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.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What the SG SHOULD Have Said

I'm not a lawyer, but I've had lots of experience at both the high school and college level as a debater and a debate judge, and I was appalled that the Obama Administration's solicitor general let himself get suckered into the broccoli trap. You will recall that this was a hypothetical question posed by one of the justices, along the lines of "You contend that the government can require people to buy health insurance because it's good for them. Do you also believe it can require people to eat broccoli because it's good for them?"

And the idiot actually tried to answer it! Furthermore, he went thru more contortions than an Olympic gymnast trying to point out how, no, he certainly would NOT require broccoli consumption.

I would've marked him way down for falling for an obvious snare like that. Here's what he SHOULD have said:

"First off, I have no idea why you're asking me. It isn't my opinion that matters. I have no power to force anybody to do anything.

"Second, even if I DID have such power, I know virtually nothing about broccoli or its health effects and am certainly in no position to render a spot judgment — little better than a guess — on it today.

"But finally, and most importantly, that's not what we're here to talk about. If Congress thot that eating broccoli was sufficiently important to the nation that everybody should do it, they would have passed a law to that effect. It would have been a POLITICAL judgment, which is what the legislative branch is all about. Instead, we're here talking about health care, which Congress DID make a political judgment about, and which they decided was so important to the general welfare that, all things considered, THIS was the way they had to go about it. If they ever make the same judgment about broccoli, I'll be back here again to answer your question, with much better preparation, but for today it's simply an irrelevancy. That wasn't what Congress agonized over for the better part of 2 years, and I'd rather talk about what they DID do than what they might have done."

I fear that the Obama Administration was ill served by this particular advocate.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

That Deep, Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ

"I have a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ."

Do you gag as much as I do at hearing this pious crap?

I've known my sister for over 6 decades. Altho I live in Madison, WI, and she lives in Denver, CO, so we only see each other every couple of years, I can tell you:
 • how tall she is.
 • what color her eyes are.
 • what color and how curly her hair is.
 • the different kinds of prescription drugs she takes, and what for.
 • which parts of her have been operated on.
 • which colleges she attended.
 • what jobs she's held.
 • what cities she's lived in.
 • what her hobbies are.
 • the names and breeds of the various dogs and cats she's had thru the years.
 • her favorite sports teams, and which one she has season tickets for.
 • the TV programs she watches regularly.
 • that it's her on the phone just from the sound of her voice.
 • her att¡tude toward eating meat.
 • whom she voted for in the last presidential election.
 • what kind of medical care she wants in case of a terminal illness.
 • her favorite color.
 • and about 50 other things.

Now that's a personal relationship. Could any of you Bible-thumpers manage even half a dozen comparable answers about your "deep, personal friend" Jesus? And, even assuming your overwrought imagination could in fact gin up a few stabs at them, what are chances that they'd agree with any other equally deluded True Believer? OTOH, you could ask any of my sister's other good friends about the above characteristics, and they'd give you the exact same answers I would. That's because my sister, unlike your Jesus, is real — a 3-dimensional, flesh-and-blood, living, breathing, real-world human being, with a life, preferences, substance, and history.

So, Mr. or Ms. True Believer, let's say you're walking across library mall one day, you see your good buddy Jesus in a crowd of folks ahead of you, and you holler "Hey, J, dude, wait up!". Would he?

Let's not kid ourselves. This would never even happen because there's no way you'd be able to pick Jesus out of a crowd. Heck, you couldn't pick him out of a 1-person lineup. You wouldn't know him if he walked up to you on the street and handed you his business card. (In fact, it would tickle me pink to see your reaction if somebody actually did exactly that.)

So we both know exactly what your claim to have a "deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ" is. It's bullsh¡t. You know it's bullsh¡t. Everybody else knows it's bullsh¡t. The only reason you keep on repeating this bullsh¡t is because it's the slogan of the club that some con artist or charlatan has suckered you into believing you really want to be a member of. All you have to do is keep repeating the magic bullsh¡t phrase "I have a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ" and you can keep going to the club meetings. (Provided you keep paying the dues, too; let's not forget what's really important here.)

But don't think that repeating that phrase is going to win you anything but contempt or possibly some degree of pity from anyone with a functioning brain. All you're really demonstrating is that you don't know diddly about real relationships or the way the real world really works. You are, in short, a pathetic dupe. And full of bullsh¡t, to boot.

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"Atheism is not a religion, it's a personal relationship with reality." — Dr. Dave, 2010 July 1

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Timing the Recall Election

You've gotta figure that the Wisconsin GOP is popping champagne corks tonight as they see the calendar proposed by the Government Accountability Board for the recall elections. June 12. All the college students will have scattered to the 4 winds for summer jobs, vacations, study abroad, etc. Those who took the time to register in their college towns for the May 15 primary won't have lived the requisite 28 days in their new location by June 12, and how many of them will have a clue about either (1) re-registering at their summer municipality on May 16 or (2) applying for an absentee ballot from their college municipality prior to June 5?

Meanwhile, the other big group of victims of the GOP voter-suppression law, the elderly, will be involved in family vacations and summer travel. The Fitzwalkerstanis don't have to prevent all of them from voting to make a difference, just hold down the turnout in that demographic by 10-20%.

Yup, looks like the Republicans managed to stall the whole proceeding just long enuf. Gov. Walker got those extra 20 days to challenge petitions and didn't even try to use them. All he really wanted was the time. Absent that 20-day delay, the recall would've happened on May 22, and the State Street victory party would've still been going full tilt on Memorial Day.

There should be little doubt left in anyone's mind which side is committed — nay, habituated — to gaming the system to subvert the democratic process.

Well, we knew all along that they were going to outspend us. But they were never going to outnumber us, so now it comes down to education and organization. And we've got the teachers and the librarians. Yay, good guys!

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If we liberals really hated America, we’d vote Republican.