Surfs Up for Penguins

Surfs Up is a morality tale for penguinsSurfs Up

1/31/09

This is a GREAT movie.  It is visually stunning and, while formulaic, very satisfying.  My husband came in part way through and was amazed at how beautiful this film is.  It really is worth watching just for the technical mastery of the animation.  It is really that good.  As for the story – my son loved it and we are planning to purchase it for him since it was one of our rentals.  But again – what makes the story nice is that our lead penguin, a surfer named Cody Maverick, needs to decide what he wants in life.  Does he want good friends and to enjoy surfing or does he want to win competitions.  We know what he is going to choose and this plot is pretty much the story line to all surf movies.  But what is nice about this one is that because it is animated the contrast between his choices is made both humorous and pointed.  

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Good Science Education is Important

civics education is critical to the survival of our democracyCivics and Science

1/31/09

Finally got around to reading my latest Humanist magazine from the American Humanist Association. I was reading a really large book that I needed to return to the library so I wasn’t able to get to this until now. Anyway – they have an article from Judge John Jones III who accepted the AHA’s Humanist Religious Liberty Award last year. In it he talks about the Dover PA Intelligent Design case and his role in it. In this article he describes the school board as being out of control and run by young earth creationists who he also describes as "bullies, quite frankly." It is a very interesting read and focuses mostly on how most people in America do not understand our government and we must do better on civics education if we want our democracy to stand. I think he is right on and I think that is something that Humanists could offer our communities as part of our Humanist outreach. Humanism is after all the philosophy of Democracy. You have to believe people are basically good and can manage their own affairs to even conceve of Democracy. If you think people are bad and need to be controlled you set up monarchies, theocracies and other forms of dictatorship. Anyway – there was an excellent paragraph that summed the whole thing up and includes his feelings on the importance of science education as well.

"The issue of good civics educaiton goes to the survival of our American democracy, because if you don’t understand what your rights are, if you don’t understand the constitution and its Bill of Rights, then you stand ready to lose those rights. But the issue of good science education – and I don’t think this is an overstatement – goes to the longevity and the suvival of the people of all nations. It’s that important."

– Judge John E Jones III

Another Definition of Humanism

Humanism is about improving humanityAnother Definition of Humanism

1/31/09

Ok – I haven’t posted much recently, but January is a really busy time for our family and my husband is out of town for most of it so my free time to do any writing at all is limited. Regardless, we are now coming up on February and I have several things that I have been thinking about that I want to post. The first is another definition of Humanism that I found a while back and just haven’t had time to share. Which is silly since it is so short. Anyway, here it is. And I apologize since my notes don’t include where I found this from. Probably one of the Humanist promotion discussion boards I participate in. So, if this is yours, please let me know.

Humanists believe in humanity (among a great many other things) – the goodness of humanity, the overriding need to further human well-being and the need to examine issues affecting humanity from a logical and factual perspective.

Playing Games with Our Economy

Our Economy is more important than Party PoliticsTwo Can Play This Game

1/27/09

Obama is in a bit of a tight spot with Congress.  He has presented a stimulus package that Democrats are a little uneasy with because he built in concessions for Republicans.  Republicans are asking for even more while saying they have no plans to vote for it regardless.  In short, Republicans leaders are not negotiating in good faith. The Republicans want to get their concessions and be in opposition at the same time.  If Obama allows them to do this they will have no incentive to stop their partisan behavior in the future.  Here is how I think Obama should play this.  Offer no more concessions.  Tell the Republicans you either vote for this or we withdraw it and put forth a plan the Democrats want and you get nothing.  If Republicans do not vote for the stimulus package then the Democrats should vote it down.  A revised stimulus package that Democrats really like should then be put forth and passed along party lines.  We then get an economic package we actually can be excited about and the Republicans will have learned a lesson.  You either play ball or you get nothing.

Veer-Zaara

Veer-ZaaraThe Most Romantic Movie Ever!

1/18/09

I recently rented Veer-Zaara from Blockbuster.  I have an online account there.  Anyhoo.  This is an incredibly romantic film made all the more amazing for its intrinsic Humanist message.  Basically – our two lovers are star crossed in so many ways.  One is Hindu, the other Muslim.  One is Indian, the other Pakistani.  Both are good decent people who transcend the issues inherent in their situations.  The only thing that gets them in trouble is their filial piety, which isn’t automatic, they give it willingly because their parents are such wonderful people that they truly love and want to make happy – even at the expense of their own happiness. Again – it makes them good people, not mindless drones.  You cannot separate the Humanism from the love story.  The two aspects are intertwined.  If these individuals were not Humanists, we would not consider them as virtuous as we do and we would not spend the entire 2nd half of the movie crying at the predicaments their love puts them in.  Seriously – I cried throughout the entire second half of this movie (which because this is a Bollywood movie was like 2 hours).

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An End to Israel

Another Israeli WarThe End of Israel?

1/15/09

I hate to say it but I do think that this latest fighting between Israel and Hamas signals the beginning of the end of the state of Israel.  The big problem Israel has always had is that to create itself, it had to deny the rights of the people already living in Palestine when they took over the land and claimed it as their own.  After all these years they still haven’t come to terms with the reality of how their country was founded.  And because they refuse to acknowledge the wrongs done to the Palestinian people, they have no hope of settlement.  They like to act as if they are victims, but so are the Palestinians. This isn’t to say that the Palestinians haven’t also perpetrated evil, but if the Israeli’s refuse to acknowledge the real harm they did and are doing to the Palestinian people, they will always be a target of retributive violence.  A settlement of this dispute requires Israel to acknowledge that the Palestinians do have a legitimate grievance with them.  They are unwilling to do that as a nation and so the violence continues because they leave the Palestinians no other method to seek justice.  If we are serious about seeking peace, we must acknowledge the right of Palestinians to justice instead of pretending that these attacks against Israel are unprovoked.

Don’t Spook Bush

Bush should be in jailDon’t Spook ‘Em

1/11/09

Ok – look – there are only 9 days left until Bush leaves office and I understand the desire to see these criminals go to jail.  But can we please stop talking about it?  Will Obama or won’t Obama pursue criminal charges against the Bush administration?  First, it isn’t his job, it is the job of the justice department – which I realize had been politicized under Bush, but we have no indication that Obama will interfere with them.  2nd and most importantly, if Bush et al think they are going to be prosecuted they won’t leave! And that would be really really bad. So, lets not spook them by even hinting they might have jail time ahead of them.  Let them think they are going to get away scot free so that they will leave office quietly and politely and allow Obama to take over peacably.  Then speculate all you want about future prosecutions.   The reality is the crimes Bush et al committed are so bad that if we don’t prosecute them another country or the ICC will.  So stop worrying and just play nice with the Bushies for a few more days.