Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Several Unconnected Thoughts On Iraq

BREITBART.COM - Gunmen Kidnap Up to 150 in Baghdad: "The abductions were the most brazen attack yet on Iraqi academics, who have often been targeted by insurgents. Recent weeks have seen a university dean and prominent Sunni geologist murdered, bringing the death toll among educators to at least 155 since the war began.
Thousands of professors and researchers have fled to neighboring countries to escape the lawlessness and sectarian strife, robbing the country of its brain trust.
The academics apparently were singled out for their relatively high public stature, vulnerability and known views on controversial issues in a climate of deepening Islamic fundamentalism."

I know it sounds naive, but sometimes I forget that our enemy is so anti-intellect. I don't know what is going to happen, and am certainly not naive enough to have an opinion based on just an action like this one. I am, however, worried that we will be somehow forced into withdraw, allowing the kinds of people that did this free reign over the vulnerable and unarmed of Iraq. I can't blame the Iraqi's who want us to leave, but I can see fault in their desire. They still need us there, and we still need to be there (for their interest and our own). These are people that claimed a victory when Americans voted in a Democratic Congress. I am not opposed to a split government (in fact, I prefer it), but if they can claim victory from that, a withdraw would give them a victory even in my mind. I was also thinking this morning that it would further prove that America cannot win a guerilla war. In football, when there is a weak quarterback, the opposing defense sacks him as many times as possible. In war, our enemies will never again engage us in a traditional war. They will know that our weakness is guerilla war, and approach us that way. They would be unwise to take any other approach. I just hope that we don't teach the world how to win a war against us again.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


A Citizen's answer to Whether "Radical Christians" are a Threat to America

Bible Belt Blogger: Rosie O'Donnell denounces "radical Christians": "I suspect Rosie's point is that many Americans see the bigger threat to their families' well-being and daily lives comes from rhetoric and politics driven by radical Christians seeking conservative Christian dominion. You have secular, tax-paid public schools attended by children of many or no faith(s) that are putting up 10 Commandment displays. You have radical Christians demanding philosophical issues like faith and creation being taught as science in science classes. You have millions of gay/lesbian couples who are now written into state constitutions as second class citizens...the first such constitutional limiting rather than expansion of rights since slaves were listed as less than a full person and prohibition was placed in the constitution. You have churches pushing bills to refuse health insurance, domestic violence protections, anti-bias protections, and parenthood to gay families. You also have pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for patients. There are businesses refusing to serve various patrons simply because of who they are. Then you have people using their faith to try to stop scientific exploration of stem cell research that could cure millions of Americans with chronic diseases. Perhaps worst for many Americans is the daily rhetoric of demonizing liberals, gays, people of other faiths, moderate Christians, etc. as evil. When you have ministers saying things like 'oh, it is not right that they beat that gay man to death but he kind of had it coming since he was such a sinner', then you have to ask who is a bigger threat to your life: Islamic terrorists or ministers basically telling their congregations that it is ok to abuse certain types of Americans? Imagine if there was a constant barrage of legislative bills, political ads, and statements by public figures lambasting Christians as terrorists the way gays/lesbians like Rosie have endured in recent years? You don't see the same virulent rhetoric against the divorced/adulterers, liars, abusers of the elderly, thiefs, or fornicators that are actually listed in the 10 Commandments. For the Americans targeted by anti-Christian intolerance, I suspect you would find that, like Rosie, there is a greater concern about the daily attacks on their families by radical Christians than the spector of terrorist attacks by radical Muslims."

This, from the Bible Belt Blogger in the Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky), is a well-reasoned answer. The blogger was asking if people could agree with Rosie O'Donnell's statement that "radical Christians" were essentially as big a threat as "radical Muslims". It was posed as ridiculous in the blog, as you might have imagined from the name of said blog. The respondent, Jeff, says that in America, we should not be using our government and schools to teach and legislate morality. Taking that further, he suggests that by doing so, we are also teaching and legislating hate. It does seem a bit strange that churches are very concerned with gays and lesbians, but have been nearly complicit in child sexual abuse. Glass house with cracks, I would say.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Find Middle Ground Between Fraud Prevention and Action

Slow Home Grants Stall Progress in New Orleans - New York Times: "NEW ORLEANS — The $7.5 billion program to rebuild Louisiana by helping residents repair or replace their flooded homes has gotten off to a slow start, frustrating government officials and outraging many homeowners who say they are still in limbo 14 months after Hurricane Katrina hit.
Greg Abry, a contractor, checking hurricane damage Thursday at the home of Therese Fitzpatrick and Michael Homan in New Orleans. They are appealing the amount of a grant from a state-run program.
Cassandra D. Wall plans to attend a protest against the handling of a New Orleans rebuilding program. Though nearly 79,000 families have applied to the program, called the Road Home, only 1,721 have been told how much grant money they will receive. And just 22 have received access to the cash, which was provided by federal taxpayers and is being distributed by the state."

I get the excuse that those running the program will be under fire if the money is found to be handed out without extensive checking, but the delay should also be under fire. There has to be a way to do this effectively as well as efficiently. These are people that absolutely need the help. The money would not have been granted them otherwise. We must write about this, fuss, and try to provoke action.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Uproarious laughter at Open Hypocrisy

Haggard bares his soul in note to congregation - Los Angeles Times: "A male prostitute in Denver came forward last week claiming that Haggard had visited his apartment almost monthly over the last three years for sex and drugs. Haggard at first denied it. Then he said he bought meth from the man, but threw it away. On Sunday, he said this: 'The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry.'...They would hold fast to all Haggard had taught them over the years, including his preaching that homosexual behavior is an affront to God. "He believes that what he taught us is true," said Carol Groesbeck, 61."I don't think there's anything that needs to be reevaluated," said her husband, Jim, 61, an elder at New Life Church. "We know what we believe, but it's difficult to live that out. That's not just Ted's struggle. It's our struggle."...In the church bookstore, a father leaned against a display of Haggard's books and read aloud to his children from "Letters from Home." Published in 2002, the book is framed as a letter to the two oldest of the Haggards' five children, who were preparing for college at that time.In a section called "Live as if there are no secrets," Haggard listed powerful men brought down by lust or lies, including presidents Nixon and Clinton and the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart. "Major leaders have lost their positions of influence because of what they did alone in a room," he wrote."Please don't ever fall into the trap of believing that you can do something in secret, even when you are far away from home," Haggard urged his children. "This is a lie, and it will always come back to haunt you.""

Oh, so many goodies in this story that I haven't a clue where to begin. First of all, he calls homosexuality an affront to God. No longer a sin, but rather an affront suggests an exaggeration beyond the norm that would be expected for someone who was trying to hide his homosexuality. The accusations are "not all true". What a beautiful response. In an earlier report, Haggard said that he bought meth but didn't use it. Then I see that he had been visiting the male prostitute for years for sex and drugs. How many times do you buy meth and throw it away? Sounds like an ungodly waste. Every bit of that pun intended. Here's something else that is incredibly bothersome. The guy that preached against homosexuality ends up being gay, and the congregation doesn't feel the need to re-evaluate their homophobia. Really? This isn't a good time to see if maybe God intended for us to love our neighbors, and not "judge". Hmm. I thought those values were in that thick book. The other really bothersome thing in this article is that Haggard was invited to conference calls with the President/White House to spew this horrid rhetoric. Uh, I hope they re-evaluate. What this should show us all is that many of the variables that define us and distinguish us from others are embedded, not acquired tastes. Looking at our genetics through the prism of Godly and ungodly seems rather unfair, doesn't it?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Hersh Suggests Open Hatred of Troops

The McGill Daily: "“Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids,” he began. “Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming. Sixteen soldiers come out of the other vehicles, and they do what they’re told to do, which is look for running people.”
“Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,” Hersh continued. “[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a soccer game.”
“About ten minutes later, [the soldiers] begin dragging bodies together, and they drop weapons there. It was reported as 20 or 30 insurgents killed that day,” he said.
If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.
“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.” "

By saying that if the American public knew what our soldiers were doing over there, that same public would spit on our returning soldiers is all but suggesting that the American public should be spitting on our soldiers. This is the kind of talk that Republicans have been suggesting was being intimated by Dems all along. Now it is just more blatant. Sy made a mistake here, but he meant to make it.

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