Daily Archives: July 9, 2008

Atheist billboard in Philadelphia

Wow. I’m impressed. No, really. Here in California (especially the SF Bay area), the cacophony of religious expression is nearly indecipherable. This billboard would probably go completely unnoticed unless one moves out into the valley or north above the Napa Valley. But in PA? I adore my adopted “second home” Pennsylvania (the ex-laws are from there), but religious tolerance is NOT its middle name. Okay, I take that back. They’re plenty tolerant of religion (provided it’s a flavor of Christian that isn’t Catholic). It’s atheism and agnosticism they have trouble with. Just read some of the comments at the bottom of the article.

So I’m pleased to see the city actually approved and erected the billboard. I doubt you’ll see atheists flocking to the area anytime soon, but even this much of an acknowledgment is encouraging.

US exports to Iran increased 10 fold

It always fascinates me to see just where political rhetoric meets corporate reality.

According to figures put out by the Associated Press, our exports to Iran have increased:

from 2001 to 2007 totalled $546m (£273m). It exported roughly $146m of goods last year, compared with $8.3m in 2001, Bush’s first year in office.

Our sanctions from the hostage crisis 30 years ago are still in place. How could exports have jumped so sharply with those in place? More frightening yet, it appears that some of those exports are military in nature. This suggests that we are helping to arm a country we are currently decrying as a “military threat” and an arm of the dreaded Axis of Eeeeevul ™.

Here’s my issue. The American populace is so intent on its flag waving, we don’t really pay attention to the fact that our money is going to things that, in this example, we are supposed to be working against. Oh, we notice the federal funds going to help flood victims or Medicare or schools or “abortion clinics,” but what of our exports? What about the money sent to other countries for aid? Do you know which countries those are? How about military aid?

As vocal as I am about transparent government, I place just as much responsibility on the shoulders of an apathetic populace. We pay more attention to the voting on American Idol than we do the votes that take place in our federal legislature. We should know where our exports are going, and if they’re going to a country against which we’ve imposed sanctions, then that should be stopped, capitalism be damned. I have had it with commerce without conscience.