Warden Henry Brubaker has seen Wakefield Prison as it is, from the inside. He initially entered Wakefield incognito, as an inmate, sufficiently schooled in its practices and usages not to be caught like an unaware first-timer. He comes forward after an incident with an enraged death-row prisoner and proceeds to attempt to do something the prison board never expected: to actually reform the prison.
His efforts meet resistance from all quarters. The prisoners figure he’s…
Yesterday evening, while waiting in the car for my stepdaughter as she did some shopping, I was listening to our local NPR station. The show was: “Q, with Jian Ghomeshi,” and one of his guests was one John S. Dickerson, pastor of the Cornerstone Church in Tempe, AZ and author of the book, The Great Evangelical Recession. It would appear as though some evangelicals have recognized that their numbers are dwindling and that their title “evangelical” has been besmirched by, among…Continue
A long time ago, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention put together a track entitled: “It Can’t Happen Here.” Exactly what it was or is that can’t happen here is never particularly mentioned in the song, but ol’ Frank seems to be adamant that whatever “it” is, it ain’t coming down around here (wherever “here” is) ... or maybe it is.
It was a long but productive week I spent in Dallas. Helping bring a system up, teaching a…
It was just one more article from the Huffington Post about Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang, and the fact that no god was necessary to make the whole business happen. I’ve probably seen dozens of such articles over the past four or five years and watched him discuss the matter with people like Larry King. Same stuff, different day,…Continue
Pardon me if I keep this short and sweet. Roger Ebert left an impression on me from the time I first saw Sneak Previews on WTTW-11, Chicago Public Television. I found a near-instant affinity for his style and candor in how he reviewed movies. I was not always in agreement with his point of view, notably on one of my faves: Gladiator, but I still wanted to know what he thought about a movie. There was hardly a time when a review of his was disappointing or failed in…Continue
It should be news to no one that North Korea has been upping the rhetoric in the past few weeks regarding its relationship (if you can call it that) with its neighbor to the south as well as with the United States. Its new leader, Kim Jong Un, has been making increasingly belligerent war noises, starting with the launch of a three-stage rocket in December of 2012, followed by a test of a nuclear device in February of this year. More recently North Korea severed all “hotline” communications…Continue
I wrote the following back in April of 2005, not long after the election of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. I wasn't quite a fully-blown atheist back then, but I was bordering on atheism as I looked at the RC church and the issues it was confronting then. I was well aware of the festering child abuse scandal and the church's poor response to it, as well as other issues related to their absolutist point of view. I look at now and read what I wrote then and can't help but note that…Continue
I thought about posting this video as I would most other videos I like, but having watched it, I think it deserves a bit more attention.
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, speaks to the FreeOK2012 convention on what his organization has been about, what it is doing now, and a vision for the future of atheism in the United States.
Dave gets fired up in this video (truth be told, I think he's ALWAYS fired up!), and he has every reason to be fired up. Atheism is…
I have just finished watching a wonderfully done yet singularly disturbing piece: the HBO documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. In it, writer/director Alex Gibney exposes the depravity of the catholic church regarding sexual child abuse by priests, particularly but not exclusively in its defense of one Father Lawrence Murphy, who had a two-decade history of such abuse at the St. John’s School for Deaf Children near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
There is no way…
It seems that there is a lot of fuss being made in the atheist community regarding an apparent sub-culture known as "Atheism-Plus." I've noted a few pieces here and there on Atheist Nexus regarding it, though I don't know as any particular consensus has emerged out of A|N on the topic. I DO know how I feel about it, and a few weeks ago, I shared my point of view on Reason Being's blog, to wit:
My personal evolution to atheism was a long and slow one, probably starting with the…
In my last blog, I found myself focusing on the issue of an atheist "movement" and wondered whether such a movement would have to be bloodied in order to gain any ground against the theistic majority which holds de facto control in the culture of the United States.
Courtesy of Real Time with Bill Maher and a quote referred to by his guest, Rula Jebreal, I may not have gotten a hard answer, but an indicator of the thoughts of at least one person who has…
While listening to Barack Obama’s second inaugural address this afternoon, I was struck by his mention of pivotal moments in past campaigns for rights for those who, before those campaigns took shape, were not the equal beneficiaries of the rights outlined in the US Constitution. He mentioned Seneca Falls, which before this day I did not know was the locus for a convention in 1848 which focused on issues surrounding women’s rights and the seed for their right to vote movement in the US. …Continue
Bill Maher is a funny guy, though sometimes what he has us laughing at is as frightening upon further examination as it was comical on first impression. Organized religion is exactly just such a facet of human life. We can laugh at the ideas of a sky daddy and dust-men and rib-women for a while, but when people who seriously and devotedly believe in those and other fallacies attempt to superimpose their belief on an entire population, using government as the mechanism, the topic stops…Continue
First of all, I want to direct your attention to Dennis Kelley's piece, "Wow. just...wow" (thanks, Dennis!). That is what has inspired me to write the following email to Congresswomen Marcia Fudge and Senator Sherrod Brown:
I want to draw your attention to the following video:
Said treasure is at a fellow-traveler's site: Atheist Republic. Therein I have found a gallery of pictures with quotes which are truly FABULOUS. They include quotes I have not encountered before, direct and powerful quotes which I am sopping up the way a dry sponge absorbs water. Consider the following:…
I was nosing about CBS News this morning, checking out coverage about the Newtown incident and other stories when I came upon the following. Something to keep in mind: this 60 Minutes story was produced in March of 2000.
I'm beginning to wonder how many times we're going to have refer to the following quote before people are going to truly listen:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat…Continue
You tell me I must believe in your god.
Why should I believe in something which doesn’t show itself? Why should I believe in a myth which violates the laws of physics, which insists not just on the improbable but the impossible and that which has been proven wrong? Why should I believe something which was written by men who hadn’t the learning or intelligence my daughter had when she entered first grade? Why should their ignorance carry more…
Over the past several years, I have been attempting to garner external interest in my abilities and knowledge of a specific type of test equipment, used in the semiconductor industry. I've been out of work for not quite four years, and it would be nice to leverage those skills to make a buck or two. Over the past couple of weeks, it is beginning to look as though my patience and perseverance are finally going to pay off. In simple terms, I GOT A GIG!
So ... in…
Okay, before we go any further, let’s ask ourselves a couple questions here. First of all, just who are these protesters who have gone off the chain about a cobbled-up YouTube film/trailer/whatever it is? Does anyone here think their average household has a personal computer? Maybe they’re subscribed to FaceBook or have a Twitter account? Do you suppose their kids watch Justin Bieber videos on YouTube when they’re not doing their homework? Could I get any more absurd here without…Continue
I was browsing CNN.com's home page when I found a link: Conventions turn atheists off. Considering my interest in the Democratic convention at least, plus my awareness of the whole fooforaw about the god-language in the Democratic platform, I decided to have a look ... and five paragraphs down, I just about dropped my…Continue