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Archive for the ‘editorial’ Category

Obama’s Ft. Hood Speech Bullshit

In church/state, Culture Wars, editorial, POTUS, religion on November 11, 2009 at 7:30 pm

President Obama’s speech yesterday at the memorial for the victims of the Fort Hood massacre turned religious pretty quickly. Of course, I’m sure most atheists expected this, as religion’s infestation of American politics is famously complete. I listened (on the NPR) to the most of the memorial, and went unfazed at the staple religious regurgitations that are said every time we remember loved ones who have died. You know, usually in an event so tragic, so unfair, that any loving god would be compelled to intervene. The clichés mostly bounced off me (General Casey went as far to quote the Bible). However, one line grabbed my attention. It strikes back to a common complaint from New Atheists.

No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor – President Obama 11/10/09

Really, Mr. President? In reality, faith can be used to justify any action. Isn’t that is the whole idea? If you evoke faith you can claim, say, wishing brain cancer on someone, murdering your daughter, killing a doctor, torturing, genocide, and terrorism are all legitimate expressions thereof. In the Torah, Koran, and Bible, God orders the commission of, and facilitates terrible violence. The fact is, just the opposite of what President Obama said is true. I’d like to think (foolishly?), this probably isn’t lost on Obama, but he could never publically say so.

I was very annoyed with this nonsensical dribble. In America, it is a fact that a theist can say anything and go largely unchallenged out of ‘respect’. Though this may be slowly changing, we have a long way to go in our struggle against faith, and the taboos society places its scrutiny.

Below is Obama’s full speech, and a video of the murderer of Dr. Tiller claiming his barbarism is justified.

Full Speech

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Murderer

UPDATE: Religious License Plates Ruled Unconstitutional

In church/state, Culture Wars, editorial, religion, updates on November 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Story from The Associated Press

Remember when Florida and South Carolina decided that Christian themed license plates were a good idea? After all, what is a better medium to announce your beliefs (as long as they are Christian) than a license plate? Luckily, the plates were held up with an injunction earlier this year after several secular groups sued.

Well, the matter finally had its day in court, with great results. Not only did U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie say that plates where unconstitutional, in her ruling the judge blasted the defense.

… [To] gain legislative approval of a specialty plate promoting the majority religion: Christianity. Whether motivated by sincerely held Christian beliefs or an effort to purchase political capital with religious coin, the result is the same. The statute is clearly unconstitutional and defense of its implementation has embroiled the state in unnecessary (and expensive) litigation.

Judge Currie got it exactly right. This is another blatant attempt by politicians (and the state) to cash in on the peoples’ religion, and for some, to proselytize. Sure, religious establishments make money hand over fist exploiting their flock, but the state has no business or legal right to do the same.

Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, who endorsed the evolution denying Mike Huckabee for President, was the driving force behind the plates. He, like all theists, predictably tried to play the victim. Blaming liberals for his judicial defeat, the idiot Bauer coughed up this gem:

“I don’t expect anything different from a liberal judge who was appointed by Bill Clinton, if she wants to single me out, so be it.”

Adding:

“[The ruling] once again shows how liberal judges are not just interpreting the law but making legislation.”

This quote raises some obvious questions: How stupid can one be and still be Lt. Governor of South Carolina? How ignorant can one be of U.S. history and law and still get elected (See: Sarah Palin)? I mean, Bauer has to have read the first amendment, right? Is he familiar with the idea of a legal precedence? Hell, does he know what precedence means? What is more, I fail to see how Judge Currie’s ruling is “just interpreting the law but making legislation”.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That is pretty hard to misinterpret, don’t you think Mr. Bauer? Indeed, it’s very clear. Face it kooks, religion has had no place in state, and hasn’t since the founding. This is, and never has been a Christian nation.

Fundie groups are already planning to skirt the law.

Within hours, a private Christian group said the ruling doesn’t stand in the way of its “plan B” to get a similar plate issued using a state law that permits private groups to issue tags they design.

[…]

But the Palmetto Family Council will try to get the tags on the cars faster. The council registered “I Believe” as a group’s name with the South Carolina Secretary of State in March as the license tag case simmered on Currie’s docket.

“This is day one for that process,” said Oran Smith, the council’s president. “If we meet all the requirements, which I hope we would as an organization, we would certainly want to move forward very quickly with our own ‘I Believe’ tag.”

And the Culture War continues.

Added a New Tag

In editorial on November 2, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Based on some kind words, I’ve decided to add an Editorial tag. There are many more posts that should be under it, but I’m still trying to decide on a tag system I want to use.

In Defense of the Moon

In editorial, Science on October 26, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I meant to comment the Augustine panel’s report: “Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation”, last week, but I found myself without the time to write anything worth reading. So, if you will indulge me, I like to revisit five day old (but important) news.

Just in case you missed it, here is a quick review:

The Augustine panel was commission by President Obama in May. It was charged with reviewing President Bush’s plan to return humans to the moon as soon as 2015. Bush’s plan also called for the establishment of a permanent lunar base as a stepping stone for the further exploration of our solar system. According to Gallup, there is wide-spread public support for our space program. Despite that, there is concern about the cost of Project Orion, mostly from the science-denying right, and a new President desperate to appear as a centrist (much to my chagrin).

The report, released Friday, predicts NASA will need another $3 billion annually in order to achieve the goals set out by President Bush. There is very little political will for more spending. The sum of $3 billion a year is too steep for some in the name of science and exploration, but not too much to spend approximately every 10 days on war in Iraq. Indeed, we could go back to the moon, and establish a base, for roughly the cost of two and a half months of our nearly seven year old war.

I believe that going back the moon will strengthen our international standing, and prestige. America has long been the leader in space exploration, why surrender that role now? The competition from rivals and allies alike is heating up. China announced plans in 2006 to land a person on the moon by 2020. India predicts its first manned moon mission could come as soon as 2015. Will China have a moon base while the United States continues to squabble over the (relatively) low cost? What would be the geopolitical ramifications of a Chinese coup in space exploration? What will be the impact on our national security? What would that say about the priorities of our society? The answers to all those questions are not positive.

A return to the moon can benefit us all.

For one, the profit driven right would be wise to support a new manned moon mission. Why? The answer of course, is they can make money. There is the potential for the mining of tryhydrogen cation (H3) from the moon’s surface. H3, which is rare and hard to collect on Earth, is much more prevalent and accessible on our only natural satellite. Once harvested, it could be returned to Earth via shuttle craft and sold at a profit. What is more, the mining of H3 offers more than just an economic benefit, it also being eyed as a new and powerful green energy source. It has been shown that water, fuel, and oxygen can be produced from moon dust. This would save us an untold amount of money, as escaping the moon’s gravity is much easier, and cheaper than escaping the Earth’s.

The benefit to science is even greater. With the debate over the origins of the moon is heating up, it is hard to think of a better time to get an improved understanding cosmic dance partner. As mentioned before, a lunar base can serve as a stepping stone to Mars and worlds beyond. Mars of course, is widely considered to be a good (if not the best) contender for life outside of Earth, whether in the past or surviving to this day. The discovery of life (past of present) on another cosmic body would be, without a doubt, the most significant human achievement. It would be a world-wide consciousness raising event. The confirmation of life beyond Earth could also serve to unify us as a common people. As simply, human.

Today, 40 years after our first trip to the moon, Apollo continues to inspire generations of Americans to look to the cosmos and ponder the possibilities that are suddenly within reach. Imagine the awe and humility HD pictures and video from the lunar surface would conjure. It would be truly amazing sight to see. The impact would be immeasurable on a nation facing a shortage of scientist and engineers.

These divided states of America would benefit greatly from a unifying national goal. Going back to the moon is something all Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs can take pride in. The Apollo Program electrified a nation rattled by outside aggression, assassinations, and internal strife. There is no reason to think it wouldn’t do the same today.

Related: President Obama to Review Bush’s Moon Shot

Twitter’s Free Speech Fail

In atheism, Culture Wars, editorial, religion on October 21, 2009 at 4:01 am

Today was a very interesting day in the Twitterverse.

This morning, Reverend Run (of RUN DMC) tweeted, “Know God, Know Peace. No God, No Peace.”. This clever use of words (as it often does) got theists all excited and they started obsessively retweeting the tired cliché. Expectedly, no one paused to reflect on that statement, for if they did, they would know it is bullshit. Anyone with any knowledge of history, whatsoever, can tell you that. But, I am getting off topic.

Well, with all this tweeting going on, the words “No God” became a trending topic (TT). Naturally, the same theists who created this TT, saw “No God” and assumed it was an attack on them. They immediately began tweeting to this topic, telling all of us non-believers (who were not involved in the TT at the time) that we were all going to hell. This only served to lift the TT “No God” higher and higher on the list. Tweets like this were common:

TroutAmbush @randeazie How about irony? After all, 90% of that TT was Christians butthurting about us “disrespecting” them, then saying we should burn.

The result was a tweet-war (or crusade if you ask a believer). It was actually a lot of fun. I mean, who doesn’t like to do a little trolling now and then? In fact, you could say I got my start on this crazy internets trolling AOL Christian chat rooms when I was 12. Today’s great debate provided quality entertainment for all parties. I saw threats, name calling, death wishes, calls to violence, and was personally called stupid by a Christian who misspelled several simple words in only 140 characters!

The forum was packed with both sides, the conversation had been going all day. Suddenly, Twitter decided it to pull the plug on the free exchange of ideas. The “No God” TT was censored, twice, the topic abruptly removed from the list as if it was never there. This is very surprising move from a tech company based out of San Francisco, don’t you think? It is the first time to my knowledge that Twitter has censored any legitimate topic. Does anyone know otherwise? I mean, they don’t even censor topics taken over by spambots so I’m assuming so, but I’m no Twitter historian.

What really bothers me is, there was no need for it. The topic was relatively civil when compared to the politics tags (#tcot #ocra #p2). So why censor it, Twitter? Are you saying that you don’t want atheism discussed en mass on your service? Why else would you move to hide a completely legitimate topic? Did you have technical, bandwidth (as you often do), or marketing issues? It is more likely that theists who couldn’t stand the existence of ideas contrary to theirs, pressured for the topic to be removed, and Twitter caved. Once again atheists are muted so that theists won’t be offended by ideas they don’t agree with, and couldn’t even see without searching for them. Any atheist living in America can tell you that we are constantly bombarded with ideas we could claim to find objectionable, indeed, they come to our homes.

This is of course because religion exists in a bubble free of criticism and inquiry. To question religion is to do something so offensive, that it apparently still can’t be done in public. Yes, in late 2009 fairy tales are just too taboo for Twitter, but an army of giant breasted spambots (or supressing free speech) is not.

UPDATE: I’ve been given a link by @kimshannon to a stats page with a nifty graph regarding the “no god” and “know god” trending topics traffic. Thanks Kim!

Obama is Going To Seize Power and Rule Us Like a King

In editorial, kooks, republicans, treason, Violence on October 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm

A Sad Website from Sad People

The fact we have a democratic and (more importantly) African American president has been fueling a murderous rage for almost a year now. Since the election of Barack Obama, this rage has driven the far right to an obsession with the idea of a bloody revolution in the United States. This is a hypocrisy which I’ve pointed out many times, so I won’t dwell on it here. However, I have found another over the top example of this treasonous fantasy I’d like to share.

The United State of Earth – 2011 Obama’s Failed Coup: The site features a future time line starting with Obama’s attempt to permanently seize power, a second civil war, fake news, and a game where you can lead a revolutionary army against the legitimate and duly elected government. The war is fought county by county across the United States.

The fake news section offers a tale of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh being found dead in a liberated FEMA concentration camp. You can read about right wing talk radio hosts, bloggers, former military officers, and Ted Nugent leading armies against the president and liberal members of congress. They are all essentially the same story. [Right Wing Kook X]’s army captures [Liberal Y] who is an freedom-stealing-America-hating-marxo-commie-facist-Hitler-lover and is subjected to [Sadistic Humiliation Z]. Of course, getting to the outlaw liberals is never easy as they are often guarded by the armies of Hamas, Americorps volunteers, intercity children, homosexuals, and Obama loyalists.

Where were these people when President Bush was actually taking away American liberties, expanding the federal government, and doubling our national debt?

At home. Why? It’s about race.

Rush, Politics, and the NFL

In Culture Wars, editorial, kooks, politics, racists, sports on October 14, 2009 at 6:04 pm

I heard something interesting this morning on The Dan Patrick Show. They were discussing whether Rush Limbaugh’s bid to buy the St. Louis Rams is being treated fairly when a caller made a very good point.

Basically, he correctly pointed out that sports are one of the few things we have left that instantly unites us as a common people. Indeed, in America, we love our sports. Atheist and theists, liberals and conservatives, the rich and the poor, and people of all the backgrounds that make up our melting pot, can cheer, hug, high-five, and sometimes cry together.

Americans are bitterly divided right now. Some say (I’m not one of them), the national rift hasn’t been this wide since the Civil War. We need to keep politics out of sports. Limbaugh has proven he isn’t capable of separating the two. While moonlighting as a NFL commentator in 2003 Limbaugh famously said

“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,” Limbaugh said. “There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”

Rush was of course referring to Donovan McNabb, a successful black quarterback (who carries one of my fantasy teams).

The bigot Limbaugh just said during a TODAY show interview that business and ideology are inseparable.

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Everything Rush says or does as owner would be under a microscope by the far left. Imagine if a black quarterback was holding out for more money under a Rush-owned team. Fairly or not, race would be an undertone, if not openly discussed. If Limbaugh took a hard line against a black player, again, fairly or not, there would be grumblings of racism. This would naturally prompt an over the top response from the far right. Black players are facists? Hitler? Muslims? Going to execute your grandma?

No, politics doesn’t have a place in American sports. The NFL would be wise to keep it out.

The NFL Should Reject Rush

In editorial, kooks, neanderthals, sports on October 9, 2009 at 6:40 pm

By now I’m sure most have heard that fat drug addict and The New Atheist favorite, Rush Limbaugh said he is partnering up with St. Louis Blues owner, Dave Checketts, in a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams.

Yes, the same idiot that once said, “”the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons”, is now seeking to buy one of its franchises. Is Rush planning on bringing the all white team back into fashion? Would he sign a black quarter back?

It doesn’t matter. Black NFL players are already coming out to say they would refuse to play for the racist Limbaugh, and I can’t imagine the NFL wanting to put up with the backlash. Then again, I said the same thing about the torturer-of-dogs and modern-day-neanderthal, Michael Vick.

Via NYDailyNews.com

“All I know is from the last comment I heard, he said in (President) Obama’s America, white kids are getting beat up on the bus while black kids are chanting ‘right on,'” Kiwanuka told The Daily News. “I mean, I don’t want anything to do with a team that he has any part of. He can do whatever he wants, it is a free country. But if it goes through, I can tell you where I am not going to play.”

Scott says players remember what Limbaugh said, and adds that the NFL would be wise not to allow the nationally syndicated host into the league. “It’s an oxymoron that he criticized Donovan McNabb,” Scott said. “A lot of us took it as more of a racial-type thing. I can only imagine how his players would feel. I know I wouldn’t want to play for him. He’s a jerk. He’s an —. What he said (about McNabb) was inappropriate and insensitive, totally off-base. He could offer me whatever he wanted, I wouldn’t play for him. … I wouldn’t play for Rush Limbaugh. My principles are greater and I can’t be bought.”

Football is without a doubt, America’s game. We are (mostly) a nation that prides itself on its diversity and equality. Rush is not representative of the values of mainstream America, and he has no place in what is, almost entirely, an American game.

The Problems with Libertarianism

In cool, Culture Wars, editorial, politics on October 1, 2009 at 4:45 am

This is a very interesting article on Rationally Speaking, I will quote the first two paragraphs, and I strongly urge you to read the rest. The comment are also good, there are some interesting points and counterpoints.

Some of my best friends are libertarian, but I don’t hold it (too much) against them. Libertarianism appears to be very popular these days, especially among Republicans who wish to pretend to be anti-big government and yet are ashamed of eight years of huge government deficit and interference in personal life under W. Unfortunately, there are several problems with being a libertarian, perhaps the major one being that it is hard to say what exactly a libertarian is.

I actually spent quite some time wading through the bewildering taxonomy of libertarian-like positions, and finally came up with a complicated tree-like “concept map” that summarizes the basics. First off, you know how they say that in politics the extremes are often close enough to touch each other? Well, you can’t get any further on the two sides of the political spectrum as leftist anarchists and libertarians, and yet both are major branches of Libertarianism in the broad sense. How’s that for strange bedfellows?

More

Red State Priorities Fail

In Culture Wars, editorial, guns on September 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm

New Arizona Gun Law Takes Effect Today

Starting today, those with concealed weapons can bring them into Arizona’s 5,300 alcohol serving businesses. The law specifies that gun owners are not allowed to drink while carrying their weapon. So that is good, at least the paranoid people who come armed to a bar can be stopped from drinking. Oh wait, since the guns have to be concealed, who is to tell who is armed and who isn’t? We are to trust that people will do the right thing? I wish the government would just take my word that I pay my taxes, because you know, I totally would. Only in America can you get your head blown off for talking to the wrong girl, but die on the emergency room floor as others look on.

I doubt anyone capable of getting drunk and shooting someone would be worried about breaking gun laws. What is a gun charge when you are going down for murder anyway? People caught drinking with a gun will be fined up to $500 and be charged with a class three misdemeanor. Being caught with any amount of weed in Arizona is a felony. Priorities people, priorities.

Via The Arizona Republic