Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why are we here?

To set goals, to seek, to strive, to have foresight. Because we create things for a purpose we assume that nature does the same. It does not. We provide the purpose in a universe that would otherwise have none.

Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist and Atheist

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Habitat for Humanity in San Gabriel!

I love Habitat, it works and this video featuring Harrison Ford promotes my local affiliate.

ACLU: Defending Christianity

For those who insist on perpetuating the myth that the ACLU is ant-Christian, I present the following from the ACLU:

September 20, 2005: ACLU of New Jersey joins lawsuit supporting second-grader's right to sing "Awesome God" at a talent show.

August 4, 2005: ACLU helps free a New Mexico street preacher from prison.

February 2005: ACLU of Pennsylvania successfully defends the right of an African American Evangelical church to occupy a church building purchased in a predominantly white parish.

December 22, 2004: ACLU of New Jersey successfully defends right of religious expression by jurors.

November 20, 2004: ACLU of Nevada supports free speech rights of evangelists to preach on the sidewalks of the strip in Las Vegas.

November 9, 2004: ACLU of Nevada defends a Mormon student who was suspended after wearing a T-shirt with a religious message to school.

August 11, 2004: ACLU of Nebraska defends church facing eviction by the city of Lincoln.

July 10, 2004: Indiana Civil Liberties Union defends the rights of a Baptist minister to preach his message on public streets.

June 3, 2004: Under pressure from the ACLU of Virginia, officials agree not to prohibit baptisms on public property in Falmouth Waterside Park in Stafford County.

May 11, 2004: After ACLU of Michigan intervened on behalf of a Christian Valedictorian, a public high school agrees to stop censoring religious yearbook entries.

March 25, 2004: ACLU of Washington defends an Evangelical minister's right to preach on sidewalks.

February 21, 2003: ACLU of Massachusetts defends students punished for distributing candy canes with religious messages.

October 28, 2002: ACLU of Pennsylvania files discrimination lawsuit over denial of zoning permit for African American Baptist church.

July 11, 2002: ACLU supports right of Iowa students to distribute Christian literature at school.

April 17, 2002: In a victory for the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the ACLU of Virginia, a federal judge strikes down a provision of the Virginia Constitution that bans religious organizations from incorporating.

January 18, 2002: ACLU defends Christian church's right to run "anti-Santa" ads in Boston subways.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Abortion in America – Inconvenient Truths

The debate over maintaining legalized abortion in America is among the most contentious issues of our day. We would hope that both sides could at least agree that reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies would be the safest route to reducing the rate of abortion. As moderates increase their strength in our government following the midterm 2006 elections we can only hope that reason wins out over zealotry and that data triumphs over dogma.

The following is from the Guttmacher Institute:

• The primary reasons why U.S. teenagers have the highest rates of pregnancy, childbearing and abortion among developed countries is less overall contraceptive use and less use of the pill or other long-acting reversible hormonal methods, which have the highest use-effectiveness rates.

• Factors in cross-country differences in teenagers' contraceptive use include negative societal attitudes toward teenage sexual relationships, restricted access to and high costs of reproductive health services, ambivalence toward contraceptive methods and lack of motivation to delay motherhood or to avoid unintended pregnancy.

• Overall, declines in the adolescent abortion rate between 1980 and 1995 are less prevalent than are declines in the adolescent birthrate. However, the decline in the U.S. teenage abortion rate between 1985 and 1996 was one of the largest in the developed world—the rate decreased by more than one-third (from 46 to 29 per 1,000). Nonetheless, the U.S. adolescent abortion rate remains one of the highest among developed countries.

• Differences in sexual activity and the age at which teenagers become sexually active do not account for the wide variation in pregnancy and STD rates among comparable developed countries, such as Canada, France, Great Britain, Sweden and the United States.

• Strong public support and expectations for the transition to adult economic roles, and for parenthood, provide young people with greater incentives and means to delay childbearing.

• Easy access to contraceptives and other reproductive health services contributes to better contraceptive use and, in turn, low teenage pregnancy rates.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Queensryche "Silent Lucidity"

David Kuo on "Real Time" with Bill Maher

This could have been titled, "A Christian Wakes Up." Kuo's book may have been one of the deciding, if not the deciding factors in suppressing the Evangelical base and even turning a significant portion of it over to the Democrats. A key moment (there are many) comes when Kuo quotes Chuck Colson as saying no group is easier to control than Christians because they are so easily seduced by power.

Devo - "That's Good"

The idea of Devolution was developed as a joke by Kent State University art students Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis as early as the late 1960s. Casale and Lewis created a number of art pieces in the vein of Devolution. At this time, Casale had also performed with the local band 15-60-75. They met Mark Mothersbaugh around 1970, who introduced them to the pamphlet Jocko Homo Heavenbound, which would later inspire the song "Jocko Homo".

The pivotal moment for the formation of Devo was the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970. Casale knew two of the murdered students, and even saw one student, Alison Krause, with exit wounds from the M-16 rifle. At this moment, Casale changed the idea of Devolution into a serious concept.
From Wikipedia

I read an interview with Casale and Mothersbaugh that made it clear that Kent State really was the pivotal event. After almost 40 years these guys are still angry and reading about their experiences I can see why. Their best song, in my opinion, is Gates of Steel, the closest thing to optimism these guys ever came in a song. If I find a good linkable version I will add it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Food for Thought...

"Funny how science gets it all RIGHT when you want a computer, medical science to eliminate smallpox or treat your "erectile disfunction," anti-lock brakes to save your life--but all evolutionists--using the scientific method you take advantage of all day long--are wrong."
-Rob Mickus