Sunday, May 31, 2009

religious terrorism in Kansas


If there is even the slightest doubt: now you know why Bin Laden does it. Once personal religious beliefs trump the law (both secular and religious: thou shalt not kill), a person becomes a terrorist.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Geopolitics at its finest

I'm about to embark on an interesting application of Occam's razor.

If recent news headlines are any indication, President Obama and Israeli PM Netanyahu are at odds over the middle east peace process.

I am quite certain that Obama is not foolish enough to think that he can single handedly reverse decades of US support for Israel (nor do I think he would want to, even if he could). At the same time, I am also quite certain that Netanyahu, an intelligent man himself, realizes that it would be extremely unwise to irritate the man that will be leading the US for probably the next 8 years.

Clearly, neither has anything to gain from animosity towards the other. Furthermore, upon closer consideration it actually becomes apparent that both men have a lot to gain from feigning differences in policy. When the news headlines read that Obama and Netanyahu disagree, it bolsters Obama's support from the left (which he has been somewhat losing, although admittedly to no consequence) and certainly gives him more credibility in the eyes of Muslims. At the same time, it benefits Netanyahu to stay true to his electoral promises, appeal to the Israeli right wing, and to necessarily start any peace process from a negotiating position that is positioned squarely on his side of the board. In other words, by refusing to accept Palestinian statehood from the get go, Netanyahu can turn his acceptance into that eventuality into a negotiating concession from Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Obama would be baiting right-wing critics through this whole process. They will accuse him of undermining Israel, and siding with Muslims. And then he will blind-side them with a peace deal, making the critics out to be the fools.

Occam's razor is a principle that states that the simplest explanation is the one most likely to be true. Are we to believe that two very intelligent political masters just wandered blindly into their dealings with arguably their most important counterpart in the world? Or that they meticulously prepared and calculated a dance that will necessarily lead to their mutual desired outcome? The simplest explanation is the latter!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Obama, Notre Dame, and Abortion

Another update, a pertinent quote:

"A very popular error: having the courage of one's convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one's convictions!" - Nietzsche

***** Update *****

Cardial Francis George, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, claims the following:

"It is clear that Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation (to Obama)."

What does it mean to be a Catholic? Something like this?

"Archibishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho of the coastal city of Recife announced that the Vatican was excommunicating the family of a local girl who had been raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather, because they had chosen to have the girl undergo an abortion. The Church excommunicated the doctors who performed the procedure as well."

By the way, that girl was 9 years old. There you go Notre Dame. Take your theological cues from Archbishop Sobrinho.

Good Catholics should recognize that their leaders are not divinely inspired, and that they need to be closely monitored. When those leaders misspeak, act politically, or have flawed ideas, it is up to Catholics everywhere to correct them. When good Catholics don't speak out, when they just assume their leadership couldn't possibly go astray, terrible things happen.

***** End Update *****

Obama's visit to the University of Notre Dame has riled up the endless controversy about abortion. I would like to take a moment to reiterate my own position:

As a member of the Regressive Party, I am against abortion, but for killing babies.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Quote for the day

"My guess is that criminal laws against marijuana use have become culturally untenable. At this point, if you want to maintain criminal laws against more dangerous drugs, you're better off conceding the legality of marijuana, lest the public lose respect for drug laws in general."

This is an extremely important point that people frequently miss. When children are told that little white lie, that all drugs are dangerous, they will find out the truth someday. Then they will wonder whether the whole thing is a lie. You can almost see the thought process:

"I was told that marijuana was dangerous. I tried it, and now I know it isn't very harmful. I wonder if the same applies to cocaine and heroin?"

Also, I know quite a few people who smoke marijuana on a regular basis. I could make a phone call and get marijuana in about 30 minutes if I wanted. Here is the kicker. If I wanted some cocaine or heroin, I could get it in about an hour. How? Because I'd call the person who could get me marijuana, and they could call their dealer who could almost certainly find them other drugs. In other words, marijuana is a gateway drug precisely because it is illegal. If I was given a challenge to find cocaine or heroin, with the stipulation that I couldn't use a pot-smoking intermediary, I wouldn't know where to begin.