Monday, August 31, 2015

Leave The Science To The Scientists

HBO host Bill Maher challenged GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum in an interview on his show on Friday to explain why Maher, as an atheist, backs Pope Francis in his stance on climate change, and why Santorum, as a Roman Catholic, does not.

"What I want to ask is, I mean, I'm not a Catholic, I'm an atheist," Maher said. "But I like the pope better than you do. You're saying the pope should stick to what he knows, and I find that ridiculous."
While the encyclical was received favorably by the U.N., as well as by scientists who agree on man-made climate change, Santorum suggested that the pontiff should "leave the science to the scientists" and focus more on religion.
Santorum said in January following Obama's State of the Union address that it is yet to be proven whether man really is having a significant impact on climate change.

"And number two, and this is even more important than the first, is there anything we can do about it? And the answer is, is there anything the United States can do about it? Clearly, no. Even folks who accept all of the science by the alarmists on the other side, recognize that everything that's being considered by the United States will have almost — well, not almost, will have zero impact on it given what's going on in the rest of the world," the former Pennsylvania senator added.
According to Santorum the Pope should leave the science to the scientists and stick to what he does know. If this is what he believes why doesn't Santorum have to leave the science to the scientists as well and stick to what he does know, which of course is nothing.

Santorum is an attorney and politician, not a scientist, yet he obviously thinks it's OK for him to comment on climate change. What a hypocrite.

If only he would leave the science to the scientists.

By the way this is from the Wikipedia entry on Pope Francis:
He attended the technical secondary school Escuela Técnica Industrial N° 27 Hipólito Yrigoyen, named after a past President of Argentina, and graduated with a chemical technician's diploma. He worked for a few years in that capacity in the foods section at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory where his boss was Esther Ballestrino. Before joining the Jesuits, Bergoglio worked as a bar bouncer and as a janitor sweeping floors, and he also ran tests in a chemical laboratory.
Perhaps Pope Francis could just toss Santorum right out of here.

Quote Of Note - David Silverman

"America’s religious conservatives can deny it all they want, but soon they’re going to realize that ignoring the growing number of atheist constituents is a losing proposition." - David Silverman

Jeffrey Tayler Must Be Doing Something Right

Every Sunday Jeffrey Tayler writes about religion in Salon. He doesn't pull any punches and I think he's great.

Matthew Balen doesn't like Jeffrey Tayler, he doesn't like him one bit. He tells us what Tayler has already told us in his own article. I guess one is to assume that there is no need to dissect what Taylor writes. The fact that Matthew Balen finds it all so horrible, shocking and unbelievable must mean that it actually is. Balen really doesn't offer any reason or insight as to why this is so, it just is. Kind of like God and the Bible, I suppose.

At the end Balen just can't help himself. After telling us that: "Tayler vomited up a final attack on Pope Francis near the end of his article" he concludes with the extremely tiresome, often repeated canard that atheists are evil incarnate:

Of course, as Tayler decries how the Pope and the Church supposedly bring "ruin" to the masses, he glosses over how his fellow atheists actually don't have a history of being a "forgiving, reasonable bunch." One would only need to look at the tens of millions butchered at the hands of atheist despots like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and the Kim family of North Korea.
I just wrote about this very issue. Logical fallacies simply do not make a good argument. Michael Sherlock explains this better than I ever could in The Atheist Atrocities Fallacy – Hitler, Stalin & Pol Pot:
Religious apologists, particularly those of the Christian variety, are big fans of what I have dubbed, the atheist atrocities fallacy. Christians commonly employ this fallacy to shield their egos from the harsh reality of the brutality of their own religion, by utilizing a most absurd form of the tu quoque (“you too”) fallacy, mingled with numerous other logical fallacies and historical inaccuracies.  Despite the fact that the atheist atrocities fallacy has already been thoroughly exposed by Hitchens and other great thinkers, it continues to circulate amongst the desperate believers of a religion in its death throes.  Should an atheist present a believer with the crimes committed by the Holy See of the Inquisition(s), the Crusaders and other faith-wielding misanthropes, they will often hear the reply; “Well, what about Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler? They were atheists, and they killed millions!”
The atheist atrocities fallacy is a multifaceted and multidimensional monster, comprised of a cocktail of illogically contrived arguments.  It is, at its core, a tu quoque fallacy, employed to deflect justified charges of religious violence, by erroneously charging atheism with similar, if not worse, conduct.  But it is much more than this, for within its tangled and mangled edifice can be found the false analogy fallacy, the poisoning of the well fallacy, the false cause fallacy, and even an implied slippery slope fallacy.
It's a long article which should be read in it's entirety. I like these two examples:
Example 1:

Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot were all non-figure skaters.  Therefore we can conclude that not being a figure skater causes a person to commit atrocities.

Example 2:

None of these three dictators believed in the existence of leprechauns, hence the lack of belief in leprechauns causes people to commit atrocities.
I do think, however, that some Catholic priests are rapists because of the Catholic Church, and that ISIS is extremely violent because of Islam.

At least Taylor is an original thinker and frequently comes up with his own thoughts and ideas. I like reading him. I also very much like the fact that Matthew Balen doesn't like Jeffrey Taylor.

What Would Jesus Eat?

I don't think Jesus liked figs, so he probably wouldn't eat them. I also think that Jesus would not eat apples. I think that Jesus would like to chow down on one of the two versions of Pope Francis molded in mozzarella, one hatted and one without.

Others think differently:

In fact, because Jesus and people around Him ate a mostly plant-based diet with little red meat, there’s little mention of “constipation” in the bible.
Over the last several years, with the increasing interest in eating and living healthier, the question about what Jesus might have eaten has become a popular topic of speculation.
What Did Jesus Eat? Popular Bible Foods in the Day of Jesus
I do believe eating ham, bacon, or other foods that the Jews restricted were frequently unhealthy but we cannot judge people by what they eat but what comes out of their mouth is the most important thing.
On last week’s 700 Club, Pat Robertson announced that low-carb diets “violate the principles that God set down.” Finally, something Pat Robertson and I can agree on. According to Robertson—not a registered dietician—low carb diets “build up clinkers” and “you get swollen joints, you get gout.”  The principle behind this, he adds, is that “carbs are the fire that burn everything completely.” Like napalm or the wrath of God, but for your digestive system.
The ABC's of the "What Would Jesus Eat?" Diet
Most recently a new fad diet (or diet trend) has come to my attention: "What Would Jesus Eat." As with all fad diets there is promise of quick weight loss and reduced physical signs of disease.  However, this diet may actually have some basis of truth.
But let us always remember to view our diets with the goal and from the vantage point of holistic health – what is good for body, mind and soul. Even Jesus Himself said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
What Would Jesus Eat?
Meals were a sacred time when God’s presence was awaited and welcomed in every meal. The people recognized that although they had earned their daily bread, God still gave them all they had. Fellowship in a meal was always fellowship before God.
What would Jesus eat?
"I thought I'd go back to the training manual -- the Bible -- and see what Jesus ate. Lo and behold, Jesus ate the healthiest diet ever developed, the Mediterranean diet."
CF120 – What Would Jesus Eat?
Welcome, Folks, to the Catholic Foodie, Where food meets faith! I’m your host Jeff Young and today we are going to ask the question: What would Jesus eat? Have you ever been curious about the typical diet back when Jesus walked the earth? I have! And today we’ll discover what it was like back then.
What Would Jesus Eat? Do Christian Weight Loss Programs Really Work?
"Slim is how God meant us to be," reasons Judy Halliday, founder of Thin Within, a "grace-oriented" approach to weight loss. Halliday claims to have organized over 170 support groups around the world. Her program attempts to show people "how to reconnect with God and achieve the weight that God meant for them to be."
Etc. Etc. Etc.

You may ask yourself: Which is more important? What would Jesus do? OR What would Jesus eat? I don't know.

Some internet searchers get very specific about what Jesus might eat. They want to know what he would eat for breakfast, or what he would eat today, or what he would eat for Easter.

I don't understand this curiosity. Since Jesus is God, he doesn't need to eat.

I do know that it's really weird that Catholics eat Jesus.

Mama GOP Won't Let Anyone Dirty Get Through

I always thought that the United States right-wingers were all alone when it came to immigrants, borders and walls. Apparently that isn't the case. A third of the world's countries have completed or are building barriers – compared to 16 at the fall of the Berlin Wall.

From Wikipedia:

Famous examples include the Great Wall of China, a series of walls separating the Empire of China from nomadic powers to the north and the Mexico–United States barrier.
I used to think there was the Berlin Wall(since torn down), The Great Wall of China(a tourist attraction, as well as a place for Justin Beiber bodyguards to beat people up) and the Mexico-United States barrier. Silly me. Walls are everywhere and their numbers are growing.

"What shall we use to fill the empty spaces
Where we used to talk
How shall I fill the final places
How should I complete the wall" - Roger Waters

"But never relax at all
With our backs to the wall" - Roger Waters

"Are there any queers in the theatre tonight
Get 'em up against the wall
There's one in the spotlight
He don't look right to me
Get him up against the wall
That one looks Jewish
And that one's a coon
Who let all this riffraff into the room
There's one smoking a joint and
Another with spots
If I had my way
I'd have all of you shot" - Roger Waters

"Sitting in a bunker here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms, worms to come
In perfect isolation here behind my wall
Waiting for the worms, worms to come
Waiting, to cut out the deadwood
Waiting to clean up the city
Waiting to follow the worms
Waiting to put on a black shirt
Waiting to weed out the weaklings
Waiting to smash in their windows
And kick in their doors
Waiting for the final solution
To strengthen the strain
Waiting to follow the worms
Waiting to turn on the showers
And fire the ovens
Waiting for the queens and the coons
And the reds and the jews
Waiting to follow the worms
Would you like to see Britannia
Rule again my friend
All you have to do is follow the worms
Would you like to send our coloured cousins
Home again my friend
All you need to do is follow the worms" - Roger Waters

"The bleeding hearts and artists
Make their stand
And when they've given you their all
Some stagger and fall
After all it's not easy
Banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall" - Roger Waters

The New Colossus by Emma Lazurus:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 

Dumbass Quote Of Note - Bill Donohue

"The whole purpose of marriage is to have a family. It's not about making people happy. It's not about love." - Bill Donohue


Do you remember the Berlin Wall? "Tear down this wall", bellowed Ronald Reagan.

Most people were in agreement that the Berlin Wall was a bad thing.

Why do so many Americans want to build our own version of the Berlin Wall?

Also, one wall is not enough, Scott Walker wants a second one built.

What's next? Do we need a west coast wall to protect us from the Pacific Ocean? Do we need an east coast wall to protect us from the Atlantic Ocean? Do we need a Mason-Dixon Line wall to protect the North from the South?

Headline Bias

Allow me to point out that this is about a public high school and that all of the praying involves the Christian God.

Why not write the headline as Kentucky High School Students Defy Constitution by Starting Football Season With Pre-Game Prayer

Why not write the headline as Kentucky High School Students Defy Thomas Jefferson by Starting Football Season With Pre-Game Prayer?

How Many More Times? 004

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Quote Of Note - Willie Dixon

"I ain't superstitious, but a black cat crossed my trail." - Willie Dixon 

I'm not superstitious, but sometimes I cross my fingers.

More Water

Awhile back I posted about Water.

Here's more from CBS Sunday Morning:

The lack of running water for many who live in the Navajo Nation in New Mexico shocked "Sunday Morning" viewers. Since Lee Cowan's story was broadcast two weeks ago, nearly $661,000 has been donated to DigDeep, the organization hoping to drill a new well there.
Some things just make me feel good.

Dick Cheney Still Makes My Blood Boil

I did not know that Dick Cheney has a new heart from a transplant. Metaphorically, he still seems to have his old broken down, almost non-functional, and part mechanical old heart.

This morning CBS Sunday Morning aired an interview of Dick and Liz Cheney by Lee Cowan, because they have a new book out don'tcha know:

He was an early critic of the Obama administration's national security policies, especially the troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Cheney is renewing his criticism of Mr. Obama with the help of his daughter, Liz, a former State Department official and one-time Senate candidate. In their upcoming book, "Exceptional," to be published by Simon & Shuster (a division of CBS), they accuse President Obama of retreating from the world's problems, diminishing America's power as the threat of terrorism rises.
Let's go back in time. First where Cheney himself reminded us:
"That when he was Secretary of Defense under the first Bush administration, he was a warm, pleasant, lovable fellow, and he became more of a hard rock afterwards."
Second where George H. W. Bush withdrew from the Middle East before Obama did:
His ability to gain broad international support for the Gulf War and the war's result were seen as both a diplomatic and military triumph, rousing bipartisan approval, though his decision to withdraw without removing Saddam Hussein left mixed feelings, and attention returned to the domestic front and a souring economy.[132]
I wish that Lee Cowan had brought all of that up in his interview.

Here is more from the interview:
Take, for instance, their criticism of the president's recent nuclear deal with Iran -- a country Cheney's boss famously included in his "Axis of Evil."

"You say of the deal that the Obama agreement will one, lead to a nuclear-armed Iran; two, lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and three, the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That's a pretty daunting prediction," said Cowan.

"We say it may well lead to the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Liz. "This deal makes war more, not less likely."

"Think about what kind of a regime it is," said Dick Cheney. "They've violated virtually every agreement they've ever been a party to. I don't think they can be trusted. I think they've demonstrated that repeatedly."
"We say it may well lead to the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Liz. I don't know how she can say that with a straight face. Fear of the other seems to be a Cheney obsession. The heartless Cheneys have no empathy, no ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. If they did, perhaps they would understand that there is the possibility that fear could be a driving force for Iran to feel a need to defend itself, especially from the United States, the country who has attacked so many in the Middle East, as well as being the only country to ever have used nuclear weapons. The Cheneys, no brains, no heart, no face muscles.

"Think about what kind of a regime it is. They've violated virtually every agreement they've ever been a party to. I don't think they can be trusted. I think they've demonstrated that repeatedly." How can Dick Cheney say this with a straight face. I imagine many Iranians say the same thing about the United States. The Cheneys, no brains, no heart, no face muscles.
The book is an expanded version of an op-ed the Cheneys wrote for the Wall Street Journal last year, where they laid out an argument that many of the GOP presidential hopefuls are now campaigning on: that the rise of the so-called Islamic State is Mr. Obama's fault.

Cowan asked, "Are you really laying the spread of ISIS at the President's feet?"

"I think the spread of ISIS was the direct result of the vacuum that was created when the Obama administration withdrew all our forces from Iraq," Cheney said. "We turned our backs on Iraq. We had Iraq in good shape by the time we left office. Even Obama said as much."
I'll let someone else have a say about ISIS:
Bush’s eventual defense regarding the intelligence failures was basically “Look, everyone makes mistakes.” Which is perfectly true and perfectly reasonable, actually. But if the war was a mistake, even an innocent or well-intentioned mistake, any justification for staying on and on has disappeared as well. More than a decade later, why are we still there? Max Boot, writing in Time magazine, used the word “credibility” to explain why we had to stay somewhere we never should have gone. I thought that, after Vietnam, we had pretty much killed that notion. But no, it’s back.
ISIS is merely the most recent in a parade of horrible groups, Shiite and Sunni, religious and secular, murderous and even more murderous, to which we have been introduced through the years. They sometimes are our friends, though secretly helping the other side, or they are sworn enemies of the imperialist aggressor (that is, us), but still secretly taking bribes from the C.I.A. They are often splinters from some larger tree, either “brand extension” by the original group or its sworn enemy due to ideological or religious differences that are impossible to fathom.
Where did ISIS come from? What ever happened to the other Middle East groups we used to know? Where is al-Qaeda? How about the Taliban? Does anyone remember the mujahideen? If you do, you’re really showing your age. The mujahideen were the freedom fighters we armed and trained in order to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan—a shrewd bank shot, everyone agreed, until, after the Soviets slunk away, we counted the leftover Stinger missiles in the freedom fighters’ broom closet and realized that many were now in the hands of unfriendly elements. And a lot of the mujahideen had gone with them.

It may be hard to believe, now that the media are all-ISIS-all-the-time, but the first reference to ISIS in any major news outlet—at least the first one referring to the now notorious terrorist group and not to Lord Grantham’s yellow Labrador, on Downton Abbey—was in the summer of 2013. This is not to criticize the media for being late to the party, or to suggest that the threat to Americans posed by ISIS is currently being exaggerated. It is merely to note that the number of analyses pouring out of Washington think tanks and experts available to CNN about who the heck these people are and what they want is pretty impressive, given that almost no one had heard of them a year ago. And it is also to note how fast the cast of characters in this drama can change, amid the anarchy we helped create—which is another reason not to leap to the assumption that anything further we might do would be of help.

Twenty-five years of this! And we were almost out of there when ISIS came along, through a door we opened to them in the first place.
Back to Lee Cowan and those loveable Cheneys:
"While you talk about the problem being that there was no stay-behind force, some would argue that the real problem was that we went in to Iraq in the first place," said Cowan.

"Well, I'm well known as somebody who has strongly defended that as the right thing to do. And I still believe that," he replied.

"You wouldn't change anything?"

"No," Cheney said. "There was widespread support at the time, and it was justified."
Cheney hasn't changed his mind about waterboarding either:
"First of all, it wasn't torture," Cheney argued. "Waterboarding, for example, 'torture,' that was the most egregious thing we did supposedly in the enhanced interrogation program."
Someone who has never been waterboarded has no right to claim that it is not torture. The dark side of me wishes Cheney had been waterboarded before he had a heart transplant. The bright side of me would not wish waterboarding on anyone, including Cheney.

Speaking of the dark side, someone put a Darth Vader hitch cover on Cheney's pick-up truck. Cheney seems to think this is all a big joke. He seems clueless about the fact that it symbolizes that many of us view him as evil incarnate.

I think that Dick Cheney could use a brain transplant, Liz too.

Please don't buy their book, haven't we had enough of them?

Quote Of Note - Miley Cyrus

"The trouble with politics is that it’s all old men." - Miley Cyrus

Just for fun, try substituting the word politics with religion. Both ways seem valid to me. Of course politics and religion have many more "troubles" than just "old men".

Just for more fun, try imaging Miley Cyrus being a member of Congress. For even more fun, try imagining Miley Cyrus as the Pope of the Catholic Church.

How Many More Times? 003

Saturday, August 29, 2015

How Many More Times? 002

How Many More Times?

The 'Moment' Will Pass

The condensed version of ‘Moment’ Is Having a Moment:

Moments, the man of the moment, by a Megyn moment, with a big, symbolic moment, might be having an Al Capone moment, found time to have a celebrity moment, to avoid being reduced to the shorthand of the moment, the names attached to such moments will change, as the official man of the moment, might have his Lazarus moment, the moments will arrive, in the moment moment, the concept of the moment, our magic moments, in a special moment, at one of those defining moments, this moment, this moment, not to be about decisive moments, with the moment, is having a moment, had moments, the cultural moment, our current cultural moment, is a cultural moment, a moment, crucial moment, the other moments, a moment, ab hoc momento, this moment, many, many, many moments, but moments, the moment, a moment, define the cultural moment, understand the moment, experi­encing a moment, remember this moment, declare the memorable moments, how many of these moments, of the moment, the moment itself.

How Many More Times? 001

How Many More Times?

Trump Ignores The Atheist Taliban Category

...Palin moved on to the journalists who quizzed Trump about his favourite Bible verse, calling it “gotcha” journalism designed to catch conservatives off guard.

“I love the Bible,” said the real-estate mogul. “My first favourite book by far is the Bible.” His favourite verse was a personal matter which he preferred to keep to himself, however.

The latest poll, he added, showed him leading with GOP evangelicals as well as with Tea Party members, moderates, the poor and the rich.

“We won on every category,” he said. “I’m very happy.”

One more question, said Palin, blowing her final rose petal. “What is next? Because we know you’re going to keep rolling down the trail.”

Trump purred. He was going to spread the love to Massachusetts, Iowa and New Hampshire. “They want to see something happen, see America be great again. We’re bringing back the silent majority.”

He gazed at his No1 fan. “I have to tell you, Sarah, you’re a terrific person and it’s great to be with you.”
Words can be funny things I suppose. A lot depends on what they actually mean. I think that Sarah Palin has written her own dictionary and changed the meaning of words to suit her own derangement. The phrase "lamestream media" must be in her dictionary. I think that Sarah Palin thinks she is being witty and clever when she uses it. To me she just sounds silly. Sarah Palin thinks "lamestream media" means that all mainstream media has a liberal bias. My dictionary does not have the word lamestream in it. It does give one definition of lame as "not smart or impressive". Funny how the word lame seems to fit Sarah Palin so well. If dictionaries ever did decide to add the phrase "lamestream media", I think that they would give FoxNews, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin as examples that help define the meaning of the phrase. The actual lamestream media has made Sarah Palin very rich by publishing her books, and giving her so much space on television, radio, and the internet.

"Gotcha" is definitely in Sarah Palin's dictionary. Her definition denigrates a liberal reporter that dares ask a serious question of a conservative politician who is too ignorant to know the answer. It is a deflective word meant to try to hide this ignorance and to show how horrible the "lamestream media" actually is. Her dictionary, I'm sure, now includes Univision anchor Jorge Ramos as an example, as well as the whole favourite Bible verse incident. Sarah Palin probably thinks that "gotcha" is exceedingly clever. To me it is simply an ad hominem variation.

Thinking that Sarah Palin has written her own dictionary would explain why those who know the actual meanings of words choose to use the phrase "word salad" whenever she speaks.

I think that Trump has written his own dictionary as well. I think it only has one word in it and that word is TRUMP. No definition, just TRUMP. This would explain why he can say “We won on every category." Trump's dictionary defines "we" as "TRUMP", and it defines "every" as "TRUMP". The TRUMP dictionary does not include atheists, women, Mexicans, liberals, progressives, naturalists, scientists, etc. The TRUMP dictionary explains why these people don't enter into the TRUMP brain or the TRUMP dialogue. To him they simply don't exist.

Trump's dictionary does not have the word silent in it. This explains why he hasn't noticed that the Silent Majority has transformed into the Tea Party and has become very, very LOUD recently.

From Silent Majority on Wikipedia:
Nixon's silent majority referred mainly to the older generation (those World War II veterans in all parts of the U.S.) but it also described many young people in the Midwest, West and in the South, many of whom eventually served in Vietnam. The Silent Majority was mostly populated by blue collar white people who did not take an active part in politics; suburban, exurban and rural middle class voters. They did, in some cases, support the conservative policies of many politicians. Others were not particularly conservative politically, but resented what they saw as disrespect for American institutions.

According to columnist Kenneth Crawford, “Nixon’s forgotten men should not be confused with Roosevelt’s,” adding that “Nixon’s are comfortable, housed, clad and fed, who constitute the middle stratum of society. But they aspire to more and feel menaced by those who have less.”
"See America be great again"? Let's remember that Trump's dictionary does not have the words America or great in it. To many of us America is about equality. We all contribute, we all make achievements, we all judge how "great" we are. Donald Trump's version of America is not at all like this. He doesn't see the real greatness of America, which is all of us working together living our lives with liberty and pursuing happiness. The real greatness of America is not TRUMP.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Begone Ye Potholes, Begone!

Only in America: Praying the potholes away:

Facing a need for $743 million worth of repairs to crumbling infrastructure, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, has told residents the city can fix its many potholes through the power of prayer. "Yes, I believe we can pray potholes away," said Mayor Tony Yarber, who is also a church pastor, on Twitter. "Moses prayed," he said, "and a sea opened."
Perhaps Mayor Yarber has a special affinity with potholes since both potholes and the space between his ears are full of empty space.

Quote Of Note - Thomas Jefferson

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions,-I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties." - Thomas Jefferson

What Would Jesus Do?

Would Jesus go on Facebook in order to harrass and bully an elementary school teacher?

Teacher harassed on Facebook and at her school for her work as an abortion clinic escort:
Courtesy of Cosmopolitan:  

Shana Broders has been an elementary school teacher for over two decades. For the last year and a half, she has spent her downtime as a clinic escort, helping patients at a nearby North Carolina abortion provider navigate their way past the protesters and into the building for services. For that, a group of extreme anti-abortion activists wants to get her fired from her job. As a new school year begins, they have escalated their efforts, harassing her school by phone and threatening to picket. Broders tells how her school has responded and why no threats will make her give up supporting a person's right to a legal, safe abortion procedure. 
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Quote Of Note - Bernie Sanders

"The benchmark of full time work in America should be simple and concrete – that no full-time worker should live in poverty." - Bernie Sanders

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What Would Jesus Do?

Many time people ask "What would Jesus do?" Damned if I know.

I do know something that Jesus did. He made a web site, giving us further proof that he is alive as Zombie Jesus.

I Hope You Didn't Sell All Your Stocks

More Shenanigans

I call shenanigans again.

For some reason I hear Monty Python in my head exclaiming: "Nobody expects the Atheist Taliban!"

Just as I finish one post about murderous, genocidal atheists; I discover that atheists are also devious and bullying.

A New Mexico city isn’t backing down from a heated battle with an atheist activist group over the permanent presence of a nativity scene on public property, with the mayor of Belen issuing some harsh words for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Mayor Jerah Cordova told TheBlaze on Thursday that he’s continuing to defend what he believes is a historical piece of art that reflects his city’s colorful history, taking pointed aim at activists’ handling of the contentious First Amendment debate.

“The FFRF has every right to believe what it wants. But so does Belen,” he said. “The FFRF’s tactics are designed to create conflict and division in communities across America. They stir up controversy where there had been none before for their own publicity and fundraising.”

And he wasn’t done there.

“I don’t understand why anyone would want to belong to such a devious group,” Cordova continued. ”I’m grateful to live in Belen, where we have a closeknit and united community that doesn’t put up with their style of bullying.”
When ya ain't got nuthin' else, you can always go ad hominem.

Can You Say Unbiased?

The Today Show reports on the removal of the head of Jesus. Yes, you read that right, someone removed his head. Yet in spite of this, Zombie Jesus still lives on.

Oh no, NBC Touts Left-Wing Atheist Group Forcing Removal Of Jesus Painting:

Wednesday’s NBC Today devoted a full report to the Freedom From Religion Foundation forcing a Kansas school to take down a painting of Jesus. Co-host Matt Lauer declared: “...a controversial decision to take down a portrait of Jesus that’s getting an awful lot of attention.”
Since when is reporting the news "touting"?

The above link is to NewsBusters. They proclaim that they expose and combat liberal bias. Of course the way for NewsBusters to do this is to use their own bias, like this:
On its website, the Freedom From Religion Foundation asserts:
The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion. In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women's right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery.
No mention was made of the slaughter of millions by Communist atheist regimes in the 20th century.
I call shenanigans. I call logical fallacy. I call red herring. I call tilting at windmills. I call straw man. I call irrational stupid bias. Show me some sort of document, manifesto, or Atheist Bible that instructs atheists to slaughter millions. Perhaps NewsBusters is confusing the Christian God of the actual Old Testament, with some sort of imagined Atheist Bible.

The Donald Acts Out

Do actions speak louder than words?

The words:

On Immigration:

You got to build a wall. It’s not an easy thing to do. And I’ll get it done. And believe me, I’ll do it for the right but I’m also going to have Mexico pay for it. Mexico is making a fortune off of us. They will pay for it. So, just mark my word. That’s called “negotiation.” …Before I even start a wall we’d get rid of the bad ones. We have a lot of really bad apples. We have a lot of bad dudes that are causing tremendous problems… I was very proud of bringing up illegal immigration. It was not easy to do. I would get rid of the bad ones, the criminals, we have a lot of people who are here who shouldn’t be here. And, I don’t want to house them in our jails because it’s costing a fortune. I want them to go back to the country where they came from. Not only Mexico, plenty of other countries. They are pouring across the border. So that’s number one. Then there’s number two. There’s some great people. But, you either have laws or you don’t have laws. I would get them back to where they are and I would try to work out a process to where they could come in legally. But, they have to come in legally, Sean. It’s about laws.
On Gun Control:
I am against gun control.
The actions:

On Immigration:
Jorge Ramos, the Univision anchor and journalist, extensively squabbled with Donald Trump twice in testy exchanges at a news conference before his rally here Tuesday, with a security officer at one point ejecting Ramos from the event.

"Go back to Univision," Trump told Ramos early in their first back-and-forth. Ramos had attempted to engage with Trump on his positions, though he had not been called upon, standing and lobbing concerns about Trump's plan at the candidate.
Ramos did return, but the ensuing exchange was far from polite.

"Here's the problem with your immigration plan. It's full of empty promises," Ramos said, when allowed back into the press room.

He charged that Trump's agenda to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and to stop giving automatic citizenship to their children born on U.S. soil was unrealistic, but Trump defended his plan as simple and possible.
On Gun Control: (My imagined scenario)
A reporter asks Donald Trump a question about gun control. The reporter says: "Every day the news is filled with another shooting tragedy. With so many losing their lives to senseless gun violence, why are you against gun control legislation?" Trump pulls out his handgun and shoots the reporter, and says "That's called negotiation."
My imagined scenario will not happen, even though Trump probably thinks he could get away with murder. I'm not saying he would murder someone, just that his ego thinks that he could. Actually, Trump would have the guy executed, and them claim that he did it himself.

If the response by Trump to a question about immigration from a Hispanic-American reporter is to expel him ("We’d get rid of the bad ones.")("I want them to go back to the country where they came from."), then what would be the response to a reporter asking a question about gun control?

I know that my imagined then scenario sounds crazy, but is it? What Trump says certainly sounds crazy. Thinking that rational gun control legislation will not curb the epidemic of gun violence in the United States certainly is crazy.

My imagined then scenario does not seem crazy or extreme to me if I think about the people who support right-wing GOP candidates. After all they favor crazy and extreme solutions to problems. Problem: Black people. Solution: Send them back where they came from. Problem: Mexicans. Solution: Send them back where they came from. Problem: Black president. Solution: Make it impossible for him to accomplish anything, then point out how ineffective he is. Problem: The middle east, ISIS, Muslims, Terrorists. Solution: Bomb the shit out of the middle east and take "our oil". Problem: Gun violence. Solution: If blacks are killing other blacks, there is no problem. Problem: Gun violence. Solution: More guns, no legislation, guns at churches, guns at school, guns at stores, letting people with huge motherfucker guns parade around ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE.

"I am against gun control" says The Donald. If a reporter asking a question can get tossed out of a Trump news conference, I wonder what would happen to me if I tried to walk up to Trump with an assault rifle strapped to my back? I suspect that some form of "gun control" was in place at this news conference, and that Donald Trump was not against it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Hope You Didn't Sell All Your Stocks

Quote Of Note - Christopher Hitchens

“How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.” -  Christopher Hitchens

A Forbes Opinion Piece On Ted Cruz

I stopped subscribing to Forbes magazine years ago because it was so bizarrely political. It had a slant that I disliked. I wanted investment information, which it did contain, but it also contained political essays by Steve Forbes and others that left a bad taste in my mouth.

So, it's kind of odd to find a Forbes opinion piece that I agree with, online of course. Rick Unger is the author of Ted Cruz's Announcement Disrespects The Founding Fathers, American Tradition And Non-Christians:
Somewhere along the way, I picked up the notion that when someone announces their candidacy for the Office of President of the United States, they are announcing their intent and desire to be the president of all Americans, irrespective of race, religion or other considerations.

As a result of this tradition—and while recognizing that such an announcement does, in the reality of our times, serve as the launching point for the grueling primary gauntlet most candidates will be forced to endure—the moment of tossing one’s hat into the presidential ring has, without exception so far as I can tell, traditionally taken place on ‘neutral’ territory designed to convey commitment to the civic interest rather than religious belief.
Later, he is critical of Ted Cruz:
Apparently, Texas Senator and newly announced candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination, Ted Cruz, has little use for this important American tradition.

Yesterday, the Tea Party favorite chose a location to announce his quest for the presidency that has, so far as I can ascertain, never been chosen before in our nation’s history—a religious institution that, according to it’s own description, offers “a world-class Christian education” for the purpose of “training champions for Christ”.

Unless someone can show me where I’ve missed another moment in our history where a presidential candidate chose to launch his or her candidacy at a religious institution, the significance of Cruz’s decision should not go unnoticed. Cruz embarked on his march to the White House before a crowd of some 10,000 students at Liberty University—a number that would have been terribly impressive for such an event were it not for the fact that attendance was compulsory —where the Senator would spent the first part of his speech extolling the virtues of Jesus Christ and the importance the Christian faith played in keeping his family together.

While I respect any peaceful religion just as I respect anyone who practices their particular religion in a peaceful manner—and I have no doubt that Senator Cruz participates in his own religion in such a manner just as I appreciate and honor the benefits his religion bestowed on his family—I have to admit that, as someone who was not raised in the Christian faith, I felt kind of left out of the party.
Unlike Unger I don't really respect any religion. I respect the laws that say that there is freedom of religion and I respect freedom of speech.

I do agree with the main theme of Unger's opinion. The United States should not be exclusionary when it comes to its own citizens. As an atheist I certainly know the feeling of "I felt kind of left out of the party".

Ted Cruz seems to be running on a platform of:
  1. Christians are being persecuted by atheists. This persecution must stop. 
That is it.

I find it ironic that a writer for Forbes feels "kind of left out of the party". That's how I felt when I subscribed to the magazine.

The rest of Ted Cruz's Announcement Disrespects The Founding Fathers, American Tradition And Non-Christians is quite good. He takes on the "America was founded as a  Christian Nation" myth. He closes with:
If Senator Cruz really wants to ‘imagine’ a better America, he might begin by imagining a campaign that begins with a statement of inclusion and belief in all of America’s people, not just those who meet his own religious litmus test.

The Thing

There's the thing, and then there's the thing.

People Do Weird Things

More than 20,000 people have pelted each other in the street with tomatoes in this year's "Tomatina" as the Spanish event celebrates its 70th birthday.

At the annual fiesta in the eastern town of Bunol on Wednesday, 175 tons of ripe tomatoes were offloaded from seven trucks into the crowd packing the streets for an hour-long battle.
Since 1945 people have been doing this, and it all started because of a “Giants and Big-Heads” parade.

La Tomatina started on the last Wednesday of August in 1945 (29th August 1945) when some young people went to the town square to attend the Giants and Big-Head figures parade. They decided to join the parade with a musician. The group's excitement caused a person to fall from the float. The participant flew into a fit of rage and started to hit everything in his path. There was a market stall of vegetables that fell victim to what soon became a furious crowd. People started to pelt each other with tomatoes until local law enforcement ended the battle.

The following year the young people deliberately repeated the fight on the last Wednesday of August, only this time they brought their own tomatoes from home. They were again dispersed by the police. The food fight became an annual event. In 1950, the town allowed the tomato hurl to take place, but the next year it was stopped again. Many young people were imprisoned but Buñol residents forced authorities to let them go. The festival gained popularity with more and more participants every year. In subsequent years it was banned again with threats of serious penalties. In the year 1957, some young people celebrated "the tomato's funeral", with singers, musicians, and comedies. The main attraction however, was a big tomato in a coffin carried around while a band played funeral marches. In 1957, demand for the popular festival led to its becoming official, with certain rules and restrictions. These rules have gone through many modifications over the years.
A big tomato in a coffin?

Dumbass Quote Of Note - Glenn Beck

"Do you have food, cash on hand, guns and GOD?" - Glenn Beck

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What Is An Evolution Kid?

Oh the horror of it all, they took down Jesus' head in Kansas and some people are pissed:

Local residents were disgusted that the picture was taken down.

“Oh man, it’s getting bad,” former student Erika Semey told the Eagle. “That’s what’s wrong with this world. Not enough people have Christ in their lives.”

“I’m sick of this,” Jack Lynch, 53, told Reuters. “This country was founded on Christian beliefs. In God we trust. Now people want to come in and change all that. If they don’t like it let them leave.”

Another former student, 22-year-old Cody Busby, told the paper the picture was on the hall when he was a “church kid” at the school.

“Nobody else in the school seemed to be bothered by it,” he said. “There were only one or two evolution kids and they didn’t seem to be bothered by it.

“With all the bullying that goes on in schools and how all the kids divide up into cliques, I think Jesus being there didn’t hurt a thing.”
What is atheist sniping? Did child-raping priests have enough Christ in their lives? Where do the students who "don't like it" go to? Perhaps the local Catholic school? What is a church kid? What is an evolution kid?

Any atheist student probably knows better than to complain about a picture of Jesus hanging in their school with people like these around. Religion is the king of dividing people up into cliques. Bullying and more is encouraged in the Bible. God actually commands that those who are non-believers should be put to death by stoning:
24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.
The founding fathers cared more about Enlightenment Principles than Religious Principles when it came to what sort of nation and government they envisioned:
Several Americans, especially Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, played a major role in bringing Enlightenment ideas to the new world and in influencing British and French thinkers.[54]
The Americans closely followed English and Scottish political ideas, as well as some French thinkers such as Montesquieu.[55] As deists, they were influenced by ideas of John Toland (1670–1722) and Matthew Tindal (1656–1733).[56] During the Enlightenment there was a great emphasis upon liberty, democracy, republicanism and religious tolerance. Attempts to reconcile science and religion resulted in a widespread rejection of prophecy, miracle and revealed religion in preference for Deism – especially by Thomas Paine in The Age of Reason and by Thomas Jefferson in his short Jefferson Bible – from which all supernatural aspects were removed.
 "In God we trust" has nothing whatsoever to do with the Founding Fathers:
The phrase appears to have originated in "The Star-Spangled Banner", written during the War of 1812.
If only some people would read something other than the Bible they may not sound so ignorant when they try to express themselves.

Moron "Crazies"

But wait there's more:
The president also questioned the ideological consistency of those who champion free-market solutions — except when the free market is pointing to the wisdom of renewable energy. He singled out billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who are major donors to Republican political candidates.

"It's one thing if you're consistent in being free market," Obama said. "It's another thing when you're free market until it's solar that's working and people want to buy, and suddenly you're not for it anymore. That's a problem."

In a statement, Koch Industries' Philip Ellender said the company "supports all forms of energy, but we believe they need to stand on their own merits. Koch has consistently lobbied for the repeal of taxpayer-funded subsidies and mandates. Even though they may benefit us in the short-term, we will continue to fight these market-distorting policies and special deals, and we will continue to call them what they are — corporate welfare."

Obama said the economics are now such that "solar isn't just for the green crowd any more, it's" for the green-eyeshade crowd too."
I very much dislike it when someone co-opts a word or phrase and uses it in a deceitful way. Somehow the word or phrase that is used to critique someone is turned around and used to critique the critic. Here we have Koch Industries using the phrase corporate welfare, which is usually used to critique large corporations, being co-opted in a truly bizarre way. I'll concede that Elon Musk and General Electric don't need corporate welfare. However, much of the "taxpayer-funded subsidies and mandates" go to smaller companies, some of which are not profitable. I'm not sure if the Kochs think that tax rebates and credits are corporate welfare. These rebates and credits go to individual homeowners as well as small businesses. People who support solar are trying to help save Mother Earth, unlike the Kochs who are part of the industries trying to destroy her.

I want to reiterate something I said in an earlier post: "Jimmy Carter was a futuristic visionary. That is my opinion of him." Only two presidents have had solar installed at the White House, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. Reagan took down what Carter had installed, and Bush The First, Clinton The First, and Bush The Second didn't seem to care at all.

You may ask yourself "Where Did the Carter White House's Solar Panels Go?"

To be fair to George W. Bush I will include this:
Already, certain buildings on the grounds of the federal landmark employ solar power, courtesy of the National Park Service and President George W. Bush.
And to complain more about the Koch Brothers I will include this:
Yet, the U.S. invests only $5 billion yearly on energy research and development at present—roughly one seventh what China spent last year—and private industry has never filled the gap.
That's from five years ago, things have probably changed.

Coming Out As An Atheist

Over at Why Evolution Is True there is a discussion about atheists "coming out". For years I have mulled over this and other related themes.

I agree with Richard Dawkins and his opinion that religion is a form of child abuse:

Faith can be very very dangerous, and deliberately to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong.
Don't ever tell a child "you belong to this religion" that is child abuse.
I have read various thoughts on this matter, many of which I agree with. I have not discovered anyone who shares some of my opinions on this matter, thoughts that seem to be unique to me, and my way of thinking.

I have read criticisms of the indoctrination of children by a particular religion, criticisms that I agree with. The fact that so many people belong to a particular religion simply because their parents did proves that this indoctrination works. I think that this indoctrination is child abuse. To me this is some form of nightmarish "ovarian lottery".  A lottery in which everyone is a loser. These criticisms are many and varied and well documented elsewhere.

I will try to describe what I alluded to earlier, that which I have not seen described by anyone else. This indoctrination of children is insidious and monstrous. It is a form of institutionalized, immoral propaganda by institutions that claim the moral high ground. Perhaps parents think they are doing the right thing, after all they were indoctrinated as well. The way that this indoctrination is set up gives very little concern for the dissenting or questioning child. In my case, my parents gave very severe signals that dissent or even questioning doubt would not be tolerated. This is all set up in such a way that a child who thinks for himself is pitted against his own parents. How ethical is that? A child wants to believe his parents. To put a child into a position of basically telling his parents that they are liars is horrendous. If a child who disbelieves decides to go along with the status quo the child either ends up lying to their parents or they end up lying to themselves. No matter what the child decides, he or she is left in a no-win situation. That is my position on this matter and it is one reason I have tried not to "come out" to my parents.

Trying to spare my parents pain and hurt worked out in regards to my father. He is dead now and as far as I know never knew that I am an atheist. Somehow my mother found out. She is in her nineties and confined to a wheel chair in a nursing home. Recently, to my surprise, she brought up the topic of my disbelief. "What did I do wrong?" she said. "Did I not raise you right?" she said. This is why I did not want to come out to my parents. I did not want to hurt them. I do not know who told my mother that I don't believe in the God that she believes in.

This has been difficult to write about.

Obama And The Crazies

Barack Obama strikes me as being rather intelligent. I wonder why it has taken him so long to notice the "crazies"?

Do you remember the Jeremiah Wright controversy I think this was the first time that Obama had the opportunity to confront the "crazies", but instead it seems that he "went down to the crossroads" and sold his "soul" in order to be elected president. I don't understand why the truth is controversial. In my opinion Jeremiah Wright was simply speaking the truth back in 2008. Even though I am not a fan of politics in the pulpit, we still have freedom of speech. I also think that discourse is extremely important, and that sometimes the most important things to listen to are those that you disagree with.

Back in 2008 Obama was "outraged" by what Wright had said and Obama resigned his membership in Wright's church. To me this was a bad sign for someone about to swear an oath to “...solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Now, I know that freedom of speech is a two-way street. You may have an opinion or thought about something, and my opinion may be completely the opposite of yours. However, we both have the right to express ourselves, so technically Obama did nothing wrong, except metaphorically stab his pastor in the back for his own gain. So much for "hope" and "change". Jeremiah Wright's position back in 2008 was basically anti-war. It was a position shared by many leftists, liberals and progressives. Barack Obama chose to take the side of the war-mongering right wing "crazies" in order to be elected.

If only Obama had been feeling "feisty" back in 2008...

Roomba Ruminations - Part One

As I am writing this, I am also vacuuming my house. Impossible you say? I lie. Technically, I'm not vacuuming my house. A robot is doing that chore.

Roombas are very cool. They are simply amazing. I was surprised that they work as well as they do. They move themselves around constantly picking up the crud from your floors. They work well on any kind of floor or carpet. They are a little over three inches tall, so they can clean under furniture that is difficult to clean with a conventional vacuum. There are no attachments or hoses to wrangle with. They flash lights, make beeping sounds, and even speak, all to inform you of various things. They are battery operated. There is no cord to trip over. If their battery needs charging, they travel to the "dock". This is their home where they "rest" and recharge their battery. Humans need to clean and empty them however. Their design is so well thought out though, that this process is relatively easy, easier than my conventional vacuum. My old vacuum sometimes helps with this procedure. I don't know how he feels about being demoted, because he doesn't talk.

I feel like George Jetson with Rosie. Although when the roomba docks itself I feel like I'm watching a starship on Star Trek being docked.

Roombas are a little bit expensive, but I think they are worth it. Maybe someday I'll buy the Ava 500, (in the Jetsons Rosie the Robot was model number XB-500) but only if I can make it into the robot version of Sheldon Cooper.

I am done writing this post, and the sound of dulcet electronic tones inform me that my roomba has docked.

Quote Of Note - Mayim Bialik

"It leads to a lot of interesting conversations that I welcome, but a lot of people want to open up a conversation just to tell you you're wrong." - Mayim Bialik

Monday, August 24, 2015

What Would Jesus Do?

I'd like to think this is an all purpose answer to the question "What would Jesus Do?":

“Jesus would puke,” said Reverend Nancy Jo Kemper, the leader of the New Union Christian Church in Lexington.
It's fun to take things out of context.

In my previous post I wrote: "I don't understand the need for all of these war words. Why does Christianity need defending?" Jeffrey Taylor tells us more about violent and weaponized Christians, and this time it's real and not metaphor:
When the pastor and his sheep started “brainstorming about what to do with the area,” writes Al Ratcliffe for, “the idea of a gun range came up.”

Why? This doesn’t sound like your grandmother’s church. Wait, grandma might well be among the budding sharpshooters!

“We had quite a number of church members, some elderly ladies, for example,” says Guin, “and some not so elderly women that had purchased guns, but didn’t know how to use them.” Ratcliffe does not explore why this should be a church’s business, but one can assume that God and guns naturally go together down there. They certainly do for Guin, who, moreover, hopes to turn firing lead through bull’s eyes into something akin to an encounter with the godhead; he’s establishing a ministry on his newly fashioned target range.

“This is an opportunity for us to reach out in the name of Jesus Christ in a setting that is completely unique,” Guin tells us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, "Ready, Aim, Fire!" It's the Christian thing to do.

I Call Shenanigans

Words matter. It is deceitful to use a word to mean something it does not mean. Dave Armstrong should revisit the 8th commandment.

Dave Armstrong is a writer for Patheos. His bio is posted on his site. In part it says:

Dave Armstrong is a Catholic author and apologist, who has been actively proclaiming and defending Christianity since 1981, and Catholicism in particular since 1991...
Ted Cruz sees an "assault on faith", others see "militant atheists" and others see a need to "defend" Christianity. This here means war, I guess. I don't understand the need for all of these war words. Why does Christianity need defending? The dictionary gives one definition of defend as "to maintain or support in the face of argument or hostile criticism". I think that Christians need to convince themselves of their faith and that is the reason they become so defensive. By the way all of the above war labels like "militant atheist" come from the religious. Atheists do not define themselves in those terms. At least I haven't come across any that do. Most of us dislike those descriptions.

Later on Armstrong's bio says:
Dave was received into the Catholic Church in February 1991, by the late, well-known catechist and theologian, Fr. John A. Hardon, S. J.
It's kind of a low blow to emphasize a Catholic priest named Father Hardon, but I simply couldn't pass this by. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humour. Also, Dave seems rather proud of his association with Father Hardon. It seems to me that Father Hardon should have moved to Fucking, Austria. Either that or maybe a name change was in order. Sometimes it seems like The Onion is hacking other websites and sneaking in little tidbits. Or maybe sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Enough of all this silliness.

I call shenanigans because of this:
My bottom line point in all this is that atheism requires as much faith as Christianity does...
No. No No. A thousand or more times no.  My dictionary defines an atheist as "a person who believes that God does not exist". Atheism does not require any faith, it requires a lack of faith, no faith at all. Faith does not exist in this equation.

Armstrong's post is all about how atheists didn't seem to realize that a previous post was sarcasm. It is a really strange and tedious rant.

Perhaps this is the strangest part:
Y’all need to lighten up! It’s satirical humor. Have you never read satire? Never watched Saturday Night Live or read the Harvard Lampoon or watched Monty Python or Stephen Colbert or listened to Rush Limbaugh? If so, did you take every word of those things literally (as mine were approached)?
Rush Limbaugh, satirist? I think that explains a lot.

I really hope that my writing is not as tedious as Dave Armstrong’s is. To each his own I suppose, but his style is very difficult to understand. Perhaps that is why he is complaining about all the atheists that misunderstood him.

Julian Bond Did Not Believe In God

"You're not a believer, are you?"


The Boy Scouts Still Ban Atheists

I have read about the Boy Scouts and gays. I did not know about the Boy Scouts and atheists:

Last month, the Boy Scouts of America voted to eliminate their ban on gay scout leaders. This is of course a welcome change, but the Boy Scouts still ban atheists from their ranks. We want this ban to end, and we want you to help us!
Read more here if you want more information.

It seems that there are still things that need to change before the United States is truly about equality and freedom.


Water is essential to human life, religion is not. Some people have easy access to water, some do not. Some people are discriminated against, some are not. Some people get a lot of attention paid to them, some get almost none. Some people have lived in the United States for a long time, others have not.

Not too long ago, CBS Sunday Morning, which I watch religiously every Sunday, ran a segment called The Water Lady: A savior among the Navajo:

It's easy to miss this corner of the Navajo Nation, just 100 miles west of Albuquerque. Most things pass the Reservation right by, including progress.

Many of the roads here are unpaved. Electricity is spotty. Unemployment in the area hovers near 70 percent.

But perhaps most shocking of all? An estimated 40 percent of the people who live here don't have access to running water.

"We don't use the sink because there's no running water," said Loretta Smith.
Smith and her husband share a small mobile home with their disabled seven-year-old granddaughter, Brianna.

With no indoor plumbing, what little water the family has inside is carried in, bucket by bucket, stored in plastic barrels outside.

Cowan asked, "Do you feel sort of forgotten out here?"

"Yes, for sure," said Smith.

The area's main source of drinking water is miles away, in the parking lot of the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission, in the town of Thoreau, New Mexico.

Getting water here can mean a 100-mile round trip for some families, and the Mission's office manager, Cindy Howe, says many don't even have access to a car.

So what happens when they run out? "If they don't have any water, it's just, they don't have any water," said Howe.
This is a story that I had not heard before, yet nearly every day I hear the story of how bad the drought in California is:
On a recent sweltering Saturday afternoon, I submerged my guilt and filled the bathtub halfway for my 3-year-old twins to play in.

It was their first bath in months. The early childhood rituals of spiky-haired tub photos and endless play in lukewarm bath water are foreign concepts to our two girls, who were born in 2011 at the beginning of an epic drought in California that shows no sign of abating.

I told them this was a treat — an exception to the five-minute shower rule strictly enforced by my husband — and reveled in their delight as they pretended to be mermaids, floated and splashed each other with glee.
A tap that provides water is better than one that does not. Don't get me wrong, I feel for all of these people. I am not trying to make the mother in California into a villain. This mother actually uses the water shortage to teach her children some very valid lessons. My point is about some water versus no water. It is about how the media frequently does not care to run stories about the disenfranchised. Thank you CBS Sunday Morning for providing your informative piece on the plight of the Navajo.

Allow me to explain my opening paragraph:

Water is essential to human life, religion is not. Ted Cruz was foremost in my mind when I wrote this. Anger wells up inside of me when he goes on and on about "religious persecution". He cares more about "long-standing monuments" than he does about people. Let me clarify things a little bit. The "long-standing monuments" Cruz is referring to are specifically Christian, and Cruz does care about people, as long as they are Christian. Ted Cruz is running for President. His priorities are completely out of whack. Children without water should matter more to a Presidential candidate than imaginary "assaults" on Christians.

Some people have easy access to water, some do not. Well, I already covered this.

Some people are discriminated against, some are not. I partially covered this, however, the words of Ted Cruz resurface here again. The Navajo face actual discrimination and persecution. Ted Cruz seems to only care about imaginary discrimination and persecution. He should be like Lee Cowan (CBS Sunday Morning) and talk about real problems. He could also talk about his proposed solutions to real problems. Instead, his best proposal to the imaginary problem of atheist "assaults" on Christians is an imaginary one, which is to associate atheists with the Taliban.

Some people get a lot of attention paid to them, some get almost none. I'll ask some questions to illustrate this one. How often do you see news about Ted Cruz? How often do you see news about the California drought? How often do you see news about the water problems of the Navajo?

Some people have lived in the United States for a long time, others have not. Once again Ted Cruz is bellowing inside my brain. Cruz was born in Canada, I'm sure that the Navajo children without water were probably born in the United States. Cruz's father was born in Cuba, and two of his paternal great-grandparents were from the Canary Islands in Spain. I am not a nationalist, I am in favour of "no countries" therefore none of this really matters to me other than the fact that it helps me make my point. In the spirit of fairness I searched the internet for Cruz's position on immigration and had a hard time finding anything of substance. Ixquick says his official site is Looking at this site is revealing. I can't help but think of all the televangelists, those of little substance and factual evidence, but lots of self-promotion and pleas for your money. My search revealed that Cruz has said:  “There are 110,000 agents at the IRS. We need to put a padlock on that building and take every one of those 110,000 agents and put them on our southern border.” That statement seems to be more about the IRS than immigration, yet it does reveal his build a wall and keep them out mentality.

I also found:
At one point, Cruz was interrupted by a small group of immigration protesters holding a sign that read, "CITIZENSHIP NOW."

"I appreciate your expressing your First Amendment rights," Cruz said. "You're welcome to come to a town hall and I'll answer your question. Tonight, we're focusing on religious liberty."

"U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.," the audience chanted as they were escorted out by event staff.
It seems that "religious liberty" and "religious persecution" are the only things he will talk about. They are not the only things he wants to talk about, they are literally the only things he will talk about, and if you want to discuss something else you will be escorted out. End of discussion. To be fair he does talk about other topics, but he sure does love the religion theme.

I also found Ted Cruz on Immigration:
  • End Obama's illegal amnesty via Congress' checks & balances. (Nov 2014)
  • Defund amnesty; and refuse any nominees until rescinded. (Nov 2014)
  • No path to citizenship for 1.65 million illegals in Texas. (Oct 2012)
  • Give police more power to ask about immigration status. (Jun 2012)
  • Boots on the ground, plus a wall. (Apr 2012)
  • Triple the size of the Border Patrol. (Mar 2012)
  • Strengthen border security and increase enforcement. (Jul 2011)
If you are still with me, my point here has been said by others before. It is a simple and perhaps simplistic one. It is that the Native Americans were here first. We took away their land, many of their lives, their lifestyle, and their water. Perhaps we need to remember this before we pontificate on the issue of immigration.

If our "do nothing Congress" ever decides to do something, I hope the first thing they do is to solve the problem of water for the Navajo.

Christian Cheating Curiosity

YouTube star Sam Rader has been making a living from video blogging about his faith and his family values, along with his wife, Nia. Naturally, his fans were surprised to find his name on the recently released list of paid Ashley Madison members. The couple say that the issue is in their past, and that Nia has already forgiven Sam. Sam says he never used the site to cheat, and only opened the account out of curiosity, HollywoodLife reports.
I am curious about what he was curious about.