Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

This has got to be the most idiotic study I’ve ever seen.
They’re trying to prove that VOIP is here to stay because they’re getting several thousand subscribers via telemarketing tactics.
I wonder how many of those people will be calling back once they figure out that the servers don’t stay up and running, and that the VOIP community suffers from the same irresponsible habbit of passing the buck a lot of other new-fangled geeks-turned-businessmen (otherwise known as .com losers) suffer from.
Right now, the thing going for the established phone companies is, despite their customer service issues, the service generally works, and if it doesn’t, you can bet they’ll be out to fix it.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I really hate it when people go through life either not knowing enough about themselves to determine what kind of person they are, or who spend their time criticising others for exhibiting the same traits they themselves exhibit.
So, in the interest of helping my fellow man put themselves on the right side of the injunction to “know thyself”, I’ve come up with this little guide.
This will help you to determine whether or not you’re a ho, the type of person that seems to be very much a part of our daily lives, yet for some reason has defied definition for way too long.
Ordinarily, I would be discussing this with John, but since some moron decided it could be construed as sexual harassment by someone who could find it offensive, that was pretty much tabled.
Thanks Mike for ruining all the fun, although we know you aren’t responsible for the idiocy.
And now, on with the list.

  • You rent out your bed space;
  • You have an ATM machine in your bedroom;
  • The first thing you say after sex is “next!”
  • You keep a menu above your bed which lists the sexual favors you offer, with pricing;
  • You’ve hired greeters to post themselves at your bedroom door;
  • Your welcome mat is placed at your bedroom door instead of your front door;
  • Your bedroom door is a turn-style
  • During a job interview, you ask if knee pads are part of the benefits package;
  • Your ankles have to write letters to each other in order to keep up to speed on everything that’s happened since they’ve been apart;
  • You’ve posted a “Now serving” sign on your bedroom door;
  • You’ve taught your children to ask “Are you my daddy,” every time you introduce them to a man;
  • You list whip cream, condoms and edible underwear as business expenses when filing your taxes;
  • you list every place you’ve “parked” as places of employment on your resume;
  • You refer to your sexual partners as “streams of income”;
  • You’ve hired an accountant to keep track of the number of sexual partners you’ve had;
  • You’d sit at work, but you find you’re more comfortable on your knees;
  • You’ve chosen a nickname that doubles as a term for a sexual favor;
  • You refer to your sex toy collection as “job resources”;
  • You refer to the Kama Sutra as a beginners’ manual;
  • You name your children after cars you wish you could “park” in.

Did i miss something?
If you think so, leave your suggestion in the comments.

As seen at Third World County, Gribbit’s Word, Stop The ACLU, Dianne’s Stuff, and Stuck On Stupid.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

March 28 (Bloomberg) — Republicans, who have profited politically from emphasizing faith and family values, are now finding those same issues dividing
the party.

Economic conservatives and secular Republicans complain their message is being drowned out by Christian conservatives preoccupied with banning abortion
and gay marriage and limiting stem-cell research.

On the other side, “values’’ advocates say they have provided the party with crucial support, particularly in 2004, when they mobilized religious conservatives
to go to the polls to help re-elect President George W. Bush.

Such concerns are turning long-simmering Republican tensions over the role of religious conservatives into an election-year split in a party already strained
by differences on the Iraq war, immigration and government spending.

“There is a great deal of concern about this seeming attempt to couch everything in religious terms,’’ said Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor
of New Jersey. “We’re not a narrow-minded nation, and at least some of the people trying to define the Republican Party are coming off that way.’’

If anything, religious conservatives deserve a greater Republican commitment to their agenda, said Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family
Research Council.

“We had reason for people all across the country to be engaged at unprecedented levels,’’ said Perkins, whose group is organizing a “values voter’’ summit
in September. “It made a difference in states that were very closely divided.’’

Book Tour

Whitman, who was Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator from 2001 to 2003, has been traveling the country promoting her book, “It’s My Party
Too,’’ and has started a political action committee to give Republicans like herself a greater voice and elevate issues such as government spending and
health care.

Representative Tom Davis of Virginia, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said too much focus on abortion and gay marriage
may weaken Republican support in the Northeast and other regions where economic matters and other issues count more.

“When you rely on those kind of social issues it helps you some places, but there’s a cost to that,’’ Davis said.

Some of this year’s most hotly contested congressional races will be held in states such as Pennsylvania and Connecticut, where some Republicans say a conservative
religious agenda may not play well with voters.

Losing Ground

“If you take a look at where the president’s numbers are weakest and where the party has lost the most ground, it’s in some of those areas where these
issues have been played up,’’ Davis said. Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress in 1994 because the party united behind the economic ideas
in its “Contract With America,’’ he said.

Davis’s concerns echo those of former Missouri Senator John Danforth, an Episcopal priest who wrote in the New York Times last March that his party had
allowed a “shared agenda to become secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives.’’

Those frustrations may reflect a shift in the party’s balance of power away from economic conservatives and advocates of limited government, said John Green,
a political scientist at the University of Akron in Ohio who studies the impact of religion on politics.

Shifting Numbers

“It may be that the Jack Danforths were more tolerant of the religious point of view when the libertarian view was dominant,’’ Green said.

Ten years ago, small-government Republicans outnumbered religious-values voters by as much as 20 to 25 percentage points, said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican
pollster. Now their numbers are almost equal, he said.

“The real schism of the party is not abortion or gay rights,’’ Fabrizio said. “It’s religiosity. It’s whether or not you believe God’s Law should be used
to set public policy.’’ Conflict between religious and self-described moderate Republicans will intensify ahead of the 2008 presidential election, Fabrizio
said.

The debate is already playing out in Ohio, where an amendment banning gay marriage united religious conservatives behind Bush in the 2004 presidential race.

Two Ohio pastors who campaigned for the amendment have been accused by a group of clergy of violating tax laws by promoting Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell,
one of two Republican gubernatorial candidates in the May primary election.

Political Advocacy

In a complaint filed with the Internal Revenue Service in January, the accusers said Russell Johnson of the Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster and
Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church in Columbus violated a provision of the tax code barring political advocacy by churches and other nonprofits. The
complaint cited several alleged instances in which the churches promoted Blackwell at religious events, in voter-registration drives and in educational
materials.

Johnson called the complaint “a form of harassment, and frivolous’’ in an interview. “Christians do not have to give up their citizenship just because
they go to church,’’ he said. Parsley, who declined to be interviewed, called the charges “baseless and without merit’’ in a statement issued in January,
and said his church had always complied with federal tax laws.

The IRS, in a report issued last month, said it was stepping up enforcement of the ban on political advocacy by tax-exempt groups amid what it called a
“dramatic’ increase in the amount of money such organizations are spending on political campaigns. For 2003-2004 it was more than $10 billion, more than
double the $4 billion spent in the previous presidential election cycle, according to the IRS. Of the more than 100 groups being investigated, 47 percent
are churches, the IRS said.

`Ground Zero’

Ohio is “ground zero’’ in a battle that will help determine how successful religious conservatives will be in organizing political campaigns through churches,
said Barry Lynn, executive director of the Washington-based advocacy group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

If the Ohio attempt succeeds, “there are going to be efforts to clone it in other states,’’ he said. Similar networks are already being assembled in Texas
and Pennsylvania, he said.

Amo Houghton, a former New York Republican congressman, says Republicans concerned about the influence of evangelicals should be more aggressive about speaking
out, particularly with Bush’s approval ratings at record lows. Houghton, who retired last year, opposed legislation in Congress that would have helped
legalize partisan activity by churches.

“Political campaigns are trying to identify and enlist friendly congregations to reach out to others and establish beachheads in the religious community,’’
Houghton said. “I don’t think that’s right.’’

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Quite frankly, I’m at a loss as to why religion is even being brought into this debate, unless it’s just another way for those in favor of porous borders to try to use religion to win the right-wing and moderate vote.
Where does Hilary Clinton get off saying that the Good Samaritan and probably Jesus himself would be criminalized?
I can’t even apply company logic to that one.
The Good Samaritan, nor Jesus, crossed anyone’s borders illegally, nor did they fraudulently acquire government funds allocated for the poor of this country.
Where’s the connection?

by
James R. Edwards, Jr.
Posted Mar 28, 2006

Sen. Hillary Clinton has said House-passed immigration enforcement legislation “would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself.”

Thus the New York senator made her contribution to a string of liberal Bible-babble: Democratic Chairman Howard Dean’s calling the Old Testament book of
Job his favorite New Testament book, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s assertion that many Democrats “do” politics according to the gospel of Matthew
(whatever that means), Pelosi’s charge that voting for the GOP budget was a “sin.”

Not exactly the way to round up traditional-values Christian votes, folks. A hint: It would help if you (1) actually believed the Christian Scripture is
God’s true and inerrant word, rather than manipulating it as a political prop; and (2) actually read the Bible and got to know the 66 books, the 150 Psalms,
the Ten Commandments, the four Gospels, etc.

Like Clinton’s gaffe, the U.S. Catholic hierarchy is engaging in this brand of bearing false witness. Roger Cardinal Mahony and his ilk have grossly mischaracterized
the same provision in H.R. 4437 that Clinton referenced. Mahony distorted the anti-human trafficking measure as “criminaliz[ing] even minor acts of mercy
like offering a meal or administering first aid.” That’s patently false. He then stated “the church supports” the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill.

In fact, the House measure would require someone both to know or willfully remain ignorant of someone’s immigration status, and to give assistance that
helps an illegal alien “remain in the United States.”

Beyond such lies and distortions about specific legislation, what is a biblical basis for Christians to approach immigration issues?

First, God ordains civil government. It’s his agent to protect innocent citizens under a specific jurisdiction’s authority. Jesus taught that people should
render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Proverbs 24:21 instructs us to “Fear [honor] the Lord and the king. . . .” Romans 13 says, “For there is no
[civil] authority except from God. . . .”

It follows that government may legitimately decide immigration policies. Even the Catholic bishops, who work alongside Leftists like the American Civil
Liberties Union and the National Council of La Raza for open-borders policies, claim to agree that “sovereign nations have a right to control their borders.’

Oft-misquoted passages such as Exodus 22:21 (”Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.”) don’t inform or speak to how those
foreigners were admitted to the nation in the first place. Somebody has to decide who and on what conditions foreigners may enter a nation. That’s the
civil government’s job.

Second, some conduct may not be inherently evil, but is regulated to ensure order, fairness or safety. Moral implications attach to certain conduct because
it’s set in law. Circumventing that regulation is immoral.

For example, it’s not inherently evil to drive on the left side of the road. But because our law requires everyone to drive on the right, it isn’t only
illegal to drive on the left here — it’s also immoral, because it disrupts public order and disrespects law itself. That’s why breaking the law is considered
an offense against society.

Like the difference between a hike and trespassing, crossing the desert isn’t inherently wrong, but crossing an international border in the desert is an
immoral act — because it’s unlawful. The same holds for overstaying a visa, perpetrating a fraud for an immigration benefit and the like. To say otherwise
is wholesale rationalization.

What about desperate aliens just looking for a better life? Proverbs 6 teaches that the higher principle of law and order outweighs even the most desperate
circumstances. In that passage, someone who steals because he’s starving still must make restitution; he stole something that belonged to another.

So, why not just grant amnesty? The bishops and their cronies imply that a wave of the wand legalizes the 12 million illegal aliens. Presto change-o, the
law now says you’re all legal!

But amnesty abuses the rule of law. It rewards lawbreakers for their lawbreaking instead of holding them to the consequences set forth in the law they originally
broke. Proverbs 24:23-25 condemns such miscarriage of justice: “Whoever says to the guilty, ‘You are innocent’” shows “partiality in judging.”

Isaiah 5:20 is even more direct: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” Willfully sneaking into another country isn’t an innocent act. It’s not
even a victimless crime. It reflects intentional sin.

In America, where Judeo-Christian principles inform the structure of our public institutions, mass immigration and legalization proposals seem contrary
to “the consent of the governed.” Hawking amnesty and profligate “guestworker” programs risks not only the economic well-being of our poorest fellow citizens,
but also shows favoritism to the wealthy — something both Old and New Testaments decry as sin.

It would be helpful to this debate if biblically ignorant politicians held their tongues and Big Religion sought honest biblical direction before staking
positions on policies that clearly fall within the realm of prudential judgment.

Mr. Edwards, coauthor of The Congressional Politics of Immigration Reform, is an adjunct fellow with the Hudson Institute.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

It’s about time we start seeing some real crackdowns on this stuff.
Yesterday I had over one thousand attempted spam comments alone.
I know of people who have to deal with this on a much larger scale, and it’s
about time these people stop stealing bandwidth.
Furthermore, I think the people who purchase this kind of advertising should
also bear some responsibility, because if it weren’t for the fact that
people are actually buying the advertising, the problem wouldn’t be as acute
as it is now.
Then there are the people who actually buy into this stuff, and click, and
buy, and further perpetuate the problem.
They, however, are just really stupid, and as of yet there’s no way to
adequately punish stupidity.
I haven’t figured out how to drown people in the gene pool yet.

Jumpstart Technologies had offered free movie tickets for e-mail
addresses

The Associated Press

Updated: 6:04 p.m. ET March 24, 2006

URL: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11996880/

SAN FRANCISCO – An Internet marketing company that offered free movie
tickets in exchange for friends’ e-mail addresses agreed to pay a
$900,000
fine to settle charges it violated federal anti-spam laws, authorities
said
Friday.

Jumpstart Technologies LLC of San Francisco was accused by the Federal
Trade Commission of disguising commercial e-mail as personal messages
and
misleading consumers about the terms of its FreeFlixTix promotion, FTC
staff attorney Lisa Rosenthal said.

“This was a pretty cut and dry case of deception,” Rosenthal said.
“The law
enables consumers to block commercial e-mails if they want to, and
this was
subverting consumers’ ability to do that because it looked like it was
coming from friends.”

A call to Jumpstart’s defense lawyer was not immediately returned
Friday.

The civil settlement was filed March 22 in federal court in San
Francisco
and prohibits the company from further violations of anti-spam laws.
It
does not include an admission of guilt.

The complaint alleges that Jumpstart, which operates direct marketing
campaigns for advertising partners and collects marketing information
for
sale to third parties, sent mass e-mail promising tickets in exchange
for
the e-mail addresses of at least five friends.

The company then sent multiple e-mail to those friends with deceptive
subject lines and headers including personal greetings intended to
circumvent spam filters, according to the complaint.

Some people who wanted to join the promotion were asked to submit
credit
card information to an advertising partner, and others had to pay a
late
charge to cancel the offer, the complaint alleges.

The company was accused of violating a 2003 law that set strict
guidelines
for businesses that send commercial e-mail and set penalties for
spammers.

In the complaint, the FTC accused Jumpstart of sending commercial
e-mail
with false or misleading “from” lines, failing to clearly identify its
messages as advertising, and failing to clearly inform recipients that
they
could opt out of receiving more e-mail.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I’ve got a serious migraine.
I took three Excedrin earlier, probably around 4:00 or so, but it hasn’t helped.
I also went outside to get some air, because it’s nine hundred degrees in here, but that didn’t help either.
I hate it when things get like this.
Mr. Frodo came by earlier, and asked me to try logging in to the Portal interface, which I did, and have been doing, although he wouldn’t have known that.
It works.
I’m not sure what he wanted me to do that for, but we’ll see.
I got the information I was supposed to send, or rather, he was supposed to send, to the blind employee, (known from here on out as Ya’akov, just because continuously saying “blind employee” is too much to type, and I think a tad disrespectful, given that he’s really manifested concern over this situation and seems to be genuinely honest), and copied Mr. Frodo on that message this morning.
I didn’t see any need to reinvent the wheel.
Other than that, not much, but it is sort of some progress.
I like the fact it’s staying light for longer and longer.
I’m not a big fan of short days and long nights, especially when those nights are cold.
It’s supposed to warm up later this week.
I hope it stays that way, or at least most of the time.
I’m here an extra fifteen minutes tonight, so that means fifteen minutes of overtime.
I’m going to go home and do laundry, despite the headache.
It needs to be done, and it’s not going to do any good to put it off.
I have no idea what I’m doing for dinner.
I had a salad for lunch, so that’s most likely out.
Probably just a sandwitch.
I’m not feeling like a full meal.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

This is why people like this shouldn’t be entrusted with the spiritual future of the Jewish people.
When you read this, replace the word rabbi with mullah, and you’ll see what I mean.
If Muslims were issuing edicts like this, they’d be called fanatics, and rightly so.
Does he really think it’s so difficult for people to refrain from committing idolatry that he needs to ensure that they don’t by fencing the Torah in until it becomes something to be gazed at, but never interacted with, like some museum piece in a glass case?
Hat-tip Shmarya.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Candidates cite data ‘offshoring’
By Bill Cotterell
DEMOCRAT POLITICAL EDITOR

As two major Democratic candidates called for cancellation of his biggest privatization project, Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday he’s “really disappointed” that
an unknown amount of state personnel information wound up in India.

The Florida Democratic Party accused Attorney General Charlie Crist of winking at the controversy involving Convergys, the multinational automation giant
holding the state’s People First contract. The company has given the state Republican Party $37,000 since 2002, and one of its top lobbyists, Brian Ballard,
is a senior campaign adviser in Crist’s race for governor.

Sen. Walter “Skip” Campbell, D-Fort Lauderdale, and Senate Minority Leader Les Miller, D-Tampa, called on Bush and the Department of Management Services
to cancel the nine-year, $350 million contract with Convergys. Management Services Secretary Tom Lewis told legislative committees last week he wouldn’t
do that, but the Democratic lawmakers said the India incident is the kind of “breach” that would justify pulling out.

“This is one privatization experiment that has blown up too many times,” said Miller, referring to the rocky three-year start of People First. The system
has been plagued by errors, employee complaints of long waits on telephone help lines and mistaken cancellation of employee insurance.

“Employees need to know this will never happen again,” Campbell said. “Can DMS and Convergys guarantee that one of these employees’ names won’t show up
on a foreign passport? That some foreign national won’t use it to gain illegal entry into the United States?”

It ‘needs to be canceled’

Campbell, a candidate for attorney general, said Crist should enforce civil fines against Convergys for “breach” of its contract. Miller, running for Congress
in the Tampa Bay area, said state employees have no way of knowing whether their sensitive information is “floating around” computer databases in foreign
countries.

“The contract needs to be canceled,” Miller said. “The attorney general needs to do his job, and Floridians need some assurances from this administration
that 350 million of their tax dollars haven’t been lost along with the identities that remain unaccounted for.”

DMS and Convergys last week admitted that some state personnel information had been processed in India for GDXdata, a former Convergys subcontractor in
Denver. Lewis said Convergys learned of the “offshoring” in August but didn’t tell him until February – which Convergys disputes – and the state is seeking
$5 million from the company.

Two former GDXdata employees filed suit in Leon County Circuit Court last year, alleging that their former employee cut computer-indexing costs by using
companies in India, Barbados and possibly China. The suit did not accuse Convergys of wrongdoing, and the company canceled its contract with GDXdata in
August.

Bush said it does not appear that actual identity theft resulted from the use of overseas computer companies.

“I think that we’re in pretty good shape there,” he said. “The investigation continues. I’m really disappointed that Convergys didn’t tell us or didn’t
know that one of its subcontractors was using employees (in) India.”

Campbell and Miller said Crist should enforce state contracting laws allowing him to impose civil fines on Convergys. The $5 million sought by DMS is not
a fine but would partly be used to compensate the state for costs of notifying employees.

Lewis told legislators last week that potentially 108,000 employees working for the state between January 2003 and July 2004 were affected.

GDXdata has denied violating its contract with Convergys.

The Florida Democratic Party, meanwhile, issued a statement saying that Convergys has donated $37,000 to the Republican Party of Florida. Party Chairman
Karen Thurman also noted that Ballard, the Convergys lobbyist, is a close adviser in Crist’s run for governor.

“As the state’s top attorney, Charlie Crist is supposed to fight crime and serve as an advocate for the people,” Thurman said. “Regardless of his motives,
Charlie Crist’s failure to act on the potential widespread identity theft of 100,000 state employees is a terrible offense for an attorney general.”

Crist said his office is monitoring the situation. He shrugged off the criticism as partisan flak.

“I would encourage them to stay tuned and not be too judgmental too soon,” Crist said. “We’re in a political season, apparently, and those kinds of statements,
I guess, are the kind that people make, but there’s nothing to them.”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

There’s an article in Saturday’s Roanoke Times discussing the practice of some doctors who pray with or for their patients.
Of course this kind of thing is bound to raise objections, but I’m not sure it’s such a bad idea.
A lot of people are either nervous about going to doctors, or dealing with some sort of major medical issue, and if prayers help ease the relationship between doctor and patient, then I don’t see a problem with it.
In this case, I think a little dose of religion can help bring a little more compassion to a field that’s under-staffed and over-worked, and to patients who might appreciate the support.
I can’t say I’d object if I were going through some sort of major medical issue to my doctor reciting Tehillim, or saying a Mi Sheberach, or, if a Christian, praying.
the fact that someone is willing to take your problem and make it their own exhibits quite a bit of caring and compassion, and sometimes that makes all the difference in the world.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

A complaint alleges that Attorney General Charlie Crist should have investigated a corporation with links to his campaign for governor.

BY MARC CAPUTO

A whistle-blower accused Attorney General Charlie Crist and a top aide of ‘’misconduct’’ for failing to investigate a troubled — but deep-pocketed — personnel
company tied to Crist’s campaign for governor.

Crist’s office and aide George LeMieux said the ethics complaint filed Friday by Sam McDowell, former employee of the company Convergys, were “without
merit.’’

Convergys, which won a $350 million contract to centralize and computerize the state’s massive personnel system, was rapped for having lax security and
auditing functions in a Department of Management Services investigation McDowell prompted in a whistle-blower complaint last year.

STOLEN IDENTITIES

McDowell said Crist should have investigated the firm, considering a former Convergys employee is now serving four years in prison for stealing state worker
identities and money. Convergys also is being sued by five state workers who say their identities have been stolen.

Their lawyer is McDowell’s and is connected to Crist’s Republican campaign rival, Tom Gallagher.

In a separate but related case, the company is fighting a proposed $5 million state fine for its connection to a subcontractor that may have allowed the
confidential information of up to 108,000 state employees to be accessed by labor in India, Barbados and China.

Convergys said in written statement it was ‘’misled’’ by subcontractor GDX, which also denies wrongdoing, and shouldn’t have to pay.

It is fighting the state-worker lawsuits as well.

State and company officials point out that no identities have been reported stolen in the GDX false-claims case filed by two company whistle-blowers.

Crist’s office declined to investigate that case, saying it is a “contract dispute.’’

Those whistle-blowers and their attorneys said in an article published Thursday in The Miami Herald that Crist’s office barely spoke with them before declining
the case.

‘’It sounds like my case,’’ McDowell said. “All of this has happened and Charlie Crist has not investigated. It’s unbelievable.’’

McDowell’s complaint mentions the ‘’relationship’’ between Convergys lobbyist Brian Ballard and Crist’s governor’s campaign, for which Ballard is an advisor.

Ballard said that Christ stands for and against his clients, depending on the issue.

He said Crist this week publicly opposed an effort by one of Ballard’s pharmaceutical clients to win favorable legislation during the 60-day lawmaking session
that ends May 5.

For its part, Convergys said in a written statement that the results of the original investigation launched by McDowell ‘’do not support the allegations’’
he’s now making about its connection to Crist.

McDowell’s ethics complaint faces a number of challenges, said ethics-law attorney Mark Herron.

He’s not connected to the case but represents hundreds of clients before the ethics commission.

To make the charges stick, Herron said, McDowell will have to show that Crist had a ‘’clear legal duty to have acted’’ and that Crist corruptly failed to
act for the direct benefit of Convergys.

GOP RIVAL BENEFITS

But even if the ethics case is dismissed, the allegations are already benefiting one man: Tom Gallagher, whose strategists have long planned to portray
Crist — the front-runner in money and most polls — as a do-nothing.

Democrats this week attacked the attorney general for seeming to change his position opposing abortion and for failing to investigate the GDX case, saying
it made little sense because the attorney general can’t help ‘’bloviating’’ about how he’s opposed to identity theft.

But Crist’s office said ‘’no one has done more to fight identity theft than’’ him.

“This office has been monitoring and investigating the Convergys/GDX issues for over one year.

“This case is not a false claim but is a contract dispute.’’

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I think I’ve seen it all now.
These clowns are wrestling for Jesus.
In other words, they hope to use wrestling as a “witnessing” tool.
From the looks of it, it seems cheesier than the real thing, and by real I mean the actual professional wrestling that passes for a sport.
What’s next?
I think the only thing I can think of that would be stranger would be prostitution for Jesus, but they probably think they already have that covered with Mary Magdalene.
Maybe porn for Jesus isn’t so far-fetched after all.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

It’s this kind of political harlotry, specifically the kind that the Republican Party is engaging in, that really bothers me.
Seems we could use a prophet.
On the other hand, I can’t help wondering whether the Deomcrats won’t engage in the same kind of harlotry once they’re back in power.
Maybe we should just get rid of all politicians, and their lawyer cronies.
Neither group is good for the country overall.

ROBYN BLUMNER

Article Published: 03/27/06, 2:55 am
In a rare public outing in which he took spontaneous questions, President Bush was asked in Ohio whether he had a biblical view of the war in Iraq and saw
it as an apocalyptic struggle for the Middle East. “The answer is, I haven’t really thought of it that way,” Bush responded. “First, I’ve heard of that,
by the way. I guess I’m more of a practical fellow.”

This is a difficult to believe from our born-again president, who initially used the word “crusade” to define America’s fight against Islamic terrorists
and who justified going to war in Iraq with nomenclature straight out of the “Left Behind” series by preacher Tim LaHaye.

Former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips writes in his new book, “American Theocracy,” that Bush’s call to remove Saddam Hussein included “jeering at
the United Nations,” proclaiming the evil of Saddam and pretending that democracy, not oil, was the motive. According to Phillips, that script followed
almost precisely what LaHaye had written in his “Left Behind” books.

Not to say that we are at war in Iraq solely or even primarily because the president thinks it will hasten the end times. Just that it did not escape the
administration’s notice that certain ideas resonate with the 60 million readers of “Left Behind,” of which an estimated 15 million to 20 million are U.S.
voters.

This rapture-and-Armageddon crowd, more than any other group, make up the president’s base. It is flatly disingenuous for Bush to claim that he never before
considered the biblical currency of America vs. Iraq.

Phillips, who was a Republican star when he wrote “The Emerging Republican Majority” in 1969 and predicted the ascendancy of the party, is now the town
crier, warning America about what is to come if the party remains in power.

According to Phillips, the dominating influence of fundamentalists and evangelicals on politics has “warped the Republican Party and its electoral coalition,
muted Democratic voices, and become a gathering threat to America’s future.”

When faith trumps reason, you get people in power such as James Watt, the former interior secretary under Ronald Reagan, who sought to exploit America’s
natural resources because, as he explained: “My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns.”

And for those who think this is only a phase and the pendulum is bound to swing back, think again. As demographer Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation
points out in Foreign Policy this month, fundamentalism’s growth is a long-term trend worldwide.

The reason is simple, Longman says. The kinds of people and societies that embrace “patriarchal religion” simply outreproduce “today’s enlightened but slow-breeding
societies.”

The 2004 presidential election illustrates the trend. Longman says fertility rates among the states that went for Bush were 12 percent higher than those
backed Sen. John Kerry.

Children born to parents who embrace patriarchy, tradition, nationalism and rigid religiosity are highly likely to adopt these views and vote for the party
that reflects the same values: Republican.

Kevin Phillips may be ringing the alarm that the Republamentalists are dragging this nation down. But pretty soon there won’t be enough of us left to do
much more than go along for the ride.

E-mail Robyn Blumner at

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

by Mary Pitt

www.opednews.com

If one dares to suggest that any policy of the current administration may be unacceptable, one is instantly bombarded with the sobriquet of “liberality”
in absolutely insulting terms. One would be hard put to count the times that we have been verbally assaulted, in every instance concluding with the ultimate
denigration….that we are “Liberal”.

Let’s examine the origin of those terms in American politics. Initially, those who claimed the term “conservative” were those who advocated a government
that lived within the ability of the people to provide through taxation which was not oppressive and within the bounds of the Constitution as set down
by the very wise men who founded this nation. “Liberals”, on the other hand, were assumed to be those who expected the governement to collect horrendous
and confiscative taxes from the people and would, in turn, spread the wealth equally over the entire populace, regardless of their contribution to the
common good.

At some time during the last quarter century, this concept has been, if not reversed, at least muddled. Now the mantle of conservatism has been adopted
by those who hate paying taxes for any reason and feel that their level of wealth and influence should serve as an inoculation against the bother of paying
any portion of the national bills. Added to this contingent are the super-religious who want to subvert the liberties that the Constitution gives us to
worship in any way we choose and free of governmental influence and who want to establish a theocracy in which all must live and worship according to the
tenets of the ruling faith.

This conglomeration of interest groups and money-people calling themselves “conservative” is about like a jackass claiming to be a race horse. A “real”
conservative turns green at the word, “reform”. Reform means change and change is the one thing that a Conservative dreads more than death itself. The
whole point of desiring to conserve is to maintain a situation which one wants to continue, a way of life in which people work hard to care for themselves
and their families but are willing to share their resources with others who are less fortunate and to contribute to the costs of the common well-being.
However, the cabal which currently runs this nation is changing everything so rapidly under the cover of “reform” that there is no accounting for the true
amount of damage that has been done to “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

On the other hand, those of us who oppose these changes are termed “liberals”. We who are desperately engaging in the effort to preserve our economic system,
our social programs, and even our environment, are beset with sobriquets and insults for our pains. We who struggle against an increasingly unfair taxing
system are referred to as “tax and spend liberals” and accused of waging “class warfare”. In fact, those who are being denigrated as “radical lib-lefty
wackos” are a coalition of independent thinkers from all wings of both parties, Democrats, populists, Libertarians, and, yes, even Real Conservatives who
object to the extravagant spending patterns of the Neo-Conservatives who have seized control of our nation and are causing the astronomical national debt.

By the 2008 elections, both parties can kiss their “bases” good-bye as the religious “fundies” realize that they have merely allowed themselves to be used
by the Neo-Cons as a power base for those who have no intention of making good on their promises to ensconce those religious beliefs in law. Former Democrats
are disillusioned with their party leaders for failure to speak up in opposition to the power-grab of the Executive Branch to the loss of the power of
Congress. Real Conservatives are apoplectic at the burgeoning national debt while the working class are becoming more and more disillusioned as the tax
breaks for the wealthy are increased and they find themselves bearing the bulk of the burden of paying the bills of an extravagant government.

There are great changes taking place in the hearts of Americans which, if translated into votes, may cause an upheaval in the “business as usual” of politics.
The wise politicians will see and understand this and adapt their programs to fit it while those who do not will go down to ignominious defeat. As we tell
each other, in person and on websites like these, “Forget the Party line. Vote for the person and for their response to the people”, we are encouraging
all who want to “conserve” our Constitution and our freedoms. In that effort, those to whom the Neo-Cons refer as Liberals are, in fact, the true Conservatives
among us. We want to conserve our national principles which were established as a “government of the people, by the people and for the people” and the
rights which were imbedded in our precious Constitution.

We are Eisenhower Republicans, we are Goldwater Democrats, old-line Libertarians and New Age Progressives, but we all want to conserve the American spirit
in which which we care for our own, help our neighbors, pay our bills, and live in peace. To paraphrase Gary Coleman’s favorite line, “Who you callin’
Liberal, fool?

mumzeeskitchen.blogspot.com/

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Can we move toward peaceful co-existence among all religions, or will militant Islam become an increasing threat to all non-Muslims?

by Rev. Bill McGinnis

www.opednews.com

The case of Christian convert Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan has sharply focused international attention on what may be the most important question in the
world today: Does true Islam require freedom of religion, or not?

The government of Afghanistan has been preparing to bring Rahman to trial on the criminal charge of renouncing his former religion of Islam to become a
convert to Christianity. According to some authorities, this act of apostasy violates Islamic law and is punishable by death. Other authorities believe
that true Islamic law requires freedom of religion and that Rahman and everybody else should be free to follow whatever religion (or none at all) they
choose, without fear or penalty.

The importance of this question could not possibly be greater, because if true Islam requires freedom of religion, then there is no theological basis for
militant action against people of other religions, merely because of their religion. Islamic Democracy becomes a possibility, and long-term peaceful co-existence
for Muslims and non-Muslims seems likely. The supposed justification for terrorism largely disappears, and a new era of hopefulness in the world can soon
begin.

But if true Islam does not require freedom of religion, then Muslims are theologically justified in using violence against non-Muslims, Islamic Democracy
becomes totally impossible, and anti-Western terrorism can continue, with some apparent theological justification — all on the basis of spreading Islam,
by force if necessary. This would also place Islam in direct opposition to the United Nations’ “Universal Declaration Of Human Rights,” which guarantees
freedom of religion to all people in United Nations member countries.

In the immediate case of Abdul Rahman, the best outcome, with benefit for all people, would be for a high Islamic court to rule that the case should be
dismissed because true Islamic law requires freedom of religion. This decision would be based mainly on Qur’an 2.256, which plainly says, “There is no
compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan (note: Satan) and believes
in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.”

Source: Qur’an (Koran) as shown at
www.hti.umich.edu/k/koran/
and elsewhere.

This reading from the Qur’an is confirmed by another one, the entire chapter (Sura) 109, called “The Disbelievers,” which concludes, “You shall have your
religion and I shall have my religion.”

The Disbelievers
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

[109.1] Say: O unbelievers!
[109.2] I do not serve that which you serve,
[109.3] Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve:
[109.4] Nor am I going to serve that which you serve,
[109.5] Nor are you going to serve Him Whom I serve:
[109.6] You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.

The theological basis for the prosecution of Rahman apparently comes from a misreading of Qur’an 16.106, which says, “He who disbelieves in Allah after
his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens (his) breast to disbelief– on these is the
wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.”

Immediately we can see two theological errors in prosecuting Rahman on this basis: First, he is not “disbelieving in Allah.” Allah is the creator of the
universe, and there is only one Allah. We Christians call Him, “God,” or “Heavenly Father.” But we are talking about the same One Creator, who has revealed
Himself to different people in slightly different ways, for His own good reasons. As a Christian, Rahman still believes in Allah, as do I myself. And second,
the “grievous punishment” is supposed to come from Allah Himself, on Judgment Day, not from fallible humans today. Furthermore, everyone should keep in
mind that all punishments specified in the Qur’an may be moderated and reduced by applying the oft-stated principle that “Allah is forgiving, merciful,”
as stated in Qur’an 2.173 and seventy-six other places in the Qur’an. Allah knows your heart. In Islam, if you have a really good reason, Allah will overlook
or forgive almost anything.

(Also note that this verse confirms the invalidity of compulsion in religion, when it says, “not he who is compelled.”)

So we see that the prosecution of Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan for converting from Islam to Christianity, in supposed violation of “Islamic law,” is itself
a violation of Islamic law, the highest written authority in which is the Qur’an.

But if this is true, then why is there any question? Why does anyone even think that converting from Islam to another religion might be a sin? The reason
is that some non-Qur’anic secondary written authorities seem to say that it is a punishable sin for Muslims to convert away from Islam.

These secondary written authorities are called called the “hadith,” or “sayings,” attributed to the prophet Muhammad, some of which were reportedly heard
by his followers, then told to others who then told them to others who then wrote them down. But the various hadith differ widely among themselves, and
many are believed by some Muslims but not by others. Some of these hadith do appear to prohibit freedom of religion in some cases. But even the most authoritative
hadith is never strong enough to contradict the words of the Qur’an, all of which were reportedly given by Allah to the Prophet Muhammad and immediately
written down under his direct supervision. In Islam, the Qur’an comes directly from Allah and is infallible. The hadith come from man and are subject to
error. The hadith are sometimes useful in order to clarify the words in the Qur’an, but hadith are never strong enough to contradict the clear words of
the Qur’an.

If the government of Afghanistan merely yields to Western pressure in this one case, that doesn’t solve anything. The problem will come back again in future
cases. And if they make up some phony excuse for not having the trial, like “mental incompetence,” that is even worse. The fact is that Abdul Rahman is
perfectly competent to stand trial, but the case against him is not justified under true Islamic law.

PROPOSAL FOR SOLUTION, WITH BENEFIT FOR ALL

I propose that a high-level team of Islamic scholars study this case, and defend Rahman, and win the legal victory they deserve: “Case dismissed.” This
would establish the Islamic legal precedent, on the international level, that true Islam requires freedom of religion. This might very well be as important
a case for the entire world today as Brown v Board of Education was for the United States in 1956. And it could be the foundation of true Christian-Muslim
understanding and peaceful co-existence, as described below.

THE PROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS

The world is well aware that a fundamental tension has long existed between Islam and Christianity, Muslims and Christians. The underlying theological reason
for this tension is best understood by comparing two verses from Scripture: Sura (chapter) 112 from the Qur’an (Islam’s highest written authority) and
John 3:16 from the Bible (Christianity’s highest written authority.) Sura 112 is considered by many Muslims to be the most important single statement in
Islam, and John 3:16 is considered by many Christians to be the most important single statement in Christianity.

The fundamental conflict is that the Qur’an says Allah (God) did not father any children in any way, and that no one is like Him; but the Bible says that
Jesus is God’s Son and that anyone who believes in Jesus will have eternal life. Islam accepts Jesus, but only as one of the many prophets who came before
Muhammed, not as the only-begotten Son of God.

[112.1] Say: He, Allah, is One.
[112.2] Allah is He on Whom all depend.
[112.3] He begets not, nor is He begotten.
[112.4] And none is like Him.

Qur’an 112:1-4
(Shakir Translation)

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but
have eternal life.

Bible: John 3:16
(Revised Standard Version)

The Qur’an and Bible I am using here are the ones available online from the University Of Michigan by following THIS LINK =>
www.loveallpeople.org/koranbibleonline.html
and elsewhere.

The Revised Standard translation of the Bible (RSV) and the M. H. Shakir translation of the Qur’an are both widely available and widely accepted. If you
want to consult other translations, you can easily do so by searching for “Bible online” and “Qur’an online” at Google.com.

To a Muslim, it is blasphemy to say that Jesus is the Son of God. To a Christian, it is blasphemy to say that Jesus is not the Son of God. This is the fundamental
conflict between Islam and Christianity, and it cannot be papered over with smiles and pleasant words.

Nevertheless, it is quite possible for both religions to live side-by-side in peaceful, even brotherly, co-existence. In fact, the Qur’an specifically instructs
Muslims to accept and tolerate Christians, and the Bible instructs Christians to live at peace with all people, as we will show below.

The Way Christians Should Act Toward Muslims

The Bible instructs Christians to live at peace with all people, as much as it is possible to do so. Further, Christians are instructed not to seek revenge
for personal offenses, but to leave vengeance to God.

If possible, so far as it depends upon you,
live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge
yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God;
for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,
says the Lord.”

Bible: Romans 12:18-19
(Revised Standard Version)

The Way Muslims Should Act Toward Christians

The Qur’an instructs Muslims to give Christians nothing to fear and not to cause Christians to grieve. Further, the Qur’an instructs Muslims that there
should be no compulsion in religion. Therefore Christians, all of whom believe in Allah (God), believe in the Last day (Judgment Day) and try to do good,
should be allowed to live in peace, even if they do not convert to Islam.

[2.62] Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good,
they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

[2.256] There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the
Shaitan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

Qur’an 2.62 and 2.256
(Shakir Translation)

Blessings to you. And may God help us all.
Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director – LoveAllPeople.org

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I just checked my control panel in order to moderate a few comments, and looked at the stats for my spam filter.
It’s blocked 1999 spam comments.
Yes, that’s one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine.
I really hope we can get some effective spam legislation on the books soon.
This is ridiculous.
Mr. Frodo mentioned that I haven’t given him the address for this site again yesterday, and I’m seriously debating whether or not I should do so.
On the pro side, I’m posting under an alius, and all names have been changed, and there’s also a disclaimer, so I think I’d be able to reasonably expect not to get fired.
Still, I’m not quite sure I trust him not to PMS one day, and use it against me.
I haven’t had very many nice things to say about him, and I still believe that I had good reason not to be nice.
I’m not sure I have good reason to be nice even at this point, despite his seeming interest in my situation.
I also have to admit that his recent friendliness is somewhat off-putting.
I’m not sure how to take it.
I don’t know if he’s really interested, and really intent on doing something, or if he’s just trying to keep me off his back.
What do you all think?
What would you all do if you were in my situation?
On a less serious note, Liza Manelli’s on Larry King Live.
That woman’s so annoying.
Scratch that, she was on Larry King.
It’s now over.
But anyway, I don’t see how anyone can stand her in anything but very small doses.
She spent part of the time talking about how hard it is for famous people, and how everybody picked on Michael Jackson even when he didn’t deserve it.
I just don’t feel sorry for people like that.
I’m not saying that they don’t have their problems, but they’ve also got a lot more going for them than people like those of us who make up the bottom rungs of society, or at least the rungs lower than she is.
I’m getting tired, so I’m going to end this.
I have to get up and teach the next session of the Judaism class at the local Unitarian Universalist Church.
I’ve neglected to blog about that, so I’ll probably do that tomorrow morning.
Toodles.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Tip: Don’t try to send attachments via Earthlink webmail if you’re using Jaws for Windows.
The browse button doesn’t work, and when you send the message, you don’t get anything telling you you didn’t attach a file.
Nice.
Yaho just locks up.
At least you can back out of the Earthlink webmail without having to reset the whole system.
I just got out of the meeting with the blind employee.
Mr. Frodo was wright.
He really is genuine and honest.
And Mr. Frodo also sent out the emails and IMs he said he was going to, and seems to be on the ball for right now.
If he keeps it up, I might just have to say something nice about him.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I swear, on a stack of Bibles, I’m not making this up.
Apparently, some enterprising souls have decided to make the all-out accommodation to laziness: A really huge toilet.
I could rant about the idiocy involved here, but I think David does a much better job than I could.
I do have a question though.
What happens if a really skinny person visits someone who has one of these installed, and has to visit the “smallest room”?
Or better yet, what if Joy visits.
Does she get a harness to make sure she doesn’t fall in?
For those reading this who don’t know who Joy is, suffice it to say she’s about four foot 6, and really tiny.
So first of all, she’d probably have to have a ladder to get to the seat.
Then, she’d have to have a seatbelt or something to keep her in place.
Ponder that while you’re having your morning coffee.