Manipulative Comfort

Ray Comfort is a very nice person in person, but there’s a price to pay: Heina warns us all of the deceptive uses of politeness. I agree, but then I’m from Minnesota, where assassination by niceness is endemic (we transplants are fully aware that “nice” is a wicked backhanded compliment when used properly, which native Minnesotans seem to be able do unconsciously and effortlessly).

Don’t worry, I’m not likely to forget that while he’s smiling at you to your face, Comfort is also disgorging toxic waste and ignorance out of his ass.

Curse you, John Wilkins!

I’m all bleary-eyed this morning because late last night, Wilkins linked to this article on Pink Floyd and incidentally sent me off on a late night music jag. He is truly a horrible person.

Pink Floyd was the soundtrack of my youth, from adolescence through grad school and starting a family. I have all their albums, and have listened to every one multiple times — I know (or at least, used to know) the lyrics to “The Gnome”, even, that’s how bad it was. So it was very triggering of Wilkins to remind me, and I had to play a bunch of them very loudly on the home stereo and wallow in the sound.

Don’t worry, Mary was away, so it was just me, alone in a big empty house with most of the lights out, listening to “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” after midnight. I felt like a lonely anomie-laden teenager again. It was great! I’m just paying the price this morning…this morning when I have to bunker down in my office and grade papers.

So now I have to inflict some of it on you. Here’s one of my favorites, “One of These Days”, from Meddle.

Oh, man, there were good memories in there. When my kids were little, we had a tradition of sleeping in on Sunday and then making pancakes (if they’d been very good, chocolate chip pancakes), and sometimes I’d put on Atom Heart Mother while I was puttering in the kitchen, just because “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” was the perfect accompaniment. Now I can’t hear it without an overlay of maudlin sentimentality and memories of happy kids.

Anyone else remember when bands would put out music that was more than three minutes long?

OK, now must go grade.

Ja, we shall invade this Austrian poll

Hey, I thought Europe was more secular…so why is this poll going the wrong way? Oh, because it’s in Catholic Austria.

In German:

Sollen Kruzifixe aus den Klassenzimmern verbannt werden?

17,68% – Ja, denn Religion soll Privatsache bleiben.

77,04% – Nein, denn das Christentum hat in Österreich jahrhundertelange Tradition.

5,28% – Egal, es liegt sowieso an den Eltern, ihren Kindern Religion nahezubringen.

Auf Englisch:

Should crucifixes should be banned from classrooms?

17.68% – Yes, because religion should remain a private matter.

77.04% – No, because Christianity has centuries-long tradition in Austria.

5.28% – Doesn’t matter, it is up to the parents to bring their children up in a religion.

Can a bunch of Americans reverse this trend? That would be weird.

Job opening at American Atheists

I’d apply, except that 1) I already have a job, 2) I don’t meet most of the qualifications, and 3) my ferocity might frighten David Silverman.

Public Policy Director

American Atheists, Inc., a non-profit and nonpartisan educational and advocacy organization dedicated to the separation of religion and government and the equality of atheists, is seeking a qualified individual to take a leadership role in the development and implementation of its public policy activities. Responsibilities may include:

• Arranging and taking meetings with Congressional and Administration officials.
• Drafting action alerts for mass emails to American Atheists members.
• Collaborating with coalitions of national nontheistic and secular organizations to create better outcomes for the nontheistic community in everyday life.
• Monitoring federal legislative and administrative policies.
• Monitoring state actions for bills and laws that violate the separation of religion and government.
• Developing policy proposals related to secularizing the tax code
• Preparing comments and other position statements.
• Other tasks as assigned.

Candidates should have at least 3 years of professional experience in public policy and legislative affairs and have a degree in law or related to public policy as well as knowledge of the Constitution, federal government, and the tax code; excellent analytic and problem solving skills; creativity and leadership; knowledge of the legislative process; ability to work independently; and excellent written and verbal skills.

Well-qualified candidates will have Capitol Hill experience and a demonstrated commitment to the nontheistic community or separation of religion and government issues.

American Atheists’ headquarters is in New Jersey; this position will be based at a satellite office in Washington, D.C.

Salary will be commensurate with experience. Additional benefits include paid sick, holiday, and vacation days; health insurance and dental insurance.

Please send a cover letter, resume, and a writing sample related to public policy or a public policy issue to careers@atheists.org. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until June 3, 2013.

Ooh, “Developing policy proposals related to secularizing the tax code”? Hint, hint. More of that please.