Thursday, May 29, 2008

Burning Times by Christy Moore

In the cold of the evening, they used to gather.
Neath the stars in the meadow, circled near the old oak tree.

At the times appointed.. by the seasons..
of the earth, and the phases of the moon.

In the center, often stood a woman,
equal with the others, respected for her worth.

One of the many.. we call the witches,
the healers, the teachers, of the wisdom of the earth.

And the people grew in the knowledge she gave them,
herbs to heal their bodies, spells to make their spirits whole.

Hear them chanting healing incantations,
calling for the wise ones, celebrating in dance and song...

(...Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali... Inurna...)
(...Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali... Inurna...)

There were those that came to power, through domination.
They were bonded in their worship of a dead man on a cross.

They sought control of the common people,
by demanding allegiance to the church of Rome.

And the Pope, he commenced the inquisition,
As a war against the women, whose powers they feared.

In this holocaust, in this age of evil,
Nine million European women, they died.

And the tale is told, of those who by the hundreds,
holding hands together, chose their deaths in the sea.

While chanting the praises of the Mother Goddess,
a refusal of betrayal, women were dying to be free.

(...Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali... Inurna...)
(...Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali... Inurna...)

Now the earth is a witch, and we still burn her.
Stripping her down with mining, and the poison of our wars.

Still to us, the earth is a healer, a teacher, and a mother.
A weaver of a web of light, that keeps us all alive.

She gives us the vision to see through the chaos.
She gives us the courage, it is our will to survive.

(...Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali... Inurna...)
(...Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali... Inurna...)
(...Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali... Inurna...)
(...Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali... Inurna...)

More from Sit Down and Shut Up Ford

The Ford dealer in Mojave, CA, has issued a non-apologetic apology for their "sit down and shut up" ad I mentioned earlier. It's on their front page, and I'll copy it here for you.

This statement is provided in response to reaction prompted by a radio commercial that Kieffe & Sons Ford recently ran referring to issues of God in our schools and on our money.

For 15 years, Kieffe and Sons Ford has run ad campaigns that focus on current events. We have chosen to do this rather than presenting typical car sales ads. We do this through an agency that develops the material and sends us a package of commercials to review. From this, we select commercials that we distribute to area radio stations. Frequently we emphasize humor and patriotic themes, as we are located adjacent to two military bases. Public response over these 15 years has been hugely positive, often eliciting calls and visits from appreciative individuals. Regrettably, the commercial that has prompted the current objection to religious sentiment ("Under God", "In We Trust") was not closely reviewed by our dealership before it went live. The commercial has been replaced. We apologize to all who were offended. It is Kieffe and Sons' intention to support America and the freedoms that make this country great."

Rick Kieffe, President "

Note this bit: "Regrettably, the commercial that has prompted the current objection to religious sentiment ("Under God", "In We Trust")..."

No, it's not "Under God" or "In We Trust" that raised the ruckus, it was "sit down and shut up." That was the cherry of irony, sitting on the whipped cream of smug superiority that topped of that tasty, tasty slice of bigot pie.

If you read this, you will see that they're not actually apologizing for anything they did, they're sorry anyone else was offended, those thin-skinned whiny cry-babies.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

10 more "proofs" for god

11. Argument from Creation, aka Argument from Personal Incredulity (I)
(1) If evolution is false, then creationism is true, and therefore God exists.
(2) Evolution can't be true, since I lack the mental capacity to understand it; moreover, to accept its truth would cause me to be uncomfortable.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

I see this one a lot. It boils down to: I'm too stupid to be wrong. Let's tear into it bit, shall we?

Step 1: it is implicitly claimed that evolution/creationism is a binary choice, one or the other, pick one, no other choices. Totally unproven. I have to admit, though, that I can't think of an alternative, but I'm also not so arrogant as to claim that just because I can't think of it, it doesn't exist.

Step 2: I could go into length, but PZ put it best: Ignorance is not evidence. I would add, "and neither is whatever makes you feel better."

12. Argument from Fear
(1) If there is no God then we're all going to not exist after we die.
(2) I'm afraid of that.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

You will notice that a lot of these "arguments" boil down to "I want.../I don't want..." In this case, it's, "I want to live forever/I don't want to die." So, here we go.

Step 1: So far in my life, I haven't noticed reality paying much attention to what I want to happen or not happen, or what I'm afraid might happen or not happen. I was afraid of tipping my truck over on that crappy dirt road, but that fear didn't make any discernable difference on what happened.

Step 2: So you're afraid of not existing. People are scared of a lot of things. I'm an arachnophobe, but you know, there are still spiders. Huh.

13. Argument from the Bible
(1) [arbitrary passage from OT]
(2) [arbitrary passage from NT]
(3) Therefore, God exists.

Yes, this is just as lame as it looks. You could just as well say, "1. random newspaper article. 2. Second random newspaper article. 3. Therefore, God exists."

I'm afraid to look ahead, but I'd be money that we're going to see the ultimate circular logic claim somewhere ahead: "1: The bible is the word of god, so it's true. 2: How do I know? The bible says so. 3: Therefore, god exists." I'll break that one apart when we get to it.

14. Argument from Intelligence
(1) Look, there's really no point in me trying to explain the whole thing to you stupid Atheists — it's too complicated for you to understand. God exists whether you like it or not.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

Ah, there's the Christian humility I've come to expect from the humble, Christ-like Christian.

Step 1: I could just as easily say, "Look, you ignorant religious fool, you're too stupid to understand why there's no god. There is no god, no matter what stupid beliefs you may hold." I won't, though. I might think it really, really loudly, depending on who I'm talking to, because some people really are just that stupid. But you what's different? I'd try until I turned blue in the face/my fingers were bleeding stumps to explain it first, repeated, at length, over and over again, until I was forced to believe that the person I was talking to actually was that stupid.

I've also noticed that the people who claim to be that much smarter, usually aren't.

Step 2. your arrogance is proof that you're arrogant, nothing more, nothing less.

15. Argument from Unintelligence
(1) Okay, I don't pretend to be as intelligent as you guys — you're obviously very well read. But I read the Bible, and nothing you say can convince me that God does not exist. I feel him in my heart, and you can feel him too, if you'll just ask him into your life. "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son into the world, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish from the earth." John 3:16.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

Welcome to the grand American tradition that intelligence, actually thinking things through, is inferior to unsupported faith.

What does this one boil down to? God is real because I believe he is. Well, you know, I might believe I've got a million dollars in the bank, but if I did, it wouldn't change my bank balance.

16. Argument from Belief
(1) If God exists, then I should believe in Him.
(2) I believe in God.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

You know what this one really is? It's the belief that I'm Special! Since I believe in God, he's real. You don't believe, but that doesn't mean anything, because you're not special, like me.

You're right, I'm not special. Never thought so, never will. Or, if you prefer, I'm a unique snowflake, just like you and everyone else in the world.

17. Argument from Intimidation
(1) See this bonfire?
(2) Therefore, God exists.

An old favorite of the Catholic Church. Believe or die in the worst way we can think of, and we've got some really creative people.

If you have to use force, or the threat of force, your claim doesn't have much else to back it up.

18. Parental Argument
(1) My mommy and daddy told me that God exists.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

Two word answer: Santa Claus

19. Argument from Numbers
(1) Millions and millions of people believe in God.
(2) They can't all be wrong, can they?
(3) Therefore, God exists.

6.something billion people on the planet. About 2 billion people are Christians, over 4 billion are not. 4,000,000,000 non-Christians can't be wrong, can they? Therefore, there is no God.

20. Argument from Absurdity
(1) Maranathra!
(2) Therefore, God exists.

That makes no sense at all. At least the "argument" is aptly named. Hey, here's an answer: "1: Brussels Sprouts! 2: Therefore, there is no god."

In the name of free speech: sit down and shut up!

I read this at PZ's place, who got it from here. A Ford dealer in Mojave, California went on the radio with a radio spot that included, among other things, this jem:

"But did you know that 86% of Americans say they believe in God? Since we all know that 86 out of every 100 of us are Christians, who believe in God, we at Keiffe & Sons Ford wonder why we don't tell the other 14% to sit down and shut up. I guess maybe I just offended 14% of the people who are listening to this message. Well, if that is the case then I say that's tough, this is America folks, it's called free speech. None of us at Keiffe & Sons Ford are afraid to speak out. Keiffe & Sons Ford on Sierra Highway in Mojave and Rosamond, if we don't see you today, by the grace of God, we'll be here tomorrow."

I won't go into the basic error, that "believes in god" does not equal "believes in the christian god."

No, I'm looking at the strongly implied claim that he can have free speech, but people he disagrees with (or who disagree with him) do not, or should not, have that same right.

Just for a second, imagine this: replace the 86/14% bit with these:

"You blacks should just sit down and shut up. This is a white nation."

"You jews should just sit down and shut up. This is a christian nation." Oh, wait, that's the claim he's basically making already, even though it's a lie.

"All you uppity women should just sit down and shut up. This is a man's nation."

Anything wrong with those?

Or how about this one: "All you damn gays should just sit down and shut up!" Actually, from some christians, this would be a vast improvement over "Let's go kill us a faggot!"

But atheists and other unbelivers? We're only minority it's unabashedly alright to discriminate against. Blacks? No. Jews? Hell, no. Women? Don't even think about it. Muslims? Only if you're a Republican speaking head. Atheists? Sure! Everyone knows that there's nothing stopping atheists from running amok, raping and killing to their empty little heart's content, whereas the devout have the word of Yaweh/God/Allah to prevent all that.

Of course, it's surely Satan confusing things by making atheists 15% of the national population, and only 0.2% of the prison population.

But, I fall away from my main point. Free speech, to be free speech, has to go both ways. You have to have the right to say what you want to say, or feel needs to be said, but so does everyone else. "I talk, you sit down and shut up!" isn't free speech, it's a form of dictatorship.

I get e-mails that say the same thing. Long, rambling, bigoted e-mails, refusing this or that right to others, and they all end with this line, or something very much like it:

"If you agree, pass it along. If you don't, delete it."

What's that mean? Boiled down, it means just what the Ford dealer in Mojave, CA meant: "Free speech for me, but not for you."

Special rights for me, not for you.

Any rights I claim for me, whatever rights I decide to let you have, for you.

And that ain't free. It isn't American. It's Christian.

Further update

I went in for my 1000 interview today at Keim. They asked a few questions about the accident, went over the pay and benefits package (not bad), took my information and told me to call back at 1600. They were going to call Beatrice Concrete to verify prior employment. I called at 1600 and Peggy (the HR person) said, "We called your previous employer and they gave you a glowing review."

One of the recruiters is calling around to check on me (probably driving record), and Peggy's going to talk to the other people she talks to about these things. I'm supposed to call again tomorrow at 1000 and she's going to give me a yes/no then.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Well. Hell.

Went to the doctor for a follow up yesterday & got a release to work. So, today was my first day back to work, and my last.

That's right, I've been fired. They're not wanting to call it that, but that's what it boils down to. No one who's looked at the scene of the wreck can understand how it happened, they're afraid I might have another, worse accident (because another driver had a second, worse accident) and they don't feel comfortable letting me get behind the wheel again. Etc, etc etc.

So I've got the rest of today and tomorrow on the last of my vacation time, and they're going to pay me for Monday, Memorial Day, oh, and I'm not fired/released/let go/whatever yet.

They're going to talk to all the other site managers and see if there's something else they can find for me to do. Oh, yeah.

I really want to keep driving - I'd love an over the road job - but I just can't see it happening.

"What's your reason for leaving your last job?"

"Uh, I rolled a fully-loaded truck and they let me go."

Nah, can't see that flying well.

Update, 23 May 08: I called Tom, at Keim Trucking, in Sabetha Kansas. My opening words: "I want to apply for a job driving with Keim, but I just got let go from my last job, with Beatrice Concrete, for rolling a full-loaded concrete truck. Am I wasting time, or do I have a chance?"

He said, "It'll be tough. Call me back in an hour."

I called back in an hour. I've got a 1000 job interview on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Yep, I hurt myself. On Monday, 12 May 08, at about 1330, I rolled a fully-loaded concrete truck.

Some details: I was told that morning to be in Fairbury by 0900, because they had a big job lined up and needed an extra truck or two. The job was down in Kansas, about fifty miles away from the Fairbury plant. They told me the last nine miles or so were all gravel, shading down to dirt and the last couple of miles were exceptionally bad.

Boy, they weren't kidding! The last couple of miles were nothing but dirt, with soft spots all over. The job site was at the top of a steep hill, and right at the bottom of the hill the road was badly rutted. I hit it going a little too fast, and if I hadn't been wearing my seatbelt it would have thrown me out of the seat. When I got back to the plant and was loaded for a return trip, I decided that I was going to cross that spot slooowly, even if it meant I would have to climb the hill in granny low. No way in hell was I going to go for a ride like that again!

So much for plans. I made my way back down south, trying to avoid as many of the soft spots in the road as I could. At what I think is about a half-mile or so from the job site, I believed that I was at the last hill but one from the job site. Remembering how badly the road had thrown me around the last time, I started slowing. I was down to about 30 m/h when I hit another soft spot. It yanked the truck hard to the left, so I countersteered to the right. The truck started to fishtail, right, left then right again. I was trying to countersteer my way through the skid, when on the second swerve to the right, it felt like the tires caught on something, instead of steering, and the truck started to tip to the left.

The next thing I remember is opening my eyes and finding the truck laying on the driver's side, and my legs pinched between the steering wheel and the seat. My first thought was, "I have got to be dreaming," but no, I was wide awake. A glance at the dash clock told me it was 1330. I also saw that the cab of the truck was smashed down over the driver's seat, and that there was blood splattered all over that side of the cab.

My legs were hurting from being pinched, so I tried to free them. The right leg came loose easily enough, but the left was caught between the steering wheel, the seat and the door handle. I spent the next hour or so trying to get the seat to move down, alternating with trying to raise someone, anyone, on the radio.

I wasn't too worried, because they were loading trucks at 20 minute intervals, and the next truck should be along pretty soon. Then I found my clipboard with the job ticket on it, and saw that I was the last truck to the job. Still, I figured I'd be found, if nothing else, the customer would get tired of waiting for me, call the plant and complain, and people would start wondering where I was. If they ordered another truck, the driver of that truck would find me when they got there.

Finally, shortly after 1400 (though it felt much, much longer) I got ahold of Brent, the driver of 211, the truck ahead of me. He had just left the job site and was about 4 miles east. He told me he didn't have a cell phone, and didn't seem to be able to raise the plant. I had him turn around and go back to the job site. Hopefully someone there would have a cell phone, and be able to call the plant and let them know what had happened. I also asked him to try and get some tools from the people at the job site and see if we could get the steering wheel off and release my left leg. Brent asked if I wanted him to call 911 and I said it sounded like a good idea.

At about 1430 a group of farmers came by and talked to me, but didn't have any tools, so weren't really any help. A few minutes later, though, a truck full of people from the job site showed up, but the only tools they'd managed to find was a small pair of vise grips (and I mean small, the five-inch size) and a small pipe wrench.

We got the nut off holding the steering wheel, but couldn't get the steering wheel off the column. I was able, however, to get one of them to reach in under the seat from behind, through where the rear window was supposed to be, and get at the seat controls and hit the control to lower the seat. I grabbed the steering wheel and tried to pull myself and the seat down, and one of the other guys put his foot on the seat and pushed against the cab. We were able to push the seat down by almost a foot, releasing my leg from the pressure it'd been under for at least an hour. Damn, that felt good.

About that time, a sheriff came on the scene and checked to see if I was alright. I told him that under the circumstances, I was doing fine, and he agreed. We talked a bit, and he told me I was the second truck accident in a week, the other being a semi that'd run off the road and burned to the ground the previous Friday. That driver hadn't made it out, and he was glad to see I was okay. He asked for my driver's license, and I gave it to him.

Now all I had to do was get out from under steering wheel, probably by laying on my back and moving my legs from straight forward to straight back, and I should be able to get out. I gave the steering wheel one last yank, and it came off. I handed it out to someone outside the truck and prepared to stand up and get out. At that point, an ambulance arrived, and the ambulance crew helped me stand up and exit the cab through the smashed back window.

I had wanted to walk around the truck ans see how bad it was, but as soon as I was out of the truck, they strapped me onto a backboard while I was still standing, put a neck brace on me, then put me on a gurney, slid it into the ambulance and hauled ass for the Washington County Hospital.

According to the copy of the ER report they gave me, I arrived there at 1511. It must have been a slow day for them, because there were at least five or six nurses there. They cut my tee-shirt off, which was no great loss. It was pretty well blood soaked, and I knew Lisa, my wife, would just throw it away anyway. They did the usual poke, prod and twist "does it hurt here? How about here? When I move this?" and a couple of x-rays of the neck, then wheeled me out of the building to a mobile cat scan they'd just got a few months ago.

After the cat scan, they wheeled me back into the building and back into ER. Apparently the x-rays and cat scan looked good, no damage, so they took the neck brace off and unstrapped me from the back board. I called my wife then, telling her where I was and that they were going to release me. That would have been about 1630. Next I called the Beatrice Plant and told them where I was and how I was doing. I talked to Ray Wagner, the plant supervisor, and he passed my call onto Catherine Renshaw, the company's HR and safety person. She called back down to the hospital and told me (and them) that she was glad I was doing okay and that company policy required a drug test.

No problem, I had to piss anyway, so I went into the tiny bathroom attached to the ER and filled the cup. Then they gave me a set of scrubs and put me in a room for a while. They were going to release me, but they wanted to watch me for a bit longer and, for some reason, wanted me to eat something before I left. Anyway, I wasn't going anywhere until Lisa showed up to take me home.

She got there with Amee and Jamee, my step-daughters at about 1715 - 1720. A few minutes after they got there, a drug tester from the company's insurance company showed up. Apparently the urine sample I'd give earlier in the ER was no good, due to wrong or insufficient paperwork. She also needed to take a breath test for alcohol. No problem, I blew into the little black box and pissed into another cup.

They brought me supper a little before six. I ate what I could, but didn't have a whole lot of appetite. I changed out of the scrubs and into a pair of sweat pants, tee-shirt and tennis shoes Lisa had brought down with her, and they signed me out of the hospital at 1800.

We played "find the driver's license" for a while. It was at the cop shack, it was on its way to the hospital, they were going to mail it to me and so on."

I asked Lisa to drive out to the scene of the accident, because I hadn't had a chance to see it. When we got there, there was a semi-tow truck, a large crane, the sheriff and a half-dozen or so people from the Fairbury plant and the Beatrice shop. Apparently they were trying to pull the truck back on its wheels and tow it away. I talked to the sheriff a few minutes, and it turned out that Larry Leners, one of the shop guys, had my license. He came over and gave it to me and told me I was damn lucky to be alive.

I was running out of steam at that point, so I gimped back to the car and waited while the girls took pictures of the truck. They'd given me some darvocet for pain and flexeril, a muscle relaxant, and on our way back through Washington, we stopped & got something to drink. I popped one of each, and when we got home at 2000 I went straight to bed and didn't get up for about 12 hours.

Fast forward:

I went to see my doctor on Thursday, 15 May 08 for a follow up. He did the poke, prod and twist, then ordered some x-rays and a venal doppler scan for clots. The x-rays came back okay, and he prescribed an antibiotic, since he was worried that the scrape on my shoulder might be getting infected. Scheduled another follow up on Wednesday, 21 May 08.

We stopped by the office to talk with Catherine, then by the shop to look at the truck. It's in the back lot, behind the shop, and according to the insurance adjuster, it's totaled, because the frame is bent. I got some pictures of it, and plan to take some more. (Pictures here)

The next day, Friday, 16 May 08, I went in to the Gage County Hospital for the venous doppler scan, which came back clear, no clots.

Friday, I got a call from the worker's comp adjuster, who wanted to know who was at fault. I had to tell her I didn't think anyone was really at fault. I should get my first worker's comp payment this Friday, if I'm still unable work then.

Bottom line: I came out of this wreck a hell of a lot better than I could have. The only damage I took was scrapes on the left side: head, elbow, ribs and knee. Oh, and a dandy set of bruises on the inside of the right elbow, where they tried and failed to put in an IV. There's also two very sore patches, one on the upper left arm and most of the left thigh. The leg is where it was pinched between the seat, door and steering wheel, but I don't know what happened to the arm.

The first few day I really had trouble walking. Every few steps, my left knee would give out. After that, though, it's pretty much okay, aside from still wanting to fold up under every so often. The scrapes on my head, ribs and knee are almost all gone, but there's still some bruising. I still have a bruise on my left elbow, which is actually growing, and the bruise from the IV attempt on the right elbow. The sore arm and leg haven't bruised, but they still hurt, but not as bad as they did. The scrape on my elbow isn't getting better very fast, but then again, I managed to rip it wide open by jamming the corner of a shelf right into, letting it bleed freely.

Still, whenever something hurts, I just remind myself, "It could have been worse."