Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dear Candidate 2016

It might seem like it's too far off, but it really won't be long before the lawns begin to sprout all those lovely candidate signs signaling the election season is upon us, once again.

I'm not a big fan of how long this process goes on. Plus I'm always hoping that we'll have some reasonable campaign reform before the next election season, which never happens. Change that nips not only the huge money in the bud, but also reels in the amount of time we have to spend listening to the candidates telling us who they are, what they stand for, and how they'll vote; usually a load of crap they think the masses want to hear, one lie after another after another. In a perfect world, campaigners would also curtail their boasting about how much they love their god and how they'll uphold that book once they get into office. As if it has any relevance to how well they will do the job. Check any paper after the election and you'll find just how immoral some of those leaders have been once they got into office.

The candidate(s) who would top my list would possess integrity, first and foremost. Don't lie, plain and simple. In this day and age when things can be fact checked relatively easy, just don't do it. And if, for whatever reason, it's found out that something was done improperly, admit it. Be intentional in transparency, stop putting up smoke screens to deflect away when being human is all that happened. I'd have much more respect for that than a cover-up. Oh, and using this as a photo-op is also not a good idea. Sincerity and honesty is key. Be the person who is represented on the campaign trail, not just give us a showy version of an ideal you think we want to elect.

Productivity is also very important. Did the candidate show up for the job and produce? I want to know that who I've got representing me is not afraid to get their hands dirty and work. Roll up the sleeves and get things done kind of effort. If they have political experience, were they present at the time of voting, were they in attendance on committees they served and, more importantly, did they do the research on whatever the issue was before they voted? And if they are new to politics, what did they bring to the table in their own communities or what were they active in and passionate about? How did they contribute that was meaningful and substantive? I'd vote for anyone who can demonstrate what working hard means and shows how it was done.

Along with being a person who knows how to contribute, the prospective candidate who has the ability to work well with others shows a genuineness for collaboration. It is another key trait which promises to ensure success in getting elected. It's certainly required in all positions, but politics demands the ability to see both sides of issues, and determine solutions that will achieve a balance between differing opinions. The end goal being that the welfare of the community is maintained, not the stroking of the biggest ego in the room.

The last qualities that would put a candidate in as a top contender for me are the ones who possess intelligence and common sense, and can speak without stammering about how to implement good ideas in a rational, sensible fashion. Having a good grasp on the overall big picture and how to solve problems is an enormous plus! Making the right choices for the people they represent as well as taking into consideration what is ethical will only enhance those choices.

What I want to see in a candidate who stands before me begging for my vote is someone who is a genuine and humane human being. We've all see the flashy, disingenuous, smug lifetime politician who says all the right things to one group and changes his or her tune to coincide with the next twenty agendas of organizations visited during the campaign. It's disgusting, it's manipulative and it's not what we need at the helm of legislating laws. Those that are supposed to be there for the betterment of the communities that elected them need a trustworthy candidate.

I'm always hoping that the selection offered up of local, state and federal campaigners has a quality and caliber about them that truly shows leadership and empathy for the communities they represent. And there are some, but not enough. The volume of good leaders has to increase substantially. I hope it does before the next election season.

In my old age, I've gotten rather cynical though as I've watched election after election boil down to the lesser of two evils in just about every one I've been privileged to participate in.

So, Dear Candidate 2016 - if you don't fit the proposed mold - don't even get in the ring this time.

Please and Thank You.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Who Needs Prayer When You've Got A Plan?

Proverbs 31 New International Version (NIV)

Sayings of King Lemuel

31 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
    Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
    your vigor on those who ruin kings.
It is not for kings, Lemuel—
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


  1. Proverbs 31:3 Or wealth
  2. Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The short version - a woman who does all these things is a force to be reckoned with and someone who is worthy of praise for all her efforts, the obvious strength she possesses and the character with which she carries herself. If the list of attributes above describes the woman to a T, then damn straight she deserves praise. This catch seems to be the ultimate Shero who takes care of not only the house and the kids, and all that it entails but runs a business, is smart and wise, and marries the right man. In modern times we call that "bringing home the bacon, frying it up in the pan and doing everything to please her man."

My problem with the decoration on the shirt is that she has to pray about it as if that's the only way things get done. I call bullshit with a capital B. I know many cream-of-the-crop women in the atheist movement who have no desire and especially no need to pray about it in order to accomplish all that is on their plates. They have goals, they make a plan and they get things done. It's that simple. God can be left out of the equation.

Any woman, and any man for that matter, who set their sights on what they want to accomplish can go a long way with perseverance, diligence and efforts. Does that always guarantee success? No. But how many times has prayer been claimed to have brought about the result of a good outcome? Statistically, probably the same as having not prayed. So basically it's chance that prayer was coincidentally involved.

Making plans, putting forth the effort, doing the work and possessing the determination to never give up until you've reached your goals - that is what helps us succeed in achieving them and gives us cause to list our accomplishments.

Just like prayer has nothing to do with successful medical intervention, prayer injects nothing of quality to projects or achievements that are staffed by hard-working, diligent and skilled people on the right tasks.

So really, who needs a god or a prayer when we've got things under control with our own plans?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Family Is Overrated

kris krug

Well a good one isn't, but just because we're related doesn't make the relationship better or more special. What makes these connections good, any actually, are the shared experiences, the love, honesty, loyalty and the trust between the individuals. Not some meme that floats around Facebook that claims a mother's love is precious, sisters are the greatest, great dads protect their daughters, brothers are your best friend, etc... oh, barf. A decent and more honest meme would be one identifying the person who has thrilled the other and why.

We all have family we can't stand because of their actions, their attitudes or their way of thinking but more importantly because of how they have treated us. Being family doesn't make them better just because of their DNA. Actually, it makes them worse people if their only claim to their special-ness is that they are related to you when their actions as humans suck, and especially when their suckiness is directed at you.

I'd like to think that this whole world could get along like the best of what family is supposed to represent, but we know that is an unattainable myth because you know... differences and ego. And that's okay. But until we reach some enlightenment about how people should really treat each other, please stop putting family on some sort of pedestal. Some family is no different than the worst people our society has to offer.

I used to think that because my kids were physically birthed from me that connection alone made it more special. It doesn't, it just makes it different than relationships that happen to us through our interaction in the world. What makes them better (in my eyes) is the amount of care and nurture that went into making them the best they could be. In turn, hopefully with enough good steering, they will then take over and be non-reckless drivers without me. Their contributions to this world will speak to what kind of people they will become, and thereby how human and humane they are. Our relationship depends on two factors only, them and me. If I can succeed on reassuring them that I love them, prove it with my actions and be consistent in my efforts, then I can consider we have a decent relationship. Then my family is worthy of me salivating sickly sweetness over them. But only them and not family in general.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

God's Divine Word or Subjective Interpretation?

We live in a world that adheres to many different dogmas. Within just the Christian sect, there are tens of thousands of variations on that central theme. This fact alone has started many down the path of rubbing their index finger on their jawline, scrunching up their mouths, arching the left eyebrow, and ultimately discarding religion all together because well... it makes sense to.
Christianity[4]2.2 billion
Islam1.6 billion
Secular[a]/Nonreligious[b]/Agnostic/Atheist≤ 1.1 billion
Chinese traditional religion[c]394 million
Buddhism376 million
Ethnic religions excluding some in separate categories300 million
African traditional religions100 million
Sikhism23 million
Juche[d]19 million
Spiritism15 million
Judaism14 million
Bahá'í7 million
Jainism4.2 million
Shinto4 million
Cao Dai4 million
Zoroastrianism2.6 million
Tenrikyo2 million
Neo-Paganism1 million
Unitarian Universalism800,000
Size of Major Religious Groups, 2012
Buddhist *
Pew Research Center, 2012[2]

And yet still, this is not a red flag to the true believers. Why the hell not?

The word divine means that it is 'of god', right? To me, that means what is being handed down is truly his divine word and there would only be one message, not a gazillion different ways of looking at things. For this very reason, having numerous, in my opinion - subjective interpretations - means that these religions are not imbued with his divine word, but rather all the different religions are man-made because every off-shoot has been tailored according to the one who initially heralded it. There seems to be no other take-away from this.

Not one person of faith has been able to detail to me how my thought process about this issue could be any different than what I've resolved in my head. My initial assumption is that religions (all) are basically just created to appease an individual's ideal about what religion means to them. They wear what feels right for them and then encourage others to follow their ideals. If they're lucky, it's popular and it grows. If not, it falls by the wayside and dies out.

Luckily, people with a natural bent towards the supernatural have so many to choose from that if they get bored with what they were indoctrinated with or the religion doesn't meet their needs anymore, they can switch and try on another more to their current liking.

For us non-believers we'll continue to just pick apart the illogical and continue to point out what so richly deserves to the criticized.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Kids Will Believe Anything, It's Exactly Why Indoctrination Starts At Birth

Children believe shit... period. Especially from people they trust - teachers, parents, friends - although the order of trust may be different. I'm not shocked, having two of my own that swallowed things hook, line and sinker at not so crucial times.

Imagine my chuckles when a teacher came into my job and described how students in her class were mistakenly led to believe she had 'eyes in the back of her head' when she could detail actions of her students doing things without her directly looking at them, and then would chastise them when her head was turned the other way for things 'she couldn't have possibly seen!' It scared them into thinking she did indeed have that super power! The children, being as naive as they probably would be at that age, didn't realize she had the benefit of a reflection of a window or mirror at her disposal. Obviously, she never shared that little detail with them while they were squirming or later when she could have come clean.

Hearing her laugh about what kids would ultimately believe from people whom they trusted is what lead me to this thought... Kids truly do believe anything, and this is the very reason why indoctrination takes place from the time they are born. The sooner they are fed stories about a parent's belief system, the sooner they will emulate what they have been taught. The intention of the parents may be to ensure their place in Heaven, but the exercise of not thinking for themselves is grounded in what the institution of religion wants and always has wanted... to take center stage no matter what, the individual be damned. There is no such thing as autonomy, it's only about what the collective wants so let the assimilation begin... as soon as they are born.

It's not just about what they believe, but it's about continuing the retelling of the same stories... over and over again. It just makes it harder for the kids to confront the belief system or ultimately ask the relevant questions when it's continually forced down their throats, that's why it's called indoctrination. It's a systematic process and it's one that is reinforced by Bible School, church on Wednesdays and Sundays (or whenever the specific denomination meets) and those supreme holidays like Christmas and Ash Wednesday, or whichever high holy days that specific religion or church decrees.

Ironically, the teacher I mention is religious and she can't see how the misleading of young children contributes to the cycle of indoctrination she condones, even though she would readily admit in this instance she is a participant in lying to her students. If only people (like her, and all) would truly reevaluate the things they engage in. If only they understood the impact of their actions. It actually would positively affect their small bubble of influence if only they would tailor their behavior and actions to reality, and thereby the rest that, by chance, came in contact with it.

Hmmm...I wish.

Friday, November 7, 2014

God Was Created In The Land Of Brown People

One Nation Under Nothing

We all know that most, if not all, of today's religions evolved from ancient belief systems. Judaism began in Babylonia. Christianity started in Judea (present-day Israel). The religion of Islam began in Mecca. But all of the them started in that region we call the Middle East today.

Yes, Christianity, the current version of the most popular religion in this country was formulated and brought, eventually, to us white people by a part of the world where the skin color of its people was a darker shade than ours.

This raises two questions for me. Number one - how are we still such a nation of bigots when those bigots claim a religion that comes from this part of the world where the people are darker and number two - how can you even believe that god's intention was to make the US great when he wouldn't have had a clue that's where it would eventually spread to? But I'm sure there will be believers saying... Of course he knew! He's god! So I guess never mind that question.

Being a modern day citizen of the United States, I'm scratching my head and wondering how some of today's Christians who are true bigots can still hold fast to the notion that this country is a Christian Nation when they can't even understand that it really didn't start here and the man they cling to for their salvation was allegedly a brown boy. And especially when they can't even identify with people of those nations today! You know, those people in the Middle East who identify primarily as Muslims!

I've said it before a thousand times and I'll say it again... religion is the most ridiculous invention in the history of humanity. Contradictions, crazy ideas and justifications, and just plain dumb thinking about it... I just wish it would stop. Now. Forever.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

There's A Rainbow In Kansas!!!

Well, it's in Johnson County for now, but things could be changing in a big way for the rest of Kansas, and hopefully soon!

I know that many of my friends in Kansas are ecstatic about the possibility of our state granting equal rights to the LGBT community, me included. It's been an issue that should have been resolved years ago.

Naturally, our Governor Brownback had this to say:

"I swore an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Kansas. An overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the Constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas."

Upholding the constitution is a requirement, sure. I'll give him that. Having said that though, what is his reason for denying schools the funding that is guaranteed by the Kansas Constitution?

Hypocrite! He's picking and choosing what to get behind based on his ideology, plain and simple.

Tell Brownback with your vote in November that enough is enough with his antiquated and failing conservative, slimy politics. Make sure he gets the message loud and clear!

Fundamentalist governors should not overrule the people of Kansas.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Killing Anonymously

And I'm just asking myself.... why?

The answer seems to be they just want to be able to jump over regulation and do as they please. Isn't that what any reasonable person gets from this article? 

One of the things that sets us apart from the uncivilized is that we are above-board, upfront and state our intentions. This does nothing but say we want to be anonymous, behind the scenes and not let anyone know what we are up to... in other words, "I want to just do whatever the fuck I want to!"

I can't see this end any other way but badly. We will have victims of gun violence who won't be able to trace back to anyone because there are no records of gun ownership. And law enforcement won't be able to say to a potential law-breaker "Hey, can I get that registered gun to match to ballistics from a crime scene?" because they won't even know where to start! Printed guns that are not registered will not even be on anyone's radar to investigate! Yay! Criminals get another free pass! Really... how stupid is that?!?!

I'm not happy knowing that we do one more thing that just basically makes us more uncivilized than we were previously.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

SCOTUS Rules The Wrong Way Again

So there you have it, religion now gets to make health care decisions. Just one more chipping away at established law to appease the religious right. Just like the picture says - it is INJUSTICE and it's against women, and yes, they act like gods among us; the ones who are playing the part by making incredibly life-altering decisions with women's health care decisions.

With the recent ruling of the five scrotum... er, five old white guys of the SCOTUS, it's outrageous that now the belief system of the religious right, Christianity, seems to trump the belief system all others. What does SCOTUS not seem to understand about the concept of equal protection under the law in our country? I still believe every person has the right to express their beliefs, but seriously, to now be governed by the belief system of one religion? I don't think the justices got it right this time.

This fight being waged against women by Hobby Lobby, along with 100 other companies, and receiving the blessing of the Supreme Court Justices, shows us that they don't give a shit about religious freedom. They want their belief system to dominate this country. Don't you know by now that Christianists have all the answers and should make all the rules? Because of course - they have that book that tells them so. Argh...

These past three days my blood pressure has been elevated when I think how much we are still fighting about, and what we are losing by the decisions being made in this country with respect to women and their rights. Today's woman and the future generations of women have to struggle even more now to regain what should have been guaranteed during all our lifetimes; equality, that which has eluded us for too long.

The only positive I see coming from this ruling is that women (and men) will be more united to stand against those who would continue to undermine the rights of women, and bring with it a conscious shift leading to more thoughtful and reasonable legislation. We've always had activists who fought the good fight and brought us farther than those before them, but this current level of anger, agitation, and passion created in the minds and hearts of much of our citizenry after the ruling... well, it is palpable. Social media is exploding - both sides of the issue - but it would seem the motivation for more progressive change has the stronger voice. The justices have managed to set in motion something I hadn't seen in a long time, and for that I'm glad. Who knew that Hobby Lobby would be the straw that finally broke the camel's back!

Two things are at stake here - the equality of women and complete separation of church and state. My hope is that these issues will finally be resolved in my lifetime.

This is only the beginning of one hell of a fight. Buckle in, it might get worse before it gets better. But let us not be mistaken, this is a fight we must have and finish. It speaks to the core of what is wrong in our country and across the world where women are being oppressed, mistreated and/or marginalized for their sex. And religion is at the heart of it. It is what propagates the discrimination and the oppression that exists in this world. 

And it needs to stop... NOW!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Faith Explained

"I'm waiting..."
Choosing to have faith means you think this life endured so far is not as good as what's being dangled in front of you. And of course that your expectation will translate into the right choice.

Oh, and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy.