Thursday, October 02, 2008


Good evening, friends!
I have a lot to catch up on.
1 - P3. She's doing well. Tomorrow we go see her surgeon for the post-op consultation. My only concern is that she's impossible to keep down and she looks a little puffy around the incision site. Her stitches will come out tomorrow, though. I'm sure she'll be happy about that (after they're out at least). She has received books, a toy, and a teddy gram with flowers. She's working on thank you notes, but I wanted to tell all of you "thank you" for being so wonderful.

There have been a couple of people who felt weird about my posting Grace's wish list (by request). If I've offended any of you, then I'm sorry. It really caught me off guard to hear that people found it offensive or strange. But, I think hearing this from three non-troll people deserves examination of the behavior. I'm not counting the vindictive trolls. These are regular readers who didn't think it was necessary. What is the "Mrs. Manners" rule on this? For what it's worth, I love giving gifts and helping people. I'll send cute pencil and pen bouquets for my friends or family who have kids starting school. I love buying baby gifts and stuff for my online friends. There are about six people on this blogs whom I randomly send hair bows that I've made or cards to. And, yet, I still struggled with posting that link because I do see that some would find it strange or make a judgement call about it. What do you guys think?

2. Sarah Palin. I've tried to avoid making politically based entries on this blog. It's not that I don't have an opinion. I just don't think it should be assumed that all atheists vote for the same party due to our beliefs. Atheism doesn't address politics. I had always felt like blogging about politics in an atheist blog would lend more credence to the talk in religious circles about atheism being more than a position on the existence of a deity. But, I'm breaking that silence because Sarah Palin rubs me all sorts of wrong ways. I'll break it down into note form.
A) Book banning. Sarah Palin tried to ban certain books about homosexuality from the libraries of Wasilla, Alaska. She claims it was a "policy discussion", but let's call a spade a spade: it's censorship. And, it's not even censoring for a good reason. Reading a book or fifty on homosexuality isn't going to turn little Suzie into a lesbian. This woman, who would be vice president of a republic with a constitution guaranteeing freedom of the press and free speech, had a librarian fired for not cow-towing to her bigoted perspective on homosexuality! The librarian wasn't trying to put "Debbie Does Debbie" on the Young Readers bookshelf. It wasn't pornography. On her list of "inappropriate books" were such titles as; Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman, Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and last (but not least), The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. The last being particularly ironic. "Bridge to Terabithia" is a house favorite! There's little in there that I could imagine as being controversial. The main character, Jess, is a Christian. But, the book contains a healthy dose of imagination. When did a book about two kids creating an imaginary nation of creatures while working through themes of social justice become a threat to children? Children work out their perceptions of the world by trying on different hats in play or creating their own Utopia. And, I don't care if Heather has two mommies - if happy families and stable childhoods are the requirement of children, then I think two mommies (or two daddies) is fantastic. What the hell is wrong with this woman and those like her? The book's not called, "Heather Has Two Mommies And So Should You." Little Red Riding Hood...?? What? Is the wolf considered to be trans-gender? And, so what if he was? To Kill A Mockingbird is a book that presents the nature of bigotry and racism in the negative light it deserves. How can someone be so opposed to letting children read about tolerance and the ills of hatred? Finally, the Handmaid's Tale. I would think that would be high on their list of recommended reading since the premise is theocratic rule in place of democracy. I think this is the ultimate in projection.

B) It's not just her closed-minded stance on literature that bothers me. I think she's ridiculous. Claiming that she was actively involved with international relations because Alaska is close to Russia may have carried some weight during the cold war, but even then I'm not so sure. The waters are protected by the United States Coast Guard and the US Navy. The borders are enforced by them and the United States Air Force. As far as I know, the State of Alaska isn't responsible for any major diplomacy with Russia. Unless she's negotiating the specifics of peace treaties between Russian and American crab boats, I don't know what she's talking about! It's not even like Russia has an abundant population in the parts of Russia that neighbor Alaska.

C) She's a young earther. Yes. Sarah Palin believes that man walked with Dinosaur because she's seen footprints of them together. Jesus Jumpin' Christ...I'm sorry, but if the potential second-in-command for the one of the world's super powers can't be bothered to go to Snopes for a little confirmation, then I don't want her running the country. Not to mention how colossally stupid it is for a leader having such a limited view of science. I don't trust anyone who might consider making Kent Hovind Secretary of Education (not that she has, but the odds it's not something I'd put past her).

Finally, I've been having an e-mail discussion with a fundamental Christian who wrote the following (after three months worth of e-mail exchanging):
"Why can't you respect my point? We can't agree
but you can try to respect that. Science doesn't tell us anything about
morality and that's why I can't say I want it taught in schools."

Um. *head desk* She's right. Science tells us nothing (or very little) about morality. Why? BECAUSE IT NEVER CLAIMS TO! But, saying we shouldn't teach science in school for this reason is beyond ridiculous. By this rationale, we shouldn't teach math, music, art, computers, photography, languages, or any other subject besides philosophy and ethics. If you want to limit your child's education to a two thousand year old book with concepts about the world being flat and a drunk who collects two of every animal on the planet, then I would say you don't value education at all. Why even pretend you do?


Laura Semmens said...

I am not a fan of SP either (am am appalled that some somen would liker her "because she's a woman") but I don't think there was ever a definite list of books she wanted banned; evidently that list floating around is merely a compilation of the books *most* banned.

Snopes clears this up:

Glad P3 is better :)


Berlzebub said...

@ Laura:
While SP didn't have a list, she did ask a "rhetorical question" about how to ban books when she first took office as mayor. While the rest involves mostly anecdotal evidence, it's the rhetorical question that concerns me.

Perhaps we should try to find the meeting minutes for that day, and see the context. Still, why ask about the policy on "removing" (banning?) books from the library unless you intend on doing so?

Laura Semmens said...

I understand she asked and I completely agree that was her intention. I just feel there's enough reasons to despise her without passing on inaccurate information. That's the "other party's" specialty, not mine.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...


That people would find it strange or offensive taks me aback a little as well - but hey it was one post, it's not a feature of the static part of the blog, there was no coercion. It was at the request of others. More important things to be taken aback by IMHO.

CrypticLife said...

Once upon a time, I might have voted for a Republican (Ron Paul, maybe, or Bloomberg. Bloomberg would look like a saint at the moment). They're overwhelmingly theistic, but that's not necessarily a determining factor. A more traditional Republican might be more interested in limiting the size of government.

Sarah Palin is simply uninformed. She knows very little of the broader world, and is not suited to be VP. Plus, I think she's been rather dishonest: no one believes the story about her water breaking and then her taking an eight-hour flight. At the least, it would be incredibly reckless. We don't know what actually did happen, but her story seems rather improbable. Not to mention her clear deception on the bridge to Nowhere.

skepticdad said...

You should really change that book list, which was debunked as a contrived email forward, as has been pointed out already.

pickychicky1979 said...

P3 has been in my thoughts. I should have emailed earlier but am not getting much done at this point. Onl 19 more days until my due date.

Abacus said...

So glad to hear P3 is improving and getting the stitches out. Good for her. I hope you hear that everything is exactly as it should be today.

KarateMonkey said...

She's not just a young earther. There's evidence that she's a believer in some of the scarier crap out there, the Third Wave/Joel's Army movement. These are the people featured in the movie "Jesus Camp."

I've been reading up on these groups, which to date have really only gathered serious attention from more mainstream denominations concerned about their heretical teachings. For a good primer see here.

Part one is a brief introduction to the history and theology of the Third Wave/Joel's Army, and part two goes into the specific connections between churchs Palin's been associated with and the movement.

For those interested in reading more I recommend the diarist dogemperor who can be found at either DailyKos or the site I linked to above.

arana-suteshi said...

I'm not touching Sarah Palin. She makes my blood boil, and my brain cells die.

I'm glad P3 is doing well! My son has a 101 fever, and the only thing out of his mouth is, "Can't I pleeeeease go outside! It's cold, it will be good for me!"

I don't see anything wrong with the wish list. I guess I can see where some people might be offended though. Maybe it crosses a good-manners (what is the word, starts with an e? Told you she kills brain cells!!) boundary. Yeah, I can see that. But! I think it was a good idea to put it up and let people send something to a recovering little girl. :)

Country Wife said...

I'm so glad to hear P3 is doing well! We had a bad appendix experience, so I am especially glad to hear she's up and about.

It's your blog and you can post wish lists if you want. :)

Berlzebub said...

@ arana-suteshi:
I think you're looking for "etiquette".

@ P-Momma:
Considering that a few of us requested it, and you specifically said,
"BUT, by NO MEANS is anyone obligated to send her ANYTHING. Your well-wishes ARE enough and they are just as important and special as a gift."
I don't see anything wrong with it.

While I can kinda sorta understand why some might feel offended, it still seems a bit... off to me. I didn't get offended when I got an email from the McCain campaign asking me to donate.

I'm still trying to figure out how they got my name (hint: they never respond when you ask), but I wouldn't be surprised if someone did a search for "atheist" and just started sending any email addresses they could find to the campaign.

Anyway, tell P3 I'm thinking of her, and hope she's recovering well.

RedSonja said...

Another problem I have with SP is that, when she was mayor, they charged rape survivors for their kits. If their insurance covered it, great, but if not - here's your bill! The governor of Alaska actually had to ban that practice for the whole state to stop it.

Matt D. said...

CNN has more of Caribou Barbie's interview with Katie Couric.

Not surprisingly, she thinks she's a federalist, though she doesn't seem to really grasp the meaning - as she agrees that there is a Constitutional right to privacy, but thinks that Roe V. Wade, which was built on that right to privacy, was a decision that should have been left up to the states. When pressed for another Supreme Court opinion she disagreed with we got nothing more than word salad.

I'm not surprised that the someone who views herself in the same category as 'Joe 6-Pack' isn't up to speed on Supreme Court rulings - but that doesn't mean that the Vice Presidency should be a realistic possibility in her future.

Hopefully most folks have realized the problems that occur when you vote for he person you'd like to have a beer with.

If not, I hope they all go out and have way to many beers on November 3rd.

arana-suteshi said...

I think you're looking for "etiquette".

LOL. Thank you. Yes, that was it. For the life of me, I couldn't figure it out!

Teresa R said...

Good to hear about P3 being better!! I like wish-lists; makes life a whole lot easier in most situations. :>

Mephitis said...

I've been trying to work out what precisely it is about the wishlist thingy that felt odd for me, (I wasn't one of the people who emailed & I'm only replying about it now because you asked what we think). It's actually quite difficult to put my finger on.

I may ramble on here cos it intrigues me why I felt differently about this - I mean, I had no problem at all contributing a bit to the film-for-windows fund so it's a weird one.

I suppose for that, the ask came from Berlzebub... That said, the wishlist _was_ for your daughter rather than yourself. Hmm.

Maybe it's a discomfort with a child receiving presents from people from the internet? I mean, it's one thing for family and friends to give a magazine or some chocs or an unexpected something to cheer her up and keep her busy, it's another for strangers. Of course, some of your readers you probably consider good friends...

I come from a family where being ill means you are looked after and babied a bit, but you don't get presents (other than very small things). I know nothing on the list was massive but still seemed like birthday presents rather than quick cheer-you-up stuff, iyswim. That might be a matter of perspective, of course.

I have a twinge about the idea of setting up talking to people on the internet as a source of free stuff in a child's mind, although I'm sure she's a sensible child and you've talked through such things. But it seems to me having your names and location (even if general) available through that list isn't necessarily the wisest thing? Especially when I believe you already have had some trouble with people who know of you through the blog, bothering you in real life?

Not that it isn't good that nice things can come from the net too, and nice to show that everyone out there aren't sandwiches short of a picnic! :)

I also don't think bows and cards are commensurate with the things on the list, and when you say you send them out randomly, it sounds like unsolicited, ie. you just thought they'd like them so you did it? Not because they asked you to?

I don't know, it's a funny one this internet etiquette thing and I appreciate that you emphasised that you didn't expect everyone to do it - and that you'd been asked to provide a means to do it.

But on the whole, I think it would have been better left for people to email you and you give them the list that way.

Sorry my response probably isn't what you'd like to hear, but you did ask! :)

Dawn said...

Pmomma - first, let me ask, (if you don't mind) how P3's doctor visit went. As a nurse, I always like medical details. (if you don't mind telling but don't want to post it, you can email me at triskelethecat at gmail dot com)

SP scares me to death. Even funnier, she scares my teacher inlaws who ALWAYS vote Republican to death, and they are voting for Obama even though they don't like his tax plan.

Grace's wish list didn't bother me. You were asked for it so you answered people's wishes. I guess my feelings were that if it bothered you, then you don't have to click on it and/or buy her things.

Science...yeah. Science isn't based on belief. It's based on testing, re-testing, re-testing by other people who would LOVE to prove you wrong...It's not a belief. And again, SP's beliefs re: creationism are another reason my teacher inlaws are voting for Obama...they trust tested science even though they are very religious people. If you asked them their Christian beliefs, you you get most of the usual stuff. But they don't believe the bible is all perfect and they don't accept most of the OT as anything other than metaphor/fiction/stories.

Betty said...

I'm new here, but the question of the gift list intrigued me. As mephitis said, when we were kids being sick or having surgery was a cause for some special treatment or pampering and something like a new coloring book and puzzle book from mom and dad or maybe grandma, too. It wasn't a call for a lot of gifts.

However, today I've noticed that at work every child that is hospitalized a call goes out for gifts and toys so the people who asked for the list may have come from that kind of culture.

I'm not opposed to giving a list if people ask. I am a tad concerned that kids who get "too many" gifts when sick can start thinking it's a good deal to be sick and so collect loot. Obviously I don't participate in the gift collections at work. Not to be mean, but I think they've gotten out of hand.