I think I will start a weekly post that links to several insightful articles. After all I read quite a few each day, and would like to share them with you. Not just because they are good articles, but because this blog is in many ways about personal disclosure- so I certainly won’t go out of my way to hide my political interests. [BTW: As of now I am considered an unaffiliated voter since the state of N.C. no longer recognizes the Libertarian party].
This would be ridiculous if it weren’t true. In a nation where it isn’t illegal to burn the flag, where one can submerge a cross in urine (and get a federal grant), apparently you can’t put a Koran in the toilet. Making matters worse, noted statist Bill O’Reilly approved of the criminal charges.
I presume Bill is supporting these charges in an effort to appear even handed, since at heart he would probably like to be able to prosecute people who submerge crosses in urine or paint the Virgin Mary using dung. But I ask, what about the freedom to offend? This kind of thing gets my blood boiling. I would take my bar (if I had a spare $3,000 and three months to study non-stop) just to take this case to court.
Stanislav Shmulevich, you have my complete support. While your actions may have been at the least tacky, at the worst they were offensive. And causing offense is NEVER illegal, it is at the core of protected speech.
Here is some food for thought:
Criminalizing drugs like marijuana and cocaine has hurt us internationally. For example, we pay South American governments to destroy their peasants’ crops. This is repugnant. Mighty Uncle Sam can’t stop drug demand at home, so he wages war on the livelihood of poor people abroad. At a time when China is locking up long-term contracts for valuable resources in Latin America, the United States should be working to establish friendly relations and mutually beneficial commercial ties with all those countries. Instead, we alienate a continent’s people by turning their governments against them. This can only end badly. These countries will either be ruled by anti-American demagogues or by pro-American military regimes that lack legitimacy in the eyes of their own people—an inherently unstable situation.
You’ll notice that the list doesn’t even get to “express my love” until number 8. Why? Because such horrible reasons as “it felt good,” “I wanted physical pleasure,” “it’s fun,” and “I was ‘horny'” came well before the word love even showed up on the list. I don’t know about you, but, since sex exposes the participants to numerous venereal diseases and the chance of becoming a “baby daddy” or a “baby momma” (chances decreased but not eliminated by wearing a condom- even, as one visitor to my site once searched, a “funny condom” isn’t fool proof) it would take a bit more than the first seven reasons on the list to get me to take the risk.
This only proves my point, this generation is almost completely devoid of the concept of delayed gratification. Whether it be finances, love, sex, or fitness, no one is willing to take the time to invest in and of themselves and wait on eventual returns. The path of delayed gratification is more rewarding, but if you never invest your time and energy, how could you know.
Why does the death of a few dozen Palestinians (mostly gunmen or racketeers from Hamas and Islamic Jihad) provoke more international indignation than the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents in Darfur, or the butchery of additional thousands by Muslim terrorists in Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Algeria, Yemen, the Philippines and even Thailand?
I would add that Christianity has embraced antisemitism for well over a millennium. But Christ can not be understood properly apart from understanding that he was born to a Jewish mother and father; raised in a Jewish home; studied the Torah the same way other Jewish young men did in his day; taught as a Jewish teacher of the law (although he taught as one having authority); and hung out with at least twelve other Jewish men who went with him practically everywhere.
We would do well to remember Christ’s words to the Canaanite woman, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” And how did she answer? Did she remind Him that He came for all of us? Nope, she humbled herself and replied, “Yes, Lord…but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” But we as Christians often forget that God chose the Jewish nation first, His love for them has not died away, and our attempts to use clever theology to claim we replaced the Jews status as God’s chosen people is arrogant. The Canaanite woman recognized Jesus’ primary mission and she responded with humility, if only we could do the same.
I have long argued that movements like “Vote or Die!” are harmful to our Republic. An uniformed vote is much worse than no vote at all. Ideally I would like to see all voters informed and educated, but so long as they remain ignorant, their vote is at best wasted and at worst harmful.
Instead of making it easier to vote, maybe we should be making it harder. Why not test people on the basic functions of government? Immigrants have to pass a test to vote; why not all citizens?
A voting test would point the arrow of civic engagement up instead of down, sending the signal that becoming an informed citizen is a valued accomplishment. And if that’s not a good enough reason, maybe this is: If you threaten to take the vote away from the certifiably uninformed, voter turnout will almost certainly get a boost.
Tests like these happened during the era that followed the end of slavery in America. At that time they were deemed racist because former slaves had been denied access to almost any education in reading and writing. So at that time the test pretty much equaled a complete exclusion of the African-American vote.
However, times have changed. All Americans regardless of color have access to an education that can at the very least provide instruction in reading, writing, and basic civics. Therefore, I don’t see any remaining racism in expecting that potential voters- that we are paying to educate at the public expense- be, at least, minimally informed.
I would take this further and make a rule that those who receive government benefits (whether welfare, federal education grants, even social security [in its present manifestation]) should not be allowed to vote. Why? Because their votes are easily bought by the demagogue who promises the biggest increases in funding to the program(s) from which they are currently receiving money.
People tend to acquire their wrong opinions about economic policy packaged in worldviews they inherited while growing up. They never test their views against the evidence because that would be unsettling. No one likes having his worldview challenged. So people vote for candidates who make them feel good. They vote irrationally.
…most voters see no reason to do otherwise because they don’t bear the consequences of their choices. This irrationality does not carry over into their personal lives because there they bear the brunt of their own decisions. But when irrationality is free, notes Caplan, people will indulge their biases.
After his notable error at the last debate where he claimed that he would meet with leaders of nations that are openly hostile to the U.S., Barrack is trying to look tough. In an attempt at bravado the inexperienced Senator from Illinois claimed:
There are terrorists holed up in those [Pakistan’s] mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out anleadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”
While I would applaud such an action, I am curious where this is coming from in Barrack. He has zero will to fight terrorists in Iraq (stating publicly that he wasn’t concerned even if our pull-out meant genocide or mass murder in Iraq), yet he is calling for what would have to be a ground invasion of Pakistan- a nuclear power. I am not sure he has thought through the implications of destabilizing the Nuclear yet pro-American regime in Pakistan. If his actions in Pakistan lead to the end of the Musharraf regime, what next? A hostile power armed with ready made nuclear weapons? That is a distinct possibility.
However, my guess is that he is talking about targeted special ops in Pakistan (the kind of action that will irk the folks who got mad about secret CIA flights). If that is what he is talking about I doubt it will work, but I don’t mind being proven wrong.
Russia is attempting to lay claim to rich arctic territories that could prove fertile ground for oil and precious stones. Denmark is claiming that the territory actually belongs to them, but I am not betting on Denmark coming out on top here- regardless of the merit of their claims.
This comes on the heels of news about a weird program with links to the Putin government that promotes procreation among young couples. One organizer is quoted as saying:
They [mammoths] became extinct because they did not have enough sex. That must not happen to Russia.
Aside from being odd the movement has a sinister side:
Life for young people in Russia without connections is a mixture of inadequate and corrupt education, and a choice of boring dead-end jobs. Like the Hitler Youth and the Soviet Union’s Young Pioneers, Nashi and its allied movements offer not just excitement, friendship and a sense of purpose – but a leg up in life, too…
Nashi supporters drown out protests by Russia’s feeble and divided democratic opposition and use violence to drive them off the streets.
I am keeping my eyes on Russia- as we all should. Russia’s role in prophecy is almost assuredly guaranteed, and their current actions seem to be leading back toward an authoritarian government that will no doubt play a large role in the siege of Israel in the end times.