No. YOU Move!

29 08 2010

A little bit of America died today. Not something physical, like a person, but one of the intangible American virtues was burned to death in Tennessee. It seems a bunch of “real Americans” managed to stop having sex with their sisters long enough to set fire to construction equipment being used to build a mosque.

Some might call this mere vandalism. Those people would be implicitly denying the fact that this act was designed to send a message of hate to those who dared to worship a non-christian god. That makes it terrorism. Here’s the UN definition for terrorism:

Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.

Let’s see, we have a crime (vandalism) intended to provoke fear in a group of people because of their religious beliefs. That makes this terrorism, and the people responsible are just as evil and small-minded as the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. The fact that these people claim to be Americans makes me physically ill.

It doesn’t matter what the press says. It doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. It doesn’t matter if the whole country says something wrong is something right. When the press or the mob or the whole world tells you to move, it is your duty- as a patriot- to plant yourself like a tree next to a river of truth and tell the whole world, “No. You move.”

Various pundits are fond of saying that seventy percent of Americans are opposed to building mosques in this country. Too fucking bad. If the property owners are not breaking any laws, it’s nobody’s fucking business what the property will be used for. If a bunch of weak-minded christian pinheads are upset that there will be a muslim center of worship in their town, they’ll just have to suck it up.

There ain’t no churches in Mecca!” is a frequent complaint by these xenophobic ass-hats. So what? We are supposed to be better than everyone else. We set ourselves up on a high pedestal and proclaim that America is the greatest country on Earth, but that claim requires that we occasionally live up to it. Something basic- like following our own  rules.

There is no fucking excuse for this sort of shit- not in my country. The people who committed this crime have lost the right to be called Americans. They have violated the law and the unwritten rules by which any complex society operates. These cowards are no better than the men who used to wear white hoods and lynch black people in that same area.

The people who committed this act of terrorism- and the people who knew about it but have not come forward to name names- are my enemies, and the enemies-general of all Americans. These people have been taking advantage of the freedoms guaranteed for all in this country, but they have decided that those same freedoms to apply to non-christians.

I am not a christian. I defy you to try and take away my liberty. Bring it, you cowardly xenophobes.

Current status: Furious

Current music: Come Out and Play by The Offspring

Risk Management

23 08 2010

There’s no such thing as a risk-free life. Everything you do has some amount of risk involved. Most people handle these risks without a great deal of conscious input, and that’s a favorable statement on how stable and safe our day-to-day environment is (speaking only in broad generalities about our civilization as a whole). Since we are unlikely to suffer hardship of any sort in the event we fail to properly manage our daily risk, we have grown inured to the possibility of the worst-case scenario.

But that’s no excuse for stacking the odds against yourself.

Case in point, the picture above. Given the current economic conditions in the world in general and the US in particular, it seems to me to be just a little bit stupid to advertise the number of people in your family, roughly what age and gender they are, and their names (or nicknames). Add that to the other information an observant Bad Guy can glean from your vehicle, and you might as well publish your work/school schedules, alarm codes, and how much loot you have lying around the house.

A lot of cars with these idiotic stickers also have bumper stickers. Bumper stickers which proclaim which school your child attends, whether or not the family attends a church, what the mother/father do for a living (especially for military families), whether or not they’re likely to have guns in the home, and whether or not the family has pets- often including the breed of animal. A casual stroll down any street here in the Shallow South can deliver reams of information about the lives and habits of a surprisingly large number of households- all without leaving the sidewalks or talking to anyone.

When did cars become rolling billboards advertising the minutiae of our lives? I use my car to drive to and from work, and for shopping on the weekends. I have no bumper stickers or ridiculous stick figures in my windows. I drive a Buick medicare sled because it is roomy, comfortable, fuel efficient, and paid for. Since I own a house, my next vehicle will be a small pick-up. This is not out of a sense that the vehicle will make a statement about me, I’ll be getting a pick-up to haul stuff to and from the house. I don’t feel the need to advertise my family status, religious affiliation, work history, or chosen vacation spots on my car. After seeing how much one can learn from the rear bumpers and windows of so many cars, I wouldn’t do so if even I were so inclined.

I live in a pretty nice neighborhood. It’s quiet, full of older families who all know each other, and every third house seems to have a dog. Travel a few blocks in any direction and it’s a different story. There’s a 7-11 about 6 blocks from here that gets knocked over at least once a month. A few blocks in the other direction is ground zero for police sirens every night, with occasional gunfire on the weekends. Off in another direction there’s a run-down industrial park surrounded by a bunch of seedy apartments. Even in a relatively safe neighborhood like mine, there’s bound to be a few ne’erdowells wandering through from time to time. Why let potential criminals know your habits and vulnerabilities?

Never mind. I just figured out the answer: The smug assumption that “it won’t happen to me“, which is so prevalent among the fat, dumb, and happy.

If to be simple, a people must be free from care, then simple they will be. Yet I begrudge it them not.

Sweet eructating Cthulhu! I’m living in the Shire!

Current status: Bemused

Current music: Wounded, Old, and Treacherous by Jethro Tull

Random Bits

23 05 2010

Yet another extended failure to post. As is my custom in such instances,  I will now post a few odds and ends in lieu of making a more coherent narrative on a single topic. Lack of coherence, thy name is Archvillain.


This story has never received a lot of attention here in the US- or the western world in general, for that matter. There are several explanations for this, from media incompetence to thinly-veiled public disinterest in the affairs of “brown people”. I happened to run across a blog by someone actually on the ground in Thailand, who does a very good job of analyzing and explaining the “troubles” over there. Please read this blog.

I’m conflicted. The current government is technically illegitimate, because it came into being in the aftermath of a military coup. On the other hand, the current government is far less corrupt than any previous Thai government, and was democratically elected. The US has dealt with similar governments in other countries, some of which were much worse, in the past. Since it isn’t my country, I’m going to leave it to the Thais to work out. The fact the people like S.P. Somtow are involved gives me hope that things will turn out better than they are.


Apparently, the police in this country can’t spell. They’re supposed to be fighting the “war on drugs”, but they seem to have morphed that into the “war on dogs”. Here are a few links to show you what I’m on about.

Note that these are all fairly recent acts. Couple these events with the tendency of police to completely screw up the relatively simple matter of getting the right address when serving warrants, and every dog owner in the country should be getting on the phone to his local, state, and federal legislators to stop the carnage. Too many innocent people, nonviolent offenders, and even cops are getting killed as a result of this idiotic “war on drugs”- to say nothing of the wanton butchery of family pets. Politicians are fond of claiming that you have nothing to fear if you’ve done nothing wrong. This turns out to be a heaping pile of bullshit, like most political claims.

Just ask yourself how you would feel if the police raided your home by mistake and shot your dogs to death.


Back in the days before email (yes. I AM that old. Get off my lawn!), people used to get letters in the mail claiming a wide variety of really unlikely things and urging the recipient to pass the letter on. This practice was swiftly and easily adapted to email, and now these bits of nonsense are roaming around the web, infesting in-boxes with their drivel (and occasionally with malware). The only reason this continues is because people are invariably stupid enough to believe the lies and distortions of truth without checking into the matter.

Case in point: I received one of these nonsensical emails from a friend of mine. Never mind what it was about, I could tell right away it had the disagreeable odor of bullshit about it. So I spent a grand total of five minutes doing a little online research. The only sources for the “information” in the email were all deeply whackjob “newspapers”- the same ones which claim that aliens from outer space are impregnating our women, for one ludicrous example. Next, I did a little Google searching for the facts underlying the story. I found lots of information from a variety of sources- both in and outside the US- which directly contradicted the fearmongering in the email. I forwarded this research to my friend, with a gentle reminder to do some fact-checking before becoming outraged.

As consumers of information, it is our responsibility to do our own fact-checking. Find out the sources of the information and do a little digging of your own. You’ll be a lot better informed, and will also develop skills which are universally useful.


Whoo boy. I lived in Texas for several years. Despite the greyhound-size  mosquitoes, the debilitating heat and humidity, and the presence of herds of obstreperous christian zealots, I rather liked the place.

As I’ve previously discussed, Texas is one of the country’s largest purchasers of school textbooks (only California is larger). This gives Texas an inordinate amount of influence over what textbook publishers put into their products. That influence is even greater this year, because California’s budget apocalypse prevents that state from buying textbooks for several years. This means that whatever standards Texas sets for textbook purchases are likely to be adopted by publishers- who are understandably unwilling to print a different textbook for every state.

Enter the Texas Board of Education, a nominally independent group who determines the educational standards for all textbooks purchased in Texas. Since few people pay much attention to the actions of this group, the Governor and his religious cronies have managed to pack the Board with christian supremacists. Here is the result.

Ignoring the recommendations of experts, professional educators from far and wide, and any trace of objectivity, the religious fuckwits on the Board have decided to re-write history on their own terms. Gone is any notion that the Founders were adamantly opposed to mixing religion and politics. Thomas Jefferson is all but redacted. The existence of slavery in this country is being de-emphasized. Worst of all, gone is the fact that a majority of the Texas patriots who fought Mexico for Texan independence were Mexicans themselves.

Thankfully, the people of Texas (who aren’t all religious zealots with axes to grind) have become so alarmed at the rabid fanaticism of the current Board that many of them have been invited to go away and not return. Unfortunately, the damage will have been done by the time the new Board is seated.

Here’s an idea for the publishers: Make standards textbook templates and post them online. States can purchase these boilerplate textbooks as needed, with whatever local modifications they choose. Publishers will no longer have to juggle the competing standards of various special-interest groups, and states won’t be subject to the religious hypocrisy of a small group of fanatics. Everyone wins.

Except the students in Texas, of course. They’ll find out the hard way that their public education diplomas are literally worth less than the paper they’re printed on.

Current status: Vexed

Current music: Come Dancing by the Kinks

A Plethora of Pinheads

4 05 2010

Let us examine the Great American Pinhead (craniorectal-inversionus northamericanus). This odious creature has the outward appearance of a stable, adult homo sapiens of either gender, and is found in dense herds wandering the countryside and (especially) on internet forums.

Case in point: A laughably poor attempt to firebomb Times Square in New York City fails due to industrial-strength ineptitude and a lack of understanding of basic chemistry. The would-be bomber is obviously a pinhead in his own right, but the weapons-grade pinheads emerged on internet forums and chat rooms over the next couple of days. Those on the Left were practically wetting themselves in public, crowing that the failed bomber had to be a teabagger. All manner of spurious justifications for this theory were advanced, but- in reality- the leftish pinheads were desperately praying that someone associated with the tea party movements was responsible. They were more interested in fixing blame on their political rivals than in discovering the truth. When that truth finally emerged, the leftish pinheads pouted and sulked and said, in so many words, how much they really wanted it to be a teabagger.

Those on the right weathered the storm of criticisms from their political rivals until the police caught the Failbomber- who turned out to be a Pakistani-born muslim who was a naturalized US citizen. The rightish pinheads immediately began their usual frothing at the mouth about Islam supposedly being the root of all evils (isn’t money supposed to be the root of all evil?), and getting further incensed at the fact that the arrested Failbomber was given the benefit of the rights and privileges afforded all Americans, including- gasp!– being read his rights. Republican politicians began shrieking about stripping the Failbomber of his citizenship (and by extension, his rights to due process), completely forgetting not only what little sense they had ever possessed, but also their tiny store of knowledge about Constitutional law. Allow me to remind you, dear reader, that most politicians are lawyers. One would think that a lawyer would have at least a tentative grasp of the fundamentals of US law.

Speaking of lawyers (those paragons of morality and good sense), remember that Pennsylvania school district that issued to laptops to all their students and then remotely activated the built-in webcams to spy on those students at home? Police investigators discovered somewhere on the close order of sixty thousand webcam photos on the school’s servers. Still desperately clinging to the ludicrous belief that they had done nothing wrong, the district hired a pack of lawyers to conduct an “independent investigation”. Oddly enough, this independent investigation was conducted by the legal defense team and firm hired by the school district. Those worthies even released a report whose title announced how independent it was. To everyone’s surprise, the school district’s lawyers discovered that the school district hadn’t done anything wrong. Everyone immediately heaved a great sigh of relief and went back to more important matters laughed themselves sick and continued with the local, state, and federal criminal investigations- not to mention the various lawsuits.

Speaking of things which will not end well, Arizona is only now starting to discover the price of their recent decision to demand proof of legal residence of anyone at any time (You vill show me der papers!). The legislature and the governor were greatly taken aback by the storm of protests from just about everywhere. The White House condemned them, and (predictably) so did the the government of Mexico. What really started getting the attention of the tax-fattened hyenas inhabiting the Arizona legislature were the economic effects as governments and businesses from inside the US announced boycotts against Arizona. Oopsie! Didn’t think your cunning plan all the way through, did you? These minor (but potentially significant) economic hazards are likely to be dwarfed by the legal effects once this travesty of justice goes into effect in July. There are swarms of attorneys feverishly drafting lawsuits and amicus briefs in anticipation of the judicial bloodbath that will surely ensue as soon as the first US citizen gets arrested under this law.

While I’m on the subject of unintended consequences, the Master Pinheads in the Logic-Free Zone grew mightily wroth after the passage of the recent health-care reform legislation when several major companies announced that they would be taking significant hits to their next quarter’s earnings. The companies made these announcements in compliance with a Federal law requiring them to do so. What got the congressional pinheads so worked up was the reason for the charges against earnings: to pay for the increased costs of operating under the health-care reform legislation. Congressional hearings were swiftly convened for the purpose of smacking the collective peepees of those evil corporations. How dare they demonstrate that the Law of Unintended Consequences always makes it through Congress?

A weird thing happened before those hearings were held. Somebody whose brain cells weren’t dying of loneliness managed to convey to our legislative pinheads some actual facts. Little tidbits like the Federal requirement to announce charges against earnings and (more likely) the notion that those corporations had all contributed heavily to the election campaigns of most of the congressional idiots. That last particular bit of belated knowledge un-dudgeoned the congresscritters with the quickness, and those hearings somehow fell off the radar. Odd, that.

Thus concludes our latest ventures among the various examples of the Great American Pinhead. I have no doubt there will be further episodes, because the species is widely distributed and is immune to normal human reactions like shame.

Current status: nauseated

Current music: All I Want by Toad the Wet Sprocket

Papers? We Ain’t Got No Papers!

21 04 2010

Let me start out by saying that illegal immigration is a significant problem for the United States. In my opinion, the biggest threat posed by illegal immigration is the fact that both major political parties in this country use the issue to goad their followers into a frenzy. People living along the US border with Mexico might not agree, which is their privilege. They’re closer to the problem, and deal with the short-term consequences of it every day. I, however, live in the Shallow South. We have a much smaller problem with illegal immigrants here, which allows some of us to look at the forest, while others are focused on the trees.

My personal opinion is to allow open immigration, with the stipulation that every would-be immigrant gets photographed, fingerprinted, and gives a DNA sample. Make the immigration process inexpensive and not particularly time-consuming, then open the flood gates and put ’em to work- at regular wages and paying taxes.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in this country making money- and scoring political points- from illegal immigration. The money bit we can deal with by fining to smithereens any company employing illegal immigrants (and jailing the company executives). The political issue, however, is a tougher nut to crack. The folks on the right like using illegal immigration to stir up thinly-disguised racism among their followers. The folks on the left like using illegal immigration to push through ever-greater entitlement programs in their quest for cradle-to-grave government dependency for all. Both groups also enjoy getting campaign contributions and other baksheesh from grateful company executives who get to use illegal immigrants as not-quite slaves. I am admittedly painting with a wide brush, but the fact remains that many politicians have vested interests in illegal immigration.

In Arizona, for example, the state legislature has sent an illegal immigration bill to the Governor for signature. Among other things, this bill would require all legal immigrants to carry their residence status documents with them at all times. That, in itself, is only slightly fascistic. Another part of the bill allows law enforcement to demand proof of citizenship from anyone who- in the opinion of the law enforcement officer- might be an illegal immigrant.

For those of you with quizzical expressions on your faces, here is a capsule description: Any cop in Arizona can demand proof of legal residence from any brown person in the state- anywhere, anytime. For those who are still wondering why this is a problem, ask yourself what will happen to the throngs of American citizens (born and raised here in the US) of Latin American descent. Now ask yourself this: how would you provide proof of citizenship if required to do so? Don’t bother reaching for your wallet- your driver’s license alone won’t do. Passport, birth certificate, or other US Government documentation proving legal residence por favor.

I’m reasonably certain that the standard of “innocent until proven guilty” is still in effect in this country, but this Arizona bill threatens to turn that on its head. Any person who looks like they might be an illegal immigrant to any cop in Arizona will now be forced to prove his or her innocence at any moment. How anyone with a functioning brain (I include Arizona politicians as a courtesy) can believe this is a good idea is completely beyond me. It’s not just un-Constitutional, it is industrial-strength stupid and utterly un-American.

I’m told that there is a large community of expatriate Canadians living in Arizona, no doubt some of which have expired visas. Will the Arizona police agencies be conducting sweeps for people wearing touks? Will there be INS raids for people who can’t quite master the words about or house? I somehow doubt it. The cops in Arizona will most likely take the path of least resistance and just pull over every person with brown skin and toss ’em in jail if they cannot provide proof of citizenship or legal residence.

Here’s a better idea: Arizona cops should make a policy of pulling over every single member of the state legislature and demanding that they provide proof of legal residence. Make ’em squat on the side of the road while the cops check their ID, all the while speaking to them in broken Spanish. See how long this law stays on the books.

If the Arizona legislature wants to do something about illegal immigration, fine. Draft a law punishing employers who hire illegals. That will dramatically reduce the number of illegal immigrants. Passing laws which turn every law enforcement agent into stereotypical gestapo (papers, bitte!) is a colossal waste of time and money, and furthermore takes law enforcement personnel away from their primary tasks in favor of harassing brown people. Imagine the lawsuits under the 4th Amendment from legal residents and natural-born citizens who get victimized by this law. The money spent fighting these inevitable legal battles would be far better spent on dealing with more important issues, in my opinion. There is no excuse for violating the civil rights of any American in this manner.

For those of you living in Arizona, you might want to un-elect every incumbent next election. The ones you have are obviously morons.

Current status: Visibly peeved

Current music: No Rain by Blind Melon


18 04 2010

If you were to read a news article about a government seizing a couple’s property against their wishes and in direct violation of valid powers-of-attorney and living wills, what country would first come to mind? Would it be the US?

Sonoma County, California did exactly this to an elderly gay couple when the older man, Harold Greene,  had to be taken to the hospital after a fall at home. The hospital and county case workers refused to allow his partner Clay in to see Harold. They absolutely refused to consider Clay as anything other than a room-mate, with no rights regarding Harold’s care. The county tried to get a court to rule that Harold had no family in order to gain access to Harold’s assets. When the judge denied their claim, the county went a step farther.

Without bothering to determine which man owned what or even the value of their combined assets, Sonoma County seized and auctioned off everything Harold and Clay owned. The county evicted Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will- choosing a different nursing home from Harold’s. The county terminated their lease on the house and returned it to their landlord.

Harold died alone in the nursing home a few months later, and his partner of twenty years was not permitted to visit him (family only, you know). All Clay has left is a scrapbook of pictures he and Harold had put together in the last year before he died.

I don’t care how you feel about homosexuals. Even the most rabid homophobe this side of Phredd Phelps should be up in arms over this case.  The fact that a government agency in this country can throw someone into a nursing home against their will, then auction off that person’s assets to pay for their care in direct violation of legal powers-of-attorney and valid living wills is such a gross travesty of justice that I find myself lacking the proper words to describe my outrage. Sonoma County appears to have willfully abrogated the rule of law in order to sentence two old men to spend their remaining lifetimes in nursing homes, then stole all of their belongings to pay for this act. It took legal action by his court-appointed attorneys to get Clay out of the nursing home. Despite his good health, he was now indigent, thanks to Sonoma County.

The laws in this country have been developed over centuries, stretching back beyond the founding of America to English Common Law. There is a mountain of case law throughout this period which holds that governments are bound by legal documents such as wills and powers-of-attorney. The fact that a local government can blithely set all that aside is monstrous. Revolutions have been started for acts such as this.

Clay has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against Sonoma County, showing that he’s a far better man than I. He is demonstrating far more maturity than I possess at this action by the county government, and I am not even directly victimized by this. I say, directly victimized, because the entire body politic of the United States has been victimized by these byzantine excesses of local authority against a citizen. The preamble to the Constitution starts with We, the People. There is no mention of exceptions for homosexuals, ethnic minorities, speakers of foreign languages, left-handed people, or followers of one religion or another. We, the People of the United States, have suffered an injustice in the form of atrocious bad actions on the part of a county government against an innocent citizen.

Make ’em pay.

Current status: Speechless with rage

Current music: Lido Shuffle by Boz Scaggs

Non-Momentary Lapse of Reason

12 04 2010

You have achieved discontinuity of meaning.”

I find myself shouting those words at my television a lot these days, along with a great deal of choice invective in a variety of languages. The sheer number of brain-dead, mouth-breathing wastes of genetic material who manage to get media coverage is literally staggering. Where do I begin?

How about the Hutaree- the apocalyptic fundamentalist christian doomsday cult militia who were so totally insane that other militias turned them in to the cops? It turns out that these stellar examples of the “master race” were collecting coffee cans to make explosively-formed projectiles. They discovered a hitch in their cunning plan when it turned out that the coffee cans in question did not- in fact- contain any metal. These people are stupid beyond belief- not merely because they are trained by their loathsome version of christianity to be credulous dolts and therefore have little idea of how science works, but because they believed that murdering a few dozen policemen and their mourning relatives would somehow bring about their apocalyptic war against the heathens.

Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.” – Thomas Paine

Next we have a “retired” politician telling her fellow low foreheads that America doesn’t need “this snake-oil science stuff“. I have not yet made up my mind about anthropogenic climate change- largely because no follower of Saint AlGore has yet been able to explain the Medieval Warm Period in the context of their religion. That said, the rabid anti-intellectualism implicit in her comments ought to strike a chill in the heart of all Americans. For those of you who slept through their high-school science classes, here’s a couple of clue chits for you: The only field of endeavor in which the US is dominant today is science and research. The US has dominated the sciences and medicine for decades, and this pre-eminence attracts the best and brightest from around the world to our universities and research centers. Science is practically the only thing we can reliably claim to be the best at, but this political hack and her fundamentalist cronies seem to want to turn back the clock on science because they don’t like the answers science gives them.

Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one’s eyes shut and wailing “Does not!” – Author Unknown

Speaking of the American Taliban, the former head of the Texas school textbook commission is famously quoted as saying, “Someone has to stand up to the experts!” Sorry, sparky. Your personal relationship with a dead jewish guy does not trump the evidence easily available to anyone with an open mind. It ought to be enough to see that the garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies in the bottom of it, too (to paraphrase Douglas Adams). Why is it easier for these loons to believe easily-debunked fables when the truth is much more interesting? There’s an entire universe out there for us to learn about and explore, but these religious fuckwits insist on fixing their heads firmly inside their collective rectums because they like the view so much better. Worse, they insist that everyone else has to be limited to the same field of view.

I am treated as evil by people who claim that they are being oppressed because they are not allowed to force me to practice what they do. – D. Dale Gulledge

Lest I be accused of “bashing christianity”, let us examine another pack of rabidly batshit fundies. The Hasidic community in Brooklyn has their beards in a tangle over the fact that “scantily clad” females ride their bicycles down the public thoroughfares near their self-created ghetto.The Hasidim in question are the descendants of a large community which moved to Brooklyn in a body to get away from the persecution they experienced in Europe- just after the end of the second World War. The irony of the situation must be totally lost on these fundamentalist ass-hats: they came to Brooklyn because they wanted the freedom to practice their religion as they saw fit, but they now insist on denying those same freedoms to everyone around them. Unfortunately for the bearded ones, those public thoroughfares are public fucking thoroughfares. So long as the laws of the city, county, and state of New York are not broken, they’re just going to have to put up with it.

We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart. – H.L. Mencken

What do all of these episodes have in common? Fundamentalism. There is something terribly wrong in the way these people think and see the world. To the fundamentalists, perfection is just a round the last corner. They all want to live in a free society, but they only want those freedoms for themselves. Everyone else has to behave and believe exactly as they do, or else. Here is the core disconnect between the religious fundamentalist and any moron of average intelligence: Any mass-murderer can ask for forgiveness on his death bed and go to heaven, but Ghandi burns forever in hell because he was not christian. How about this- if God doesn’t like the way I live, let him tell me, not you.

Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense. – Chapman Cohen

These are not isolated incidents. They are all part of a growing trend toward fundamentalism here in this country that is by nature destructive to American ideals and individual liberties. The religious neo-barbarians are all intent on destroying the very core of our civilization. We, the People, need to exercise our own rights to free speech and free association to counter the religiously deluded at every turn. These creatures must be confronted with facts and logic whenever they spew their lies and innuendo in public. Their histrionics and stupidity must be countered with rational discourse and firm resolve. Those who refuse to submit to the religious thought police must stand united against the darkness those fanatics seek to draw across our country.

It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley, but to believe or not believe in God is not important at all.  – Denis Diderot

I will not submit to the will of any god- or the followers of any god. I will make my own way … and leave a trail for others to follow if they wish. I will not force my ideas upon any other, nor demand they believe as I do. All I ask in return is the same privilege.

I do not support religion because it demands that we give up our most important human asset, the ability to question. It demands that we simply believe. Isn’t that true of any dictator, of any totalitarian society? Insofar as social development is concerned, nothing is of greater importance than the human function of questioning. Questioning led to the development of civilization. – Vladimir Pozner

Current status: Profoundly irked

Current music: Free Will by Rush