Just the ramblings of another atheist dismayed by religion's grip on society. Science works.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Paul Ryan has been channeling Tod Akins, the "legitimate rape" gentleman. On WJHL, during an interview, Ryan stated that there is no reason for an abortion, ever. His exact words, "the method of conception doesn't change the definition of life."
If you've been raped, it's just making love on a different level.
The right's seeming disregard for females continues. Akin jumped back into the fray with his statement that Senator McCaskill was "much more ladylike in 2006." It would have been a gift if he would have defined "ladylike" to us all so we can be sure what a lady should be. I would really enjoy hearing conservatives defining the gender, would be an eye opener for all.
Senator Brown of Massachusetts has decided that he can't beat his democratic challenger on the issues of the day, so he's decided to attack Elizabeth Warren personally. During a recent debate, Brown stayed on topic. Unfortunately the topic focused on Warren's statement years past that she had Native American heritage. This was never used for securing employment, only a statement. I don't see why this even matters, but I guess attacking his opponent instead of discussing policies is a safer bet for the gentleman.
Even worse, at a rally his deputy chief of staff and others got the crowd excited by making "war whoops" and "tomahawk chops." I'm sure Native Americans are not as excited as his supporters apparently are.
For those not paying attention, Romney's energy plan show's a complete disregard for the citizenry and science. His plan expands fossil fuel use and derides renewable energy by ending subsidies for clean energy. No mention of climate change anywhere in the plan, keep this is mind if you intend to vote for him. Even better, let me know why this is good.
Joining the Romney team is Dan Senor, who spoke for Romney on Libya and Egypt. This is one of President George W. Bush's selections because of his loyalty to him and the political party, not because of any expertise. "Bagdad Dan" ignored what was happening in Iraq and concentrated on generating spin for the American public that made everything look fine.
My favorite conservative mantra this week that is being yelled from the rooftops is that the polls on the election are showing Obama taking a commanding lead cannot be correct. All the talking heads, including my favorite bender of facts, Rush Limbaugh, are crying foul. They believe this to be a liberal media plot to get conservatives to stay home come election day.
The best take on this foolishness came from Colbert:
The Honorable Allen West was in the news for vocalizing his thoughts on President Obama's speech to the United Nations. He posted the following nonsense on FB:
My statement to the United Nations would have been, "The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence." I know readers dislike when I start calling those I disagree with belittling names, but really?
Mr. West is from Florida, one of the states doing their best to disenfranchise voters. There they feel the need to protect the election from voting fraud, and the best way to do that is make sure minorities are not allowed to vote. We've heard about the firm that was involved in voter fraud in Florida, the conservative firm run by Nathan Sproul, seems to be the culprit. What may not be as well known is that many conservative states were doing business with his Strategic Allied Consulting firm. The RNC has now dropped the company, which was involved in registering the dead.
All the "voter fraud" laws being battled appear to be in conservative run states. I was surprised to learn how small a margin our current president had in those states; now I know why conservatives are trying to dismantle the federal voter protection laws through local legislation. These are the same tactics they used in eliminating women health care providers by circumventing Roe vs. Wade.
In Ohio where they tried to eliminate three days of early voting, the president won by 262,224 votes. The republican controlled state legislature, if they had their way, would have eliminated 100,000 votes during that time. Then you tack on another almost 15,000 votes that they tried to eliminate if provisional ballots were filed in the wrong precinct. They lost that battle as well, but since an overwhelming majority of these votes have been for democrats in the past, you can see what they have in mind.
Pennsylvanians favored the president in 2008 by over 620,000 votes. The new voter I.D. laws would exclude as many as 759,000 voters.
They tried the same law in Wisconsin, where it was overruled by the state's Supreme Court. Obama won by over 400,00 votes there.
In Iowa they have given up on trying to purge registered voters. Obama won by 146,000 votes.
Florida, Tennessee, New Mexico; all states where conservative leadership is in the process of disenfranchising a basic American right. I only list all this data to make it very clear how conservatives intend to win. Lying and cheating is the apparent game plan for 2012.
The Citizen's United ruling is now having an effect on our election. Corporate political spending has reached 78% of campaign funding. If you think anyone getting elected is there to serve the interests of the public, I have a bridge to sell you.
Atheists are seemingly tired of both parties, at least when it comes to religion. The Secular Coalition of America finds that a resolution from the U.S. House of Representatives excludes many Americans. That resolution "reaffirms the importance of religion in the lives of United States citizens." I think we all know which religion is important.
California has an interesting ballot initiative this fall dealing with GMO labels on food products. Though Monsanto and allies have spent 32.5 million dollars in trying to keep this off the ballot, Californians favor the initiative 2 to 1. With luck this will spread across the country, especially with Monsanto corn being in the news. Russia has decided not to buy Monsanto corn after a recent French study that linked the corn and the herbicide roundup to cancer and organ failure.
Another war on reality has hit the airwaves. John Hagee stated to Glenn Beck that the Civil War was ended by President Lincoln with his call to a national day of fasting and prayer. That's what we need now, prayer for the upcoming election. It does seem that the religious right's goal is to rewrite history as fast as they can. Lincoln's call to fasting and prayer took place two years before the war ended. Pesky facts.
The Pope weighed in on the gay scourge. According to the supreme leader of all sheep, gays are not fully developed people. Apparently he's a bit peeved by France's move to legalize marriage for all. His exact wording was that the catholic values of marriage and family must be obeyed to"permit the full development of the human person." Possibly this is a step forward, at least gays are now considered people, even if they are incomplete.
All we can hope for is that religious leaders keep talking, it's how they will be exposed as the conmen that they are.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon decides that the religious are more important than humans. As the Blasphemy laws are once again injected into global discussion, he thinks that limiting free speech is okay when referencing religion. No way buddy.
Another horrible story that revolves around our love of firepower. A Connecticut teacher shoots his own child, thinking that his target was a robber.
Every year 31,000 Americans are killed and over 66,000 injured by guns. Over 18,000 people kill themselves and almost 600 are shot by accident. I know, nobody really cares. Second amendment guarantees our right to be armed to the teeth, and for some their lack of reasoning guarantees that people will die.
In a seven day period ending September 20th, the TSA found 47 guns, (38 loaded), 3 inert hand grenades, hunting knives, black powder, fuses and a sword. We're into this fantasy of power that the righteous use of weapons of destruction in the U.S. gives us.
Since crime is rampant and guns are easy to get, the city of Camden in New Jersey - the most dangerous city in the country - is disbanding the police force. Like the NFL referees, the unionized police force is just too darn expensive. This should work out well if you're looking to save money, not so much if you're looking to save people.
The small story, a woman was abused at a local Kroger's for using food stamps. After having her groceries rung up, she was told she owed ten dollars. Knowing that her food stamps covered the purchase, she argued the point. The store manager gave in, but not after letting her know what he thought.
"He finally just said, 'Okay, just give it to her.' I said, 'See, I told you it was covered by food stamps,' and he said, 'Excuse me for working for a living and not relying on food stamps!'"
The big story is from my home state which is experimenting with another sly way of getting rid of welfare recipients. The new policy that is in effect will tie welfare cash to school attendance. Conservatives are claiming, and most of us would probably agree, that children should be in school; that their future is in jeopardy if they are truant.
Unfortunately for the state, I have a policy expert in the house. Some quick notes from online sources. There is no study that shows that truancy is a problem only of the poor. Some also think that this is not the right kind of encouragement; taking away food seems to be drastic. The talking heads keep defining truancy as ten or more unexcused absences, but that is not in the new policy.
The following is Jo's interpretation of the policy.
DHS policy change
DHS policy change
The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) is implementing a policy change for families receiving cash assistance effective October 1, 2012. This caught my attention as it hit national news this week. Being a retired policy writer for DHS, I had to go check out the details in DHS policy.
I discovered that 16 and 17 year old children must be attending school full time. 18 year olds must be attending high school full time in order to receive cash assistance.
High school means a course of study leading to a high school diploma or it's equivalency and includes all of the following:
Adult basic education. Alternative education Charter school Non-public school Vocational or technical training.
School means: Public school Non-public school registered with DOE Home school
It appears that whether or not a child is "attending," and if full or part time is up to the school to determine. School verification forms are automatically generated on the child's birthday every year beginning at age 16. Shouldn't the definition of truancy be spelled out and applied uniformly if at all?
It also appears that if the "truant" child is the only child in the family, all cash benefits stop. If he/she is only one of multiple qualifying children, the family suffers a reduction in the amount of cash assistance.
I could not find historic policy online, but my memory is that in the past, 16 and 17 year olds not attending school full time used to be referred to a work program. If non compliant with that program, penalties were applied to the family, but at least they were given an alternative.
While reviewing current policy I also noticed that a change was implemented some time in the last 2 1/2 years. Policy used to allow cash assistance to continue for 19 year olds who were attending high school full time when expected to graduate before age 20. This no longer applies.
We all know of a teenager, some from well educated, affluent families who lose their way in high school and are unsuccessful students. We also know of children who were held back and who do not have the opportunity to graduate before age 19. What about special education students? Should parents of these children lose their possibly only source of income because of this? Who is this helping?
I was unable to locate any case studies on this topic online, or the philosophy behind this change. Could it be that we have the pleasure of having a republican governor who is hell bent on building a new bridge from Michigan to Canada?
Bridge first. Michigan's Families somewhere lower on Mr. Snyder's priority list.
This raises the question, how do we treat those in need? Those who are temporarily having a hard time because of the economy, those who are locked into generational poverty, what is the correct action to take? Ridicule? Patronize? Sympathize? Maybe a swift kick to get them moving?
Conservatives think that by cutting off aid those less fortunate will either get off their rears and work, or die. Either way it solves the problem.