Home > Uncategorized > Open Thread Weekend: a few starter topics

Open Thread Weekend: a few starter topics

February 24, 2006

I wonder if Adlai Stevenson was thinking of the Palestinians when he coined the aphorism: “Power corrupts, and lack of power corrupts absolutely”?  Their recent democratic choice of a Hamas-led parliament has everyone mad at them.  But their marginal status all these years was fertile ground for the growth of Hamas.

Dispatches reports on Not getting it, German style:  David Irving, British holocaust denier, has been sentenced to 3 years in German prison for denying the holocaust, setting a poor example to Muslims around the world who are enraged by cartoons and don’t get what ‘free speech’ is all about. (See also: Michael Shermer OpEd) Personally I’d rather see Irving shown a fool than made a martyr. 

In a related development, the mayor of London has discovered the importance of free speech in a big way, having been suspended for an offhand remark about a Jewish journalist.  In defiance of custom, he has refused to apologize for his remarks.  Let’s hope that is the beginning of a trend; I’m tired of wondering what the hell a ‘forced apology’ means anyway.

John Roberts and Samuel Alito will decide this week on a challenge from a Michigan developer to the Clean Water Act.  If the scope of the act is limited, most of the waterways which enjoy federal protection from pollution will fall to state regulation, with very mixed results.  The Bush Administration is backing the current regulatory structure, however, noting that despite the ire of people who speculate on wetlands, water does run downhill.

The South Dakota legislature has passed a bill banning abortion, soon to land on the governor’s desk.  The obvious intention is to spark a Supreme Court challenge.  By the time it gets to the court, Bush may have appointed another justice or two; we might see Roe overturned and right-wing pols will face the awful choice of living up to their anti-abortion promises or exposing themselves as cowardly political opportunists.  That should be fun to watch. 

CNN Reports: Another one bites the dust as a $12.5m study fails to discover any efficacy to glucosamine/condroitin that people take for arthritis pain.  Well, that’s a relief.  I’ve tried it in the past and couldn’t tell much difference.  I wondered; was I doing something wrong?  Apparently I was not.

There’s more, a whole lot more.  Sometime this weekend I hope to write about Cohen’s anti-algebra OpEd, too.  I don’t understand how anyone living on Earth ever gets bored…

Oh, speaking of Michael Shermer, he’s filling in for James Randi, who is recovering from heart surgery.  This week he explains how a secular world view is really pretty straightforward, after all, in What I believe, science and the power of humanity

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 24, 2006 at 21:58 | #1

    Sorry DOF, but I’m going to have to disagree with you on one very important idea.  It is a widely misunderstood idea by many.  It is not that Muslims do not “get” or understand what free speech is about.  That is not it at all.  The reason behind all of the rage of the Muslims, as my Muslim friend explained to me, “We are forbidden to draw or look at drawings of our Prophets.  And that one cartoonist makes drawings about him, WITH A BOMB FOR A TURBIN!”
    Personally I do not care if such cartoons come out making light of any religion, but that is because I am not really grounded to one belief or religion.  You cannot ask the question of why are they so pissed off, with the context of the question being, I would not have that reaction, get over it, without understanding their religion.  While I do not agree with the type of protests many Muslims held throughout the world, I understand their resentment because of what I have learned about their religion through my Muslim friend.

  2. February 26, 2006 at 08:38 | #2

    The Moslims do not believe in freedom of any kind except the freedom to blow themselves in a school bus full of children.

    I agree about Irving. He is and has been an ass. It is best to expose him for what he is-a bumbling fool of a neo historian—of which most seem to be…

    I hope the abortion question does hit the courts again and Roe vs Wade is overturned and the various states as well as the crooks in the house and senate have to put their ass on the line to vote either pro or con on it. If the majority of the public wants to legalize abortion then the law makers should make it legal. But it is not the call of a activist court to make that decision. It damn sure is not in the constitution. One thing about it. It will not be the first decision ever overturned

  3. February 26, 2006 at 17:10 | #3

    Note: if you get this comment twice in your email, I was deleting stuff and accidentally deleted this comment from yesterday.  So I retyped it from memory here:

    No need to apologize, Websie, disagree all you want.  It’s a free country, so far.

    Essentially all you’ve said is that your friend is really, really offended.  Nobody is asking the Muslims not to be offended; we’re asking them not to kill people, burn down embassies, or condone those who do. 

    If your Muslim friend is not permitted by his religion to make or view drawings of his prophets, then he should refrain from doing those things.  For him to insist that non-Muslims refrain from things specific to his religion would be analogous to the Amish insisting no one else use electricity. (Insert goofy image here of Amish terrorists blowing up electrical substations and making a getaway in their buggies) A pluralistic society simply won’t work if people can insist – on threat of violence – that others adhere to their own taboos.

    If he doesn’t like the association of Muhammed with violence, again, he is free to be offended.  But he should ask himself how that association came about.  He had also better look squarely at the hypocrisy of the Arab press which decries the Muhammed cartoons while printing unbelievably vicious cartoons about Jews.  You can’t have it both ways.  Allow one, you must allow the other.

    It doesn’t really matter why the Muslims are pissed off.  Lots of things about Islam offend me – does that give me any right to violence?  If the answer is ‘no’ then the same applies to the rioters around the world and Imams encouraging violence.

    Adlai Stevenson said a free country was one in which it is safe to be unpopular.  The newspaper, and the cartoonists were making the point – and they turned out to be exactly correct – that Denmark was no longer a free country by that definition, and that furthermore the oppression came not from the government but from thugs who didn’t “get” what free speech is all about.

    GUYK, I think that’s a pretty broad generalization.  If all Muslims felt that way – there are a billion of them – who would be left alive?  Most Muslims, like most other people, are moderate.  But they’d better wake up fast and stop condoning extremism.  Terrorism hides inside concentric circles of sheltering agreement.

    The argument about abortion; ‘it isn’t in the constitution’ won’t fly.  You don’t need to be an activist of any kind to discover a right to be left alone in the constitution; it is the single thread running through the while document.  And an ‘activist judge’ is simply any judge who does something you don’t like.

    What Roe has done to this country is prevent a real debate on when, for legal purposes, life begins.  Since this is a secular country, the debate can’t be religion-driven.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Roe overturned and politicians take the heat.  Let ‘em step up or shut up.  I have a feeling it wouldn’t turn out like the pols think it would.

  4. February 26, 2006 at 23:39 | #4

    Point well taken DOF.  GUYK, please try to realize that comments like yours do not help the situation anymore.  In fact, your comment makes the whole situation more inflammed.  I think the movie “Crash” could show you a thing or two about multicultural diversity.

  5. February 27, 2006 at 13:54 | #5

    When will you people get it through your head that it is Islam that we are at war with. Where are all these moderate Muslims that you are talking about. They damn sure are not out on the streets trying to stop the iots and the burning on embassies. The Muslim press is urging abd abetting-not trying to stop it. This war had been going on for over 1500 years is various forms and it is heating up again-except this time they have the oil money—that the west has give them—a liberal press, and a lot of people who have convinced themselves that if they turn the other cheek and try to understand that everything will be okay. The only way everything is going to be okay is if we accept Islam and give up our freedoms. As I said, Islam is not compatable with freedom of speech and the only freedom that the Muslims appear to want is the freedom to blow up children in school buses. When the shooting starts in this country-and the way it looks it will one of these days before too long—the muslims as well as the bleeding heart liberals who have been apolgists for them are going to have to take sides. Either they are willing to fight for freedom or they will be against freedom. There is going to be no middle ground.

  6. February 27, 2006 at 14:23 | #6

    Guyk if you are going to make such statements you should at least give your sources.  Buying into right wing crap doesn’t make it true. 
    By the way I thought your stance on Iraq was the same as Liberman’s in your post cited below.
    Lieberman Tells Iraqis We Are Staying Until The Job Is Done .
    Having a change of heart now…  WE WON!! LET’S GO HOME.

  7. February 27, 2006 at 15:42 | #7

    Where are the moderate Muslims?  A legitimate question, asked by Daniel Pipes in this essay.  And this Saudi guy is definitely worth reading; The Religious Policemen though it appears that, in order to write his blog, he had to flee Saudi Arabia.

    Also, none of the Muslims I know personally are violent or intolerant people.  But (and this is crucial) I only know Muslims who have made the effort to come to America.  Unlike GUYK, I have not been overseas where the experience may be very different.

    The moderate Muslims have made themselves a bit difficult to find, because they’re either complacent or scared.  They ought to be speaking up and trying to preserve their own religion from the crazies.  Time is getting short and scared people aren’t good at making fine distinctions.

    All right, now everybody just take a deep breath…

  8. February 28, 2006 at 07:58 | #8

    webso5: My point is either fight the war to win it or let the ragheads kill each other off. Right now there are no good guys in Iraq other than American forces who are very rapidly being caught in the middle of a civil war. The objective was to take out saddam. That has been done and the idea of staying the course until a new government can be formed is a great one. But as long as the left wing drools every time there is another bombing in Iraq and seems to rejoice when a soldier is killed there will be no peace in Iraq. Why should the terrorists give up when the left wing of the USA tells them they are winning? I am calling for telling Iran and Syria to stay out and then pull the American and allied forces out and make a deal for oil with whoever survives the civil war. I figure that within ten years we will be at war with all of Islam anyway although we may have to take out the left wing at home first if we expect to win it.

  9. Tina
    October 3, 2006 at 11:00 | #9

    GUYK wow your’e opinons scream ignorance and the effect of a lack of education. There is no way you can classify an entire religion based on the extremist actions of a few ( an it is a small percentage, because if all muslims around the world wanted to kill westerners and blow things up we would all be dead right now). Just like the actions and words of extremist Christians who conducted the “Holy Wars” and supported slavery with verses from the Bible, the extremist Muslims are distorting Islam. And I am sure that you will bring up a point that radical Muslims teach the killing of all “infidels”, but if you are familiar with the Old Testament it calls for the killing of all “Gentiles”. Any religion can be distorted by radicals to suit their own needs and war and unrest are breeding grounds for hatred. Please refrain from making uneducated broad generalizations of any group of people as these statements are unfair to the majority of the people in those groups.

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