Monthly Archives: April 2008

how about $3 trillion in economic stimulus?

Suppose for a minute that we had the $3 trillion* or so that the United States is spending on the Iraq war, and we could instead do something reasonable with all that wasted money. The first thing to immediately pop into my mind is, “Hey — instead of sending certain adults a piddly $600 tax rebate as a way to supposedly provide economic stimulus, plus $300 for kids under 17, the government could send every single person in America $10,000!”

Instead of the $1,800 my family is due to receive next month, we’d get $40,000. It would be like a “Get Out of Debt (Almost) Free” card for us. And although I’m feeling financially stressed right now, my family is in good shape compared to a large segment of our population — imagine what $10,000 per person would do for people who are losing their homes or trying to decide between putting a few gallons in the gas tank or putting food on the table.

Of course, Mr. Bush’s government would never dream of spending $3 trillion on helping Americans financially. No, that would somehow qualify as a Big Government Program that Must Be Avoided, kind of like spending a few billion on health care for poor children, or funding national Head Start or full-day kindergarten (or, for that matter, paying teachers a reasonable salary). Somehow it’s OK to throw away an unimaginable amount of money on a war we shouldn’t even be in, but spending that same money to benefit American citizens would be wasteful and wrong.

https://i1.wp.com/gobnf.org/i/3t/3trillionlogo.gifBut enough ranting about what our government would or would not do with $3 trillion. Now, you can make your own choice about how to spend that pile of dough! Check out the $3 Trillion Shopping Spree. Go ahead: buy Amazon.com for $514,710,000.00; put up your own billboard in Times Square ($2,000,000.00); provide food, shelter, spay and neuter services, and vet care for all homeless, neglected, and unwanted pets in America for a year ($15,000,000,000.00); rehabilitate a water well and help provide safe drinking water for a family or town ($170.00); provide universal preschool — half days for 3 year olds and full days for 4 year olds — for all the children in America ($35,000,000,000.00); reduce class size in grades pre-K to 3rd grade to 10/per teacher, 4th-8th grade to 15/teacher, and 9th-12th grade to 20/teacher ($100,000,000,000.00); pay 1,000 teachers’ salaries ($39,274,000.00); or choose from thousands of other options. Add them to your virtual shopping cart, and then send the resulting list to your friends. Go on, knock yourself out: spending that much is easy! Just ask George W. Bush and his “Smaller Government, Less Wasteful Spending” friends.

* Here’s where the $3 trillion comes from:

  • $526 billion — borrowed money poured into Iraq so far
  • $615 billion — total interest costs for taxpayers
  • $280 billion — to rebuild our military
  • $590 billion — disability benefits and health care for Iraq veterans
  • $1.5 trillion — estimated costs through 2017

me in 6 words

https://i0.wp.com/www.onflex.org/count/6.pngGuinness has tagged me with an interesting meme. (I’m astonished that he has time for his blog, given that guys on diamonds have begun knocking around white balls with sticks…) I’m not sure why, but this meme caught my attention and caused me to immediately tackle the following assignment: writing my memoir in 6 words.

(Who comes up with these things? Why 6 words, instead of 5, 7, or 23? Was it a random choice, or does the specified number have some deep hidden meaning related to the Illuminati, the price of gasoline, and raising chickens?)

Here’s my life for your perusal:

Overeducated humanist editor sings, cooks, loves.

I’m going to tag some people with this one. I don’t usually do tagging, but I’m interested to see what they come up with, if they choose to participate. Here are the rules:

1) Write your own six word memoir
2) Post it on your blog; include a visual illustration if you’d like
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links
5) Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Taggees: Tim, Jack, Laura, Earthpen, DarkWolf

life, liberty, and the pursuit of reality

https://i2.wp.com/www.choosereality.org/art/choose-reality-3-120x50.jpgThanks to my friend Jack, I have a new adjective for myself: realist. He introduced me to the website of the Church of Reality.

It sounds like another April Fool’s joke, but it’s a real church with missions that I absolutely agree with:

  1. We Believe in Reality – the Way It Really Is
  2. We Spread the Sacred Message – Reality
  3. We Choose the Sacred Direction – Forward
  4. We Honor the Tree of Knowledge
  5. We Ask the Sacred Moral Question – What Is Good?
  6. We Issue the Sacred Challenge – How do we know that what we believe is real?
  7. We Are Activists – We Make It Happen
  8. We Unite Religion and Reality

From the website:

Since no one knows all of reality, the Church of Reality is a religious commitment to the pursuit of reality the way it really is. We think about thinking. We wonder about wondering. We try to understand the understanding of understanding. We are Explorers, not followers. The phrase “What is Real?” is our Sacred Question and the word “Reality” is our Sacred Message. We talk about reality, think about reality, and aim to make reality more important in society.

The Church of Reality is a new breed of religion that is based on reality rather than mythology. We answer the great questions that other religions address, like what is right and wrong, how do people live together in a community, and what are our responsibilities to ourselves and to each other. We address these concerns in the context of our evolutionary history, our present reality, and our future evolution.

https://i1.wp.com/images.cafepress.com/product/15677294v2_240x240_Front.jpg… Realists are not without values or morality. Our values are based on Humanism rather than a fictional holy book. As Realists, our values include Positive Evolution, Exploration, Honesty and Integrity, Freedom, Individualism, Peace, Courage, Environmentalism, Compassion, Justice, Inclusiveness, Scrutiny and Doubt, Humility, Reason, Wisdom, and Personal Responsibility. We believe in Original Virtue rather than Original Sin. We are a Doubt-Based rather than Faith-Based religion.

https://i1.wp.com/images.cafepress.com/product/170409123v6_240x240_Front_Color-BlackWhite.jpgVery cool — and exactly in line with my existing thought processes as a Unitarian Universalist, an atheist, and a humanist.

Consider me a member of the Church of Reality. My shirt and my bumper sticker are now on order. 🙂

 

Addendum: In an interesting coincidence, several hours after I posted the above, a smiling woman in her 50’s just knocked on my door carrying a Bible and a small pile of other literature. She began, “Hello, we’re out today talking with our neighbors about the Bible, and in particular about the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us, and…” Me (smiling): “Oh, no thank you.” Her: “You aren’t interested?” Me: “Not a bit.” Her: “You aren’t a Bible reader?” Me: “Not a bit.” Her: “OK, well, have a great day, and thank you for being so friendly about it!” I was glad she didn’t get pushy, and she was glad I wasn’t rude, so it was a fair trade.

This is the third religious visitor I’ve had in the last few months. Perhaps I need to keep a little pile of literature of my own by the door, to give them: cards with the URL of this blog, issues of Skeptic magazine, pamphlets from the American Humanist Association, a list of Biblical contradictions…

spring must-haves for your animal friends

Here are a few items that you’ll absolutely want to invest in — I’m placing my orders today.

From Archie McPhee: Squirrel Underpants!

https://i1.wp.com/mcphee.com/resources/april08/squirrelpants.jpg“Are you sick and tired of squirrels running naked in the trees around your house? Have you had to hide your children’s eyes when a tiny furry streaker crosses the sidewalk in front of you? We’ve got the answer, Squirrel Underpants. All you have to do is catch a squirrel, restrain him carefully, slide on a pair of tiny tighty-whiteys and then let him go. Each pair of 100% cotton briefs is “Proudly Made in America” and features a 2″ waist and a tail hole cut in the back. Help the squirrels hide their nuts for the winter!”

Also from Archie McPhee, a Dog to Unicorn Transformation Kit!

https://i1.wp.com/www.mcphee.com/resources/april08/unidog.jpg“This is not a costume. This is a kit to completely transform your beloved pug or beagle from a cute canine to the ultimate unicorn. It includes screw-in horn, hoof attachments, medical grade glue, peroxide, mane fur, a tail and a handful of glitter! Just peroxide the color out of your dogs hair and attach the fur and accessories with glue. Once you have the horn in place (Dremel not included) your beloved pooch will be ready to accompany you to fairyland. Please specify size of dog when ordering. Not legal in California, New Mexico and part of Maine.”

And of course, no household like mine, where cats run rampant, can be complete without several of these handy gadgets:

https://i2.wp.com/www.josepino.com/humor/catcarrier.jpg