Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Message to Bernie's Delegates

Summary of this evening's conference call with national delegates from Bernie:

1. He has endorsed HRC at this time following her agreement to strongly pursue a health care public option and free public college for families earning less than $125,000/year (83% of Americans), and doubling expenditures on community health centers.

2. He is not suspending his campaign before the convention.

3. He needs every delegate to be at the convention because there may yet be floor fights over disempowerment of superdelegates, and support for open primaries -- two issues on which we should be able to garner HRC delegate support and win.

4. There will be a roll call vote, to show the world that the Political Revolution is real, has made substantial inroads, and will continue in all 50 states at all levels of government.

5. He will remain a symbol of the Political Revolution and has undertaken no discussions with the Clinton campaign about any Administration post for himself. He will campaign hard to defeat Trump and to elect progressives throughout the country. Within a year he wants us to be able to very strongly support at least 100 progressive candidates.

6. He does not believe the rumors that there will be challenges to Sanders delegates' credentials, and will have a team of lawyers present to ensure that every Sanders delegate is seated.

7. We must fight hard to prevent TPP from reaching a vote in the lame duck Congress.

8. On two major platform issues, we lost: (1) statement on Middle East was too weak [did not condemn the Occupation or declare illegal Israeli settlements an impediment to peace -- jkh]; (2) no Medicare for all. On a third -- TPP -- the specific agreement was not condemned but language of criteria for acceptable trade agreements supported by ALl-CIO that if enacted, would defeat TPP, was adopted.

9. A historic plank calling for abolition of the death penalty was adopted. Also, the most progressive plank relating to Native American rights ever.

10. His campaign is a success because it succeeded in igniting a political revolution that will continue and grow. In state primaries, we captured a majority of voters under age 45.

We need to get all delegates to the convention, please go to adoptaberniedelegate.com.

Thank you Craig for providing the information.

Monday, February 8, 2016

#FeelTheBern and #AdnanSyed

All my free time has been devoted to Bernie Sanders and the Freeing Adnan Syed. I hope to have a post up in the next day or so and to regularly post going forward. In the meantime listen to http://undisclosed-podcast.com and https://audioboom.com/channel/the-serial-dynasty for the full details.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Mandate for LEOs to procure Personal Liability Insurance

What we need is a federal law mandating that all law enforcement officers nationwide be required to procure their own liability insurance policy before they are allowed to patrol the streets. That way after an insurance company pays out a claim, like in the Walter Scott case in North Charleston, South Carolina, following an illegal police assault or murder the insurance company will deem the officer uninsurable. Hopefully thereby ending his career with any other nationwide law enforcement agency. This would save taxpayers money as well because the insurance company gets stuck paying the out of court settlement and not the innocent taxpayers.

Sign here

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pell Grants = Welfare???

The GOP never ceases to amaze me. Today on HuffPost I read where Rep. Denny Rehlberg (R-Mont.) is claiming Pell Grants are the 21st Century's version of welfare. Let's be honest here, the fact is Republicans do not want people to get an education, plain and simple. If the masses are educated then they are more than likely not going to be Republicans. Therefore, Republicans are against education because they are afraid of losing their base.

The article goes on to prove how hypocritical the GOP's stance is, yet again. They were against Obama when he was wanting to tighten eligibility for students at for-profit schools (where the chance of graduating and/or having a career is slim to none), but now when the shoe is on the other foot they want to limit the grants awarded. The GOP never makes any sense, logically anyway. They do make sense if all you care about is corporations and the wealthy getting richer and the everyday man getting zip, zilch, notta!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ethical Secularists

I read the following today and thank David Niose for his post. This was a question we discussed at length during my Philosophy of Ethics class last semester. I was lucky to have a very open minded Professor who understood one does not need to be religious to be ethical. In fact, as David Niose points out in many cases it is the opposite and secular individuals are the ones who often exceed the religious in acts of kindness and charity.

Misinformation and facts about secularism and religion
Even smart people perpetuate untruths about atheism and religion

Unfortunately, in his recent post, "Do we need religion to be ethical?" Thomas Plante, PhD, makes statements that perpetuate common misinformation with regard to religion and secularism. While I doubt that Plante intended the comments to be disparaging toward secular individuals, they most certainly are. In fact, considering that the statements come from an educated man and not some uniformed member of the general public, they are especially troubling.

Plante casually claims that religious people are "better citizens" and "behave better." And without citing any sources, he tells us: "Research has consistently found that religious people are less likely to engage in criminal behavior, marital infidelity, alcoholism, unprotected sexual activity. . ."

In other words, according to Plante, if you're not religious you might be a good person, but on average you are more likely to have these undesirable characteristics. This is a bold assertion that, of course, immediately puts secular individuals on the defensive. (Just imagine if the same claims were made against any other minority group.) It is precisely claims like these that lead to many Americans having an unfavorable view of atheistFortunately for atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists, there is no factual basis for Plante's claim that "research has consistently found" secular individuals to be more prone to such antisocial behavior. Consider, for example, a March 2009 academic article in Sociology Compass that extensively researched the subjects raised by Plante. The article, by Phil Zuckerman of Pitzer College, is entitled "Atheism, Secularity, and Well-Being: How the Findings of Social Science Counter Negative Stereotypes and Assumptions" and, unlike Plante's article, it cites detailed studies of the areas in question.

Zuckerman analyzed a wide array of data comparing religious nations to less religious nations and also, interestingly, religious states within the United States (i.e. "Bible-belt" states) to less religious states. While I encourage readers to examine the article directly through the link above, here are just a few of the highlights:

Criminal Behavior:

Citing four different studies, Zuckerman states: "Murder rates are actually lower in more secular nations and higher in more religious nations where belief in God is widespread." He also states: "Of the top 50 safest cities in the world, nearly all are in relatively non-religious countries."

Within the United States, we see the same pattern: Citing census data, he writes: "And within America, the states with the highest murder rates tend to be the highly religious, such as Louisiana and Alabama, but the states with the lowest murder rates tend to be the among the least religious in the country, such as Vermont and Oregon."

And these findings are not limited to murder rates, as rates of all violent crime tend to be higher in "religious" states. Zuckerman also points out that atheists are very much under-represented in the American prison population (only 0.2%).

Marriage and Family:

Zuckerman cites a 1999 Barna study that finds that atheists and agnostics actually have lower divorce rates than religious Americans.

He also cites another study, in Canada, that found conservative Christian women experienced higher rates of domestic violence than non-affiliated women.

Unprotected Sex:

As for Plante's claim that studies have "consistently " found that religious people are less likely to engage in unprotected sex, that claim is directly refuted by a 2009 study that found the reverse - teens who make religion-inspired "virginity pledges" are not only just as likely as their non-pledging peers to engage in premarital sex, but more likely to engage in unprotected sex.

Other Findings of Interest:

Happiness: The most secular nations in the world report the highest levels of happiness among their population.

Altruism: Secular nations such as those in Scandinavia donate the most money and supportive aid, per capita, to poorer nations. Zuckerman also reports that two studies show that, during the Holocaust, "the more secular people were, the more likely they were to rescue and help persecuted Jews."

Outlooks and Values: Zuckerman, citing numerous studies, shows that atheists and agnostics, when compared to religious people, are actually less likely to be nationalistic, racist, anti-Semitic, dogmatic, ethnocentric, and authoritarian. Secularism also correlates to higher education levels. Atheists and other secular people are also much more likely to support women's rights and gender equality, as well as gay and lesbian rights. Religious individuals are more likely to support government use of torture.

Of course, studies can be cherry-picked to present religiosity in a better light than above, and the point of this article is not to prove the moral superiority of secularism. Nevertheless, whatever Plante wishes to cite, it is impossible to claim that studies "consistently" support his claims of positive social outcomes correlating to religion. To the contrary, the weight of most data seems to indicate that religiosity is a poor indicator of social health or personal virtue.

To Plante's credit, he acknowledges that religion is not necessary for ethical behavior. Still, the thrust of his message attempts to make a case for religion (and implicitly critical of secularism) that simply isn't supported by facts. Most secular individuals would not argue with him when he asserts that religion might help some to be good, and even when he argues that religious institutions can sometimes help toward that end, but such claims do nothing to justify the perpetuation of plain falsehoods regarding atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists, falsehoods that in turn perpetuate prejudice against them.

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Cartoon credit: atheistcartoons.com

Monday, March 14, 2011

“English-Only” in Texas? | The Moderate Voice

I love this article. As you all know I am about as liberal as one can get, but I do believe that English should be our "official" language. However, I do agree with the article that correct English is a lost art form.

“English-Only” in Texas? | The Moderate Voice