# blueollie

## The Selfie; fake sign language, White Jesus and bad punts….

Conservatives get upset over many things. One of them is this selfie:

There isn’t much of a story here (despite Michelle Obama’s expression)

But yes I concede that Helle Thorning-Schmidt ,the PM of Denmark, is hot:

Speaking of the “celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life” event: there is the scandal of the person doing the fake sign language. Here is Colbert’s take. 🙂

Conservatives are outraged about other things too. Yes, Megyn Kelly tells us, Santa IS white (I know that Santa is fictional but the character comes from Europe, ok?). But she says more:

But on Wednesday, Kelly decided that Harris had gone “off the rails” with her column.

“For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white,” Kelly said. “But this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But Santa is what he is.”

“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change, you know?” she added. “I mean, Jesus was a white man too. He was a historical figure, that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa — I just want the kids watching to know that.”

Nordic Jesus…I love it. I would have thought that a white Jesus would have turned red like a lobster in the Middle Eastern sun, but what the heck. 🙂

How do you like this: a team punts and the ball goes backwards, into its own end zone thereby giving the other team an (unintentional) safety.

But I’ve seen worse at an NFL game (on TV)

December 12, 2013

## Taking a Break…on grading and other things…

Grading: about half of my students in one class were very well prepared….others….not at all. This will be an “A’s and F’s” distribution.

Other posts

Bill Moyers and President Obama’s compromise on birth control: I still think that the religious types get too much “credit”. Yes, people should feel free to worship whatever deity, but their religious beliefs should have no say in public policy. But alas, that won’t happen in my lifetime.

Robert Reich: explains that talking about manufacturing is not the same as talking about people having a job that pays a living wage. The real problem is that while businesses are doing well and those at the top are making record profits, the workers are being left out. Rising tides do NOT lift all boats…

Why do the GOP Presidential candidates seem out of touch with many Americans? Answer: they are currently playing to a tiny slice of the population:

But before getting into how this minority has steered the party into a corner, let’s look at the size of the electorate. The nine states that have held caucuses or primaries to date are home to roughly 28 million total registered voters, of all political persuasions.

So far, three million voters have participated in the Republican races, less than the population of Connecticut. This means that 89 percent of all registered voters in those states have not participated in what is, from a horse-race perspective, a very tight contest.

Yes, we know Republicans don’t like their choices; it’s a meh primary. But still, in some states, this election could be happening in a ghost town. Less than 1 percent of registered voters turned out for Maine’s caucus. In Nevada, where Republican turnout was down 25 percent from 2008, only 3 percent of total registered voters participated.

This is not majority rule by any measure; it barely qualifies as participatory democracy.

Results from the two populous states that have held big, media-saturated primaries, and are more likely to attract average voters, are also very revealing. In Florida, the largest and most diverse state among the nine, turnout was down 14 percent from 2008. And 84 percent of the state’s total registered voters did not participate in the Republican contest.

South Carolina is the major outlier this year, the only state to show a big increase in turnout, up 35 percent from 2008. But when you look at who voted, you see a very specific niche.

In the Palmetto State, 98 percent of primary voters were white, 72 percent were age 45 or older and nearly two-thirds were evangelical Christian, according to exit polls. From this picture, you may think South Carolina is an all-white, aging state, full of fervent churchgoers. But the Census says the state is only 66 percent white, with a median age of 36. Exit polls from 2008 put the evangelical vote at 40 percent of total.

Florida was at least closer — only in the Latino vote — to the general election of 2008; in both cases, it was about 14 percent of the total. But voters 45 or older made up 78 percent of the primary, versus 59 percent in the general matchup four years ago.

Outside of Florida, this contest has been nearly an all-white affair. Nevada is 26 percent Latino by population; in the primary, only 5 percent were Latino. Caucus voters in Iowa were 99 percent white.

Again, these numbers represent a small echo chamber. Whites are 63.7 percent of the total population of the United States; in 1900, they were 88 percent — still more diverse than Republican primary voters today.

So yes, the Republican primary might represent the Applebee’s crowd but that is only a small subsection of the United States (though I am sure that they view themselves as the “Real Americans”….)

And by the way, I am grown up enough to know that I am miles out of the mainstream; I have little in common with most of America in many areas (e. g. religion). That is why I accept that my candidates will never see eye to eye with me on many issues.

Sarah Palin: will continue to milk her supporters for more money by teasing about running for President. 🙂

Humor/Political Humor
I hope that my wife doesn’t accept this:

A New Hampshire lawmaker with a history of surprising statements suggested on Thursday that married couples who want to use contraception should practice abstinence instead of using birth control pills.

Ok, my wife is well past her child bearing years…but I know that some poor guys are going to have some serious wrist injury issues if they listen to this clown.

Posters

I honestly don’t know about the bottom right frame since I don’t know him personally. The rest are pretty funny though.

February 17, 2012

## 26 May 2011 pm

I am in one of those moods in which every time I try to concentrate hard, I get sleepy. But I am ok doing fluff.

I am going to have to think about my research in the mornings when I still have some mental energy.

Topics: proper piecewise linear isotopies and smooth space cures in $R^{n}$ (different topics). I also have some proofing and type setting to do.

Posts for the afternoon:

Middle East and Israel
Fareed Zakaria doesn’t see the Israeli Prime Minister so much as acting as he is stuck in the past that they are never going to see again:

[…]

Why did Netanyahu turn what was at best a minor difference into a major confrontation? Does it help Israel’s security or otherwise strengthen it to stoke tensions with its strongest ally and largest benefactor? Does such behavior further the resolution of Israel’s problems? No, but it helps Netanyahu stir support at home and maintain his fragile coalition. And while Bibi might sound like Churchill, he acts like a local ward boss, far more interested in holding onto his post than using it to secure Israel’s future.

The newsworthy, and real, shift in U.S. policy was Obama publicly condemning the Palestinian strategy to seek recognition as a state from the U.N. General Assembly in September. He also questioned the accord between Fatah and Hamas. Obama endorsed the idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state, a demand Israel has made in recent years. Instead of thanking Obama for this, Netanyahu created a public confrontation to garner applause at home.

Netanyahu’s references to the “indefensible” borders of 1967 reveal him to be mired in a world that has gone away. The chief threat to Israel today is not from a Palestinian army. Israel has the region’s strongest economy and military, complete with an arsenal of nuclear weapons. The chief threats to Israel are from new technologies — rockets, biological weapons — and demography. Its physical existence is less in doubt than its democratic existence as it continues to rule millions of Palestinians in serf-like conditions — entitled to neither a vote nor a country.

The path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been clear for 20 years. Israel would cede most of the land it conquered in the 1967 war to a Palestinian state, keeping the major settlement blocks. In return, it would get a series of measures designed to protect its security. That’s why the process is called land for peace. The problem is that Netanyahu has never believed in land for peace. His strategy has been to put up obstacles, create confusion and wait it out. But one day there will be peace, along the lines that people have talked about for 20 years. And Netanyahu will be remembered only as a person before the person who made peace, a comma in history.

Hmm, that is an interesting take; Mr. Zakaria is more of an optimist than I am. Then again, he knows a whole lot more than I do!

Health Care
Robert Reich thinks that a good solution to rising health care costs is to put everyone on medicare. Sure, taxes would go up, but at a lesser rate than health care premiums:

So now it’s official. The 2012 campaign will be about the future of Medicare. (Yes, it will also be about jobs, but the Republicans haven’t come up with any credible ideas on that front, and the Democrats seem incapable of doing what needs to be done.)

This spells trouble for the GOP. Polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans — even a majority of Republican voters — want to preserve Medicare. They don’t want to turn it over to private insurers.[…]

Can we be clear about that budget problem? It’s not driven by Medicare. It’s driven by the same relentlessly soaring health-care costs that are pushing premiums through the roof and causing middle-class families to shell out more and more money for deductibles and co-payments.

Some features of Obama’s new healthcare law will slow the rise — insurance exchanges, for example, could give consumers clearer comparative information about what they’re getting for their insurance payments — but the law doesn’t go nearly far enough.

That’s why Democrats should be proposing that anyone be allowed to sign up for Medicare. Medicare is cheaper than private insurance because its administrative costs are so much lower, and it has vast economies of scale.

If Medicare were allowed to use its potential bargaining leverage over America’s hospitals, doctors, drug companies, and medical providers, it could drive down costs even further.[…]

Of course, the Republicans don’t see the New York loss as being due to Republican and independent rejection of the Ryan plan. Here is Karl Rove’s take on the special election and on what the Republicans must do in 2012:

[…]
Democrats won only because a third-party candidate—self-proclaimed tea partier Jack Davis—spent a reported \$3 million of his own money. Absent Mr. Davis as a spoiler—he got 9% of the vote—Democrats would never have made a serious bid for this district, nor won if they did. Ironically, Mr. Davis ran for the same seat in the last three elections as a Democrat. This year he ran as a populist conservative. […]

Next year, Republicans must describe their Medicare reforms plainly, set the record straight vigorously when Democrats demagogue, and go on the attack. Congressional Republicans—especially in the House—need a political war college that schools incumbents and challengers in the best way to explain, defend and attack on the issue of Medicare reform. They have to become as comfortable talking about Medicare in the coming year as they did in talking about health-care reform last year.

There needs to be preparation and self-education, followed by extensive town halls, outreach meetings, visits to senior citizen centers, and the use of every available communications tool to get the reform message across.

A good starting point is Mr. Ryan’s message from his speech at the Economic Club of Chicago that his Medicare reform package “makes no changes for those in or near retirement, and offers future generations a strengthened Medicare program they can count on, with guaranteed coverage options, less help for the wealthy, and more help for the poor and the sick.”

The populist note is especially important: When he starts receiving Medicare, Bill Gates should bear a greater share of his health-care costs than the less healthy or less wealthy.

Mr. Rove provides a nice entry into my next topic: Republican delusions and delusional Republicans.

First, there is climate change. See if you can follow the logic: since most of the carbon dioxide emitted is natural (not due to human technology), then that relatively small percentage emitted by humans isn’t the problem. Conservation Report has fun with this “reasoning”:

Ignorant, uninformed, and dithering politicians, who fail to do their homework in order to educate themselves on the most pressing issues, only take us backward to our detriment. More via Politico:

Jay Gulledge, a senior scientist at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, said Rohrabacher is correct that 80 to 90 percent of gross greenhouse gas emissions do come from nature, with humans producing the rest. But it’s that small percentage that is changing the Earth’s climate — not to mention that trees help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in huge quantities.

“How he’s using it is totally off the wall,” Gulledge said. “It’s beyond the pale. It makes no sense.”

But it gets better: some Republicans think that trees are the cause of higher CO2 levels!

U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican — naturally — from California’s 46th congressional district, doesn’t believe that anthropogenic global warming is occurring. However, he believes that if it is occurring, then governments should implement policies of deforestation to curb carbon dioxide emissions. He asks, “Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” He continued, “Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?” Of course, “the focus of global warming policy actually centers [and should center] on keeping the world’s trees standing, especially in places like the Amazon, Congo and Indonesia.” According to Politico, Rohrabacher’s comments are reminiscent of “Ronald Reagan’s much-lampooned statement that trees cause pollution.”

I always thought that trees took CO2 from the atmosphere, but what the heck. Evidently that isn’t Republican science. 🙂

Speaking of delusional Republicans, Sarah Palin is going on a publicity tour and making noises about running for president.

Sarah Palin is fortifying her small staff of advisers, buying a house in Arizona — where associates have said she could base a national campaign — and reviving her schedule of public appearances. The moves are the most concrete signals yet that Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, is seriously weighing a Republican presidential bid.

While it is by no means clear that she would be willing to give up her lucrative speaking career and her perch as an analyst on Fox News to face the scrutiny and combat that would come with her entrance into the race, she is being pressed by supporters for a decision and has acknowledged that time is running out.

Two people familiar with the details of the real estate transaction said that Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, had bought a \$1.7 million house in Scottsdale, Ariz. Like others interviewed for this article, they would speak only on the condition of anonymity so as not to anger the Palins, who have become especially protective of their privacy in the maelstrom that has followed them since 2008. The Arizona Republic reported over the weekend on speculation in Scottsdale that the Palins were the buyers of the house, reporting the purchase was through a shell company that hid their identity.

While Arizona would be a more convenient travel hub for a presidential campaign than Alaska, there are other reasons the Palins might want a house there. Their daughter Bristol recently bought a house in Maricopa, which is near Scottsdale.

Oh please run, Ms. Palin. Pointing out Tim Pawlenty’s lies and Mitt Romney’s flip-flops is getting old…you’d be much more entertaining!

Republicans on Steroids: assorted right wingers

Get a load of this: a company is selling gun oil that has pig fat in it. Why? Well, it is to keep the Muslims that they shoot from entering paradise!

My goodness, the people who buy this stuff must have room temperature IQs. 🙂

Oh yes, here is the Texas secession movement:

Ok, I actually like the Texas cities; I just wish there was a way to cut the countryside off and let them leave. Then again, you could say the same for Illinois.

Religion
Do we (humans) have immortal souls? Well, these buzz-kill scientists have some questions: how does our knowledge (what is stored in our brains) survive, since, well, such knowledge really has a physical basis? Think about it: what happens to people when they get a brain injury that doesn’t kill them? Then, how does this knowledge act with anything else?

Ok, if you roll your eyes and mutter something about “the supernatural”, what makes you sure of what you think? And again, exactly what survives? When it does survive, is it our 80 year old brain (with dementia), 40 year old brain, or 3 year old brain?

Oh heck, it is just fantasy so we can just choose, right? 🙂

May 26, 2011

## Tom Tancredo: too wingnutty for Fox News!!!!

Kudos to Fox for denouncing this.

By the way, this is what Barack Obama really said (about “fundamentally different”)

July 24, 2010

## The Science, the Silly and the Serious (20 July 2010: evening)

The silly: the Boulder City council doesn’t care if a woman gardens in her gloves and thong bottom (only) but doesn’t want you addressing the council in your underwear:

The days when a citizen could address the Boulder City Council wearing only underwear may be over.

The council will vote on new decorum rules in September, seven months after a resident stepped up to a microphone in his boxers.

The rules were already under review, but that incident led to a proposed ban on undressing during meetings. […]

But the council declined to outlaw topless females, despite complaints about a woman who gardens in a thong and gloves.

The science: what is behind the skin color in the skin that you show (excepting Rep. John Boehner)? It isn’t as easy a question to answer as you might think:

These differences among populations almost certainly represent more than one evolutionary event. First, although we don’t have fossil skin from our African hominin ancestors like Homo erectus, it’s likely that they were dark, as are African populations now. But even earlier ancestors may have been lighter. If you look at our closest relatives, chimps and gorillas, you see that their skin (at least those parts under the hair) is unpigmented. Only the exposed parts are pigmented. The ancestral color of humans, then, was probably light (but not as light as, say, Swedes) and then, as we became “naked apes,” evolved to a darker shade. (The evolution of hairlessness in our species is another matter, perhaps involving our ability to sweat.)

Then, as the presumably dark populations of humans moved into the Middle East and Europe, they evolved lighter skin color. But when those populations colonized Australia, skin color got dark again. This almost certainly happened, too, when humans moved from northern Asia across the Bering Strait and down into the Americas: those populations that reached Central and South America likely re-evolved dark pigmentation.

What were the selective pressures that caused these changes? For a long time I accepted the “classic” story that was taught in school: populations getting more sunlight evolved darker skin as protection against UV-induced melanomas and the toxic effects of too much vitamin D3, which is produced only by sunlight striking the skin. In low-light areas, skin evolved a lighter shade because we need fair amounts of vitamin D3 to build strong bones (without it, children get rickets, which is why foods like milk often have added vitamin D). Thus, dark-skinned ancestors in the tropics would have reduced vitamin D toxicity and fewer melanomas, while lighter ancestors in the temperate zones would have stronger bones. This could cause differential mortality or reproduction that would explain the differences in pigmentation.

The problem with this story is just that—it’s a story. Although this scenario sounds plausible, there wasn’t much hard evidence supporting it, at least not when I was in school. A recent paper in PNAS by Nina Jablonski and George Chaplin summarizes the latest evidence and comes to some different conclusions about the evolution of human skin color.

Surf to the link to find out what those conclusions are, and what Jerry Coyne thinks of them. Evolution isn’t easy!

The serious It sure appears that President Obama screwed up by being too eager to fire Shirley Sherrod; he fell for the heavily edited video which appeared to show her not doing her best to help a white farmer with his financial situation because of his race.

In fact, these clips were taken out of context from a longer video in which she made the point that we need to move beyond race:

July 21, 2010

## 5 June 2010 (noon)

All over the place today

Fluff: online dating sites: yep, many of those who use them are MARRIED (not: got married after using them, but using them to find dates while being married to someone else); now we have

Ashley Madison’s unique selling proposition is pairing married men with married women, counting on mutually assured destruction to do the rest. Skeptics attribute its purported growth to “bot” populations – script-generated profiles that contact and reply to members – or other slight of hand. Noel Biderman, Ashley Madison’s CEO, explains the site’s success as a function of marketing, and this sponsorship goes to further show the service’s vitality. As “…a former sports attorney who was inspired to create the site in 2001 after reading a research report that 30 percent of the people who visit singles dating sites are not single at all,” he seems to have nailed the target audience.

This vaguely reminds me of this:

Of course, this sign is, at best, misleading. Most of us have zero chance at landing someone as physically attractive as those people shown in the sign.

Gaza Flotilla Attack: Mano Singham doesn’t mince words. Yes, I think that Israel has too much influence on our government. We should be allies, but we ought to call them out when they screw up.

Other topics
Friendly atheist teaches math in high school. Here he talks about an incident in which a parent complained about his blog.

Math fail: someone thinks that a penalty of 1/6’th of his wealth is too harsh. A judge agrees, and so makes the penalty 1/5’th. The judge wasn’t being sarcastic.

Science Some day, we might be able to “import” data into the mind. If that seems strange, just think of all of the relative recent events in which a public official
“recalled” stuff that wasn’t true:
Arizona Governor
Republican candidate for Senate
Democratic candidate for Senate
Democratic candidate for President

Republican President

Ronald Reagan was an inveterate teller of anecdotes. He loved to tell people stories both about himself and others. The problem is that so many of these stories weren’t just filled with inconsistencies, many of them were outright lies. As a perfect example, consider the story that was particularly fond of telling in his later years about being part of the film crew present at the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. Now, this isn’t simply a case of mixing up facts, thinking he was one place when in reality he was at another nearby. Ronald Reagan never left the shores of America during the entirety of World War II!

Yet few people apparently ever had trouble believing his creative memory. It can only be assumed that Ronald Reagan himself must at some subconscious level have believed in the lies; if you believe them, it isn’t lying.

Yes, I’ve misremembered things and so did the late Stephen Jay Gould; in fact one of his stories was about false memories.

Economy Robert Reich predicts a double-dip recession; the middle class just doesn’t have any money to spend.

Yes, the last month’s job numbers were confounded by lots of census jobs, and private sector job growth remains stagnant (plus 40,000). Still, we are better off than we were under President Bush.

Yesterday, we had a quick drop in the stock market. A friend of mine explains why:

When James Angel wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission just over a month ago, he made a prescient point. “With so much activity driven by automated computer systems, there is a risk that something will go extremely wrong at high speed,” the associate professor of finance at Georgetown University warned the US equity market’s main regulator in a letter sent on April 30.

It took only six days for the prediction to come true.

Point counter point: Is it appropriate to build a Muslim center (with a mosque) near ground zero?

Point

Counter point

Here’s conservative hypocrite Andrew McCarthy arguing that the government should not allow an Islamic center (they keep calling it a mosque, but it’s a larger center and a mosque is only one part of it) to be built a couple blocks from the site of the 9/11 attack. He actually justifies it with a ridiculous tu quoque:

There are 2300 mosques at least in the United States, by contrast, in mecca and medina, there are not only no Christian churches, no synagogues, there are no non-Muslims, they’re closed cities. It would be a monument to intolerance on sacred ground.

He then bizarrely claims that allowing the center to be built would be an example of “Islamic supremacism” — while actively arguing that the government should allow religious groups of all kinds to own property and use them for their own purposes except for Muslims.

I have to agree with “counter point” here. Sure, I find Islam to be absurd, but then again, I find all of the major religions to be absurd. These systems only become tolerable when their adherents start using their texts symbolically (as do most educated Christians). If Muslims want to live here and obey our laws and respect freedom of speech, great! Welcome! Those who don’t should be treated the same way that Christians who don’t respect our laws or freedoms are treated (e. g., those who murder doctors).

June 5, 2010

## 18 May 2010 (noonish)

Workout notes (part II): weights:
Pull ups: 10, 10, 10, 10 (chin), 8 (chin), 5 (chin)
Rows (Smith Machine) 3 x (6 x 135); focused on keeping the upper body parallel to the floor
Dumbbell military: 7 x 50, 10 x 45, 7 x 50
Incline bench 10 x 135, 8 x 135
Pull downs: 3 x (10 x 140)
Rotator cuff
Legs: partial squats: 10 x 135 Smith machine
Leg Extensions: 10 x 25 (each leg)
Leg Curls: 10 x 90
(starting off gently for a while; gradual build up is the key)
Ab sets
yoga leg lifts (2 sets of 20)
vertical leg lifts (to 90 degrees) 2 sets of 10 hanging, 1 set of 20 supported
Twists: 2 x (12 x 130)
Crunches: 2 x (10 x 130)
Vertical crunches: 2 sets of 20

Saw Mat afterward. He didn’t recognize me in the head-stand position.

That, plus 5 miles this morning, made for a pleasant day.

Posts
Mathematical Nonsense: yes, here is a math model for marriage. Conclusion: if you don’t work at it, it will fall apart, but if too much work is required, it will fall apart. Duh.

The results of the mathematical analysis showed when both members of union are similar emotionally they have an “optimal effort policy,” which results in a happy, long-lasting relationship. The policy can break down if there is a tendency to reduce the effort because maintaining it causes discomfort, or because a lower degree of effort results in instability. Paradoxically, according to the second law model, a union everyone hopes will last forever is likely break up, a feature Rey calls the “failure paradox”.

According to the model, successful long-term relationships are those with the most tolerable gap between the amount of effort that would be regarded by the couple as optimal and the effort actually required to keep the relationship happy. The mathematical model also implies that when no effort is put in the relationship can easily deteriorate.

My take: marriage with me will work from my end if my wife has $2B^2$ That is the two B-squareds: Big Brain and a Big Butt. My wife has both. 🙂

Idiotic Math teacher: I hope that this imbecile gets fired:

The Secret Service investigated an Alabama high school teacher for using the example of shooting President Obama while teaching a geometry lesson.

The Secret Service spoke with the man, a teacher at Corner High School in Jefferson County, but decided not to arrest him.

“We did not find a credible threat,” Roy Sex­ton, of Birmingham’s Secret Service office, told the Birmingham News. “As far as the Secret Service is concerned, we looked into it, we talked to the gentleman and we have closed our investigation.”

A student in the class described the lesson: “He was talking about angles and said, ‘If you’re in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president.'”

The district superintendent told the News that the unnamed teacher will not be disciplined.

Yes, I’d say the same if it were President Bush.

Over at HuffPo (who knew?), Karl Giberson, vice president of the Templeton-funded BioLogos foundation, analyzes the reasons why intelligent design persists in America. Here are his four explanations:

ID’s coffin is far from being nailed shut. Several things are propping it open:

1) The complex designs of many natural structures that have not yet been explained by science. As long as there are ingenious devices and intricate phenomena in nature (origin of life, anyone?) that we cannot understand, there will be ID arguments.
[…]

4) The enthusiastic insistence by the New Atheists that evolution is incompatible with belief in God. Most people think more highly of their religion than their science. Imagine trying to get 100 million Americans to dress up for a science lecture every Sunday morning — and then voluntarily pay for the privilege.

Well, I did order science lectures from the Teaching Company so I guess I am part of those dismissed in 4. 🙂 But how about this: science is hard, popular explanations are necessarily incomplete and many think “if it doesn’t make sense to me it is bullshit”.

Yes, I know of non religious people who reject evolution because it doesn’t make sense to them.
I recommend reading the rest of Coyne’s article and making a comment.

Absurdities of religion
Yes, I agree that religion can give people some individual comfort and provide some sense of community, even if the people don’t accept the hocus-pocus associated with it.

For example, during my Catholic days, I remember going to a date’s house and having a talk with her and her housemate. It was one heck of a good time. Her housemate was Catholic and she was a Protestant. Anyway, when we discussed our weeks, I mentioned that I had gone to a “throat blessing” ceremony at our church; basically the priest took holy candles and made an X with them and touched your throat with the crux of the X.

My date roared with laughter; and then I started to laugh too as did her housemate. She asked me: “do you really believe that THAT helped you?” I smiled and said “I still got my flu shot”. Then I admitted that I just did the ritual just because I enjoyed the ritual.

Unfortunately, many believers accept the hocus-pocus, often with deadly consequences. Yesterday I tut-tutted one such instance in Saudi Arabia. (fire fighters let 15 young women die in a fire rather than attempt to rescue women who might not be modestly dressed.).

Well, we have such idiotic stuff here too; in this case a Nun was disciplined (ex-communicated) for making a life saving decision for a medical patient:

A Catholic nun and longtime administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was reassigned in the wake of a decision to allow a pregnancy to be ended in order to save the life of a critically ill patient.

The decision also drew a sharp rebuke from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, who indicated the woman was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action.

Sister Margaret McBride, who had been vice president of mission integration at the hospital, was on call as a member of the hospital’s ethics committee when the surgery took place, hospital officials said. She was part of a group of people, including the patient and doctors, who decided upon the course of action.

Why would anyone want to remain a part of such a morally bankrupt institution?

May 18, 2010