The latest NewsUndies! All the news that shouldn’t be news, including:
- Mardi Gras! Carnivale!
- Gotta Go Some Time
Watch! Share! Enjoy!
The latest NewsUndies! All the news that shouldn’t be news, including:
Watch! Share! Enjoy!
And here, I thought Rhode Island was this little pocket of rational liberalism… Oh, my lack of gods!
RI State Representative Peter G. Palumbo (Democrat- District 16, Cranston) on WPRO-AM’s John DePetro Show made some remarks regarding Jessica Ahlquist. For those of you unfamiliar with the case, Jessica is the Junior at Cranston High School West in his district who, with the help of the ACLU brought a lawsuit against the school district to have a “prayer banner” which has hung for decades in the school taken down. She won.
Since then, oh boy. The fecal matter has struck the rotary atmospheric circulation inducer.
For the time being, you can listen to selected clips from the show here: http://630wpro.com/Article.asp?id=2371375&spid=18074, and download the full show here: http://630wpro.com/getpodcast.aspx?sid=18074&lid=6651&id=2371375&source=2&url=http://dl.dropbox.com/u/38015555/JAN%202012/01-12-12/011212PALUMBOFULL.mp3
I will try to keep the links current, but no guarantees.
I will make quotations from the conversation on this obscene program, and here is the required attribution: Quotations that follow are taken from the THE JOHN DEPETRO SHOW ON NEWSTALK 630 WPRO AND 99.7 FM which originally aired January 12, 2012.
Representative Palumbo remarked about Ahquist, “What an evil little thing….”, then said, “I think she’s being coerced by evil people. … she’s a pawn.”
Really Representative Palumbo? You also, apparently, think there’s an invisible man who’s been dead for 2,000 years who listens to you when you lose your car keys, and helps Tim Tebow make touchdowns. Clearly, you need some help with “thinking”.
…and just because it’s been there for 50 years… does that make it valid? …or right? …or sensible? People were convinced for thousands of years that enslaving “different” people was valid, that the “flat Earth” hypothesis was right, and that it was sensible to stone someone to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. Modern, advanced societies no longer cling to these archaic and demonstrably faulty positions. The time has more than arrived to let this one go, too. The time has arrived, rented an apartment, dated, married, raised a small family, bought a home, sent all its kids through college, and is now considering a reverse mortgage.
Mr. DePetro, you are not free from blame in this situation either. Your mockery of the discomfort and unease Ahlquist reportedly felt is equivalent to mocking a paralyzed veteran for his or her disability. You know nothing of how they got there. You know nothing of how they live. You know nothing of what they endure, and you have the nerve, the gall, the inexcusable conceit to remark, “She’s been traumatized by this whole thing. Imagine she had to go to a school where they had the word God posted in. Do you have any idea what that must have been like? Do you have any idea the torment of having to be in a building that contained a prayer? I don’t think you understand the torment that goes with that. (laughter)”
Neither of these men understand what is going on here. Either that, or they feign ignorance to enhance their own public profiles. Either way, for one to be in a position to be a representative of others in government, and the other to be put forward as a “voice to be heard” is appalling.
Representative Palumbo went on, at DePetro’s urging, to read the prayer, prefacing it by saying, “…it’s such a positive prayer.” It is no such thing. The prayer reads:
Our Heavenly Father. Grant us each day the desire to do our best. To grow mentally and morally as well as physically. To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers. To be honest with ourselves as well as with others. Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West. Amen. —School Prayer, Cranston High School West
In effect this states that we are incapable of growth, honesty, helpfulness, honesty, and so on WITHOUT the aid of a “heavenly father”, to whom we must grovel for these abilities.
I’m with Jessica on this one. I can desire to do my best, to grow, and be helpful, and kind and value friendship and all the rest WITHOUT begging a “heavenly father” for permission, and so can all of you. As a skeptic and freethinker, I abhor the implication smuggled in by this ostensibly harmless “prayer”. it subverts free will and personal responsibility, and is in no way appropriate to have every day before the eyes of impressionable children you hope will become responsible, self-sufficient, decent adults.
Of course, the unspoken convenience of the “school prayer” is that you can still be a jackass in school, and just say, “Despite my fervent, repeated requests, our heavenly father didn’t grant me the desire to do my best, or to be kind and helpful. Not my fault. Blame our heavenly father.”
If you want to put up a “school pledge” that is actually secular, and doesn’t use taxpayer funds to promote an establishment of religion, you could put up something like this:
I pledge: to to do my best, to grow mentally and morally as well as physically, to be kind and helpful to my classmates and teachers, to be honest with myself as well as with others, to be a good sport and smile when I lose as well as when I win, to value true friendship, to conduct myself so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West. —School Pledge, Cranston High School West
It’s secular, and as an added bonus, it becomes a verbal contract, committing the speaker to decent behavior, rather than referring blame upward to a non-existent heavenly father.
Alright… So, it should be no secret by now that I’m an atheist. If you were previously unaware… Ta-da!!!
So I’m staggering around YouTube, and happen upon a video…
…Judging by the way the music sorta swells at the end, and is abruptly cut off, I’m guessing it’s part of something else, and I’m not sure if, in the bigger picture, it’s pro-Mormon or not… but BornAgainstMormons seems to be presenting it as a pro-Mormon message (as in, don’t give up when you try to proselytize). At first I thought BornAgainstMormons might be a poe, but looking at other videos on the channel, that seems less likely to me.
I hopped around a little more, related videos and so on… and found this little gem:
So this is how to win a soul for Jesus, eh? Seems to me the soul of the poor sap in the house was already “won”. Seems to me all Pastor Douchenozzle did was say, ” …[ eight and a half minutes of Bible quotes ]… I see you have a Crown Vic in your driveway. At my church you have to drive a Grand Marquis, but I’ll tell what… I’ll just peel all the name plates off the outside, and put on the right ones… and voila! It’ll only waste ten minutes of your time, and make no difference at all, except I’ll be less afraid of your car.”
Well, this is interesting…
As some of you may have heard, I gave up the “god thing” nearly 35 years ago, and prior to that I was being raised Catholic.
Now, on the one hand, I recognize the importance of accurate numbers.
I’m normally rabid about not buying computers with a Microsoft operating system pre-installed, because I’m just going to blow it away, and install Linux… I’m paying for it, and it counts as a sale for them, but it’s never even booted under my ownership.
It never really occurred to me that I might be on a baptismal roll somewhere, and, as such, counted among the billion-or-so Catholics. It’s certainly something to seriously consider. I don’t know what diocese I was baptized in, and I don’t know if I’m committed enough to the idea to find out.
I suppose if I have nothing better to do on a rainy Sunday… instead of going to church
A wonderful video from The Thinking Atheist:
Is it just me, or does the Christian Right in this country just seem to go further and further out into the weeds with their “Oh, we’re so oppressed!” chicken dance? It really is sickening. With all the deference Christians get in this country, and it’s not enough? Christians already get their two biggest holidays as Federal holidays. Do the Jews? No. Is Kwanzaa a Federal Holiday? No.
Let’s look at the supposed battlefield, shall we?
Fans of such weed-eaters as Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson are out there complaining about how businesses and other people, who may or may not be Christian, wish people “Happy Holidays” in stead of “Merry Christmas”. Is that fair? While, statistically, you stand a better chance that the person you’re passing your season’s greetings to is Christian, as opposed to anything else, that margin of certainty is shrinking. Unless you know someone is a Christian, isn’t it sensible to refrain from assuming he or she is Christian, just because it’s the majority position?
If we’re going to “put the Christ back in Christmas”, shouldn’t we also put the “Democrat” back in “Democracy”? If you’re a Democrat, why not just automatically assume everyone else is a Democrat, and make some blanket statement about how cool it is to be a Democrat to everyone you meet around election time, as if they’re part of your club, and then gasp and recoil in horror, when they say that just because the White House, Senate and House of Representatives all have Democratic leadership doesn’t mean we’re all Democrats.
If Wal*Mart wants to alienate followers of other religions and the unaffiliated (over 20% of Americans, according to a Pew poll) that’s their choice. If you as a Christian (assuming you are one) choose to assume I’m a Christian (a big mistake, and you’ll hear about it, long form, in short order) that’s your business. It’s not the job of the US Government to proselytize for any faith. If the Federal Government of the United States of America is to offer any greetings making reference to religiously significant observances (and I think even that is going too far), it is Constitutionally bound to show no preference to any one religion. “Happy Holidays” and/or “Season’s Greetings” is as far as the US Government can go. For a Congressman or Senator to attempt to legislate anything else is an obvious breach of their Oath of Office, and, I think, grounds for impeachment and removal from office.
As far as what an individual says to another, I think it’s a matter of personal choice. If you are a Christian, It’s up to you whether you want to take the one in five chance of alienating a stranger by wishing them a Merry Christmas. If you’re not a Christian, it seems patently hypocritical to wish someone else Merry Christmas.
This group-offense-taking, which seems to have started in earnest with the Danish Mohammad cartoon lunacy is reaching new heights of idiocy. This “War on Christmas” thing has taken a totalitarian turn, with the notion that the Christians are entitled to force me to think a certain way about their religious observances, and, as a consequence, feel (or at least ape) reverence for their faith above others.
If then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney could tell US Senator from Vermont Patrick J. Leahy on the floor of the US Senate to “fuck himself” without any official retribution, reprisal, or censure, that response is obviously acceptable for use in civilized discourse among decent respectable people. As such, I offer it to these “War on Christmas” crybabies who insist that I, and you, and everyone else, use the phrase “Merry Christmas” as a greeting, irrespective of audience.
I think what I’m going to do from here on out is simply reject the notion that December is any more significant than, say, June, and just greet everyone with a, “Hi,” or, “Hello.”, leave them with a “See ya,” or “Fare well,” and reply to offerings of “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” or “Season’s Greetings” with a firm, but polite, “No, Thanks.”
I’ve been invited to join the panel on a local radio show, called Freethought Rhode Island. The weekly show is put on by members of the Rhode Island Atheist Society and the Rhode Island Skeptics’ Society.
You can listen live on radio in the Providence, RI market on 88.1 WELH-FM
You can listen live on the Interwebs at http://bsrlive.com/
…and you can download the podcast after the fact at http://www.freethoughtri.com/
The live broadcast and stream starts at 9:00 PM EST
It’s a call-in show, so… listen, and call in!
Thanks to the RDF, Dr. Shermer and all the fine folks who put this together! Well done!
This makes me all the more regretful I didn’t muster the nerve to greet Dr. Shermer when I had the chance. He sat not 10 feet from us during the talks on Saturday night. I could’ve throwing-starred a business card right into his forehead… WE were at a VIP table (having plunked down the extra coin), and HE was sitting in the cheap perimeter seats. Not that I had anything to say to him other than blurting out with a stammering palsy, “Hi, Dr. Shermer… Thanks for … doing … what you do.” I get all paralytic and spasmodic around accomplished people whom I admire. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t just faint dead away at the AAI convention.
All the news that shouldn’t be news for October 9, 2009: Happy Birthday, Jim Underdown! Atheists invade Burbank; Sarah Palin “Wrote” a book; Levi Johnson to show his; “Papa” John Phillips kept it in the family; Prosthetic pretend virginity; Chicago loses Olympics, but gains…well… nothing.
As first days at atheist conventions go, yesterday was pretty awesome.
PZ Myers gave a talk covering design versus evolution, excerpts of which may appear either on NewsUndies or my UrsusPacificus YouTube Channel. Didn’t get a chance to talk with him, but then, I wasn’t really expecting one.
Saw Dr. Dawkins and Dr. Dennet lurking occasionally. No chance to talk to them, but, again, wasn’t really expecting one… and… really… I’m sure my throat would seize anyway, if the chance did come up.
There was the live screening of Real Time with Bill Maher, which was agreeable.
The cast of Mr. Deity performed a couple episode on stage, and Brian Keith Dalton, creator, director and star of the show talks about his journey into atheism. That was cool.
Then Richard Dawkins (whom we’d just seen on Real Time) and Bill Maher showed up for Dawkins to present AAI’s Richard Dawkins Award to Maher. Dawkins gave what I thought was a fair introduction, stating that while he and others on the selection board did not necessarily agree with Maher on everything, particularly medicine, this award is centered on making a large, positive contribution to the advancement of progressive free thought and abandonment of religious dogma (or something like that… I have his comments on video, although the quality may be lacking.), and in that area, his film Religulous, as well s his outspokenness in other areas has been a boon to the cause.
Maher accepted the award (was there any doubt?) and talked about a few things we’re facing as a nation and as a species… did some relevant stand-up schtick, and closed by reading from Rick Warren’s “The Purpose-Driven Life”… which is both pathetic and hilarious at the same time.
We were then treated to a “comedy fund raiser”… $20 a head to see 5 comedians eviscerate religious dogma, faith and practice. Nice. Well worth the $20.
Then, of course there were the pleasant conversations, interesting merchandise and opportunities to do NewsUndies footage and network a little.
All in all a great time…. and there’s still SATURDAY!
…and my IDA Fish shirt got a lot of positive views and comments. So, really, it was a win-win day…
More from Burbank later…