Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Open letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)...

Dear Chuck,

The issue is health care for people who can't afford it, not politics. Health care. You are a politician and always will be. Politics is the prism through which you view the world, a prism that blinds you to what real people are dealing with, the real people about whom you claim to care, but who are one illness away from bankruptcy. 


The ACA is helping people. If it's broken, fix it. If it's imperfect, work to make it less so. If you have a better idea, suggest it. But to say it was the "wrong problem" is simply to admit we have lots of problems, and nothing more. 

Do your fucking job and help solve these problems one at a time. But as you do your job, do your best not to be a dick, Chuck.

Sincerely,

Mike

Sunday, September 7, 2014

An angelic voice...

I'm fairly certain I'll never have the opportunity to hear angels' voices as they were described to us when I was an altar boy, choir member, and a believer back in my Catholic-school 60s. But now that I'm in my recovering-60s, I'm certain that I've come as close as I ever will to hearing an actual angel voice as when I heard the voice of Rachael Davis, singer and songwriter out of Nashville TN, and originally from Cadillac MI.

Rachael's first two albums are "Minor League Deities" (2001) and "Antebellum Queens" (2008) --- with her latest EP, "Bandbox Jubilee," just released last week. And even as these three albums offer excellent opportunities to hear her voice, they also allow us to hear the development of her voice in that 14-year time-span. And now I've had the opportunity to hear her sing at the Wheatland Festival, twice, with the most recent time being last Friday evening to support her new EP. As a result, I can easily say her voice, already excellent in 2001, has improved with time and effort and is now a finely tuned instrument, to be sure. 

Singers' voices are far too often overproduced in studios. As a result, these singers are just as often left to the un-tender mercies of their voices during live performances, where every weakness is on display, and amplified exponentially. Not so Rachael. She just stands in front of the microphone and sings, without smoke, mirrors, or magic; however, what resulted last Friday just might have been magical, as Rachael's obvious vocal strength was clearly conjured during her performance at Wheatland. ("Happy Wheatland," indeed!) 

She was a complete and utter delight. The suppleness and power she demonstrated seemed effortless, with the broad smile on her face suggestive of a person who was thinking, "This is just too damn easy!" But as a musician and a singer, I can assure you that singing isn't anywhere near the vicinity of easy, especially as well as Rachael does it.  She is a peach. 

Her intonation was as close to perfect as a human voice can get, but she was not at all mechanical with it. Her tone, her note choices, her phrasing, were all just pure and wonderful. One could easily hear and see a passionate power in her style, which showed in every well-chosen note of every well-written song (many, if not all, her own work), as she floated from a full, rich, sometimes growling chest voice to a sweet falsetto, with grace and ease. The eager crowd in Wheatland's Centennial Stage tent were clearly there to hear Rachael, enthusiastically cheering her often-chilling, always-exciting vocal passages.

The band supporting her was excellent as well and provided supple support and a fine framework for Rachael's lovely, lovely voice. Everyone involved were fine musicians all around, and having been in bands for close to 50 years, I know how lucky they all are to have one another.

If you have the opportunity to hear Rachael Davis sing, to hear her and the band play their instruments, whether on CD or, most especially, live, do not pass it by: you'll be glad you didn't, as you too discover that angels do sing after all.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Will "Freedom of" ever share space with "freedom from?"

"This above all: to thine own self be true."
          - William Shakespeare (Polonius, from "Hamlet," Act 1, Scene 3)  
"Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause."
          - Mahatma Gandhi
"Arguing against discrimination is not intolerance."
          - Richard Dawkins

Freedom of religion, the right to practice a religion, the right to believe in what a religion offers as truth, is considered to be a human right. It's considered to be important in countries throughout the world, but it's so important in the United States that it's specifically mentioned in the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, right next to freedom of speech. 

But isn't there a corollary? 

Doesn't this freedom have to include the freedom to not practice a religion? The freedom to believe differently about a religion or to not believe in what that religion offers? In other words, the freedom from religion? It has to. Otherwise, how is the underlying point, the very foundational concept of the U.S. Constitution and other constitutions --- freedom --- to be taken seriously? Freedom of, just has to allow room for freedom from, and it's where these two prepositions meet, where they so often collide and leave their rails, that is at the heart of so much of the world's discontent, so much of its turmoil, and in historical terms. 

This ongoing discontent, this conflict between "from" and "of" is almost entirely a function of intolerance, of one religion not tolerating the tenets of another, or of one faction of a religion not tolerating the tenets of another faction of that same religion. It's as if the very existence of an alternate viewpoint is seen as unacceptable. Discrimination does spring from intolerance, certainly, but this is not about discrimination. This is about its source: intolerance.

Non-acceptance can manifest itself as something simple, something seemingly benign, such as disagreeing about what day of the week is considered the sabbath or holy day. 

Or it can be passive-aggressive... sending missionaries to places where other religions are practiced, purely because these missionaries and their religions don't accept the "otherness" of those religions and feel duty-bound to bring the "heathens" out of darkness and into the light that they believe shines only on their way of thinking. 

Or it can be something mean-spirited... saying outright that those of another faith --- or possibly everyone who doesn't believe exactly what you do --- will not get to heaven, based solely on opposing beliefs, on an opposing viewpoint, on an opposing interpretation of some text. 

But it can also be horribly aggressive, even savage... torturing, mutilating, and killing people who don't believe what you believe, even if A) your religion expressly prohibits violence, and B) the folks you're being violent toward are simply another faction of the very same religion in which you profess to believe.*

This all seems to be bound up in the concept of belief. As an example, most religions espouse life after death, and most religions hold as essential the concepts of heaven (so called) and, its opposite, hell (so called). But those of one religion, one faction, quite often believe that those of another religion, of another faction, will never attain the former even as they most assuredly will attain the latter.**

I get that these folks might feel this way about agnostics, atheists, and agnostic-atheists, but to feel this way about someone who might very well be as much a believer in their religion as you are in yours, to deny these equally devout, equally sincere people the right they feel they have as a result of their beliefs, is just plain intolerant, which is ground zero in the collision between "of" and "from." 

I wish I could say intolerance could be reckoned with, could be changed, but with history as our guide --- the Romans and the first Christians (and vice versa), the Mideast since the 7th Century, the Crusades, the African continent, Irish Protestants and Catholics, Westboro Baptist Church, ISIS/ISIL, al-Qaeda, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, etc, etc., etc. --- it certainly appears that this is not possible. As missionaries keep proselytizing, as religions keep interfering in the beliefs (or non-belief) of others who very well may be every bit as sincere, as factions keep rejecting and fighting with other factions, as true believers keep truly believing their causes are more just and more true, as folks keep rejecting, messing with, and, in many cases, killing disbelievers and unbelievers, we quickly arrive at a very, very ugly, terrible, and unholy place, and all in the name of someone's religion.

If they believe their deities, who dwell in their heavens, are "speaking unto them" and proclaiming this horrible behavior is okay, then we have a huge problem, because --- voices-in-their-heads delusion notwithstanding --- this hatred is spilling over and affecting people who are innocent of any wrong-doing, and who, if they are guilty of anything, are guilty only of believing differently (freedom of) or of not believing at all (freedom from). 

Intolerant behavior is not okay, especially when it spills over onto innocent people. It's wrong. As ironically silly as this might sound, it's something of which we all should be intolerant. It's an affront to human rights and to personal freedoms. 

You want to practice your religion? Go ahead, do it! But do it in your own place, in your own space, in your own church, in your own head, in your own heart, and in your own mind. Stop trying to convert and mess with those who believe differently. Stop making signs that read, "God hates fags." Stop ridiculing and burning and micturating on each others' holy books. Stop rejecting those who just might share beliefs very similar to yours. Stop hating, attacking, mutilating, and killing anyone who doesn't believe what you do, anyone who might believe a slightly altered version of what you believe. And, above all, stop assuming morality springs best or only from your religious beliefs. Q.E.D. The history of the world is replete with overwhelming evidence to the contrary. (Thought Experiment: How many wars/conflicts would have been [be] eliminated if intolerance did not exist?)

If you believe in your god and if you believe your god "speaks" to you, fine and dandy, but... if you believe your god tells you such things are okay to do in his name, then your god is probably not worthy of respect, of love, of fealty, of belief, or of your valuable time, because you're not here for very long, so stop wasting your time on someone so paranoid, so jealous, so horrid, so shallow, so vengeful, and so hateful, and start connecting with real people...

who you can see...

who you can touch...

who you can love...

who you can believe in far more easily and with far less collateral-damage... 

than a voice in your head.

* Here is an example, as if the world needs another.
** Ironic considering they can't achieve one but can the other. Oh well.

Relevant Updates

1: Here is a news story from TPM.com, on 8/26/2014. Religious intolerance rules. 
2: Even more intolerance, and I am no fan of Senator Cruz.
3: And here we go again... again. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Goodbye, Joey!

My friend Joe Dalmon died last week from complications brought about by an illness. Joe had struggled for a long time and I was not made aware of his illness until only recently. But this is no one's fault but mine. I tried to stay in touch, and Joe wasn't much of a letter writer, so it wasn't always as timely as maybe it could have been. So be it. My heart goes out to his family and to everyone who knew him. He was a delightful guy.

When I found out in March of this year that Joe was ill --- and just how ill he was --- I wrote him the following letter and sent it to him in the hospital. I have to trust he received it and was able to read it (or have it read to him).


Dear Joe,

I’ve tried reaching you via Facebook for about a year, and I only recently found out from David that you’ve been ill for about that long. You’re in my thoughts every day. 

I want to tell you a few things, so please bear with me.

Finding you and the rest of the people who would comprise Genghis Prawn back in 1996 was, for me, like finding water in a desert. That’s the truth of it. I had auditioned for so many goofballs and weirdos (in other words, what you would call musicians) that I was starting to give up hope of finding normal people. Then you called me.

If I had been given the opportunity to select the ideal people with whom I could have played music, I could never have done better than you, Joe. That was one of the best experiences of my musical life and I will always be grateful to have shared it, but I will always be most grateful to you. You were my first contact and you remain one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve ever known and probably will ever know, Joe. I mean this from the very bottom of my heart. I really need for you to know this and to believe it. I hope you do; I hope you already did know it. Row sends best wishes and thoughts as well.

In closing, please know that I love you, and in this I am most certainly not alone. To be a Joe Dalmon fan requires only having to have met you once, because it’s love at first sight. I was lucky enough to have spent a few years in your company, and I’m a better person for that chance.

It has been and remains my abiding honor, Joe.

I remain sincerely, respectfully, affectionately, and always your friend…

Can't get a date, eh? Well too freaking bad!

The shooter in Isla Vista, CA apparently wrote what would prove to be his suicide letter*, in which he detailed his frustrations with, among other things, being rejected by women. Seriously? Not being able to date people was what put you over the edge? Who hasn't been rejected at some point in his or her life? 

Get in line. 

And it's a pretty long line, too. It's a line I was in for a time. Hell, we all were. In high school and college, rejection was standard operating procedure. It happened regularly. It was like an elective course. I actually got good at being rejected and could almost predict when it would happen. (Hell, considering how immature I was at times, I would have rejected me!) Sure, I was hurt by it sometimes and, on occasion, deeply so, but I didn't hurt anyone else because of how I felt or even think about hurting anyone. I just did what most non-bat-shit-crazy people do: I sucked it up, got over it, learned from it, and moved on.

I mean really... how messed up do you have to be to see a shooting spree as your only recourse... and just because of what? Someone saying "No" to you? Someone insulting your manhood? What kind of a dickhead does this? Oh yeah. I almost forgot. Your kind of dickhead. Apparently even your family (who I feel so, so badly for) saw how messed up you were and tried to warn people. Too bad no one else listened to their warnings. Too bad for your family. Nice going, dickhead.

Dude, if you wanted to commit suicide, then you should have just done that. You had a gun, and the evidence clearly shows you had ammunition for it. What's the problem. Bang. Done. But no, you had to be one of those "blaze of glory" types; you had to take the lives of people who may have done nothing more to you than say, "I don't want to go out with you"; you had to turn your self-centered pity party into a mass blood bath. There is no glory in what you did, but your head was too far up your own ass to see this. And now, because of your fit of pique, because of your blinding narcissism, because you were a dumb shit, all those innocent families are forever affected --- with some of them quite possibly destroyed. And all of this misery just because you couldn't get laid? Rrrriiight.

It's becoming clear that you might have been somewhat unhinged, somewhat unbalanced to begin with, and although I will not make light of mental illness, if this is what your underlying problem happened to be, neither will I view it as an excuse for what you ultimately did; however, and in truth, something like this was probably inevitable for you. If you hadn't done it in Isla Vista, you probably would have done it somewhere else. 

And so, even though you might possibly have been a decent guy at some point in your short life, you managed to allow a silly thing that happens to pretty much everyone affect you rather  badly and cause you to behave like a dickhead. The result? You're now nothing more than a dead dickhead, and you will never be anything more than this. 

Congratulations. Well done. 

If the flowers don't appear on your grave site, you'll know they're from me.

* Why do these morons always have to call their rantings, "manifestos?" I don't get it.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Here it comes: Christian Nationalism...

 “Theology is ignorance with wings.”
― Sam Harris


Alabama's Chief Justice Roy Moore is at it again, acting as a lightning rod for the Christian Nationalism and Dominion Theology movements. 

Judge Roy has claimed that the First Amendment is for Christians because it was the Christian God who created man. Please do forget what all the other faiths believe about their versions of creation, even though if you follow Judge Roy's "logic," his God also created Buddhists, and Jews, and Muslims, and Sikhs, and so on and so on. 

Oops. 

Judge Roy's former 15 minutes of fame came during the Ten-Commandments-in-the-Alabama-Judicial-Building dust-up back in 2003. Read about that here.

If you feel that rewriting and reinterpreting history and the US Constitution is messed up, as Slate's Dahlia Lithwick clearly suggests it is in this op-ed piece about SCOTUS's recent ruling on public prayer, and that any theocratic government --- regardless of the faith it espouses --- is probably not a great idea, and you haven't read Michelle Goldberg's book, "Kingdom Coming," or Chris Hedges' book, "Americian Fascists," you might want to read them, as both writers take close looks at these growing theological-meet-political movements in America. 

If someone can tell me how a sectarian government in America would stand apart from a sectarian government in some other country (Sharia, etc.), how ours would not exclude every other religion practiced in the United States, and how ours would differ from theirs (and not just in terms of dogmatic and canonical aspects), I'd be happy to hear it. 

Updates

Here's an update, as of 5/6/2014: Judge Roy is now apparently backing off his previous position and saying he didn't mean to suggest that the First Amendment applies only to Christians, even though he...wait for it... did suggest that the First Amendment applies only to Christians. But, bless his heart, he is still locked onto his classic perspective on creation, which simply obviates every other religion's version of creation. Sounds uncannily like the chant, "There is no God but God." I guess there was a good reason for the First Commandment after all. Hmmm... why do you suppose that is?

Update on the topic of Christian Nationalism as of 8/13/14: Talking Points Memo published this piece about the Christian Right's part in the resurgent Libertarian movement. 

Update from the New York Times, as of 3/16/15: more potential evangelical influence on the 2016 campaign and elections. Note the metaphorical use of the term "army." Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution be damned, I guess.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A possible source of badly needed revenue?

Separation of church and state is a hotly contested topic these days, especially among the religious right, who like to claim there is no separation when it involves them or someone they support placing some iconography in a public place, and, conversely, that there is separation when it comes to things like tax-exempt status and campaigning from the pulpit, which happens quite often. But here's something else to consider. 

If you account for all the religious denominations that have churches in the United States, all faiths represented by a brick-and-mortar facility, you'd arrive at the number, 350,000, according to Hartford Institute for Religion Research and the 2010 Religion Census report. This includes churches, temples, synagogues, etc.; effectively all places of worship that took part in the census, so this number might actually be higher. 

What if each of these churches paid, on average, just $2,000 in property tax? This really is not much. We pay more than twice this amount for two modest Michigan properties; however, consider how many churches in your town sit on large tracts of open land. The $2,000 figure represents the national average according to what I could discover, and this amount would generate $700,000,000 in tax revenue were all US churches taxed. While this doesn't seem like much considering how much money the US Government takes in every year, it's nothing to sneeze at either, and it would probably be far more depending on the size of the properties and their resulting appraised values. 

If there is no separation, as so many of these denominations like to claim, especially by their politically motivated actions, then why shouldn't they pay for the property on which their churches, temples, and synagogues sit? Clearly, these organizations do benefit from what everyone else is paying for, from what everyone else who owns property in the US has to pay.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Delusiopathy...


"Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence."
- Richard Dawkins

What follows are some thoughts on homeopathy, which is a popular part of the growing Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) movement. Before I go any farther, please understand this is not an Allopaths versus Naturopaths thing. This is not an us versus them thing. This is a common sense versus nonsense thing. So much of a Naturopath's schooling is the same as any Allopath would receive, which is based on science, on proof, on evidence. They both study biology, physiology, chemistry, anatomy, among other things, but departures exist. Homeopathy is one of these.

The concept of Homeopathy has been around for a couple hundred years and its founder came up with the idea based on the "like cures like" concept, which is sort of a "fight fire with fire" concept. If a substance makes a well person sick, then that substance can make a sick person (a person with symptoms) well.

Homeopathy deals with diluting substances in water and at each dilution giving the mixture 10 hard shakes, called succussion. The whole succussion thing deals with concepts of "dynamism" and "energy release," and I won't even attempt to go there. I'll stay with dilution. 

We dilute things every day: we pour a tiny amount of concentrated laundry soap into wash water; we might want less strong coffee so we add water to it; or we might add sparkling water to a glass of wine. We perform all manner of day-to-day dilutions. But consider this thought experiment.

Imagine you pour a half-liter of a toxic substance into the ocean and wait the necessary time for that substance to work its way through all the contiguous oceans of the world. Then, you take a random half-liter sample of sea water. How many molecules do you suppose you would you find in your half-liter sample? The answer is ~5,000. Sure, 5,000 sounds like a lot, and you'd likely think that 5,000 of anything toxic just can't be good. But compare this to the ridiculously large, seemingly uncountable number of other molecules present in that same half-liter of sea water (~1,152,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules) and you quickly realize that 5,000 molecules is nothing at all: it's ~0.00000000000000000434%. You could drink that sea water and be safe from any contamination from that toxic substance. The salt alone would probably be more harmful to you.

Putting this another way, the 30C dilution, which is 60 times (or 60X) and a common standard for many homeopathic remedies, is 1 part in... 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (or 1 trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion) parts water.

Now, Avagadro's Number (aka Avagadro's Constant) is 1 part in 602,214,150,000,000,000,000,000, which is much smaller that the 30C (60X) dilution; call it about half. Next, consider that Avagadro's Limit says a substance can be diluted only so far before that substance is lost in the dilution (see the toxin-in-sea-water analogy above). Avagadro's Limit is reached at a dilution of around 24X (or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000); remember the Homeopathic standard dilution is more than twice this number, at 60X!
 

This is just chemistry and physics.

And so, finding molecules of a substance diluted beyond Avagadro's Limit becomes almostly entirely a function of the laws of probability; a game of chance. For example, at 60X you would have to give 6 billion people 2 billion doses per second, each, for 4 billion years in order to deliver a single molecule of the original substance. Smarter people than me worked out this math (and my hat is off to all the sources I used while writing this: thank you).


It appears that what Homeopathy comes down to is pseudoscience, which is almost always based on the unscientific concepts of faith, belief, and delusion. Homeopathy, which requires very little in up-front cost of materials (bottles, labels, water, and ridiculously tiny quantities of the substance to be diluted), is yet another multi-billion dollar, faith-based* industry like any other multi-billion dollar, faith-based industry trying to justify its own existence. 

Is the word diluted or deluded? We'll have to take the answer on faith.

* "Faith-based" is meant here as in how one has to have faith that something will work, that a homeopathic remedy actually has something other than water in it.

Friday, April 4, 2014

McCutcheon v FEC: Dialing for Dollars...

If you're normally not a fan of the Daily Show or of Jon Stewart, for whatever reason, please... set that aside just this one time and watch last night's (April 3rd, 2014) opening segment on SCOTUS's ruling this week regarding McCutcheon v FEC. 

This ruling is not a Left-Right issue. It's a central issue of fairness. 

If money is free speech, as SCOTUS has ruled, then fewer than 700 ridiculously rich people in the USA have just been allowed to use their ginormous, giga-watt sound systems to project their "free speech" far and wide, while the rest of us are left to one vote, to one voice. 

We all took an American History class at some point in our lives. Who among us ever read that gobs and gobs and gobs of money in politics was a good thing?

Democracy took a big hit this week, and the decision to hit it now and with the 2010 Citizens United v FEC ruling, was made by a handful of people who were appointed, not elected, to their positions, but who have managed to make the term "free speech" oxymoronic and ironic.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oh, irony...

Even as some fundamentalist Christian groups are upset and bewildered and angry about the return of the "Cosmos" on network television, with some calling it a "war on Christianity," and one Oklahoma TV station "accidentally" running a news program promo over the mention of evolution, fundamentalist Muslim groups in Bahrain, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates are actively censoring portions of the new "Noah" motion picture, claiming it might "provoke the feelings of [Muslim] believers." Oddly enough, even some Catholics are upset about "Noah" as well. 

Both situations say a great deal about fundamentalist groups: intolerance seems to be a fundamental.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Preaching the prosperity gospel, indeed...

In recent current events, it's been reported by several national news agencies that Joel Osteen's Lakewood megachurch in Houston TX was allegedly robbed of approximately $600,000 earlier this week. Thieves either cracked or otherwise opened a safe in the church's office, which allegedly contained the collection plate proceeds for the most recent Saturday and Sunday services. This news is shocking... and on several levels.  

If you're not aware of Mr. Osteen, he is fond (as are a number of other megachurch preachers) of what's called "prosperity theology," which, in a nutshell, is the idea that financial success and its attendant prosperity are the will of God (for Christians), and that by giving to (Christian) ministeries, the givers will be receivers of abundant financial rewards in kind, even as those very (Christian) ministries are, themselves, made prosperous by default.

Yup. You're right. There sure seems to be plenty of prosperity to go around.

Obviously, theft by anyone, of anything, from anyone, is wrong. Duh. My two rules for living a good life are #1, "Do your job" and #2, "Don't be a dickhead." This is really a pretty simple philosophy. Clearly these thieves followed Rule #1 by doing their jobs as thieves, but they could never adhere to Rule #2. Why? Because they're dickheads for being thieves in the first place, as in, "Thou shalt not [do it]." (See also "Duh.")

So, this theft is already heinous from a religious person's perspective in terms of the eighth commandment, but the double-down is because some of these very same folks probably can't afford what they're offering in the first place; then they have to swallow that the hard-earned money they freely gave away (although, giving in order to receive something in return might not qualify as doing so "freely") is denied even its intended benefactor? Sucks to be them, that's for sure.

But what is perhaps most heinous is what the reported $600,000 figure suggests in a larger, grander, more opulent picture. Given there are 52 weekends in a year, this means that Mr. Osteen's church—alone—is capable of taking in $31,200,000 in a year!?

Now let this ginormous number sink in and then remind yourself that neither Mr. Osteen's churchnor any other United States church of any other denominationpays one dime in property taxes, even as every one of their giving brethren do. So I guess the theology that these prosperity pushers preach (oops, I meant "preachers push," of course) doesn't necessarily apply to US taxpayers, who are apparently the suckers who do have to pay property taxes even as they invest in this mutual prosperity love-fest.

So at this point some might be thinking, "Great work if you can get it," and that Mr. Osteen, et al., are those who are benefiting most from all this giving. And although it probably has to be taken on faith that the givers have actually become receivers (i.e., prosperous), all one has to do is perform a simple Google search on the homes and other properties owned by Mr. Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn, and other prosperity preachers like them, to see that prosperity does indeed flow from prosperity theology: it flows straight into their coffers, directly or indirectly.*

It does suck for all the little guys, yes it does, yet I'm having a really hard time feeling bad for them because even as they do believe that giving money to a gigantic, incredibly opaque ministry that earns, potentially, $31,200,000 yearly, they don't believe this arguably obscene, clearly materialistic theology is something Jesus Christ Himself just might have been a tad put off by given His purported (and Matthew 19:24's known) stance on rich men's chances of attaining heaven being about as likely as camels getting through needle eyes. 

But I guess it says a lot that this guy is willing to give up his place in heaven by allowing his church to take all that dirty money from all those clean hands.

Gee... what a guy. No wonder he smiles so much.

* It's widely reported that since 2005 Mr. Osteen's salary has not been drawn from his megachurch where he preaches (about prosperity theology), and instead comes exclusively from what he writes (wait for it... about prosperity theology). Well OK. So to the camel-and-needle analogy please add the following questions:
A) How many angels can fit on the point of that needle?

B) How finely must that poor camel's hairs be split?
C) Has Mr. Osteen never heard of the logical fallacy, "distinction without a difference?"


Update: It seems Creflo Dollar has spoken to God, and God told Creflo he needs a new $60 million jet.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Killing libidos across the nation...


Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee recently suggested that government "should not help women control their libidos and reproductive systems by providing them co-pay-free birth control," which angered some and bemused many. 

In response, opponents of Mr. Huckabee's have argued this has never been a goal of the Department of Health and Human Services, but some at HHS, and at the National Organization for Woman, have taken notice and are implementing a new cost-saving program to do exactly what Mr. Huckabee has suggested. 

A spokesperson for NOW has just announced, “a new ‘Fat Head’ poster that will be provided free of charge to all woman of reproductive age who might request it.” The poster is "a giant photo of Mike Huckabee that is suitable for display anywhere, including the bedroom.” 

According to this same NOW spokesperson, “If this isn’t a libido killer, we just don’t know what is.” They went on to explain that this new program will not cost American tax payers a dime, as "money for this program will come from tax breaks taken away from the companies that make Cialis and Viagra."