Upcoming Speaking Engagements

I’m going to be doing some traveling and speaking over the next couple months so I thought I’d give a heads up for those who might be within range of any of them.

April 4-5 I’ll be at ReasonFest in Lawrence, KS. Friday night I’ll be doing a brief version of my Stand Up Skeptic act, then giving a talk about my book on Saturday.

On May 2, I’ll be doing Stand Up Skeptic for the Day of Reason event in Charleston, SC with the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry.

And on May 9, I’ll be doing Stand Up Skeptic at Towson State University for the SSA group there.

If you’re near any of those, please come by and introduce yourself.

Fred Phelps is Dead

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Fred Phelps, founder of the vile Westboro Baptist Church, is dead at 84. Am I sad about that? Not a bit. I’m sad for Nate Phelps, though, and I hope he can find some peace and solace, at least in the fact that he managed to become a kind, decent, compassionate person despite the influence of his father. Part of me really does want to dance on his grave, of course, but I’m choosing not to respond that way (which does not mean anyone else is unjustified in doing so). I think American Atheists said it well in their statement: If you want to celebrate Fred Phelps’ death, support separation of religion & government and the fight for atheist & LGBTQ rights—It’s the best FU there is.” In fact, you really wanna do something to counteract his legacy? Donate a few bucks to an LGBT group in his name, or better yet in Nate’s name.

Quote of the Day

Andrew Sullivan shared this quote from James Madison on Sunday, which was Madison’s birthday. It seems particularly prescient in light of the last 15 years, indeed in light of the entire history of the country.

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Oh Yes, the Dignity of the Office

After President Obama’s appearance on Between Two Ferns (which was, frankly, overhyped; it just wasn’t that funny, though it had its moments), the press predictably wrung their hands in deep concern about the dignity of the office. Rachel Maddow points out a whole bunch of instances of other presidents going on comedy shows. We should be far more offended by Reagan trading dumb jokes with the terminally unfunny Bob Hope.
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Really, Ezra Klein?

I’ve been very excited to see how Ezra Klein’s new startup at Vox Media develops but I have to confess to being absolutely baffled by his decision to hire Brandon Ambrosino, who is little more than a gay Uncle Tom who has made a career out of being the “good” gay guy who will back up everything the bigots say about the “bad” gay people.
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Patton Oswalt on Bill Hicks

Last week was the 20th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks, the greatest comic of his generation and, in my view, one of the four or five greatest of all time. Patton Oswalt, one of the best comics of the present generation, wrote about it. Coincidentally, the first part of it was something I had just said to someone myself just hours before I read this:
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Look! A New Blog!

We haven’t added any new bloggers for a while, mostly because we were waiting to complete the redesign, but we’ve got one new one before that’s finished. Kaveh Mousavi is an atheist living in Iran, which gives him an interesting background and a whole lot to say (and the need to hide his real identity). His blog is entitled On the Margin of Error. Can’t wait to hear what he has to say.