Archive for October, 2012

Romney FEMA Christie – Oh My!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31st, 2012 by Phil Ferguson – Comments Off

Romney FEMA - ChristieThe bad news just keeps stacking up for Romney.

He said he would close FEMA and now peoples lives are being saved by FEMA.  To make it extra bad (for Romney).  GOP heavy man Christie can’t say enough about how much he love Obama.

Appearing on the networks this morning, Christie, for the third day in a row, heaped praise on Obama’s handling of the storm. “The President has been outstanding in this,” he told the “Today” show. On “Morning Joe,” he said, “It’s been very good working with the President. He and his Administration have been coördinating with us. It’s been wonderful.” Speaking on CNN, Christie said that he had been mightily impressed by Obama’s accessibility throughout the crisis. “He gave me his number at the White House, told me to call him if I needed anything, and he absolutely means it.” Christie also pointed out that Obama didn’t once bring up politics in their conversations, and added, “If he’s not bringing it up, you can be sure that people in New Jersey are not worried about that, primarily if one of the guys running isn’t.”

But then he went on FOX….
Appearing on Fox News—yes, Fox—Christie scoffed at the idea of Romney making a visit to New Jersey in order to inspect the damage. “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested,” he said. “I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than Presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff.”
How dare he!  Here is where Romney got in trouble.  It was a CNN debate in June, 2011.  This is while Romney was trying to out do his GOP competitors.  They want to cut everything – including FEMA!
KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?ROMNEY: Absolutely.  Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

It is rare but, sometimes politicians can be very clear.

Now it is your turn!  Don’t Pray, do something! Donate to the Red Cross and send real help to the people hurt by Sandy!

God Bless Champaign County

Posted in Uncategorized on October 30th, 2012 by Phil Ferguson – 12 Comments

Last Friday I went and voted early at the office of the Champaign (Illinois) County Clerk’s office.  I learned about early voting several years back and have done it every time since then.  For Champaign County you just walk in, show your ID, answer a few questions and they give you your ballot.  It is quick, easy and painless.  The whole process takes only about 10 minutes.  You can even go to their web site and pull up your ballot in advance so, you will know every choice you have.  It is a nice system and I recommend that everyone go vote early!

This year I noticed a sign on the wall so every person could see it.  It looked just like this….

God Bless Champaign County - flag

I was surprised!  This is not Alabama.  This is a very liberal college community but, I do have to admit the cities of Champaign and Urbana are surrounded with several small god fearin’ towns.

I mentioned to two of the clerks in the office that some would consider that sign inappropriate and maybe unconstitutional.  One of them was very nice about it but the other had a little bit of an attitude and even suggested that I should talk to Mr. Hulten about it.  I have to admit that the though had crossed my mind but her suggestion that I should talk to him seemed to be the last little nudge that I needed to ask to see him.  Mr. Gordy Hulten is the Champaing County Clerk.  This young lady went and found him for me.

I am going to recount our conversation the best I can below.  Before I start, I wanted to say that Mr. Hulten was courteous and polite for our entire conversation.

This is a crude approximation of our conversation….

GH (that is Mr. Gordy Hulten Picture top right) – How may I help you sir?

Me (that’s me) – I just wanted to see if I can take a minute of your time to talk about your sign.

GH – What sign is that?

Me – The one with the flag over there on the wall.

GH – OK.

Me – It’s my understanding that all people are welcome in this office.

GH – They  are.

Me – Well, that sign does not make me feel welcome and I don’t think this public office should take a stand on the existence or lack of existence of any deities.

GH – I understand and I thank you for sharing your concerns.

Me – o_O

Me – Uh, ok.  Just to be clear…. I am formally asking you to take down the sign.

GH – Thank you for your input, I will take that into consideration.

Me – oh? (a little shocked)

GH – Yes sir, thank you for coming in…. (attempting to close the conversation and starting to walk a way)

Me – uh, how will you notify me of your decision?

GH – Excuse me?

Me – Well, if you are taking into consideration that means at some time you will decide.  You did not take my name, phone number or e-mail.  How will you notify me of your decision.

GH – I see.  Well, let’s just put it this way.  The sign is not coming down.  That is my decision.

Me – is there someone else here I can talk to?

GH – No, why?

Me – I was hoping that my request would receive more than 5 seconds of thought.

GH – Sir, It has!  Your request has been made by several people and we have had long discussions about it.

Me – I’m sorry, I got a little carried away.  I did not know that.

GH – No problem.

Me – So, if so many people complain…. Why is it still up?

GH – That sign has been there for 15 years – No problems!

Me – But, I am telling you it is a problem and you just said that others have complained in the past.

GH – Well it is staying right there.

Me – I would like to propose an experiment.  For just one week you cover up god and put up Allah.  I bet that most of the christians that come in here would complain and you would take it down.

GH – We are not here to perform experiments.  Good day sir.

———

So, dear reader.  Am I over reacting?  Is this a violation of the separation of church and state, not a big deal or total legal but kind of a inconsiderate thing to put up in a government building?

What do you think the christians would say if the sign said Allah Bless America?

Please share your thought and considered legal opinions.  Thanks!

Address:
Champaign County Clerk
1776 East Washington Street
Urbana, IL 61802

Phone Numbers:
Election Services & Voter Registration (217) 384-3724

Fax: (217) 384-1241
E-mail: mail@champaigncountyclerk.com

Religion In Politics – It Will Get Worse

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29th, 2012 by Phil Ferguson – 3 Comments

Religion In PoliticsReligion in Politics!  Have you noticed?  More and more churches are telling there members how to vote.  Last week I was involved with a church protest over this issue but, I think the problem will get worse.  Check out this story from christianity today.

“Vote for the Mormon, not the Muslim! The Capitalist, not the Communist!” read the sign outside Church of the Valley in Leakey, Texas. Beyond its inaccuracies, it was a clear violation of federal tax code, which prohibits nonprofits from doing anything that might support a candidate running for office.

The author gets it!  This is wrong.  It is bad for politics and (i have hope) it is bad for getting more members into your church.

But a revocation of the church’s tax-exempt status isn’t likely to come soon—if ever.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has officially halted tax audits of churches until it can adopt rules that clarify which high-level employee has the authority to initiate them.

I have so got to start a fucking church.

“We are holding any potential church audits in abeyance,” Russell Renwicks of the IRS’s Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division told BNA.com this week.

While this is the first public announcement of the moratorium, the IRS hasn’t been auditing churches since 2009, said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund).

That’s when a federal court found that the IRS wasn’t following its own regulations.

Not following the rules – sound like a church.

An IRS official at the level of regional commissioner or above is required to approve any church audits before they are initiated, according to a law passed in 1984. But in 1996, Congress reorganized the IRS from geographical regions to national practice groups—a move that eliminated the office of regional commissioner.

Very clever Congress.  I guess they don’t want to lose the value of churches pimping for them.

“The IRS shut down all church audits at the time,” Stanley said. The agency proposed new regulations in 2009, but never got past the review process, he said.

“After that, it has taken absolutely no action on finalizing the regulations,” he said. “They’ve just been sitting out there.”

No one seems to know why the IRS hasn’t changed its regulations to allow another position to approve the audits, or why IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman hasn’t been approving church audits in the interim. Shulman will step down November 9, the end of his five-year term.

“They could finalize those regulations whenever they wanted to,” Stanley said.

Rob Boston, senior policy analyst for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, also doesn’t know why the finalization has taken so long.

“All we get are drops of information here and there, which sometimes seem to point in different directions,” he said.

The hotly contested presidential election this year has seen plenty of churches violate the rules, Boston said.

“This is absolutely the worst time for the IRS to be taking a step back,” he said. “The agency needs to resolve this matter and move forward with enforcement. If they fail to do that, we’re only going to see more flagrant violations of the law.”

When allowed religion will try to take control.  That is what it does and christianity has tried to do this for almost 1,800 years.

Bill Maher Real Time Mitt Romney

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28th, 2012 by Phil Ferguson – Comments Off

DJ Grothe On Pink Atheist Podcast

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28th, 2012 by Phil Ferguson – Comments Off

Our very special guest today (10/28/12) at 4PM (eastern US) on The Pink Atheist Podcast is D.J. Grothe!

DJ is the president of the JREF – James Randi Educational Foundation.

The James Randi Educational Foundation was founded in 1996 to help people defend themselves from paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. The JREF offers a still-unclaimed million-dollar reward for anyone who can produce evidence of paranormal abilities under controlled conditions. Through scholarships, workshops, and innovative resources for educators, the JREF works to inspire this investigative spirit in a new generation of critical thinkers.

The JREF does great work helping people think clearly.  Their best program is JREF in the Classroom.  (disclosure:  My company and the the sponsor for this blog Polaris Financial Planning was the first sponsor for this important program.)

JREF Classroom modules are free (usually downloadable) and offer lessons that address areas scientific skepticism, and critical thinking through investigations of paranormal, pseudoscientific, and fringe claims. The activities will be fun, easy to introduce, tailored to one or two class periods, address national educational standards and benchmarks, and offer supplemental resources and media through our website.

If you are a teacher (or know one) you should get some of these great programs and share them with your students.

The first one was… Do you have ESP?

designed to allow students to come to their own conclusions about the validity of ESP claims through the use of carefully designed and controlled experiments. Students will also learn how to accurately evaluate the significance of the results guarding against, experimenter error, bias, and intentional fraud. Students will explore concepts of critical thinking and the scientific process.

DJ Grothe also oversees The Amazing Meeting (TAM) every year.  This is one of the best conventions you will ever go to.  Here is a sample of the speakers from this summers convention.

Julia Galef

Sean Faircloth

Pamela Gay

Brain Dunning

Jennifer Michael Hecht

Lawrence Krauss

Penn & Teller

Eugenie Scott

Paul Prvenza

Benjamin Radford

and of course….

James (the Amazing Randi)!

With a little luck I will see you at the next TAM!

7 Types Of Rape! GOP Advisory!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27th, 2012 by Phil Ferguson – Comments Off

I could not pass this up.  It lists the 7 types of rape!