Laissez les bons temps rouler

Let the good times roll…

Jerry Seinfeld coined the term Festivus, Festival for the rest of us.

It is hard for atheists and non-Christians to escape the suck of the Christo-Fascist’s oppressive peddling of Christmas, that bloated corporate excess of crap pushing, as some sort of religious holiday.  It isn’t.  The reason for the season is selling crap, not Jesus.  It doesn’t matter what the Bible thumpers say, that is reality.

Christmas is basically a solstice celebration taken from a multitude of “pagan” customs and festivals.

Happy holidays starting with the harvest festival known in the USA as Thanksgiving is the most generous of greetings as it celebrates all those end of the year festivals and customs including the 12 days of Yule, Chanukah, Christmas, the Solstice etc.

As an secular humanist and an atheist, who suffers from feeling low energy due to the lack of day light at this time of year I can use the cheer of celebrations of the coming new year.  After the solstice the days start getting longer and I have  fanciful hopes that the new year will be better, that humanity will suddenly discover kindness instead of cruelty.  That I will find a sense of security.

So for a few days we suspend skepticism, feast and party.

As for me I try to put aside the message of the “reason for the season” knowing that the already cheap crap will be on sale in January at a fraction of what it is now as they gear up for the next big selling occasion.

From The Root:  http://www.theroot.com/views/heathen-holidays-atheist-celebrates?wpisrc=root_lightbox

By: Jamila Bey
Posted: December 1, 2011

Ah, Christmastime again. It’s the season for decking the halls and jingling the bells, but for those of us not so faithful, we aren’t moved by offers to come and adore the manger baby. This is a season for everyone to gather, share great food and hang out in groups while singing about stars and sleighs and nipping at noses. I think it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

As an atheist, I’m often asked why I celebrate this Christian holiday. More often I’m quizzed about how I plan to explain the blessed season to my toddler. It’s simple. The “Heathen Holidays” — that period after Turkey Day in which we celebrate the generic “Christmas Season” — are here and in full swing.

Sorry folks, but Christmas is a mishmash of Roman, pagan and other celebrations and traditions — some of which are even verboten by the Bible. (Trees and yule logs, anyone?) The winter solstice is the real reason for the season. On the shortest day of the year, the sun — that celestial burning ball of gas — is born and the days become longer. Break out your tinsel and gingerbread! But rather than focus on the historical rationale for why Christmas celebrations are being merely co-opted by some, I just relax and enjoy the good times.

Complete article at:  http://www.theroot.com/views/heathen-holidays-atheist-celebrates?wpisrc=root_lightbox

The Winter Solstice: Welcome Back, Light!

From Belief Net:  http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue/2007/12/the-winter-solstice-welcome-ba.html#ixzz1gTOz9m2y

Therese J. Borchard 
December 19, 2007

Since Saturday is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, I thought I’d include this very informative article just forwarded to me by Deb Caldwell, one of the Beliefnet brains behind Beyond Blue. (If I haven’t mentioned her before, I should have).

It’s written by Richard A. Friedman, a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.
I meant to write more on the solstice because it is an important day for all of us who suffer from depression: Starting on Saturday, the days get longer! Yahoo!! Beyond Blue reader Lapatosu marks the solstice with a celebration. I thought this was a wonderful idea (for next year) … a party or tradition welcoming the light back. Or something like that. Here’s the article ….

In a few days, the winter solstice will plunge us into the longest and darkest night of the year. Is it any surprise that we humans respond with a holiday season of relentless cheer and partying?
It doesn’t work for everyone, though. As daylight wanes, millions begin to feel depressed, sluggish and socially withdrawn. They also tend to sleep more, eat more and have less sex. By spring or summer the symptoms abate, only to return the next autumn.

Once regarded skeptically by the experts, seasonal affective disorder, SAD for short, is now well established. Epidemiological studies estimate that its prevalence in the adult population ranges from 1.4 percent (Florida) to 9.7 percent (New Hampshire).

Researchers have noted a similarity between SAD symptoms and seasonal changes in other mammals, particularly those that sensibly pass the dark winter hibernating in a warm hole. Animals have brain circuits that sense day length and control the timing of seasonal behavior. Do humans do the same?

In 2001, Dr. Thomas A. Wehr and Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, psychiatrists at the National Institute of Mental Health, ran an intriguing experiment. They studied two patient groups for 24 hours in winter and summer, one group with seasonal depression and one without.

A major biological signal tracking seasonal sunlight changes is melatonin, a brain chemical turned on by darkness and off by light. Dr. Wehr and Dr. Rosenthal found that the patients with seasonal depression had a longer duration of nocturnal melatonin secretion in the winter than in the summer, just as with other mammals with seasonal behavior.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue/2007/12/the-winter-solstice-welcome-ba.html

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Americans: Undecided About God?

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/opinion/sunday/americans-and-god.html?_r=3&ref=ericweiner

By
Published: December 10, 2011

THE holidays are upon us again — it sounds vaguely aggressive, as if the holidays were some sort of mugger, or overly enthusiastic lover — and so it’s time to stick a thermometer deep in our souls and take our spiritual temperature (between trips to the mall, of course).

For some of us, the season affords an opportunity to reconnect with our religious heritage. For others, myself included, it’s a time to shake our heads over the sad state of our national conversation about God, and wish there were another way.

For a nation of talkers and self-confessors, we are terrible when it comes to talking about God. The discourse has been co-opted by the True Believers, on one hand, and Angry Atheists on the other. What about the rest of us?

The rest of us, it turns out, constitute the nation’s fastest-growing religious demographic. We are the Nones, the roughly 12 percent of people who say they have no religious affiliation at all. The percentage is even higher among young people; at least a quarter are Nones.

Apparently, a growing number of Americans are running from organized religion, but by no means running from God. On average 93 percent of those surveyed say they believe in God or a higher power; this holds true for most Nones — just 7 percent of whom describe themselves as atheists, according to a survey by Trinity College.

Nones are the undecided of the religious world. We drift spiritually and dabble in everything from Sufism to Kabbalah to, yes, Catholicism and Judaism.

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/opinion/sunday/americans-and-god.html?_r=3&ref=ericweiner

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Christianity Scares Captian Picard

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1.6 million reasons why Banksters don’t deserve a nickel

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Why Are We Forced to Worship at the Feet of ‘Mythical’ Financial Markets Controlled by the Elite?

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/153497/why_are_we_forced_to_worship_at_the_feet_of_%27mythical%27_financial_markets_controlled_by_the_elite/

We are told to appease the market gods or face eternal financial damnation.

By Les Leopold
December 20, 2011

 

The markets are “jittery,” “upset,” “skittish” and “unnerved.” They are “confident” or “unsure.” They are “demanding” that political leaders “put up or shut up.” And they are “reacting unfavorably” to Obama’s newfound populism.

 

These are just a few of the many ways financial markets are described each and every day by the media, financial players and public officials. At first it seems as if these markets are humanoids onto which we project our feelings. Yet, on closer inspection, it’s more like we have ascribed to them god-like powers. We are told to appease the market gods or face eternal financial damnation. As President Obama warned Europe recently, they must “muster the political will” to “settle markets down.”

 

Why do we worship these angry market gods?

 

Trading has been around for as long as humans. We, no doubt, increased our chances of survival through trading what we had more of for what we needed or wanted. The more complex our societies became the more markets grew. At some point during the Renaissance, markets emerged that traded money as well as goods, as city-states and nations sought ways to fund wars. But these markets were far from god-like. Sovereign nations ruled supreme and money-lenders had to do their bidding if they hoped to be repaid or in some cases, if they hoped to avoid execution. Even Adam Smith didn’t suggest that financial markets had god-like powers. In fact, these markets seemed more like petulant children throwing tantrums as they puffed up tulip bubbles, South Sea bubbles, railroad bubbles and periodic financial panics.

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/economy/153497/why_are_we_forced_to_worship_at_the_feet_of_%27mythical%27_financial_markets_controlled_by_the_elite/


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Rich people less empathetic than the poor: study

They needed a study to show this?

Some times I think the highly educated lack the common sense to listen to what poor people and those in the working class actually say.  It has been common folk wisdom from time  from ancient times.  Rich people are cold blooded and heartless.

The more money the less heart and the more greed.

Even their god-man whom they so loudly claim to believe in supposedly said “It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.”

So we know this “discovery” dates at least from the time they put together the Bible and codified it early in the Common Era.

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/20/rich-people-less-empathetic-than-the-poor-study/

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The depiction of the rich and cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” is backed up with scientific evidence, according to researchers at the University of California at Berkeley.

The researchers found that people in lower socio-economic classes are more physiologically attuned to the suffering of others than their middle- and upper-class counterparts.

“It’s not that the upper-classes are coldhearted,” UC Berkeley social psychologist Jennifer Stellar, lead author of the study published the journal Emotion, explained. “They may just not be as adept at recognizing the cues and signals of suffering because they haven’t had to deal with as many obstacles in their lives.”

The study was based on three experiments conducted on more than 300 ethnically diverse young adults.

Participants from lower-classes reported feeling greater levels of compassion than their more affluent counterparts. But they reported feeling the same amount of joy, contentment, pride, love, amusement and awe.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/20/rich-people-less-empathetic-than-the-poor-study/

Dennis Kucinich on the NDAA and ‘War Without End’

From Truth Dig:   http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/dennis_kucinich_on_the_ndaa_and_war_without_end_20111219/

By Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Posted on Dec 20, 2011

Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, perhaps the most consistent advocate of peace in the U.S. Congress, has been forced by gerrymandering into a primary battle. Last week Kucinich made the following statement on the National Defense Authorization Act to the House of Representatives.

Our children deserve a world without end, not war without end.

This bill authorizes permanent warfare anywhere in the world. It gives the president unchecked power to pursue war. It diminishes the role of this Congress. The founders saw Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which places in the hands of Congress the war power, as essential to a check and balance against the executive abuse of power. This legislation diminishes Congress’ role in that regard.

This legislation authorizes the military to indefinitely detain individuals without charge or trial, including the detention of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. In short, what this bill does is it takes a wrecking ball to the United States Constitution and gives enormous
power to the government or the state. I want friends on both sides of the aisle to understand this; we are giving the state more power over individuals with this bill. It’s the wrong direction.

Our children deserve a world without end, not war without end. Our children deserve a world where they know the government will protect them, that it is not going to rule over them by invading their very thoughts and going, as the Patriot Act does, going into their banking records or into their educational records. We have to keep the government out of people’s personal lives and stop the government from getting more into war—which gives the government more control over people. This is the time we take a stand for the Constitution and a stand for a government which is smaller—when it comes to matters of war.

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