juldea: (brights)


The atheist blogosphere has been having some growing pains for a few years in response to participants in the movement (such as it is) increasingly making it clear that they are not all straight white cis men and would love to participate on the same level as straight white cis men, but not all of the SWCM see this as a reasonable thing. From the amount I follow things I wouldn't say this has all come to a head in any recent incident, but apparently now is the time that the right voices came together to say the right things, and Atheism Plus has been born.

We are...
Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women's rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.


Participation in the atheist blogosphere is not high on my list of life priorities, but there are some people whose work I have found worth it to follow and inform me on these topics as a side effect. I feel I've always worked to meet the above list of "pluses", and given I also participate in The Brights because I believe that community in atheism is important, I'm happy to jump on this bandwagon. A+ for me, please!

A few more useful links for researching Atheism+:
http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/how-i-unwittingly-infiltrated-the-boys-club-why-its-time-for-a-new-wave-of-atheism/
http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/atheism/
http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/08/20/the-difference-between-atheism-and-humanism/
juldea: (brights)
Last night I went to Occupy Boston to assist the movement in the face of probable police activity after a judge ruled yesterday that the occupiers didn't have a First Amendment right to occupy the square, leading Mayor Menino to announce he wanted the encampment gone by midnight. Like many, I support the Occupy movement while at the same time recognizing its flaws--and I'm not going to get into that in this post. I'm just going to talk about last night.

My night at Occupy Boston. )
juldea: (brights)
Last night I went to Occupy Boston to assist the movement in the face of probable police activity after a judge ruled yesterday that the occupiers didn't have a First Amendment right to occupy the square, leading Mayor Menino to announce he wanted the encampment gone by midnight. Like many, I support the Occupy movement while at the same time recognizing its flaws--and I'm not going to get into that in this post. I'm just going to talk about last night.

My night at Occupy Boston. )
juldea: (brights)
Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/19/naomi-wolf-arrest-occupy-wall-street

Relevant quote: Obviously if DHS now has powers to simply take over a New York City street because of an arrest for peaceable conduct by a middle-aged writer in an evening gown, we have entered a stage of the closing of America, which is a serious departure from our days as a free republic in which municipalities are governed by police forces.
juldea: (brights)
Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/19/naomi-wolf-arrest-occupy-wall-street

Relevant quote: Obviously if DHS now has powers to simply take over a New York City street because of an arrest for peaceable conduct by a middle-aged writer in an evening gown, we have entered a stage of the closing of America, which is a serious departure from our days as a free republic in which municipalities are governed by police forces.
juldea: (brights)
I've been seeing a lot of good articles on the UK riots fly by on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc, due to my friends in the UK (yay internet) and the general high-political-intelligence of the people I associate with. This link came up today, and I liked it very much. It contained a lot of things I was going to say in a post on the topic.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/11/london-riots-davidcameron

However "unacceptable" and "unjustifiable" it might be, it has happened so we better accept it and, whilst we can't justify it, we should kick around a few neurons and work out why so many people feel utterly disconnected from the cities they live in.

It's not enough to condemn the rioters for their criminal actions or even to incarcerate them and walk away. This is criminality on a mass scale, and as the article above says, unless there's "a freaky "criminal creating" chemical leak," it doesn't make sense to avoid investigating what would make hundreds (or thousands?) of people behave like this.

After all, every rioter is a human being, just like you or me. I think that's the frightening thing about inspecting root causes of violence such as this. It's comforting to "other" the rioters: "They're not like me," "I'd never do that," "I can't comprehend living in a situation that would cause that kind of reaction." Deep down, however, these people aren't Others. They're human beings like us. They're parents, children, siblings, cousins, grandchildren, significant others. They have pets and watch TV and look for (or have) jobs and fall in love and have pet peeves. They are like me and you, which makes the next statement so scary: we might, indeed, act the same if we were surrounded by the same environment as these rioters.

That's what makes it so important to investigate the next statement and try to comprehend living in a situation that would cause this kind of reaction. What kind of environment would make me or you decide to loot a business and burn a car? What change must have been made to our mindset, to our thoughts about our place in society, to our hopes and dreams for our future? Most importantly, since those changes are happening to other people, what can we do to reverse that change so that more people--more human beings like us--can have living conditions that don't produce the mindset that makes looting reasonable?

I really think that making the connection of "the rioters are people just like me, who have been subjected to conditions that cause them to find these criminal actions acceptable, and if I were subjected to those conditions I would think so, too" is absolutely necessary for going forward to a society that has fewer riots.

I mean seriously, this line of reasoning and empathizing applies to so many of the social problems plaguing Western culture. It's well known that a lot of -isms would have a hard time surviving if Group A would recognize the person-hood of everyone in Group B and do a bit of empathizing. Why is marriage equality worth fighting for? Well, let's see. "All of those people out there who can't marry who they love are people just like me, and how would I feel if I couldn't marry who I love? Ohshi--." Indeed.
juldea: (brights)
I've been seeing a lot of good articles on the UK riots fly by on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc, due to my friends in the UK (yay internet) and the general high-political-intelligence of the people I associate with. This link came up today, and I liked it very much. It contained a lot of things I was going to say in a post on the topic.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/11/london-riots-davidcameron

However "unacceptable" and "unjustifiable" it might be, it has happened so we better accept it and, whilst we can't justify it, we should kick around a few neurons and work out why so many people feel utterly disconnected from the cities they live in.

It's not enough to condemn the rioters for their criminal actions or even to incarcerate them and walk away. This is criminality on a mass scale, and as the article above says, unless there's "a freaky "criminal creating" chemical leak," it doesn't make sense to avoid investigating what would make hundreds (or thousands?) of people behave like this.

After all, every rioter is a human being, just like you or me. I think that's the frightening thing about inspecting root causes of violence such as this. It's comforting to "other" the rioters: "They're not like me," "I'd never do that," "I can't comprehend living in a situation that would cause that kind of reaction." Deep down, however, these people aren't Others. They're human beings like us. They're parents, children, siblings, cousins, grandchildren, significant others. They have pets and watch TV and look for (or have) jobs and fall in love and have pet peeves. They are like me and you, which makes the next statement so scary: we might, indeed, act the same if we were surrounded by the same environment as these rioters.

That's what makes it so important to investigate the next statement and try to comprehend living in a situation that would cause this kind of reaction. What kind of environment would make me or you decide to loot a business and burn a car? What change must have been made to our mindset, to our thoughts about our place in society, to our hopes and dreams for our future? Most importantly, since those changes are happening to other people, what can we do to reverse that change so that more people--more human beings like us--can have living conditions that don't produce the mindset that makes looting reasonable?

I really think that making the connection of "the rioters are people just like me, who have been subjected to conditions that cause them to find these criminal actions acceptable, and if I were subjected to those conditions I would think so, too" is absolutely necessary for going forward to a society that has fewer riots.

I mean seriously, this line of reasoning and empathizing applies to so many of the social problems plaguing Western culture. It's well known that a lot of -isms would have a hard time surviving if Group A would recognize the person-hood of everyone in Group B and do a bit of empathizing. Why is marriage equality worth fighting for? Well, let's see. "All of those people out there who can't marry who they love are people just like me, and how would I feel if I couldn't marry who I love? Ohshi--." Indeed.
juldea: (brights)
I found this to be the most inspirational and moving piece on the recent shootings that I've seen.



If the embed doesn't work, look here: http://thedailywh.at/post/2698034618/in-case-you-missed-it-of-the-day-jon-stewart
juldea: (brights)
I found this to be the most inspirational and moving piece on the recent shootings that I've seen.



If the embed doesn't work, look here: http://thedailywh.at/post/2698034618/in-case-you-missed-it-of-the-day-jon-stewart
juldea: (brights)
For those who aren't aware, there's a pro-life license plate available in Massachusetts now. It's been the talk of a lot of debate, and I just looked up the laws surrounding special license plate requests, and wanted to make sure the information was spread.

The law is here: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter90/Section2F -- I shall summarize:

(a) If you can gather $100,000 and 1,500 people to both sign (with full name, address, and phone number) and to pay $40 each to pre-order a special license plate, you can get a special plate made in Massachusetts. You submit a design to the registrar, and they have 90 days to approve it and make you a design. There is no option written in the law for the registrar to refuse any submission; the wording is, "The registrar shall approve..." (emphasis mine.)

(b) 3,000 plates will be made in the first two years. If you manage to get 3,000 people to buy the plates, you get your $100,000 back. If not, it will be used to pay for the plates already ordered.

(c) There's a bunch of charities the government likes for these plates. (Honestly, I can't figure out what this section is for. Maybe one of you lawyer-y types can clarify.)

(d) I'll reprint this one in total, adding emphasis: "(d) The registrar shall design, produce, issue and regulate the use of distinctive registration plates proposed by any agency, charity or nonprofit organization that has satisfactorily complied with the conditions and requirements set forth in subsection (a)." If you do the things in step a, you get a plate. End of discussion. No matter the subject.

So. Yeah. There are plates out there now that express an idea that misquemes me. That sucks. But this law also means that 1,499 friends and I can get together money and order a plate that says something I like but someone else dislikes, maybe even something someone else finds offensive. I like keeping that option available. That's what living in a free society is all about.

What REALLY sucks is that this law isn't obvious, and there will be people who think the RMV and therefore the state government itself is promoting the Pro-Life movement. I don't know what to do about that part.

Apologies if I've made any really glaring errors here. It's 2am, and I should really be going to bed.
juldea: (brights)
For those who aren't aware, there's a pro-life license plate available in Massachusetts now. It's been the talk of a lot of debate, and I just looked up the laws surrounding special license plate requests, and wanted to make sure the information was spread.

The law is here: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter90/Section2F -- I shall summarize:

(a) If you can gather $100,000 and 1,500 people to both sign (with full name, address, and phone number) and to pay $40 each to pre-order a special license plate, you can get a special plate made in Massachusetts. You submit a design to the registrar, and they have 90 days to approve it and make you a design. There is no option written in the law for the registrar to refuse any submission; the wording is, "The registrar shall approve..." (emphasis mine.)

(b) 3,000 plates will be made in the first two years. If you manage to get 3,000 people to buy the plates, you get your $100,000 back. If not, it will be used to pay for the plates already ordered.

(c) There's a bunch of charities the government likes for these plates. (Honestly, I can't figure out what this section is for. Maybe one of you lawyer-y types can clarify.)

(d) I'll reprint this one in total, adding emphasis: "(d) The registrar shall design, produce, issue and regulate the use of distinctive registration plates proposed by any agency, charity or nonprofit organization that has satisfactorily complied with the conditions and requirements set forth in subsection (a)." If you do the things in step a, you get a plate. End of discussion. No matter the subject.

So. Yeah. There are plates out there now that express an idea that misquemes me. That sucks. But this law also means that 1,499 friends and I can get together money and order a plate that says something I like but someone else dislikes, maybe even something someone else finds offensive. I like keeping that option available. That's what living in a free society is all about.

What REALLY sucks is that this law isn't obvious, and there will be people who think the RMV and therefore the state government itself is promoting the Pro-Life movement. I don't know what to do about that part.

Apologies if I've made any really glaring errors here. It's 2am, and I should really be going to bed.
juldea: (brights)
Holy crap! Thank you [livejournal.com profile] tiamat360 for alerting me to this!

juldea: (brights)
Holy crap! Thank you [livejournal.com profile] tiamat360 for alerting me to this!

juldea: (geek girl)
[livejournal.com profile] gaudior wrote a really good post in response to responses on WisCon's response to how Elizabeth Moon responded to the non-Ground Zero non-mosque and the responses to such. Also, I really enjoyed writing that sentence. (gaudior sums up the situation in a footnote of her post, if you don't want to decipher what I just said.)
juldea: (geek girl)
[livejournal.com profile] gaudior wrote a really good post in response to responses on WisCon's response to how Elizabeth Moon responded to the non-Ground Zero non-mosque and the responses to such. Also, I really enjoyed writing that sentence. (gaudior sums up the situation in a footnote of her post, if you don't want to decipher what I just said.)
juldea: (brights)
Standard fine text applies: this is someone else's words, not mine; I agree with much of what they are saying, but not all, and not every nuance of how they say it; this is directed at/covers certain people who make certain claims, and not the entirety of a religious group; I'm probably preaching to the crowd; etc etc.

Christians have convinced our country to allow one of their primary holy days to be a legally recognized paid holiday, something no other religion has ever accomplished. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Christians can use their religion to practically guarantee an election. People of any other religion, were they to use their religious adherence as part of their political campaign, would have a nigh impossible task be elected. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Most government bodies, when they convene, if they open with a prayer, benediction, or blessing of some sort, invariably open with Christian prayers. Those few that don’t open with Christian prayers open with “non-denominational” prayers that are still very Christian in feel. Once in a great while, they open with a benediction from some other religion - but that person rarely receives the respect expected during a Christian prayer. When a Buddhist gave the opening benediction for a Senate session in the US government, he received catcalls from a couple of senators and had others carry on private conversations - something that would never happen to a Christian officiant. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Our Pledge of Allegiance (that patriotic little ditty penned as part of an advertising campaign) was altered by Federal Government intervention to include the words “under God” - paying homage to just one of the many religions existing in America at that time. That’s privilege, not persecution.

There are more churches per capita than there are places of worship for all the other religions combined in the US. If we adjust for proportions of adherents, there are still more Christian churches (ie if 7% of the population is Buddhist, then 7% of the churches/temples/mosques/synagogues/etc should be Buddist temples, not 2%), mostly because when other religions seek permits, they must prove they are a legitimate religion, but if they’re a Christian denomination they are automatically granted the permit. That’s privilege, not persecution.

When a Christian’s religion becomes known at work, they don’t have to worry about being harassed by co-workers or even fired. That’s privilege, not persecution.

When Christians want to start a new church or new organization, they know filing for tax exempt status is pretty much a given, that they won’t have to prove their religion is a real one, and that tax exempt status may still be denied even if they meet all the IRS criteria just because their religion isn't known. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If a Christian wants to hold a retreat at a camp ground, or a picnic in a park, they know they will get the permits without any problems and they won’t have picketers trying to force them to change venues or not have it at all or disrupt their event. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Christians know they can publicize their religion in their business and attract customers, not rocks through the windows. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If Christians want a chaplain in the military, no bars are placed in their way, yet soldiers of minority religions go without military chaplains – even when the religion is recognized in the Military Chaplain’s Handbook (I have a copy). The military chaplains all come from the mainstream religions, and predominantly from Christian religions. Not one minority religion chaplain has been able to leap all the hurdles placed in their path to date. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If Christians want to be married by officiants in their religion, they have thousands of choices all across the country, yet adherents of many minority religions don’t have licensed officiants to perform marriages because many states and county clerks make it not just difficult but virtually impossible for them to be licensed. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Other religions don’t necessarily want the same privileges that Christianity enjoys in America; what they want is to be allowed to exist without harassment, without fear, without being accused of being “in a phase” or belonging to a “fake” religion, or having reporters say they "claim" to be an adherent of their religion, or having their religion dragged into a news report just because they aren't Christian.

Asking for the right to exist peacefully and to be allowed to live their beliefs without deliberate hardships and barriers placed in their way isn’t persecuting Christianity.

And it’s not persecution for someone to wish another “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.


All from here.
juldea: (brights)
Standard fine text applies: this is someone else's words, not mine; I agree with much of what they are saying, but not all, and not every nuance of how they say it; this is directed at/covers certain people who make certain claims, and not the entirety of a religious group; I'm probably preaching to the crowd; etc etc.

Christians have convinced our country to allow one of their primary holy days to be a legally recognized paid holiday, something no other religion has ever accomplished. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Christians can use their religion to practically guarantee an election. People of any other religion, were they to use their religious adherence as part of their political campaign, would have a nigh impossible task be elected. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Most government bodies, when they convene, if they open with a prayer, benediction, or blessing of some sort, invariably open with Christian prayers. Those few that don’t open with Christian prayers open with “non-denominational” prayers that are still very Christian in feel. Once in a great while, they open with a benediction from some other religion - but that person rarely receives the respect expected during a Christian prayer. When a Buddhist gave the opening benediction for a Senate session in the US government, he received catcalls from a couple of senators and had others carry on private conversations - something that would never happen to a Christian officiant. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Our Pledge of Allegiance (that patriotic little ditty penned as part of an advertising campaign) was altered by Federal Government intervention to include the words “under God” - paying homage to just one of the many religions existing in America at that time. That’s privilege, not persecution.

There are more churches per capita than there are places of worship for all the other religions combined in the US. If we adjust for proportions of adherents, there are still more Christian churches (ie if 7% of the population is Buddhist, then 7% of the churches/temples/mosques/synagogues/etc should be Buddist temples, not 2%), mostly because when other religions seek permits, they must prove they are a legitimate religion, but if they’re a Christian denomination they are automatically granted the permit. That’s privilege, not persecution.

When a Christian’s religion becomes known at work, they don’t have to worry about being harassed by co-workers or even fired. That’s privilege, not persecution.

When Christians want to start a new church or new organization, they know filing for tax exempt status is pretty much a given, that they won’t have to prove their religion is a real one, and that tax exempt status may still be denied even if they meet all the IRS criteria just because their religion isn't known. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If a Christian wants to hold a retreat at a camp ground, or a picnic in a park, they know they will get the permits without any problems and they won’t have picketers trying to force them to change venues or not have it at all or disrupt their event. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Christians know they can publicize their religion in their business and attract customers, not rocks through the windows. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If Christians want a chaplain in the military, no bars are placed in their way, yet soldiers of minority religions go without military chaplains – even when the religion is recognized in the Military Chaplain’s Handbook (I have a copy). The military chaplains all come from the mainstream religions, and predominantly from Christian religions. Not one minority religion chaplain has been able to leap all the hurdles placed in their path to date. That’s privilege, not persecution.

If Christians want to be married by officiants in their religion, they have thousands of choices all across the country, yet adherents of many minority religions don’t have licensed officiants to perform marriages because many states and county clerks make it not just difficult but virtually impossible for them to be licensed. That’s privilege, not persecution.

Other religions don’t necessarily want the same privileges that Christianity enjoys in America; what they want is to be allowed to exist without harassment, without fear, without being accused of being “in a phase” or belonging to a “fake” religion, or having reporters say they "claim" to be an adherent of their religion, or having their religion dragged into a news report just because they aren't Christian.

Asking for the right to exist peacefully and to be allowed to live their beliefs without deliberate hardships and barriers placed in their way isn’t persecuting Christianity.

And it’s not persecution for someone to wish another “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.


All from here.
juldea: (brights)
When I was out there saying I wanted to prevent unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, of course, that was interpreted that I wanted women to have abortions. Well, you know, I tell people all the time I am not about promoting abortions. I have never been about abortions. I am about preventing unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. If you prevent unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, there is never a need for an abortion. I have never known any woman to need an abortion if she was not already pregnant.

Joycelyn Elders, M.D.

I like this quote.
juldea: (brights)
When I was out there saying I wanted to prevent unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, of course, that was interpreted that I wanted women to have abortions. Well, you know, I tell people all the time I am not about promoting abortions. I have never been about abortions. I am about preventing unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. If you prevent unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, there is never a need for an abortion. I have never known any woman to need an abortion if she was not already pregnant.

Joycelyn Elders, M.D.

I like this quote.
juldea: (brights)
Slightly edited for grammar and flow from the source.

"This morning I was awakened by my alarm clock, powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of food inspected by the US Department of Agriculture and taking the drugs that have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

It soon became time to leave so that I would arrive at work at the appropriate time as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory. On my way out the door I deposited my mail to be sent out via the US Postal Service and rounded up the kids to be dropped off at the local public school. We got into my automobile approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and set out on the roads built by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

After work, I drove my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, returning to a house that has not burned down in my absence due to the state and local building codes and Fire Marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local Police Department.

I then logged on to the internet, which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration, and post on various forums about how socialism in medicine is bad because the government can't do anything right."

December 2012

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