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(This article originally appeared at Poplitickal)

Well now. Richard Dawkins has sure kicked up a pretty little hornets nest hasn't he. The man, well known for his outspoken Atheism, and more recently for his rather tasteless remarks about different "types" of rape, has managed to arouse international ire by proclaiming that the only moral thing for someone carrying a fetus that tests positive for Downs Syndrome, to do, is to abort the child. This has led to him being denounced by many people, most of them using all manner of fairly predictable hyperbole. And to be sure Dawkins is absolutely wrong.

Every bit as wrong as most of those who oppose him.

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Let me ask you a question. Do you truly care about justice and equality for all persons regardless of their religion, gender, sexual orientation, or race? If your answer is yes, and you really mean it, instead of just saying it, then it is time to stand up, and speak up. There is so much going on in the US right now that is to put it bluntly bullshit. Intolerance and injustice of all kinds. While there is a lot of work to be done, I believe that the first step must be for those of us with any kind of traditional privilege to speak up and acknowledge all the myriad ways in which our lives are made easier (and often by contrast the lives of others made harder) because of a system that is designed to make life easier for certain kinds of people.
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Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:43 PM PDT

War Is A Drug

by Toriach

So, we are back in Iraq. Again. I'm pretty sure it won't be too long before we are back in Afghanistan as well. As is always the case there are an unending sea of rationalizations. They (whoever "they" are this week) are killing them (whoever "them" is this week). Or we made this choice, or that, and bad people exploited it to do bad things. Bottom line, we have to help. We have to give weapons, and send drones. Then, in time, that will be determined not to be enough. So we will send troops back in. And we will be right back to where we were before.

My goodness don't these excuses sound familiar.

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Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 06:52 PM PDT

The Case For #notallmen

by Toriach

(This article originally appeared at Poplitickal.)

For the record, I am the sort of person who does not generally court confrontation. While kids my age (usually boys) were gleefully stirring up bees' nests, I was perfectly happy to let them buzz in peace. So with that bit of info about me firmly in your mind, it might seem a bit odd that I would step into what is a buzzing cloud of hornets surrounding the hash tag and meme known as "Not All Men".

The main reason I am willing to talk about this is because I feel that if there is going to be any change for the better, as regards true gender equality, then there needs to be genuine conversation. That means both sides speaking honestly and respectfully to each other, and being heard. Either party simply sitting there mutely nodding while the other speaks helps nothing in the end,  I believe. At the same time, I completely understand how obnoxious it is when a person is sharing their perspective, and the other party (instead of really listening and taking some time to reflect) just immediately replies with "Nuh uh", and then begins singing what in our home is known as "The La La Song". So, since this is my space, I am going to speak up. I welcome honest response, even criticism. I always expect the same basic respect that you should expect if we were discussing this issue in your space.

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Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:38 PM PDT

What Walks Like A Duck...

by Toriach

When you feel your blood pressure start to rise just look at the picture.
(This article originally appeared at Poplitickal)

In the before time, in the long long ago, when I, in a moment of foolish optimism actually believed in the possibility of Obama as a potentially truly transformitive force I managed somehow to click on something somewhere that got me on one of those damned e-mail lists from the Democrats. Not exactly the end of the world. Usually it's the usual fund raising crap, which hey I get it, money makes the Capitol go round. But now suddenly I'm getting fund raising emails about a very different topic from the usual "Senator Somebody needs your help getting elected" crap.

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 photo archiebunker_zps78c38332.jpg

I live in a very small town in Texas. This small town's main claim to "fame" is having old Route 66 running right through it. It's a quiet town just half a step away from being a ghost town. In the vicinity of what passes for the "Downtown" area, or perhaps to use an older term "Main Street", there is a movie theater. The Avalon. The state that it's in... well it's enough to make a strong person want to weep. The facade is barely intact with the box office standing like a forgotten sentry. I have no doubt that it was beautiful once, and I'd love for it to be beautiful again.

 photo 554963_13770500962791_zps892667e9.jpg

The other day while walking past the theater I saw a piece of paper taped to the box office. It gave an address for a crowd funding website and the sub link for a fund raising effort to restore the theater. I was beside myself with excitement. Then I got home, got online and looked at the page.

Right from the start I had reservations, not about the project which I'm sure is on the up and up, but rather about the person who started it. Specifically about his politics.

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Mon Sep 02, 2013 at 11:41 PM PDT

Dear USA, Please Don't Be That "Guy".

by Toriach

So is it just me or has the United States become the militaristic equivalent of one of those people who just cannot bear to not be in a relationship? You know the kind. They go from relationship to relationship usually starting up a new one before their current one ends. They cannot stand to be alone for even a moment.
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My father's mother was an interesting collection of contradictions. On the one hand she was incredibly sweet natured, but if pushed had a tremendous temper. She was incredibly giving, yet carried around with her a martyr complex, always feeling that what she did for people was never properly appreciated or reciprocated.

She was as she would have put it a "Bible believing Christian". And she worked very hard to impart to me certain ideas about the way the world worked.

I got ideas alright. They came through loud and clear. They just weren't the ideas she had intended. They were important messages though and they have played a huge part in shaping the kind of person I am today.

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Television. The boob tube. The idiot box. Everyone knows that the decline and fall of Western Civilization can be directly linked to television watching. It presents only lowest common denominator entertainment which causes anyone who views its offerings regularly to suffer a startling loss of intellect. Right?

Well what if I were to tell you that not only do I not agree with the above assessment, but that more than that I personally credit television shows I've watched both growing up, and today as an adult with having a profound impact upon my development as a person. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

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Ah humanity. How wonderfully consistent. Any time you get human beings in groups be they large or small they seem to want to start finding reasons to look down their noses at other groups of humans. One of the favorite reasons after race and gender is probably religion.
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Unless you have been avoiding any news anywhere for the last few days you should already be roughly familiar with the horrific and horrifying situation that has been going on in Steubenville Ohio. If not, I'll hit the lowlights. Basically high school football players thought that a fun thing to do would be to repeatedly rape a girl, and take and share pictures. And many of the adults in the town thought that they would join in on the fun and help cover up for the rapists. Eventually facts came to light, two of the players were tried and convicted. Then because they hate to be left out of a good time CNN decided that it would be fun to carry on about how tragic it was that the two convicted rapists lives were potentially destroyed because they were now, well convicted rapists. This understandably has pissed a whoooole lot of people off.

But here's the thing. What happened to those boys is indeed a tragedy. And oddly enough their tragedy precedes and is even directly responsible for the tragedy inflicted upon the victim of their actions. It is a tragedy that if we do not recognize and accept the fact of it will likely be repeated again in another small town just like Steubenville.

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Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 12:46 PM PDT

Musings On Nikola Tesla And Ayn Rand.

by Toriach

The story of Nikola Tesla in seven panels.
The story of Nikola Tesla in seven panels
Okay, listen closely and have fresh underwear handy because you are about to shit yourself, especially those who know me. Ready? Here goes...

Ayn Rand was right.

Now I'm not saying the crazy Russian whack a doodle wasn't crazy and creepy but when she proclaimed via her books that there are those who create and those who serve as parasites feeding off of those creations she was right.

What she and all of her followers were and are wrong about though is about who the creators are and who the parasites are.

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