Oct 31, 2011

How small are we?

My mind is drifting again. It happens more and more as I get older. I'm not high. I'm not drunk. It's drifting all on its own. This happens whether I welcome it or not, so I've learned to just go with it.

I'm another one of those who likes to sit outside and look up at the night sky. I love to look at the stars and try to think about how far away and how very huge they really are. Scientists tell me that many of these stars are sometimes thousands and thousands of times the size of our Sun. And even it could hold a million of our planets within it.

So, how tiny is our world? How tiny are we?

I look up at those stars, so many times larger than our Sun, and even being so unimaginably huge, they're so far away, they appear to be smaller than well-lit specks of dust showing themselves in a sunbeam on a bright morning through a window.

So, how tiny are we?

This perception of something so big, seeming so small, is merely the way it looks from my perspective, sitting on my back porch. Imagining how small we are from a galactic perspective takes us down to smaller than a bacterium, in relation. And here I sit on my back porch.

How tiny are we? How tiny, indeed?

As if considering our size in relation to the galaxy were bad enough, imagine how small our entire world is in comparison to the group of nearby galaxies, then compared to the Universe. In comparison to the whole of the Cosmos, we'd make that aforementioned dust speck seem impossibly colossal in comparison. In relation to the whole of the Universe, our world is smaller than any bacteria. We're smaller than a molecule. We're smaller than an atom. Perhaps, in comparison to our Universe, we might compete with something on the quantum level. But I'd also wager we may yet only be some sort of a particle within that quantum structure– in comparison.

Perhaps, in the much grander scheme of things, the entirety of our known Universe is also but an atom, in some other unimaginably vast plane of existence. We could be a component of a cell in some other living thing, perhaps some part of some giant creature's ass. Perhaps we're just a part of more dark matter itself, a bubble of space gas somewhere, serving no definite purpose at all.

How tiny are we, and yet here I sit considering it. And how very, very vain of us to believe in some creator having made us, just to worship him.

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Oct 30, 2011

Oct 29, 2011

Sharing: What does the Internet weigh?

One email weighs about 2/10,000th of a quadrillionth of an ounce. There's a good start. Enjoy this video.

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Tired of excessive bank fees? Here's an option.

I was once like you. I found myself tired of the treatment by local banks in regards to the different fees, as well as how snotty a few tellers could be when I had questions. It struck me as odd how a customer could be spoken to in such a condescending tone of voice, on so many occasions.

I was also more than a bit annoyed how, if my account didn't have enough money in it to cover a transaction, they'd let it go through, only to catch me with an overdraft fee of $30 plus. Admittedly, those instances were my fault for not keeping better track of my own money, still, why did they keep letting them go through? Obviously, because the overdraft/insufficient funds fees they charged are all profit for them.

I don't believe in trying to insist a bank change their policies just because I wasn't keeping track of my own funds correctly. I'm a firm believer in taking my business elsewhere, if I'm not happy. But all banks were ever so glad to let an overdraft transaction occur. Of course they were. It's where a big chunk of their earnings came from. I understand. I just really hated how all banks were the same about it. There seemed to be no bank which would decline a transaction for insufficient funds which didn't also charge a fee for that, too. Then, along came the Internet, and with it, some real competition.

Not only does the bank I use now not play that silly game of letting me hose myself by spending more than I have, they don't charge any fee other than their standard $9.95 per month – flat. No overdraft fees. No insufficient funds charges. No hidden fees. Plain and simple.

If I do happen to use an ATM which isn't part of their network, there is a fee for doing so, and it's based on what the owner of that terminal sets. But that's easily avoided by doing cash back with merchants, instead. At least I get something for what I spend to do cash back that way. AccountNow not only treats me better than any other bank I've ever used, their employees are actually courteous and friendly. That's always a nice treat.

Not only these things, but if you do give AccountNow a try, they'll send you a $10 bonus with the first funding of your account. (Wait until you see what they offer for setting up direct deposit.) You can do that with direct deposit, PayPal and even one of those “GreenDot” cards. Very user-friendly. You won't even go through a ChexSystems screening. They're also major sponsors of this blog. If you're not happy with your current banking relationship, I hope you give them a try.

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Oct 28, 2011

Anti-Semitism, Socialism and Delusion Within the Occupy Movement

My view of the Occupy Bowel Movement

| Does my sub-title give it away too soon? Will those who come to this page even bother to read further? Or, will they respond in the comments to the title alone? I ask this because, from what I've seen so far, these Occupy protesters seem to only be able to see the surface of things in life - appearances - and lack the capacity to find the devil-in-the-details of anything. Don't get me wrong, I support the right to protest. I do it myself, all the time. I just disagree with the reasons behind the protests, as of late.

When I see young folks in their Che Guevara t-shirts, I want to ask them if he is the only mass murderer they adore, or have they also come to passionately worship Ted Bundy too? Maybe John Wayne Gacy is more their flavor. Would Pol Pot register as a hero to them? Or might they at least take the time to do a Yahoo search on the name first? Who knows, really?

All this bunch has to do is have their ears tickled and their emotions stimulated, and poof goes the critical thinking and desire for analysis. No need for real thought when feelings are so strong. Real thought is hard work, after all. That's why so few do it, according to Henry Ford.

On the topic of the obvious anti-semitism (For the occupiers, that means "hatred of Jews," simply put) displayed in this example and also this one right here, all I can really say is shame on all of them for that. Have the Jewish people not been through enough already? How can anyone with such a deep and pervasive delusion as racism (of any flavor) ever be reached?

I encountered this same mentality (or lack thereof) when I was caught up in the "9/11 Truther Movement," and I'm just glad I escaped the cult. I hope at least some other folks can find their way back out too. I'm grateful to everyone who ever challenged my delusion, and for a father who taught me the courage to be honest, even if only with myself.

Let's also look at the demands for Socialism from the people at these Occupy protests. There is a fundamental difference between free-market Capitalism and crony Capitalism of America's central banking system (There's four words that should never be used together). At least some of the original Occupy protesters primary statement was a stand against the busybody nature of government interfering with free-market Capitalism, for the sake of protecting their pet boot-lickers, and other business quislings, from natural competition in a free market.

Those ideas are ones which I still support. But then once the news began paying attention to the crowd, along come the Socialists, Communists and union thugs, to change the message from its original theme to one of absurdity the very moment they saw an opportunity for free media coverage.

Look. I don't really expect anyone in the MTV generation to believe me about how terrible Socialism is. How about hearing from someone who has lived under it? (Language warning for the easily offended) The protesters might be deceived into thinking they'll all get an "equal piece of the pie," but all they'll be doing is feeding the parasitic leaders, who will dominate every aspect of their lives. These are the very same sorts of people, who have brought about the problems the protesters claim to be concerned with, in the first place.

If someone wants to give away every single value in their lives to others, that's their right. But to even attempt to have everyone else forced to do so as well, through gun-backed laws (which really means "under a death threat") is blatantly immoral. Perhaps Socialism is the refuge of the lazy, the bitter, the ignorant, and the confused, after all.

Originally published on Yahoo.

Oct 27, 2011

Oct 26, 2011

Google+ is Already Being Ruined by Multi-Level-Marketing Scams

It didn't take long for what I knew wouldn't be any surprise. In fact, I was waiting for it any day now. They have arrived – the Multi-Level-Marketing fraudsters on Google+. I'm not saying Google is pulling anything. It's those suckers who have some “Wonderful New Exciting Business Opportunity Never Seen Before All Over Again,” bullsh*t to push.

These folks all but ruined MySpace. They've added significantly to the annoyance factor on Facebook. Now, before it even really takes off, they're waiting like hungry vultures on Google+ already. Dammit. People like these folks who head these rip-off operations make a mockery of real business and they murder dreams for those who would like to build their own financial freedom.

Before I get too far into this post, I want to point out that I'm not anti-business. I'm anti-scam. Having been burned more times than I can count with false promises and pie-in-the-sky garbage, all for a paltry monthly fee, I was really hoping to just avoid these morons. Please go peddle your crap somewhere else besides Google+.

To be clear: When it comes to folks working with a legitimate business,I'm cool with that. One of my friends makes her own all-natural lotions and soaps. She's welcome. I do support small business. I even support big business. If you're hoping to promote your website, I'm all yours. If you're just wanting to spread the word letting folks know you've some ad-space for sell in your on-or-offline publication, then be my guest. My wall/home-page/circle is yours.

But those of you in Amway, Melaleuca, Herbalife or any other of the hundreds and hundreds of parasite con artist businesses out there, I don't care if your MLM vitamins, lotions or potions are supposed to be the niftiest thing since the discovery of cheese and wine. It doesn't matter to me if your 1000-level-payout-double-helix-forced-binary-matrix online advertising “business” is ran by an expert team of industry experts (translation: Ballsy con artists from Russia) who've been around since before the Internet was even a glimmer in DARPA's eye.

Your name is not “I've Been Paid Twice Already.” Nor is it “The Amazing Tripler.” If all you're about is your so-called “income opportunity,” and you don't even have the good sense or the decency to at least use a human name – hell a dog name would be better – please, please, please just go straight to hell. Don't add me to your circles on Google+. I didn't welcome your junk on MySpace. I've vehemently reported you for spam on Facebook. You're not going to enjoy any more progress with me on Google+, @$$holes. I will be the worst prospect you've ever come across. Also, dear readers, feel free to share your story of how you've been burned by rip-offs.
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Oct 25, 2011

States Have Priorities Other Than Selling Booze; The Argument for Privatization

COMMENTARY | Here in America, where a free market and Capitalism has resulted in an unprecedented level of prosperity for even the poorest among us compared to the rest of the world, a debate rages in multiple states over whether liquor stores should be ran by private businesses or the government. In a press release issued today by Teamster's General President James P Hoffa, a specious charge is laid of how Washington State getting out of the liquor business will do more harm than good. Ultimately, the issue of liquor store privatization isn't really about liquor, but about smarter uses of government resources.

Alcohol should be regulated, sure. That's reasonable. It's dangerous stuff.

And, as pointed out by the YES on 1183 Coalition, concerned parents can rest assured knowing that Washington's Proposition 1183 doubles the fines for selling alcohol to minors. No business is interested in losing that kind of money. There are other advantages to liquor store privatization. Among these benefits is the one-time influx of cash into financially-burdened state and local governments. Others include a percentage of the liquor sales ensuring continued revenue for the state. And, for those teetotalers who are offended by the very sight of alcohol, Proposition 1183 has built-in restrictions requiring hard liquor to only be sold in retail businesses which meet certain size requirements, thereby preventing liquor from being sold by just any retailer.

Pennsylvania is also considering the option of liquor store privatization.

All the way East across the continent, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is also in a heated debate on the topic. This isn't the first time it has come up, either. Former Governors Dick Thornburgh (1979 to 1987) and Tom Ridge (1995 to 2001) also dealt with the same battle during their terms. Last March Governor Tom Corbett was quoted as saying "Government should no more run the liquor stores than it should run pharmacies and gas stations. This isn't about the money. It's about the principle." For those who will claim privatization will lead to underage drinking, even while liquor stores are ran by the state, Pennsylvania ranks in the middle of the pack as it is. So it would seem to be a moot point, within the big picture. If state control were truly a determining factor in preventing underage drinking, the Commonwealth should be somewhere in the top three positions.

How has liquor store privatization worked for other states?

That's a fair question. To answer it, let's look at the results in the State of West Virginia. In a state which finally recognizes the value of abandoning outdated, 148-year-old Puritan ideals, tax revenues have increased along with the immediate increase in immediate revenues from investors. The state even enjoys the revenue from cross-border sales to Virginians tired of the hum-drum ABC stores of Virginia. With the increase in sales enjoyed by businesses, those businesses earn more profit, which means more capacity to hire and certainly more tax revenues for the state. Come visit me on DonPennington.info.

Three good reasons to fear no evil

Just because I cannot reconcile my understanding of the world around me with a belief in any sort of a deity, it doesn't mean I deny the existence of evil. What I see as evil might not be things like particular words or what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms, but I certainly see evil in those actions which cause unnecessary harm to others. Evil exists in a variety of forms, and even with no God to point the way, walking knee-deep in its flood is perhaps the most natural thing in life.

Both we non-believers and believers alike must deal with the various forms of evil. Whether a person responds to it by turning inward and praying or whether a person responds by turning inward and rationalizing, the net result is the same. It's still there. The existence of evil by the hands of others is one of those immutable facts of life. Denial will not make it go away and it feeds on our fear.

There are three reasons I will not live my life in fear of the harm some might wish on others. There may be more, but for now, I'm only able to identify these three. Maybe, just maybe, one of them could prove key in helping a reader cope with something they're going through. I sure hope so. That person – whomever they are – is the reason I share this today.

Reason number one to fear no evil: I give as good as I get, maybe better. I'm not a big guy, compared to what most consider big guys. I try not to be loud. I try not to impose on others. So, win or lose, anyone who tries to hurt me, mine or anyone in my company will – at the very least – be left with a scar they can brag about later. I won't lie and claim to have won every challenge in my life. I've lost plenty of encounters (physical or otherwise) but no enemy has ever forgotten me.

Reason number two to fear no evil: I could be wrong. In cases where dealing with a harmful person isn't so much a case of a direct conflict, it could be nothing more than a case of different perspectives. I used to think my ex was evil. I now realize hers was a case of someone doing what they felt they had to do. I used to use the figure-of-speech in that sometimes what appears to be a demon is just an angel with a job to do. For example; a burglar might “think” of the police as the enemy. But all of the rest of society knows the cops are just protecting lives and property. In this case, it's the burglar who would be wise to seek a new line of work. Having done so, he may find those officers to be some great allies. (This is merely for illustrative purposes. I'm neither a burglar nor a cop. Please keep the rumors to yourself.)

Reason number three to fear no evil: Evil people eat their own. This is my primary reason for living my life boldly, even in the face of the most vicious and unnecessarily harmful. Ultimately, even in cases where I might lose a challenge and even in those cases where it's not so much a matter of perspective, evil eventually destroys itself. The burglar has to, at some point, transport their loot in a suspicious manner and the law-of-averages will eventually catch up to them with an officer on patrol. Perhaps they'll break into the home of a well-armed and protective homeowner.

Those in power who would oppress their subjects eventually accumulate too many enemies. Liars and false accusers over-speak their case, eventually giving away a key detail and trip themselves up. Murderers live with the memories of their victims. This list could go on forever. One day, in some way and at the most inconvenient time, evil people do themselves in. I may not get to witness it myself, but I know it happens this way. I've seen it happen enough times to take confidence in my walk through this world. I hope you do too.
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Oct 23, 2011

Before we go celebrating Obama's 'Big Success' in Iraq

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy as heck to hear our troops are finally, after nine long years, getting to come home. But the way the end of activities in Iraq are presented, it's as if some in the media want us to all think it's some kind of a rabbit President Obama managed to pull out of his ass. Not quite.

In a non-American news source we all know and love as “The Guardian” it's reported the real reason our troops finally get to come home is merely the Iraqis no longer want us there. It seems we've done a good enough of a job, and now the Iraqi government wants to do it on their own.

It's not so much that Obama even “did” anything, not even as a ploy to get re-elected. It's just a simple matter of our time there is over. Nothing more.

We'll still keep an embassy presence in Baghdad, and the required troops to make that work. But sadly for our current president, this one isn't really so much a “feather in his cap.” I'm glad they all get to come home, really. I'm one of those who feels perhaps we've been there a little too long as it is. And knowing all those families will be reunited fills me with joy. But this isn't one Obama gets credit for from anyone other than the incredibly gullible.

He'll try though. All politicians do. We should've never been there in the first place. I'd like to see an American politician admit to that.
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Well there goes any hope for women's rights in Libya

Please see the update at the bottom of this entry. Well now, Gadhafi's dead and Libya's free, eh? Think again! In a report from Yahoo News, it's revealed the foundation of new legislation in the country is...wait for it...Sharia Law! The very idea of freedom has effectively been thrown out the window already.

This has to be a record somewhere. Gadhafi was killed just a few days back, and already the entire nation is heading for a future of female genital mutilation, honor killings, women being stoned to death for the “crime” of being a rape victim and denied an education. The speed at which Libya has denied themselves a chance at real peace, prosperity or even something so basic as liberty is amazing.

In the above-referenced news topic it reads “The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil set out a vision for the post-Gadhafi future with an Islamist tint, saying that Islamic Sharia law would be the 'basic source' of legislation in the country and that existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified. In a gesture that showed his own piety, he urged Libyans not to express their joy by firing in the air, but rather to chant 'Allahu Akbar,' or God is Great. He then stepped aside and knelt to offer a brief prayer of thanks.” Wow! You can lead a nation to opportunity, but you can't make them think. What a waste.

I suppose folks just can't find the courage within themselves to live their lives without having to rely on superstition, mythology and fairy tales. Sadly, it will be the women and children of a very rich nation who will pay the price for the intellectual laziness of their leaders. It's a sad day when people behave in such a way to lead folks like me to believe Glenn Beck might have been correct after all.

UPDATE! According to the following video, we Americans had the wrong idea about Libya under Gadhafi. We've heard all sorts of horrible things over the years, but check out the following video:

His death may be even worse than I thought. F*ck Islamofascism.
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Responding to Pastor Mark Driscoll; Methinks he doth protest too much

If you're easily offended, go away now. I'm going to speak on a topic which is a bit “adult” in nature, and frankly, I've no time to respond to idiocy. With that being said...

Dear Pastor Mark Driscoll.

I read with some interest the article titled “Christian Right Wing Pastor Mark Driscoll Says Masturbation Is Form Of Homosexuality” by Stephen D. Foster posted on October 19th, 2011. In the article, it's alleged you said that, for men anyway, masturbation is a form of homosexuality.

You're quoted as having said: “First, masturbation can be a form of homosexuality because it is a sexual act that does not involve a woman. If a man were to masturbate while engaged in other forms of sexual intimacy with his wife then he would not be doing so in a homosexual way. However, any man who does so without his wife in the room is bordering on homosexual activity, particularly if he’s watching himself in a mirror and being turned on by his own male body.”

Wow! Just...WOW! Perhaps you sir, are the guy who's masturbating to a mirror, and not fantasizing about some memory of a sexual experience you've had with a woman. If you are, that's okay. Heck guy, a few of my friends are gay and it's really not my business. So, if you are gay, I'm cool with it.

But to make such a sweeping statement about all men, that's just plain, old-fashioned idiotic. Each time I've ever masturbated in my life, it's involved a fantasy of a woman or two. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but an idiotic remark like yours is kind of begging for a response. I know there'll be a few readers who go and scrub their eyes with bleach to get the image out of their head. But, there it is.

I do believe the term is “projection,” when you ascribe to the world around you, those qualities you find within yourself. Again, if you're turned on by your own body, or if you're fantasizing about other men, I'm not judging you. Your sexuality is absolutely none of my business. What does concern me, however, is your teaching illogical, ridiculous garbage like this to other people – especially the youth within your church. How many young people who look up to you as a guide and a role model are now incorrectly confused about their own sexuality, because of your thoughtless words?

I'm shocked that you are so ignorant of life and it's details, you would make such a statement to your followers, just to keep them “guilty” enough, in order to keep the tithes coming in. Is it a degree in theology which gives you such amazing insight? Or, did you just hallucinate the discussion of the topic with the voices in your head?

Or, perhaps, you're hoping to persuade every young male you can that, they too are at least as gay as you for having masturbated? Every male does the deed. Any one of them who states otherwise is lying, and both you and I know that to be true. So I can't help but think you're hoping more young men will be easier to confuse and exploit and you can enjoy a bit of a meat-fest before you're outed by the membership of your church. I'm inclined to believe every single guy in your church wondered the same thing the day you said what you did.

I personally don't believe homosexuality is a “choice” in 100% of the cases. We're wired how we're wired. But perhaps you're hoping to cast a net for new prospects as a gay man, yourself? I can only hope you're not after the underage guys within your congregation. I could care less what you and other consenting adults in your church do. Just leave the kids alone, Mr Driscoll. And I also hope you someday find the courage to be honest about your true nature. Good luck with that.
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So, exactly when has Mitt Romney been the front-runner? Comments please

I've been following the 2012 election campaign about as close as any other American in the general public. I'm struck by something. Although former Governor Mitt Romney has only won 4 (maybe 5 depending on perspective) out of the 33 straw polls held thus far, the media references him as the “front-runner.” This is odd to me.

On the other hand, I'm seeing two other candidates who seem to be somewhat mopping the floor with Mitt Romney's well-styled hairdo. The first is a guy who seems to come from out of nowhere and claims to espouse a “business-minded” style of managing government. His name is Herman Cain. With 12 straw poll wins under his belt, Cain still faces the challenge of his 9-9-9 plan. Even if you buy his 9.99 special, there are many misgivings among the ever-increasingly Libertarian party-influenced non-Democrats in the “right wing” voting segment of society.

Cain's recent pandering to the religious segment of society is sounding quite a lot like bigotry. (Gay people aren't seeking “gay rights.” They're interested in their “individual rights,” just like anyone else would be – regardless of religious beliefs.) Also, with an ever-increasing segment of society coming out into the light and declaring themselves as atheist or agnostic, the idea of another candidate who wants to inflict their god on the rest of America just seems so...Dominionist. We do not need an American Taliban.

Then there's the Congressman from Texas, Dr. Ron Paul. This is his third shot at the presidency. In spite of a State-influenced media working so hard at “ignoring” someone who they try to claim is irrelevant, he sure does seem to have a knack for garnering contributions, volunteers and passion in his supporters. Ron Paul is promoting a platform which consists of/includes elimination of the I.R.S. As well as the Federal Reserve, a return to basic Constitutional principles and a non-interventionist foreign policy. With 11 solid straw poll wins, one in debate from Arizona (supporters say the online votes should be counted too, giving the doctor a sweeping win), and another in dispute since CNN doesn't seem to want to include him as one of the options, Dr Ron Paul is showing quite well too.

I'd even go so far as to say these three men are running neck and neck. But in now way is Mitt Romney showing as the clear “front-runner” as is so often touted by the main stream press. I just don't see it, and that's not personal bias. It's just the numbers. His supporters may come along to this post and start in with their “but,” and “well I” and I still just can't see where Mitt Romney is the clear front-runner.

Besides, Paul's latest straw poll victory was in Ohio at an incredible 53% of the votes. How many times has it been said the presidency often comes down to who wins Ohio? Paul has an appealing quality of being a sincere, down-to-Earth, non-psychopath – unlike most other candidates. He's business-friendly (something which really upsets American Communists). And, he's no lawyer. For all of the talking heads who try to claim his being irrelevant, he sure was re-elected a lot of times from his district. So, he's also very experienced with how the U.S. Federal Government works.

Okay. That's enough of my horn-tooting for the good doctor. Back to the point, right? Can any of my readers please try to show me where Mitt Romney is actually the front-runner in anything? I'm willing to hear you out with an open mind. I promise to publish comments, even if you show me wrong. I'm not afraid to be wrong, when I am. Mitt Romney isn't the front-runner of Jack Squat.

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Oct 22, 2011

Five things you should know about atheists from one non-believer's point-of-view

Over the years I've seen a lot of statements made by the religious of society about atheism. With the advent of social networking bringing people closer together world-wide, now seems a good time to explain a few things about which there are many baseless assumptions. Admittedly, my position on this topic can only be written from my limited, human, individual perspective. Later in life, I may very well find myself to be completely wrong, but I doubt it. I'd love to hear from my readers. Comments are welcome. Attacks will be laughed at.

We atheists are individuals, just like you. We don't all agree. One of the most pervasive assumptions I see made about we non-believers is that we're all Communists or Socialists. While it may be true of some of us, it's also true that there have been a good number of Christian and/or Muslim and/or Jewish and/or Hindu Socialists and/or Communists. A person's political belief system may be tied in with their religious beliefs/non-beliefs somewhat, but it's not always the case. Adolf Hitler embraced Christianity. His Nazi army even had belt-buckles with the slogan “Gott mit uns” emblazoned on them. Would you consider him a good person, based solely upon his religious beliefs?

To expect all individuals within any demographic to be the same is just silly and ignorant. I used to assume that all believers fit into specific categories in other aspects of life too, and fell for the “no true Scotsman” argument like so many others. But fortunately, I came to learn there are good and bad people within any group in life. Assuming that all atheists want a totalitarian government is like saying all white people have blue eyes – it's obviously not true. Like the joke says: “Blanket statements never work.”

Most of us are not anti-church. I love the idea of a stronger community. It just so happens to be what keeps us alive as a species. To know that groups of people, otherwise unrelated, get together and share time with one another – well – that's just wonderful! I also like the good things people do for one another within churches. I even have a favorite church myself!

They saved my life once, and they didn't use guilt or brainwashing or threats of fire and brimstone for eternity to do it, either. I've seen – first hand - the good things people can do for one another and churches do serve a purpose of being a “central clearinghouse” for such activities. They can, anyway. Unfortunately far too many churches express a doctrine of fear, ignorance and hate. It's those things which we non-believers (and a good number of believers) can't stand. I also do not think religious people are necessarily stupid. I just believe they're mistaken.

We do good too. I've seen the accusation that atheists are not charitable. That's simply not true. Just to name a couple of charities based on something other than a hope for reward in the after-life, we have this list from a friend. Just because we don't share the same dogma doesn't mean we don't feel empathy. Love is just as biological as the need for food.

Most of us recognize there are still a lot of mysteries about the universe. Here's where I'm most likely to catch crap from my fellow non-believers. I believe in the existence of life on other planets. I also believe there are certain forms of energy which we as humans do not quite understand yet, and they warrant study. No, I don't believe there is any sort of invisible sky-pimp ready to pop people into a place of eternal torment for not sprinkling goat blood in the middle of the temple floor. But I do believe that ancient peoples would sometimes use the term "God" or “the spirit realm” as an analogy to try and answer some of the other mysteries of life within their very limited scope of knowledge.

If you doubt whether we humans have any sort of as-yet-to-be-understood qualities try this. The next time you're sitting behind a stranger (at the library or a restaurant or wherever) stare at the back of their head. Keep staring. Focus on them. Shortly, you'll see them start scratching the back of their head, they'll begin looking around and eventually, they turn to make eye-contact with you. As a control, only do this with someone sitting by themselves, as to eliminate the possibility of a companion telling them “Hey, that fat guy sitting behind you is staring at you.”

We also have yet to fully understand intuition, and then there's that ability we all have to “sense” whether someone can be trusted, after nothing more than the first handshake and eye contact. Do I think this is anything “metaphysical?” No. Do I think it's anything “spiritual,” (as in the religious use of the word)? No. I do, however believe there are many, many wonderful and amazing things about being a living creature we have yet to understand fully. That's the beautiful thing about science, though. We welcome mysteries as something to be solved. As we learn more and realize we were wrong previously, the knowledge base is updated.

Most of us know more about your religion(s) than most of you do. I'm not saying this as any sort of in-your-face type of insult. There's a study supporting my claim. Last September 28, 2010, the Pew Research Center reported that out of all categories of belief systems, atheists and agnostics got more correct answers out of the 32 questions posed in a survey about religion. It makes sense, actually. If more people would just stop listening to what folks tell them about their religion and actually read their religious texts they'd likely see the documents as the invention of primitive, Iron Age nomads that they are. Then, we can get on with the business of treating each other properly. I know it was a thorough, cover-to-cover reading of the King James bible which finally helped me to choose to not believe in anything not verifiable.

Oct 21, 2011

Baby Lisa Irwin: Police behavior is bizarre - Video

CRIME COMMENTARY | Little 10-month-old Lisa Irwin is on the minds of Americans everywhere lately. We'd all like to keep the hope for this little tyke making it home safe and sound to her parents, but so far, no luck in the search. While some of us point out how strange her story sounds, stranger things have happened before and unless investigators find something concrete which belies a baby's murder, I'm still hoping the parents aren't killers.

Even stranger than Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin's story of how their child came up missing is the behavior of investigators, at least to this blogger. After reading the story here, from ABC News, there seems to be a good number of questions remaining for those of us following the story. Those questions aren't directed towards the parents, but rather, law enforcement. This isn't meant to give the police a hard time whatsoever. I'm sure this scene is as emotionally draining for them as it is for those of us following along.

In the report, police are quoted as having noticed "(a) garden area with portions of dirt having an appearance of being recently disturbed or overturned." Why, oh why have they not dug the spot up? If they're really suspicious of foul play, then leave no stone unturned. In noticing this “recently disturbed or overturned” spot in the garden, did the cadaver dogs show any interest? If not, then why mention it? Are police trying the couple in the media?

Police are also repeatedly pointing out Ms. Bradley's “inconsistent story.” Why keep hammering on that point? Jeez. They were talking to the police and probably scared of being seen as “bad parents” for her having been drunk after putting the baby to bed. No crime to have “grown-up time” after the kids are asleep. Besides, anyone who's ever had the misfortune to talk to police knows how high-pressure and ridiculous cops can be. They watch cop shows and really believe what they hear about going on “gut instinct.” Officers, please remember, “gut instinct” is crap and you're not psychic.

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Finally, as readers will learn in the video above, a total of three eye-witnesses in two different scenarios report seeing a similarly-described man carrying a baby in the early morning hours the night the bay came up missing. These witnesses are from multiple households and each description is strikingly similar enough to one another. While police say they've followed up on those accounts, their focus seems to stay on the parents being persons of interest. How about investigating these claims thoroughly, officers? One of these accounts is from a family living just three houses down from the Irwin/Bradley residence. The eye-witness account closest to the home is also the earliest in the time-line of events that morning. Odds are good there's no conspiracy to shield baby killers here. We may all still be reeling from the shock of Casey Anthony, but let's try finding the baby first.

I'd love to hear my readers thoughts on the case.

Come visit me on DonPennington.info.

Oct 20, 2011

And you thought Solyndra was bad? Ha! Hold on to your dentures folks! Wait until you hear about Fisker!

Just when you thought the US Government couldn't screw up any worse than the shady deals involving the sham company Solyndra and their $535 million dollar “loan,” along comes an ABC news report which has me hoping Harold Camping might be right about tomorrow being the end of the world. Damitall.

A little-known company named Fisker was approved for $529 million dollars in loans from the US Department of Energy to manufacture reasonably-priced electric cars two years back. According to the ABC report, when the loan was originally announced by Vice President Joe Biden, it was lauded as “a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs.” (Now, there was our first hint is was absolute bullshit. It came out of Joe Biden's mouth.)

Sounds great, huh? Sure does. Just one little problem. The manufacturer is outsourcing all those manufacturing jobs to Finland. Finland - After all the smoke blown up or collective asses about these types of programs stimulating American jobs! I do not want to see how deeply we will bleed if any more of Obama's hopey-dopey-changey comes to life!

Fans of conscious thought and rational, objective honesty might also find it interesting to learn, the company is also backed by a venture capital firm involving...wait for it...Al Gore.

Al Gore's name comes up in so many shady, underhanded and dirty operations, I'm beginning to believe he's an operative for some other country. I don't even bother calling him “former Vice President” and I don't care who finds that offensive. (Stock tip: Ask Al Gore what he would invest in, and then do exactly the opposite!)

So, all of those jobs promised by our current administration – all fueled by tax dollars of course – turn out to be smoke and mirrors again as yet hundreds of millions of dollars more are diverted out of America. Obama's lackeys and mindless supporters can squeak “racism” all they like for my saying it, but Obama has siphoned more money out of the U.S. in just his first term than I ever imagined existing in one place. (Admittedly, that speaks to my ignorance of American economics, but can't folks see just how blatantly destructive all of these slobs in D.C. are?) We're being robbed blind, left and right, and nobody speaks up because it's not “politically correct” to criticize a “black-ish man.”

Well, I'm calling bullshit! You might “think” this administration has the country's best interests at heart. And I might think I can squeeze a polka-dotted elephant out of my butt. I'm no Republican. I might even be more liberal than anyone who ever reads this. But that does NOT mean I have to be blind!

We the people have been robbed yet again and I do not give a damn if anyone finds me “disthresthpecthful” for saying it. I owe no loyalty to anyone who seeks to do me harm. Could some politician lackey in D.C. puh-lease strap a pair of plastic balls on long enough to begin the impeachment process, before my grand-kids end up being born into a third-world country? Screw seeing his birth certificate! I wanna see his fangs pulled before he sucks any more life-blood out of our country.

Come visit me on DonPennington.info.

Oct 15, 2011

Religious Bigotry Raises Its Ugly Head Again

FIRST PERSON | For the life of me, I just don't understand the reasoning behind insisting on inflicting my own personal beliefs on everyone else around me. But, then again, I am an atheist. In spite of what readers may hear from the media and from the pulpit-of-their-choice, I'm not out to wreck your religion. I'm just one of millions who wants to live my life in peace. I simply have no need for a God. Life itself is fascinating as it is.

Mankind has lived with one form of mass religion or another over the centuries and we've finally reached a point wherein we non-believers are not burned at the stake just for questioning the church. Still, we find ourselves chastised by Conservatives on TheBlaze.com for doing nothing more than demanding secular government and real science being taught in our tax-funded schools.

At the end of the above-referenced article, the author asks "Will a growing list of non-believers attempt to influence elections here in America as well? While Christianity is still somewhat of a litmus test here in the U.S., there's no telling what the future holds as secularists continue to grow in both numbers and boldness." Sorry, Mr Hallowell. Article 6 of our Constitution prohibits a religious test for those seeking office, and that's the point. We are not a theocracy.

Some of us in this world find it terribly unjust to live under the thumb of someone else's religious dogma. We are the ones disgusted by a politician's pandering to the religious of society in order to score votes. Sadly, in the minds of many, the biggest crime committed by we secularists and humanists is doubting the claims made by those referencing some sort of divine authority. Here in America, we've had thousands and thousands of political leaders who claim to be acting under some sort of religious authority - all the while selling out their fellow countrymen time and again for their own political aspirations. Evil is as evil does, my friends.

We atheists are just as flawed, human, and likely to screw up as any other person is. So, why the problem with someone running for office, based on their religious beliefs or lack thereof? Does the God who demanded 9/11 be committed have any good answers? No. Does the Almighty who told the Pope to shelter pedophiles have any solutions? Not likely. So, let's try hiring our elected officials based on what they can do for the country, and not because they pretend to hear some spiritual voices. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic. My sponsors only ask 5 seconds of your time first, and then, speak your mind!

Come visit me on DonPennington.info.

Scott Dekraai: Can we learn anything from the tragedy?

The news came in about 41-year-old Scott Dekraai killing his ex-wife and seven others in the town of Seal Beach, California on October 12th, 2011. Dekraai entered the Salon Meritage and opened fire. When he was done, a total of six women and two men were dead and one critically wounded. It's the kind of story which proves to me, I made the right choice in my own divorce.

Divorce is a nasty, ugly business, especially when there are kids involved. Custody battles get vicious and it seems the only individuals profiting through all of the pain are the divorce attorneys. In this report the points are shared of Dekraai suffering from bi-polar disorder as well as PTSD from an accident at work which took the life of a co-worker. But there are lots of people dealing with mental illness, going through divorce and just altogether screwed up. These points alone do not usually drive someone to kill.

While the world mourns this terrible event, might we also ask ourselves if this was avoidable? Sure, hind-sight is 20/20. We always seem to come up with the relevant facts afterward, huh? I'm not talking about gun control. California already has the strictest gun laws in America and that did not stop Scott Dekraai. And no bumpkins need to scream for the death penalty. California has that too. None of these facts stopped a needless killing.

I'm not defending Dekraai killing anyone. To take up arms and kill another human being for any reason other than defense against an imminent threat is one of the most heinous acts anyone can perform. I'm not even going to suggest Ms. Fournier deserved this kind of death. Even if she did, her co-workers – those others in Salon Meritage, they did not. I'm just taking the non-emotional, unpopular, politically incorrect position of saying there's more to this than meets the eye. There always is. Reporters can only take one position on a story. So, there's no way anyone can cover all angles.

Near the end of the article there's one paragraph which speaks to a little of Dekraai's side of the story. It reads: “Dekraai said in court documents that his ex-wife had poor parenting skills and a drinking problem. She called him several times a day, Dekraai said, often screaming at him over the phone and in front of their son. He said she addressed him by an expletive instead of his name and made racist references to his current wife.” I'm just not convinced the late Michelle Fournier was so sweet and innocent, myself.

Those of us going through a divorce know exactly what I'm talking about: the little “revenges” we commit against one another; our skills at making the ex sound “evil;” our cruelty to someone we used to love. Why do we do that crap to each other? Once a marriage is over, there is no further need for the fights. These little attacks we use on each other, in an attempt to make the other behave the way we desire – they're pointless. They're vicious, cruel and evil. It's not that Dekraai's response was any less evil, mind you. But what kind of a nightmare was it which could make a man willing to throw it all away and kill people?

Maybe after this latest story of one man losing it, we divorcees can learn to not be so damned vicious to each other. Maybe we can stop using our children as human shields and bargaining chips. Maybe, just maybe, we can all learn that when a marriage fails we can end the hostilities. There's no score to settle after a divorce. If we could just be human to each other, there might be no more of a need for this kind of nightmare.

Come visit me on DonPennington.info.

Oct 13, 2011

I'm reaching out to 5,000 fans of a friend. Join me

A buddy of mine offered to share my blog with his 5,000 Fb friends, in return for sharing his ebook link for free. Seemed like a fair enough deal, so here's where my buddy is giving away, absolutely free, an interesting topic to any website owner, to say the least.


It's quite the read if the need to bring thousands of visitors to your website is a big concern. Of course, who would put up a site without wanting to get thousands and thousands of visitors? Millions? Why not?

While his ideas sound solid, of course, I'm only now deciding on my approach to using what I have here. At this time, this blog is showing 217 unique (Within a day) visitors. That's a far cry from a million live, unique (per 24 hours), US/UK/CA/AU/NZ/JP/NL/Iceland visitors. There's only really one way to reach those numbers: Each visitor only help me find two or three other visitors, who would do the same, apiece. If each reader would only share us on any social networking platforms they could, in the next half hour after coming to see us, We'd reach a million visitors within a single day! Could you help me to do that?

Anyway, here's the friend's link, again. Good luck in life. Work hard.

Come visit me on DonPennington.info.

Oct 8, 2011

Fox News again pretends to be surprised over Ron Paul's latest straw poll victory

COMMENTARY | Congressman Ron Paul, the Republican presidential candidate from Texas, has won yet another straw poll, this time with 37% of the votes. Still, in spite of winning the Values Voter Summit Straw Poll in Washington, the main-stream media behaves as if the very idea of a political candidate strong on Constitutional principles – and even stronger on peace – is some sort of an aberration of thought. The strangest of the media outlets to behave as if Dr. Paul were some sort of freak-of-nature is Fox News. (FOX NEWS! Dammit! Aren't they supposed to be all about American Liberty and offering a counter-view to big-government freaks like Obama and Pelosi and Reid?)

In the election update from Fox News, correspondent Doug McKelway claims to be “shell-shocked” over the beloved doctor's response amongst attendees. In one of his statements, McKelway says “The other big surprise here is that Ron Paul the Libertarian – the live-and-let-live Libertarian – comes out on top amongst a group of very Conservative Republicans.” What is this with so many in the media treating Congressman Ron Paul as if the American people have no reason to want a return to basic Constitutional principles? Is the document not the law-of-the-land?

Since when is a “live-and-let-live” personality freakish? Are we so used to the idea of having psychopathy at the helm of our country that the mere thought of having one honest, sincere candidate a shock? It seems we Americans are suffering from something resembling Stockholm Syndrome, and defend those whose only interests are for more power, more taxes and less for anyone else. We're so conditioned to sacrifice everything in our lives for the good of the state, we've forgotten how to be a free people who enjoy an unprecedented level of individual liberty.

So many candidates who claim to be “Conservative” are nothing more than statist parasites wrapped in a flag, just like their Democrat cousins. While they claim to be all about freedom, liberty and other basic American principles, they're really only hoping to enjoy the kick-backs paid to them by the industrial-military complex, in the event they can out-lie the other psychopaths on the field to get the job.

Bear in mind, this straw poll is only voted on by Republicans. Were this poll also voted on by statist “Democrats” we'd likely see a lot more support for the Christian-pandering Perry or for Mitt Romney. Millions and millions of us want no more-of-the-same from tax-and-spend-other-people's-money-to-buy-votes types of politicians. People have had enough. Sure, Ron Paul still has his flaws. But give the guy credit. He's sincere and honest. He's not afraid of being seen as human, and as a Congressman he has the understanding of how government works. He's also held a real job, unlike the current Usurper-in-Chief.

Those of us who support Ron Paul need to keep the pressure – and our support – up for the man. For the corporate media to try to pretend like Ron Paul isn't electable, is an insult to everyone in the country who believes the government has grown too big for our good. Here's to Congressman Ron Paul and to putting government back in its place in 2012.

Come visit me on DonPennington.info.

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