Ashcroft maybe gone, but he will only replaced by one of his cronies, either Larry Thompson or Alberto Gonzales. If it is Gonzales, expect more of the same trampling of our rights and freedom, as he helped penned the Patriot Act. Additionally he was one of the people who came up with the militaries changes about "prisoners of war", protected by the Geneva Convention, to become "enemy combatents" not protected by the afore mentioned. It\'s more of a play on words.
I like your thoughts gkg. I agree that there are more seriously harmful things to fear then nothingness. I read an interesting thing on Hell today:
Hell - a question of science (this almost makes sense).
A profound question for all you engineers...
The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.
Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle\'s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed,etc.) or some variant.
One student, however, wrote the following:
First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So, we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.
As for how many souls are entering Hell, let\'s look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.
Stay with me now!
With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle\'s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.
This yields two possibilities:
1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.
So which is it?
If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you," and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.
The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting [glb]"Oh, my God." [/glb]
If America\'s secular liberals think they have it rough now, just wait till the Second Coming.
The "Left Behind" series, the best-selling novels for adults in the U.S., enthusiastically depict Jesus returning to slaughter everyone who is not a born-again Christian. The world\'s Hindus, Muslims, Jews and agnostics, along with many Catholics and Unitarians, are heaved into everlasting fire: "Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and . . . they tumbled in, howling and screeching."
Gosh, what an uplifting scene!
If Saudi Arabians wrote an Islamic version of this series, we would furiously demand that sensible Muslims repudiate such hatemongering. We should hold ourselves to the same standard.
Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the co-authors of the series, have both e-mailed me (after I wrote about the "Left Behind" series in July) to protest that their books do not "celebrate" the slaughter of non-Christians but simply present the painful reality of Scripture.
"We can\'t read it some other way just because it sounds exclusivistic and not currently politically correct," Mr. Jenkins said in an e-mail. "That\'s our crucible, an offensive and divisive message in an age of plurality and tolerance."
Silly me. I\'d forgotten the passage in the Bible about how Jesus intends to roast everyone from the good Samaritan to Gandhi in everlasting fire, simply because they weren\'t born-again Christians.
I accept that Mr. Jenkins and Mr. LaHaye are sincere. (They base their conclusions on John 3.) But I\'ve sat down in Pakistani and Iraqi mosques with Muslim fundamentalists, and they offered the same defense: they\'re just applying God\'s word.
Now, I\'ve often written that blue staters should be less snooty toward fundamentalist Christians, and I realize that this column will seem pretty snooty. But if I praise the good work of evangelicals - like their superb relief efforts in Darfur - I\'ll also condemn what I perceive as bigotry. A dialogue about faith must move past taboos and discuss differences bluntly. That\'s what blue staters and red staters need to do about religion and the "Left Behind" books.
For starters, it\'s worth pointing out that those predicting an apocalypse have a long and lousy record. In America, tens of thousands of followers of William Miller waited eagerly for Jesus to reappear on Oct. 22, 1844. Some of these Millerites had given away all their belongings, and the no-show was called the Great Disappointment.
In more recent times, the best-selling nonfiction book of the 1970\'s was Hal Lindsey\'s "The Late Great Planet Earth," selling 18 million copies worldwide with its predictions of a Second Coming. Then, one of the hottest best sellers in 1988 was a booklet called "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988." Oops.
Being wrong has rarely been so lucrative.
Now we have the hugely profitable "Left Behind" financial empire, whose Web site flatly says that the authors "think this generation will witness the end of history." The site sells every "Left Behind" spinoff imaginable, including screen savers, regular prophecies sent to your mobile phone, children\'s versions of the books, audiobooks, graphic novels, videos, calendars, music and a $6.50-a-month prophesy club. This isn\'t religion, this is brand management.
If Mr. LaHaye and Mr. Jenkins honestly believe that the end of the world may be imminent, why not waive royalties? Why don\'t they use the millions of dollars in profits to help the poor - and increase their own chances of getting into heaven?
Mr. Jenkins told me that he gives 20 to 40 percent of his income to charity, and that\'s commendable. But there are millions more where that came from. Mr. LaHaye and Mr. Jenkins might spend less time puzzling over obscure passages in the Book of Revelation and more time with the straightforward language of Matthew 6:19, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth." Or Matthew 19:21, where Jesus advises a rich man: "Sell your possessions and give the money to the poor. . . . It will be hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
So I challenge the authors to a bet: if the events of the Apocalypse arrive in the next 10 years, then I\'ll donate $500 to the battle against the Antichrist; if it doesn\'t, you donate $500 to a charity of my choosing that fights poverty - and bigotry.
I do understand, and you do have a point. The people I am refering to do not just belong to the Lutherians, or Baptists, or Born Again, or Mormon philosophies. I do support the right to believe what ever their faith calls them to. However I take exception for being judged because I choose not to believe. This happens ALOT. I also take exception to those who would attempt to have their beliefs legislated into law, when I do not subscribe to the same point of view. For instance, what my husband and I do privately, is our businees and ours alone. It is not for the conservative interests within our government to decide what we can and can\'t do. We are consenting adults within a strong monogamous relationship. I will take my pleasure any way I like, laws be damned.
It is a highly charged topic. I don\'t see what business it is what any consenting adults do behind closed. I saw a great bumper sticker yesterday:
[glb]Just say NO to sex with Right-to-lifers![/glb]
It drives me batty that "good christians" (oxymoron) concern themselves with what OTHER people do - especially when they lack the ability, imagination, drive or desire todo it themselves. It is either based in fear, ignorance, or jealousy.
My husband and I are very open minded. We have both had same sex encounters in our lives and we are both fine with that, as well as our subsequent choices. Experimentation is healthy. Its natural curiosity. Any one who denies at least having thought about it, probably denies mastubating, and we know what the truth is about that!
The real solution is that these people need to get laid, and get off(if possible) more often!
This isn\'t bigotry. What these (and most other) liberals are saying is that the Christian Right sees politics through the prism of theology, and there\'s something dangerous in that. And they\'re right. It\'s fine if religion influences your moral values. But, when you make public arguments, you have to ground them--as much as possible--in reason and evidence, things that are accessible to people of different religions, or no religion at all. Otherwise, you can\'t persuade other people, and they can\'t persuade you. In a diverse democracy, there must be a common political language, and that language can\'t be theological.
Sometimes, conservative evangelicals grasp this and find nonreligious justifications for their views. (Christian conservatives sometimes argue that embryonic stem cells hold little scientific promise, or that gay marriage leads to fewer straight ones. On abortion, they sometimes cite medical advances to show that fetuses are more like infants than pro-choicers recognize. Such arguments are accessible to all, and thus permit fruitful debate.) But, since the election, the airwaves have been full of a different kind of argument. What many conservatives are now saying is that, since certain views are part of evangelicals\' identity, harshly criticizing those views represents discrimination. It\'s no different than when some feminists say that, since the right to abortion is a critical part of their identity, opposing abortion disrespects them as women. When George Stephanopoulos asked Dobson to justify his charge that Senator Leahy is an anti-Christian bigot, he replied that the Vermont senator "has been in opposition to most of the things that I believe." In other words, disagree with me and you\'re a racist. Al Sharpton couldn\'t have said it better.
Identity politics is a powerful thing--a way of short-circuiting debate by claiming that your views aren\'t merely views; they are an integral part of who you are. And who you are must be respected. But harsh criticism is not disrespect--and to claim it is undermines democratic debate by denying opponents the right to aggressively, even impolitely, disagree. That is what conservatives are doing when they accuse liberals of religious bigotry merely for demanding that the Christian Right defend their viewpoints with facts, not faith. Once upon a time, conservatives knew better. I hope some still do.
Once upon a time, conservatives considered "sensitivity" a dirty word. In the 1980s and 1990s, when African Americans and other campus minorities claimed they were victims of racism and demanded greater respect from white students and faculty, conservatives popularized a term for this group whining: political correctness. They gasped when campus radicals tried to silence criticism of affirmative action by saying it created a hostile climate for black students. They worried aloud that university administrators--in their efforts to spare minority students\' feelings--were stifling debate. For a time, combating this culture of punitive sensitivity was one of the right\'s primary concerns.
Not anymore. In the wake of their recent triumph at the polls, conservatives have found their own supposedly disrespected minority: evangelicals. And they are playing victim politics with a gusto that would make campus radicals proud.
One of the things that galled the right during the "political correctness" wars was the way leftists casually threw around terms like "racist" and "bigot." For conservatives, some of whom knew firsthand how much harm those accusations could cause, it became axiomatic that such pejoratives should be reserved for only the most egregious, clear-cut examples of racial or ethnic animus. After Trent Lott--a man who had long consorted with white supremacists--praised Strom Thurmond\'s segregationist 1948 presidential bid, many conservatives called him dumb and embarrassing. (To their credit, some called for his removal as Senate leader.) But very few were willing to call him a bigot. Few would pin the label even on Jesse Helms or Thurmond himself. Extreme scrupulousness about such epithets seemed like a touchstone of the conservative worldview. advertisement
That\'s how it seemed, anyhow. In recent weeks, prominent conservatives have been anything but scrupulous in charging Democrats with bigotry against people of faith. Just before the election, Christian Right leader James Dobson called Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy a "God\'s people hater." On November 8, talk-show host Joe Scarborough condemned "Democrats who take solace in their bigoted anti-Christian screeds." Right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin recently blurbed a book titled Persecution: How Liberals are Waging War Against Christianity, noting that "Persecution exposes the hypocrisy and bigotry of the secular, anti-Christian Left." And, last Sunday, Mary Matalin chimed in on "Meet the Press," claiming that "people of faith, in the election process, they have been demonized and they have been treated with disdain and contempt." Imagine if James Carville, who was seated next to her on the show, had made the same claim about African Americans (who, although they are one of the most religious groups in America, vote Democratic, and thus don\'t fall under Matalin\'s "people of faith" rubric). Within 15 minutes, the conservative blogosphere would have accused him of politically correct demagoguery.
To be fair, occasionally liberals do treat evangelical Christians with condescension and scorn. Conservatives frequently, and justifiably, expressed outrage at a Washington Post news story that called followers of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson "largely poor, uneducated and easy to command." (They tend not to note that the story is eleven years old, and the Post issued an immediate retraction.) On November 4, in The New York Times, Garry Wills suggested that America now resembles the theocracies of the Muslim world more than it resembles Western Europe, which is offensive, not to mention absurd.
But, most of the time, what conservatives call anti-evangelical bigotry is simply harsh criticism of the Christian Right\'s agenda. Scarborough seized on a recent column by Maureen Dowd, which accused President Bush of "replacing science with religion, and facts with faith," leading America into "another dark age." The Weekly Standard recently pilloried Thomas Friedman for criticizing "Christian fundamentalists" who "promote divisions and intolerance at home and abroad," and Howell Raines, for saying the Christian Right wants to enact "theologically based cultural norms."
Ocean, thanks so much! For some reasion that never occured to me. But I am sure that during the next few days, as I WILL be sitting in more traffic, that I will have the opportunity to use your suggestion! And I will report back the results!
gkg - I believe that Kerry did pull out the stops, and that Shub was only marginally better behaved then the 1st debate.
I believe the 3rd will be his campaigns death knell.
I am struck by a newly relaesed song by Greenday:
"American Idiot" - "One Nation controlled by the media, in the age of paranoia" it also mentios a "red neck agenda" - sounds like Fox News to me!! Everytime I hear this song, it seems to me more and more an anthem for what this country has turned into. Especially played up by the Bush/Cheney camp who\'s mantra is "fear, fear, fear".
Well, ladies, unforunately I have brought home work, so I had best get started...... I owe, I owe, so it\'s off to work I go.... Beatnik
I think tonights debate will be interesting, especially to see if the Shrub camp changes their strategy (read mantra) tonight. Also to see if the additional time to prep will help Shrub at all.
I am looking forward to watching Shrub go down in flames yet again!
But as for the 3rd, well that one will just make my life hell. Its in will be held at Arizona State University, in a beautiful building that happens to be not 5 minute, and 2.2 miles from my office. Meaning the traffic will be insane! It will be worse then when it is just the president in town. They already have big signs up that there may even be road closures in the area. What I would like to know is, WHAT ABOUT US SCHMUCKS WHO HAVE TO WORK FOR A LIVING IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE VENUE? And to be honest the traffic here is already bad enough.... I know not compared to LA, BUT the problem here is that there are SOOOOO many ridiculously expensive cars with drivers, dead from the neck up, on cell phones, with a "ME FIRST" mentality, who seem to have forgotten (or just plain ignore) that OTHER PEOPLE EXIST!!
I actually had some Yokle, pull up next to me in a HUGE Ford F150, with raised suspension, and tracker size tires (gee compensating for something? ), who honked to get my attention just to flip me the bird because of my 6 (SIX) liberal democratic bumper stickers. And when he pulls ahead in his lane, staisfied that he has told me where to put my opinions (as if he could EVER silence me) what sticker is on his truck?
[glb] "I\'m from TEXAS, what country are you from?"[/glb]
Just goes to show Texans are SO DUMB they think they are a country, not a state!
Beatnik Doing my part to piss off the right wing of anything!
I would have been joining more in this convo, but I have been working wicked hours this last week. But now that is done, and I can spend a bit more time with "yall".
Between the Presidential and Vice Presidental debates so far, it seems to me, that all I hear from Bush/Cheney is "Fear, fear, fear!" Like we are in the age of paranoia! They don\'t really speak about this issues, they try to talk around the issues, and seem to always come back to 9/11.
9/11 was a tragedy, I lived in NY, I have family and friends there. I was affected personally and professionally by it. However I do not live my life in fear that I will be, or could be in the wrong place at the right time. If we as a nation behave that way, then the terrorists have certainly won.
Look at Isreal. They still use the busses and they still go to restaurants and markets. They deal with more on a daily basis then we do, but you don\'t hear them preaching fear. Not that I am saying that i agree with some of their methods, but neither do I agree with the Palestinian\'s methods. Actually I think that both sides in that conflict have lost any of the valid arguements to support their side because of their behavior.
My point is, really, the only real stand Bush/Cheney have taken is "Be afraid - be very afraid."