Archive for November, 2015

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that Planned Parenthood does a LOT more than just abortions…

When you walk into a Planned Parenthood facility and kill people, you don’t get to say you’re pro-life any more.

When you utterly ignore both “‘vengeance is mine’, saith the Lord” and “thou shalt not kill”, you don’t get to say you’re Christian any more.

When you kill civilians in an attempt to scare them into not doing the thing that pisses you off, the only thing you get to call yourself is a terrorist.


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Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Many women have been grievously hurt, physically or psychologically, by domestic abuse, by rape, by extreme neglect, by a horrifyingly long list of acts, almost exclusively perpetrated by men. Many suffer in silence, muted by a fear of speaking out. Many have spoken out but been ignored.

A great many women live with this kind of threat every day. This can and must change. If we are to consider ourselves anything more than ignorant savages, we must excise this violence from our species.

I hope to see a day when women’s shelters close their doors not due to lack of funding, but due to lack of need.

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Turkey wars!

I’m at the grocery store two days before Thanksgiving. So far, there are two dudes with machetes dueling over the last turkey, one old lady has built a pallet fort around the sweet potatoes and is defending them with a MAC-10, there are two or three SWAT teams swooping in low over the canned pumpkin in an effort to defuse a potentially serious whipped cream incident, but other than that it’s just busy as hell, if hell were as busy as Union Station at rush hour.

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Presidents of the past have shone their own light, by which we can perhaps be guided in our handling of the Syrian refugee issue:

“This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Justice requires us to remember that when any citizen denies his fellow, saying ‘his color is not mine’ or ‘his beliefs are strange and different’, in that moment he betrays America, though his forebears created this nation.” – Lyndon Johnson

“The spirit of the American people can set the course of world history. If we maintain and strengthen our cherished ideals, and if we share our great bounty with war-stricken people over the world, then the faith of our citizens in freedom and democracy will be spread over the whole earth and free men everywhere will share our devotion to those ideals.” – Harry Truman

“I have found – as I am sure you have, in your travels – that people everywhere, in spite of occasional disappointments, look to us – not to our wealth or power, but to the splendor of our ideals. For our Nation is commissioned by history to be either an observer of freedom’s failure or the cause of its success. Our overriding obligation in the months ahead is to fulfill the world’s hopes by fulfilling our own faith.” – John F. Kennedy

And lastly:

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” – Bill Clinton

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Another one

What a surprise. Someone in a crowded place in the United States pulled out a gun and started trying to empty it into people via the barrel. I wish I could express even a small amount of surprise at this, but all I have left for it is sorrow.

Sorrow that we seem either unwilling or unable to get serious about guns. Sorrow that by morning, the shooter will be described as a thug if black, a terrorist if brown or a mentally troubled lone wolf if white. And most of all, sorrow for the people of New Orleans, who apparently drew the short straw on this week’s episode of Gun Crazy Nation.

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Today it’s Mali

The dust has barely settled from last week’s atrocities, and today 27 people were killed in Mali by another group of violent extremists. It’s not making nearly as many headlines, perhaps because our media doesn’t expect us to value lives in Africa as highly as we do those in Europe.

But please, hold them in your thoughts today too.

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We have enough room

There are around 18.5 million vacant homes in the United States.

If we assigned one to every homeless veteran in the country, that would account for 50,000 of those 18.5 million. If we assigned one to every homeless person or family in this country, we would still have over 15 million vacant homes.

That’s enough to house the entire population of Syria, if we wanted to. And yet we’re balking at plans for accepting a mere ten thousand of them.

Theirs is a crisis of war and violence, of poverty and hunger, but if we have the ability to help so many and choose not to, surely our own humanity is in a state of crisis too.

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I’d like to take a moment to recognize a gentleman by the name of Philip Emeagwali.

Mr. Emeagwali was born in 1954 to a poor Nigerian family. He was a gifted mathematician, but had to drop out of school when his parents became refugees during a war.

Nevertheless, young Philip pushed on with his gift, first in England and then in the USA, and ultimately devised a method for making large numbers of interconnected microprocessors talk to each other.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because you’re using it right now. While no single person can truly claim to have invented the Internet, it could not have come about were it not for his contribution, which ushered in arguably the greatest human innovation in the lifetimes of most of the people reading this.

We all have a refugee – a dark-skinned refugee at that – to thank for the way we live our lives today. Had we closed our doors to his family, the job I do today might not yet exist, the means by which I met my wife might not yet exist.

Mr. Philip Emeagwali, I salute you. Thank you for your gifts to the world.

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Thirty-one cowards

To those state governors who want to close your borders to refugees, and to those opportunistic presidential candidates proposing the same at a federal level:

Congratulations – you are living proof that terrorism works. You have been terrorized into heartlessness, terrorized into a course of action that the Savior you all profess to worship would find utterly repugnant.

You are officially the poster children for “the terrorists have won”.

Know that whatever lingering respect I had for you has utterly evaporated, and that not only have you lost any hope of my vote, I will actively work against your election.

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As many have noted, Paris is not by any stretch the only place where tragedy has recently struck.

Sometimes by violence, sometimes by accident, we have seen many lives lost in Russia and Lebanon and Kenya, in Baghdad and in San Francisco.

Sometimes the victims of tragedy look like us, and those are going to be the ones which hit us hardest, even if it’s solely due to hard wired tribal instinct.

But let us spare a thought for all of them. Let us spare an hour to volunteer, helping in whatever way we can. Let us spare a dollar, or however many we can, for Médécins Sans Frontières and the other organizations doing good work to help people all across the world.

People are hurting everywhere. And people are able to help everywhere.

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