Atheism, Plussed And Nonplussed

You don’t have to care about women
You don’t have to care about gays
You don’t have to know there’s a spectrum aglow,
You can keep to your black and white ways.

You don’t have to care about justice
About sex, about gender, or race
You don’t have to care, or be very aware,
Of the troubles that other groups face

You don’t have to skeptically reason
You don’t need to do lots of stuff
If you feel that you must, you can stay A-nonplussed—
Not believing in god is enough

You don’t have to be so inclusive
You don’t have to show you have heart
But… if you do care, when the world isn’t fair
Then together let’s make a new start
Yes, if you think thusly, then join us—A plussly,
Together we’ll make a new start.

Involved rant, after the jump: [Read more...]

Because I Am An Atheist

My contribution to Crommunist’s wonderful series, “Because I am an atheist”.

Because I am an atheist
The world is mine to fix.
No god prevents the plunderers,
The hypocrites, the dicks.
No god rewards the good we do
Or punishes the bad;
No afterlife awaits us,
Just the single life we’ve had.

Because I am an atheist
It’s up to me to change.
The world is what we make it,
Not some god’s to rearrange—
To recognize a problem, means
To seek solutions, too;
Because I am an atheist
I’m watching out for you.

Because I am an atheist
I cannot simply pray.
I cannot wish a problem gone
And make it go away.
God’s promise of protection
Is just one of many lies;
Because I am an atheist
I cannot close my eyes.

Enough verse. Because I am an atheist, I teach a course aimed at applying the best tools of my science toward making the world a better place. Because I am an atheist, I donate blood instead of praying for sick friends or relatives. Because I am an atheist (and an “out” atheist), I try to live as a counterexample to the “evil atheist” stereotype, and serve as a resource for others who are leaving a faith community and unsure of what might lie ahead.

That’s what I do in meatspace. Online, I write silly verses. Because I am an atheist, they tend to be from a different perspective than, say, Hallmark.

Legitimate Pinheads

When you cannot escape
Cos they’ve got it on tape
It’s “Legitimate Rape” to your credit

Now the system is broke,
Even GOP folk
Say you clearly misspoke when you said it

Still you must not lose face
With your radical base
You must keep them apace while you edit

Say you spoke off the cuff
But on rapists, you’re tough
Hope this whistle’s enough, and embed it.

But it’s out on the wire
And despite your desire
You have started a fire and you’ve fed it

Now, you miserable gent,
You begin your descent,
But your path only went where you led it. [Read more...]

The Ground Zero Cross… Again.

For some who’ve experienced losses, the cross is
A symbol of grieving, of heartbreak, of death;
They’ll flock to a church or museum to see ‘em
Defending their presence with all of their breath.
The tomb of a great many heroes, Ground Zero’s
A place to remember who answered the call;
The cross stands for good Christian brothers, but others
Have different symbols—and some, none at all.

The privileged among us will fight for the right for
Their privileged positions to carry the day;
The Christians assume God protects, and expects them
To honor His care, in the usual way.
The cross at Ground Zero is holy, but solely
For Christians, as others have quite clearly shown;
The atheists, Muslims, and Jews are just losers—
They want it to be there for Christians alone.

I can take my pick of sources… David Silverman is in the news again, fighting the Ground Zero Cross.
As always, the comments vary across sites, and as always, it is a display of Christian privilege.

Silverman is forced into the position of looking like an utter dick. The “cross”, a bit of wreckage from the ruins of the twin towers, is such a trivial thing–who could oppose its inclusion in the 9/11 memorial? Like “in god we trust” on money, it’s ceremonial deism, religion diluted homeopathically, something that should be opposed more by religious believers than by atheists…

Except.

When you read the writing on the wall, and the absolute zero of religion’s future is compared to the statistical irrelevance of ceremonial deism, suddenly the trivial battles are worth fighting, and silly crossbeams are now religious icons of the highest order. Seriously, the most common juxtaposition of beams in a heap of rubble is now worth going to the wall for. Because God, that’s why.

David Silverman does not have my stamp of approval. But he does have my sympathy. I would not take his job for a pile of gold. I doubt very much that he wants to take most of these cases, but he is in the position of taking them or ceding another few inches of territory, each and every time. So he is forced to fight.

The fact that we are fighting over more and more trivial notions is testament to Silverman’s success. The real estate we are quibbling over is smaller and smaller, and as a result, the skirmishes are more and more nasty. I mean, seriously–two bits of girder? In a building that was constructed of tons upon tons of girders welded at 90 degrees to one another? Three thousand deaths, and a couple of girders are a symbol worth fighting for?

Fight, David Silverman. Fight, Christians. The big battles are already decided.

Crosses are sooooo two years ago.

Headline Muse, 8/16

Fancy footware is rarely bad news
But a shade could be simply a ruse
When a pirated red
Isn’t silly—instead,
It’s the soul of the sole of the shoes

Headline: Fake ‘red sole’ shoes seized at Los Angeles port

Customs agents in Los Angeles seized 20,457 pairs of fake Christian Louboutin shoes shipped from China, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The counterfeit lacquered “red sole” shoes, an icon in women’s fashion, could have brought $18 million if they had reached the online and underworld market, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

18 million dollars for 20,457 pairs of shoes?

I may well be on the side of the counterfeiters.

Thirteen Percent

Mitt Romney complains about taxes, and waxes
Nostalgic, and asks where America went—
Though singing aloud of its beauty, his duty
To fund it is capped off at thirteen percent.

Though tax under Reagan was higher, denyers
Say taxes today are a punitive fine—
Though shouting with all of the bluster they muster
The noise I am hearing sounds just like a whine.

So Mitt says he’s never paid less than 13% in taxes in each of the past 10 years. Our tax burden is remarkably low when compared to our historical levels (most of Reagan’s years saw a 50% top bracket, and war years saw rates of over 90%, back when we actually paid for our wars), but you wouldn’t know it to listen to the TP/GOP.

Headline Muse, 8/15

Things are weird, for a rich politician
So you have to respect his position—
But just what kind of schmucks
Can call five million bucks
Just a small “inadvertent omission”?

Headline: Ryan corrected Hill reports during VP search

While being vetted by Mitt Romney’s campaign, GOP vice presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan amended two years of his financial disclosure statements to add an income-producing trust worth between $1 million and $5 million that he had previously neglected to report.

So… Romney’s horse is worth more in tax writeoffs than I earn in a year, so to appeal more to his republican base, Romney goes for a blue-collar guy who loses between one and five million bucks in the sofa cushions.

Ryan’s amended reports were hand delivered to the House Clerk with letters characterizing the belated disclosures as an “inadvertent omission.”

Hey, if he won’t miss it, I could sure use it.

Ok, Maybe Not The Best Way To Get An IPad

An update on an earlier post, reporting on a 17 year old who sold his kidney for an iPad.

Nine people went on trial in southern China over allegations they helped a teenager to sell one of his kidneys so he could buy an iPhone and an iPad, a court in Hunan Province said Friday.
Prosecutors said in court Thursday that the nine people “should be held criminally liable for intentional injury,” the court in the province’s Beihu District said in a statement Friday.
The 17-year-old high school student from Anhui Province — who was referred to only by his surname, Wang — suffered renal failure after the kidney was removed in April 2011, according Xinhua.

Won’t you listen to my story
Cos it won’t take very long
It’s a tale about a Chinese boy,
Whose name was Little Zheng

Just a boy like any other
And he liked the latest stuff
But it costs a lot of money
And he didn’t have enough

So he thought about his problem
But he didn’t have a clue
Till he saw a notice posted
And he knew what he must do

If you’re feeling some frustration with your current situation
Here’s a little operation, if your conscience will allow
It’s a serious incision, but it’s done with great precision
It’s the rational decision if you want your money now

Little Zheng, he called the number
And they told him where to go
But he had to keep it secret—
It’s illegal, don’t you know

But he really needed money
Cos an iPad costs a lot
And a kidney was the only
Thing of value that he’s got

So he signed away his organ
And he vanquished any doubt
And they gassed him up, and laid him down
And cut the sucker out

If you’re feeling some frustration with your current situation
Here’s a little operation, if your conscience will allow
It’s a serious incision, but it’s done with great precision
It’s the rational decision if you want your money now

It’s a gory little story
But this isn’t where it ends
See, he got a lot of stitches
But he couldn’t show his friends

He devised a bit of fiction
But it wouldn’t get him far
And his mother got suspicious
So he had so show his scar

Now his story’s hit the big time
So I’ll make this guarantee
That this tale of Little Zheng’s is
Not the last one that we’ll see

If you’re feeling some frustration with your current situation
Here’s a little operation, if your conscience will allow
It’s a serious incision, but it’s done with great precision
It’s the rational decision if you want your money now

Still in the land of not much internet. Behave.