Archive for February, 2012

Canada has issues too……

Posted on February 28, 2012. Filed under: Canadian Politics, Children, Parenting, Personal, Politics, Social Justice |

I’m going to send you a link to a story from the Toronto Star.  Be prepared to first shout “WTF?”, then be immensely angry, then shout “No, Srsly……WTF?”

The story is here.

A Kitchener father is angry at police after he was arrested at his child’s school and later strip-searched at the police station, all because his 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun in class.

“I’m picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I’m locked up,” Jessie Sansone, 26, said of his ordeal on Wednesday. “I was in shock. This is completely insane.”

The school principal, police and child welfare officials, however, all stand by their actions. They say they had to investigate to determine whether there was a gun in Sansone’s house that children had access to.

My favorite line in the whole article?

After he was released, Sansone was asked to sign a paper authorizing a search of his home. He signed, even though he didn’t have to, he said.

So yeah, they got him to sign a paper authorizing the search they had already performed.  You know, so that he can’t sue them.  This is monumentally ridiculous.  I wish I had Ed Brayton on my Facebook.  He’d get a kick out of this.

In the same local newspaper I found this news story, there was a great piece on the front page interviewing our Chief of Police about Bill C-30 (A Canadian Bill that would force ISP’s to keep data on their customers internet usage that police could access on request).  He made it clear that he supports the initiative.

You know, because police would never overreach their authority or abuse their power.

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Germane to Multiple Things I have Been Reading Lately….

Posted on February 27, 2012. Filed under: Atheism, Global Warming, Politics, Religion, Science |

 

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been.  The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

-Isaac Asimov

That about sums it up.

Via Facebook (Thanks Oscar!)

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Speaking of Children……..

Posted on February 27, 2012. Filed under: Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Children, Parenting, Personal |

Many of my readers know that I have children.  Some may not.  In a comment thread over at Lousy Canuck, it was mentioned by more than one commenter that there was a dearth of atheists blogging about parenting and the intersection of parenthood and skepticism. At that moment it struck me- why do I never blog about fatherhood or the challenges and rewards of parenting?

I mean… in my life outside the internet, I am regularly accused of spending an inordinate amount of time talking about my kids.  I excuse myself of it by explaining how very much of my time is actually spent with my kids- and how I might have very little to add to any conversation if you held “off limits” the majority of my waking hours for the last 12 or so years. Yet if you came to this blog and read every post without ever clicking the “about” tab, you likely would have no idea that I am the father of five (yep, you read that right, FIVE) kids.

I assumed that since many of my readers don’t have kids, and no other bloggers were really talking about parenting, that it was a subject that was of little importance in the skeptical community.  I assumed that on a scale of relevance for the average atheist, children were ranked slightly higher than baseball scores but merely a fraction of LOL Kittens.  It turns out that some people actually want to discuss parenting and children with like minded atheists.  Huh. Who knew?

Now that I think about it, virtually every blog I frequent has some co- or sub-theme to atheism that I find less than interesting to me.

For example, Jeremy over at Cafe Witteveen (the first stop on my daily blog rounds) has many interests outside of atheism that I find fascinating- photography and cooking are a few examples.  On the other hand, I tend to skip over Caturday posts and feel ambivalent about Wednesdog.

Likewise, when I visit Jason over at Lousy Canuck I enjoy his posts about old school Nintendo games and physics- but tend to avoid posts about Ubuntu or how to hack source code.  At Dan’s blog, Camels With Hammers, I love all things philosophy and Star Wars but skip over some of his questionable music suggestions.

Anyway, you get the picture.

I have been running a pretty shallow blog for almost two years now.  I never took the time to consider that maybe a blog is a place to do more than rant about how wrong someone else is on the internet.  (Don’t worry, I’m still gonna do that)  I’ve spent the last two years writing opinion pieces at the expense of really injecting myself into my blog.

So, as of today, that all changes.  My blog is going to be anchored to atheism, devoted to skeptic and rational thought, and be about how I apply skepticism and atheism where the rubber meets the road.

I’m still ironing out the details.  Do I use the names of my kids? (probably not)  Do I change certain details to maintain some sense of privacy? (likely)

Expect posts that speak directly to my experience raising kids who are engaged, educated, and empathetic.  Expect me to relate some anecdotes about raising my kids that tie into certain atheist related issues in the blogosphere.  Expect me to talk frankly about the challenges of parenting as well as the infinite rewards.

I hope that this is going to lead to new readers- people who want to share their own experiences with parenting, people who want to learn from my mistakes, and people who want to point out those mistakes I’m not aware I’m making.  I hope that this will get me back on track with a regular posting schedule- since now the most important thing that keeps me from regular blogging will be a topic of conversation.

I hope you are going to stay tuned.

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Be Part Of Something Meaningful

Posted on February 6, 2012. Filed under: Atheist Ethics, Personal, Politics, Social Justice |

Derek and his wife, Tessie.

I’d like you to meet Derek Forgie.  I’ve known Derek for almost twenty years- we were both involved in the arts community here in North Bay for many years before Derek moved down to Toronto in search of fame and fortune.  Well, mostly fame.

Derek is the most motivated guy I know.  When he wants to do something, he just does it.  When he moved to Toronto he started HSSE, Heterosexuals for Same Sex Equality, a group whose mission statement is to advocate for LGBT issues from a heterosexual angle- and to get the message out that human rights are everyone’s rights.

HSSE has already organized a successful campaign called “Straight Not Narrow”- selling T-shirts and organizing community involvement including participation in the Pride Parade in Toronto.  The T-shirt is awesome and sends a clear and catchy message while raising money for a great cause.  I’m not here to sell you a T-shirt though, don’t worry.

The new HSSE project is centered around an ad campaign that shows real couples holding a sign that reads “Gay marriage doesn’t threaten our marriage”.   Derek asked me if I could help by getting a picture of me and Misty holding a sign that carried the message- and I said I could do better than that.

I’m hoping that I can get as many of the married (or engaged) readers to get Derek a photo of them holding up this sign.  I’m also trying to pull some strings at some of the other blogs I frequent.  The sign could be hand written, or printed off using a computer- and it doesn’t have to be to same font as the one you see above.  If you like, you could add the facebook address that is written on the sign as well.  Each photo should be uploaded to facebook.com/TheHSSE but if you love humans but hate social networks, feel free to e-mail the picture to me and I will forward it to Derek.  My e-mail is my first name and last name (waye) all one word , ampersat, consultant, period, com.  The idea is to collect as many as possible before Valentines Day.

As part of the campaign, for the month of February, the wonderfully talented staff at “Who Do You Love? Photography” in Toronto are very generously offering FREE professional couples portraits like the one above. If you’d like to book your session (or if you have any questions) email: contactus@WhoDoYouLovePhotography.com

So to make this easy for all of you:
  1. Make a sign that says “Gay marriage doesn’t threaten our marriage” feel free to add “facebook.com/TheHSSE”
  2. Take a picture of you and your husband/wife (and kids?) holding the sign.
  3. Go to facebook.com/TheHSSE and upload the photo to their wall.  Alternately, you can e-mail the picture to me (my first and last name,ampersat,consultant, period, com)  If you put “George sent me” and I get twenty photos……
  4. I will raffle off the free “Straight Not Narrow” T-shirts to the people who participate-your name will be entered so long as your picture is posted by Noon on February 14th.

So get to it.  Be a part of something meaningful.

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