Tuesday, March 30, 2010

*sigh* America

Reminder to self: do not read comments following articles on yahoo.com.

Birthers, teabaggers, and denialists in an echo chamber of stupid.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

They are praying for us, so no worries for a month

Nonbelievers out there will be happy to know that on April 1st, you will being prayed for in an organized, Facebook-y fashion complete with bullet points. Because we are fools. Participants in the "Pray for an Atheist Initiative" are told to:
  • PRAY for an atheist by name for one month
  • UNDERSTAND how people become atheists through resources (‘The Making of an Atheist’ by James Spiegel, professor of philosophy and religion at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana)
  • INTERCEDE through prayer for an atheist. College professor and former atheist, Holly Ordway, author of ‘Not God’s Type’, credits the prayers of her local church for her conversion to Christianity
  • ENCOURAGE other Christians through email and prayer who may have questions or have their own questions
I can't wait to see the Powerpoint.

I think it's nice that they are not just putting out a blanket prayer for all atheists, but picking one BY NAME for one month. All that concentrated prayer energy has more of a chance of turning a nonbeliever away from reason. The second bullet point is very important because everyone knows that one only becomes an atheist due to some sort of trauma or moral failing, and it's good that people are being encouraged to read. The third bullet point confuses me because I admit, it sounds very much like the first, and I am not sure how they are different. But that's probably just because I am a fool. The last one seems like something they are doing on Facebook all the time.

I think they missed an excellent acronym: PIE.

Everyone loves Pie.

I'd become a fan of Pie or Pi before I even realized what I had gotten myself into.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good Morning!

Isn't America supposed to be a smoking hole in the ground now that the health insurance reform bill has passed?

I was surprised to wake up to a bright, sunny day free of streets full of black-coated G-Men, tanks, and mayhem.

Maybe it will happen on Tuesday when President Obama signs the bill into law.

Yeah, that must be it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just Live Within Your Means

I couldn't sleep last night, for a number of reasons. First there were the two hours of back and forth of getting babywhumpus to sleep in his crib, then feeding the cats at midnight, getting up because I could not remember if I had locked the car, getting up because I thought I heard someone outside, getting up because the alarm on the sound machine in the baby's room started going off, and then daddywhumpus coming home from amateur night gigs, but there was also the mind-racing-for-no-particular-reason element.

It's all this talk about how government, like people, should "live within its means," and if government can't afford it, it shouldn't do it, just like people should do. It bugs me. It really bugs me. I think that the macro economics of the federal government are a bit different from the economics of the "kitchen table" that our governor, in particular, likes to bark about.

If I choose not to do something or buy something because I can't afford it, our household can adjust and that one thing won't affect the bottom line of The Economy. When numerous households can't afford it, this affects the bottom line. When the government cuts programs or even contracts to companies which, in turn, provide jobs, it affects both The Economy and individual households. It's not like the need goes away when the program is canceled. And, if the program is canceled and people lost their job because the government didn't grant the contract, that's a double hit. Need gets shifted, but it rarely disappears. That means someone still has to pay, somehow. It will come back to get us in our state, our county, our school district, our municipality, or it will be spread out in another fashion when corporations try to profit or nonprofits have to meet their bottom line.

Am I loving deficit spending? Not so much. But I do understand that there are greater forces at work, and the mess that we are in requires a large response. The institution in the best position to enact a large response is the federal government. I don't agree that this situation could be addressed by cutting taxes and going even more supply-side on the recession that supply-side had a part in creating.

Mostly, I don't know what I am talking about because I don't remember a lot from my Economics class in high school, nor do I fully understand the succession of decisions actions that led to the crisis. And I think that many people grousing about "living within your means" don't know much either.

March 18th

Better known to me as The Day When All White Americans Are Hung Over.

St. Patrick's Day in America is amateur night, as far as I am concerned, and I avoid going out at all costs. As much as I would love a pint of Guinness on a Wednesday in March, I'd like that pint to be in a glass-not plastic, without shoving, and completely free of hammered white people.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Donate to Charity, Get Ripped On

President Obama has announced the list of charities who will receive a portion of his monetary award from the Nobel Peace Prize. It seems like a well-thought-out and well-rounded group to me.

And the comments on articles like this one go to show you that he could personally save a child from a burning building and people would say he hates firefighters.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Inside the Museum Puzzle: WAAAAANT

This puzzle (or poster, or map) is so excellent. And quite a bargain. Just before babywhumpus was born (indeed, I had already ruptured). we spent some time in The Met. I'll go back again if we visit NYC, but in the meantime, this would certainly be a fun thing to put together...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


When a theist's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of witnessing.

Here in the Northland, early spring means potholes (which are especially delicious and expensive this year), refuse and dog poo revealed by melting snow, and piles of sand left behind by the plow. It also means it's warm enough to peddle your religion, magazine scam, or pet cause. March 8 is usually a little earlier than I expect these sorts of visits, and I certainly was not expecting one on a Monday evening at 8:00.

Around the time I was expecting daddywhumpus home from rehearsal, there was a knock on the front door. I thought that perhaps he was just knocking so babywhumpus and I could answer and a cute scenario could unfold.

Nope. It was two middle-aged men, inviting me to bible study. There I am with my baby on my hip, trying to keep my cat from running out the door, and they are yammering about salvation through Christ and the Bible. It's 35 degrees out, which is warm for Minnesota at this time of year but is not meant for standing around in street clothes. Or, in Finn's case, a white Onesie and brown fuzzy boots that he wanted to wear. It's dark, to boot.

They did their spiel and asked if I would be interested. I said "no." They asked if I had read the Bible. I said that I was brought up Lutheran and went through the whole thing. They said that reading the Bible as it is is much different than being brought up in it. They asked again if I was interested. I said "no." They asked if there was a reason. I said "We're atheists."  (They asked.)

They looked mildly surprised then asked if there was a reason for our atheism. I said it was a gradual process. They were pretty cordial, so I was too. I figure it's good PR. I even kept it to myself, wanting to ask if I should be consulting the Bible about how to treat my household slaves or deal with my adultress daughter. I figured it wasn't helpful.

But don't you think that 8:00 at night on a Monday is a bad time to be cruising the neighborhood, even if it is for Jesus?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dear Costa Rica,

I'm sorry that our battle over health care reform now includes you. You have done nothing to warrant being dragged into this mess. I further apologize that, if we pass health care reform, your newest citizen--in five years-- will be Mr. Rush Limbaugh. (I'm sure he's coming for the eco-tourism.) Although it might be good for your economy, as he is a very wealthy man, and it might be good for your visibility on the international stage, I don't think it's fair for the United States to dump its problems on you in such a manner.

Let me know if you need anything.

Oh, and from what I understand, you have universal health care. Am I right?


p.s. here are some pretty charts from the World Health Organization.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hitchens on Palin (Now THERE'S an image)

It's an interesting piece, I think. Not the least because it told me that someone actually wrote an entire book entitled "The Persecution of Sarah Palin." The poor dear. I missed the part where she was being persecuted. It must have been between her million dollar book deal, her appearances on Oprah and Leno, and her presence on Fox News.

Oh, to be persecuted in such a way. I could re-do the kitchen and stop worrying about day care expenses.

But the salient quote I get from Mr. Hitchens' piece is this:

"But the problem with populism is not just that it stirs prejudice against the 'big cities' where most Americans actually live, or against the academies where many of them would like to send their children. No, the difficulty with populism is that it exploits the very 'people' to whose grievances it claims to give vent."

So sad. So true.