“Muslim leaders want to curb ‘Islamophobia'”

From MSNBC.  Though they could start by working on their own people who give their faith a bad name, like the Saudis and their highly sectarian and provocative Wahabbism (a minority among the world’s Muslims), bin Laden and his ilk, get Ahmadinejad to tone it down a scooch, introduce those radical madrasa schools a little bit into the Reality-Based Community, stuff like that.

Then, just try to understand where “libertarian” Westerners are coming from: today’s Western Christianity and “post-Christianity” are built on the foundation of the Rennaissance of Classical pagan Greek and Roman culture, which was much aided by translations of Classics via the Muslim world at the height of its own culture.  As an Orthodox Christian, I see alot of problems with this too, but it’s there and it’s highly influential around the world now.

If the Islamic Conference just tries to beat countries over the head it doesn’t like with international law, they’re more likely to drive more countries into the U.S. camp, which largely disdains international law.  Then nobody benefits, as the Iraqis and Saddam Hussein have learned, and the Iranians may yet learn, sadly.

Maybe what they should do is work domestically, within countries, based on their own existing legal systems and parliaments.  Form “Anti-Defamation Leagues” in each country, like Jewish folks have in the U.S.

I personally have a growing problem with growing Muslim influence in the West, in particular the retrograde influence of Saudi / Wahabbist and other radical ideologies who take advantage of “liberal” Western immigration, speech, and publishing laws to oppose Western values, societies, and people’s lives and safety, and so-called honor killings (aka revenge vendettas).  But I oppose all false rhetoric, and favor critiques based only on truth.  In a Western country, if you can prove slander or libel in court, you can win some kind of award.  As for non-Muslim cartoonists or their publishers who violate Muslim rules, well, you shouldn’t just expect people who don’t belong to your religion to follow its rules, any more than Jews expect non-Jews to keep kosher; you have to inculcate genuine sensitivity.  We do that with White police; there’s no reason rational Muslim representatives can’t peacefully ask to meet with Western periodical publishers, etc., and help them voluntarily become more sensitive to your religion’s concerns, just like any other growing minority religion here.  But does a problem in Denmark have to provoke violence in Pakistan and the East Indies?  Is that reasonable?  Isn’t that just “Westophobia”?

OTOH, if you come to the West, you implicitly agree to the rough-and-tumble of Western democracy and political “dialogue,” which sometimes is “in your face” and offensive.  I oppose gratuitous, senseless offensiveness, but sometimes legitimate critique and questioning will offend, but in the end is helpful.  Where’s the rationalism and reasonableness of Medieval Islam, the cultural height of your civilization?  There were limits to potentially-scandalous criticism, but there was also literary give-and-take.  Embrace the best of your heritage; we’re supposed to embrace the best of ours as Westerners; challenge us to do so.

There’s productive confrontation, and there’s just unproductive point-scoring.  The latter feels good only for a short time, like self-gratification; the former can bring significant, permanent improvement for everybody concerned.  Ask American Jews and Blacks.

Insofar as “Islamophobia” is a “phobia,” it is an irrational fear, one not based in reality, and so in theory has a psychotherapeutic treatment and cure, even on a societal scale.  Outlawing it through the UN won’t cure it, only make it worse.  Treat the phobia, show it to be irrational and not based in reality.  What Westerners fear is terrorism, war, weapons of mass destruction, violence, unruly mobs, senseless property damage, intolerance, any real loss of rights or freedom or democracy, threats to their elected governments and to what they value in their own historic cultures, etc.  Is this unreasonable, irrational?  Don’t Muslims fear the same things?  Yet Westerners feel these things are being threatened by some people in the name of Islam, rightly or wrongly.  Help us out, please.

Then again, if all you’re going to be about is avenging 800 years of Western victories over Muslims, well then I guess it’ll be World War 3 and the end of everything.  Then the Promised One will come, and we’ll see who was right.  Is that it?  Do you want the same thing as American Fundamentalists, Armageddon?

Why can’t we both choose peace?

Taking marriage seriously

Here’s to it!  As we Orthodox say, Many Years to them both!

That’s the thing about old-fashioned marriage: you presumed this was the person you were going to spend the rest of your lives with, and so you operated out of that presumption.  Now, as divorce spreads, that presumption weakens in alot of people, or so you hear.  That’s a problem, and it probably has an untold impact on our society.

I’m not talking about staying if there’s physical abuse or outright emotional torture going on.

It probably helps that these two are reasonably-devout Catholics.  Divorce wasn’t a sin in Catholicism (though remarriage while your ex-spouse is still alive is), but frowned upon, and relatively rare, rarer I think than in Protestantism.  I think still Protestants are more likely to divorce than Catholics, though divorce is spreading among Catholics.  Andrew Greeley might say that traditionally, Catholicism’s “social capital” helped reinforce its principles among its adherents: neighborhood, parish, church, school, organizations (Knights of Columbus, Ajax Ladies, Ancient Order of Hibernians, etc.), back then even parish quasi-banks.

For Catholics traditionally this wasn’t really a “doctrinaire” approach like for “family values” Protestants today, it was just their religious culture.  As a Greeley character put it, tongue mostly in cheek, “Homicide, maybe. Divorce, never!”

I’d have to do more homework, but I’m not sure the vaunted increase in Catholic annulments of marriages in recent years is a percentage increase.  Their population numbers have grown in step with the nation’s population – they’ve been steadily approximately a quarter of the population for a century or more.  Have annulments outpaced population growth?  Or has there really been no change in the rate of annulments, just that the numbers have now grown so large?  Remember, despite their minority status here, the U.S. is one of the biggest Catholic countries in the world, up there with Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines….

Poorest not eligible for Stimulus money

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not count as qualifying income for the stimulus payment.”

What’s wrong with this picture?  Economists say $600 or $1200 will most likely stimulate the economy (as much as it will at all, which is not much) in the hands of the poorest.  For those with higher incomes, it’s no big deal, “pin money” as it used to be called.

Of course, this isn’t a real Economic Stimulus Package.  It’s an Incumbent / Republican Election Package.  And alot of the poorest don’t vote.  Wonder why?  😐

Impeach ’em all for bribery!

President-elect?

McCain is prancing around the world like he’s already won the general election, not just one party’s primaries.  Does he know something we don’t?  Is the fix already in, just like Jeb “promised to deliver Florida” to W. in 2000, and that e-voting corporation / GOP donor guy decided to “deliver” Ohio to him in ’04?  What’s been done to restore democracy to America?: Nothing I’m aware of!  Does nobody care?!!  Congress?  The States?  The Democratic Party?  (And I’m the monarchist around here!)

What needs to be done?: Simple, hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.

Passportgate

Outsourcing leads to non-government employees having access to citizens’ confidential information.  Surprise, surprise.  Direct result of government privatization.  Let’s put government back in the hands of government accountable to the people!  Who are contractors accountable to?

It wouldn’t surprise me if these “contractors” were GOP contributors.

A software idea

Ever hear your hard drive spinning and spinning and spinning for no known reason?  No system tray icon, no active video game or download (apparently), no other programs starting up?  Could it be malware?  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to ask your computer, in effect (if not in actuality!), “Why’s the hard drive spinning right now?”

You’d think that the Windows Task Manager (talking XP here) could tell you this info, but right now I’ve got 58 “processes” going.  Is it one of these, or something ‘invisible’?!!  For that matter, are all these legitimate?!!!

I guess such a program would get the drive spinning itself, so maybe what you’d actually have to say is, “Why was it spinning N seconds / minutes ago?”  Or better, “What has caused / is causing spinning in the last N minutes?”  Most programs, when just sitting there waiting for input or whatever, don’t keep spinning the HD; this is why I’m concerned.

Is this too complicated?

And then you look up the questionable program, etc., and panic! 😉

The cause of clergy sex abuse

Power. That’s all.  Not liberalism, homosexuality, or in Catholics’ case, mandatory celibacy (or Vatican II).  Many have been married, Straight-identified, and conservative … and it’s been going on the whole time, long before the ’60s.

Makes sense when you think about it.  What causes it in the workplace, government offices, businesses, clubs and organizations, locker rooms, POW camps (Abu Ghraib), etc.?

There’s no denying that it’s especially disheartening when it’s people who spend their lives (and our money) telling us to control ourselves – or telling others to control themselves.  That’s why it’s called scandal – it tempts you to throw in the towel on your faith or virtue or morality, or makes you feel confirmed if you already have done so for other reasons.

McCain lawbreaking

Media spin against Democrats

Maybe I’m missing something.  MSM keep saying the Democratic race between Rodham Clinton and Obama is “mudslinging” and bitterness, etc.  I don’t see it or hear it.  I think they’re still mad at having to even follow primaries this “late,” that there really is a race rather than some foreordained outcome.

Look.  Just the facts, man, alright?

I even just heard Obama’s middle name for the first time.  I predicted it.  To say the Muslim world will be dancing in the streets because of his middle name is plainly stupid and ignorant.  He’s a liberal Protestant, OK?  What about his first name, Barack?  It’s an Arabic form of the Proto-Semitic for some principle part of “blessing,” the same as Egyptian President Mubarak and Israeli politician Ehud Barak.  Big woop.  There was Saddam Hussein, but there was also King Hussein of Jordan, OK?  It’s a common Arabic name; his father was a secular Muslim from Kenya.  Ironic, but no big deal.

“Stuff White People Like: Grad School”

LOL!  Been there, done that, alot!

Though obviously some people are taking that blog way too seriously!!!

Miscegenation

…is an unfortunate word, because it starts with “mis,” which in other vocabulary denotes something negative.  The actual Latin root is miscere, to mix, pronounced “MEE-sheh-reh” (unless it’s a Latin long-E, in which case it’s “mee-SHAY-reh,” I can’t tell for sure).  It’s not “mis”-anything, although it’s been treated that way in U.S. racialism – including some States’ laws (until a 1967 Supreme Court ruling) – for centuries.  The “sc” version of to mix is preserved in the Irish Gaelic word for Metis, meascach.  (Irish and Latin are both Indo-European languages.)

FBI/Bu’ushist lawbreaking

Let me make sure I have this straight: The Executive Branch can issue so-called “administrative subpoenas” anytime it wants and do whatever it wants with the information, without prosecution for admitted illegality (link will break) … and can ignore real subpoenas from the Legislative Branch, ‘the high court of parliament.’

Got it.

Using Government for Partisan Purposes?

It’s being alleged in Canada that theocon minority pseudo-Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff leaked the information about the conversation between a Barack Obama aide and a Canadian diplomat in Chicago implying Obama’s tough talk on the North American Free Trade Agreement – wanting to amend it to help U.S. workers, or pull out(!) – was just talk.

‘There was another leak on Wednesday. CTV News — which tends to get leaks from the Tories as CBC tends to get leaks from the Liberals — reported that Barack Obama representatives had quietly told Canadian diplomats that the anti-NAFTA rhetoric being spun out in the Ohio Democratic primary is just rhetoric. When CTV broke the story, it was embarrassing to Mr. Obama, who faces voters in the make-or-break primary today.

According to ABC News, the story was leaked to CTV by Ian Brodie, Mr. Harper’s chief of staff. This angered the Democrats, who accused Canada’s Tories of interfering in their election to the benefit of Republican John McCain, although Hillary Clinton actually looks more likely to profit from this story.

Mr. Harper’s spokeswoman issued a denial, saying Mr. Brodie “doesn’t recall” leaking the story, which seems odd, since you’d think he could remember whether he leaked secret diplomatic talks just last week.

So, did Harper’s people hope to embarrass Mr. Obama by revealing his double-talk on NAFTA?’  {Emphasis added.}

If true, this behavior by the Harpies would cross the line that should exist between Her Majesty’s Canadian diplomatic corps and the partisan political process – not to mention once again  meddling in U.S. politics.  It dishonours The Crown, imperils diplomacy, endangers Canada(!), is filthy filthy dirty, and tries to glorify the party in “power” like the American republic does in the White House.  Canada’s Monarchy separates politics from the honourable duties of the Crown such as diplomacy; unlike the U.S., it’s said to be rare in Canada that diplomatic postings are doled out to big campaign donors or turfed incumbents of the “ruling” party.  If Canadian diplomats routinely sound-out U.S. candidates, it’s not to interfere – God knows U.S. anti-Canadianism would bite them in the rear – but to keep their masters informed of potential changes down here.  For Harper to politicize that diplomatic factfinding would be disgraceful and unbefitting the office of HM Canadian Prime Minister.

McCain’s Hundred Years’ War

He said he was thinking of our long-term presences in places like Japan, South Korea, Germany.  But he also mentioned engaging “al Qaeda.”  Americans aren’t killing or being killed in Japan, Korea, Germany, but they would be in Iraq.  Hence it’s entirely fair to say he’s implying a hundred-years’ war there.  He may not have intended to.  Either he’s lying now, or was imprudent then.  (We’ve had enough of that for the last 7+ years!)  Either way, it’s a bad sign for someone who wants to have his finger on The Button for the next 4 years.  Bad news.

Is it too late to bring back Bill Richardson?!