A gleam of sunshiny sanity from SCOTUS

From Chief Justice Roberts concerning the overturn of DOMA:

“The Court does not have before it, and the logic of its opinion does not decide, the distinct question whether the States . . . may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage.”

Better words could not describe it.

UPDATE: Proposition 8 is overturned based on standing. So here is the legal picture:


Gone for now, folks

I haven’t posted in weeks, and I finally put my finger on why.

I’m preaching to the choir, and while that can be satisfying in its way, it isn’t enough.

I appreciate those folk who came to visit, and to participate in the community. Thanks so much for that.

“…and now, the *rest* of the story.”

As Paul Harvey reminded us, there is always several sides to a story.

The anti-union waterheads are cartwheeling over their notion that the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers Union brought about the demise of Hostess Bakeries.

Before they get too excited, however, they need a little history lesson:

As a side note, Saputo of Canada owns several of the Hostess labels. We might just see Ho-Ho smugglers before long.

A night of heroes; or, Yet another reason to protect our public-sector jobs

Here is the another story about fire fighters doing their jobs:

Firefighters are battling a six-alarm fire in the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens. Officials say the fire was reported at about 11 p.m. Monday…

The interesting thing about this story? The fire took place last night. In New York City. During Hurricane Sandy.

Firefighter personnel saved scores of people from the fire, sometimes maneuvering hoses through chest-deep water.


The backup power generator at NYU Langone Medical Center failed, forcing evacuation of patients, including 20 babies from the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit), all during 60-mph winds and torrential rain.


A construction crane on 57th Street came loose from its moorings and is dangling 75 stories in the air by entangled cables. The NYC Building Department sent inspectors up into the building (during a freakin’ hurricane!) to assess the situation; a spokesman described the inspectors as “the best of the best”.


And this morning I found this:

‘Nuff said.

“If churches want to play the game of politics, let them pay admission like everyone else!”

“A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program that contradicts fundamental contents of faith and morals. Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party’s or their personal political platform. To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally ‘complicit’ with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

–Wisconsin bishop David Ricken, from a letter published to 200+ parishes this week

It’s time to start taxing the churches, folks, especially the Mormons and the Roman Catholic Church, and any other church that wants to play politics.

As for faithful Catholics — what a despicable way to “persuade” believers how to vote. Why are you putting up with nonsense like this??

(Thanks to George Carlin, one of the Great Trinity of Comedy, for the title quote.)


*You* are the “job creator”

Everyone’s heard of the old Reagan-era trickle-down economics chestnut called “job creator”. According to David Stockman, and with the enthusiastic support of the newly-elected Right in power in Washington in 1981, the key to creating new jobs was to ensure greater economic inequality in America by lowering taxes on the rich, and spendspendspend.

In recent years Stockman has repudiated his advocacy for trickle-down (or “supply-side economics”, as he used to describe it).

Other capitalists have done the same, including such entrepreneurs as Nick Hanauer. Here’s what he had to say in a recent TED talk:

“Here’s an idea worth spreading: In a capitalist economy the true job creators are middle-class consumers, and taxing the rich to make investments, to make the middle class grow and thrive is the single shrewdest thing we can do for the middle class, for the poor, and for the rich.”

The real clue that Hanauer knew whereof he spoke was that TED management did not put the talk online until there was an uproar about the exclusion. (It’s no longer posted, BTW.)

(I’ve talked about this talk before, but it’s well worth a repeat.)

“Ya wanna see ‘grassroots’? Here’s ya some goddamn grassroots!”

I’m live-blogging at Minneapolis’ Big Gay Race this morning.

For haters that claim that they represent the majority of Minnesotans by spitting in the face of our gay friends and neighbors (and in my case, a gay son who’s defending our country), here are pictures of real grassroots.



I don’t see 6000 “vote for traditional marriage” folks having fun together and gathering to raise money and awareness for what they believe in.

Perhaps that’s the real difference.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

I actually kinda  buy the “rock at a McDonald’s” sentiment, but for very different reasons.

I have had very mixed feelings about Islam lately. On the one hand, U. S. laws dictate that religions qua religions must all be treated equally and fairly. On the flip side is the mounting pile of evidence demonstrating that even moderate Muslims support (or at least passively support) the violence instigated because someone said something insulting about their religion.

Quote without comment

“When we take actions to avenge the ones we love, personal justice collides with social and divine justice. We become judge, jury, and God. With that choice becomes daunting responsibility. Some cave under that weight; others abuse the momentum. The true outlaw finds the balance between the passion in his heart and the reason in his mind. The solution becomes a balance between might and right.”

– John Teller, Sons of Anarchy

Make your own clubhouse

Atheism+ is a movement, proposed by Jen McCreight and named by Blag Hag commentariat member pteryxx.

In brief, Atheism+ stands for

Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

One Thousand Needles’ design for Atheism+

It would seem, however, that there are a number of members of the online atheist community who don’t know how to read. They accuse McCreight, Greta Christina, and others who have embraced Atheism+, of “creating schisms”, “being a bitch cunt”, and other such endearing endowments — the very actions that Atheism+ seeks to reject.

PZ Myers of Pharyngula said of A+ critics:

“It really isn’t a movement about exclusion, but about recognizing the impact of the real nature of the universe on human affairs. And if you don’t agree with any of that – and this is the only ‘divisive’ part – then you’re an asshole. I suggest you form your own label, ‘Asshole Atheists’, and own it, proudly. I promise not to resent it or cry about joining it. I just had a thought: maybe the anti-Atheist+ people are sad because they don’t have a cool logo. So I made one for the Asshole Atheists: A*.”

I agree with Myers. While it has intellectual viability, atheism itself, has no social chops. (“Hi! I’m an atheist!” “And soooo….?”) Being an atheist without embracing skepticism is intellectual laziness. Being an atheist and a skeptic without embracing social justice smacks of Randism (but not necessary objectivism).

Freethought blogger Richard Carrier eloquently enlarges upon this:

“Yes, it [atheism] does [have the luxury of kicking people out of its movement]. Atheism+ is our movement. We will not consider you a part of it, we will not work with you, we will not befriend you. We will heretofore denounce you as the irrational or immoral scum you are (if such you are). If you reject these values, then you are no longer one of us. And we will now say so, publicly and repeatedly. You are hereby disowned.”

Welcome to the big leagues, folks. Atheism+ is the socially moral manifestation of atheism. If you don’t care to embrace atheism, skepticism, and social justice all at once (which isn’t that hard, folks), hit the road, Jack.