October 12, 2005 


If you or I killed a bunch of people because the voice of God told us to do it, we would either be locked up in the psych ward or have our brains fried to a crisp by the government. So how come George Bush can get away with it? If you missed the news two years ago when we learned that Bush believes that he is taking orders directly from God, a new BBC special has brought it back into the news thanks to interviews with the Palestinian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian Foreign Minister, recalls their conversation in June of 2003: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me: "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'" (BBC)


And if that isn't freaky enough, check out this bizarre little nugget of information from George's brother Jeb, governor of Florida, who is equally lost in the fundamentalist quagmire of weird religious beliefs. At a ceremony naming a new house speaker in the Florida legislature, Gov. Bush decided to tell the gathered crowd about a mystical warrior that helps the Bush family carry out their plans. "Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society ... I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down." According to a Washington Post article written way back in 1989, George Bush Sr. was also fond of Chang, apparently enjoying playing mind games against his tennis opponents by threatening to "unleash Chang." The phrase has evolved to the point where the Bush men now simply mention the threat of unleashing Chang whenever they want someone to stop disagreeing with them. (UnknownNews.org)


Speaking of weird mystical beliefs, a study published in the Journal of Religion and Society has concluded that nations with a widespread religious belief are actually worse off than nations that don't bother worshipping a creator. The study compared countries with higher rates of belief in God against more secular nations and found that the more religiously inclined nations have higher rates of murder, abortion, suicide, sexual diseases and teen pregnancies. The study mostly picked on America, which boasts an extremely high percentage of people who claim to believe in God, but is also home to the highest rates of all those ills that religion is supposed to curb. "The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so," concluded Gregory Paul, the author of the study. On the other hand, the secular nations of France, Japan and the Scandinavian countries have had the most success reducing murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion without any need for traditional religious rules of morality. (The Times UK)


So what if we can't solve the problems of world hunger, disease and war ... at least beer-loving German scientists are hard at work trying to make the world a better place. First, a German company announced last week that it has perfected the first beer that contains a dose of nicotine in order to really give you a nice buzz. The "NicoShot" is a beer which not only boasts a 6.3 percent alcohol content, but also contains three milligrams of nicotine in each glass. In a rare bit of German humor, the beer maker actually claimed that the addition of nicotine is not designed to make the beer more addictive, but can actually help smokers quit by lessening their cravings for tobacco while they drink. "Over time, when you are more comfortable being a non-smoker, the use of nicotine beer can be reduced and then stopped," said a straight-faced spokesperson for the beer company. Meanwhile, a team of pub-crawling "scientists" from the University of Munich and Saarland University have created the world's first beer coaster that senses when your beer is nearly empty and automatically orders a refill from the bar. (New Scientist)

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