Friday, April 30, 2010

Mostly Noise

I so rarely talk about myself in my blogs, but frankly I’ve worked so much the last few weeks I have no idea what’s going on in the world. I think something about oil happened, and I assume most people are still angry about politics. Otherwise, I have no clue as to what’s new.

Tonight I got out of work early (about 3:30pm), after getting out at 6pm or so the previous three nights. My wife left at 3pm to visit friends in New Jersey, and this may be one of the last chances she has before we move to the *sigh* south. So what did I do with the first free time to myself I’ve had all week?

After walking my dog, Barkley, I plugged in my guitar. Playing early 90’s rock is sort of like a religious experience, and by that I mean any moron can do it. Yet, it’s so satisfying.

Music is a funny thing. I imagine some people (myself included) have found themselves pondering the human aspect of music, but music has nothing to do with humanity. Nor is the creation of music restricted to living things. Appreciation for music is special, though again not distinctly human. At least it appears to be restricted to life.

One thing I do know is human: strumming away on a Mexican Fender Fat Strat with Duncan Seymour Pearly Gates through a Boss DS-1 distortion pedal and a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp. These were the fruits of my labor from my first summer jobs in high school.

I wonder what I’ll buy with my first paycheck…

[For those of you who wonder how I sound when I play, see title.]

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Word: Slacktivism

Slacktivism: the attempt to do good without getting up
(e.g. internet petitions, bumper stickers, political T-shirts, Facebook groups, one-day “boycotts,” blog posts...)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Two Cultures

When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
~ C.P. Snow

Snow was introduced to me initially by my Classics professor in college. I was taking an introductory course when I changed majors, one of these unstructured meet-and-greet forums for the professors of the Humanities department.

The class met one night a week, was a single credit, and it was graded pass/fail. Every three weeks the professor would cycle to a different member of the Humanities faculty. We mostly discussed the types of classes offered and were let out early.

I had just switched out of an intensive major in health sciences and would be getting a joint major in humanities. Since I had more than fulfilled all of the science requirements for my new dual-discipline major, I had a year and a half of what we science students called “blow-off classes.” The orientation class was no different, but one professor took it seriously… and I learned that he took everything seriously.

This was years ago, before I met my wife, but I remember it like it was yesterday. He came into class in what I would later found was his typical tweed suit complete with shirt and tie. To this day, he’s the only man who wears a tie that I have ever respected, besides my father. He began his lecture with a question: “What is an intellectual?”

I quickly raised my hand and said something like “An individual who is recognized for their intelligence.” He said that was an acceptable definition. Then he went around the room, ending with me, asking for the name of someone we think is an intellectual.

Only four of the five students signed up for the class had shown up, and the answers everyone gave were awful. I remember only one of them: Ken Jennings, the guy who (at the time) was winning on Jeopardy a lot. I remember scoffing at the same time the professor did.

When it came to be my turn, I had settled on Gore Vidal. When he asked me why I chose him, I said that I believed he was a man whose ideas were ahead of the times in which he had them, and that America is still trying to catch up. He nodded and just moved on.

The Professor then proceeded to instruct us to read the one book we had been required to buy for the class, a short work by C.P. Snow entitled “The Two Cultures.” Everyone groaned. Reading for an orientation class? This guy was nuts!

I think I was the only one who read it. It was an interesting, if not dated, work. It hearkened back to a time when scientists were cold and heartless drones doing their busy work in the labs, while the artists and religious scholars warned of the cold and distant nature of science. It is a book that may have been very accurate at one time in England (mid 20th century), but was probably never relevant to America.

The specifics are immaterial. The idea of the book is one of eternal and universal social importance: there are two dominant attitudes which pervade society, and both are doomed to misunderstand the other.

America’s situation is different: most liberal artists have jumped on board with science, despite having only a cursory understanding of it, while the entrepreneurs and business men have associated themselves with religion, and not science. This is all an incidental alignment which stems from the Cold War: capitalism allied with religion to ward off the dirty communist atheists and their army of liberal ideas (which were in turn adopted by the fringe, such as artists and academics).

It is strange that we find ourselves in this scenario, because the main premise of “The Two Cultures” is the notion that, if only those who studied science and humanities worked together, we would be able to solve the problems in our world.

This has turned out to be partially false: what divides America is intellectualism versus anti-intellectualism. The intellectuals have long since synergized the two fields of art and science, but they meet constant resistance from the woefully uneducated ranks of consumers and believers.

Business and religion share a common need: stupid, obedient people. Businesses need dumb customers who will buy whatever they are told, and religions need followers who will believe what is preached. As businesses seek brand loyalty and religions try to fill the pews, it is up to scientists and artists to encourage skepticism.

None of this was discussed in the short time we spent talking about the book, but I did expound upon these ideas in the assigned essay. I ended up taking both classes he taught: Greek and Roman Philosophy, and Greek and Roman Religion. His door remained open to me long after I graduated, and I track him down whenever I encounter something from the ancient world that I don’t understand.

I wish everyone had experts they could consult whenever they misunderstood something. With all the university budget cuts, professors being denied tenure, and academic hiring freezes, there will be a glut of educated individuals with lots of time on their hands. Finding an intellectual with time to shoot the shit will be a lot easier.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Decyphering Conservative

Tea Partiers, Republicans, and conservatives of every stripe throw a few terms around that go flying over the heads of most liberals. As a service, I have written this aid to help translate rhetoric from Conservatese to plain American English:

Entitlement = Charity that can be acquired without having to sit through a sermon.

Socialism = (see: entitlement)

Word Counts on Legislation = Conservatives hate reading.

We Want Our Country Back! = … from the Black, Muslim, Kenyan, Socialist, Nazi foreigner who is after our guns and white women!

Regime = Scary word they heard liberals using during the Bush years.

Liberal Bias = Anything not originating from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Lew Rockwell…

Police State = Remember the Wild West? I do, from all those movies I saw growing up… I want to live there.

Career politician = Too much experience is bad. [Conservatives are retarded, and they want their leaders to be represent them.]

Revolution = Maybe the threat of violence will keep the Commies in line…

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Comment Moderation

As a general rule, I stop reading blogs that moderate comments. Even if the blog owner is an internet-addicted insomniac who is online 24/7, there will be delay between comment submissions and their publication. This delay is reason enough for me to never enable such a feature.

There are plenty of comments I delete, which is sad. Perhaps I should leave up every Asian dating website link, every non-sequitur invitation to an ad-splashed blog about business/finance, even every record of a person deleting a post or posting a comment twice accidentally. But the comments I am most conflicted about are comments made by one DM, aka Dave Mabus, real name Dennis Markuze of Montreal, Canada.

Most Recent Photo of Dennis Markuze

DM’s comments are annoying for a few reasons. He copies and pastes the same quasi-gibberish comment on all recently updated blogs at the top of Mojoey’s Atheist Blogroll. Part of DM’s goal is to cause atheist sites to moderate their comments, which I gather from the statements that begin many of his postings. My best DM impersonation of this opening:


I don’t think enabling comment moderation is an acceptable solution. One could remove oneself from the blogroll, but why should a blogger disengage from a shared community simply because of some jackass Canuck?

Frankly, I don’t find it frustrating to simply delete his comments when I get around to it. I know for a fact that I enjoy deleting them more than he enjoys posting them. His posts are also entertaining to people who find his antics to be novel. Not everyone has had contact with someone who believes Nostradamus predicted that Depeche Mode would usher in the apocalypse.

But there are those who have watched him harass the atheist/skeptic community for a while, and it seems some of those people believe leaving his comments up for any length of time will give him undo attention. Perhaps as a result of this mentality, many atheist blogs require comments to be approved before posting. They find DM and those like him to be disruptive.

Which brings me to another annoying aspect of DM’s comments: they are very long. He isn’t writing much, but he spaces it out so that his comments take up a screen or two. I think it’s pretty obvious that this is purely by design. Combined with the tangential nature of his comments, it would be hard to argue that his comments are anything but disruptive spam.

Yet, I don’t like deleting his comments. I usually do, but not always. I wish he would read the post he is commenting on and address what is said, but I guess that’s too much to ask. I would like nothing more than for a crazy religious person to come to my site and react to my posts with violent rage, since:

1. threats don’t scare me, they energize me.
2. it means I hit a nerve.
3. public rage is entertaining.
4. it’s just another thing to talk about.

I don’t want to give this DM guy attention, but it’s not like my tiny little blog post read by 10-20 people will make any difference. If you really want to stop people like DM, just ignore him… or write an entire blog post about him, which he won’t read, but will undoubtedly comment on immediately upon publication.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Regulation: The Most Beautiful Word…

… in the political language.

Regulation almost sounds like a sexual thing, something you might get arrested for doing in the 1940’s. “Yeah, they picked him up for regulating in a state park.”

I know I can safely classify someone as ill informed if they advocate “less regulation.” We need far more regulations, I assure you, and it is regulation that makes America great.

What is the Constitution? It is a giant list of regulations… on the government. About the only thing the Constitution specifically orders the government to do is… anyone? Bueller?

Conduct a census every ten years.

I find it odd that people who talk about how we need to protect and cherish the Constitution are also vocally against the Census.

The Constitution is, by and large, a set of regulations on the government. As it turns out, those with power sometimes wield it abusively, so regulating those with power is a great idea. The problem is, power does not lie exclusively in the hands of government.

Well, this isn’t a “problem” in and of itself. Government does not need to have all the power, nor does it necessarily even need to be the most powerful entity, but it must maintain the authority to regulate anything (though a great many things need little or no regulation).

Sometimes you lack something for so long, you forget why you got rid of it in the first place. Case in point: kings. Kings are a really bad idea. Putting a country’s power in the hands of one man curses a nation to the fickle fate of the monarch.

As it turns out, the king uses most of his power defending his power, and the well-being of the nation is largely forgotten. The king is more concerned with the politics of the nobles who oppose him than of the common people who barely exist to him.

In my view, kings are not exclusively heads of state. A king is merely one who wields vast amounts of power in a unilateral fashion. There are dozens of kings in America, and they wear suits and power ties to work. They are more powerful than the government, and their wealth affords them the ability to literally buy the “right” to exploit people, not only in spite of the government, but under its legislative protection. These kings even get bailed out when their risky behavior derails the gravy train.

When I hear people talk about “less regulation,” I hear a fool who fails to see the problem. The government has been bought because power was allowed to be concentrated in the hands of a few. We have welcomed and fostered the foul specter of Nobility, that grotesque beast that cast us out of Europe.

It is the nobility who look upon the practices of the common folk with disgust and demand they be outlawed. They seek to bury common people in complexities and inconveniences, all while denying them basic pleasures. The drug war, the tax code, the difficulty of running your own business, censorship… these are tools of the nobility that are used to keep the cattle under control. These are not “regulations,” they are un-Constitutional burdens masquerading as legitimate legislation.

To me, Liberty means freedom from government oppression, privatized exploitation, and individual criminals. There will be laws passed which will be unjust and need to be repealed, but that does not mean government is evil. There will be companies that create dangerous products that need to be regulated, but this does not mean the free market is wrong. There will be individuals who harm others, but this does not mean people are essentially bad.

Liberty is not an heirloom handed down to us by past generations, it is an on-going struggle which each of us can choose to participate in or ignore. It is a multiple-front war, one in which conservatives, libertarians, Tea Partiers, and Republicans have set up their Maginot line facing the government.

The truth is, the government is our ally. In fact, it is the commoner’s outlet of power. The average person has absolutely no power to prevent the actions of the rich, but the collective aggregate of average people select the government.

The government is not the enemy, it is merely an employee we cannot fully control (perhaps because they receive a bigger paycheck from elsewhere…). Every few years we get the chance to fire them, it’s just a shame the hiring pool is so small.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Preliminary Findings: The Quran

I have had a lot less free time lately, but I use what little I have to the fullest. I even keep a Quran by the toilet to read while I shit. This is a great way to read a book that you would never just sit down and finish in a weekend. I once ate Taco Bell two meals a day for a week and a half in order to finish Tom Wolfe’s “The Pump House Gang.” Club-footed Turkish lovers and a young Hugh Hefner… what more can I say?

I’m over half-way through the Quran. If I were a Jewish lawyer in the seventh century, I would have sued Mohammed for plagiarism. The overwhelming majority of what I have read is nothing but a rehashing of the Bible (not just the Old Testament, because Jesus is mentioned a handful of times). Except… people like Abraham, Moses, Aaron, even Jesus and the apostles are referred to as “Muslims.”

This will make sense to anyone familiar with Islam. For one thing, the word “Islam” means “submission,” and it is implied to include “to God/Allah.” In the original Arabic, a Muslim literally means, “one who submits [to the will of God/Allah].” To someone unfamiliar with the linguistic implications, this may appear to be a revisionist history.

This all made me curious: how do Muslims feel about Jacob? It turns out, they consider him a prophet, but little else is said about him. Jacob is ideologically important to Jews. The name Jacob means “heel” in the sense of one who usurps (professional wrestlers use this term in reference to the “bad guy”). Jacob wrestled with an Angel of God, and was renamed Yisra-el, which means “one who struggled with God/El.” The Jewish nation of Israel derives its name from this man.

Jews struggle with god… Muslims submit. It’s not difficult to see why these two can’t seem to get along.

Another strange thing I noticed required a test. I have to restart it and document it better in order to feel satisfied with the science, but from anecdotal evidence I have deduced there is a threat of violence on roughly every other page. Randomly flipping to pages and scanning them yielded a near 50/50 chance of violence against non-believers being glorified, and deciding to include both open pages increased this to over 70%. If you include punishments in the afterlife for those who disobey, I am confident it approaches 90%.

The Quran is, without any shadow of a doubt, the most vile and wretched work the world has ever wrought. People who say, “Islam means peace,” should stop reading gibberish in a language they don’t even understand and wake up to the fact that they follow the most overtly militant ideology I have ever read. I have read many religious texts, myths, fables, I’ve even read the biographies of despots. The Quran makes Mein Kampf look like Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

How brave of me to bash Islam to a bunch of atheists and the occasional Christian…

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Smells Like the Art Teacher’s Office…

It’s April 20th again, and people are all a-giggle about the date. I know what the conservatives are thinking: liberals are celebrating the birthday of their hero, Hitler!

But no, it’s actually the unofficial weed holiday. April 20th is associated with 4:20, which is somehow associated with the ideal time to smoke pot. Some say this was the time after school that kids met to get high, others say there are Grateful Dead connotations, and the most astute might realize that Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” has a numerological connection because 12 times 35 is… 420. Did I just blow your mind?

The origins of 4:20 are as hazy as the history of its criminalization: like most things related to pot, people have largely forgotten.

American cannabis policy is one of the strangest things you’ll ever see. It may never be legalized because it’s not in most people’s interest to legalize it. The drug cartels make a killing off the tax-free black market revenues. Police departments rely upon drug enforcement and fear-mongering to bolster their budgets. Users don’t even seem to care too much… about anything at all.

It took alcohol prohibition 14 years before people fought for its relegalization. Cannabis has been illegal for going on 85 years now. It is winked at by society. Mainstream TV and movies playfully depict its use. Even worse, there are consequences of criminalization.

It’s easier for many minors to acquire cannabis than alcohol or tobacco. Keeping marijuana illegal turns it into a gateway drug, as users scoff at the warnings of other drugs and are also put in contact with other users and dealers who can provide access. Criminalizing something ubiquitous endows law enforcement with the power of discretion, so white college students are verbally warned while black youths are arrested on suspicion.

Famous and successful cannabis smokers include George Clooney, Hunter S. Thompson, Salvador Dali, Oliver Stone, Popeye, Willie Nelson, Macaulay Culkin, Queen Victoria, Johnny Depp, Snoop Doggy Dog, Zarathustra, Woody Harrelson and Al Gore. Famous non-potheads include Genghis Khan, Joseph Stalin, Attila the Hun, Napoleon, and Adolf Hitler. Some say they may not have been motivated to be so evil… had they only smoked pot (medicinally, of course).

It’s strange we decided to legalize marijuana for medicinal use first. Morphine, methamphetamines, and even cocaine are medically used in some capacity, though admittedly not for any disease as humorously named as “glaucoma.” California will be voting to legalize cannabis outright, which is good… because no one should have to tolerate Californians while sober.

Monday, April 19, 2010

False Flags

A false flag operation is an action taken by an organization (A) in an attempt to make it appear to have been an action taken by another organization (B). Generally, group A attempts to make group B appear violent and radical in order to justify a violent and radical reaction against group B.

Tea Partiers have been crying “false flag” and “infiltrator” over counter-protests held last week. Michelle Malkin’s blog suggests methods of identifying offenders, and some of them deserve a look.

The first: Ask them what the tenth amendment states. I plan to test this the next time I have the opportunity, as I doubt most tea-partiers know. I think it would also help tea-partiers if they had paid attention during school when we learned about the Commerce Clause.

The #2 thing to look out for, according to Michelle Malkin, is BO, by which she snidely implies is body odor, not Barrack Obama. I guess she thinks those who oppose the tea party don’t shower. Likewise, you know they’re in the tea party if they smell of Ben-Gay, mothballs, Gold Bond, wooden church pews, or the distinct scent of not giving a shit about anyone else.

Her third criterion is lack of subtlety. This one intrigues me. It’s not that the infiltrators are holding up racist signs that everyone disagrees with… it’s just not subtle enough. “Ima Bigot / Ima Racist / Ima Teabagger” is not subtle enough, try, “We Want Our Country Back!”

At this point, I should point out that I doubt most people who counter-protest at the tea party events are actually “infiltrating.” Trust me, the tea party can embarrass themselves enough that they don’t need outsiders pretending to be them in order to make them look bad.

Can they point to a few people who have tried? I wouldn’t be surprised. If it’s happened (and I bet it has), it’s the best thing that can happen to the Tea Party. The Tea Party should be ostracizing some in their ranks, because plenty of them are bat-shit crazy. It is a good thing when the party is actively disavowing themselves of messages like this.

I don’t want the Tea Party to be racist. I don’t secretly sit here combing for examples to prove their fervor is nothing but deep-seated racism. It would be a huge relief to know there is not a growing militancy in America, that patient and peaceful democracy will not be scurrilously overthrown by blood-thirsty fools.

If they regulate themselves by continuing to reject extremists, it would impress those of us who are skeptical of the Tea Party. If they have to convince themselves it’s actually liberals pretending to be conservatives, so be it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tangible Progress

Like a little socialist butterfly, I find myself fluttering from blog to blog, “defending” Obama. Let me make something clear from the outset: I didn’t vote for Obama, I still do not plan to vote for him in 2012, I did not donate a dollar to him, I don’t even like most of his decisions. That said, I like Obama much better than Bush.

Where is all the hostility directed at Obama coming from? Was America in a stupid-induced coma between 2001 and 2009? Is it leftover rage from the Bush years that people are unable to intellectually separate from the current administration?

Don’t get me wrong, not only “can” you criticize the guy (first amendment…), there are plenty of issues which one could justifiably criticize him for. But where is this vitriolic hatred for the guy (much of it manifested before he even took office) coming from?

I can’t relate to most people’s complaints about the guy. I thought healthcare reform didn’t go nearly far enough and I am dumbfounded at his inability to fulfill simple promises he made that would require little more than a firmly worded memo.

So imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to two pieces of good news. First, insurance companies are going to be mandated by law to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar (85 cents for large-group plans) in premiums on actual medical care (rather than “administrative costs,” i.e. their pockets).

That wasn’t even the best news of the morning (though perhaps it was simply made bitter by the fact that insurance companies are already looking for loopholes). The best news this morning is that Obama decided to finally flex some federal muscle in forcing hospitals that accept Medicaid and Medicare funding to allow homosexual partner visitation privileges.

This has been one of the more heart-wrenching issues in the struggle for gay rights. People were literally dying alone as their partners are forced to sit in waiting rooms. Not only do family-only visitation rights affect homosexuals, it affected childless widows/widowers and unmarried clergy. This sort of thing happens too often, and it is one of the single greatest injustices endured by homosexual couples in America.

If gays are never allowed to serve in the military, I think most people could care less. Steps like this would have never occurred under Bush or any Republican. These little victories prevent me from harboring an irrational hatred for Obama. I would prefer to live in a country without a Democrat or Republican at the helm, but I think it’s better to be wandering lost at sea under a Democrat than to run aground on a reef under a Republican.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ginx’s Wager

(Originally posted here)

I believe nothing happens after we die, which is a terrifying proposition. I do not hope I am right, I merely assume life after death is akin to life before birth.

If I am wrong, one of many things may happen. I may be sent to hell, and there are certainly Christians and Muslims who believe this is quite likely. However, eternal suffering in hell cannot erase the seed of joy I would have knowing that there is justice, that those who do wrong are indeed punished in the hereafter, and that some of those I loved are at peace somewhere.

Then there is the possibility that I will go to heaven. This may be the hardest laugh some of you have all day. Still, there is a non-zero chance. [Just as there is a non-zero chance that every atom in my body will quantum shift perfectly with the atoms of a wall as I run directly at it, allowing me to pass through unfazed.]

However, I might be whisked off by Valkyries to Valhalla, or I may have to pay Charon a coin to cross the Styx, or my heart may be placed on the scales with a feather to see if I may pass on or if I will be devoured by Ammut, or maybe I’ll be reincarnated, or perhaps the thetans inside me will escape to infest another host human body...

Atheism is not appealing. I’d be more than happy to be wrong on the matter of gods. Religion is, unfortunately, the hot chick with nothing going on upstairs.
R. Sherman commented:

[…]Ginx, if you hold that atheism is not appealing, why not explore the possibility of an alternative? After all, there is a Deity or not. It wishes to reveal itself or not. If the […] answer is [the] former, what is the nature of the revelation[?] To dismiss it out of hand because there is not, and cannot be mathematical proof, again, artificially limits the playing field.

I’d like to address R. Sherman’s comment.

First of all… why would one think I have not explored the possibility of deities? I would be willing to bet I know more about any religion than you (including your own, which I know is nothing more than another bland flavor of salvation-chasing Christianity). Theology and mythology are two of my favorite reading topics. I even stated several possible after-death scenarios in my comment.

The next part of his epic fail is to jump to a monotheist/atheist dichotomy. If there are any gods, it is far more likely that there will be more than one. Only four religions in history have ever been monotheistic (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and an ancient form of Aten worship which lasted only a few decades). Who here is artificially limiting the playing field?

Then, there is the small matter of the three Abrahamic faiths splintering into several thousand sects, factions, denominations, cults, creeds, schools, doctrines, congregations and churches… but they are startlingly similar looking to those who do not affiliate with (or kill/die for) them. I am aware of the “vast” differences in just how Jesus Christ saves your soul, but really it’s all the same: muttering, standing, sitting, singing, reading, listening, shaking hands, eating. Frankly, anything extending far beyond that is just freaky (e.g. glossalalia, i.e. “speaking in tongues” [how often do I get to use two abbreviated Latin phrases in the same parenthetical comment?]).

Even if you count every different branch of Jewish, Christian and Muslim theology independent of the other, the majority of world religions (past and present) still believe in many gods. Do monotheists consider the possibility of that alternative?

Next, I am asked to consider the epistemology of revelation. Epistemology is the study of truth, or more accurately, how one determines truth. Revelation is not a form of truth, it is a function of creativity. All revelation originates in the mind of the “prophet” (which I believe derives from the Sanskrit word for “liar”). The true nature of “revelation” is to attach authority to an idea. “God said X, therefore X is true. Go do X.” Funny how X always seems to benefit the priests. This is flawed at its most basic level.

The basis for revelation’s authority is usually predicated on things like prophecy, which oracles have successfully convinced societies is possible since the beginning of recorded history. Again, this is also a function of human creativity, in this case vague poetry, post-hoc analysis, and various other well documented and understood linguistic and psychological tricks.

Finally, he suggests I should not dismiss religion simply because it lacks mathematical proof. I have news for anyone in doubt: I do not live my life by equations. Even my wife, who is a Ph.D candidate working with numbers all day, does not live her life by numbers. No one should, and I doubt anyone can.

Regarding science, I don’t understand a great many things about it. However, I have noticed it is often far more successful than religion. In the real world, I observe religion claiming to heal the sick, but medicine puts it to shame. Religion claims to make people moral, yet atheists commit less crime and they even have low divorce rates (though I think this has more to do with intelligence than morality).

Why assume I have not given religion a try? And let’s be honest, he only cares if I accept Jesus as my personal savior; it has nothing to do with religion in general. Like most atheists, I was raised by religious parents. Atheists don’t have many kids, yet the number of atheists is increasing rapidly, especially among the young. Why? Personally, I felt nothing. I tried lots of different approaches, and yet every time I found myself staring into a void.

I just don’t hear the voices, and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

White and Black, But Never Green: The Flavors of the Tea Party

There are liberals lined up for miles ready to criticize the Tea Party. As liberals are wont to do, they have decided to appeal to emotions rather than conduct a cerebral assault on the what is easily the most intellectually devoid political movement in history.

Pop quiz: In 2009, the marginal Federal tax rate for those making over $150,000 a year has:
a. gone up
b. stayed the same
c. gone down

If you asked a Tea Partier, they’d probably answer A. The truth is that tax rates have not gone up, while the tax brackets have adjusted for inflation. One might be able to argue B is correct, as it is possible that once all deductions, credits, etc. have been made, most families will pay similar or comparable taxes, especially if adjusted for inflation. Liberals might rush to say it has gone down, but again… inflation.

Obama is claiming “95% of working households” will benefit from “tax cuts,” but this is misleading and inaccurate. Retirees, the unemployed, the disabled, and other non-working households will not benefit from Obama’s work-incentive tax credits (not cuts), and one source estimates this to be closer to 75% of total households (as opposed to “working households” at a time when unemployment is rampant).

You won’t get any of this information from a Tea Partier, which is odd. This group constantly talks about taxes, and they even named themselves after a Colonial taxation protest. Yet somehow… they don’t know a damn thing about taxes. That’s odd, huh? Not when you consider the fact that Americans were taxed less than citizens living in England, yet we threw a hissy fit after we lost our free ride. I suspect we have always been this stupid.

Taxes aren’t the only thing you’ll hear talked (or shouted) about at Tea Party rally. You won’t go far before you see someone holding up a sign emblazoned with a swastika, or Obama sporting a Hitler-stache, or someone calling Obama a Nazi (but some would rather use another “n” word). Yes, there are racists at this rally who hate Obama mostly because of his race. Conservatives need to get over this fact.

Liberals jump at the opportunity to define the Tea Party by this segment, deeming the whole movement purely racist. This is odd, considering there are black people at the rallies. Tea Partiers rush to disavow the “small” coterie of extremists of every stripe, from racist to anarchist… who remain and add an eerily welcome militancy to the group as a whole.

I don’t think every person who self-affiliates as a Tea Partier is racist. Some are just plain stupid. It’s not that disagreeing with Obama makes you racist or stupid… it’s listening to Sarah Palin and finding her inspirational that does it.

While you won’t see many signs or hear people shouting about it, the environment is an important issue for most Tea Partiers. For some reason, it’s very important to them that we trash the Earth. Most of them are retired old fossils with the money and time to go to stupid events to hear Alaskan beauty pageant failures wax philosophy. Why would they care what happens to the planet in fifty years when they’re going to keel over with clogged arteries in ten? Besides, none of that is going to matter when Jesus comes down from the clouds…

All in all, the Tea Party leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I look forward to them running candidates who will leech votes away from Republicans. Now, if only Democrats would get a pair of neuticles

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hyphen Nation

This one’s for feeno, whose comment got buried in the mess of my last post.

I think the hyphenation craze is an utter rape of the English language. When I heard French citizen and NBA basketball player Tony Parker described as an “African-American,” I didn’t have to look any further for evidence. If you think about it, there are all kinds of stupid problems of logic involved. Dave Matthews and Charlize Theron are both from South Africa and reside in America... are they African-Americans?

What is it all about, anyway? Black people born in America are more American than African, and why should they have any connection to a land that sold them to white people? It’s not as though Europeans netted black people in Africa and brought them to America; before Europeans showed up, slavery was already alive and well in Africa (and Europe, for that matter, where the Slavic people lend their name to the modern word, “slave”).

If you have to make the distinction, just use black. Since I find race to be largely unimportant, I find myself using this term very, very rarely.

Another one I hate: Native American. First of all, they aren’t native. They immigrated several thousand years before Europeans, but they immigrated nonetheless. Secondly, I doubt they want the association of the term “American,” considering the pain caused by America and the fact that they were only granted American rights within the lifetime of some still living. Finally, they would prefer to be called what they are: Cherokee, Navajo, etc. If you have to lump them together for some purpose (again, something I find myself doing quite rarely), try “First Nations” or just “tribes,” perhaps with some indicator of the region from which they hailed (the Great Plains, the Mojave, etc.).

While I’m on hyphens, I hate hyphenated names, as well. Can you imagine two people with hyphenated names marrying each other? I don’t even want to imagine how many aging hippies would be dancing to Grateful Dead music at that reception. It also negates the “What is your mother’s maiden name?” security question.

Women are not liberated by hyphenated names, just as black people are not being treated any better if they are called African-American in polite company. Awkward wording is not compensation for equality.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Peak at Ginx IRL

The past month or so has been quite busy for me. My wife got a job offer, so I’m moving down to the *sigh* south. I look forward to continuing our war of northern aggression on the “Americans” who wouldn’t even be able to call themselves that if their ancestors hadn’t made such shitty soldiers.

Anyway… I also got a job offer, and I start training this Monday. I even get paid for training. It would be the first paycheck I earned since I was laid off last year, except…

On Tuesday, I had jury duty. It was at 8:15am. I’m kind of a morning person, so not a big deal. I woke up, walked to the train station, took the train downtown, and found the building. Metal detectors, forms, waiting, waiting, waiting… I was juror number 52 in my group, which is great, because that meant I was probably not going to be one of the first 15 picked. They start at 1 and eliminate until they fill the jury, then the rest go home.

The problem is, we got moved from the comfy waiting area to a courtroom with uncomfortable wooden benches, where we watched a video and sat for two hours until eleven. Then they gave us a two hour lunch. Now, the summons said not to bring a cell phone, so I didn’t. This meant I had no way of telling time. Luckily, I knew of a Wendy’s downtown that was next to a bank. They had one of those clocks with the temperature scrolling by. So I sat down in Wendy’s, had my lunch, and read Norse Mythology until 12:30.

Back at the courthouse, we wait another two hours on the hard wooden pews that remind me of church. Then all sixty of us move up to the fifth floor in shifts by elevator. We stand around for another hour and a half until… the judge approaches us with the words we all want to hear:

“I want to first say thank you, your service is up.”

She then explained that the trial wasgoing through difficulties. It was a death penalty case that would have taken at least two weeks, so everyone went from whiney to elated in an instant. I secretly wonder if it was a lie to make us feel better (I wouldn’t put it past them). Then again, the truth is often stranger than fiction.

During one of the long waits, I was in a conversation about the selection, and a guy said he had been picked recently. He points out there’s over a million people in the city but they said they only take 85,000 jurors per year on some old tape we watched. I pointed out that some people aren’t eligible, like children or non-citizens. He scoffed and said, “Well if they’re not a citizen, they should get the fuck out.”

I rolled my eyes in lieu of kicking him in the balls. “Yeah… except more immigrants are here legally, not everyone hops the Mexican border. And you know what? If they make it up to Pennsylvania, I think they’ve proven their dedication.”

In my head after: “What’d you do to enter this country? Fall out of some dumb bitch’s cunt who couldn’t teach her kid any better? You’re white ass is gonna stand here on American soil and act like you bloomed from the fucking ground? It’s people like you who should get the fuck out. Go back to the fucking fatherland where you can be surrounded by your inbred kind.”

I swear, no matter where you go, dumb people manage to cross the street without dying. It’s a crying shame. This is the only consolation I can take from knowing I’m moving to the south. I’m leaving these Mid-Atlantic racists for southern racists.

I have to say, people here are specific racists. They divide white people up into every possible distinction: Jewish, Scottish, Irish, English, Dutch, German, Austrian, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Norwegian, Italian, Sicilian… it’s pretty fucking specific. I don’t know about you guys, but my eyesight isn’t good enough for me to physically be that racist. I would need a new pair of glasses if I was going to commit to hating people with such specificity. Also, I’d need a crash course on recognizing the origin of last names… and European geography… and history… I am just way too stupid to be that racist.

Fair warning: if you defend the south in the comments, I will be required by yankee law to unleash a torrent of equally unflattering and unfounded insults into your general direction. If that fails, I’ll castrate you by kicking your sister in the chin. Is that still annoying to hear after the 1000th time?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The First Tenant of Liberalism Democrats

The Greeks called it “Polity,” blah blah blah…

The current state of Democrats and Republicans is completely out of whack when it comes to the political animals. I don’t even need to present an argument for jackass Republicans being far more aptly represented by the stubborn donkey, and Democrats remind me of an elephant that’s afraid of a mouse. Maybe those animal symbols were more accurate when they were applied over a hundred years ago, but they just don’t ring true anymore (like the Christian persecution complex despite their overwhelming majority presence).

Democrats piss me off more than Republicans in the same way a Cubs fan is pissed off by the Cubs more than any rival team. Democrats are supposed to be my team. They’re supposed to represent me. They’re supposed to be liberal, but in reality they are impotent moderates.

There are many reasons for this. For one thing, Democrats have blatantly bought into the system of corporate cronyism. They are as corrupt as Republicans in every way. They imperceptibly vary from Republicans in economic policy. Only in the social sphere are Democrats truly distinguished from Republicans, and even this distinction is largely defined by their unwillingness to fight tooth and nail for their side.

Democrats should be organizing gay marriage-ins. They should organize thousands of gay couples to flood city halls day after day demanding marriage licenses and holding up the process for heterosexual couples. They should stand in line for a marriage license, demand one, raise a fuss, and if they get ejected, simply move to the back of the line. They could hold up marriages in major cities across the nation for however long their determination allowed. If heterosexuals are inconvenienced, they may actually take note.

Abortion rights activists need to get pictures of starving children onto placards and march around outside of churches. They need to shout “Baby starver!” at every single person who walks in on Sunday morning. They should picture women in chains, slogans about the state keeping it’s hands off a woman’s body, etc.

Democrats are the party of morons with no good ideas, and I think the reason is they are too worried about being polite. None of the things I mentioned are nice things to do. Innocent people will be upset. The nuptials of some pro-gay couples will be delayed, and undoubtedly some pro-life church-goers will be sneered at. This is hardly collateral damage on the scale of tragedy currently endured by homosexuals, or would be endured by women if abortion was outlawed.

Maybe someday, the Democrats will grow a pair of ovaries. For now, we have to settle for healthcare bills with loopholes allowing health insurers to kill children (because Democrats think they can negotiate with monsters).

No one will give you anything in this life, you have to take it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mixed Advice

Recipe for “Mixed Advice”
1. Take two pieces of good advice.
2. Pour into blender.
3. Pulse for one second.
4. Serve.

You can lead a gift horse to water, but he can’t drink if you don’t look him in the mouth.

People who live in glass houses should not try to kill two birds with one stone.

A penny in your hand is worth two pennies saved under Bush.

The First Tenant of Conservatism

Leave it to the Germans and Greeks to have a word for everything. The Germans called it schadenfreude, while the Greeks called it epicaricacy (well, technically they called it epikhairekakia… but good luck getting that to catch on). What does it mean? “Pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.”

This idea is a central tenant of most conservative logic. Conservatives often speak of “lifestyles” when confronted with issues of social justice, and they believe one’s success in life is based largely upon the choices one makes. Without getting into a complex argument, I find “partial” truth in this statement. However, in order for a true meritocracy to exist, all players in the game must have comparable (though not necessarily identical) opportunities for success.

Conservatism bluntly ignores the fact that social class plays a major role in the opportunities available to an individual. Instead, they favor the myth that we are all masters of our own fate. The evidence for this line of logic is seen in the disgust they harbor for the less fortunate. “Get a job,” they tell people they see pan handling. After all, anyone who smells like piss and is likely mentally ill should be perfectly capable of holding down a job, especially in this competitive economy of college grads slinging coffee.

Republicans will even go so far as to dehumanize the poor, as South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor, Andre Bauer, did in January. He said you have to stop feeding animals, otherwise they breed. He said this in reference to cutting school lunch funding. In his own words:

“You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

You see… it’s not about capitalism, or taxes, or anything like that. Republicans just want to see people in pain, because it makes them feel better. If there’s poor people begging at interstate off ramps, it’s not so bad living in a trailer and being screwed over by the people you elect. It even makes middle-class assholes feel better, since they can either scoff at them or toss them a buck to make themselves feel like a good person.

It’s all about optimizing happiness in an economical way when it comes to conservatives, and the market demands pain and suffering to distract from the hedonistic extravagance flaunted by a few.

And who will rush in to help? “Private charities,” say Libertarians and Republicans. Never mind the fact that “private charities” exist with tax-free status already, yet still millions fall through the cracks. Who are these private charities, anyway? By and large, they are churches, seeking to capitalize on the downtrodden.

The cycle goes like this:

1. Fall through the cracks (medical bills from being uninsured or having insurance drop you, college loans piling up while unemployed, being the victim of identity theft because banks are only interested in charging fees while not protecting your money, etc.).
2. Church steps in at your time of need (sometimes... maybe... hopefully...).
3. You owe your second chance to God!
4. Church gains a tithing member for life.

It’s a nice system for selective socialism (and religious growth through guilt gifts), and it “worked” in Western culture for centuries. But the thing is… I don’t like charity being at the discretion of churches. I like charity and things like healthcare for everyone, whether they’re atheist, Christian, Muslim, Scientologist (if they even want any…), Buddhist, or whatever.

A nationalized system spreads risk over the largest possible pool, ensuring the highest rate of efficiency. Private insurance lets you slip through the cracks, especially if you don’t have the money to hire a lawyer. Even then, you may die as your case goes to trial. Conservatives blather about government death panels. Death panels exist, and they’re called insurance companies.

Personally, I lack any trace of schadenfreude or epicaricacy. I also lack what the Greeks called “nemesis,” and what normal English speakers call “envy.” My happiness (and unhappiness) is not predicated upon what others have. However, I am affected by what others do not have. I have empathy, which I imagine is what keeps me from being Republican.

Monday, April 5, 2010

From the Email Inbox #3

This is the fourth (and currently last) e~mail sent to me by my 75-year-old atheist pal, who believes he can straighten me out on all things Obama. Note: I did not vote for Obama, nor do I blog about the amazingness of Obama, nor can I recall ever even praising the guy for anything beyond “not being Bush.” Below is the complete, unedited e~mail, with my comments in italicized brackets.

First, I, {Name Removed}, live my life as I define Science, Which is: "Science is the On-Going, Ever-Expanding, Never-Ending and Self-Correcting Search for Truth!"

I do NOT hang on to some belief because I would LIKE to believe it is true, If I did, I would still believe in the Christian god. [So you wish there was a God?]

I go where ever the evidence & the facts take me. [Except libraries.] IF they take me to what I previously believed is true, Fine. [And convenient!]

On the other hand, IF they prove what I believed was true, is not true, I change my position in a heart beat. [Like that one time you decided to become an atheist decades ago?] I research things, I constantly search for the facts and the truth!

Now IF you actually believe you can PROVE ANY thing I say on ANY subject is incorrect, GO FOR IT! [Let me stretch a little first…]


Of course, this does NOT include any Kool Aid Drinking Obots as they do not know fact from fiction! [Maybe they can’t see things from your point of view because there isn’t enough room up your ass for their heads to fit as well?]

My reference to Kool Aid comes from Jim Jones & the Peoples Temple. [Actually, they drank grape Flavor Aid] It is easy to tell who has been drinking the Kool Aid by their actions. If they treat a racist, lying, con men like Obama like some hero, they have been drinking his Kool Aid. [Fun Fact: drinking lots of grape Kool-Aid or Flavor Aid will make your poop turn bright green.]

Anyone who does not know what I say about Oduma is TRUE, it is because they have FAILED to educate themselves of the more than sufficient facts which prove it's [its] veracity. Facts which anyone who really wants to can avail themselves of. [Awkward 19th century sentence of the day… it would have helped had he not ended it in a preposition.]


ODUMA is a LYING, DISHONEST ELITIST, RACIST, EGOTISTICAL, SOCIALIST CON MAN who uses NLP [neuro-linguistic programming] to manipulate his audiences.. [doubt it]

His JUDGEMENT skills are so POOR and his INTEGRITY SO LOW he CHOOSES [to] include the following low life scum among his mentors and his GOOD Friends. [And Obama made them do it using mind control techniques, making him completely to blame!]

A. A Convicted Felon who STOLE from other Americans

B. A White and America HATING Racist preacher. Oduma not only listened to his garbage for some TWENTY years, he EVEN took his children to [be] indoctrinated into this idiots HATE of American and of Whites! [I’m white and American, and Reverend Wright is in no way threatening to me.]

Oduma did NOT stop attending this racist church until AFTER a bunch of bloggers raised so much hell the ODUMA LOVING MEDIA had to cover it. [That was nice of you guys to get Obama to stop attending church.]

C. An America hating Socialist [Wait, this is his friend or him? I can’t keep your rambling straight…]

D. A Communist.who supported violence against our government and our way of life [This seems slightly worse than C, but not all that different. Names would have helped here…]

E. TERRORISTS who had Robbed our banks, BLOWN UP private companies, Federal Government & Military facilities, Police Cars and Police Stations, as well as KILLING Americans. [I’m calling bullshit on this one.]

The ONLY difference between Oduma's friends Doran / Ayres and bin Laden is the number of DEAD Americans. [The only difference between me and Hitler is the number of dead Jews… though technically neither of us killed any ourselves… so that means I am as bad as Hitler.]

ANYONE who would vote for and support a person who has the low life scum as he has as friends have as poor judgement skills and low integrity as Oduma has! [Telling people who voted for or supported Obama they have the judgment and integrity of Obama is not an insult… and I did neither.]

I would NEVER voluntary even associate with such low life scum as Oduma has as friends, much less be friends with them. [Yeah… I feel that way about you, as well.]


And, were it not for:

A. Voters who were too LAZY to get the Facts OR Too DUMB to be able to fully understand the facts and/or just do NOT CARE what facts proved. [It’s all about facts, people! He’s 75 and retired, with all the time in the world, he can’t be troubled to remember all the facts and present them in a cogent manner! Do your own research!]

B. RACIST Voters who cared less about a person's qualifications as long as they were Black. [See, people voted for Barack Obama only because he’s black… but the people who oppose Obama don’t hate him because he is black, because they’re not racist… only Democrats are racist… he uses the word “racist” 5 times in this e~mail… clearly race is not important to this person…]

C. Black Panthers blocked white voters from voting. [Black guys were working as security outside a voting station… they didn’t stop anyone from entering… maybe some scared white people were just too racist to want to pass by someone black who had a nightstick in their hand. This was then blown out of proportion by conservative white kids at UPenn, taking video of the completely non-violent] security detail.

D. Obama Campaign paid "Acorn" many hundreds of thousands to registering people who were not qualified to vote and many under phony names. [Not qualified to vote? You mean minorities?]

E. ILLEGAL MONEY which came from OUT side the US which paid for much of his campaign [Most of his campaign financing came from US businesses, particularly banks.]

F. A LIBERAL, LYING, INCOMPETENT MEDIA who has been anti-bush, anti-Iraq, war [bullshit]. & anti-common sense for over eight years. Whose "reporting" had caused the very UN-informed against any thing not Dumocrats, [Yeah… like how liberal anti-war rallies got no press coverage when tens of thousands marched, but a few thousand yuppie Tea Partiers get media saturation? The media is about as liberal as a crotchety 75 year old.]

G. Who LIED to the people about who was mostly responsible [for] the Freddie Mac / Fannie May mess. A media who did not report Bush had tried SEVENTEEN times to put controls on Freddie Mac & Fannie May before the crap hit the fan. [… you’re claiming Bush… tried to… regulate… Pfffffffft HA HA HA HA HA HA!]

H. WHO STOPPED BUSH (& McCain) from taking the action which should have been taken? [No one stopped them from killing themselves.]

Why,. it Was ODUMA and Dumocrats [Clearly, if you have your eyes closed, your fingers in your ears, and you rock back and forth droning “La la la la, I can’t hear reality, la la la la…”]

I. WHO GOT MUCH MORE MONEY FROM Freddie Mac and the Fannie May Lobbyists in a around two years than Bush got in eight years? [I’m guessing the guy who everyone realized would be president, and who might actually regulate them. That’s the idea behind buying influence in Washington. If you don’t like it, oppose conservative claims of corporate funding being protected free speech.]

Gee, it WAS ODUMA again! [You said earlier that he got most of his funding from foreigners…]

Anywho, without all those things ODUMA would have NEVER been elected. [I’m pretty sure a ham sandwich would have beat McCain/Palin, even among Jewish voters.]

Oduma's 160 IQ PROVES: […that you don’t know Obama’s IQ…]

"A persons intelligence is like an mans penises, it is not how much you have, rather it is how effectively you use it." [Yeah, guys with tiny dicks fall back on this one a lot. Also, you put quotations around it, but no one other than you equates intelligence to a penis… “an mans penises,” no less. You, sir, are seriously mindfucked.]

Oduma uses his VERY, VERY POORLY! [ He’s using his huge, throbbing, uncircumcised, black IQ all wrong, and America is just faking it so he’ll finish already.]

I find when I report negative things which ARE IN the Bible and can be PROVEN to be in the Bible by their simply doing some research in THEIR own Bible. I get replies PROVING the person has NO clue what is in the Bible. [Been there…]

Then instead of them getting off their lazy programmed asses, they just rip off a reply proving how much they do no[t] know because my telling them the TRUTH pisses them off. [At some point, perhaps you’ll realize Christianity has very little to do with the Bible.]

THE SAME THING applies to OBOTS and the Anti-Iraq War Loony Tunes [I call Daffy Duck!] who would not know a fact were it a sharp pointed cactus they sat on while naked and then rotated on it until it protruded from their ignorant mouths! [Truth: best when not taken rectally.]

Instead of taking the time to think about and/or do the research about what was written and to see if they have ANY proof what I said was wrong, they just dash off a reply. [Why aren’t they dropping their whole lives to research this like I have! Haven’t you all retired yet!]

Of course, all they really do is PROVE how much they do NOT know! [Of course.]

Myself, just like all of those who really cares about the TRUTH, WANT to be PROVEN WRONG. I WELCOME it. [Why do I doubt that…]

ALL it takes IS PROVABLE FACTS and not someone's mere bull shit "opinion"


{Name Removed}

"A 75 year old Pro Iraq War Agnostic Atheist Activist, 101st Vet &
Iconoclastic, Philosophizing, Beach VolleyBall Playing Grumpy Old Son Of
A Beach!"

Like most right-wingers, he talks about Obama more than any left-winger. This is a common theme, actually. Republicans talk about Obama more than anyone on the left. Democrats talk about Sarah Palin more than anyone on the right. Communists talk about corporations more than capitalists. Capitalists talk about socialism more than communists. Anarchists are constantly talking about “the State.” Atheists talk about gods more than theists, and theists talk about Satan more than anyone. We seem to be fixated upon our aversions.

The outcome of this appears to be intellectually bankrupt ideologies. We have a plethora of “anti-” everything, but very little “pro-” anything. Even when people say they support something, it’s often vague and intangible. “I support American jobs,” or “I support worker’s rights.” Which jobs, which rights?

So, my right-wing friend constantly attacks Obama as “Oduma,” despite attributing to him a 160 IQ, which would put him at Stephen Hawking levels of intelligence… but Obama is apparently stupid. I think he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use the pun.

I prefer Obomba, since the American president is continuing the violent wars of the Bush years, even expanding them into Pakistan. I doubt my right-wing friend would ever use this terminology, as it coincides with his beliefs and would almost be a term of endearment. This guy loves the War on Muslims, so why would he ever want to point out his similarities to Obomba?

I am firing off a reply to him, and perhaps he will grace my blog with his presence. At the very least, I owe him the opportunity to respond to my public jabs.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Ostara!

As Christians go about celebrating the torture and recovery of their favorite 1st century Jew, atheists may wonder: what’s the deal with all the eggs and bunnies? Who am I kidding… most atheists understand they are pagan fertility symbols. But how much do you know about Easter?

The word “Easter” traces directly to the Anglo-Saxon name for the month of April: Eostur-monath (monath means month). Eostur likely derives from either Eostre or Ostara (polytheist Europeans either wrote very little or destroyed most of their history during Christianization, so it is pieced together by scholars long after the fact).

Eostre is a Germanic goddess associated with spring, fertility, rebirth, and the morning sunrise. Eostre/Ostara is probably related to the Roman goddess Aurora, the Greek Eos, the Babylonian Ishtar, and the Hindu Ushas. This goddess gets around…

Deities in a pantheon are typically associated with iconography that symbolizes aspects of their power. Bunnies fuck like rabbits, so it’s pretty easy to see the connection to fertility. Eggs are equally overt in their symbolism. The eggs were likely hidden during the persecution of pagans by Christians, and it persisted as a game after syncretism kicked in.

Chocolate is a much later addition to the whole holiday, as it took contact with the Americas before cocoa was introduced to Christians. Jelly beans are a confection heavily influenced by Middle Eastern candies such as Turkish Delight and Jordan Almonds, which pioneered the use of a process called panning to apply a hard candy shell to protect a soft, chewy center.

As with Christmas, there is very little about Easter which is actually Christian.

From the Email Inbox #2

For part #2, I will be commenting on two additional e~mails. There is a fourth e~mail which is long and worthy of its own post, so those who like this feature can look forward to at least one more installment. I’ll respond to him privately and perhaps get him to comment here or elaborate more through correspondence.

Here’s e~mail #2:

Subject: The Left’s Racism Fixation Lacks Critical Thought « Stand Up For America

My, My, Here's PROOF

All of the Anti-Tea Party idiots are full of BS!

(And as the guy who writes this was a bad ass Seal or a Dela Force operator. He is NOT someone to mess with.)

Okay, where to begin… against all conventions, I’m going to start at the end and work backwards.

I read the article. Let me try to explain what it’s about, in case you don’t have 10 minutes to waste getting dumber. This guy says people on the left accuse the Tea Partiers of being racist. He says people on the left conflate isolated examples to represent the larger whole. He tries to accomplish this by… taking an isolated example and conflating it to represent the left…

For the record, the Tea Party isn’t all about race, nor is it mostly about race. It’s mostly about middle-class Republican retirees motivated by that nice blond gentleman on the Fox News channel. They’ll do anything the flashy box tells them, so long as it confirms their Cold War-era world view. Sure, most of the people at the protest are so old they have socialized medicine… but hypocrisy isn’t even in the conservative dictionary.

But let’s get back to my 75 year old atheist friend. He assures me the information is good because a “bad ass Seal or a Dela [sic] Force operator” composed it. Apparently being able to kick my ass carries rhetorical weight…

Then comes my favorite quote: “All of the Anti-Tea Party idiots are full of BS!” You go to the trouble of trying to convince me it’s wrong to judge a group… *sigh*

The next e~mail is a bit longer, and my comments will be in italicized brackets:


Some Dumocrats [nice use of portmanteau, I prefer Femacrats] are doing what Hitler did when he had the Reichstag burned and then blamed his enemies. [Really? Hitler? You’re jumping to Hitler, even though the US itself has engaged in false flag operations…] Hitler did it again when he had German soldiers in Polish uniforms attack German Border Guards. He then used this [as] an excuse to invade Poland.

Well, SOME Dumocrats are Doing the EXACT SAME type of thing as it is THEY who are causing violence at Tea Party events and blaming in on the Tea Party members. It could be, and probably is, some Dumocrats who are vandalizing and spewing hate speech and then blaming Republicans and Tea Party members.

PROOF? [Any day now…]

Here you go. Proof it HAS been done by a Democrat operative before.

[I went to the link above. It contains no information on Democrat-led false flag operations. It discusses the vandalism against the Colorado Democratic Party headquarters. As I have pointed out in previous posts, there are conservatives calling for violence, though the leaders prefer to use metaphors and the “lone nuts” who actually follow through are usually publicly shunned.]

And WHO did Voter Fraud? [Ooo ooo ooo, I know this one…]

DUMBOCRATS! [Damnit, I guessed the 2000 Supreme Court, which had a Conservative majority.]

Who were standing in front of voting places and stopping Whites from voting?
It was NOT Tea Party members or Republicans. [It was not Dumbacrats, either. It was imaginary people in your head.]

I thank you for your time and may we all, "Live Long and Prosper!

Please, Take Care!


"A 75 year old Pro Iraq War Agnostic Atheist Activist, 101st Vet &
Iconoclastic, Philosophizing, Beach VolleyBall Playing Grumpy Old Son Of
A Beach!"

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess this guy is a big fan of the Tea Party and probably votes Republican. What he doesn’t realize about me is that I did not vote for Obama, nor have I ever cast a vote for any Democrat. He spends a vast deal of time ripping into Democrats… without bringing anything to the table. This is the primary problem with Republicans: they got nothin’. Which leaves us with Democrats, who are not that great… but at least they aren’t Republicans.

Friday, April 2, 2010

From the Email Inbox #1

Religious readers are probably not thrilled to read my verbal attacks on religion (or maybe they are). I assure you: I am not blindly critical of religious people, nor am I blindly accepting of atheists. As a show of neutrality, I thought I’d share some e~mails I got over the past couple days from an atheist. I will not post his name because he chose to engage in private correspondence. Shit… I gave away the fact that it’s a “he.”

Below is the complete first e~mail he sent me, with personal information removed, and my comments in italicized brackets.

While I was "goggling" [which I imagine is like “googling”] for some other anti religious songs (Aside from "Imagine" and "Only The Good DIe Young") I found your website [here] and decided to send you the one in the email I am forwarding.

Then, I read some of your blog & found you are one of the all too typical clueless Atheists [you’re too kind…] who is either TOO LAZY [have you been talking to my family?] to get the facts about our war on the religious fanatical terrorists who have been killing Americans and our friends for over 20 years OR you are just too dumb to be able to comprehend what the facts mean. [At this point, I have my popcorn ready and I am eager for the impending explanation of what the facts mean.]

Either way, you have no clue about Our War on Terrorists! [I love the capitalization… it helps emphasize we’re all in on this giant crime together.]

I've not only been been [1 too many..] a [an] Atheist Activest [Activist] for around TWICE as long as you have been alive, I'm also MORE experienced and knowledgable [knowledgeable] than are most my age. Plus as I am also brighter than 97.5+% of all others. [Always establish authority by claiming in an incoherent sentence that you are in the top 2.5%. Of what? I'm guessing he means top 2.5% in the Alzheimer’s ward. Oh, and he added the +, so he might even be in the top 1%… it gets complicated when you’re that amazing.] I DO know of what I speak. [And he DOES know how to use SHIFT.]

So FYI, the odds of anyone being able to provide any facts proving I am wrong on ANY subject I comment on, are nearly zero. [Well, now that we’ve established your credentials…]

I thank you for your time and may we all, "Live Long and Prosper! [When you get old, it’s hard to remember you started a sentence with quotation marks…]

Please, Take Care! [Leave ‘em with a pleasantry, and maybe they’ll forget how you started the email…]


"A 75 year old Pro Iraq War Agnostic Atheist Activist, 101st Vet & Iconoclastic, Philosophizing, Beach VolleyBall Playing Grumpy Old Son Of A Beach!" [What an entertaining and honest self assessment.]

A Proud Member of All of the following:

[I guess he’s suggesting I check these out… so that I, too, may become an iconoclastic jackass!]
[Below is another message that was tacked on to the above. It was sent all in one email.]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 17:57:15 -0700

You can listen and read the lyrics in the link below.

(The link is from my on line friend, {REMOVED FOR PRIVACY}'s really GREAT website, "Positive Atheism" Of course, as {REMOVED FOR PRIVACY} is a highly informed rational and logical genius, he is also pro the Iraq war as well as being anti-Oduma and anti-Obot.) [This guy really hates Obama, as he makes clear in his other e~mails, which I will post.] [The linked page demands I input a user name and PW, which I do not have.]

Now some religious people will get all excited about the title being "Dear God" and think it was stolen from some believe song of the same name without realizing there have been MANY songs with the same title. And THIS one was written years before some of the pro-religious ones were. [Take THAT, religious people!]

I see only ONE person had the honesty and integrity to express their view of why reporting facts on any, and ALL subjects other than religion is NOT considered to be attacking the subject & yet my truthful statements on religion are considered by many religious people to be attacks. [Your guess is as good as mine… maybe if we were also in the top 2.5%, we would get it…]

I find OBOTS [people who blindly support Obama], Anti-War Loony Tunes and most (all?) religious people do not answer questions. Sad, as I answer any, & ALL questions asked me. [Question: WTF are you talking about?]

I think they do not answer as they know they have NO FACTS what se [so] ever to back up their illogical, unfounded uninformed, un-substantuated [unsubstantiated] and irrational positions. [Guys! Come on! The evidence is insurmountainable!!!]

{REMOVED FOR PRIVACY} [Link to the lyrics of Dear God, the song mentioned above. I can save you the time with this summary: people suffer and the Bible is crap, therefore there is no God.]

After reading something like this, I’m not surprised atheists have a bad reputation. This guy is proud of the fact he’s apparently spent the greater portion of his 75 years of life as an iconoclast. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it is a very specific ideology which I have discussed before. An iconoclast is one who physically destroys religious texts, objects, buildings, monuments, paintings, or even people.

Atheism does not need to be like religions. Atheists do not have to be iconoclasts. In fact, atheists should not be iconoclasts. We can be better than the Christians who came before us and purged Europe of its knowledge, only to slowly piece it back together again over the millennia.

I get the feeling this man’s support of the wars in the Middle East stems from nothing but a grudge against religious people, in this case Muslims. To him, it must seem great that all these Muslim people are dying. Maybe he even thinks it’s wonderful that museums full of priceless artifacts from humanity’s early civilizations are being plundered, even defaced. Maybe he even gets off on the idea of young, largely Christian Americans going over there and dying.

Feeno once pondered… what would atheists do if there were no religious people? Who would we argue with? I assure you, there’s enough stupidity in the atheist camp to debate until the end of time.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Atheist Day!

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
~ Psalm 14:1 (KJV)

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
~ Psalm 53:1 (KJV)

For further background on this illustrious [un]holiday, see my post from 1 year ago.

I don't know why I never thought of it before, but April Fool’s Day is perfect for atheists. What better way for atheists to spread their message that humans are easily duped than with a day celebrating surreptitious pranks?
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