Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

Three men die and go to heaven. St. Peter tells them that in heaven, there is only one rule: don’t step on the ducks.

So they go off, but one of the men steps on a duck within five minutes. St. Peter flies over with a disgusting old hag and handcuffs them together.

The remaining two men continue. A few days later, the second man steps on a duck and the same happens for him.

Only one guy remains. He goes for several years avoiding the ducks until one day, St. Peter flies over and handcuffs him to an incredibly beautiful woman.

He asks her, “What did I do to deserve this?” The woman said, “I don’t know what you did, but I stepped on a duck!”

Applied Cryptography

This is a continuation of a previous post.

I subscribe to Scientific American, have for maybe 50 years. I saved this issue:

ScientificAmericanAugust1979Small

Yes, it’s all about corals. No, there’s an additional item:

Page 146

Page 146

Martin Hellman and Whitfield Diffie published a paper “New Directions in Cryptography” in IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (November 1976).

Two kinds of contemporary developments in cryptography are examined. Widening applications of teleprocessing have given rise to a need for new types of cryptographic systems, which minimize the need for secure key distribution channels and supply the equivalent of a written signature. This paper suggests ways to solve these currently open problems. It also discusses how the theories of communication and computation are beginning to provide the tools to solve cryptographic problems of long standing.

Today people may find this curious, but 40 years ago the prospect of e-mail was just looming on the horizon. For those not old enough to remember, what we had for e-mail in olden days was called the telegraph. If you wanted to send somebody a message you went to Western Union and gave them all the text, and they sent your message by wire. Or by radio link. Then somebody printed out the message on the other end, and a guy on a bicycle delivered it to your door. I have received one or more of those.

The hot new concept of e-mail was that a person could sit at his own computer at home or else at his boss’s computer at work, compose a message, enter the recipient’s e-mail address, and hit the send button. Not many people were doing that 38 years ago.

But suppose you want to keep your e-mail contents private. No problem. You just run your encryption program against your e-mail text, and you send the encrypted text. The recipient on the other end will run the proper decrypting program against the message to extract the clear text. If he has the proper cypher key. You have to give him the key.

Suppose giving your recipient the key were not a problem. Now you want to send e-mail to hundreds of people. You have to give each one of them the same cypher key. Even if there were a secure way of doing this, things would begin to get a little shaky. It only takes one loose cannon (just ask Edward Snowden) among your long list of recipients, and your plan for secure messaging is blown.

This is what Diffie and Hellman sought to fix. It works like this:

You have two processes for handling messages. One encrypts messages, and the other decrypts messages. Call the two processes E and D for encrypt and decrypt. Now have all participants come up with their own pair of E and D (no two alike supposedly). Everybody publishes for all the world to see his E. Now we have all these published encryption processes which we will call E1, E2, E3, etc. Everybody keeps his D to himself, a secret. How are you going to use this system?

No problem. If you want to send a message to number 2, you get yourself a copy of E2 and encrypt the message. Then you send the encrypted message to 2, who has no problem extracting the clear text, because he has the only copy of D2. This process is described using the following notation:

D2(E2(m)) = m

In this notation m is the clear text message. The parenthesis mean “apply the operator (D or E) to whatever is inside the parenthesis.

What Diffie and Hellman did not do in their 1976 paper was to describe a way to implement this. In 1978 Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamia and Len Adelman (RSA) published  “A Method for Obtaining Digital Signatures and Public-Key Cryptosystsms.” They foolishly offered to send a copy of their paper to readers who requested one. I did not have e-mail at the time, but postal mail worked just fine:

PublicKey1977

An essential requirement of a public key system is that your everyday Edward Snowden should not be able to take E and derive D from it. The method described by RSA involves using pairs of very large prime numbers. Call a pair of these numbers p and q. Then

p x q = n.

The number n is not prime. It has only two factors, p and q. Now suppose each of p and q are 100 decimal digits long (or more). Then the length of n is 200 (or more). The RSA method uses p and q (and n) to produce e and d. Read the RSA paper, page 6. This involves some nice math, which I will not elaborate on here.

A user R can publish n and e, keeping d (and p and q) private. Somebody wanting to send R a message uses n and e to encrypt the message. R uses n and d to decrypt the message. Knowing n it is still very difficult to compute d, even if you know e. Computing d is tantamount to factoring n (into p and q). It is well known that the factoring problem is hard. Factoring n is only a bit less difficult than doing a search for p (or q), but it is not easy enough to make it feasible with present day computational facilities.

Practical cryptographic systems use keys many (>> 100) digits long and are considered to be secure. The RSA public key system is proposed as a method for securely distributing keys to users in the field. As of this writing the Wikipedia entry outlines some approaches to attacking the RSA public key system:

  • When encrypting with low encryption exponents (e.g., e = 3) and small values of the m, (i.e., m < n1/e) the result of me is strictly less than the modulus n. In this case, ciphertexts can be easily decrypted by taking the eth root of the ciphertext over the integers.
  • If the same clear text message is sent to e or more recipients in an encrypted way, and the receivers share the same exponent e, but different pq, and therefore n, then it is easy to decrypt the original clear text message via the Chinese remainder theoremJohan Håstad noticed that this attack is possible even if the cleartexts are not equal, but the attacker knows a linear relation between them. This attack was later improved by Don Coppersmith.

See also: Coppersmith’s Attack

  • Because RSA encryption is a deterministic encryption algorithm (i.e., has no random component) an attacker can successfully launch a chosen plaintext attack against the cryptosystem, by encrypting likely plaintexts under the public key and test if they are equal to the ciphertext. A cryptosystem is called semantically secure if an attacker cannot distinguish two encryptions from each other even if the attacker knows (or has chosen) the corresponding plaintexts. As described above, RSA without padding is not semantically secure.
  • RSA has the property that the product of two ciphertexts is equal to the encryption of the product of the respective plaintexts. That is m1em2e ≡ (m1m2)e (mod n). Because of this multiplicative property a chosen-ciphertext attack is possible. E.g., an attacker, who wants to know the decryption of a ciphertext c ≡ me (mod n) may ask the holder of the private key to decrypt an unsuspicious-looking ciphertext c′ ≡ cre (mod nfor some value r chosen by the attacker. Because of the multiplicative property c′ is the encryption of mr (mod n). Hence, if the attacker is successful with the attack, he will learn mr (mod n) from which he can derive the message m by multiplying mr with the modular inverse of r modulo n.

I have as yet not learned of any systematic way to attack the RSA key system. PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy, and it incorporates public key technology:

While originally used primarily for encrypting the contents of e-mail messages and attachments from a desktop client, PGP products have been diversified since 2002 into a set of encryption applications which can be managed by an optional central policy server. PGP encryption applications include e-mail and attachments, digital signatures, laptop full disk encryption, file and folder security, protection for IM sessions, batch file transfer encryption, and protection for files and folders stored on network servers and, more recently, encrypted and/or signed HTTP request/responses by means of a client side (Enigform) and a server side (mod openpgp) module. There is also a WordPress plugin available, called wp-enigform-authentication, that takes advantage of the session management features of Enigform with mod_openpgp.

I have my copy of the RSA paper, and thanks to the remarkable progress the Internet has made since 1979 you can now get your own copy through the link I supplied above. I have scanned Hellman’s Scientific American article to a PDF, and I will send a copy to everybody who asks for one. By e-mail.

Saving Private Ryan

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

It’s almost the 70th anniversary, and it’s also Memorial Day. This is a good time to post the movie review. I have the Blu-Ray disk, and I have viewed it a number of times. It’s difficult to do so without a deep feeling of remorse for those who sacrificed so much in those times.

The script is by Robert Rodat. Wikipedia describes his inspiration for the story:

Rodat conceived the film’s story in 1994 when he saw a monument dedicated to eight siblings killed in the American Civil War. Rodat imagined a similar sibling narrative set in World War II. The script was submitted to producer Mark Gordon, who handed it to Hanks. It was finally given to Spielberg, who decided to direct.

Saving Private Ryan received universal critical acclaim, winning several awards for film, cast, and crew as well as earning significant returns at the box office. The film grossed US$481.8 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing domestic film of the year. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated the film for eleven Academy Awards; Spielberg’s direction won him a second Academy Award for Best Director, with four more awards going to the film. Saving Private Ryan was released on home video in May 1999, earning $44 million from sales.

The basis of the plot is a hunt for Private James Ryan, of the 101st Airborne Division. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) is assigned to take a squad of troops into hostile territory a few days after the D-Day landing, locate Ryan, and extricate him from the battle. He is to be returned to the United States after the War Department learns his three brothers have just been listed as killed in action.

The opening scene is present time, as a survivor of the invasion visits graves in Normandy. The veteran recalls the day, and the following scene is one of the most dramatic in motion picture production history. It shows Captain Miller of the Second Rangers landing on Omaha Beach. Drama builds, and when the ramps of the landing craft are dropped the defending Germans open up with machine gun fire, killing many before they can exit the landing craft. What ensues is 27 minutes of pure hell for the men as they fight to gain the advantage over the defenders, all the while being cut down by gunfire and exploding shells.

Reality on Omaha Beach was much worse than depicted in the movie, and it lasted the better part of a day, rather than just a few minutes. One depiction is accurate, in agreement with accounts of many survivors of such a battle. Once American troops gain the upper hand they kill without remorse.

Grenades are thrown into a concrete bunker occupied by German troops. Then a man with a flame thrower hoses the inside, forcing many survivors to crawl, on fire, out the gun ports. American soldiers open fire on the Germans, but an American soldier yells for them to stop shooting. “Let ’em burn.”

Americans who have gained the tops of the defenders’ trench system now use the trenches against the Germans as they dash along the tops firing into the Germans until one noncom tells them to stop. They are wasting their ammunition.

Two Germans throw down their weapons, raise their hands and attempt to surrender. Two Americans shoot them at point blank range. One makes a joke. Vengeance for the morning’s slaughter is sweet.

One of those killed on the beach has “S. Ryan” stenciled on his back back. He is one of two brothers killed in the D-Day assault. Another brother has been killed in New Guinea. Their mother is about to receive three telegrams from the War Department on the same day. A character in the film, supposedly General George C. Marshall, orders the Army to find the remaining brother and bring him home.

The hunt for and rescue of James Ryan occupies the remainder of the film. It’s a small contingent of Army Rangers, and some in the group complain they are being sent on a fool’s errand rather than being allowed to do what they were trained to do. In the end Private Ryan is rescued, but most of the rescuers are killed in action against the enemy. This result would seem to validate the complaint about a misdirected mission, but the end actually validates it. Along the way a German sniper is killed, with a loss of one of the group. They encounter half dozen or more German soldiers inside a building and eradicate them all with no losses. They knock out a German machine gun position defending a radar station, with the loss of one. Finally they locate Ryan and assist in the defense of a vital bridge.

In the opening scene of the movie it has been Ryan at Captain Miller’s grave in Normandy.  Remembering such sacrifice is what Memorial Day is all about.

The movie is fiction, featuring people who never existed. However, the events are closely, not completely, historical. In the movie the General Marshall character notes the previous loss of five brothers in the war. The Sullivan brothers were killed when the Japanese destroyed the light cruiser USS Juneau:

The Sullivan brothers were five siblings who were all killed in action during or shortly after the sinking of the light cruiser USS Juneau (CL-52), the vessel on which they all served, around November 13, 1942, in World War II.

The Sullivans, natives of Waterloo, Iowa, were the sons of Thomas (1883-1965) and Alleta Sullivan (1895-1972).

[Some links removed]

Perhaps not coincidentally, Private Ryan and his fictional brothers are from Iowa. So much for fiction.

But wait! There really was a “Private Ryan.” Only his name was not Ryan. In Band of Brothers Stephen E. Ambrose tells the tale of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (101st Airborne Division):

A few minutes after Niland left, Muck came to Malarkey, “his impish Irish smile replaced by a frown.” Had Niland explained to Malarkey why he was going home? No. Muck told the story.

The previous day Niland had gone to the 82d to see his brother Bob, the one who had told Malarkey in London that if he wanted to be a hero, the Germans would see to it, fast, which had led Malarkey to conclude that Bob Niland had lost his nerve. Fritz Niland had just learned that his brother had been killed on D-Day. Bob’s platoon had been surrounded, and he manned a machine-gun, hitting the Germans with harassing fire until the platoon broke through the encirclement. He had used up several boxes of ammunition before getting killed.

Fritz Niland next hitched a ride to the 4th Infantry Division position, to see another brother who was a platoon leader. He too had been killed on D-Day, on Utah Beach. By the time Fritz returned to Easy Company, Father Francis Sampson was looking for him, to tell him that a third brother, a pilot in the China-Burma-India theater, had been killed that same week. Fritz was the sole surviving son, and the Army wanted to remove him from the combat zone as soon as possible.

Fritz’s mother had received all three telegrams from the War Department on the same day.

Father Sampson escorted Fritz to Utah Beach, where a plane flew him to London on the first leg of his return to the States.

[Band of Brothers, pages 102 – 103]

The idea that Robert Rodat got the idea for the story completely from a Civil War monument requires some skeptical analysis. The Ambrose book came out in 1992. It’s sure that Rodat knew the story by the time he started writing two years later, however, the story of Fritz Niland lacks entirely the drama for a Hollywood movie.

The Deep South Closet

The easy part of this blog is the field work. There’s almost none of it. I don’t use up a lot of shoe leather work putting out these posts. I mainly sidle up to other writers who have posted original stuff. And then I comment on what they have seen and heard. Of course, there have been exceptions. This is not one of them.

CNN Belief Blog editor Daniel Burke has done some foot work. Yesterday he posted this:

Atheists in the Bible Belt: A survival guide

Raleigh, North Carolina (CNN) – Back home, they erase their Internet histories, look over their shoulders before cracking jokes and nod politely when co-workers talk about church.

If you get the idea the most religious place on this planet outside of Saudi Arabia is the Old Confederacy, then you have a lot of company. Take a drive through the South. Here are a few scenes I copped from Google Images. Supposedly these are all from Mississippi or thereabouts.

MonkeyYou

 

burn-forever-rural-billboard-resized-2

 

religious_billboards

 

Here’s one featuring the Joseph Stalin, late Premier of the Soviet Union and a noted atheist.

StalinAtheist

 

I’m going to let this one speak for itself.

roadside-church-signs-comp

This one is from Georgia.

Anti-Abortion-BillboardGeorgia

Anyhow, you get the picture. Of course, there are atheists in the Old South just as there are in Saudi Arabia. The difference is in America we don’t execute atheists. Yet.

In fact, even in the South there are atheists who are fighting back. Here is a billboard, apparently from Florida.

billboardup

While there are hazards to adults who allow their non-belief to become known, children bear a special burden. Burke relates some stories:

Kalei Wilson, 15, said she lost friends after trying to start a secular student club at Pisgah High School in Canton, North Carolina, and someone used a Bible to destroy her science project, leaving the holy book on her smashed model of the universe.

The blue-haired, nose-pierced freshman says she’s not the only atheist at her high school, but most of them are closeted.

“I didn’t want to come out at first,” Wilson says, “but in order to start the club I had to.”

In exchange for her openness, Wilson says, some students mutter “Jesus loves you” as she walks down the hall, and she regularly receives text messages with the greeting, “Hey, Satan.”

“I’ve lost friends because of it,” the teenager says of her atheism, “but they’re not real friends if that’s what they do.”

Kalei Wilson’s tribulations are not the worst example. Without citing specific instances I will note that others have been ostracized, shunned by their peers, even disinherited and forced to leave the homes of their families. An experience I observed first hand is almost humorous. My first job out of college was working at the University of Texas. A co-worker was a young girl, fresh out of high school and still living in her family’s home. As far as I know, she was not an atheists, but she experienced the pangs, non-the-less. We were discussing some books and I lent her my copy of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Rand was a noted atheist, and Kelly’s mother would not allow the book in her house. So Kelly moved out and got her own place. And a sports car. And she married Mac, one of the graduate students. I took her bridal portrait.

Many who have based their lives on Christian teachings (notice we are not talking about Jews and Muslims here) have no idea that a person can have a moral life without Christ. More particularly without the God of Abraham, because this is the supposed power and authority behind the teachings of Jesus. A fine point here, but atheists do not generally have to reject Jesus. The historicity of Jesus, while problematic, is not the key issue. Even an atheist can adopt the teachings of Jesus and form a moral life upon them without once accepting the existence of an all-powerful being who created the universe and set up humanity as a diversion.

The image some Christians have of atheists is startling, and a few facts need to be set straight. Atheists do not worship the Devil. The Devil is a mythical entity as much as the God of Abraham is. Strictly speaking, atheists are people without something to worship. That’s the definition of the word.

And atheists do not eat babies. That has traditionally been reserved for Rebel soldiers in the Civil War. Some Rebel troops approached a house prior to the Battle of Gettysburg and demanded food. The housewife refused, and the soldiers offered to eat her baby, instead. The got food, and the word got around. “Ja, the Rebels Eat Babies!” is the title of the first chapter of Gettysburg by MacKinlay Kantor and Elizabeth Payne. When there is something you abhor you can always find a disgusting attribute to attach to it.

Burke talks a lot about support groups:

Not so long ago, every other letter sent to the Freedom From Religion Foundation would begin something like, “I’m the only atheist in Nebraska … “

It’s still lonely being an atheist in rural America, says Annie Laurie Gaylor, the foundation’s co-president, but there are plenty of skeptics and nonbelievers in God’s Country – if you know how to find them.

Even the most religious states like Mississippi and Alabama have secular meetup groups, although many keep quiet and require long drives to attend.

Tell me about it. My brother and I, plus two cousins and a school mate, grew up in a small Texas town. All of us had the advantage of Protestant religious indoctrination. None of it stuck. In high school we began talking about the possibility God was a made up story. By college we knew for sure. What support group? All that seemed to be required was some reasoning unfettered by made up “facts.”

Religious families realize this and seek to protect their children. Home schooling is almost critical to maintain the faith, since students at any decent high school are going to learn enough history, biology, geology and such to put the lie to biblical fables. Schooling at a legitimate college is anathema for these Christians, since truth runs rampant in the classrooms and on the campus. Experience bears out the attitude of some. Glenn Morton is a religious person, but he is also a practicing geologist. He had this encounter at a meeting of young-Earth creationists:

Glenn Morton stood up and reminded those in attendance that he is a creationist who once published in favor of the young Earth. He now renounces that position because the evidence is too much against it, and he urged others to abandon the idea. A problem he mentioned is that after you teach this concept to your children and then send them to college where they will learn otherwise, their loyalty to your other teachings will be threatened. One cheerful member of the group offered a solution: “Don’t send them.”

You do not need to be an atheist to be of concern to the biblically entrenched in the Bible Belt.

Creationists Think So

From Amazon

From Amazon

This is an odd title for a posting, but even in the 21st century what creationist think continues to amaze us. The following is from a post by Dan Arel on AlterNet:

Those who reject science frown upon intellectual honesty. Not knowing how something works or happened is seen as a weakness. This week on Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson said the word “somehow” when describing how the origins of life began, saying, “Somehow, carbon-rich molecules began using energy to make copies of themselves.”

Creationists think they “got him!” Tyson, like all other scientists, is not sure exactly how life originated on earth. This is intellectually honest, since a great mystery is still being worked out. Many great hypotheses exist, some of which Tyson went into detail about, but how can not knowing something be a weakness? Surely all of us don’t know a great deal of things; are we all intellectually challenged?

[Links added]

Arel also referenced an item posted on the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News blog by Casey Luskin  shortly after this episode of Cosmos aired. Here’s part of the post:

With 11 of 13 total episodes of Cosmos now having aired, the overall arc of the series is becoming clear. The first few episodes bashed religion and promoted materialism, while of course advocating that life developed by a process of “unguided” or “mindless” evolution. Then, for a few episodes, the anti-religious rhetoric was toned down a little, and Cosmos focused more on simply presenting good, uncontroversial science. But the final few episodes in coming weeks seem poised to ramp up the propaganda to levels not seen before.

This past Sunday night’s episode pushed a naturalistic origin of life and the Copernican principle (the idea that Earth is insignificant in the cosmic scheme) — which is perhaps to be expected. But the episode got surprisingly ideological as well, promoting panspermia, the Gaia hypothesis, and a propagandistic, Star Trek-like picture of the future. According to Cosmos, this last can only be achieved if we embrace an alarmist environmental vision. Our host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, compares skeptics of the current “consensus” on climate change to Nazis.

It’s worth taking these words apart:

  • Bashing religion is supposed to be a fault? Readers, just about everything science does “bashes religion” when “religion” is defined in a certain way. If your religion involves the supernatural, then just about any true statement is going to bash it. Get used to it.
  • “Naturalistic origin of life” is another way of saying “the most likely origin of life.” Better still, “the actual origin of life.”
  • “Advocating that life developed by a process of “unguided” or “mindless” evolution?” The alternative would be what? Magic? Do these people really want to go there?
  • The “Copernican principle” is derided as “the idea that Earth is insignificant in the cosmic scheme.” Is any reasoning person saying otherwise?
  • Promoting panspermia? While I am no fan of panspermia, I count a number of encounters with creationists who seemed to prefer panspermia to naturalistic origins. At least, their argument seemed to go, panspermia leaves the possibility that the god of Abraham was somehow involved. Naturalistic explanations leave this god out entirely.
  • The Nazi comparison? This was more difficult to track down. I cannot record the episodes, and the disk set I ordered will not be available until next month. I watched the 11th episode through only once, and I am going to rely on the Discovery Institute’s version of the program:

What happens next in Cosmos is thus both sickening and immensely hypocritical. Tyson shows scenes of crowds cheering for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. He says, “Human intelligence is imperfect, surely, and newly arisen. The ease with which it can be sweet-talked, overwhelmed, or subverted by other hard-wired tendencies sometimes themselves disguised as the light of reason is worrisome.” Again, the not-so-subtle message is that if you are a skeptic of what he calls the “scientific consensus that we’re destabilizing our climate,” then you are like a Nazi-follower, or perhaps a Holocaust denier.

Actually, Luskin is stretching his interpretation a bit. What narrator Tyson has done is to cite a human frailty, the susceptibility to being duped, and he has illustrated it with a classic case—millions of otherwise intelligent Germans being taken in by some masters of propaganda, the Nazis. People who have been duped by holocaust deniers and those who have been duped by the climate science deniers are not Nazis. They only suffer the same human weakness that undermined intelligent Germans 80 years ago. Of course, Luskin’s job at the Discovery Institute is to stretch things just so much. Enough to get people leaning his way but not so much as to make his pants catch fire.

Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

There’s this preacher man, and he goes to a religious conference at a hotel in another city. There are meetings all day, but nothing much goes on after the meetings are over.

So one day after his last meeting he’s hanging around the hotel lobby chatting with the girl at the hat check counter. He asks her out for dinner. She’s amazed at first, but he reminds her he is not a Catholic priest, and he is not married.

At dinner he orders wine for both of them, and again she is amazed. “It’s OK,” he reminds her. It’s in the Bible. All those holy people drank wine, and there was no problem with it.

After dinner he invites her up to his room, and again she is amazed. He reminds her that it’s OK. He’s not married.

The next morning she is getting dressed in his hotel room, and she is still amazed. “I just can’t believe all this happened. And you’re a preacher.”

Again he tells her it’s OK. It’s in the Bible. She demands proof.

The preacher pulls open the drawer in the stand beside the bed and pulls out the Gideon Bible that’s in every hotel room. He opens the Bible and shows her a note somebody has written on the fly sheet:

“The hat check girl screws.”

The Lady Says No

Of course, the title is from the movie from 1952:

A woman writes a best-selling book for women warning them about the “dangers” of men. A handsome photographer for a national magazine arrives in her town to do a feature story on her. Complications ensue.

It’s been 62 years since I saw it, but it was fun watch David Niven and Joan Caufield spar for 80 or so minutes before they finally realize they should be making babies.

But this is about another lady who said no:

Co-host of the Dallas, Texas talk show The Broadcast, Amy Kushnir, joined Shannon Bream on the Kelly File on Thursday.

Kushnir made news earlier this week after she stormed off the set of The Broadcast during a discussion on St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam.

Television coverage showed Sam kissing his boyfriend shortly after being drafted by the AFC West team.

Apparently Amy wants to warn men about the “dangers” of men. My, how times have changed:

In olden days a glimpse of stocking 
Was looked on as something shocking, 
But now, God knows, 
Anything Goes.

Movie poster from Wikipedia

Movie poster from Wikipedia

Readers, this is not  1922. It takes more to shock us these days. What, you may ask? Like two men kissing:

KUSHNIR: Well in this case, we were specifically talking about the Michael Sam incident, the kissing incident. And so, we were really focusing on that and what came to my mind initially was just that, I didn’t feel it was appropriate. It was actually over the top. ESPN used it as an opportunity to put out shocking video when ESPN is a sports network that families watch. I mean, we’ve got children that play sports. They watch ESPN all the time. So, it bothered me that they used this as on opportunity to promote their left wing agenda in my opinion.

Apparently Kushnir has not always been so easily shocked. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who is openly homosexual, had some fun at Kushnir’s expense. He discussed her comment on his “Ridiculist” segment:

“To Amy Kushnir’s argument that nobody shows football players kissing their wives or girlfriends, that’s simply not true and I don’t think she’s being honest when she wouldn’t want to see that either,” Cooper said during the segment (above). “If you’re uncomfortable seeing some kind of affection… why not just say that and leave the excuses about why you’re uncomfortable where they belong: on ‘The Ridiculist.’”

When asked by a co-host if she would have the same reaction to a man kissing his wife, Kushnir maintained she would have said “get a room.”

Also read: Michael Sam’s Jersey Is Second-Biggest-Selling of NFL Rookies

Cooper, however, unearthed footage that suggests otherwise, as Kushnir once sat in the arms of two buff, shirtless Chippendales dancers on her own TV show, and (gasp!) kissed each one on the cheek.

“It’s okay, she was kissing strippers. And she didn’t really even know them,” Cooper said after airing the evidence of her hypocrisy. “It’s not like two guys who were in love, or anything. That’s offensive.”

I would have advised Kushnir to “get a room.” But wait. These are strippers. What strippers are all about is doing in public what society wants you to do in private.

What Amy Kushnir did not do is express her true beliefs—what is really in her heart. I will express it for her: “Men sucking other men’s dicks is disgusting. These people are living in sin and will burn in Hell. The Bible says so.” She didn’t say that. She couldn’t say that. But others did. When Yahoo News posted the story on line it received scores of comments. My first glimpse reaffirmed the dark nature of my fellow citizens. Some typical examples:

Jorel 2 minutes ago

It is truly funny how people try to twist and turn the WORD of GOD to fit them and their preferences or use one scripture to dispel another. The truth is “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16.. So we as people know not how to do good but only bad and we NEED the WORD of GOD to instruct us in righteousness. That is why the world is so messed up they have no instruction every one does what they “feel” is right and what “pleases” them self. Wake up people the world is sin and we must be transformed from the world by the renewing of our minds through CHRIST JESUS.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

If its not BIBLE don’t do it. simple enough right.

John 1 hour ago

It’s madness, men with men, women with women. What’s next? It’s a slippery slope leading to destruction. Oh that men would repent and turn from sin and worship Jesus Christ in Spirit and Truth!

Nwtrdr Nwtrdr 27 minutes ago

As soon as they went to kiss we turned the channel,waited a few minutes then went back.Wish they had used a delay like in the old days.ESPN should be ashamed of themselves.And who watches that Copper guy anyway and who cares what he has to say?Not I that is for sure.

Tee-y 1 day ago

I don’t want to see two men kissing either, I don’t care what anybody have to say.

Kyle 1 day ago

So we should be tolerant to Mr. Anderson’s beliefs regarding homosexuality, but intolerant to the Dallas anchor’s. Got it. #hypocrisy

Aajada 21 hours ago

Anderson Cooper is a instigator and and now will watch less of him and CNN for news. He has gotten completely biased a lot of time when covering controversial social issues. I hadn’t known before that he was gay, but that explains a lot of his biased coverage now. What a twit !
And !, … Yes ! … they didn’t need to cramp that gay openly kissing scene in the faces of any and all who object to that behavior.

CHUCK 17 hours ago

Wait till the day SAM is cut from an nfl team and ALL you will hear is that his sexuality got him cut from the team not that he just could not make it in the NFL!

Greg 1 day ago

Anderson Cooper just went full on #$%$ in his so called objective reporting, so long CNN and hello politically correct bad news. I don’t care that he’s gay, I do care when he defends them no matter what even when they’re pushing everyone’s buttons

KAJAKAMAA 1 day ago

America, don’t you know that you have to get used to seeing htis stuff on TV because main stream media will insist on showing more and more of it and you will soon know that it is the norm. America has to get used to terrorists blowing up buildings because they are exercising their freedom of religion. America has to get used to the working people paying more taxes so that certain parts of our society can receive welfare because it’s somebody elses fault that they have ten kids to eight fathers. America better get used to waiting for hospital visits and medical care because Obama says it should be so. America has to get used to school overcrowding because the schools are full of illegal aliens who demand a free education. America has to get used to our children getting what was thought to be controlled deseases because idiots think that immunizations are wrong. The list goes on and on. We have to get used to changes that don’t make sense because the majority of minorities say so. So does the media.

DT 23 hours ago

Like many, if not most reasonable people I dont HATE homosexuals. i don’t HATE Mr. Sam. I just disagree with the morality of the lifestyle. THAT’S MY RIGHT!!! So please Mr. Cooper and your supporters don’t tell me what to believe or accept. THAT IS NOT YOUR RIGHT!!!. Basically the Sam moment was nothing more than shock journalism to get viewers and prove how contemporary ESPN is!! It may have backfired. Heterosexuality is still far and away the dominant option in society. I didn’t watch ESPN for 2 days after because I really don’t like to get a clip of two dudes sucking face popped in front of me! I am proud to be a red blooded girl loving white american male!!!!! NO APOLOGIES!!

There is obviously more than “a glimpse of stocking” involved here.

Teaching Evolution

This was posted on the Daily Kos blog a week ago. Daily Kos is a liberal action group, a point that is notable for a particular reason. How come this kind of thing does not get posted by conservative groups?

I’m a middle school Science teacher.  I teach 6-8th grade Science, namely Earth Science, Biology, and Physical Science in that order.  Part of the Biology curriculum is evolution.  This is no surprise: modern Biology makes no sense whatsoever without Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection.  Literally, it would all be a gigantic illogical nightmare if evolution is left out of the equation.  How would you classify animals?  How would we be able to explain interactions between species in their natural environment?  How could we make sense of the inner workings of our bodies and compare that to other animals?  If species just popped into and out of existence, we can just hang up our coats and go home.

Of course every biology teacher has to face off against Creationists.  What surprised me in this case was how many Creationists I would have to spar with.  One of my very own colleagues was a creationist! First off, I do not back off from scientific fact.  There is no “It’s not my place to present information that challenges people’s beliefs.”  That’s not science.  My job is to teach science, as it is, and to teach kids that they can cultivate within themselves a scientific mindset that is valuable for their everyday lives.  Knowing things about science is just plain beneficial.

The writer is Sujigu, otherwise unnamed. However, the story is familiar. Answers in Genesis is a creationist group adhering to biblical in-errancy, particularly in matters relating to science, with special emphasis on biological evolution. The group is headed by Australian creationist Ken Ham. AiG has in the past few years inaugurated a creation museum (theme park) in Petersburg, Kentucky. The following is from the AiG site:

As a creationist student, you may have opportunities to share about biblical creation. After discerning the appropriatetime to speak, how can you persuade someone who has bought into the lie of evolution? Whether writing a creationist paper, giving a speech, or sharing in conversations with other students, employ the following three essential tools of persuasion…

Young Earth creationists (YEC) are not the only groups interested in coaching students to challenge modern science in public school classes. Intelligent Design creationists, such as those at Discovery Institute devote much effort to grooming public school student activists. The following is from a page on the Discovery Institute site titled “Preparing Students to Intelligently Question Darwin this Fall.” It’s by Casey Luskin, a lawyer on the Discovery Institute staff and was originally posted in October 2009, curiously under “The Church Report:”

Tip #2: Think for yourself, think critically, and question assumptions.

Though my professors rarely (if ever) would acknowledge it, I quickly discovered in college that nearly all evolutionary claims are based upon assumptions. Modern evolutionary theory is assumed to be true, and then the data is interpreted based upon Darwinian assumptions. The challenge for the truth-seeking student is to separate the raw data from the assumptions that guide interpretation of the data.

Beware circular evolutionary reasoning.  Very quickly, evolutionary assumptions become “facts,” and future data must be assembled in order to be consistent with those “facts.”

Realize that evolutionary thinking often employs contradictory logic and inconsistent methodologies. The logic employed to infer evolution in situation A may be precisely the exact opposite of the logic used to infer evolution in situation B. For example:

• Biological similarity between two species implies inheritance from a common ancestor (i.e. vertical common descent) except for when it doesn’t (and then they appeal to processes like “convergent evolution” or “horizontal gene transfer”).
• Neo-Darwinism predicts transitional forms may be found, but when they’re not found, that just shows that the transitions took place too rapidly and in populations too small to (statistically speaking) become fossilized.
• Evolutionary genetics predicts the genome will be full of useless junk DNA, except for when we discover function for such “junk” DNA. Then evolution predicts that cells would never retain useless junk DNA in the first place.

Finally, students must be careful to always think independently. Everyone wants to be “scientifically literate,” but the Darwin lobby pressures people by redefining “scientific literacy” to mean “acceptance of evolution” rather than “an independent mind who understands science and forms its own informed opinions.” Evolutionary thinking banks on you letting down your guard and letting its assumptions slip into your thought processes. This is why it’s vital to think for yourself, and identify and question assumptions.

I note in this example the writer is leading the reader, and eventually the student, down a path. In the first bullet point, for example, “Biological similarity between two species implies inheritance from a common ancestor (i.e. vertical common descent) except for when it doesn’t…” Contrary to the point that lawyer Luskin wants to make, biologists do not hang “common ancestor” completely on biological similarity.

Biological similarity is a good starting point—domesticated dogs look a lot like wolves, giving the idea of common ancestry. Also dogs and cats have fur and four legs, giving the idea of common ancestry. Both of these ideas turned out to be true. However, the so-called Tasmanian wolf (thylacine) has features resembling those of Canidae, but the two are are not closely related. The thylacine is a marsupial, while Canidae are placental mammals.

Here is an illustration from the creationist text Of Pandas and People. This appears on page 117 of the revised second edition. I have added the caption as it appears in the book.

PandasConvergentEvolution

Figure 5-2. The skulls of a dog (A), a North American wolf (B), and a Tasmanian wolf (C). Notice that the skull of the North America n wolf is somewhat similar to the dog’s, which is said to be related to it, but nearly identical to the Tasmanian wolf, which is allegedly only distantly related to it.

Notice the wording of the caption. The Tasmanian wolf is “allegedly” only distantly related to the wolf. I seldom see the word “allegedly” used so generously. The thylacine is not only “allegedly” distantly related to the wolf, it is slam dunk distantly related to the wolf. The text from page 217 elaborates and expands:

Figure 5-2 shows the skull of a dog next to that of a Tasmanian “wolf” and a North American wolf Tasmania is a large island adjacent to Australia that, like Australia, contains a large variety of marsupials. The Tasmanian “wolf” is a marsupial which in general appearance and behavior is very similar to the placental wolves found in other parts of the world. Even the behavior of this now extinct animal was similar. The Tasmanian wolves ate the settlers’ livestock, and as a result were hunted until they became extinct. But although they behaved like placental wolves, a study of their anatomy suggests that Tasmanian wolves were actually more similar to kangaroos. Darwinists interpret the anatomical findings to indicate that the two types of wolves are only remotely related, and that each had a separate evolutionary history since the time when the Australian continent was separated from the continent of Antarctica. Yet the skulls of the two wolves are extremely similar, as you see. How did this come about?

According to Darwinists, both groups evolved into wolflike forms, an occurrence known as convergent evolution. This is a form of coincidence; it means that two lines of descent took different evolutionary paths that finally converged, having independently developed similar features adapted to meet the same environmental demands. Apparently the selective regime that produced the North American wolf was established by niches closely approximated in Australia, so that the two approached this ideal ever more closely with the passage of time, increasingly coming to resemble one another until they became superficially almost identical. As time passed, Darwinian evolution, through chance experimentation, had independently developed the same general forms in two different areas of the world. Examination of the two wolves’ skulls would lead us to wonder just which features were homologous and which were analogous.

Fortunately the text does not contain any of the “allegedly” hype. In fact, the text closely resembles how a working scientist would explain the relationship between Canidae and the thylacine. Authors Percival Davis and Dean Kenyon make much use of the word “Darwinists” when they really mean “biologists.” But what of the drawings?

When the Pandas book came out a number of concerned scientists analyzed it and found it factually lacking. Frank Sonleitner was one, and his “What’s Wrong with Pandas?” document uses more print space than the original book. Here is his analysis of Pandas‘ Figure 5-2:

In the caption to Pandas‘ Figure 5-2, it is claimed that the wolf skull is nearly identical to that of the Tasmanian wolf and much less similar to that of the dog. The accompanying text claims that the two wolves are “superficially almost identical.” Actually, by looking carefully at the drawings of the three skulls, it is obvious that the dog and wolf share more specific features that the wolf and the Tasmanian wolf. One of the convergent similarities of the two forms is the carnassial teeth, the broad blade-like teeth in the upper and lower jaws that acts like scissors to slice flesh. In the wolf and dog (as in all placental carnivores) it is the last upper premolar and the first lower molar that are so modified. The other molars are reduced in size and act as crushing teeth. In contrast it is the last four molar teeth in both jaws of the Tasmanian wolf that are modified as carnassials. Clearly the carnassials of placental carnivores and the Tasmanian wolf are not homologous. In addition, the skull of the Tasmanian wolf has four molars (placentals never have more than three), only three premolars (placentals have up to four), holes in the palate, posteriorly expanded nasal bones, an alisphenoid tympanic wing flooring the middle ear, the involvement of the jugal at the edge of the glenoid fossa for articulation of the lower jaw, broad extension of the lachrymal bone onto the face of the skull and mesially enlarged angular process of the dentary (lower jaw), features which it shares with most other marsupials (Archer, 1984). In addition, the teeth appear to be homologous to the placental milk teeth; the only marsupial tooth that is replaced in life is the third premolar. Taking all these characters together, anyone can easily distinguish between the skulls of a wolf and thylacine (Figure 5.1). Denton’s claim (Denton, 1986, p. 178) that only a skilled zoologist can distinguish them is nonsense.

The “Denton” mentioned by Sonleitner is Michael Denton, author of an early “doubting Darwin” book,  Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

Wikipedia’s discussion of thylacine uses one of the images also cited by Sonleitner:

The skulls of the thylacine (left) and the Timber Wolf, Canis lupus, are quite similar, although the species are only distantly related. Studies show the skull shape of the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes, is even closer to that of the thylacine.

The skulls of the thylacine (left) and the Timber Wolf, Canis lupus, are quite similar, although the species are only distantly related. Studies show the skull shape of the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes, is even closer to that of the thylacine.

Jonathan Wells is a seminarian turned biology student. He has a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a fellow at the Discovery Institute, and he has written a book Icons of Evolution, indicating ten faulty ideas about biological evolution. A Web site advises students on “Ten questions you should ask your biology teacher.” Here is a sample:

1. ORIGIN OF LIFE. Why do textbooks claim that the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment shows how life’s building blocks may have formed on the early Earth — when conditions on the early Earth were probably nothing like those used in the experiment, and the origin of life remains a mystery?

The hope is students will respond to a teacher’s presentation of biological evolution with questions the teacher is not prepared to answer.

This has been just a brief discussion of coaching by creationists of students. Quite often high school teachers do not have the training and the experience to answer such questions, and the creationist student is able to score points for his religious beliefs.

That is apparently the case with the middle-school teacher cited above. Here’s what happened:

So, we started talking about human evolution and natural selection.  I showed the standard pictures of Austrolopethicus Afarensis, Lucy, Homo Habilis, etc. etc. and explained human ancestry.  One of the creationists in my class looked a a photo I was showing, and then gleefully raised his hand to say that there was a “missing link” between the forms.  My diagram was purposefully incomplete because I didn’t want to include every single transitional form.  Remember, 7th graders, not people with the greatest attention spans.  I let him go to the front of the class, handed him my marker, and let him happily point to where he thought there was a gap.  “If this is a monkey and this is a monkey, then where’s the link between this and a human?”  I then asked him a question…

“What gap?”

“This one, this one right here!  You need something here.”

“No I don’t.”

“Yes you do, you need something here.”

“Why?”

“Because if you don’t have it then this doesn’t make sense.”

The kid was dumbfounded by the fact I just wasn’t impressed.  He laughed and was excited.  His father is a pastor, so I know that his father passed this idiocy onto him, and he was making dad proud.  It was kind of sick in a way.  I then rolled up the overhead projector, and did a quick sketch of a jigsaw puzzle.

Students in the class agreed this was a jigsaw puzzle. The teacher pointed out this was not a puzzle, according to the logic of the creationist student. That was because there were missing pieces. Another student pointed out that missing pieces are allowed. It’s just necessary to find them and to complete the puzzle. The creationist had no response for this argument. His coaches, who were not really scientists but theologians did not comprehend how science works. Generally scientific research can never be considered complete, because we can never be assured we have found all the pieces.

I will add my own part. Suppose I have evacuated a huge aircraft hanger and swept clean it’s acre of concrete floor space. I have a few pieces of an enormous jigsaw puzzle, and I have started putting the pieces together. I have fitted a number of the pieces, and something of the image is beginning to show. However, 99% of the floor space is still vacant. Besides, I still have a pile of pieces that have not been fitted, and even if they were fitted the puzzle would be no way nearly complete.

An onlooker is challenging me. “You don’t have all the pieces, but you still insist on telling me a coherent picture is going to come out of this. What makes you sure your partial picture is correct?”

My answer would be, “All pieces I have successfully fit together agree with the expected picture. Also, I have been putting pieces together for 200 years, and I have never found a piece that is not part of the picture.”

And that’s the way it is with modern biology. In all of human history we have never found evidence that contradicts biological evolution by natural selection. We have never found a piece that does not fit into the puzzle.

Democrats On The Prowl

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It’s hot. It’s new. It’s the latest from The Far Side. It’s straight from the political candidate Gary Kiehne.

Gary Kiehne, a northern Arizona rancher and oilman, is the second Republican to announce his intention to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

Kiehne launched his campaign for the 1st Congressional District on Tuesday. GOP state lawmaker Adam Kwasman, who lives near Tucson, said this summer he is exploring a run.

Kiehne said he understands the needs of the rural district where he grew up and plans to focus on job creation, minimizing regulations, cutting taxes and protecting land rights.

Mr. Kiehne, welcome to the fracas. As a welcoming present I’m adding your name to my spell checker.

Of course, everybody would like to unseat Congresswoman Kirkpatrick:

Ann Kirkpatrick (born March 24, 1950) is an American politician who has been the United States Representative for Arizona’s 1st congressional district since 2013; previously she represented the same district from 2009 to 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She earlier served in the Arizona House of Representatives. She was defeated by Republican Paul Gosar in the 2010 election. In 2012, she was again the Democratic nominee, and went on to win the general election to regain her old seat in a close race.

[Some links removed]

I mean, what’s a liberal Democrat like Kirkpatrick doing representing a red conservative state like Arizona? Fortunately, a number of stalwart conservative Republicans have stepped forward. They all want the job. So, what does Gary Kiehne bring to the party the other candidates do not? How about some reality?

Arizona GOP Candidate Says Democrats Are Behind Most Mass Shootings

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — A Republican businessman running for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District says most mass shootings in the U.S. are committed by Democrats.

The Arizona Daily Star reports (http://bit.ly/1lNY8Fd) that Gary Kiehne made the remarks at a Republican primary debate Saturday in Florence.

Kiehne, a Springerville rancher, told the 60-member audience that “99 percent of (mass shootings) have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people.”

Mother of Jesus! Mr. Kiehne may be onto something. I’m wondering why the other candidates, State Representative Adam Kwasman and House Speaker Andy Tobin chose not to provide this information. Maybe Kwasman and Tobin are not privy to Kiehne’s secret sources. One of Kiehne’s secret source may have been conservative talk show host Roger Hedgecock:

Based on the assertions of Roger Hedgecock a right-wing radio show host, the meme that the five worst recent mass shootings were committed by registered Democrats is making its way through e-mail chains and social media. Hedgecock asserts, without providing any evidence or sources, that the Ft. Hood shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter, the Aurora Theater shooter and Adam Lanza of Sandy Hook infamy were all “registered Democrats”.

The 100% estimate may be a bit stiff. The above item from Examiner.com provides some research by the author:

  • “Registered Democrat” may not be an exact fit for Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood shooter from 2009), since neither Texas nor Virginia (his previous residence) have party registration.
  • The same goes for university shooter Seung-Hui Cho, since he lived in Virginia. Besides, Cho was not a citizen, and as such he could not register in either party.
  • Voter registration forms for James Holmes were found, but it was not the same James Holmes who shot up Colorado movie theater.
  • There appears to be no evidence of party registration for Adam Lanza, the Connecticut school shooter. If he were a registered Democrat he would have been an unlikely one. His mother’s home had “conservative reactionary” written all over it. She was a noted doomsday prepper and a strong believer in gun rights. Adam killed his mother with her own assault rifle.
  • The Columbine shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were children and, as such, were not allowed to vote. There seems to be no evidence their families had any Democratic Party affiliation.

That’s five notorious shooters with no demonstrable Democratic Party affiliation. Unless there have been 500 high-profile shootings in the past 100 years, the claim of 99% Democratic approval is going to have to languish.

Here is more from Examiner.com:

  • James Huberty hated Mexicans and the United States. In 1984 he killed 21 and injured 19 in San Ysidro, California.
  • Buford O. Furrow was a white supremacist. He shot up a Jewish Community Center in California in 1999 and subsequently shot a postal worker to death.
  • Jim David Atkinsson “hated Democrats, liberals, African Americans and homosexuals.” Sounds pretty conservative to me. He murdered two and injured seven in July 2008 in Tennessee. [Editor’s note: Joe Barnhart was one of the injured.]
  • Keith Luke was a white supremacist (and a Democrat?). He set out to kill Jews, blacks and Hispanics in a Massachusetts killing rampage.
  • Donnie Baker was a former (not current) Republican campaign worker. He shot seven, also in 2008.
  • Richard Popalowski is a white supremacist. His opposition to President Obama (a Democrat) became obvious. He was sure Obama was going to have the government seize all guns. He killed three cops in Pittsburgh in 2009.
  • A man (not identified) “thought the Obama administration was conspiring against him.” He shot and killed two deputies in Fort Walton Beach in 2009.
  • An anti-abortion activist (likely not a Democrat) murdered Dr. George Tiller in 2009.
  • A “right-wing white supremacist and Holocaust denier” killed a black security guard at the National Holocaust Museum in 2009.
  • The Sovereign Citizen movement is not known to be associated with the Democratic Party, but members Jerry Kane and Joe Kane killed two police officers in 2010.
  • In 2010 Jared Laughner (apparently not a Democrat) killed six people and wounded 13, one of them Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
  • Wade Michael page is a white supremacist (possibly not a Democrat). He shot and killed six and wounded four in Wisconsin in 2012.

As of this writing, Gary Kiehne’s secret sources remain just that. When they become known I will post a follow-up. Please check back in about ten or twenty years.

Taking Liberties With Advertising

Liberty Mutual, wherefore art thou? I see thy commercials on yon cable channel, yet I comprehend not. Forsooth:

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LibertyMutual-01

This poor soul had his new car destroyed by a wayward window air conditioning unit. He is so glad he has Liberty Mutual. Maybe some skeptical analysis is in order.

Done.

This man does not need insurance. The person who just dropped the unit on poor soul’s new car needs insurance. Right now.

So, why does Liberty Mutual feature this poor soul in it’s ad? Ask not of me. Ask Liberty Mutual:

Liberty Mutual Group, more commonly known by the name of its primary line of businessLiberty Mutual Insurance, is an American diversified global insurer and the third-largest property and casualty insurer in the United States based on 2012 Property and Casualty direct written premium. It ranks 81st on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the United States based on 2012 revenue. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, it employs over 50,000 people in more than 900 locations throughout the world. As of December 31, 2012, Liberty Mutual Insurance had $120.1 billion in consolidated assets, $101.5 billion in consolidated liabilities, and $36.9 billion in annual consolidated revenue. The company, founded in 1912, offers a wide range of insurance products and services, including personal automobilehomeownersworkers compensation, commercial multiple peril, commercial automobile, general liability, global specialty, group disability, fire and surety.

[Some links removed]

See, Liberty Mutual does all of this, and still they advertise people who do not need insurance. Like this man. His car has been destroyed by a tree limb. He needs car insurance. He needs Liberty Mutual.

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No he doesn’t. This man needs it:

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Right now.

Maybe you want to purchase automobile insurance from Liberty Mutual. Maybe you do not want to purchase stock in the company.