Thursday, October 13, 2016

How Amendments Work

So I keep hearing/seeing this cRaZy idea that the President or the Supreme Court will erase or repeal the 2nd Amendment (or insert your pet amendment here) so just to dispel this incorrect notion. here's what it takes to pass or repeal a Constitutional Amendment":

Constitutional Amendments can't be "erased" ... they MUST be repealed and that can only happen by Constitutional Amendment ... Amendments can only be started in US Congress or in state legislatures (The States) both requiring a 2/3 majority JUST to get the ball rolling ... then once that hurdle is cleared there's the Ratifying process which again goes to US Congress (House AND Senate) AND To State Legislatures requiring 3/4 vote to ratify by each.

Nowhere in the process does the president or any court have any part in the process

Look folks ... memes can be funny and cute ... and some even informational ... but you're viewing it on the Interwebz - the most revolutionary vehicle to access accurate information in the history of the universe (far surpassing the Dewey Decimal System) ... it takes all of about 90 seconds to search a claim in any meme ... 80% of the time you can get a satisfactory answer - confirming or denying the meme - from the search results summaries alone ... I'm not asking people to retake a civics class ... before sharing untrue memes ... just do a quick search to validate it :) You'll thank me and all your friends will be impressed 

Monday, October 10, 2016

The (potential) Dictator has no clothes ... and he doesn't care

There is no line or rule of decency, protocol, compassion, morals or even law that Trump is not willing to cross and obliterate while doing so. Wholesale change can be made without humiliating everything we hold dear in this country ... I can think of a few such humans in history who ignored the rule of law and the constraints of the country charter/constitution. If Trump had one singe viable and fleshed out policy worth talking about that made sense to Americans, we shouldn't be able to shut him up about it ... but he doesn't talk about ANY policy in ANY detail - only in slogan ... that's NOT a policy ... take the "Wall" for example ... ask the French how that whole "wall" thing worked out ... (Hint: google "Maginot Line")

Instead, from Trump we get the most humiliating, embarrassing sleaze campaign in the history of campaigns - so much so that Hollywood would reject this campaign if it was written as a script

All the scum of the Trump campaign will stick to each and every American for years to come if he were to win ... as it is we're now all tainted by it

And to the Conservative Republicans - start counting the costs - the price tag - of every slogan Trump champions ... you will find that the cost will be higher than anything Bill/Hillary/Obama/Sanders/Carter COMBINED have ever even WISHED for, let alone actually brought before congress for consideration ... He would be the most reckless highest spending liberal spender in history ... who pays for that after he cuts taxes in ways even Reagan and GW Bush would be afraid to even suggest?

All this happens before we even mention how he'll direct government enforcement apparatus's to persecute his political enemies and critics ... the man views the Presidency on par of being a feudal king.

If there was ever a god, we need his help more than ever to protect our great country from this scourge

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The "System is Rigged" (Eyeroll)

... I keep hearing/seeing/reading this ... over and over. Of course it's never presented along with evidence to PROVE the "system is rigged".

I think it intellectually lazy to "blame" the failure of their weak ideas to gain popularity/backing/support on a "rigged system" ... no, it's the fact that:

A. Their idea sucks
B. Their argument/presentation is weak, and sucks
C. They're unaware/ignorant to the fact that their idea has been done before - and failed
D. They can't be objectively self critical, much less accept external criticism
E. They're delusional to the point of rejecting the evidence that counters/contradicts their idea


In short - the "system is rigged" response is a delusional fantasy that thinly veils a temper tantrum that actually means "If I don't get my way, I'm taking my toys and going home"

... and then they invoke the ultimate unfalsifiable idea by claiming god/bible "supports" their position/idea.


Ugh! How can anyone have a rational discussion with that?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Orlando

So out comes the avalanche of "prayers" for the dead and wounded at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

I suppose it's lost on all those devout and prayerful folk that they are "praying" to the same god that was used for justification for this shooting to begin with. Any way you slice, dice or spin this "event" ... religion and it's positions against homosexuality will be at the root of the reasoning behind the motive for this "event". ALL the Abrahamic religions/Gods require tacit acceptation and approval of homophobia and summary execution of those who engage in homosexual acts.

When we're in non-shooting mode, Christians will consistently trot out Leviticus 20:13

KJV: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death ; their blood shall be upon them.

Whether they agree with this verse or not - they hold the bible as god's perfect word and command giving cover and approval to those that not only agree with this verse, but to those who would act upon it.

Allah, the Islamic god, and God/Yahweh, the Judeo-Christian God are one and the same god ... we all have heard the horror stories how ISIS throws homosexuals head first off tall buildings or immolates them in small steel cages with gasoline.

And still, all the folks who claim to be horrified by this shooting are praying to THIS god ... I can only imagine god's response:

"They had it coming"

Disgusting! Please reject this myth once and for all so we can all love and embrace ALL of humanity.

Oh, and lest I forget - the gunman was born in New Freaking York! Raised in the US of A ... so he's OUR asshole ... own it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Gods and Unicorns

So I'm reading a fellow atheist blogger's recent post: Bruce Gerencser's: "Questions from an Evangelical Pastor" ... and deep in this post, he points out that there is a marked difference between the Christian God (any of the 33,000 denominations) and the potential for a deist god - one that most Xian apologists reduce their arguments to defend DESPITE having no awareness that they've effectively jettisoned virtually EVERY word of their beloved bible to make their case. You can't have it both ways ... but something occurred to me and it's a spin on a familiar argument/comparison.

The evidence that points to a Christian God is identical to the evidence that fairy tales  point to Unicorns. Both of these are unquestionably written about in books throughout history. So there's that. But many Christian apologists will point wildly around them and say:

"All of this - everything, beauty, complexity the very fabric of our existence point to the Christian God"

and it struck me ...

that's like saying - "Every existing horse, pony, mule, burro, donkey, zebra and all of their extinct ancestors/fossils point to Unicorns being REAL"

And yet, just like with the Xian God - no evidence that can be ONLY be explained by a hypothesis that requires a god has EVER been found to support the hypothesis ... just like in the whole lineage of the Equidae family, no evidence for a Unicorn-like animal ... or for that matter a "Pegasus"-like animal ever been found (I figured I'd add a Pegasus since Muhammed supposedly flew to heaven on a winged horse).

Winged and Horned Horses are both in books in great detail all throughout history ... yet they are widely accepted as a fiction and the product of the mind of humans ... as it is with gods. There simply is no evidence - real, concrete, physical evidence - direct or indirect that can ONLY be answered by God/Unicorn/Pegasus.

Perhaps Bruce Gerencser is closer to the truth that he thinks - perhaps "Maybe, just maybe, earth is some sort of lab experiment for an unknown advanced alien race. "

And although there is some preliminary evidence to suggest that life exists elsewhere in the cosmos - there has yet to be any clear evidence to suggest that this extraterrestrial life is (by our definition) intelligent, much less space faring capable of terraforming simply for the purpose of conducting and experiment. ... but then these Aliens have been described in great detail in books too ... perhaps we can start a new religion based on them? ... oh ... wait ... isn't that Scientology/Xenu?

Friday, December 25, 2015

On Religion/Spirituality ...a thought ... or two

So on Christmas eve 2015, I had a bit of a discussion/debate with a good friend of ours who is a believer ... she genuinely desires and needs a form of Christianity/Spirituality in her life to give it foundation. Fair enough.

In this country (USA) we're afforded that freedom as a basis of our constitution - Freedom of (from) religion. It was clear from our discussion that she cherry picks the hell out of the scriptures - and that's fine too - "par for the course" I think I'd say.Thankfully she does this cherry picking because we certainly could not be friends, much less, acquaintances, were she to be a strict adherent to scripture.

This person, is intelligent, kind and an all around good, caring human being. She has a history/background in some pretty extreme sects of Xianity (JW, for one) which I gleaned from our conversation so I guess it should be no surprise that such a compassionate human would:

A. Cherry pick the scripture
B. Rationally segregate scientific reality from Spiritual beliefs

I think it safe to say that this person fully understands and rationally accepts all proven scientific facts and evidence but she simply infers a Supreme Deity at the point where the evidence hasn't gone yet (a pseudo God of the Gaps) and it's THIS that she calls Christianity ... but more importantly for her, she uses the Bible/Xianity (cherry picked to pieces) to give her life "meaning" and direction.

Fair enough again - we all have that right here in the USA.

Mulling our conversation this Christmas morning, I had a thought and wished I had expressed it last night:

"If your personalized version of religion/spirituality gives you inspiration to be compassionate, motivation to be a better more giving. loving, sharing, caring human being - that's AWESOME. And that's a version of "religion" I can at least respect in that it is truly an internal engine and personal inspiration and guide ... but the nanosecond that you use that same scripture as foundation for judgment of others and to proclaim a divinely bestowed sense of destiny/entitlement over this world and ALL beings in it - then I wholeheartedly REJECT your "religion" and will be forced to debate you at every turn"

As it was ... we parted ways after a fun filled night of holiday cheer with a better understanding of each of our positions on the question of religion - there were no ill words or fisticuffs ... and the world spins on into that silent night as if there is no god directing it - just as you'd expect based on the available evidence.

Merry Christmas to all

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Capital Punishment - the Death sentence and how to fix/apply it

Much debate has been made regarding the death sentence - whether to have it, how to apply it, why isn't there more/less of it. Some positions and arguments are better than others. I think one of the biggest issues - beyond whether it's right or wrong to us in the judicial system - is how do you implement/apply it and avoid punishing innocent people? And, quite frankly, if you can't be 100% right, 100% of the time ... it really should not be used at ALL because it's reallyreallyreally hard (read: impossible) to justify exactly what percentage of mistakes are "acceptable" to justify the correct applications of the death penalty.

Now some people will say there is a certain level of "mistakes" that are theoretically acceptable - and I truly believe that it's not out of their lust for death/killing which, it has the outward appearance of - but more out of their frustration with and need for "meaningful" justice. In increasingly violent times, people are frustrated and sick and tired of long drawn out judicial processes that take decades - at law-abiding taxpayer expense - for many violent criminals that project, not only an inability for rehabilitation but also project a desire and lust for mayhem and death. Who wants to feed and care for such criminals (I was going to say "animals - but that would be an insult to animals) for decades when all they want to do is harm law-abiding citizens AND are rock stars and professors in the prisons they're housed. I mean, these criminals literally "teach" potentially rehabilitatable prisoners how to be WORSE.

BUT ... there is a solution. But it requires us to approach this issue from a completely objective and dispassionate position. And that REALLY hard for a lot of people to do because of all the influences they've had throughout their lives. It will require them to shelve their faith and current morals (to an extent) and approach this without emotion.

The solution is two parts:

1. Change the standard for implementation of the death penalty to this: For the death penalty to apply, there MUST be positive evidence of guilt BEYOND ALL DOUBT. Currently we use the criteria of "beyond reasonable doubt",but I propose to change it to "there is NO doubt possible" as to the guilt of the accused ... now that could mean a detailed and accurate confession and/or DNA evidence along with video and other evidence that leaves no possibility for the crime to have been committed by any one OTHER than the accused.

If you have this, you can streamline the process and stop wasting money and time to reach a resolution to justice.

2. There MUST be a completely humane method that is universally acceptable to everyone. Far too often, what stands in the way of the death penalty is this idea that it must cause some "suffering" to make up for the pain and suffering to the victims - honestly, this is a revolting thought to me. If there must be a penalty of death then it should be as efficient as possible ... the "death" penalty is not the "pain, suffering and death" penalty ... we need to stop treating it as if it is.

There is a perfectly acceptable and painlessly quick/efficient way to kill criminals - hypoxia - the same thing that kills people in a depressurized plane at 25,000 feet of elevation - lack of oxygen. NOTE: this is NOT suffocation! Hypoxia - the lack of oxygen but NOT the overabundance of carbon dioxide, which is the gas that gives people the "panic/dread" feeling - lack of oxygen causes a brief euphoria and disorientation before the subject blacks out then ultimately dies. - no muss not fuss and no elaborate or ghastly equipment and procedures - just a room with low/reducible oxygen levels and a a way to disburse/dilute carbon dioxide and you're done.

As an aside - you could implement a program that would allow long serving of life time sentenced criminals to choose this method after x time served to further reduce the prison population of habitual, long term criminals.

Feel free to discuss the potential "downsides" please. I think this is a very pragmatic and efficient solution to a difficult problem that offers a type of middle ground between the pro and anti death penalty factions.