The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Indian Gang-Rape Commentary - Good Article

There is a high occurence of rape/gang-rape in India, along with high levels of societal violence. After a recent attack where a 23 year old girl was viciously raped and beaten, then thrown from a moving bus, protests have been on-going and the crowds have been demanding a change in the laws to make rape a capital crime.

An article in The Hindu argues that the problem is deeper than that and bringing the death penalty into play is not the right answer. His argument is that Indian males have to be brought up differently and the attitude towards women by everyone have to change.
This idea of a woman as a fully formed human subject remains a difficult concept to embrace.
If this doesn't change, making legal threats or throwing the death penalty around won't make a difference.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Wayne LaPierre of the NRA Launches "Worst Idea Ever" Campaign

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice-president (isn't that the title Mr. Burns once gave to a dog?) of the National Rifle Association, NRA, said in a news conference that, in the wake of the horrific tragedy in Connecticut, every school in the United States should have an armed police officer stationed within its walls of education.

Because, if Hollywood has taught me anything - and it has - it's that more guns is *always* the answer.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,"
Weeeellll...that's not entirely true. Let me just say two words by way of a response: Fort Hood. Nidal Malik Hasan was one "bad guy with a gun" who lost his marbles on an army base, surrounded by "good guys with guns", but he still killed 13 people (one pregnant woman whose fetus also died) and wounded 29 others. It seems like more guns isn't really the answer.

Or the other option would be to have sensible gun ownership laws that prohibit having military style assault rifles. I KNOW! I KNOW! I'm suggesting that infringing upon your rights JUST A SMIDGE maybe, just might, sort of prevent the mentally ill persons who generally commit these types of random attacks from being able to get hold of weapons that do tremendous damage.

His agenda firmly in mind, LaPierre is saying that in the interest of keeping children and the innocent safe from super rare occurrences of gun violence, he would suggest putting children and the innocent within grasping range of guns at all times. That seems odd to me.

Hey, did you know that on the same day that the tragedy happened in Connecticut, some jackass went crazy in Henan province in China with a knife and stabbed 22 kids between 6 and 11 years old at an elementary school? I can hear LaPierre now saying something like, "See, knives kill people too! You can't ban knives. Guns don't kill people - people kill people."

Except for one tiny little skooshy small weeny bit of a difference: none of the 22 kids died in China. Not one of them. The assailant was tackled and arrested, the injured were taken to hospitals and treated, and no one got buried. Guns *do* kill people, and they do it WAY more effectively than other tools, mostly because, well, that's what guns are designed to do. You can't make a nice Cobb salad with a military assault rifle.

Well, the avocado might have a bit too much gun oil on it....

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ben Stein (and an Anonymous Internet Author), Fisked

I have seen this attributed to the clueless git and evolution denier Ben Stein. I will share it here with my commentary throughout in bold.

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year, (No, the White House did not - it never has) which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this (terrible) piece which I would like to share with you. (This forwarding bit was added to the original, still mistranscribed piece, in 2011. Stein originally said his short piece in 2005.)

The following was (partly) written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a nativity scene, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
(And most people don't mind either, except that displaying such religious iconography on public land violates the U.S. Constitution's first amendment, the establishment clause. If you want to have your Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Saturnalia/Newtonmas displays on your front lawn, your back lawn, on your roof, all over your church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or private school, knock yourself out. But not on public land.)

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. (Pushed around? You can't be 73% of the population and still get "pushed around". Either you're the majority or you're not. The whining gets old when you're only doing it because you're not getting to "push around" the minorities by putting up your particular brand of religious decorations everywhere. The end of the year has a lot of holidays, deal with it.) I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. (It's not an "explicitly atheist" country - it's a secular country. There is a difference which Stein is willfully ignoring. An "atheist" country would say, "There is/are no god(s), the idea is silly and childish and archaic and misogynistic and barbaric." A "secular" country says, "Because we can not, in fairness, promote any one religion over another, you can display your decorations and declare your faith in your places of worship and your homes, but not in any area publicly used or paid for by tax dollars". See the difference?) I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. (Nothing is being shoved down anything. You are reacting to what you *think* should be your rights being denied to you for rational and fair reasons, which you don't like. You are more comfortable doing the shoving down throats.)

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God? (Nonsense - you can worship whatever god(s) you want to all day long if you choose. Stop being a dramapuss.) I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

(From here on the letter was penned by some anonymous internet person.)

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).
(This bit is misquoted and was not in response to Katrina, but to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'. (What a horrible thing to say. Blaming the victims of a terrorist attack for their deaths because they didn't pray enough to her god. Disgusting.)

In light of recent events... terrorist attacks, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. (It wasn't O'Hare that said it, it's the U.S. Constitution, as noted above.) The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Yeah, it also says all this horrible stuff. Conveniently left out of most readings and arguments.) And we said OK. (No, you didn't. You fought tooth and nail and lost.)

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay. (Dr. Spock's son did not commit suicide. To quote from the linked article, however: "An ironic twist to this legend is that it *is* true about a psychologist who advocated a child-rearing approach diametrically opposed to the one Dr. Spock would later champion." That psychologist was John B. Watson, who advocated minimal love for children, not to hug them, not to let them sit on your lap, to only give a kiss at bedtime, and to shake their hand in the morning. *His* son, William, committed suicide in 1954. I guess his, "little personality" was "warped". What was that about, "knowing what you're talking about"?)

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
(That, or mental illness is an issue that needs to be dealt with in a better way.)

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. (First, show me that there *is* a god and a hell, then we can start talking)

Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. (You shouldn't believe what the newspapers say until you check it out. You *definitely* shouldn't believe what the bible says, because it is a collection of Bronze Age mythology and fairy tales)

Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. (The people who think twice are the ones who wonder if it's appropriate to "shove their religion down other people's throats". FYI: it's not.)

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. (No one is suppressing public discussion. People object to overzealous Christians - or any other belief system - getting to espouse their viewpoint in a public forum, which, again, is against the U.S. Constitution's first amendment.)

Are you laughing yet? (Sort of, but only at the sheer volume of misinformation, mistakes, and outright lies in this short article.)

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. (No, it's because this is a horribly written piece of religious propaganda...and I'll take it apart on my blog instead.)

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. (Replace "God" in that sentence with, "Vishnu". Are you still ok with it? What about, "Odin"? How about, "Allah"? The "Flying Spaghetti Monster"? None of those are good? Hmmm...interesting....)

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what a bad shape the world is in.
(I won't pass it along, but again, I'll post it and dissect it for the worthless piece of pseudo-religious detritus it is.)

My Best Regards, Honestly (Ha!) and respectfully, (Oh, please)

Ben ("I wouldn't know a good argument if it hit me in the face with a trenching shovel") Stein

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Pope Ratz Blesses Ugandan "Kill the Gays" Lawmaker

Pope Benedict blessed the speaker of the Ugandan parliment and "Kill the Gays" initiative pusher, Rebecca Kadaga, on December 12 at a pilgrim's mass at the Vatican. I have made fun of the pontiff before and certainly will again, but it takes a special level of indifference and intentional blindness to go ahead with a ceremony like this one. It reminds me of the Intelligence Squared debate with Christopher Hitchens (rest in peace) and Stephen Fry where the latter said this:Fitting also because of Fry's love of, and work in, Uganda and because this debate was in 2009, the same year that the bill in question was given to Ugandans as a "Christmas gift" to the population. Incidentally, if you have not watched that entire debate, do so at your earliest convenience. It's great.

Thankfully, the bill has stalled in their parliment after international outrage shone a spotlight on their hatred. Funny how some things that are perfectly fine to do in private are embarrassing when everyone can see you doing it. Sort of like bondage. Maybe a bad example to use with the Catholic church....

The influence of U.S. evangelists on Ugandan lawmakers was examined in this 2010 article in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is also discussed on the Rachel Maddow Show from 2009 here:
The disconnect of the Pope from reality - i.e. homosexuals are a part of humanity and are not going away - is not surprising. An old man in a palace who interacts with the world via a bevy of mediators and buffers has about as firm a grip on the situation as, say, as the late Kim Jong Il did.

Shame on Pope Benedict, and shame on any Catholic who does not say something about this.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Dear Mike Huckabee....

Fuck you.

Fuck you more than anything ever. You horrible, sanctimonious, bible-thumping, attention-whoring, headline-grabbing, wannabe-scene-stealing, ignorant, fucking asshole.

Fuck you.

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