liveonearth: (Default)
 “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” 

—Frederick Douglass

liveonearth: (moon)
"Do not take the Jews and Christians as allies"

I read this in a summary of an article by Lailatul Fitriyah in The Jakarta Post.  He says "hard-line Muslims" are invoking a twisted interpretation of this verse to argue that true Muslims must not vote for a Christian governor.

Truth be known, American style freedoms only work if all religious people do NOT take the dictates of their religious books as literal requirements.  What if all Christians did exactly what the Bible tells them to do?  Nevermind the old testament, the new is just as full of horrors.

Islamism is what we call government within the Muslim religion.  What do we call what we have, where religious people continually try to infiltrate government and government funded programs?  Christianism?

Islam is not the problem, religion is.
liveonearth: (Math: Be rational/get real)

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.
—Isaac Asimov

liveonearth: (moon)
He spoke at O'Connor's on June 27 for the FFRF.  Overall what I learned from this retired polysci professor is that the framers of the US constitution intended to create a principle-based document that allows enough structure to prevent chaos, and enough freedom to allow evolution of our society and laws over time.  He never said anything like that, it is purely my restatement of what I walked away with.  Brudley is a good speaker and clearly has taught this subject matter in many different ways over the years.  When faced with a mature atheist audience in liberal Portland, he was able to skim over a lot of topis that he belabors for undergraduates.  One thing I liked about his speaking style (and will borrow): he said that questions for the purpose of clarification or elaboration are welcome during the presentation, all others had to wait until the end.  This prevents diversions from the topic and keeps it all moving along.

He started out saying that the independent judiciary is detailed in Article 1, and that it was clearly a priority for the framers of the constitution.  I also learned that Article 2 is the Executive article, and it is under this article that the constitution says that the president nominates supreme court justices and with the senates advice and consent these nominations can be confirmed.  The president is instructed to choose based on fitness and qualifications, and not on nepotism or cronyism.  The president is selected for this job because he is thought to be more insulated from the "passions and prejudices of the people".

Nowhere in the constitution does it say that the senate, or the people, should have any part in nominating judges.  The Federalist Papers have an article by Hamilton that specifically says there shall be "no exertion of choice on the part of the Senate".   Nowhere does it say that no SCOTUS judges may be nominated in the last year.  To his knowledge our current VP Biden was the first to say that a lame duck president should not nominate--which was an easy gotcha for the Republicans.  Brudney said that our system of checks and balances, and the separation of powers, is sometimes unproductive.  You could say that.  Stalemate potential is necessary in a principle-driven constitution that provides us with freedoms, and protects us from rash decisions by any branch of our government.
liveonearth: (moon)

Reason Rally 2016: A Bloc Party that Counts

by Lyz Liddell

Executive Director

Reason Rally 2016

The latest polls show that the percentage of people who don’t care about a candidate's religion is increasing, and that “nones” are an ever-growing segment of the under-45 population — key voters! That’s great news for those who support separation of church and state, critical thinking, and just plain good sense. As the Pew Research report [http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/] states:

“Meanwhile, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased by roughly 19 million since 2007. There are now approximately 56 million religiously unaffiliated adults in the U.S., and this group – sometimes called religious ‘nones’ – is more numerous than either Catholics or mainline Protestants, according to the new survey. Indeed, the unaffiliated are now second in size only to evangelical Protestants among major religious groups in the U.S.”

We all have the opportunity to celebrate our increasing numbers — and build our power as a voting bloc — by attending Reason Rally 2016, June 4, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. You’ll hear great speakers and entertainers — Carolyn Porco, Bill Nye, Julia Sweeney and more — as well as comedians, lots of music, and a good time for all.

It’s a Voting Bloc Party for those who believe that public policy should be made based on scientific evidence, not religious beliefs. It’s also an opportunity to take the message of science-driven public policy directly to your own members of Congress on the lobbying days that precede Reason Rally 2016. The focus of the lobbying will be sex education and the wasted money devoted to abstinence-only curricula that have been shown to be counter-productive. IN fact, abstinence-only sex ed correlates with increased teen pregnancy!

So check out the speakers, hotel and travel deals, and sign up to lobby at our website, reasonrally.org. Bring your friends, then go home and vote in every election, from school board to president. Let’s Speak Up for Reason! Let’s make the media and politicians court us as much as they court the religious right.

liveonearth: (moon)
I'm not talking about the ignorant rebels who've been co-opted by corporate Republican interests and convinced to vote against their own best interests.  I'm talking about those Tea Party thinkers who know that our government is run by and for big business (not "the people"), and would like to do something about it.

This is what I've been talking about.  The possibility that the left wing and the right wing could reach around the back of the government bird and strangle the business creature that is riding on its back.

*first use of tag: Bernie
liveonearth: (fist)

If you know what's good for you, if you know that they're leftists, you won't believe anything they say any time, anywhere, about anything … So we have now the Four Corners of Deceit, and the two universes in which we live. The Universe of Lies, the Universe of Reality, and The Four Corners of Deceit: Government, academia, science, and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit.

—Rush Limbaugh when discussing climate science

liveonearth: (praying girl)
There are no gods, no devils,
no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition
that hardens hearts
and enslaves minds.


--Inscription planned for a monument
to be installed on Arkansas Capitol grounds,
if the state persists displaying
the 10 commandments.
liveonearth: (old books)

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.
--Oliver Sachs
(New York Times, Opinion, “Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer,” Feb. 19, 2015)


This from the FFRF blog: )

*Created tags for reason and humanism.

SOURCE
http://ffrf.org/news/blog/item/23735-remembering-oliver-sacks

liveonearth: (Homer Simpson "D'oh!")
Looks like it is mostly true, the assertion that more handouts are given in republican-dominated states. This makes sense to me because in those states or areas where local social programs are limited or cut, the poor will seek out federal assistance. Big business on the other hand is likely to avoid paying taxes entirely. Churches remain tax exempt no matter how gigantic or lavish. There is a problem here.

http://exposingreligionblog.tumblr.com/post/35908018305
liveonearth: (moon)
http://www.salon.com/2014/11/19/house_republicans_just_passed_a_bill_forbidding_scientists_from_advising_the_epa_on_their_own_research/

We are going to see a lot more of this type of nonsense. While people were paying attention to the Keystone debate, the republicans got this passed. Unless it is vetoed, the EPA is going to have industry advocates instead of scientists on their advisory panels. It's a ridiculous fallacy to think that you can't trust scientists to report about science. They are the only ones who KNOW what it means, and are more interested in the truth than in agendas. America is increasingly governed by business for business. People who want clean air, water, and food, beware. People who want the truth: good luck!

I am going to have to take regular media blackouts in order not to be utterly despondent over the state of things now that the repugs have their majority. I am all for libertarian freedoms and fiscal responsibility, but I despise today's anti-science ignoramus repugnican party. May they fall into the holes that they dig! May Obama relish the power of the veto!
liveonearth: (daisies)
The just-passed resolution recognizes naturopathy as "safe, effective, affordable health care" and specifically recognizes the value of ND's in preventing disease. (ND's are currently licensed in 17 states, more to come.) It also designates a week for Naturopathic Medicine---Oct 7-13 this year.

Senate Passes Naturopathic Medicine Week Resolution
The U.S. Senate last night unanimously passed a resolution designating October 7 - October 13 as Naturopathic Medicine Week.

The resolution recognizes the value of naturopathic medicine in providing "safe, effective, and affordable health care..." and encourages Americans to learn about the role of naturopathic physicians in preventing chronic and debilitating conditions.

Passage of this resolution is an historic achievement for naturopathic medicine. The Congress has now officially recognized the important role naturopathic medicine plays in effectively addressing the nation's health care needs as well as in addressing the increasingly severe shortage of primary care physicians.


SOURCE
http://naturopathic.org/naturopathicmedicineweek
Not exactly big news:
I searched google news for "naturopathic medicine senate" today 9/11/13 and got NADA.
liveonearth: (moon)
Just yesterday I finally stopped ignoring the Middle East and looked up a few things. Like who is Shia and who is Sunni. And who has nukes and where. And what exactly an Islamist is. It was....a useful exercise. Anyone else out there taking an interest in this juncture of history? I'm ready to be educated.

It just seems to me, after one *ok a fraction of one* day of looking into it, that the majority Sunnis in most of the Middle East have been supremely frustrated trying to deal with their less conservative, more secular Shia neighbors. And it seems clear to me that America has at least attempted to enact a separation of church and state, even though those words do not appear in the constitution. It was in the First Amendment to the US Constitution that Congress was to "make no law respecting respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". As wikipedia points out, lots of nations have this idea in their code, and there is a great range of shades of gray in its execution. Here in America we do fairly well, but nowhere near a perfect score. For one thing, the constitution has no control over the states and what local laws might be passed. Which may be how we have gigantic crosses along Interstate 5 in Washington State. Not so different from other places, where religion is supposed to guide personal and political life. Here we seem only able to elect Christian presidents. We like to think that we are above it, but we are surely not.

So I know I am rambling and I will call it quits. If you have an opinion about what is the crux of what is going on--in Syria, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia or any other involved party, feel free to comment and tell me! I'm building a mind map.

**Created Syria tag.
liveonearth: (moon)
I can't seem to get the speech windows to embed currently, but you can find it online if you want to look. It's worth hearing. I just listened to it.

He's trying so hard. Obama is reaching out to all sides, working to encourage Americans of every stripe to admit that we have something in common, to accept that our shared interests can be promoted by our government. He has many good points. Unfortunately, the people who most need to hear this message are guaranteed not to hear him. The easiest way to maintain a dogmatic or extremist position, is to completely avoid all other inputs. It is possible for a person to sit there and hear the sounds of the speech, but to tune out entirely inside, to hear only the internally entrenched brainwashed messages of whatever pundit or preacher has had most impact. If only we could get all Americans, congress included, to admit that there is importance to every geniune concern that comes to the table. At least Obama knows it. He is the most impressive moderate I have yet to witness in the US presidency.
liveonearth: (endless_knot)
I'm told that for any petition with over 25,000 signers, the White House promises to give an official response. So we've met that hurdle. Would it be cool if naturopathic medicine were covered in the mandated insurance scheme to come? I'm not sure, but that's the direction we're headed in. I've been contemplating advertising myself as a medical advisor who is NOT biased by what is reimbursable by insurance. After reading recently that at least 9/10 of the lesions removed as supposed melanomas are NOT melanomas, my cynicism has increased a notch. Insurance encourages doctors to do what is covered, and discourages them from doing what is not covered. Too bad insurance rarely covers what is actually needed. As I have, and will continue to say: Insurance is not healthcare. The inclusion of naturopaths in insurance is a double-edged sword.
liveonearth: (Default)
Here's the actual text of the EO. It looks kind of totalitarian on its surface, and the conservative blogosphere is screaming stuff like Obama seizes control over all food, farms, livestock, farm equipment, fertilizer and food production across America!!! But the Hot Air blog breaks it down relative to the old law, and it appears that the changes are really quite minimal. In the name of National Defense Resources Preparedness an assortment of agencies are authorized to do whatever they need to take over the means of production and supply the military. Which they already were.

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