So….Fun Morning.

The roads were horrid this morning, especially the roads along my delivery route (I have a newspaper delivery route for side income) that travels up the mountain to the local ski lodge.  It honestly appeared as if the plow trucks had done nothing, which most certainly wasn’t true since I kept passing them on my route.  It seems that it was just snowing too fast for the trucks to keep up with, and the temperature range during the storm was apparently perfect for the creation of dangerous roads.  Needless to say, I was overjoyed once I slid my last paper into its tube a mere 4 hours late.  Yes, my normal 2 hour route took me close to 6 this morning, as for all the snow my area has received this year, today saw the worst driving conditions.

Anyway, I called the newspaper quickly to report the 10 papers (a record this winter) that were undeliverable due to road conditions, and started to head home.  Because of the snow and the simple fact that it is a winding road leading up to the highest local elevation, I was making the drive at 20 mph (in a 35 mph zone) with my flashers on because I was going so far under the limit.

Turns out 20 mph was probably too fast for conditions this morning.    Rather than describing it, here is a visual aid:

Untitled

Yeah.  I ended up taking out a newspaper box (like a mail box only for…) right before I hit the embankment.  The paper box left the only mark on my car, a small dent in front of the driver’s side door.  This was literally the only spot on the road where I could hit an embankment instead of ending up in a ditch, or even worse, flipping the car down a hill.  If a car would have been coming the other way, it would have been a bit messy as well.

After catching my breath, checking for damages, and leaving a “I will bring and install a new paper box in the morning” note on the destroyed box, I started to make a three point turn to continue on my way (since a 540 spin finishes with me facing the way I came…).  While I was turning, a Sel-lo heating oil truck, driven apparently by a crack smoking junkie who just sold enough oil under the table to afford a fix, blew past me, very nearly into the side of my car, going close to 50 if not a higher mph.

If I was a believer, I am sure you could guess the direction this post would take:

“It was a miracle!  Forget the starving children, the victims of sexual or physical abuse, the innocents caught in the way of violence, and the large number of people who die in auto accidents each and every day, God saved me, not them!  I’m so special.  God’s chosen.  Suck it, dead people.  Guess God didn’t love you enough to save your life.”

Of course, I’m not a believer, so rather than praising an invisible sky daddy for choosing to save me instead of the countless other possible accident victims today, I took a closer examination of what I am doing with this, my only life.  One thing I think is impossible for believers to understand about atheism from the outside is the immense value the worldview places on life.  We have no reincarnation to act as a reset button, nor an afterlife for us to continue on throughout existence.  This is it, however many years we get on this planet before our body stops working.  Some of us do not even get a day, if an hour, and others live past 110; no matter how you look at it, fair it isn’t.  But no matter how fair or unfair it may be, it is still all that we get.

I can see how someone from the outside could look at this worldview and shiver.  Belief in an afterlife didn’t spring out of nowhere, I can definitely see why many find the belief comforting.  But without an afterlife, each and every minute we are alive gains infinite value.  It is far too easy to forget this fact, to fall into a pattern of watching the days go by as we sleepwalk through our daily routine.  I know that I had fallen into that trap.

My car has a dent from my journey spinning through the snow today.  My car has a dent, and hopefully I have a rekindled appreciation for each and every day I continue to draw breath.

As I said, fun morning.

Have you ever seen a dancing, singing, cartoon labia? Now you have. You are welcome.

Don’t get any ideas, I am still on hiatus.  But I was posting this video to Facebook and my comment got a bit long, so I moved it over here.  First, the video:  (Watch it, it is so worth it.)  From a Swedish children’s program, aimed at 3 to 6 year olds. You don’t need to understand the language to get the message.

 

 

Of course, this could never air in the United States, since by the age of three American children know that the bits under their underwear are naughty, sinful, nasty things that definitely do not sing and dance to catchy tunes, unless that is Satan’s current plan to get kids to look at or touch said bits. By six years of age, US kids should understand that those bits are only to be used by married people, and even then only for procreation, in one position, with neither participant receiving any joy or pleasure from the nasty, dirty, sinful, evil, horrific, monstrous, bad, naughty act.

Of course, they will soon become teenagers and ignore those teachings, deciding instead to imitate what bunny rabbits do when they think no one is watching their cute little floppy ears. But never fear, thanks to abstinence only education, American teens won’t know what they are doing or how to use contraceptives, so not only will it be a sub par experience, but there is a good chance they will be punished for their sin with a baby. (Silly me. I meant to say that it would be a sub par experience for the girl, and she would be punished with a baby. Because the boy doesn’t need to know what he is doing to enjoy the act, and its not like he can get pregnant.) And isn’t that preferable to the Swedish method where kids are given knowledge?

In case you were wondering for some reason, let’s compare the two nations approaches to sex ed, shall we?

Round 1:  % of women who reported giving birth before the age of 20.

You know the United States is going to kick some Swedish ass on this one.  We have abstinence only education and they have…..hell, they probably have sex parties instead of gym class.  Anyway, survey says.…..

  • United States: 22%
  • Sweden: 4%

Wait…..that can’t be right.  I know, Swedish taxes are so high that sperm can’t afford to fertilize the eggs.  That has to be it.  I’m sure we’ll get the next question.

Round 2:  % of women who reported no contraceptive use at  recent intercourse.

Dude, we got this on lock down.  We have abstinence only education in the states, our teens don’t know what contraceptives are, and if they do we’ve taught them that they don’t work, so why bother using them, am I right?  Survey says……

  • United States: 20%
  • Sweden: 7%

Booo-ya!  I told you we would destroy those socialist skiers.  Handed them their asses by 13 percentage poi..What’s that?  We want people to use contraceptives?  So the lower number is better?  Are you sure about that?  That doesn’t sound…You are sure.  Positive?  Positive.  Okay……

Alright, it seems that Sweden wiped the floor with us again.  But so what?  That’s Sweden.  They kick everyone’s ass at everything, as long as tanks aren’t involved.  We probably destroy other nations.  Like the “pregnant before 20″ question.  Sweden is probably an outlier.  Let’s look at the numbers of a few other places:

  • Great Britain: 15%
  • Canada: 11%
  • France: 6%

Oh, what the flying fuck.  Ya know what?  Teenage pregnancy is a good thing, there, we fucking win. 

What about the other question?  I bet the Brits refuse to use condoms, just like us Merikkkans.

  • France: 12%
  • Great Britain: 4%

Ummm.

Look!  Obama’s trying to take your guns!

 

Those who miss my writing and want to see what I am up to while this blog is on hiatus are welcome to come to my Tumblr, With a Trebuchet, to read me writing about A Song of Ice and Fire and the HBO show, Game of Thrones.  If you do stop by, please leave the politics and social issues here.  Thanks, and I will be back once I unburn myself out.  I won’t give a time frame other than this: I will definitely be back to cover the presidential election campaigns.  So even if this turns into a long break, I will be back before the first primary vote is cast.

Point and Laugh, European Edition

I am a firm believer that some beliefs and/or tactics are not only worthy of scorn and ridicule, but they actually require a healthy dose of mockery as the best way to combat them.  While rational argument and debate are normally the best response, for some things you just have to point and laugh.

For example, while I feel intelligent design is sometimes worthy of legitimate debate, if only for the side benefits it brings to the theory of evolution by having scientists examining the theory from every possible angle for any conceivable flaw, young earth creationism is a viewpoint that deserves the “point and laugh” response.  Debating a young earth creationist who has learned debate tactics at the knee of Duane Gish is pointless.  Each of the 100 or so “fatal flaws” in evolutionary theory that he will point out have already been debunked countless times, it is just that while he can make a claim a minute if not more, explaining the actual science and evidence that deals with the point could take hours.  If you try to counter each point, you will not only run out of time, but you will spend all your time dealing with your opponents assertions, allowing him to set the strategy of the debate.  If you ignore his points, audience members unfamiliar with the tactic may think you are hiding something, or that you can not refute his arguments.  That’s why the Gish Gallop is such a devastating effective debate tactic, and why so many intelligent scientists (especially those with no training in public speaking) get eviscerated in debate with a YoungEarther.  Honestly?  The belief in a 6000 year old Earth deserves nothing but outright mockery.  Same with comments about “legitimate” rape, or the belief that gay marriage somehow destroys existing straight marriages.  The denial of humanity caused climate change is teetering on the edge; some people seriously just don’t know the science and it is worth it to at least try to explain the scientific consensus, while the majority of deniers need some ridicule.

For a nice bit of time, I’ve lumped Fox News into the list of things to point and laugh at.  Sure, it has a frighteningly large audience share, but that audience skews very elderly.  Fox News has a distressing influence on US seniors, and seniors vote in large numbers, but hopefully any serious damage a propaganda station masquerading as a legitimate news channel can do to the electorate is limited to members of one generation.  I’d like to imagine that most people, even most Republicans, realize that what they get from Fox may be entertaining but it isn’t news.  It helps my contention immensely when the network spends a whole day talking about “no-go zones” in Europe where non-Muslims fear to tread, areas the police avoid, ruled over by shadowing Sharia courts, with teenagers wearing Osama bin Laden t-shirts enforcing Islamic dress codes, places like Birmingham in the U.K. and several neighborhoods in Paris.

Le Petit Journal on French television agreed with me that some good old fashioned pointing and laughing was in order.

For all the mockery thrown towards Fox News (including British Prime Minister David Cameron’s classic “When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools’ Day,”) some are steadfastly standing up for the existence of “no go zones.”  Seriously, google “no go zone.”  I’ll wait.

As you can see, in addition to the expected Breitbart links (and no thank you, I won’t link to breitbart,) you’ll see that Bobby Jindal apparently did the fear-mongering algebra and decided his only chance with the GOP electorate is to out-Islamophobe the more traditional (read whiter) presidential hopefuls.

Bobby Jindal refused to apologize Wednesday for calling certain areas in Europe “no-go zones” due to influence from fundamentalist Muslims.

Appearing on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” the Louisiana governor, who is eyeing a run for the presidency, reiterated recent comments he’d made in London and to CNN about supposed areas, where “women don’t feel comfortable going in without veils” and “where police are less likely to go in.”

 Something tells me that the 2016 campaign is going to be amazing.

An Apology….

comic5

Je Suis Charlie!

comic1

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comic4……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • I wish to thank stripcreator for the ability to create these comics.  Rather than fully creating them there and risking them taking the comics down, I instead created them and took a screen shot of each, allowing me to post and host them myself. (Also depicting Muhammed and offending potentially dangerous people is my call, not the owner of stripcreator.com.  Seeing how they had multiple clip art pieces of Jesus but this tie wearing guy was the closest I could come to a Muslim has me thinking the owner would rather not offend Muslims.)
  • I wish to thank Eddie Izzard for the term “Jeezie Creezie” and the idea that Jesus hates the nickname.  If I was an artist, these strips also would have featured the Holy Ghost wearing a bed sheet over his head, and babies being put on spikes, both also gems from Eddie.
  • Not one of these three comics are actually meant to be funny.  They are however meant to be offensive.  I am not anti-Islam.  I am not Islamophobic.  Anyone who believes they know the mind of God and knows that other people are wrong and must be enlightened is a problem.  Too many American Christians seem to forget that Christianity was spread with the sword in the past.   Taking writings from over 1000 years ago and trying to literally apply them to our modern society is a recipe for disaster and bloodshed.  The offices of Charlie Hebdo was attacked because someone’s religious beliefs were offended.  People died because someones invisible sky daddy got his fefes hurt.  An invisible sky daddy who is supposedly omnipotent, who could have stopped each employees heart instantly if he so decided that he wanted them dead. If a cartoon drawn by a non-believer causes you so much rage that you not only want said cartoonist dead, but are willing to take the steps needed to make him or her dead, then you need to visit a mental hospital while you consider exactly how impotent your God is that he needs an insane believer to carry out his wishes.
  • If you have gotten this far, you deserve a reward.  Go listen to some good satire.   Here is The Scathing Atheist’s 100th episode, Je Suis Charlie, and here is Cognitive Dissonance’s 201st, Je Suis Charlie.
  • Yes, I realize I misspelled “Muhammad” every previous time on this page.  It is on purpose, just another little attempt at offense.
  • And finally, while I will again state that none of these comics are actually funny, “knick knack paddy whack, give the prophet a bone” is pretty fucking amusing.

We are All French Satirists this Week

As a site that traffics more in snark than cultured high brow discussion, I am choosing to wait rather than mouth off about an on-going crisis.  (Although from following the news, it appears that the hostages are now free and the terrorists either dead or in custody.)  At the same time, I didn’t feel right just ignoring the situation precisely because I traffic more in snark than cultured high brow discussion.  Satirical social critics who refuse to declare religion “off-limits,” of whom I consider myself an insignificant member, open ourselves up to threats of violence from extremist believers of just about every faith.  (Although I admit a death threat coming from an extremist sect of Jainism would be very unlikely.)  Most of us who are critical of religion in a scathing manner have been recipients of a threat or two, most of which are obviously illegitimate.  Some of us have unfortunately been on the receiving end of serious threats (a group I thankfully do not belong to), and have had to cope with not only the fear from the threat, but all the chaos and inconvenience dealing with the threat brings to their lives.

And for some, it is not a threat, but a horrifying reality.  For some, their satirical criticism of religion has cost them their lives.

It is in their memory that the rest of our little club must carry on, with our cartoons or our articles, our skits and our songs, whatever our method of satire may be, refusing to let any religion silence our voices.

Now I am off to camp a certain persons Twitter account, because I can not wait to see how Reza Aslan absolves Islam of any blame this time.

Selena Gomez Mistakes Abu Dhabi Mosque for Slut Walk

In an act that will surely cause the first declared jihad of the new year, American actress/singer Selena Gomez posed for then posted an extremely racy pic to her Instagram account.  The picture, which I must admit, is barely one step above hardcore pornography, has caused outrage, outrage I tell you, among a certain group of Muslims that really need to find better uses of their time.  In addition to the incredibly disrespectful softcore pornography, a group shot was also taken showing a group of young adults smiling, laughing, and generally having fun, something that is strictly forbidden in houses of worship of all faiths.  That bastion of journalism, The Daily Mail, has cataloged some of the reactions.

Commenting on the picture, Alaa Almitwally said: ‘Disrecpectful! It’s a religion place not a place to have fun in, so disappointed.’

and this understated gem:

‘I like Selena Gomez but to have her do something like this makes me no longer a fan.’

While dating Justin Bieber was once Selena’s greatest crime against humanity,  that was always balanced out by her fine work on Wizards of Waverly Place.   Unfortunately, now that WoWP is off the air and Springbreakers (which is either a stunning social critique or exploitative trash, depending on who you ask) is approaching its second anniversary, Selena’s pop culture footprint is limited to the ear-splitting caterwauling her and her manager call music and whatever movie roles she has landed since I stopped paying attention.*  At this point in her career, taking and releasing this explicit picture must have seemed like a great idea, a cross between the “pay attention to me, I’m rich! Here’s a tape of me having sex” brilliance of Paris Hilton and the “When you look at me, I don’t want you to think ‘Disney,’ I want you to think ‘herpes'” raunchiness of Miley Cyrus.  It would get her name in the headlines and help her move away from the Disney princess image all at once.  The problem in this line of thinking is obvious.  Paris Hilton didn’t film herself performing fellatio and then having intercourse while appearing as if she would rather be getting a root canal in a mosque, be it a tourist trap mosque or just your everyday run of the mill mosque.  Miley never twerked over a copy of the Qur’an, nor did she rub up against an Imam, unless Robin Thicke leads a very interesting private life.

While Selena has since deleted the shocking photo from her Instagram page, once something hits the internet it is forever, assuring that millions of repressed men will be furiously masturbating to the huge amount of exposed Gomez flesh, while a similarly repressed, equally creepy contingent will spend their time plotting jihad against her and her family for this affront to their faith.  While I understand how hurtful and obscene my Muslim readership may find this photo, I feel that I must post the photo so everyone can understand the justifiable outrage directed at her and this photo.    To protect those with innocent virgin eyes, I will put the pic after the jump.  Please, if you are under 18, or if you have a weak stomach or delicate sensibilities, do not click through to the picture.
Continue reading →

Hyperbole Much?

I’m not going to say that Salon assistant editor Joanna Rothkopf jumped any toothy aquatic predators with her post this morning at Salon, Anatomy of a 2014 villain: Bill Maher, but I will suggest that the fish is smacking its gums in anticipation, the water skis are waxed, and the boat is revving up its engine.

Don’t get me wrong here.  I think it is perfectly acceptable for liberals and progressives to disagree on certain issues.  Lasting solutions do not come from a bunch of people nodding along in unison, they come from argument and debate, from conflict, as each side pokes holes in the ideas of the others until something survives the process.  We can even disagree about Islam.  It is an open question how much of the turmoil in many Islamic majority nations can be attributed to religion versus secular issues such as poor economic prospects, a western super power that insists on sticking its nose, violently more often than not, into the nations attempts at self determination, and multiple other issues that would turn this into even more of a run on sentence than it is already.  I personally think anyone who would deny the effects of US intervention and other secular issues and blame Islam as the only problem in the region sound as completely out of touch as Rene Aslan does when he says, “Islam doesn’t promote violence or peace. Islam is just a religion, and like every religion in the world, it depends on what you bring to it. If you’re a violent person, your Islam, your Judaism, your Christianity, your Hinduism, is going to be violent.”

I’m not going to turn this post into an argument indicting Islam or any other religion.  You know my feelings on the issue by now; Islam is not the problem, religion is the problem.  As much as you want to argue against it, the fundamentalists of any religion are closer to the original doctrine than the majority of moderate believers who have sacrificed a myriad of beliefs in order to live in our 21st century societies.  Only time will tell if the current resurgence of fundamentalism is just its final death throes or the beginning of a revolution returning the world to a more original faith.  You can question their true intentions all that you want, you can assume they were already violent individuals if it makes you sleep better at night, but you can not deny that whether the act is the bombing of an abortion clinic, the execution of a doctor at a church service, the peppering of a girl with bullets as she rides a bus, the taking of sex slaves, or the decapitation of western journalists, religion is held up as the justification.  FGM, the denial of education for women, the denial of driving rights to women, the punishment of rape victims, and the practice of honor killing all lack secular justification, and still exist because of religion.

As we end a year that included horrific school shootings, an apparent open season on young black males for those carrying a badge, a crisis in Russia that is ignored by the vast majority of Americans, the continuation of the War against Women, a political party using a disease that shut down multiple African nations as a scare tactic to gain political capital, a midterm election where a small percentage of the electorate voted a party into power that is against all the issues that same electorate supports in public opinion polls, a “news” channel that continues to straight up lie to their viewers with no consequences, and the actions of ISIS, terrorizing the citizens of territory they take control of , killing Westerners publicly, and luring the United States into yet another air campaign sure to lead to unforeseen consequence, just to name a small smattering of the non-good news of the year, Joanna Rothkopf pens a piece calling a comedian a “villian” for having a view on Islam that dares to place some of the blame for the atrocities committed in the name of Allah at the feet of the religion.

I fell for another shameless Salon clickbait article.  Sadly, it seems that the majority of posts there nowadays are of the clickbait variety.  I once loved my visits to Salon.  Now, someone will have to let me know if Joanna follows through in her attempt to leap a large relative of the stingray.  I’ll find someplace else for my progressive viewpoints.

Belated Gift Idea….

Buy Rachael Lark’s Christmas Album.

Enjoy family time.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Terrific Thursday!

 

Remember, There is No “War on Women”

I give you Missouri state rep Rick Brattin (Guess what party)  proposing a bill with the following language:

“No abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion.”

Cause women?  Fuck ‘em.  Amirite?

There is an exception for rape, which I guess is nice.  I mean, sure, the law lets an ex-boyfriend force a woman to carry a child to term out of spite if he so desires, but at least it doesn’t give rapists the same power.  Let’s see what Rep. Brattin has to say about the exception, keeping in mind that no Republican would ever use the term “legitimate rape” again after Todd Akin.

“Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it,” Brattin tells Mother Jones. “So you couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped’ and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape.”

Seriously?  How fucking stupid does a politician have to be to place the word “rape” following the word “legitimate” in any sentence that is not “Don’t worry team, I’m not stupid enough to say ‘legitimate rape.'”

I love it when people who have no chance of ever dealing with an unwanted pregnancy feel qualified to place restrictions on a woman’s right to control her own body.  It is even better when the restriction in question is obtaining the consent of another individual who has no chance of ever becoming pregnant.

I’m not saying that having a uterus should be a requirement for an individual to regulate or restrict abortion, but….

Okay, maybe I am saying that.

I’m definitely saying that I have no right to say what a woman should do with her own reproductive system, no matter what my personal thoughts on abortion happen to be.

 

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