Dec 24, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013

Merry Xmas! There, I said it. And, happy holidays to all. This is a nice time of the year to be spent with friends and family, as there are several common days off. I hope you had a nice winter solstice (Dec. 21st). Festivus, Humanlight, New Year, Kwanza, and whatever else you desire to celebrate may all come with good times and health! Let's eat, drink, hang out with the good people around us, and enjoy.

Humans have tried to make sense of the natural world but in the absence of knowledge they made up stories about spirits, gods, and thought they knew the order of the universe through revelation. Slowly, we grew up--well, some people who asked questions, sought evidence, applied reason, and were able to revise in the face of conformity and tradition.

Why so many humans are still in the dark ages after dawn of the Enlightenment is amazing. We have a modern state, with relative stability, affluence, education & access to information, plus a good amount of scientific knowledge, and yet, so many choose to live by edicts and observations of small-minded ancestors of the bronze age!  Why isn't obvious that the god in the Bible, Koran, and any other "holy text" is so outdated.  It's so clear that what's in those books came from the mind of people who were ignorant, superstitious, homophobic, genocidal, misogynistic, slave holders, and fearful of nature.

It bothers me to high heaven when modern people have their opinions informed by those ancient texts. And, they draw some perverse morality from those. The vile rant of the clan leader of Duck Dynasty, the reactions of conservatives against same-sex marriage (the same cons who applaud Uganda's capital punishment for homosexuals), are all informed by passages in the Bible.  Ridiculous, simply ridiculous.

But, I love the federal judge's ruling that Utah's banning of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. This is a strike at the heart of a very religious state and against the efforts of the Mormon church that has spend lots of money, even out of state, to defeat equal treatment under the law. It is about equality. Progressives aren't threatened by this change of tradition, only the conservatives are. 

Back in 2004, I wrote in this blog that there would be a clash between the progressive forces and the reactionary conservative/religious forces. I hoped that the former would prevail, and I'm happy to see that it's happening. Not at the pace I'd like, but we've come a long way in the last quarter of a century, indeed in some 10 years since I wrote that post.

So, let's celebrate our progress and look forward to a new year ahead when we can do much more; we do have to keep fighting for a system that delivers for the 99%, and for a society that promotes the good life, access to opportunity and conditions that allow for an individual to fulfill their own potential.



Dec 14, 2013

Ricky Gervais: Beliefs Don't Change the Facts, Facts Should Change Beliefs. Happy Festivus!

I've been caught up with lots of work as this year is coming to an end, or as some of us are looking for a new light on December 21st when the winter solstice takes place and the days begin to get longer.

New York is bracing for a big snow storm over the weekend, so we will, most likely, have white xmas. Over at Faux News they're obsessed with white Jesus and white Santa, because, hey, you've got to respect the facts and history as we like it. Megyn Kelly is another conservative ignorant puppet. When she took Hannity's slot some said she was not as rabid. Yes, amid the nonsense, the willful distortions, and cranking of the propaganda megaphone, she had acknowledged a few facts here and there. Like when she called Ohio for Obama in 2012 after everyone else had done except Karl Rove. Wow. Maybe she should be given some kind of award for this!

The documentary, The Unbelievers, opens in NYC on Friday, on a very limited schedule in a few cities. I've seen bits of the Dawkins-Krauss tour around the world promoting the scientific view and pounding ignorance & prejudice. "Beliefs don't change the facts, facts should change beliefs," as Ricky Gervais is quoted.

Of course you've heard of the newest fake holiday, Festivus, but like xmas, Santa and his elves, Kwanza, Saturnalia, etc, people should be free to celebrate, create meaningful events and ceremonies without the state (government) discriminating or favoring one over the other. In the rotunda of the Florida state capitol--where the legislature designated it as a public space--now stands a Festivus pole made out of pvc plastic and empty beer cans!  I love it. [Here's the NPR story] Oh, and there's a pending application from a Satanic cult to put up something next to the nativity scene!  The Wicka should also be represented. I think the Greeks in Florida should set up shop there too. Zeus has been so maligned and ignored. It's a shame that the god of gods who presided over the birth of western civilization not be part of every public worship display.