February 24, 2017

That's Not a Threat

I-80 Eastshore Fwy

This has been a pet peeve of mine for several years, and I suppose it is kind of a strange one as far as pet peeves go. I don't expect anyone will agree with me on this, but here goes. The following statement is not a threat:
You should be dragged in the street and shot.
I understand that this is not a very nice thing to say to someone. I can see how this statement may be perceived as threatening in some sense by the person on the receiving end of it. Undoubtedly, hearing that someone else thinks you should be shot is unpleasant. And yet, this statement is not a threat.

February 23, 2017

When Our Leaders Deny Reality

Fake NewsYou are standing outside a big box store in which you have just finished shopping. It is pouring rain, and you are scanning the parking lot for a clue as to where your car might be. You know you are going to get wet anyway, but you'd hate to pick the direction and have to reverse course eventually. A stranger is standing next to you and appears to be doing the same thing. In an uncharacteristic moment of friendliness, you comment, "It's really coming down, isn't it?" The stranger looks puzzled. "What do you mean? What's really coming down?" You laugh, "The rain, of course." Without so much as cracking a smile, the stranger replies, "It isn't raining."

Now you are the one looking puzzled. You can see the rain, hear the rain, and if you took half a step toward the parking lot, you'd feel the rain. There is no question that it is raining. In a mildly sarcastic tone, you hear yourself say, "Okay, I guess I don't have to worry about getting wet then" before you leave the stranger behind and charge across the parking lot. You are thoroughly soaked by the time you reach your car, but at least it ended up being in the general direction in which you headed.

February 21, 2017

To Move or to Stay and Fight

Moving Truck
No state is really safe for non-believers. You find creationist ideas in schools from Louisiana to New Jersey. You find efforts to send secular tax dollars to religious schools in Indiana and Florida. And, finally, you find polls done of all Americans demonstrating that plenty of families don't want their sons or daughters marrying atheists. There are many sad states of affairs.
- Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

February 19, 2017

Not Being a "True Liberal" is Fine With Me

promoting Conservative Skeptic

I live in an age where it does not matter one bit that I have been a liberal for the past 25 years or so. All I have to do is promote a conservative blog or two on social media, and suddenly, I must be a conservative or even part of the dreaded "alt-right." Why must I be these things? Because the moment I promoted someone with a conservative viewpoint, I failed one of the many litmus tests used by some of the authoritarian left to demand ideological purity. I cannot possibly be a "true liberal" because such a person would never promote anyone with conservative views.

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