Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New Look!

Hello all!

I've been quite busy studying for midterms and will be for the next week, so sorry for the long absence.  I've taken a break from studies however to try out a new look to the blog.

I've tried to make the right hand column more useful and accessible and made several major cosmetic changes to make it less...well...meh. I would like to think that words have more utility than imagery,  but I also realize that presentation is equally important.

So, let me know how you like (or don't like) the new look and feel free to offer up any suggestions in the comments.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Romney Calls Federal Disaster Relief "Immoral"

Those of you currently enduring hurricane Sandy, as I am, take a moment to consider that Romney thinks that Federal disaster relief is "immoral".
Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. [...] We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.
See you at the polls.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: More Powerful than a Politician

One positive outcome of Hurricane Sandy, both Romney and Obama have stopped talking for 2 days.
The Obama and Romney campaigns have cancelled or changed 20 events between them due to the storm and safety concerns, sacrificing critical face-time with voters in the home stretch. Obama had also planned to continue today to Youngstown, Ohio, and to northern Virginia, but both events were previously cancelled. 
Both campaigns have also halted fundraising e-mails in states in the storm’s path.
So finally we have found something that can slow down the 2-year long campaign season, a Category-1 Snor'estercane.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blasphemous Halloween Party

Just had a great Halloween Party with my local freethinker group.  Theme was blasphemy for fun, so here's my contribution.  I went as a Mormon Missionary complete with legit Book of Mormon.

Even met a sexy Mormon Missionary sister there so we had a good time.  But being a straight laced Mormon wasn't very blasphemous, so I did this:

As Mormons are not allowed to drink...well...anything fun, what better way to party with freethinkers than placing their holy book under a red solo cup?  I really suck at being a Mormon.  Good.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hitchens Defended the Voice of the Minority

My recent post on Blasphemy Day got a lot of hits and very good feedback.  Since then I came across a great quote from Christopher Hitchens that reminds us that defending unpopular speech (like blasphemy) is crucial to maintaining our freedom.

"Indeed, as John Stuart Mill said, if all in society were agreed on the truth and beauty and value of one proposition, all except one person, it would be most important, in fact it would become even more important, that that one heretic be heard, because we would still benefit from his perhaps outrageous or appalling view."-Christopher Hitchens
So say we all, Hitch.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Millennial generation has a problem with Muslims

Just read an interesting article on Friendly Atheist.

For the most part I wasn't surprised: Democrats aren't courting secularists, atheists, or non-theists despite the overwhelming. No big surprise there, especially considering the whole God in the platform issue at the convention.

The thing that shocked and scared me about this story was this chart. Up til now every statistic about my generation has been encouraging: increased openness, highest acceptance of LGBT people and issues, least racist, least sexist, and most atheists by percentage.

Then I see that 64% would be uncomfortable with a Muslim president, and I realize that a very horrible type of prejudice has made it through whatever barrier has set us apart.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The 10 Most Dangerous Religious Right Organizations in America

Just came across a great Alternet article that lists the 10 most dangerous and influential religious right organizations in America, along with their budgets and goals.  Here's the summary list.

1. Jerry Falwell Ministries/ ­Liberty University/Liberty Counsel

Revenue: $522,784,095

2. Pat Robertson Empire

Revenue: $434,971,231

3. Focus on the Family (includes its 501(c)(4) political affiliate CitizenLink)

Revenue: $104,463,950

4. Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund)

Revenue: $35,145,644

5. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Lobbying Expenditures: $26,662,111

6. American Family Association

Revenue: $17,955,438

7. Family Research Council

Revenue: $14,840,036 (includes 501­(c)(4) affiliate FRC Action)

8. Concerned Women for America

Revenue: $10,352,628 (includes 501­(c)­(4) affiliate CWA Legislative Action Committee)

9. Faith & Freedom Coalition

Revenue: $5,494,640

10. Council for National Policy

Revenue: $1,976,747

Read more at the original article.Link

Monday, October 1, 2012

Muslim Radicals Raze Buddhist Temples

This was the scene in Bangladesh this weekend as over 25,000 radical Muslim rioters destroyed at least 10 Buddhist Temples and over 40 homes.

Statues are pictured at the burnt Buddhist temple of Shima Bihar at Ramu, some 350 kilometres (216 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka on September 30, 2012 (AFP Photo)

A Bangladeshi man stands amidst the torched ruins of the Buddhist temple called Ramu Moitree Bihar (Ramu Friendship Temple) at Ramu, some 350 kilometres (216 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka on September 30, 2012 (AFP Photo)
This pisses me off for two big reasons.
1. An extreme religious group is persecuting a relatively peaceful religious group and destroying lives and beautiful temples. 

I would add "for no good reason" but there can be no justification for such actions.  The rioters were reportedly responding to a Facebook picture where a Buddhist boy was accidentally tagged with a burnt Quran. I don't care if he was hanging an anatomically accurate nude replica of Muhammad on a cross made out of bacon!  There is no picture that can justify what happened today.

My outrage over this attack knows no bounds.

2. The only thing that pisses me off more is that it will fuel outrage against Islam as a whole and perpetuate this cycle of violence.

This should serve to remind us that radical Muslims do exist in reasonably large numbers, but also that most Muslims had nothing to do with the attack.  I'm angry that Muslims and people who look like Muslims will be looked down upon and equated with these thugs.  Muslims have to deal with enough hate every day without things like this happening, and the more hate they feel from us in the west the more the ranks of the extremists swell.

If you are a Muslim, please speak out vocally about this.  And if you're not, then for the love of whatever you find holy don't blame all Muslims for it. They've been through enough.

The day after Blasphemy Day

Much of the current blasphemy law controversy centers around blasphemy against Islam, such as depicting Muhammad or burning a Koran.  So when I came across this story about a Muslim Preacher charged with blasphemy in Egypt against Christianity I was intrigued.

Ahmed Abdallah, the accused, hits the nail on the head:
"That man who burned the Holy Koran, Terry Jones, is protected in the United States, yet I, an icon of this nation am accused of blasphemy against religion."
Yes, exactly.  Terry Jones should be protected, and Ahmed Abdallah should be as well.  It's not clear to me though whether that is what Abdallah meant.  His tone seems to suggest that Terry Jones should be the one charged with blasphemy, not him.  I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt here, but the tone is unsettling.