember the earlier comment from saintDominic:
    "I have trouble accepting the idea of an experienced lawyer, judge, and Chief Justice forgetting the Oath of Office during a Presidential Inauguration. Is this man as qualified for the job as some suggest he is, or was his faux pas intentional?"

    Verrrry interesting.





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  • 259. At 00:59am on 22 Jan 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref 252
    "...which was, in turn, paraphrased from John Locke...an Englishman".

    Parts of it were, yes. The justification for revolution being the best example. There were other sources, too. The intent according to Madison wasn't to discover any truths but to implement them.

    Really, I take pride in our British heritage. Don't confuse me with Marcus.

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  • 260. At 01:01am on 22 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 242 british-ish

    When you we get few verses into our U.S. anthem the ,"Star Spangled Banner", we find:

    "And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
    A home and a country should leave us no more!
    Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"


    Ours is said to be the only national anthem that glorifies slavery and war. Mentioning our terrible legacy of "hireling and slave" makes us look quite foolish when we finish off the verse with "the land of the free and the home of the brave"

    I would rather see "America the Beautiful" as our anthem. I do not even mind the invocation of "God" in the lyrics. Better God, than hirelings and slaves.

    BTW. Most people would not consider poutine as a breakfast food. I am not one to judge these things, though. I love a good, Cornish pasty for breakfast; or a red-hot, Tex-Mex chili over my eggs.

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  • 261. At 01:01am on 22 Jan 2009, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 211 WMA
    Would never think of aiming any cannon away from my "castle" in your direction. Like your replies it is only good at firing blanks. Good fun, amusingly irritating, but totally harmless to life.

    Direct hit!!

    Cheers,
    Pinko

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  • 262. At 01:02am on 22 Jan 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    243 Brit-ish:

    249 Timewaits is right, but he understates it.

    Poutine (poo-t(s)in, phonetically) should be served scalding hot with the melted curds dripping over hot, greasy, hand cut, golden brown fries, with an order of steaming hot gravy poured on top of the curds, on a day when the hairs in you nose freeze together when you breath in. (I.e., approx 5 F or colder) The best places to buy them are at a chip wagon, or at a Brasserie.

    Could go for some right now, just thinking about it. Wash it down with a 'Labatt vert' or an ice cold 'Ex'. Mmmm, mmmm! Just listen to those arteries harden.

    Culturally, poutine probably has roughly the same place as mushy peas or, more contemporaneously, chicken tikka take away.

    And, famously, Rick Mercer, then of "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" once asked then presidential candidate George W. Bush for his views on Prime Minister Poutine of Canada. Candidate Bush thought Prime Minister Poutine was doing fine, and had the greatest respect for him.

    This was televised in prime time in Canada.

    Canada is America's largest trading partner.

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  • 263. At 01:08am on 22 Jan 2009, Cassandra wrote:

    More from the news:

    "Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8 of the Constitution states:

    "Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    But Roberts' flub on Tuesday sent the new chief executive into a verbal detour of his own. "



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  • 264. At 01:12am on 22 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    244 nessie1945

    "Apples and oranges."

    It must be reassuring for you to know you can sleep soundly at night with your Supreme Court under such "honourable" leadership.

    My advice - do your best not to break any laws!

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  • 265. At 01:25am on 22 Jan 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    251 Wil NG
    I suspect many freethinkers reflect upon buddhist teachings, Simply, it's all about finding peace from within, which in turn emulates out. The strength and courage obtained by oneself, void of prayers, is very empowering, at least to me.

    Guilt and the constant fear of retrobution, is damaging to a persons perceptions, and in turn creates numerous neurosis.
    I'm with you, even if i can't spit it out with much elegance.

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  • 266. At 01:27am on 22 Jan 2009, Cassandra wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman:

    After 8 years of the Bush administration, breaking laws may be the only way some citizens have to secure housing, food, and medical treatment: Jail inmates aren't experiencing the same killing cold that our growing numbers of homeless are....

    I'm having trouble paying for my heating bill in the little rabbit hutch of a house that's all I can afford now - but I'm too anti-social for the community living behind bars.

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  • 267. At 01:45am on 22 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 264 timewaitsfornoman

    If you were to spend any time in a U.S. courtroom you would see that our Chief Justice is the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes I think the people on the bench are all graduates of the University of Marcus Law School. Lots of bluster; resolving cases in ignorance of the facts. I once had a Judge who slept through 3 days of testimony; making a decision that violated 12 points of law.

    Speaking of Marcus. It will probably boil his bloomers to discover that the signers of the Declaration of Independence were all---Englishmen.

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  • 268. At 01:59am on 22 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    265. At 01:25am on 22 Jan 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    "it's all about finding peace from within, which in turn emulates out."

    Very nicely put. As I've mentioned already, earlier, much earlier, I have no religious leanings, but I've been exposed to Buddhism by a friend/neighbour of mine who converted to Buddhism.

    Without wanting to be faithful to a particular group, I think Buddhism relates more closely to my personal ideals in life than any other so called 'faith' could possibly come close to doing.

    I said it earlier, but my philosophy is to live life for me, albeit not in a selfish way, but only in doing so can you then be in a position to give yourself, selflessly, to your partner, your family, your friends, acquaintances, neighbours, colleagues, co-workers, and the rest of humanity in that order.

    Be who you are, who you want to be, strive to be the best at what you do and consider everyone else along the way in a positive way, and the world might just become a better place for us all.

    Night night, again x

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  • 269. At 03:15am on 22 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    nessie1945 publiusdetroit

    I have thought for the longest time that the US is just too big! There are many things in Canada we just will not put up with for very long. Because we have a smaller population we are able to get the momentum going for change.

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  • 270. At 03:33am on 22 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    If you're a young earther you can take your heritage back to Adam. If you're not, you can take it back to the first strand of DNA. I don't know who's dumber, the Europeons or those Americans who fall for their rot.

    AndyPost, did you ever stop to think about the fact that when you look at all those picturesque European towns and villages on the sides of the hills, the ones on the picture post cards that when you get right down to it, they are actually each a collection of structures that are little more than stone caves built may hundreds of years ago? They must have had to blast holes in them just to get indoor plumbing and electricity installed.

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  • 271. At 03:46am on 22 Jan 2009, Orville Eastland wrote:

    A few comments on anthems-

    "Not on this land alone"

    Actually I know this verse. I found it first in my 1950-something US-published book, "A Treasury of Religious Verse". I think it was in one or more of the BBC's hymnals. Said Treasury (though not the Beeb) included in a footnote this verse, which is almost forgotten like the third verse of our national anthem.

    "O Lord our God arise,
    Scatter her enemies
    And make them fall;
    Confound their politics,
    Frustrate their knavish tricks,
    On Thee our hopes we fix,
    God save us all!"

    "Lift Every Voice and Sing"

    Part of the last verse of what was once known as "The Negro National Anthem" was recited by Joseph Lowry at the beginning of his closing prayer. It's included in some hymnals, and you can find the full lyrics online. (Incidentally, it mentions God more times than the song below...)

    "The Star-Spangled Banner"

    Nobody's mentioned the tune for this song is from the old English drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven"

    " To Anacreon in Heav'n,
    Where he sat in full glee,
    A few Sons of Harmony
    Sent a petition
    That he their Inspirer
    And Patron would be;
    When this answer arrived
    From the Jolly Old Grecian:
    'Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,
    No longer be mute,
    I'll lend you my name
    And inspire you to boot,
    And besides I'll instruct you,
    Like me, to intwine
    The Myrtle of Venus
    With Bacchus' Vine.'"

    Oddly enough, while this was one of the unofficial national anthems of the United States, it wasn't officially proclaimed as the official one until 1931. (In part thanks to Robert Ripley of "Believe it or Not!" fame.) Another song considered the national anthem was the one below...

    "My Country 'Tis of Thee"

    Some Americans may find it interesting that at least two versions of this hymn were translated into German for use among German-speaking Americans.

    One began, "Heil dir, Amerika! Heil dir, Columbia! Gott sei mit dir!" ("Hail to you, America! Hail to you, Columbia! God is with you!"). The second, which was written by theologian Walter Rauschenbusch, began "Dir sing ich, Vaterland; Der freiheit Heimatland- Amerika!" ("To you I sing, Fatherland; homeland of freedom- America!") This didn't attract as much attention as "Nuestro Himno", but these weren't sung in public much...

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  • 272. At 04:00am on 22 Jan 2009, moderate_observer wrote:

    christianity,science,islam,atheism, people belonging to all these faiths or belief systems all share the same thing in common. They believe they are right and everyone else is wrong and should be shunned for holding another view.

    Atheist criticize the religous for being intolerant of other views, yet they try to force laws restricting the freedom of religion, or some even suggest banning it outright. That is the trend in europe. So much for free thinking. Its just the mirror opposite of the US.

    SO in essence they are in fact as intolerant as the ones they criticize and have created a religous or anti-religous movement of their own which has similar traits to their rivals.

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  • 273. At 06:17am on 22 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #271. Orvillethird: "The Star-Spangled Banner"
    Nobody's mentioned the tune for this song is from the old English drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven"

    I have read that it was a Scottish drinking song, but no matter, it did originate in Britain, which must be a red rag to MAII's bull.

    "My Country 'Tis of Thee" Some Americans may find it interesting that at least two versions of this hymn were translated into German for use among German-speaking Americans.

    Similarly, the American patriotic song "O Columbia, Gem of the Ocean" was rewritten for British use as "O Britannia, Gem of the Ocean". It scans the same. Publishers were then, as now, always eager to make a buck!

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  • 274. At 09:01am on 22 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 275. At 09:13am on 22 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    272. At 04:00am on 22 Jan 2009, moderate_observer wrote:

    "Atheist criticize the religous for being intolerant of other views, yet they try to force laws restricting the freedom of religion, or some even suggest banning it outright. That is the trend in europe. So much for free thinking. Its just the mirror opposite of the US."

    Really? Where on earth (or any other fairly local planet) does this sort of idea come from?

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  • 276. At 09:16am on 22 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "In America, freedom of speech simply means that someone's free expression cannot legally be forbidden (unless it endangers others, like crying fire in a crowded theater, or harms them in some other way, in which case one opens oneself up to libel suits.) Nobody is required to listen to anybody. Think how impractical that would be! No one has time to read every newspaper, blog. journal, etc. or to listen to every tv or radio program."
    That reminds me of the story about the Soviet aythor who has sought polityical asylum in the USA and who complained that nobody was interested in hos work. Surely better than the KGB, they said. At least they used to read my books, he answered.

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  • 277. At 09:17am on 22 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    271.Orvillethird wrote:

    "The Star-Spangled Banner"

    Nobody's mentioned the tune for this song is from the old English drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven"


    Good heavens. What on earth were they drinking then to sing words like those?

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  • 278. At 09:28am on 22 Jan 2009, Martijn wrote:

    "jimgorilla, if I had any doubts about evolution you dispelled them. One celled brains? Hmm, something to consider. It would explain a lot."

    Another "joke" I don't get. What do you mean? Are you convinced evolution is true now because you think I am stupid? Although an one-celled brain is a contradiction in terms once you learn a bit about biology, I am willing to consider it in your case. You do seem special.
    Now let me explain: when you have formulated an opinion or something or somebody, which you don't seem to have any problems with, it doesn't follow that that is now a "fact."
    The only relevant fact is that human history is a continuum of which the history of the USA is only a small part. You cannot separate yourself from the rest of the world. We are all in this together. There are still way too many people living below the poverty line in America for it to be really proud of anything yet. Maybe if your government had invested a bit more in educating its populace and a bit less in weapons of mass destruction, you wouldn't be so disgustingly provincial.

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  • 279. At 09:29am on 22 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    With threads on this blog going through motor cars, food and our respective National Anthems, I believe I have found the perfect anthem to fit all occasions
    Temporary anthem for the USA, Israel
    Enjoy Marcus. I am not expecting you to be humming it tomorrow expecting an aggresive "The Ride of the Valkyries" to be more your favourite, but the text is simple and it's message comes from the heart.[ and you like old American gas guzzlers.]

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  • 280. At 12:46pm on 22 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    Freethinkers Welcome!!??
    In the majority, I think we can all give ourselves a pat on the back for this blog - all opinions gratefully received (even you Marcus - without your input, I think that this blog might have been a more boring read), even if the point was transgressed on a number of occasions.

    The original point was about the 'In God We Trust' type of slogan we oft see in the US, and associate with the country as a whole. The statement was used to highlight the possible coming change of opinion in that non-believers are now welcome too is a real wind of change from the outside, looking in.

    As a Christian nation built on Christian values this is not something that can or should be baulked at. As a nation, trust was placed in God to protect and nurture the new land. No different to how God has been asked to protect land, harvest, populace, the children, in daily prayer the Christian world over.

    I say Christian, but of course the same applies to the Muslim world. God is asked to bless meals, farms, animals, homes, families, business and in the specific case of some Muslim nations, flights prior to departure. It is incorporated into the pre-flight video on some flights I've taken.

    Before, during and since, other religious groups or faiths have asked their God to protect or guarantee their harvest, their family, their passage to the next life.

    The common trait here is hope. Hope in something better after the hell of living on this earth. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint), the only people who can make a better life on this earth are those of us that voice our opinions and make those changes. Marcus is a shining example of that, (as is everyone taking the time to submit to this blog) but it seems he stands on the antagonists bench rather than the progressive side of the fence. The two party system in action - ok wrong blog, but I thought it relevant.

    It is all relative, and within the difference it portrays, it is the same.

    We apply it in our daily speech, in the name of God, Jesus Christ, my God, etc.

    The refreshing difference to the way President Obama put it is that he was publically stating that he was an open minded person with open minded values who has hopes of portraying the US to the outside world as an open minded nation. That is the news.

    In the days when the US was being born, a population was needed to farm, build, explore, expand, and religion played a huge part in that. Christian missionaries were established and wherever pioneers became homesteaders, the missionaries would follow. It was integrated into the very soul of the established culture.

    It was far from perfect, but it was the way it was, much of the world over.

    Slavery was accepted, blacks were oppressed as lesser mortals, but thankfully things have changed. Things are changing. There is still an element of racial prejudice in the US, (and yes Marcus, in Europe too, and in Africa, Asia and I dare say there's a difference of opinion between breed of penguin in the Antarctic too), but broadly speaking people of today are more accepting or tolerant of difference than we have been for millennia. Further strides must still be made, but as a world, we are heading in the right direction on at least one important issue.

    A much used phrase, taken from the extract of a sonnet 'The New Colossus' by Emma Lazarus, a New York poet of Portuguese Jewish descent, inscribed inside the base of the Statue of Liberty, reads:-

    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she with silent lips.
    "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    which suggests that all are welcome in the land of the free, but as history has shown, this is not the case, and recent history could cause this statement to be mis-interpreted. Maybe it is this state of mind that keeps Marcus going - the US is best - the rest of the world filled with wretched refuse - yes, mis-interpretation of the facts, me Lud.

    The original sentiments that 'all are welcome, irrespective of background, culture, wealth or country of origin' are those that Pres. Obama appears to be embracing, albeit in the context of religion.

    What he said was that you don't have to conform to the US standard to be a US citizen, just abide by our laws and we'll get along just fine.

    The wind of change is just a breeze right now, but let's hope for gales soon, President Obama.

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  • 281. At 12:47pm on 22 Jan 2009, davidwelsh wrote:

    So, everyone's welcome except the Buddhists then...

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  • 282. At 12:50pm on 22 Jan 2009, Batcow wrote:

    I'm glad that President Obama chose to make an inclusive comment about non-believers. I'm fed up with hearing the phrase "people of all faiths" which politicians like Tony Blair like to use to exclude atheists.

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  • 283. At 1:42pm on 22 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    281. At 12:47pm on 22 Jan 2009, davidwelsh wrote:

    So, everyone's welcome except the Buddhists then...

    I see your point, David, it was not mentioned in name, but I'm sure he meant it broadly speaking - in that 'all the other religions' broad sweeping statement he made.

    He could have gone further and mentioned Seikh, Pagan, Voodoo and so forth - please don't think I'm putting Seikh in there with Pagan and Voodoo for any reason other than he just didn't mention those specifically.

    I think we should try to see it from the broader point - he was inclusive of everyone, irrespective of religious belief, and that is the point we need to pick up from this, not who he didn't mention specifically. That would have taken longer than the inauguration lunch and parade put together.

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  • 284. At 1:49pm on 22 Jan 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    282. At 12:50pm on 22 Jan 2009, Batcow wrote:

    I'm glad that President Obama chose to make an inclusive comment about non-believers. I'm fed up with hearing the phrase "people of all faiths" which politicians like Tony Blair like to use to exclude atheists.

    Batcow, the way I would read 'people of all faiths' would be to mean that whatever faith you follow - and surely faith in oneself is still a faith. I think that there is a common misconception, an unfortunate result of political correctness, that faith and religion are the same thing.

    In the broadest sense, religion is understood to be faithfulness to a God or Gods, whereas faith itself is morale that we keep, irrespective of where it points. IE, it can point within or to your family.

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  • 285. At 2:10pm on 22 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "IE, it can point within or to your family. "
    So, if you're using Windoze, keep use protection...

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 286. At 2:15pm on 22 Jan 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    #272

    You're right, i do tend to think an athiest can be just as extreme as a devout person at times, that is why i choose to be agnostic. I could never say FOR SURE there is no god, i just really tend to doubt it, and remove myself from the "cult" (for lack of a better word) of organized religion.
    Some people need to grasp on to the idea of an after life, for whatever reasons, mainly fear of death and the finality of it, i suppose.
    I for sure don't want to die, and i'll miss the color green most of all, but i'm o.k. with the idea of giving back to the planet in the form of fertilizer. It's actually a very humble feeling to know as a human, i am at the exact level of a tree, dead, and fallen in the forest, or a bug, or a fish, when i die.
    I always seemed to have a problem with the word *worship,* and that humans are somehow superior to everything else.
    I think i've beat this subject from every angle possible, but it is my most passionate grievance, i believe.

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  • 287. At 2:30pm on 22 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Croony,

    Human >> Humus

    Keep it simple
    xx
    ed

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  • 288. At 3:35pm on 22 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    175 st dom

    lol I was thinking it was like taking the w from the keyboard.
    Though I am willing to believe it was a genuine mistake.
    I am also willing to believe that he may have hoped it went unnoticed by Barack .Hoping he just said what roberts said and there would be another birth certificate in waiting for the dumdee dums to argue about while avoiding reality.

    Like the Gay marriage debate and the war and all the other things brought to our debates for 8 years by the right.

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  • 289. At 3:36pm on 22 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    middle

    "You're right, i do tend to think an athiest can be just as extreme as a devout person at times, that is why i choose to be agnostic."

    agreed there.

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  • 290. At 3:42pm on 22 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    281. At 12:47pm on 22 Jan 2009, "davidwelsh wrote:
    So, everyone's welcome except the Buddhists then..."


    A few have said this so here's where it is at.

    There are people more religions on this planet than there are countries.

    At what stage does one say the message of all is understood. It would have been funny if he had listed all those just in wiki
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religions_and_spiritual_traditions

    Then you would all be looking hard,and bloody cold if you were there.

    It is obvious from his slip in not mentioning all these that he must be incompetent .
    Do I have to add a ,Not ,there.

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  • 291. At 3:45pm on 22 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    oh David I was not trying to have a go at you , I assumed you were joking, but as with Oath swearing some here will try to grab any loose end to see how much they can pull apart before aunty can retrieve the knitting.

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  • 292. At 4:02pm on 22 Jan 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    Thank you Ed.
    I have never read that before, and i've only made it to #twenty eight.
    Sounds crazy, but i 've often shied away from reading such things (bible included) for fear of being sucked in. I've always tried to just find my own way of thinking, and it has had many manifestations. I have to say, when you read something that closely mirrors how you feel, and have arrived there by walking a long way, through all kinds of weather, it's fullfilling.

    He who stands on tiptoe is not steady.
    He who strides cannot maintain the pace.
    He who makes a show is not enlightened.
    He who is self-righteous is not respected.
    He who boasts achieves nothing.
    He who brags will not endure.

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  • 293. At 4:21pm on 22 Jan 2009, monkeyPaulito wrote:

    "I love the way Europeans get so angry when an American bashes their civilization, their culture, their governments, their politics. They've had free reign to do the same about America for a very long time and it has not only gone unchallenged but unresponded to. Now when the shoe is on the other foot and they are on the receiving end, they are furious. And that is not at all surprising to me. One lone American voice against 500 million Europeans seems a fair match up. After all I've got the facts on my side and actually know some of them. What makes you Europeans so angry is that deep down you know they are true. You've heard a lot of them yourselves from other Europeans. Now you are hearing it from an American. Free speech is something you defend only when the voice speaks what you want to hear. When it is otherwise, you betray your instinctive European propensity to crush all opposition...which only goes to prove my point all the more forcefully. "

    Thus proving that people are people.
    Come and visit the South some time, Marcus.
    I can assure you that people here also have a propensity to crush all opposition, especially if that opposition is to Republicans or Christians...or if you happen to be from another country,state,or a big city. You'd be a prime target with a European screenname!

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  • 294. At 4:41pm on 22 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Croony, You're welcome xxx

    Happy,

    "lol I was thinking it was like taking the w from the keyboard.
    Though I am willing to believe it was a genuine mistake."
    My keyboard is missing s.q,w,e,1,2,3, f2, and has a wobbly a due to getting wet and my attempt to speed drying with an anglepoise, the buttons all melted, but the bits below still work (sort of...)

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 295. At 5:07pm on 22 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    294 Ed Iglehart

    "My keyboard is missing.."

    At first I thought you were talking in some kind of code until I looked at my keyboard. We have a place in the country constantly under construction (perhaps you can identify) and my husband in a fit of (rare) cleaning up decided to SHOP VAC !! the keyboard! We now operate without #5. He gave up looking through the dust filled bag.

    You might be interested - my paternal family came here from the UK as my great grandfather was a glass blower of medical supplies and there was offers of jobs. When he arrived, found they wanted alcohol bottle blowers!! He indignantly refused!

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  • 296. At 5:16pm on 22 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    294 tea and hey thinking of great scots who was Mc Vities?

    Why did they name a biscuit after him.

    on the food debate.

    Biscuits and gravy .

    What is that stuff? Gets me running from the store. Smells off.
    No replacement for the Bacon butty.


    Nope biscuits and tea, that's the way to do it

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  • 297. At 5:20pm on 22 Jan 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    middlecroony (#256), no, I consider your position to be utterly without merit. The religious aspects of the inauguration ceremony in no way infinge on the religious liberty of any person. The only proscription on prayer is that Congress shall make "no law" in that regard. There is no law requiring the incoming president to incorporate prayer in his ceremony, and no law requiring any witness to the ceremony to participate in the prayer.

    The fact that the prayers were given on government property is of no significance whatsoever.

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  • 298. At 5:30pm on 22 Jan 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII 270 and so the chuntering drivel continues with every post indicating the art of "stopping to think" was a class on a day you missed school, that is, if you ever allowed someone else's opinion to enter your eardrums and thought processes.

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  • 299. At 6:18pm on 22 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    Happy, have you found a source of decent bacon to go in the butty?

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  • 300. At 6:31pm on 22 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    299 lol NO.
    but I live with a veggie and I know just how tempting Bacon can be so I hold back from trying too many :(

    still here's one for america . I like link sausages with breakfast and maple syrup hmmmm luum. Great stuff.

    Good luck on the bacon. We do have a good local butcher that will cut it a bit thicker than others.

    Lol in the netherlands it used to be twice the price for Englesback bacon which was the same as the dutch bacon but cut half as much.
    In the store in front of you.



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  • 301. At 6:52pm on 22 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Ikea, more Eurotrash. Freethinkers welcome!, that's what it says on the door. Just don't say anything though if you disagree that Europe doesn't stink. Free thinking is not the same as free speaking. And we all know about what freedom of speech means in Europe. Nobody gets to vote allowing the people to speak if it's about the EU project if it isn't clear they will support it. The Danes tried to speak but caved in to Moslem pressure when their offensive cartoons touched off a worldwide riot. After all, what's more important to the Danes, being allowed to publish cartoons or selling dairy products? And then there was Chirac who told governments of aspirants to the EU in 2002/2003 that if they didn't come out in support of the French position on the invasion of Iraq, he'd block their entry. So you see, you are part of a long tradition. BTW, I never shop at Ikea even though they are not very far away. Overpriced trash easily bettered in value by far by products coming out of the far east. How can anyone pay money for that crap?

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  • 302. At 7:02pm on 22 Jan 2009, timohio wrote:

    294. Ed Iglehart:
    295. timewaitsfornoman:

    Guys, replacement keyboards are cheap. Like under 20 dollars. You can probably find a used one even cheaper. If you're not fussy, you can probably get one for free from an old computer about to be recycled. Don't go through life avoiding using s.q,w,e,1,2,3, 5, and the all-important f2.

    I once spilled orange juice on my keyboard. The problem was that I was in Rome at the time and the nearest repair facility for Macs with US power supplies was several thousand miles away. I dried it out as best I could, but some kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkeys would stick. This continued for several months until we returned to the US and had it repaired. My wife, who was working on a sabbatical project at the time, was not pleased.

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  • 303. At 7:05pm on 22 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    Happy, no decent bacon here either. Spookily enough my wife is is a veggie. What a pain, we either all eat veggie, or I have to make 2 different dinners.

    It's French Onion soup tonight - or was that renamed Freedom Onion Soup?

    I was hoping that Canadian bacon would be better, but it just seems to be slices of ham, not bacon at all. What's with that?

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  • 304. At 7:34pm on 22 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Marcus

    I found something we both agree: IKEA is crap! They built a new store not long ago near me, and even that was flat-packed.

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  • 305. At 7:44pm on 22 Jan 2009, Dark Side of the Goon wrote:

    #301
    "Just don't say anything if you disagree that Europe doesn't stink"

    - I think I'll let the original Marcus Aurelius respond to that:

    "It is in our power to have no opinion about a thing, and not to be disturbed in our soul; for things themselves have no natural power
    to form our judgements."

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  • 306. At 7:56pm on 22 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Happy & SeansPa

    I'm a veggie (so is my boss) and I must admit that a bacon batty is one thing I miss (as well as chicken). Vege-bacon is not the same, but it's better then nothing. Fried egg, homemade chips, and beans is now my favourite reason for a heart attack. Some things are worth to die for.

    Also you can't beat a nice mug of tea with some dunkies. Hob-nobs are best.

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  • 307. At 8:29pm on 22 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    302 timohio

    Actually we have too many computers to mention. No shortage of computers here! The one I was talking about is a laptop which I am using now with keyboard attached. It is when we take it with us, we go 5 less.

    happylaze seanspa

    Canadian bacon -I don't know what's up with that either and I'm a Canadian. But maple syrup I do know living in Montreal within easy driving distance of numerous cabanes a sucre (translation sugar shacks where in the spring the thing to do is to go to a 'sugaring off' party). More details on request.

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  • 308. At 8:35pm on 22 Jan 2009, middlecroony wrote:

    Gary#297
    First, as a citizen of this counrty, i can protest anything i feel i want to, that's beauty of this great land.
    Second, the President and the congress are paid by my toil in a crap job, so again, if i feel a prayer at the anauguration is inappropriate, again i have the right to my say.
    And third, there is an organization that fights for our taxdollars NOT to be spent on anything faith based. They've gotten past the mentality of just sticking your fingers in your ears if you don't like what you're hearing

    http://www.ffrf.org/legal/

    Pray all day long if it suits you, just not on my time, or on my dime. And a church would be the appropriate place.
    A couple solutions to our economic crisis, we should legalize prositution, and make the churches pay taxes! Every little bit could help!

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  • 309. At 8:43pm on 22 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #301

    Marcus,

    You are so right. All that Ikea rubbish manufactured in the country of sale is crap.

    In some places.

    Interior Designer Sam

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  • 310. At 9:53pm on 22 Jan 2009, timohio wrote:

    304. dceilar:

    "They built a new store not long ago near me, and even that was flat-packed."

    You must not have had as much fun with Erector sets as a kid as I did. I get a kick out of putting together their furniture.

    If I want something really well-built though, I build it myself. I just don't have much time for that these days.

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  • 311. At 9:55pm on 22 Jan 2009, timohio wrote:

    re. 307. timewaitsfornoman:

    If it's really just a matter of the plastic part, you can probably special order it and snap it on yourself. Just staring at a maimed keyboard would drive me buggy. Probably says something unpleasant about my personality.

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  • 312. At 9:56pm on 22 Jan 2009, pciii wrote:

    Marcus, #301, thanks for that, kinda reinforces my #227.

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  • 313. At 10:02pm on 22 Jan 2009, timohio wrote:

    re. 308. middlecroony:

    ...and if we legalize marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, there's even more taxable goods. Although our balance of trade stats would slide as a result.

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  • 314. At 10:54pm on 22 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    When a huge Ikea store opened in Elizabeth NJ and had a sale some years ago, I walked through it. It was vast. I was looking for some reasonably priced knock down furniture. I must have walked around for well over an hour but I saw nothing I'd pay money for, not even close. Comparable furniture from the Orient sold in places like K-Mart for much less and was better made. I did buy one thing though, a toilet bowl cleaning brush for $2. I don't know if it was a good value but it was only $2 and I needed one so what the hell. I don't think it was made in Bulgaria or Turkey though. Frankly, I don't know how they stay in business. It would not surprise me in the least if this particular store folds tent.

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  • 315. At 11:02pm on 22 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    311 timohio

    Thanks for the info. I don't see the laptop as I also use a different monitor so, out of sight out of mind. Sorry to hear about your unpleasant personality!

    Re: prostitution. I have no problem with it being legalized, just don't know how it will help the economy. Sales Tax? OH! or is it the prostitutes will pay income taxes?

    Marijuana would be a positive thing to legalize. Pros: controlled, sales tax, less drug enforcement $, fewer in prison, less gang violence, it would make your neighbour and largest trading partner happy, etc.

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  • 316. At 11:40pm on 22 Jan 2009, pciii wrote:

    #314 "Frankly, I don't how they stay in business"

    Maybe you don't understand your fellow countrymen as well as you claim.

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  • 317. At 00:10am on 23 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #314 Marcus,

    That was not a toilet brush,it is to be used for
    cleaning your ears please use it soon.
    ps.sorry for calling you stupid...

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  • 318. At 00:15am on 23 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    crosseyes, there's an old saying in the US that has it that "nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Or as someone once said to me, in America you could nail two sticks of anything together and someone would buy it. Why do people shop at and buy from Ikea? Beats me.

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  • 319. At 01:18am on 23 Jan 2009, pciii wrote:

    That's not exactly a flattering assessment of the US consumer is it? Might explain some of the dross churned out by your Auto industry though.

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  • 320. At 05:00am on 23 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #318

    Marcus,

    The Ikea demographic is very simple. It is slickly designed stuff that lasts a few years for those setting up a new home, to be replaced with something more expensive as and when you can afford it. Folks who recently hooked up or got a divorce.

    As for your assessment that stupid American consumers would buy a poor American product, not a view I share of my countrymen.

    That said, why on earth would you be there, especially at their lowest income location, if it is only occupied by idiots who just hooked up (in their 20's) or split up oh hang on I just answered my own question.

    Market Research Sam

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  • 321. At 05:31am on 23 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    296. happylaze wrote:

    294 tea and hey thinking of great scots who was Mc Vities?

    Wikipedia to the rescue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McVitie's

    Thanks to Alexander Grant for the digestive (missed it's hundredth birthday in 1992, sadly, but hope to celebrate the choccie digestive'[s centenary in 2025.

    "Over 71 million packets of McVitie's Chocolate Digestives are eaten in the United Kingdom each year, giving an average of 52 biscuits per second."

    Don't think I'm getting my fair share here.

    Sam's hobnobs are mere infants . . .

    307. timewaitsfornoman

    "sugar shacks where in the spring the thing to do is to go to a 'sugaring off' party). More details on request."

    Yes please. Do you have photos?

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  • 322. At 06:12am on 23 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    317. ukwales wrote:

    #314 Marcus,

    ps.sorry for calling you stupid...

    What on earth are you apologising for?

    Stating a demonstrable fact isn't against the House Rules or anything.

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  • 323. At 09:25am on 23 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #322 British-ish,

    You are right,but I just felt for him as a fellow
    human,no doubt I will reget sayig sorry very soon.The welsh can be too sentimental at times.
    Best Wishes...

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  • 324. At 09:47am on 23 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    323 ukwales wrote:

    "I just felt for him as a fellow
    human"

    S'pose somebody has to, given (grudgingly) the lack of conclusive evidence to the contrary.

    I wouldn't carry the empathy too far, though . . .

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  • 325. At 10:55am on 23 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #321 British-ish

    Yes, Digestives are good (and are also lovely with a nice strong cheddar cheese but I digress). May I also add the common Rich Tea and Fruit Shortcake for tea lovers. Jaffa Cakes and Fig Rolls are good too but I think they don't count as biscuits.

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  • 326. At 12:44pm on 23 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    325., dceilar wrote:

    Rich tea biscuits. . .

    Ever since I was a kid I've liked them just spread with butter . . .

    (Except--for our foreign readers--you have to separate them from the ones for dunking, or you end up with something like Tibetan tea. . .)

    No, I'm sure Jaffa cakes (they're a kind of human catnip, I think, at least they are to me) and fig rolls do count.

    Oh, I miss these bikkies when I'm abroad . . .

    Where's Sam?

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  • 327. At 3:17pm on 23 Jan 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    69, why did I go to Ikea within about a year or two after it opened? Curiousity. After all, a large European retailer opened an enormous store so I figured one day I'd check it out. It was only about a half hour ride and I'd passed it many times, it's right along side of the NJ Turnpyke across from Newark Airport. Their merchandise I think is not made mostly in the US but in Europe. Europe has the disadvantage of high labor costs, high material costs, and a maze of bureaucratic regulations and restrictive laws including VAT which makes its domestically manufactured products uncompetitive with the rest of the world.

    I figured though that in a building that vast, there would be at least something that would catch my eye. BTW, I do like and own lots of Danish teak furniture. It's among my favorite styles. Durable, very clean modern lines, and sometimes available at excellent prices. But nothing at Ikea which is of course Swedish, not Danish even caught my eye at any price. And the prices are rediculous. You can get equal or better knockdown furniture made in the Orient for far less. It's the kind of place like Pier I Imports that when they finally fold tent, the prices at their going out of business forever sale (which could happen any day and wouldn't surprise me) will still be too high to make them attractive. From an American market perspective, the place is just stupid. Perhaps that's why it targets a market which I prefer to describe as "inexperienced." And what do Americans do with that crap when they get sick of it and finally see it for what it is? If they are lucky they can put it in their finished basement if they have one or they can give it to one of their kids going off to college or just getting their first apartment. Otherwise it goes out on the lawn for about $5 in a garage sale. If that doesn't work and they get no takers, it goes out on the curb for the trash collector.

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  • 328. At 3:25pm on 23 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Never mind the sourceFeel the laughter

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 329. At 4:03pm on 23 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Marcus

    I fear the crap in IKEA is made in the far east as well. IKEA just charge you more.

    Back to biscuits . . . putting butter on Rich Tea biscuits sounds gross to me, but each to their own. Perhaps it's a northern thing. One annoying thing about biscuits is that they make them to wide to fit in a mug. You'll have to take a little bite first and then dunk.

    Dunking jaffa cakes is a fine art - it's all to do with speed of the dunk.

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  • 330. At 4:34pm on 23 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    dceilar,
    For supreme dexterity nothing beats developing a "Moo-cow" Malted Milk biscuit technique. That and the mental stress involved by dunking Chocolate fingers without losing the chocolate. [ Cocao as a medium is preferable here than black tea.]

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  • 331. At 4:56pm on 23 Jan 2009, timohio wrote:

    re. 320. SamTyler1969:
    327. MarcusAureliusII

    Personally I think some of Ikea's stuff is pretty well designed. I have one of their Poang chairs here in my office, and everyone who comes in for a meeting immediately sinks into it and sighs happily.

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  • 332. At 5:04pm on 23 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    To be able to dunk a Hob Nob requires consumate skill.To watch it done properly is sublime.A flowing action is nothing less than poetry in motion.Only perfected by the Welsh..

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  • 333. At 5:22pm on 23 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    ukwales,
    Impressive.
    You being a connoisseur , am I right in thinking you dip your laverbread in hot tea , rather than tomato sauce, boyo?

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  • 334. At 5:25pm on 23 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    321 british-ish

    "Do you have photos?"

    I attempted to send you some photos but my post completely disappeared after hitting 'post'. Is this normal or will I hear it was not acceptable?

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  • 335. At 5:29pm on 23 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    332. At 5:04pm on 23 Jan 2009, ukwales wrote:
    To be able to dunk a Hob Nob requires consumate skill.To watch it done properly is sublime.A flowing action is nothing less than poetry in motion.Only perfected by the Welsh..


    Ah that's fighting talk mate.

    You'll get it half way and it 'll end in a mess on your chest.
    Keep your eye on the prize not the sheep mate.

    :)

    Uga buga

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  • 336. At 5:30pm on 23 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    332 ukwales

    "Only perfected by the Welsh."

    I have Welsh blood, what I lack is a Hob Nob.
    Description please for us deprived colonials.

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  • 337. At 5:38pm on 23 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    329. At 4:03pm on 23 Jan 2009, dceilar You'll have to take a little bite first and then dunk.

    sorry to ignore the important MA rant but, it is possible if you fill the tea cup ALL the way to get the first bit dunked ready to move on with a finisher.

    Note Cheaper "eco" packets are more often made to dunk even in smaller than Ideal Mugs.
    All people in promotions remember this, especially in the states.
    A good "cup" is a Mug big enough to fit a dige or hob nob in.

    PS will some bright spark figure out that the exclusive image of UK marketing (do stay quiet MA) damagaes our reputation.
    If Digestives and Hobnobs were marketed here (MADE HERE(cheaperstill)) then there would be a market. they have to cost a little less than 7 bucks a pack.

    Digestives and Hobnobs could almost be marketed as health food here.


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  • 338. At 5:39pm on 23 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Timewaits,

    I think the software will refuse photos, but you could always post the photo to some free space (flicker, blogspot, facebook, etc.) and then post a link to it here.

    Good luck
    ed

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  • 339. At 5:52pm on 23 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #333 Watermanaquarius,

    No! No! No! dear fellow,

    Laverbread is a sea weed, colected from rock pools at low tide & fried with your bacon for breakfast.(I kidd you not).

    Tomato sauce is only to be used for unarmed combat or chips"freedom fries"or both

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  • 340. At 6:03pm on 23 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Waterman

    Dunking chocolate biscuits is an art that can only be learnt the hard way - bitter sweet experience. Thanks for reminding me about Malted Milk, they're lovely too.

    Happy - thanks for the tip. I tried some Rich Tea fingers once. They fit into the mug well but are prone to collapse in the tea; which can turn the Tea Dunking experience into a disaster.

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  • 341. At 6:03pm on 23 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    ukwales.
    Thought "boyo" would give you the clue, but I obviously did not leek it to you delicately enough. I must be daff'd.

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  • 342. At 6:19pm on 23 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    338 Ed Iglehart

    Thanks, I was posting a link to a website and have just finished a post to you describing how I did it, when I see that post is also gone! I am obviously doing something wrong. How do you post a link?

    I don't know where these posts are going! In it I asked if you had read mine where I said my great grandfather was a glass blower (I don't remember where.) Also read that your step-father was a Canadian.

    So far no one has answered me as to what a Hob Nob is #336 (they are all so swept up in their ecstasy!) perhaps you would care to tell me.

    Amused by Happylaze's comment "Digestives and Hobnobs could almost be marketed as health food here."

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  • 343. At 6:30pm on 23 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Timewaits,

    I saw your response about your glassblowing ancestor, so that got through.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]Links tutorial

    Good luck, Canuck!
    ed

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  • 344. At 6:31pm on 23 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    timewaits, we did hobnobs some time ago. Sam is particularly keen on the dark chocolate version, but any chocolate does for me.

    Try wiki

    Ed has some good tutorial on linking, I'm sure he's posting these as I write.

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  • 345. At 7:04pm on 23 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #336 Timewaits.

    I hesitate as its a state secret, but just for you.

    Of roundish shape.
    Of crumbly texture.
    Light oatmeal/light brown in colour.
    Some are plain.
    Some have chocolate bits.
    Others covered in chocolate.

    Two cups of tea & a plate of hob nobs I gauarantee you this World looks a better place.
    Best wishes...

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  • 346. At 7:06pm on 23 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    Ms Noman
    Not sure if this is it.
    Ed's links
    He is probably working on something more complicated for you that we mere mortals do not understand.

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  • 347. At 7:06pm on 23 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    344 seanspa

    Thanks. So are Hob Nobs crispy oatmeal (what we call) cookies? I love oatmeal cookies particularly with raisins (but perhaps that is sacrilege in a hob nob). Have dunked many in tea myself, sometimes successfully - must be the Welsh in me.

    Now I understand Happylaze's comment about health food. If a hob nob was American it would be something inedible containing an "edible oil product." Well, maybe to some but I'm not eating it!

    I see Ed has been "referred" probably for trying to explain to me how to link.

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  • 348. At 7:15pm on 23 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    For NoMan: Definition of Hob-Nobs and here.

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  • 349. At 7:19pm on 23 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    341 Watermanaquarius.

    Sorry waterman I thought it a myth that a
    Taffy made it to the U.S..
    Now I am impressed ,can you do any thing
    about MA2 as you are over there? he is getting
    a bit chopsy.There is a full packet of hob nobs in it if you can...

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  • 350. At 7:40pm on 23 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    ukwales watermanaquarius dceilar

    Thank you all.

    Bit difficult going around the McVitie site as no matter where you go, on comes "Mum, Dad, I'm got something to tell you..."

    As I'm sure you all must know by now my mother was born in the UK so those were the kind of biscuits we had growing up. Along with gingersnaps which must be broken with your elbow while making a wish and if it breaks in three your wish comes true. Is this common knowledge?

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  • 351. At 7:43pm on 23 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    ukwales,
    Unfortunately, I am sitting on the hob nobbing side here in Europe, so no luck there.
    And as regards"Taffy", again I must disappoint you.
    Just a common or garden English thorn but grateful for 14 years enjoying the beauty of Cymru in Abertawe.
    Now, just dragging or should that be "dragon" my feet around, across the other side of the English channel.

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  • 352. At 7:56pm on 23 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    349 ukwales

    "Taffy" I had never heard that expression before. My neighbours are Welsh - Undeg Gruffydd, perhaps you know her?

    I asked if they spoke Welsh and she gave me a look. "English was not allowed in the house when I was growing up." I took that as a "yes."

    I told his mother I was proud of my Welsh blood and she remarked, "Well you should be."

    Re 350 should read "....I've got something..."

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  • 353. At 8:03pm on 23 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman # 352,
    Not wishing to get british-ish going again but I remember your "snaps" as gingerNUTS.
    Never did the elbow trick but often wondered whether the white and pearlies would stand the strain.
    Dunking rules definitely, for those!

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  • 354. At 8:53pm on 23 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    I see the University of Marcus has just opened a School of Interior Design and Decorating. Sorry I missed the dedication ceremony. I was out and about for a while. We have some great snow for cross-country skiing.

    Help me out good people of the UK. What kind of biscuit is best for dunking into a hot mug of Lapsang Souchong? It is such a hardy tea for our cold climes. Has that pungent aroma of pine logs burning in a campside fire ring. Warms one up just smelling the steam rising above the rim of a tin cup; watching the melting snowflakes turning into dew drops before rippling the surface of the dark nectar. All that is lacking for a moment in paradise is a proper biscuit.

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  • 355. At 9:02pm on 23 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #352 Timewaits,

    Not THE Undeg Gruffydd,from

    LLIANFAIRPWIIGYNGYIIGOGERYCHWRNDROBWIIIANTYSILLOGOGOGOCH

    In Welsh all one word but translates as,THe church of Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by ST tysillos of the red cave,

    No sorry but Noall jenkins might...

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  • 356. At 9:29pm on 23 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #354Publiusdetroit.

    A biscuit with out equal ,

    HOB NOBS.

    Caution,(see post 332) can cause unsightly
    stains of oatmeal hue,use with care,beginners must not dunk.
    best wishes..

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  • 357. At 9:38pm on 23 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 355

    By the time you wrote all that out on a post card to the folks back home while on holiday, whether in Welsh or English, you would only have room enough for a cryptic, "Good times. Wish you here!"

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  • 358. At 9:44pm on 23 Jan 2009, pciii wrote:

    While Australia is obviously an amateur nation in terms of it's tea and biscuit sector, they do have an interesting use for a chocolate biscuit called the Tim Tam (it's like a penguin, though the locals seem to think of it as a unique invention).
    The trick is to take a nibble at either end, then use it like a straw to suck up your now chocolately tea. Probably frowned upon in polite society, so don't expect Kevin Rudd to do it next time he meets the Queen, then again given his republican views......

    May I recommend:
    http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com/
    Apologies if it's already been mention

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  • 359. At 9:51pm on 23 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    355 ukwales

    Oh! and I was so sure you were going to say "yes," that's why I mentioned her. You're positive? Don't want time to ask around? I could give you more details.

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  • 360. At 9:54pm on 23 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    paul, that link is great. I particularly liked the about us page. Written for Mr Cunard, I suspect. Come back, NoRash!

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  • 361. At 10:34pm on 23 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Thanks ukwales and paulcrossleyiii (356/358)

    Now I have a quest for tomorrow. Finding some Hob Nob and Abbey Crunch biscuits (found through the website Paul linked) should prove to be an interesting diversion. May have to take a trip across the border to Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

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  • 362. At 01:09am on 24 Jan 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #360. seanspa: " I particularly liked the about us page. Written for Mr Cunard, I suspect."

    I think not since the writer implies that a spell-check is used - and that the site endeavours to correct mistakes. NoRash did neither. As the teacher in To Serve Them All My Days observed about written English, "fairly good is not good enough." You wouldn't settle for a half-baked biscuit or tea made with tepid water!

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  • 363. At 02:44am on 24 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    #327

    Sorry Marcus,

    It's made here. Danville Va.

    As for inexperienced, the market is better described as desperate.

    You don't need to defend your presence there. We understand and support your new beginning. A man living in Newark trying to restart his life deserves a break, and inexpensive pine furniture with some design is something to be praised. They also sell excellent inexpensive house plants (I am told).

    Though I am dissappointed a so called patriot would place foreign crap over our home made stuff. But whatever lets you sleep at night.

    #327,

    Jack, may we break the dark chocolate hob nob of peace. I apologize for going off at you. I am somewhat sensitive where the subject of gulf war veterans comes up.

    Pax Vobiscum.

    Sam

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  • 364. At 03:09am on 24 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    329. At 4:03pm on 23 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    putting butter on Rich Tea biscuits sounds gross to me, but each to their own. Perhaps it's a northern thing.

    Might be. . .

    One annoying thing about biscuits is that they make them to wide to fit in a mug. You'll have to take a little bite first and then dunk.

    That's why I like it. It's a game of skill. It's like losing at darts when the bottom third falls off and disappears into the tea . . .

    (I've never understood why I can't get a French girl to do it. She always dunks her croissant in her coffee, and I hate the way that leaves flakes in it. . .It's our most serious cross-cultural problem)

    I hadn't realised there was this pleasant civilised discussion going on while Marcus is screaming and bawling in the IKEA carpark.

    Need to catch up, but the question of dunkable bikkies for Lapsang caught my eye. That really is a tricky one.


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  • 365. At 03:30am on 24 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    Thanks for the 'Nice cup of tea' site. I'm entranced. Very shocked at the number of bikkies that have 'gone missing in action' though. Mind you, one or two do look a bit dodgy from their descriptions.

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  • 366. At 04:07am on 24 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    354. At 8:53pm on 23 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Help me out good people of the UK. What kind of biscuit is best for dunking into a hot mug of Lapsang Souchong?

    Try again. Last post with link vanished.

    I think this would suit.

    (Not for out and out republicans like Marcus: he can't have any.)

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  • 367. At 04:48am on 24 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 366 british-ish

    Thank you for another addition to the tea biscuit quest list. The Duchy's sound good.

    It will be ironic that I should find these in the States. Many of us Yanks seem to have a strange facination for the Royals. (Ok. Our friend Marcus will disagree with me. None of us like the pretensious poops) It seems we have this odd idea that the Queen will be waiting for us at Heathrow to invite us to have tea and scones with her and Prince Philip whenever we get the desire to drop by jolly old England.

    I don't understand where that comes from.

    It will be nice if I can find the Duchy's before going up the "mitt" this coming week to be with my parents. My mother is the one who introduced me to the serenity of a good cup of tea. She will enjoy the Duchy's with me.

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  • 368. At 06:09am on 24 Jan 2009, ladycm wrote:

    I am not an atheist but, this is America. Or should I say I live in America. Either way, Atheist, agnostic, christian, hindu whatever you are... you have the right to be that again in America. Believe in whatever you want, religion will not be governing this nation anymore (hopefully).

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  • 369. At 06:48am on 24 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    367. publiusdetroit wrote:

    It will be nice if I can find the Duchy's before going up the "mitt" this coming week to be with my parents. My mother is the one who introduced me to the serenity of a good cup of tea. She will enjoy the Duchy's with me.

    This might help.

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  • 370. At 07:11am on 24 Jan 2009, pciii wrote:

    Glad you all like the NCOTAASD website

    Apologies for diverting a serious discussion on inclusionism within the USA, but to be fair I didn't start it (the biscuit thing that is, I did however tell Mr President to put that bit in his speech).

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  • 371. At 07:26am on 24 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    369:

    That's annoying. I suppose the Beeb decided it was commercial advertising; didn't think.

    Publius, google 'Winter Fancy Food Show San Fransisco' instead.

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  • 372. At 07:32am on 24 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    370. paulcrossleyiii wrote:
    Glad you all like the NCOTAASD website

    Apologies for diverting a serious discussion on inclusionism within the USA, but to be fair I didn't start it (the biscuit thing that is, I did however tell Mr President to put that bit in his speech).


    Well, I think tea and biscuits do a lot more for cultural understanding, inclusion and amity than fake Roman emperors. Obviously.

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  • 373. At 08:10am on 24 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 371 british-ish

    Don't be annoyed. The moderators are just doing their job.

    With your help, I found a source here in the States. Thank you, British-ish.

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  • 374. At 12:24pm on 24 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And, in their "wisdom", the high hied yins at the BBC have determined that they will not give airtime to publicise this: this charitable appeal to aid suffering Gazans....

    Peace to all
    ed

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  • 375. At 12:30pm on 24 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Love!

    Pure natural

    God Bless them
    ed

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  • 376. At 12:45pm on 24 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 377. At 1:16pm on 24 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman # 352,
    Found the young lady- Undeg Gruffydd [ Fair-faced Griffiths] but her literary status as a poet is lost on English speaking Taffys and, us "adopted" exTaffys.
    Although the Welsh language has received a boost the last few years, as a spoken language it is still primarily reserved for the "valleys" outside the commercialised city areas in Wales. Got lessons for just 2 years, though the Welsh Anthem and various kids songs remain. [All "Welshmen" are great singers see!]. Men of Harlech In Welsh and if you want the English translation [ and dont mind the violence] look at Zulu.

    Re Undeg, it would appear she writes "Englyns" - Welsh / Cornish poetry which without belittling its charm is comparable with a limerick.
    Great for an Eisteddfod- [ Welsh music and literature happening] Not my cup of tea. Prefer something a bit meatier.
    Canada has lots of ex Welsh pats. Must be the emphasis about Canada in geography lessons at Welsh schools.

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  • 378. At 2:48pm on 24 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    377 watermanaquarius ukwales

    "emphasis about Canada in geography lessons at Welsh schools." Or perhaps the coal mining!
    I googled Undeg and found her under her husband's name in Canada's Who's Who! His accomplishment? Well, music of course. I'll leave you to find them as there are not a slew to choose from! Now you know the calibre of people I associate with!

    Thanks for the link. Charlotte Church has such a fabulous voice.

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  • 379. At 3:21pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:


    time"So are Hob Nobs crispy oatmeal (what we call) cookies?"

    simple answer ,NO.


    Sam
    #327,

    Jack, may we break the dark chocolate hob nob of peace. I apologize for going off at you. I am somewhat sensitive where the subject of gulf war veterans comes up.

    Certainly,
    Peace be with you.

    You mentioned the Dark
    the way to my heart.

    Official disclaimer
    (If I were Jack that is;))

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  • 380. At 3:23pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    "There is a full packet of hob nobs in it if you can..."

    Dark?

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  • 381. At 3:38pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    366. At 04:07am on 24 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:
    354. At 8:53pm on 23 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Help me out good people of the UK. What kind of biscuit is best for dunking into a hot mug of Lapsang Souchong?
    ------------------------------
    Trick question. we all know PG tips is the preferred tea.

    I like the Kenyan tea mixed with a Darjeeling if no PG to brew with.(I know it's tea connoisseurs muck but stuff them it's good.

    As to advertising Hob Nobs here.

    This BBC did an article about these burnt sugar cookies that are truly awful called , OREOs.

    They gave more free advertising to this US trash being promoted in the UK. Did interviews and write ups.

    All hail the yankee cookee.

    No critical assessment.

    I have for 8 years now promoted this great side of British diplomacy, the tea party.

    Or better put as the " excuse for diges and hob nobs party".

    Not one person who has tried them has not remarked positively and been eager to get another ,since I started my free advertising campaign of personal introduction of the Hob nob to the states.A campaign that has many faces in many homes.

    Given the OREO wars in the UK I think it time the UK showed America what the real stuff is.

    Time to get our cousins in Canada to produce the first American continent produced Dige.

    I know I seem to be having a laugh, but wait.
    I lived on htese. I lived with very very little money and LIVED on these "cookies" or biscuits as we would call them.

    No one dislikes them.Not even Marcus if he tried them.

    Hob nobs contain 30% "healthfood"

    Did I mention that everyone likes them.

    Why are they so hard to find in the US. or rather why are they importing Hobnobs from the UK to the states.
    There is a big enough market for them

    WHERE ARE MY HOB NOBS.

    PS the Plain chocolate Digestive will always be the King of cookies , the Hob nob the flashy prince,and the Oreo a vacuous bimbo that was looking to get some.

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  • 382. At 3:42pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    talking of cookies . the" Romney Cream"

    great version of what an Oreo wants to be.

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  • 383. At 4:05pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    340 dciel

    Ah rich teas just don't do it for me. finger style dunkers are not a goer either.
    there's something about the shape.

    Them finger ones don't hold together with a full dunk unless you hang them all the way to your mouth.

    shame nice Idea but it is easier to get a new mug.

    There was much research done on dunking.
    some not professional

    http://www.buzzle.com/articles/your-essential-guide-to-dunking-biscuits-top-five-to-try.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/aug/27/foodanddrink

    http://www.brandrepublic.com/Revolution/News/596151/McVities-backs-Dunk-Debate-BD-NTWK-created-site/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH

    for those that think this debate below them.

    there are huge socioeconomic questions to be answered.

    How did anyone think the custard cream worthy of a dunkin prize.

    Advertising the enemy
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7376123.stm


    It may effect the economy in more ways than imagined

    http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/biscuits-key-clinching-business-deals

    this one gives an equation for dunking.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/220400.stm

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  • 384. At 4:05pm on 24 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    happylaze # 380,
    Do you have a heart of darkness?

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  • 385. At 4:07pm on 24 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman # 378
    Unfortunately the husband's name Edwards, of Swansea, is a very common name on a par with Smith in England. Although I played rugby against the school he attended he is many years senior to me. You have very famous neighbours.
    Did you look at the Zulu clip? The film produced by the late Welsh star Sir Stanley Baker was a big hit in Wales showing the courage of the now South Wales Borderers. I think the red tunic resembling that of the Mounties, had more pulling power for myself and still has, and for the many Welsh who decided to emigrate than their desire to go underground.

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  • 386. At 4:15pm on 24 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    happylaze,
    I am glad you have broached the possibility of cream biscuits.
    Have been sitting here wondering about introducing Custard Creams into the discussion, but chickened out because of the connoisseurs tea brands being bandied about.
    These are not as healthy as some but nibbled with a hot rhubarb pie will have you running for more. Good for all beverages too.

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  • 387. At 5:00pm on 24 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    watermanaquarius and timewaitsfornoman:

    Sorry to be slow on the uptake re Undeg Gruffydd. You got me taped. An English-speaking Welshman from Pembrokeshire. Have traced my family back to 1650 - all around here, mostly farmers and drovers etc. in the village of Spittal. Just over the border, in Cardiganshire, and in the Presceli Hills (of Stone Henge fame), Welsh is the first language, and those folk have not yet come to terms with the Romans! One famous son in the next village of Little Newcastle was Barti Ddu Bartholomew Roberts - the pirate Black Bart - and his descendants are there to that day. Never trade with those guys - you'll lose the shirt off your back, or walk the plank, or both!

    Regards

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  • 388. At 5:35pm on 24 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Personally, I think the milk chocolate spoils a good plain 'digestive' (similar to a "graham cracker", methinks)... My favourite remains good oatmeal cookies or ginger snaps/nuts.

    YUM!
    ed

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  • 389. At 5:37pm on 24 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And nothing beats a nice plain digestive, buttered and with a chunk of Stilton on top.

    MMMMMMMM!

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  • 390. At 5:55pm on 24 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Pass the port, please

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  • 391. At 6:56pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    384. At 4:05pm on 24 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:
    happylaze # 380,
    Do you have a heart of darkness?

    Some (who don't know me) have said so, many ties here they have.


    386
    they are also incredibly cheap.

    When All i had was 45 p I could get a pack of them to go with my tea, for lunch.

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  • 392. At 6:58pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    389 except jacks special chocolate covered dige.

    get a plain digestive and put your own Chocolate on.

    But put something in the choco.


    MMmmMM

    I tried Graham crackers they are not quite the same.
    but closer.

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  • 393. At 7:43pm on 24 Jan 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #392 Happy

    Your 'secret recipe' chocolate on a diggie sounds good. I tried 'secret recipe' tea before - never again, yuk!

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  • 394. At 8:33pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    393
    tea yuck agreed.
    PG for me.
    Now if only they would do a fair trade organic version for us with a conscience .

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  • 395. At 8:40pm on 24 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 396. At 8:59pm on 24 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    Found a store in my area that sells McVitie ("and yes we have penguins") and many other brands. Have a look at Bramblehouse.net. Afraid I am still unable to link, so you are on your own. Let me know what you think s.v.p.

    watermanaquarius

    The Edwards are really charming people but he assures me he can't sing!! And years senior (well I don't know how many but...) to me too!

    Zulu is a fabulous movie, must watch it again. Was going to say something about those red uniforms. Just makes your heart burst with pride don't they? (Not the killing part just the sight of the uniforms - to be clear.)

    ukwales

    Afraid your post will need some translation for me. Got the part about Stone Henge, the Romans and Black Bart!

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  • 397. At 9:12pm on 24 Jan 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Remember burger king, Have it your way. Only it is not your way because if you visit a burger king you may be thinking cheeseburgers and a burger is a burger is a burger. When it is the president now nobody will have the gumption to stir up anything, or it will be picking on a poor first black president and that is racist.
    Nixon on the movie from what i know said, "if the president does it it is not a crime" I am no religious fanatic and I wish I were, You see tradition is different than religion and the presidency is about tradition, what is next, Our money will say( In allah we trust?).
    If anyone is familiar with Dr.LaHaye, Tim.
    The Bush family has always been associated with War and strength and something else but I can't think of it right now, However They were never shy about the word God. Give to Caesar what is of Caesar.

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  • 398. At 9:24pm on 24 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    happylaze #391,
    The heart of darkness question was to enquire about your dark chocolate preference without "milking" an old joke. Nothing more , nothing less.
    Ever tried the Dutch treacle biscuits? Wagon wheels without the choccy with Tate and L's dripping out.
    The Dutch love treacle. Apart from the usual classical shrove tuesday pancakes with sugar and lemon in the UK, never thought I would get addicted to bacon pancakes and the goo, but lost my heart on the first bite.

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  • 399. At 10:00pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    i think i would have sworn on a packet of mc vites digestives If i were the president.

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  • 400. At 10:04pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    time for Mc Vities to do a packet with some of each in there.
    a few plain, a few dark chocolates,a few plain chocolates , some carmel ones,maybe even a few hob nobs as well.

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  • 401. At 10:19pm on 24 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    We don't get PG around here, but Tetley's British Blend works pretty well.

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  • 402. At 10:38pm on 24 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    free thinking , that would include anything ,so nothing is OT here today is it?

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  • 403. At 01:10am on 25 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 404. At 02:56am on 25 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    386.watermanaquarius wrote:

    happylaze,
    I am glad you have broached the possibility of cream biscuits.
    Have been sitting here wondering about introducing Custard Creams into the discussion, but chickened out because of the connoisseurs tea brands being bandied about.


    Well, it's just that I don't think we're supposed to admit liking custard creams when we're grown up . . .(what an interesting idea, with rhubarb pie!)

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  • 405. At 03:37am on 25 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    402. happylaze wrote:

    free thinking , that would include anything ,so nothing is OT here today is it?

    (403)

    Perhaps not. You really shouldn't have alerted the mods to that; I don't think they'd woken up to the implications after the soothing effect of their own tea and bikkies. . .

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  • 406. At 04:12am on 25 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    383. happylaze

    Americans think you're supposed to dunk biscuits in milk?!!!!!

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  • 407. At 04:34am on 25 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    405 Nah man the title says it. this is a UK site right so advertising standards would cover it, well not advertising but broadcasting right, you're all right.na woories.

    And in milk, yea thats rubbish. unless maybe warm milk but then a whole new technique may be needed to dip and not drop.
    I used to do it with Coco at meaunts but that was never the same.
    Read back a while that
    Cold milk is pants.

    you might like this story of the digee
    http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Chocolate-digestive-takes-the-biscuit.4185721.jp

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  • 408. At 05:17am on 25 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    407. happylaze

    I think you've hit on something here. Could be we've got ourselves a Marcus-free zone at last. Nobody could describe him a a 'free thinker' could they?


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  • 409. At 06:16am on 25 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 406-407

    Oreo cookies are for dunking in milk. That thick sugary center keeps them from "calving" off into the moo-juice. We Yanks usually grow out of the ritual by the time we obtain majority. But a trip down memory lane is allowed every now and again.

    Oreo's do not go well with tea. The heat weakens the sugary support system and they just "calve" into a mess. This is why I am greatful for the biscuit tips many have contributed.

    Be kind, Gents. The rhubarb will not be up for another 3 months here in the "mitten" of Michigan.

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  • 410. At 09:50am on 25 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #396 Timewaits..

    Please forgive me.

    Post 387 was done after my third large glass of red.
    Why I thought my location in Wales would be of any intrest now, totaly excapes me.
    The bits you got are all factual,the rest is not worth translating.
    Never blogg whilst under the influense.any cure for hangover would be helpfull.
    sorry....

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  • 411. At 10:52am on 25 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    ukwales #410
    I did manage to decypher your earlier posting.
    We Brits forget that Ms noman is suffering the internal / infernal? influences of French fellow citizens in Canada.
    Having croissants to hand is not always good for the soul, when you realise others enjoy a "balanced" diet of hob-nobs etc.
    Timewaits writes that a sutler's tent has been discovered in the neighbourhood supplying the McVities, so help is at hand.
    It takes a packet or two before one has built up the necessary immunity, to counteract the foreign bodies one builds up in our system.
    Check out british-ish's postings to see what damage a simple baguette can do to one's health. Luckily he is getting squirrel therapy support for those bad moments that can occur.

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  • 412. At 1:28pm on 25 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    411. watermanaquarius wrote:

    Check out british-ish's postings to see what damage a simple baguette can do to one's health. Luckily he is getting squirrel therapy support for those bad moments that can occur.

    Dr Squirrel writes:

    Our spokeshuman is responding well to treatment, after suffering severe bruising from encounters with MAII and most recently vivaelcid and some previously unknown viking who came sailing in right out of the blue.

    Unfortunately no-one has so far answered our appeal for a source of acorn-chip biscuits, which we feel would assist in his recovery.

    The hazelnut ones someone was kind enough to offer we have donated, at his request, to a pigeon charity, since our spokeshuman has developed a very serious aversion to nuts.

    He is being allowed an occasional slice of pain rustiquewith his acorn coffee, but we would ask visitors not to let him see a baton. They make him shiver, which is perfectly understandable.

    However, we have every confidence he will be able to put paw to keyboard again very soon, and thank watermanaquarius for his kind interest.

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  • 413. At 1:43pm on 25 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #400 Happyhaze,

    With out Question,

    TOTALY BRILLIANT....

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  • 414. At 2:04pm on 25 Jan 2009, SamTyler1969 wrote:

    All,

    This thread seems to have become some kind of soggy buscuit game. I'm abanding ship at this point.

    Chef Sam

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  • 415. At 2:28pm on 25 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    408 british-ish

    "I think you've hit on something here. Could be we've got ourselves a Marcus-free zone at last. Nobody could describe him as a 'free thinker' could they?"

    And that's a relief! Return to the bible page after a five minute absence and there are pages! to read, which I generally don't!

    410 ukwales

    "my location in Wales"

    Thanks for the clarification. Hangover therapy? Sorry no help. You could try drinking only two glasses!

    411 watermanaquarius

    "Having croissants to hand"

    Which are fabulous in this city. No problem acquiring them. But definitely not dunk-able. I see the McVitie store is open on Sundays. Might take a drive there. Give myself a mission for the day, something to accomplish "Acquire Hob Nobs." Although as it is -12c will most likely find a sign on the door, "Gone South." (Along with thousands of other,what we call, Snowbirds.)

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  • 416. At 2:43pm on 25 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #414 Sam.

    Is that wise? Bloody Marcus, is every where else...

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  • 417. At 3:32pm on 25 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 416 ukwales

    It's okay for the moment. I think Marcus and David are negotiating the re-engineering and editing of old country-western tunes to come up with a fight song for the University of Marcus Marching Band.

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  • 418. At 4:23pm on 25 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    British ish.

    I have read a lot of your posts,whilst agreeing with most ,I try to under stand your sentiment
    where I dont.
    Please only if you are willing,

    Q1, What do you think,MA2 is trying to achive
    with his posts.
    Q2,Do you think he is damaging any relations
    with his efforts.

    If you dont want to answer I under stand &
    thanks anyway...

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  • 419. At 4:44pm on 25 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    416.
    "#414 Sam.

    Is that wise? Bloody Marcus, is every where else..."

    Exactly. Biscuits to him seem to act like garlic against vampires.

    I think we're all a bit frightened of trying anything else just in case the spell wears off.

    (I notice so far it's working quite well against some of his cronies/dopplegangers, too.)

    Nice, isn't it? I'm quite happy recuperating here.

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  • 420. At 5:46pm on 25 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    British-ish lol
    UK wales

    q1 a troll. he is trying to wind people up.

    I think, he was pro israel now he is less so (funny he disappeared during the financial meltdown only to re emerge recently,I suspect he was dealing with lots of bad investments because now he hate management as wel and is suddenly pro union,Great but strange.

    All leads me to trolling.

    q2 sometimes but not often.
    he obviously Loves all things brit hence being here all the time and watching the Bucket woman show.

    I think the digee is something he cannot learn from or watch and appreciate (as such) from the TV .
    And that is strange for the less he knows the more he writes normally.

    No real answer, He's Bored.
    That is probably the case.

    Oh that and once he's made a mistake he can't back down.

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  • 421. At 5:52pm on 25 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    418.ukwales

    1) Some kind of authenticity? More than 15 minutes of fame? To be considered some kind of latter-day prophet? A demagogue? To diminish, upset, anger, reify, others?

    I don't know. Any or all of the above.

    2) No, most people are too sensible and recognise that despite the volume and frequency of his posts he's in a minority, but it's not for want of trying.

    He is using, I suspect, the BBC and many of its blogs -- he is ubiquitous -- to play to an audience elsewhere.

    Over the months, he has certainly driven away many contributors with insults and sneers, and, I am fairly sure, by referring them to the moderators until they decide it's simply not worth it.

    He frequently repeats attitudes, opinions, misrepresentations and assertions that I have seen elsewhere sow seeds of hate that grow into anger, violence, destruction and war, and I believe strongly that such men are not 'mistaken', they are dangerous.

    And, unless they are challenged or better, continually ridiculed, gain strength and support. And then god (or whatever spirit) help the rest of us.

    I could be wrong, of course, but I have studied his posts for several months now.


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  • 422. At 6:07pm on 25 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    ukwales

    "Q1, What do you think,MA2 is trying to achieve with his posts.
    Q2,Do you think he is damaging any relations with his efforts."

    My take: Q1 Either he is saying exactly what he believes or is totally making it up to get a reaction - then laughing himself silly.

    Q2 If you mean with the British - can't answer that.

    Although I know when in Europe often we are approached with "UfromtheStates?" all one word. I think it takes a North American to translate quickly. When we say we are Canadian usually that is enough for them to disregard us, but these people are desperate! They want to know how we are getting on. Well, "fine." They are not. They want our help and advice. They were told the French are able to speak English but they have not heard one word of it. Advice: Try saying "bonjour" and see if that helps. They are afraid to ask for salt if there is none on the table. Advice: I think it's perfectly alright to ask for salt." etc.
    In Italy trying to exchange some money the man did not speak a word of English or French. Passaporto! Handed over our Canadian passport and in perfect English, "Oh you're Canadian."

    Such is the lot of the Americans in Europe.

    I will end with: Hob Nob Hob Nob Hob Nob!

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  • 423. At 6:19pm on 25 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    417 publiusdetroit

    "It's okay for the moment. I think Marcus and David are negotiating the re-engineering and editing of old country-western tunes to come up with a fight song for the University of Marcus Marching Band."

    That is very amusing. There will be blood!

    Hob Nob Hob Nob Hob Nob with a cuppa. I'd say with a sit down but I'm already sitting. Don't want it said I broke the spell.

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  • 424. At 6:19pm on 25 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    #417 Publiusdetroit,

    That would take some doing,I do not think its
    possible to goose step to country & western.
    I could be wrong,with Marcus every thing is out of step.
    Regards...

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  • 425. At 8:05pm on 25 Jan 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 421

    Might I add; scared? confused?

    There are so many of the middle-class here in the States that rode high on the tide of loose credit thinking that there are rainbows everyday; and rainbows have pots of gold at each end just waiting for them to fill their pockets.

    I have several retired friends who made the error of placing all their eggs in the stock market basket, and are now looking for work to suppliment retirement account incomes that once supported them in comfort; having plunged to a third of what the account was once worth. These people are scared, and angry, and confused. I have noticed them lashing out at every small event that announces yet another down-turn in the economy.

    I see engineers, accountants, upper management types facing unemployment for the first time in their life. That $100-200G salary is replaced by an unemployment check of just over $600 every two weeks. They are losing homes, cars, furniture, etc., all bought on credit. They are having trouble putting food on the family table. I listen to the people in my own neighborhood lashing out at whatever demon they have chosen to blame for their woes. Police cars are pulling up to houses of our once quiet neighborhood in the wee hours of the night to quell domestic quarrels.

    I think Marcus is angry his nation has failed him; and so scared that this nation may not recover from our failed economy, he has chosen Europe as his whipping boy to blame all that is bad in his life.

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  • 426. At 8:48pm on 25 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    Help required. To those who post links.

    I have now tried - in my quest to post a link - writing the message in Word with the link as per Ed's instructions, then copying and pasting and still my posts disappear.

    Any idea what I am doing wrong!

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  • 427. At 9:08pm on 25 Jan 2009, hms_shannon wrote:

    Happylaze,British-ish & Timewaitsfornoman.

    Thanks for taking time re,questions I appreciate it very much.
    I try to see hime as a fellow human,but he is just a nasty piece of work....

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  • 428. At 10:59pm on 25 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    Timewaits, try this.

    'display text'

    The http:/www.link should be the url of the link. Make sure that the quote marks are as above.

    display text is the text we see in the link you are creating.

    I avoid copying from Word as some characters get changed in the copy for some reason.

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  • 429. At 11:27pm on 25 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    Re: Help required.

    I managed to make the word what bold, so I am making some progress..... limited, but progress nonetheless.

    I still require assistance

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  • 430. At 01:18am on 26 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Timewaits,

    Are there any ampersands in the post? Theey may be hidden in the URL or you may use them instead of 'and' or '+' An ampersand (&) can be made acceptable to the software by adding amp; (semicolon is essential), thus: &

    Keep trying

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 431. At 01:22am on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    descriptive text

    Please ignore this is a test using Ed's instructions.

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  • 432. At 01:30am on 26 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Sean's Dad is right. If possible avoid wurd. Notepad is probably better, but best is to type in the entry form provided right here.

    If you want spellcheck, get firefox and it eill do your spellchecking as you type, and you can choose British English (or American (or South African, Aus, NZ, etc., or Croatian)

    Best of all, show Windoze the door, and stop enriching Bill Gates and his ilk. Get Ubuntu (Linux) and be FREE! (as in free speech, freedom, and cost-free) And it comes with Firefox already installed...

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 433. At 01:33am on 26 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Ubuntu philosophy Mutual helpfulness.

    "A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
    -- Desmond Tutu


    Peace
    ed

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  • 434. At 01:35am on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 435. At 02:39am on 26 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    The Google browser (called chrome) also has a spell-checker. It's quite minimalist, but that's a good thing.

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  • 436. At 02:40am on 26 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    Timewaits, also make sure you avoid linking to pdfs. The Beeb don't like those.

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  • 437. At 02:45am on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    432 Ed Iglehart

    Thanks for all your help. I believe I've got it now, just waiting for my next post to come up. Fingers crossed. I take that back! See my post has been referred!!!!

    I use Firefox but cannot get rid of Windows sorry! as we have far too many things running here that cannot be run with Ubuntu - so I've been told! Quite obviously all this computer 'stuff' is not my department.

    Another try... I appreciate your patience.

    British Brands

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  • 438. At 03:03am on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    436 seanspa

    Thanks so much - at this point I'd be happy to link to anything!!! But I will avoid pdfs. I don't much like them myself.

    I have another attempt waiting in the cue.

    What the heck, why don't I try one here too. Oh just thought, maybe they don't want me to send that particular link. I might be on to something...

    The best laid schemes o' mice and men

    Here's hoping!

    433 Ed Iglehart

    If the post before this is also referred - in it I thanked you for your help, said I use Firefox but cannot change to Ubuntu as we have far too many things running here that require Windows - or so I have been told!

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  • 439. At 03:11am on 26 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    Timewaits, you've got it. Shame you linked to some unintelligible northern british bloke!

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  • 440. At 03:17am on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    Ed Iglehart seanspa

    Eureka!! It was the link I was trying to send that they were opposed to - not my ability to send it!

    It was not imperative I send you o' mice and men, just looked for something in keeping with the day!

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  • 441. At 03:25am on 26 Jan 2009, chronophobe wrote:

    John Barleycorn

    There was three kings into the east,
    Three kings both great and high,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn should die.

    They took a plough and plough'd him down,
    Put clods upon his head,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn was dead.

    But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
    And show'rs began to fall;
    John Barleycorn got up again,
    And sore surpris'd them all.

    The sultry suns of Summer came,
    And he grew thick and strong;
    His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears,
    That no one should him wrong.

    The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
    When he grew wan and pale;
    His bending joints and drooping head
    Show'd he began to fail.

    His colour sicken'd more and more,
    He faded into age;
    And then his enemies began
    To show their deadly rage.

    They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
    And cut him by the knee;
    Then tied him fast upon a cart,
    Like a rogue for forgerie.

    They laid him down upon his back,
    And cudgell'd him full sore;
    They hung him up before the storm,
    And turned him o'er and o'er.

    They filled up a darksome pit
    With water to the brim;
    They heaved in John Barleycorn,
    There let him sink or swim.

    They laid him out upon the floor,
    To work him farther woe;
    And still, as signs of life appear'd,
    They toss'd him to and fro.

    They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
    The marrow of his bones;
    But a miller us'd him worst of all,
    For he crush'd him between two stones.

    And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
    And drank it round and round;
    And still the more and more they drank,
    Their joy did more abound.

    John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
    Of noble enterprise;
    For if you do but taste his blood,
    'Twill make your courage rise.

    'Twill make a man forget his woe;
    'Twill heighten all his joy;
    'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
    Tho' the tear were in her eye.

    Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
    Each man a glass in hand;
    And may his great posterity
    Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

    Slainte!
    Pinko

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  • 442. At 03:28am on 26 Jan 2009, chronophobe wrote:

    This one for Marcus?

    The Calf

    Right, sir! your text I'll prove it true,
    Tho' heretics may laugh;
    For instance, there's yourself just now,
    God knows, an unco calf.

    And should some patron be so kind,
    As bless you wi' a kirk,
    I doubt na, sir but then we'll find,
    Ye're still as great a stirk.

    But, if the lover's raptur'd hour,
    Shall ever be your lot,
    Forbid it, ev'ry heavenly Power,
    You e'er should be a stot!

    Tho' when some kind connubial dear
    Your but-and-ben adorns,
    The like has been that you may wear
    A noble head of horns.

    And, in your lug, most reverend James,
    To hear you roar and rowt,
    Few men o' sense will doubt your claims
    To rank amang the nowt.

    And when ye're number'd wi' the dead,
    Below a grassy hillock,
    With justice they may mark your head-
    "Here lies a famous bullock!"
    =====================

    I think it fits.

    Pinko

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  • 443. At 03:37am on 26 Jan 2009, chronophobe wrote:

    And short, but sweet:

    Love for Love

    Ithers seek they ken na what,
    Features, carriage, and a' that;
    Gie me love in her I court,
    Love to love maks a' the sport.

    Let love sparkle in her e'e;
    Let her lo'e nae man but me;
    That's the tocher-gude I prize,
    There the luver's treasure lies.

    Slainte mhath,
    Pinko

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  • 444. At 03:50am on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    So I say Hallelujah!!

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  • 445. At 04:00am on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    437 Did contain my link! British Brands - where I will be going to look for Hob Nobs, etc. Anything you'd like me to pick up for you? Check it out.

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  • 446. At 04:02am on 26 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    timewaits, Ed and I disagree on a great many things, but we both agree on helping one another. Tea time has been and gone, so I'll says 'cheers' instead.

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  • 447. At 04:23am on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    446 seanspa

    It's well past tea time here. It's bedtime.
    Thanks for your help.

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  • 448. At 05:12am on 26 Jan 2009, british-ish wrote:

    445. timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    437 Did contain my link! British Brands - where I will be going to look for Hob Nobs, etc. Anything you'd like me to pick up for you? Check it out.

    We never mentioned chocolate Bourbon creams. Really good for dunking in cocoa, but tea can be substituted.

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  • 449. At 11:49am on 26 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    For Marcus,

    Ha! Whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
    Your impudence protects you sairly,
    I canna say but ye strut rarely
    Owre gauze and lace,
    Tho' faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
    On sic a place.

    Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
    Detested, shunn'd by saunt an' sinner,
    How daur ye set your fit upon her --
    Sae fine a lady!
    Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
    On some poor body.

    Swith! in some beggar's hauffet squattle:
    There you may creep, and sprawl, and spr
    Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle,
    In shoals and nations;
    Whare horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
    Your thick plantations.

    Now haud you there! ye're out o' sight,
    Below the fatt'rils, snug an' tight;
    Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,
    Till ye've got on it ---
    The vera tapmost, tow'ring height
    O' miss's bonnet.

    My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose ou
    As plump an' grey as onie grozet:
    O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
    Or fell, red smeddum,
    I'd gie ye sic a hearty dose o't,
    Wad dress your droddum!

    I wad na been surpris'd to spy
    You on an auld wife's flainen toy:
    Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
    On's wyliecoat;
    But Miss's fine Lunardi! fye!
    How daur ye do't.

    O Jenny, dinna toss your head,
    An' set your beauties a' abread!
    You little ken what cursed speed
    The blastie's makin!
    Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread,
    Are notice takin'!

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!
    It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
    An' foolish notion:
    What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
    An' ev'n devotion!

    The Bard

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  • 450. At 11:51am on 26 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Oh, and Timewaits, Welcome to the world of HTMLiteracy!

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 451. At 12:20pm on 26 Jan 2009, watermanaquarius wrote:

    timewaitsfornoman,
    Congratulations on discovering the way to post a link.
    Many of us were "missing links" here on the blog and without Ed and others help, we would still be looking for the wheel.
    He is so correct. Using a link instead of the Http/ www format introduces that mystique, that surprise, that little something, that often makes the copy.
    With the spellchecker putting us in the pink, it feels great to be able to be blue now and again.

    Ed and Seanspa- Well done.

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  • 452. At 2:31pm on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    For all your help and encouragement
    Thank you!

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  • 453. At 3:40pm on 26 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Timewaits,

    You don't need to ditch Windoze to adopt Ubuntu
    See here
    and here

    But, I reckon after a few months using ubuntu/linux, you'll rarely visit your old slave-master.... and soon, you'll see there ain't much you need/want to do that ubuntu won't do. Linux systems can read files in windoze partitions, but silly windoze can't do the same in reverse....would you rather be ambidextrous or only have one good hand?

    Salaam, etc.,
    ed

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  • 454. At 5:20pm on 26 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    422 Time
    can I assume you had your first communion with a hob nob?

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  • 455. At 5:37pm on 26 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    Time lol our local stores have digestives but not the nobbys.


    Shame them Mods won't let you communicate with the forger.
    Ah but this is a free thinking post.
    So you should ,if you want,try googling jacksforge and looking at his Etsy site

    Or just bypass google and try jacksforge with a dot before Etsy, then another dot and a com.

    And play with alchemy.

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  • 456. At 6:14pm on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    453 Ed Iglehart

    "ubuntu/linux" A downside of living with people who know way more about computers (cell phones, channel changers, etc.) than I do, is I just call out "help!" and someone arrives - to solve all my problems. If only more of life could be like that! Meaning....

    My knowledge is limited so I will pass on your links to the "computer expert" of this household. My number one "expert" is not a blogger ergo my link difficulties. Now if I had waited for the younger generation to come home.... different story I'm sure.

    Many thanks!

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  • 457. At 8:52pm on 26 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    454 happylaze

    "No" you would have to assume wrong! Did not go, I can't remember what my excuse was. Think I will send my sister on the mission as she lives closer!

    Maybe I'll call her right now!

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  • 458. At 9:31pm on 28 Jan 2009, NearlyOxf wrote:

    As a freethinker, I am not sure I want to be associated with someone who says that Sarah Palin is 'unfit for public office' because of her supposed religious beliefs. A real freethinker doesn't slag off religious people qua religious people. A real freethinker realises that some people do not share his every opinion.

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  • 459. At 00:48am on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    458
    nearly got there

    but equally a free thinker would accept that someone else would be able to think that "Sarah Palin is 'unfit for public office' because of her supposed religious beliefs.".

    and dare to say it seeing as free speech comes with free thinking.

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  • 460. At 00:51am on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    time just look closer on the shelves. you might find them lurking in some strange store where you are.
    but don't get tempted by the fake versions made unfortunately in Canada.
    No insult to the nation , there are many bad examples in the UK and to best enjoy that epiphany Mc V are the best.

    That would be imported.

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  • 461. At 02:44am on 29 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    460 happylaze

    Got it. McVitie it is. Made in the UK. We are taking about biscuits, are we?
    No insult taken.

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  • 462. At 3:20pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    461 oh yes .

    my real dream is that some canadian company would approach Mc V for the rights to manufacture them in Canada.

    Lower the prices to all in the America's and stop them being imported when there is perfectly good ingredients available .

    But I don't run nothing but a Ironsmacker shop;)

    Oh and if anyone is listening.
    How about thinking that it is about time the micro brew organic market and the wine trade take time to build up.
    Scrumpy is there for the making.

    Apples going to waste. farmers willing to give them away.
    Scrumpy ready to be made.


    Seeing as I'm feeling so free.
    How about taking that wool that goes to waste in the west(good food but not as soft as some would like) and felting it.
    then use small timber to make the lattice and poles to provide good sturdy Yurts for disaster relief.

    put a water purifier in as well.

    I suggested that after the earthquake in Afganistan but instead we went and started a war.

    (soory jihadists but we started the war there. the talliban just attacked .

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  • 463. At 4:43pm on 29 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    462 happylaze

    "Scrumpy" Well, after googling, sorry to show my ignorance, we do have a growing cider industry in Quebec plus organic apple juice, etc.

    As for sheep, very few here - most of our lamb is imported from Australia and New Zealand. Do not ask me!

    Can't think of any connection I have with a biscuit company, but if I do find one will ask. As well you know, I will be told a lot of rigmarole, basically meaning, "no."

    For those interested -[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] (do not know why it is in German) - it is a sight to behold. First the tow trucks with sirens going warning us to remove our cars (should we be fool enough to ignore the signs), followed by snow plows, graders, sidewalk plows, blowers and a caravan of eighteen wheel trucks. One pulling up behind another as they are filled.

    Men walking as "spotters" for the snow blower no matter what the temperature. It is an finely tuned operation.

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  • 464. At 5:08pm on 29 Jan 2009, NearlyOxf wrote:

    "but equally a free thinker would accept that someone else would be able to think that "Sarah Palin is 'unfit for public office' because of her supposed religious beliefs."."

    Sorry, that's a lawyer's twisting of what I said.
    I didn't say that he is not legally entitled to say so.
    I said that it disqualifies him from claiming to be a free-thinker.
    I provided rational reasoning.
    You are merely moving the target and setting up a strawman.

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  • 465. At 7:30pm on 29 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    Free thinker does not mean "so bloody wishywashy that they will vote for a halfwit for VP."

    So If my religious belief is we should all smoke pot and have orgies on sunday. And I wanted to bring that to the states.

    Would I be able to tell all that oppose me because of my views that they are not free thinking.

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  • 466. At 8:07pm on 29 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    Re: 463

    In my "Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator" I was saying the snow removal crew was going by.

    And I worked so hard looking for a suitable youtube video to show! Google "snow removal in Montreal," if interested.

    465 happylaze

    My mother was advocating for legalization in the 70s! and she was an agnostic. And a very Free Thinker. Drop the orgy part and you might have a platform.

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  • 467. At 9:23pm on 29 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    timewaits, are you saying that they take the snow away rather than dump it as a berm at the end of your drive? You lucky so and so.

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  • 468. At 9:25pm on 29 Jan 2009, seanspa wrote:

    So how is the snow removal going? Can't trust the unions!

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  • 469. At 10:32pm on 29 Jan 2009, timewaitsfornoman wrote:

    467 seanspa

    "take the snow away"

    That they do. They used to dump it in the St. Lawrence River, but realized dumping all the salt was not eco-friendly. Now they have designated dump sites that are often still there in June. I kid you not!

    468 You are more up-to-date than I. That did not happen in my part of town, so was unaware.

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  • 470. At 11:10pm on 29 Jan 2009, NearlyOxf wrote:

    "Free thinker does not mean "so bloody wishywashy that they will vote for a halfwit for VP.""

    Once again, you are putting words in my mouth.
    I didn't try to dictate to anyone how they should vote.
    Moreover, just because you - or anybody else - thinks that X is a 'halfwit' doesn't make it so. I happen to think that she is nothing of the sort, regardless of her real (or in this case, mostly wrongly alleged) religious beliefs. Religious belief per se does not make you a 'halfwit'.
    Sorry, no cigar.

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  • 471. At 4:57pm on 30 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    470

    you really get bent for a so called free thinker.

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  • 472. At 5:08pm on 31 Jan 2009, happylaze wrote:

    Religious belief per se does not make you a 'halfwit'.


    but ignoring the bloody obvious , which even the pope had the sense to see is.
    you halfwit.

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