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The Morning Grumpy – 2/8/2012

Filed under: Morning Grumpy

All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

 

1. If you live under a rock, you might not have heard that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned California’s Proposition 8, which established a ban on marriage equality. Here’s a link to the full text of the decision and the money quote found in it:

“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples,” U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote. “The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

The Mormon and Christian terrorists lose, the Fourteenth Amendment wins.

2. The good news keeps rolling in on the economy. Gallup demonstrates that Americans’ confidence in the economy rose for the fifth straight month, small-business owners are more optimistic about hiring now than at any time in the past four years – all on the heels of the best six-month job gain since August 2005.

3. It’s also pretty good news for corporate titans.

Thanks in part to federal tax breaks, corporations paid out just 12.1 percent of their 2011 profits in taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That’s well below the country’s top marginal corporate tax rate of 35 percent — and as The Wall Street Journal notes, it’s the lowest percentage corporations have paid since 1972. During the two previous decades, a period that included the economic prosperity of the 1990s and the housing boom of the George W. Bush administration, corporations were paying an average percentage almost twice as high.

Imagine what would happen if we didn’t have a god-damned socialist in the White House!

4. The last American taboo, atheism.

America is the well-known exception to the rule that the wealthier and better-educated a country is, the less religious its population. As a Pew Research Center report put it, when it comes to religiosity, “the US is closer to considerably less developed nations, such as India, Brazil and Lebanon than to other western nations.”

As leading American public atheist Sam Harris sums it up, being a member of the godless club is “basically the worst thing you can be in terms of having a political life, incurring the judgment of strangers”. A Gallup poll last year showed that, while 9 per cent of Americans would not vote for a Jewish presidential candidate, 22 per cent wouldn’t support a Mormon and 32 per cent would not vote for a gay or lesbian candidate, 49 per cent would refuse to back an atheist for president.

Would you vote for an atheist? If the answer is no, did you vote for horse porn enthusiast, philanderer, catholic, and misogynist Carl Paladino in the last NY Gubernatorial election? Why one and not the other?

5. In Michele Bachmann’s Congressional district, evangelicals have created an extremely anti-gay climate. After a rash of suicides, the kids are fighting back.

For years, the area has also bred a deep strain of religious conservatism. At churches like First Baptist Church of Anoka, parishioners believe that homosexuality is a form of mental illness caused by family dysfunction, childhood trauma and exposure to pornography – a perversion curable through intensive therapy. It’s a point of view shared by their congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has called homosexuality a form of “sexual dysfunction” that amounts to “personal enslavement.”

And she wanted to be my President.
 
6. If you missed last night’s episode of Frontline dealing with the Haditha “massacre” in Iraq, you need to watch it online. Revealing, fascinating, troubling and disturbing all in one.
 
“A U.S. Marine and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb in Haditha,” read a U.S. military press release in November 2005. Four months later, Time magazine would report that it was U.S. Marines — not a roadside bomb — who were responsible for the deaths of unarmed Iraqi civilians. Soon after, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) would claim the Marines killed the Iraqis “in cold blood,” igniting a media firestormwhich labeled Haditha a “massacre” and one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq war. But what really happened that day reveals a far more complex story that gets to the heart of the war troops are fighting.

 
A well-balanced approach to an incredibly controversial story.

Fact Of The Day: In 1946, the United States offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100,000,000, but Denmark refused.

Quote Of The Day: “We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Looney Tune Of The Day: “Sheep Ahoy” – Ralph Wolf and Sam The Sheepdog

Song Of The Day: “Five On The Five” – The Raconteurs (Warning: Turn Down Your Speakers)

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chrissmithbuffalo[@]gmail.com


  • King Kong

    When it comes to the atheism issue, I am a Christian and I have and will vote for atheist candidates for any local office up to congress and Governor. That being said, I don’t know if I could trust an atheist to have their finger on the trigger, it’s about accountability, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t but I’m not sure. I would vote for someone of any faith for President, including an agnostic, but I don’t know if I could vote for an atheist.

    • Hmm, what do you mean by accountability? I could make a good case that it’s not safe to trust someone with nuclear authority who believes that the afterlife is eternal and exponentially better than the reality of our world. What incentive does that person have to NOT blow shit up? They’re going to heaven above, damn it!

      Atheists who believe life ends upon death, would be more inclined to preserve life on Earth as it is their only time.

  • King Kong

    I also voted for Cuomo.

  • Jim

    Because not everyone goes to heaven, Chris. It’s a reward, not a right. Most go to hell. ESPECIALLY the ones who ‘blow shit up’.

    As far as atheists being more inclined to preserve life on earth, Lenin, Mao and others of similar ilk did a fine job of that, what?

  • Bbill

    Jim, does Heaven get Fox News?

  • The argument is flawed to begin with as it conflates morality and ethics with religion. They are not one and the same.

  • Kevin

    @Jim It’s sad how many people (like you) blame the crimes of Mao, Stalin, and Hitler on atheism. These were utterly dogmatic political ideologies that were so infested with bogus beliefs that they might as well be called a religion. These nationalism-based personality cults were generally set up to worship their dear leader, and enabled horrible atrocities to be committed. Exactly which of these societies suffered because they came too reasonable? Which society you mentioned became too reliant of solid evidence and solid argument? The hitler comparison is completely bogus, as he doesn’t even appear to be an atheist. He regularly invoked Jesus in his speeches, and the Nazi garb featured christian imagery.

    @King Kong There is a great deal of confusion over the difference between agnosticism and atheism, and it does immense harm. I imagine that you believe an atheist KNOWS there is no god; however, this is untrue. Anyone pretending to know who/what created the universe is making stuff up… it’s a dogmatic belief, and because an atheist’s main objective is to eliminate dogmatism, this type of assertion is generally rejected by the atheist community. The key difference between atheism and agnosticism is this: an atheist does not believe that any of the truth claims made by organized religion, such as jesus was born of a virgin, have any evidence for them and therefore can’t be taken seriously. An agnostic–while I believe is just a kind word for an atheist– would probably state that it’s possibly true that Jesus was born of a virgin. There is barely any daylight between the two worldviews, as an atheist would immediately change positions if Jesus did in fact come down to earth and show us all some of his magical skills.

  • “Because not everyone goes to heaven, Chris. It’s a reward, not a right. Most go to hell.”

    How can any of us possibly know for sure what the percentage is of those heaven-bound vs. hell-bound? Christians don’t even agree on the criteria. Some sects of Christianity believe in pre-destination, others that you have to earn your way in. Some think thoughts are enough, some think they need to be backed up by deeds, some think being gay or committing suicide is a one-way ticket to the Lake of Fire, others disagree. How can we know where ‘most people’ end up?

    Personally, I hate the quadrennial Jesus-off that candidates are obliged to participate in. It’s as bad as those local candidates who mail you slick campaign lit with glossy photos of them with their wives, children and dogs. Their stances on the issues are what makes me vote for them, not the adorableness of their offspring, the attractiveness of their wives, or whatever they do or fail to do on Sunday mornings.

  • Kevin

    “Personally, I hate the quadrennial Jesus-off that candidates are obliged to participate in. It’s as bad as those local candidates who mail you slick campaign lit with glossy photos of them with their wives, children and dogs. Their stances on the issues are what makes me vote for them, not the adorableness of their offspring, the attractiveness of their wives, or whatever they do or fail to do on Sunday mornings.”

    Unbelievably well said Kate.

  • Because not everyone goes to heaven, Chris. It’s a reward, not a right. Most go to hell.

    Any God who runs a universe where his own moral rules and management thereof compels him to damn the majority of his flock to eternal damnation is a God who has some seriously misplaced priorities, and is unlikely to be worthy of worship in the first place.

  • Whatever points an atheist candidate would lose in my book, would be quickly gained back for his or her honesty and courage. I would prefer an atheist candidate to the average “Christian” candidate, who talks about being a Christian constantly while acting in ways that would likely make Jesus puke. At least the atheist wouldn’t directly affect the reputation of me or my church.

  • I don’t understand, why should an athiest candidate be respected for their honesty and courage?

    Admittedly, most candidates have little of either… but that’s a separate point.

  • Ian

    Who’s to say an atheist elected as President would be honest and courageous?

  • They wouldn’t necessarily be honest and courageous in every way. But sharing their atheism, in this political climate, would be an act of honesty and courage. The safe thing to do would be to pretend to be religious and/or keep quiet. Plenty of candidates do exactly that.

  • Irwin Mainway

    That Frontline includes little seen VIDEO of the massacred families. Just sickening. ‘Sickening’ is a gross understatement.
    A video crew happened to be in the town proper. 60 investigators assigned with the result – exactly one demotion and a small fine.

    Weenie ultra politically correct progressive radio hosts – I would not be in the least surprised if they at least wished for OPTION 4, so the kids would ‘understand’ the angst of the ‘differently sexed’.

  • The difference, as I see it, is that while a lot of people say one thing and do another as regards their religion, I never hear or see that as regards their irreligion.

    I suppose it’s good to praise honesty, but I simply can’t imagine an atheist pretending not to be one- how would that even be possible?