Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Odds And Ends

As in, people with odd ideas about mathematics and we're nearing the end of a campaign.

In Des Moines, things aren't looking too good for the plucky bus driver who thinks that people declaring themselves to be atheists is offensive:

A bus driver who was suspended last week for refusing to drive a bus with an atheist group’s advertisement returned to work today.

Angela Shiel, 41, faced possible termination from the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority after walking away from her assigned bus on Aug. 17. The bus had an ad for the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers that read: "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

Shiel said the message was offensive and went against her Christian beliefs.

Bus Driver, Suspended Over Atheist Ad Incident, Is Back At Work Today

Who wouldn't risk her job in the face of such insults? Anyone who wasn't dumber than an engine block, I suppose. The Des Moines Register goes on to explain:

Shiel said today that her views on the ad haven’t changed and she still will not drive any bus with the ad.

“Hopefully I won’t get the sign anymore,” she said. “It’s a chance I have to take. …I like what I’m doing. I don’t want to start all over.”

The ads are featured on 20 of DART’s 120 fixed-route buses. They were first put up in late July, but removed following complaints from riders. DART returned the ads to the buses earlier this month after receiving new complaints, including from the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.

The ads will remain on buses through the second week of September.

Bus Driver, Suspended Over Atheist Ad Incident, Is Back At Work Today

We've now been given all the clues we need to determine Ms. Shiel's chances of keeping her job. One in six DART buses carry the sign she objects to (20/120). Her chances of riding on a bus without the sign on any given day is 5 out of 6, or 83.3 percent. Assuming she works fifteen days in the next three weeks, that's (0.833)15, which my little calculator widget says is 0.065, or 6.5 percent. Thus, there is a 93.5 percent chance that she will be looking for other work, assuming she doesn't change her mind.

I suggest Ms. Shiel place a little more faith in mathematics and consider that wonderful quote from Matthew 6:5-6 I saw the other day:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

and then make her beliefs a bit less of a public spectacle.

Meanwhile, during the night this happened:

The campaign to reward good behavior among our U.S. represenatives on health care has cracked the $400k barrier. According to Jon Walker, that makes it the highest-paying individual campaign contributor on this issue:

I'm very impressed that Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake.com has had so much success raising money to thank House members for standing up for the public option. In the past week her “Stand Up For The Public Option” page on ActBlue.com has raised $397,684 for progressive Democratic House members.

Is Firedoglake Now The Largest Health Insurance PAC?

Yay, us! Of course, we aren't yet spending tens of millions of dollars on lobbying, or making ourselves at home in the White House, so there's still ground to make up.

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