Friday, December 30, 2005

The ACLU Freedom Files

    The ACLU has a video series online called The ACLU Freedom Files. As of now they have four 30-minute videos on the topics of the Patriot Act, the Supreme Court, racial profiling, and dissent. I haven't had time to watch them all yet, but I did see the one on dissent and thought it was very well made. In one part of the show they showed some footage of police in Oakland shooting some peaceful protesters with wooden bullets. Now I always thought that the non-lethal bullets such as this and rubber bullets would simply hurt like a really bad paintball or something of that nature, but if you look at the crater-like marks that they leave on the victims it seems clear that they would hurt a hell of a lot more than that. These videos might be a really good introduction to these issues to family members and coworkers who haven't put much critical thought into one of these issues. The video format makes the material quickly accessible and interesting to even the most busy and apathetic of people.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Nobel Prize Winner Criticizes U.S.

    Harold Pinter, who recently won a Nobel Prize in literature, gave an award lecture in which he very openly attacked the US foreign policy, not simply the recent "oh of course we're war criminals" stuff, but as well as the stuff from the last half of the 20th century, the stuff that is rarely reported on. It's a very good speech and I hope it causes people around the world, if not in the United States, to think about what he said. You can see his speech here. He gets political at about the 10 minute mark.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Reason for the Season

    Despite what we atheists think about the ridiculousness of religious claims, we must recognize that December 25th is an important date and we should not simply brush aside the reason for why we get this time off. Even if we don't believe the religous aspects of his existence, we should at least give him pause and thanks for letting us have the time off. So in this spirit, I deeply thank Deus Sol Invictus, the unconquerable sun god, whose Roman followers likely started the religous celebrations on December 25th. We must all be careful of those will try to distort this holiday for their own religious ends, and in particular Christians, who have somewhat recently tried to claim the holiday as the supposed birthday of their "savior". Churches in Ireland let the pagans have December 25th all to themselves until the 5th century, churches in Jerusalem until the 7th century, and those in Slavic lands until the 10th century. Listen Christians, how would you feel if people didn't celebrate your birthday for almost 1000 years and then said "ahh shit, we don't know when this happened" and then decided that your birthday should be on the same day as a sun god, so that they don't have to throw two parties in a year? The giving of presents, mistletoe, even the christmas tree are all traditions that were stolen from the pagans. I say get your own holiday and traditions and let other people have theirs.

    On a different note, those of you who didn't see The Daily Show last night should watch this. O'Reilly tried to make it appear that Jon Stewart's show was part of the horrible "War on Christmas" and used a year-old clip as if it had happened the day before. Bill O'Reilly also called Comedy Central "Secular Central", to which Jon responded that he preferred "Godless Central". A truly great segment.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Great Trading Spouses Video

    I know I've seen part of this video from Trading Spouses on someone's blog before but I didn't see a clip that was this long. Video courtesy of Crooks and Liars, a great site if you're looking for relevant video clips on politics and the media. Anyway, while this video paints a picture of a very extreme christian, it's nice that it was aired. Who knows, maybe it will make christians who watched it rethink their position or might at least drive them away from fundamentalism. Who wants to bet that this lady would burn us at the stake if she had the opportunity?