Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Greater Republican Diversity in Congress

The Republicans are really stepping up their diversity with the incoming Congress.  The new and improved GOP has added many more styles of comb-over and receding hairlines on the white men they're sending to Washington!

Oh yeah, and shout out to Carol Miller (R WV-D3) - the Smurfette of incoming Republicans!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"School of Hard Knocks" Starter Pack

With some collaborative input from esteemed colleagues on social media, I present to you the "School of Hard Knocks" Starter Pack...

Friday, October 26, 2018

Illegal Space Aliens in the Caravan?

Donald Trump has claimed that there could be "Middle Easterners" in the migrant caravan from Central America.  Trump said "there's no proof of anything, but there could very well be" when pressed by CNN reporter Jim Acosta for concrete evidence that people of Middle Eastern descent or that suspected terrorists were among the group.

By that same logic, there very well could be space aliens "mixed in" with the caravan.  There's no proof of anything, but there could very well be.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Flashback Friday: Obama and Joe the Plumber

On this day ten years ago, a man named Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher approached then-candidate Barack Obama while campaigning in his Holland, Ohio neighborhood.  This famous exchange instantly vaulted Wurzelbacher to become known as "Joe the Plumber"  and the ensuing sound bite from Obama's intent to "spread the wealth around" would be played endlessly in the closing weeks of the 2008 election.

Whatever one thinks of Obama's tax policy ideas or Wurzelbacher's concerns about them, this video footage is striking by today's standards.  Just watch it with the sound off.  Both men are calm and collected.  They are friendly, the crowd around them is listening closely, they nod in understanding and remain respectful.  While they may not agree on their politics, everyone involved remained civil and good-natured.

Ten years later, this kind of exchange seems almost impossible.  To imagine Donald Trump having a reasoned dialog with anyone - particularly one of his critics - and for the surrounding onlookers to remain so relaxed and attentive, is a far-fetched political fantasy.  This video is barely recognizable by today's standards of violently clashing demonstrators, enraged, screaming crowds with a bellowing proto-fascist at the podium.

What have we lost in the past decade?  Our underlying information sources are so disparate, our cultural identities so fractured, and our willingness to listen and assume the best of one another's intentions so abandoned.  Much of the time, we cannot so much as recognize where the other person is coming from - and have no time to do so as the knives of invective and partisan rancor are instantly brandished.

Is it possible to get back to a place where two people who don't agree on a subject as granular as progressive taxation policy can at least listen to one another and have a good faith exchange on the topic?

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Dear Bethel Missionary Baptist Church of Creswell, Oregon:

If you're going to send your moral entrepreneurs to knock on my front door and proselytize to me about the Bible, you simply must bring your 'A' game next time! The two young men you sent over were cutting and running in less than 10 minutes. I thought my eternal salvation deserved a bit more of their attention, especially given that they thought it wise to spend a Saturday evening knocking on my door to begin with.

Yes, I gave them a warm up act of reading a few very brief Bible passages and accepted that these claims may even be internally consistent... but then I pointed out that they failed to establish even the basic pretext of authority that the Bible would have for the metaphysical claims they were making about the universe, the epistemology of conscious experience, and the ability for non-physical beings of immense power to sometimes author specific books - but not films or computer software.

They presented an interesting theory about how they were the "real Jews" - which certainly surprised my upstairs neighbors who are of Jewish ancestry and watched with a mix of horror and amusement at this exchange. The two young men with Bibles in hand also seemed quite certain that The Book of Mormon was a "fraud" even though it contains claims of the same deficient evidentiary qualities as their own religious literature.

And this notion that I should want to go to Heaven even though they claimed my pets and non-believer friends won't be waiting for me is a really tough sell. If you're going to fabricate eternal promises, at least make them reasonably appealing to convey.

In any case... upon your Bible hucksters' next visit, please plan to stay for at least an hour because we have many basic logical and factual premises to establish before we can take on authority the claims you are making to be true. And if they could become less visibly agitated and defeated when their statements are challenged, that would be great!

You know where I live and I know your arguments better than you do.

Danny Ledonne
atheist with respect to the ≈10,000 gods which humans have believed in at one time or another