Sep 18, 2013

Rally for Science, in Texas, Results in Sign that Made Me Chuckle.

Yesterday, hundreds of Texans, including People For the American Way members and members of Texas Freedom Network, rallied at the Texas State Board of Education hearing to stand up for science and keep religious creationism out of biology textbooks.

I think that is awesome, but mostly I like this guy's sign.

Sep 11, 2013

My Increasing Love for Urban Wildlife

Story of the day! (This is not a thing, don’t get your hopes up).

Turns out I missed the part of school where I was supposed to learn to write humorous creative non-fiction. That being said, I had something happen to me that I felt was blog worthy. If this is unbearable let me know and I'll go back to complaining about things but I'm hoping at least one person finds it entertaining. Also, this story is true but it happened almost 2 months ago now.

I had to go to the post office this morning because a bill had gotten lost in the mail and was significantly past due. The post office is about 7 or 8 blocks away from where I work and I needed to go quickly and get back so I could prepare for a meeting. So with only 2 or so blocks to go I am stopped at a normally busy intersection. Normally busy, but at 7:45 in the morning it was completely devoid of cars. Stressed because of the rush and the late bill, but also feeling pretty good because of my new pink shirt and grey wool tie I was wearing, I contemplated the red hand that stared at me from across the street.

Pedestrians in Seattle seem to follow traffic laws when they feel like it. Most use the cross walk and wait their turn, unless of course they don’t want to or are in a hurry. It’s not that we don’t want to obey the rules and so we do most of the time, but we draw the line at our own inconvenience. I could very well be wrong about this, but it is how I myself feel about traffic laws and from my observation most Seattlites share my lack of strong conviction.

I decided to cross the street probably because I was in a hurry and, there weren't any cars. A couple of people decided to follow my example but not till I was a couple of yards ahead of them. Out of nowhere a motorcycle cop pulled up in front of me and blocked my path. Where did he come from you ask? Not sure, but I was surprised how quickly and how close he came to me in his motorcycle. (I wondered then and still do now, if his pulling in front of me on a motorcycle was actually more dangerous than me crossing the road when I wasn't supposed to).

(correct intersection, but bad angle and not the same motorcycle)

I was then asked by Officer Chin, a 5'5" Asian SPD officer in a snappy clean blue uniform, if I could see the orange do not walk hand. He didn't ask if I had seen the sign, but if I could see it. I guess I could have been blind, but wearing no glasses and having no cane it felt significantly more like being shamed than being asked a serious question. Of course I responded yes. I kind of wish I had said something else, anything else really, but authority makes me nervous. When confronted by authority I automatically comply with any and all instructions like a shamed puppy.

Officer Chin muttered something under his breath about there being too many accidents here. He then turns on the lights on his bike and pulls me over.

I got pulled over by a motorcycle cop... while walking.

And he felt it necessary to put his damn lights on and thereby announce to the world that I was an idiot.

Being self-conscience and wonderfully insecure, I was horribly embarrassed. Being publicly shamed on one of the most pedestrian heavy corners in Seattle is not great. Don't recommend it.

Now on the sidewalk I gave Officer Chin my ID and he started writing out my ticket in silence. Frustrated that I was being punished for something as insignificant as jaywalking, I eyed Officer Chin hoping that my ticket would be small.

Then the unexpected happened. In fact, it was so amazing and unexpected that the ticket was almost worth it.

A pigeon shat all over Officer Chin.

It got his shoulder, his arm, the front of his uniform and his shoe.

Barely keeping myself from laughing in his face I take a step back and try not to stare. Officer Chin looks pissed and takes an inadequate slight step to his right. Not 20 seconds later a pigeon shat on him again. The damage was equally extensive as the first strike.

This wasn't a small smudge but enough bird shit to realize what it is from a significant distance. It was past the easily cleanable level. It required washing. That made it so much better.

Officer Chin was obviously perturbed. I was dying inside. It was virtually impossible for me to contain my luck. True, I did get a $56 ticket that for some ass backwards reason goes on my driving record (jaywalking is considered a traffic violation here). On the other hand, I was given immediate and amazingly satisfying revenge without having to lift a finger. It is the kind of story that one reads in a David Sedaris book or hears on This American Life but don't think will ever happen to you. OK maybe it's not, but I'm gonna pretend it's that good.

One question still bothers me though. What does a police officer do if they get bird shit all over their uniform? Does he have to go back to the station and change or does he try to wash it off and after failing, walk around with a now wet and bird stained uniform for the rest of his shift? Either is fantastic.

I like to think about all the times he ran into a fellow officer and had to tell the story. He almost certainly described me as young, entitled and irresponsible. Frankly, he's probably right. Whatever, I just hope he also described me as a well dressed young professional instead of as a dumbass kid in a pink shirt.

OK now its the summing up, moral of the story part. (Cue music with partially relevant lyrics and JD's end of episode monologue voice).

At the end of the day, I guess this is yet another example of why you've got to obey the white man.

Or maybe just that pigeons are awesome.

Aug 28, 2013

Why do we care about Snowden?

I wrote this a few weeks back when Snowden was all over the internet. I forgot about it and now it is behind the times. I'm posting it anyway. If you've forgotten who Snowden is already go Google him for a minute and then come back.

Am I the only liberal who doesn't think that Edward Snowden is a hero? Am I the only democrat who heard about the NSA scandal and thought that it was simply no big deal? I’m not even sure it is that partisan. There has been so much support for Snowden across the internet and the only people I hear condemning him are politicians, FBI, NSA, etc. which is expected. But does Snowden really deserve folk-hero status?

I admittedly am not very well informed but what I do know is this: if you have even glanced over what the Patriot Act does and have watched Enemy of the State then I have no idea why anyone is incensed. We all really should have known that the Patriot Act virtually guaranteed this kind of spying. It is my understanding that Title II of the Patriot Act gives federal agencies the right to search just about anything they want, whenever they want, using just about any means they could want. That may be slightly exaggerated. But probably not by much. Who wants to bet that congress will find the NSA's actions legal under the Patriot Act?

If you've watched Enemy of the State you know that everything anyone ever does is being recorded and will eventually be used to ruin their lives. I’m just kidding. I’m not paranoid. But seriously, if you've watched that movie and then are surprised that the NSA is tapping phones I don’t really understand.

The NSA phone scandal shouldn't be a scandal. We really should have assumed they were doing this and so much more a long time ago, and if we are obviously not really worried about it. If we were, we would try to do something about the Patriot Act.

Snowden isn't a hero. He is a guy who actually did risk compromising US security to “reveal” something to the public that they should have already known. This scandal is almost certainly going to result in a couple of people getting fired and very little else. I expect no change in policy, no change in law, no prison sentences (apart from Snowden of course), and little to no change in public opinion.

And that is the only interesting thing about this scandal to me. Public opinion seems to be that the NSA should not spy on people. Well maybe policy and law should be changed to reflect the opinions of the people.

You may have noticed that I haven't actually taken a stand against the NSA spying on people. Mostly because I don’t think it is nearly as big a deal as so many people are making it out to be. Personally, I don’t care if the NSA spies on everyone. It isn't something that worries me about our government. What I do think however is that we should be thinking more about the will of the people than anything else.

The people obviously don’t want to be spied on. We have an Act that allows the government to spy on the people. Maybe the people should affect the government in such a way as to cause the changes they desire. Frankly that doesn't seem very likely. Maybe the government we have already voted in should spend some time listening to the desires of its people.

Either way, this shouldn't have been a scandal, because it isn't a surprise and is barely stretching a document that significantly affects the freedoms of US citizens. If we insist on making this into a scandal, let’s not praise the idiot who may have actually harmed national security and has effectively made the rest of his own life hell. And if we really must have something to have a scandal over, how about weighing the public’s reactions against that of elected officials. If we elect them to do what we want and their reaction is so very different from what we want, maybe WE the PEOPLE should do something about that. No NRA gun nuts I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to everyone. STOP VOTING FOR POLITICIANS WHO DON’T DO WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT.

According to a recent Gallup poll Congress’s approval is now down to its lowest ever at 10%. A lot of these people have been elected for term, after term, after term. At some point we have to realize that we are responsible for Congress’s approval rating. We have to vote different people into office. If we do, then perhaps we can change the Patriot Act or stop the NSA spying on us. I may very well be wrong about all of this, but I think the burden of this scandal falls on the voters. That is, if the voters still have the power to elect representative persons who, to the best of their ability, obey the will of the people. (The cynical side of me says that if our government ever worked that way, that time has come and gone).

Don’t blame the NSA or the administration or the Republicans or Democrats or even the Tea Party. We the people elected congress. Congress passed the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act allows the NSA to spy on who they will. BUT, we the people can vote to change who is in congress. This NSA scandal is our fault. If people want it to change they are going to have to do some work. I’m not talking about complaining on the internet with clever memes about how bad the NSA is or how good Snowden is.

What if we actually start considering who we vote for? I’m talking about demanding that our congress persons listen to the people for fear they won’t be reelected and then following through. We have a system that should provide us with representation. If we aren't being represented we should do something about that.

This scandal shouldn't have anything to do with Snowden. This scandal should be about the fact that U.S. citizens don't trust their government and that our government doesn't seem to care. This scandal should be about the fact that we don't approve of our representatives. But the real scandal in all of this is that we'd rather sit back, point weak and harmless fingers at the government, watch one guy get the fame and take the fall, and do nothing rather than engage in our own political process.

Here are some resources:

Aug 12, 2013

Click thy mouse and follow me

Hey! There has to be more than one of you that are repeat readers of my blog. You should follow it! That way you get email updates when I post and my one lonely follower will have more company. So, if you have read my blog more than once and found it even slightly interesting FOLLOW IT. You'll only regret it a little.

Thanks I appreciate it.

God sends spammers straight to Hell!

So I got really excited to day because my hits were through the roof. Then I discovered that I have been targeted by a site by the name of vampirestat. I have over 80 hits today just from them. They generate a lot of hits on your blog in order to trick you into putting their links on your page and then they give you and your readers malware etc. So FUCK those guys. They are spamming, phishing, malware assholes and they got me all excited. So again, FUCK those guys.

EDIT: Oh and adsensewatchdog. They do the same thing FUCK those guys too.

Just as an FYI. I am always interested in reading new blogs and if you want me to give a shout out and link to your blog send me a link and I’ll check it out. Also, I am totally happy to post guest written things. If you want to write something somewhere else besides your own blog or Facebook etc. let me know and we can connect.

Atheists in the Military

I posted this on Facebook a couple days ago, and I got some but not a whole lot of reaction from it. I’m interested in finding out if people disagree with this article and if so why?
Here’s a link here and there is another one down below:

This is the preface I put on the article on Facebook.

So everyone probably knows how big I am on separation of church and state. (I know the specific phrase isn’t in the constitution, I know where it came from, and no, I don’t want to argue over which founding father said what about religion and politics).

This is one of those places where they have been linked inappropriately. 
Think what you will, but please bear in mind that EVERY citizen has just as much right not to believe in God as you have to believe in God (or vice versa if you’re an atheist). This goes for other religions too, but that isn’t the point of this article.
Please remember that freedom of religion does not mean freedom to be a Christian.

Worst Conspiracy Ever

What in the world would be the motivation for making up climate change? I’m going to side with the vast majority of scientists on this one. Oh, and the fact that there is really no evidence or even reason for a conspiracy. Also, it has always been really baffling to me why conservative Christians seem to be some of the loudest voices claiming climate change isn't occurring. 

On the one hand Christian’s track record with science is pretty bad, but taking care of God’s creation and being good stewards of all plants and animals is literally a command given to all of humanity in the Bible. Let’s work on some consistency here folks, and maybe realize that we shouldn't fuck over the earth for money.

Aug 5, 2013


Found this article and really want to see what people think. Knowing that few people read and/or comment on this blog, I am aware that it will be hard to start a conversation of any value, but I’m gonna try any way.

Toward that end, if you find this article fascinating and think someone you know would have some good input, please send them a link.

So the article is about artificial meat. The idea is that scientists take beef stem cells and all the proteins and other necessary building blocks, mix them up and grow beef muscle tissue in a lab.

I’ll just put it out there that as long as there are no health consequences to artificial meat I am all for it.

Knowing that growing meat in a lab has got to freak people out for so many reasons, I ask my 3-5 readers to think about these things: Even without any real information from this article, what are some potential health concerns about artificial meat? What are the political and/or economic consequences of artificial meat? What are the social implications of artificial meat? Are there equality issues (race, income, social status, gender) with lab meat? How would readily available artificial meat effect our foreign policy? And of course, are there religious concerns surrounding artificial meat? (is God mad about shmeat?)

And before I forget, here is the article. Please comment, I’m eager to hear what people think.

Jul 29, 2013

A good article about SCCL

Seeing as almost no one has visited my blog so far and I have only had one comment I am pretty much assuming that the few views I have gotten are from close friends who feel some sort of obligation.

Most of the close friends I have that would feel that obligation probably found the link to my blog on Facebook and therefore probably also know that I spend a decent amount of time on a Facebook group called Stuff Christian Culture Likes (SCCL).

This is a blog post written by one of the other group members who has been there longer than I have. I want to post this because I feel like it gives a fair and balanced look at what SCCL is and why people are there and why I am there. I don’t agree with everything the author says, but I still think it is a fair assessment and a good summary.

Before I post the link I want to post the "about" section from SCCL’s Facebook page. This will help give some context for those who have stumbled upon SCCL but don’t really know what it is.

“This blog is devoted to the stuff American evangelical culture likes.

This forum is for people who have been harmed by Christian culture. This page is a safe space for people who have never had a place where they can speak their true feelings that don't look pretty. After we get this out (and it often takes awhile to recover from because it was drilled into us for so long) we can emerge with true positivity and hope. It is such a beautiful thing when abuse survivors can offer the world something more than their sneer. Until then, they can vent here. I completely understand if it's not your scene.”

Now if I was good at the internet I would be able to reblog this article, (that is a thing right? Reblogging?) but I’m not so here is a link.

Oh and cause this is kinda serious I thought I would post a picture of a cat eating pizza.

Jul 15, 2013

What the hell is up with bacon?

Before everyone starts hating on me let me say, I enjoy bacon a great deal. It is very tasty and there are quite a few things that are improved by adding bacon. I had some bacon wrapped pork chops the other night that were simply incredible. I am not discouraging anyone from eating bacon or loving bacon, well maybe I am just a little.

People have gone seriously nuts with the bacon. In under 2 minutes of Google searching I came across more than one online store entirely centered on bacon, a blog entirely about bacon, a bra made of bacon, condoms made of bacon, a coffee mug made of bacon, and so much more. This is just stupid and weird. Bacon is very tasty, no doubt, but it has got to make a rather unsupportive bra, a pretty ineffective condom, and it baffles me that the economy can support multiple business entirely centered around selling people bacon related products. Why are we blogging about bacon? Why are we making socks with bacon prints? (If I was good at interneting I would provide links to these things, but I am not good at the internets so you’ll have to Google bacon on your own.)

Via Pinterest you can find ways to add bacon to just about any other food. Why? Is bacon that good? Well yes, yes it is. But that is not my point.

My real point is that a bacon culture has sprung up. People at almost every age are now being told from the internet, television and even radio that bacon is amazing. That bacon is the best food ever and we should all eat more of it and think about it and own as many bacon related things as possible because bacon makes you happy and will lead to a better more fulfilled life.

Why am I bothered by this? Bacon is really bad for you. It seems like we have just made a very profitable fad out of advocating a food that directly aids the leading cause of death in the US: heart disease.

A consistent bacon habit is really not very good for you. And with heart disease being the leading cause of death in this country, shouldn’t we be a bit more concerned at bacon’s current popularity and social status.

Am I the only crazy person that sees advertising, toys, books, clothes, etc. related to bacon and think “this reminds me of cigarette ads aimed at kids”. Is that too far? Camel Joe eating bacon and looking really cool in his sunglasses? OK maybe I’m the only one. Obviously bacon is not as bad as smoking. But we have made a very unhealthy food extremely cool.

That said, I smoke and eat bacon. I’m just wondering if we should be a little more conscientious about the things we make cool. Do we have a social responsibility not to make kids think that unhealthy things are cool and the best? Not sure, but really interested to see if anyone else has thought about this.

Jul 12, 2013

Biblical Immigration?

I was recently presented with this article

Because I saw it on Facebook, I immediately wrote a long but hurried response. Then deciding that I would rather not argue on Facebook today I decided to post my response to the article here. It is rather unpolished but I figure that I need to start actually posting things.

I firmly believe that this article’s conclusions are a misreading of the Bible. I would probably argue that the Bible has almost nothing to offer on the topic of modern immigration. These verses were never ever intended to be a frame work for immigration policy or foreign policy for a country with 300+ million people in it. Using the Bible to justify political ideologies isn’t Biblical. In fact, I consider it to be a gross misuse and misinterpretation of the Bible and far closer to heresy than Christian doctrine. I think if you ask 50 Bible scholars from 50 different denominations and traditions you will get a pretty clear message that the Bible is not a very good text to build modern immigration or foreign policy on.

Nations and cultures in the time of the writing of the Bible were extremely different politically and culturally than our current situation in this country. How can we compare the policies of a small nation built primarily on race, ethnicity, and one religion to our multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religion country, based on the principles of freedom and equality, with a huge population consisting entirely of immigrants. The idea that a few ancient stories about a few people in a very different setting should be the entire framework for global policies in the 21st century is rather ridiculous.

The principles of love and charity that come from the Bible aren't a bad place to start, but those are general principles. Those general principles aren't a good foundation to argue for either side of this issue. In my mind, neither side is doing enough to love and care for the people they could be helping.

The ideas presented much closer resemble western, white, Christian privilege than they resemble Biblical charity. Several statements in this piece can really be boiled down to: if they don’t want to assimilate our culture and act like us then they are trouble makers and shouldn't be here. That is in absolutely no way Christian.

“we are called to discern among  “sojourners” (like Ruth and Rahab who intend to assimilate and bless) and “foreigners” (who do not intend to assimilate and bless) and to welcome the former with hospitality.”

How in the world does anyone expect to figure out if potential immigrants intend to assimilate and bless? This is no different than saying “why can’t they just learn English”. Which doesn't take into consideration all of the factors of immigration, culture displacement, and loss of social capital that occurs when people come to this country.

I’m not suggesting that we just give green cards to terrorists. By all means keep the country safe. But we can do that and not pretend that keeping Mexicans out of this country is in the Bible.

What is being advocated here is judging people not based on their intention to do HARM but on the their culture and religion. I’m sure the author would disagree with me on this, but to me it really appears that this is not based on the premise of loving and helping at all. It rather appears to be based on Republican ideologies, conservative economic theory, American Exclusivity, American Exceptionalism, and American Supremacy.

I resent the fact that this group is claiming Biblical immigration. I think the Bible says very very few things about immigration and I do not think the Bible says what this group claims it does. I can’t find a single thing in the Bible that would indicate that we should keep Mexicans out so that Americans can have more jobs. None of this makes either of our opinions Biblical. It just means that people are once again invoking the Bible to justify their political beliefs, which I’m pretty sure Jesus would consider an inappropriate use of scripture.

Jun 18, 2013

So, first post. I do intend to use this blog to write about things that matter. There are a lot of social issues that I care deeply about, I am interested in but not very well informed about politics, and I have a wide variety of ideas regarding religion. That being said I am also a dork and will inevitably end up posting goofy crap as well.

I hope to write some original stuff as well as comment on material written by others. Open discussion is welcome and encouraged. I will probably do some commenting, but for the most part would like to stay out of the comments section. All opinions, world views and perspectives are welcome, but trolls and hate speech will not be tolerated. Please do not make me have to moderate the comments.

Suggestions for topics are always welcome. That includes interesting articles or anything else you think I may like. Sending me a link or a short message through the “Contact me” widget is the best way to do so. Also, feel free to contact me about anything. I welcome feedback, including criticism.

Lastly, this is the first time I have done this. That means I will inevitably and unfortunately make mistakes. Please endeavor to be understanding as I learn to internet. Also, because I am figuring this out as I go, this blog will probably look different every other day until it looks good or I give up.