Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Strange Bedfellows

The latest example of America's descent into disgust is the newest Chrysler campaign. I am going to sound like an old fart, but I cannot fathom how Lee Iacoca decided to pair up with Snoop Dogg to sell his cars.

Word has it that Snoop called the CEO of DaimlerChrysler to ask for the new 300C Sedan. Sometime after that phone call, a deal was struck to have Snoop appear in a commercial with Lee, set on a golf course having a conversation about cars.

Ford uses Brooke Shields, Mitsubishi uses trendy songs and Chrysler decides to go with a drug-promoting, murderous, pimp rapper. What's next? Suge Knight promoting dishwashing detergent.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Apartheid In Action

Most Israelis and Jewish people in general get really hot and bothered when Israel is described as an apartheid state. They dismiss the notion that the security wall or any of the other punitive measures has anything to do with racial discrimination as opposed to legitimate conceerns about safety.

Something that walks like a duck and talks like a duck, however, is most likely a duck. And, a new story coming out of Israel screams of apartheid.

In Israel, a family that loses a loved one to terrorism is entitled to lifetime monthly payments from the state for compensation (we'll save the discussion about welfare for another time). Unbeknownst to the Arab citizens of Israel, unfortunately, the rule does not apply to them. A family is eligible to receive the money only if the terror comes from a Palestinian, but not from a Jewish person. Thus, the families of four Arab citizens of Israel who were gunned down by a Jewish terrorist (who deserted the army and murdered with an army-issued weapon) a few weeks ago cannot collect the lifetime of payments Jewish families of terrorism victims receive.

The rise in Jewish extremism spawned by the Gaza pullout will only exacerbate this problem. A democratic nation does not deny its citizens the equal protection of its laws solely based upon their race and Israel must decide what kind of nation it wants to be.

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A CEO

Gary Smith, CEO of Ciena Corporation.

Being a lawyer is hard work. Clients expect you to be smarter and faster than your adversary, they expect you to get things done on short order and, in essence, they expect you to perform miracles even when they have dug themselves some doozies of holes in which they find themselves buried. Even more stressful for lawyers is the fact that compensation is many times tied to the results. Think about all the personal injury lawyers whose fees are contingent upon winning. That's a lot of risk to take. Even with lawyers whose clients are on retainer, there are few experienced lawyers out there who haven't had to fight a client who refused to pay the bill solely because of displeasure with the outcome.

Lately, I have been thinking about great ways to get rich so that I won't have to work anymore. I am smart, hard-working and conscientious. I am employable.

I was thinking that I should be a CEO of a corporation. Oh, it doesn't matter what type of corporation I would rule. As long as it is publicly traded, it could be pharmaceuticals or computers. Makes no difference to me. Let me know if you hear of any openings.

You see, I read an article this morning that made me realize that I am in the wrong profession and being a CEO is the way to go. You don't have to be smart, you don't have to be good and you don't even have to succeed. I am already overqualified. All I have to do is show up, make some decisions that may or may not run the stock value into the ground and I get paid a bazillion dollars regardless of what happens. Yippee.

The following leaders should be an inspiration to us all:

  • Gary Smith (pictured above) at Ciena (CIEN). His shareholders have been virtually wiped out -- losing 93% in the past four years. His compensation over that period: $41.2 million.
  • Jure Sola, the CEO and chairman at Sanmina-SCI (SANM, news, msgs) collected $26.4 million during the past four years while Sanmina shares fell 78%. The bulk of Sola's pay came in the form of a performance bonus of $19.9 million, paid for hitting one recent quarter's targets.
  • Sun Microsystems (SUNW) paid Scott McNealy, its CEO, chairman and founder, $13.1 million a year over the past four years, even as Sun's shareholders lost 76% of their money.
  • Shares of supermarket chain Albertson's (ABS) fell 39% over the past four years. Despite this dismal record, Albertson’s CEO and Chairman Larry Johnston collected a total of $76.2 million in that time.
  • Under CEO Peter Dolan’s watch at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), shareholders have seen the stock decline by 48% over the past four years. Dolan took home $41 million.
If only I could be like one of these pioneers, I could get the job for a couple years, run the company into the ground and then retire on the $50 million exit payment I would receive.

Unfortunately, however, I have this annoying this called a conscience and an even more annoying principle called integrity. Doh!

So, if I become CEO of a corporation, I am going to change all this. I will tie my earnings to the earnings of my corporation. It's a good incentive to act wisely and cautiously. A reasonable base salary plus the possibility of bonuses every year that the stock value increases seems fair to me. And, if I run the company into the ground, that golden parachute severance payment is forfeited. Workers of America are expected to perform and perform well, so why should CEO's be treated any differently?

Remember, let me know if you hear of any openings.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

What's Good For The Goose

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch recently discussed the Israeli pullout from Gaza and offered the following:
"In the road map, there is a requirement to take steps toward the dismantlement of the terror organizations. Hamas is for us [the United States] a terror organization."


"[S]ecurity is the beginning, the middle and the end and security can not be had either for the people in those areas or for those who live around them if there is a variety of armed organizations that are allowed to operate."

Security cannot be had for people in areas where a variety of armed organizations are allowed to operate. Fair enough. It's not a very controversial point I suppose. Curiosity compels me to ask, however, if this same rationale applies to terrorist organizations within the United States.

Since we all agree that the existence of armed organizations within an area is a barrier to security, what is being done to disarm the Bloods, the Crips and all the Latino gangs that bring drugs, violence and misery to the residents of South Los Angeles? The KKK, America's favorite terrorist organization, is still up and running and I haven't heard much about efforts to disarm them. Why is it that American politicians are more concerned about the security of Israeli citizens than that of its own constituents?

Unless America figures out how to disarm 13-year-old gang members in South Los Angeles and until Israel disarms its terrorist settlers, they have no business making righteous demands to the Palestinian people to accomplish Herculean missions at which the U.S. and Israel have utterly failed.

The Non News

I always like to start the day with the CNN headlines. It lets me know the topics to which the American sheeple will dedicate their otherwise endangered brain cells.

Hurricane Katrina is the big headliner today. Woop tee doo. New Orleans, the world's biggest urinal and gathering point of degenerates, is in Katrina's path and its people are fleeing. Mother nature would be doing the city a big favor by sending it to Oz so that civilized people can start over. ( If you have ever been to New Orleans, you know I am right on this one.

Cindy Sheehan and a bunch of crazies who have gone to Crawford to yell obscenities at her is another big story. ( I am bewildered why anyone cares about a bunch of military mothers who are yelling at each other about whether it was right to send their sons to death. These are women who sent their sons to war instead of to college and I am supposed to care what they have to say on anything. Go take a parenting class and then we'll talk. Even the people orchestrating this conflict weren't stupid enough to send their own children to war.

One more mind number. Suge Knight got shot in Miami. How original. Another shooting in the rap scene. ( Won't Suge just die already?

This is what America calls news. PATHETIC!

Here are some stories that the corporate media glanced over or ignored in favor of a bullet in Suge Knight's leg.

  • Alan Greenspan gave a great speech on August 26 warning America about its increased trade protectionism. "This difficulty [in transitioning to high techonology] is most evident in the increased fear of job-skill obsolescence that has induced significant numbers of our population to resist the competitive pressures inherent in globalization from workers in the major newly emerging market economies. It is important that these understandable fears be addressed through education and training and not by restraining the competitive forces that are so essential to overall rising standards of living of the great majority of our population. A fear of the changes necessary for economic progress is all too evident in the current stymieing of international trade negotiations. Fear of change is also reflected in a hesitancy to face up to the difficult choices that will be required to resolve our looming fiscal problems."

  • Israel is notorious for re-selling the technology it receives from the U.S. to regimes with which the U.S. does not contract and recently got in hot water for selling spare parts for attack drones to China. "U.S. sanctions involve limitations on the transfer of U.S. military technologies to Israel. These sanctions, which also involve Israeli industries that have not done business with China, have limited the ability of Israeli industries to do business with various U.S. industries. They have been a major blow to the Israel Air Force, since its access to the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter program has now been restricted. Israel, together with a number of Western countries that are to purchase the new jet fighter, had been invited to present its own technological and operational requirements before manufacturing of the plane begins in the next decade. "

  • During a soccer game on Saturday funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the US-backed interim Haitian government (which overthrew a democratically-elected government), hooded police and men with machetes attacked people they called "bandits." They killed approximately 20 people. Exact numbers are unknown, however, because the police also took away the wounded who have not been seen since.

  • An oil pipeine in Iraq was attacked. How much are we (yes, we the taxpayers) spending on "security" companies who are supposed to prevent this? Obviously too much.

  • The Iraqi woman who the Bushes invited to be the poster child of Iraqi love for America's occupation, Safia Taleb Al-Souhail, has changed her mind. "When we came back from exile, we thought we were going to improve rights and the position of women. But look what has happened: we have lost all the gains we made over the past 30 years."

  • China is a superpower and the U.S. is asleep at the wheel. Iraq has been a debacle, Venezuela is giving the U.S. the finger, the Iranians aren't scared and Africa is welcoming Chinese investment in greater amounts everyday.

Anyone with a semblance of a brain must be thankful each and everyday for the internet. Without it, we would be relegated to the trivial bullshit that CNN, Fox, ABC and NBC choose for us to hear about each day. America is already getting dumber (see my previous post "A City of Stupids") and the so-called journalists at the networks are only making it worse.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Fat Heads

Have you heard about the doctor in New Hampshire who is under investigation for telling a fat female patient of his that she is too fat and needs to lose weight? I swear I am not kidding. It's a true story. Out-f'ing-rageous!

Apparently, the New Hampshire state medical board has nothing better to do with its resources than persecute a doctor whose bedside manner was offensive to a hyper-sensitive fat chick. She's fat and the cure to her ailments is to lose weight. Was he supposed to feign ignorance regarding the cause of her diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. ? That's unethical. Should he have remained silent as to a potential remedy? That's unethical. I suspect that his sole crime is not handing her 10,000 prescriptions for drugs that would allow her to escape responsibility for her own health.

How much money do you want to bet that the money New Hampshire is spending on this nonsense investigation is enough to provide healthcare to a family of four for a year?

The sad thing is that this story is only part of the bigger picture regarding America's denial of its growing number of fat-heads. According to a recent BBC story, obesity has become an epidemic in the United States. Almost 25% of Americans are obese. One in four for those of you who don't understand percentages. There are, of course, those who legitimately suffer from thyroid malfunctions and other medical problems related to weight, but there are way too many who have done it to themselves with poor nutrition and lack of exercise.

And how does lazy, pill-popping, short-cut-taking America respond to this crisis? The medical board goes after the doctor who has the ethical obligation to tell his patient "Look heffer. You are 100 pounds overweight, you have diabetes and you have high blood pressure. If you aren't purposely trying to kill yourself or completely ruin any chances you may have of leading a normal life, you need to stop drinking Coca Cola and eating Twinkies."

Forget terrorism - America will kill itself on fattened foods long before anything gets blown up. Watch out for Osama Bin McDonald's.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Headline Of The Day

Every now and then, reporters in the pathetic, cliche-ridden corporate media let their sense of humor shine through.

USA Today's headline "Pullout Leaves Sharon On Slippery Ground" makes you wonder if the story is about politics or.....

Pullouts have been known to leave people on slippery ground. :-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Preaching Terrorism

In light of Pat Robertson's prominence in the Christian community and his recent comments about assassinating the democratically elected leader of Venezuela, it is important to reflect on America's war on terror and its sincerity in fighting terrorism. The State Department's definition of terrorism is as follows:

Activities that (a) involve a violent act or an act dangerous to human life that is a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S.(b) appear to be intended to (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) affect the conduct of a government by ASSASSINATION or KIDNAPPING.

U.S. Code Congressional & Admin. News, 98th Congress, Second Session, 1984, Oct. 19, v. 2, par 3077, STAT. 2707 (1984).

Applying this definition, it appears that Mr. Peace And Love Christianity is advocating terrorism.

In a pathetic attempt to back-track from his terrorist stance, Robertson explained that "I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping".

Nice try Pat. You're still a terrorist.

Anytime a Muslim so much as sneezes in a way America finds disconcerting, America demands that the entire Muslim community condemn the sneezes and publicly declare its solidarity in the war against sneezes. Where is the Christian community's denunciation of their own advocates of terrorism? Where is all that turn the other cheek, love your neighbor b.s. that they claim separates Christianity from all the other religions?

The silence of the Christian community in the face of Robertson's comments belies all the love, peace Jesus stuff they have been preaching to the world.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hang The Traitors

In a comment to a friend's blog, a psycho right-winger called me a traitor for my criticism of American foreign policy. He then gave me the love it or leave it b.s. that Nazi-like tyrants like to use. Bill O'Reilly, the poster-child of right-wing psychopaths, recently suggested that Cindy Sheehan's attempts to obtain an audience with Emperor Bush amounts to treason.

Are you serious?

The irrationality that associates disagreement with treason is becoming so commonplace these days that sane people should really pause and reflect. Treason is a strong word that should not be used lightly. Article III, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution defines treason as follows:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The use of the word only is important. Treason is levying war against the U.S., adhering to enemies and giving them aid and comfort. That's it. Dissent, writing and criticism are not on the list.

I am not a traitor unless you define blogging as aiding and comforting an enemy. Cindy Sheehan is not a traitor unless you define camping on a ranch in Texas as aiding and comforting the enemy. And, if you, like Bill O'Reilly, are irrational enough to define treason in such broad terms, then there are people in this country who have provided so much more aid and comfort to Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein that myself and Cindy Sheehan do not even make it on the radar.

Let's start with good ol' Rummy. He and Saddam were homies in the not so distant past. During their collegial visits, Rummy arranged the sales of millions and millions of dollars in weaponry to Saddam to aid him in quelling the Kurdish insurgency in the north. The entire American government knew what the weapons were used for and made no objections at the time. They just wanted to aid and comfort a friend. After all, what are friends for?

How about the CIA under Emperor George I? There once was a man named Osama Bin Laden, who left his wealthy family in Saudi Arabia to help the Afghani people fight the Russians who invaded their country. Poor Osama Bin Laden was down and out and unconsolable over the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Feeling bad for Osama, his good friends George I and the U.S. defense industry, came to his rescue during his time of need and provided him all the aid and comfort Osama could have ever asked for. They boosted Osama's spirits with top notch training of the mujahedeen, they invited Osama's homies in the Taliban to hang out with them in Washington D.C. and let them pick and choose from a grand arsenal that any wacko killer would dream of. Osama had never felt better thanks to the generous aid and comfort he received from the CIA. Thanks to the aid and comfort, Osama and his homies emerged victorious in their David v. Goliath battle against the Russians.

Then there is Iran, the newest public enemy number one. No discussion about aiding and comforting the enemy would be complete without a discussion of Iran. Remember that whole Iran Contra thing? The Islamic Republic of Iran -- the country that held American hostages -- was in the throes of an 8-year war against Iraq. The U.S. officially sided with Iraq and enriched the arms industry by selling arms to Saddam, but that wasn't good enough for everyone. Ollie North and whoever he conspired with in the Reagan Administration sold arms to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua (another group hell-bent on overthrowing a democratically-elected government). Members of the Reagan Administration aided Iran militarily notwithstanding the fact that Iran has been on the Billboard Top 40 Hated Countries list since 1979 (and has made quite a comeback recently). Ollie's punishment for treason? He is working as a bag of hot air at Fox News.

The traitors are not people like me who believe in freedom and democracy and the importance of the U.S. Constitution. They are those who call for the Constitution to be tossed aside because they despise the freedom and democracy it ensures. They are those who do not believe in America's separation of church and state, but would rather establish a religious state in America. And they are those who shelter the treasonous bastards who have put America in harms' way by providing aid and comfort to her enemies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Thought For Today

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Another Cliche

Cindy Sheehan is the typical media cliche. White middle-aged woman who is the victim of something and is now the center of a cause. Gag. Now that the police have given up on Natalee Holloway in Aruba, the media will have to settle with Mrs. Sheehan as their white female victim flavor of the month.

While Cindy Sheehan grabs headlines with her noble crusade to obtain an audience with Emperor Bush, I have one question for her. Were you pro-war when your son was alive?

Obviously, what I know about Cindy Sheehan is a product of what is reported in the media. She is a bereaved mother who lost her son Casey in the war and now wants the troops home. But I want to know if she was cool with American forces attacking a sovereign nation that had not attacked us first so long as her son was alive.

She can't have it both ways. It was acceptable to have troops in Iraq since March 2003, but now they must come home because her son died? I went to her website to hear about her efforts to dissuade her son from going to war, but there was no such thing. I was hoping to find something about her moral opposition to war, but there was nothing.

Some reporters describe Cindy Sheehan as the catalyst for a real anti-war movement, but she is no such thing.; The legitimate anti-war movement has been there since day one, supporting America's troops by demanding that they be brought home immediately. You really have to wonder why Mrs. Sheehan gets all the attention while the legitimate, passionate anti-war movement has been wholly ignored by the mainstream media. Probably because she has nothing to add to the discussion and her objections to the war are hollow.

For real war protesters, check out

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Put Up Or Shut Up

I am so sick and tired of listening to the hate-mongering rhetoric of the Republican party. Notwithstanding their control of Congress, the courts, the presidency, the armed forces and corporate America, Republicans complain about the state of America as if they are the oppressed of this nation. Let's be serious. If they are the oppressed and persecuted, the rest of us are in real trouble.

On a Black Republican blog, I found the following statement, to which I could not help but respond: "How many people support things they don't believe in except Democrats."

The arrogance and the hypocrisy was too much.

Answer: Republicans.

They are pro-life, yet support the death penalty.

They are pro-life, but pro-war.

They are in favor of smaller government, but support the PATRIOT Act.

They believe in the sanctity of marriage until a man makes a decision about his comatose wife's medical care.

They are happy to destroy the first, fourth and fifth amendments (including, free speech and due process) of the Constitution in the name of security, but cry like babies at any suggestion that the second amendment (guns) be affected in any way.

They will spend $300 billion to bring "democracy" to the Semitic World, but won't spend $10 to bring healthcare to Americans.

They are against welfare for individuals, but are happy to hand out subsidies to farmers and tax breaks to every corporation and rich person that refuses to pay taxes. Check out the new energy bill for a great example of this one.

They believe in spreading "democracy" to the Middle East, although they think Middle Eastern people are bunch of savages who should be profiled as terrorists or just slaughtered out right.

They believe in spreading "freedom" to the Middle East, but kiss the big oil-flowing asses of the Saudi royal family - one of the most repugnantly extreme of Islamic regimes and the country from which many "terrorists" have come. Apparently, weekly public beheadings, women being required to cover from head-to-toe and a prohibition against women driving is "freedom".

They "support our troops" but cut their benefits and reject legal efforts to provide them bankruptcy relief for debts sustained as a result of going to war.

They "support our troops" but do not send their own children to war.

They are pro-war from the comfort of their homes, eating bon bons in front of the television, as long as other people fight the war.

Republicans beam with sinful pride that they are firm in their convictions, but they will respond to these contradictions with 101 qualifications. Pro-life and pro-death penalty are supposedly consistent because they are pro-"innocent" life. Iraqi civilians are innocent lives, but no word about them and their right to life. Where is the defense of those innocent lives?

Ask a Republican about the fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and the fifth amendment right to due process and they will say that we are at war and we have to make certain sacrifices and suspend certain liberties. Ask the same Republican about the second amendment right to bear arms and it is holy. Sacred. Up there with the Bible. How is it that due process is a danger to our security but guns are not?

It really is time for the Republicans to put up or shut up. If these cowards truly believe in the war in Iraq and in the coming wars of aggression our evil administration has in store for the world, they should run to the local recruiting office and enlist for a tour of duty with the armed forces. Actions speak louder than words and, so far, Republicans have shown they are nothing more than spineless bags of hot air.

P.S. Don't bother writing back to tell me how spineless Democrats are. That goes without saying.

Don't regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you
respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with.
Gerard O'Neill

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Browning Of America

Fox News reports today that White Anglos in Texas are now officially the racial minority in the state.,2933,165395,00.html. The cowboys must be shaking in their boots (the boots they copied from their Mexican gaucho predecessors).

Texas now joins California, New Mexico and Hawaii on the list of states that have been baked and browned much to the consternation of the cowboy class. And it's not just the nutty left coast and southwest. According to the story, Maryland, Mississippi, Georgia, New York and Arizona are not too far behind, with browned and baked people making up 40 percent of those states.

What this means for America is unclear at this stage. It is without dispute that it is the growing Latino population everywhere from New York to Florida to California that accounts for the baking and browning of America. The 2004 presidential election brought Latinos into the political forefront as Republicans ralied to maintain their traditional appeal to the culturally conservative community. Los Angelinos just elected the first Latino mayor the city has seen in a bazillion years and the numbers of Latinos in higher education is steadily increasing. With that, issues of importance to the Latino community will become important to all of us, including immigration, healthcare and bilingual education.

Expect to hear more from White America about the horrors of immigration and exaggerated burdens immigrants place on America. Because, fundamentally, this demographic shift is scaring the sh*& out of the good 'ol cowboys of America. And understandably so. American history and culture has defined Whites as the majority and all the irrelevant others as the minority. But, times are changing.

Who's the minority now?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Evolution v. Religion

Perhaps this is my naivete, but I still haven't figured out why evolution and religion are mutually exclusive.

I understand why religion doesn't agree with the notion that humans evolved from some four-legged creature. That theory is a bit tough to swallow whether you are religious or not.

But what about the differences in races? If we are all descended from god's original two human creations, Adam and Eve, how are there so many races and genetic differences in human beings? Survey a Scandinavian and a sub-Saharan African and the immediate thought is not that they are from the same family. Straight hair v. curly hair, dark hair v. light hair.

If religion answers this question, please let me know. Otherwise, it seems that evolution is the most useful tool to explain the vast physical differences among human beings.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Islam and Collectivism in America

A consortium of North American Islamic Associations recently issued a fatwa (religious ruling) against terrorism, hoping that pious Muslims will accept their interpretation of Islam and refrain from violence, refuse to collaborate with violent people and willingly cooperate with the loving agents of the Department of Homeland Security.

While I applaud them for their efforts, I wonder what took so long. Where were the self-appointed leaders of Islam when the Taliban were massacring women and the villagers of the Sudan and Egypt were cutting off women's clits? Where is the fatwa that condemns the gang rape of a young woman in Pakistan ordered by a religious council as punishment for her brother's transgression with a girl from a different village?

Where were they? Hiding. Not a peep because those issues and many like them don't affect Muslim men.

A few years ago, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic advocacy group, complained when Oprah did a show about female circumcision (a practice in many Islamic countries) because the show was going to make Islam look bad. I wrote to the director of the group suggesting a different approach. Oprah isn't making Islam look bad; Muslims are doing a fine job of that themselves. If female circumcision is un-Islamic, then why not expend the energy to educate Muslims about their religion instead of attempting to suppress legitimate journalism? His response was brilliant. He called me kaffir, which means infidel, and told me I am either with them or against them (maybe that's where GW got the phrase).

The arrogance and sexism of these leaders was the hallmark of the Islamic community until September 11 introduced a bit of humility.

It was only after September 11 that these cowardly "leaders" suddenly took an interest in "fairness" and civil liberties. They never had anything to say about the racism, sexism and rampant classism within their own community, but once America's rage was turned toward them, they became the outspoken proponents of individualism, i.e. that a group should not be punished for the acts of a few. I truly doubt those cowardly Muslim "leaders" would have condemned September 11 or the London bombings if they didn't think there would be more hate crimes that could affect them personally.

Now they scramble to describe "terrorists" as extremists who hijacked an otherwise peaceful religion. Hijacked from whom? The extremists who rule Saudi Arabia? The unified rhetoric from the Islamic leaders is "those people aren't Muslim." But if they aren't Muslim, what are they? No answer. And, who died and made these yahoos the big cheeses who get to distinguish between the real Muslims and the imposters? I thought that was god's job to figure out.

More importantly, the futile attempt to disassociate some killers from the Islamic community illustrates the deep-seated collectivism hard-wired into most people. Because these cowardly Islamic leaders think that people should be punished based upon the group into which they are categorized (gender, race, religion, etc.), they attempt to remove the stain of violence created by "those" people rather than accept that every group in made up of individuals with different motivations, beliefs and sins. I don't understand why the Islamic community cannot say, "yes, they are Muslims, but they are violating the tenets of the religion and will answer to god for their crimes."

White Americans don't have this collectivist problem. Ask a White person why he disagrees with affirmative action and he will tell you (1) it's not fair, and (2) he shouldn't be punished for racism he did not perpetrate. Ask a White person why she is against reparations and she will say it's because she shouldn't have to pay for crimes she did not commit. Individual Whites don't apologize for the KKK. Fair enough.

Each person is an individual and should be respected as such. So why are individual Muslims expected to apologize and beg for forgiveness everytime someone in the 1.2 billion community commits a crime? Why are Muslims and everyone else willing to go along with the notion that Whites are individuals but Muslims are not? Offering canned condemnations and trite cliche excuses does not fix anything or make anyone safer. If blowing up subways really is un-Islamic, a better use of energy and resources in the Islamic community would be to educate those who are so woefully misinterpreting god's word. The fatwa is at least a miniscule start.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Did You Know

Currently pending before the House of Representatives is a bill to repeal the 22nd Amendment of the Constitution. The 22nd Amendment, to remind you, is the amendment that limits U.S. presidents to two terms in office.

I don't know about you, but I find that SCARY! Whether you like Emperor Bush or not, there is no leader who should stay in for more than eight years and sometimes even eight years is too much.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Pledge of Allegiance

Can you pledge your allegiance to god and to the state? Are the two compatible?

According to an evangelical Christian from Virginia, Edward R. Myers, the answer is no. He has filed suit against the federal government over the pledge of allegiance, claiming that the pledge unconstitutionally mingles religion and state and thereby dilutes his religion. The case is currently pending before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and could make its way to the Supreme Court.

You may remember that the Supreme Court recently punted on this issue, dismissing the same case brought by Michael Newdow -- an avowed atheist -- on the ground that he did not have custody of his daughter (the individual allegedly harmed by the requirement). What a great way to dodge that bullet.

Now that bullet is being carried by Myers, who is on a mission from god to the Supreme Court. "To me, it's heresy. Government is about keeping civil order. Church is about loving and worshiping God. You don't mix . . . loving God because of free choice with something that's about duty and where you were born."

This time, the justices will not have the same technicality and, more importantly, they will be hearing from an evangelical Christian who has been receiving increased support from his community. It will be interesting to see if this is one of the cases that soon-to-be-Justice Roberts will confront and how he will handle such a thorny issue.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The King Is Dead

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, the grand piece of shit, the world's biggest hypocrite, is finally dead! The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques of Islam (Mecca and Medina), as he liked to be called, enforced a brutal, inhuman interpretation of Islam on his citizens and held public beheadings every Friday to punish those who deviated from the righteous path. All the while, he consumed alcohol and gambled away the country's oil revenues, with rumor having it that he lost $6M in one night in Monte Carlo. In case you didn't know, alcohol and gambling are absolute, unambiguous no no's in Islam.

It is unfortunate that the U.S. is not sincere about its desire to spread "democracy" around the world because this would be a great opportunity to make some transitions in the House of Saud. No need to fret however. With American-made weaponry, the royal family will continue to make women cover from head-to-toe, prohibit women from driving, hold public beheadings every Friday and enforce Islamic law in its most savage and inhuman form.

I bet the Saudis would love to have Saddam as their ruler any day.