Saturday, February 11, 2012

contraception

Some political/social issues are difficult to comprehend such as abortion, economics, and war. So, I can understand how some people can have different opinions than mine. Contraception, however, is not such an issue.

I'm just gonna say it straight: the belief that contraception should be illegal, or is somehow immoral is stupid. STUPID! And, quite frankly, dangerous. I cannot understand how someone can think that contraception is bad. It makes no sense whatsoever. On this issue, more so than any other, the Pope is being dumb. In fact, he's being downright childish and silly.

The only thing that might be sillier than believing that contraception is bad is believing that contraception is bad while believing that abortion is bad. Any four year-old, who knows what sex is, knows that contraception decreases abortion. It is beyond obvious.

I just read a tweet by Bill Maher that read something to the effect of: I didn't get laid in high school either. But, you don't see me taking it out on women.

And that is precisely what anti-contraception policies are, they're anti-woman.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

stirring the pot

Now that all the brouhaha over the 10th anniversary of 9-11 (make that the second 9-11, as people in Chile call it) is pretty much over I will post a comment I posted on an article in one of my local newspapers. Here is the article. Below is my comment.

I can remember where I was and what I was doing on the morning of 09/11/01. I was 20 years old and was at work in the OSU Cancer Center labs washing lab glassware as I was listening to NPR discuss the incident as it happened. I thought it would be a great opportunity for the U.S. to go on an anti-terrorism crusade. And, I was hopeful that that’s what would happen.

But, that was not what happened. Instead, we simply engaged in terrorism ourselves by starting two wars (which seem to have no end in sight). We also made things as hideous as torture officially part of our national “security” strategy.

I mean, suppose the KKK, a U.S. terrorist group, were to become extremely ambitious and go over to Nigeria and kill about 3,000 Nigerians. Would this give Nigeria not only the right, but in fact, the obligation to start bombing the U.S.? I think not. If it’s not ok for them to do it, then it’s not ok for us to do it.

What should’ve happened after 9/11 was good, solid police work. We should’ve arrested those we suspected of being responsible for the heinous act and brought them to trial. If convicted, they could’ve been sent to prison. It’s that simple. No lives lost.

To be honest, I really don’t know what killing innocent people has to do with defending my freedom. In fact, in a way, I think I’d rather not even have my freedom if it meant that so many people have to die. Since the U.S., my country, has taken these actions, and I have not done enough to stop it from happening, I am a much less moral person. Pride is not what I will be feeling on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I will, however, be feeling shame, guilt, sorrow and, yes, even anger.
Howdya like it?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

i'm not racist, but...

I'm not racist, sexist, or homophobic. But....

..., that's all. I'm just not any of those things.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

my thoughts on the killing of osama bin laden

I'm sure that Bin Laden did everything that people said he did. But, when he was killed he was unarmed. In fact, apparently, his greatest defense was when one of his wives threw herself at one of the commandos. But, the U.S. commandos killed him anyway, rather than simply arresting him and bringing him to trial. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a right to a trial. So in my opinion, killing Bin Laden was an injustice.

And because of this, I think that all the celebrating that went on in the U.S. over his killing was really very ultra-nationalist and jingoist. I didn't understand it. I mean, I understand the desire to keep him from committing another atrocity. But, I don't understand why that automatically meant that he had to be killed, not arrested.

Also, I can't help but think that the reason why we killed him was because we really didn't have any serious evidence against him. I mean, do you remember the U.S. government ever producing any evidence? Now, I do believe that he did it. But, it's just a belief, it's not something that I know to be true from overwhelming evidence. That being said, I am glad that at least he won't be able to kill anyone.

P.S. Couldn't we have done this before the invasion that has lasted approximately ten years?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

a challenge to believers

Of course, anytime someone tells me that they believe in something or identify as something, I have no reason to not believe them. So, I assume that they believe as they say they believe or are what they say they are. However, sometimes I wonder if they actually believe in it, or if they just think that they believe it.

Every time someone tells me that they believe in God I perform the following thought experiment in my head. Suppose the person's life depends completely on whether or not they pull a lever. If the lever gets pulled, they live. But, if the lever isn't pulled, they die. How would they go about pulling the lever? Well, I believe that everyone I have ever known in my life would just simply walk over to the lever and pull it. Which makes them all nonbelievers in God. Because, if they believed in God, they would pray to God that He will pull the lever for them. Afterall, what if the building they are in caves in before they could reach the lever? You see, anything could happen that would prevent them from pulling the lever. But, if God tried to do it, surely it would get done since God can do anything. And, since God answers all prayers, praying to Him would be the best course of action for the true believer.

This little thought experiment points to the biggest flaw in religious beliefs: they defy logic and nature. If you hate your job, you wouldn't pray to God that He gives you a million dollars so that you can retire. No, instead you go to work every day because you know you have to put food on the table. And, if someone tells you that if you toss a ball in the air it will never come down, you know not to believe them because you know that gravity exists. Religion is that voice telling you the ball will not come back down. Logic is that voice telling you it will!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

my epiphany

I consider myself to have been born an atheist in the sense that I was born without a single religious belief, including a belief in a god. I don't remember the first time I was told that God existed, but I'm sure that I believed that person as soon as they told me. That is, in so far as a child can believe in something like God.

I also believe that from a very young age I had a hunch that most power structures in the world were illegitimate. I knew that corporations and governments, if left unchecked, did very bad things. Now, I had no idea what these things were, but remember this was just a hunch I had as a little kid.

I don't think that my parents took me or my sister to church when we were infants or toddlers (at least I can't remember going). Even though, both of my parents were Roman Orthodox Catholics. I can, however, remember my mom reading Greek and Roman mythology to us. In these stories there were giants, centaurs, and many other exotic creatures. I remember my mom telling us that people believed these stories to be true a long time ago, but that nowadays everyone just sees them as being very fantastic myths.

I grew up listening to my mom and her parents talk about how my grandpa was on strike a lot at his mine or factory. And how very pro-labor union they were as a family. They were also an Italian immigrant family.

Then, my parents started taking us to church. I liked Catholic church. It was peaceful. There was a sense of calmness about it. And, I enjoyed getting dressed up. We went to Sunday School. But, since it was Catholic, it was taught on Wednesdays. I found that to be boring. I remember one of my "Sunday" School teachers telling me as a teenager that if I looked at a woman in lust I have committed a horrible sin, and that if I didn't repent, I wasn't going to go to Heaven. I thought, "hasn't everyone, at some time, looked at another person in lust? Are we all going to Hell? Why would a just god, who loved us, do something like that?" I never really believed anything the "Sunday" School teacher told me, but I didn't put up a big fight about it either.

As a young teenager I reached the mental age where you start looking for answers to big questions about the world. And so, I became very interested in religion and politics, but especially religion. But, not just the Catholic religion, all religions. I found all religions to be basically made of the same stuff: essentially, it was all Greek and Roman mythology. It was all stuff about things that couldn't possibly have happened and creatures that couldn't possibly have existed. I began thinking that maybe all religion was just nonsense. So, at that point, I began considering myself an atheist.

I still had yet to find a really good political identity though. I just knew that I didn't like the Democrats, and I liked the Republicans just a little bit less. I can remember the first time I knew, for sure, that my government was lying to me. I heard on the news that President Clinton had started the Kosovo bombings. Then, I heard on the news that atrocities had taken place in Kosovo (after the bombings). How did President Clinton justify the bombings he ordered? Well, he simply said that the atrocities happened before the bombings, and that the bombings were meant to stop full-on genocide! This mostly passed without question in the press. My political ideas had just begun to take shape. But, my views on religion were already pretty well grounded.

My line of reasoning about religion lasted about seven years, until I was 21 and I had an epiphany about the theory of evolution and the last bits of religious belief left me. I came to this epiphany while wondering how organic things, full of life, could be exactly the same as inorganic things, non-living. Because, I knew from my chemistry classes that organic and inorganic things were made of exactly the same stuff. I was also thinking about how an inorganic, and therefore lifeless, earth could give rise to life. The idea that inorganic and organic material is made of exactly the same stuff profoundly changed the way I thought about religious beliefs.... I no longer had any.

I began personally denouncing things that, though they weren't established religions, were religions in my mind. Things such as alternative medicine, UFOs, conspiracy theories, spiritualism, psychics and other pseudo-scientific nonsense. Which, I now consider to be religion because of their anti-science tendencies.

I also began to search for other people in the media who had the same epiphany I had. And, I found a great deal of them. One, in particular, was Noam Chomsky. I knew that Noam Chomsky was an atheist, like me. But, that he was also an anarchist and socialist. I could get down with anarchism easily. If you believe in extreme democracy, as everyone I know does, then you are automatically an anarchist. But, his socialism was a bit more difficult for me to understand. So it took a little while, but eventually I came around to believing that corporations were nothing more than private tyrannies. And, that if governmental tyrannies were illegitimate power structures, then so were corporations, and I became a socialist.

"Socialist," "anarchist," "atheist," these are difficult words in our society to be associated with. Hell, they were difficult for me to associate with, and still are! Because, they are "scare words." Words meant to scare people away from being allies or sympathizers to their technical definitions. They are meant to conjure up images of punk-rocking arsonists running amok, raising hell. Not dedicated, rational organizers trying to make a better life for themselves and others, which is the definition of the words that I choose to associate myself with.

Monday, May 31, 2010

memorial day

It's Memorial Day. Which, for me means going to an excellent movie festival called Cinevent here in Ohio. It also means that I get to laugh at my dad for putting up so many American flags. One is fine, two is patriotic, but three is overkill.

I'm sure that the O-Bomb will give some speech at some patriotic place somewhere. But, I won't be listening. I don't care at all what politicians have to say about the troops, because I don't think that Obama and Co. care at all about them. If he did care about them, I doubt he'd be deploying so many of them to their deaths, or to other people's deaths. Which is worse, to be killed or to kill? I don't know. I just know it sucks all the way around... for everyone.

Today should've been the day that our government really thanked the troops..., by bringing them home to their families.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

keep the government out of my medicare!

A lot of tea partiers are white, male, middle to upper class, and over the age of 45. This didn't surprise me. But, the fact that about half of them are either on medicare themselves or they have someone in their family on medicare, and about half of them are either on some form of social security or have someone in their family on SS is extremely interesting to me. Those figures are according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. Keep in mind that this probably isn't a very scientific poll, but it is a telling poll.

The reason these figures are so interesting is that they describe the whole Tea Party Movement perfectly. The tea partiers think that their hard earned money is being taken from them and given to lazy, black, poor people. But, people who receive government help aren't lazy. Hell, most of them aren't even black. But yet, this is the image we have in our heads of someone who receives government help. The tea partiers, like everyone else, love big government when it helps them out. But for some reason, the tea partiers don't like big government when it helps someone else out.

For years now the phrase "big government liberal" has been code for the phrase "someone who wants to give white people's money to poor, lazy, black people." And it's about damn time this message stopped! Only someone with racist tendencies, conscious or unconscious, believes this sort of language. Now of course, not everyone who believes that social programs are bad is racist. But, that doesn't change the message that so many people hear on a daily basis.

The tea partiers are made up of people who have, for the past thirty years, seen their wages stagnate or decline, their benefits gone down, and their work hours greatly increase. All the while their productivity has increased, and their CEOs' salaries have sky-rocketed. Of course they're pissed off. Who wouldn't be? But, this is the fault of big business. They shouldn't take their anger out on the poor.

I will leave you with a paraphrasing of a letter to the editor that I read in a newspaper recently:

The tea partiers don't want to pay taxes? Fine. They shouldn't have to pay taxes then. But, since they aren't paying any taxes, they can't use any government programs. They can't use streets and highways. They can't use medicare, medicaid, or social security, they can't use public education or transportation. If their house is on fire, they can't use the fire departments. If they get mugged, they can't use the police departments. And, if international terrorists take them hostage, the military won't rescue them. We can live in our "socialism," and they can live in their "utopia."

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am on medicaid and SSI.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the cost of coal

What happened in West Virginia earlier this month was horrific. But, it'll be even more horrific if steps aren't taken to reduce the number of miners who die in mines every year. You shouldn't have to risk your life just to do your job. If we had a functioning labor movement in the U.S. this probably wouldn't have happened.

One way to reduce the amount of deaths in coal mines is to become a mostly nuclear powered country. There are fewer deaths in nuclear power plants than in coal mines. And an additional benefit is that it's cleaner for the environment. The only trouble is in where to store the nuclear waste. But, I'm sure that proper arrangements can be made.

I'm a grandson of a coal miner. And I can tell you that working in a coal mine is like having a second family. My heart really goes out to all those affected by this tragedy. I only hope that we learn that safety regulations, compliance with safety regulations, and enforcement of safety regulations are an absolute must-have.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

mumbo-jumbo

I just now read here that a phrase I've used in this blog probably has racist origins. Mumbo-jumbo is apparently derived from white people making fun of indigenous Africans' rituals. However silly these rituals may have been (and perhaps, still are), there is waaaaaay more than just a tinge of racism here. And, I want no part of it. So from now on, I will not use the term, mumbo-jumbo. Instead, I will say, "gibberish," or "gobbledygook," or "bullshit."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

expelled = no intelligence

Ok, I know I probably should've watched Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed years ago. But, I was waiting so that I wouldn't have to pay to see it, so that I wouldn't give any of my money to the I.D. movement. I did end up having to pay for it, but I bought it at an excellent second-hand bookstore called, Half Price Books. So, none of my money went to creationism.

The movie is probably the second most immoral movie I've ever seen (the Birth of a Nation is still number 1). I think that telling people that I.D. is on the same level as the theory of evolution is extremely misleading. And, that's exactly what this movie does.

It starts out saying that good scientists are losing their jobs because of their skepticism of evolution, or their belief in intelligent design. But, nothing could be further from the truth. Read Skeptic magazine's article on the real reason why Dr. Gonzalez (someone interviewed in the documentary) was denied tenure here.

The rest of the documentary is about how superior intelligent design is to evolution. But, like with all I.D. stuff, it provides no real evidence for I.D. Then, at the end, we get to be lectured that Nazis believed in evolution, and therefore evolution was a necessary component of the Third Reich, Stalinism, and other various forms of social evils. That is, of course, just like I.D., utter nonsense.

I think it's immoral to make such a documentary. The last thing the U.S. needs is for more religious mumbo-jumbo to be mixed up with science. No one who actually knows what they're talking about disagrees with the theory of evolution. The only good thing about this movie is that it did poorly at the box office.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

natural cures "they" don't want you to know about... because they're not really cures at all

Alternative medicine seems to be all the rage today. In fact, even my little Midwest town has a "health" food store that sells supplements, natural remedies, and environmentally clean food. And, it's right next to the town's local colon cleansing business. Yes, in this town you can get clean shit, then you can get your shit cleaned out all in one stop!

I think the owners of my local "health" store mean well. But, I just don't think that their products actually do what they say they do. I mean, you know what they call alternative medicine that works, don't you? They call it medicine. Meaning, as soon as there is enough evidence that something (anything) cures an ailment it becomes mainstream medicine. The very fact that we call this stuff alternative medicine means that it's not medicine at all. In other words, that shit don't work!

Just because something is natural, organic, exotic, not genetically modified, herbal, or is some ancient "remedy" doesn't mean it actually works. In fact, in some cases it can be harmful. Go here for a short list of things that can (and have) gone wrong, and became dangerous, when it comes to alternative medicine.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

rev. jeremiah right

There's just one more issue about race that I'd like to mention this Black History Month. And that is Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Basically, I don't think that either he, nor Obama, are racist.

First of all, going by some definitions of racist, a person in the oppressed group cannot possibly be racist against the privileged group. Second of all, I have never heard anything that either of them have said that was racist.

I think that Rev. Wright mentioned something about the U.S. government giving black people HIV. And, I don't think there's any evidence for that. But, that's the only thing I've heard him say that was unreasonable. Everything else he's said has been perfectly reasonable, and certainly, nothing he's said has been racist. The same is true of Obama.

The very fact that the two of them have both been painted racists shows you how much work that still needs to be done in the way of race relations in the U.S.

And, the fact that Oprah went to Rev. Wright's church makes me want to laugh hysterically. I mean, just the idea of her being a radical is awesome.

Monday, February 15, 2010

the real spirit of the olympics

I watch the Olympics. Or more to the point, my mom watches the Olympics, therefore I watch the Olympics. I enjoyed watching Michael Phelps in the Summer Olympics, and I'll always watch a good Olympic basketball game, track event, or speed skating event. However, I think the Olympics is indicative of something really, really horrible.

Basically, I think the Olympics plays upon, and instigates jingoism. Besides the obvious jingoism in all of the flag waving, there is the fact that people just really want to see their nation kick the other nations' asses. And of course, the wealthier the nation, the better training their athletes have, and the more they win. I mean seriously, when has Somalia ever won an event?

I think that if I was amazingly good at a sport and was asked to go to the Olympics, I would turn down the offer. At least, I'd like to think I would. I'm sure, though, that I will continue watching the Olympics with my mom. And the whole time, I'll be thinking about all of the moral implications of me watching this program while I enjoy the spectacular sporting event.

GO SOMALIA!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

why i hate philosophy

Good philosophy describes science using scientific terminology and logic. Bad philosophy (which, unfortunately, is most philosophy) basically amounts to nothing more than well-educated mumbo-jumbo.

Just look at the many conversations that Bertrand Russell had with Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein was always using mumbo-jumbo, and Russell was always the realist. One such conversation went something like this: Wittgenstein said that there could be an elephant in the room with them (even though, there was obviously no space in the room for an elephant). Which prompted Russell to vehemently object, look around the room, and ask Wittgenstein where this elephant could possibly be.

Most philosophy is just mental masturbation. Though, it's not as fun as real masturbation, it serves the same purpose: to entertain the person committing the act without them actually doing anything meaningful.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

why not privatize the military?

If you believe that corporations always do a better job than the government, and you want to have the best military in the world, why not privatize the military?

It makes sense to me. If you believe "A" and "B" then you must believe "C."

Of course, it should be mentioned that a great deal of the military is already privatized. Scary, ain't it?

Most people are socialists. It's just that some people want government programs that help people out, and others want government programs that kill people. But, we all want government programs.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

i'm a white panther

It's Black History Month, so I'm going to blog a little bit more about race relations in the U.S. The Black Panthers are often times portrayed as the black version of the KKK. In other words, a group full of black people who are racist against white people. And, consequently, they are reviled by the mainstream media, government, and academia (with few exceptions). But, based just on what I know about them, this extremely negative image appears to be very inaccurate.

The Black Panthers gave free breakfasts to elementary school children in low income neighborhoods. They founded and funded free clinics in those same neighborhoods. And, they even helped poor people, of all races, organize since they were primarily socialists.

This is not the gun-toting, violent, racist image of the Panthers that you see in the media,... not at all. Nevertheless, this is the more accurate image. So yeah, I'm giving the Black Panthers some credit.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

the new jim crow

Well, it's Black History Month again, so I would like to talk about a serious problem concerning the African-American community. In fact, it's probably that community's biggest problem. It is the huge amount of incarceration of people of color here, in the U.S.

First off, let's get a few facts straight. The U.S. imprisons more people than any other nation in the world (that's including the extremely regressive ones). And, no nation imprisons a higher percentage of its minorities population than the U.S. These facts are sad, but true.

The drug war began in the 1980's and continues right up till today. There is no reason for any drug to be illegal. Which means that a lot of the people that are in prisons are there because they committed a victimless crime.

I am reading a book titled, the New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander. And so far, it's an excellent book. The book describes how the huge increase in incarceration among people of color throughout the 80's, 90's, and 2000's has led to one of the worst racial situations in American history. She puts it in the same league as slavery and Jim Crow. She also writes about how the major civil rights establishment has completely ignored the problem, if they even know about it at all.

There are so many things wrong with the drug war I don't think I could name all of them here. So, I'll just mention a few things. Like I said earlier, there is no reason for any drug to be illegal in the first place. Marijuana is nonlethal and nonaddictive, whereas alcohol and tobacco are both incredibly lethal and addictive. Prevention and treatment is, by far, the most effective way to handle the drug problem. Yet, it receives the least amount of government money when compared to other ways to handle the problem. It is entirely immoral, hypocritical, and probably illegal for the U.S. to destroy drug crops in other countries when we are a country whose economy has historically been centered around the sale of tobacco! Plus, in the process of killing the crops we kill the people of these countries with our chemicals, and we drive them off their own land. Lastly, almost all drug laws, and enforcement of those laws, have been racist and classist. Wealthier white people commit drug offenses just as often as poorer black and brown people do, they just get arrested, convicted, and sentenced less.

If you don't have the freedom to put whatever you want into your own body, then you ain't free! And, if you have racist or classist attitudes or tendencies, just come right out and say it. We can work on it together. But, if you have these feelings, please don't let them influence your decisions on how government should treat minorities and the less privileged. It's a despicable act.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

for howard zinn, the moving train has stopped

Unfortunately for us, Howard Zinn can now be neutral.

To all of Dr. Zinn's family and friends: my heart goes out to you.

That is all.

spending freeze?

So, Obama, our savior, is going to try to put a freeze on spending. But only social spending. Which means that we can still increase spending on the two wars we're waging and other various military expenditures. That's just FAN-FUCKIN'-TASTIC!!!

We get to hault spending money on programs that save lives, while still being able to spend money on programs that kill people! Brilliant! Gee, I wonder how this is going to work out.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm on medicaid and SSI.

Oh, and this is my 5oth post! YAY FOR ME!

Monday, January 25, 2010

the enemy's soldier

Sometimes, when we hear about wars that the U.S. is involved in, we are told what the total amount of dead U.S. soldiers is. And, on occasion, we are even allowed to know the conservative estimate of total civilian deaths.

How come we are never told what the total deaths of the enemy's soldiers is?

I mean, we are told that they are the enemy, so therefore they don't matter. But surely, these soldiers matter to somebody. A parent. A child. Or, perhaps just a friend. But these people do, indeed, matter.

I doubt that most of these soldiers actually agree with, or even like, the leaders of their armies. Most of these soldiers are forced into joining their armies. In many cases, it is the only way for them to make a living. Much the same as with our own soldiers.

Before we go passing judgment on the morality of our enemy's soldiers and believing that their lives mean nothing, we should try to see that they are not really our enemy, but rather they are the victims of our enemy, so that they don't become the victims of us as well.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

children should be allowed to vote

A few months ago, perhaps a whole year ago, an Ohio judge ruled that a homeless person can put the park bench he/she sleeps on as their address when registering to vote. When I heard about this I actually felt a sense of pride from being an Ohioan. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that voting is the most important, or even the most powerful, ingredient for democracy. In fact, I think that it is very over-hyped. But, I do think it is an essential ingredient for democracy.

Which is why that I think that children, imprisoned convicts, ex-cons, and undocumented immigrants should have the right to vote. In short, the only criteria that one should be forced to meet in order to vote is: are they able to understand that pulling that lever, pushing that button, or punching that hole through the paper indicates that they are voting for that candidate or issue? And, that they live in the region in which they are voting. Their age, police report, and immigration status shouldn't matter at all. I can think of no good reason why these things should matter.

Just think of how much better schools would be if children had a say in what goes on in them. Or, think about how much more humane the U.S.'s immigration laws would be if the very people who are most affected by these laws had the opportunity to make them. Another thing to keep in mind is how George W. Bush managed to win Florida in the 2000 election, or more to the point, why the election was even close. It was close because a lot of Floridians who were ex-cons couldn't vote.

Why no one is even mentioning this issue is indicative of the very reason why this issue exists.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

crazy motherfuckers

I'm one crazy motherfucker. Just read my second blog post here to find out how crazy I am, or at least was at one time. But I have embraced my craziness. I have owned my craziness. I have accepted my craziness. And, I would like for other crazy people to do the same with their craziness.

Black people call each other the "N" word, women call each other bitches, white people call each other rednecks. Well, I just want for mentally ill people to call each other crazy motherfuckers. Basically, I want to reclaim the phrase "crazy motherfucker."

I mean, crazy motherfuckers outnumber normal people. We're all over conservative talk radio. Crazy motherfuckers are on the news all the time doing crazy motherfucking stuff. And, most of us get elected to office. So, why the hell shouldn't we own the phrase "crazy motherfuckers?"

I have crazy motherfucker pride!

Friday, January 1, 2010

a world ruled by the catholic church wouldn't be all bad

Both of my parents are Catholic, so I was raised Catholic. But, if you've been following this blog, you'll know that ever since I was mature enough to really understand religion I have been an atheist. There's always been something about the non-religious which has perplexed me. They say that a world ruled by the Catholic church would be a horrible world to live in. Now of course, it would by no means be a perfect world, but it'd be pretty ok.

The Catholic church has said that the big bang, evolution, and climate change theories are all correct. So, you wouldn't get any arguments against those things from the papacy. The church is against the Iraq war, in fact the modern church is against most of the wars that have happened throughout history (including wars that the papacy itself orchestrated!) There is probably no organization in the world that has a more stellar record of helping the poor than the modern church.

I mean sure, the church is bad on many issues. But, on most of them people just ignore the church and go about their business. In fact, in the case of the church's opposition to contraception even devout Catholics ignore the church's teachings.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

labor is dead

Here, in the U.S., we are working longer hours for less money per hour than we have in modern history. We have less days off than other, comparable economies. We have, quite possibly, the worst healthcare system in the industrialized world. And, there is some evidence that our poor are worse off than the poor of many European countries. Why is this? Because, in the U.S., the labor movement is dead. And, it was killed by the right wing as the left wing watched.

First off, the labor movement itself is partly to blame for its own demise. It wasn't until the 1990s that the mainstream labor movement invited immigrants to be apart of it. It even took awhile for women and minorities to be accepted. And, none of these demographics are completely accepted. Also, the mainstream U.S. labor movement has yet to help out workers of other countries in any significant way. Considering that they badly need the help, and that U.S. labor should act in solidarity with the labor of other countries, it would be of great benefit to the global labor movement if this happened.

The U.S. government decided in the 70s that it would begin to switch the U.S. economy from a manufacturing-based economy to one that would benefit corporations and a select few individuals more financially. This spelled disaster for the working class. The government also began instituting a stricter neoliberal trading policy for other countries, the U.S. of course being exempt from these policies. This crippled whatever labor movements that existed in developing countries.

Finally, the nail that sealed the coffin of U.S. labor was the left wing. Basically, liberals forgot all about labor unions, the poor, and the working class. They substituted other causes for them. Some, such as gay rights, are noble causes and should be pursued. But unfortunately, others were just plain nonsense, nuanced nonsense, sure, but nonsense nevertheless. These were things such as the alternative medicine movement, tantric sex, and conspiracy theories like the JFK assassination and the 9-11 truth movement. Nuanced nonsense is still just nonsense, only better educated.

It's my opinion that the U.S. needs a rebirth of the labor movement. The concerns of the poor and working classes need to be taken seriously. This means not manufacturing their bigotted concerns of gays and immigrants running a muck. Instead, it means universal healthcare, no war (seeing as how they are the ones who fight wars), free education from K to PhD, and more welfare among other things.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

sports and politics

First off, no, this post has nothing to do with Tiger Woods or performance enhancing drugs. It has to do with how sports, sex, and art are used to distract people. In American society, these three things are supposed to be all that we care and think about. If you're not sexualizing some teenage girl *ahem* Miley Cyrus *ahem,* or hero-worshipping some exceptional athlete, then you must be obsessed with Twilight and Britney Spears. You can bet that the elite powers know this, and love it!

Sports, though, is a peculiar one. Not only does it distract people from issues that actually matter, but it does so with such great detail. Just look at all of the lengthy, in-depth, and creative statistics that people know about sports. People who are obsessed with sports know every, single record and stat that they could possibly know. But, how many of these people even know who their representative in Congress is? Shit, I don't even know that!

Also, the best reporting in any newspaper or on any TV channel is always the sports section. They look at a situation from every angle. analyzing it thoroughly. They never just take an athlete, coach, or team executive at their word. They always base their opinion on sound fact.

If regular reporters acted more like sports reporters, they wouldn't be regular reporters at all. They'd be real reporters!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

where are the bluedog republicans?

Throughout this entire healthcare mess all that I keep hearing is about how the supposedly liberal wing of the Democrats have to compromise with the right wing of the Democratic party, the so-called Bluedog Democrats. The whole time I'm wondering where are the liberal Republicans? Where are the Bluedog Republicans?

Answer: they don't exist. For a long time now, the U.S. government has been far to the right of the views of the American public. Ranging on everything from healthcare to war, the U.S. government doesn't listen to the American public.

It's partly the public's fault for allowing horrible things to happen in their name right in front of their eyes. It's partly the media's fault for not doing their job. But, it's mostly the fault of government and other concentrations of power for setting up the political system that the U.S. is currently under. We deserve better. We need better.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

bill clinton, the psychic

The phrase "fake psychic" is an oxymoron. All psychics are fake, whether they, themselves, realize it or not. They always use one of two techniques: cold reading or hot reading. Sometimes they use both.

Hot reading is when the psychic does something like placing a microphone in the lobby of their place of work to pick up any conversations the victim might have while there to be used later, during the reading, or basically, anytime the psychic knows something about the victim before the reading begins. Though this takes planning, it is usually much easier than cold reading.

Cold reading is when the psychic babbles on during the reading and accidentally stumbles onto something that makes sense to the victim. This is much harder to do than hot reading because it requires a certain amount of conversational and people skills from the psychic.

I suppose that cold reading is able to occur simply because the victim wants it to occur. Afterall, even a die-hard skeptic wants to talk to his/her dead mother just one more time. All that needs to happen is for the victim to forget the five misses, and remember the one hit.

But this forget-the-misses-remember-the-hits phenomenon occurs in other areas of life as well. Just look at American politics. People forget that Bill Clinton orchestrated a murderous sanctions policy against Iraq, cut welfare, and led an immoral war in eastern Europe. But, they remember that the economy did well under him (if you were wealthy). And so, people regard him as being a good president. It's basically the same for Reagan and Kennedy as well.

Just because you wanted something to happen, doesn't mean it actually happened. This is the reason why people pray, seek alternative medicine, and believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. You wanting something to happen is not the same as you willing something to happen. The latter requires work.

Monday, November 23, 2009

my love / hate relationship with bill maher

Religulous was a great movie, no doubt about it. And, most of the time, Bill Maher is correct in his analysis of religion. Which is why it is so hard for me to understand his preoccupation with medicine. Apparently, he thinks that Americans are taking too many pills and not questioning vaccines enough.

Given that Americans are largely underdiagnosed, or, perhaps even worse, misdiagnosed I can't understand how he comes to his conclusions about pills. He once said that no one ever got a headache due to an aspirin deficiency. This is true, aspirin deficiency is not the cause of a headache. But, aspirin does, quite often, alleviate the symptom of headache. He is a believer in holistic medicine, whatever the hell that means. Here's a little snippet from the American Holistic Medical Association:
Founded in 1978, the AHMA remains true to its original mission, serving as the leading advocate for the use of holistic and integrative medicine by all licensed healthcare providers. We embrace integrative, complementary and alternative medicine techniques; we hold onto what is helpful in allopathic medicine, and we understand that healing includes your body, your mind, your emotions, and your spirit.
'Nough said.

As for his thing about vaccinations, I haven't the foggiest idea of as to why someone might think that maybe vaccines are a bad thing. Vaccinations might be the greatest life-saver in human history. And, when you add in natural vaccinations, such as someone getting a few flu germs in them from someone with the flu, well then you're talking about the greatest life-saver of all-time for any species. Period.

Bill Maher dazzles me with his wit and critical thinking skills, but he amazes me with his diligent support of contrarity.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

what richard dawkins gets wrong

Richard Dawkins does a lot of great work, and he is very knowledgeable. However, he does one thing wrong. I assume that his goal is to reduce religiosity in the world, which I do not disagree with him on. But, where I disagree with him is how he goes about doing this. My suggestion to him would be, rather than nit-pick at everyone's irrationalities, he should spread freedom and democracy throughout the world. Because, where there is much freedom, there is little religiosity, and vice versa.

There is, however, one glaring exception to this rule: the U.S. The U.S. is a very religious country considering how free it is. That is because Americans don't see themselves as being very free. We have the freedom to speak out against our own government in any way we see fit. Yet, we rarely do so because we live in an incredibly democratically deficient society. Our democratic institutions barely function, if at all. Even though we have near complete control over our lives, we do not perceive the situation as such. And so, we turn to religion for some sense of control over our lives.

But, it wasn't always like this in the U.S. In the 1920's and 30's, when the labor movement was strong, we believed we had more control over our lives, because in many ways we did, that is if you were white. But, during the 1950's there was a sort of "atomization" of society. Basically, it was the suburbanization of the country. Before it, you lived, went to school, went to church, shopped, and worked all in the same neighborhood. So, community activism was much easier, and people actually knew what was going on, perhaps not on the other side of the planet, but they certainly knew what was going on in their own backyards. Nowadays, you're lucky to do just two of those things in the same neighborhood.

This atomization was what mostly spurred on the great religious revival of the 1950's. Before it, Americans were much less religious than they are now. Sure, if you had asked Americans in the 20's and 30's if they were Christians, you'd get a higher percentage to say "yes" than if you were to ask the same question to Americans of the present. However, if you were to ask about specific stories of the Bible, such as talking snakes, a man walking on water, or changing water to wine, you'd find more people saying that they believe in these things nowadays than in the beginning of the twentieth century.

So, if Dr. Dawkins is to ever conquer religion he is going to have to build up freedom and democracy, not tear down irrationality and absurdity. Although, I suppose doing the latter would help too.