Archive for July, 2008


Legalizing It?

Representative Barney Frank introduced legislation to decriminalize penalties for carrying up to 100 grams of marijuana.  I have no doubt that it will be buried in committee like most of Barney Frank’s legislation.  Of course, the White House and the DEA are against it, mostly because they’ve been spending years falsifying the research about medical marijuana and they can’t make themselves look bad now.  The argument is that marijuana is not a harmful drug, certainly no more so than alcohol or tobacco, the benefits for those in pain or suffering from a variety of mental illnesses are great, and our prisons are seriously overcrowded with nonviolent offenders.

My stance is this: A lot of my students are convinced felons who shouldn’t be because they were carrying or smoking marijuana, which isn’t the case in the suburbs where just as much, if not more, is carried and smoked by young adults.  My kids are guilty of smoking while black, as is the case with many people in jail for marijuana related “crimes”.  Also, medical marijuana has a variety of uses for illnesses such as fibromialgia, depression, anxiety, glaucoma, the side effects related to cancer treatment, etc…  It is inhumane to force people to suffer when an aide is readily available just because the drug companies and the government can’t figure out a way to make a huge profit on it.


Home Invasion

I’ve railed against the paparazzi in the past, especially when they’ve taken some deeply personal incidents in a person’s life and made them incredibly public.  There’s no reason why Dick Cheney’s and George W. Bush’s crimes, deceits, and missteps should be largely ignored while actors and singers whose lives have no impact on our own should have everything they do broadcast for all to see.  Deciding to make a movie, TV show, or album is not the same as choosing to run for public office, and yet one career is scrutinized a every step with personal attacks and public failures and the other is left alone to fester until real damage is done.  Even if you believe that a career in film or TV opens you up to public criticism, hopefully you agree that there are limits.  Halle Berry should have been able to play with her infant in her own backyard without being photographed* (and as a mother, if someone had done that to me I would have ripped their head off).  Politicians should be transparent in most aspect, but Barack Obama should have been able to place a prayer* in the Wailing Wall without it being taken out and made public.  This country has some seriously screwed-up priorities and a better America is a pipe dream until the media stops bombarding us with useless information that only harms us.


*Out of respect for both individuals, I will not post the pictures or the prayer.


A Little Presumptive

I saw a segment on the Nightly News with Brian WIlliams about Iraq.  John McCain was discussing an exit strategy, if you can call it that.  He said something like we’ll be out of Iraq “by the end of my first term”.  It didn’t seem like wishful thinking, and reeked of overconfidence, but what if it was something more?  We’ve been talking about rigged elections for 8 years now.  What makes us assume that since Bush can’t run again, the Republicans haven’t rigged the November elections already? It’s hard to believe that it was a Freudian slip when this Presidency has been plagued by deceit, corruption, and general stupidity.


A Word From Nas

I don’t often listen to rap unless it comes highly recommended by students (or in this case, Stephen Colbert)and doesn’t glorify violence, degredation of women, and illegal activities.  I try to support musicians who are creatively political and alighn with causes I believe in.  Nas has started fighting back against what he claims to be (and rightly so) racist rhetoric by Fox “News” and specifically Bill O’Reilly.


Shooting Back

60 Minutes recently did a piece on “Shooting Back”, a human rights organization started by Jim Hubbard, dedicated to documenting through video and photography the lives of those we tend to forget about.  It started in 1989 with the homeless in America, and the Israeli Human Rights Group B’Tselem has just given 100 cameras to Palestinian children.  Several Israeli soldiers and citizens have been arrested as a result of the footage captured by the young men and women risking their lives to document what is happening to them, such as beatings of the elderly by Israeli citizens and illegal shootings of peaceful demonstrators by Israeli soldiers.  Palestinian children finally have a voice and are able to documentt the horrible things that are happening to them at the hands of “The Chosen People”.  There are two sides to every story, and in the US we have been suppressing the Palestinian side in the mainstream media, which is becoming more and more worthless.


And For What?

I have to send a special shout out to Daniel on this one.  Writing is a catharsis indeed, but we cannot forget to write what we should as well as what we can.  All the posts on religion, education, and politics mean nothing if we DO nothing, and most importantly, we cannot forget that while we sit in front of our computers in cushy office chairs surrounded by air conditioning there are thousands of people suffering IN OUR NAME. 

Our government is torturing and detaining people for indeterminate lengths of time without giving any reasoning, and they say they’re doing it to make us safer.  What proof do we have?  What can we point to as the reason for even arresting these men?  We make excuses and we spout slogans, forgetting all the while that people are suffering, truly, deeply suffering – and for what?

4,123 US soldiers killed in Iraq, 30,409 US soldiers wounded in Iraq


Atheism Meme

I stole this from Daniel, who stole it from Ministry of Truth.

Q1. How would you define ‘atheism’?  I would define atheism as the belief that man created God, not the other way around.  My atheism takes morality from various religions and philosophies and melds them into a code of honor that can be changed as I learn and grow.

Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition? I was raised Catholic.  We went to church until I was about 16, but I never believed, even as a child.  I thought the stories were nice, but not true.  I got in a LOT of trouble in Catholic school for questioning the existence of God.

Q3. How would you describe ‘Intelligent Design’, using only one word? BULLSHIT.  No one has the right to teach my child that there was even a possibility that the world was created by God.  That’s my job.

Q4. What scientific endeavour really excites you? There are so many, but I would say the existence of life on other planets.  I think that would be the single discovery that would cause the religious to rethink their beliefs and stop being so damn intolerant towards the rest of us.

Q5. If you could change one thing about the ‘atheist community’, what would it be and why? I think the atheist community needs to be more politically active.  There are a lot of civil liberties we are slowly losing due to religion, and I think Christianity is permeating every aspect of our society.  I don’t want my son tobe an outcast because he’s not a Christian.

Q6. If your child came up to you and said ‘I’m joining the clergy’, what would be your first response? The reason would be my primary concern.  I’ve thought of joining the clergy because sometimes that is the only way to exact political or social change.  I think the clergy is still a necessary part of society.  People need guidance and charity, but they’re afraid to ask, or can’t afford to pay for counseling.  The clergy is a good vehicle for those who won’t look elsewhere.  There’s nothing wrong with helping people, no matter how you do it.  i’d rather he not perpetuate the belief that God is the ultimate answer, but to each his own.

Q7. What’s your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it? I have given up on trying to refute theistic arguments and have decided to lead by example.  The argument that religion is necessary for morality is probably the one that bothers me the most because I am a moral person and I don’t believe in God. Instead of arguing, I love unconditionally and forgive as quickly as my bruised ego will allow. 

Q8. What’s your most ‘controversial’ (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?  I sort-of believe in reincarnation.  I’m not sure about it, but I don’t discount the possibility.  I don’t think it has anything to do with God, but more to do with transference of energy.

Q9. Of the ‘Four Horsemen’ (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why? No favorite, but I find Hitchens interesting.

Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be? I don’t want to convince anyone to abandon their beliefs, but to tolerate the beliefs of others.  I want the religious to realize that it is unfair to legislate based on their religious practices and that not everyone has to believe the same thing in order for us to be in harmony with each other.  It is not a personal assault if someone you’re talking to says that they don’t believe in God.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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