Friday, November 27, 2009

Keep your Religion off my Laws.

This is old news, and it was going to be a post specific to the latest legislative travesty pushed upon the American public by religious operatives working through conservative legislators, but as I think about it, it's more general than that.

I am so sick of one group's morals influencing public policy to the point where 66.3 million people (22% of the population) (Roman Catholics, according to the BBC) gets to say what 149.1 million American women (50.7%) get to do with their reproductive choices. This time, they are reaching out through health insurance, further sucking the marrow out of an already hollow bill.

It sucks. And it makes no logical sense. As if the Hyde Amendment wasn't bad enough, now we have the Stupak Amendment. It's not a matter of keeping your laws off my body, it's keep your religion off of my body. These morals come from a belief that life starts at conception. This is by no means a fact. Americans do not seem to be able to distinguish between the two. There is powerful evidence, in fact, that our brains process facts and belief in the same way, which is most likely one of the reasons that so many people are confused as to which is which.

Well, that plus a critical thinking failure on an epic scale.

Here's an example:

Evolution is a fact.
Creationism/Intelligent Design is a belief.

You do not get to have your own set of facts. If you need to believe that the earth is 6 thousand years old and God made every living species and Noah really had an ark because your religion tells you so, you get to believe that, and you get to be wrong. You do not get to use that belief to say what is taught in the public schools or what the government does. That's a principle of our godless Constitution.

And now, I need to finish my coffee.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanks, Mr. Pawlenty!

What you have done in your terms as governor of Minnesota doesn't equal balancing the budget without raising taxes, though I am sure that will be in your stump speech in the run-up to 2012.

Many of us are poorer due to your decisions, and not just the unallotment.

Our school districts have to borrow this year specifically because you would not work with the legislature. They are borrowing to pay their teachers, costing them even more money.

That's not the least of it. Just ask the 33,000 people laid off of health care by your cuts to the General Assistance Medical Care program. Those people will either suffer or have to access care at higher rates to the system and, therefore, to the taxpayers. Someone always has to pay.

Spin it all you want. The buck stops at your desk, though it does make for a stunning trophy to show your financial supporters. Too bad it crapped all over the citizens before it got there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Barbie? Is that you?

When I was young, I loved Barbies. Truth be told, I still do. Do I think they are unrealistic and present an ideal of femininity that is unattainable and possibly damaging? Yes, I do. Do I have a bin of unopened Barbies in my basement. Yes, I do.

I played with Barbies into my early teen years. Am I a feminist? Yes, I am.

In spite of Barbie? Well, certainly not because of her.

So my sensibilities really don't know what to do with Burka Barbie.

Step forward for Barbie in cultural awareness? Achievement for women everywhere?

Um, no and no.

It's one patriarchal oppression to another, and I gotta say, Barbie's doing better for herself in hot pants and a belly shirt.

This does not wash with me: "I know Barbie was something seen as bad before as an image for girls, but in actual fact the message with Barbie for women is you can be whatever you want to be."

Sure. On Barbie's website, she says she can be whatever she wants to be, from a rock star to a race car driver, and so can I.

And now, Barbie can be stoned to death for adultery.

That's progress.

Hey, Ladies!

I am not sure what I want to say about Sarah Palin, so I'll dive in and see what happens.

Ms. Palin continues to be disappointing. Everything about her makes my feminist sensibilities twitch. She's a "guy girl," and it's no wonder that men like Mr. Limbaugh fall all over themselves showering her with grodey compliments. (No, I am not going to read her book; there are too many other things to read, and for autobiography, I think I will stick to Ulysses S. Grant.)

For those who are not in the know, "guy girls" are women who reproduce the western, patriarchal, female norm, almost to parody in some cases, and tend to direct their attention toward men, sometimes in order to gain power, sometimes just attention. They usually will not have a lot of close female friends, and a lot of women will not like them and won't really be able to pin down why that is. Guys will love them and not understand why girls don't.

A lot of the talk about Ms. Palin during the campaign revealed that we are clearly not in a post-feminist world, as if most of us needed more proof of that. The discussions often dealt with appearance and usually included a few swipes at Hillary Clinton.

I just read a Media Matters piece about Newsweek's cover story on Ms. Palin. You know, the one with the shorts? They ask where the cover shot of Joe Biden in shorts is. Well, the answer to that is that Joe Biden has not posed in shorts, on purpose, for a national magazine campaign. Sarah Palin did. Perhaps Newsweek should have chosen a different picture, but perhaps Ms. Palin should have chosen a different portrayal of herself, if she wants to be taken seriously. Women need to be intentional about such things as presentation, otherwise we open ourselves up to ridicule and scorn. Is it fair? Nope. Is it the way things are? Yup. Ms. Palin chooses to present herself as the perfect guy girl, and then she whines when it's replicated.

Does the media portray women differently? Yes. Do they talk about Hillary's pantsuits? Yes. And this is the flip side of things. When women such as Hillary Clinton do not present themselves as stereotypically feminine, they are called ugly, aggressive, and bitchy.

But heck. I am probably just mad because I am an unattractive liberal.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'll help you, if...

Aside from all the stuff you say in the Apostles or Nicene Creeds, it seems to me that a central doctrine of Christianity is that Jesus Christ "came to earth to teach about love and fellowship. He represents the person that all Christians must strive to be."

That's simple enough, and as long as out leave out the Son of God stuff, and don't pick too much at some of the things the Bible says he did and said, I think a lot of people can get behind the ideas of love and fellowship and striving to be a better person.

I understand the concept that religious charities can choose who they want to fund or help based on their beliefs; it's their money. I just don't think that excluding certain groups or people who need help, based soley on their beliefs or lack thereof, is very nice. Nor do I think it's charitable, altruistic, unselfish, or any kind of social justice. I also don't think that people who are seeking aid should be witnessed to. It's just not very helpful.

I think that trying to help without expectation of saving souls or gaining new followers or indoctrinating in any manner is probably a better way to go about it. I don't think that any charity is really selfless; we all get something out of helping others, whether it's just that warm feeling of self-satisfaction. It just seems to me that certain groups are putting their beliefs above their stated ideals, and it's unfortunate, especially when there are so many more people who need help. It's like charity blackmail: "We'll withhold your funding if you do/support/believe X."

This is what is happening in Washington, D.C., where the Catholic Archdiocese says that they will be "unable to continue service programs" if the District adopts a same-sex marriage law. This is what is happening with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which is only in favor of their version of which poor people are deserving. This is what is happing with the American Legion in Bloomington, Minnesota, which was asked not to include a prayer in their Veteran's Day program in the public schools. They said that if they can't do the prayer, they will hold back their 25-30 thousand dollars worth of scholarships.

Using your religious beliefs to justify holding disenfranchised people hostage is disgusting behavior.

Heck, it's even bad PR.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The thing that really gets me... that this is so so very very important to them. It was the first thing I thought about when I heard about the debate in the first place. (Can you tell I don't get out to this sort of thing very often? I can't stop thinking about it. Gotta chew the cud I have, so to speak.)

I know I am mid thought here, but I was reading some of the comments, and thinking about how important it is to creationists that they be right and evolution is not true. Most of the time, I find myself wondering "Why? What changes in your daily life if you are wrong?" Will you no longer be able to wash the dishes or love your children? Will gardening not be fun anymore? Will you lose the urge to watch sports? What?

Will you have to die some day?
Because I gotta tell ya; it's going to happen.

It's the same sort of brain stall I go through when I am confronted with racists or homophobics. I don't get it. It all seems like such a colossal waste of time: marinating in hatred or pushing your weird ideas about the origin of life when there's just so much other stuff to do! I mean, once you are done with work and your day to day responsibilities, this is really how you want to spend your time?

OK, not fair. I am sure they have hobbies.

But I guess the problem for me is that I don't remember what it felt like to be a believer, and I don't remember any moment when it fell away and everything changed. Because everything did not change. It was just one day, I realized that I had not been buying it for awhile, and then later on, I realized that I did not buy any of it, at all, and a little after that, I realized that I was an atheist. It was very gradual.

Maybe it's because I was never, in all my believer time, a creationist, and I always found that to be ridiculous and unimportant. The Garden of Eden was so obviously a story, like all creation myths, that it was clearly metaphor.

Even debates like the one a few nights ago strike me as weird. What's the point? There's no debate. And the Sesame Street song "One of these things is not like the other..." starts running through my head. What has evolution ever done to them?

On second thought. Don't answer that.

Dr. Bergman wanted to have a different debate, anyway. It seemed like he wanted to debate about atheists and what is wrong with being one. And since atheism and evolution are the same to many of these people, maybe he thought that was a legitimate place to start. But expected him to lay down a case for why ID should be taught alongside evolution in the schools, I really did. I did not expect to agree with it, but I thought he would present one. I think he expected Dr. Myers to be all fire and brimstone and atheisty all over him, so instead of actually preparing a case, he was defensive from the very beginning.

Either that, or this is the only thing they CAN do because they have no case.

Atheist Crusade

OK, I skipped this over yesterday because Ms. Bachmann exhausts me, but it popped up again today in my news searches, and now, exhausted, I guess I'll say something.

41 representatives and 3 senators want a lawsuit stopped. In July, The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed that lawsuit because in that same month, the House and Senate decided that it would be a good idea to have "In God We Trust" and "one nation under God" engraved in the Capitol Visitor Center.

Now, the American Center for Law and Justice says that lawsuit is a "crusade" that "serves no purpose other than to waste judicial resources at a time in our Nation’s history when those resources are needed in cases involving real threats to American liberties."

I am too tired to say anything other than Who is wasting what time now?

Things Some People NEED To BELIEVE

(in no particular order, randomly picked out of the air)

Oswald was not acting alone.
Vaccines cause autism/are more dangerous than the diseases they caused/don't really work anyway.
Someone/thing is looking out for us.
God created the universe.
We did not really land on the moon.
The Holocaust never happened/was exaggerated/was not Hitler's fault.
George Bush knew about and allowed 9/11 to happen/The government is responsible for 9/11.
The earth is only 6000 years old.
You Must Recycle/Recycling all goes to the dump anyway.
Marilyn Monroe was murdered by the Kennedys.
Evolution is "just a theory."
President Obama was not born in the United States of America.
The flu vaccine will give you the flu.
The H1N1 vaccine is more dangerous than the disease itself.

I am still trying to figure out how to distill the Beliefs associated with health insurance reform. Is it as simple as The Government is out to get me? That seems like base paranoia and not so much a belief. Or do all the Leetle Beliefs like death panels and "g-men coming into your house to tell you how to raise your children" exist because of the base paranoia?

I am still mining my own brain for what mine are. I am picking up Denialism at the library this afternoon, and I hope it will be insightful.

More Beliefs?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Based on Your Browsing History"

Thank goodness. Looking up that grotesque Hitler book that Dr. Bergman was waving around did not change my recommendations on Amazon. I was concerned that I would open it up, and I would see a creepy vomit of weirdness from the darkest depths of the human psyche, and I would have to spend an hour looking up Star Trek movies, evolution books for children, and knitting patterns just to get rid of it. But thankfully, I see knitting patterns, children's bath toys, and Paul Simon.

Sarah Palin's number one, though.
That makes me sad.
Though not surprised.

Yet more on the debate

But this time, from Greg Laden.

Pay attention to the comments. Some of them made me giggle at my desk.

Is this real?

My iPod is charging right now, so I can't download it and try it out, but I did find it in the iTunes application store. I rarely pay for apps, but this one might be worth the two bucks. It could give me some good bus hilarity.


Anyone have it?

That's your argument? More thoughts on the debate.

I woke up this morning with pictures in my head of Dr. Bergman waving around that copy of "Hitler's Ethic," needing us to understand that no scientists openly resisted Hitler; needing us to acknowledge that this was somehow supportive of the case for intelligent design. It made me wonder about the lengths to which people will go, in order to maintain belief.

That length for arguing against atheism is often Hitler, and now I guess it works for creationism, too. He's the worst example of palpable human evil that we can come up with, and the events of the Holocaust happened practically yesterday in the scope of time.

It's pretty extreme, I think, and it's meant to be a trump card: you don't believe in God? Well, Hitler was an atheist. So there. You use science to achieve knowledge? So did Hitler. So there.

Hitler has become the biggest "So there" in the history of debating.

And the thing is, it's not an argument. Even if it were true that no scientists openly opposed Hitler, it would not mean that scientists are bad or science is wrong. Even if it were true that Hitler was an atheist, it would not make atheists bad or atheism wrong.

Plus, I don't see that it's helpful to their own argument: saying that scientists supported Hitler and then bragging about all the scientists who support you.

It has made me wonder about myself: are there beliefs* that I hold onto, only seeking out evidence that supports that belief and denying everything else? I'll be thinking about that for awhile as I evaluate the world around me and my reactions to it and assumptions about it, and if only for that reason, last night's debate was a good thing.

*by "belief" here, I mean assumptions about the way things are, that are held based mainly on emotion. I do not "believe" in evolution; evolution is a fact that is not there for me to believe or disbelieve. It is there to be understood and studied.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I thought it went really well, until he brought up Hitler.

The discussion was civil, and though there was some eye rolling, sighing, and muttering in the audience, no one shouted; no one gesticulated wildly; no one hurled insults.

Right up until the Hitler reference, everyone was playing relatively nicely.

This was a debate between two men, and the question was "Should Intelligent Design Be Taught in the Schools?" The two men were Dr. Jerry Bergman and Dr. P.Z. Myers.

I came in wondering if I could tell who the creationists were just by looking at them, and I looked at the relatively empty room (I was early), wondering which side I should sit on. I observed the tables at the front, and observed that one had a computer, water bottle, and papers on it while the other had nothing but a microphone. I chose to sit on the side of the room in front of the empty table because I knew from previous observation that Dr. Myers had not arrived yet. I was just thinking "Is this like a wedding, where there's a bride's side and a groom's side?" when the woman sitting near me asked "Is this like a wedding?"

I had brought my knitting, so I had something to do. I have to use all the baby-free minutes I have.

My initial thoughts were that this whole debate does not really seem like a debate to me because a debate is supposed to present two sides of an issue, and creationism/ID does not equal evolution. The question "Should ID be taught alongside evolution" answers itself:

No. Can we have beer now?

Dr. Bergman, on the "Yes" side of the debate, spent the first half of his twenty minutes talking about himself and all the atheists he knows. In fact, he was an atheist! Many of his friends were atheists! But he found the atheist movement to be deficient, scholarly. He defined evolution as "from the goo to you by way of the zoo." There's nothing like a catchy, rhyming phrase laden with panting sarcasm to make me warm to your argument. He said that "you cannot judge a religion by those who don't follow it," and that sentence still does not make sense to me. He talked about debunking Darwinism step by step, stating that doing scientific research was what led him to theism and creationism.

I was wondering what this had to do with teaching ID in schools.

He conducted a survey with three thousand Ph.D. scientists, which showed that they overwhelmingly rejected "orthodox Darwinism," flashing some questions up on the screen that were clearly intelligently designed to produce ambiguous answers that could be interpreted to support his hypothesis.

He told me that "everyone is a creationist," that it's "not a good idea to teach religion in a science class," and that "you don't teach astronomy in a math class."

At this point, I noticed that my chest was really tight.

"The problem is," he said, "we don't teach enough about evolution." Science equals religion, he went on. Apparently if you say it's a fact, and it's true, then it's a religion. I think there's supposed to be something about evidence in there, but he thinks that the only answer you ever get from scientists is "evolution did it," or "it evolved that way." He's very concerned that we "cannot teach the problems with evolution" and that "atheism is taught in the schools, legally, indoctrinating students in a world view." Yup. That's how I came to my atheism: in my 10th grade biology class with Mr. Rosendahl, when that red-faced round white man preached to a rapt, entranced audience about frogs from his entitled throne of High School Biology Teacher.

It's the same crap. Atheists are winning, indeed, we have already won, and the poor Christians are persecuted. Ah! To be part of the persecuted, overwhelming majority group, dictating policy and whining in the corner about how nobody likes you.

Then he went into irreducible complexity, and I heard groaning all around me. Did you know that Carbon 12 is irreducibly complex? Neither did I. Someone else can better go into the weirdness that ensued during this section, as I stopped taking notes.

Then it was Dr. Myers' turn. So far, I had not heard a cohesive position in support of teaching ID/creationism alongside evolution in schools. Dr. Myers answered the question: "No, emphatically no. It's not science, so there's nothing to teach."

Science, he went on, needs a mechanism or theory and evidence or data showing that the observed mechanism works. You need real world observations to plug into the theory. ID has neither a mechanism nor data. There is no theory, which has been admitted to by proponents of ID. So what are we supposed to teach? How do we focus our research without a theory? How do we get data to support these positive claims distinguished from evolution; something that shows specifically that a designer did it?

I found him to be clear, concise, soft spoken, organized, and polite.

Dr. Myers pointed out that complaining about evolution is not part of a positive idea of science. You need theory and data if you want to teach intelligent design. If these cannot be provided, it cannot be taught. "Teaching is not a playground for teachers to spout off whatever they want." They are ethically and legally bound by states and districts. "They are responsible to students to give them accurate information to make informed decisions. Teaching creationism is a violation of professional responsibility."

Dr. Bergman? Rebuttal?

I teach Darwin's finches, too.
There's no theory, yes.
There are thousands of published papers, though, by ID people who are "in the closet." One individual has over 600 papers in major journals.
The appendix serves several functions, there are no vestigial organs.

(But why should it be taught? I am still wondering.)

There are quite a few studies that creationist students are 1-2 grades ahead of public school students.

(Citation and study design, please.)

Irreducible complexity, Aristotle, we need a heart, brain stem, kidney...

(I am just transcribing my notes, now. I mean, this is done, right?)

The periodic table of the elements is irreducibly complex, and a teacher was fired for teaching it.
Everything is irreducibly complex.
Show me the radio that works on a single lepton.

(What do radios have to do with evolution? Aside from the fact that humans evolved to the point where we could make one.)

Evolution is in the way of our knowledge of the biological world.

He equated god and evolution, you know the old game. There was nothing really new here. There's the God of the Gaps, and scientists have Evolution of the Gaps. But he "strongly supports the scientific method."

Dr. Myers? Rebuttal?

If the papers are not about ID, then they are not ID papers.
Dr. Bergman's definition of vestigial organs is peculiar; it's not the same as the biological definition. "No use" is not the same as "reduced function."
"That's the strangest definition of irreducible complexity I have ever heard," he said. Irreducible complexity is about biochemical pathways, specifically, and applying it to a carbon molecule makes no sense. Irreducible complexity has been refuted, and does not disprove evolution. When it comes to carbon molecules, it's not "little angels knitting them together"
People do teach the periodic table.
Yes, teachers have lost their jobs for not doing their jobs.
There is no positive case for ID, it's just complaining about evolution.
Schools have the right to set their curricula.

Question from Dr. Bergman to Dr. Myers: Do you know of any out of the closet ID'ers who have gotten tenure?
Dr. Myers: No. The problem there is?

Question from Dr. Myers to Dr. Bergman: How can you say that the Carbon 12 atom is irreducibly complex?
Dr. Bergman: restated the same thing.
Dr. Myers: That's not a useful argument for ID.
Dr. Begman: Yes it is.
Dr. Myers: open-mouthed silence.

During the questions from the audience section, Dr. Bergman quoted from Dr. Dawkin's book "The Greatest Show on Earth," (I think he said page 451, but I am tired, and the baby is crying), and he used to quote to conclude that genes are not the boss, there is a boss above the genes. Dr. Myers replied "Richard Dawkins would be mad at me if I let it slide that you quoted his book, supporting intelligent design. Natural processes are quite capable of producing increasingly complex information."

Question: "You admitted that ID has no theory in your rebuttal. For me that was 'game over.' Do you want to take that back?"

It was soon after this that he brought up Hitler. Hitler had enormous support from the scientists, he said, holding up a book called "Hitler's Ethic: The Nazi Support of Evolutionary Progress." Oh, man. Really? Did you have to? See, right up until then, I was just feeling sorry for his rambling and inferior performance, and then... he brought up Hitler. No scientists, he said, openly opposed Hitler. Really? You want to say that again? You want some time to think about it, first?

It's the same old thing. Arguments from authority. Disparage science and scientists, but talk about all the support you have from science and scientists. Mislead with weird things like the irreducible complexity of a radio.

It was a good evening out, though. I figured out some things on the knitting pattern I am working on, and I got to thank Dr. Myers for his admirable job of sticking to the question.

My comment on the evaluation was: I think that the conversations and questions were remarkably civil, given the subject matter, but as an intellectual discussion, I do not feel that the "yes" side of the argument presented a rational case, based on evidence, for the teaching of ID/creationism in the public school science classroom.

And I'd just like to point out that, some of my best friends are Christian.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reprehensible, Religious, Repugnant

The Question of the Day for our public radio station was "What should the US do to promote religious tolerance at home." This is of course in response to the recent, apparently religiously motivated, shooting at Fort Hood. I thought that the question quite missed the point, but I was pleasantly surprised to note that most of the answers did not.

I wrote that religion enjoys an abundance of tolerance in the United States of America, to the point where it has become exempt from critical discussion and responsibility. Furthermore, tolerance between religions is fundamentally impossible as long as each declares itself to be the one true faith. And, if religious individuals want to make arguments based on faith, those arguments need to be subject to the same critical thinking and scrutiny as all arguments.

(I would add that this is especially true when those religious people are using religious arguments to influence public policy.)

Then today, on another blog, I read an exchange by two believers regarding lying: whether it was ever, ever OK to lie. The example used by the questioner was Nazi soldiers knocking on your door, looking for Jewish citizens, and you know where they are. The questioner thought this was clearly a time when you could, and probably should, lie.

Oh no no no no no.

Lying is 100% wrong, all the time, no matter the circumstances, according to the answer. He uses scripture to prove this, citing, among other things that the devil is the father of all lies. Lying to protect the lives of those Jewish people in hiding would be wrong wrong wrong because we are all sinners and are going to die sometime, anyway; how could we know what would really happen if we lied?; and... well, I'll let him sum up:

"Consider this carefully. In the situation of a Nazi beating on the door, we have assumed a lie would save a life, but really we don’t know. So, one would be opting to lie and disobey God without the certainty of saving a life—keeping in mind that all are ultimately condemned to die physically. Besides, whether one lied or not may not have stopped the Nazi solders from searching the house anyway."

Am I really supposed to tolerate this sort of reasoning?



I think I have been reading too much about evolution and Mr. Darwin, because this sounds yummy:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Support our Troops

It's such a cliche, and I really think it has lost all power. What does it really mean? What are people doing to support our troops? Are they slogging away in the minefields of public policy, pushing for veterans' rights? Are they working in general toward a more just world that will somewhat abate the need for war?

And what about the term "troops"? That's a generic reference to a group of soldiers, a unit, or a company. Personally, I find "Support our Troops" to be dehumanizing and distancing, and it makes it easier for us to give lip service to something that is complicated and often brutal. But that's what slogans do.

Me? I don't have blanket, unthinking support for much. No individual or institution is always right and no individual or institution is above criticism or improvement. Real support is not just saying you support something and sending along some knitted dishtowels. Real support should involve thought and evaluation.

If there has to be a slogan, I would rather it be "Support our Soldiers." Because I don't think that "Remember all those Americans who, throughout our rather short and storied history, have given of their resources, up to and often including their lives, in support of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" fits as well on a magnetic ribbon.

Me? I am thinking about General George Washington and his men and all men and women who supported the revolutionary effort from 1774-1783, with special notice to Col. Henry Knox, Gen. Nathaniel Greene, and Maj. Gen. Lafayette. Everything would have been different without them.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


OK, so I have never watch Glenn Beck. I only have so many hours in the day and many, many positive, life-affirming things to do during those hours. When I get angry, I like to keep it at a simmering Tim Pawlenty level and not purposely elevate it to the rampaging four-alarm heights that I think Mr. Beck would induce. Also, I am exposed to enough crazy from the right as it is.

So, I have to ask: John Stewart's parody of Glenn Beck. Really? Is that really what it's like?

Oh, America. Can you please stop having dance parties on the grave of Critical Thinking?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dear Mr. Pawlenty

Today on his radio show, our governor, who wants to be Your President, made the following comment:

"Right now, they can't even reasonably and efficiently live up to their promises for the manufacturing and distribution of vaccine for the flu. Doesn't that foreshadow problems with them try to take over even more of your health care decision making? If you can't even manufacture and distribute flu vaccine in the manner that you promised, do you really think they should take over more of the system?"

Not only is he wrong and, oh, by the way, lying, he's apparently getting talking points from an ad being run by The American Future Fund. Which is also wrong and lying.

It's a further example of the irresponsibility of the modern GOP. And it's a further example of the morphing of our supposedly once moderate governor into a tea party fundie.

Assertions like Mr. Pawlenty's are irresponsible contributions to the hysteria surrounding both this virus and the debate about health insurance reform. As I am willing to wager that he is well aware of the fact that the government is not manufacturing the vaccine or distributing it but has instead bought the supply in order to provide it free to the public, then I am forced to conclude that it is indeed his intention to lie in order to win support and PAC dollars. While it is true that the American voter has come to expect such distortions from politicians, it seems that the GOP of the 21st century has made this its modus operandi: win through fear, by any means necessary.

I am also willing to bet that he knows that the government will not be taking over health care, let alone the ability of individual citizens to make decisions.

This sort of rhetoric is neither helpful nor useful; it is only a means to power for its own sake. Mr. Pawlenty's continued transformation into an example of the worst element of the Republican Party is embarrassing to me as a Minnesotan and should be shameful to him as a human. I expect more out of a leader, but clearly, this is not what Mr. Pawlenty is.

He either knows he is lying and is doing it on purpose, or he is ignorant. Neither of these possibilities are virtuous.

p.s. I won't even get into the gross misunderstanding of the vaccine manufacturing process evident in his comment.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I got no strings...

I have decided that the lyrics to "I Got No Strings" from Walt Disney's Pinnochio, with some slight alterations, pretty much sum up how I feel about being an atheist:

I got no gods
To hold me down
To make me fret, or make me frown
I had gods
But now I'm free
There are no gods on me
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
That's the only way to go
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
I'm as happy as can be
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me
I got no gods
So I have fun
I'm not tied up to anyone
They got gods
But you can see
There are no gods on me!