I remember back in....whenever it was when the Tea Party was just something that the Republicans cooked up partly for the drama and then later partly to oppose President Obama's health care plan. Remember? Remember all the rallies? Remember how democrats and liberals said it wasn't real? Remember how people said it wasn't a real movement because it was all fabricated by the Republicans? Remember how Republicans sat back and enjoyed watching the Democrats get all hot and bothered by this tiny tea party? Ah, those were the days weren't they? Those were the days when people could sit comfortably in their recliners and say, "It won't last. It's not real." What started as some elaborate conspiracy to tie the democratic party's shoelaces together and then slink off into the shadows to snicker has become something a bit more substantial and how.
I wish I could be one of those people who could say, "I saw this coming a mile away" but the truth is, I didn't. Back then I admit I was mildly interested in what was going on but like so many other people (people who are much smarter, I would like to point out) it has become a movement that wasn't anticipated. Well, not by the majority of folks anyways. What was once just seen as a small thorn in the side of liberals has become a bigger pain in more than one place. What mainstream Republicans once saw as an opportunity to route their more liberal counterparts has become a threat and if we have learned one thing from this it is that the enemy of your enemy is not always your friend. I can't help but smile because although I can't claim to have seen it coming or to claim to have been "on board" since it started, what I can say is that for quite some time I have been fairly fed up with both parties and voting has become not so much of a "vote for the best candidate" for me but more of a "vote for the candidate who is the least worse". I tend to adopt a "Team America" view of politics where you can either vote for the...erm...well...there's no delicate way to say it. I'll only say, that I tend to vote for the more aggressive candidate. By the way, if you have never seen Team America: World Police, it has the best definition of politics I have ever heard right there towards the end and I highly recommend watching just that part. The rest of it is pretty much garbage. But it is funny. Anyways, moving on.
Now that the rallies are over, Republicans expected to step in and take the reins. "We'll take it from here, kids. You guys did a good job. Here's a quarter. Go buy some candy". But these silly "radicals". They refused to go away. Sarah Palin didn't just fade into the heap of defeated Republicans like she was supposed to and now you have candidates like Christine O'Donnell upsetting Republican primaries. It isn't just an isolated incident. When Charlie Crist faced republican revolt he said, "I'm out of here", the GOP brushed it off as a minor symptom of unrest in Florida. But then Republican heavy hitters started losing primaries in other places as well like Utah, Nevada, Alaska, Kentucky, Colorado, and Delaware. The "best of the best" candidates picked by the Republican party were...losing. All I can say is that when a candidate like O'Donnell can pull ahead of someone like Mike Castle, a seasoned politician with roughly $2.6 million in his chest, someone somewhere should start paying attention.
What does this mean? That the conservatives have shot themselves in the foot by electing loony toon candidates who don't stand a chance? I wouldn't bet on it. First of all, the voter turn out for Republicans far exceeds the turnout for Democrats this year and that is more than a little unsettling for the Democratic party. Throw in the Tea Party's seemingly "throw the bums out" mentality and we might just be faced with a huge upset across both major party lines. All I can say about that, really is that it might not be a bad thing.
I am tired of country club Republicans making decisions as much as I am tired of the current Democrats on the hill that have either made a stack of exceedingly stupid decisions or they are simply incapable of making decisions that make any sense whatsoever. Ever since I have been able to vote, there has not been one candidate that I have been optimistic about in either party and so I am reduced to voting for the person I think will cause the least amount of damage to the country. It is really quite a gamble voting this way. I don't particularly like it but what can you do? I mean look at the candidates for Georgia governor. Roy Barnes (really? Economically we're screwed and we're cutting education of all places and they send up Roy Barnes? "I broke education with this hammer the last time but I'm going to fix it with this sledge hammer") and Nathan Deal, who I just really don't care to discuss. I'll only say that it's a lose/lose situation any way you look at it. It's like trying to decide between adopting an orange cat with mange or a black cat with mange. Either way, you're going to be paying a hefty vet bill and your house is going to smell horrible.
Whether or not the Tea Party will remain a viable power is yet to be seen, but it is safe to say it will play a major role in the 2012 presidential election nominees. Not long ago the people who were demanding that their voices be heard were seen as ignorant individuals at best but now the scoffing has become a little more subdued as the shock wave of this movement has had it's first (of many, no doubt) impact on the Republican party, of all places. I would be lying if I said that it didn't surprise me. Republican incumbents left behind with dust settling all over their tailor-made suits makes me smile a little on the inside. Ok, fine. More than a little. I think the time for Democrat nonchalance about the whole thing should be coming to a close. These people are serious in what they believe and that is refreshing.
I'm sitting here thinking about Darwinism. I know, right? I'm not exactly sure why myself. I guess it is because I happened to catch a glimpse of a book on the shelf at work by Richard Dawkins called The Greatest Show on Earth - The Evidence for Evolution. It wasn't really the title that caught my eye because honestly, I have no problem with evolution. Life changes over time. The earth changes over time. What caught my eye were the words underneath the title: The author of The God Delusion. This prompted me to do some five second research on Richard Dawkins. It wasn't difficult. He has written several books. He's done several interviews. He has a pretty impressive resume. He's an ethologist and an evolutionary biologist. I watched some of his interviews but rather than hearing theories on animal behavior or even evolution all I heard were the reasons why Dawkins is an atheist. Now, before anyone jumps the gun I have nothing against atheists. I have many friends who are atheists. However, if you are not a professor of philosophy I don't care to hear your theories on God and whether or not He exists. Especially when you insist that evolution and science have nothing to do with religion. If you are a scientist and you are so adamant that science has nothing to do with religion then don't bring it up. CoughMr.DawkinsCough.
What amused me most was listening to Richard Dawkins say anyone who did not believe in evolution - and by evolution here I do not mean the adaptation of species, I mean the origin of species. That we, or rather all life sprang from one prehistoric ancestor - and who believed that intelligent design was a plausible theory was, and I quote "stupid". Now, I know many, many people who do not believe in Darwin's theory and I would never call them stupid because A. I'm not that arrogant. B. Through many avenues those individuals have proved that they are not stupid. Though Dawkins admits himself that no one really knows how life started, those who disagree with him are not nearly as smart or clever as he is. I feel cowed in even his digital presence. Here's the thing. In one interview Dawkins said, "It could be that at some earlier time somewhere in the universe a civilization evolved by probably some Darwinian means to a very very high level of technology and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet". So wait, let me get this straight. Aliens are more plausible than God? And even if it were aliens (hahahahahaha. Sorry...ahem) that is still intelligent design! Mr. Dawkins, you're shooting yourself in the ass, sir.
I don't want to confuse intelligent design with Creationism because they are different. Creationism attributes all life to a deity, specifically the Judeo-Christian God, and irrefutably ties religion to science. I'm not saying this is good or bad. That is simply what Creationism is. Intelligent design attributes life to something other than macro-evolution. Whether that be God, aliens, whatever. I mean, scientists have been trying to reproduce this theory of the primordial ooze being struck by lightning, kick-starting life by creating proteins which might then multiply and then become a living thing. They have not been able to copy the process. Why? Well, ok...the simplest form of life is made up of 250 proteins. So, basically they would need to successfully produce 250 proteins simultaneously. The odds of accomplishing something like that are so astronomical they are literally in the trillions of trillions. In other words, too ridiculous to even consider as a possibility. But we do consider it, don't we.
In 2004 Richard Sternberg, an editor of the Proceedings of Biological Society of Washington, a journal associated with the Smithsonian Institute, published a paper by Stephen C. Meyer, a Cambridge-educated philosopher who argued that evolutionary theory cannot account for the vast profusion of multi-cellular species. After sending the paper to three different scientists for peer review, Sternberg, who holds two PhDs in evolutionary biology published the paper. The response from the scientific community was nothing short of explosive. They dug into Sternberg's religious background, smearing him with derogatory labels. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education stated that the Smithsonian scientists had "no choice" but to go digging through Sternberg's background. "They don't care if you're religious, but they do care if you're a creationist," Scott said. "Sternberg denies it but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it argues for zealotry". Pretty smug words about someone who published a paper that wasn't even his.
Sternberg isn't the only one to receive backlash from the scientific community for entertaining the idea that intelligent design might be a real possibility. Dr. Caroline Crocker, a biology lecturer at George Mason University was fired for mentioning intelligent design in one of her lectures. Robert Marks, a professor at Baylor University was forced to shut down his research website and return grant money when it was discovered that his work was tied to the study of intelligent design. Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University, Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure after publishing his book, Privileged Planet, in which he defends the theory of intelligent design.
My question to all these examples is "why"? Why is the scientific community so afraid of the possibility that there might be something more than Darwinism? For years and years, Newtonian physics was the status quo but along came Einstein and that all changed. The DNA double helix contains roughly the equivalent of 1 GB of genetic information, located in the chromosome in one tiny section of the cell. No doubt Mr. Darwin would say, "Wtf is a GB?" So, why are we still looking to the Origin of the Species as an answer to all life when we have discovered so much about the cell than even Darwin could have imagined? In fact, Darwin himself upset the balance of the science community and was ostracized for his research and his theories. We look back at that now and say, "We were so backwards then. People weren't even allowed to express their own theories". But what are we doing now? Isn't it the same thing? Radical thinkers have always been the target of emotional backlash from Galileo to Darwin and we denounce how they were treated, but we treat people the same way and the only thing we can think of to say when people disagree with us, "Well, you're stupid". Really? That's the best you can do?
Richard Dawkins stated that evolution is a "fact" but then later said that no one knows for sure. Which is it? Teaching evolution as a fact is at best irresponsible. Even if it is "highly probable" (and even that is questionable) it still isn't a fact. A fact is that I'm typing this on a crappy laptop. A fact is that I can buy a pack of camels with a five dollar bill. Those are facts because I can take you to the store down the street right now and buy a pack. I can show you that I am right. If I cannot prove to you that I am right, then I am not stating facts but theories. Even probable theories are just theories. I can tell you that a diet coke has 40 mg of sodium because that is what it says on the can but I can't prove that to you. CocaCola could be lying to everyone. They probably aren't, but still. But if I said, "According to the can, diet coke has 40 mg of sodium". That's a fact because here's the can. Understand the difference?
So, what is intelligent design? It is also a theory. To refuse to recognize it as a theory is nothing short of elitism and no different than the way scientists throughout the ages have been treated. I take a small amount of delight in the arrogance and smug attitudes of these highly educated individuals who have a million doctorates acting like children. Their "lalalalala, I can't hear you" attitude makes me feel warm and snuggly inside because that is a symptom of ignorance itself. It says, "I don't have anything worthy to say".
Now, I'm a journalism major. I don't have a doctorate (or any degree for that matter) in anything science related. I'm actually not that fond of science but I remember learning about the scientific procedure in elementary school. I remember the first thing I learned about science was that your mind had to be open to any and all possibilities. If the scientific community can accept the possibility that aliens (hahahahahahahahaha. sorry - ahem) I don't think that intelligent design is that far of a stretch.
This mess in Arizona has literally made my jaw drop, but not for the same reasons it has probably made others' jaws drop. And when I say "others" I simply mean those who are up in arms about this without even stopping to think about what this is about. People get so pissed at the drop of a hat, and if I say that you know it is bad. People aren't thinking (which really shouldn't surprise me, but I don't want to be pessimistic) and most importantly they aren't remembering things said by people they voted for and this completely blows my mind.
Ok, for all you pot smokers out there, you are familiar with how the law works. Cops can't just pull you over for absolutely no reason and search your car for marijuana. You know this. For this reason, when you have pot in your car you drive right at the speed limit, don't you. Probably even under it. Because you know if you get pulled over for any reason at all and they suspect you have marijuana in your possession, you are going to jail. You know this. You have accepted that this is the law and you are careful. You do not go out and paint swastikas with refried beans or protest saying that it is unconstitutional for them to search you for illegal drugs. Now, I just want you to think about this. If you are in Arizona and you get pulled over for let's say...speeding. And the officer asks you for proof of citizenship, how is that wrong? He's going to ask for proof of insurance and we're ok with that. What is the difference? Are we truly under the impression that there's going to be police officers walking up to random people saying "Your papers. Your papers"? But we don't think about this. No. The first thing we do is we get pissed off because people who are in our country illegally might be treated "unfairly". The more angry we are, the less our capacity for common sense and logical thinking becomes. Stop being angry and think.
Think about this, too. For years, Washington has been promising to do something about border control, and we've been fine with that. Reagan promised, Bill Clinton promised, Hillary Clinton promised, and in July of 2008, President Obama promised that border control would be the top priority of his administration. I haven't seen him do anything about border control. All I've seen are bail outs and socialized medicine. He said "the illegal immigrants in our country need to be pulled out of the shadows". He said that. And you voted for him. And now that there is actually a government official doing something about border control, you freak out. Think. Does that sort of behavior make any sense whatsoever. Maybe I'm just slow, but I don't understand it at all.
Think about this, too. Many people are calling this law in Arizona unconstitutional because it is "illegal search and seizure". This almost made me want to piss my pants laughing, actually. A cop showing up randomly at my house and saying, "I'm here to search your house and take anything here you aren't supposed to have". That is illegal search and seizure. When a police officer asks you for your identification, do you say "That's illegal search and seizure!"? No. Because you are not, for the most part, that much of an idiot. For that matter, 17 year olds should be able to buy beer or get into clubs without being asked for their i.d. because asking for it is unconstitutional. Before you say, "That's different because they are being offered a service in exchange for their proof of i.d." Well, exactly. People in this country illegally are taking advantage of a "service", that being: being in this country.
Think about this, too. Los Angeles is currently advocating a boycott of Arizona. Really? Ok, first of all for any city in California, who is in the economic crapper to advocate the boycott of anything is laughable, at best. Second, it is reaching stupidity of critical levels. Some in L.A. want to boycott Arizona Iced Tea, true story. Arizona Iced Tea is manufactured in New York. Hey, maybe you could boycott Arizona Jeans next. I don't want to resort to name-calling but please, stop being morons. I mean, if you can manage it.
Think about this, too. Lawmakers in Texas are already considering making similar laws. Get ready for that. Texas ranks near the top, economy-wise and its economic growth is expected to pass the national average in 2011. Boycott Texas, California. I want to see that. Especially from a state with the largest budget deficit of the entire nation. It makes me want to laugh except it is just so very sad.
I'm not asking anyone to change party loyalties. I'm not asking anyone to do anything radical or out of the ordinary. I just want people to think. Use your brain, just once. It might hurt at first due to lack of exercise, but I promise the more you use it, the more natural it becomes. After a while it may even become second nature to you.
I have watched the mess that Fred Phelps and his army of non-believers at Westboro Baptist "Church" have caused with relative silence. Silence because attention is what they want and all this national coverage is probably just orgasmic for them. Because of this, I'm not here to rant about them in the slightest. What I want to say is something completely different because ranting to people like Fred Phelps does no good because people like Fred Phelps will not change. It is ironic how he talks about the "chosen" Israelites. Apparently Mr. Phelps has not read the Bible in its entirety because the Bible talks about the "chosen" Christians as well. So, what I want to emphasize is that Fred Phelps and those like him, as judgmental as this next statement may seem, are not Christians, and I'm going to tell you why. Phelps states several times on his website that teachers and preachers are liars. Hey, I'm all for the truth. "Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor" (Ephesians 4:25). So, let's do that shall we? Let's speak the truth for once.
The term "christian" is not a title that Christians gave themselves. It was a derogatory term used by Rome to identify those who followed the teachings of Jesus. It means "Little Christ" and today we use it to identify the same individuals the Romans used it to identify, only now it does not carry the negative connotations it did then. Or does it? It doesn't take a Fred Phelps to besmirch the word "christian". We do fine on our own, don't we? It is because people like Fred Phelps gets national coverage for spreading his horse crap all over the place. It makes me sad that there are people out there who look at him and say, "That's what their God is like". I want to emphasize this, and I really do not believe I can say it with more clarity: Fred Phelps' "God" and my God are absolutely not the same. I want to truly begin with a quote from Ephesians that is important to remember when dealing with people like Fred Phelps. "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us" (Ephesians 5:1-2, emphasis mine). Because some people may believe Fred Phelps is being an imitator of God (and this, frankly makes me want to vomit), I want to talk about what imitate means on a basic level.
Phelps says, "Come out from among this filthy generation". It is no secret that he hates pretty much everyone, teaches his "flock" to hate pretty much everyone, and teaches that God hates pretty much everyone. "Come out from among them", he says. Do not associate with the filthy "sinners". Now, had Mr. Phelps (I feel like I'm quoting Mission Impossible whenever I type that) actually read all the Bible and not just the parts he likes he would know that the people Jesus associated with (and remember, Jesus is the guy we're supposed to be imitating here) were sinners. Holy crap! Sinners?! What?! That's right! Tax collectors, prostitutes these were the people Jesus said, "Hey, I'm coming over to your place for dinner tonight". My favorite story about Jesus is his interaction with the Samaritan woman. Samaritans, just a quick overview, were considered very...well..."dirty" by most standards. They were viewed as low and no one would ever actually associate with one. This woman wasn't just a Samaritan, she was a woman and not just any woman, she was basically a whore. Of all the people that must have been there that day, Jesus asked her to draw water for him. He could have gotten it himself but to ask a Samaritan woman, a dirty whore to touch the clean water he was about to drink speaks to his very character. He had compassion for her. He did not call her a whore. He did not call her dirty or low. And by no means whatsoever did he tell her that God hates her.
So, did Jesus have any harsh or piercing words? Oh, you bet. He called people snakes, a "pit of vipers" to be exact. He called them "Whitewashed tombs, full of dead men's bones", referring to how pretty they looked on the outside. He even took it upon himself to make a whip and drive people out of the temple. All of these people on the receiving end of his wrath were religious people of the day. People like Fred Phelps who misguide others and misrepresent who God is while hiding behind the laws of America that so many men and women have died to protect. They not only dishonor God but they dishonor the very foundation of this country. They say they hate America and that God hates America but they certainly have no problem calling upon their rights as Americans to justify their behavior. Rights that people like Matthew Snyder died to protect. If there is anything in this country today that is filthy and disgusting, far from strip clubs or gay bars or even, as Phelps believes public schools, it is any so-called church led by someone like Fred Phelps. I would rather spend all my days in any of those aforementioned locations than spend one minute in the presence of deceivers and blasphemers like Fred Phelps.
So, my wish...my desire is to have anyone who bothered to take the time to read this know that the people (if indeed they can be called people at all) at Westboro Baptist Church are not representations of Christ. Not by a long shot and I would venture to say that they do not know Christ at all if they even believe the garbage that spews out of their mouths. And if they pollute the air with their nonsense knowing that it is false, well...God has something for them as well and if they read their Bibles they would know this and not be so quick to speak in the fashion in which they have become accustomed. "If you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth - you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you" (Romans 2:18-24, emphasis mine). Now, "Come out from among them" is something I would like to say to the members of Fred Phelps' congregation if I had the chance because I do not think his heavenly "reward" is going to be as great as he probably thinks.
Do not listen to people like him. He is either a liar or he is stupid and neither of those types of people are worth listening to. No one is perfect. The difficulty in being a Christian is that we are supposed to imitate Christ and I think that even people who have never stepped into a Church in their entire lives also realize this. But because we are still humans we have this tendency to do retarded things. Things which are not usually uncommon but because we are Christians we are held to a higher standard. And I am not complaining about that. That is how it should be. We should live our lives as imitators of Christ, as Paul said. What I am saying is that people like Fred Phelps are false representations of Christ. Those of you who read past the first sentence and you do not identify as a Christian, my only request is that you not look to people like Phelps because he is a liar. He will get what is coming to him. The Bible teaches that a Christian's reward in heaven will be based on what he or she has done on earth (reward is not the same thing as salvation, but I won't get into that right now). Even if I believed that Phelps was a Christian (and I don't see how he possibly could be), he is leading an entire group of people down a path that is absolutely anathema to God's will. Because of that, I hope God has mercy on him...that's what I would like to say, as a Christian. As a human being, I hope he feels every second of the punishment he deserves for spewing his hateful lies and misrepresenting God in such a manner.
Every now and then, when I'm bored I like to watch the news. Just you know, every now and then. It seems like a good idea at the time, to keep abreast of current events and debates, but the longer I watch the more irritated I become. Believe it or not, one of the sources of my most recent irritation comes from a conservative viewpoint. Try not to have a stroke. Not all of it. I mean, Nancy Pelosi will always make me want to punch someone in the face with a fork so there is that. But let's jump right into it, shall we? I'll start with what has been bothering me most.
1. Separation of Church and State - It has been a while since this was forefront in the news but here I am, in my living room watching people debate it on Fox News. It is very disappointing. There is nothing that irritates me more than people who debate something while they ignore logic, common sense, and history. "America was founded on Christianity. The framers were all believers." Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I am sure that the founding of America meant something different to each individual but one thing is for certain, not all the framers were Christians. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist, and if you do not know the difference between Christianity and Deism look it up. I'm not your babysitter and I'm not a teacher (thank God. Nothing against teachers, I hold you in the highest regard in that you do a job I could never ever do). I feel confident in saying that at the time when the Continental Congress met to decide what they wanted America to be, what they wanted was freedom. I feel confident that they had absolutely no intention of making American a christian nation. My confidence comes from the first amendment of the Constitution. Now, for those of you who do not know that the first ten amendments in the constitution are also called the Bill of Rights...shame on you! That, and the first amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances". I want you to pay close attention to the very first part here, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". What does that mean, you may ask. I'm so glad you did! I will tell you what it means. It means that Congress will not, no...cannot make any law giving preferential treatment to any religion. So, all you people who think the United States would be oh so much better if they would only teach Christianity in schools, you are being short-sighted (which is my very nice way of saying, you're being idiots). Why? Well, because...if they teach Christianity in schools, they would have to teach every other religion and wouldn't that just give you all strokes. And before any of you say, "Well, that's what I want. I want my kid to be cultured and learn about all these different religions", don't make me laugh. The people who are making a stink about this are not saying that, that's for sure. It is also not a one way street. Instead of looking at it from one perspective, the church in the government, how about looking at it from the other end. The government in your church. Not as pleasant a thought now, is it?
I am sick and tired of people constantly relying on someone else to raise their kids and tell them what's right and wrong. You bitch and complain about the things schools teach kids now! And you want them to teach your kids about God?! What's wrong with you?! Stop passing the buck and be a damn parent! It is your responsibility to teach your children about your faith. "Oh, Kim," you may be saying to yourself right now. "This country started falling apart when they took prayer out of school." Really? If you really believed in the power of prayer, you would believe that the time of day you pray is not an issue. With that said, if you aren't taking the responsibility to pray with your kids at home, or to teach your children how to pray at home, how dare you place that responsibility on the government.
2. The Chosen One - I hear this a lot on conservative news programs when they refer to President Obama and it irritates me due to the condescending context in which it is used. It strikes me as immature and unprofessional. Just call him President Obama or the President. That's what he is even if you don't like him or if you disagree with him. Those of you who know me know I did not vote for him nor do I plan on voting for him again because as of right now, he hasn't done anything to convince me that he is qualified to be president. But you can read my rants about him in previous entries. Still, the condescending tone used is the same thing as name-calling and I would like to think we are past grade-school bullying. If I, someone who still has trouble not laughing when someone farts in public is calling something immature, you know it is that bad.
3. Franklin Graham - This one is really troublesome because it irritates me but I'm not exactly sure why. I think it bothers me most because if it were someone of ANY OTHER religion saying something bad about Christianity, it would be fine. That's not me being pessimistic, it's true. He probably could have been a little more tactful, and I feel like giggling a little when I say that. Because it's me saying someone else should be tactful. It is true, though. I don't think Islam is a wicked religion. I think some people who practice that religion are nuts. But hey, Christianity has people like Henry VIII and Jerry Falwell. Craziness is no respecter of religion, that's for sure. I guess what irritates me most about this issue is the double standard. People saying "He's putting our troops at danger", news flash for you: they're already in danger, you morons. I'm not sure if you caught on to this little government secret or not, but we're in a war. Just letting you know so you can be more informed before saying retarded things. Stop saying stupid words. It bothers me.
4. Southpark - Coming right on the heels of this, is Comedy Central censoring the newest Southpark episode for poking fun of Islam, and specifically Muhammed. Now, Southpark has a long and distinguished history of making fun of whoever they want. That's why I enjoy Southpark. They have made fun of Christianity, Catholicism, Mormonism, Judaism Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, homosexuals, hybrid cars, World of Warcraft, Canada, France...you get the picture. They are not respecters of anyone which makes the creators, in my opinion, unbiased and respectable. I mean, considering that their show is crude and shameless. I can just imagine what would have happened if they had received death threats from some radical Catholics. The thought just makes me want to laugh. The point is that we, as a nation have been completely locked down by this fear of retaliation from terrorists. I'm not saying that I have a solution to that problem but history, especially American history teaches us that when you oppress people long enough, when you hold them under your thumb by using fear long enough...they are going to get really pissed off eventually then things escalate. If you think the war in the middle east right now is the culmination of this anger, it's not. These people have no respect for anything. As long as they know they can just tell us "If you do this, we're going to kill you" and we retreat to our little dog houses with our tails between our legs, then they are going to continue to do it.
5. Nancy Pelosi - Do I really need a reason to be irritated by this lapdog? She's like a toy poodle or some other irritating toy dog who has a really high pitched bark and snaps at your ankles. You know, the kind you want to kick? I can say sincerely that I feel sorry for liberals and democrats because of her. It makes me feel better about all the bonehead things George W. Bush used to say that made me want to dig a hole and crawl into it. Nancy Pelosi just can't help looking like a complete moron. "I love numbers. They're just so precise." Oh? Are they so precise that instead of saving $60 billion on the Obama health care bill it ended up losing $311 billion? Your margin of error was way off on that one. Even I'm better at math than that. It has really come to the point that it doesn't even matter what she says anymore. As soon as she opens her mouth, I want to punch her. She could say, "Nice weather, today", and I think "Shut up". And when you have someone who invokes that kind of reaction from people representing your party, that's bad and so I feel sorry for these blue dogs. Well, all democrats really.
"Creating A More Educated Georgia". That is the footer at the bottom of the letter from the Board of Regents of The University System of Georgia; a letter addressed to chairmen Seth Harp and Earl Ehrhart of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education from Chancellor Erroll B. Davis yesterday, March 1, 2010. Attached to the letter were the budget cuts for the university system across the board that the Board of Regents were asked to make. Cuts which are $300 million more than what has already been outlined in the Governor's recommended budget. Chancellor Davis pointed out in bold print that the Board of Regents has not approved the proposed cuts.
So, what do these cuts entail? I am so glad you asked, because I am definitely going to tell you. Let's start with the big hitter, The University of Georgia. UGA's share of the $300 mil is almost $60 million, laying off and/or eliminating over 1,000 positions. This also includes eliminating several programs but among those: support for the Griffin Teaching program which would eliminate 5 undergraduate and 1 graduate program, close GA Mountain Research & Education Center, reduce state support for Georgia Press, Georgia Review, and GA Museum of Art, and eliminate State Botanical Gardens. In addition, the cuts at UGA would also close public radio station WUGA, Athens' and Northeast Georgia's station, reduce hours of operation in Miller Learning Center and Main & Science Library by 30%. At Georgia Tech, 452 position cuts, and the possible closing of the GT-Savannah campus. Georgia Tech would also lose between $60 and $100 million of sponsored research revenue.
But wait, it gets better. Valdosta State University will have almost $9 million to cut, affecting 1,600 students through program elimination alone. 11 total programs will be eliminated including: Masters in Education Leadership, Secondary Education Bachelor's degree, and Business Education. Augusta State University will be forced to eliminate the Nursing program as well as Continuing Education. And of course, at Georgia Highlands where I am currently enrolled, campuses at Douglasville and Paulding will be closed, enrollment in Nursing will be decreased, and Physical education will be eliminated completely. The cuts will also eliminate all funding for library collections.
Davis points out in his letter that the layoffs in particular would include tenured professors which would require a declaration of financial exigency by the Board of Regents. In layman's terms: bankruptcy.
My question is: how does it help the overall economic structure in Georgia to dumb down its students? There are no more textile mills. And I am not knocking mill workers or any sort of manual labor. I am saying, to get a good job now requires higher education, and soon we are not going to have that in Georgia.
But let's get to the real meat of the story. I am so glad that our governor and representatives on the hill have their priorities in order. Sarcasm here is most definitely intended. Let's have a look at Governor Sonny Perdue's budget plan, shall we? $9 million to finishing a horse show complex expansion at the state fairgrounds. A $67 million plan for rural economic development that recently gave a $598,000 grant to Houston County (his hometown) to help Little League Baseball Inc move to Warner Robins. $10 million to help pay for the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. In case you can't do the math, that's $86 million for what? It's insulting and frankly it makes me sick to my stomach.
So being the hot headed individual I am, I get home from school today and hop on Representative Katie Dempsey's website. Look, her cellphone number is on there in case any of her loyal voters want to contact her! Well, I admit I did vote for her, so I guess that would include me. So, I dialed her up. She was very nice. "What can I do for you?" she asked. Well, I informed her that I would like to discuss the proposed budget cuts for the State University System of Georgia. "Well, I am in a meeting right now unfortunately." Unfortunately. Well, she did offer to speak with me tomorrow or possibly some time next week. I will take her up on that because election time is fast approaching. I am sure that she realizes this.
I am not an economist but I understand basic math. I also understand the basics of having priorities. I will very politely suggest that Representative Dempsey do her best to remedy this atrocious uneven distribution of state funds or there will be a definite changing of the guard come election day.
Now, I usually vote Republican. I like my money just as much as the next person and I am all about tax cuts. But there comes a time when you have to decide what is important. I personally would rather pay 1 cent more in sales tax than $1,000 more in tuition every year, but maybe that's just me. Some people may not care because they are not students nor do they have children who are students. However, do you have children at all? Do you someday want your children to go to college? More than likely, yes, of course. Do you want to send your child off to a Georgia university or college which has declared bankruptcy? Do you have any idea what declaring bankruptcy will do to the reputation of school?
This is not a partisan issue, here. It goes far beyond being a democrat or a republican. It is about common sense and priority. I love college football (Roll Tide), I think little league is important, sure. I like horses, I guess. It isn't about that. It is about integrity now and doing what needs to be done. Sure, you raise taxes people get pissed off but you know what, sometimes you have to do the unpopular thing when it is the right thing.
Otherwise, you are just trading your students for horses.
I've been realizing...well, no. I have been re-learning a few things lately. It's funny how we do not realize sometimes that we have been learning something until one small thing makes us go "Ah!" Yesterday, I was watching Evan Almighty. Not the best movie, but hey, it makes me laugh. If you haven't seen it, Evan Almighty is the not-as-popular sequel to Jim Carey's Bruce Almighty, in which the main character, Evan Baxter, a Virginia congressman, is chosen by God to build an ark. Naturally, everyone thinks he's crazy.
Putting aside the question of, "I wonder what it was like for Noah in his day when he built an ark?" because this was not what stuck out to me while I watched this. I have seen this movie before but I do not recall it having any sort of impact on me the first time I watched it. Sure, there are the comments which only those who really know God can find humor in, like Evan saying, "Yes, yes. I know. Whatever You do, You do because You love me. But...could you love me a little less?" It is a phrase which I believe I have said word for word on more than one occasion. But that still was not what stuck out to me this time.
Believing her husband has gone insane, Evan's wife takes their three children and while they are stopped at a small cafe is brooding. The waiter, who would be God in disguise asks her what is wrong and she tells him. "What would you think if your husband was New York's Noah? Would you think it was crazy?" she asks. The waiter smiles and says, "I think it sounds like an opportunity." She gives him a bemused look so he goes on to explain. "When a person asks God for patience, do you think He just gives them patience? Or do you think He gives that person opportunities to be patient? When a person asks God for courage do you think He just zaps them with courage? Or does He give them the opportunity to be courageous?"
I finished the movie but that scene was stuck in my head. I began to think about the recent "bad" things in my life. I had been asking God, "Why? Why are you doing this to me?" and was getting no reply. I started to think maybe I was asking the wrong question and to the wrong person. So, I thought "What have I asked God for recently?" Well, I know that working full time and going to school full time was stretching me further than I could go. On more than one occasion, I felt I had forsaken everyone I knew that believed in God and surrounded myself with people who (mostly) did not believe in Him at all. My excuse was, "I work all the time. I go to school all the time. I do not have time for Church." But what I was really saying was, "I do not have time for You." Is it possible that God had begun to remove some of those things from my life? Well, anything is possible. My life certainly does feel less crowded, now.
And if this is true, what good is it to be angry about it? Wasn't everyone involved in my recent circumstances involved because God willed it to be so? And if that is true, then shouldn't my anger not be directed at them but at God? Again, if it is also true that everything God does is borne out of a deep, unfathomable love for me then why would I be angry about it? This is a logical thought process.
Now, some people will say, "That is the problem with you religious people. You use God as a crutch when bad things happen to you." And to that I say..."So. What." Is your best argument and criticism really that my problem is that I rely on God too much? Really? I will take it as a compliment. I do not believe I rely on Him enough. I do not believe that in general, people have a problem with the existence of God. I believe the problem they have is that in order to truly follow Him, it requires them to admit that they are weak. We don't like to do that. We do not want to admit that this belief that we have some sort of control over the bigger picture is not real. I had plans. I had big plans. I was going to do many things. Those plans are all gone now and because of what? Because of decisions I had no control over. So, so what? So what if, in my obsession for God I must admit to myself that I am weak? I am sort of ok with that, you know? At least for now.
That feeling comes and goes. But when I am reminded that I am ok with it, it is the best feeling in the whole world. I never feel so much at peace as I do when I remember how small my life really is and that there is nothing really worth worrying about. As my Aunt Sherry told me, "You think God is worried?" No, I really don't. I see nothing wrong with allowing someone smarter than myself worry about the things which I cannot truly understand. The problem is actually allowing Him to do it.
So, religion very well may be the opiate of the masses. It may be the thing that gives peace where there is no peace. But someone told me a long time ago that true peace is having peace of mind where there should be no peace. In this storm we call life, when we should be in a state of utter, blind panic and confusion, we have peace. What Mr. Marx did not understand, however was that God does not want us to not care, He wants us to not worry. Something, I confess I have a hard time putting into practice these days. Truthfully, it has been many years (until yesterday) that I have had a real conversation with God. And, as usual it did not involve any sort of self-deprecation. God has a way of allowing me to laugh at myself. Something I can not do very easily. He makes it easy.
So, what are we asking God for, truly? In our hearts, what is it that we ask Him to do? You know, Jesus said "Ask and you shall receive" and that is true. Even for the things that we are not aware that we are even asking for. I wanted some peace. Some breathing room. Now I have it. Should I regret that or should I be thankful for this opportunity, even if it is short-lived, to have some peace?
Ok, so listen. There are people in suits in offices who tell you what the "best" things are but they don't really know anything. They're looking at dollar signs. And if the Twilight franchise has taught us anything it is this: Money isn't everything. Sure, New Moon is the #4 top-grossing movie this year but (at the risk of offending fan-girls everywhere), it's $280 million worth of poo. Here is the best stuff from 2009:
Sometimes I wonder what exactly is wrong with people. No, I'm serious. I try to seriously figure out the root of the problem with people in general and the best way to go about fixing it. And the best I can come up with is that stupid people should be sterilized. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm really not. But aside from the aforementioned solution, there is nothing else.
It is difficult to live a life in which you are chained to making people happy and making them feel good about themselves in general when they act the way they do. For example, tonight at work this man asked me if I could show him where the television shows were to rent. "Sure," I said in a very bubbly un-Kim-like manner and I lead the way to the television section and continue putting movies away while noticing out of the corner of my eye that he is staring at the shelf with a bemused frown on his face. So, naturally I ask him if I can help him find anything. He turns to me, holding up two discs and asks, "So...what is the difference between disc one and disc two?" Now, here is where I, as a customer service employee flounder slightly. Because I do not want him to fell bad about the question he just asked and I certainly do not want him to feel like an idiot. However, how do you even answer that question? You could answer it in the nicest way possible, and it would still sound patronizing. Jesus could answer that question and it would still sound like sarcasm. "Well, that one is disc one...and that one is disc two..." That doesn't work, because you sound like a smartass. How about: "Well, disc one has different episodes on it than disc two..."? Nope, that still sounds bad. So, what I ended up doing was just...pressing my lips together, you know like you do when you're thinking really hard about something? What I was thinking was "How do I answer this without making this guy angry?" and he probably thought that I really didn't know the difference between disc one and disc two and thus, we are idiots together and that makes him ok with it. And I hate that, because I am not an idiot and no one should be "ok" with being that stupid.
Ok, so stupidity is probably hereditary like that or I am even willing to give some people the benefit of the doubt and believe that they were just having one of those days where you do incredibly stupid things. Everyone has days like that. Unfortunately, there are bigger problems. Problems dealing with people who are probably not "stupid" but who were raised by stupid people. Like the guy who spit sunflower seed shells all over the floor in my store. He isn't shopping in a barn or even an outlet mall so I wonder what possesses people to even think that it is okay to spit anything on the floor? I don't understand. Does he spit on the floor when he's at home? Well, not if his parents were anything like my parents. And it occurred to me that this is the problem. Stupid parents. Or maybe parents who don't care enough to say to their kid "Hey, don't spit on the floor". That takes a whole second and a half to say, unless you're southern and then it takes three but still! The point is, it isn't that difficult a task. "Don't spit on the floor." Everyone try it together.
And you know what is worse than stupid people and stupid parents? Stupid people who think they are smart. They use big words that do not exist. Like..."Irregardless". Listen to me people, this is not a real word. Please stop using it. I can understand spelling errors, I really can. But irregardless...no. Not real. The thing is is that people who use it are using it the way you would use the word "regardless" but instead they say "irregardless" and I want to know where they learned it. I think I'll try to remember to ask the next person I hear use it where they heard it because we need to get to the root of this particular problem.
And while we're on the subject of grammar, it is pronounced eScape. Not eXcape.
Aside from stupidity or being the product of stupid parenting, the rest of these problem people just fall into the "jackassary" category. Jackassary IS a word that I just made up so, I can use it. Though, jackasses can still be the product of stupid parenting, some of them aren't. Some people are just idiots. Not the "Yaaaaaay" clap your hands and run around kind of idiot. But the "Bubba, watchis" kind of idiot. These are the people who run in your store 30 seconds before you close and say "Oooo, I'm sorry. Can I just grab something real quick?" and you don't want to be a jackass yourself so you say "Sure!" with a smile. Little did you know that your definition of quick and their definition of quick are worlds apart. Your definition of quick is five minutes or less. Their definition of quick is approaching the 20 minute mark. Anyone out there who thinks 20 minutes is quick, unless you're talking about sex (and in some cases, even that is an eternity) it isn't.
So, help me in my ongoing effort to find a solution to these problems before I go insane. And if you fall into one of the above categories, seek help before natural selection finds out about you.
When I was growing up, there was a boy who lived down the street from me. He let me ride his "big" bike which, of course I fell off of right away. He was funny. He was my brother's friend but he was always nice to me (even when my brother wasn't). His name was Eric. And he was black. When I was a kid, it never occured to me that people who were different from me were bad. I mean, of course there was the chubby kid in my class who smelled really bad, and we were horribly mean to him (he was white) but as far as color, I had to be taught that these kids were different. And I learned this when my dad would not let me invite a black girl in my class in the 4th grade to my birthday party. We had a pool. He did not want her in it, basically. I remember vividly the exact words he used, but even now, 24 years later, I would be too ashamed to reiterate them. I did not understand, and really to some extent I still don't. I understand that my dad was raised that way, and his was as well. I understand that, but I no longer accept that as an excuse. After all, I was raised that way, too and I thank God every day that I have the ability to think for myself. I dislike people for basically being people. It has nothing to do with the color of their skin. If you refuse to get a job and you live off the labor of people like my grandparents who worked their fingers to the bone to raise their family, I dislike you. It doesn't matter to me if you are black or white or
However, there are plenty of people who just can't see past the color part and that is why we rely on organizations like the NAACP. Well, the NAACP and let's not forget the ACLU. But the ACLU, now that is an organization I can really get behind. I mean, forget the NAACP's history of pushing Brown vs. Board of Education through. That is small potatoes. I'm talking about the ACLU, baby. Yes, the ACLU who is currently arguing a case in the Supreme Court about a cross in the middle of the Mojave desert that marks a World War I memorial. A memorial that has been there for, ready? Wait for it: seventy-five years. Because the last time I was personally driving through the Mojave desert I saw that cross and I thought, "I find that really offensive". It is especially important because it is out in the middle of the desert where there is so much through traffic. We must make sure that no one is offended. Well, other than the family members of the men buried there who might be offended if we actually take it down. It's their fault for being buried on federal land.
In case you did not pick up on the blatant sarcasm (I felt that I was laying it on thick, but just in case) this ranks pretty high up on my list of "Most Ridiculous Things Ever". Sure, it may appear that I am making light of the situation (only because the case is retarded) but honestly, it makes me a little sad. The ACLU has gone from Gitlow v. New York and Powell v. Alabama to this? Are they just bored? Are there simply not enough injustices? Does the sun never shine at the ACLU?
They call themselves the Guardians of Freedom but that really depends on several factors, doesn't it? Specifically it applies to religion. Because I think we would all be hard pressed to find the ACLU defending someone who is a christian. What if the "monument" in the Mojave desert was a Star of David? What if it was a crescent moon and star? Would the ACLU be so up in arms about it then? I doubt it. And let's say the Supreme Court actually rules in favor of the ACLU? What becomes of Arlington National Cemetary where the focal structure is a 25-foot cross?
I am not going to sit here and say that America was founded on Christianity because it wasn't. And people can argue until they are blue in the face but the fact is that it wasn't. All of our founding fathers were not Christians. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were both Deists, which is a far cry from Christian if you know anything about Deism. If you don't, I can't be expected to educate you on everything, can I? Anyways, this country was not founded on Christianity but on freedom.
But Freedom is such a demanding thing. And the one thing it demands above all else is objectivity. You may not like the fact that Bob next door says he hates the health care bill. Too bad. He is free to hate it. He is free to voice his dissent about it. You may not like the fact that Sue burns the American Flag. Well, plenty of people have died for her right to do that. It does not really matter if you like it or not. I cannot stand up and say, as an American that you do not have the right to do something based on the fact that I do not agree with it or I do not like it. And the same applies to the ACLU. But for centuries, Christianity has been the bad guy. "Christians" have a history of doing and saying things that don't look so great. However, I think that alot of people, the ACLU included have become biased when it comes to this issue because of this and that is extremely discrediting. To put it bluntly, if the ACLU lacks the capacity to believe in freedom for everyone, to be concerned with protecting the rights of every group then they should just sit down and shut up. I personally have no use for wishy-washy individuals or organizations who only get up on their soap boxes when it is convenient for them or when it might potentially make them look good. For the record, this case does not make them look good. It makes them look like idiots.
When the founding fathers wrote up the declaration of independence it was all or nothing. Either all the colonies were in or none of them were. If you believe in freedom and equal rights you must believe in it for everyone, not just the people you like or the people you agree with. It really is an all or nothing thing. Be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Black, White, or Fuscia (it'll catch on, trust me).