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Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009
GOLD STAR AWARDS, September 2009
Now, because (1) I tend to do things over the top and (2) I am a HUGE baseball fan, I'm going to try and do this about once a month, and make it parallel the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Each month, I'll put up (or try to put up) as many sites as the number of players elected to the Hall of Fame in the parallel year. A GOLD STAR site is one of my absolute fav's. A site that, to me, was either life-altering or life-affirming. One of these will be named for ever member elected by the Baseball Writer's Association fo America. A Silver Star will be given to a site I like in a lesser, probably just amusing way. Some great time-waster or something that just really makes me laugh. A Star of lesser metal will be given to sites that I find more infamous or notorious that good, but that stand out in my mind. And Silver (or lesser) Star will be awarded for each member elected by the Veterans Committee.
So we'll start in year one. In 1936, five members were elected to the Hall of Fame by the BWAA: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson. None were elected by the Veterans Committee. So this month, I need to award five Gold Stars.
For the Ty Cobb GOLD STAR #1: Media Matters for America
Not really surprising. I've already linked to them as many times as I've posted. Media Matters is a not-for-profit research organization dedicated to monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. They are one of the best sources of information out there primarily because they do such a good job researching their items and citing their references. Every item which is not part of their [Country Fair] editorial section includes either a transcript, audio or full video of the misinformation and typically links to the source material that contradicts it.
The Conservatives will whine about how they're funded by George Soros. Of course, they never can get around to explaining why that significant. (Or ever truly proving it.) And they'll cry about their "liberal bias," which MMFA makes no effort to deny. But, you see, "liberal bias" only gives one the motivation to go out and FIND the information. It does nothing to devalue the evidence itself.
That logical error is called the "ad hominen" fallacy, which brings me to...
The Babe Ruth GOLD STAR #2: The Skeptic's Dictionary
This is my bible. (The irony of that statement is intentional, and once you've read it, you'll understand.) I have never encountered a work of this depth in which I was able to read the entire thing and walk away having agreed with, heck, been inspired by, every single word. Professor Carroll does an excellent job researching and debunking various pseudo-scientific phenomenon, but the real gold here are the sections on logic, reasoning, perception, various logical fallacies, critical thinking and the scientific method. He also addresses such modern controversies as the autism-vaccine link, and mankind's contribution to global warming. In both cases he's right on the money - there's none, and it's huge. But this is not a work that's intended to TELL you WHAT to think. It's a meant to TEACH you HOW to think. From a philosophical standpoint, all I can say is it this is 100% aligned with what my life's philosophy has always been, but until I found this iste I had never seen it spelled out so perfectly! As I read this I kept thinking, I could have WRITTEN this! (If, you know... I was as well studied and as good a writer as Bob Carroll is!)
The Honus Wagner GOLD STAR #3: Snopes
Using many of the principles described in the Skeptic's Dictionary, Snopes.com examines and attemptsd to classify the veracity of 'urban legends.' Like MMFA, their research is meticulous and all of their sources cited. As they've had to spend a lot of time over the past few years debunking a lot of the crap that Right-Wingers have been sending aroundn via email, they've aquired a bit of a reputation for liberal bias. The way I see it, if you're conservtaive and someone prooves you're lying, that makes YOU WRONG. It does not make THEM liberally biased. But what all three of these sites have in common is their passion to find the objective truth, based on proovable, demonstrable facts. But it doesn't matter anyway, because what I've learned so far is that both FACTS and the TRUTH seem to have a fairly well established liberal bias.
The Walter Johnson GOLD STAR #4: ArmchairSubversive
I've linked to this site in my MediaMatters posts probably more often than any other site combined. Nothing tickles me more than seeing the utter hypocrisy of some hard-core, right-wing, conservative, christian funny-mentalist revealed for all to see. Ok... right up front, let me say that there IS a bit of BULLSHIT and a few really CHEAP SHOTS in this site. They don't have nearly the academic rigor of the three sites above. But if you go through the list, you will find no less than FIFTY convictions of Republicans for some form of child molestation, pedophilia or child pornography. That's after you take out every item that's merely an "arrested for," "accused of," "sued for," "indighted for," etc... That's also, of course, leaving out out the cheap shots and easily debunked stuff. And even then, I'm only counting the convictions where they provide links to out-side sources, usually the local newspaper where it happened. Gotta love those FAMILY VALUES, huh?
The Christy Mathewson GOLD STAR #5: Humanism by Joe
I'm not a religious man, as many of you may have already guessed. I was raised in the Catholic Church, am educated in church doctrine, and have recieved all the Sacriments. That being said, I don't practice. At all. While I'm not an atheist per se** - I believe that to clonclude that God does not exsist is as philosophically arrogant as assuming that he not only does but that you know what he wants - when it comes to politics, eductation, science and reasoning I am firmly in the camp of the new-atheists. Those militant anti-theists who firmly believe that organized religion does far more harm than good and has no place in any public institution; that it's laws and principles should only be granted any power at all to govern the voluntary membership of any given church. A memebership, which BTW, that has the inalienable right to walk away from said church whenever they come to the conlcusion that it's all a bunch of nonsense.
While I can't say that I am as closely aligned with every word of Humanism by Joe as I was with the Skeptic's Dictionary, I must say that I have never found a more complete, yet succint, case made against the mingling of church and state, or the use of the Bible as a moral guide. It's very readable, and quite enlightening; especially if you're one of those secular humanists that Bill O'Rielly fears so much. It's includes MANY quotes form the founding fathers, as well as from both Democratic and Republican presidents down through history regarding the importance of the seperation of church and state, which this country was founded upon. It's well worth a full read.
So there they are. The five inaugural memebers of my internet Hall of Fame.
** Philosophically speaking I'm a pragmatic agnostic - to me God could exsist, but it hardly matters, becasue we will simply never know one way of the other and making up a bunch of bullshit about him isn't going to get any clsoer to him. The most learned theologian in all the word knows no more aboug God than I do. All he knows is a heck of a lot more about what man has believed about God. In most things I am the ultimate pragmatist: Relative to Religion, I'm a philosopher. Relative to philosophy, I'm a scientist. And relative to Science, I'm an engineer!)