Wednesday, September 1, 2010

FFRF's "Enjoy Life Now" billboard vandalized

FFRF’s “Enjoy Life Now” billboard vandalized

Posted: 31 Aug 2010 09:38 AM PDT

A billboard saying “There Is No Afterlife: Enjoy Life Now” placed in Watertown, Wis., by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of a local member, was vandalized. Paint was poured on the billboard posted at the entrance to Watertown at N8690 High Rd., apparently sometime overnight on Thursday, Aug. 26.

The vandalized vinyl message was promptly removed by Adams Outdoor Co., on Friday. Adams Outdoor is replacing the message gratis and expects to have it back up around Labor Day to honor FFRF’s 6-week lease. The billboard went up on the first week of August.

An octogenarian Lifetime Foundation member who prefers not to be publicly named suggested the wording of the slogan as a legacy for his grandchildren.

The donor of the billboard is putting up $500 and the Foundation is matching that pledge for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandal(s). The donor expressed shock and revulsion that a vandal or vandals would deface his message to “enjoy life now.”

“At least 45 million honest Americans reject the supernatural idea of life-after-death,” said Dan Barker, Foundation co-president, who has written two books about “losing faith in faith” and leaving the evangelical ministry. Barker quoted a poem by Emily Dickinson: “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”

“There is no evidence of a soul or an afterlife,” added Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president. “We freethinkers believe the only afterlife we should be concerned about is leaving a secure and pleasant future for our descendants.”

In order to claim a reward, information leading to the conviction of the vandal or vandals should be directed to the Foundation, which will pass on information to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. Contact the Foundation by phone (608/256-8900) or e-mail.

Related articles:

1.       FFRF’s latest billboard: Enjoy life now, there is no afterlife

2.      FFRF places 5 “God-free” billboards in New Orleans

3.      Freethought “Billboard Blitz” in Tampa

GOP has 10% lead in mid-term election polling

Posted: 31 Aug 2010 09:05 AM PDT

The latest Gallup poll shows the Republican party widening its lead over the Democratic party in a mid-term election tracking poll to ten percent — its largest lead ever.

Gallup has conducted a weekly tracking poll positing a generic “Republican” vs. a generic “Democrat” for Congressional mid-term elections since 1942. In that time, the Democratic party has often seen wide leads; the largest, a 32% lead in 1974, came just before Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal.

Before 2010, the largest lead for the Republican party was 5%. Ever.

During the month of August 2010, the Republican party has seen leads of 6%, 7%, and now 10%. This most recent poll, conducted August 25-29, reached 1,540 registered voters in all 50 states and D.C., using land and cell lines, and speaking Spanish and English.

Image: Gallup


Were this result not significant enough in potential impact to the makeup of the House and Senate, Republican voters are also far more enthusiastic about voting this year.

A full fifty percent of Republicans declared themselves “very enthusiastic” about voting this year, compared to an anemic 25% of Democrats and similar 28% of Independents.

Image: Gallup


This combination of a generic ballot lead and intense enthusiasm for voting suggests a strong Republican turnout this year, including the potential for a reversal of both House and Senate majorities.

Gallup’s Frank Newport comments:

The last Gallup weekly generic ballot average before Labor Day underscores the fast-evolving conventional wisdom that the GOP is poised to make significant gains in this fall’s midterm congressional elections. Gallup’s generic ballot has historically proven an excellent predictor of the national vote for Congress, and the national vote in turn is an excellent predictor of House seats won and lost. Republicans’ presumed turnout advantage, combined with their current 10-point registered-voter lead, suggests the potential for a major “wave” election in which the Republicans gain a large number of seats from the Democrats and in the process take back control of the House.

The entire House is up for election, as their terms are only two years. Senate terms are six years, and staggered. Of the 37 Senate seats presently up for election, all predictors currently determine 10 seats to be “safe Republican” and 4 “safe Democratic”. Rasmussen predicts that 18 competitive seats are either a tossup or will likely go Republican (August 30). Real Clear Politics predicts 19 seats in the same boat (August 21). Barring surprises, if the tossups go GOP, we will see 28 to 29 of the 37 seats go GOP. That means a new GOP majority: 46-47 Democratic Senators and 51-52 GOP Senators (plus 2 Independents).

Is it coincidence that this new peak of Republican enthusiasm and ballot lead occurs simultaneous with Glenn Beck’s August 28 “Restoring Honor” rally and August 27 “America’s Divine Destiny” speech? Is it reasonable to ignore the theocratic leanings of Beck, the “rodeo clown”? Is it wise to discount the Dominionist Tea Party, the right-wing’s new fund-raising Jabberwocky packed to the gills with retired members intent on establishing a “Christian nation”, all happy to donate our tax dollars (received via the Social Security welfare program) to that end?

What do you think? Are these groups a real threat to America, or is the economy the sole cause for the unprecedented leads currently enjoyed by the Republican party? Or are Democrats losing their enthusiasm because the current administration’s focus on “bipartisanship” has led to watering down or killing nearly every initiative on which Obama campaigned? All of the above?

Related articles:

1.       Brown (R) Takes Massachusetts Senate Seat. Your Thoughts?

2.      Gallup: Conservatives outnumber liberals 2:1, church attendance rising

3.      Majority of Americans favor allowing openly-gay military service

Now You Know – 8/31/2010 Atheist Cartoon

Posted: 31 Aug 2010 08:30 AM PDT

CFI Action Alert: Help Prevent Political Interference with Curriculum Standards

Posted: 30 Aug 2010 08:11 PM PDT

The Center for Inquiry needs your help supporting a House Resolution to end political meddling with public school curriculum standards.

Earlier this year, Texas’ Christian fundamentalist-dominated State Board of Education mandated a bizarrely warped US history curriculum for Texas school children. Because of Texas’ enormous influence on the nation’s textbook market, the Board’s actions affect non-Texan students as well. In March the board included a plank directing students to learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” Because they didn’t care much for Thomas Jefferson, who coined the term “wall of separation between church and state,” they erased him from the history books, only to be replaced by lessons on the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas.

As if scrubbing Jefferson’s name from history were not enough, the board adopted measures in May requiring students to “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed its free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and compare and contrast this to the phrase ‘separation of church and state.’” This reflects conservative evangelicals’ false contention that the doctrine of separation of church and state was fabricated by judges and was not part of the original intent of the Constitution’s drafters.

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson from Texas has introduced H. Res 1593, which “supports standards that guide curriculum development, instruction, and assessment in classrooms that are developed by experts and not subject to political biases.” Please contact your U.S. Representative today to urge him or her to cosponsor this important resolution.

Visit this link to send an e-mail to your U.S. Representative. You may modify the letter with your own words if you wish, but please send your letter as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support.

Related articles:

1.       Americans United, Allies Commend House Resolution On Texas School Board’s Biased Social Studies Standards

2.      Secular Coalition Applauds Resolution Supporting Fact-Based Education, Denouncing Texas School Board Meddling

3.      Humanists Decry New Texas Social Studies and History Curricula; Urge Other States to Reject Texas Textbooks


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