Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Taking on the Bishop

2010 July 31

101 King St.
Madison, WI, 53703

As an atheist, I am always bemused at internal rifts within various religions, such as the one detailed in Esty Dinur's "Taking on the Bishop" in your July 30 paper.

On the one hand you have an ardent faction screaming that 2 + 2 = 5,228, while their equally determined opponents keep yelling that 2 + 2 = 6,492; in between, wringing their hands, are the ecumenists, hoping that we can all put the strife behind us and just nicely agree on the sensible middle ground, that 2 + 2 = 5,860.

This is what happens when people treat opinions (also guesswork, mythology, wishes, fairy tales, mistranslations, outright lies, etc.) as if they were facts. You cannot find an American astronomy, a bellicose biology, a capitalist chemistry, a Methodist math, or a feminist physics. There's only one worldwide version of each, because they're all based on facts. Religion, OTOH, is nothing BUT opinions, no facts involved, which is why anybody's word on religion is just as good as anyone else's (to wit, no good at all), and there are over 5,000 denominations in the US alone, each contending that all the others are wrong.

Look, as a science-fiction fan, I like a good story as much as the next guy, but I'm sure as heck not going to start a war or a crusade or an inquisition or a holocaust over the burning question of whether Dumbledore or Gandalf was the better wizard. They're fiction! It's just laffable to hear both Catholic hierarchs and put-upon laypeople defending their viewpoints by invoking "truth", when every word coming out of their mouths is pure make-believe.

Face facts, people. Jesus, if he ever lived at all, is long dead. Dead, dead, dead! Dead as a doornail. Dead and gone. Dead and buried. Dead and never coming back. He didn't come back during the lifetime of his disciples (as he promised he would), he hasn't been back since, he isn't back now, and he's never coming back, ever. Why not? Because he's DEAD, that's why not! Sheesh. It's been TWO THOUSAND YEARS! Get over it, already.

And get over yourselves while you're at it.

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To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.

-- Cardinal Bellarmine, during the trial of Galileo, 1615

Friday, July 30, 2010

And Today's Gold Medal for Hypocrisy Goes To ...

Actual headline from (2010 July 30 / 0054 UT), apparently intended without any irony whatsoever:
"Pentagon: WikiLeaks founder may have blood on his hands"



The top U.S. military officer said Thursday that Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, was risking lives to make a political point by publishing thousands of military reports from Afghanistan.

"Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a news conference at the Pentagon.

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In related news, Pacific Ocean denounces teardrop for wetness.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Western Wisconsin's REAL Drug Problem

 In "State's border communities struggle with meth" (, Steven Elbow uses biased sources to identify the nature and extent of the problem. He quotes stats on criminal prosecutions, burglaries, and time spent by drug task forces to paint methamphetamine as the worst drug in the state's western counties.

I rock-solid guarantee you that alcohol causes more property damage, domestic abuse, and ruined lives than meth. I rock-solid guarantee you that tobacco causes more health problems and premature deaths than meth.

So why do these drugs NOT show up in reports like this one? Because they're legal. Because people can use them freely and publicly without running afoul of "drug task forces". Because they're cheap — no vig for the cops, no bribes for the judges, no long string of crooked middlemen between producer and user, no protection or hush money, no financing of gang wars — just honest mark-ups by small business people competing in the free market.

Elbow's report is like climbing on a bus to conduct a survey on whether people ever ride the bus. If all you're looking for is illegal drug use, that's all you're going to find.

I'm not saying meth is the greatest thing since the Macintosh. It sounds awful, frankly, and I wouldn't want to use it myself and would certainly warn everybody else away from it as well.

But, as we should have learned during the original Prohibition (you know, the one we repealed because it INCREASED alcohol consumption, youth drinking, and criminal activity), there's no drug out there whose effects can't be made even worse by criminalizing it.

The REAL drug problem? Illegality! Legalize, regulate, license, and tax!

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Repeal Prohibition. Again. For all the same reasons.