Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bicentenary Twofer

On February 12, 1809, two of that century's greatest freethinkers were born.

Happy Birthday, Abe and Chuck!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Howard Dean for HHS Secretary

Daschle dodged taxes and took big dough from the companies he was going to have to regulate. We've all heard that song before, and we're bone tired of it.

Dean, in contrast, is squeaky clean, he's wielded executive authority as a governor, he's built winning political coalitions against long odds as a party chairman, but even more than that, he's a real live M. D.

Pick a primary-care doctor rather than an industry lackey to run health care reform? How novel is that?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

50 years ago, today...

...was the day the music died.

According to Don McLean and Paul Simon, something much deeper died then too.

Did it really? Can/should it be revived?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Things to do

...if you're going be attending an in-laws' family reunion for three days, but the only mandatory event is Saturday night:

1. Bring a fishing rod that fits in your suitcase.

2. At dawn on Sunday, while everyone else is sleeping one off, dunk a line in the water traps at the closest golf course.

3. Hook a few small bass and even reel one in.

4. Wonder whether the really big one that bit off the head of your popping bug was a bass or a turtle or a gator. Decide it must have been a gator, because it makes the best story.

5. Leave around 9 when the golfers start to show up.

6. Wish you had driven just a little farther to another golf course.

7. Drive two exits down the interstate to the nearest UU church.

8. Discover that they threw a fundraising dinner the night before, and that the salad dressing came from Costco.

9. Hear an invocation adapted from a prayer written by a past minister of your own church.

10. Hear the witness of a member that he cannot believe in supernaturalism, that believing in reason and observation rather than Jesus and the Bible is the only reliable way to discern truth, that he believes in this life and not the afterlife, and that the other nine months of the year he belongs to a Methodist church in Indiana. Remember bemusedly that your own Humanist grandfather, who was Corliss Lamont's Ph.D. thesis advisor at Columbia, grew up in a Methodist church in Indiana.

11. Sing the same hymn that you used to introduce a sermon you delivered not long ago.

12. Hear the self-described "non-theist humanist" minister deliver a sermon on righteousness and self-righteousness, arguing that there is no real difference between the extreme religious right and the extreme religious left in the sureness of their self-righteousness. Hear her describe both self-righteous positions, right and left, as "fundamentalist". Hear her describe self-righteousness, in her estimation, as the most grievous of all sins. Hear her close with the admonition that, "(are you ready for this?) without confessing our own sins, there can be no salvation," or words to that effect.

13. Greet the minister on the way out of the sanctuary: "So you're Katy-the-Wise! Finally, we meet. I'm Fausto." Hear the minister, not missing a beat, respond: "Oh, you must know Suzyn."

14. Congratulate her on her effective integration of traditional religious language with a non-supernatural theological orientation. Hear her respond: "It's just too powerful, too meaningful to leave out. We really can't do without it. The thing about fundamentalists -- on both ends of the spectrum -- is, they just don't get metaphor. But that's their problem; it shouldn't be ours," or words to that effect.

15. Trade stories about ChaliceChick.

16. Go back to the in-laws' and get ready to watch the Super Bowl.

[Update: Fixed a few typos and links, and added the grandfather/Lamont reference.]