I pulled the transcript, just in case I’d missed it

I listened to the inaugural address while sitting in my office at work, so it was possible that in the middle of answering emails, scheduling meetings, and entering my time, I might have missed it. But no,  not a mention.

Unlike four years ago, not even a crumb for us non-believers today. No, Mr. President, freedom is not “a gift from God.” Our freedom was earned by the blood, sweat, and tears of real, live human beings.

And no, Mr. President and Chief Justice Roberts, “so help me, God” is not part of the oath of office.  Please reread that Constitution you just swore to defend.

Article Two, Section One, Clause Eight:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That being said, good luck with the bat-shit crazy contingent in Congress.

Cross-Post: Good Luck, Mr. President

Cross-posted from The Neophyte Photographer.

It is Inauguration Day in the United States.

For all the silliness of the election season, and regardless of the winner, I like inauguration day and the peaceful transition of power it symbolizes (or in this case, the assent of the people to the continuation of the current administration).  I’ve got a number of friends who are there and I hope they have a great time.

I took these shots of the White House last March.  You can see the lights on in the Oval Office and I wonder if they are on all the time, or only when the President is in residence. I’m pretty sure President Obama was in D.C. at the time, so seeing the lights on was kind of cool.

UPDATED to add: Okay, now I’m feeling rather foolish. I’ve been operating under the misapprehension that the Oval Office is located in the White House. It is not. Rather it is located in the West Wing, a separate building on the White House grounds.

Voting Challenges

Got this little tidbit from the local Democratic party. For those of you voting in Nevada:

NRS293.303 Challenges.

1. A person applying to vote may be challenged:

(a) Orally by any registered voter of the precinct upon the ground that he or she is not the person entitled to vote as claimed or has voted before at the same election. A registered voter who initiates a challenge pursuant to this paragraph must submit an affirmation that is signed under penalty of perjury and in the form prescribed by the Secretary of State stating that the challenge is based on the personal knowledge of the registered voter.

Proclamation

As it appears that no city or county in the state has seen fit to do this today, I have taken matters into my own bloggy hands. 

Proclamation

 WHEREAS, the application of reason, more than any other means, has proven to offer hope for human survival upon Earth, improving conditions within the universe, and cultivating intelligent, moral and ethical interactions among people and their environments, an

WHEREAS, those who wrote the Constitution of the United States of America, the basic document for governing the affairs of humankind within the United States, based it upon principles delineated within the philosophies distinguishing the historical Age of Reason, and

WHEREAS, most citizens of the United States purport to value reason and its application, and

WHEREAS, it is the duty and responsibility of every citizen to promote the development and application of reason

NOW, THEREFORE, I Carissa Snedeker, Proprietress of the Blue Lyon blog, hereby proclaim Thursday, the 3rd day of May, 2012 a

DAY OF REASON

and I encourage all citizens, residents and visitors to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry to the resolution of human problems and for the welfare of human kind.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I hereunto set my hand and cause the Seal of Blue Lyon to be herein affixed.

Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.

~~~~

Memo from the Big Guy to those participating in today’s public displays of piety:  

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”~ Matthew 6

True Religion: Rick and Mitt edition

Rick Santorum:

“People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad,” Santorum said, “but paying $900 for a  drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it.” (ABC News)

Aside from the iPad red herring, I am fed up with this straw man that people expect “free” medical care.   We all know health care costs money. What we are saying is that the inability of some to pay for their health care should not preclude them from receiving it.  By Rick’s reasoning, a person dying of thirst or hunger has no right to food or drink unless they can pay for it, regardless of how much extra food and water others may have.  Aside to Rick:  Not everyone can afford an iPad. An iPad is what is commonly referred to as a luxury. Health care is not a luxury. It is a right.

More Rick:

“Suffering, if you’re a Christian, suffering is a part of life. And it’s not a bad thing, it is an essential thing in life … There are all different ways to suffer. One way to suffer is through lack of food and shelter and there’s another way to suffer which is lack of dignity and hope and there’s all sorts of ways that people suffer and it’s not just tangible, it’s also intangible and we have to consider both.” (Link)

How very Mother Teresa of him:

“The suffering of the poor is something very beautiful and the world is being very much helped by the nobility of this example of misery and suffering.”

I’ve got nothing.

Mitt Romney:

“Unemployment benefits, I think they’ve gone on a long, long, long time. We have to find ways to reduce our spending on a lot of the anti-poverty programs and unemployment programs. But I would far rather see a reform of our unemployment system, to allow people to have a personal account which they’re able to draw from as opposed to having endless unemployment benefits.” ( Iowa debate,  August 2011 – Link)

What Mitt really means is that he doesn’t think employers should have to pay into the Unemployment Insurance fund.  As far as those “personal accounts?” Many people have  a personal account they can draw on in the event of an emergency. It’s called a savings account. Of course, one would need to have held a job that actually paid enough to salt away some money every paycheck.  Even if one had been able to do so, it’s pretty much a given that said savings account would eventually run dry in the event of long-term unemployment (which accounts for 42.9% of the unemployed. (link – pdf)

Clueless. Absolutely clueless.

More Mitt:

“The threat to our culture comes from within. The 1960’s welfare programs created a culture of poverty. Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals haven’t given up. At every turn, they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug. We have got to fight it like the poison it is.”  (Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008)

Of course, always left out of this argument for “individual responsibility” is the fact that single people with no children are rarely, if ever, granted welfare benefits.  Unemployment is required to be paid for 26 weeks, with extensions up to 99 weeks authorized by Congress.

Mitt and the rest of the Republicans ignore the fact that welfare pays far less than even a minimum wage full-time job, so what is the incentive exactly?

Regarding the “dependency” meme:  I once sold cars for a living.  I didn’t last long.  While I made one “full commission” sale (to a drug dealer!), most were nickel and dime sales wherein my commission was a measly $50 per vehicle.  One of the things the car dealership did do was pay their sales staff minimum wage against their commission. This was done to prevent, and I quote the sales manager,  “sales people from fainting from hunger at their desks.”  Were we “depending” on our employer to keep us alive even though we weren’t “productive” sales people? Yes indeed, and the employer saw the wisdom in it!  Needless to say, as a single mom trying to house and feed my daughter and myself, this wasn’t going to cut it. I went back to waiting tables where I was paid minimum wage and “depended” on the generosity of my customers to make up the difference. I certainly wasn’t getting it from my employer.

But I digress.

You know, even if they don’t have compassion for the poor because they’re not wired that way, 2 out of 3 of their Bosses have made it pretty damned clear as to their expectations.

From the comments at this post at Pharyngula:

One has to admit the Bible sometimes has useful invective.

1 Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
2 to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
3 What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
4 Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
or fall among the slain.

That would be Isaiah 10: 1-4 (NIV)

Then there is what Jesus had to say:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

That would be Matthew 25: 34-45 (NIV)

See also my previous post: Are we a Christian nation?

Andrew Sullivan nails it

Republicanism as Religion

And so this political deadlock conceals a religious war at its heart. Why after all should one abandon or compromise sacred truths? And for those whose Christianity can only be sustained by denial of modern complexity, of scientific knowledge, and of what scholarly studies of the Bible’s  origins have revealed, this fusion of political and spiritual lives into one seamless sensibility and culture, is irresistible. And public reminders of modernity – that, say, many Americans do not celebrate Christmas, that gay people have human needs, that America will soon be a majority-minority country and China will overtake the US in GDP by mid-century – are terribly threatening.

But all these nuances do not therefore vanish. The gays don’t disappear. China keeps growing. The population becomes browner and browner. Women’s lives increasingly become individual choices not social fates. And this enrages and terrifies the fundamentalist even more. Hence the occasional physical lashing out – think Breivik or McVeigh – but more profoundly, the constant endless insatiable cultural lashing out at the “elites” who have left fundamentalism behind, and have, on many core issues, science on their side. So within this religious core, and fundamentalist mindset, you also have the steely solder of ressentiment, intensified even further by a period of white middle and working class decline and economic crisis.

That’s how I explain the current GOP. It can only think in doctrines, because the alternative is living in a complicated, global, modern world they both do not understand and also despise. Taxes are therefore always bad. Government is never good. Foreign enemies must be pre-emptively attacked. Islam is not a religion. Climate change is an elite conspiracy to impoverish America. Terror suspects are terrorists. When Americans torture, it is not torture. When Christians murder, they are not Christians. And if you change your mind on any of these issues, you are a liberal, an apostate, and will be attacked.

If your view of conservatism is one rooted in an instinctual, but agile, defense of tradition, in a belief in practical wisdom that alters constantly with circumstance, in moderation and the defense of the middle class as the stabilizing ballast of democracy, in limited but strong government … then the GOP is no longer your party (or mine).

Religion has replaced all of this, reordered it, and imbued the entire political-economic-religious package with zeal. And the zealous never compromise. They don’t even listen.