Evolving Thoughts Which Conclude with, 'I Am Not Charlie'

    The short quote which most nearly describes my opinion of the “Je suis Charlie.” knee-jerk fad-fest is a tweet I saw somewhere which I paraphrase as, "I am [insert the name of the murdered Muslim cop].  it is a statement in agreement with a saying attributed originally to Voltaire but which has been repeated ad nauseam through the years. "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." I depart from the sentiment somewhat because I, personally, would not voluntarily die in defense of any abstract belief if I could possibly avoid it. And, I would not march with the  leaders who amassed in Paris to give lip service supposedly, but I believe for most of them hypocritically, defending  that concept. That said, I sincerely appreciate the freedom of speech I have to the extent that it exists.

    Muḥammad's picture

    Muhammad Blogs

    Every now and then I come back to Earth for a little look around, maybe a stroll through Turban Outfitters, looking for ironic t-shirts and throwback burqas for the ladies.  Nothing apocalyptic about it.  I’m chill, man. It’s just that when you change the world like Jesus, Moses, Einstein, Picasso or Elvis, you continue your interest in worldly things long after you shuffle off the mortal coil.  Me and Elvis live on the same block uptown, you know

    Wattree's picture

    Religious Hatred and Bigotry: Would A Loving God Do This To Us?

    Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

    Religious Hatred and Bigotry: Would A Loving God Do This To Us?


    Richard Day's picture



    He who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us!

    (The Roman Catholic Mass)

    Following 4? weeks of problems with tech, I am skipping the political for awhile.

    My daughter in law gave my son this instruction a couple of years ago:

    You must keep your short mustache and goatee because you have too much of a baby face!



    To me, this is one of the sweetest things I have ever heard a wife say to her husband.

    Seany is something like 7 years older than his bride.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    What Does Charlie Hebdo Mean For Us?

    The free press and the right to report, dissent or satirize without fear of criminal prosecution is often confused with the right to do so without facing the consequences of those actions. Terrorists aren't constrained by the law. I look forward to reading comments on political sites and blogs. The passion that some people write with is palpable. With that said, trolling a blog or social media site is different than attaching your name and identity to an article or cartoon that terrorists find offensive. The tragedy that unfolded at Charlie Hebdo in Paris was a brutal wake up call to those who choose to stand on principle.

    Wattree's picture

    Why Conservatives Hate Barack Obama So Intensely (Reprise)

    Racists tend to be the mediocrity of White society, so they try to use the fact that they were born White to define themselves in order to compensate for their lack of personal value. Their entire sense of self-esteem is based more upon group association than individual value and accomplishment, or the claim that, "Well, at least I'm better than them."

    That's what's driving radical conservatives so crazy about President Obama - he's walking, breathing, evidence that they cannot claim superiority by virtue of the color T-shirt they were born in, and that simple fact alone is causing them to suffer a severe attack of cognitive dissonance before the eyes of the entire world. That's also why they're so determined not to allow President Obama to be successful, even if it means destroying the country - and international corporatists are using the social division inherent in those sentiments to lower the standard of living of the American middle class.  
    Thus, this entire nation, and the future of our children, is being threatened by the desperate attempt of a handful of insecure bigots to maintain their delusions of superiority, and as far as they’re concerned, if the country has to be sacrificed for that cause, so be it.

    An Atheist's Creed

    I quite deliberately used the indefinite article "An" in the title for I in no way intend to speak for all atheists. As I've mentioned before on this site, I was raised a Christian, and that has no doubt influenced my worldview. If I were to create a creed for all atheists, it'd simply be, "I do not believe that gods exist." That is what is sometimes referred to as weak atheism (no insult intended). It is the type of atheism that animals and babies have, and that some adults claim to have (I'm skeptical about that). Strong atheism is the belief that there are no gods. Some people have a hard time distinguishing between those two statements, but the former is a lack of belief in gods, and the latter is a belief in the lack of gods. For those who use this terminology (and it's definitely not universal), there's also weak agnosticism – an uncertainty in one's beliefs, and strong agnosticism – a belief that such knowledge is ultimately unknowable for anyone. Again, the terms weak and strong should not be considered judgments about those positions.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Is There A Spiritual Path To Reason?

    It's been my experience that faith rooted in cautious optimism and doubt is less likely to devolve into dogmatism. All of us believe something: especially those trapped in nihilism who profess not to believe anything. The amount of certainty one places in their worldview, coupled with an inability to accept or even process information contrary to that worldview, leads directly to a solipsistic position that makes civil discussions about religion almost impossible. The inability to consider ideas that don't originate from people who share your worldview is symptomatic of deep dogmatism.

    Gitmo detainees claiming innocence--where are the polygraphs?



    When the CIA wants to know if a person is telling the truth, it brings out "the box". No, not some kinda torture device, . The polygraph machine (in the hands of a competent operator).


    Parenthetically, similar resort to technology is common when district attorneys are deciding whether a report of a crime is veridical, or when Walmart is experiencing excessive "inventory shrinkage" and wants to sort out the honest from dishonest warehouse workers.

    Wattree's picture

    I Pay my Tithes to the Homeless

    I used to routinely challenge Rev. Hill. I didn’t want to seem impudent or like a rebel rouser (after all, I was a child), but there was something inside of me that just YEARNED to let him know that I had his number - and I did. I was only 14, but by that time I had already been highly political for 4 years. I’d become fixated on politics by watching the campaign between JFK and Nixon when I was 10 years old. So for me, it was just another political debate. But in order not to be disrespectful, I’d use the Socratic method of challenging his assertions with questions that he’d have to dig to try to answer. No, at the time, I didn't even know there was such a thing as the "Socratic Method," but being a respectful, though opinionated kid, the use of questions seemed to be a more appropriate way of respectfully challenging an  adult than direct confrontation. While I wanted to be heard, I didn't want to make myself look like a disrespectful brat. That not only would have reflected badly on my family, but my point would have been lost in the resulting furor, and I certainly didn't want that.

    Did young Barack Obama play with toy soldiers?



    I ask because his tortured relationship with his Defense Secretaries is destined to become the topic of more than one PhD dissertation in coming years.

    coatesd's picture

    New Year Reflections on the US Global Role & Its Limits


    The first hours of a new year are always an ideal time for people across the globe to reflect on their contemporary condition. They are an ideal moment to look back, in the hope that serious reflection now can improve conditions going forward. And it is particularly vital that we in America take this moment of reflection as this new year begins, given the enormity of the impact of our condition on the rest of the global order.

    Christmas in Calcutta, 10021



    "Any help you could give us, or any food, we would really appreciate".


    Accompanied by two beautiful girls of grade school age, a father was addressing the passengers on the Lexington Avenue Express as it made its way from 59th Street (Bloomingdale's) to 86th St. (Gracie M ansion). By my relatively crude reckoning, we were just then under the streets of the zip code 10021, which for your information is the wealthiest in the country.


    Jim Webb's PAC questioned.

    Out of our over amped predatory two party oligarchy to maintain the status quo comes a news story of how Jim Webb misused his PAC, Born Fighting.

    Well, darn---game on!

    The floating of such a story at this early point in Webb's possible Presidential run can only mean one thing---someone out there thinks he can upset the apple cart.

    The Clintons?

    The Republicans?

    What's up with the white working class?

    There is a current meme in political commentary---can Hillary, Democrats, win back the white working class vote which was not particularly good in 2012, and seemed to deteriorate even more in 2014? My first response is, for a lot of reasons, I don't like the term "working class" because it is meant to describe whites---with little college education who work with their hands and who are in the lower half, or less, of the economic stratus---as less than or low than. This group describes a lot of friends, relatives and workers with whom I mostly interact. If I must categorize these folks analytically I would rather use a term like heartlander working stiff, or as a last resort, Walmart Mom. They run our infrastructure. And they are numerous. There are, for example, far more white working class folks than black working class folks---hang on, I want to google that---black working class....

    Richard Day's picture


    God gave men language so that they could conceal their thoughts from each other. I think that’s a deep observation about the role of language in communication.

    Wattree's picture


    The generation of "Baby Boomers" that came up during the 50s and 60s will forever be remembered as the "Enlightened Generation." We were special. The world had never seen anything like us before, and for the most part, the nation still reflects just how special we were. We were just idealistic kids, but we got it right. We embraced knowledge, educated ourselves, and then demanded that this nation adhere to the values that it professed to hold dear. Even this nation’s founding fathers found it expedient to comprise some of their values, but we didn’t compromise even one, and the fact that this nation elected its first Black president on our watch - a mere fifty years after Black people were being attacked by police dogs for exercising the simple right to sit at public lunch counters - will forever stand as a monument to the astounding impact that we’ve had on this nation. But we got yet one more task to perform before we move on. While we're still around, we’ve GOT to educate the young people of this nation to begin to follow in our footsteps.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Why Are Modern Populist Movements So Ineffective?

    Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek once said that Ghandi was more violent than Hitler. His thesis centered on Ghandi's successful use of civil disobedience as a way of breaking British colonialism in India, and Hitler's failed attempt to shape the world through violence in Europe.

    Using Zizek's model, a case can be made that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was more violent than the rioters who hijacked the peaceful demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri. 2014 was a year that saw populist movements take their grievances to the streets (or the ranch in the case of  Cliven Bundy's supporters). What's become obvious to me over the last few years is that many of these left wing and right wing populist movements, dating back to Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, aren't as far apart ideologically as they are thought to be. The sadder connection they share is that they have been ineffective in using the momentum and spotlight they've garnered to cause a fundamental shift in the status quo.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    What If Jesus Was Just A Teacher and Philosopher?

    "Christ, not Christianity, is the power that has soothed and satisfied the spirit of the great multitude which no man can number." --CANON AINGER

    ​Why do we need religion in our post modern condition? This type of question turns off many believers, yet it's a question any person of faith will deal with--whether we want to or not. Our doubts and insecurities are real. The manner in which we deal with these doubts is what will build or crumble our faith. Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, yet our influence on the world is lessening. We aren't as effective as many of us would like to be, and some of us won't even try to make a difference. How have we (Christians) become so impotent?

    Richard Day's picture


    COLLEGE PARK, MD—Saying the money would help further researchers’ understanding of the awesome scientific phenomenon, representatives for the American Institute of Physics announced Tuesday that they had received a $10 million grant to melt stuff. “This funding will provide our researchers with the resources they need to put some junk over a really hot flame until it starts liquefying and gets all stretched out and stuff,” said AIP director James Griffith, adding that a portion of the grant would be allocated to making sure the flames were “real big” so that the research team could melt large items, such as desk chairs and lamps. “We already have a number of experiments lined up that will answer such questions as whether laboratory goggles or a digital thermometer melts first, and we’ve scheduled several trials to determine how fast we can melt a whole cafeteria tray. Pending our findings, my colleagues and I will then wait to see if all the melted stuff hardens up, at which point we intend to hold it over the flame and melt it again.” This research follows a $6 million study last year in which scientists were reportedly able to determine that dropping an electron microscope into a huge vat of acid is really fun.


    danielfaris's picture

    America's Drug Trade: Harm in Unexpected Places

    If you’ve been paying even a small amount of attention to current events lately, you know that drugs have entered the national conversation in a big way. Marijuana legalization has become a rallying cry for many of us, though even the states where it’s already legal may have a complicated battle ahead of them to keep that privilege.

    The Take Back queen of echo park

    I can't let the doom and gloom get to me, after all it's the holidays. People out shopping, the Salvation army collecting and---some people just don't get it, they're ripping off corporations returning clothes they've purchased and worn for three months, or junk they bought somewhere else. If these scams continue, the economy will tank faster than North Korea hacking the entire Fortune 500! But retailers today should stop complaining because they don't know how lucky they are never to have encountered the Take Back Queen of Echo Park.


    Latest Comments