Dear Egyptian People

33% turnout? Really? You slept and fought and died in the streets for the right to choose your own destiny. Now you petulantly sit on your hands and let it be hijacked by a whole new set of despots? Really? The new Constitution got 66% of the vote. That’s 22% of eligible voters. What do you think you accomplished by letting less than a quarter of you dictate what your rights will be? The opportunity to sleep and protest and riot and die all over again? You could learn something from the slogan I have stuck on the bumper of my car. EARN YOUR RIGHT TO BITCH. VOTE!


I am not a Christian, but I enjoy Christmas.

I don’t believe in the God of Abraham, or in any other God or Goddess, for that matter. Philosophically, I suppose I am closer to Buddhism than any other religion, but when it comes to myth, mysticism, and dogma, Buddhism no more rings true to me than Jesus’ resurrection or Zeus giving birth out of his skull.

I do like giving and receiving gifts, and I have no problem with all of us doing that in December, especially since it more or less coincides with Hanukkah. Naturally, we should, and I do, behave generously year round, but there is pleasant a kind of unity that comes from all doing it at once.
I also like to have a yearly reunion with family, friends, festivities, and food. It doesn’t bother me that it revolves around a religious holiday or three.

The commercial nature of the season bothers me less these days, 8 years after selling my last TV, and since I no longer shop at malls. I heard my first Christmas music of the year on Christmas Eve at Cafe Passe, as I printed up a couple gifts in the gallery. I actually enjoyed whistling along to the old classics.

A lot of my fellow atheists go out of their way to post degrading things about religion in general, and Christanity in particular at this time of year. This bothers me a lot more than the store clerk saying “Merry Christmas”, or God Bless”. The clerk says those things with a kind heart and good intentions. The malevolently anti- Christian posts are just plain mean.

I am all about exposing perversion and hypocrisy in the church, and we all know it abounds. I am all about calling out those who would impose their religion on our rights and laws. I am all about disputing and debunking the pseudo-science promulgated by the Christian Right to the detriment of our education system.

Christmas is not the time to do it. This is the time when we should focus on the best of religion, not the worst. Say “Merry Christmas” back to the clerk. It won’t hurt you.

F*ck the NRA

So let me get this straight. Wayne LaPierre says the way to prevent “bad guys” from killing bunches of innocent kids in schools is to have armed “good guys” at every school. I wonder if he is referring to “good guys” such as Neil Gardner, the 15 year veteran of the Jefferson County Sherrif’s department who was on had during the Columbine shooting but failed to stop it. He says it would be safer if more people were armed. Maybe he is referring to all the armed good guys at Fort Hood, which is possibly the most armed place in the world. He blames the violence in our country on video games (which, as we all know, are not available in other countries). Maybe he is referring to this:
He ignores well-documented evidence that availability of guns is the only real indicator of gun violence.

The United States has approximately one firearm for every man, woman, and child of its population. Elimination of guns is simply not a realistic goal. So what do we do? We can start by placing the same requirements on gun ownership as we do on car ownership. Registration, proficiency exams, yearly inspections, licensing, and insurance. Yes, I know criminals will still get guns, but did you know that most guns used in mass shootings are procured legally, and most perpetrators of mass shootings are not criminals until the moment they pull the trigger? It makes perfect sense to end the manufacture and sale to the public of assault rifles, if only to prevent them becoming as ubiquitous as handguns, which is surely the aim of the NRA and its sugar daddy, the Gun Industry. Close the Gun Show Loophole, which allows anyone to buy anything in the parking lot of a gun show with no background check. “Fingerprint” all new guns, so the weapon used in any crime can be traced by its rifling characteristics. And, lastly, we can’t take away everyone’s guns, but we can control ammunition. Require registration and licensing of a weapon before you can buy bullets for it. add serial numbers to shell casings for tracking at crime scenes.

The NRA will fight every one of these actions tooth and nail, but even within their own membership there is broad support for reasonable gun control. All that is holding it up is conservative, largely Republican Senators and members of Congress who rely on the NRA for large yearly contributions.

The reason the NRA always trots out the slogan “Now is not the time to talk about gun control” right after a tragedy is that it is precisely the time when we need to be talking about it, when the public is painfully aware of the cost of letting these cold bastards own our legislative bodies.