Posts Tagged ‘ Charity ’

2 Videos And A Tissue

Well, busy day again. Feeling a bit under the weather, but there are a couple of things worth sharing.

 

Religion is harmful. Here is a really nice explanation of how and why. Notice that this is not a ‘go team’ atheism chat. This is anti-religion at its finest. Not because atheism makes sense but instead because religion is dangerous and stupid.

 

Grab a tissue, but pay attention to the places you can help out. Some times I think she showed more bravery getting up to speak than facing down a tornado.

The Bells… The God Damned Bells…

UPDATE: I was just reminded that the bell ringers are not necessarily members of the church. Don’t take any anger out on them. Just like the cashier is not a representative of the magacorp they work for – they’re both just doing a job.

It’s that time of year again when the Salvation Army is out to take your money and annoy the shit out of you with those stupid bells. I encourage you to boycott stores which allow them outside.

The Salvation Army is a Christian church. They are soliciting money for their church and no matter what they seem to do with it, they are still a church which discriminates against who they help out. They are bigots. period.

They have been the center of plenty of controversy.

If that is not enough, let me Google that for you

Please donate to reputable charities who are open about what they do and what they support. The Salvation Army is not reputable in this manner and are given far too much lee-way in how the pan handle for cash.

Giving Thanks For What?

There are more than a few stories about Thanksgiving. It is the American version of a type of fall harvest celebration, punctuated by the fact that early settlers were basically starving to death and save for the help of local natives would have done so – so the story goes.

Each year Americans slaughter and consume some 500 million turkeys in various ways, for just this one day. Have you ever wondered where they hide 500 million turkeys? Wait, people eat turkey all year round, so there must be billions of turkeys hiding somewhere?

Farms! Yes, thousands of them. Everyone of them is in some small place that you’ve never heard of.

Okay, so that explains turkeys. There must be the same for pumpkins and cranberries and sweet potatoes and  sprouts too. Why, yes there is. They make their living by providing North America with all the ‘fixins’ for a single meal and pieces of it year round.

So, back in 1621 how and what did those ‘pilgrims’ do for food in the winter? How did they avoid starving? Well, there were a few ways to preserve foods. You should note that there is not much info on varied food types. That is because they ate a lot of the same food over and over again and were glad to have it.

This is essentially a pagan or secular holiday despite the Calvinist overtones. I would invite all the secular people who celebrate this holiday to remember that today we live a better lifestyle and quality of life than kings and conquerors ever hoped to live in the past.

So be thankful for some of these:

  • You probably will not die from something caused by your teeth.
  • You will not die from pneumonia or a cold.
  • You can order dinner all winter long from a local restaurant.
  • You can order dinner.
  • You will not be poisoned by your drinking water, nor suffer microbial infection from it.
  • Winter months are not a survival test.
  • No one is likely to kill you for the small food stores you have in your kitchen.
  • You will be able to eat bananas and other fruit all year long.
  • Your meat does not need to be dried or salted.
  • Beans are not a major portion of your diet.

That is just what to be thankful for while you’re sitting there stuffing your gob with turkey and mashed potatoes.

There are dozens of places and organizations that will take a donation this time of year to help people not as fortunate as you to find and retain clean drinking water and stable food supplies. Think about donating the cost of a turkey to one of them. 500 million times $25 USD is 12.5 billion US Dollars. Do you know how long you could feed little lacy at just 59 cents per day with 12.5 billion dollars? Do you know what it means to finally have safe water to drink? WATER! That’s right, there are people who need water. Donate something while you are enjoying your bounty.

Speaking of bounty. How is it that you think the Western world has come to have this bounty? Science!

Science to grow it. Science to store it. Science to move it. Science to preserve it. Science, science, science.

If you really think that science and your religion are compatible… it’s probably because you don’t like being hungry.

Seriously, donate a few dollars.

A Message For Angelina

I’m going to try something a bit different, something that still has a bit of new on it. I watched (on youtube) the interview with Angelina Jolie on Inside The Actor’s Studio. That’s a great show. Angelina is, for all the world, someone who seem intensely focused on her self awareness. I have some issues with that. For the most part my Nihilism finds reason to gripe and moan, and that is to be expected. More importantly, the more she explained of herself and her motivations the more I felt a connection with her path in life.

Oh, I won’t even let anyone else say that I said Angelina and I had similar lives. No, what I said was I felt a kind of connection for and with what she went through. No, I was not and am not a cutter. Things like that never made sense to me though in a NIN song it does make sense in a odd kind of way. You know, lost and alone on a desert island after nuclear winter sets in kind of way.

 

 

Just the same, she expressed the search for an essence or truth to life, a framework on which to hang her reality. When we force our thoughts out of the cerebral and into the feral mind life become much more active and real feeling. I believe that thrill seekers and cutters et al are doing just that – forcing their mind and thoughts into that less cerebral focus to see life in a more feral way, a more ‘real’ way, in the search for a framework on which to hang their reality.

 

 

The message for Angelina is simply this: Keep going. There is more to come. Life gets real when you realize that there is no framework outside what you create. The connections that you have found are not from some external force or being, rather they are manufactured by you. You have created them. Your search and inevitable finding of a child to adopt is not the will of a higher intelligence but a connection you sought out and completed. Keep going. Just a bit further down the garden path dear Angelina. It is encouraging to hear your words of understanding that your life is thrice blessed and has never ever been hard. It is encouraging to watch you say this to some people who will go on to effect change in the world and the way the best of us view the least of us. Maybe life will never actually make sense, but you’re reaching out and changing the parts you can. Good on you. Keep sharing this with others please.

I believe this is what the Atheism Plus crowd is trying to do. Create a framework on which to hang their reality. They know that one does not exist but refuse to accept living without one. Not so long ago we would have called such folk ‘sheeple’ for their sheep like traits. They need something to guide them, something to give them boundaries. They do not do well on their own. Their minds are not formed in the manner that allows them to do well on their own. They are not pack leaders, loners, or survivors. While that might seem harsh, the truth of it is still ringing in your brain right now. I believe this basic human behavior mode is evidence that evolution gave us cooperation – we are biologically designed for it through evolutionary processes. Not all of us, but most of us.

Equality? Did I mention equality? Okay, now I have. It is not what you think it is, or at least not what the atheism plus folk think it is. If equality is a state that must exist and a state that we must strive for, it must be of equal value to the least of us and the best of us. How then do we judge the meaning of equality? What then does being equal entail? Is it wealth? Is it status? Is it happiness? Is it some measurable or tangible effect of society? Is it personal? Is it a measure that only we ourselves can assess?

The equality guaranteed in law is that of equal freedom from repression. Remember that a guarantee is only as good as your ability to enforce the law behind it. In fact, law guarantees only that all the nails will be straight before they are used… it says nothing of their ability to perform, nor their durability in use. Equality under the law (generally speaking) is nothing more than a starting point and not in any way an effort to assure equal treatment. It is nothing more than a hammer to use when a nail needs straightened up.

Is it a laudable goal to land a job sweeping floors? For some people it is. Should their joy at landing a dream job be less of an accomplishment than a musician getting a big contract when we live in a land of equality? Should we shun the janitor while we go apple polishing with the musician? What … What exactly… is this thing called equality?

I’ll give you two hints: Angelina is on her way to find it. The atheism plus crowd is marching the other direction with as much speed as they can get organized.
Three cheers for Angelina and others like her. Keep pushing. Atheism has a good side and I’m almost certain that Angelina is going to show it to us.

She’s a celebrity, don’t cha know (Is there a god?)

Angelina Jolie: Hmm… For some people. I hope so, for them. For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either. [2]

“Brad and I are raising our children to respect everyone. We have a bookshelf in the house that has the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, everything. We will take our children to church, temple, Buddhist ceremonies, Mosques, teaching them about all faiths. Whatever religion they choose, the choice will be theirs… I respect all religions. What I don’t respect is when people use religion to attack others. I’ve met people across the world, in the middle of nowhere, who are just trying to survive and all they have is religion. In some way it helps them, and I wouldn’t take it away from them.” – Angelina Jolie in Parade Magazine

God Is Not Necessary!

I get chain mail sometimes. I’m posting one of them below … without the god parts. It’s a good thing and does not need a god to make it goodness

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Breakfast at McDonald’s

This is a good story and is true, please read it all the way through until the end!

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called, ‘Smile.’ The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake, Literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald’s one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son. We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did.
I did not move an inch… An overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible ‘dirty body’ smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was ‘smiling’ His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of honesty as he searched f or acceptance….

He said, ‘Good day’ as he counted the few coins he had been clutching..

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood there with them. The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted.

He said, ‘Coffee is all Miss’ because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it – the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes.. That is when I noticed all eyes in the  Restaurant were set on me, judging my every action. I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman’s cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘Thank you.’

I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, ‘I did not do this for you.. it makes me feel good to show people there is hope in the world.’ I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son…. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, ‘That is why I love you, Honey, to give me hope..’

We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that it is wonderful that we were we able to give and show kindness to another human.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in ‘my project’ and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said, ‘Can I share this?’ I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class. She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings share this need to heal people and to be healed. In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald’s, my son, the instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student. I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn:

UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.

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It’s not so hard to accept others as they are, it’s just not exactly normal. More of it would be a good thing… no gods needed.

Be, be well, be happy

Making Sense of the Aftermath

Thomas Friedman once said that no country with a McDonald’s had gone to war with another. Whether this is or remains true isn’t my point. The point is that there are indications that it is possible to look at a culture and know if there is value in it that matches the value of another given culture. If the wars in the middle east and the collateral violence is to end the rule of tyranny and fundamentalism, then we should be able to see that in the values that these cultures hold compared to our own. It is not right to determine what values another culture should hold, but it is fair to say that they should not hold values which are counter productive to the human race. Fundamentalist religion is a nice tidy bundle of such corrosive values, so it should be possible to judge the depth of fundamentalist control of a country by the proliferation of things which fundamentalist religions will not tolerate.

To this end, today I’m going to give a shout out to the people which are helping us see the change, and they themselves ARE the change from fundamentalist rule to democracy and freedom – however their culture chooses to define freedom.

What’s in my music player right now?

ACRASSICAUDA an Iraqi Metal band woooot! They’ve got a classic metal band sound – and I likey

Brutal Impact – “This is a live show of an Iraqi Metal Band called Brutal Impact in Baghdad on the 10th of April 2009 … Sorry for the quality ciz it is a live cam recording … the main purpose of this vedio is to show the World that there are Iraqi Metalheads .. and there are people who like music , Rock & metal …. enjoy it”

Taarma – A metal band from Afghanistan.

Iran has several metal bands on YouTube – check out Mordab and Aliaj  District Unknown

It’s the outlaws that bring change to culture. It is the change that they are which makes them outlaws. When you decide to risk life and limb to play a bit of music that makes you happy, you have become outlaw. You don’t have to like the music that makes them happy but you should appreciate the danger they faced to simply be happy with their music. Think about that. No, think harder. They just want to be musicians or maybe rock stars. They must hide from secret police and fundamentalist bigots JUST TO PLAY MUSIC. Encourage them, it will encourage others. Encourage musicians and it will encourage actors, and artists, and athletes.

How else can we encourage the outlaws? I don’t know yet. Suggestions are welcome.

There is an Iraqi Artists Association

Well, I suppose this is not much of a post really. It’s just on my mind.  One of the ways to beat fundamentalism seems to be support of those elements within that culture to have the freedom to abandon it if they choose. I think that is what freedom is – the ability to choose. In many ways we in the ‘west’ (whatever that term means these days) don’t always have the freedom to choose. It is often taken from us for our own protection or whatever Orwellian excuse can be found. I’ve been thinking of the people that had the balls to stand against tyranny just to play some music. My life seems difficult some days but seeing the bravado of those who hide from the culture police just to play some music puts a bit of perspective on life for me. I’m very fortunate.

While it is the giving time of year, you should pick a secular organization and donate some of the bounty that you have in your life to help the starving.  Atheists for Humanity has lots of choices, and there is this list from Think Atheist. You can Google for others, there are many. It doesn’t have to much, every donation helps. There is also the awesome Foundation Beyond Belief that makes it easy to donate.

There are my thoughts for this Sunday

Life is what it is, make yours what you want.

 

September 11 – Why it means anything at all

This year September 11 falls on a Sunday. Next year it will fall on a different day. In either case it is just another day. According to History.com there really isn’t very much interesting that happened on September 11th throughout history. Yeah, a few famous people did things around that day, but the 11th just isn’t very exciting. In fact, there is only one reason for anyone to treat that day any different from any other day. The terrorist attacks on the WTC, The Pentagon, and the crash of flight 93.

September 11 Is Another Global Day Of Dying

On September 11th, 2001 a total of 2,977 people died in the attacks. According to some reports, 18,000 people starve to death every day and that number is not  likely to have gone down since 2008. The ratio? 1:6.046 !  Yes, On September 10th, this year alone, 6 people will starve to death for every person who died in the 9/11 attacks. SIX people. On 9/11/2011 six more people will die for every death in those attacks. On 9/12/2011 another 6 people will die for each death in the attacks. According to the CDC (2007 stats) 6640 people die in the USA each day.  It is reported that on average, 2 people die each second across the globe.

So why exactly is anyone excited about September 11th? Are the deaths of those 2977 people more important than the 6 people who died while you read this sentence? Will prayers and religious celebrations on 9/11 do anything for the 18000+ people who will starve to death on September 11, 2011? Will religious services to remember those who died because of religious zealots save any of the starving people who still have a chance?

Make September 11 A Special Day If You Want

If September 11 seems like a special day to you, go ahead and make it a special day: Donate to help feed starving people who are still living. If it helps you, donate in the name of someone who died in the attacks. Hell, donate every month on the 11th, in anyone’s name. Check out this list of charities. Just don’t donate to religious charities. Remember it was religious zealotry that created 9/11. The world reacted wrongly to those attacks. Would you like proof of that? Check out this view of some of the deaths caused as a result of the reaction to those attacks.

Go Feed Someone

September 11 doesn’t mean anything at all. If it has meaning it is because you ascribe some meaning to it. If you want 9/11 to be special, go feed someone, help the living, remember the starving, fix the problems instead of fixating on what cannot be fixed in the past.

:: UPDATE ::

I hadn’t thought anyone would find this blog never mind read it and comment. One thoughtful person has done all three. I debated moderating their comment to allow it for some time before deciding that an update would be more useful.

The comment simply said: You’re a complete idiot! Enough said.

Clearly, to my mind this is not enough. I cannot determine if I’m thought an idiot because I care about starving people or perhaps it is that I’m thought an idiot because I don’t seem to care enough about those that died on 9/11. The Cult Of Dusty has a few words on this topic and I happen to agree with him completely. Our numbers are different, but both are estimates and both sets of numbers are unacceptable.

“Get over it” and move on with your life is the message. It’s the same message we expect thousands upon thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan families to ‘get’ and deal with. As gramps would say, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. They are dead and buried. Saddam and Bin Laden are dead and buried. Get over it. Move on. We have more pressing problems to deal with.

:: UPDATE ::

Here’s a fun little clip … enjoy!

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