Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Don’t Say Gay?

Leave it to the Republicans to dream this one up. In Tennessee they are working a bill through the legislature that would prevent teachers and counselors from talking about homosexuality in grades 1-8.

I understand the natural sensitivity associated with sex education, especially in the area of sexual orientation, but I would think that educational professionals would be better judges about what should be said, and when, rather than politicians.
The head scratching stops when you hear the sponsors rationale. Allow me to quote Senator Stacy Campfield, “This legislation isn't anti-gay. It's about preventing teachers and counselors from pushing a gay agenda on students.”

Three things I’ve learned about conservatives are (1) they’re naïve; (2) they’re irrational and (3) they’re paranoid. In this statement, we have a perfect example of “paranoid.”

Every conservative seems to be convinced that as soon as they let their kids out of their sight, some nefarious individual starts working on them to shatter their respect for family, God and country. Teachers and, especially college professors, seem to be the primary culprits in the fuzzy mind of the conservative along with the “liberal media.” I’ve always suspected that this “fear” is at the root of home schooling.

I find it interesting that it never dawns on them that the more educated portions of society tend to disagree with their opinions.

This bill isn’t going to prevent school kids from “learning” about homosexuality. It’s simply going to push the “learning” into the schoolyard where the odds are the information will be warped and inaccurate. Perhaps even more warped and inaccurate that what they hear at home and in church.

I find it hard to believe there are many teachers in Tennessee “pushing” a gay agenda and it seems to me more than a bit short sighted to handcuff school counselors on the subject should it come up for whatever reason. I think this could especially be an issue at the middle school age.

This is another one of those things that tip toes on the border between fact and opinion. There are certain “facts” that are undeniable. Fact #1 = Homosexuality exists. Fact #2 = No one is certain why homosexuality exists. Fact #3 = The Bible says homosexuality is wrong. Fact #4 = Researchers believe that homosexuality is most likely not a choice.

Then there are opinions. Opinion #1 = Homosexuality is a natural human variant (based upon Facts #1 and #4). Opinion #2 = Homosexuality is a choice (based upon Facts #2 and #3). Opinion #3 = Even if homosexuality is not a choice, one should refrain from homosexual activities (based upon Fact #3). Opinion #4 = Homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals including the right to marry (based upon Fact #4 and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution). Opinion #5 = Preachers should have the right to condemn homosexuality without being labeled bigots (based upon Fact #3 and the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution).

Now teachers and counselors should certainly be allowed to discuss “facts.” They should shy away from discussing “opinions.” Opinions related to matters of faith and morality belong in the home which is why the overwhelming majority of teachers are smart enough to stay away from them.

The Tennessee “don’t say gay” bill is idiotic. It will accomplish nothing good and may cause some harm.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tea Party Thugs

Calling these guys “thugs” is actually a compliment. They’d have to climb about three stories to get to the ethical level of a thug. I’m talking about the bozos that have threatened Amy Myers, the 16 year old that challenged Michelle Bachmann to a debate on the Constitution and American History, with physical harm and even rape on Tea Party web sites and blogs.

Her father is, understandably, in a bit of a panic. But I agree with the Cherry Hill Police Chief that internet threats of this type are invariable hollow because the people that make them aren’t thugs as much as cowards.

This is just another example of how the Right Wing has taken political discourse out of the intellectual arena and into something that resembles the conversation at a make shift trailer park bar.

They focus on personalities rather than policies because, invariably, the evidence is against them in every case. All they can do is appeal to the baser instincts of their under 80 IQ base in order to keep them in line.

As a result you get people like the two wacko callers into Bryan Fischer’s show the other day reported by Right Wing Watch. The first railed against the "Benedict Arnolds" who are preventing the majestic eagle that is America from flying because "communistic cancers" like the NAACP and ACLU are undermining it at every turn.

The second was terrified that Muslims were going to be exempt from the health care reform legislation but allowed to serve on the "death panels" that would determine what care Christians would receive.

Thank you Sarah Palin for bringing the moronic term “death panels” into American vocabulary.

People like this are scary but, given the range of human intellect and emotional stability, it’s not terribly surprising that they exist and we learn to live with it.

But, when the Republican Party, one of two major political parties, begins to exhibit the same sort of irrationality, not simply because they’re pandering to the lunatic fringe which would be bad enough, but because lunatics are actually beginning to obtain positions of influence within the party, it’s time to really get concerned.

I worry that the corporate fat cats that have always controlled the Republican Party are beginning to lose their grip to the wing nuts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More Wonderful Christianity

While Camping is declaring his next doomsday, the trial of a woman in Ft. Wayne Indiana accused of trying to rid her three year old son of “demons,” by forcing a mixture of oil and vinegar down his throat, is about to begin. This nut job forced the concoction into the child’s mouth three times and, on the third time, held his mouth shut until he stopped breathing.

Ok, let’s face it, she’s nuts. Lock her up in a mental hospital and throw away the damn key. My only problem here is the minister that scared her with nonsense about demons and demonic possession isn’t on trial with her.

Oh No, Not Again

Harold Camping has declared that he “misunderstood” that May 21st was simply a “spiritual judgment” and the world is still scheduled to end on October 21st.

Well, if the NFL owners and players don’t work something out, a lot of us won’t care. If they do work something out, given the season I expect the Giants to have, I’ll be looking to be put out of my misery anyway.

Camping is an idiot and Christianity is idiotic. I suppose this gives him a potential five more months in the spotlight. Personally Harold, I don’t give a damn.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23rd and We’re Still Here

I ignored Harold Camping’s prediction of the Rapture arriving on May 21st because I considered it totally ridiculous. Now that we’ve arrived at May 23rd, I am a tad curious about the reaction of the faithful.

I thought one quote was a bit revealing. Camping’s PR aide says the group is “disappointed” that they weren’t whisked off to heaven while the rest of us died horrible and painful deaths. No, he didn’t say that literally, but that’s what it comes down to if you think about it.

One follower, who spent $140,000 advertising Camping’s prediction, said he couldn’t understand why nothing happened. Let me help you out there. All Religion is nonsense; Christianity is especially nonsense and Camping doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Given that, why SHOULD something have happened.

Will they learn from this? Probably not, at least one person expressed the opinion that the judgment HAS occurred and the world will still end on October 21st. Others are already saying that their prayers led to God giving the world more time in order that more will be saved.

The human race is really very good at self deception. You’ll excuse me if I don’t mark down the October 21st date on my calendar.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Teen Challenges Bachmann

A 10th Grader, Amy Myers by name, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has challenged Representative Michelle Bachmann to a debate on the Constitution, US History and US Civics.

Why? Well as Myers says in her letter “As a typical high school student, I have found quite a few of your statements regarding The Constitution of the United States, the quality of public school education and general U.S. civics matters to be factually incorrect, inaccurately applied or grossly distorted.”

All I can say is, YOU GO GIRL!

It’s about time someone called out MS. Moron.

According to the Yahoo the two things which, so to speak, broke the Myers back, was a statement by Bachmann to a Conservative group in NEW HAMPSHIRE that it was good to be in the state where the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought and a quote saying that America's founding fathers "worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States."

Pretty good trick “working tirelessly” years after your demise. Yo, Bachy, ever hear of the damn Civil War?

The fact that someone with the minimal intellectual capacity and knowledge of a Michelle Bachmann can be in the House of Representatives in bad enough, but to have this idiot as a potential presidential candidate for one of the two major political parties is a complete disgrace.

It must be a really sad group of yokels that populate her district in Minnesota.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quotes from Stephen Hawking

If Hawking isn’t the most intelligent person on the planet, he’s pretty darn close. Despite a body racked with a degenerative disease, Hawking has managed to claim the position of the most acclaimed physicist in the world.

In a recent interview with the Guardian Newspaper, when asked if he feared death, Hawking replied:

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first. I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

In 2010, speaking about the concept of God, he told Diane Sawyer:

"They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible."

In the same interview, when asked if science and religion can be reconciled he said:

"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."

Of course these are simply opinions, but I’ve always found it prudent to consider the opinions of possibly the most intelligent man on the planet.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Revenge of Al-Qaeda

Unless something occurs to distract the so-called news agencies, be prepared to hear a lot of harrowing stories about the Taliban or Al-Qaeda “unleashing” violent attacks in response to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Is it possible they will attempt something major? Sure it’s possible, but that would take months and maybe years to plan and set up. They’re certainly not going to try NOW when everyone is on heightened alert.

I suspect that late summer or fall would be more likely. Maybe even next year and a lot can happen in that time. I’m sure the Pentagon isn’t about to let up on the gas.

Of course that’s not going to matter to our so-called news agencies. You can be sure that everything from a sniper in Kandahar to a street kid throwing rocks in Baghdad will be tagged as “escalating violence in reaction to bin Laden’s death.”

So, if we get hit with another terrorist attack, what then?

I don’t see that we have any choice but to keep soldiering on. With an irregular organization like Al-Qaeda the best strategy is to try and cut off its funding and it’s leaders. I suspect that bin Laden was more a symbolic leader than a day to day commander. Those are the guys we need to get.

Am I concerned? Sure, we’re in a war where the front lines can change in a matter of minutes and be almost anywhere. The sooner the rest of that unwashed crew join their ex-commander as shark bait, the better.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Right Wing is Irrational

They really are amazing. Right Wingers continue to demonstrate that they have formed an opinion and anything, absolutely anything, must be twisted to confirm to that opinion.

It’s really mind boggling.

On Monday Obama is a bum because he’s a Socialist and won’t let Business return prosperity to the American Economy. The Right yells if he would just lower taxes for corporations and the filthy rich our economy would start to boom.

On Tuesday, when the news comes out about how much profits for the top companies have increased while American workers are mired in a stagnant job market, according to the same folks he’s a bum because he’s in cahoots with big business and letting them rape the American economy.

In the meantime, to the Religious Right he’s a bum because he didn’t announce to the nation when Easter was. Excuse me, but those of us with more than an 80 IQ already knew when it was. Then there’s always Rush Limbaugh who wants Obama to apologize for not nailing bin Laden sooner. What?

Better yet, there’s the drone from the Right praising Bush for the killing of bin Laden. A claim which even Bush thinks is ridiculous. Anything not to give the black dude any credit.

I’m sorry, but I can no longer believe, based upon the pure venom in the howls of indignation, that this can be anything but racially based. I thought when Obama was elected that a melding of American divisions might be possible. It now seems that this was a very naïve hope.

Clearly there is a segment of American Society that is never going to accept a black man that owns a mule, or lives in a big house, or marries a white woman, or who gets elected to the office of president.

Let’s face it, these people are completely screwed up and there’s not much anyone can do about it. The only hope we have is educating the next generation.

Osama Bin Laden Photos

I’m glad the government decided not to release the photos.

It wouldn’t help with the “Osama’s not dead” crowd anyway and would be in poor taste. My attitude would be “if you don’t want to believe me, then don’t believe me.”

What do I think? I think he’s dead for a number of reasons. First, there’s just no rational reason for the administration to make the story up and, second, there are too many people who could blow the lid off of a falsehood.

To those fools who say it would eliminate any doubt, I refer you to the “birthers” and the release of Obama’s birth certificate.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Osama bin Laden is Dead

Or at least that’s the report out of Washington. It took almost 10 years, thousands of lives and who knows how much money but we finally nailed the son of a bitch.

U.S. Navy Seals attacked a million dollar mansion compound in Pakistan early this morning and in a 40 minute firefight killed bin Laden, one of his sons and several other people.

The Seals withdrew with bin Laden’s body which was subsequently buried at sea.

With no body to display, I’m surprised the claims haven’t already started that either it wasn’t bin Laden or that he actually escaped the attack. Should be interesting to see what develops over the next few days but I’m sure the U.S. has compiled adequate evidence. We’re talking about the Navy here not Congress.

So now that the greatest manhunt in history is over, where do we go from here? I guess only time will tell but I don’t really expect things to get much better any time soon. There’s a lot of fighting left to do, both here and abroad, before we finally lay the real dog, fundamentalist religion, to rest. But that day will come. The only questions are how long will it take, and what will be the cost?