Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Struggle Not To Beleive

One of the greatest one liners I've ever heard in the god vs. no god debate, and it comes from a christian, I have yet to see a book by an atheist entitled "My Struggle Not to Believe."
Go to UTI for the rest of the article.

This is particularly fitting after so much discussion about Mother Teresa apparent questioning of her own faith. Think how common that idea is, people struggling to keep their faith, now think how often you here someone say they are struggling to avoid religion. Thats not to say atheists never convert to religion its just saying that a lifelong struggle to maintain their atheism is very rare. I will say that its quite common to struggle with atheism at the start but I see this more as the end of the struggle to maintain religion and a struggle to understand how the world really came to be. It can be difficult to abandon god without having an idea of how the world came to be which is why I personally find it rewarding to study science particularly evolution and astronomy. I'm still very much a layman in both field and claim nothing more, but I'm doing some reading and hope to have a better grasp soon. I can be an atheist without evolution, not knowing how we got here does not make god anymore viable, but it does leave a skeptic with too many unanswered questions.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Take A Stand

We held the culminating event of the summer last night. I got there early and set up the sound equipment, that went perfectly despite the fact that Ive never set up a PA before. It's pretty easy when there's only one mic. Then it got close to the hour and people started filing in. We had no food and no music and we had a decent crowd, we were getting nervous. I was quite hot from lack of a/c and carrying heavy sound equipment so I walked down to the nearest store for a drink. When I got back the food was unloading and some kid was jammin' on the piano. So that all worked out. I was quite surprised at how full the place was, my guess is around 50-70 people were there. I got to see some old friends, like the folks from Democracy School, which was very nice.

After some music and food we sat down and our first three speakers who had actually pre-written things spoke. It was good, the crowd was getting into it fairly well. Then we opened the mic to anyone who wanted to talk and probably half the audiance came up at some point to speak their mind. I was one of the early ones. I fumbled a bit at the start, I'm not sure why I got nervous, I think I need more practice with public speaking. The person before me spoke of the apathy of her generation, I continued with that theme pointing out how odd it is that my generation is so sadly apathetic considering its people my age that are fighting and dying. I pointed out how I don't like the term "leaders" when talking about politicians, in a democracy the elected officials are not the bosses they are the servants of the people, we are the bosses and if we don't like the job they are doing then we should fire them. The next guy picked up that ball and ran with it with a great sound bite. He said, "if Kuhl won't meet with us now then we'll meet with him in November." Overall the speakers were great, one person who's a Vietnam vet and usually full of fire couldn't stop talking about Lee Iacocca's book. I thought it distracted from what he was trying to say by the repeated references but it did make me want to read the book. We had one conspiracy guy who wanted to tell us all about how bush planned 9/11, I'm all for a real independent investigation but lets avoid the conspiracy theories folks. One person genuinely pissed me off by bringing up religion and how bush manipulated it so much, which is true no anger there, then she said shes a woman of faith and that the opposite of faith is not doubt it is fear, and how we must not sucome to fear. It reminded me of Patrick Swayze in Donnie Darko. Well fuck you very much my lack of faith has nothing to do with fear, the opposite of faith is reason. But we were in a church, and I was surrounded by people from Pax Christie and other groups like that so I let it slide. Again I want to say again that this whole event was very good its just that I seem to be recalling the parts I disliked much better than the good. Probably because the good was exactly what you would have expected, anyway I'm now going to focus on the part that I simply hated.

From out of nowhere a guy who has been instrumental in this whole thing came up and led the group in some crappy as old worn out hippie song, it wasn't kumbaya but it was close. He asked everyone to stand, I was expecting him to lead a prayer, he is the chaplain at a local college, but no he wanted to sing... I stood up not knowing what I was getting into. I expected the heads to bow while I held mine high with eyes open. Thats an interesting metaphor right there, the religious close there eyes while the doubters look for truth, but thats unrelated. The chaplain tried to get me into the front circle but I sure as fuck wasn't down for that, then the person next to me grabbed my hand, luckily I was on the end, but there I was in a crowded room full of old people joined in circles singing hippie songs swaying back and forth. It was horrible. It made me instantly aware of why the general public can never take the peace movement seriously. The majority in this country are against the war but the vast majority is not involved in working towards peace, besides apathy which is the biggest reason, second has to be that peace activists are weird people. Normal Americans don't want to stand in a circle singing songs that could put you to sleep, its not cool. I wanted to kick my way to the mic and say heres one from my generation and start in with some Anti-Flag. Some will say that I'm making too big a deal out of this but I don't. I think those who engage in this type of activity in an environment where we are trying to reach out to a wider audience are doing very real harm to the movement. Shit I'm part of the movement and it made me uncomfortable. The video will be up at some point, I know I'm in it a bit, I'm the fat guy with chops standing still while everyone else sways not singing and trying not to look at the camera. I had earlier talked about trying to get young people out to events. If I had managed to get any of my friends to go I would have been humiliated, they sure as hell never would have come back, I would have been a laughing stock. That part is not an exaggeration which is why I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this crap hurts the peace movement as a whole.

So to finish up the meeting went better than I expected, a good time was had by all, just don't ask me to sing, unless you've got a punk band.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I ain't dead yet

I just got back from a great trip to Pittsburgh to see my sister. I did a little shadowing with the league of young voters, I went to the National Aviary and went to a big party called Hot House. It was a good time but now Im back to the grind stone so I'll tell that story later.

This week should be fun, one of my favorite people is in town for the week, I've got a vigil tonight that I'm not looking forward to, but the town hall meeting afterwards might be fun. I had a great time last week and this one should be great too. Life is good.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Block Party / Dead Prez

I finally got to see Chapelle's Block Party, I liked it. As he put it, he threw the concert he always wanted to see. I'm not terribly into hip-hop but I like good lyrics, I like music thats trying to take a stance and move people. Most commercial hip-hop is anything but inspiring. Songs like the current, party like a rock star, this is why I'm hot, and my lip gloss is poppin' make me want to drive a semi-pointed spike through the idiot who spent less time writing the song than it takes to sing, and stand it on end Vlad the Impaler style right next to the record company exec who though those songs were worthy of air time.

Then there's the good hip-hop, which is what Dave is into. Ok so Kanye West is a bit lame nowadays, and Erica Baddu's never did it for me but many people love her, there was Mos Def who I'm a big fan of, his right hand man was there Talib Kweli, The Fugges did their thing although I didn't think it was a great rendition of their classic "killing me softly" but maybe it was better live. There is a great scene where Wyclef is talking with a marching band from Daves hometown that came to the show. He says how its great to see some many black people in college, he gives a quick overview of his life, move here from Haiti taught himself english at the library as his third language, says theres libraries in the hood and if their aren't then call the mayor, call the governor and get some libraries built, don't blame whit people for anything its all up to you, if you want it bad enough you can do it. It was a great little one minute talk, then he starts singing "If I was President" with them. Ok back to the line up. The Root, they kicked ass of course, and one thing I really liked was the fact that there was a real band up on stage all night, they even had horns. Common was good but I'm going to pick on him latter for something off-stage, then there was the part that stole the show for me. Dead Prez. These guys are no joke. Dave points out how the more real you are the less likely you are to get on the radio, and these fuckers are real. They don't hit on issues so much as throttle issues. They talk shit about all the shit that comes over the airwaves, the go after police corruption, the attack politicians and call for revolution. I'm diggin it even if they do say cracker a bit, as long as they don't blanket hate all white people then were cool, I'm fine with hating individuals but to hate all white people would be just as racist as those they oppose. Any way heres a part I liked from the song Hip Hop.

Uh, who shot biggie smalls?
If we dont get them, they gonna get us all
Im down for runnin up on them crackers in they city hall
We ride for yall, all my dogs stay real
Nigga dont think these record deals gonna feed your seeds
And pay your bills because they not
Mcs get a little bit of love and think they hot
Talkin bout how much money they got, all yall records sound the same
I sick of that fake thug, r & b, rap scenario all day on the radio
Same scenes in the video, monotonous material, yall dont here me though
These record labels slang our tapes like dope
You can be next in line, and signed, and still be writing rhymes and broke
You would rather have a lexus, some justice, a dream or some substance?
A beamer, a necklace or freedom?
Still a nigga like me dont playa hate, I just stay awake
This real hip hop, and it dont stop until we get the po-po off the block
They call it....

And heres the video for the same song.

Oh and I said I'd pick on Common so here goes, before the concert he was leading a little prayer circle. He thanked god for the weather, it was supposed to rain but god was showing his face and showing them he wanted their concert to be successful because he was keeping the rain away. Shortly after that the rain started and didn't let up all night. How does a religious person accept that? God didn't like my music? He didn't care, he doesn't exist oh wait thats my view.

After my last post about a primarily black movie that made me work hard not to hate people, its nice to counter it with a mostly black movie that shows the good people are capable of. I guess I didn't really hit on that part much but it was kinda uplifting. Just lots of good people having a good time, doing what they can to make the world a little better place. I highly recommend this film, but the music is the feature, if your expecting lots of Chapelle's humor you might be a little disappointed, it has humor but the music and the people are the feature.

Reason to hate humanity

A friend of mine showed me a video last night that reminded me why I like the theory of mankind much better than some of its individuals. It was called ghetto fights, and I do not in any way recommend this movie. I need to clear the air of one thing first, this video is almost exclusively black people fighting, the same group also produces wildest street brawls it appears to be the same thing but with white people. I happened to see the other one but I'm sure my reaction would have been the same. I just want to clear the air that this honestly has nothing to do with race although it is the most times I've ever heard the N word.

First off I am biased, I hate fights, they rarely seem to solve anything but if two people decide that they can settle their dispute with fists then who am I to tell them they are wrong? On the other hand an all too common scene in this film to two people fighting then as soon as one goes down four more people start kicking the guy in the face. WTF? One issue I will say is that with a film like this its hard to know why they are fighting, sometimes its obvious but not usually. The scene that angered me the most appeared to be a white or possibly asian I can't recall now guy who pulled up to a store and was told by guys out front to leave. The guy wasn't from the area, that much was clear, so rather than let the man buy his beer and leave some guy starts punching him in the face. WTF? It gets worse, the guy gets dragged from the car and at this point I lost track of what was goin on but some how the white guy gets his hands on a pipe wrench and goes after the guy who punched him in the face, he misses the other guy get back a little ways so the white guy take the wrench and breaks the back window out of the punchers BMW X5. Then numerous people jump him and kick him in the face until he is unconscious half under a car with his face mangled to the point that I'm unsure what his ethnicity was. And from what we could tell it all started because he wanted to buy some beer.

Another disgraceful part was near the end when these guys kept being cruel to some old man, in their defense he was probably a crack-head so he's already cruel to himself. That does not give you the right to be cruel to a man who has done nothing to you. They dump anti-freeze on him while sleeping, they dump soda on his shirt while standing on a street corner, they repeatedly sprayed water in his face, they steal his flip-flops and throw them in the sewer, jab at his feet with an umbrella, then hit him in the back with a milk crate knocking him straight to the ground. It's watching shit like that which makes me wish I believed in hell so I could know that ultimately they get punished, but I don't. Actually I'd prefer they life a nice long life so they can end up as poor men standing on the corner being harassed by young assholes, they probably wouldn't notice the irony. Oh there's also guys fighting girls at the end, which gets into an awkward spot when a woman runs up and start swinging at a guy, he keeps running away but eventually pops her once or twice in self defense, is that wrong?

I guess I can't hate humanity because of a few pieces of shit out at the end of the bell curve.

Monday, August 20, 2007

bitching about other people's bitching

I'm getting annoyed today. It's abnormally cool today, currently its in the low 60's. But I can only hear people bitch about the weather for so long before I just want to scream, shut the fuck up you whiny bitch no one cares! A week ago you bitched because it way 85 now you bitch cause its 65. It's one thing when theres two feet of snow and its 10 degrees below zero and you walk in with icicles in your facial hair to walk in and say, damn its cold. Or if its 95 to mention the heat, but when you work inside an office and its 2:30 meaning you haven't been outside in a few hours then shut the fuck up, it's not cold in here. It's not even cold outside your just looking for a reason to bitch. Oh in case you can't tell I've heard several people mention that it's cool in here, usually I hear it once from a person so I might here it a few times from different people but whatever, its the one person in particular who has said it at least half a dozen times that I just want to beat with a three-hole punch, straight up Herbert Kornfeld style.

So that I don't sound like a raving lunatic, this is a person who simply always has something they feel they need to complain about. It gets old, very very quickly. I guess we all need to vent sometimes, personally I vent right here, where people can read my rants if they want, or they can skip it I don't care. Anyway when ever I hear someone complain about weather I think of this line from the classic song "I'm an Asshole" by Dennis Leary,
I use public toilets
And I piss on the seat
I walk around in the summer time sayin', "How about this heat?"

I'm an asshole
(he's an asshole, what an asshole)

Henry Rollins at Mother Jones

Mother Jones has ans interview with Henry Rollins, I shouldn't need to tell you who he is but he's the former front man for Black Flag and has done a bit of everything since then. He's a busy dude.
HR: No. [The war] was a bad idea. It never was a good idea. It's an illegal war. We're not there for the purposes that George W. Bush says. He has a perfect situation there because if you leave it now, you leave these people who did not ask for your incursion; you leave these people in worse shape than when you got there. And so no, I don't think anything different about it, I just feel it more acutely, and at this point it's now more of a personal thing. I get letters from the wives saying my husband died. I get letters from the moms. I got a letter from one mom who wants me to write a letter to her son to try and talk him out of joining the Army. I get letters from wives who miss their husbands, moms what to tell me regretfully that their son, who loved my DVDs, and his friends, who all love my DVDs, and they all listen to my CDs out there, he died two days ago and she had to tell somebody. A guy who shot and killed a child mistakenly, he writes me and asks me to give him good reason why he shouldn't kill himself. These are the letters I get, and I get them pretty often. So this thing is a very personal experience for me. It's more than just something I see on the news.

Please be a joke

This is some serious insanity, like the writer has major mental health problems.
Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government. President Bush must overcome not just the situation in Iraq, but democratic government.
Nuke the middle east, have a military coup deta, keep Bush as president for life, AKA as the dictator. I bet this author thinks himself a patriot.

Hat tip to C&L

The Family Reunion

My family is amazing. We had a reunion yesterday, good times were had. Pretty much the usually food beer and talking with people you haven't seen in years some of whom your not even sure how you're related to. The most memorable moment was saved for posterity, and for the entertainment of people around the world.
Without further ado, my Uncle Larry rides a skateboard...

Luckily his only injury was his toe, although I bet he's feeling it today.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Attempting Democracy

I'm in a local paper today. The-Leader ran the story, I'd provide a link but their website sucks and only includes two articles a day, I think its a decent paper I just don't like their website. I didn't get quoted which is fine by me, but I'm in the picture, the big guy to the left in stripes, thats Me!

We have grown tired of being ignored by our representative, a group of us left our info at his office several weeks ago and have heard nothing back. We have called, left messages, e-mails, one woman wrote an old school paper letter. One member did have a meeting scheduled for yesterday but it was canceled by Kuhl so we decided to go anyway. All we were planning to do was to formally invite him to a meeting we are holding as a part of the Take a Stand campaign.

I can't claim we were total innocents as we felt like throwing in a visual joke at Randys expense, we wanted to get bullet proof jackets in response to his flap about "packing" to defend himself from peace protesters. Unfortunately no one had one and when one person attempted to buy one they were warned that bullet proof vests are illegal in New York. So to try to make the joke anyway the purchased a couple of paint ball chest protectors, which always seem to have cheesy batman-esce muscles sculpted into them. It looked particularly stupid on a guy my size. Oh well.

Now on to what happened, we stood waiting around the corner from the office about a block away on the main street as our group gathered and a couple members of the press got ready. Then a police officer came around the corner and began by telling us he has not authorized a parade permit. At this point I need to explain the scene as I haven't been sent the photos yet and the couple I took on my phone don't feel like transferring to my computer at the moment. Its about 6-8 people standing on the sidewalk the only thing that makes us obvious is the silly vests and one guy carrying a white flag to go along with the joke. No one was carrying signs or anything that could be called a protest, we weren't yelling out, no music, nothing just oddly dressed citizens talking amongst themselves. Two of the guys immediately explained to the police officer that we had not filed for a permit because all we were doing was delivering an invitation to a meeting to Mr. Kuhl. We wanted to talk to him if it was possible then we would leave, if there was press around we would speak with them. We were not there to protest. He allowed us to do that, which is good because we were well within our rights and I'm sure some would have left in cuffs rather than be chased off by over reaching police. The officer then went back to his spot directly across from the office.

A few minutes later we had everyone, we had to wait as one person purchased a new memory card for their digital camera. We walked down the street and up to the door, which was locked as we knew it would be. The secretary we met the last time opened the door a few inches and asked us what we wanted, the pleasant persona we encountered the last time was gone. We explained that we simply wanted to invite him to an event, then explained how we have tried to set up meetings with him and have gotten no where. The secretary said she would pass on the invitation and she passed the blame saying she doesn't set the schedule without telling us who does. We talked for a minute, two at most then turned around. We then asked permission from the police officer if we could stick around just for a couple of pictures. At this point a couple men in suits came out of the office. Pictures were taken and I promise they will be up at some point, then we walked away, and as we did a second cop car with two officers showed up. Back-up for us unruly citizens. A woman from The Leader then asked us questions, we had her walk with us to the end of the block as to keep things kosher with the po-po. I was more than a little concerned about the angle when her first statement was about how we should have gotten a permit. A permit to talk to an elected official, Fuck That! She talked to a few of us and I think the article was ok, there was one "quote" that I don't recall in the least and I was standing next to the person quoted, hopefully it was my bad memory and not hers as it was a fairly volatile comment.

We then stood on the street and made some quick little videos of our reactions, I'm guessing mine is pretty lame, public speaking isn't really my thing, but the others like my finish. So that how I spent my thursday lunch break, how was yours?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cheney was right?

Holy crap! is sending around a video that explains exactly why it would create a quagmire if we invaded Iraq in 1994. It lists exactly what would and has gone wrong, the fun part is its Dick Cheney doing the talking, guess he should have listened to himself.

Scary Constituents

Ok I mentioned this before but my local Representative recently had a brush with democracy when a merciless band of antagonists stormed his office and needed to be arrested before they would leave, or at least thats what he and the local paper would have you believe. The reality from people who were there, I was not, is that a group of peace protesters walked into his office, many being senior citizens others brought their children, and refused to leave until they were able to talk to Kuhl, as expected it was a sit-in and after a few hours it was the end of the work day and so they called the police who arrested those who planned on being arrested. Its civil disobedience, its a sign of a healthy democracy. So in typical republican fashion Randy calls for increased security, locked the doors to his office and said he may begin carrying a gun, or to be cool like him, he may begin "packing." Obviously Kuhl hasn't learned the lesson they you can't kill an idea with a bullet or a bomb, only with better ideas. Part of me finds it pathetic that our elected officials are frightened of the people they work for , another part of me loves it, in the words of V for Vendetta, People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. From that angle I love it, it's not the reaction we wanted but its a reaction, it means that he knows were are out there and we aren't going to go quietly into the night any longer. So obviously a few people are upset about his reaction, and some have created YouTube video responses. I'll just put up my favorite of them here. But if you like to see more heres the links. 1, 2, 3.

Faith in the Glen

Every now and then its nice to take a step back and point out that while I consider religion itself as something of an enemy I absolutely do not lay a blanket claim that the religious are my enemies, some are but definitely not all. Here are some that I'm down with protesting against the war last week in Watkins Glen. Which was well covered by what seems like a great local blog I just learned about called Granola Box, yeah he's a hippie. I think it gets into an awkward spot when religious leaders speak out against this war because to their benefit people seem to listen to religious leaders and it gets better turn out than your run of the mill hippie protest, but on the other hand I cannot imagine that christianity can be helpful in stopping the sectarian civil war between two muslim sects, a strong christian presence would simply make it a three (or would that be four?) way battle. Thats not their problem though, these people aren't trying to convert muslims so I guess thats an unfair assessment, these folks are simply trying to use there authority positions to do some good in the world, I can hardly fault someone for that. Anyway it was supposed to have been quite good with about 25-30 people showing up, not bad turnout for the middle of the day in a small town, they were happy. Not we just need the war to end and we'll be even happier.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tell us how you really feel

Charlie Brooker gives a review of Richard Dawkins latest tv series, The Enemies of Reason, and along the way rips into every level of "spirituality."
Welcome to a dangerous new era - the Unlightenment - in which centuries of rational thought are overturned by idiots. Superstitious idiots. They're everywhere - reading horoscopes, buying homeopathic remedies, consulting psychics, babbling about "chakras" and "healing energies", praying to imaginary gods, and rejecting science in favour of soft-headed bunkum. But instead of slapping these people round the face till they behave like adults, we encourage them. We've got to respect their beliefs, apparently.

Well I don't. "Spirituality" is what cretins have in place of imagination. If you've ever described yourself as "quite spiritual", do civilisation a favour and punch yourself in the throat until you're incapable of speaking aloud ever again. Why should your outmoded codswallop be treated with anything other than the contemptuous mockery it deserves?

He eventually goes on to say this new series is much more pervasive than Dawkins last series, The Root of All Evil. Hope he's right and lets hope it ends up on the internet, as I don't think we have the same channel 4 here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

No Mo Rove!!!!

Carl Rove has resigned, its no longer his job to lie and distort although it will probably always be a hobby. Does it really change anything? It will solve our political problems just like when corruption ended with the ousting of Delay...
And who needs Rove when California is going to hand the election to the repubs anyway?

Friday, August 10, 2007


Its Friday and I'm almost outta here so lets end the week with some bad puns.

I fired my masseuse today. She just rubbed me the wrong way

A guy walks into the psychiatrist's office wearing only Glad Wrap shorts. The shrink says, "Well, I can clearly see you're nuts."

A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."

When she told me I was average, she was just being mean.

Thank you

Darwin is dead

Yes he is, but his idea is stronger than ever. Sorry to the haters but the fact that evolution is not linear is nothing new, the recent discoveries are not going to overthrown evolution, they aren't a big shake up, no revolution, not even surprising. Its a big discovery thats important to science, but its not the slightest problem to evolution. Heres a write up from Silly Humans, and here is Pharyngula, two people who actually know a little bit about evolution. Compare that with what the regular media has to say. Back to the drawing board for evolutionists, New theory of human evolution, and New theory on dawn of humanity. There is no new theory. Of course they like to sensationalize things as much as possible, especially in the headlines, but I think I'm as guilty of that as anyone so I can't be too upset about that, although this time mine was only for irony.

This one needs to be separated as it shouldn't count as media, I was simply using google news to find a quick sample of what the press has to say, The Discovery Institute's opinion does not matter.

Biology of Sexual Orientation

This is a topic that scares a lot of people on both sides but this is a good article on the subject.

First, I'll confess to my own position on that nature-nurture debate: it's both and it's neither, and the argument is misplaced. There is no template on the Y chromosome that triggers a sexual response when Pamela Anderson enters the visual field, but there almost certainly are general predispositions that are a product of genetics, development, and learning. Even if there were no genetic component at all, it shouldn't matter in social policy or in our interactions with other people: my own heterosexuality is fairly strongly fixed and was acquired before I was really aware of it, and I'm willing to see other's homosexuality, no matter what its source, as equally fixed, and changing it as both undesirable and unjust.
Thanks PZ.

The little things

It's easy to get caught up in all the pain and misery of life and forget that overall people are generally good. Of this I am still convinced no matter how many times we try to wipe out groups of our fellow man for being the wrong color skin, or born on the wrong piece of land, or for believing in the wrong invisible sky daddy. I was reminded of this today while standing in line waiting for a sub from a local pizza shop. A woman had ordered her food and when the guy behind the counter went to hand her her drink she asked for help, she had a physical disability that would have made it a difficult task. Because of the layout he could not get the drink for her so he simply looked over at another patron that he knew and asked him to get the woman a drink. Without a second thought the young man grabbed the cup and filled it with water and ice then brought it to the table where she was going to eat. It was a very minor thing it took less than a minute but saved this woman considerable hardship. Some will laugh at my silly story and think, "you think that is a good deed?" Yes I do. It's not the rare huge acts of selfless good will that will save the world its the little things, that remind us that were all in this together, we're all helpless at times, you may be strong so you carry the heavy grocery bag, you may be smart so you help those that are not. No one is good at everything, and I like to think that everyone is good at something. The more we are willing to help each other the better this world will be. There may be times when it feels like your helping everyone else and getting nothing back, but give it time it all works out in the end.

So Wrong

Here is an outrageous video about priests fucking boys. If you find that line offensive then your sure as shit not going to want to watch this. The end makes it worth it all.

Louis CK learns about the Catholic Church

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Maybe there aren't any atheists in foxholes

Not because people in mortal danger automatically find jesus or any thing silly like that, I wonder where that idea came from, maybe jesus spends a lot of time hiding in enemy foxholes guess he's not on our side. No this is about military persecution of a soldier trying to hold an atheists meeting in Iraq. This is to be expected in a place like Iran, but were supposed to have freedoms remember, thats why they hate us (not really).

So it goes

The Yangtze River dolphin has passed away. I don't mean that a River dolphin has died I mean the entire fucking species is officially extinct, and its our fault. The end of the species time was a painful suffering as described by Douglas Adams in a book I need to buy, Last Chance to See.
As I watched the wind ruffling over the bilious surface of the Yangtze, I realised with the vividness of shock that somewhere beneath or around me there were intelligent animals whose perceptive universe we could scarcely begin to imagine, living in a seething, poisoned, deafening world, and that their lives were probably passed in continual bewilderment, hunger, pain, and fear.
Which made me think of this quote from Lord of the Rings.
So much death. What can men do against such reckless hate?
Unfortunately we are the cause of the death but the problem isn't our hate, its our apathy and greed. PZ sums this up quickly with some much needed cynicism about our priorities.
Some two-bit publicity hound can die, and that's all you can find on any of the television channels … a whole grand species can go extinct, and there's almost nothing.

Say goodbye to the Yangtze River dolphin. It is officially extinct. The funeral will be poorly attended, and it will be forgotten, except in a few academic papers.

Thank you to Pharyngula, Stranger Fruit and Warren @ stranger fruit for the Adams quote.

Best satire ever...

or just some crazy ass fundamentalists? I'm beginning to think its the latter which is even funnier. Of course they (Baptists for Brownback 2008) took on PZ Myers which means its being inundated by fun loving atheists who are generally smarter than they know what to do with. The intelligence being the result of being from Pharyngula a site for people amused by science and generally a large collection of nerds, I love the place, in other words I'm not saying they are smart just because they are atheists. Although I might be saying they are atheists because they're smart.

They even take credit for the Big Red A, it was their idea to brand atheists so christians would know that they are on a satan worshipers site, yeah I love that logic too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Not quite as stupid as it sounds, but close

Blogging unions, not blogging about unions, I do that, although rant is probably the best description, no this is about bloggers who want to organize, yeah I laughed too. I'm with the naysayers because I hate unions, but also because its the lack of leadership, the intrinsically anarchistic nature of the internet is what makes it so great. Those in favor have a valid point, albeit one that only comes into play if blogging is your profession which I suppose is reasonable, unions are for professionals not hobbyists, which is what I consider blogging but for some it is professional. If creating a union helps them get cheaper health insurance and better access to press passes then its a good thing, but I'd like to see them do it without the aid of the existing unions because of my personal bias against unions.


I can't believe I actually legally became affiliated with such a pathetic weak willed bunch of do nothings as the fucking democratic party. My outrage is limited only by the fact that I don't have a government official within arms reach. the program that this law legalizes has already been declared unconstitutional and so this law should be overturned in the courts but it still means that the formerly illegal and unconstitutional program is now just unconstitutional for a few years until this reaches the supreme court and then of course thats a huge gamble. Now had this been a few years ago I would have simply said until this reaches the supreme court but today I have no idea which way this would go.

For those who don't know what I'm ranting about let me explain real quick, remember that huge scandal about the NSA wiretapping American citizens without bothering to get warrants that almost never get denied, ones that don't even need to be asked for until within 3 days after you start listening in on people. Yeah you might not it was quickly forgotten in the midst of so many scandals that put whitewater to shame as small fry stuff. The reality is that the FISA courts main way of protecting us wasn't by blocking warrants (who wants to be the judge who got it wrong?) but its mere existence meant that some slight caution had to be used when deciding who to listen in on. Now we have forgone anything that might be called oversight.

I'm too pissed off to continue right now, plus I just read something silly that should get my mind at ease.

The bombs bursting in air....

Yesterday was the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The massacre of innocent people of any race any religion should always be mourned, mourned not only for those who died, not only for those who survived but barely, but we must also mourn for the sake of humanity because we as a species are showing how despicable we can be.

This was a city of about a quarter of a million people, it had intentionally been left alone so that it would be clear to the world that we wiped this city off the map in one fell swoop it was not preexisting damage. I cannot fathom the sort of mind that thinks that way, it makes me wonder if we deserve to survive as a species.
I won't show the pictures of the victims, I probably should but I can't, they were similarly obliterated. The view as described by survivors was of people walking very slowly down the street arms held out with flesh falling off. Hearing the full description I could only think of one thing and that is, and I want to pause for a moment because this is going to sound like a light hearted reference and by comparison it is but what wouldn't seem light in this context? It reminded me of an old zombie movie slowly moving people with arms held out and dripping skin, but it makes sense the level of pain along with the shear shock and terror I must assume that normal thought processes stop and you continue on essentially instinct alone, which is exactly what movie makers are going for with the idea of zombies.

what scares me most of all is not the fact that we posses the capability to inflict this horrific death and destruction upon every living thing on this planet several times over. I've come to grips with that, its been true my entire life, my fear is from the fact that there are those who would like to see us create more. The idea of tactical nukes is beyond appalling, hate is a word I use rarely but I think its fair to say that I hate anyone who supports the use of tactical nukes, or the re-armament of our nuclear force. I can think of nothing more deserving of hatred than nuclear war and by association those who support it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Hacked Voting Machines

The Onion says it best, guess which one is my favorite?

California Voting Machines Hacked

A team of hackers commissioned to test the security of California's voting machines were able to find several security flaws that enabled them to alter votes. What do you think?

Old Man

Milt Haggerty,
Long-Haul Trucker
"That's all America needs–a nerd president."

Old Woman

Wendy Clauson,
Campaign Organizer
"As a part of Mitt Romney's campaign team, let me just say that I would like this group's contact information."

Young Man

Bill Quilty,
Systems Analyst
"I don't understand why we needed these fancy new computer voting machines in the first place, what was wrong with the clap-o-meter?"

Remember to enuciate

Will someone tell the shrub and all his lackies that 1984 was a dystopia, not a play book. We have what should have been a huge scandal when the story broke a year late about illegal wiretapping of American citizens, so how do we as a country respond to such a blatant attack on our constitutional rights? We riot in the street... no thats not it, we had prosecutors find out what happened and held those responsible accountable, haha I can't use the words accountable and bush together without laughing. No in our country when the president commits a serious crime there is only one proper way to handle it, legalize the crime (after it was declared unconstitutional). Yup thats what we did, rather than protect the rights of the citizens we protected the ass of our president and in so doing gave all of our shadowy intelligence agencies essentially unlimited right to listen in on any international conversation, or any conversation "reasonably believed" to be over seas. WTF? They don't even have to be sure that the person is overseas? But don't be worried your rights are safe guarded by... the good will of the NSA? No thats the whole point there used to be a straw man in place called the FISA court which handed out warrants so that this stuff was legal and would pretend to protect our rights, but that was too much work so they threw out anything that might seem like oversight. But at least you know that if you do get illegally wiretapped you can always take them to court, like real court, where they'll tell you to fuck off. Now thats a big old steaming pile of freedom if I ever seen one.

Edwards, Obama, and Clinton Oh my!

I'm very unsure about the Democrat options right now. I'm leaning further and further into the fuck Hillary camp all the time. I don't think she would be terrible, I mean lets face it any of the Dem options would be better than what we've got now but I guess I still have that lingering optimism of wanting someone who will actually fix some problems and not just someone who won't fuck things up too much. My problem with Hillary is pretty much the standard list of complaints, too focus group driven, supported the war way way way too long, and is getting her money from all the groups that need to be placed in check not handed a check.

Obama, he must have had a hankering for some leather because he managed to stuff most of his foot straight into his mouth when he talked about invading Pakistan. Forget the fact that Pakistan while not being terribly helpful is one of our few allies in the area, the bigger issue is we need leaders who don't settle disputes by invasion. It should also be noted that invasion hasn't had a very goo track record of actually solving disputes at least in the last 60 years. I want to like the guy, but this was a major blunder.

Edwards, I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned Edwards here before, other than to say I don't care about his hair. I guess I've just been too focused on the other two for the same reason as everyone else, we might not have a white guy as president, I love the idea. Don't get me wrong, I'm a honky, gots me a y chromosome too but I was taught to share and I'd like to see this country show a little bit of its wonderful diversity in its upper echelon. Our diversity is our greatest asset, our country is a mutt, but whats wrong with that? Most of the best dogs I've met (Although I'm NOT a dog person) have been mutts, and I mean real mutts not mutts with dumb names like cocker-poo, , although cocker-poo is pretty damn funny. Anyway, John Edwards. He talks the talk, had enough good points to make me want to learn more about him. He might just be the most sensible option, I guess I need to put the needs of the country above diversity for the sake of diversity. There's plenty of time left, hopefully Obama figures out who he is and who he wants to be soon.

Heres a video of Edwards getting in a few jabs at Hillary after the bell over at yearly Kos after their debate in the breakout session. Thank you C&L.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Phenomenauts

Strange little band my friend introduced me to The Phenomenauts.
Think Devo meets They Might Be Giants meets The Reverend Horton Heat. Good times, oh and they are from space and landed at the capital of Earth, or as you may know it Oakland.

Extra: I'll be honest I've only heard a couple songs by them, both from DVDs a friend has, one is called Beyond Warped and is a bunch of bands from warped tour a few years ago. The other I have no idea what it was but the audio was better and was indoor which meant they could have more fun with the ambiance of the room, the show being as important as the music for a band like this. But now I just read the lyrics, much better than I expected.

The song is The Year 2000.

July '69 we spent so much time expanding our mind so that all mankind could go much further than the moon. We soon realized being polarized was not very wise and it compromised our ability to get there soon.

Come on boys, it's going to be OK, you're going to shout hooray! The year 2000.
Come with me, explore the galaxy, you're going to yell yippee! The year 2000.
Blast on through to the wild blue, you're going to yell yahoo! The year 2000.

It's only time we wasted, we reached the lunar surface. It's such a crime. We gave up exploration. We beat the Soviets. We just stopped trying. After unity everyone was free to stay put and be safe from tyranny that had been so prevalent before, then technology exponentially and dramatically increased activity when we share our secrets to make war

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Silly Monkeys vs Smart Capuchin

just for some random lighthearted news here is the story of a capuchin named Oliver that broke out of his cell, I mean his artificial habitat at the zoo and is thought to be hiding in the nearby neighborhood, although he could have traveled quite far. the article describes it as "apparently managed to unlock his pen and escape." I think its funny that it unlocked the cage.
"He could outrun the horses," she said in a article. "You can't catch him. If he doesn't want to be caught you can't catch him."
But watch out he's a biter. And thank you Wiki for the pic

Freedom Vs. Freedom

Ok heres the situation as I understand it. My little town of Elmira, NY had a gay pride parade a little over a month ago. Now I'm all for equal marriage rights and just equal rights in general but as a straight guy I wasn't there, had some friend really wanted me to go I could have been talked into it but as things were I wasn't there so I really only have the same info as everyone else on this despite it happening in my town. Although I do have insight into the general attitude of the town. So there is a gay pride parade in the public park adjacent to the church I used to attend, not that it matter but the church considers itself "open and affirming" meaning they didn't care about sexual orientation or anything else like that and we definitely had at least one lesbian couple that regularly attended back in the day. Man I get side tracked easily.

Ok so gay pride celebration in the park and sadly the usual haters showed up to "pray for their sins" or some crap like that. Now the part I'm unsure about is if they tried to disrupt the celebration or simply stayed off to the side, and unfortunately thats a pretty important piece of the puzzle because these poor misinformed deranged folks absolutely had the right to counter protest. I should point out that the idea that they simply were off to the side praying for them comes from some uber-conservative news site, I had been looking for atheist/humanist organizations in town when I spotted this and it got me thinking. At first I laughed at the silly christian protesters that got arrested at the gay pride rally, but then I realized that as much as I enjoy reveling in the defeat of those I oppose, I can't celebrate the stepping on of the first amendment.

What matters is the exact actions that were taken, if these people did as the conservatives like to claim and stood on the other side of the street with signs and prayed, even if they did it loudly then fine, I disagree with them and had I been walking by I would have gone over and questioned them. But they have that right, without question they have that right, permit or no permit. On the other hand if they went into the park and were trying to disrupt the celebration then they deserve to get arrested and I hope the leader at least is fined accordingly, your rights end where mine begin, or the phrase I prefer, "your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins. "

Unfortunately there is a large amount of gray area in between those two and thats when we are forced to rely on the police to make a judgment call on the spot and later for a judge to decide if the action was criminal or not. Personally I would prefer the police err on the side of freedom of speech but it seems that typically they would rather arrest an innocent person rather than risk something turning ugly then being blamed for not stopping it when they had the chance, AKA CYA (cover your ass). I can't be too upset with them because their job is to protect and serve, its the law makers job to protect our rights.

Oh here is how the Local News described the actual protest.

On June 23, the seven protesters, dressed in bright red T-shirts and carrying Bibles, walked through the crowd and to the front of the stage after Elmira Mayor John Tonello delivered a speech celebrating diversity.

Six of the protesters lay face-down in the grass and the seventh, Barry Keller, sat reading the Bible.

The T-shirts read "Liberated from Sin" on the front, around a white cross, and "By the Blood of Jesus" on the back.

Police officers in the park called for additional help and arrested the protesters.
(Here is the News article but they archive stuff quick so it won't be there for much longer, sorry.)

Ouch, thats still in the gray for me but its damn damn close to my being in agreement with the cops. It sounds like it was a quiet and non-violent protest which is why I'm not in total agreement, had they not done it right in front of the stage I would say they were ok, but I'm just not sure, I really would have had to been there to know for sure. Also by arresting them it has helped their cause considerably. Civil disobedience is still a great way to get your voice heard.

So this particular case, well I don't know, I wasn't there. But I think its good to look at cases like this, had it been the other way around my biases may sway me to say that the protesters absolutely had the right to be there but thats what makes these such a great tool for learning where your own boundaries lie. Unless of course you among the gay-bashers then its a pretty easy decision.

How often do you see the opposite? Have you ever seen "God loves gay" or "butt sex for jesus" protests in from of churches on sundays? I haven't, although I do know where you can get a Jesus is a Homo T-shirt, maybe it's because some people just have a little common decency, they know it would be rude to go out of their way to annoy those folks when they are trying to have a good time. If only the other side could agree to that then their would probably be a lot less trouble. Then again the other side thinks that the simple idea of having a gay pride rally is an attack on them, which its not. Then they claim that they don't have straight pride events, but these folks have never been a minority in their lives and don't realize that folks who are driven to the fringe by society like to get together to support each other, and they cna have a straight pride rally if they want, but I doubt many people would show up, and I bet it wouldn't be nearly as festive. Oh and if a group of gays came in with the previously mentioned shirts while reading from Gay Pride in the middle of it then they would probably be arrested too.

Hmm... I also just though about this description, "The protest leader, street pastor Julian Raven," street pastor. This sounds suspiciously similar to some christian protesters we had at a concert about a year ago. They refused to say what church they belonged to or even what denomination, by not having anything concrete as a group it makes it hard to fight them because they can always claim that, well that wasn't us "real" christians wouldn't do that, they can't be held accountable, except by judges.

Spitzer Scandal

The honest truth is I don't know enough about what going on to really cover this. I'm not very good about paying attention to state politics. Oh and while I'm an unabashed liberal/progressive I have no love for Spitzer, which is near blasphemy to New York Democrats. He's too pro-union and in case you haven't seen my old rants against unions, I don't like them. Anyway as I understand it some of his staffers may have used the police to illegally gather information about a political opponent. Sounds like a mini-watergate but then again with the precedents being set at the national level all Spitzer needs to do is claim blanket executive privilege then commute the sentence if any of the staffers do get in trouble. But one reason why I like the Dems is because I don't think that he will go that route, hopefully he will allow justice to be done, which proves that he has already has an excellent scapegoat in place, I like the Dems because they think ahead.

Was that too cynical? If you want to read the opinions of people who actually know whats going on then try the News, or this News, or this, this, but who does that any more? Listening to people who know whats going on thats so last decade. Yeah like Clinton.

Cost of War

Here is an odd little "abnormality" that I just noticed.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&01.&&&&&01 California &&&&&&&036457549.&&&&&036,457,549

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&02.&&&&&02 Texas &&&&&&&023507783.&&&&&023,507,783 &&&&&&&&&&&&&032.&&&&&0

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&03.&&&&&03 New York &&&&&&&019306183.&&&&&019,306,183

So Texas has roughly 4 million people more than New York, or New York has 82% of Texas's population.

Also of importance is the GDP per state,

Texas 989,443

New York 957,873

So Texas still beats New York in GDP but the gap has narrowed to New York having almost 97% of Texas's GDP.

So by these two numbers it would be safe to assume that New York has spent between 82 and 97% as much as Texas for the war, and Texas being so gung ho I would presume towards the low end, but I would be wrong dead wrong,

According to the National Priorities Project

Texas has spent about $36,660,000,000
New York has spent about $40,208,000,000

(these are running tallies so they will change, hence I rounded to the nearest million)
New York has spent over 109% of what Texas has contributed. Or you could say 4 million fewer people and 4 billion dollars more towards supporting our troops. Funny how those who oppose the war end up footing the bill.

Oh yeah and Fuck Texas.