Robert Mugabe’s Birthday Menu

From the Times Online:

It is the 85th birthday of President Mugabe this month and the zealots of his Zanu (PF) party are determined that it should be an occasion that their great leader will never forget.

In recent days they have been out soliciting “donations” from corporate Zimbabwe and have drawn up a wish list that is scarcely credible in a land where seven million citizens survive on international food aid, 94 per cent are jobless and cholera rampages through a population debilitated by hunger.

The list includes 2,000 bottles of champagne (Moët & Chandon or ’61 Bollinger preferred); 8,000 lobsters; 100kg of prawns; 4,000 portions of caviar; 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates; 3,000 ducks; and much else besides. A postscript adds: “No mealie meal” — the ground corn staple on which the vast majority of Zimbabweans survived until the country’s collapse rendered even that a luxury.

Those who prefer to give in cash, not kind, are invited to send “donations” of between $45,000 and $55,000 to a US dollar bank account in the name of the 21st February Movement, a youth organisation controlled by Zanu (PF) and named after the date of the President’s birthday.

Question of the Day

What do you pay for online?

I pay for my domain name and of course a host for this blog. But blog costs aside I think the only thing I really pay for online are purchases from Amazon. Although, when I went to Vegas I paid for show tickets and hotel reservations online and airline tickets. Actually, whenever I buy tickets for a show just about anywhere I usually by them from a website. (Not counting movies)

There are probably more things but those are the first few to pop in my head. And you?

The Top 30 Atheist/Agnostic/Skeptic Blogs

Daniel from Unreasonable Faith did a ranking of his favorite Atheist/Skeptic blogs. Here are the top 5:

The Top 5

1. Pharyngula
2. Friendly Atheist
3. Cynical-C
4. Debunking Christianity
5. Atheist Media Blog

Woohoo! We’re ranked at #3 just below that disgustingly friendly Friendly Atheist.

Thanks to Daniel for giving us such a high ranking amongst so many intelligent and illustrious blogs. Now to figure out a way to take Hemant down a peg.

How To Trick God

A rabbi answers a question:

Is it permissible to pay someone for services rendered on Shabbat?

You cannot pay someone for services rendered on Shabbat. However, you can pay for something that was done before or after the Shabbat and “included” in the fee is the work that was done on Shabbat.

In other words, when we pay a chazan, we tell him that we are actually paying him for the preparation and rehearsal which he did before Shabbat.

When we pay a Chazan, we tell him that we are paying him for the preparation and rehearsal which he did before Shabbat

When paying a babysitter after the Shabbat (because on Shabbat we anyways are not allowed to handle money), you should ask him or her to wash a dish for you, and then you are paying for that service which is done after Shabbat – and you have every right to pay $25 for a washed dish!

This rule applies even if the employee isn’t Jewish.

Pretty tricky rabbi. I wonder what the logic is exactly behind the thinking that god is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-dumb-as-shit-that-you-can-pull-fast-ones-on-him-without-him-being-the-wiser. Just give up the superstition rabbi and then you can pay for your babysitter whenever you like. And you won’t even be overcharged for washing a dish.

(via J-Walk)

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

There is no saying more degrading than this: It is better to be the tail of a lion than the head of a dog. It is a responsibility to think and act for yourself. Most people hate responsibility; therefore they join something and become the tail of some lion. They say, My party can act for me — my church can do my thinking. It is enough for me to pay taxes and obey the lion to which I belong, without troubling myself about the right, the wrong, or the why or the wherefore of anything whatever. These people are respectable. They hate reformers, and dislike exceedingly to have their minds disturbed. They regard convictions as very disagreeable things to have. They love forms and enjoy beyond everything else, telling what a splendid tail their lion has and what a troublesome dog their neighbor is. Besides this natural inclination to avoid personal responsibility, is and always has been, the fact that every religionist has warned men against the presumption and wickedness of thinking for themselves. Reason has been denounced by all Christendom as the only unsafe guide. The church has left nothing undone to prevent man following the logic of his brain. The plainest facts have been covered with the mantle of mystery. The grossest absurdities have been declared to be self- evident facts. The order of nature has been as it were, reversed, that the hypocritical few might govern the honest many. The man who stood by the conclusion of his reason was denounced as a scorner and hater of God and his holy church. From the organization of the first church until this moment, to think your own thoughts has been inconsistent with membership. Every member has borne the marks of collar and chain, and whip. No man ever seriously attempted to reform a church without being cast out and hunted down by the hounds of hypocrisy. The highest crime against a creed is to change it. Reformation is treason.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Individuality” (1873)