Friday, March 27, 2015

Hypocrisy and Ted Cruz

"You are what you do, not what you say you'll do." - Carl Jung

Ted Cruz says he will end Obamacare. 

Ted Cruz joins Obamacare

I don’t think I need to say another word. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm not a victim Phil Robertson

In Phil Robertson’s twisted mind, the only way one can be good is if one follows his faith and his interpretation of its dictates. As atheists, we are assumed to be without morals. We all know this is crazy. But he says it while pandering to a bunch of Christians, and they lap it up. 

“I’ll make a bet with you,” Robertson said. “Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’”

I’m no victim Phil. Your fantasy actors would find a big scary man ready to give as good as he gets. And, I’d have no trouble judging your behavior and heart. In fact, I can do it now. Your heart is black. Your behavior is reprehensible and counter to the message of Christ. 

Source: Right Wing Watch

Monday, March 23, 2015

Worst Ted Talk Ever

I wish I had thought of the line, “Worst Ted Talk Ever!” The credit goes to Liberty University student who like every other student in the audience was forced to attend Ted Cruz’s speech. My original title was more direct, “First fucker in the Republican short bus.” I liked it. 

The twitter hashtag #TedCruzCampaignSlogans is hilarious and spot on. 

My dad's Cuban, I'm Canadian, Vote For Me Because Jesus.

I'm Marginally Smarter Than Rick Perry

Winter proves there is no global warming

I call him the Do Nothing Senator from Baptististan. The man is unelectable and a fool to boot. He gets his name in print today because he fears becoming irrelevant. He wants attention. He craves the spotlight. He is not the best that the Republicans have to offer. Almost anyone, except Scott Walker, is a better choice. His speech was… forgettable.

Imagine in 2017 a new president signing legislation repealing every line of Obama Care. -Ted Cruz 23 Mar 2015.

Why would anyone want to do this? My politics tell me that the free market should dictate access to medical care, but reality tells me the free market cannot be trusted to care from my 80 year-old mother, or yours. Figure out how to make it work rather than tearing it apart. 

For a presidential candidate, Ted Cruz shows little understanding of politics. Tell people you will take their medical care away and they will show you the door. It’s that simple. Ted Cruz has no chance. 

On the other hand, he may offer comic relief. 

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Religion on a flight to Dallas

She read a passage from the New Testament to me before we took off.  

A Texas social experiment

I conducted a small social experiment while visiting Ft. Worth last week. I took note of how many people mentioned religion to me in some way. By my count, I spoke to 33 people while in Texas. I’ve excluded store clerks and such, although two clerks talked about their faith in a small way. Of the 33 people I spoke with, 24 spoke about religion, church or my preferences for attending church. None asked if I were a believer, I think the default position is an assumption of belief. 

I should qualify that I was in town for a funeral and that the majority of people I spoke with were also in town for the same event, so religion was bound to come up. 

I should also say that I only told one person that I was an atheist. He was the pastor at my father’s funeral service and appeared to be a decent fellow too. He asked if I was a pastor because of how well I spoke at the service. 

The odd stuff first…

While checking in at my hotel I was asked if I would like directions to the local churches. I declined, but was told that a local baptist church had an outreach ministry focused on truckers that I might find uplifting. 

While sitting alone in a Starbucks in Fossil, I made eye contact with two women and smiled. The contact was incidental, but they took it as an invitation to join me. We talked for perhaps three minutes about the weather and about the reason I was visiting before they asked if I needed to talk to a pastor. I thought the offer was kind. They gave me a number to call and invited me to a church service on Sunday if I were still in town.

While having dinner on my first night in town I was asked to join a family in prayer over their meal. I was alone and they were the only other people eating at the Texas Roadhouse. Our food came out at the same time. I already had a spoonful of chili in my mouth when I declined. They were friendly folks. We talked some during the meal and they eventually invited me to church if I were still in town over the weekend. 

The not so odd stuff

In some way, in almost every conversation, the subject of attending church came up. Be it the person who talked about last Sunday’s sermon, or the person referring to her disappointment at not being able to connect with a local church because of illness. Talk of church, not religion mind you, but the social institutions surrounding church, filled every conversation. 

I had a short but uplifting conversation with a Jehovah Witness about child sexual abuse in her religion. She openly acknowledged the problem and talked about what her church was doing to combat the problem. The conversation caught the ear of a few baptists who where happy to add that their churches did not have the problem. I did not offer an opinion. 

I spoke with several people who were attempting to put their lives back together in some small way through the social services offered by their churches. I was surprised by how freely people offered to talk about problems and by how they looked to a church as their way out. It could be the funeral talking though. People loosen up at these things. I think its part of the healing process.

I was not asked if I were a Christian. I think it was assumed. When the pastor asked me if I was a pastor, he accepted my atheism without comment. I think he was performing a function and would not move off his script for any reason. He was there to offer comfort, which he did well. 

Religion seems woven into the fabric of the community. The assumption is belief. For example, the local news offered school and church closure information because of a winter storm. The local radio station talked about mid-week church services and prisoner outreach programs. Church signs were full of uplifting messages and schedules for upcoming events. 

So many churches…

I also wanted to comment on the number of churches and the number of church run schools. They are everywhere and they are huge, but then, I must have passed four Hooters on the way to Ft. Worth from the airport…

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gifts from god for Feb 10, 2015

I do not go a day without witnessing the love of god in action among his followers. Here are a few examples. 

More to follow. 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Gifts from god for Feb 8, 2015

Gifts from god Feb 8, 2015

Friday, February 06, 2015

Gifts from god for Feb 6, 2015

There were so many gifts from god this week. I feel blessed to be an American.
I could go on for days.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The hypocrisy of Dianne Feinstein

Hypocrisy comes in many forms, be it the hypocrisy of the police screwing prostitutes, pastors screwing children or even politicians screwing the public. Religious types are constantly pointing out that I only highlight religious hypocrisy, and its true. I find religious hypocrisy to be the worst of the worst. But, some of the things our elected representatives do are every bit as bad as pastors who violate our trust. Like Dianne Feinstein and her husband Richard Blum who stands to earn $1 billion dollars from feeding at the public trough.
The US Postal Service plans to sell 56 buildings — so it can lease space more expensively — and the real estate company of the California senator’s husband, Richard Blum, is set to pocket about $1 billion in commissions.
$1 billion dollars… Just think about that Democrats. Feinstein does not represent your interests. She represents her own. She’s a billionaire after serving in public office. She’s played us all and we let it happen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pet Peeves

Pet peeves… we all have one. This is one of mine, unattributed source information, like this one found in a Time article. 
Religious men, even ones who regularly read about deities sanctioning violence in their holy books, don’t usually feel the license to kill, of course. In fact, you might expect the opposite. After all, religious people are more likely to do good than other people. They volunteer and donate blood more often than non-believers. They give more money to charity. In most psychology experiments they are more generous and less dishonest than atheists, and in the real world, they commit fewer crimes and abuse illegal subtances less, too. In fact, in the majority of the 39 countries polled by a 2014 Pew study, people say that a belief in God is required to be a moral person. That opinion was most common in poor regions such as Central Asia, and West Africa. But 53 percent of Americans also agree that religious belief makes you more ethical.
Really? Religious men who regularly read about deities sanctioning violence are more generous and less dishonest than atheists. What the fuck? What study says that? None of this is true.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Life lessons from a racist

When I was teen in the early 70s, I learned valuable life lessons from my grandfather. One day he showed me his Snap-on toolbox while I was spending time with him at his garage in Compton. He pulled out an odd looking wrench and told me that because he had learned how to use this new tool, he was able to take his wife, my grandma, to a fancy dinner once a month. I do not remember what he paid for the tool, but it was dear; all Snap-on tools are. He also paid for a training course and spent his free time practiced on his own cars. He was smart about business and converted a service that he outsourced to other mechanics, back in house.

He showed me other tools too, each with its own story and each offering a new service that helped put food on his table. He explained that I should get my own tool box and learn how to use the tools so that I too could take care of myself, and eventually, take care of my own family. I did not realize he was speaking metaphorically until much later. I have a large metaphorical toolbox these days and I use it all the time.

He gave me once more piece of advice, “Lock your tool box. You never know when those sneaky coloreds will come around and steal you blind.” I can still hear his voice in my head.

I knew then that he was a racist. So was my grandmother and virtually evey other adult in my life at that time. I would go my own way eventually. I left behind the racist parts of my grandfather and family, and embraced a life rich with many people, experiences and cultures. I bring this up now because I just read a story about a man and his ideas, which are mostly good, but he’s under attacked for comments he made that offended others. It turns out the man is a bit of chauvinist. My problem, as with all things these days, is that I do not see the problem with a chauvinist/racist/misogynist as an all or nothing game. Just because a man (or woman) holds an opinion or an attitude which are at odds with my own, does not mean I reject all of his ideas out of hand. Ideas stand on their own merit. I do not understand those who reject the whole over a part that is rotten, or use the rotten to justify killing the whole.

I eventually confronted my grandfather over his racism. It was hard, but he eventually softened. He had to. His exposure to better ideas left few other options.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Managing atheists on Facebook

It’s a Sunday morning here LA. It is cold for LA and raining too, so I’m reading Facebook and the news. I have some thoughts on Facebook because of a Mashable article, 5 ways to take control of your Facebook News Feed.

As a general rule, I keep a wide array of Facebook friends from within all aspects of the atheist community. I rarely unfollow, although I do so if the atheist in question is stupid. I don’t have time in my life for stupid. I don’t think many of us do. I also unfollow those who e-beg, be it people who dream of being Youtube barons or those who simply cannot pay the rent. My reasons are simple, in the case of the wannabe Youtube barons, I think it helps develop the equivalent of an atheist version of professional clergy. I’m not a fan of being an atheist first and then something else. I prefer the title of writer, photographer or project manager who happens to be an atheist. In the case of those who e-beg because they cannot pay the rent, I have no way of determining if their needs are real, so I prefer not to participate.

In some cases I unfollow Facebook friends. It usually starts with the words “Trigger Warning” and is followed by some obviously controversial topic meant to incite an argument simply for the sake of arguing and… weeding out the ideologically impure. I unfollow because I don’t want to read it, nor do I want to be sucked into the stupidity of publicly vilifying a fellow atheist over his or her position on a controversial issue.

I don’t think the atheist community on Facebook is a good place to hang out, so I rarely do. It beats Reddit though…

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I did not realize Atheist TV was still a thing

I took a break from blogging for about six months. I’m back at it now, but in a less intensive way. In the time I was gone, I kept up on things happening in the movement via reading. I was surprised today when I was reminded of AtheistTV. I did not realize it was still a thing. I had not seen anything about in the media for at least six months. I thought it came and went like all bad ideas do. But no… it’s still around and still playing re-runs of cable access TV shows.

When I first watched the channel back in August of 2014, I thought it was a premature concept. It’s still premature, but now we can also add stale. Why are the slotting low-quality video programs? I like the podcast version of the Atheist Experience well enough, it’s a good way to waste an hour while commuting around LA, but who wants to watch two talking heads while they chat up a caller? Why must I watch a show I can get via Youtube or a podcast? Why is there no new content? Why is there no original content? Why would people sit in front of their PCs to watch this via a published schedule when the content is available on demand via Youtube and other services?  It makes no sense.

When I tuned in today, I was struck by the thought that I may have watched the same Atheist Experience that last time I watched I fired up the show. I don’t think AtheistTV is a thing. I think it might have died in birth.

Center Punching for Christ

Center punching children for Christ: Because that’s how Jesus does it!

I found this on Hemant Mehta on the Friendly Atheist.

$10.5 Million JW sex abuse lawsuit

Clergy sexual abuse in the Jehovah’s Witness church rarely make it to the press, in my opinion it is because of the insular nature of the religion. The organization is closed to outsiders, operates in secret, and pressures members to remain silent. A new lawsuit hopes to pull back the curtain on secrecy and expose the hypocrites. The Oregonian reports that a $10.5 Million against Jehovah’s Witnesses Organizations claim that leadership hid decades of child sexual abuse. 
Two people who say that as children they were sexually abused by a leader in a Hillsboro Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation filed a $10.5 million lawsuit Monday – among the first in Oregon to accuse the religious organization of hiding decades of sexual abuse.

Attorneys for Velicia Alston, 39, and an unnamed man said the Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership continues to cover up sexual abuse against children by leaders. They say it is more than a decade behind other organizations, such as the Catholic Church, that have been forced to address their problems through many years of civil litigation.

I look for failure modes in stories like this. Secrecy is one of the primary failure modes in this story. When leaders act for the “good of the church” and hide the stories and the abusers, it allows abuse to flourish. Transparency, as disruptive and damaging as it can be, allows people and organizations to start healing and also builds awareness of the problem. JW’s of the world should demand transparency.