Iowa Bible Reading Fun

This article about Iowans reading Bibles at government buildings is absolutely hilarious. First of all, I find it astonishing to think that anybody could truly read the Bible and still say, with a straight face, that they find it to be inspirational or beautiful or about “just love, mercy and grace”. If that is all you take away from the Bible, then I’m sorry…you didn’t read the fucking Bible. I don’t care what you claim. Go back to page one and start over. Read it straight through. Don’t just cherry-pick the passages your preacher told you to read. Both the message and the writing are truly horrific. Not to mention how mind-numbingly boooooooring the damn thing is!

I love how the guy in the video is reading Genesis. That could not be a more perfect example of what “reading the Bible” means to most people. I assume he got through the creation story (which violates physics, chemistry, and basically every other discipline of science) and then wanted to claw his own eyes out because he realized how stupid the book is. I don’t know, maybe he made it all the way to the begats. But if he did, I’m certain he then made it look like he had to pee super bad and ran away.

I honestly couldn’t care less where people choose to read their Bibles. I would find it annoying to have somebody near me reading out loud but hell, I would find that annoying if they were reading the fucking Lord of the Rings and I love those books!

I do have to wonder, though, if the people reading the Bible out loud in the Capitol have gotten to this verse yet:

Matthew 6:6 New International Version (NIV)

6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Eh, whatever. As long as all they do is read their Bible in public, I don’t care. Just don’t try to make our government be “biblical”. I’ve already addressed that.

And Still…Climate Change

Climate change is a topic I have covered ad nauseam here. I found it completely absurd years ago that we were even still having this debate and now the United States of America has gone and elected a fuckwit science denier to the highest post in the land.

I truly do feel like having nearly 100% of climate scientists agree on a topic should be enough. But silly me, there I go giving conservatives orders of magnitude more credit than they deserve.

Have a look at this page. Scroll down a bit to the chart listing the 16 warmest years on record. Notice anything? Anything at all? Specifically take a look at that “Year” column. Now do you notice anything? How about the fact that 15 of those 16 years all start with “2”? And the only other one was two years before years started with “2”.

Let that truly sink in for just a moment. Except for the year 2000 itself, every single year of this new millennium is essentially in the hottest “however many years it’s been since 2000” list. And all indications point to the fact that 2016 will top 2015.

I mean, that almost makes it seem like the globe is getting…warmer. But at least Fuckwit the Orange will soon be taking control. That should really get things back on fucking track.

The Return

Well…it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. The last time I wrote anything for Empty Beer Bottles was in May of 2015 when my son was battling cancer. In short, he unfortunately lost that battle a few months later, so posting here became a very low priority.

Recently, though, I’ve realized that I’ve missed it. So I decided to try clearing away the cobwebs, loading up the snark cannon, and taking aim at any worthy targets. I sure hope I can think of some!

Welcome back, me.

Cancer? No Worries. God Will Fix That.

On December 31, 2014, my fourteen-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Since that day, as one would expect, I have received many variations of the prayer sentiment. “I’m praying for you”, or “Your family is in our prayers”, or “Our whole church is praying for your son”. Now, even being very firmly in the atheist camp, I can recognize that sentiment for what it is. I realize that it is the person’s mechanism for attempting to say something encouraging in the face of something so awful. So when it happens, I smile and I sincerely tell the person, “Thank you. I really appreciate that”.

But then the prayer sentiment can go a step further. And that’s when my hackles start to get up. In this form, the sentiment has been something like, “You need to remember, God works miracles”, or “You should come to church”, or “You really need to turn things over to the Lord”. Do you see the difference? In the first set, the person is telling me that something is being done on our behalf. It doesn’t matter two shits if I happen to think that praying for my son does exactly as much good as eating a jelly bean for my son. That person is still simply expressing a nice sentiment. In the second set, the implication is that I need to change my behavior. And this is because the person talking to me can simply not fathom how anybody could know peace and learn to accept the situation without believing in the same invisible sky-man in which he or she believes.

This leads me to feel that it is at least worth discussing the fact that my lack of belief in any sort of god is every bit as sincere as your belief in Yahweh and Jesus. And just like you wouldn’t appreciate me coming to you in a time of stress and desperation telling you how much better your life would be if you would just stop with all of your ridiculous, bullshit beliefs, I don’t appreciate you coming to me and telling me that I need to change mine. I understand that many Christians in this country have never been adequately exposed to the notion that there are other ways of thinking, so I’m here to help with that.

Let’s start off with the easy part. I know you feel what you feel and you feel that everybody needs to feel what you feel. But here’s the thing…if you want to tell me that your god can perform a miracle and cure my son, then I see that as equivalent to a thief stealing my stuff but then finding it in his heart to give the stuff back. So, I guess…thanks for giving it back? But still…fuck you to begin with! I would have been much happier if you just hadn’t stolen my shit in the first place! Asshole. In other words, even if there is a god, I see no reason to praise him for undoing what he allowed to happen to begin with. So if that’s what you’ve got, then I say your god is an asshole who is unworthy of adulation even if he does exist.

But what can it hurt to put my faith in the Lord to help my child? Do you mean putting my faith in the hate-filled, genocidal phychopath told about in disjointed tales in a geriatric storybook and his zombie kid who gets pissed off at fig trees? I don’t know. Should we compare the track records of faith healing sects to those of science-based medicine? Because I have news for you, when you use science-based medicine and also still pray…<whisper>It isn’t your sky-wizard who makes things better</whisper>.

But now let’s move beyond the ridiculousness of me putting faith in a book that I find to be, literally, no different than The Iliad or The Odyssey (except nowhere near as good). Now let’s get to you telling me I should. Why? Why do you feel like you need to do that? As I said before, I’m not yammering on to you about the obvious benefits of not believing in a sky-man. For instance, when I found out my son had cancer, I didn’t have to reconcile that horrible fact with my belief in some “all-loving” god. I didn’t have to waste time and emotion jumping through hoops trying to figure out what sky-man meant by that. I didn’t have to resent sky-man.

I realize I’m telling you that now. But I would never have the gall to say something like that when you were at your wit’s end trying to figure out how to get your kid through cancer. So tell me, Christian who insists you know what I need better than I do…why don’t you have the same respect for me?

Legitimate Rape

I think Rep. Todd Akin is an inspiration. With one answer to one question about whether or not he would like all abortion banned, even in the case of rape, he gave idiots everywhere hope.

It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.

With that statement, Mr. Akin showed us that if you ever feel inadequate, all you have to do is look to him and remember that even if you think you are a gigantic dumbass, you can at least still get elected to Congress in the United States of America.

The fact that in his mind he can somehow distinguish between “legitimate” rape and apparently illegitimate rape is bad enough. But that part about the female body being able to “shut that whole thing down”? What…the…fuck? This guy is on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology? Is that a fucking joke?

The fact that this lowest common denominator is responsible for making decisions that affect us all is inexcusable. Not only should he drop out of the Senate race he’s in, but he should also resign his House seat. At the very least, his ass should be thrown off that committee.

The Economy Runs on an Eight-Year Lag

Something just occurred to me. A canard I used to hear from conservatives all the time in the late 90s/early 2000s (and, for that matter, used to throw around myself) was that the economy runs on an “eight-year lag”. I never really stopped to think about it back then. I guess it seemed to make enough sense. Any policies that were enacted would of course take time to have any real effect so I thought it seemed reasonable that it would take many years to truly see the benefits or drawbacks.

But I don’t really hear that anymore. Once it popped into my head that it had been a long time since I’d heard that one thrown around, I thought about it for a second and then just had to laugh. That was obviously a bullet point to bring up in order to give Reagan credit for the economy of the 90s. It certainly couldn’t have been Clinton! Must be that there’s a lag or something! Praise still be to Reagan!

How long ago was eight years back from today? Oh that’s right. It was directly in the middle of George 2’s presidency. Which means that old bit of “logic” would pin the blame for this enormous pile of shit we have right now solely on Dubya. And we can’t have that now, can we? We need to blame the Kenyan socialist.

Is Climate Change Really Still a Debate?

I’m totally shocked by this. July 2012 is the hottest month in the U.S. since records started being kept (if that link doesn’t work, you should be able to use the drop-downs to get to July 2012). Given that most of us in the U.S. spent July trying to dry our asses from the pools of our own sweat we were endlessly sitting in, that may not be much of a surprise.

Now, I want to be clear on something here…I am not trying to imply that because July 2012 was so hot, that it is proof of global warming. If I were to do that, I would sound as absolutely brain-dead as Sean Hannity does when he tries to say that snow in December disproves  global warming. Just in case you didn’t know how I felt, Sean Hannity is a fuckwit.

No, friends, the July 2012 stats don’t mean much to me. You know what does, though? Look over to the right. Click on that “Climate Change” category right there and see how many of these little tidbits I’ve thrown up over the past few years. You see, climate is not weather. It is not something that you measure right now! It is long-term trends. And even though this silly little blog hasn’t been around for very long…it’s been displaying a pretty consistent trend.

So, with that in mind, the number that I actually do find interesting right now is the fact that August 2011 – July 2012 is the hottest 12-month period the United States has seen in recorded history. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that even that stretch, on its own, is enough to put this debate to bed. But it hasn’t been just that stretch. This trend has been going on for a really long time now. In fact, give a good look at that graph from the link. It shows that the 13 warmest 12-month periods in recorded U.S. history have all occurred since 1999.* But I’m sure that’s just a hoax, right?

Come on people. Can we please stop the ridiculous denial and just shift the discussion over to how to proceed given the obvious evidence?

 

*Yes, I realize there were cold spells in there, too. But again, with climate, we’re looking at overall trends.

My Brief Summary of the U.S. Health Care Debate

Teabagger: ‘Merica has the BEST helth car sistum in the WORLD! WOO! Jesus and guns! WOO!

Non-teabagger: Actually, if you look at the raw statistics, our health care system stacks up pretty poorly compared to other industrialized nations. We pay a lot more yet are substantially less healthy as a nation.

Teabagger: NO! It’s the BEST! Screw Canada! We have two many peeple not taking PERSONAL ACOWNTABILITY!

First Lady: That’s actually a very good point. We could all probably stand to exercise a bit more and mix in a carrot stick now and then. That way, we will be less of a burden on the health care system.

Teabagger: You SOCIALIST bitch! Get you’re godam HANDS of my SUPER-SIZE Happy Meel!

Non-teabaggers: {gaping-mouth stare of disbelief}

Teabagger: Hey, the State Fare’s starting! WOO! Bacon-wrapped corn dogs and fried butter! WOO!

It’s possible that I am over-using a couple stereotypes there. But I don’t care because son of a bitch it’s fun to do that! The point I am trying to make by using gross over-simplifications of the two sides is that, contrary to what the far right likes to think, we do, in fact, live in a society. We don’t live in isolated silos in which our actions affect only ourselves. Acknowledging the fact that you live in a society does not make you a socialist. It makes you reasonable.

People, our health care system sucks. If you think it doesn’t, then you haven’t been a victim of it. If that’s the case, congratulations. I hope it continues that way for you. But just because it hasn’t sucked for you, doesn’t mean it’s good.

I’m not claiming to know what the actual answer would be, if there is one. What I do know is that our system sucked before. And then came “Obamacare” and it still sucks. We went from a pile of shit to a different pile of shit because we have politicians who don’t actually give a shit.

But if you think we can continue to try treating health care the way we treat widgets in a capitalist economy, I think you’re misguided. Health care does not fall into the free-market economy the way Coke vs. Pepsi does. It’s infrastructure. Why do I say that? Because we don’t let people die if we can help it. And if you would rather live in a country that does let people die just because they can’t prove up front they can pay for it, I’m not even really sure how to have a conversation with you.