Patriotism

The controversy over currently-former-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has stimulated fresh ruminations on my part about the true nature of patriotism. In short, if your concept of “patriotism” is tied up in superficial symbols of your country, and not in the well-being of its people, then you’re doing patriotism wrong.

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The Freedom to be an Obnoxious Bigoted Useless Twat

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.

Twitter lost their censorship cherry when they took what was an unprecedented step for them, shutting down an account due to the politics of the owner, a German neo-Nazi group. Like the rest of you, I can’t be bothered to feel sorry for the fascist morons in question. It’s also true that groups like this one are quite illegal in Germany, which is understandable.

While I can certainly sympathize with the desire to keep people like this in check, and Germany is certainly well-motivated to keep control of right-wing extremists in their midst. I’m just not sure they are going about it the right way. Right now there are 25,000 neo-Nazis or similar right-wing extremists in Germany. In the U.S., where such activity is merely frowned upon and socially ostracized, their numbers are tiny in comparison to those in Germany.

I hold firm to the belief that tolerance for extremist, offensive ideas is a more effective weapon against those who hold those beliefs. Continue reading “The Freedom to be an Obnoxious Bigoted Useless Twat”

Darwin for Congress

Paul Broun, Congressman from the Georgia 10th District, member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, made a bit of an ass of himself, declaring evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang Theory, pretty much all of modern science really, to be “lies from the pit of hell.”

Needless to say, having a blithering idiot making science policy rubbed some people the wrong way. And by “some people,” I mean anyone who never skipped science class for a bible study. Even conservatives in Georgia are alarmed that Broun faces no opposition in the coming election, worried that biblical literalists like Broun make Republicans look less enlightened than Salem witch hunters. This is unfair. Biblical literalists are exactly as enlightened as Salem witch hunters.

So a planet biologist named Jim Leebens-Mack, University of Georgia, started a Facebook page promoting Charles Darwin as a write-in candidate for Broun’s seat. There are a few niggling details that could spoil this cheeky bit of political protest. One, the deadline for write-in candidates has passed. Two, as a British subject, Darwin is not a citizen, much less a resident in the 10th District. Three, and most annoying, he’s dead. Still, after more than 120 years of no brain activity, Darwin is more qualified than Broun to serve on the science committee.

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The Real Ann Coulter?

I have a theory and it goes something like this:

The real Ann Coulter is an old-school, died-in-the-wool, Berkley liberal, and what we have seen for the past decade or more is just an extended piece of performance art, in which she attempts to embody and personify everyone’s worst stereotypes of conservatives.

If that were indeed her goal, she would have succeeded brilliantly. Sadly, she appears to be sincere.

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The Devil’s Malarkey

The Discovery Channel series Curiosity had an episode this past Sunday called “The Devil’s Triangle,” appropriating the more melodramatic name we have for the section of ocean inside the lines connecting Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. It is supposedly the planet’s most voracious region for devouring ships and planes.

The film Close Encounters of the Third Kind opens with a reference to the Triangle’s earliest and most famous victims, the TBM Avengers of Flight 19. They disappeared while flying a training mission out of Pensacola. It is an article of faith among believers that the disappearance of five small Navy bombers in an area known for its unpredictable weather is somehow “mysterious.”

This show actually triggered feelings of nostalgia for me, reminding me of the cheesy documentaries, usually narrated by Rod Serling, that I saw as a child. Only this show had actual experiments instead of just sinister music and Serling’s purple delivery. Continue reading “The Devil’s Malarkey”

Your Imaginary Friend Does Not Believe in Me

Can you spot the logical flaw in this sign?

God, as described by Chistians, Jews, and presumably Muslims, is a non-empirical phenomenon. An atheist’s non-belief does not affect the existence/non-existence of the aforementioned deity, any more than the believer’s faith creates her/his/its existence. God is not Schrödinger’s Cat. There is no box into which we can peek to collapse the probability wave.

Atheists, on the other hand, have a physical reality that is self-evident. Ever heard of/read a book by/seen a man named Richard Dawkins? How about Frank Zappa? Janeane Garafolo? Douglas Adams? Ricky Gervais? Larry King?

Just off the top of my head, I was able to name six people who are, by their own statements (or were when they died), verifiably atheist. They indisputably exist, therefore God’s opinion on the subject is either irrelevant or Pastor Sonny Manuel’s sign is just another example of empty fundamentalist bumper-sticker reasoning.

Of course, the two scenarios are not mutually exclusive.

Stupidity as a Lifestyle Choice

Meet Charlie Fuqua, candidate for the Arkansas State House of Representatives and another self-published writer like myself. I’m assuming he’s self-published, because I would hope that no self-respecting publisher would touch his book, God’s Law.

His e-book is, among other things, a call to return to a more “Biblical” approach to child rearing. To wit:

The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents.

Yes, you read correctly, gentle readers. Mr. Fuqua has suggested that we take disobedient children, strap the little fuckers to gurneys, and pump potassium chloride into their arms. Unless, of course, he’s advocating a truly Old Testament approach and we’re just supposed to stone them to death at the city gates.

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