25 January 2015

Creating value

23 January 2015

Talk radio

22 January 2015

Reflections on honesty

I really laughed when I saw this. There's actually a kernel of truth here--honesty is difficult and for there to be honesty, there has to be a willingness to encounter unpleasant truths. So my little atheist prayer this morning is: may I have the courage to speak the truth and (just as importantly) the courage to listen to uncomfortable truths.

21 January 2015


16 January 2015

15 January 2015

Blasphemy of the day

Faithophobic reflections on Charlie Hebdo

Suzanne Moore has an excellent article on the Charlie Hebdo issue in the Guardian. Here are a couple excerpts I thought were right on:

. . .
Equally disturbing is this talk of blasphemy. Jesus H Christ, remind me what year this is. At one end of the spectrum we have talk of blasphemy, then at the other a kind of liberal anxiety about bad manners – as if showing images was akin to bringing the wrong wine to a dinner party. To all of this, I must say I am pretty gobsmacked. There is a kind of faux respect floating around that I do not trust at all. For it is fearful. Last week I asked for us to continue in our disrespect and I meant it. Why must I have respect for religions that have little respect for me? That seek to curtail the rights of women? That find me unclean? I am not just talking about Islam here, but pretty much all religion. So there is some equal opportunity offence for you. Faithophobia. Add it to the list of my crimes.
. . .
There is no right never to be offended. Images are removed quietly sometimes. The artist Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ is withdrawn from Associated Press images. This photograph had already been attacked in France after demonstrations by Christians and the far right. Actually, I am offended daily by images of women reduced to body parts but I do not incite violence. So, please, let’s not talk about the fundamentalism of those of us who believe in free speech. Rather like feminism, we would actually like it to start.

14 January 2015

L'enfant Plaza accident

On Jan. 12, the DC Metro had a mishap near L'Enfant Plaza. The tunnel (and eventually the trains as well) filled up with smoke, causing extensive smoke-inhalation injuries and one death. The metro personnel dropped the ball in this case, leaving people on the train (apparently with no information) for much longer than was necessary. This doesn't surprise me. My experience in the DC Metro was that it was a very third-world sort of affair (no offense intended to third world train operators). Trains would stop running on a fairly regular basis; giant rats ran around everywhere; and large segments of the ceiling were falling. Visually, it's unnecessarily ugly with a sort of grey stained wall sort of theme. (The one exception is Union Station, which is beautiful and a great place to hang out.)