mijan: (Kirk: Gotta be fucking kidding me)
Aaah, you know what time it is. The Family Research Council (a homophobic organization in bed with the National Organization for Marriage and other fundamentalist dominionist Christian groups) had their head honcho post this piece of trash on CNN.com:

Apparently, Jesus was a free market supporter. Christ for Capitalism! WHEEE!!!

This is such a juicy piece of religion-twisting-for-propaganda. I've seen stuff like this in recent months - lots of folks pretending that Jesus was a pro-capitalism financial cheerleader. It's hilarious. Did you see that billboard? Yeah, that sort of shit.

See, just because I left the Jesus Fan Club years ago doesn't mean I don't remember all those years of Bible studies. I also happen to have a mother (Hi, Mom!) who was the odd combination of rational and religious. So... for being raised in the Jesus Fan Club, I had a very practical application of it. Science was reality. Religion is morality (sorta). But anyway...

This article twists one of the parables. Go on, read the article.

...

I said read it. Otherwise, how else will you know what I'm ranting about?

Read it? Good. So... here's what I want to say to the knucklehead who wrote this:

The parable of the King giving the minas to his servants wasn't about monetary profits. The parable was about growing the numbers of followers, making a spiritual investment, and also making the most of the gifts God gave to you such as your intelligence and compassion.

As far as the business of making money was concerned... wasn't Jesus the guy who threw the merchants out of the temple? Didn't he say (regarding money and taxes), "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's?" Didn't he say, "Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor?"

And... doesn't the Bible condemn usury? It does. Repeatedly. You see, we don't have a capitalist system. We have a corporatist system, and our entire financial structure is based on the lending of money at interest... a practice condemned in multiple places in the Bible. In fact, the Bible is significantly clearer on its stance against usury than "hot button" issues like gays and abortion. Go on... do a search for "Bible usury." Those two words will bring you plenty of references.

The Bible specifically condemns usury in regards to lending money to the poor. Good followers of God are supposed to lend money to those in need, but NOT at interest. NEVER at interest. Not to the poor, nor to family or friends. And if you charge interest to a wealthy person in a business transaction, the interest rate must not be excessive. Have you seen the interest rates on credit cards? THAT is usury, NOT free market as Jesus would have recognized it.

Of course, I'm not Christian. Wise man said, "I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ." Well, just because I'm not part of the Jesus fan club doesn't mean I can't read and comprehend. It doesn't stop me from holding your own behavior up against the religion YOU CLAIM and seeing whether or not you're full of shit. And having come from a Christian background and knowing your religion inside and out, I KNOW YOUR HYPOCRISY. It's an ugly, ugly thing you have going.

Someday, you're going to have to accept that the biggest reason (other than the Constitution) that we're not a Christian nation is because a nation that actually followed Christ wouldn't treat the poor, the sick, the hungry, the homeless, the outcasts, and strangers as we treat them. And as for OWS... yeah, Jesus would have been down in the Occupy Wall Street protests. Not just protesting along with them, but leading them through the lobbies of the huge corporate banks and throwing out the CEO's who are raking the poor people of the nation over the coals. Jesus would condemn the entire mortgage industry, the credit card companies, and all those making money through the exploits of usury and investment trading. Jesus would be a socialist.

Talk about an inconvenient truth.

The point is that we're dealing with people who have no qualms about manipulating and completely twisting the nation's dominant religion in order to sway public policy in the most insidious way. The point is that people listen to this shit. It's bad enough that people want to base public policy on ANY religion... but once there are no rules, and the religion can be bent to the whims of the people in power, completely gutting ANY positive message that the religion once had... we're in trouble.

So... in conclusion, I bring back this oldie-but-goody. Take it away, Stephen:

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it.”
― Stephen Colbert
mijan: (Janeway:  BRING IT)
Dear Assholes of the World,

When a person of Jewish heritage asks you to please stop having a detailed discussion about the treatment of Jewish prisoners in concentration camps within earshot... SHUT THE FUCK UP or GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Thank you,
This Person of Jewish Heritage
mijan: (Don't make me angry (Yuuri))
I have NO tolerance for this sort of bullshit:

"Parents need to start beating their children again"


and

"I'm sorry, but unruly, rude and undisciplined kids like that deserve to get the crap kicked out of them- be it by their parents or another kid that they mouth off to the wrong way"

If you say shit like that on my livejournal, especially after I've told you to stop talking about child-beating, the "go fuck yourself" will be the kindest thing I'll ever say to you again.  GOT IT?  There's a vast difference between spanking a kid and beating a kid.  I'm not much a fan of the spanking philosophy, but I understand that some children are more problematic than others.  A swat across the backside is sometimes the only way to get a kid's attention.  But there is NO excuse for BEATING children.  NONE.  That's child abuse.  That's VIOLENCE.  I don't want to hear that language, I don't want to hear people espousing the notion of beating children, and I especially don't want to see people supporting that behavior on my journal.

If you think beating children is a good thing... don't talk about it in front of me.  If you do, the de-friending will be swift and merciless.  And then I will quote you like this so that you and the world can see how heinous your attitudes really are.

I write about horrendous things in some of my stories.  They're FICTION.  And I never, NEVER glorify violence as a positive attribute... especially violence against the weak or the helpless.  I condemn it.  I've known victims of domestic abuse.  I've had friends who were beaten as children.  Not spanked - BEATEN.  There's no excuse for that shit.

Violence begets violence.  I've seen enough of it to know.  I don't 'want to see it on my LJ.
mijan: (Bones: Eyebrow of DOOM)
Dear Assholes Next Door,

You're normally very nice people.  And you seemed to be having a lovely garden party yesterday.  Happy birthday to the kids.  Pleasant crowd, no outrageous behavior, no insanity.  The problem, dear neighbors, is that you played this really really loud thumpa-thumpa music that sounded like a broken video game.  And you KEPT playing it.  FOR HOURS.  You started mid-afternoon.  On and on it went.  And finally, at 10:30 at night, I called the police because my wife needed to sleep because she had to be awake at 5:00 AM for work.  And then, although you quieted down for a few minutes, from about 11:15 to 11:20, you started right back up again, and I needed to call the cops AGAIN.

I'm sorry, but that makes you ASSHOLES.  Completely inconsiderate.  It was midnight before the music finally went silent. 

You didn't need to stop partying.  I don't care if you socialize until sunrise.  Just turn off the goddamned music!

No Love,
Me
mijan: (Spaz Much?)
NOTE:  This is not aimed at my f-list.  It's not aimed at anyone in particular.  This is some venting at the general population that I need to get off my chest. 


So the 4th of July is coming up.  I know a lot of you folks on my f-list are Americans.  So am I.  Hell, I'm an American veteran.  Bully for me, right?  I've got some sort of quasi-sainthood according to some factions of the population because I did some pushups, strapped on combat boots, blew up some shit, and buried more than one of my own guys.  All hail patriotism, right?

And because a veteran like me is so patriotic (which I am, actually), I must love the 4th of July.  I must LOVE watching people abuse the American flag by wearing it as a cheap Wal-Mart garment, or sitting on it as a beach towel, or wiping their mouths on it when it's printed on napkins distributed around the picnic blanket in the park.  I must love the sanctimonious hails to the Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Sailors who "gave so much" so that the people raising their ice-cold beers can feel better about their own personal comfort.  I must love the cries of "God and Country," and people's attempts to tie their religious preferences to my patriotism.  And oh yes, I must love the fireworks.

Now, I don't speak for every Soldier or veteran.  I speak for myself only.  I know it surprises a lot of you when you find out that I not only served in the military, but I was an officer, in a command position in a Combat Engineer company.  Yeah - cute, little, sweet, adorable me.  How could I be trained to be that hard?  Well... unless you've been there, you can't understand.

But let me try to get people to understand a couple of things on this 4th of July weekend.

1. Respect the goddamned flag.  It's not a t-shirt, beach towel, picnic blanket, napkin, or fashion accessory.  It doesn't go in the trash.  The PROPER way to dispose of a torn and tattered flag is actually to fold it neatly, and BURN it.  But for the love of Thor, when I see anyone displaying faux-patriotism by the improper use of the flag, it's worse than a slap in the face.

2. Don't TALK about how much the troops gave.  How about this: instead of talk - which is cheap - try taking CARE of this nation that generations of Soldiers secured for you.  Stop trashing it, wasting it, abusing it, and expecting it to keep rolling along with God-sent strength.  Great nations and empires have fallen, and we're not immune.  The greatest threat to national security is complacency.  It's about taking care of what we've got.  You want to honor veterans?  Stop abusing the freedoms they secured for you.

3.  I'm a veteran.  I'm patriotic.  I'm not Christian.  Stop tying those three things together.  It's offensive.

4.  Fireworks.  I love a professional fireworks display.  But you want to know something?  There are fireworks going off in my neighborhood right now.  They sound like machine guns and mortar rounds to me.   I hear a lot of folks in fandom talk about "triggers."   Some people got pissed off at me recently because I wasn't "sensitive" to their triggers because they read something in a journal post that made them upset.  Well, let's put this into perspective for a moment:  You CAN turn off your computer.  For the next week, if not on-and-off all summer, I'm going to be awoken to the sounds of what my brain is telling me are mortar rounds and artillery shells and machine guns.  I'm going to flinch every single time, with the distinct urge to reach for a semi-automatic rifle that I don't own, load it with a magazine that doesn't exist, and take up a defensive posture in a foxhole that I never dug.  I'm going to have dreams about it again.  It happens every year.  I'm not trying to downplay anyone else's trigger here.  I just want people to recognize something they might not have even considered... while they're launching bottle rockets in their backyards and setting off firecrackers in metal barrels.

Oh, I'm not stupid - I KNOW they're all fireworks, bottle rockets, fire crackers, and other bullshit like that.  But that doesn't stop my mind from going there, every single time.  Once a Soldier, always a Soldier.  I hide it deeper than I used to, but don't ever kid yourself and believe that the Soldier is gone.

I loved many aspects of my time in the service.  I have personal reasons why I actually want to go back... because I believe I could still make a difference.  I miss my guys.  I don't miss the politics, but I miss my unit.  We did some good stuff.  I can't go back - injury, medical situation, sexual orientation.  Yeah.  That.  But underneath the bouncy, cheerful, perpetually energetic exterior, there's another layer.  And on the 4th of July every year, the Soldier comes back out to visit... just not always in the way you might think.

Just... do me a favor, guys.  This year, when you pack a picnic lunch and go down to see the fireworks display... think about what I said.  Just spend a couple of minutes thinking about the difference between patriotism and false-patriotism.  Ask yourself what sort of country you want for the future.  And maybe... consider not setting off fireworks in your neighborhoods.  There's a chance that the veteran you thanked earlier that day is lying in bed, trying to sleep, and is reliving memories they'd rather not relive with every explosion.

And now... the real meaning of Independence Day.  I may be busy on the 4th, and not around to actually post this.  So, I'm posting it now.  I present to you the full text of the Declaration of Independence:


IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident... )
mijan: (McCoy: Major Malfunction?!?)
I'm sure quite a few of you have already seen the rants on your f-lists.  No, not the SPN fanfic stuff.  I'm talking about the total uproar some people are making over the ALLEGED "female genital mutilation" taking place at Cornell University. 

Personally, I find it mind-boggling how many people are ONLY reading the ranty, non-scientific, highly-biased, slant-angled BLOG POSTS about this, and not reading the goddamned MEDICAL RESEARCH PAPER to see what was actually done!  I've seen rant after rant linking to blog-post after blog-post like a line of dominos, but nobody is referencing the actual research paper.  Nobody is linking it!  Everyone is just screaming their heads off without even going back to the actual research paper.

Fandom, I'm disappointed in you.  For all that so many of you are well-read individuals who seem willing to dig up source material, you're awfully quick to jump on the bandwagon and scream bloody murder about this.  I'd guess that some of the people ranting don't have enough of a biomedical background to understand the research paper anyway, but for those of you who are able to untangle the med-speak, you owe it to yourself to read the actual source material.

READ IT:  The actual published research paper.  Until you read it, with comprehension, shut up.  And stop "boosting the signal" of something you don't even understand.  That makes you no better than Tea Partiers parroting Glenn Beck.

I have seen people call this research the following things:
Female genital mutilation, rape, sex abuse, child abuse, homophobia, trauma, sexual assault, and even torture.

To those of you who have BLINDLY SWALLOWED THIS LOAD OF BULLSHIT, how about doing some research before you jump to conclusions?  Otherwise, you're blindly following propaganda, which is a bad thing, whether it's conservative or liberal propaganda.  So let's dig into the issue a little bit, shall we?

What you should know and consider before jumping to conclusions )

So, here's my opinion, summarized: 

1. I do not agree with physically testing nerve sensitivity on patients under the age of 16 for research purposes.  (I think a 16-year old can consent.  Many teenagers are sexually active, and they can make the decision of whether or not to participate in further research.)
2. This is NOT FGM. 
3. This is not being perpetuated against women by men (an accusation I've seen on a couple of LJ's).
4. This is not rape.
5. This involves an actual medical condition, and as a biologist who works on a medical research campus who has been involved in the approval process of human research projects, I find the insults aimed at medical researchers to be off-putting at best, grotesquely insulting and libelous at worst.
6. While I do NOT completely agree that surgical intervention is the best or only approach to this condition, I believe that it's a legitimate approach, and is medically justifiable on a case-by-case basis.
7. My primary point is NOT about whether this procedure is a good one or not - it's all about the fact that too many people are jumping to conclusions, and really should read up before screaming about it.


Also, the brilliant and creative [livejournal.com profile] lizardspots posted about this issue, HERE.  She's just about to finish up med school and has already been working directly with patients for a couple of years at this point, and quite sharp and fair-minded.  Give her a listen, ok?

That's all I've got.  If you want to argue with me, read the actual research paper first.  If I decide to lock horns with someone over this, it would have to be a well-considered argument.  I agree - the decision of whether to surgically "correct" genital malformations is a very touchy subject.  The severity of the malformation different case to case, and only some girls have severe deformities.  I think the decision is extremely personal to the individual if older, and the family if it's a baby, and can only be decided on a case-by-case basis.  I'm not in those shoes, and I wouldn't dare to judge those decisions either way.  There are valid arguments on both sides of the issue.  

If you read the research paper itself and come to different conclusions from mine based on the facts, then I can fully respect that.  That's the nature of debate in medical research, and there will ALWAYS be differing opinions.  I welcome that discussion.  There's a lot of gray area in this sort of thing, and that's why rational discourse is so important.  However, if anyone wants to continue to scream that this medical procedure is rape, torture, FGM, or sexual abuse... back up your argument with medical science before you click "reply."
mijan: (McCoy: Surrounded by idiots)
Do the folks at the EPA, OSHA, and the Department of Transportation think they're cute by having the HAZMAT training and emergency response refresher course filled with obnoxious little graphics and shit, while being slowly read aloud by an annoying male voice?

Dude, just send me a basic outline, let me read it, and let me take the test to prove I haven't forgotten this shit.  SERIOUSLY.  I've turned off the volume for the narration, but I still have to wait for each page of the training presentation to play through.

WHYYYYY???

I'm already well-trained in emergency response.  Chemical spills, chemical exposures, hazmat shit... yeah, I know this stuff.  I deal with it daily.  And now I've got to prove that I remember a bunch of stupid acronyms for federal regulations so that the next time some idiot researcher with more technical know-how than common sense decides to douse himself or herself with a toxic chemical, or spill an organic solvent in a public walkway, or cross-contaminate an entire lab with unknown substances, I can try to keep the damage to a minimum.

After this section, I'm going HOME.
mijan: (Will NOT Avada Kedavra the Muggles)
I read an article the other day about the death of the American Dream.

I say BULL SHIT.

Let me tell you what the American Dream USED TO BE.

Once upon a time, the average American dreamed of owning a car, and a small house (three bedrooms, average size 10'x10', total square footage maybe 1,200 square feet).  He dreamed of taking a vacation to the coast, or maybe someday to Paris if he got really really lucky.  He was thrilled when he brought home his family's first TV set, and they could sit together and watch the news and "I Love Lucy."  He bought his daughter a jump rope and a new sweater for her birthday, and she was happy with it.  His son got a set of marbles and a slingshot, and that was really cool.  When the kids get old enough, they even get a bicycle... so they could get a paper route or bike to school.

How would Mr. American reach his dream?  Well, he'd save up his money.  He'd either work his way up from the bottom at a company, or start his own.  Maybe he'd become a tradesman.  Maybe, if he wanted to be wealthy, he'd got a Bachelor's Degree.  If he wanted to be really RICH, he'd become a doctor or lawyer.  Then maybe he would buy a 2,500 square foot house, and his family would have TWO cars.  What amazing wealth!

And when he finally achieved the American Dream, he'd take care of it.  He'd maintain his house, keep his yard clean, do upkeep on his belongings, and work to preserve the dream he'd built for himself.  He'd save his money to make sure he could afford the essentials before buying the extras.

What's the American Dream now?  Well, according to some people...

Now, we need oversized houses to match our oversized lifestyles.  McMansions dot the suburbs.  A house needs to be at least 3,500 square feet before a person feels that he's "made it in life."  One car?  Try three.  Now, we buy a new TV every two years to keep up with changing technology.  The "old" TV goes in a kid's room, or the basement of our oversized house.  A 42" flat screen is a bare minimum for so many people.  We need a computer in every room, for every family member.  We need cell phones and blackberries.  A kid has a birthday?  Hurry up and gift wrap the i-Pod, the Playstation, the Wii, plus designer clothes and accessories.  Oh, and remember the women also need manicures, pedicures, facials, hair highlights, and at least 50 pairs of shoes in the closet.

Jobs?  We've created a stratified economy of transient jobs that never create wealth or a future for workers, and a system that rewards debt and punishes frugality.  It's a mess.  Most people need a specialized degree to get any decent job, and a small fortune (or a lifetime of debt) to pay for the education.  This has been turned on its head.

You see, it's not that we can't achieve the "American Dream."  It's that we're too greedy to recognize it, and too lazy to maintain it.

I have a nice three-bedroom house.  It's not huge, but it's plenty big for me.  My wife and I share a car, and it's enough.  We have one television, and it's plenty.  And our plan is to take what we have and maintain it.  I've reached my American Dream, and I'm not done yet.  The question is... can we recognize "the American Dream" for what it was meant to be?

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