Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gold Star Awards, August, 2010

I got a few things in my in-box (RW Propaganda Video, Tomas Sowell article) that I'd like to savage, but I've been in such a pissy mood lately that I thought I'd do a more positive piece.  So, once again, it's time to immortalize a few more websites with what might be the single most meaningless, over-rated and over-the-top award in the world: Induction into Niceguy Eddie's Hall of Fame!

This month we're following the election of 1952, which saw two BWAA inductees (Gold Stars) but none from the Veterans Committee. (So no Silvers this month.)


The Harry Heilmann, Gold Star #22: The Midnight Review

Folks, let me first say Kevin K's blog has been on my short list since about January. And yet every month it seemed like I'd remember some other site, or some site would come to my attention that I felt I just HAD to talk about.  But enough's enough.  This has been a LOOOONG time coming.  Kevin K is a prolific blogger, with incredibly in-depth, well-researched and well-cited posts.  He's a great source for a well-informed take and keen insight on everything that's going on in the world of politics.  Comparing my blog to his would be like comparing AM Talk Radio to the way a News and Political media source SHOULD work.  (I'd point to an example, but given the sad state of our media, none really comes to mind! NPR?) Anyway, check it out. The only reason I occasionally sound like I know what I’m talking about is because the are people like Kevin K. (and ClassicLiberal and other Gold Stars that I've mentioned) who do a much better job at this than I do.


The Paul Waner Gold Star #23: Political Irony

I first became aware of Iron Knee’s blog last month when one of their readers left a comment on IMHO saying they found their way here because he had posted something of mine. So I checked out his site and very quickly became absolutely crazy about it. You see… I LOVE irony; especially the kind that comes in the form of Political Hypocrisy. And pointing out this politically hypocritical brand of irony is pretty much ALL THEY DO. It’s fantastic. It’s hilarious. It’s like what “Countdown” would be if all KO did was “Worst Person in the World” for an hour strait! I love the cartoons, I love the posts, I love that he found something I wrote to be worth his while to post… (LOL/wink) I can pay it only the highest compliment that I can think of: That I wish I had done my own blog like that! It’s a riot. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Something even MORE depressing...

Do you want to know why Republicans win?  Why they can trash the economy and the turn around and say that the guy who's actually FIXING it should "fire his economic team" (John Boehner) and actually get people to believe that and give them credit for saying it?!  Why Dick Cheney can say "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" and yet propagandize to get people all concerned about the DEFICIT (that's mostly the fault of HIM, not to mention his party) in the middle of an economic crisis that HIS PARTY ALSO STARTED, and NOT have people pelt him with rancid tomatoes?!

You know why this happens?

Because we really are a nation of fucking idiots.  We're morons.  Really.

And if the fact that George W. Bush got RE-elected wasn't enough evidence of out exceptional mediocrity, consider these polls that MSNBC was kind enough to pull together.

There are words for people like that: Morons.  There are, of course, others.  For a nice colorful list, check out the comment pages of just about any political forum.  About all we're good at anymore is insulting each other.  Conservatives are wrong all the time, yet seem to be able to convince everyone they're right. (That's about all they're really any good at, but again... hardly an awe insirping accomplishment if you consider the test scores depicted above!) While us liberals have science, history, common sense and reality on our side, and yet we can't even seem to convince EACH OTHER that we're right!

Forget this rah-rah crap about loving America.  Until we live in a country where 99.999% of the adult population knows that the fucking earth revolves around the sun, accepts the theory of evolution and has the slightest inkling about how our government works and who's actually running the show... Well, I may love America, but I'm really starting to hate Americans.

Or at least I'm both extremely frustrated with and embarrassed by them.

I didn't believe it at the time (now I'm not so sure)  but back when I was in High School (maybe College?)  I saw one of these kinds of things that said that 50% of HS Seniors ((?) I don't remember, some reasonable level of education) couldn't find the PACIFIC OCEAN on a map.  What really scary about that is that since the Pacific Ocean actually COVERS about 40% of  the map, we can conclude that only about 10% WEREN'T JUST GUESSING!

Like I said, I didn't believe it at the time.  But after seeing our poor grasp of FACTS, and after years of reading and listening to some of the most absurd and ignorant OPINIONS... not to mention seeing those opinions held by a majority of the electorate - there is pretty much no level of stupidity I won't put past us.

And what's really ironic - or not, if you consider how many "Conservatives" routinely vote against their own interests - it that it's generally the RIGHT that says things like "You should have to take an IQ test to vote" and stuff like that. (It's usually said with a Southern-Mountain Accent and the banjo from Deliverance playing in the background.)

But hey... as long as the test has a section on Evolution, Climatology and Civics?  For once I'd heartily agree with them.


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BTW - Sorry about all the pissing and moaning today.  I've just been all filled up with whiny little bitch lately and had to vent.  Hopefully someone out there still finds it somewhat amusing.  Thanks for humoring me.

Same Old Song and Dance

I haven't been very topical lately, and a lot of it has to do with just how depressing the political landscape is right now.  Obama and the Democrats made a mad dash for the Center, overshot the mark considerably, and yet are losing to morons and neophytes who are out campaigning (to the ignorant and the gullible) how "Obama's liberal policies" are destroying this country.  And of course, I'm forced to ask, "WHAT liberal policies?"  The only thing "liberal" about Obama and the Democrat's "policies" are that the teabaggers are describing them as such.  It's absurd. 

1) They cut to the Right of Center.
2) Liberals have largely abandoned them.  (Just take a look at the primary turn out rates!)
3) The Right is poised to take back most, or all, of the Democrats majorities
and (most depressingly of all)
4) The press will characterize the Democrat's defeat as being a backlash against their Liberal Policies!

Again...

WHAT FUCKING LIBERAL POLICES?!?!

NAME ONE!!!

And yet most people still think the press leans Liberal!!!

The press leans STUPID, first and foremost.  But stupidity has a Conservative bias, so...

I can't even talk about it anymore.  It just too depressing.

Because ClassicLiberal was right, in the Pseudo-Conservatives post:

The left in the U.S., to be sure, is a glutton for punishment. It takes a beating over and over again and replies with "thank you sir, may I have another?" But everyone has their breaking point, and those at the White House are smoking crack if they think [fill in anything they've done] going to do anything but hurt them.

He was referring specifically to Press Sec. Gibbs' absurdly ignorant comments about the "professional Left," but I think it applies to practically everything, from Health Care, to Financial Reform, to Elena Kagan, to... Christ, just about everything.

And do you know what REALLY sad part is?  I'm still gung-ho to support the Democrats!  I'm STILL saying "thank you sir, may I have another," because if I/we DON'T then we'll not only be looking at a Tea Party majority in Congress, and President Palin in 2012 - and all the policies, and Court appointees that will result from it - but we'll have to listen to the press say that the Dem's lost because they were too Liberal.

The Dem's will only LOSE if the Liberals STAY HOME.  Which is pretty much exactly what's happening!  And as much as I'd love to "send a message" to the Democrats, that message will never get sent, because the mainstream press simply will not carry that narrative!  To them, it will be: the Right won, the Left lost, so we must just be a conservative country. I'm sorry.  I can't deal with two years of that insanity leading up to November, 2012.  (And the aftermath for this country that will likely, inevitably result.)

But that was the story in 1980, and it was the story in 1994. It's ALWAYS the story... except when the Democrats make gains. And then, even when there an unpopular Republican in the White House, the story is that it's because they were political moderates, willing to work with the Right.  Blue-Dogs, so to speak. DINO's, if you will.

(But DINO 's who will suddenly be painted as flaming liberals come the next election cycle!)

So despite everything that's happened (and everything that hasn't) the thought of the alternative is just too depressing.

Even more so than the current reality... which is just too depressing.

It's all too depressing.

I wish these gutless, spineless Democrats would wake the fuck up.  But that ain't going to happen, and the press would actively work against them if they DID.

I'll be on med's by November.

Monday, August 23, 2010

One. Letter. Off...

I probably don't need to point out by now that I'm not a very good proofreader. 

Not that I'm claiming to be any kind of fantastic WRITER, but PROOFREADING my own work is something I absolutely SUCK AT. Full credit to my darling editor wife for proofreading all my papers in grad school!  That alone probably got me half a point higher on my GPA.  But I can't help it.  Even spell-check isn't fool-proof (I'm an extraordinary fool, after all!) and when I read something within 12 hours or so of having written it, regardless of what's actually on the page, I simply SEE what I meant to say.  Once the idea's no longer in my personal RAM, I can usually spot the error, but as I spend a lot of time THINKING about what I write, consequently I'm pretty helpless at proofreading it in a timely manner.  (Surprisingly, I'm actually pretty good at proofreading other people's work.)

For example, if I'd known that this piece was going to be picked up and quoted by several other sites, I probably would have at least run a spell-check before posting it here.  As it was, the critical section got cut-and-pasted, warts and all, onto several other sites.  How embarrassing.  It was like, \Look at this guy's great ideas!  And from someone who speaks English as second language no less!" 

(No, English is NOT my second language!)

Earlier today, on two separate Glenn Beck threads, I misspelled (or almost mispelled, as it were) "MORMON."  In one, I spelled it "Morom," which... is gibberish; but I think people still got the point.  LUCKILY I caught the other one, because...

Well... I said (in response to his criticism of President Obama's characterization of America as a nation of Christians, Muslim, Jews, Hindu's and Non-Believers) that "Well, we sure as hell aren't a nation of MORMONS ."

What I ALMOST posted was that "Well, we sure as hell aren't a nation of MORONS."

Which...

1) In context, doesn't make any damned sense!

and

2) May or may not be true, actually, depending on your point of view.

Luckily I caught that one.  But it got me thinking about what may have been my most infamous typo... what may have been they worst spelling error of all-time, in fact...

I was sending a thank-you note to my aunt, who had given me a SHIRT for Christmas.  Only... I left out the "R"...:


Dear Auntie Linda,

Thank you for the SHIT you gave me for Christmas!

Love,
Eddie


Yep. One lousy letter sure can be pretty darned importantt, can't it?

A couple of articles

I came by all three of these articles by way of Professor Bob Carroll, over on Skepdic.com.  Thanks Bob!

Did you know that brainless yellow mold/slime makes certain decisions pretty much the same way humans do?

Seriously.  Check it out.  I think this is a good example as to why the free market doesn't function in the near-perfect manner that those with a nigh religious belief in it claim it should: Because people are mostly stupid, irrational, easily duped and willing to put up with a lot of shenanigans in the name of inertia and convenience!  Sadly, this statement spills over into politics as well, but that's another post.

Shifting gears....

Here's yet another article demolishing a pseudo scientific claim being made by a non-doctor, based on (scant) anecdotal evidence.  Bottom line: Stick to science, folks.  Just because "Doctors" can't "cure" something, that should not be licence for us to go out and "try anything," giving our hard earned money to these charlatans.  And we see this a LOT, don't we?  What's the latest weight-loss fad? Accai Berry?  *roll eyes*

Ironically, considering the article I just put up, do you know the BEST way to lose weight is?  A LOW-CARB DIET!  Take it from me: It works.  (Roll your eyes at my cheesy irony... NOW.)

(Just don't knock the Atkins Diet on THIS blog - because, take it from me: IT WORKS!) LOL

And as for things that "Doctor's can't cure" HERE'S why you needn't bother "trying anything."
There's a very good chance someone's already looked at it, and it didn't work.  See... there IS a "bias" in publication, but it's not to suppress "alternative medicine." It's to publish things THAT WORK.  When a remedy is shown to be useless, those results tend to just get filed away.  Unfortunately, that's used as evidence by homeopaths, acupuncturists, nutritionists and other charlatans  to claim that "Medicine" is not looking into those things because of some profit-based conspiracy.  In a word? BULLSHIT. 

If "alternative medicine" was worth a damn, it would be called "MEDICINE."

Racism follow-up

I want to follow up on someting from the "Doctor Laura" post. I noticed that I spent a lot of time focusing on treating people as individuals.  I want to clarify that this was in response to the "doctor" lumping the Black caller into her perception of the larger group / Blacks in general.  Putting aside that the "doctor" doesn't seem to think too highly of the group anyway, it was still very wrong of her to automatically lump this individual into a group before even trying to hear what she had to say or see her point of view.  HOWEVER... I did not want anyone reading that to think I was making any kind of endorsement of colorblindnessI wrote a post awhile back regarding the inherent racism of colorblindness.

So... What's the answer?  Bottom line: Race is a complex issue, and there a rather considerable balancing act that needs to happen.  People are individuals, and should be treated as such, but the color of our skin (as well as our gender, religion, national origin, sexuality, etc...) affects the experiences we have, largely because they affect the way the world perceives (and responds to) us.

Consider this: If a White Man and a Black Man with otherwise similar backgrounds (economic, upbringing, education, religion, etc...) go to a party, meet the same people, drink the same liquor, dance to the same songs, play the same games... They do not leave the party having had the same experience.  And among other things (of course) the fact that one was black and one was white influences that.

If you don't see the party example as exemplary of this, consider the exact same two people at a Klan rally.

Still think the color of their skin doesn't affect the experience they have?

Don't stereotype, but don't IGNORE it either.  It's a delicate balancing act to be sure.  So proceed with care and caution and empathy.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Good riddance, Doctor Laura

It may not be very big of me, to celebrate the absolute laying low of another person, the complete destruction of a career, one that is ending in utter disgrace, but what happened this week to “Doctor” Laura Schlessinger couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person. Well, OK, maybe that’s not true… seeing as how Schlessinger is a has-been that hasn’t been politically relevant since the early 1990’s, I suppose I’d have rather it had be Rush Limbaugh, Mike Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter… but I’ll take what I can get. One down, too many to count to go. Goodbye Laura, and good riddance to bad garbage

OK. Glad I got that out of the way. I said some other nasty things about her on MMFA (and you can hear the audio's of her over there) when the news first broke. Bottom line: I’ve never liked her. I’ve always found her to be mean spirited, bigoted and a religious nut – especially on issues related to sexuality and sexual orientation – and most importantly, at least to me, a screaming, FLAMING HYPOCRITE. Consider this: I call my mother AT LEAST once a week, and usually every couple of days. This great preacher of “family values” hadn’t spoken to her mother for 20 years prior to her death in 2002! I don’t need to hear someone preaching to me about “family values” who’s been estranged from her mother for 20 years, anymore than I do from someone who is thrice divorced with no kids!

*Exhale*

OK, rant over. Thanks for letting me get that out of my system. What I really wanted to do was share some of the comments that I left on MMFA about the racial controversy in general. I hadn’t started out trying to write anything profound, but they got a tremendously positive response, so I’d like to share them with everyone else as well, see what y’all think about it. (The following paraphrases several comments, but primarily comes from THIS ONE.)

The media has largely focused on the fact that she actually said the word, “Nigger.” (Like… eight times in a row!) And this is a shameful (and conservatively biased) ploy on the part of the media. Because in reality, saying, "nigger" was the LEAST of the problems with he broadcast that day, as well as her career, show and political philosophy in general!

Because the WORD isn't the problem. SHE IS. And focusing on the word whitewashes the fact that she felt it was the CALLER who had a hypersensitivity problem, as opposed to realizing that it was the caller’s husband's friends who had an IGNORANCE problem, and who showed a profound LACK of sensitivity. THIS is the REAL PROBLEM. She went so far as to tell the caller that if she was so sensitive about race issues that maybe she shouldn’t have married outside her rice! WTF is up with that?! When someone asks someone else (who's black) "Do black people like [something]?" and thinks that's an appropriate substitute for "Do YOU like something]?" It's racist! PERIOD. But the “Doctor” is apparently too ignorant, too stupid, too racist and way, way, WAAAAY to ARROGANT to ever realize this.

And while it may be a gross generalization on my part, Liberals aren't the ones who, when talking to a black person, lump them into the larger group. That IS however something that I see Conservatives do ALL THE TIME - such as Dr. Laura, Limbaugh, Savage, Beck, etc... Time and time again white people are just people, but black people are black people first. And this is inherently racist, even if you harbor no conscious ill will toward the group! Because it dehumanizes – de-INDIVIDUALIZES – the person, diminishing them to being just a token representative of a group. And that’s why I say that this focus on the word “nigger” is not only unfortunate, but conservatively biased. Because Conservatives seem to think that the have to actually HATE the group in order to be racist. That somehow, as long as you don’t CALL someone a “nigger” you can’t be saying something, or thinking something racist.

But it’s not about HATING the group. Actual, conscious hate is NOT at all required: Viewing someone as the member of a sub-group FIRST and an individual human being, fully deserving of respect, dignity and validation SECOND, is inherently racist (or bigoted in the case of religion, sexuality, etc…) even if you don’t harbor – or don’t THINK you harbor – any ill will towards the group.

As for the word itself? Personally, I refuse to say "n-word." The word is "nigger." We’re all adults here, and we should be putting it on a pedestal like that. But it's a word that should be treated the same way that PEOPLE should treated: With RESPECT. It has a long, sordid history and context matters. Black people can say it. That’s perfectly OK. Given the history of white's behavior, I'm happy to let them own it - to let them emasculate it by treating it like a term of endearment even. I don’t care. For my part, I have and would never call someone one, nor would I (or have I) ever refer to someone as one. Nor do I choose to deal with people as "blacks" as opposed to PEOPLE. INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE. And that's why I - and most liberals - can get a pass for merely SAYING the word. Because in the context of a frank discussion about race, we have a tendency to remember the history, and understand and VALIDATE the other person's feelings. But people like “Doctor” Laura, who generally tend blame the victims, demonstrating that, for all their polite-sounding diction, they really haven't evolved their thinking beyond the segregation-era, generally DON’T. They might not CALL someone a “nigger,” but they also have not demonstrated sufficient understand to be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to context.

I think Keith Olbermann was right about what she was REALLY saying when she said that she that Obama's election signaling the end of racism, that we’ve moved beyond it. It's the same old question that came for Civil Right Act, The Voting Right Act, Brown v Board of Education, etc...: "Haven't we done enough for you people?"

And the answer (to those who would ask this) is, "NO." NO. Not until you stop treating people who you can categorize into subgroups as token representatives of that subgroup and start dealing with every person as an individual. And what’s more, an individual worthy of respect, dignity and validation! And definitely not until you realize that, when it comes to race, white people CAN, in fact, do wrong. That not ALL racism exists solely in the imaginations of black people, and Schlessinger is living proof of this, whether she realizes it or not.

Obama’s election was NEVER evidence that racism was gone. In fact, it’s brought out every last, ugly bit of evidence out there that racism is still alive and well. It’s not the SAME, obviously – we don’t go around CALLING people “niggers” anymore – but like any strong organism, it’s EVOLVED. It’s evolved to remain hidden and preserve itself in our viewpoints and our discourse.

President Obama, our first Black President, means the end of racism? It would be closer to the truth to say that more people have apparently taken it as a signal that racism is somehow OK to bring back out into the open again.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pseudo-Conservatism

The other day MMFA Poster NastyLiberal linked to a fantastic article. It offer a new term for the kind of Conservatism that I’m REALLY railing against here; the kind that has unfortunately increasingly come to dominate the argument on the Right. I highly recommend you check it out.


It’s called PSEUDO-CONSERVATISM and it is the school of thought embraced by Fox News and AM Talk Radio.  It is at heart and soul of the Tea Party, and Glenn Beck may be this generation’s premier spokesman for the movement.  The thing is…? The article was written in 1954! I don’t know if I should be relieved or terrified by that fact! I mean… OK, they’ve been a recognizable force for almost 60 years, and they still haven’t taken over – just a few years after that article was written we elected Kennedy and then Johnson. And while I might be scared that the movement is STILL AROUND after 60 years, and seems to be gaining momentum, we DID just elect Barrack Obama. So maybe they are just doomed to a permanent “almost” status.  (OTOH, back then it was recognized for the enbrace of ignorance that it is, while today it's treated with undue respect as if it was something profound!)

Anyway, I've come to realize that when I’m railing against “Conservatives,” THESE are the people I’m usually talking about. And I’m lumping the media personalities (Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Savage) in with them, because that’s really the political school of thought that they speak for, as well as SOME politicians (Palin, Bachman, anyone connected to the Tea Party) who would rather fan the flames and benefit from the outrage, rather than actually educate people and start addressing some of the problems facing this country.  It may seem trivial, to argue against this kind of lunacy, but I do not seek to prove it wrong so much as to point out how much of it is really out there. To make people aware of how much it has permeated our lives, become the “new normal.” This is exactly what I was talking about a few posts back when I said that this is not about Liberals and Conservatives so much, at least in any meaningful sense, but against Authoritarians and those who would think for themselves, regardless of the positions they may end up holding.

Ture Conservatives remain a frustrating lot to be sure, but there are least some principles that guide them, misguided or misplaced though they may be.  But THESE PEOPLE? It's just as then Senator Obama said in his '08 campaign, "It's like they take pride in being ignorant!"

Well they DO.  And I knew that at the time.  What I didn't know was just how long this foolishness has been going on, and that the only recent development was the media's MAINSTREAMING of it.
Anyway, it’s a good read, and important stuff.  So please check it out.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

On Death...

Death, part one


If I wanted to show how much class a Liberal can have, and how much respect we’re capable of showing, I might say, regarding the recent fatal plane crash involving the former Senator Ted Stevens, that “The people of Alaska have lost a dedicated public servant who represented their interests, and acted as a strong voice in Washington for their values.”

On the other hand…

If I was to display the level of class that Rush Limbaugh did upon the deaths of Kurt Cobain or Jerry Garcia, or for that mater just about ANY Conservative ANYWHERE did regarding the more recent deaths of Senators Kennedy or Byrd or Representative Rostenkowski, I’d say, “Good riddance to bad garbage. Those ignorant red-necks in Alaska kept electing this crook, and we couldn’t get rid of the evil bastard soon enough. I rest easy knowing that he now burns in hell!”

In any case, my thoughts go out to his family and I am deeply sorry for their great loss.

Speaking of which…


Death, part two

I recently learned that Christopher Hitchens is dying, of metastic Esophageal Cancer. The news first broke about a month ago, so I must have missed it. In any case he’s not doing well, and I’m truly saddened to hear that. I don’t know if I really ever LIKED the guy, but I always found him INTERESTING.

First of all, he’s a drinkin’ man. And those guys are never boring. Second of all, he’s a staunch Conservative on almost every issue, EXCEPT for Religion: As many of you probably know, Hitchens is an outspoken atheist; anti-theist, really. And when I originally discovered him, through his atheistic writings, I thought, “Yeah! This guy rocks!” Then I heard him talk about politics and thought, “What an asshole!” LOL

But I bring him up, because I think I can use him as an example of what I was trying to say a few posts back in my response to Metal Matt’s comment in my “Reply to Steeve” post. I was trying to express my frustration in debating with the Religious Left. Posters like JLarue and Steeve, with whom I share almost all political positions, but with whom I differ SHARPLY in the area of Religion. And I suppose I feel the same way about them that the Right may feel about Hitchens. Because they agree on almost all political points, but differ sharply on religion. So, just as myself, with JLarue and Steeve, the Right can’t just write off Hitchens as a heathen (or a fool) because he shares the REST of their political views. And they are force to deal with his religious beliefs (or lack there of) in a serious manner because of this. And (just as in my own case) they’re not going to convince him to change – they’re not going to WIN that argument. And that is supremely frustrating when it occurs in the case of someone that you otherwise see eye to eye with.

I don’t know. I guess if JLarue and Steeve were pissed at me already over any comments I may have made, being compared to Chris Hitchens (who they likely disagree with on EVERYTHING) is probably not going to mend any fences. LOL. Although what I’m saying in effect is that they are the exact opposite, so… whatever.

Also, before anyone [Duta, I’m looking at you!] tells me that Hitchens is sick and dying because of his lack of faith, let me say, unequivocally, that Hitchens is dying because he smoked three packs of cigarettes a day since he was 15 years old, and for no other reason. And yes, tobaccos use causes way more than just Lung Cancer. The risks of ALL KINDS of Cancers such as Esophageal Caner (my Grandfather,) and even Bladder Cancer (my Father) are increased by the use of Tobacco – even if you quit YEARS ago. It’s just all around nasty stuff.

Which brings me to…


Death, part three

You know how the Tobacco companies argued for YEARS, using the same pseudo-scientific logic that the Climate Change Deniers use today regarding Global Warming BTW, that there was no definitive proof that their product caused Cancer? And how that protected them in court? Well, my Grandfather worked for Monsanto for most of his adult life. He died in 1982, six months after he retired, of Esophageal Cancer. When my Grandmother sued Monsanto, alleging that their poor workplace safety practices in dealing with their chemicals contributed to his early death, she lost the case.

The sharpest arrow in the quiver of Monsanto’s defense?

My Grandfather had been a smoker.

Talk about trying to have it both ways!


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BTW, Bob Carroll wrote a great piece on Hicthens and Deathbed religious conversions. I highly recommend reading it.

I also recomend the article, by Jeffery Goldberg in the Atlantic, that Carroll links to just below his piece on Hitchens.  My sentiments EXACTLY.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Conservatives" vs. "Libertarians"

Let this sink in...























I came across this over on PoliticalIrony.com.  This is exemplary of the case I've been making for awhile now that "conservative" no longer means what it used to.  Or anything at all, in fact.  That what we have in the Republican Party today is not "Conservatives" but rather Right-Wing and/or Religious RADICALS.  They can talk about "small government" all they want, but it no longer means anything.  It's not REALLY part of their platform anymore. (DHS anyone?) Its just something they throw out there so they don't look like idiots when they push for more tax cuts immediately after complaining about the deficit.  (Too late.)

Because THIS?  THIS is what "small government" looks like.  Libertarianism.  Now I'm NOT a Libertarian.  I COULD BE a moderate one - they're the only part of the Republican party that I have the least bit of respect for.  And I could definitely vote for one, provided that they held Social Libertarianism as highly as Fiscal Libertariansm.  But unfortunately the TRUE libertarians in the Republican Party (like Judge Walker) are pretty much GONE, replaced by Social Conservatives [Religious Radicals] who merely want to lower taxes and deprive the government of its ability to regulate industry.

Because the TRUE Libertarian, the CLASSIC Conservative, would support Judge Walker's decision.  S/he'd also be pro-choice on abortion.  And favor the legalization of Marijuana.  These are ALL "small government" positions.  They are all what the world would like like if, as Ronald Reagan claimed would happen, Government would "get off our backs."  But I'm still waiting, 30 years later, for Government to stop getting MORE on my back.  And with the Social Libertarians now completely marginalized in the Republican party, and Obama's and the Dems' continuous kowtowing to the Right, I don't it happening anytime soon.

Just remember what's REALLY going on here.  "Conservative" is just a niceer sounding (read: better polling) word that the Radical, Religious Right has co-opted to obfuscate their true agenda.  There is nothing "conservative" about them.  It just about Fear, Power and Money.  They use Religion (Fear) to get people to vote for them (Power) so they can pay little or no taxes, and their companies can pollute, exploit and otherwise screw over the public in their reckless pursuit of proifit (Money.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Definition of "irony"

OK...

Arguably the most over- and mis- used word in the english language lately has GOT to be "irony."

Here's a primer.

Now... If there is one entity in the universe that must not only truly understand irony, but also appreciate it, and have a wicked sense of humor to boot, it is the Google Adsense ad-bot.  You know, the algorithm that keeps putting ads for Sarah Palin's Book, Ann Coulter's Column and Ben Stein's website on this blog.

Just remember... It's not ME who's supporting THEM.  THEY'RE actually the ones who are sponsoring ME!

See? IRONY.

But the absolute BEST example of irony... One that made me LOL for about a minute strait... came a few nights ago on the website... (wait for it...)... POLITICALIRONY.COM!

No, that's not the ironic part.  In fact that's not ironic AT ALL.  It's really what was to be expected.  The real IRONY came in the form of the AD that was placed RIGHT NEXT to a particuar cartoon.  I grabbed a screen cap (click once or twice to enlarge):
















Now THAT my friends, in context?  Is IRONY, writ large.

Has Fred Thompson EVER looked so desperate and pathetic?  Either the Ad-Bot has a keen sense of irony, or it just HATES Fred Thompson. LOL

Civics for Dummies (or: The Constitution for Conservatives)

You’ve got to give credit where it’s due: Conservative TALK a really good game when it comes the Constitution. Unfortunately between their talk of “Liberal Activist Judges” and “restoring the congress to their Constitutional limitations” their blind ignorance and/or blatant hypocrisy because self-apparent when one considers the propensity of the Roberts Court to completely ignore precedent whenever it suits them, the way the Bush Administration rode rough shod over almost every part of the Bill of Rights, and John Boehner’s latest pet project to reform, amend or repeal the 14th amendment. This after the Bush administration wanted the AMMEND the Constitution to ban gay marriage, thus stifling any possibly of common sense winning out in court. (As it has just thhis past week in California.) In any case, one thing that’s become abundantly clear to is that there is nothing CONSERVATIVE about the Conservatives any more. Altering the Constitution is, by definition, inherently a RADICAL ACT. Particularly to do so in a way that effects a Legal AGENDA, rather than in a way that merely describes how laws are made.

Now… I’ve READ the Constitution. And I’m always struck by just how inherently LIBERAL a document it really is, even today; let alone almost 250 years ago when it was intended to replace a Monarchy that still held executive power. So whenever these Right Wingers talk about how “Liberals hate the country” or how “Liberals are destroying the Constitution” I’m reminded that it’s probably a good idea for more people to know what the Constitution ACTUALLY SAYS. Because it has become increasingly clear that the Conservatives apparently think it says something else. So I thought I’d go through each one of the 27 amendments (yes, JUST the ammendments) and compare what is actually says, to what it would NEED TO SAY in order for almost any part of the Republican, Right-Wing, “Conservative” agenda to appear Constitutional.

Now… This IS a bit long, but I recommend you read it anyway. And no, not just because I took the time to write it! LOL. Rather, because I think it is critically important that every American understands their rights, understands the actual limitations put on our Government, and to see first hand what the “Conservative Paradise” would actually look like in contrast. Because we’re going there. This piece is tongue-in-cheek, but it remains my sole, critical voting issue. So it’s one that I am deadly serious about.


Actual First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

Conservative First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion other than Christianity, or prohibiting the free exercise of Christianity; or abridging the freedom of corporate speech, or of the conservative press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, heavily armed, to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Actual Second Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Conservative Second Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be regulated in any way whatsoever, at all.


Actual Third Amendment:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Conservative Third Amendment:

Support the troops!


Actual Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Conservative Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized, unless said persons have been accused of being under suspicion of something, in which case, their conversations and electronic correspondence can be intercepted and read with impunity by agents of the executive branch.


Actual Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

Conservative Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger, unless they are accused of a crime related to terrorism; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, unless they are a terrorist and will be set free; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, unless they might know something about terrorism; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Actual Sixth Amendment:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Conservative Sixth Amendment:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense, unless the defendant has been accused of a crime related to terrorism. In such a case, all provisions of this ammendment are forfeit to the state.


Actual Seventh Amendment:

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Conservative Seventh Amendment:

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law, unless these original findings of fact were in contradiction with the State’s established Christian beliefs.


Actual Eighth Amendment:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted

Conservative Eighth Amendment:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted, except in cases related to terrorism.


Actual Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Conservative Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, except as required by a strictly literal interpretation of the King James Bible.


Actual Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Conservative Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, provided the State agrees with the teachings of the Christian Church or to the people who would otherwise support our Christian values.


Actual Eleventh Amendment:

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Conservative Eleventh Amendment:

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State, unless the judge rules in a way that goes against our Conservative Christian values.


Actual Twelfth Amendment:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.[1]

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States

Conservative Twelfth Amendment:

If the vote is anywhere near in doubt, the Supreme Court has the authority to decide the election.


Actual Thirteenth Amendment:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Conservative Thirteenth Amendment:

Slavery and involuntary servitude, including as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.


Actual Fourteenth Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void

Conservative Fourteenth Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside, unless they are the offspring off one or more illegal immigrants. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the deportation of illegal immigrants from the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law, unless they are illegal or accused of terrorism related crimes.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Immigrants and Liberals. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in an effort to challenge the established, conservative dogma, or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies of the Conservative agenda. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability, assuming the reformed Liberal now accepts Jesus as their savior..

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned when the Republicans control the Congress, or a Republican is the President. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of a Liberal Cause or rebellion against the Conservative position, or any claim of fair compensation for a honest day’s work; but all such debts, obligations on the parts of Corporations and claims brought against said Corporations shall be held illegal and void.


Actual Fifteenth Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Conservative Fifteenth Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote may be abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The Supreme Court shall have power to decide any election in which a recount may otherwise be required, or challenges based on disenfranchisement are made.


Actual Sixteenth Amendment:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Conservative Sixteenth Amendment:

The Congress shall have very limited power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, and the proportion collected from any person must never increase under any circumstances.


Actual Seventeenth Amendment:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.


Conservative Seventeenth Amendment:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, unless a Republican has lost by a close margin, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive there of to make temporary appointments if he is a Republican, or allow the people fill the vacancies by election if he is a Democrat.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution, unless we can come up with a reason to get rid of the lousy Democrats.

(Cheap shot alert! OK, before anyone points it out to me, YES, I am fully aware that the Democratic State Legslature in Massachesstets basically did EXACTLY waht I descibed in the 2nd paragraph. I did consider leaving it as it was, but I changed my mind. Sue me.) ;P

Actual Eighteenth Amendment:

After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Conservative Eighteenth Amendment:

[SELECT ALL], [COPY], [PASTE]… Hey, don’t forget: Conservatives WROTE the Eighteenth Amendment!


Actual Nineteenth Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Conservative Nineteenth Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Only race, sexuality and being economically underprivileged are valid reasons to deny or abridge the right of citizens of the United States to vote.


Actual Twentieth Amendment:

The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Conservative Twentieth Amendment:

The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, but the responsibility for any problems facing this country become the incoming President’s, effective upon his election on the send Thursday in November. The terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin, excepting any Democrats whose terms can be held up in court battles.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day, however under no circumstances can we allow any part of Democratic legislation to EVER come to a vote!

[Remainder unchanged.]


Actual Twenty-First Amendment:

The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed:

[The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.]


Conservative Twenty-First Amendment:

The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby extended to included all recreation intoxicants as well as gay marriage.

However, the transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby allowed once again.


Actual Twenty-Second Amendment:

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Conservative Twenty-Second Amendment:

No Democrat shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no Democrat who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any Republican holding the office of President.


Actual Twenty-Third Amendment:

The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Conservtaive Twenty-Third Amendment:

WTF?! Why did we ever agree to this?! These assholes were only ones who voted for BOTH McGovern AND Mondale!!! What the hell is wrong with these people?!


Actual Twenty-Fourth Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Conservative Twenty-Fourth Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State provided that they can pay any poll tax or other tax.


Actual Twenty-Fifth Amendment:

In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Conservative Twenty-Fifth Amendment:

In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death, resignation, or having been found in bed with an intern, the Vice President shall become President.

(Remainder unchanged)


Actual Twenty Sixth Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

(Ed.Note: Actually this is already pretty goofy the way it is. Read it carefully… It’s like saying, “Other than Blacks, no person shall not be denied their right o vote on account of race." Just sayin’!)

Conservative Twenty Sixth Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. Per the 19th Amendment: Only race sexuality and being economically underprivileged are valid reason to denied or abridge the right of citizens of the United States to vote.


Actual Twenty Seventh Amendment:

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Conservative Twenty Seventh Amendment:

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened… Because that great fiscal conservative, and crusader against fat government paychecks, John Boehner, has got our backs!


If you're still reading, I admire your stamina!  Now that you see what's at stake, lets start TAKING OUR COUNTRY BACK!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prop H8TE

*phew*

If it's OK with everyone else, I'd like to get away from debating the philosophy of religion for a while - at least until the comment to my last post start rolling in.  But I've been writing for the last week or so on the topic, and even I'M getting tired of hearing what I have to say about it. LOL.  In all seriousness, I do look forward to reading your comments, but for now I'm going to take up some current events.

Like HOW ABOUT that Prop H8TE ruling out in California, huh?

The courts are finally starting to get it RIGHT!  Hopefully that will continue and Justice Kennedy won't balls it all up when it inevitably makes it way to the SCOTUS.

But, needless to say, I am very glad to see it ruled such.  And to me this issue is a no-brainer.  (And go figure that those who support banning gay marriage and Prop H8TE have no brains.)  Between Rush Limbaugh wetting his pants about how we're living in Tyranny, and how we're weakening the constitution and these idiots who think the judge should have recused himself or that he's out of the mainstream and the bed-wetter on NPR this morning crying about "his vote doesn't count" and how "it's like a dictatorship..." 

My God, even if I didn't care about the ruling, you've got love ANYTHING that pisses of the Right Wingers and Religious Conservatives that much. LOL

OK, one at a time...

"We're living in Tyranny" or "It's like a dictatorship."

Give me a freaking break.  This is not "like a dictatorship."  THIS is like a CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY.  See... in a dictatorship, you don't GET to challenge the law.  And the rights of people get taken away without recourse.  So... please explain to me how guaranteeing people equal protection under the law and protecting their LIBERTY is tantamount to "tyranny."  It's absurd.  All this judge did was to tell one group of people that the don;t have the right to DICTATE the behavior of another group.  PERIOD.

And last time I checked, "Freedom to take away someone else's freedom" was not it the Constitution!

"Out of the mainstream"

Posters T.Boone Slickens and Highlighter seemed to think that because 7 Million people voted for it, that makes Prop H8TE, the MAINSTREAM school of thought. 

What they fail to grasp is that if a law is unconstitutional, kit doesn't matter HOW MUCH popular support it has!  Segregation was pretty popular in the states that had it.  (Remember - prop h8te was just a California thing, just a STATE thing!)  And the courts saw the insanity and stuck those laws down - that's why we HAVE THEM.  That's was "limited government" is all about! PROTECTING PEOPLE'S RIGHTS!  And that will ALWAYS be in the "mainstream" of Constitutional thought, because that's what the Constitution DOES! 

It's an inherently Liberal document today, and was a FLAMINGLY liberal document when it was written!

What's more, I don't use the segregation issue lightly.  I choose it because the arguments being presented in opposition to gay marriage are almost word for word the same arguments used a generation ago in support of anti-miscengeny laws!  Replace racial bigotry with sexualist bigotry and you're saying the SAME. DAMN. THING!

"The judge (who's gay) should have recused himself."

MMFA does a pretty good job, shooting this one down, but to me it's even more simple.  If we are to assume that a gay judge can't be objective about gay issues, we must also assume that a CHRISTIAN judge cannot be objective on church-state issues!  Like, say...  for example...

GAY MARRIAGE!

The law got shot down because you don't take away people's liberty and deny them equal protection under the law without a compelling state interest.  And the supporters of Prop h8te, and all opponents of gay marriage for that matter, have never come CLOSE to demonstrating one.  Not. Even. Close.

EVER.

[some nonsense about the] "Traditional Definition of Marriage"

This might be the single dumbest line of reasoning of all.  Look... marriage CHANGES.  The TRADITIONS of marriage CHANGE.  If they didn't?  If we stuck to the REAL "traditional definition of marriage?"  Well... that's a father marrying of his daughter to a young man of his choosing, in exchange for a dowry.  So it seems to me that the "traditional definition of marriage" is closer to what we call "PIMPING" today.

And if you're worried about the institution of marriage being threatened, outlaw DIVORCE.  (Something that was also illegal at some point!  See? THINGS CHANGE!)

[some nonsense about] Our "Christian Values"

If your argument against gay marriage has the word "bible" ANYWHERE in it, SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

The first amendment states very clearly that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.  That's word for word, CRYSTAL CLEAR.  So ANY argument made on the basis of religion is 100% irrelevant.  When our elected officials take their oath of office, they put their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution - not the other way around!

I enthusiastically applaud this ruling, and I see it as the beginning of the end of ACTUAL Religious Tyranny on this issue. And I say, "Good riddance."

There will no doubt be more to come.  Gay Marriage is INEVITABLE.  There may be set backs, but - just as with Marijuana - the genie is out of the bottle.  Why conservatives insist on constantly trying to pull the juggernaught backwards I'll never understand.

My Reply to Steeve

(Ed Note: If there is a tone of voice that you can use when you read this that sounds sincere, rather than snarky, please use it.  I'm not pulling any punches, but I want everyone to know that I have a great deal of respect for Steeve and his views - most of which I SHARE, at least politically speaking.  So I hope that he takes it as a sign of my respect for him that I'm not holding back here!)

This post picks up form a conversation that left off back in March of this year.  The post started out with me presenting some of the latest (at the time) examples from Bob Carrol's "What's the harm?" section of Skepdic.com.  This section covers everything religion from Voodoo to Islam to Christianity to Scientology, but the examples I sighted both came from "Christians." One was of a boy starved to death, the other of children being beaten to death, all in the name of bringing them "closer to God" or some such thing.  And I expected that most people would say that, "MY religion is not like that!" And sure enough no one really stepped up to defend the practice. (Obviously.)

But as the piece evolved, I came to a realization: That if you take ANY person, no matter how religious they are, if you find some who they would consider "more religious" than themselves, they'd also inevitably think that other person was a little crazy as well.  And this judgment would become stronger the greater the difference in religious zeal.  The Atheist thinks the twice-a-year Church goer is a little crazy. (Just a little.)  The twice-a-year guy thinks the once-a-week guy is a a little crazy.  That guy thinks the guy with his kids in bible school is a little crazy. That moderate guy thinks the fundamentalist is a little crazy. The Fundamentalist thinks the Cultist is a little crazy.  And the Cultist thinks the Terrorist is a little crazy.  Line these people up by religious faith on the X-axis, and plot their judgment of the next guy down on the Y-axis and you'll find that amount of crazy you are, is some positive function of how religious you are.  Not a very encouraging thought, for pretty much ANY believer, but think about it. I don't think you can deny the observation, even if you don't appreciate the implication...

Think about someone who you think is significantly more religious than you are. 

Don't you think they're at least a little crazy? 

The thing is that no matter where you are on the spectrum, this holds true!  (OK, yeah, I don't know who's to the right of some guy who's strapping a bomb to himself, with the intent of blowing his crazy ass up and taking as many people with as he can, but... well... You can't deny the man's FAITH now, can you? Misplaced though it may be, this man has FAITH on a level I cannot even comprehend. In that case? No one is more Religious and no one is more crazy!

Anyway, that was the gist of the original post.  And my final question was, since we can all acknowledge the increasing level of insanity that it brings, and with so many well-documented example of demonstrable and unnecessary harm, bloodshed and death being caused by EVERY religion under the Sun...

Why do we need it?  What good does it do that we couldn't accomplish without it?

Now a LOT of really good comments came out of that post.  Some agreed with me (Kevin Kelly, TomCat)some took issue with me to varying degrees. (JLarue) and that's all good.  That's why I DO this blog, in fact. I particularly liked poser Kimberly's statement that "going to church doesn't make me a Christian anymore than standing in my garage makes me a car."  I really liked that. LOL

But the most intriguing, and by far the most frustrating (LOL), comments came from poster Steeve.

In response to my request that, "I would really like for some moderate, liberal defender of religion to try and convince me of it's inherent goodness." He replied:
No can do, because a religion is not a social club or a set of rules. It is a truth proposition. I'll debate the truth of my religion with you all day long. If it's true, I don't really care how good it is. Reality is reality.
OK.  I can accept this.  After all, I don't believe in the Scientific Method because it's GOOD.  I believe it is, but that's not why it serves as such an important part of my life's philosophy.  I hold in such high esteem because it is the WAY that we determine what is TRUE. (Or... at least what should be accepted as FACT.) And as Steve says, "Reality is reality."

But is Religion "reality?"  Does it really satisfy any objective measure of the "truth"?  Maybe to Steeve.  And I'm willing to let him have that much.  But it being the truth from his point of view is no more profound than me saying it's NOT the truth from mine.  One of us will have to do better.  Now, in addition to Bob Carroll's 'What's the harm' section of Skepdic.com, I could refer to Joe Sommer's website (another member of my Hall of Fame) and his article "Why the Bible is Unreliable" which calls out logical contradictions, claims disproven by scientific evidence and moral position that not even the most hard-core fundamentalist would still consider to be 'moral.'  (And for the whackos that DO, I'll refer you back to Bob Caroll.)

So there: I've done better. And with all due respect to poster Steeve, and much is due, either a whole lot more is needed, or I'm forced to conclude that what you call "reality" is what I call "Shit you made up" or "Shit you happen to believe."  Unless there some objective truth or facts to support it, you are playing VERY hard and fast with the definition of the word "reality."  Granted, we do all live our own respective realities, but I only expect anyone else to see the one reality that we all share.  And that is NOT one described by religion - it is one that quantified and defined by Science.

He replies:

Do you actually need to be CONVERTED to simply accept that other people think that Christianity is reality? Your original question was along the lines of "given that religion is crap, how is it justified?" The correct answer is "Well, I don't think it's crap."
And I went on to reply that I didn't just say "religion was crap." I pointed out that it does DEMONSTRABLE, TANGIBLE HARM. Then, I asked if it did any GOOD. I also asked whether or not that same GOOD could be done without all the mental baggage: asking me to believe many things that have been proven false AND asking me to condemn things that I don't see as wrong.  I'm keen to let anyone believe anything they want provided that (1) it is not the answer to a question already answered by science (like... the earth is 4000 years old and dinosaurs and man lived side-by-side, for example) and (2) does not do harm.  And whether it's a dramatic as beating a child to death or merely denying two gays the right to marry or a rape victim the right to terminate the resulting pregnancy, there is no shortage of harm being done. 

You want to talk about souls, heaven, hell, the afterlife, God...? Fine.  I won't tell you you're wrong, because I can't proove you wrong.  But I have no reason to concede that you're RIGHT, because you can't proove it either.  If you want to believe it's "reality?"  Knock yourself out.  But that kind of "Reality" - the kind that each one of us has, and which is distinct for every person...? is hardly anything profound.  At that point, "reality" DOES simply mean, "Shit I made up, that I REALLY BELIEVE."

Now, while this all sound very hostile and confrontational, I want to reiterate that I RESPECT whatever beliefs of this kind any of you may hold.  HOW, you ask? Simple: If you don't expect me to live in your reality, I won't expect you to live in mine.  BUT... when something is PROVEN by Science, it's time to accept it.  And when HARM is being done to another, it time to STOP it.  That's all I'm saying.

A simple "Separation of Church and State" issue, really.

Now... Steve DID say that he accepts evolution, rather than Genesis as a literal story.  Fine. Good.  But it's just after that where he really loses me:

I do believe in the resurrection of Jesus, because that's where the real evidence in the real world points. Anyone who can show that the real evidence in the real world points somewhere else is welcome to, but as I started to show in my previous post, it's been nothing but decades of failure by all of the best minds in the business.
I will say to Steeve exactly what I have said to EVERYONE who's ever said something like this.  First of all: WHAT "real evidence in the real world?"  All you've got is a STORY written by someone trying to get you to WORSHIP them! (Or, OK, worship as they do.) It's still no more than a fanciful claim at that point!  There IS no "evidence." Just a claim, made in a book that's already been shown to have gotten it wrong MANY, MANY times!  Second: It is not up to me to prove that it DIDN'T happen.  YOU'RE the one making the positive claim.  You're the one who has the burden of proof.  I say it's impossible, and I've got every single atom of Science that has withstood public and peer scrutiny over the past 2000 years on my side.  I got the billions and billions of people who have died in the past 2000 years who DIDN'T come back from the dead to establish the null hypothesis. And there is no evidence to support the positive claim.  Null assumption? "X" didn't happen, unless you can show some evidence that it did.  And someone else merely making the claim and having a lot of people believing it is NOT "evidence."

And it was about this point that the famous meme from Steven F Roberts came up.  I paraphrased, but it goes like this:
"I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
The way I said it was:

Many religions have resurrection stories, virgin or divine births, fulfilled prophecies, etc... I see no reason to reject some and accept others, just based on the number of people who believe them.
And this is a critical point.  Because that is really all that's being presented as "evidence." Lot's of people believe in the Bible.  Well... Lot's of people believe in the Koran.  But Steeve doesn't.  Lot's of people believe in the Tora.  But Steeve doesn't.  Lot's of people believed these claims when Siddartha Guatama made them.  But Steeve doesn't.  And lots of people believe in Shiva, Vishnu, Kali, etc... But Steve doesn't. 

So if Steeve expects me to accept the claims made by Christianity, after BOTH OF US have rejected them when they were made by everybody else... I'm going to need a damned good reason to accept it this time around.  If there's nothing NOVEL about what's being proposed and no more EVIDENCE to support it? Why on earth should I treat it any differently than I did the LAST time I came across the claim?

Now... I may have missed something at this point because he then says:

You should look into Christianity again, if you're so inclined, because you can't explain its origin. You still believe the grafted-on myth thing, which is historical and collapses on inspection. The definitive work on this is here.

I don't know who's telling you to believe Christianity because Bible stories are unique or because there are lots of believers, but they're wrong, and they're not me. They haven't posted on this thread. Yet you're arguing with them.
 
OK... so to be fair, maybe I was misrepresenting Steeve's position or what he was saying of putting words in his mouth.  OK. I can accept that.  But... at no point was I offered any OTHER reason to believe what was being claimed.  Maybe it ended up being a strawman, but I don't see where else I was supposed to go with this.  And I don't think my points were being addressed either. 
 
He DID offer me a link to a work that he recommended.  But I didn't end up buying the book, which he describes thusly:
 
That link should have been more about what the atheistic community needs to argue with, not what you need to argue with. It would be a prohibitive time investment, and I don't have the slightest idea if the book would be of any value to you.


It's sort of a compendium of everything that's historically knowable about what the earliest Christians thought about the resurrection. He draws on essentially everything available that's relevant to that topic, although that topic is so narrow that 2/3 of what's relevant is the bible. The argument is of the form "what could have caused this belief to emerge in the way that it did".
At this point, I forced to conclude that we ARE in fact missing each other's points.

I don't CARE what "the earliest christian thought about the resurrection."  Especially if 2/3 of the work references the Bible.  The BIBLE is what's under scrutiny here.  So it can't be used as evidence to support its own claims.  Whether they believed it the way it's described today, or slightly differently, is irrelevant.  That will not answer the question, "DID IT ACTUALLY HAPPEN?"

And it does not answer the question of why I should accept THIS CLAIM on the basis of no more than a BOOK, when it's been made before and I've rejected it on the basis that I had no more evidence that (1) The Claim, in (2) a Book that (3) a lot of people believe.

Steeve...

This may not be what you offering me as a "Reason to believe" and it may not be YOURS, but I've just gone back and read the comments, and you don't offer me anything else!

I'll say it again: If you get something good out of believe in the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth, than fine.  I'll let you have it.  In fact, I'll fight, kill and die for your right to.  I will still hold that:

1) There is not inherent good done by Religion that could not be accomplished with all the mental baggage.  (Believe in Genesis, Virgin Birth, Resurrection, Miracles, etc...)

2) There are no necessary rules of morality that are part of Religion that are not part of a Secular Humanist philosophy.

3) Science is contradicted and harm is being done.  This is a FACT, and even you - who I truly do respect, and who's input on these matter I truly value - have done nothing to tell me why I shouldn't let this PISS ME THE FUCK OFF!

and 4) The Steven Roberts quote:

When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

In particular, I don't see where you even tried to address this, let alone "thoroughly destroyed" it (in our "little religious war" as you claimed.  But I'd love to see you try.  And I wouldn't ask if I wasn't truly interested.

So HIT ME (or Misters Carroll, Sommers and Roberts) with your best shot!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My reply to Duta

(Ed Note: This started out as my reply to poster Duta's comment under my last post.  It got too long, so I put it here.  I'll let it serve as a lead-in to some of the stuff that Steve pasted way back that I wanted to re-visit.)

Duta,

What I have seen countless times, from my own personal experience, is that THE TRUTH in any situation depends almost entirely on ones own point of view. And I think this is a pretty good example of that. You imply a lack of humility on my part for my lack of belief. And you may have a legitimate point, from your point of view. There are a couple of things I would like to point out. The truth, if you will, from my point of view.

First of all... I DO NOT "refuse to believe in a higher power." What I DO is reject the models that have proposed to me so far, all of which I find to be completely lacking in humility, I might add, and engender a most undeserved certainty - especially in their belief in things that are DEMONSTRABLY false.

Now... Do I believe in a "higher power?" Yes. Believe it or not I DO. Is it the same as yours? No, most assuredly not. It the same as ANYONE else's? No, probably not. Not that I've seen so far anyway. But, as I was implying in linking to Prof. Carrol's section on Atheism, Atheism is not the POSITIVE BELIEF in the NON-EXISTENCE of a higher power. It is not as you put it, a REFUSAL to believe. I do not BELIEVE in the existence of "God" as the concept has so far been defined. What I've heard so far falls into the category of either completely absurd, or reasonable, but not very meaningful. In any case NOT BELIEVING in the existence of God is not the same thing as BELIEVING God does not exist.

Which bring me to the OTHER part of this...

As I wrote a while back, regarding "miracles" If "God" is showing humanity any "favor" at all, why does it always seem to be in countries who do more medical research, who have more medical and scientific resources and who have the most money?

Answer: Because it is SCIENCE, not "faith," "god," or any other kind of "magic" that conquered Infant Mortality, Small Pox, Infections, Polio, Pertussis, Measles, Malaria, etc... It is SCIENCE, not GOD who turned Diabetes into a disease that you can live with indefinitely, and is making strides and doing the same for Cancer, Aids and many others. Open-Heart Surgery, Pre-Natal Surgery, Organ Transplants, Artificial Limbs, Artificial Organs... These are the result of SCIENCE and MANKIND'S LABOR and DISCOVERY. NOT God. Until we discovered these things? GOD was keen to let 50% of Children DIE in infancy. God was keen to strike people down in the prime of life, out of the blue, Healthy on Monday, dead on Wednesday, by the MILLIONS, whether they went to church or not

It was once believed that lighting strikes were the will of God.  And "He" seemed to destroy countless man-made structures with this display of his "power." Funny how a simple, grounded, Iron rod rendered this awesome power completely harmless, no?  We will do the same with everything else.  I have no doubt of that, all it will take is TIME and KNOWLEDGE yet to  be discovered.  You say we're helpless? I'm not buying it. If we were ever helpless it was when we HAD no science, and ALL we had was "God." If that was God's plan? I have news for you: WE'RE WINNING.

Anti-Biotics, Chemotherapy, etc... Have the same success and failure rate regardless of ones religion, and no attempt to show the benefit of "prayer," independent of other factors has even succeeded. (Hey - without Medical Care, PRAYER alone will KILL YOU, and I can find hundreds of examples of THAT, just ask!) BELIEF maybe, but it's also been shown that BELIEF helps regardless of WHAT you believe IN!  So... hardly evidence of the power of any ONE God.

And the way I see it? If there is a higher power, that is exactly what it's plan was from the start. There is no doubt in my mind that this "higher power" has no interest in interfering with what goes on down here. There IS no "grand plan" as far as I'm concerned. If we become the masters of our environment, and live together in peace and flourish? Then we are a success. And we die waging war, allowing famine or chasing superstition instead of science? Then we have FAILED. And we deserve our fate, having brought it on ourselves.  In short I don't reject the entire IDEA of a higher power, just every one I've been presented with so far. And I do so, because (as I laid out in that earlier piece) to do otherwise, to believe in "miracles" would imply that I believe that God is evil.

Believe me... It is very much for my children's benefit that I put my "faith" in Scientific medicine, even as it currently has very little to offer with regards to autism. What it DOES offer WORKS, and that it is lacking in so many areas is not license for anyone to come along and simply propose ANYTHING. And those that do? Have IN EVERY SINGLE CASE been exposed as frauds (after money) at best, and DANGEROUS at worst - children have DIED because their parents have put their faith is non-scientific "treatments." I will never do that, and I have no problem at all condemning those who do. These "faith healers" and other pseudo-medical charlatans who've had patients DIE who could have been helped by standard medicine, should be in JAIL.

For the sake of my children, my faith is in science. For the sake of ALL MANKIND, my faith is in science and will remain such. As I have said many times, and will say in my next post, in Reply to Steeve, I see no good coming from RELIGION moving forward. And it hardly due to arrogance on my part. It has everything to do with the arrogance of Religion itself.

It is RELIGION I reject. NOT the mere idea of a higher power.

Thanks for your comment.