March 19, 2005

What atheists should know about religion

Many atheists are very hostile toward religion. They consider it a wicked superstition that is holding society back, and that the world would be much better off without it. I would be the last person to say they are wrong, but none of us can deny that there are a lot more believers than non-believers. That's the reason so many atheists also consider believers stupid. They can't understand why so many people would espouse such damaging ideas.
In response to a statement that "Islam's relentless expansion is wrecking the world" I replied "no more than Christianity did in the last thousand years."
When America was founded, Christian women were required to cover their heads. Many European countries went through a period of torture and mutilation for criminals. The West is trying to "help" Islam skip over several hundred years of injustice, religious and political, never realizing that freedom, unearned, is also oppression.
The freedoms we want to give them are the freedoms we earned after years of fighting. Pushing the Iraqis to include women in politics shows the sanctimoniousness of a new convert. Women in the West have been fighting for hundreds of years and still don't have guaranteed slots on the ballot or in office.
You can't learn someone's lessons for them. Much as we may resent it, Christians wrecked the world and now it's Islam's turn. We didn't get our freedom until we were willing to fight and die for it in the long term. If we really want to help Islam we should shut up and let them get on with it.

March 12, 2005

It's been a while

I've spent the past week building a new case for my computer. I'll post pictures when I'm finished. In the meantime I'll post when I get the time.
In honor of hearing Randy Newman on Prairie Home Companion, here's a special musical feature.

Political Science
by Randy Newman

No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens

We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them

Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hotAnd Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us

We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too

Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me

They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now

March 02, 2005

Justice for all

The Senate, done with Cabinet nominees, is taking up the judicial. The President's "mandate" includes renominating 20 people who had been blocked by Democrats last term.
Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said, "His (Bush's) renomination of seven of the 10 circuit court judges that we blocked in the last Congress is a thumb in the eye of bipartisanship."
"There is simply nothing to be gained from the president's unfortunate decision to play a game of judicial chicken," Schumer said.

Senate Democrats are threatening to fillibuster, Republicans (who invented the fillibuster) say they'll change the rules to ban the tactic, Democrats then threaten to retaliate and bring the Senate to a near halt with a variety of other procedural moves.
Could this be more misdirection from the White House? I agree that Democrats need to stand up to the President on some of these unqualified nutjobs. What worries me is our representatives are being cast in the role of obstructionists, or whiners by the administration. By doing the right thing, we are playing fretful granny to their dashing hero. Karl Rove said that you win by using your opponents strengths against him. Looks like it works.

The US Supreme Court decided today that John Ashcroft is a bloodthirsty ashcroft for trying to get Lee Boyd Malvo killed. Executing people for crimes committed while under 18 has been declared "cruel and unusual punishment". Families who say thay are being denied closure are advised to find Jesus as their personal savior. He never said anything about "an eye for an eye".

A federal judge has ordered the administration to either charge or release a man held for 2 1/2 years. Jose Padilla, whose capture allegedly thwarted a "dirty bomb" plot, has been held as an enemy combatant since being taken from an airplane. The judge stated "There were no impediments whatsoever to the government bringing charges against him for any one or all of the array of heinous crimes that he has been effectively accused of committing".
At least we're not living in a police state. If we were, maybe Bush would come liberate us.

Another person finally getting his day in court is Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who allegedly planned to kill the President (I'd settle for Rumsfeld, but I'm not an idealist). The FBI has a confession he claims was tortured out of him in Saudi Arabia. According to some people this guy's whole family is some kind of Islamic Satanic coven bent on the destruction of truth, justice, and the American way. This may get interesting in the future, but for now nobody's proved anything.

Already interesting is the lawsuit against Rumsfeld for permitting torture. The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First filed suit in federal district court in Rumsfeld's home state of Illinois on behalf of eight former detainees who said they were severely tortured. All eight were subsequently released without being charged. I know it sounds silly, but they say that since the Pentagon had a bunch of abuse claims, they should have said, once and of all, "No Torture". Pentagon claims that only a few bad apples were involved just shows that the Army can't control its people. Who should be blamed for that?

Riverbend's new post expresses her fears that recent Shia victories in the election may lead to increased oppression of women in what had been a secular country. She used to have a job, she didn't wear a veil, she didn't need to have a male relative accompany her anytime she left the house. Now she does, or feels pressured to. Her view of the election is worth reading. I don't think she feels liberated yet.

from a photoshop contest