Archive for November 2011

Twitter Profile

Here is the original text from my Twitter profile:

EverydayFreethought: A podcast 4 ordinary, everyday skeptics & freethinkers 2 share their stories & talk about whats going on in their hometowns

Even though I no longer do a podcast I left it like that for a year. Here is the new one:

EverydayFreethought: A website about atheism/skepticism, politics, dividend investing, and possible relocation from Chicago to Texas

 

Powell, Founding Fathers, and The Real Problem

There was an article on Politics USA  in which Colin Powell says that the Founding Fathers would probably not be happy with the Tea Party. The Founding Fathers were willing to compromise, yet the Tea Baggers think that not compromising is a virtue. And they are causing a lot of our problems.

I agree with the comments more than Powell. Powell makes reference to the “extreme left”. To which we all say: What extreme left? The Democrats keep giving, and getting nothing in return. I do agree with the idea from the article that “The tea party has adopted the symbols and images of the Revolution, but in behavior they mirror the Confederates.”

At the beginning of the year, the consensus for the economy is that things were going to be okay: There would be just enough growth to slowly chip away at unemployment, we would probably putter along okay for a while, but the next recession was probably a long way down the pike. There was a hiccup with the tsunami in Japan  in March, but by mid-April the “not-quite-Goldilocks but still okay for now” consensus came back. But ever since the debt ceiling crisis  in July, things have been a lot more fragile. And it was the Rethuglicans who refused to budge.

I get tired of people saying that our government is dysfunctional and can’t get anything done. That is BS. There is one party that refuses to get anything done. Let’s stop talking about “balance”, “fairness” and “both sides are the problem”. Mitch McConnell has stated that his goal is to make Obama a one-term president. A good way to lose an election is to be in office when the economy is bad. But should people lose jobs and houses just so one party can take back power?

I think a lot of people in this country see themselves as Republicans first and Americans second. Or they choose to define “American” to exclude anyone that they do not like. Both concepts are flat-out false.

My question for conservatives is: You talk about freedom. Freedom for whom to do what?

Image from Wikipedia

Thoughts On Why Are Atheists So Angry

Atheist AI am sure this has been covered before, but I will post a few of my thoughts on the subject.

One thing atheists hear a lot from believers is “Why are atheists so angry?”

Here are a few thoughts.

Once Friendly Atheist had a post about Rick Warren. It referenced an article in which Rick Warren said he never met an atheist who was not angry. One commenter said that it might be due to the fact that Rick Warren keeps saying things about atheists that are not true.

Usually people start the “angry atheist” trope when they find out that someone is an atheist. And when you tell someone you are an atheist you frequently hear the same BS again and again and again.

When you tell someone you are an atheist, some people will say, “You’re just angry at god.” How can I be angry at someone who does not exist? What makes me angry is when I state something as clearly as I can, and someone tells me that I really think the exact opposite of what I just said. I guess some people say this because they think that just because they believe in god that everyone must believe in god. I am not limited by your preconceptions.

Another repetition that you get when you tell someone that you are an atheist goes something like this:
1. Have you read the Bible?
2. Have you been to church?
3. (Especially if the answer to 2 is “Yes”) You should come to our church. Our church is different.

Yes, I have read the Bible. A lot of atheists know more about the Bible than a lot of Christians. In fact, a lot of atheists became atheists because they read more of the Bible than the little bits their churches repeat ad nauseum. Yes, I have been to church. And no, your church is not really different. Since all churches accept the same basic premise (that god exists) they are all pretty much the same.

The irritating thing is that people will ask these questions as if they are the first person to ever ask these questions. If you tell them they are not the first person to ask these questions, they seem to think that it somehow will be different just because it comes out of their mouth.

If I was not convinced by an argument when it was given by 500 other people, it does not magically become convincing when it comes out of your mouth.

Image from Wikipedia

Are Bankers Really Blameless

I know I am a week and a half late, but I wanted to get this out there anyway.

Last week, Illinois congressman and deadbeat dad Joe Walsh  yelled at his constituents, and it went viral. (No, I don’t live in his district.)

He’s tired of people picking on the banks for the crisis. He blames the government.

It is odd for a political party that goes on about personal responsibility to constantly blame all of society’s problems on someone else. It is really odd for them to blame government while they are in government. Somewhere I read that Republicans say government is the problem, and then get elected to prove it.

He said that we should not blame the banks since the government sets the rules. True, but that does not let the banks off the hook.

Just because the rules say you can be leveraged 30 to 1 does not mean you have to be leveraged 30 to 1. Just because the rules say you can loan money to people without jobs does not mean you have to loan money to people without jobs.

I get tired of people blaming it on people who “got loans they should not have gotten”. The blame for that should be laid at the feet of the lenders. Lenders know more about lending than borrowers.

See The Big Picture posts about The Big Lie.

Mr Ritholz notes that Veterans’ Day started out as a pledge to end all wars.

Latino Atheists Update

There was another meeting of Latino Atheists earlier today, and I was there.

There is a small, consistent group. Our webmaster implored us to post more often, so I will cross-post this on that site.

Right now the plan for next month is to give a presentation on Our Lady of Guadalupe. Apparently there are no written records of the event that were written at the time. They were all written 100 years later. Our webmaster had put some links on the Latino Atheists Facebook page.

I think we will all collaborate on the content, but I will not present.

So right now our momentum is consistent. But we would like to ramp it up more.

Image from Wikipedia

Chinese Currency Debate

There was another bill submitted in Congress to punish China for pegging its currency. Personally I think China is pegging its currency, and that does give it an unfair advantage. But I think that declaring China to be a manipulator would be a mistake. I think that it could hurt the USA economically.

I think one reason these bills are no good is because they never seem to explain why China would benefit from floating their currency. Right now I think China is kind of like a shark. If a shark stops swimming it will die. If China does not grow quickly enough, it will have a lot of social unrest. So I can see why China pegs its currency.

I can see why it would be good for the rest of the world for China to float its currency. But I think people are basically asking China to implement a policy that would hurt China. Why should they do that? From what I can tell, all these bills that want to declare China a currency manipulator never explain how China benefits by floating. If you were China, would you replace a policy that benefits you today with one that will be bad for you know and might be good for you in some way at some undetermined point in the future? I think most people would not take that offer. Until floating the currency can be justified as being good for China, then I think it is a pointless debate.

Image from Wikimedia

October Dividend Income

1870 5 Pesetas coinJoining the bandwagon for the second month in a row, I am posting my dividend income for October, 2011.

The total was $208.90, for a year-to-date total of $2,330.68. The monthly total was less than last month, but that is okay since it is a different set of stocks. It is still higher than the total from three months prior with the same stocks. This is partially since at the time I was still having the dividends re-invested, but now I am letting the dividends go to cash. It is partially due to the fact that a few of the stocks increased their dividends.

  • Automatic Data Processing : $19.73
  • Coca-Cola Co : $24.04
  • MDU Resources Group Inc.: $8.45
  • Kimberly-Clark: $36.20
  • Chubb Corp: $8.11
  • Altria Group: $22.12
  • Illinois Tool Works: $18.33
  • Family Dollar Stores Inc: $4.77
  • Piedmont Natural Gas Inc: $15.10
  • Valspar Corp: $10.11
  • Cincinnati Financial Corp: $17.20
  • Sysco Corp: $13.46
  • RPM International: $11.28

Image from Wikimedia.