There are a few stories about the amazing teachers who died protecting the lives of their students. I just wanted to take a moment to honor her.
This is Victoria Soto born 11/04/85. She was killed protecting her students in Newtown. She made her children hide in closets and in the bathroom and in doing so put herself in harms way. I will remember her and I honor her courage and dedication to the well being of her students. And unlike the person who I found out about this story from, I refuse to use her story to make a political point. I believe she deserves to be honored simply for what she has done. Her bravery goes above and beyond the call of duty.
Here is a snippet from the news:
Miss Soto, who had taught at the school for five years was described by one of her deeply distraught 10-year-old pupils as ‘really nice and funny’, was trying to shield her students and usher them into a closet when she came face-to-face with the gunman.
Miss Soto’s cousin, Jim Wiltsie, said: “She put herself between the gunman and the children and that’s when she was tragically shot and killed.
“I’m just proud that Vicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm. It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children and in our eyes she’s a hero,” he added.
Jacob Riley added that Miss Soto liked to chew gum in class – something not usually allowed for teachers. He said he often teased her about her habit – and she playfully teased him back.
This story originally posted on my blog about Victoria Soto.
There are some people from the red states that are currently having a public temper tantrum to secede from America. Why not let them? The red states are a drain. They have higher rates of homicide, infant mortality, suicide, and unemployment. They tend to take higher amounts of federal funds, they are less educated, less diverse, less tolerant, have a lower IQ, and are more religious.
I’m all for embracing America, I believe we should try to work together rather than divide. I would never propose a secession for my state when I am frustrated. When George Bush won as a result of fraud and the Supreme Court selected him in another election you didn’t see me proposing we secede. I knew the damage he would cause, I was disgusted, I lived every day of those 8 years upset at who was in the White House. I lived every day of those 8 years fearful of what he would do next and sad about the extreme damage he was causing to this country. I did not propose a secession. Instead I fought to inform the public. And in doing so I’d like to believe that I played a very small role in ensuring that we have a better leader now. Now it’s their turn.
If you’re upset about the nomination of Obama I understand that feeling, I lived with that feeling. During that time I spoke out, it’s a right that we get as Americans. A right that you would probably have restricted by an [almost] theocratic style government that you would slowly move towards in your new red state country. A petition to secede sent to the White House, does nothing but paint you as unpatriotic immature and butthurt. Man up.
Many of the people signing these petitions on the White House website to allow X state to secede from the Union are not from the states that are asking for a way out. I am one of them. That’s right, I signed every single petition asking for a red state to secede. If they want to play 2 year old I’ll let them. Let them taste what it would be like to be without the strength of the collective America. They claim patriotism? I think not!
Let’s give the whiny unpatriotic traitors what they want!
If you don’t want to sign those petitions maybe you’d rather sign the petition to strip the citizenship from everyone who signed a petition to secede. Or you can sign the petition to deport everyone who signed a petition to secede.
I’ll leave you with a blurb from Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. He paints a picture that talks about the weaknesses of the red states as well as referring to higher levels of religiosity:
Other analyses paint the same picture: the United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious adherence; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and infant mortality. The same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious literalism, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms. While political party affiliation in the United States is not a perfect indicator of religiosity, it is no secret that the “red states” are primarily red because of the overwhelming political influence of conservative Christians.
If there were a strong correlation between Christian conservatism and societal health, we might expect to see some sign of it in red-state America. We don’t. Of the twenty-five cities with the lowest rates of violent crime, 62 percent are in “blue” states and 38 percent are in “red” states. Of the twenty-five most dangerous cities, 76 percent are in red states, 24 percent in blue states. In fact, three of the five most dangerous cities in the United States are in the pious state of Texas. The twelve states with the highest rates of burglary are red. Twenty four of the twenty nine states with the highest rates of theft are red. Of the twenty two states with the highest rates of murder, seventeen are red.
By the way, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1869 that states cannot unilaterally secede from the union. The position the court took was “once in (the union), always in”
This is a repost from my blog on Rational Responders
In an attempt to raise money to help cover costs associated with our network of atheist sites (ie Celebatheists and RationalResponders), I have decided to sell some of my personal collection of autographed books and items. Everything is priced very fairly compared to other similar items on Ebay. Thanks for looking, and thanks for any purchases you make. Most of the items were signed in my presence. If they were not, they were sent to me directly by the person who signed. This is a great way for you to donate to RRS and the upcoming Atheism United and get something back for your donation. Other atheist books are available at our Amazon store.
All items are currently at Amazon warehouse and will be fulfilled and handled by Amazon’s excellent customer service.
I sold my Soul on Ebay signed by Hemant Mehta (First Edition) $24.99
The Scientific Worldview autographed by Glenn Borchardt $24.99 and $34.99 (two variations)
Christians don’t want their money going to contraception yet they wont fight to remove “In God We Trust” from the money that atheists must use. They wont ensure that atheists don’t have to give their tax dollars to faith based spending groups. It doesn’t even dawn on them that atheists might be offended at the notion that our tax dollars go to a faith based group.
They are out for self. They don’t truly embrace their fellow man. They tend to be pro war, and pro death penalty. They are against YOU having an abortion even if you know you will not be able to provide a good life for your baby. They want you to have that baby even if it is the product of a rape. The money that you put into the pool to save their life is willingly accepted by them, the money that you might need to save your life is fought tooth and nail by them. About 20% of people are on contraception for health reasons not related to purposes of avoiding a pregnancy. They don’t care.
Engaging in the Rush Limbaugh debate over the last few days shows me that many people support what he said. In fact they’re more mad that he apologized than they are that he made dishonest arguments in a vile fashion. How many of the Rush Limbaugh supporters are disgusted at Rush and his perverted idea that he should be allowed to watch video of women having sex because they need contraception?
We as a society would be better and stronger without their views yet you don’t hear about the army of atheists who want to refuse them the right to the funding that might save their life. That despicable quality is reserved for the religious person, and in this country predominantly the Christian.
Their ignorance and hypocrisy are disgusting. Even though they are a waste of air, I’d rather fight to educate them than to take away the funds that could save their life. Even though I know that educating someone that is as brainwashed as many of them are is nearly an impossible battle, I choose education over denial of funds, denial of life, denial of pursuit of liberty and happiness. They would deny you of all of those if they could, and they do try! They choose denial of funds. They choose the selfish route. They are out for self, they are a disgrace to the human race. Religion is a vile and evil concept that has corrupted the mind of man for far too long.
Poor critical thinking is the root of all evil. Religion is a byproduct of poor critical thinking, deceit, and a wee bit of evil. Today religious people have been hoodwinked by an archaic concept that contributes to many of the worlds problems. They don’t apply critical thought to their politics and their religion. They allow Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other scumbags to represent them and worse… convince them of nonsense without cross referencing any of it. They are sheep. They are dangerous to humanity, and I STILL WOULD SAVE THEIR LIFE! But they wont save yours.
Worst of all, they harm society in this way, all while claiming oppression.
And yes, I know these are generalizations. I know not everyone falls into this box, but many do. And the ones that do are the target of these statements.
This hypocrisy and lack of critical thought must stop. You must stand up and educate. Many of you do, you are my heroes, and my partners.
Christopher Hitchens had the guts to speak up when under assault. He never gave up. His strength was astounding.
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Wow Darrel Ray is brilliant. He nails it on “First generation leadership.” Because of my type-a personality and my inability to trust easily I was unable to spot future dedicated activists when they aligned with me early in their activist “careers.” Ashley Paramore and Shelley Mountjoy were by my side at the beginning. If I could have known to expand their leadership role early enough, they might have never needed to go become superstars elsewhere.
Check this article out if you would like to learn more about how atheist groups function, and how we can improve them.
Two Types of Leadership in the Secular Movement
Leadership among secular groups tends to come in two general flavors, those that are led by one or a few charismatic leaders (often the founders) and those that are led by a less centralized executive group. There is plenty of room for both types of groups in the movement, but it is important to be conscious and intentional in understanding and recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of both. For purposes of discussion, we will call these groups “first generation” and “second generation,” respectively, although they may not always fit that classification.
First-generation groups are often led by charismatic leaders. These are lean and activist groups. The founders have a sharp vision for what they want to accomplish and move fast to get the job done. They are often the leading edge of the movement and have influence out of proportion to their numbers both within the movement and in the larger society. Their strengths are invaluable because they are pacesetters, influencing the overall direction of the movement.
Despite their major strengths, it is also important to understand the weaknesses of first generation leaders. They are often an insular group and less democratic. Since first-generation leaders are generally autocratic, they tend to attract members who respond to strong, direct leadership. This limits membership, since only a fraction of the target population responds to this type of leadership.
Challenges to their leadership or vision are not welcome. It may be easy to join one of these groups but hard, if not impossible, to gain a position of influence. For this reason, the leaders have difficulty grooming the next generation. Upcoming, promising new leaders often see no opportunity to take part in the core functions of the organization and, therefore, don’t stick around long. Further, the boards of first-generation groups are generally a reflection of the leader and, therefore, typically very insular as well. The age range within this type of board is often similar to the age of the founder. This makes for a leadership structure that has a limited view and tends to be resistant to change.
Further, he talks about how groups led by charismatic leaders suffer when the external environment changes. The decision to start atheismunited.com was born from that change in environment. The atheist world is much different today than 6 years ago. RRS is still needed, but atheism united will be more current and relevant. The project was born from the idea that we didn’t care what banner we impacted the world under, we just wanted to have the biggest impact possible. We decided it was necessary to create something different. How justified Darrel Ray makes us feel.
“As long as the external environment remains consistent with the conditions in which the organization was founded, it will continue to function. But when the external environment changes, it can present difficult challenges. To the degree that an organization influences the surrounding culture, the target of its efforts must change. Culture is a moving target, and organizations that don’t adjust their influence strategy run the risk of using yesterday’s successful methods on today’s culture.
A good example is the civil rights movement, where many of the first-generation leaders continued following a vision that was rendered obsolete with changes in legislation and social norms.”
Reposted from: two types of atheist groups