Archive for August, 2012

August 28, 2012

My Personal Political Platform, Plank #1

I would vote for any candidate today who would say the following:

“I will never use ‘tradition’ over substance to justify any of my policies. All tradition ever does is stand in the way of progress and reason.

August 25, 2012

The Roles and Values of Colleges and Universities

I love this letter: Charles Negy, Professor, Says Students Showed ‘Religious Arrogance And Bigotry’ In A Letter Later Posted On Reddit

The purpose of a university, and my course in particular, is to struggle intellectually with some of life’s most difficult topics that may not have one right answer, and try to come to some conclusion about what may be “the better answer” (It typically is not the case that all views are equally valid; some views are more defensible than others). Another purpose of a university, and my course in particular, is to engage in open discussion in order to critically examine beliefs, behaviors, and customs. Finally, another purpose of a university education is to help students who typically are not accustomed to thinking independently or applying a critical analysis to views or beliefs, to start learning how to do so. We are not in class to learn “facts” and simply regurgitate the facts in a mindless way to items on a test. Critical thinking is a skill that develops over time. Independent thinking does not occur overnight. Critical thinkers are open to having their cherished beliefs challenged, and must learn how to “defend” their views based on evidence or logic, rather than simply “pounding their chest” and merely proclaiming that their views are “valid.”

This is why, despite the derogatory monikers of ivory towers and liberal indoctrination mills, universities are vital to society and our nation. It’s not about indoctrination, it’s about exposing you to a wider world than you’ve ever experienced before.

Colleges and universities are needed to make our kids smarter about the world, period.

August 21, 2012

The GOP and their horrible priorities

This author better illustrates my previous post.

August 21, 2012

A message for anyone who’s thinking about voting Republican

To anyone who is thinking about voting for Romney/Ryan, or any other Republican this season, largely on their economic plans and rhetoric on fiscal responsibility and without regard to their other policy stances, I have a message for you:

Wake the hell up.

To have an idea of what will really happen if Republicans win a majority of the contests this year, we need only look back to the midterm elections only two short years ago. The “Tea Party-backed Republicans who stormed into the House and into state legislatures around the country promised to focus on jobs and fiscal responsibility,” much like they are doing this year. But once elected into office, their true MO becomes clear:

1. Attacking abortion and women’s rights

2. Attacking evolution and trying to push religion back into schools

3. Attacking Obamacare and the very notion of cheaper health care for everyone

4. Attacking gay rights and same-sex marriage

5. Disenfranchising as many voters as possible using voter id laws, specifically to win elections

Absolutely none of this has anything to do with job growth and economic recovery. In fact, pushing these policies often comes at the expense of the more pressing economic problems we face.

The point is this: the modern day GOP has no other way to grasp the more general class of voters needed to win elections than by focusing on the poor economy. But all their other agendas often go against the majority of these voters. Somehow, they’re able to convince people that if you vote for them on this one issue, then they’ll be fine with not pressing all these other issues that would make them look bad. They’re trying to do it again this term, and if it works, it’s going to result in the same bullshit.

Don’t let them keep winning with this strategy.

August 18, 2012

Why calling Obamacare a sin makes you a moron.

Rick Santorum claims Obamacare is a sin.

This is why “Former Presidential Candidate” and moron are unfortunately not mutually exclusive.

I’m pretty sure there aren’t any bible verses that say that paying for your employees’ contraception is a sin.

Providing your employees with contraception is not an “assault on the freedom of religion,” an Santorum calls it, because ultimately, you still do not have to use contraception if you feel that it is against your religion.

In actuality, not providing your employees with contraception because it depends on your religion and not theirs actually is an assault on the freedom of religion. Their freedom.

Here’s the main problem with Santorum or the Catholic Church saying that allowing people to use contraception is a sin:

Data shows that 98 percent of Catholic women who have had sex and are of child-bearing age have used an artificial method of contraception that is against the teachings of the church.”

Banning something that your followers already regularly do is kinda stupid. It probably has to do with the fact that, you’re only making them choose between a hypothetical, ambiguously immoral, intangible punishment like a “sin” and real, quantifiable outcomes, like the costs of STIs and unplanned pregnancies.

This is why it feels like the Catholic church’s own rhetoric and efforts to undermine contraception, women’s rights, and homosexuality are doing more to drive away their parishioners than anything else.

Here’s a tip when you’re trying to portray yourselves as moral paragons: don’t be idiots.

August 10, 2012

Would the Delhi public charter school have kicked out the Virgin Mary?

“A public charter school in Louisiana is getting national attention for requiring female students to take pregnancy tests if they are suspected of being pregnant and, if they are, forcing them to leave school.”

I know I’m late to the game on this story, but I just want to point out something that few people actually point out.

Let’s put aside the fact that schools should do everything in their power to make sure pregnant teens actually stay in school and get a decent education.
Let’s also put aside how unconstitutional or illegal the policy might be.
I want to know one thing: What was the reason behind the policy in the first place?

My guess is: It is primarily meant to deter teen sex by punishing those who are caught or suspected. The easiest way to tell is when a girl is pregnant.

Let’s put aside how ineffective and illogical such a policy is.

If that is indeed the case, shouldn’t they also kick out the boys who got the girls pregnant? Obviously, there are not the same telltale signs that girls have, so the school would have no recourse except some sort of invasive test. Paternity test, or polygraph come to mind as the most relevant. In either case, the school is bound to get into invasion of privacy trouble. Then again, pregnancy tests would also qualify, so the school has already set the precedent that invasive testing is on the table. And it seems to me, that’s the only way that the policy could ever be seen as anything except discriminatory against the young women.

Unless they think these girls conceived on their own. Which brings up my next point.

If it’s partly religiously motivated, and I feel like that probably had something to do with it, would the Delhi Charter School have kicked out the Virgin Mary? According to the biblical account, she would have been twelve at the time, so she fits the criteria. So they would kick her out, too, right? I wonder how Christians will treat that realization.