Monday, August 26, 2013

Atheists Claim Religions Get Tax Advantages

OK, this is kinda weird but see if you can follow the arguments here:
The standoff is the latest twist in a court battle over the parsonage exemption for clergy, a tax break that allows “ministers of the gospel” to claim part of their salary as a tax-free housing allowance. Gaylor’s organization says the exemption gives religious groups an unfair advantage. That makes it unconstitutional, the foundation’s lawsuit contends. But government lawyers say atheist leaders can still be ministers, because atheism can function as a religion. So leaders of an atheist organization may qualify for the exemption after all.
So the IRS is trying to make the case that atheism is a religion, something akin to claiming lawn maintenance is a religion. There are interesting arguments on both sides but the government is trying to wiggle around using the word "supernatural" by claiming that belief in a deity is not necessary to being a religion, such as Taoism and Buddhism, and that atheists have revered symbols such as the Darwin fish and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Look people, these are not revered symbols...They're jokes! And, they certainly don't reference supernatural things, exactly the opposite. By that argument the president of the East Tennessee Small Mouth Bass Club is a minister and worthy of having the tax deduction.
The foundation is also suing the government over several nonprofit laws that govern churches. They want the government to enforce rules that ban pastors from giving political endorsements and to require churches to file the same 990 tax returns as other charities.
Look, a philosophy does not have to be a religion. More to the point, a discipline is NOT a religion if it does not involve an acceptance of the supernatural. It seems like the IRS is trying to make the case that there is no difference between a religion and a martial art, like say Southern Baptists and Professional Wrestling. Oh, wait... Tennessean article

Saturday, August 24, 2013

TN Should Pass This Law!

A bill in Lansing would put to the test the elementary school-level skills of Michigan’s 110 state representatives and 38 senators, as well as the governor, state superintendent of education and state Board of Education. All would be required to take standardized tests required of Michigan’s third- eighth- and 11th-grade students under the proposed Mandatory Public School Test Validation Act. Their results would be posted online.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Photo of the Day

Our Congressman plays to his base... shooter ammo clips...Racists...check! Chuck's got it covered!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Current (TV) Flows into History

Current TV was almost good. It never quite settled into anything solid and was always morphing into the next thing before any of its shows could rise up. Current will die and Al Jazeera TV will instantly emerge at 3 P.M. EDST today. This is going to be interesting. Some things were good about Current. We got to see what a rock star Jennifer Grandholm is, for instance. She's a former Governor of Michigan but can never be president because, like Ted Cruz, she was born in Canada. Ted is a GOP Tea Party presidential hopeful who claims he was born an American citizen and can serve as president. To demonstrate this he released his Canadian birth certificate. I don't understand conservatives but apparently Ted does. Ted thinks they will totally accept his Americanhood by birth right after he renounces his Canadian citizenship. So anyway Current TV will blink out and Al Jazeera will rise full blown phoenix-like from the ashes. It's been here all along, actually. I personally have been interviewed by Al Jazeera in connection with the TVA ash disaster. The folks on the TV team were as professional as anyone and better than most. They actually got what I said and took some pains not to muddle up my interview to make it fit some preconceived narrative. I recognized the interviewer as an ex NBC reporter. That seems to be a theme of Al Jazeera, use comfortable white people as the front for the American TV channel.
“I am here because the promise of doing good work is just exceptional,” said David Doss, a veteran of ABC, NBC and CNN who is Al-Jazeera America’s senior vice president of news programming.
So far I've found very accurate and comprehensive reporting in the Al Jazeera pieces I have good knowledge of. I'll be watching with a raised eyebrow and hope, but I'm going to miss Current TV.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Obamacare...Today's Must Read From A Former Republican Party County Chairman

I couldn't have written this better and I was only Vice Chair of the County DEMOCRATIC Party.
The U.S House of Representatives has once again voted to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) ... for the 40th time. Many of the people leading this effort come from the South, my home... People who know these men describe them as good, church-going people. So, why don't they open up and see the light? Why do they say, in effect, "do not confuse me with the facts, I have made up my mind"? I personally believe that much of this goes back to the Nixonian "Southern Strategy" of the 1970s, pushed to new depths by Reagan and others. This strategy essentially dictated that the Republican Party would write off the black vote. The GOP would appeal to the worst aspects of the white southern electorate, hinting (and sometimes outright saying) that the basic cause of many of their troubles is racial preference due to the federal government favoring minorities.