June 22, 2024

The 10 Commandments in schools, by Hal Brown, MSW

Above is a tweet from someone who no longer has an account on X.

Here's the governor of Louisiana justifying manadating the display of the 10 Commandments in his state's schools:

Here are a few of the relpies to Aaron Rupar's tweets:

Jeff Landry is casting himself as God's messenger, the Judeo-Christain God of course (no doubt not wanting to emphasize the "Judeo" part of this too much.

It's possible that Landry thought that Satan wrote the First Amendment to keep God out of the classroom:

AI generated image with hotpot.ai

Wikipedia has a long list of alternatives to the 10 Commandments here.

Geroge Carlin's is personal and snarky:

In his twelfth HBO stand-up comedy special Complaints and Grievances, Carlin reduces the Ten Commandments to three:[6]

  1. Thou shalt always be honest and faithful, especially to the provider of thy nookie.
  2. Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone – unless, of course, they pray to a different invisible man from the one you pray to.
  3. Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.

The rest of them are serious. Here are some examples:

Richard Dawkins is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. These are the alternative to the Ten Commandments written by blogger Adam Lee,[9] [10] cited by Dawkins in his book The God Delusion:[11]

  1. Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
  2. In all things, strive to cause no harm.
  3. Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.
  4. Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
  5. Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.
  6. Always seek to be learning something new.
  7. Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
  8. Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
  9. Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
  10. Question everything.

Dawkins uses these proposed commandments to make a larger point that "it is the sort of list that any ordinary, decent person today would come up with". He then adds four more of his own devising:

  • Enjoy your own sex life (so long as it damages nobody else) and leave others to enjoy theirs in private whatever their inclinations, which are none of your business.
  • Do not discriminate or oppress on the basis of sex, race or (as far as possible) species.
  • Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you.
  • Value the future on a timescale longer than your own.

Christopher Hitchens was an English American author, columnist, essayist, orator, religious and literary critic, social critic, and journalist. 

His new Ten Commandments are:[12][13]

  1. Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or their color.
  2. Do not ever even think of using people as private property, or as owned, or as slaves.
  3. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
  4. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
  5. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature — why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them?
  6. Be aware that you, too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try and think and act accordingly.
  7. Do not imagine that you can escape judgement if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife.
  8. Turn off that cell phone — you can have no idea how unimportant your call is to us.
  9. Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions. And terrible sexual repressions.
  10. Be willing to renounce any god or any faith if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above.
  • In short: Don't swallow your moral code in tablet form.

The Atheists' New Ten Commandments (2015)

These are the ten winning beliefs of the Rethink Prize, a crowdsourcing competition to rethink the Ten Commandments. The contest drew more than 2,800 submissions from 18 countries and 27 U.S. states. Winners were selected by a panel of judges.[16][17]

  1. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
  2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
  3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
  4. Every person has the right to control of their body.
  5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
  6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
  7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.
  8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
  9. There is no one right way to live.
  10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.

My partner, who is a yogi, suggested I add  these, the Yamas and Niyamas which are the 10 ethical codes of yoga.

The 5 Yamas followed by the 5 Niyamas are:

  1. Kindness
  2. Truthfulness
  3. Non-stealing
  4. Self-restraint
  5. Non-coveting
  6. Purity (or cleanliness)
  7. Contentment
  8. Austerity
  9. Self-study
  10. Surrender to a higher power

My own code would leave God or any divinity out and would add instead that one should not assume they always know all the answers. I don't think one has to surrender to a high power to lead an ethical and moral life. They should be able to take criticism and look unflinchingly at their own biases.

Instead of this attempt to indoctrinate students and, I suspect to, gain attention for himself, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry could have held a statewide contest for students to devise their own list of dos and don'ts for moral and ethical behavior.

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

Read on the WordPress Stressline.org


Read on the Google Blogger platform HalBrown.org This version has a Disquis comment section which makes it easy to post links and images.

June 21, 2024

If The Daily Beast really was Satan's website as CPAC boss Matt Schlapp and his wife claimed I would defintely subscribe, by Hal Brown, MSW


I read this article in RawStory: Matt Schlapp taunts reporter over layoffs at his publication -- and it backfires instantly.

The part that got my attention follows:

Schlapp and his wife, Mercedes Schlapp, have been on a crusade against The Daily Beast ever since it first broke news that a former staffer for failed GOP candidate Herschel Walker's campaign accused him of grabbing his crotch.

"The Daily Beast is Satan’s publication to persecute Christians and their families," Mercedes Schlapp declared at one point.

RawStory covered this in August of 2023: 'Satan's publication': Matt and Mercedes Schlapp flip out at The Daily Beast after more allegations emerge.


Conservative power couple Matt and Mercedes Schlapp on Wednesday lashed out at The Daily Beast a day after the publication claimed that he offered to settle a lawsuit alleging that he committed sexual battery, despite the fact that he has flatly denied all such allegations.

"The Daily Beast is Satan’s publication to persecute Christians and their families," complained Mercedes Schlapp on Twitter.

Matt Schlapp himself then chimed in and responded, "Soon to start a weekend edition: the Saturday Satan."

Here's some background:

In addition to its recent scoop on Schlapp's purported offer to settle a sexual battery lawsuit, The Daily Beast also first broke the news that Carlton Huffman, a staffer for failed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker's campaign had accused the American Conservative Union chief of grabbing his crotch in the fall of 2022.

Huffman is also not the only person lobbing such allegations against the 55-year-old Schlapp, as the Washington Post reported over the weekend that other sexual misconduct allegations have been leveled against him by two other men who are significantly younger than he is.

"In one incident, a staffer said Schlapp attempted to kiss him while drinking late after a work function in 2017," the Post reported. "In another incident, Schlapp allegedly made unwanted physical advances on someone else’s employee during a CPAC business trip in Palm Beach, Fla., in early 2022."

I have so many subscriptions (including, of course RawStory+) that I've been reluctant to subscribe to Daily Beast (and I appreciate RS summarizing their subscriber only articles)... this could tempt me to subscribe.

This is the original tweet from Mrs. Schlapp:

More replies to her tweet:

If Satan did have a website The Daily Beast would be the perfect name for it. Assuming, as many Evangelical Christian's believe, Satan (aka "The Beast") did exist it I wouldn't miss reading his Magnificant Malevolence's morning musings

Chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation states, “Let the one with understanding reckon the meaning of the number of the Beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.”

He might want to change the font in the logo:

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

Read on the WordPress Stressline.org


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June 20, 2024

There are lot more important issues today to write about than anything about Maria Bartiromo, but I couldn't resist her latest loaf lunacy, by Hal Brown, MSW

In early June Maria Bartiromo pushed a debunked theory about juror's 'cousin' in Trump trial and yesterday she claimed that a loaf of bread costs $13 under President Biden (read story). 


In a Thursday Fox News segment about the economy, host Sandra Smith noted that officials in Biden's White House had pointed to improving economic conditions.

"So we've seen this even though the White House keeps touting, you know, economic improvement in economic policies that are working for Americans, the polls still show people are not happy," Smith said.

"You're right," Bartiromo agreed. "And you know why, Sandra? I think it's because the kitchen table issue of everything's too expensive, and that's really what keeps getting in the way."

"In the last few years, real wages have gone down, and inflation has gone up. We're talking about up 20% or so on Joe Biden's watch," she continued. "As someone told me the other day, they spent $13 on a loaf of bread; I thought, what?"

My favorite bread is Jewish seeded rye bread. I have fond memories of my mother taking my sister and I to a local bakery where she'd buy two loaves of fresh-from-the-oven sliced rye bread. Just the aroma of the freshly baked bread had our mouths watering by the time we got to the car. The crust was crisp and the inside melted in your mouth. By the time we got home my sister and I would have almost finished eating one of the loaves. 

You can buy a loaf of gourmet rye bread for $13 or more. I have been tempted to treat myself to the breads shown below just to see if they are worth the price.

As anyone who actually shops knows, a loaf of bread costs between $1.50 and five or six dollars for gourmet breads. 

Still, it is very possible someone did tell Bartiromo that they'd bought a $13 loaf of bread though it is quite possible that they weren't lamenting the high price of groceries. If I decided to spring for a $13 loaf of rye bread I would be telling my friends about it and letting them know if I thought it was worth the price.

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

Read on the WordPress Stressline.org


Read on the Google Blogger platform HalBrown.org This version has a Disquis comment section which makes it easy to post links and images.

June 19, 2024

A Mexican died of the bird flu. Let's hope nobody dies here because if it happens you know what Trump will call it. By Hal Brown, MSW


The World Health Organization reported earlier this month that the 59-year-old man in Mexico, who had comorbidities and died from the virus in late April, had no known contact with poultry or other animals. (Article)

Trump infamously called Covid-19 the China virus and China wasn't a county he was demonizing for allowing migrants to trek across their country to our border and anti-Asian prejudice wasnt prevalent among his MAGA cult.

His doing this caused immediate backlash but this didn't deter him from continuing to use the term.

Excerpt from above:

Casting the virus “foreign” was not a simple rhetorical flourish. According to the database website Factbase, the president used the expression “Chinese virus” more than 20 times between March 16 and March 30. The deliberateness of the wording was made clear when a photographer captured the script of his speech wherein Trump had crossed out the word “Corona” and replaced it with “Chinese.”

Trump also called Covid-19 the Wuhan virus. I suspect he preferred to call it the China virus because he thought his base wouldn't know that Wuhan was in China.

Bird, or avian, flu probably won't make it to the United States where if will infect a significant number of people, if it infects any, at least not prior to the election. If it does and infects or worse yet, kills, one or more Americans, I have no doubt that Trump will call it the Mexican virus. Politically it would benefit him with his MAGA base if the first person infected with it was White.

While Mexican nationals aren't the only undocumented people trying to enter the country illegally across the border Trump knows that his MAGA base doesn't draw a distinction between Latinos whether they come from Mexico or from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and other Central American countries. 

I wrote in a similar vein yesterday (here) hoping that an undocumented person wouldn't commit a horrible crime lest Trump make them into his version of Willie Horton. That could have cost Michael Dukakis the election. (read article)

One could speculate that if Horton had looked like any of these serial killers the GOP using this against Dukakis would have been nearly as effective:

Here's a new story about a daring and heroic woman who caught a rape suspect who was a 25-year-old unauthorized Ecuadorian immigrant. I hope that Trump doesn't take a story like this, use the woman who caught him in his rallies, and turn the perp into another Willy Horton.

Trump and his minions are already trying to do this. Consider: 'Vile smears': Trump's MAGA allies fact-checked for tying Biden policy to brutal murders.


Trump and his allies, though, responded by trying to tie Biden's policy to brutal rapes and murders allegedly committed by migrants — including the killing of a young woman in Maryland. The former president and sympathetic presenters doubled down on these attacks at a garbled rally in Racine, Wisconsin on Monday evening.

But these "truly vile smears" are nonsense, wrote Sargent.

"There's a key tell in the Fox/MAGA attacks on Biden's policy: They all try to change the subject back to *the border.* Yet this policy is all about immigrants who have lived here for a decade or more," wrote Sargent. "This is ugly stuff. Fox/MAGA personalities are linking Biden's policy to a horrific murder. RNC says the killing was done by a 'BIDEN ILLEGAL.' Fox is juxtaposing the new policy with footage of hordes swarming the border and even migrant mug shots."


The U.S. has two vaccines ready should the strain of bird flu circulating in dairy cows begin spreading easily to people, federal health officials said Wednesday. They could begin shipping doses widely within weeks, if needed.

So far, there’s no evidence that H5N1 is spreading person-to-person, although one dairy worker in Texas who worked closely with infected cattle had a mild infection and developed conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, in April. Read more here.

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

Read on the WordPress Stressline.orgor….Read on the Google Blogger platform HalBrown.org This version has a Disquis comment section which makes it easy to post links and images.

June 18, 2024

Compassion doesn't count ballots: Biden does the moral thing on immigration and it will hurt him with many voters. All Trump needs now is his own Willie Horton. by Hal Brown, MSW

In the news today a top story (read article) is that President Biden has once again demonstrated that he has a heart and good sense when it comes to the plight of immigrants who are already living in the United States.

This is Trump's not unexpected reaction:

Of. course what would anyone expect from the president who suggested shooting migrants in the legs and putting alligators in the Rio Grande? There's also this reaction from Stephen Miller, the architect of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" family separation policy that ripped minor infants and children not only from their parents but even separated them from their own siblings, was outraged.

Polls tell us what we already know:

More than half of Hispanic voters support mass deportation. These are people who are fortunate enough to be citizens and half of them have no compassion for other Hispanics who want what they already have. While 30% of them aren't religious 70% are, and many of them are Catholic (Pew Research article). So much for following the teachings of Jesus.

Hispanic or not, religious or not, these people want to have armed agents round 'em up, line 'em up, march 'em to a bus, and fly 'em outta here. 

It is unfortunate that MSNBC decided to show a man in handcuffs with a tatoo on his wrist. For all anybody knows this is a gang tatoo. Way to go liberal MSNBC, do the MAGA job for us.

They could have used a photo like this:

I am sure that Trump and his minions are hoping to find their own version of Willie Horton in an undocumented (read that as illegal) immigrant who commits a horrendous crime. Read article.

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

Read on the WordPress Stressline.org


Read on the Google Blogger platform HalBrown.org This version has a Disquis comment section which makes it easy to post links and images.

June 17, 2024

Trump wants SCOTUS immunity and for Mike Johnson to overturn the verdict in what we should call the Stormy Daniels Super Mario Kart Mushroom trial, by Hal Brown, MSW


Trump wants the NYC trial to just go away.... as if the Supreme Court or the US House of Representatives can zap it out of the memories of those who paid attention to it.

I wonder if Trump ever saw the article shown above from Business Insider. I hope he did. After all the "star" of "The Apprentice" believes that he's the consumate businessman. Here's an excerpt fro the article which goes on into more graphic detail:

The latest twist in the ongoing he said/she said between President Trump and Stephanie Clifford — aka "Stormy Daniels," the pornographic film actress who allegedly had an affair with Trump years ago — involves a Super Mario side character.

Is nothing sacred? (The answer is no, nothing is sacred.)

I don't think wearing Mario Cart Mushroom pins during the trial ever became a "thing" but I wish it had. They are available on ebay and elsewhere. For non-gamers, the character's name is Toad.

Less visble than the red ties his loony legion wore to show their support when they attended his trial they would certainly have been noted by the press if people had worn to the trial.

I have no doubt that Trump would have been proud of his - whatever it was - with Stormy Daniels had she not then published her book, Full Disclosure, which had decidely unflattering descriptions of his "apparatus" and manly in his mind man prowess and then went over the incident in great detail when she testified in the trial.

It matters not that this - thing he did - was not what he was convicted of doing. If this was known as the "Michael Cohen cooking the books" or the "hush money" trial it wouldn't have bothered him. The press isn't calling it the "Stormy Daniels trial" but this is what it was in the mind of the public, and in Trump's mind as well. The trial had two stars, Trump and Daniels, and Michael Cohen had a supprting role.

No doubt Trump is concerned about the latest polls: New Polling Shows the Real Fallout From the Trump Conviction....but imagine the personal humiliation if he ends up losing the election because of what happened because he didn't resist the urge to real-life play the already famous Nintendo game with Stormy Daniels.

Here's a clip of Mario chasing Toad from the Super Mario movie. You'll notice that in the final scene Mario has fallen down exhaustedf.

He may think that by some miracle the verdict is negated it will make it as if the trial never happened and Stormy Daniel's didn't do the mocking of his manly magnificance. The oposite would happen. In the event that the verdict was overturned either by the Supreme Court or the US House he would still be the president who was convicted and then unconvicted for what began with a perfectly legal "thing" he did with someone who happened to only be famous in an anciliary segment of the entertainment business. Nothing against Stormy Daniels who is an exceptional woman, but she isn't a Marilyn Monroe who had a real affair with a president. She is like Monroe, who was raised in 12 foster homes and married at the age of 16, in that she also had a tough childhood and made something of herself. This is from the Slate review of her book:

Raised in squalor by a depressed, narcissistic, neglectful mother (her father never showed much interest in her and deserted the family when she was 5), she recalls overhearing adults write her off as “white trash” during her childhood in Baton Rouge. She resolved to prove them wrong by earning straight A’s and becoming the editor of her high school newspaper.

Marilyn Monroe's affair with Kennedy had no effect on his presidency. Trump's "thing" with Stormy may have a real effect on his reelection.

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

Read on the WordPress Stressline.org


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June 16, 2024

How can smart CEOs be surprised at Trump showing signs of dementia? By Hal Brown, MSW

Was the Google machine sending me a message when I searched Trump dementia this morning? I modified the Google illustration which is in the lower right above.

After reading the following in How is it possible Trump’s habitual incoherence caught top CEOs by surprise? on RawStory….

Many of them, Sorkin said, had been “predisposed to former President Trump” but walked away from the meeting “a bit disheartened, a bit questioning … I don’t want to say of his mental fitness, but questioning of just how meandering, how, in some cases, one said to me, ‘he could not keep a thought straight. He would go in one direction, then he would go in another direction, and there wasn’t necessarily a through-line to the way he spoke or what he was talking about.’”

…. and this:

In other words, they appeared to have been surprised by what I have been calling Trump’s habitual incoherence, which is to say, incoherence that’s become so habitual that it characterizes virtually everything he says in every public setting, even sober settings, such as his criminal trial in Manhattan or, in this case, a meeting with America’s top CEOs.

The question is, or should be: how could these top CEOs have been so surprised? I don’t expect very obscenely rich men like them to read the Editorial Board, but I do expect them to be thoroughly informed about politics, given that politics is central to their very obscene riches.

… I put this comment on the article:

How is it possible that these no doubt intelligent and supposedly well-informed CEOs hadn’t been keeping up on the electric boat shark cray-cray meanderings of the man who aspires to be president? Did they think this was an act? Are they so ill informed about the symptoms of early dementia that they didn’t think to do some research on a search engine like Google?

All they had to do was look it up with a two word search here.

As a wrote yesterday (here) I am withholding my final assessment as to whether I am 100% sure he has dementia until I see how he handles the debate on June27th.

I am not sure whether the new debate format will be more diagnostic of possible dementia than the format used previously where Trump shouted so much Biden told him to “will you shut up, man” to cut him off. Watch the video here.

I suggest watching this short clip. I only see signs of Trump’s aggressive malignant narcissism here and not of early dementia. An indiviudal can have no signs of dementia one year and begin to show very early barely noticable signs the next year. Several years later the symptoms may become more apparent before a steeper decline which is difficult to deny occurs. I have seen this about a dozen times with residents in the senior community where I live.

The upcoming debate will occur in the evening when people with dementia often are sundowning. If either Trump or Biden have cogntive pathology it will be more likely to be apparent in the evening.

There’s a two minute time limit to answer moderator questions before the microphone is shut off, and a minute to make a response. Each candidate will have to respond succinctly and coherently without going off on tangents or hurling gratuitious insults to convince swing voters that they can handle the responsbilities of being president.

I know what I will be doing at 6PM on June 27th when the debate will be aired on the west coast. I will be watching the debate and hoping to see Trump demonstrate undeniable dementia so blatantly that only brain-dead cultists can say that the man who can’t even remember the last name of the doctor who gave him the dementia test is stable enough to be president (read article).

This just went on HUFFPOST as their lead article.

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

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Amazing! Trump just got some bigots pissed off. By Hal Brown, MSW

  I had to read the RawStory article shown above three times to figure out what happened. Trump was showing his supposed support for law enf...