Atheist bus ad in Iowa…oops, never mind

Not even 24 hours ago, Hemant posted a story about the Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers succeeding in getting this ad on buses in Des Moines:
Aaaaannndddd now they’ve been taken down.

“When she met with us on May 27, we showed her the ads and asked if this could be controversial and she said she didn’t think so,” said the group’s president, Randy Henderson. “She thought it was a nice ad, a safe ad.”

The ads that went up on Saturday read, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.”

DART said it immediately started to receive complaints.”

Drivers said people weren’t getting on buses or getting off the buses because of it,” said advertising director Kirstin Baer-Harding. “So with all the calls, it wasn’t something we wanted.”

The signs came down on Aug. 4. Baer-Harding said they never should have gone up.”The ads mistakenly got put on buses,” she said.

She said DART has the final say on any advertisements and its board decided at the last minute that it didn’t like the content. She said the mistake slipped in amid last week’s chaos with the DART-pedestrian crash and the release of its first hybrid bus.

jk lol!!!!1!!eleven!!!

Ok, in a warped and twisted way, I can understand the controversy behind “You can be good without God.” There are religious people out there who sincerely believe that you can’t be good without God, and that suggesting so is corrupting the innocent souls of their children. That’s obviously a load of bull crap, but I can understand the public reaction.

But this?

How dare someone suggest there’s more than one atheist out there! How dare they put a serene cloud background on their ad! Don’t they know serene cloud backgrounds imply God, since he’s up in the sky?! They mocked us! They hate Christians! Dey tuk ar jerbs!

This, my friends, is why we need to have these ads. Not only to find each other, but to let theists know we exist. Only with repeated exposure, over many many years, will they start to realize the atheist next door isn’t such a horrible person after all.

Kiss-In Protests Mormon Bigotry

A couple days ago Pharyngula covered a story about two men who shared a kiss outside of the Mormon’s headquarters in Utah. Security guards detained the men because the formerly public plaza is now property of the LDS church, and apparently gay kissing is considered to be “offensive, indecent, obscene, lewd or disorderly speech, dress or conduct.”

First of, fuck you, LDS church.

Ahem. Thankfully there are a bunch of awesome gay people in Salt Lake City, and they decided to hold a peaceful kiss-in on the square:

This kind of stuff needs to happen every time gay rights takes a hit somewhere. It’s peaceful and shows that gays are normal, loving couples just like heterosexual couples. I don’t want to live in a world where it’s not cool for a gay couple to kiss in a bar, but then I have to watch a straight couple basically having sex at their table.

And yes, I guess the plaza is private property now. And even though the LDS church promised this sort of stuff wouldn’t happen, that isn’t legally binding and they can theoretically do whatever they want. But you know what, whatever tiny modicum of respect I had for the LDS church completely went out the window when they fucked over California with their ridiculous funding of Prop 8. So screw you, Mormon bigots. I hope gays make out in front of all of your temples every day until you wise up.

*end rant*

(Video via Womanist Musings)

Grrr American Health Care

My dad just got the bill for my exciting trip to the doctor for my bronchitis last month. It was nearly $1,000! Holy hell. $400 was just for going to the emergency room, since I don’t have a family physician down at campus and I had a 103 degree fever, so I needed to go somewhere quick. Our lovely insurance is only paying $350 (to quote my dad, “Those crooks. I hope Obama puts them all out of business). Thankfully my family isn’t poor, but we’re not rich either, and having to pay $650 so someone can tell my I have bronchitis (which I could have guessed, since I was around my friend who had it) and prescribe me meds is pretty crappy.

I don’t claim to understand all of the inner workings of insurance, but this seems a bit ridiculous to me. I hardly ever get sick enough to go to the doctor. Other than regular physicals required for school and sports and my bronchitis last month, I think the last time I had to go was when I broke my foot when I was 5. So tell me again why we’ve put all this money into an insurance company for me, and then when I actually get sick, they only pay a tiny fraction of a cost? They won’t even pay for my birth control or my Gardasil vaccines because they consider it “optional” instead of “preventative.” Instead I shell out $600 bucks a year to make sure I don’t spit out a baby or having crippling periods. They should be paying me to make sure I don’t clog up the welfare system with another kid and that I finish earning my degree so I can some day have a wonderful job that stimulates the economy and cures cancer (or something like that).

Sorry to rant, but it’s pretty annoying. I know insurance companies love people like me who never get sick but keep putting money into the system. I just wish that when I do get sick, they would actually do their freaking job.

Not Cool, California

“California high courts upholds same-sex marriage ban”

California, I am very disappointed in you. You’ve been moved to the list of “Very Uncool States.” Yeah, I’m grouping you with the likes of Alabama and Arkansas now. How does that feel?

Sigh. At least they’re letting all the marriages performed before Prop 8 remian. I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to tell someone “Nope, your marriage doesn’t count any more.” Probably only a little worse than “Nope, you’re love doesn’t count enough to get married.”

Grumble grumble.

Atheist Buses Approved in South Bend

After initially being approved and then unapproved, the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign has been approved again to have its ad on buses in South Bend. It completely misses the point of advertising while Obama was in town for Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony, but at least it was approved. One has to wonder if foul play was involved, though…

Because I’m a masochist, I decided to read the comments on the article. Oh boy. You know what, these don’t even need my commentary. Let me show you some of the gems:

“Running scared transpo? Afraid of a law suit? I would let them sue. I would not give these idiots the time of day.”

“I am appalled that we as citizens of a Christian nation are going to allow buses to have ads denouncing God. I am a veteran of a foreign war and I have seen enough crazy things in this world to let me know that there is most definitely a God. The 86% of us in this country need to tell this 14% minority to just be quiet and keep to themselves. Like the ten commandments debate on many courthouse steps; if you don’t believe in God fine, but aren’t the ten commandments a pretty good set of rules to live by anyways?”

“Exactly! This country and its democracy was built from Christian beliefs by Christian forefathers? Our money says, as a Nation “In God We Trust” If they don’t like living in a Christian nation, then move! Don’t use the Chrisian Money from the Christian nation if you’re affraid some good Christian values might rub of on you. Remember God said love your neighbor. Actually the best thing we can do as Christians is to prey for those lost souls. Hopefully before they die, they will be saved.”

“I agree 100% this is a sad statment to the condition of this country. We have gone from “In god we trust” to ” it isn’t wrong if you do not get caught” The Christian Majority need to stand up and say ” this is not right””

“You can be good without God, but you will still go to Hell. Should be what it reads…… Sorry to burst the bubble.”

“Thankfully we all have the right to choose our own religous preferances or none at all. Why atheists want to advertise the fact is beyond me. I don’t see what they have to gain by this. Maybe it’s the old “the devil made me do it” thing. Anyway, they will lose in the “end”, literally.”

“Atheists are stupid beyond belief………how the hell do you think you got here……………………..poof……..I don’t think so. The world is going to hell if you stupid people get ANY rights. God is GREAT”

And this is why we need to be vocal about our nonbelief.

By the way, there’s also a poll to the right of the article asking if you think the ads should be allowed. Yes is failing miserably. I think you all know what you need to do.

(Via Friendly Atheist)

More Indiana Atheist Bus drama

First, I apologize if you’re getting sick of hearing about the Indiana Atheist bus campaign…but as an atheist in Indiana, it is important to me, so I’m going to keep blogging about it!

While the campaign was having trouble in Bloomington, the following ad had been approved in South Bend, home to Notre Dame:
The ads had been approved by Burkhart, the advertising agency in charge of bus ads and were supposed to go up on the TRANSPO bus system on Monday the 11th. This was a strategic move to have the ads circulating when President Obama would be in town to give his commencement speech at Notre Dame.

Key words: supposed to

At first the campaign didn’t worry, because their contract includes a five day leeway for putting up the ads. But now they’ve heard back from Burkhart and there’s a bigger problem. Burkhart has an agreement that they can approve ads for TRANSPO, but if the ad is controversial, they must show it for TRANSPO for their approval. Burkhart, apparently being a company full of reasonable human beings, did not find the add controversial, so they never sent it on to be checked. The general manager of TRANSPO read about the Indiana Atheist Bus drama in Bloomington in the newspaper and put the ads on hold. Why?

“The ad was deemed controversial not because of its content, board Chairman Chip Lewis said, but because of the media attention it got in Bloomington. The bus authority in that city declined to post the ads, which prompted a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, claiming the atheists’ First Amendment rights to free speech were being denied. Lewis, in South Bend, said because of the hoopla downstate, Transpo officials want to be sure about posting the ads.”

Ok, let me get this straight. You were originally fine with the content of the ads. You heard the media was freaking out downstate because a bus agency rejected the ads. Scared, you reject the ads yourself. …Wait, what? How the hell is it logical to avoid controversy then to do the same exact thing that caused the initial controversy? Don’t they realize that their rejection is going to cause the same response?

They’re holding a meeting on Monday to approve or reject the ad. While it will be great for it to be approved, it’s still crappy this is happening. It will miss President Obama and all of his media coverage, which was the #1 reason why the campaign decided to run the ads now instead of when class is in session. Even if they eventually run, it will be significantly less effective. Also, it’s being put up outside of their contractual five day leeway period. Why are they even waiting until Monday, if the drama here is potentially missing Obama? Why can’t they meet Thursday through Saturday (Obama’s speech being on Sunday)? Is the board of directors of a bus company in South Bend, Indiana so freaking important and busy that they can’t organize a meeting until Monday? Really?

Sigh. Will we ever see atheist ads in Indiana? Maybe West Lafayette will end up being the first after all.

Swine flu? Kill the piggies!

Whenever you have outbreaks of mysterious, potentially deadly diseases, it’s extremely important to stay rational and not overreact. For example, you can see Egypt’s extremely logical decision to slaughter all 300,000 of its pigs.

Aside from the obvious point that we have human to human transmission now, so new infection from pigs isn’t exactly the problem…but how do they think actively slaughtering all of their pigs is actually going to reduce contact with pigs? Doesn’t the act of slaughtering actually increase contact with pigs? Since you kind of need to touch them in order to chop them up and all?

I feel bad that so many animals are going to die because a government decides to overreact about a situation. Yes, they would have eventually been killed for food anyway. And the government is still allowing the farmers to sell the pork meat…but is anyone going to actually buy it? Look at the economics of the issue – it’s all about supply and demand (the one thing I remember from AP Econ!). Suddenly there’s going to be insane amount of pork in the market, with very low demand. 90% of Egypt is Muslim and can’t eat pork anyway, the other 10% are probably silly enough to think you can get swine flu from eating pork or will probably just be sick of eating pork for every meal of the day. These farmers are going to have to give the stuff away. Not only is it a waste of piggie life, but it’s a waste of money to the farmers.

I wonder if the decision has any direct ties to religion. Maybe an extremely Muslim nation doesn’t care as much about killing a dirty animal they can’t eat and that’s only raised by the non-Muslim minority.

I also wonder if this means bacon will be on sale. That would be about the only perk of this whole swine flu scare. Mmmm bacon.

Pepsi: Funding the evil Homosexual Agenda

I always knew there was a reason why I prefer Pepsi over Coke.

The American Family Association (which you know must be awesome because it has “Family” in its name and has a big Jesus fish behind its logo) is organizing a boycott of PepsiCo. Why? Because Pepsi is supporting the evil homosexual agenda! What sort of vile things has Pepsi done? From

  • Pepsi gave a total of $1,000,000 to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) to promote the homosexual lifestyle in the workplace.
  • Both HRC and PFLAG supported efforts in California to defeat Proposition 8 which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. HRC, which received $500,000 from Pepsi, gave $2.3 million to defeat Proposition 8.
  • Pepsi requires employees to attend sexual orientation and gender diversity training where the employees are taught to accept homosexuality.
  • Pepsi is a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Oh no! The horror! How disgusting! Why, pretty soon Pepsi will be injecting its products with soy (which obviously makes you gay), and it’ll be the Gaypocalypse!

You don’t believe me? Look at these horrible, horrible commercials and shows Pepsi are supporting:

See, Pepsi turned him gay! Noooooooo!

It’s perfectly fine for three dozen women to drool over a hot guy, but once you add a single guy from Queer Eye it becomes the work of the devil!

And there’s not even any Pepsi in the next one, it’s just a show they sponsor:

Oh, heaven forbid, two guys making out, funny awkward discussion about sex. I’ve never seen that with a heterosexual couple on a tv show!

Well, I really must be doomed. I’ve drank so much Pepsi over the years that I must just be ready to burst at the seems with gayness. Sorry guys, but after I finish the 2 liter in my fridge, I’m going for the boobies only.

Day of Silence

In honor of the Day of Silence tomorrow, please join me in watching this mind-numbingly stupid video made by the Illinois Family Institute and pointing out the horrible logic they employ. You know it’s going to be good, because they have “Family” in their name:

Actually, I lied. I could only get to the part where the parents are duct-taping their child’s mouth closed before closing the video in annoyance and disgust. Sigh.

Road rage

I came up with some interesting ideas for posts today, but they’re going to have to wait. I have something far more important than the religious indoctrination of young children and the lack of separation between church and state in a small town I drove though. What could possibly more important than that, you ask? Only the most terrifying, dangerous threat to our country’s safety.

Indiana drivers.

I swear that Indiana drivers are some of the worst fucking drivers in the country. Granted, I haven’t visited every state, but out of the ones I’ve driven through, I haven’t had to reconsider my belief in God just so I could start praying after I’ve been cut off or tailgated for the 50th time in an hour drive. The only other time I find myself yelling “motherfucker!!!” quite as much is when I’m playing Mario kart, but you know what? In Mario kart soccer moms in SUVs don’t cut you off and then slow down to 65 miles per hour just to piss you off. Or if they did, you could at least fucking red shell their ass.

My drive home normally takes an hour and a half, and this time it lasted nearly three hours. I knew there was a small patch of construction, but I had driven through it two weeks ago at the same time of night, and there wasn’t a soul on the road. I-65 is usually fairly empty anyway. But nooooo, today was Easter, so every Christian in the state of Indiana decides this would be a great time to drive back. I’m on the road for a measly 15 miles before I come to a complete stop. At first I’m just like, ok, that’s cool, I’ll jam out to my music a bit, this is probably just because of the construction, ha that trucker has “National Flash a Trucker Week” written on their bumper, oh look a cute little doggie… Which soon turns into hmm, I haven’t moved an inch in the past five minutes, oooh awesome I just got to coast for ten feet, I guess I’ll text message my friends because I’m not moving, joy!

Friend: do you have to go to the bathroom?
Me: …not yet

I moved a total of four miles in a 50 minute period. Eventually I called my parents to see if there were any alternate routes. The next exit was 6 miles away, which did have an alternate route, but still didn’t bode well for the mental calculations in my head. I finally make it to the actual construction, where the road had been narrowed to one lane. The speed finally picked up at that point. Oh look, I thought, a rest stop before the exit! Well that’s at least nice for all the people who may need to use the bathroom after that horrible mess. Oh, whoops, it’s closed. That’s just too convenient. I hope all your egg casseroles are settling well with the chocolate bunnies, because there’s no fucking escape.

And you know, I was actually ok up until this point. I figure there’s nothing the actual drivers can do about it being narrowed to one lane, no point getting upset. But that’s when people started showing their true Hoosier colors. You know what, the speed limit is 70. You shouldn’t even be in the left lane unless you’re passing someone, but if you are, you should at LEAST be going 75, and that’s an incredibly conservative estimate. The only thing worse than someone driving the speed limit in the left lane is a fucking bipolar person who can’t decide between 67 and 87. Cruise control was invented for a reason, and even if you’re driving some jalopy that doesn’t have it, I would think your margin of error on keeping your car going at a constant speed is a little better than +/- 10 miles per hour.

Then you get the opposite problem with people who are too lazy to lift their pinky toe to accelerate more than their cruise control for a little bit. Oh, but I am passing someone, you say! I’m just going 0.00001 miles per hour faster then them, so it’s going to take me 500 hours to actually pass them, and I’ll hold up traffic in the mean time! Hm, I wonder why I have a trail of 50 cars closely stacked behind me, even though there’s not a car on the road in front of me? Hmmm, I guess I’ll ignore that! Thank you, passive-aggressive passing bastard! How I wish I had a battling ram on my car!

Oh, and hello there Mr. Semi Truck who can’t stay in your lane! I know my mother always told me to share, but I’m not quite sure I’m comfortable with sharing my lane with you. I kind of like a little more personal space when you can potentially squish me into tiny bits. I hope you don’t take it personally. Oh, and the possibility that you probably haven’t slept for 48 hours, and the only thing keeping you awake is Mountain Dew and uppers you stole from your kid? Totally comforting.

And to top it all off, my alignment decided this would be the best time to act up. I looked like a 3 year old who had just snorted pixie stix and grabbed a plastic steering wheel, jiggling it back and forth in order to keep the car going in a straight line. Of course, this is the best time for passive-aggressive passing bastard to decide he needs to hover next to you. Maybe I can break and he’ll pass-nope, now for some ungodly reason he’s slowing down. Awesome. Wonderful. Thank you so much.

Maybe I’m being too harsh blaming Indiana drivers for my woes. Yeah, you know, it’s not their fault the roads were busy today. It’s Jesus’s fault. Fuck you, Jesus. All your being born and dying and undying and thus creating over celebrated holidays leads to fucking terrible traffic. Why don’t you try to spread out your miracles into more frequent but less important occasions next time so you don’t mess up transportation as much, okay?