Thursday, April 28, 2011

Breaking News: Americans Are Gullible

So, as I'm sure you are all aware, President Obama has finally given in to the demands that he release his long form birth certificate and prove that he is eligible to be the president. As if our entire government had failed to determine his citizenship before he became president, and a U.S. and state senator before that. I have to admit that during his presidential campaign I was skeptical of him and I did not vote for him. I have realized since then that part of the reason I was so skeptical of him was because I watched mostly Fox News. I'm not saying that I think he was qualified to run for president then, but in reality, who is ever qualified to run for president? It is like people saying that they will have kids only when they are ready to have kids but when is anyone really ready for that kind of responsibility? You just have to prepare as best you can to overcome the obstacles and learn as much as you can in the process. Every candidate has his/her drawbacks and those are usually exposed by the media rather rapidly during a campaign season. As I mentioned, I was skeptical of him but as I am a person who values evidence and reason, I quickly realized that my assumptions and concerns were not grounded in anything concrete.

As we are almost two and half years into the Obama presidency, it is clear to me that many of the concerns that were expressed over his associations, or even his constitutional eligibility to run for president, were overblown hype by conservative media pundits and politicians who did not want to see him elected. As we have witnessed over the last two years, many of the people who were busy spreading those fears during the campaign have not ceased doing so since he was elected. The rumors that he was not born in the U.S., and was therefore ineligible to be president, did not end once he was elected to office. They did not end after he released his record of live birth in an effort to put to bed the issue of his eligibility. And, as we see now, they have not ended even after he has finally released his long form birth certificate. Much has been made recently of Donald Trump's effort to get the president to release the birth certificate, and the media gave him ample opportunity to speak about it. Then, once the certificate was released, Trump spoke to the media in a victorious manner, as if he had just convinced Osama bin Laden to turn himself in. It was really an insight into how narcissistic Trump really is.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Crazies Are Out and About...

Well, it seems Pastor Jones is at it again. Jones, who is pretty much a nobody in terms of importance on a city/state/national level, burned the Qu'ran last month after finding it "guilty" in a mock trial. This action set off a chain of events that left innocent people dead in Afghanistan when Afghan versions of Pastor Jones (aka crazies) rioted and stormed a United Nations compound. How the UN employees they killed were somehow responsible for Pastor Nitwit's actions, I don't know. Nevertheless, they were reacting to Jones' burning of their "holy" book, which he has the right to do of course. However, anyone who is willing to burn a book instead of reading it is an ignorant fool in my eyes. You don't have to agree with something to learn from it in some way. I've never fully read the Qu'ran but I know from what I have read that it is not all evil, infidel slaying, Jew-hating blasphemy. As a matter of fact, there are some very pleasant passages throughout the Qu'ran, just as you can find lovely, peaceful passages in the Old Testament surrounding all the genocide, rape, incest and human sacrifice.

Burning the Qu'ran apparently has not been fulfilling enough for the fundamentalist Christian crusader though as he now has plans to hold an armed rally at one of the America's largest mosques: The Islamic Center of America, located in Dearborn, Michigan, which has a very large Muslim population. Apparently, Jones is in court this morning to hear if his planned rally will be allowed to go forward or not. While I think he has the right to protest whatever he wants, I think he is just doing whatever he can to stir up controversy and keep his name in the news... maybe then he could reach some of the other crazies in our country who might join is merry little band of 70 or so lunatic followers. I'm sure he could find some more followers in Murfreesboro, Tennessee based on an apparently continual cycle of lawsuits they have thrown at a mosque construction project there. (story here:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Anti-evolution Bill Making Headway in Tennessee

As I have touched on in previous posts, there is an ongoing battle over science education in our nation's public schools. Conservative lawmakers in Tennessee, the state that was at the center of the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial" in 1925, have introduced numerous bills that are attempting to protect the teaching of "both sides" of the debate between the scientifically-supported theory of evolution and the non-scientific "theory" of intelligent design. More information on the bills can be found at:

I am aware that I am not presenting a balanced approach to this debate and the reason for that is quite simple: this shouldn't even be a debate. There is no controversy within the scientific community on the merits of evolution. The overwhelming majority of scientists, especially biologists, accept evolution for what it is: a scientific fact with an enormous amount of evidence and supporting data. The ID community is crying foul over the fact that their "theory" is not being given the same considerations as evolution and is not being taught in public schools. The ID community, which cannot separate itself from its creationist origins, has simply had to evolve over time and change up its tactics. It lost in court when it was attempting to get creationism back in the classroom in the 1980's (info found here: ) and as a result of that defeat, they changed their approach and the intelligent design movement came into being. This change of tactics would prove futile as well, when in the 2005 court case in Dover, Pennsylvania, the teaching of intelligent design was found to be in violation of the constitution (info here: ).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lies and Misinformation...

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Senator John Kyl's recent gaff about Planned Parenthood spending over 90% of its time and effort performing abortions (video here: ). I am also sure that most of you are aware that his statement is blatantly untrue. His statement, no matter how absurd and false, is indicative of the nature of the attacks on Planned Parenthood; they are mostly made up and would be unworthy of attention if they were coming from some random abortion protester outside a Planned Parenthood facility. However, those who hold those views have an extremely powerful voice provided to them in the form of conservative politicians and pundits. Since his blatant lie began to circulate and garner media attention, his office issued a statement claiming that his comment was not intended to be factual in nature and that he was trying to illustrate a point. Interesting...

Thankfully, we live in an era where information is available immediately to anyone who has cable television or a cell phone. Both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report had a hay-day with Sen. Kyl's statement and rightfully so. I don't think I can summarize Colbert's take on it effectively, so if you have not seen the video, here it is:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Pap Smears at Walgreens
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Despite Colbert and Stewart's large following, there are many Americans, both voters and politicians, who still believe that Planned Parenthood is an evil organization that focuses almost entirely on aborting pregnancies. It is easy to understand how this type of misinformation exists when the most watched news network in the country is Fox News. After all, they are the ones in the video posted above claiming that you can get the same services Planned Parenthood provides at Walgreens!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Petty Politics: Service Members Should Not Be Political Pawns

As the government shutdown becomes more of a possibility, there are many who are noticing that this whole situation is pretty ridiculous. Is Congress seriously more concerned about whether or not federal funding for Planned Parenthood "allows" them to conduct abortions with their non-federal funds than they are about paying the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen who serve this country every day? Are they more worried about controlling women's reproductive rights than they are about paying the men and women who are bravely and voluntarily fighting in two (and a half?) wars? Wars that have largely not affected the general public or members of Congress? Those who are still choosing to serve today know they are going to be involved in at least one of the wars, yet they still enlist or become officers in our armed forces because they have the desire to serve their country. Congress needs to recognize that the men and women who serve in the military are not pawns in their political squabbles. They are not simply "the military" but some of the very best this country has to offer. Perhaps Congress can decide to reduce their own pay (of course, to avoid violating the 27th Amendment that means it won't take effect until the next legislative session - but still)? Perhaps they (Republicans - supposedly the pro-military, patriotic group) can get off their high-horse and stop trying to use the financial crisis to further religious and ideological legislation at the expense of the very men and women who they claim to be in massive support of? We'll see, I suppose. Until then, all my brothers and sisters who are still in the service, stay safe and Semper Fi!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mike Huckabee: Americans Should Be Forced to Listen to Pseudo-Historian David Barton

At a recent conservative event titled "Rediscover God in America," potential 2012 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spoke after "historian" David Barton. The beginning of Huckabee's speech can be viewed here:

Aside from his disturbing comment about how American's should be forced at gunpoint to listen to David Barton, Barton's own introduction provides insight into what a Huckabee presidency might look like. He begins by saying that Huckabee would be a great "Black Robe Regiment" guy. If you are unfamiliar with the Black Robe Regiment, this should tell you all you need to know about their aim: "Through this time the church and God himself has been under assault, marginalized, and diminished by the progressives and secularists. The false wall of separation of church and state has been constructed in such a manner that most are unaware of its limited boundaries." Its the familiar call that Christianity is under assault and that Christians are a group of poor, persecuted individuals in the United States. It is the familiar claim that the separation of church and state is false or that the constitution has not been interpreted properly by those damned activist judges... for the last 200+ years.

The only place the separation of church and state is nonexistent is in the minds of those who disagree with its basic concept.

House Passes DC Voucher Bill

With the battle still raging over budget issues, it seems to me that much of the battle is being waged over ideological lines, as opposed to strictly fiscal concerns. While I do not doubt that many House Republicans are concerned over the nature of government spending as a whole, it seems that many have been taking advantage of the current financial crisis to further religious and ideological legislation. For example, Congressional Republicans have been calling to end funding Planned Parenthood completely while advocating, and approving, the extension of funding for private and religious schools in Washington, D.C. This seems to me to be indicative of their ideological viewpoint. Organizations that are not Republican supported are facing budget cuts while pet projects of Republican Congressmen are being propped up and passed in the House.

One example of this is the DC Voucher Program. This program was in the process of being slowly phased out because of government reports that it was failing to improve education for students in DC, which was its entire purpose. However, new Speaker of the House John Boehner has effectively revived it and the House passed the measure last Wednesday with a 225-195 vote. The bill will allocate $300 million over the next five years. This, during a time of nationwide belt-tightening, seems quite contrary to the fiscal responsibility the Republicans keep railing on about. It isn't that $300 million is all that much money in the grand scheme of things, but when Republicans are targeting programs that they argue are ineffective and a waste of tax payer money it seems odd that this program is not being similarly targeted. The problem, I guess, is that they support this program and Democrats oppose it. That is the game changer.