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Do Unto Others As You Would Not Have Them Do Unto You

May 14th, 2014
Schools in Kentucky have been allowing the Gideons to distribute bibles to elementary school children. Noting that the schools are prohibited from favoring one set of beliefs over another, a Humanist organization decided to go to the same schools and offer free books on Humanism. The parents' reaction? Some of them pulled their kids from school rather than allow them to be exposed to such horrors. Others hovered menacingly over the Humanists as they put their books out for any interested students to pick up—also presumably to intimidate any students who dared show any interest:
A small group of adults and children followed Freethinkers Jim G. Helton and Torey Glassmeyer to Walnut Hill and Jones Park, glowering at them from the parking lot as they delivered the books after 5 p.m. Thursday. Before they arrived at Jones Park, parents walked into the school and demanded to see the table where the books were going to be displayed. Local media were barred from entering the schools and were politely asked to leave when they entered the building. “We’re here to defend God and his glory,” said one woman, who declined to be named. A male companion muttered to himself as he scanned the parking lot for their car.
One can imagine what these people's reactions would have been if Humanists had acted the same way when Christians distributed bibles to students. I do have one question, however: aren't these angry bible folk the same people who insist that in Science classes, students should be exposed to “both sides of the controversy,” and then be allowed to “decide for themselves”? I think this is called “situational discrepancy.” Or “hypocrisy” for short.

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  1. Troy
    May 14th, 2014 at 14:16 | #1

    what gets me is that these conservative yahoos have destroyed my country but they’re not self-aware and intelligent enough to understand what the 1993-2006 period did to this country, the mistakes piled upon mistakes, from NAFTA to financial deregulation to the 2001-2003 tax cuts to the big wars to the allowing our financial sector to blow itself up 2003-2007.

    But when someone yells ‘secular humanism!’, out they come.

    I’m beyond sadness at this point. The only fix for this is for them to be outvoted and their effect in DC eliminated. But that’s not where we are, now.

  2. Tim
    May 16th, 2014 at 00:40 | #2

    “But that’s not where we are, now.”

    But that point could arrive as early as 2016. The only way to turn things around is a huge emotionally driven tide to the democrats. Last time that happened was in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination in 1964.

    I am old enough to recall American Graffiti when I was young. It was nostalgia based on the 1950s only 20 years earlier. It was an immense craze that spawned the show “Happy Days”, which initially did a fair job of catching the nostalgia. People also started watching more 1950s tv shows, like the honeymooners. It continued to reverberate, because in 1985 back to the future reverberated the same nostalgia.

    If Hillary runs in 2016, I predict a huge wave of nostalgia for the 1990s, when everyone had jobs, and prosperity was everywhere and we even had balanced budgets. I;n akreadt getting the nostalgia ever time I watch a rerun of Seinfeld. Even Republicans will be pulling the lever for her.

    She can run on Bill’s old bridge to the 20th century meme, Bush destroyed the bridge, Obama cleaned up the mess, now its time to rebuild the bridge. People will turn their backs on the last 16 years of Republican driven nightmares.

    On top of that, the average voter will take this evidence into the voting booth:

    Number of private sector jobs created:
    Clinton – 20+ million
    Bush – 0 (Zeer-oh)
    Obama – 8-12 million (still pending)
    Reagan – Ancient History

    With majorities in both houses, a giant infrastructure bill (3+ trillion) over 8 years + aid to state and local government services (1.5 trillion for education, police, etc…) and the recession is over in a fortnight. Hillary gets re-elected in 2020 and the Republicans are kept out of the presidency until 2025 at the earliers, where upon there will be few white angry males to vote for them and both Texas and Georgia will be blue states by then.

    We will still have huge oligopolistic structural problems we have to work through, but perhaps the worst of this shit will finally be over with.

  3. Troy
    May 16th, 2014 at 12:27 | #3

    a giant infrastructure bill

    yes, if DC were firing on all cylinders the change they could produce would be awe-inspiring, since we’ve broken free of the previous monetary regime of pseudo-gold standard / hard-money / “deficits matter” thinking.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=AQs

    Reagan-Bush added 16M jobs from a 75M base (~20%), and benefitted greatly from the expansion of the baby boom filtering into the workforce, along with rising women workers:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/LNS11300002

    Going back to the first graph, we can see the Clinton boom added 20M jobs, also 20%, but this exceeded the demographic expansion and we got to what passes for ‘full employment’, basically everyone who wanted a job could get something (more or less).

    Then the dotcom recession hit, 2M jobs were lost, we were in the Jobless Recovery until 2004, and then the Bush Boom started, and the unsustainable housing bubble gave us 7M jobs, a 6% expansion from the recession low

    And by unsustainable, we only have to look at consumer debt to wages:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=AQv

    to see how dependent households were on consumer debt during the Bush Boom.

    Obama’s seen +9M jobs, an 8% gain since 2009.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=AQy

    is the general employment picture today.

    Red is 70.5% of the working age population, the employment level of the Bush Boom (note how the Clinton boom was even better).

    So Bush-level employment is 143M people, but we’re at 138M now.

    Clinton-level employment would be 150M (!)

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=AQz

    I’d like to think the electorate is getting tired of the GOP’s shit, just like they got in 2006. But they’re message machine is a lot stronger now than 2006, maybe.

    And economically, things are a lot dicier for people, and one way the GOP moneybags likes to keep control is to threaten people with losing their place on the ladder.

    That’s half of the GOP’s messaging, that poor people are cutting in front of honest hard-working (white) people thanks to government hand-outs.

  4. kensensei
    May 16th, 2014 at 15:56 | #4

    Apparently, Tim’s optimism is shared across America (including Ohio).

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/05/15/poll_hillary_clinton_leads_2016_matchups_in_ohio_122641.html

    –kensensei

  5. Troy
    May 16th, 2014 at 20:00 | #5

    further to Tim’s point about spending stimulus:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=ARs

    is real per-capita gov’t spending, blue is federal and red is state/local

    showing the 1960s cold war / space / Great Society spending boom, the 1980s Reagan spending boom, and the 1990s spending freeze of divided government.

    Real spending rose $1500/yr (~15%) under Reagan and $4000 (~30%) under Bush, a large part of that being the counter-cyclical expense of unemployment benefits, bank bailouts, etc during the 2008-2009 crisis period.

    But note how real spending has fallen since then! Imagine if it were expanding like under Ronnie Raygun!

    (That the gov’t now spends $2000/mo for every adult is actually kinda scary, since I don’t see much actual wealth accretion for this colossal expense, but that is another topic)

  6. Troy
    May 17th, 2014 at 23:00 | #6

    btw, instead of just throwing money at ‘infrastructure’, I think what we need in the US is a directed investment program in reducing the cost of living of housing, health care, and transportation.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=AVZ

    is real per-capita housing (blue) and health (red) expenditures.

    This is private expenditure, for health care gov’t is spending an equal amount of money via Medicare and Medicaid.

    Since 1990 per-capita housing costs have risen ~50%, not in nominal terms but in real terms, which means housing is outpacing (wage) inflation.

    Official inflation says $700 in 1990 is $1200 today, but obviously rents have risen so much higher than that in the US (Japan is a different story!).

    What I was renting for $700/mo in 1991 in LA now rents for $1800 or so, and this was an allegedly rent-controlled apartment (had I stayed there my rent would be around $1500 thanks to the allowable 3-5% annual increases).

    Health care has doubled in cost from $4000 to $8000 per capita in this time, and this expense is going to explode as the baby boom starts turning 70 (they’re 50-68 this year).

    Japan does have its health care and housing situation mostly sorted I guess. With their top-heavy population they may be facing health care provider shortages though; the government really has to micro-manage the provision of health care services persistently (and correctly), since the free market only works in reaction to events, not long-term planning (like what is needed) all that well.

    The problem in the US is very powerful interests in health, housing, energy, and telecoms have corrupted the system to their benefit.

    Back in 2000 my phone bill used to be $20 a month, now people are paying $100 or more a month on that. Cable used to be $40, now it’s also $100+ more.

    Gasoline used to be $1, now it’s $4.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/AHETPI

    shows the average wage has doubled since 1990, but the rising cost of living has taken all of that of course.

    The only thing that’s gone down in cost is the stuff we import from China — consumer goods like clothing and electronic goods. We’ve used the savings there to bid up the cost of things in short supply, e.g. housing and health care, plus the trillion’s we’ve given the Chinese is now being used to purchase what used to be “our” oil, pushing up its cost to us.

    So it’s not terribly hard to see we also need to invest in new energy technology, both supply-side energy generation, and also conservation technologies, like smarter traffic intersections.

    Yet the nation is in a miasma of discord, confusion, and bullshit like gun rights fights.

    Leadership is important, and while it’s easy criticizing from 3000 miles away, Obama has been a zero on this front. He was the junior senator from Illinois in 2008, with only 4 years in the Senate under his belt.

    The Right has got millions if not billions invested in their media messaging with a list of media outlets and propaganda mills a mile long, while progressives have Amy Goodman and Paul Krugman on a good day.

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