Monday, October 31, 2005


"Just as Hurricane Katrina destroyed lives and communities, it also demolished the illusion that the challenges facing poor families and neighborhoods are “somebody else’s” problems. ... many Americans may recognize a new reality: poverty must be our entire nation’s concern. Some may even understand in a new way that their own hometowns face similar challenges ..." -- F Barton Harvey of the Enterprise Foundation

We're too used to being able to ignore poverty because it was only something that occurred in other countries. We see people starving in Africa, but only in the abstract. It doesn't affect our daily lives. But when Katrina came, the scenes we saw on our television looked like they could have been Somalia.

Poverty isn't something that's happened over night. So, you can't blame it on one administration. But some administrations are better than others at addressing it. The media largely ignores the problem. When they do say something, it's misleading. For example, famous tool Bill O'Reilly said, "... halfway through President Clinton's tenure in office in 1996, the poverty rate was 13.7 percent. Halfway through President Bush's tenure, the rate is 12.7 percent, a full point lower". Technically correct but misleading. As David Brock of Media Matters shows, "During the Clinton presidency, the poverty rate fell from 15.1 percent in 1993 to a low of 11.3 percent in 2000; it has risen every year that Bush has been in office, from 11.7 percent in 2001 to 12.7 percent in 2004." So, while the mid-term averages would lead you to believe that Bush was doing more than Clinton did, the truth is exactly the opposite. Clinton took office with a high rate given to him by the elder Bush and successfully lowered by almost 4 percentage points. Bush, given a lower poverty rate, does the exact opposite. For more info: Media Matters

"Unfortunately, many Americans live on the outskirts of hope, some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. This administration declares unconditional war on poverty in America." -- Lyndon Johnson

You wonder why Kanye West says that the President doesn't care about black people and then you hear him say, ,"I was disappointed, frankly, in the vote I got in the African-American community. I was. I’ve done my best to elevate people to positions of authority and responsibility — not just positions, but positions where they can actually make a difference in the lives of people. I put people in my Cabinet. I put people in my sub-Cabinet.". He sounds more concerned with getting votes than with helping anyone.

US poverty: chronic ill, little hope for cure

Here are the facts:

  • Since 2000, the ranks of the poor have increased year by year by almost 5.5 million in total
  • Today, 33% of black children live in families under the poverty level.
  • Last year, African American households had the lowest median income of any racial group ($30134), down a full percentage point from the year before.
  • The unemployment rate for African-Americans is double the rate for white Americans. Over the past six months, the average unemployment rate for white Americans was 4.39 percent; for black Americans, it was 10.06 percent.
  • Poverty is a universal problem, as is inequality. The world's 500 richest people, according to U.N. statistics, have as much income as the world's poorest 416 million.

    Statistics and quote from: Think Progress

"The federal government declared war on poverty, and poverty won." -- Ronald Reagan in 1988

What can we do?

Raise the minimum wage -- From Think Progress:

  • 4.3 million: Number of Americans who have fallen into poverty since President Bush took office
  • $5.15: Federal minimum wage
  • $5,000: Amount below the poverty level working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year at minimum wage will leave a family of three
  • 7,300,000: Number of workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage
  • 72%: Percentage of adult workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage
  • 1,800,000: Number of parents with kids under the age of 18 who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage
  • 11 million: Number of jobs added to the economy in the four years after the last minimum wage hike
  • 2.5 years: Amount of health care for two children which could be bought by raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25
  • 86%: Percentage of Americans who support raising the federal minimum wage

Mr. Harvey of the Enterprise Foundation in his paper, Ending Concentrated Poverty, goes into some of the causes of US poverty:

What has caused concentrated poverty:

  • deindustrialization
  • globalization
  • suburban development that does not included poor and minority families

The above have all eroded the job base in the heart of cities. But he has several workable, proven solutions:

  • enhance access to opportunity for low-income families
    - housing choice vouchers to help with rent in communities they choose or to help with mortgages
  • rebuild and reinvest in a smart, sustainable way
    - "private-public partnerships to turn dysfunctional environments into healthier communities"
  • ensure meaningful decision-making roles for low-income people

We cannot be considered a civilized society if we continue to leave a larger and larger segment of our population behind. We talk about being proud to be an American because fight wars in foreign lands. We need to be proud to be an American because we're fighting a war here ... against racism and poverty.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Without Training Wheels

On Cyberkitten's blog, we've been discussing the meaning of life. Well, I can think of no better one than my son. Alex learned how to ride his bike without training wheels today. The meaning of my life is to try to be a good example for him and to try in whatever way I can to make the world that he grows up in a better one than the one I did.


Went to the Thunderbird Balloon Classic with Alex Friday night and had a great time. Click the image for a page with more pics:

Gonorrhea Lectim

The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of sexually transmitted disease. This disease is contracted through dangerous and high risk behavior.

The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim (pronounced "gonna re-elect him").

Many victims contracted it in 2004, after having been screwed for the past 4 years, in spite of having taken measures to protect themselves from this especially troublesome disease. Cognitive sequelae of individuals infected with Gonorrhea Lectim include, but are not limited to:
. anti-social personality disorder traits;
. delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor;
. chronic mangling of the English language;
. extreme cognitive dissonance;
. inability to incorporate new information;
. pronounced xenophobia;
. inability to accept responsibility for actions;
. exceptional cowardice masked by acts of misplaced bravado;
. uncontrolled facial smirking;
. ignorance of geography and history;
. tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies; and
. a strong propensity for categorical, all-or-nothing behavior.

The disease is sweeping Washington. Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed and baffled that this malignant disease, which originated only a few years ago from a Bush in Texas.

*** Ed. note -- didn't mean to cheapen the discussion with a joke. But I couldn't resist (dbackdad) ***

Friday, October 28, 2005

Meaning of Life / Free Will

While we're in the religious discussion mood, I highly recommend a couple of current discussions going on at a couple of my favorite bloggers:

Thursday, October 27, 2005


"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." -- (Albert Einstein, Religion and Science, New York Times Magazine, 9 November 1930

51% of Americans do not believe they evolved ... 15% agree (that those 51% didn't evolve) (grin)

Majority of Americans Reject Theory of Evolution

Do these numbers provide affirmation to Creationism? Creationists may think so. I don't.

Other "Christian" countries don't think so either:
Comparing U.S. Religious Beliefs with other "Christian" Countries

Educators don't think so:
National groups won't let Kansas use materials in science standards

What DO these numbers tell us?

  • Our science education is not what it should be. Our public education system is being abandoned and more and more kids are going to private Christian schools.
  • Other countries better understand what a secular government is (our country once did)
  • We value dogma over learning and inquisitiveness. We've become a country of anti-intellectual pride.

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." -- (Albert Einstein, 1954)

"I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature." -- (Albert Einstein, The World as I See It)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks

An icon has died:

Rosa Parks: 1913 - 2005

Hypocrite of the Day

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison yesterday on Meet the Press:

Ms. Hutchison said she hoped “that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.”

Ms. Hutchison in 1999 during the Clinton impeachment:

[S]omething needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray. And I think it is most important that we make that statement and that it be on the record for history.

I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury. And I don’t want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system and I don’t want it to be faded in any way.

Apparently it's only perjury if it's the other party in power.


Thanks to Sadie and Jewish Atheist for passing this on to me to do ... so here goes. My strange habits and quirks:

1) I'm pretty compulsive about being early for appointments and for never taking sick days. I think it's the residue of a midwestern work ethic inherited from my dad.

2) I will finish every book or movie I start regardless of how wretched it is. I don't know if it's just another ethics thing about finishing what you start or if I feel that their is some redeeming quality in just about anything.

3) I LOVE going to auctions. It's the atmosphere, the competition, the white-trash huckster element. It can be for anything ... antiques, furniture, whatever. I used to work at an auction house when I was a teen and I was fascinated by the behind-the-scene things that went on then and that I can see going on now as a participant.

4) If I have the time and the TV remote, I will watch absolutely any televised sporting event. I find golf entertaining. I'd watch professional lawn darts or competitive tiddlywinks.

5) I love pickles but hate them on hamburgers. I will pick them off, eat them, and then eat the hamburger. I think it's because I don't think that hamburgers should be crunchy.

6) I don't really like mustard but if I'm eating a corn dog, I have to have it with mustard. Ketchup just will not work.

7) I'm compulsive about book, CD, DVD collecting. I have entirely too many of each (800+ books, 300+ CD's, 200+ DVD's). But I can't get rid of any. I always feel that I'll read, watch, listen to it someday. That means I still have a couple of Extreme (you know ... "More than Words" -- gag me) CD's that I just can't bring myself to dispose of.

8) Among my books, I have probably 100 books on chess! And I never play anyone. But if Gary Kasparov ever came to my house, I could probably give him a good game.

9) I've kept the tickets from every concert, sporting event, movie that I've ever went to. I keep saying that I'll put them in topical scrapbooks some day. And exactly who would that ever be interesting to?

OK, not the limits of my weirdness, but the most obvious ones that I can think of right now. Eric, Josh, and Isabella, consider yourselves tagged.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Michael Ledeen

If you want to know about neo-conservatism, and specifically the biggest American proponent of it, check out Shaw's outstanding post at Progressive Eruptions. It's very comprehensive:

The Most Dangerous Man in America, Michael Ledeen

Friday, October 21, 2005


If you want to get even more of an idea how out of touch the leadership of FEMA was during Katrina (and a clue to what they really feel is important), check out the following e-mail exchange transcripts provided at a Senate hearing by regional director Marty Bahamonde:

Excerpts from e-mails among Federal Emergency Management officials during Hurricane Katrina: (Note: All times CDT)

_Marty Bahamonde, regional director for New England to David Passey, regional director for the Gulf Coast, Aug. 28, 4:46 p.m.

_Bahamonde to Deborah Wing, FEMA response specialist, Aug 28, 5:28 p.m.

_Passey to group, Aug 28, 7:16 p.m.

_Passey to Bahamonde, Aug. 28, 9:58 p.m.

_Bahamonde to Michael Heath, FEMA official, Aug. 29, 7:33 a.m.

_Bahamonde to Nicole Andrews, FEMA spokeswoman, Aug. 30, 7:02 a.m.

_Bahamonde to FEMA Director Michael Brown, Aug. 31, 11:20 a.m.

Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes.

_Sharon Worthy, Brown‘s press secretary, to Cindy Taylor, FEMA deputy director of public affairs, and others, Aug. 31, 2 p.m.

"Also, it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner. Gievn (sic) that Baton Rouge is back to normal, restaurants are getting busy. He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes. We now have traffic to encounter to get to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc.

_Bahamonde to Taylor and Michael Widomski, public affairs, Aug. 31, 2:44 p.m.

"OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! No won‘t go any further, too easy of a target. Just tell her that I just ate an MRE and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern about busy restaurants. Maybe tonight I will have time to move my pebbles on the parking garage floor so they don‘t stab me in the back while I try to sleep.

_Bahamonde to Taylor, Sept. 3, 1:06 a.m.

"The leadership from top down in our agency is unprepared and out of touch. ... But while I am horrified at some of the cluelessness and self concern that persists, I try to focus on those that have put their lives on hold to help people that they have never met and never will. And while I sometimes think that I can‘t work in this arena, I can‘t get out of my head the visions of children and babies I saw sitting there, helpless, looking at me and hoping I could make a difference and so I will and you must to."

From the Herald News Daily

This would be funny if it didn't involve people dying. This morally bankrupt group of "Mayberry Machiavellians" makes me want to puke.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Angry White Male

Here's to you .... that unrepresented, descriminated-against minority: the angry, white, middle-aged male. Your heroes are Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. You are angry and you don't even know why. As Thomas Frank describes it in What's the Matter with Kansas:

"Everything seems to piss conservatives off. And they react by documenting and cataloging their disgust. The result is what we will call the plen-T-plaint, a curious amassing of petty, unrelated beefs with the world. Its purpose is not really to evaluate the hated liberal culture that surrounds us; the plen-T-plaint is a horizontal rather than vertical mode of criticism, aiming instead to infuriate us with dozens, hundreds, thousands of stories of the many tiny ways the world around us assaults family values, uses obscenities, disrespects parents[...] It offers no resolution, simply reminding us that we can never win. The plen-T-plaint is the rhetorical device that makes Bill O'Reilly's TV show a hit, as he gets indignant one day about the Insane Clown Posse and gets indignant the next about the Man-Boy Love Association [NAMBLA]."

Your flushed red face and spittle are palpable even on talk radio. I have to wipe my down my radio after you are done. You are unhappy with what you've done with your life and you are going to take it out on everyone else.

You feel you have a God-given right to the 350 years of white supremacy and unearned privilege. Just because you screwed up what you were given doesn't matter. You rail against affirmative action yet you have no problem with our president (who couldn't get into college in Texas) being let into Yale because of his daddy.

Well, I will tell you what. Angry, white, middle-age male ... you don't represent me, and you don't represent my friend, the Great White Bear.


Speaking of Bill O'Reilly, he was the guest on the Daily Show yesterday. And as usual, Stewart killed!!! I have no idea why O'Reilly even agreed to be on the show. While being courteous and funny, Stewart still managed to allow Bill to look like an out-of-touch idiot:

Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart


You want to know why we're screwing up in Iraq? Here's a pretty good analysis, and it's not from some left-wing site. It's from the American Conservative:

Billions of dollars have disappeared, gone to bribe Iraqis and line contractors’ pockets.

Some of the highlights:

  • at least $20 billion of the Iraqi people's money and hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer money have been wasted
  • young, unqualified Heritage Foundation neo-cons were given high ranking jobs and payed 6 figure salaries
  • 363 tons of hundred dollar bills were distributed to contractors and middlemen with virtually no accountability

When the final accounting of the corruption in Iraq comes out, hopefully Americans will take to task those responsible.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


"Do not fear your enemies. The worst they can do is kill you. Do not fear friends. At worst, they may betray you. Fear those who do not care; they neither kill nor betray, but betrayal and murder exists because of their silent consent." -- Bruno Jasienski

Fear is a big thing now days. Fear of terrorists. Fear of natural disaster. Fear of avian flu. If we're always scared, then we'll look the other way when our freedoms are being taken. But the thing we really need to fear is apathy. We can't become so desensitized to death in Iraq that we don't care about the war any more. We can't become so desensitized to corruption in government that we stop being critical of it.

I've seen it bandied about too much on some of our blogs that because Bush won the election, that must mean he was given tacit approval for the way in which he runs government. He won because of the fear and apathy I've mentioned before. People were afraid of terrorism and they felt that Bush presented the best choice for handling it. They became so blinded by single issues (abortion, gun rights) that they hurt themselves economically. As Thomas Frank says in What's the Matter with Kansas, "By separating class from economics, [those leading the cultural backlash] have built a Republican friendly alternative for the disgruntled blue-collar American." How else could you explain that a Yale/Harvard/Skull and Bones blueblood with a multi-millionaire Washington insider dad could be viewed as a man of the people?

I've also seen it said in many places (TV and otherwise), that because Bush is a "man of God", then all is well. I know personally many people that voted for Bush that practically believe that he can walk on water. Anything short of them personally witnessing the President killing someone is OK and they will rationalize imperialism, corruption, torture, you name it. This mass cognitive dissonance is astounding. They will continually adjust their beliefs to try and match it to the reality around them. And they will deny they are doing it.

And our media, god bless them, are worthless. They are too chicken-shit to do any actual investigative work because of their ties to the corporations that own them. And those outlets that are in bed with the government (FOX) show their indignation with government corruption by lamenting that it is being exposed at all. Bill O'Reilly is a piece of work. He worries that government indictments will hurt the country. William "first family of neo-conservatism" Kristol thinks that the "criminalization of politics that’s really gotten totally out of hand". It does not bother them at all what has created the situation. To them, all is fair in politics. Is that what our representative democracy was supposed to be?

It's not our job to blindly follow everything our government says. There is no reason to believe everything that they tell us when they are proven again and again to be lying to us. There is no reason to believe that they are better informed than we are. And we should not stand by idly and assume that things will be taken care of by someone else. Be informed. Be vigilant.

"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error." -- US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wag the Dog

Is it just me, or is this just a little too like Wag the Dog:

Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged

What does it say about your democracy when the only way that you can speak to the people is by carefully creating the situation and coaching the response?

**UPDATE** More from Think Progress indicates that even the questions themselves were staged:
Video: Pentagon Aide Admits Having “Drilled Through” Questions For Photo-Op

Speaking of polticial movies, what are some of your faves? Mine in no particular order:

Bob Roberts
Fahrenheit 9/11
Dr. Strangelove
Wag the Dog
Bowling for Columbine
All the President's Men
Primary Colors
Fog of War

It's a pretty broad definition. Technically, Schindler's List (one of my all-time favorite movies) could be considered political. But I'm trying to confine the list to those directly associated with politicians or the government.

Also, you'll have to forgive me for not including the following ... but I've yet to see them (I know ... shoot me):

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Manchurian Candidate
Citizen Kane

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

John Muir quotes

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."

"Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you."

"God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools." -- I know ... an ironic quote from me. It's still a good quote. It's the thought that counts.

John Muir -- famed conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sierra Club Service Trip -- Elgin, AZ

"Do not ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive". -- Harold Whitman (told to me by new dear friend Cat Hayden)

My vacation/service trip with the Sierra Club was a rousing success. Not only did I have a great time, I feel that we did some good.

During last week, a group of 10 Sierra Club members stayed and volunteered at an Audubon Society Research Ranch in southern Arizona. Our work consisted of upgrading and repairing fences on the property so as to allow the local species (deer and pronghorn) to pass the boundaries without being injured. In addition, we collected native grass seeds and transplanted native grasses into areas where they had been pushed out by exotic plants.

We had several guest speakers that had knowledge that placed them at the top of their fields. But the most impressive thing about them was their enthusiasm and willingness to give us some of that knowledge. The first was Ron Probst of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. He presented a slide show and afterwards we observed firsthand many celestial objects with the telescope that he had brought. I'm a big science/space nut and I was in my element with this speaker.

The next speaker was Homer Hansen, an environmental scientist but whose hobbies (and vast knowledge) extend way beyond that. Besides being on many committees in Southern Arizona concerning environmental issues, he is an expert on bats and birds. He's the chairman of the Wings over Wilcox, an annual bird and nature festival in Wilcox, Arizona. On this day, he spoke to us about Sky Islands."The Sky Islands are forested mountain ranges surrounded by seas of desert and grassland." Southeastern Arizona is one of the preeminent places on Earth for this. It was a very interesting talk and afterwards he led us on a walk where he explained some of the importance of sky islands and their effect on species diversity of plants and animals.

On our off day, we visited Garden Canyon within the Fort Huachuca Army base. We hiked, observed pictograph drawings on the mountainsides and saw several native species.

But don't be fooled into thinking the whole week was just all goody-goody stuff and learning. I had an absolute blast because of the items listed above but also because I met some incredible people. The other members (and leaders) of my group were not only extremely successful in their own careers, but also intelligent, well-traveled (about half the group lived abroad at one time or another), civic minded (most had done service trips before), funny (able to jump between Fellini and Farrelly brothers without skipping a beat) and hard-working. We exceeded both the expectations of Audubon and Sierra Club in how much we got done. Plus, we had great food and propped up the economy of Sonoita, Arizona with our consumption of alcohol. I value the friendships I developed on this trip and will undoubtedly see these people again in the future.

Fog of War / Silver City

Silver City

Here's a crazy premise for a movie:

- a "grammatically-challenged user-friendly" candidate
- a scion of a famous political father/family
- a slick campaign manager that is the true brains of the outfit
- "complex web of influence and corruption, involving high stakes lobbyists, media conglomerates, environmental plunderers"

Not so wild a premise now. And not so coincidental either. John Sayles, the famed American filmmaker of movies such as Matewan and Lone Star, released this movie in 2004 prior to the election. He was not trying to hide his allegiance. The story may have been fictional and the names changed to protect the not-so-innocent, but the subject of the satire was very obvious.

Led by a cast that includes several Sayles regulars like Chris Cooper and Kris Kristoferson, this movie does a great job of showing how the gullibility of the public can be taken advantage of by a well-organized machine.


Fog of War

One would think that a movie that consists of an 90 minute long interview with an 86 year-old man who mainly talked about the Vietnam War would be (1) boring and (2) irrelevant to today's political climate. You would be wrong on both counts. Errol Morris' Oscar winning documentary does a great job of going back and forth between the interview and archive footage to create a suprisingly lively narrative. And the manner in which he is interview allows you to see the pauses and emotion of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as he recounts his experiences. Far from being an apologist for McNamara, Morris does, however, show how well-intentioned people can get themselves into terrible situations (and take a country with them). It is this that makes this movie so relevant now. The documentary focuses on 11 lessons:

  • Empathize with your enemy.
  • Rationality will not save us.
  • There's something beyond one's self.
  • Maximize efficiency.
  • Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
  • Get the data.
  • Belief and seeing are both often wrong.
  • Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.
  • In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
  • Never say never.
  • You can't change human nature.

11 lessons that were obviously not learned by our current administration. I highly recommend this film.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

On Vacation

Sorry, but I won't be able to bore you guys with my posts for a few days. I'm leaving Sunday for my Sierra Club "vacation" and will be there through Saturday.

Heeeeere's Johnny ... and God

This is a pretty funny spoof of the Shining that a guy did for a contest among assistant editors in New York. The assignment: "Take any movie and cut a new trailer for it — but in an entirely different genre. Only the sound and dialogue could be modified, not the visuals". Robert Ryang won the contest by recutting it so that it sounded like a comedy about a writer. Here's his submission:

The Shining

The submission got so much internet buzz that some real producers actually contacted Mr. Ryang.


A recent study published in the Journal of Religion and Society brings doubt to the view that a godly society is necessarily a safe and healthy society:

Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

"Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion," the article says. But the results of the study show a quite different trend.

“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”