Monday, 28 April 2008

Women and the Bible (part 3)

The very notion of women being vastly inferior goes against all our Enlightenment values — equality, fairness, freedom! I find it astounding that such an antiquated religion that calls for suppression of freedoms seen only in states like North Korea is the most popular faith on the planet. Do these professed Jesus-lovers even know what their book says? No, it does not preach peace and happiness, but submission and barbaric violence — specifically towards women — even by biblical heros! 'God' only knows how far back the mass belief in Christianity has pushed not only equal rights for women, but for other groups (e.g. gays, blacks). Just the fact that the world's first human was a man, and that the first woman was made from one of his ribs sets the stage for the inferiority of women.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

The MSM and the race for the White House

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, penned a good op-ed in the New York Times today examining the absurdity of the media coverage in the 2008 presidential race. For instance, while we know Obama's bowling score, many nothing of his health-care plan. Edwards does not blame the mainstream press for the failure of her husband's campaign, but does fault it for ignoring candidates on both sides, such as Biden and Dodd for the Dems and Brownback for the GOP. As the article says,

I’m not the only one who noticed this shallow news coverage. A report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy found that during the early months of the 2008 presidential campaign, 63 percent of the campaign stories focused on political strategy while only 15 percent discussed the candidates’ ideas and proposals.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

No we can't!

Poor Obama. Looks like Hillary stole away with a double-digit lead in Pennsylvana after all. The race for the Democratic nomination will continue until the convention this summer. (PA primary results.)

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Happy Earth Day

Yes, yes — today is the day hippies rejoice and we ponder what our malevolent human activities are doing to ruin the planet we inhabit. Happy Earth Day everyone!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Eco-friendly tip: Use less water

Heres an article from the Independent reminding you that every purchase you make affects someone, somehow — especially in an environmental sense. No, this doesn't concern greenhouse gas emissions, but something much simpler: water.

The concept of water footprints – or "virtual water" – will tell consumers the amount of precious H2O that has been used in the manufacture of products they buy. As with carbon footprints, a "virtual water" figure will indicate the extent to which a particular product has cost the earth. And, as with carbon footprints, the message is clear: less is better.

A new website run by the University of Twente in the Netherlands,, gives ethically minded consumers a chance to work out the hidden implications of their shopping habits.
Though it covers more than two-thirds of the earth's surface, water has never been more precious. An influential UN report published in 2003 predicted severe water shortages would affect 4 billion people by 2050, adding that 40 per cent of the world's population did not have access to adequate sanitation facilities.

The most effective method to combat the wasting of water? Use common sense. You don't even have to buy less (although two showers a day may be excessive). Recycling and conservation are, as always, the best things to do for the environment.

Water is already proving to be a global problem. The combination of global warming and overuse of water have made the need for drinking water one of the primary issues of our day, affecting especially those in developing countries.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

A 'bitter' debate

For those who haven't been following the news, here's the scoop on the 'bitter' controversy:

At issue are comments he made privately at a fundraiser in San Francisco last Sunday. He was trying to explain his troubles winning over some working-class voters, saying they have become frustrated with economic conditions:

"It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Both McCain and Clinton have mounted harsh attacks on Obama for his comments, but I must say, I do not disagree with what he said in San Francisco, even if it was a "mistake". Americans are becoming more xenophobic; they are turning more to religion. In fact, as religion has fallen out of favor with many of our European counterparts, Americans have been turning to Jesus in droves. In addition, guns seem to be more popular. These are all factors of working-class and small-town angst, and I don't think Obama should be reprimanded as "elitist" for voicing these views. That being said, Obama's comment was still pretty harsh (John Dickerson attempts to decipher it here).

Clinton and McCain are sounding awfully alike in their attacks. I'd say more criticism should be placed on Sen. Clinton for her condescending label-throwing.

More and more I am leaning towards Obama as my preferred candidate. Lucky for him, his comments don't seem to have cost him the uber-important Pennsylvania primary:
New polls meanwhile suggested that the furor sparked by Obama description of some small town Americans as "bitter" had yet to dent his hopes in Pennsylvania, where votes are cast on April 22, though his rival Hillary Clinton clung to a narrow lead.
A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll out Tuesday suggested that Obama may have escaped damage among Democrats in Pennsylvania.

It gave Clinton a lead over Obama of 46 percent to 41, down from double-digit margins in earlier polls, and also had her losing in both Indiana and North Carolina, which both vote next on May 6.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Public discontent with China, and what to do about it

According to a Zogby poll,

70% Believe IOC Was Wrong to Award Olympic Games to China

48% believe U.S. political officials should not attend the opening ceremony due to China's poor human rights record

Feelings are even stronger in Europe, with the EU Parliament voting in favor of restrictions on attending the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing this summer due not only to China's overall human rights record but to its treatment of demonstrators in Tibet (FREE TIBET!). World leaders such as Britain's Gordon Brown and France's Sarkozy are refusing to attend the opening ceremony, and President Bush has been pressured to do so as well.

However not all are sure that a boycott would be a good thing.
71% believe any boycott of the Olympic Games in China by the U.S. would be hypocritical because the U.S. imports so many products from China and retains relatively close diplomatic ties with China that the U.S. has essentially endorsed China’s human rights record.

I'd say a total boycott of the Olympics would not be a good idea, but national leaders sitting out on the opening ceremony is a strong and righteous move, even if it is ineffective. Some say that we should not be mixing politics with sport, but China brought this upon itself with its atrocious conduct. Having visited China, I've witnessed firsthand the restrictions on fundamental liberties people face there, and the dire effects of the 'communist' government's policies. While nations should not isolate China outright, they should take a strong stand against tyranny and the mistreatment of citizens.

Monday, 7 April 2008

If you're wondering why its been a bit cooler this year...

It's not because global warming is a myth. As the Beeb reports:

Global temperatures for 2008 will be slightly cooler than last year as a result of the cold La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said.
But this year's temperatures would still be way above the average - and we would soon exceed the record year of 1998 because of global warming induced by greenhouse gases.

Global climate change is a long-term trend; that doesn't mean it is not a current threat, though.

When should a presidential candidate call it quits?

I feel I haven't been covering the American elections as much as I should. After all, so much is happening. The lone Republican, John McCain, is still trying to drum up support for the Iraq war, and the situation is looking a bit better there. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue to duke it out in the Democratic foray, but he seems to be ahead at the current moment, in popular sentiment, delegate count, and within many influential circles. It's a harsh race indeed: Bill Clinton recently said there are two patriots in the election run, his wife and her Republican opponent.

Anyway, John Dickerson wrote an interesting piece in the Washington Post (which, on a totally unrelated note, won a large number of Pulitzer Prizes this year)

At some point in the next weeks or months,either Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama is going to face a lonely moment. Standing at the bathroom sink with a toothbrush, or huddling with aides at campaign headquarters or collapsed on a couch at home with his or her spouse, one of them will decide that it's over.

It's still too soon to say who will have to give up their dream of occupying the Oval Office for the next few years.

I got a call from Obama offices today ("Would you like to go to Pennsylvania and rally supporters?"), which reminded me that I signed up on his campaign website. I can't say I support him enough to go all the way to Pennsylvania though...

Thursday, 3 April 2008

The Bush administration: ABOVE THE LAW

Another one of John Yoo's masterpieces
Not like we didn't know this before, but this time it's official! The George W. Bush administration is ABOVE FEDERAL LAW. The statutes and limitations applying to us mere mortals do not apply to the office of the commander-in-chief or his subordinates. Imagine that.

The Justice Department sent a legal memorandum to the Pentagon in 2003 asserting that federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned al-Qaeda captives because the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief overrode such statutes.
Sent to the Pentagon's general counsel on March 14, 2003, by John C. Yoo, then a deputy in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, the memo provides an expansive argument for nearly unfettered presidential power in a time of war. It contends that numerous laws and treaties forbidding torture or cruel treatment should not apply to U.S. interrogations in foreign lands because of the president's inherent wartime powers.

Oh yeah, and they don't torture either.

As Andrew Sullivan recently stated,
One day this president and vice-president will be prosecuted for war crimes.

Women and the Bible (part 2)

The Bible is crewel towards women and has promoted inequality for centuries. It has been excuse for the sexual and overall repression of the female sex, among countless other abominations, and condones such actions. It suggests total submission of females to males, and its wishes, 'straight from God's mouth' have been carried out without question.
Christians accuse us nonreligious folk of "misinterpreting" the Bible. But don't they do the same thing for their own gain? I'm just quoting the Holy Book; you can interpret it as you like. I'm just trying to educate, reveal Christianity for what it is. However, the attitudes in churches are much different. You must view this text this way! So-called moderates throw out the iffy stuff like Abraham making his wife a prostitute — twice (Genesis 12:13-19 and Genesis 20:2-12) — or the condoning of slavery ("Slaves, obey your masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." Ephesians 6:5; similarly "Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considering, but also those who are harsh." 1 Peter 2:18), but emphasize such "Christian values" as not killing, treating others as you'd like to be treated, etc. Apparently one very Christian value is the submission of women, as Ephesians 5:22 says "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord." 1 Peter 3:1: "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands..." I think there's little room for debate for that message of the Bible. And yet, nonreligious movements are far more controversial than these troubling Christian fundamentals!