Archive for October 9th, 2011

Why young church-goers are dropping out

| October 9, 2011 | 6 Replies
Why young church-goers are dropping out

According to this Huffpo article, a study of almost 1,300 formerly church-going teens sheds light on why they are leaving their churches:

New research by the Barna Group finds they view churches as judgmental, overprotective, exclusive and unfriendly towards doubters. They also consider congregations antagonistic to science and say their Christian experience has been shallow.

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Nothing better to do with tax dollars than put drug-users in prison

| October 9, 2011 | 4 Replies
Nothing better to do with tax dollars than put drug-users in prison

I’m still stunned that President Obama has decided to crank up the federal drug war by clamping down on medical marijuana dispensaries. This has been yet another political about-face by Barack Obama. Don’t we have anything better to do with our tax dollars and energies than to throw people in prison for using a substance that makes them feel good, where that substance is far less dangerous than alcohol? And keep in mind that there are legally available pharmaceuticals that have comparable effects on one’s psyche, available only if the user is wealthy enough to afford the doctor appointment and the pharmaceutical.

But wait . . . the stories is even worse. As reported by Glenn Greenwald, there is is evidence to counter-balance the idea that currently illegal drugs are always destructive:

[T]he deceit at the heart of America’s barbaric drug policy — that these substances are such unadulterated evils that adults should be put in cages for voluntarily using them — is more glaring than ever. In light of his comments about LSD, it’s rather difficult to reconcile America’s adoration for Steve Jobs with its ongoing obsession with prosecuting and imprisoning millions of citizens (mostly poor and minorities) for doing what Jobs, Obama, George W. Bush, Michael Phelps and millions of others have done. Obviously, most of these banned substances — like alcohol, gambling, sex, junk food consumption, prescription drug use and a litany of other legal activities — can create harm to the individual and to others when abused (though America’s solution for drug users — prison — also creates rather substantial harm to the drug user and to others, including their spouses, parents and children: at least as much harm as, and usually substantially more than, the banned drugs themselves). But no rational person can doubt that these substances can also be used responsibly and constructively; just study Steve Jobs’ life if you doubt that. Jobs’ praise for his LSD use is what I kept returning to as I read about the Obama DOJ’s heinous new policy to use the full force of criminal prosecutions against medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

In the meantime, do you know how your local law enforcement officers are spending most of their time?

To make it clear: I’m not advocating drug use. I’m stating facts that make it undeniable that the “war on drugs” is much more dangerous to all of us than the use of those drugs.

There’s a drug-related arrest in the U.S. every 19 seconds. Consider, also, that 45 people are massacred in the U.S. every day thanks to our “drug war,” and that it is this “war” that causes the violence.  This is a war that has failed at every one of its announced objectives.  Many of our law enforcement officer have declared the “war on drugs” to be an immoral war.  Consider this conservative judge’s harsh words toward the “Drug War.”  The most harmful thing about marijuana, according to Judge John Gray, is jail.  Here’s why:  the “war on drugs” by the numbers.  It’s time to take a deep breath and get over America’s obsession with imprisoning otherwise law-abiding citizens for partaking of a relatively harmless drug.

What the hell is wrong with us?

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Yet more quotes

| October 9, 2011 | Reply
Yet more quotes

I collect quotes from many sources and occasional post them at this site. I think of them novels wrapped up in sentences. Here’s my latest batch of favorite quotes:

“The surprising thing about young fools is how many survive to become old fools.”
Doug Larson

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Remembering that you are going to di3e is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Steve Jobs 1987

“Everybody lies, but it doesn’t matter because nobody listens.”
Nick Diamos

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
― Malcolm X

“Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.”
Horace Mann (1796 – 1859)

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
H. L. Mencken

“I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.”
Walt Whitman

“The day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. When that day comes, we must rely upon the wisdom of the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nation.”
– James Madison

“I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience.”
Shelley Winters (1922 – 2006)

“In wartime truth is so precious that she should be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”
Winston Churchill

“The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.”
Richard Bach

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.”
Joan D. Vinge, Catspaw

When someone asked Benjamin Franklin what type of government he and the other founders had birthed on this country, he famously replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

“We do not inherit this earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Native American proverb

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

“The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.”
Joan Baez

“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.”
Carl Sagan

“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.”
Gloria Steinem

“No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather.”
Michael Pritchard

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What the Wall Street Occupation is about.

| October 9, 2011 | 3 Replies
What the Wall Street Occupation is about.

The Wall Street Occupation is several weeks old and building up steam.   The overall meaning seems to be a frustration with the direction in which America has been moving, but the occupation has cross-cut the American political spectrum.   Many Democrats, but also some Republicans have spoken out in support of the occupations, but the occupation is still somewhat serving as a real life Rorschach.  Naomi Klein recently visited the occupation and offered her interpretation of the situation:

If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over. And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say “No. We will not pay for your crisis.”

.  .  .

[Deregulation] was damaging to labor standards. It was damaging to environmental standards. Corporations were becoming more powerful than governments and that was damaging to our democracies. But to be honest with you, while the good times rolled, taking on an economic system based on greed was a tough sell, at least in rich countries.

Ten years later, it seems as if there aren’t any more rich countries. Just a whole lot of rich people. People who got rich looting the public wealth and exhausting natural resources around the world. The point is, today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.

These are the facts on the ground. They are so blatant, so obvious, that it is a lot easier to connect with the public than it was in 1999, and to build the movement quickly.

Alan Grayson has also offered an analysis:

And here’s where lots of leaders from disparate backgrounds (Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul) are now seeing eye to eye:

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