Monday, May 17, 2010

Jon Stewart - The "real" America

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Rachel Maddow gives commencement address at Smith College

From Crooks and Liars:

Scott Coen of Mass Live gives the details:

Under a picture perfect blue sky the 2010 Smith College graduates were treated to the musings of MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow.

Now an institution of higher learning like Smith College never needs to settle for a commencement speaker, and this year the 'Smithies' didn't settle on Rachel Maddow.

Maddow, who still lives in the Pioneer Valley, is in a higher education class all by herself.

Rachel graduated from Stanford with a degree in public policy, she's a Rhodes Scholar who earned an Oxford PhD in politics. On any college campus Rachel Maddow would be described as the real deal.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Where do we go for answers?

[Note: We most emphatically DO NOT trust in any god!]

So where do we go for answers?

When we need facts, unbiased information, technical data, the TRUTH in so far as we can know it:

Where do we go to learn about our world?

Where do we go to learn about the people of the world - the history, cultures, beliefs, and particular practices of these people?

Where do we go to learn of biology, anthropology, psychology, anatomy?

Where do we go to learn of math in all its varied forms?

Where do we go to learn about our historical underpinnings?

Where do we go to learn of the universe, the cosmos, the stars, the beginning of life?

When we need something done, to whom do we turn?

When we seek to discover new drugs and new cures to treat the various ailments that afflict the human race, to whom do we turn?

When we need to develop new machines, new computers, new medical equipment, to whom do we turn?

When we look to create a world in which human beings can live in peace and harmony, to whom do we turn?

We do not turn to religion, or religious leaders for any of these things.

Religion and the perpetrators of the various religions have, down through human history, consistently and insistently fought knowledge and truth, sometimes viciously, for knowledge and truth always poses a threat to the "magic" they dispense and thus threaten to undo the hold they have over their followers!

Religions and religious leaders have consistently fought scientific discoveries, medical discoveries, life-saving discoveries.

Religions and religious leaders have been more war-mongers than peace-makers.

When we need answers; when we need those things vital for our survival, we do not turn to the religions. We do not go to the priest, the minister, or the holy books.

We turn to the scientists and the rationalist thinkers of the world.

Religion has been superfluous to our needs and desires for many years.
There is no more need for a "god of the gaps."

There are no answers in the Bible or the Koran or any other holy book. There is merely ancient confusion and ignorance coupled with religious malarkey which is not only irrelevant to life today but inimical to a life lived well. We don't go to our religious leaders when we are looking for answers about things that really matter because they don't have any answers; they don't even want to know the questions!

And all of this really bugs the right-wing, fundamentalist christianist wingnuts! Our so-called "Founding Fathers," which they love to refer to as "Christians," deliberately left out any mention of the Christian deity or the Christian bible in our founding documents. They didn't base our laws on the "Ten Commands." They knew that religion (particularly the Christian religion) and the holy books had no answers to the questions raised in putting together a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

One final example: there may be some, especially along the Gulf coast, who are trying to pray away the oil spill created by the incredible incompetence and greed that drives the oil industry, but most of us know that such prayers are spitting into the wind. What we need is the best science, the best technology, the strongest materials, the greatest minds to deal with the problem.

Religion has no answers; its priests and ministers have no answers; there is nothing in their holy books about capping oil wells.

The irony is that all of our knowledge and technical skills may be inadequate to stop Mother Nature from blowing her top (or bottom)!

Holey Moley!


Click on the cartoon to enlarge.

Thanks to Atheist Cartoons.

I'm So Goddamn Happy...

This is a guest post by R J Evans at American Heathen®

(Editorial Comment from the American Heathen® radio show – Air Date 04/30/10)

I’m so goddamned happy! My life is full, exciting, challenging. It has its ups and downs, good times and bad times. It’s an adventure laced with moments of raw emotion and jam-packed with intellectual stimulation and wonder. I’m so goddamned happy… I have a wonderful wife, and a few really good friends. I’m so goddamned happy… I enjoy health, wellbeing, and do not fear death. I embrace the inevitable and live in the moment, never the care for what will be, but for what is. I’m so goddamned happy… For all their condemnation and vitriol… for all their prayers for my salvation… for all their fear of reality… my goddamn happiness is what christians can’t resolve. Why? Because I’m Atheist and I’m goddamned happy!

I always wonder what it is in the christian mindset that precludes them from understanding that Atheists can be goddamn happy. They insist that we must be miserable, without purpose, loathing life and angry at the skydaddy. In their confusion, they pray for us, wistfully hoping for our capitulation to dogma, and ultimately a life of servitude, guilt, shame and misery. They can’t stand the fact that goddamn happiness doesn’t truly exist in their alternate reality. Bound by the slavery of religion, bound tightly by the shackles of humility in the shadow of myth, christians crave company. And, indeed, misery does love company. Therefore it severely ruffles the feathers of christians when an Atheist steps boldly into the batters box and hits a grand slam into the bleachers of goddamn happiness.

“RJ! You’re deceived by the devil! You aren’t really happy! You’re living a lie! Really! You’re living life selfishly, and for all the wrong reasons!” Ahhhh… the Jesedi mind trick! I see. I’m deceived by a myth, created by your skydaddy myth? I’m not really goddamn happy when I smile, laugh, soak up the sun, admire the moonlit sky, the stars? I’m not really goddamn happy when I stand in awe of the power, simplicity, and complexity of nature? I’m selfish even though I know and show compassion, empathy and sympathy? I’m selfish even though I give when I can, and expect nothing, nor care for, anything in return? Wow! What part of my goddamn happiness do they not understand?

Skydaddy belief is the equivalent of a small, immature child needing parental guidance. It is fear of the big bad world which manifests itself so clearly in christianity. But, instead of parental fears, (an impossibility in this case) the child (i.e. the christian) is afraid to grow up. Clinging to it’s skydaddy’s ankle (or mother Mary’s bosom if they are catholic), the christian never grows past the terrible two’s. Forever dependent, forever afraid, forever living life in a high chair, the christian becomes a permanent resident, latch key kid in skydaddy daycare. Occasionally they’ll change their own diaper (read denomination) when the shit (read doctrine) gets too stinky, mushy, and intolerable, but they never get to the toilet training (i.e. making conscious, reasoned, logical decisions and trusting in themselves). So, they wander through life, miserable in their squishy diapers, snot dripping from their nose, food all over their face, crying, whining, pouting, throwing fits… How happy can they be?

But, I’m so goddamn happy… I’m reminded of several lines of a rock anthem from the 70′s that best describes my journey from belief to non-belief, and my arrival at my goddamn happiness. From Alice Coopers “I’m Eighteen”…

“I got a baby’s brain and an old man’s heart. Took eighteen years to get this far. Don’t always know what I’m talkin’ about. Feels like I’m livin in the middle of doubt. Cause I’m…Eighteen, I get confused every day
Eighteen, I just don’t know what to say. Eighteen,I gotta get away…

Lines form on my face and my hands. Lines form on the left and right. I’m in the middle the middle of life
I’m a boy and I’m a man. I’m eighteen and I LIKE IT. Yes I like it. Oh I like it. Love it. Like it”

… because I’m so goddamned happy… that I grew up.

Palin - pissy and whiny in Arizona

Arizona's new anti-immigration law is just fine according to the once-upon-a-time governor of Alaska, Ms. Prissy Palin. She appeared with Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, at a news conference yesterday to defend this legal mishmash which will, according to many people, lead to racial profiling.

So far as I understand it, if an Arizona copper thinks you looks suspicious, he/she can stop you to determine if you are in Arizona legally or illegally. If he/she is convinced you are not legal, you can be arrested and deported. Just like that.

It's curious why Palin and her pack of perverted supporters want to pick on illegals and other folks on the bottom rungs of society. Are they afraid these powerless people, scraping out a barely sustainable existence are a threat to them?

One hundred and fifty years ago they would have probably led the charge against the Irish and the Swedes and the Germans and all those other nogoodniks who made their way to our shores to do the jobs that nobody else wanted to do. But then if you make $12 million a year running around the country spouting nonsense and writing books that every literate person laughs at, you can afford to take pot shots at the poor.

But the point of all this is that Palin proclaimed Arizona's law is Obama's fault! Yup! That goddamn Muslim in the White House is the reason that some damn fools in Arizona (including the governor) passed and signed this law into existence.

How can that be, you ask? Well, poor Arizona had to pass the law because the federal guv'mint ain't done its job! "Secure our borders, Mr. President," cried Ms. Palin.

Of course, in the eyes of Ms. Palin, noted airhead, failed governor and former beauty queen, the lack of a coherent immigration policy is Obama's fault alone. The Repugs in Congress whose only reason for existence is to make Obama fail, have no responsibility for reworking our immigration policies in Palin's eyes. Furthermore, the thought that our country is currently facing other very severe problems created by these same Repugs and the party of Palin would never enter Palin's head.'s Obama's fault!

With regard to Arizona's immigration law, someone should ask Ms. Pissy & Whiny, a dedicated believer in Jesus and the end times, what would Jesus do? The reason being, of course, that Arizona's draconian and illegal anti-immigration law is not Obama's fault at all. It's Jesus' fault! Yup! According to those fiction writers who created the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus went around taking care of the poor and needy, the outcasts of society. He even said rich people weren't gonna get into heaven. Oh, oh! Watch out Palin! You're heading for the flaming plains of hell!

You can read more on Palin's pissiness and whininess, here.