Category Archives: My (largely correct) religious views

Do you live in a bubble? Yeah, me too!

You’ve probably seen some version of the NPR bubble quiz.  It was published in March, 2016, but has been making the rounds on Facebook again.

It’s prefaced like this:

There exists a new upper class that’s completely disconnected from the average white American and American culture at large, argues Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist and author.

Of course, if it’s based on Charles Murray’s work, it gets an automatic 5-star bullshit rating, but I took it for fun, and learned that I’m pretty bubblified:  my father was a lawyer; I’ve never owned a pickup truck; and I can’t identify military insignia.  I’m saved from total hermetically sealed oblivion by the fact that I have had friends who are evangelical Christians, have purchased Avon products,* and am pretty sure Tim would have gone fishing in the past five years if it weren’t so inaccessible.

Why is it, though, that we only think of educated middle-class liberals as living in a bubble?  And those in Murray’s white suburban Christian bubble as defining “American culture”?

Want to see if you are part of “American culture” as millions of people outside the exurbs of the south and midwest experience it?  Take the official ThoughtSnax Bubble Quiz!

Do you have any close friends or family members who rely on a wheelchair to get around (full time; not just at the airport)?**

Have you ever been unable to shop, dine out, or patronize an entertainment venue because of architectural barriers?

Have you ever been unable to enjoy a movie, play, concert, or sporting event because of communications barriers?

Do you consider people with significant disabilities who do ordinary things like work, shop, or dine out with friends to be “inspirational”?

Do you regularly interact professionally with professionals of other races or national origins?

Do you have any friends who are gay or lesbian?  Trans?  That you know of?

Do you know what “trans” means?

Have you ever been mis-gendered or dead-named?  Do you know what this means?

Have you ever read a book, article, or poem by any of the following?

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Dan Savage
  • Laura Hershey
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Stephen Kuusisto
  • N.K. Jemisin
  • Junot Diaz
  • Marjane Satrapi
  • Philip Pullman
  • Jhumpa Lahiri

Have you or anyone close to you ever feared for their life, health, or safety at the hands of the police?

Have you or anyone close to you ever feared for their life, health, or safety if pending Republican “health” “care” legislation were to pass?

Do you know any Jews?

Do you know any Jews as personal friends, not just colleagues or professionals?

Do you know who any of these people are?

  • Fred Korematsu
  • Maysoon Zayid
  • Stella Young
  • Audre Lorde
  • Justin Dart
  • Sarah McBride
  • Bill Lann Lee
  • I. King Jordan
  • Bree Newsome

Have you ever had anyone attempt to proselytize you or convert you to their religion?

Do you have an education that you’re proud of?

Have you ever experienced discrimination on the basis of your race, sexual orientation, gender/identity/expression, disability, or national origin?

Has anyone ever assumed you were:

  • the nanny?
  • the help?
  • the aide?
  • unable to speak for yourself?
  • not married to your actual spouse because you’re the same gender?
  • not married to your actual spouse because one of you has a disability?
  • a different religion, nationality, or gender because you don’t look like they assume people of your religion, nationality, or gender should look?

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a “bless your heart!”

Are you sick and tired of non-disabled, straight, cis, white, Christian conservatives acting all superior because you answered “yes” to many of these questions?

UPDATE (from my astute and perceptive sister-in-law, Terri Robertson):

Have you ever been subjected to harassment because of your gender?

Have you had your reproductive or sexual health choices questioned?

Do you dress based on fear?

Can you walk by yourself in a parking garage without fear? Can you walk anywhere by yourself without fear?

UPDATE II (from my astute and perceptive step-sister-in-law*** Annie McQuilken):

Have you ever had your parenting skills questioned in public because your kid didn’t look or behave “typically”?


*The quiz did not require me to have used these products.

**You knew that would be first, right?

*** My parents did not supply me with any sisters, but luckily we have an extensive blended family that provided a few.

Trump:  shockingly unaware of how the First Amendment works.

If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.

The free speech clause and the establishment clause: both a mystery to Trump. Or maybe he’s just planning a bullyocracy.


What the fucking hell: “In U.C.L.A. Debate Over Jewish Student . . .”

In U.C.L.A. Debate Over Jewish Student, Echoes on Campus of Old Biases –*

I don’t have time for a well-thought-out blog post, so I’m going to express my views, even more than usual, though profanity.

What the fuck?  How did we get to the place where a bunch of entitled little shits at a prominent university, ostensibly full of smart people, could question a student’s fairness based on her religion.

I blame:

  1. The students.  Grow up, get your heads out of your asses, and think like decent human beings, not self-important Judgers of the Universe.  You’re 20ish.  Know, now, that you don’t know shit.  Think before you talk.  Maybe even consult a grown-up before you talk.
  2. A sound-byte culture in which it’s always less than a step from reasoned disagreement to ad hominem vilification.  Disagree with American policy?   You’re unpatriotic, a “fifth column.”  Disagree on middle-east policy?  You’re a suspected Mossad agent and/or ISIS sympathizer.**  Believe that women should control their own bodies?  You’re a baby-killer.  Think that we should perhaps consider the growing life inside the woman’s body?  You’re “fighting a war on women.”***  I’m sure there has always been plenty of invective to go around — since the invention of the swear word in prehistoric times — but it seems now that this the culture kids are steeped in.  They grow up on the internet perhaps thinking that the self-righteous, self-centered and generally nasty world of internet comments is normal or OK.
  3. Whatever passes for history teaching these days.  How the fuck could these smart kids get to their early 20s and not get — viscerally — that what they were doing was deeply, deeply wrong.  Any sort of reasonable instruction in the holocaust and the civil rights movement should have made this assaholic move impossible.

I’m concerned that these — and likely other — factors caused these kids’ brains to turn off and their sound byte/talking head/internet troll training to take over.   I sentence them to a intensive course in 20th Century History and a serious time out.


* I truncated the headline in my blog title because once you get to “debate over Jewish student,” you’re in “what the fucking hell” territory.

** I guess the “and” side of the “/” is fairly unlikely.

*** I’m not suggesting false balance (“and now over to Dr. Schmuck, for the flat-earther position”), but merely that when discussing even those views we personally think are utter horseshit, we stop and think about the substance and keep the discussion on that level.  I’m just fucking tired of media talking shrieking heads and what it’s doing to the culture in which we hope to raise a rational next generation.


Creationists Complain Tyson’s ‘Cosmos’ Isn’t Giving Them Airtime

Creationists Complain Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ‘Cosmos’ Isn’t Giving Them Airtime.

Also not featured on “Cosmos”:

  1. The Earth is flat.
  2. The sun revolves around the earth.
  3. The Earth is sitting on the back of a giant turtle.
  4. Life emerged from a giant hollow reed growing from the first world into the second world, which at the time was already occupied by Cat People.
  5. An invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe “after drinking heavily”.


By the way, #4 comes from the site which has awesome animations of some of the world’s creation stories.

Which beatitude was that?

You know, the one that said that rich dudes who withhold their religious-oriented charitable donations to bribe the previously-infallible pope to get him to stop hurting rich people’s feelings will inherit the earth?

Via Talking Points Memo:

{Image:  two photographs side by side, one of an older, balding man in a suit speaking into a microphone; the other of Pope Francis, in a white robe and yarmulke.  Both photos show the respective men from the mid-torso up.  The headline above the photos reads "Billionaire Home Depot Founder Says Pope Francis Is Alienating The Rich."}

Billionaire Home Depot founder Ken Langone has a warning for Pope Francis.

A major Republican donor, Langone told CNBC in a story published online Monday that wealthy people such as himself might stop giving to charity if the Pope continues to make statements criticizing capitalism and income inequality.

Guess the eye of the needle was larger than originally thought.

Another slam-dunk case for the Anti-Butthead Act

A bakery near Denver is refusing to make a cake for a same-sex couple.  While this is covered by the state’s anti-discrimination laws, it would also be an excellent case for my proposed Anti-Butthead Act.  According to the Denver Post,

The shop’s owner, . . .  [stated] that he has a strong stance toward the biblical view of marriage between one man and one woman.

I’m wondering if Mr. Phillips checks the Biblical-compliance status of his other customers.  Does he ask his one-man/one-woman couples if they’ve had sex before the marriage.  Awkward!   Adultery and coveting of neighborhood wives?  Also awkward!  Theft?  Does he do a criminal background check?  How about honoring mom and dad?  He needs to check on that, too, right?

This falls solidly within the black letter of the Anti-Butthead Act’s mandate: “Don’t be a Butthead.”  Or, in the words of the colleague from whose Facebook post I blatantly stole this idea, “Just make the fucking cake, you dope!”

The upside down logic of executing Nathan Dunlap

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler lives in an upside down world where strapping someone to a gurney and injecting him with lethal chemicals is “courageous” and deciding not to do this is “cruel and unjust.”

In a letter to the governor supporting the execution of Nathan Dunlap, Mr. Brauchler

questioned the motives and ethics of those who have argued on Dunlap’s behalf, and those who diagnosed and treated him for mental illness.

“Questioned the motives”?  Questioned?  The motive is, um, to keep Colorado from executing Mr. Dunlap.  Not sure what’s in question.  It’s right out there in the open.

Pause for disclosure of my motive:  My view is that the death penalty is wrong and that my state should not execute Mr. Dunlap.  Even if you generally favor or are undecided on the death penalty in the abstract, however, there are many, many reasons why it would be wrong in this case. You can read the clemency petition here, write to Governor Hickenlooper, or call him at 303-866-2471.  5280 magazine published a long article in 2008 that spelled out the history of the case.

Back to snarking on the DA.

Mr. Brauchler decries the “abandonment of professional ethics.” The ethics of trying to keep someone alive?  I don’t think that word means what he thinks it means.  I have scoured the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct and can find nothing suggesting it is unethical to urge the governor not to kill someone.

The DA characterizes as “convenient ‘scientific’ epiphanies” — the scare quotes around “scientific” are his — the now widely-accepted conclusion that Mr. Dunlap had a severe, undiagnosed mental illness when he committed the crime for which he is to be executed.  The diagnosis at which Mr. Brauchler sneers is one that has, since Mr. Dunlap’s sentencing, been confirmed and treated by Department of Corrections doctors.

More scare quotes.  Can’t you just see him wiggling the first two fingers of each hand when he complains that

our state’s leaders are asked to accept as ‘objective’ evidence the conclusions of the anti-death penalty movement’s ‘best and brightest’ experts, and to ignore their obvious collaborative biases . . .

Well, the movement does have some excellent (“best”) and very smart (“brightest”) people, who work together (“collaborate”) to do what they think is right (“bias”?).  Ouch!

And his letter

called assertions by the defense that race plays a role in imposing the death penalty in Colorado “vile, disgusting and offensive.”

Those are the adjectives you use when you don’t have facts.  In fact, as of 2010, 41% of prisoners under sentence of death in the US were black, while only 13.6% of the population as a whole is black.  There are three people on Colorado’s death row; all three are black.  Studies in other states have shown that blacks killing whites are much more likely to get the death penalty than any other permutation, and that prosecutors are much more likely to seek the death penalty for black defendants.

Ultimately, it is the racism in our criminal justice system that is vile, disgusting, and offensive; not the act of calling attention to that fact.

The clemency petition provides measured, fact-based arguments why it would be a very bad idea to execute Nathan Dunlop. Many people, of many different faiths and backgrounds, agree with this:

Dunlap letters

All the DA has to offer in return is a salad shooter of insults: cruel; unjust; slap in the face; questionable motives; unethical; “objective” “scientific” evidence; collaborative bias; vile; disgusting; offensive.  And the unsupported pronouncement that Mr. Dunlap “took the lives of four Colorado citizens, and justice requires he now pays with his own.”

There is no good reason for this execution; just the satisfaction of the primitive desire for revenge.  Guess that’s my bias.