Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We've Got a Billboard!

American Atheists, Inc., has put a billboard up near the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City.

Naturally, it has generated a lot of press.

Here is an email sent to the American Atheists:

"Why don't you discredit the Muslim faith on billboards during ramadan? You bunch of pussies. You target the most loving group of people on earth. Go after the ones who keep plotting to harm and kill America and the world everyday. The reason why your stupid ass organization won't do that because they would find you all and you would find your fate with them. You pussy!!!" -- Del Araya
Yes, us atheists have so much to learn from those loving Christian folk about love and tolerance. 

Then there was this comment from another blogger, Jezebel:
is it necessary to attack people’s beliefs in the process? Why not just focus on celebrating your own beliefs rather than pissing people off by putting theirs down? Ridiculing a belief system that, for many people, is the basis for their entire life philosophy is not a way to win friends or influence people; it’s a way to act like a stereotype.
I'm not sure how telling the truth is considered attacking.  If  you wish to spend your entire life truly believing in this myth, then I don't think a single billboard is going to stop you from doing that.  If it makes you question your faith, then I would argue that your faith was far to fragile to begin with.

Here is a response from PZ Myers:
I agree that letting people go about their lives in peace is the decent thing to do. So, tell me, what about that sign interferes with common decency?

Are people who see that sign subsequently unable to go to church? Does it silence preachers all across the land?


Does that sign incite hatred, does it deprive people of their civil rights, does it oppress a minority?


Does it misrepresent atheism, does it unjustly criticize religious people for ideas they do not hold (which, by the way, would be wrong, but doesn't interfere with people's lives)?


Might it stir a little resentment, maybe even sting Christians a little bit because it reminds them that atheists exist and freakin' disagree with them?

YES! And that is a good thing that does them no harm, and even does them considerable good. We're here, we're just as much a part of this society as they are, and we're not going to sit silently any more.
Here is another email to American Atheists:

Why don't you all move to another country and stop trying to detroy the US. Read your history this country was founded on Christian principals. Atheists are like homosexuals ~You chose an uceceptable lifestyle and choose to follow a lost path expecting normal citizens to make special rules for y...ou. HOW VERY SAD YOU ALL ARE!" - charm neumann

Rants like this would be so much more effective if you could actually use the English language, or even a spellchecker.  It's also nice that they throw in homosexuals as well.

I think most Christians understand that Jesus (if he really existed) was not born on December 25th.  I think most Christians understand that much of this holiday is begged, borrowed, and stolen from other lesser faiths, paganism, and even the celebration of the winter solstice.

Merry Mythmas!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fantasy Football Update - Week 11

The slide continues, as does my own curse.  Last week I mentioned how bad Carson Palmer was, so I benched him for Vince Young.  Oops.  Vince gets himself hurt, benched, and thrown out of the Titans practice facility all within 24 hours.  In the mean time, Carson goes for 14 fantasy points to Young's 6.  Minus 8 for those counting at home.  Then I decided to bench Fitzgerald because the Cardinals don't have a QB can throw the ball to him.  Instead I started Boldin.  Boldin puts up a big fat goose egg (29 yds, 1 fumble) while Fitzgerald goes for 15.  Granted the TD was garbage time, but this is fantasy, so who cares.  Minus 15 on that transaction for a net loss of 23 points.  I lost by 6.

Utah Drivers are Crazy!

I had the distinct displeasure of having to drive to Ogden from Phoenix this last Saturday.  I ran into a few nasty conditions that I don't wish on anybody.  At one point I was stopped on I-15 at the summit near exit 120 for over an hour.  I saw more than a half dozen tractor trailers with the trailers askew as the rear of the trailer slid to one side when they stopped.  I saw one veteran driver give tire chain pointers to an obviously very young truck driver pulling a flatbed.  Good to spread the knowledge.

After crawling down the hill from the submit, I saw what appeared to be a Chevy Tahoe on its roof in the median and a quarter mile past that, a Jeep Wrangler on its side. The emergency vehicles were gone and the overturned cars left as reminders until they could be retrieved in better weather.

At one point between Nephi and Spanish Fork, some driver decided to stop halfway in the right lane and shoulder.  I was getting passed on the left and ending up sliding quite some distance only to stop 10 yards from the "pulled over" vehicle.  I was able to straighten myself out and keep moving.

So, given their familiarity with winter driving conditions I was amazed at the number of vehicles that did not bother to turn on their headlights.  Is there some rule about driving in snow during the day that you don't want to be seen?  I know in Arizona, during the dust storm season, it is recommended that when you pull off the road (as far off as you can), you turn off your lights so that people don't follow you.

As a side note, the Rain-X Spray on glass cleaner works really well.  Especially with the new windshield wipers I put on before the trip.  I never had visibility problems out the windshield.  Oh, and non-freezing windshield washer fluid.  All three are a necessity before a trip with possible snow and rain.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?

Or, do you even care?  Personally, I don't.  It is a greeting, nothing more, nothing less.  It's like saying "How are you?" passing in the hallway.  You don't expect the person to answer with anything worse than a "fine."  You are definitely not looking for the person's life history.  It can't really be that hard to recognize situations where "Merry Christmas" is totally appropriate.  A few visual clues might be the bright red and green clothing, the cross necklace, the sweatshirt with Santa on it, or a nativity, etc.  Obviously Christian, or at least someone who enjoys and celebrates Christmas for its many secular reasons.  On the flip side, there are some obvious non-Christians where a "Happy Holidays" or a simple "Hello" would suffice.

If you truly are offended about "Happy Holidays," then do the rest of us a favor and wear a button that says "I say Merry Christmas!" so the rest of us know.  Otherwise, you get what you get.  Although I'll be more likely to wish you a Merry Winter Solstice instead.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You Know the Terrorists Won, Right?

America, meet the TSA.  Americans should be getting a lesson in Constitutional law right about now.  Especially with respect to the Fourth Amendment.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The current practices being employed by TSA are a violation of our Constitutional Rights, specifically, the Fourth Amendment.  I hope the current hearings in Congress will force the TSA to change this policy.

Ever since we, as a society, were willing to sign away a good number of our civil rights in that poorly named law called The Patriot Act, we have stood by and allowed the government to commit all sorts of unconstitutional violations.  Illegal wire taps (4th Amendment), incarceration of "enemy combatants" without due process (5th Amendment), and the allowing of torture to be committed by agents of the U.S. Government to name a just a few.  We are slowly giving up our freedoms, and the anti-Islamic attitudes is allowing our own Christian Taliban to make inroads in driving the US toward its own theocracy.  The exact thing that we rail against so many of these Islamic countries for.

America had better wake up.  The Bush Administration has taken us down a slippery slope where questioning the objectives of our government in the name of protecting us has given rise to being labeled unpatriotic.  Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has continued many of these same Bush era policies.  Oh, and those "activist" judges?  They are agreeing with our Executive branch on just about every case concerning state secrets.  We could use some judicial activism right about now.  Except that it wouldn't be activist, it would be doing the job the Constitution gave them.

I can't think of anything more patriotic then to use our freedom of speech and speak up against our government and tell them that we want our liberties and rights back.  The terrorists have won.  It is time to move on and once again become the country they hated to begin with, if only because we were free.  Are you listening Tea Party?

Fantasy Football Update - Week 10

I played a co-division leader this last week.  Going into the Monday night game I was down by a few points.  I wasn't all that confident I would win even though I had LeSean McCoy left because my opponent had Vick.  I certainly didn't expect Vick to go off for a near record 49 fantasy points.  Made McCoy's 20 look paltry by comparison.  It also saved me from kicking myself for no starting the NE TE Gronkowski.  Brady threw 3 TD passes to him against Pittsburgh.  Even if I had started him, I still would have lost due to Vick's career night.  I am no 7-3 having lost my last two games.  We shall see if I can rebound this week.

P.S. Carson Palmer is no where, I mean not even in the same state, with respect to discussion of elite quarterbacks anymore.  I watched him throw rookie interceptions last week.  I'm going to start Vince Young for now on.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One More Reason to Thank Our Veterans


From Pharyngula... What's wrong with a little blasphemy every now and then?  Well, it will get you killed if it's about Islam.  Take note of this story about a women in Pakistan who has been sentenced to death.  Oh, and fined $1100 as well.  And this story about a Palestinian running an atheist blog.  He was caught and even is family is saying that a life sentence is appropriate while others are calling for him to be burned to death in public. 

I especially like PZ's comment along with a few of the commenters.
"You know, the gods are only harmless phantasms. It's their believers who are parasites and killers and dangerous lunatics."
A friend of mine once said "If God has a problem with what I say, he can come down here and tell me it himself."
 I like that last one.  Show me what you got you all powerful god!
If the gods want these people dead, surely they can get off their asses and do it themselves.
So, thank you to all the veterans out there on the Veteran's Day that protect my freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Good Riddance Wade Philips - Not!

I was sorry to see that the Dallas Cowboy's fired Wade Philips on Monday.  It was a real pleasure watching a rudderless, inept, and poorly coached Cowboys team struggle over the last couple of years.  Gone are the Philips faces of incredulity as one short bus player after another did something moronic and stupid.

Good Riddance Joe Morgan

I was so happy to see this article from ESPN today.  Joe Morgan's contract is not being renewed.  Neither is Jon Miller's.  Sunday Night Baseball has been pretty much unwatchable for me.  I just can't stand listening to a seemingly illiterate Joe Morgan droll on and on.  I don't know how he survived 21 years as an announcer.  I grew tired of Jon Miller as well, but maybe that was because of Morgan.  Either way, I'm looking forward to some fresh voices next year on Sunday Night Baseball.  Now, if only I could care about baseball again.

The Epidemic of Concussions

I watched in disgust from a bar in Key West, Florida, as Austin Collie was being carted off the field.  Another vicious hit that left him lying motionless on the turf for about 10 minutes.  Fortunately, he was only diagnosed with a concussion.  Then, this story from ESPN, where three Pittsburgh Steelers were diagnosed with concussions from last nights game.  What is going on here? 

There could be several things at work here.  First, the incidence of concussions is about the same as it has been in years past.  I haven't seen or looked for data on this, but I'm sure it exists.  It's only the media attention that makes it seem more prevalent.  Second, there really are more concussions.  Third, the helmets are inadequate.

The helmets look different to me this year and I could swear I read somewhere where these are improved helmets to better prevent concussions.  I can't find the article.  If this is true, then I think the NFL need to reevaluate the new helmet because I don't think it is working better.  Or, it could be that players feel more protected and are more willing to take a shot with their helmet more often causing more concussions.

I'm sure there are folks at the NFL offices and the NFLPA looking at this type of thing.  The one constant that I continue to see from all of these hard hits and bodies laying motionless on the turf is that they are not tackles.  They are hits by human missiles.  I see heads lowered, arms at their sides, launching themselves into opposing players.  Sometimes, they hit their own player.  I've seen a few of those already this year as well.  I've said it a couple of times in previous posts.  Any attempt to "hit" an opposing player without any effort to put your arms forward and trying to wrap the opposing player up should be a penalty.  There should be an attempt to "tackle" the player, not turn him into a vegetable.

Fantasy Football Update - Week 9

Damn.  I lost.  I am now 7-2.

Fantasy Football Update - Week 8

I won.  I was 7-1.

Vacation is Over

I've sort of been on hiatus for a few weeks.  It all started with weekend trip to Vegas, followed by a week of frantic preparations to get ready for a 10-day trip to Key West, FL.  Now that I am back, and the Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives and I am now at the mercy of a Republican Congressman in my district, its time to dish out some smack.  Oh, and its time celebrate the Myth of Christmas.