Via iNo Pasaran!,
Words fail me.
Update Girl on the right posts about it.
The letter “X” soon may be banned in Saudi Arabia because it resembles the mother of all banned religious symbols in the oil kingdom: the cross.
Read the article – I”m not the only one asking about “+”.
Last year’s remarks by Pope Benedict XVI might just have signaled a watershed event in the global struggle against those who are most willing to use that sword.
Lehman Brothers chief US economist Ethan Harris on Friday boosted his forecast for fourth quarter 2006 growth to an annualized rate of 3.3 percent, a leap from the firm’s prior call for just 2.0 percent growth.
V2K, Baby: Tinfoil Hat Brigades (Literally!) Form Support Groups. I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago when the clock radio malfunctioned and there is a late-night radio talk show where people that believe in this stuff call in. Very strange.
The terror that has become an acceptable form of political expression has never been about a religious endeavor. It is the misuse of a religion, a calculated attempt to realign a religion to serve the needs of a few evil men. It is an effort that is succeeding, because there are people that are chained and in servitude and their willing, desperate search for an escape from their dark medieval prisons.
Terror organizations and terror supporters are using our own language to defeat us. Suicide bombers and terrorists are now ‘military factions,’ while those that plan and pay for the crimes are now referred to as ‘political factions’ – as if patterning themselves after legitimate political organizations will somehow camouflage their identity and objectives. Ever dutifully, the media parrots these ridiculous assertions as credible.
When the Bush administration came into office, only Egypt and Jordan were functioning allies of the U.S. Iran and Iraq were already declared enemies, Syria was hostile, and even its supposed friends in the Arabian peninsula were so disinclined to help that none did anything to oppose al Qaeda. Some actively helped it, while others knowingly allowed private funds to reach the terrorists whose declared aim was to kill Americans.
The Iraq war has indeed brought into existence a New Middle East, in which Arab Sunnis can no longer gleefully disregard American interests because they need help against the looming threat of Shiite supremacy, while in Iraq at the core of the Arab world, the Shia are allied with the U.S. What past imperial statesmen strove to achieve with much cunning and cynicism, the Bush administration has brought about accidentally. But the result is exactly the same.
Related post, Have a little faith
Via Maria, A Campaign for Order
More blogging later.
I got an A in Phallus 101: The list of the 12 most bizarre college courses in the U.S. includes offerings such as ‘The Phallus’ and ‘Queer Musicology’. Since college students don’t get college credit for thinking about sex, Occidental College has remedied the situation:
a course called “The Phallus.”
No, it’s not a biology course. It’s a survey, offered by Oxy’s department of critical theory and social justice, of “feminist and queer takings-on of the phallus.” Topics include “the relation between the phallus and the penis, the meaning of the phallus, phallologocentrism, the lesbian phallus, the Jewish phallus, the Latino phallus, and the relation of the phallus and fetishism.”
I thought if you had seen one you had seen them all, but noooo…
Annual tuition at Occidental, a private college, is $32,800. That means if you take “The Phallus” and “Blackness” (plus its prerequisite “Whiteness”) this year on a four-course-per-semester schedule, you will have set your parents back $12,300.
[the following link is not work-appropriate. You’ve been told.] But does that fee include field trips? Not that it matters – it’s their parents’ money, after all. (And notice how I refrained from asking if the professor’s named Dick.)
Here‘s the list of the twelve “most bizarre and troubling instances of leftist activism supplanting traditional scholarship.”
The governor’s welfare plan would extend to a program that provides cash grants to children who are U.S. citizens but whose parents are here illegally. Advocates said most undocumented adults work enough hours to meet federal welfare requirements even though their citizenship status prevents them from participating in CalWORKS.
The governor will propose that payments to those families be limited to five years.
They are breaking the law. Why should they be rewarded for that?
On a related story, Kevin points out that Home Depot’s Improvement Must Begin In The Parking Lot
We’ve arrived at a crossroads in history. The choices are simple.
In a letter to President Bush Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate President Harry Reid said they want out of Iraq. It’s over. The American people are sick of it. There is no reason and no will to keep fighting this.
At the American Enterprise Institute the same day, senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman came out for a big, sustained surge of troops into Iraq. They made the case for fighting. Key word: “Winnable.” They outlined the consequences of accepting defeat. Key word: “Catastrophic.”
The Democrats’ First 100 Hours, Part I: Surrender
Force structure, grand strategy and forcing the issue
Whispers in the Execution Chamber
Jordanian Islamists Attack Hezbollah & Hamas
The Peace Process in Kashmir
Earmark Reform – I Want To Believe
Closing this post on a light note, Undergarment saves a life
Via Beth, Stronger Than a Falling Bullet: Woman’s Bra Softens Bullet’s Blow
Light blogging on my part today, but you must read this:
Dr. Sanity analyzes A VICIOUS MISOGYNY
Many women hate or envy other women whose existence lowers their own status with men, i.e., other women who are more attractive than they are either in looks or accomplishment, depending on the culture expectations. For example, in one culture a woman might attract men because of her beauty; in another because of her purity or religious devotion. A corollary to this is that the aging woman will increasingly become aware of her diminishing attraction to men or usefulness to a society that only values her reproductive capability. This sets up a dynamic tension between old and young women. In all cultures where female genital mutilation occurs, while it is the male-dominated society that mandates it, the operation itself is perfermed by older women on younger women; and has the direct effect of decreasing the sexual capabilities/responsiveness of the younger–thus “leveling the playing field” by some accounts. Older–“useless” women–can become socetal heroes only by embracing the violence and rage of the sexually frutstrated and fearful men.
Needless to say, the family dynamics in viciously misogynic cultures like those dominated by Islamic extremists, create severely impaired girls and boys. It has been noted by many researchers and observers that children of both sexes are routinely physically and sexually abused by male relatives (indeed there are religious rules that designate under what circumstances babies may be used for sexual gratification by adults) . The boys are publicly circumcised and the girls clitoridectomized. Women’s behavior becomes the source of all shame and dishonor, and they must be ruthlessly controlled. The degree of control is proportional to the degree of sexual repression and frustration (and hence rage) that is mandated by the culture/religion.
Dr. Sanity goes on to discuss how the cultural debasement and humiliation of women has a profound impact on the children. This is a must-read.
Dr. Sanity’s post relates to Siggy’s post, Monsters From Within, Monsters From Without, on a subject he and I had been discussing last month
Children want to please their parents. What does it say about a society where a parent applauds a child’s bigotry, hate and violent tendencies? What does it say about a society where that bigotry, hate and violence are taught in schools? What does it say about a society where parents approve of such educational priorities, and then has those priorities reinforced by media and religious instruction? The tragedies of these dysfunctional societies cannot and will not be overcome easily.
On a not-unrelated topic, Betsy posts on What ingenuity can accomplish. She concludes with,
If Arab nations weren’t so dedicated to hating Israel, they too could devote themselves to benefiting their people using Israel’s know-how instead of blaming Israel for their own nations’ backwardness.
Read all three.
Two exceptionally good posts from two of the brightest bloggers around:
Sigmund, Carl and Alfred’s post Monsters From Within, Monsters From Without goes a long way towards explaining, as he so well puts it,
the origins of widely accepted terror as an acceptable form of political or religious expression
I had posed a question during an email exchange, and here’s part of Siggy’s post to that question (emphasis added):
Radical Islam has assumed the face and costume of militancy and violence, not the face of theology. The gun- and frenzied use of the gun, has become a part of the faith. This of course, is clearly antithetical to Judeo-Christian values, moral and principles (The Church never advocated the butcher and slaughter of all non believers). Democracies do not settle differences with violence- and in large measure, that is why the Islamists reject dealing with us. The Islamists are willing to engage us violently because they believe that secularism abhors conflict- and thus, we are theirs for the taking. They understand they will not have to face equal or violent consequences of their actions. That in itself is one definition of the ‘Clash of Civilizations.’
That is why they oppose a peace deal with Israel, real democracy within the Palestinian Authority, Iraq or anywhere else in the region. In their minds, democracy, freedom and peace means that secularists have asserted their dominion over Islamism. That notion is intolerable- and as many as need be will die preserving the illusion that democracy, freedom and peace are evil and in opposition to Islam. They deliberately define democracy as a religion in opposition to Islam. That is why their opposition to democracy is so fierce. To believe in democracy is to be apostate and thus, deserving of death.
Modernity is also suspect is the Muslim world. We can define modernity as the change brought about by self expression, higher education and modern economies that function efficiently and seamlessly. Ayatollah Khomeini resisted modernity, as do the Saudis, ostensibly for religious reasons. That said, Saudi ideologies are roundly rejected by countries like Morocco, Jordan, Egypt and Syria. They reject modernity because modernity, like secularism, favors democracy.
The rejection of modernity also explains the indifference the Arab world has to education and functioning economies. Failed and dismal Arab world education levels and economies are of little and no concern to Arabs because education and functioning economies represent the reality of a real future. Recognizing and anticipating the future is an integral part of modernity. The future is a reality the Arab world has consciously rejected, by word and deed.
Healthy societies do not naturally reject the future and modernity. Every parent does what they can to address their children’s future and to ensure they the future well prepared. That is how society functions and perpetuates itself. Children are the future and it is incumbent on us to ensure their success. It is also incumbent upon us to do what we can to leave a better world for our children- a concept not at all understood in much of the Arab world, for decades led by dysfunctional political and religious leaders. How this dysfunction operates needs to be understood.
In fact, the Arab world has made clear their intent and desire to return to the past, and not have to face the future. Facing the future means the Arab world would have to be held accountable for their dysfunctional behavior that has made poverty and failure a part of the Arab world reality of today.
On a different but not totally unrelated subject, Francis Porretto ponders the war on Christianity in his post By His Stripes:
Anti-Christians are not uniform in their motivations. Many are hostile to the notion of divinity. Others dislike any assertion of a moral standard higher than that imposed by man-made law. Some merely practice a thoroughgoing skepticism about anything they can’t verify by the direct and immediate report of their senses. And some are consumed by envy at the serenity enjoyed by the majority of Christian adherents, a condition unaffected by variations or fluctuations in their worldly estates. No doubt there are others with other reasons.
But they cannot point to one single thing that the “mythical” Jesus ever said or did that to which a decent man could raise the slightest objection. For to do so, they’d have to take issue with:
- The desirability of spiritual peace and forgiveness of others’ sins;
- Gratitude for the gift of life in a lawful universe and honor to those who are the temporal reason for it;
- The prohibitions against murder, theft, fraud, and covetousness;
- Last but most striking of all, Christ’s denial of the rightness of enforcing religious precepts with temporal force, as exemplified dramatically in His treatment of the adultery of Mary Magdalene.
Many creatures of darkness live in our accumulated cultural consciousness. Some are historically well attested: the great mass murderers of the Twentieth Century, for example. Others, such as Attila and Ghengis Khan, are more remote, with more uncertainty attached to their deeds. A few villainous names survive in the epics of deep antiquity, but their stories are most uncertain of all. None of these are worshipped; they’re held up to the young of today to illustrate what horrors are possible to Man. Even evil figures whose actual lives are entirely uncertain present useful profiles in human depravity; we reflect upon them because we can sense that the stories attached to their names are things men might really have done — that no degree of malice is inherently beyond us.
Go read ’em. You’ll be smarter when you’re done.
I tried using the comments section but it wouldn’t load.
In this post you quote Francis Porretto, ending with “Last but most
striking of all, Christ’s denial of the rightness of enforcing
religious precepts with temporal force, as exemplified dramatically in
His treatment of the adultery of Mary Magdalene.”
I probably should be replying to Mr. Porretto, but I’d like to point
out that I think he has conflated a couple of New Testament stories,
and perhaps even thinks that Mary Magdalene is the reformed prostitute
of legend. Mary Magdalene in the New Testament is a woman from whom
Jesus cast out evil spirits; but in Christian preaching over the
centuries, she was conflated with other New Testament figures of the
same name or no known name.
It looks like he’s referring to the story of the woman taken in
adultery that is included in some (but not all) of the manuscripts of
John, beginning of ch. 8.
This is a very problematic story; I do not think that it means what
people usually think it means. Looking at it with Jewish eyes, there
are just too many missing pieces for it to be about the immediate
stoning of an adulteress by an angry mob.
If she was caught “in the very act” then the man involved was also
taken, but in this story, he’s missing. In Jewish law, both parties
were liable for the death penalty in adultery, and the act must have
been witnessed (which is what is claimed here). So where is the man?
Secondly, as we also know from the story of Christ’s Passion, the Jews
could not sentence someone to death without Roman approval in those
In addition, we are not told that the woman and her lover were ever
brought to trial — admittedly, we don’t know exactly how a Jewish
court in Jesus’ day would have handled an adultery case such as this,
but certainly by the late Roman period, Jewish law made it very
difficult for a death penalty to be handed out, and there were many
formal procedures, the calling of witnesses, etc. that had to take
place before a sentence could be handed down. None of this is present
in this story; we have rather the idea that a mob was ready to stone
the woman (but not her unknown partner). Execution by stoning
following a court sentence was a formal ritual. According to Jewish
law, the person bringing the accusation had to cast the first
stone — the implication being that if an unjust accusation was being
made, the one who initiated the execution was himself liable to at
least a heavenly judgment because an unjust execution meant the
accuser was committing murder himself. Cleary Jesus is drawing on this
strong Jewish tradition, but changes it to “let he who is without sin
cast the first stone.”
So what gives?
It may be that Jesus was once again being tested on his teaching. One
suggestion is that this story is referring back to his teaching that
marriage was permanent, with no divorce. A woman “caught in the very
act” could well mean simply that she was divorced according to Jewish
law and was in the process of getting remarried. If so, this story
does not make that clear at all. In Jewish circles in late Roman
times, there was a great debate about divorce; should it be easy to
divorce, or difficult? The rabbinical schools of Hillel and Shammai
took different sides on this issue.
Or perhaps the story has to do with Jewish versus Roman law — should
she be executed according to Jewish law without Roman approval?
Once more Jesus neatly sidestepped the question, and I cannot help
wondering what exactly he’s referring to when he says “go and sin no
I hope you’ll forgive me for ranting a bit. This is one of the
biblical stories that is too often used to paint a harsh and
unforgiving portrait of the “Jews.” Like “an eye for an eye…” used
in the sense of meaning a call for vengeance, even though vengeance is
specifically forbidden in the Bible.
I’m emailing Francis on these very interesting points
Update 2 Francis replies in the comments section
Alan Dershowitz asks Why won’t Carter debate his book?
When Larry King referred to my review several times to challenge Carter, Carter first said I hadn’t read the book and then blustered, “You know, I think it’s a waste of my time and yours to quote professor Dershowitz. He’s so obviously biased, Larry, and it’s not worth my time to waste it on commenting on him.” (He never did answer King’s questions.)
The next week Carter wrote a series of op-eds bemoaning the reception his book had received. He wrote that his “most troubling experience” had been “the rejection of [his] offers to speak” at “university campuses with high Jewish enrollment.” The fact is that Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz had invited Carter to come to Brandeis to debate me, and Carter refused. The reason Carter gave was this: “There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine.”
As Carter knows, I’ve been to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, many times — certainly more times than Carter has been there — and I’ve written three books dealing with the subject of Middle Eastern history, politics, and the peace process. The real reason Carter won’t debate me is that I would correct his factual errors. It’s not that I know too little; it’s that I know too much.
Nor is Carter the unbiased observer of the Middle East that he claims to be. He has accepted money and an award from Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan , saying in 2001: “This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan.” This is the same Zayed, the long-time ruler of the United Arab Emirates, whose $2.5 million gift to the Harvard Divinity School was returned in 2004 due to Zayed’s rampant Jew-hatred. Zayed’s personal foundation, the Zayed Center, claims that it was Zionists, rather than Nazis, who “were the people who killed the Jews in Europe” during the Holocaust. It has held lectures on the blood libel and conspiracy theories about Jews and America perpetrating Sept. 11. Carter’s acceptance of money from this biased group casts real doubt on his objectivity and creates an obvious conflict of interest.
Carter’s refusal to debate wouldn’t be so strange if it weren’t for the fact that he claims that he wrote the book precisely so as to start debate over the issue of the Israel-Palestine peace process. If that were really true, Carter would be thrilled to have the opportunity to debate. Authors should be accountable for their ideas and their facts. Books shouldn’t be like chapel, delivered from on high and believed on faith.
Guevara is not just a dead white guy from a well-to-do family who terrorized a racially mixed nation and executed hundreds of thousands of innocents in the late 1950s and 1960s. He is also a symbol of the totalitarian regime that persists in Cuba, which still practices his ideology of intolerance, hatred and repression. It is not the torture and killing alone that make the tragedy. That only describes the methodology. Guevara’s wider goal – to forcibly strip a population of its soul and spirit – is what is truly frightening and deplorable. Christians, who celebrate the birth of their Savior on Monday, have particularly suffered under Guevara’s dream of revolution, which has lasted since 1959.
A LEADING US academic will challenge the establishment this week when he makes the controversial claim that poverty is not the root cause of international terrorism.
Alan Krueger, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, will say suicide bombers tend to come from middle-class families. He will also argue that terrorism is directly motivated by US policy decisions.
He argues that terrorists, instead of coming primarily from poor states, tend to hail from oppressive regimes, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This, he says, shows that terrorists tend to be motivated by fanaticism, not poverty. “In most cases [a suicide bomber] is not someone who has nothing to live for, but someone who desperately believes in a cause.”
Now, what cause would that be?
More from Dr. Sanity.