Thursday, July 31, 2008

Interesting Art

This is an artist with a clear political, and social, agenda. Not that I see that as a bad thing. We The People is my favorite. Its a huge piece of art, 8' by 25', which from a distance is the heading of the US Constitution, but it is composed of 83,000 pictures of Abu Ghraib prisoners. Why 83,000? Glad you asked, thats the total number of persons who have been arrested and held without trial by the US.


This is a rather atypical post for the Rude Pundit, probably cause it wasn't written by the rude one. But as bemoan my personal situation its nice (in a fucked up sorta way) to remember that for the problems I have, my life is still pretty damn good. I couldn't ask for, or even imagine a better family than the one I have, my friends are the shit they would do anything within their limited means if I needed it. I've got a job, its not a very good job but it pays the bills with a little bit left over. I'm poor by American standards which still probably puts me in the top like 80% for the world. I'm overweight but I'm pretty damn healthy otherwise, the only long term meds I've ever been on is an asthma inhaler which I never use. Most people like me, I don't have any enemies. I've never killed anyone, I've never been arrested. Overall my life really is pretty good, I just wish I had someone to share it with. Joy is the one thing that gets bigger when you split it. Well joy and that broom in Fantasia, or mini-ash from Army of Darkness.

P.S. Fuck Captcha - Again

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Reverend In Need

So I gotta write a freaking wedding ceremony, and being a procrastinator my time is getting short. My other problem is that as I've alluded to before I've been a bit down lately, mostly due to my usual problem of complete and utter ineptitude with the ladies, what does that have to do with anything? Well when you're feeling depressed because because you're perpetually single, to the point where I'll go to bars with friends girlfriends and no one cares, we make jokes about how I'm practically the gay friend because I sure as fuck not stealing anyones girl. Admittedly part of that is also the fact that they guys trust there girls and I wouldn't do that shit, but if I tried it wouldn't be any more effective. Anyway all that makes it a little tough to come up with eloquent prose about the joys of love and life together.

The basics of the ceremony I can steal, er come up with easily enough. I'm not religious, neither is the groom but the bride has some spirituality and I need to find out if she wants any god stuff thrown in there. I'd rather not, but hey it's not my wedding.

I've always been a fan of quotes, most of the thoughts in my head have probably entered someone else's too, and theres a good chance that at least once the thought was expressed by someone more eloquent than I. Plus I'm pretty good at remembering them.

Hmm... This one is good especially if you cut off the first part.
Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
- Mark Twain

Now some more, just to save.

For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
- Rainier Maria Rilke

He who is in love is wise and is becoming wiser, sees newly every time he looks at the object beloved, drawing from it with his eyes and his mind those virtues which it possesses.
- Emerson

Love isn't a decision. It's a feeling. If we could decide who we loved, it would be much simpler, but much less magical.
- South Park (ok I need to point out the absurdity that one of the best quotes I've found is from south park)

If anyone else has some suggestions I'm all ears. Obviously I'm going to include some anecdotes about the bride and groom, and their two amazing little kids.

[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
-Mark Twain

What can I say I like Twain (Clemens) and the groom is a funny dude, so it fits more than it might seem at first.

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.
-Rita Rudner

By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
- Socrates (who knew that Socrates had a bit of a Rodney Dangerfield side to him)

Life is a sexually transmitted disease.
- R.D. Laing
Ok I don't plan on using that one, but it is funny.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Where did Jesus live?

Nazareth right? Born in Bethlehem cause supposedly back then you did the census by going to some town where some relative of yours used to live. But heres a point I've never heard before, while there is evidence of people in the area and ancient tribes as far back as 9000 years ago, there is no evidence that the city of Nazareth existed at the time of Jesus. I find that interesting.

Ha, McCain is Screwed

Seriously what happened to this guy? It wasn't that long ago where I thought that he was one of the few things that would keep the GOP from going supernova. I never bought into the Maverick bullshit but he did seem to be willing to decide for himself which was enough that he had my respect. Note the past tense. Ok, sure I still respect him as a person and as an unlucky soldier but as a presidential candidate hes a fucking joke. Seriously the man has repeatedly fucked up his own position on issues.

Plus he's been doing a remarkably shitty job at his, ya know job job. I know its a pretty low level job being a Senator and all but come on. To be fair I get pissed about dems that do this too, my own senator, Clinton, has missed 202 votes. I've bitched about this in the past. I think it's bullshit that senators essentially stop doing there jobs while they run for president. But some do better than others. Obama, not doin so hot having missed 281 putting him third behind Tim Johnson 311 who had a brain hemorrhage and nearly died and McCain who has missed a whopping 398 votes making him the only senator to miss more than he's voted. The good news is that AZ residence are taking notice, to the point that Obama raised more money last month in McCain's home state. Obama has also pulled pretty close in the polls in AZ, too bad polls in July mean exactly nothing.

So thats pretty bad. Plus theres the nearly endless stream of, flubs, gaffes, mistakes, and confusions. Part of it is that when you change your position as often as McCain it can be hard to remember were you stand, but if you get it wrong today that just means that when your position changes in a few weeks you can claim you never changed. Take for instance Timetables. Thats one huge fuck up on his part. He has the gall to say that Obama would lose the war in order to win the election because he would like to withdrawal the troops within 16 months if the situation in Iraq allows for it. Then the Iraqi government says yeah, we like that plan. Suddenly McCain is left out in the cold so he's forced to say that he thinks its a good plan too. So the young inexperienced senator who's greatest weakness is foreign policy was right, while the veteran soldier military expert senator who only strong point is foreign policy and war had to follow suit because he was wrong. Again. Why the fuck do people want him as president? Remind me again?

Fuck Birmingham (oops)

I know that we stopped paying attention to the constitution sometime ago, what with all its crazy liberal ideas about rights and shit, it just couldn't be reconciled with what this country was based on so it is now studiously ignored. Which is too bad cause there was some good shit in there, division of power was a cool concept but nowadays we know that a dictatorship is more efficient and efficiency is all that matters. There was some neat ideas, if totally impractical in the bill of rights too, but can a nation facing the greatest threat the world has ever known, you know a few pissed off dudes we trained in guerrilla warfare with no navy, air force, missiles, tanks or any of that useless crap, really afford to allow freedom of speech? or freedom of religion, or god help us all freedom to talk about various religions? Obviously not. Nope the only way we can be the "land of the free" is to make sure that everyone falls directly in line behind the government and no one questions anything, just like the founding fathers who told the government to go fuck themselves and built a new secular government.... hey wait a minute.

So these assholes in Birmingham decided that while at work there employees should not be able to see certain websites. Censorship at work, fine, block the porn, block youtube, myspace and all that shit I totally understand that, we all seen the estimates of the billions of dollars worth of work hours wasted on solitaire. But this is different they only banned certain views. These employees are still allowed to view sites pertaining to some cults, like christian and islamic but not other cults like voodoo, satanism, occult, witchcraft and rational (atheist). How the fuck atheist ended up in that list just proves that this is nothing more than censoring ideas that someone doesn't like. Ban non work related shit thats fine, ban all religious sites fine, but if you decided to pander to certain cults while censoring others, including non-religious and you have broken the law. I hope someone sues the shit out of them. I'm in a bad mood anyway, hence the random fucking profanity.

Birmingham, a city council that just love equality.
(non sequitur I supposed but oh well fuck birmingham)

UPDATE: Major fuck up on my part! I should have read the original article not just P.Z.'s. This is talking about Birmingham UK not Birmingham, Alabama. Sorry, you fuckers don't have rights, and any rights you decide to use will be monitored and recorded via CCTV. Sucks to be you.

grrrr... and fuck googles captcha program again. kinda defeats the point when a human can't fucking decipher this shit. theres a big ass block of green and the curve for an "r" it could be a retarded r or an i and an r or two i's and an r wtf. douchebags. It wasn't an I and an R.... could they at least use more than one fucking color so I can tell the squiggles apart?

Monday, July 28, 2008

7 Random Things

Rob has tagged me for a meme, he also has the rules for the meme. Rules which I'm also not going to follow properly, He only tagged one person. I'm not going to tag any. What can I say I'm a rebel.

1. Heres a random fun fact, I find meme's to be a pain in the ass. No animosity towards Rob or anything its just that pretty much anything I can think of about myself I already say. What do I say I'm secretly atheist, or that I'm a raging liberal? If this isn't your first time here then you already know that. So my first random thing is that I don't have many random things that I don't already talk about.

2. The term meme comes from Richard Dawkins, but I'm not sure which book. I have lots of random ass knowledge.

3. I went back to the Horseheads Brewing Company this weekend, they have incredible memories. They also check their standing on google because they told me they saw my blog, and they said it came in above their site. Oops! I'm happy to say that my blog post seems to have slipped below them now. I'm also glad that it was a positive review, and honest.

4. I'm sitting at work and a coworker needs some copies made, I have a pretty demanding job. But then I get a quick laugh as the top of the page has in nice bold letters, "Vaginal Discharge."

5. I have insane friends. It actually makes sense but upon initial review its pretty funny when you get directions to a friends bachelor party and its given in latitude and longitude. Then tells me that if you get lost head south by south west.... Hes a bit more of a hiker than I. He's also a communist, not that it matters, its just kinda funny. He's more of a hiker in the fact that we have to park about 4 miles from the campsite, at least its downhill on the way in when we're carrying water and beer.

6. This ties in with the second and the next one, when I was three I asked my sister where we lived, she said America, I corrected her and told her North America. She was pissed. Except I had a speech impediment when I was a kid so it would have been Nowth Amewica. That was the real point of this, not the fact that I'm a smart ass, you already knew that. And if anyone has a kid with a speech impediment of any sort, get that shit sorted out with a speech therapist it might be cute when they're little but I'd be pissed if I was still twying to act pwofessional. Wascally wabbit.

7. When I was "5 3/4" years old I was in kindergarten and I wrote a card for my mom. She was a bit nervous because she worked at the school and was surrounded by the teachers. On the outside it says "How to make love" Inside it says, "Get better and better at being a friend." I still think thats true.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pastafarian Judge?

An amusing tale of a kid who was so drunk that after a minor car accident his tires deflated, came off the rims, then the rims came apart, then the front suspension fell apart and the car finally stopped. Good times. But my favorite line is from the Judge.
"You have a problem with the grog," the judge told Ingham
Avast! Tis no mere landlubber here me mates.

Bueler... Bueler... HITLER!

Just in case the whole ID/ Angus Young wanna-be stuff wasn't enough to utterly discredit Ben Stein he's come back with a massive right hook and a foot straight into his mouth.

"Seventy-five-thousand people at an outdoor sports palace, well, that's something the Fuehrer would have done."

Ah yes, now Obama is a fascist. Not wanting to be out crazied host Glenn Beck followed up by saying that he has, "been saying that we're headed towards a Mussolini-style presidency forever. ... I mean it's crazy." Yeah that would be just awful to have a Mussolini style president who ignores peoples rights, starts wars, spies on citizens, and concentrates political power into a single branch of the government, that would be awful. But at least Mussolini might get the planes to run on time.

Then again these same schmucks also compared FDR to Hitler.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gangsta Rap

So we have a concert coming to my little town, Juelz Santana. I don't know who he is or his music but I've been told hes got a song on the radio so this is a pretty big name for our town. Its also the first time that there will be a rap concert at our local arena. So far so good right? Not really a concert I have any interest in but this town needs more events like this so I think its a very good thing. But just like every cloud has a silver lining the darkness tainting this ray of light is the local reaction. Several bars near the concert have expressed concerns, one is simply going to close for the day while the other has not decided. I'm really not sure how to feel about this other than kinda sad. I wish we could wait and see, hopefully everything goes smooth and those with concerns will feel silly. Unfortunately if things don't go well then we will feel a whole lot worse than silly. Again I don't know this guys music, the bar owners called it gangsta rap. I know when I think of gansta rap I think of some old Onyx, some hardcore shit that glorifies guns and violence for sure. Obviously not everyone who listens to music like that is violent, case in point I have some Onyx on my computer and I do listen to it occasionally, I might sing along to "Throw yo guns in tha air!" but that doesn't mean I'm going to go shoot people. The flip side of that is that if I went to a Onyx concert I might not be scared for myself but I would assume that there is a much higher than usual chance of someone getting shot. Does that make me racist? In my book it makes me a realist. There are lots of reasons for gang culture and I'm not going to get into why gangs are prevalent in our society I don't have time. But at the end of it I will say that people are justified being afraid of gang violence. I think that is a very reasonable suggestion.

Now I'm not going to say that these bar owners aren't racist pricks, I don't know them, maybe they are. Race absolutely could be the underlying reason I won't deny that option, but being something of an optimist I like to think through the other possibilities before assuming the worst. The one bar that is closing for sure is a classic Irish Pub it's fairly small and cramped and usually there is no bouncer let alone real security. It honestly probably wouldn't be the first destination for folks leaving a rap concert, of course theres more creative ways to prevent this problem. I would have hired a local Irish band, maybe Pat Kane. Get some bagpipes going and I guarantee you won't have to worry about gang violence. As for the other bar thats iffy, there problem is the opposite, they already have gang problems. To be honest I have no idea how much of that is truly gang related and how much is simply people who don't like each other and normal drunken bar violence. I can understand their concern.

Ultimately I think its sad, I think its sad that the bars can't just stay open and get to reap the benefits along with a good time for the patrons, it's just as sad that those same likely patrons of any color have given these bar owners legitimate concerns.

Oh and lastly the people talking about how the arena should be used for "Family entertainment" go fuck yourself, first off not everyone in this town has a family, my tax dollars went to subsidized that private enterprise too and I have no interest in the wiggles. I also find it interesting that everyone says they're concerned about violent lyrics, in case you haven't noticed its a hockey arena, this is a venue where on a regular basis people are actually violent towards each other. Do these same people say how we must not allow hockey to be played here because of the actual violence not just violence thats sung about?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm a simple bastard

For no particularly good reason I'm feeling considerably better today.
So to prove it.....

A Comic, what else?
Cross Training

Oh and how about a Cracked article?
7 people who cheated death

Monday, July 21, 2008

life is like coffee...

...cold dark and bitter.

I had a real shitty weekend, for once I'm not going to get into why but it sucked and I'm more depressed than usual so if and when I write don't be surprised if it has a particularly angry or self loathing tone. Hope everyone out on the tubes had a better weekend than I

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

one more thought on religion

Thanks for all the comments Rob! I replied to most of them and the last one I did made me want to write it up as a post. I didn't reply to the New Yorker one but I will agree that I don't think satire is going away which is great. I also have rethought my stance on that particular case, you know what people who read the New Yorker are going to get it. At least for the most part. I still don't think it was particularly well done satire but again thats all I really think they are guilty of. And I think Poes law comes into play where no matter how outlandish there are those who will think its real and agree with it.

I guess the little talk on religion I wanted to have in this post comes down to why I talk about religion so much. I honestly find it fascinating. At least partially from a historical context, religion for better or worse has played a major impact on world history and therefore understanding the various religions is a critical aspect of understanding history. But honestly thats only a minor part of it. For the most part I find the actual beliefs of the organized religions laughably absurd. Weird violent deadly masochistic egotistical fairly tales that people base their lives around, or at least claim to. To me that is a phenomenon worth looking into, and so I do. I think I worded this much nicer in the comments, but I'm in kind of a bad mood right now. The question still remains of why do people believe what they do? That question is the real reason that I like to study religion and question individuals beliefs. I really truly want to understand how people can be so convinced about something that seems so ridiculous to me. I need to go back to school and I suspect that I will end up taking some classes on world religions, I suspect that I will enjoy them, but I have a feeling the discussions could get interesting. It seems like the people I know who talk about religion the most are atheists, and I'm guessing that this is why. Living in the US I'm surrounded by variously believably pious people. I see an almost constant stream of stupidity coming from the loudest of the religious folks, who I realize are not the norm and I should not blame all religious folks for the actions of those at the extremes. At the same time if the moderate voices didn't enable the extremists then they would be marginalized and would not be a threat to society. In case I slipped that in too quietly I do see that religion and the anti-science folks are a direct threat to civilization. A war with Iran could easily lead to a modern religious war, a prospect I do not look forward to. I also think that by ignoring and fighting against science we are going to run into very serious problems that require scientific as well as political solutions, and when the populace has almost no understanding of science then they will not elect people with scientific understanding and we are left with people having to make world altering political decisions based on science that they do not understand. Climate Change and the energy situation being the current manifestations of that problem.

I could probably keep rambling but you get the point.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The New Yorker

Yeah yeah we've all seen the cover, we all get what they were trying to do and we all understand that it didn't work. So why is it that whenever this type of thing happens the only person I can always trust to have an opinion I agree with is the Rude Pundit? This whole thing is just a case of satire gone wrong. Satire has a wonderful tradition, Jon Swift, Mark Twain, and today Steven Colbert show what can be done with satire, but those names are revered (Colbert is at least revered by himself) for the very simple reason that satire is hard. Again, Satire is Hard. It's really easy to get it wrong and thats really all the New Yorker is guilty of, well that and not being funny which is a little different.As for all the other opinions out there about this. Eh.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Beer Blogging! Horseheads Brewing Company

I don't usually blog about beer. While it is a subject that I really enjoy studying it's not one I'm particularly adept at sharing with others. I like good beer but I can't tell you why. Other people go on about the hops and the intricate flavors, I say, "mmm thats good" or "ew, not so good."

So I was dragged to a local brewery/microbrewery that for some strange reason I had never been to before. I got out of work a little early on friday, went and saw a friend and as we sat with nothing to do he suddenly jumped up and said "lets go to the Horseheads Brewing Company!"
"Never been, is it good?"
"Really?oh you're going to love it."

Three of us piled into his firebird and we took of in search of lager. They started us off with some samples of everything they had, after asking for ID, which meant I got to show them my new clergy ID. There was one I didn't really like, I'm just not a pale ale fan, there too... hoppy? This is why I don't beer blog often. The only other one that I really didn't like was a peach beer. First off I want my beer to taste like beer, second I just hate peach. But I tried it, and it was gross, but if you like that sort of thing then give it a shot. They give you samples, just make sure you save one of the good ones for after so you leave with a mouth that tastes delicious.

Then there was the wheat beer, quite good. I knew I was going to be at an outdoor party the next day and it was supposed to be 90+ degrees so this seemed like a great summer beer. It might have been a little too good as I might have drank two growlers in pretty short order. Of course that can't all be blamed on the wheat. There was also a brown ale, simply known as "brown ale" and I really liked this one. I polished off a growler of this on friday night then headed back up on saturday to get it refilled before that party. And seeing as I purchased two growlers, including one cool one with the ceramic flip top and the sweet latch, the other is just a spin on top, I'll probably be back fairly regularly for refills. They also have Sullivan Stout but they didn't have it on tap so I didn't get to try it, but I did pick up a bottle. I hope its good I like me a good stout.

As I said and have shown, I'm quite terrible at describing beers but I think I've given the beer the ultimate capitalist praise, I bought more. What I realize that I left out of this praise is that the people who work there seem really nice, affable and just seem to really enjoy making beer. I had already had a couple when I showed up and we had fun chatting. I look forward to more nights of popping open that big old flip top, and to saying hi to the kind folks who make that joyous beverage.

UPDATE! Ok want proof that these people are serious beer fans? Beer Shampoo anyone? I'm just not sure if I could bring myself to waste a perfectly good beer on hair.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cracka Ass Jesus

It's because of shit like this that I read Pharyngula almost every day, and have a bit of a man crush on one P.Z. Myers. He's being threatened, the usual threats, you'll go to hell, we'll get you fired, we will kill you from those self proclaimed peaceful folks in the catholic church.

See he wrote a post about a kid who stole a cracker. But not just any cracker this cracker actually contained part of the actual body of christ inside of it. Thats one hell of a cracker right? I mean shit if I had a 2000 year old cracker that contained tissue from jesus I'd be pretty protective of it too, and I'm not even religious. So how did this kid get his hands one such a holy relic? They pass them out every sunday at churches and cathedrals around the world, and he didn't eat his. The fact that they wanted him to eat their savior is pretty fuckin' weird and cannibalistic but thats an issue for another day. Ok so the cracker wasn't 2000 years old but according to catholic dogma when the priest blesses the cracker it becomes the Eucharist and literally becomes the body of christ, it is NOT metaphorical according to their religion.

So the story went that he was handed one and rather than taking part in this cannibalistic ritual he left without eating the cracker, and by cracker I mean jesus. Where do you think the racial slur "cracker" came from anyway? So P.Z..... mmm dreamy.... had the audacity to treat that cracker ass cracka with disrespect, or actually just asked people to send him some so that he could publicly disrespect.

I'm sure there was a point to this post at one time but that time is not now. So I'm just going to say that I'm out and have a great weekend.

Peace! even to the catholics

Thursday, July 10, 2008

God Made Me Fall...

So sue the church!
I love people, for all their stupidity I must admit, they are an amusing lot. The guy who claims that god tripped him and then sued the church when their insurance company didn't want to pay, eh fairly amusing. The comment section afterwards? Amazing.
Anytime someone falls under the Spirit of God, that person is NEVER injured because God protects them. I have seen people who were trampled by women in spiked heels while under the Spirit, and they got up with no injuries. I've seen people hit their heads on pews while falling under the Spirit, and they got up with nary a bruise or mark.

If this man was injured during his fall, he wasn't under the Spirit.

Umm... what kind of a church involves falling on the ground and getting trampled by women in spikes... sounds kinda kinky. Where is that again?

A Fittin' Tribute

Say what you want about San Fransisco, but that town has personality. srsly, go check that out.

Ordained Atheist

Yup a guy who loves making fun of religion, god and the followers of both has just become a man of the cloth, but not the molester type. I went with an ordination from the Church of Spiritual Humanism, and while I'm not spiritual I'm perfectly comfortable with the tenets of Humanism and Spiritual Humanism doesn't seem to add any craziness, in fact they tell you you're not to invoke any gods, spirits, demons or anything supernatural. And they adhere to the scientific method. I'm not really certain where the spiritual part comes from but whatever. Then again spiritual actually goes back to the word "to breath" so I guess I am spiritual after all.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Our crazy world

If you like just weird crazy shit, then fuck sci-fi check out science. Theres all sorts of genuinely weird shit going on all around you all the time, even something as seemingly simple as a magnet, or specifically a magnetic field is actually quite odd, and surprisingly beautiful....

Magnetic Movie from Semiconductor on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Ok I've been reading a bit from WikiHow, which is supposed to be the How to Guide to everything. It had how to convert an atheist, and how to deal with religious people if your an atheist, but for some reason it didn't seem to talk about what to do if some fundie wants to convert you and you just want to have a really good time fucking with them... hmmm.... maybe I should write one.....

There was one day the Mormons came around because someone sent them after my former roommate, I had to run otherwise I would have invited them up, I knew I had Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian sitting out. Probably not as much fun as the fundies who protested the punk show right after I finished Sam Harris's The End of Faith, and my Censor Religion T-shirt had just come in from Alternative Tentacles. I think it was divinely inspired... hehe. That was a good night.

Speaking of which this looks amusing. The Uncensored Bible.

Faith Based Crap

First off I'm annoyed because I just lost a post that I had written because my computer locked up before I could publish, and the auto save doesn't seem to actually save it anywhere. grrrr....

So my buddy Rob left a comment saying that he's cool with the faith based initiatives, so I felt like expanding on why I am not. I was only about half way done when I lost my original and it was a pretty impressive ramble. I'd like to start by saying that there are a great deal of wonderful charity organizations that are religiously based, Salvation Army is the first that pops into my head because of its size, but just as importantly are the countless soup kitchens across this nation and the world that provide such a wonderful service for those who need it most. I by no means want to belittle the amazing job done by these groups, usually on a shoe string budget, without them the world would be an even darker place.

Now the new Obama provisions seemingly bring the law to a new place we will call constitutional, or at least pretty close to it. If I walk into a local Salvo, or soup kitchen wearing a yarmulke or a topi (I'm pretty sure thats the name of the muslim skull cap thing that ironicly looks almost exactly like a yarmulke to a goy like me) I'm sure they wouldn't treat me any different, they'd sell me clothes or serve me dinner. They might have a little prayer before dinner, and being that we're in a church and I was just handed a free meal I'd respect their traditions. I wouldn't be surprised if someone realized I wasn't a christian and was therefore interested in talking to me about faith. If I lived in a more religiously homogeneous region where it was considered acceptable to shout about god then I would expect to hear a few psalms thrown at me. Around here most people keep there faiths to themselves. Sure we've got the local "street pastor" who likes to protest against the gays but otherwise religion is a fairly private affair, just like JC wanted. Would I feel comfortable letting it be known that I'm not a christian and I need a meal if I was in the deep south? Especially if I was a muslim (or pretending to be). I'm sure they would feed me, it's what soup kitchens do, I'm not even worried about being made to feel like I should leave (except maybe with the muslim option), no I suspect whether its part of the churches mission or not that I would be proselytized to. Quite possibly to such an extent that I would dread going. Some folks seek religion when they're down on their luck, but its a personal decision. My questioning if proselytizing even works is a separate thing entirely I suppose. If its a private organization that wants to help people but decides they will annoy the hell out of those who come in thats fine by me, but why the fuck should I be paying for them to do that? The problem is there is so much grey area here. At what point is it proselytizing, can they get public funding if proselytizing isn't part of there mission but members volunteer to do it anyway? Public money isn't being spent on it but now public money is being where the proselytizing is going on. I just don't see anyway to keep everyone happy except to say that the government has no business being involved with religious organizations.

I would love to see a break down of where that money goes. How do you decide who gets the money? Do you break it down by followers of the religion or number of people served? We're talking about Billions of dollars that the government is handing out so these details still mean huge amounts of money. People served I supposed. In the non-profit world, especially where I work, we have researchers from (in our case) Cornell testing to ensure that our programs work, and trying to figure out the most effective use of our limited resources. Our agency was far ahead of the curve on this but it is slowly becoming the norm, if you want money you need to prove that your plan works, and show that it works better than the other options. So are faith based groups more effective at what they do?

One thing that I've thought of occasionally while watching a couple different friends battle with drug addictions is how I don't think I could go into any of the major rehab organizations, that is if I was a drug addict. AA, a wonderful program that helps many many people. My best friend would not be the man he is today without their help. He is not christian but he is at least vaguely spiritual so he did just fine. I am not. They don't force you to believe in any particular god but they in no uncertain terms do expect you to believe in something. Research seems to show that this makes it marginally more effective for the majority that are spiritual which is canceled out by the considerably less effectiveness for the minority that are not. I don't have those stats but that is what I was told by said friend who did significant work with AA and is a psych researcher so even without seeing the numbers I tend to believe him. Again AA is a private institution, very private in fact considering the second A is for anonymous, so they can do what they want. But I cannot see giving public funding to a group that disregards a significant portion of the country. I suspect that many faith-based groups are similar. Sure they don't discriminate directly, they leave their prayers very vague so as not to offend other denominations of christianity. But that is not the same as serving the public equally every time. I am sure that many groups do, but it is simply impossible to police such a system. The only reasonable way I can figure to ensure that we are helping those who need it most on a fair basis is with a secular system.

I guess at the end of the day I see the religious charities that have been around for so long and have done so much and I wonder why they couldn't just keep doing what they had been doing? Why not let them do what they do, and give the public money to those we know serve the public equally? Of course the flip side of this is that in many smaller towns soup kitchens may only be provided by a local church, if there is no other option does it make more sense to help the existing charity? Probably. Like most issues of the world I think it's far more complex than most people would like to deal with, but I still firmly believe that the only fair and constitutional thing to do is simply to not use public money to support religious works of any nature.

I hope we can discus this more in the comments. Oh and I'll just throw out there that I did once work in a soup kitchen, I can't remember why, probably a church thing actually. I was in high school and while I was helping to serve food I ran into a classmate who was on the other side of the counter. I didn't know how to react, but I did know that for his sake I did not want to return, ok that might not have been the only reason why. Come on how many high school kids want to go volunteer at the soup kitchen? Sorry I'm just not that altruistic, and I was less so then.

So anyway, what your view?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


This is the whole sort of general mish mash, politics style. Lots of shit going down, and some of its silly and minor, other stuff is pretty profound. So lets dive in.

This should be important, like really important, John Yoo the assistant to the Attorney General and adviser to the President by extension, educated at Harvard and Yale cannot answer wither or not there is any limit on what the President can have done to a terror suspect. This is the United States of America if someone asks if the president can bury a man alive because he may or may not have committed a crime, the answer SHOULD be real fucking obvious, no, hell no, what the fuck? What kind of country do you think this is, obviously there are laws to prevent anything even vaguely of that nature. At least that would have been the answer during the last century. Today thats a tricky question, do we need to limit the king, er presidents power? Can't we just assume that our glorious dictator will only torture for good?

So what else is going on? Wes Clark said that being shot down in an airplane doesn't qualify you to be the President. Duh. Although that does lead us into an interesting question of what does qualify a person to be president? Yeah I could get into a rant about how stupid it is that the press is making a big deal, or any deal out of this, how it's just retarded because the man with the "offensive" words is a freaking General, does that mean he's better qualified than McCain? But thats would be just as pointless as the debate in the media. No instead I want to focus for a sec on what exactly does qualify someone to be President? Be an American and by 35, thats about all the Constitution has to say about it. Beyond that its actually a lot harder to say than it sounds, no one has really come up with a definitive set of traits or background that make a good President.

Obama said that he wants to expand the faith based crap. I like the fact that he wants to be strict about what the money can and can be used for but the simpler solution to me is stop giving money to faith based organizations. I don't like this move at all but hey the guy can't agree with me on every subject, if he did he'd never get elected. I'm annoyed but hey this is minor breach of the constitution compared to what we've grown used to.

I ran out of time.
thats probably obvious

Thank you to Douglas Adams for the title.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Our next president, and hopefully my new boss, just talked about it so now I'm going to real quickly. First I'll go off subject and say that I'm in talks with the Obama campaign and if that happens I might be really really busy until November. Now back to patriotism, also known as the last refuge of scoundrels. In order to define patriotism I personally believe its important to think about who the patriots were, before they won the Superbowl. Admittedly the ones we think of first Washington, Jefferson, Adams and the rest of the posse were upper class, but like always they were held up by a mass of average people who were willing to die so their children could be free from tyranny. So at least my vision of a patriot, a true patriot is any person who will fight, by any means necessary to protect the ideals of this country. We could then get into what those ideals are, but again my view at least is that those ideals were laid out quite eloquently in the nations first document, which due to a coincidence was signed on Independence Day. They were then refined a bit into the constitution. Those ideals are what defines America, not out borders but our dreams. This is why when taking office the president does not swear to protect the citizens but to protect the constitution. But a patriot has an even greater creed yet, he or she does not simply defend the constitution but must ensure that our ideals are defended for even our constitution is not immune from bad ideals from time to time, like prohibition. This is why the patriot must defend against all enemies foreign or domestic, the original patriots knew that freedom cannot survive if power is allowed to be too tightly concentrated. That is why we have an elected government and not a King, although it is interesting to note that originally only the house was directly elected by the people. Now senators are too, the president is still not elected by the people and I'm convinced thats a bad thing, until I talk to voters who help to structure national policy with their vote and know nothing about either candidate. Scary. Anyway the job of the patriot is critical and I think this entire nation has been so busy waving flags and supporting the troops to notice that there's hardly a true patriot left among us. How many of us have truly challenged the attacks on the constitution by this administration? Who has laid it all on the line to say that the patriot act is illegal? Or the many other illegal acts. Oh sure we march in protests after getting permission from the police, despite the fact that we already have the right by the constitution while the police do NOT have the right to stop a peaceful public gathering. We also write or call our senators, we harass our mayors and our representatives but then we go back to our jobs, our cars and live our lives we may grumble a bit but we've all gone soft. If there were a true patriot alive today they would probably be rotting away in jail right now, maybe they are. I do not mean to challenge what we call the patriotism of any one, I want to challenge what we call patriotism, and I want to challenge us all to live up to that most honorable duty.

Or we could just say that patriotism is defined by lapel pins.