Friday, December 21, 2012

Thoughts on the re-energized gun control debate

(Cross-posted as a comment on an Advocatus Atheist post)

My personal reason for being pro-gun is simply that I believe that self-defense is a basic human right, and as such people should have access to effective defensive tools. The definition of 'effective' is of course up for debate and I do not wish to get entangled in that debate today.

That said, I agree with [Tristan Vick of Advocatus Atheist] regarding the mental health issue. We need a better health care system that is accessible, affordable and includes mental health assessment and screening. Perhaps even including free annual psychiatric evaluations for everyone.

We also need to address the issue of the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment. A lot of people with coverage for mental health treatment fail to seek treatment either because they are ashamed of doing so or fail to recognize that they need help. A mental health evaluation should be part of a routine annual physical (I realize that a 'mental' check-up goes beyond the definition of 'physical', but let's not argue semantics :-) ).

Then there is the issue of culture. Our entertainment media trivializes violence, and sometimes even makes it look 'cool'. I am against any sort of censorship, but at some point authors and content creators need to realize the impact of their creative output on the minds of people with pre-existing mental health issues. A mentally healthy person will not 'snap' as the result of playing a violent video game, but a disturbed person might be influenced to a point where they fail to be able to discern acceptable social behavior from fictitious violent behavior.

Crazy people will do crazy things with or without guns. Take for instance the nutbag in China who stabbed 22 children on their way to school, and other horrible incidents of a similar nature.


So yes, I agree with [Tristan Vick's] idea that people need to be trained to recognize signs of mental health issues in their peers, and we need to do that through better education, a better health care system, and a more responsible entertainment industry.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seven things we must abolish, repeal and overturn - Updated

1. Capital punishment
2. The electoral college
3. Citizens United
4. Eminent domain
5. Sales taxes
6. Daylight saving time
7. The Patriot Act

Sunday, November 18, 2012

If GOP changes its values, then it is useless.

After wasting millions of dollars on silly television ads, the GOP still lost the presidency. Now, the party is in a tail spin, and madly trying to figure out what it needs to do to appeal to the masses. Its members are openly talking about 'broadening' their appeal and becoming less extremist.

Why?

Why question your own core values? If you renege on your own values, what are you worth? You stood for something, and you lost the election. Are you running for office because you truly believe in something, or are you just running for office for the sake of power itself?

If you truly believe in what you preach, then why revisit your core values? Why redefine what your party stands for? If you won't even stand for your most basic principles, what are you worth?

If, on the other hand, everything you said was retarded populist fluff, and that your true aim is to gain power for the sake of power, and to give tax cuts to your billionaire campaign donors, then by all means, do whatever it takes to gain votes. Be a liar, be false prophet. Sell your soul for a few more votes. Say whatever it takes and tell them what they want to hear.

A political party should not be a business. The purpose of a business is to make profits. The purpose of a political party is to achieve political goals. If you change your goals to suit voters' demands, then what the hell is your purpose? Your party is not worth it. Parties should not adapt for the sake of surviving. Parties should stand for something immutable. You should stick to your beliefs and go down with the ship. Because if you have any integrity, you will believe in what you believe until the very end.

The days of the Republican party are numbered. It is the party of racist old white men and imperialist billionaires. The truth is, out of 300 million people in the USA, only 58 million actually voted for Romney, so if I said that 242 million Americans didn't give a shit about Romney, I would be telling the truth.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Yeah, I'm still alive

So I want to apologize to my 3 regular readers for falling off the face of the blogosphere for the past month and a half, but I've had better things to do than write barely-read gibberish online.

What happened?

Well, let's have a look, shall we?

-Met the perfect woman, then got dumped by her after a few short weeks. (I guess she was out of my league after all.)
-Had to euthanize my cat.
-Had to offer shelter to a friend whose house burned down.
-Took part in a competition against Olympic athletes, and lost.

Huh, how many more reasons to I need?

Having to sign the paperwork authorizing the veterinarian to perform the euthanasia on my cat was the roughest thing emotionally that I've had to deal with in many years. Getting dumped by whom I thought was "the one" hurt my self-esteem a bit, but didn't make me cry. Finally, getting defeated by Olympic champions was actually a lot of fun in comparison; I really had nothing to lose, except a few pounds of water weight and  small amounts of blood.

Now that I think about it, my cat was a total asshole, and I base that conclusion partly on the fact that he would bring snakes home and decapitate them in the kitchen, then puke up snake blood and hairballs all over the damned house, destroy electrical wiring, and piss all over my running shoes.

Anyway, I'm not making any sense right now, so I should probably shut the hell up.

So of course you must be wondering what I think of current world events. Take a guess.

I think warmongering is silly and dangerous. EVERYONE please calm the hell down.

I do not endorse Romney. I really want to vote Libertarian this time around, same as I did four years ago, but I can't stomach the idea of living under a Romney administration. So, yeah, I'll be casting my vote for the incumbent.

You are still here? Dang, I can't get rid of you, can I?

Well let me tell you about the dream I had last night regarding that perfect 10 who dumped me. I dreamed that she had left her car parked near my residence, and my other ex found out whose car it was, then destroyed the rear window by tossing a rock, leaving me to search the car for insurance paperwork and trying to decide if it was worth it to try to contact the woman to tell her that her car had been vandalized, or respect her decision to leave me and not contact her at all. Did any of this make any sense at all? Probably not, it was just a stupid dream, but I did laugh when I woke up.

Alright, now that I got this nonsense off my chest, you can be on your merry way.

Keep calm and carry on.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

All Empires Fall

NPR is a fantastic source of news. Tonight, a man was talking about empires. I didn't catch his name and I can't find the link to the story on the website, but it made perfect sense.

If you look at history, every single empire of the past has eventually collapsed. The Assyrian Empire, the Egyptian Empire, the city-states of ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, etc., every one of them eventually collapsed, sometimes in the face of foreign invasion, but also often under the weight of their own poverty. It is incredibly naive and short-sighted to believe in American exceptionalism. If history has anything to teach us, it is that even America, some day, will implode. We can already see a tremendous disparity between rich and poor, which is often a prelude for societal collapse. The top 1 percent of earners have 40 percent of the nation's wealth, while the bottom 80 percent only has 7 percent of the wealth. (source : http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/10/03/334156/top-five-wealthiest-one-percent/?mobile=nc)

Under dire economic conditions such as these, it is entirely conceivable to see a socio-economic collapse of this country in our lifetime. I sincerely hope not, because it would be absolutely miserable. "BUT!" you say... "This is America, this could never happen here!" Really? Do you have blinders on? Did you not study history? Remember Babylon? Remember Carthage? Remember the dark ages, that lasted for a thousand years after the fall of Rome? Remember the Aztecs and the Incas? Do you really think we are so much better than previous generations? At its height, no one could have ever conceived that Rome could ever fall. But it did. It faltered economically and then was vivisected by barbarian plunderers. People who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Which is why civilians should be allowed to be armed; because when society eventually falls apart, the people themselves will be responsible for their own safety, and for hunting their own meat. Now of course, when a mass murderer shoots up a bunch of innocents, the public panics and asks for more gun control. But the truth is, these mass-murder events are statistically insignificant. One is more likely to be hit by lightning than to be the victim of a crazed gunman. Yes, those things are horrible, but being unarmed in the event of the fall of an empire is worse. The solution to the crime problem is not to ban guns; it is to fix the poverty problem through education and social safety net programs and it is to offer mental health treatment to those who need it. Yes: gun rights are a liberal value. Right-wing conservatives are the ones who want you to stay poor, religious, uneducated and unarmed: that's how they plan on enslaving you.

Here's an interesting story about the politics of gun control as they relate to gun violence. The take away from it: stricter gun control will not fix the problem of gun violence in this country.

http://www.npr.org/2012/08/12/158659172/breaking-down-gun-violence-no-simple-formula

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Foot in Mouth Disease


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dark Knight Rises Shooting Spree

Yes, the recent mass shooting in Colorado is going to scare people into demanding more gun control.

But before you join them, consider this: Crazy people will do crazy things no matter what. If they don't have guns, they will make bombs. Especially the crazies with science degrees; they know chemistry. Banning firearms will only make them seek different weapons, weapons that could be even more deadly.

So do yourself a favor. Instead of demanding more gun control laws, ask for more spending on mental health screening and prevention. Ask for more spending on psychiatric research. Ask for more funding for mental hospitals.

And buy yourself a defensive weapon. Shoot back at crazies. The crazies, in their wild mass-murder fantasies, never imagine their victims shooting back at them. If more and more victims start shooting back, fewer and fewer crazies will find the thought of a shooting spree interesting; hunting is never fun when the prey shoots back at you. Crazies like defenseless victims, because they like abusing the weak; their worthless selves get a sense of empowerment from depraved fantasies of the sort.

Don't be weak. Don't be a victim. Nature is cruel. Survival is a savage and brutal thing. Our ancestors did not survive for millions of years by being weak and defenseless. Arm yourself and defend your life. Self-defense is a basic human right. Do not let your fear of crazy wackos with dyed hair make you give up your right to self-defense.

And don't live in fear. You are more likely to be hit by lightning than you are to be shot by a crazy wacko, yet no one is clamoring for lightning control...


Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Computer Tablet for Christians

Well, it looks as if Christians now have their very own Tablet, the Edifi(R). It comes complete with the Android operating system, a 7-inch screen, a porn blocker, a Christian radio app and 27 translations of the Bible, all for the low-low price of $149.99, which honestly, is a pretty good price for a tablet, though I haven't seen the technical specs of the hardware.

See the video at this link:
http://www.newser.com/story/149965/this-now-exists-tablet-made-for-christians.html

While you are there, I strongly invite you to check out the hilarious comments left by readers of that story:

http://www.newser.com/story/comments/149965/this-now-exists-tablet-made-for-christians.html

Some precious gems:

  • "And all along I thought tablets made for christians were chiseled stone."
  • "Is it invisible and powered by faith? If so, I have a garage full of them. They are $148 each and I will pray for you."
  • "On a techie note, I wonder if this is rootable?  The hardware actually looks somewhat interesting.   It would be hilarious to see some heathen root and build a totally satanic and porn ridden Android ROM for it."
  • "Also blocks most climate change, evolution, and general science sites. Knowledge blocker."
    • " i'm dying to see Google Flat Earth, Ptolemaic Edition."
      • "Lol. Google Flat Earth. Complete with Apocalyptic Horsemen GPS. Track their destruction."
  • "I wonder how you abort processes that run on these things..."
    • "There has to be so many corrupt files on that thing as your only option is to pray the virus away."
      • "You don't; every failed application is a gift from god."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Turtles All The Way Down


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In Ridley Scott's movie Prometheus, an expedition of the Weyland Corporation travels to a distant planet to discover the origins of humanity. There they encounter an alien race called the 'Engineers', who have genetically engineered the human species from their own DNA.

But who created the Engineers? Did they evolve? Or were they created by yet another alien species? Or was Earth seeded by microbes that fell from a comet? It's a classic case of turtles all the way down. At some point, there has to be an end in the chain of cause and effect. Life most certainly emerged from self-replicating amino acid chains, and evolved from there to create all the species we see in the world today, a theory we refer to as the RNA world hypothesis. A competing hypothesis also worth looking into is the iron-sulfur world theory.

Whichever theory you subscribe to, it is assuredly more probable than the idea of a bald muscular alien drinking black goo that caused him to disintegrate near a waterfall...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Are Americans Screwed?

We don't have much of a choice in terms of the candidates presented to us in this upcoming presidential election. We have to choose between a corporate sellout who pretends to care and a corporate sellout who says we don't need to care.

Then there's the third party candidates that no one has ever heard of, and that no one is ever going to vote for, because no one wants the OTHER corporate sellout to be elected to such an extent that they are going to vote for the corporate sellout. It really is a sad situation.

The economy is going down the pooper, and the challenger sellout is blaming the incumbent sellout for it.

Each one of the sellouts is promising fantasies they will never fulfill. Meanwhile, we the working serfs are stuck paying taxes to support corporate welfare and probably pre-funding the next foreign war of aggression, while the ultra-rich pay a lower effective tax rate. As a result the wealthy are getting wealthier and the rest of us are getting poorer.

What can we do? Not much. We are just screwed.

Bread and games. We need bread and games.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Been lazy

Wow, I've been lazy. My last post was over a month ago.

I saw Prometheus a few days ago. It was good.

SPOILER ALERT! Do not read any further unless you have already seen the movie!

The idea that humankind is not native to Earth, but that it instead descended from an alien species is not a new one,  but it's probably not true.

We have ample genetic and fossil evidence to support the idea that we instead share common ancestors with apes, and with many other species on Earth. In order to be descended from aliens, pretty much life on Earth would have to also be descended from the same aliens, because we share DNA with reptiles and fish, and that wasn't the implication of the movie.

I would love for us to be an alien species. I would love for our long-lost cousins to land on planet Earth and give us super-advanced technology that would change the course of our civilization. But the truth is, if there are aliens out there, they are most certainly not related to us, and will most likely try to do to us what Europeans did to native Americans; that is to say exterminate our kin so they can steal our natural resources, and force us onto reservations where we can sell discounted gasoline and cigarettes at tax-free casinos a few hundred years later. That's a joke of course.

The point is, yes, the movie is entertaining; go see it now. However, I must disagree with the posited theory contained therein that homo sapiens is not native to Earth. We most certainly originated on Earth, and did not have designers. We evolved from ancestral species, that much is for sure.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's Below The Middle Class?


“Upper classes are a nation's past; the middle class is its future.”

-Ayn Rand

“The enemy of society is middle class and the enemy of life is middle age.”

-Orson Welles

“The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.”

-Aristotle

"I'm a warrior for the middle class."
-Barack Obama

-Mitt Romney

Okay let's stop here for a minute. It appears as if everyone is talking about the middle class as if it were the struggling class. What about the class below the middle class? What do we call it? The Low class? The no-class? The slaves? The serfs? The welfare trailer trash? The untouchables? It doesn't seem as if anyone is giving them a voice. Everyone cares about the middle class, but no one speaks of those who live in abject poverty. I hope cutting capital gains tax on the poor will really help them get out of their cardboard box, Mr. Romney.

Or perhaps the term "middle class" is a euphemism for "peasantry", basically anyone who has to "work" for a living, and who can't just sit back and live off interest income as well-heeled nobility can. So if anyone in the media or in the political arena is reading this rag of a blog, please stop using the word "middle class". The "low class" needs just as much help as the "middle class", if not more.

Or perhaps the poor don't exist. Just ignore them and they will just go away, they are but a figment of your imagination. Besides, if they had a goddamn job, they wouldn't be poor, right? Anyone can get rich at $7.25 per hour, right? Right?? Shove them under the rug, only the "middle" class and the rich exist. But ask yourself: if there are a middle and a high class, what the heck is below it all? The middle of what are we talking about?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On The Secret Service Prostitution Scandal

By now you have most likely heard of the incident where U.S. Secret Service agents in Columbia have been entangled in a prostitution scandal. While this seems outrageous to many, consider this:

Prostitution is legal in the part of Columbia when the incident(s) took place.

So they really did not break any laws. If no laws were broken, then nothing immoral took place. However, I do have to admit that it's pretty ghetto not to pay your hoe.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/two-senior-secret-service-officers-in-colombia-scandal-identified/2012/04/19/gIQAmIt7TT_story.html

Odin VS Jesus

image credit unknown

The Power Of The Badge


This story from an anonymous source came to me via email:



A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas , and talked with an old rancher.
He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs."
The rancher said, "Okay , but don't go in that field over there.....", as he pointed out the location.


The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, " Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me !"


Reaching into his rear pants pocket, the arrogant officer removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher.


"See this f*****g badge?! This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish.... On any land !! No questions asked or answers given!! Have I made myself clear......do you understand ?!!"


The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.


A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull......




With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he'd sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified.
The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs..... 




"Your badge, show him your f*****g BADGE........ ! !"


Text and photo credits unknown.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tennessee To Protect Teachers Who Allow Students To Criticize Evolution And Global Warming In Classrooms

A controversial Tennessee bill that has passed both House and Senate is poised to become law on April 20th, albeit without Governor Bill Haslam's signature. The new law would protect teachers who allow students to deny evolution and climate change. 


I wish lawmakers would instead pass a law mandating the teaching of evolution in churches.


http://www.newser.com/article/d9u2f1vg2/us-gov-bill-to-protect-teachers-who-let-students-criticize-evolution-to-become-law.html

Sunday, April 8, 2012

10-Year Old Girl Gives Birth

If a ten-year old girl is able to get pregnant, but her body (and bone structure) is not ready yet, doesn't that seem a bit of a problem, evolutionarily speaking?

Without a c-section, she surely would have died; her pelvis is not wide enough to allow the passage of a baby. Without modern medicine, therefore, mutations that allow girls as young as ten to ovulate would therefore eventually lead to death, so the genes involved in the mutation would not get passed on to the next generation. But modern medicine allowed her to live, and her descendants may have to deal with a similar problem.

Yes, modern medicine allows countless millions to live in spite of genetic flaws. But without modern medicine, we would surely see a massive die-off of people who have been artificially kept alive by science. Nature has a way to weed out disadvantageous mutations.

http://www.imperfectparent.com/topics/2012/04/08/10-year-old-girl-gives-birth/

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dawn Of The Christ

Posted this comment last night on Pharyngula:



I have the perfect movie title for a Jesus-themed zombie movie….. get ready for it….
DAWN OF THE CHRIST
FADE IN
Jesus gets out of the tomb on Sunday morning and he bites the Roman soldiers. Then all hell breaks loose…
Pilate now has a major zombie uprising on his hands…what will he do? What CAN he do?
Zombies massacred… the city burns… the written teachings of jesus lost… only fragments survive, and a tale of resurrection surfaces in greek texts decades later….
2 THOUSAND YEARS LATER
… a nosy tourist visiting the Vatican finds a relic, a fragment of the cross… and accidentally cuts himself on an iron nail embedded in it… first the headache, then the fever… then vomiting and seizures… then respiratory failure…
ZOOM IN ON EYES
White sclera eyes suddenly open… a loud growl resonates.
ROLL CREDITS
(c) copyright 2012 by The Gun-Toting Atheist

 The most awesome response this comment got was from NigelTheBold:
gun-totingatheist:
Now the tardigrades have completed their successful run of Hello, Dolly, they have expressed interest in your script. Do you think it could be easily turned into a musical theatrical production? Also, could it be moved to, say, 1900-era New York? We already have all these costumes, see.
Also, for practical reasons, can it take place as a water ballet?


Friday, April 6, 2012

Imagine a world without guns PART III

News from Hungary... yet another example of how crazy killers do not need guns to perpetrate their murder sprees. Sometimes they just use swords.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/06/world/europe/hungary-sword-killing/index.html

We do not need more gun control. We do not need sword control. We need to do a better job at proactively identifying crazies and giving them the mental health treatment they need... before the snap.

Easter Is Even Creepier than Halloween.

Never mind that Good Friday is about watching a guy on TV getting whipped and crucified by Roman soldiers, but when the Easter Bunny comes around on Sunday morning, expect the kids to be creeped out.

Lock and load, hunters, it's rabbit season!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/funny-easter-pictures-easter-bunny-photos_n_1408721.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003#s849681&title=Hannibal_Bunny

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Follow The Gun-Toting Atheist On Twitter

I know I complain about how a certain 'book of faces' is a useless website aimed at providing data-mining services to the intelligence community, but I genuinely feel that Twitter is different. Twitter allows you to obtain real-time information about different news topics, and I actually figured out how useful it was today. You see, I was about to embark on a roadtrip to go to a live show tonight... but a twitter update from the band this morning to the effect that their show was cancelled saved me from going on a disappointing roundtrip. So I gave it a lot of thought, and decided that I would now have a Twitter presence, question of attracting more readers to this blog... well isn't that the point of Twitter?

Follow @GunAtheist on Twitter!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is Facebook A Cult?

Is Facebook a cult?

Just this week, I've had four people ask me why I wasn't on Facebook.

"You didn't know about the party? If you'd been on Facebook you would have known about it."


"You're not on Facebook? Huh? How will I be able to communicate with you?"


"Get on Facebook! I'll be your first friend!"


"Don't you have a Facebook? What's wrong with you?"


"You should get on Facebook! Everyone's doing it!"


Holy crap everyone just shut the hell up please. Y'all are starting to sound like a bunch of moonies recruiting for some online doomsday cult. It's like a mental zombie virus that incubates inside the brain and then seeks by all means to propagate by infecting others. I want none of that, no thank you. It's nothing but a fad, and like near-defunct myspace and friendster that preceded it, it's going to fall into oblivion.

I can't go to a website nowadays without being asked to use my 'facebook id' to log in. It's like a worm spreading from computer to computer and infecting websites all around the world. There is no reason why people should look at me as if I had two heads just because I don't have a membership at some BS website that I have no use for.

Fun With TSA

Image credit: Unknown

The Oatmeal: Were Hitler and Stalin Atheists?

The old debate of whether or not Hitler was an atheist rears its ugly head in a new Oatmeal comic... The punchline was quite unexpected.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/atheism

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rankings Of Most And Least Religious States, And Reflections On Other Stuff

A recent Gallup poll determined Mississippi (really, 4 s's, 4 i's and 2 p's? - very original) to be the most religious State with 59% of respondents claiming to be 'very religious, and the least religious state being Vermont, with only 23%.

Interestingly, Vermont is also probably the state with the fewest gun laws on the books. No permit is required for concealed carry, and the only gun laws the State has are pretty hilarious:

"Section 4011. Aiming gun at another Any person who shall intentionally point or aim any gun, pistol or other firearm at or towards another, except in self-defense or in the lawful discharge of official duty, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $50.00. Any person who shall discharge any such firearm so intentionally aimed or pointed shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year or fined not more than $100.00, or both."

Seriously, a 50 bucks fine - chump change, by any standards - for what would probably be a hangable offense in neighboring New York, is hilarious. And if you accidentally shoot someone after having intentionally pointed the firearm in their direction, you could get away with a 100 dollar fine, if the judge is having a good day. (However, I guess you could still get your ass sued for being such a careless idiot.)

So how do you reconcile the fact that a State filled with heathens is so lacking in the sector of gun laws? Well, for one thing, Vermont has a very low crime rate. The most recent murder there was by strangulation, and no firearm was involved. So the general lack of armed crime is probably why Vermont politicians are not trying to shove new gun laws down the throats of their constituents. Also, as I've mentioned before, gun ownership has nothing to do with religiosity or conservativism, because guns are nothing more than tools, and even non-religious people need to use tools from time to time.

An interesting observation is that neighboring New Hampshire, which scored almost as low as Vermont on the religious scale, is leaning more towards the Republican Party, whereas Vermont is leaning more towards the Democratic Party. This could very well have historical roots as well, as Vermont was not one of the original thirteen colonies, but instead, was born out of a land dispute between New York and New Hampshire, and the people who lived in between the two basically got pissed off of being asked to pay taxes to two different colonies who couldn't agree on who had jurisdiction over them,  and in 1777 formed their own free republic, which remained independent until 1791 when it finally decided to join the United States, perhaps feeling a little too small next to British-occupied Quebec. This could be the source of the rivalry between Vermont and its neighbors, and the inspiration for  John Greenlfeaf Whittier's poem "The Song of the Vermonters" which reads:

Ho–all to the borders! Vermonters, come down,
With your breeches of deerskin and jackets of brown;
With your red woollen caps and your moccasins come,
To the gathering summons of trumpet and drum.


Come down with your rifles!
Let gray wolf and fox
Howl on in the shade of their primitive rocks;
Let the bear feed securely from pig-pen and stall;
Here's two-legged game for your powder and ball.


On our south came the Dutchmen, enveloped in grease;
And arming for battle while canting of peace;
On our east crafty Meshech has gathered his band
To hang up our leaders and eat up our land.


Ho–all to the rescue! For Satan shall work
No gain for his legions of Hampshire and York!
They claim our possessions–the pitiful knaves–
The tribute we pay shall be prisons and graves!


Let Clinton and Ten Broek with bribes in their hands,
Still seek to divide and parcel our lands;
We've coats for our traitors, whoever they are;
The warp is of feathers–the filling of tar:


Does the 'old Bay State' threaten?
Does Congress complain?
Swarms Hampshire in arms on our borders again?
Bark the war dogs of Britain aloud on the lake–
Let 'em come; what they can they are welcome to take.


What seek they among us?
The pride of our wealth
Is comfort, contentment, and labor, and health,
And lands which, as Freemen we only have trod,
Independent of all, save the mercies of God.


Yet we owe no allegiance, we bow to no throne,
Our ruler is law and the law is our own;
Our leaders themselves are our own fellow-men,
Who can handle the sword, or the scythe, or the pen.


Our wives are all true, and our daughters are fair,
With their blue eyes of smiles and their light flowing hair,
All brisk at their wheels till the dark even-fall,
Then blithe at the sleigh-ride the husking and ball!


We've sheep on the hillsides, we've cows on the plain,
And gay-tasselled corn-fields and rank-growing grain;
There are deer on the mountains, and wood-pigeons fly
From the crack of our muskets, like clouds on the sky.


And there's fish in our streamlets and rivers which take
Their course from the hills to our broad bosomed lake;
Through rock-arched Winooski the salmon leaps free,
And the portly shad follows all fresh from the sea.


Like a sunbeam the pickerel glides through the pool,
And the spotted trout sleeps where the water is cool,
Or darts from his shelter of rock and of root,
At the beaver's quick plunge, or the angler's pursuit.


And ours are the mountains, which awfully rise,
Till they rest their green heads on the blue of the skies;
And ours are the forests unwasted, unshorn,
Save where the wild path of the tempest is torn.


And though savage and wild be this climate of ours,
And brief be our season of fruits and of flowers,
Far dearer the blast round our mountains which raves,
Than the sweet summer zephyr which breathes over slaves!


Hurrah for Vermont! For the land which we till
Must have sons to defend her from valley and hill;
Leave the harvest to rot on the fields where it grows,
And the reaping of wheat for the reaping of foes


From far Michiscom's wild valley, to where
Poosoonsuck steals down from his wood-circled lair,
From Shocticook River to Lutterlock town
Ho–all to the rescue! Vermonters come down!


Come York or come Hampshire, come traitors or knaves,
If ye rule o'er our land ye shall rule o'er our graves;
Our vow is recorded–our banner unfurled,
In the name of Vermont we defy all the world!

While that may explain the origins of Vermont's strong desire for freedom and disdain for gun laws, I suppose the broader question to ask here is why are New England States the least religious of all? And that is a strange question indeed, perhaps it is that cold climates have a culling effect on people unable to adapt to new ideas - such as central heating and secularism - for instance. Or perhaps it is that northern states have historically and economically relied more on industrialization (and by extension, science education), and the southern states have historically relied more on cheap labor (and by extension, brainwashing), but I welcome any hypothesis better researched and articulated than this one, if you would be so kind as to provide it.


http://www.gallup.com/poll/153479/Mississippi-Religious-State.aspx

Friday, March 23, 2012

Atheists and Baptists All Lovey-Dovey Due To Eyesight Problems

This is sort of a heartwarming story that reminds me that in spite of our theological/ideological differences, we can all come together as human beings and be friends at the end of the day.

http://www.newser.com/story/142451/christians-raise-money-for-ailing-atheist-critic.html

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Big Brother Will Soon Be Reading Your Emails

The National Snooping Agency is building a massive data center to intercept every single phone call and email in the country, just because they can. An unnamed official, reports Wired, said:  “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1

If this does not scare the bejeezus out of you, do me a favor and go play with a chainsaw next time you are feeling depressed.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lyrics Of The Week

Avast ye landlubbers! While listening to Pandora Radio, I discovered something completely new to me: the Scottish pirate metal band Alestorm. It is a heavy metal band that produces exclusively pirate-themed songs, a seldom explored musical market segment. Granted, this will not be everyone's cup of tea, but the lyrics of the song Back Through Time caught my attention. The song tells the ridiculously improbable story of pirates that traveled back through time to fight against vikings.  Here's just a snippet:


You put your faith in Odin and Thor
We put ours in cannons and whores
Your viking gods won't save you now
When pirates strike from the starboard bow


(lyrics and music by Christopher Bowes)

Why did I find these words so fascinating? Well, for one it's basically saying that it is better to put one's faith in guns than in gods. Who would have known that pirates were basically gun-toting atheists?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wine Induced Musings

Now that I know that cheap wine tastes just as good as expensive wine, cheap wine tastes even better.

How is it that an atheist blogger such as myself consistently ends up dating women who all went to the same Catholic university? How is it that one of the aforementioned women is a current student at said university and studying - of all things - religion? For all my rants against religion, I don't seem to mind spending intimate time with religious women, so long as they are physically attractive and morally loose. Would I attract even more catholic women if I tried the Pope's new cologne?

Is it funny to anyone else that the current crop of GOP clowns take themselves so seriously?

Should I feel sad that the world's ugliest dog died?

Should I be surprised that humans are not meant to eat cadmium?

WTF is this, really?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kony 2012

Joseph Kony is a criminal who has, for 26 years, killed and tortured thousands of people in Africa. Currently, there is a huge campaign to raise awareness of the issue, with the goal of finally putting this mass murderer behind bars. A movie has been made (see below), and donations are being gathered to fund this awareness campaign.

However, if I may suggest one thing to the leaders of this campaign... why not just place a bounty on Kony's head, and therefore invite mercenary groups of all sorts to go looking for him in the jungle? Wouldn't that be the most cost-effective way to capture him?


What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Them

Under scientific scrutiny, a lot of the conservative ideas championed by the GOP fall apart completely. Whether it's climatology, economy, sociology, history or evolutionary biology, Republicans have a lot to gain by having uneducated voters, therefore by discouraging higher education by refusing to fund it.

Knowledge is power. Ignorance is weakness.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/opinion/krugman-ignorance-is-strength.html?_r=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Are Laws Against Polygamy Needed?

Some poor dude didn't get his divorce officially finalized before he remarried and got in big criminal trouble for it. Not only did he make the mistake of getting married, he made that mistake twice! I will not go into evolutionary biology theory about why I believe that monogamy is overrated, but I will say this: who cares if a dude is married to two chicks? What is criminal about that? Being married to one should be punishment enough already, and being married to two should be unbearable. He is already submitting himself to a very harsh punishment for simply being married in the first place.

Doesn't the U.S. Constitution prohibit double jeopardy?

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

But seriously, if I bring a woman home one night, and a different woman the other night, and I am not married to either one of them, and that none of this constitutes a crime... why is this man considered a criminal, especially that he has left the first woman 3 years earlier? What is the difference here, other than some silly paperwork?

As far as I know, he has not committed insurance fraud or tax fraud in relation to this matter... so who cares, really?

Bottom line of the story: don't get married, because the government will interfere with your private business; when you get that marriage license, you are really giving the government (and your wife) the license to really screw you over, and not in the literal, biological sense.

Morality is an abstract construct and there is nothing morally wrong with doing something that would not be morally wrong in the absence of some dusty paperwork filed away in some clerk's file cabinet.

Read the story here:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/03/08/2058938/bigamy-charges-filed-against-pierce.html

Monday, March 5, 2012

Attorney General Eric Holder Defends the Right to Kill Americans

Apparently, some bureaucrats believe it's OKAY to go kill American citizens if they pose 'an imminent threat'.

But wait! Before you lock and load that shotgun and go looking for scumbag hackers who pose an 'imminent threat' to your paypal account, know that it only applies to the government. That's right, the US government is allowed to KILL YOU without having to consult with a court, if they can simply claim that you pose an 'imminent threat'. If that doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy from the inside out, I don't know what will, but you should try swallowing some boiling hot cyanide-laced tea.

Sure, they can do whatever the hell they want, after all, they have the guns, so they make the rules. Regardless of this executive power-grab, it's still illegal and unconstitutional. In case you have been living under a rock and do not know the text of the fifth amendment to the US Constitution, here it is:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Sounds prettty clear to me. The government cannot kill you without due process of law, and a decision by the executive branch does not  qualify as due process. No ifs, no buts, no way.

Of course I am putting my life on the line by exercising my first amendment right to free speech by publicly taking this stance. Now, I might as well be targeted for assassination by my own government for saying sh*t like that.

This is the same reason why I oppose the death penalty on principle. I simply do not trust the government with preserving life and limb. The USA has a really, really, really bad track record on this. This country might as well change its name to North Korea of America.

The golden rule should be:

The government should not be in the business of killing citizens. PERIOD.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Was Hitler a Christian?

Next time a faithful person accuses you of being a "communist" because Stalin allegedly was also an atheist, show him or her this website: http://www.evilbible.com/hitler_was_christian.htm

Adolph Hitler was a devout Catholic who blamed Jews for the death of Jesus. Does that mean all Christians are nazis?

Of course they will say "No! Hitler was crazy! That doesn't count!".

Well, Stalin was also crazy, wasn't he? I am told Stalin also had a mustache. Does that make every mustached man a communist? These false correlations are meaningless.

Atheism has nothing to do with communism.

Jesus Jokes

Little Anthony, 7 years old, goes to see his uncle, the local Mafia Don.

"Uncle!" says little Tony, "I want the new toy advertised on the television for Christmas!"

"Well, Anthony, you'll have to ask Santa Claus" says the uncle.

Anthony goes to his room, and writes a letter to Santa. "Dear Santa Claus. I have been very very good this year. Please bring me the new toy that I want so dearly, signed Anthony"

Christmas comes, and Anthony doesn't get his toy.

All sad he goes back to see his uncle.

"Uncle, I didn't get my toy. Santa didn't bring it. What should I do?"
"Well Anthony, sometimes when you don't get what you want from a wiseguy, you have to go straight to the big boss. Go ask baby Jesus."

Anthony goes to his room, gets down on his knees and starts to pray.

"Dear baby Jesus. I have been very very good this year... I mean, I promise to be very very good next year..."

Distracted, he glances at the small statue of the Virgin Mary on the desk. He stares at it in silence for a minute. Then, grinning, he picks the statue up, puts it in the desk drawer and slams it shut.

"Dear baby Jesus, it's time you and I have a talk. If you want to see your mother again..."

*****

Mr Thompson owns a hardware store specializing in iron nails. He decides that for Easter, he's going to promote a big sale on television.

After a few weeks, a few days before Easter, the ad finally airs on the television.

In it, we can see Jesus on the cross, behind laughed at by roman soldiers. Jesus turns his head toward the camera and says "They made the right choice, for a secure fastening, they are using Mr. Thompson's Nails!"

Offended Catholic protesters send hate mail to the tv station and to Mr. Thompson's store, arguing that the ad is disrespectful of Christianity.

Mr. Thompson therefore has the tv station air a different ad a few days later.

In the new ad, we can see Jesus running in a flowery field with rainbows and butterflies, with dozens of roman soldiers chasing him. A voice-over narrator says "Now they know. They should have used Mr. Thompson's Nails!"


The Jesus Myth

Here's a good Wikipedia article about the Jesus myth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_myth_hypothesis

The idea is that not only wasn't Jesus a divine being; he never even existed as a historical figure and that the whole story is a fantasy fabrication pulled from different mythological and philosophical sources, amalgamated together by monks working at the tip of the sword. Emperor Constantine needed a state religion to unify the Roman Empire, so he invented Christianity by merging a bunch of cults in vogue at the time, creating a bogus religion from spare parts.