Yes, We Can

Wow. Just … wow.

Interestingly, the people I have spoken to today who have been most enthused about the election results are foreigners. A young Turkish woman was ecstatic: “you don’t understand-the American president is so much more than the leader of one country; this is wonderful news for the whole world!”

There is an optimism here that I have not seen for decades. Even the Man from Hope did not bring this feeling.

Of course there will be an inevitable letdown; it would be impossible to keep up this level of enthusiasm for too long. But for right now, it feels really good.

So I looked back a few decades, and today’s verse is an homage to civil rights songs of a past generation (a generation, incidentally, who until a mere handful of months ago, did not dare to dream of this moment). As a folk song, of course it is designed to be added to–I know there are some very talented wordsmiths reading this blog: have at it! I was working on a couple more verses myself, but I thought I’d post this first.

The Fourth of November, Two Thousand and Eight
It was time now to vote, we’re all done with debate
And the turnouts recorded in every state
Were the most since this nation began
Tens of millions of voters all said “yes we can”.

They were gathered by thousands in New York’s Times Square
There were millions who wished that they, too, could be there
The results from the West Coast, they made us aware
That because of the race that he ran
We could all stand together and say “yes we can”.

To the thousands who gathered as one in Grant Park
As election returns tumbled in after dark
And to millions of others, he aimed his remarks
This humble, remarkable man
Brought tears to their eyes when he said “yes we can”.

After days, weeks, and months spent on needles and pins
There’s relief and elation when somebody wins
The truth is that now’s when the hard part begins
It’s time to put life to our plans
It’s a lot of hard work, but we can, yes we can.

Check in!

Ok. Done.

Stood in line for not much time at all; got there when the polls opened, with the Cuttlespouse. Including the walk to the polls, it took us half an hour.

Now comes the waiting.

We’ve heard the last speech
And the final commercial
So all that is left is to get out the vote.
And what’s within reach?
Though it’s quite controversial–
Elections with no major problems of note!

With no hanging chads
And no ballots bewilderin’
To mess up the message delivered this day
So all moms and dads
Can say to their children
That’s how it works in the U S of A.

And later tonight
With a smile on his face
The winner will stand in the spotlight and speak.
We are done with this fight!
But remember, the race
For Two Thousand and Twelve will be starting next week.

I hope all of you that could, voted. And all of you around the world who have friends here you can email, have twisted their arms and chastised them duly, to get them to the polls today.

A Get-Out-The-Vote Song (Good-Bye, Mama!)

Maybe it was the “buddy can you spare 7 trillion dimes” song, but I was feeling kinda nostalgic, looking for a get-out-the-vote song like they don’t make any more. Well, I didn’t find one, but this comes close. The Teddy Powell Orchestra, from 1941, updated just a bit so that it will be obsolete by Wednesday.

Good-bye, Mama
I’m off to vote Obama
In the red states and blue
For hope and for you
Good-bye, Mama
I’m off to vote Obama
Time to Get Out The Vote
Till that’s all she wrote

A million volunteers and you
Will help guarantee
That change will come from sea
To shining De-mo-cra-cy!
So Good-bye, Mama
I’m off to vote Obama
For my country, for change and you!

Say good-bye to Mama
Go off and vote Obama
Now it’s time to renew
It’s long overdue
Say bye-bye to Mama
We’re sick of all the drama
Every woman and man
Must show them we can!

If everyone who goes to vote
Brings one or two friends
Just think of all the power
And the message it sends!
So Good-bye to Mama
Go off and vote Obama
For our country, for change and me!

Good-bye, Mama
I’m off to vote Obama
In the red states and blue
For hope and for you
Good-bye, Mama
I’m off to vote Obama
Time to Get Out The Vote
Till that’s all she wrote

A million volunteers and you
Will help guarantee
That change will come from sea
To shining De-mo-cra-cy!
So Good-bye, Mama
I’m off to vote Obama
For my country, for change and you!

The Ballad Of The Undecided Voter

The Undecided Voter is a celebrity these days. I would have thought that UV’s would be a popular Hallowe’en costume, except that to do it properly one would have to spend all one’s time in the middle of the street, unable to commit to North or South, East or West, eventually being run over by some hockey mom in a minivan, driving half a dozen children to the generous neighborhood where they give out the full-sized snickers bars.

How on earth is someone still undecided? I suspect that it is not a matter of being unable to decide. Rather, everyone courts the undecided voter; the minute you decide, the reporter moves on to the next undecided. By Wednesday, though, UV’s will be every bit as common as the rest of us. I can’t wait.

There was a voter, undecided,
Though I cannot fathom why;
Perhaps a faulty compass guided
Him, as days and weeks flew by.
Friends would prod, and neighbors chided
“Such an indecisive guy!”
With rapt attention undivided
All would roll their eyes and sigh.
The networks parked where he resided
(Never was he camera-shy)
The interviews that he provided
Kept the ratings climbing high.

Today, as news-mobiles collided
In his yard, I caught his eye:
“If I decide”, the man confided,
“All these cameras say good-bye!”

I Proudly Am An Atheist

The recent news cycle has once again reminded us that we atheists are a subhuman species, not deserving of the oxygen we are hogging that might otherwise go to good godly people like… well, everybody in the media, every politician, every soccer mom, brave firefighter, patriotic flagwaver, and superhero–you know, the Good Folk. Greg Laden’s blog has some examples–I don’t want to link them here.

The second video at that link, in particular, turns my stomach. I can’t watch it without hearing other terms substituted, all of them inappropriate and best left in the past, casually uttered by racist, sexist, homophobic, antisemites like, say, my Grandfather. His generation saw nothing wrong with such language–well, at least not among good white christian folk like him.

Gradually, of course, such language became an embarrassing remnant of an earlier time, relegated more and more to isolated pockets, to divided subcultures. The vocabulary is still there, but is no longer a part of polite talk; it is, at least, recognized as the insulting behavior it is. No one on the national stage would ever speak freely and casually about any of these groups as second-class citizens, let alone pariahs. (Yes, there are still the Sally Kerns of the world, and the YouTube videos of groups waiting for McCain rallies, but the very fact that these are posted as examples of inappropriate behavior, and that these people would never say the same things on national television, is precisely my point.)

With one exception. Atheists are fair game. “Godless” is still defined as “wicked; evil; sinful”; an accusation of “consorting with atheists” is grounds for slander. Not just in hushed tones when we are fairly certain the microphone is off, but proudly, deliberately, on national television. Not just Liddy Dole’s shameful ad, but the CNN discussion of that ad, takes the moral inferiority of the atheist as a given.

Disgusting. Just as it was before with any other group. And just as divisive as before–using group membership as a weapon. I had hoped for better. I hope that some newsperson, somewhere, on the national stage, has the guts to call out his or her peers on this. I will not hold my breath.

I proudly am an atheist;
I do not share your views.
Imagine how insulting,
When I watch the evening news
And I see you point at folks like me
Indignantly, with rage,
As if we were the lepers
Of a less enlightened age!
No need to watch your language
Or to treat us with respect—
Because demonizing us is still
Politically correct.
You’d never talk like this regarding
Blacks, or Gays, or Jews,
But with atheists, just look at all
The language that you use!
“Obama is a terrorist”—of course
The claim’s obscene;
But “Hagan is an atheist”?
The worst you’ve ever seen?!?
Comparing her to me is now
The lowest of the low?
It’s good I don’t believe in Hell—
I’d tell you where to go.

I proudly am an atheist
I proudly am a Jew
I proudly am a Christian,
And I’m proudly Muslim, too.
I’m proud to be both Gay and Straight
I’m proudly Black and White
I’m proudly Man and Woman
And I’ll proudly join the fight.
I proudly am Humanity,
Whatever that is worth;
There is no group below me,
Or above me, on this Earth.

… The Rest Of The Story (Sweet Zombie Jesus!)



It started so simply–they’d meet and they’d pray
And perhaps join each other in song
How could they have known that this beautiful day
Would so soon go so horribly wrong?

Their prayers went unanswered–well, no, it was worse,
They were answered by God up above
The Old Testament God, of the famine and curse
Not the wimpy New Testament love.

When God saw them gathered, it looked like a calf
They were worshipping, not their Creator–
And as Yahweh is more prone to smolder than laugh,
It’s smite first, then ask questions later.

But God’s getting old–He’s not right in the head,
And His aim’s not the same since the Flood
So now these good christians are Living Undead
With a craving for brains and for blood.

So heed the examples on Wall Street this week
As they struggle to shuffle and moan–
Count your blessings, although the economy’s bleak;
No more praying–just leave God alone!

(ok, the truth is the zombie stuff is from
Zombiecon 2008. Well worth checking out…)

More Bull!

Haven’t we heard something like this before?

The photograph is worth a laugh–
They’re praying at a golden calf?
It might be nice if they’d think twice
And offer it a sacrifice!

The Ba’al Street Journal, in its turn’ll
publish all their acts infernal

Hmm… you think The Giver can deliver
And maybe part the Hudson River?
Give a sign that all is fine
And part of His proposed design–

That banks will bail and markets fail
And senators will go to jail
All by God’s hand, just as He planned
And these folks just don’t understand?

By logic’s rules we learned in schools
The best bet is… these folks are fools.

photo thanks to Wonkette, cuttlecap tip to PZ.

On the home stretch…

It’s been over two years (and it hasn’t been fun)
Since the first of the candidates started to run;
Now the shouting and screaming is reaching its peak—
A sign that we vote in just under a week.

In North Carolina, our friend Liddy Dole
Systematically sells what remains of her soul
Is Dole really Christian? Of course we can’t tell,
But she must not think lying will send you to Hell.

In Pottsville, a crowd waiting out in the rain
Bearing buttons and stickers and signs for McCain,
Unabashedly bashing the things Barack lacks
Or admitting that, simply, they won’t vote for blacks.

Just when you thought that it couldn’t get dumber
Along comes the circus—I mean, Joe the Plumber!
A man not possessed of the brains God gave grass,
In front of the cameras and being an ass.

If you find it depressing, distressing, or sad,
If it makes you excited, or anxious, or mad
I suppose I will end on an optimist’s note:
You are part of the cure, if you Get Out And Vote!

(If we’re lucky, it might last a month, maybe two,
Before someone starts the whole process anew.)

The Digital Pack-Rat, volume 5

Just collecting a few odds and ends…

From a PZ thread “Magic isn’t science”…

The Discovery folks, in defiance of science,
Pretend that their methods are new and improved;
The cost of believing in magic is tragic–
These people have clearly had brain parts removed!

From a fun little Friday Cephalopod post (nom nom nom nom)…

A small blue fish–it’s all I wish;
A crunchy, chewy, tasty dish!
Each little bite is pure delight–
I’d nom nom nom all day and night!

Every day, the inky deep
Is where a cuttlefish may creep
That little fish? Today it’s him–
Tomorrow, children as they swim!

From “Well, maybe it is exactly like their brains“,

The experts say, in their reports,
The frontal lobe is made of quartz.

The temporal–they checked it twice–
Is made of something else: that’s gneiss.

What’s more, it’s clear that your parietal
Is chert–a sort of flint varietal.

I’m not sure what makes up your occipital,
Whatever it is, it doesn’t chip-at-all.

And lastly, from Sarah Palin: Ignorant and anti-science

One wonders: will Palin prevail in detailin’
The follies of funding the fruit-flies in France?
Or will this disclosure expose her composure
Is stunningly stupid–a stultified stance?

The Return Of Inkmaster Cuttle!

At a meet-and-greet on a one-way street
As I beat the concrete with the soles of my feet
Saw a sweet petite with a smokin’ seat
And discreetly but fleetly I asked her to eat
But I beat a retreat through the heat in defeat
When she asked “Are you one of them Librul Elite?”

Resigned to my fate, I just ate off my plate
While Kate set me strait about bait in Kuwait
And the blue state crime rate, dictators, desecrators,
Lightweight running mates makin’ great procreators
It’s late while I wait but she doesn’t abate
The spate of hate she relates at my pate

So the pain in my brain begins straining again
And I’m looking in vain to obtain some champagne
I can drain, she sustains her refrain to no gain.
I try to explain that I’m going insane
Make it plain her campaign I will hold in disdain
I am not on the train for the reign of McCain

When at last I convey what I wanted to say
That I’m not gonna stray, she displays her dismay,
Then “Ok”, makes her way from the little buffet
I survey her display as she’s walking away
And her hips start to sway like some sort of cliché
I say “Hey… wait… hey… was that Tina Fey?”