Archive for October, 2008

31
Oct
08

Atheists “lowest of the lows” according to Kay Hagan

“This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.” – John Adams, President and Founding Father

Why am I so outspoken on atheism? I feel that I have to make a vigorous stand in the face of the erosion of our Nation’s secular foundation. Atheists get a bum rap. In a certain respect, we’re lucky. There are no visible signs of atheism. We’re not a different color and we don’t have public behaviors that are easy to spot. We can stay under the radar if we choose. The one thing we cannot do is run for office. Not if we want to win, at any rate. An atheist can’t get elected dog catcher. Well, that’s not exactly true…you can in the most despicable and godless of all districts, The Bay Area. To date, there has been exactly 1 openly atheist congressman, Rep. Pete Stark D-CA. I am convinced there are many more secret atheists who have made a devil’s bargain, if you’ll pardon the pun, in order get elected. As Hemingway said, “all thinking men are atheists” though I suppose that could be taken a number ways depending on your view of Congress…and Hemingway. At any rate, it is politically safe to express contempt toward atheists in a way that we no longer tolerate when it comes to gays, or blacks or Jews or filthy awful Scotsmen.

The reason I’m writing about this now is that atheism is becoming a central attack theme in the race between Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan for Dole’s NC Senate seat. Dole is running attack ads calling Hagan “godless” for taking campaign money from the Godless Americans Political Action Committee. Dole’s people had this to say about GAPAC:

“Kay Hagan attended a fundraiser event in Massachusetts in September held in the home of two anti-religion activists, Wendy Kaminer and her lawyer husband, Woody Kaplan,” Dole’s attorneys said in a letter to Hagan’s lawyer.

They described Kaplan as a founder and advisory board member of the GAPAC. The letter said Kaplan and Kaminer were advisory board members of The Secular Coalition for America, which it described as “the national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans with the unique mission of protecting their civil rights.”

Protecting your civil rights is a “unique” mission now? Weird. I thought everyone wanted their civil rights protected. Those rotten godless sonsofbitches! How dare they demand to be treated with the same rights as everyone else.

Alright, so Dole calls Hagan “godless” like it’s a bad word, and Hagan responds by calling this attack “the lowest of the lows”. Hagan claims to be Christian, and judging by the fact that she took thousands of dollars from a secular rights group and then threw them under the bus, I’d say she probably is. Lowest of the lows – really? Worse than a terrorist? Worse than a genocidal dictator? Worse than a serial killer? Child rapist? Wall street swindler? Worse than a wife beater? A drunk driver? Worse than someone who borrows your stuff and doesn’t return it? The religious tyranny in this country, and particularly in politics, is swirling into a furor that will likely result in witch trials if we don’t get a handle on it. This country was founded deliberately secular, and for the safety of freedom of its citizens it needs to remain that way. I’m tired of watching politicians try to out-pious each other. Our Founding Fathers would be supremely pissed off about this, if they were here to see it.

Speaking only for myself, and not on behalf of any political party or organization, it’s my view that people should be ashamed of their religion, not proud of it. Religious belief is proof of a flaw in ones ability to think rationally, not a virtue. People should feel a certain amount of embarrassment in admitting that they think the Earth was created a few thousand years ago by an invisible man in the sky who then destroyed it with a flood because he was angry but saved all the animals by ordering one man to collect breeding pairs on a homemade boat. You’re kidding, right? We can all agree that Norse or Greek creation myths seem far-fetched, but this is somehow plausible? And I should take comfort in electing someone whose belief in this nonsense is more steadfast than their opponent’s?

Clinging to superstition puts us all back in the dark ages. We have 99.999% of the answers that religion used to provide. We know the history of the universe going back several billion years. We know how the sun will one day destroy the earth, a few billion years from now. We know how mankind evolved from out of the muck. We know about heredity, and DNA. We know germs cause disease, not demons. We know about schizophrenia, rather than possession. We can make wires a single atom wide. We have vaccines and heart transplants. We have computers that can perform billions of calculations per second – while communicating with satellites – that fit in your pocket. What have you done for me lately, religion? There are a few dark corners where we still have to guess, but religion provides nothing better there either…just more unanswerable questions. Who created the Big Bang? God? Then who created God? We can endlessly regress these questions like toddlers pestering our parents, or we can accept the reality that there might be some questions that will just go unanswered, and emerge into the intellectual adulthood of our species.

Being godless isn’t a bad thing, and atheists aren’t the lowest of the lows. We’re just ahead of the curve.

24
Oct
08

B is for Bullshit: McCain “sticker attack” a lie.

I’m sorry, but I have to call bullshit on this one. A woman claims to have been attacked for sporting a McCain bumper sticker. This is a blatant hoax. This is an attempt by the McCain campaign to suggest that Obama’s supporters are unhinged knife wielding thugs. (In Pittsburgh, PA no less! A state where the polling spread has narrowed a bit.)

Supporting facts:

The woman declined medical examination. – That’s because a doctor would have seen what is plain to see in the photo, which is…

This is a fake injury. – The “B” mark on her face is not a knife wound. It’s not even a scratch. Any teenage girl who’s cut herself for attention could tell that from the pic. It’s also backward because the girl drew it on in a mirror. The black eye isn’t swollen and there’s no damage at all to the blood vessels in the white of the eye. Hmmm…how could someone fake a black eye only a few days before Halloween? The caption on the photo is from “sarahsarmy.blogspot.com”. Does that sound like a reputable source for a photo? It does not say “AP” or “GettyImages” or “Reuters”.

There is no police substantiation of any part of the story. – In fact they seem to be distancing themselves from the story. They basically said “We’re only saying what she told us, we can’t corroborate any of this.” I would expect this investigation to unravel very soon.

The alleged attacker fits the McCain/Palin base’s fear archetype a little too well. – A scary, angry black man robbing a white woman.

Both McCain AND Palin have already exploited the “attack” for a photo op. – The campaign says they’re refusing to release more details out of “respect for the woman’s privacy”. Why? Details would be helpful, wouldn’t they? How about a sketch? And where’s the ATM videotape? How about…this is total racist bullshit designed to sway those people who are just now getting over their fear and prejudice of blacks and voting for Obama.

So blatant. So obvious. We have to get a doctor out there and expose this woman for the fraud she is. Next up, a white woman will be gang raped by a group of “dark skinned” men chanting “Yes We Can!” Right? F*** you, McShame. You’re fooling no one.

By the way, the blog mentioned above as the source of the photo also carries a “prediction” about Barack Obama being assassinated after the inauguration. Call the FBI.

Update: She confessed! I love being right!

22
Oct
08

So much awesome…help me count the ways.

This picture, which was initially shown to me by one of my bandmates, is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

Hey kids, while you’re waiting for your Personal Pan Pizza, see if you can spot all the cool things going on in this image!

  • nunchucks!
  • aromatherapy candle!
  • ghostly handprint!
  • coke!
  • JD!
  • identity theft!
  • Shakespeare props!
  • abalone ashtray!
  • Smith & Wesson!
  • surgical tubing!
  • spoon for cookin’ up dope!
  • lighter!
  • holy tattoo!
  • holy grimace!
  • Jesus!
  • Todd Palin!
21
Oct
08

Palin’s “factor” is all hot air, too.

CNN recently posted an article about how the “Palin Factor” could save McCain.

Let me make something clear. Sarah Palin couldn’t save a duck from drowning in a bathtub if she had a floatation ring in one hand and the drain plug chain in the other. Sarah Palin is good at exactly one thing, ok maybe two things if you count reproduction as one. She can get ignorant rednecks whipped into a state of semi-erection. That’s it. Ok, so that’s still just one thing then. That’s her magic touch, and her gift to the Republican party.

She’s been yelling out “Socialism!” on the campaign trail, but I’ll bet she couldn’t write a paragraph on what it means. We have a phrase for this kind of uninformed rhetoric. It’s called, “talking out your ass”. Let’s talk about the other McCain/Palin buzzword for a second. “Wealth Redistribution” is apparently only a bad thing when the wealth is going downhill. They’ve been perfectly fine with redistributing wealth uphill for the last 8 years. The American Dream (Classic Version) says that you work hard in school, get a good job, work your way up and accumulate wealth and prosperity for your family. That’s becoming an increasingly unrealistic aspiration. The reason has to do with the folks in the top 1% taking 25% of the nation’s wealth. This is not wealth creation that helps anyone, it’s just hoarding. It’s wealth sequestering. That money is going into bank accounts that will never recirculate or stimulate the economy, and for no other reason than status and greed. Inflating the top tier while wages at the lower tiers decrease or stagnate actually stifles Capitalism because it takes away the incentive to work hard and to innovate. There are thousands of us out there working as hard as we can every day, only to watch our wages decrease and our jobs leave for foreign shores. If the American Dream becomes unavailable to us, then we’re going to have to deal with the desperation of the American Nightmare. Capitalism cannot survive in a completely unregulated “whatever we can get away with” environment. They’re poisoning the well they drink from. The rest of us, the other 99%, are the engine that makes it all possible. Is it so much to ask that OUR work be rewarded as well? We are not beggars. We just want someone to take another look through the rule book and make sure that there’s still a way to win through hard work. Barack Obama understands this. John McCain married rich, and Sarah Palin is used to getting what she wants by winking at men. Moving on…

“It may well be that there is … a group of people out there now who find it politically incorrect to be for Sarah Palin in public, but they’re going to vote for her in the privacy of the voting booth,” said David Gergen, a CNN senior political analyst.”

Yeah, right. Closet rednecks. Never heard of one. It’s more likely that there are millions out there who can’t say they’d vote for a black guy, but are scared shitless that their job is going overseas, or that their husband won’t come home from Iraq, or that their savings will be worthless, or that they’ll lose their reproductive rights, or that their health care won’t cover their preexisting condition.

And then there’s this:

“I think Sarah Palin is still very popular among the conservative base,” said Rick Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine. “There are other conservatives, the conservative intelligentsia, who have peeled off and think maybe it was a mistake.”

The article referes to these conservatives who are bright enough to reject Palin’s thin qualifications as “elite Republicans”. Elite isn’t a bad word. Neither is intelligence, for that matter. I find it jaw-droppingly disappointing that CNN’s Ed Henry would propagate the “smart=elitist=out of touch” meme. We need smart leaders right now. Anyone who says Sarah Palin is a woman of sufficient intelligence to lead the country knows in their heart that they are a liar. Let’s invent a new term of derision for the dumbasses who never aspired to educate themselves, yet think they’re qualified to lead: illiterati.

One final side-splitter and then I’m done:

“Palin could emerge as the woman who almost saved John McCain and become his heir apparent in 2012 — and represent the future of the GOP.”

Sarah Palin represents the future of reality TV, nothing more. “Let’s see what happens when we take a woman who can’t stop squirting out God’s Little Miracles, her promiscuous daughters, her variously failure-prone sons and her Eskimo Earnhardt husband and stick them in the middle of arctic nowhere! Tune in next week when Track and Trig take on a grizzly!” Sarah Palin couldn’t lead a group of first graders out of a one room schoolhouse if they all had their little wrists tethered together. Total incompetence. If she truly represents the future leadership of the GOP, then things are looking very VERY bright for the rest of us. As long as we can provide enough drool bibs and Doritos we should be able to run the country without much interference.

17
Oct
08

Asks and Wins, FTL.

The company that I work for is absolutely submerged in corp-speak. My boss’ boss’ boss is probably the worst offender I have ever encountered. His speech is absolutely impenetrable. I can tell it’s English, and I can almost make sense of it if I really focus, but I’m convinced that his speech is calculated to be deliberately confusing. Either that or there’s a deep seated insecurity that he’s covering for by trying to make his words sound more important than they are. It’s not just the sesquipedalian tendency that offends me, it’s the mutilation of ordinary words too. At any rate, there’s already a backlash to this kind of language, and I count myself among the opposition.
For me, the most offensive example is “ask”. Ask is a perfectly reasonable verb. It’s not a noun. Ever. In nearly every meeting, I have to hear the phrase “what is the ask?” which translates to “what are they asking for?” or “what do they want?”. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. I’m going to have to launch a counterattack. Reason must prevail.

16
Oct
08

Joe the Racist Skinhead McCain operative.

“Joe the Plumber”, the rhetorical device that John McCain repeatedly invoked during the 3rd presidential debate, is an actual person who was interviewed by Katie Couric on CBSNEWS.com after the debate. During this interview, he referred to Obama as “well spoken” and said he “tap danced like Sammy Davis Jr.” Wow. You just don’t find racism like that any more. Not outside the Republican party anyway. Obama’s a Harvard educated lawyer and a U.S. Senator. Well spoken? What did you expect, you stupid cracker? All black people sound like Flavor Flav? I’m embarrassed as hell by white folks sometimes.

Speaking of stupid crackers. Did you hear John McCain propose a “Troops to Teachers” program? Apparently this disasterous proposition involves letting people come out of the military and go straight into teaching jobs without going through the normal licensing and evaluation that other teachers go through. (His words.) Let’s look at who goes into the military. People who go into the military, by and large, are desperate and undereducated. I’m sure you can name a few exceptions, so can I, but in general this is the case. So we take these folks, teach them to kill and then turn them loose on our kids without testing their qualifications? No. That is a terrible idea, and John McCain is a madman. I’m not against someone going into teaching after a stint in the services, but no way would I allow them to use their military experience as a sufficient and complete proof of competence.

UPDATE!:

Unbelievable! A conservative blogger blows the lid off of the link between Joe The Plumber and the Keating Five Scandal. It turns out that this guy who was the centerpiece of the McCain strategy in the 3rd debate is actually the son-in-law of a guy who was sentenced in the Keating Scandal that McCain was involved in. That means he’s not an average American with real concerns about the economy, but rather a Republican operative who was planted by the McCain campaign! Hint for McCain staffers: If you’re going to plant an operative at an Obama rally and have him go in front of cameras, you might want to pick someone with a name less unique than Wurzelbacher. And you might also want to make sure he has more than one degree of separation from a criminal that your candidate is connected to.

Update Update: Joe’s not even a plumber.

Update Update Update: He makes less than $250K/year

Update Update Update Update: He’s a tax cheat and has a lien on his house.

Pwn3d1!!

08
Oct
08

ACORN raids = GOP publicity stunt

As McCain’s poll number descend toward Bush’s approval rating, his tactics have become increasingly pathetic and desperate.

The latest thing I’ve heard from the packs of slobbering dogs who still hold out hope for the GOP ticket, is that Barack Obama, with his ties to the “Chicago political machine” is conducting a fraudulent a Get Out The Vote campaign via a group called ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). ACORN helps people register to vote, and they advocate on behalf of low-income people and minorities. As you can imagine, this puts them in the sights of Republican operatives.

The charges of fraud against ACORN are thoroughly debunked here, in an in-depth article by Jason Leopold of The Public Record. Do you remember the controversial firing of US Attorneys be AG Gonzales? You should. In short, 9 US Attorneys were fired because their political views either differed from that of the Administration, or they refused to carry out the political agenda of the Bush Administration. Two of these attorneys were fired because they refused to bring charges against ACORN. Why didn’t they want to bring charges? Because they had no case. All they had were isolated incidents of ballots that had been improperly or incompletely filled out. Have you ever created a form that was distributed to the general public? I have. Do you know how many come back filled out correctly on the first try? A very low percentage. ACORN by law must turn in every form even if they see that someone has written “Mickey Mouse, 123 Anystreet USA” on it. This is not a coordinated attempt to defraud the election system, it’s a sad fact of dealing with thousands of average citizens. In fact, the number of these flawed registration forms is much lower than one would expect considering the tens of thousands that are processed by voter advocacy groups like ACORN.

In summary, don’t believe the latest smear you’re hearing from the McCain campaign about Barack Obama. It’s a bitter, desperate – and sadly racist – attempt to claim a fraud conspiracy where none exists.