From Jon Perr PERRspectives:
On April 15th, Congressional Republicans missed their deadline for the fiscal year 2016 budget resolution. Nevertheless, and despite their differences on defense spending and the voucherization of Medicare (absent from the Senate bill), the GOP conferees aim to balance the budget in 10 years by slashing over $5 trillion in social programs and safety net spending, including the repeal of Obamacare. (Their plans are also magically aided by $2 trillion in mythical revenues and mystery savings.)
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The burden of carrying about blackness in this country is one that seems to compound exponentially as times goes on if you let it. The state of being “in a rage all the time” as James Baldwin said is something that comes with a tax; there is a price to pay. Relationships suffer, isolation sets in.
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Sites like Republic of Gilead and Right Wing Watch perform a very valuable service in reporting and analyzing what "the other side" in the struggle for America's future is saying and thinking, and I rely on them a good deal for that purpose. However, I also have a firm belief that to truly understand an ideology and its adherents, one must read them in their own words, unmediated by any paraphrasing or interpretation by one's own side.
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Infidel, if I may ask a sincere question… do you feel discriminated against or marginalized because of your unbelief? If so, may I ask how so? I am truly trying to find out, because I do not want to be a part of those that discriminate against others simply because they believe differently than I do. I have not noticed others in my daily life that treat unbelievers differently from others. Perhaps this is simply because I have been oblivious to it.
- T. Paine, April 27, 2015
I hope you won't mind my answering a question directed at someone else.
"do you feel discriminated against or marginalized because of your unbelief?"
I haven't encountered discrimination, but I also don't find myself in many situations where people both (1) know that I am an atheist and (2) have an opportunity to discriminate against me. If one wants to find genuine cases of discrimination against atheists, he can just use a search engine.
Marginalization? Certainly. Prominent members of my government, popular religious groups, and popular media describe my kind in harsh terms. Polling finds that the public regards us as untrustworthy. Unlike openly Christian candidates, openly atheist ones are not likely to be elected. I don't feel that (still uncommon) fictional portrayals of atheists tend to be very positive. Those members of my family that know of my beliefs think of them as a mistake and just a phase--and those who don't know of them would be no more understanding. I feel out of place in events with typically religious undertones that I am expected to attend, like weddings, funerals, and baptisms.
Marginalization is a broad term. Some of it is relatively serious and worth fighting. Some of it is just a natural but unpleasant consequence of being an atheist or just a non-Christian in a largely Christian country. Some of it is just my own feelings as a sort of outsider.
I am fairly happy with how things are. In those areas that need improvement, I believe that we will see positive change in the future, both near and distant, as the non-religious grow in number and the religious are more exposed to us. But I also believe that this should not be taken for granted, so when I hear the Religious Right go on about us or about how our country can't succeed without the Bible's guidance, I bear it in mind when it's election time.
"Within a generation, if this continues, I would not be able to continue to espouse my religious principles and core values without it being labeled as illegal hate speech."
Illegal hate speech? Evidence, please. People will increasingly find it hateful, as they have for racist and sexist remarks, but it's still a leap to "illegal hate speech"--especially within a generation.
Please visit Ryan at Secular Ethics.
Infidel, if I may ask a sincere question… do you feel discriminated against or marginalized because of your unbelief?
Marginalized, definitely. It's only relatively recently that it's become socially acceptable to be known as an atheist. My atheism never comes up in situations like work or housing; if it had, I might well have been discriminated against. I've certainly been harassed by proselytizing busybodies from time to time. And I've lived all my life in the San Francisco and Portland areas. Most of the country is worse.
Gay people are still routinely beaten and killed. I've known people who have been victims of violence, and again, a few decades ago when Christianity and the bigotry it generates were more pervasive, such things were much more common. Until 2003 homosexuality was actually forbidden by law in several states.
If the rabid morass of hatred and insanity which the Republican party has become ever gets control of the Presidency and the Supreme Court as well as Congress, things will certainly get much worse. As I said, they very blatantly proclaim their intent to make me a second-class citizen in my own country. They want to consecrate the lie that the US is a "Christian nation" and roll back the progress toward legal equality that gays have achieved.
This is not the kind of thing it's appropriate to ask me to have polite debates about. This is war. The Republican party as it exists today has made itself the mortal enemy of me and everybody like me. It has to be fought against and defeated. Period.
As for Hillary, at last count seven Republican-led investigations of Benghazi found no wrongdoing. These supposed scandals are as fictional as the Gospels. I have no reason to think anything else the wingnuts say about her any substance either.
Please visit Infidel at Infidel753.
From PZ Myers at Pharyngula:
There actually exists a book called 25 Ways To Communicate Respect To Your Husband. It’s got nothing but good reviews on Amazon, and also I read this summary of the 25 ways, and I’m thinking now that I need to buy the book.
Not for my wife, of course, but for me.
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From The Moderate Voice:
Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, Pa., was found to be in contempt of court, Thursday, and fined $1,000.
Her offense? She tells the truth.
Truth is something that apparently has bypassed the court of Judge Kenneth W. Seamans, who retired at the end of 2014, but came out of retirement to handle this case.
The case began in October 2013.
Scroggins, a retired real estate agent and nurse’s aide, was in Common Pleas Court to explain why a temporary injunction should not be issued against her. That injunction would require her to stay at least 150 feet from all properties where Cabot Oil and Gas had leased mineral rights, even if that distance was on public property.
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From Michael J.W. Stickings at The Reaction:
There isn't much about the Kardashians and their bubble of cultural degradation and egomaniacal excess that I respect, but I do respect Bruce Jenner's decision, if one can even call it that, to come out as a woman (he is still a "he" for now, but he says that he is a woman, and the "he" may soon become "she"), that is, his courageous coming to terms with, and acceptance of, his sexual identity. Even now, in 2015, it is not an easy thing to do, in private let alone in public, where you subject yourself to speculation and ridicule, if not worse, as much as to admiration and respect.
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From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:
Bloomberg Politics broke the story: The House committee investigating Benghazi is planning on dragging its feet long enough so it can dump its report right into the middle of the presidential campaign next year. Meanwhile, the committee reportedly plans to hold two public hearings next month with Hillary Clinton as the guest of honor.
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From Tim's Thoughtful Spot:
"Laws are to govern all alike -- those opposed as well as those who favor them." -- President Ulysses S. Grant, March 4, 1869
Reconstruction meant a lot of things.
Politically, it meant the re-integration of the Union. Physically, it literally meant the re-construction of cities, rail lines, and other infrastructure that had been blasted to rubble. It had many other meanings as well, so many that it's probably a hopeless task to cover it in one, two, or a hundred essays. The fact that it's still a matter of contention a century and a half later should tell you how complicated and convoluted a matter it is.
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Tommy Christopher, at the Daily Banter, analyzes the ongoing disagreement on trade policy between Senator Elizabeth Warren and President Obama. Everyone has strength and weaknesses. Tommy concludes that President Obama is telling the truth. In this case, Senator Warren has ...well... other strengths.
We can't trust Iran.
We are in a simmering war.
We need to take a harder stand.
We should not be negotiating. We should be in battle.
Where have we heard all this before?
Those of us who have lived long enough might remember word-for-word.
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Thoughtful, point by point
From Ryan at Secular Ethics:
Claim 1: “Forcing me to serve gays violates my religious liberty.”
My response: I’m not aware of a religion that commands, “Thou must not serve sinners.” It’s certainly not a part of Christianity. If it were, then no one could be served. If you want to discriminate against gay people, but not against other groups of people who are sinners according to your religion, then you are morally and religiously inconsistent. You might be able to claim that your religion condemns homosexuality, but your inconsistent behavior reveals that something other than your god or holy book is guiding you.
Claim 2: “I should have the right to serve or not serve whomever I please for whatever reason.”
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A Cool Life !! See the video - - -
From Good Magazine:
During the Harlem Renaissance, Alice Barker was dancing at historic clubs for filmed movies, television and commercials. Somehow, Alice made it to 102 years of age without ever seeing anything she danced in.
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This was kind of fun to read.
From Dog Bless Us One And All:
The republican party is busy refining their process to select a new “Main Guy” (and what, do you think that a woman would have a chance with them?) for their 2016 presidential campaign, and in doing this they are going to try creating a sporting image for the party. It’s said that for obvious reasons this contest will be known as the “Low Hurdles”.
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In response to Burr Deming's What the Iran Agreement Borrows from JFK
The verification demanded by the United States once more demonstrates the distrust that is a prerequisite to an arms limitation agreement. We don't make such agreements with those we trust. We have no similar agreements with Canada or Great Britain.
The fact that a few voices in Iran mischaracterize the agreement does not change that fact. If Iran violates the terms as we understand them, the agreement will cease to exist. And Iran knows it.
The primary objection by conservatives today is identical to that of 1963. Iran cannot be trusted.
That, the more obtuse of my conservative friends, is the only reason to have an agreement.
- Burr Deming, April 21, 2015
Burr, your posting brings up a really good point and I would tend to agree with you -- if Iran were like the Soviet Union. While the United States and the Soviet Union both were highly motivated to try and reign things back after the Cuban missile crisis that nearly brought us to the brink of mutual annihilation, the same cannot be said for many of the Mullahs and leaders of the Iranian government.
The thought of mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent to many in Iranian power as it was to the Soviet politburo and people. Many Iranians are extreme adherents to Shia Islam. They truly believe that dying a martyr’s death while destroying one’s enemies will result in their immediate assumption into paradise. This is why death does not have the same sting to them as it would to many of us in the western world. A wretched life living under Sharia law can be escaped by one martyring himself in a homicide bombing of Allah’s enemies.
Iran is floating on a sea of oil. They don’t need nuclear technology for power, as they once claimed. They need it to destroy Israel, as their former President Ahmadinejad proclaimed publically. The don’t care if Israel or the United States were to retaliate for their nuclear strike. This would simply hasten the return of the twelfth imam, their messiah, to unite the entire world under one Islamic caliphate.
While that may seem crazy to many of us in the West, it is an absolute matter of faith and unquestionable belief for many Iranians – particularly those in power. This oral deal we have “agreed” to with Iran does nothing more than slow down Iran’s nuclear weapons process so that they might obtain a weapon in a decade, instead of a year. Does that really sound like a worthwhile treaty to you?
We cannot simply negotiate with Iran and assume that they have the same mind-set and respect for life that we do. Or that the Soviet Union did. This is an exceptionally dangerous idea and we have only to listen to their rhetoric to know what they will eventually do, if they are allowed to continue down this path. Let’s not make it a path they can proceed down with our blessing.
T. Paine is a longtime friend, a frequent contributor, and a tenacious advocate for conservative points of view.
He also writes for his own site, where trust is rampant, verification is unneeded, and negotiation is not not wanted. Please visit Saving Common Sense.
Have you ever felt like doing this?
From NBC News:
It's the "Dirty Harry" version of tech support. A Colorado Springs man was hit with a municipal violation after he ended a long-running battle with an uncooperative computer by blasting it eight times with a handgun Monday, police said.
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Hillary Clinton is now officially in the 2016 Presidential race, and will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee. And we're lucky to have her. She can do the job, she can do the job right -- and, critically, she can get the job. She can beat the Republicans.
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From Human Voices:
The world we all take to be true isn't the real world and you don't have to be a Taoist to know it. The real world is what we see in advertising and it's hard to find anything we hear or see that isn't in part or wholly a marketing venture. The things we least need but spend too much money on are the things we seek to define ourselves with because image is everything, what's under the hood means nothing.
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An article by our favorite conservative -
From T. Paine at Saving Common Sense:
There seems to be a lot of overblown and heated rhetoric in the news recently pitting gay rights against religious rights, thanks to an irresponsible media whipping up stories where none really existed. Let’s look at two theoretical scenarios of just how such issues could play out.
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From Tommy Christopher of The Daily Banter:
If you’ve been on your computer or watched cable news in the past 24 hours, you probably know who Britt McHenry is by now. The ESPN sideline reporter is starring in the most popular video on the internet not to feature the line “Chewie, we’re home,” and reaping the consequences.
In case you missed it, McHenry went to an impound lot last week after her car had been towed, and fired a stream of privileged invective at the attendant that would make Better Call Saul‘s Jimmy McGill blush.
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