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  1. ddunnrn

    Free Speech, Do We Still Have It? Are We Losing It?

    Uh, critical thinking is against the Texas Repulican Party platform. See: GOP Opposes Critical Thinking: Party platform paints original ideas as a liberal conspiracy - News - The Austin Chronicle Don't expect much rationality to come from there. No wonder the brightest thing their governor ever said was "Oops!"
  2. ddunnrn

    Free Speech, Do We Still Have It? Are We Losing It?

    I prefer to discuss things in terms of observable events and reproducible evidence, instead of "memes" which are usually over-generalized and based on folklore or gossip. As for the "false pejorative invention" of the War on Gays, being gay myself, I have first hand knowledge of it. I can be fired, denied housing, services, etc. in almost every state in the country, not to mention the rest of the world. My lgbtq siblings are attacked and harassed, and even murdered in the streets, and have entire political parties putting in their platforms to deny them equality. This opposition to LGBTQ equality is almost entirely based on religion and/or scientific ignorance. I have reason for hope, though, as, at least in most of the Western World, we are beginning to turn the tide in the so called war, witness the overwhelming shift in marriage equality injust the last month.
  3. ddunnrn

    Free Speech, Do We Still Have It? Are We Losing It?

    By law, churches are forbidden from engaging in any political activity if they want to maintain their tax-exempt status, such as encouraging signing petitions, encouraging voting a specific way, etc. it's the law, no matter what your religulous viewpoint is. If a progressive church did the same things to support the opposite viewpoint, their tax-exemption should be questioned, too. Nobody has a problem with the churches expressing their beliefs, but they can't get involved in specific partisan action. As a side note, this issue, among many, serves to point out how woefully under-educated the public is about civics. The other day, People on the street were asked who Joe Biden was, and not one had the right answer. "Assistant President" was the closest one young man got. It doesn't surprise me how dysfunctional parts of our government are when the citizenry are so ignorant.
  4. ddunnrn

    Free Speech, Do We Still Have It? Are We Losing It?

    For an accurate account of the situation, see snopes.com: City of Houston Subpoenas Pastors' Sermons
  5. ddunnrn

    Free Speech, Do We Still Have It? Are We Losing It?

    As usual, Fox Propaganda has it mostly wrong. The city attorney requested the papers, sermons, etc., related to the ILLEGAL involvement of churches, which are legally recognized charitable organizations, and therefore cannot get involved in political disputes such as referendums. The mayor was not aware or involved in the subpoenas. If the churches want to maintain their tax-exempt status, per federal law, they can't get involved in politics. The city attorney's were investigating the pastors for breaking federal law, and rightly so.
  6. ddunnrn

    What is to be done about Iraq?

    Your reference to magical thinking is spot on. Most of the current conflicts in the world are based on it, in its other name--religion. "My sky fairy gave me this land, my sky daddy says you are my property if you're a woman. Look-- it's all right here in my 2000 year old book that was written by (almost) prehistoric nomads." As a secular humanist/ atheist/ whatever you call it, I prefer facts to hope, but if I did have any hope in the world, it's that people, and their stupidity, only live so long. And like I noted in a previous post, the arc of history is working for truth and justice, and not religion. I don't say this to offend the many religious folks here, but I think a fair assessment of the fruits of religiosity will show that, overall, it does more harm than good.
  7. ddunnrn

    What is to be done about Iraq?

    We entered the war on false pretenses, and spent obscene amounts of money and lives (both ours and Iraqis) to reach an inevitable result. For the people in Iraq, this was always a religious civil war, Sunni vs Shia, with the Kurds keeping themselves separate. For us it was about oil, and American "exceptionalism". Thank you, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney!:( As for myself, it reinforces the dangers of religion and other tribal behaviors (racism, anti-semitism, anti-feminism, and homophobia). My only consolation is that, in the arc of history, the way of truth and justice always wins out, as Gandhi said. I wish I could live long enough to see it.
  8. ddunnrn

    Pro Life

    My opposition to the death penalty is based on evidence. mostly because I have no religion (by the way, the bible recommends. even demands, the death penalty for lots of things we would never consider nowadays: adultery blasphemy, homosexual acts, not honoring your parents or your slave master, etc., etc.). But I digress; it is MUCH less expensive to hold someone in prisn for life than to execute them; the death penalty is not applied evenly with respect to race nad socioeconoic status. Most people don"t realize that until a very few years ago, no "white" person had ever been executed for murdering a "black" person in the 400 years of North American history. But, the best argument against capital punishment is that it illogical to do something which you cannot undo if you make a mistake. I think that many people justify their support of the death penalty because of a desire for vengeance, ratherr than justice. Mant of the people who are executed are poor, mentally challenged, and get very inadequate legal representation (investigate "The Innocence Project" for a real eye-opener!!
  9. ddunnrn

    Is having children a "right"?

    The constitution states that all rights not specifically enumerated in the constitution, nor denied by the states, reside with the people. Basically, to me that means that you have the right to do anything that isn't specifically illegal. It reminds me of the Wiccan principle "If it harm none, do as you will." Our founders spoke of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (of course they meant only for White property-owners), but I don't see how you could have any of the three without adequate healthcare. The exercising of any right also implies commensurate responsibility.
  10. Many of these secessionists are also the same folks that are for "states' rights" which is code for: we don't like how you won't let us discriminate, so we want to have our own rules, and we don't want to pay for your abortions, birth controls, and lazy 47%ers, so we are exercising our state's rights. I wonder, though, when those folks wind up in a jam in a foreign country, do they say, "I'm a citizen of Mississippi" or do they declare that they are citizens of the most powerful country the world has ever known? Seriously, if they want to leave, just remind them that the blue states spend more on the red states than vice versa. Buh-byee!
  11. ddunnrn

    How many of you will be voting early?

    Unfortunately, I live in the only state I know that has no early voting. I'm sure all of my allnurses friends know of the voter suppression shenanigans that have been going on in Pennsylvania, but I can't blame the fact that there is no early voting on the Republicans, because that has been the case even when the Dems were in control. Right now we have government-sanctioned confusion about whether certain ID's are required (they're not), but the ads on TV suggest that ID's are still required, unless you listen very carefully. The best thing about the GOP voter suppression activities is that they only work when we don't pay attention, and they warn us to be ever vigilant in the future. I'll be so glad when the election is over, and I will have to worry less about my medicare and SSD (which I paid for for 35 years) going away. No matter which way you vote, remember what our fore-parents sacrificed so we could exercise our rights!
  12. ddunnrn

    Judge halts Pa.'s tough new voter ID requirement

    I am a PA lifetime resident, so this matter is very important to me. I have been lucky enough to be solid upper middle class most of my life, and have had a drivers license since I was about 21. However it really annoys me that many Pennsylvanians assume that their peers are in circumstances where they need drivers licenses for ID. Many don't fly, have checking accounts, etc. I could go on at length, but the main point is that voting is a constitutionally guaranteed right, not a privilege. What other right requires ID before you exercise it?? Do you need ID to speak your mind, go to church! Etc.?? The circumstances surrounding this new law show clearly that it was an attempt at voter suppression--one of the GOP reps even said as much in a speech to his fellow GOP'ers the idea backfired because now the people who were its target are beginning to fight back, and in a majority of voter suppression cases in the country, the unrestricted right to vote has been upheld. I find ironic that the only significant voter fraud clearly supported by evidence was committed by a company hired by republicans to register voters.
  13. ddunnrn

    Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

    I apologize for not having read all of the thread, nor the links. Even though I am an extremely liberal democrat, I must admit that all sides share the blame for this mess we're in. Most of all, I blame the citizenry, for being so complacent and uneducated about the issues. As for the national debt, I defer to the wisdom of Suze Orman, whose motto is, in part, "People first, money second". If we have to spend a bit more to get the middle class back to work, it's worth having taxes increase a bit, and also the debt, temporarily. I view the debt like I view my credit cards--I went a bit crazy charging everything (2 unpaid wars, unpaid tax cuts for the rich, etc.), and now it's time to pay the bill. It'll be a lot easier to pay off if I can make a decent wage, and everyone in the family chips in. I don't understand why any business that makes a profit should get a tax break or subsidy. It is also historical fact that our economy was most robust when the upper tax rates were the highest
  14. As a gay atheist male, I am unlikely to ever be directly involved in any direct decisions about abortions. I think that, if I were able to get pregnant, it would be unlikely I would have an abortion. Nobody makes such a decision lightly. My problem with the current state views on this issue in this country is that one group is trying to enforce their ideas on the other group. We can never decide whether a fertilized egg is a person, because that decision is entirely subjective. Personally, I'd go with our Constitution, which refers to persons "born" as having rights. I don't think the sponsors of these so-called "personhood" amendments have thought of all of the ramifications--no more in vitro fertilization, 'cause you can't have people living in petri dishes or freezers; is a miscarriage deductible as a child on your taxes?; can a pregnant mother get a restraining order on a zygote for assault or stalking?; does a fetus get a social security number? I say let each woman decide what is best for herself, with whatever counsel she chooses, and let the govt. and extraneous religious folks mind their collective businesses.
  15. ddunnrn

    Partisan vetting

    I hardly know where to begin!! First, you cite a website known for racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic rantings. I agree with you partially that the Dems accept money from many of the same folks that the GOP does. However, so far, the Dems have not ginned up false "grass roots" groups like the Tea Parties, who are themselves racist, and generally anti-intellectual. My own personal reason for supporting the Dems and the President, are that they support me--if the republicans get their way, they will destroy Medicare, which is currently keeping me alive. They will also destroy social security, which I contributed to for 35 years, and now find as my major means of support while I am on disability for chronic kidney disease. Of course, these programs are not perfect, but they are necessary. How can you support the steady pillaging of the middle class to support tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy?? There are so many differences between the Dems and the GOP, that this forum is inadequate to discuss them all. I think the one difference which will really be the undoing of the USA is the Right's leaning towards theocracy and away from science: deny global warming because god said he wouldn't destroy he earth that way; deny many scientific advances because they disagree with the "Bible". Finally, Obama could never even be close to matching RMoney's flip flops. For reproductive freedom, then against it, for gay rights, then against it, for universal healthcare, then against it. Not to mention that he can't figure out whether he is for equal pat for women, or for the president's immigration order, until his handlers and keepers in the party, along with polls, tell him what to say. Why, also, does he say nothing about his failed governorship in Massachusetts? I'd rather have a successful Harvard professor and community organizer as prez, than a failed governor and repeated failure at running for different offices. I guess we'll all have an answer in November.