Monday, July 19, 2010

Syria has banned the face-covering Islamic veil

The following is from an AP report.
"DAMASCUS, Syria – Syria has banned the face-covering Islamic veil from the country's
universities to prevent what it sees as a threat to its secular identity, as similar moves in Europe spark cries of discrimination against Muslims.
The Education Ministry issued the ban Sunday, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly.
The ban, which affects public and private universities, is only against the niqab — a full Islamic veil that reveals only a woman's eyes — not headscarves, which are far more commonly worn by Syrian women.
The billowing black robe known as a niqab is not widespread in Syria, although it has become more common recently — a move that has not gone unnoticed in a country governed by a secular, authoritarian regime."
If a Muslim country is capable of realizing there is a problem with this outfit, why are Western countries so slow to recognize the problem too?
And don't talk about how we believe in freedom where Syria doesn't. If we really believed in freedom, women and men could wear these outfits if they wanted or they could go totally nude any time or place too.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why you might not want to volunteer

First, let's clear one thing up. People who join the military are not true volunteers. True volunteers are people who do a job but don't receive any pay or any other form of compensation.
If you insist on calling people who join the military as volunteers, then anyone who has a paying job is a volunteer.
Why I say, "Why you might not want to volunteer." is very simple. Every job a volunteer does takes away a job from someone who could do the job but but needs the money and wants to be paid.
But it's a good cause, you might say and I probably would agree. Still, the fact remains, there are people who need paying work and if the job is important enough, it should be important enough for someone or someones to pay for it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What is the F word?

You know what I hate? I hate "Let's pretend we all know what we are talking about." You know what I mean, like when the news media talks about the "F" word and I'm supposed to know what they mean because I know they are decent people who would never use the "F" word.
Recently,an appeals court ruling declared the Federal Communications Commission's indecency rule unconstitutional.
"The court says that dropping the F-bomb on prime time TV in front of kids is okay," said Dan Isepp of the Parents Television Council. "The door has been kicked down."
"I am shocked by such an anti-family decision," said FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. "This decision gives them the unfettered ability to air whatever content they want."
I don't know. Could the F word be a substitute for family, or fun, or the future?
I know, I know. But I hate the game of trying to appear proper and decent. Would it be better, I know it is perfectly acceptable to use words like sexual intercourse. We could all have a lot of fun by being silly and use the "Proper" words such as fecal, anus, penis, mammary glands, etc., etc.
We know what we are saying. We know Shakespeare got it right when he said, "A rose by any other name is still a rose" and again when he had Hamlet say, "I am reading words," in response to the question of what he was reading.
This is all nonsense. The truth of the matter is that there are people who want to prove how good and decent they are by claiming to be shocked by certain words. "I was so shocked" or "I was so offended," they like to say with their nose up in the air or some other place.
People, they are just words and I have managed to avoid using any one of those words and still you know what they are.
Here is a thought for the goody-two-shoes to consider. The first of the Ten Commandments tells us we should not worship strange gods. When we elevate this or that word to the level of making it unmentionable, we create a false god. We give it a power it doesn't deserve. We cover I eyes and ears as though we are in the midst of divine power. This is just plain silly.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Getting bored with True Blood

I was an early fan of the HBO program True Blood and have continued to watch it but not sure for how much longer.
Mostly, I have enjoyed it as a comedy. If I were a Southerner, I might take some offense at the the way the Southern yahoos are depicted. Dumb and dumber.
The problem I am having with the program is on several fronts.
Too many characters and too many plot lines. It has become a Soap Opera.
Bill, who has been the main vampire to date doesn't seem to have any backbone. He is hard to like.
This whole idea of vampires being required to obey vampire law (kings, queens, sheriffs and what not) is a drag.
Last year we had the woman demon who was at least easy to look at. This year we have biker werewolves with a Nazi connection.
Is this supposed to attract the fans of Twilight?
I guess I'll try one more episode before I decide if I'll continue to watch.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The trouble with Heaven

Let me start by saying that I certainly will not object if after I die I learn there is life after death.
The problem I have with the idea of life after death is simply this: I am unable to imagine life without death.
Everything I understand about life and most of what I like about life involves death.
The day dies into the night and the night dies into the day. One season dies and another season is born. All the food I eat, animal and plant life, dies for me to eat. Were it not for death, it would become impossible for new life to come into existence. The Earth could not support new life if death did not make room for the new.
All the various ideas about life after death seem to me to require a degree, a large degree, of stagnation and stagnation looks an awful lot like a nice word for dead.
I see life as variety and change. It is all that we like and all we don't like. It is joy and sadness, pleasure and pain. It is rest but it is also work.
Work! Think about it. If Heaven is a state of eternal rest with nothing to do, doesn't Heaven begin to sound like a very boring place, a place, so to speak, of zombies, of the living dead?
I have thought about these things, especially the nature of work. I have tried to imagine what life might be like if we were able to eliminate all the things about life that we say are the bad things. What if we could eliminate all sickness, all accidents, all the murder, rapes, robberies and various other crimes (sin)? What if nothing ever needed to be fixed? What would we do with nothing to do? Would the only thing we would have to do would be to honor and praise God? And what about God?
It seems to me that the number one definition of God is the Creator. And if God truly exists and is infinite and eternal as most people who believe in God believe, then God will go on creating anew as God has always done because God would not stop being God so that God could just sit around doing nothing while we do nothing but sing praises.
As I said at the start, I am not against having life beyond death. I just can't imagine life without all of its ups and downs, without what we call the good and the bad, including death.
And as to the idea of reincarnation, I can't imagine being anyone other than who I am. I need to look in the mirror and see me. I need to remember as many yesterdays as possible to be assured I am truly me. I need to recognize me and I need to recognize you and I need you to recognize me. We need physical continuity to know we are we. This continuity of existence is essential for anything to exist. I repeat, it is the continuity of existence that is essential for anything to exist.
But what about the soul? Couldn't the soul move from one physical body to another or couldn't the soul exist as an entity in and of itself?
The best response I can offer in the fewest words possible is to say that for this to be true the soul would require the knowledge of its own continuity before it enters a body, while it is in the body and after it leaves one body for another.
Maybe you would say, "Yes. This is what happens." But how can you say that when you yourself cannot speak of this continuity you claim to exist? I know there are a few people who over the years have claimed they had a past life. Maybe you are one of them. But I have never heard of anyone who claimed to have a past life and who has also said something along these lines: "When I was a black slave, I remember Joe who back in the day was my master but who now has been reincarnated as my wife."
What I am suggesting is that if a soul could recognize itself in both a current and past body, it should be able to recognize other souls from past lives who now occupy different bodies. Again, it is continuity of awareness of existence that is essential to knowing you exist. Without it, we are in the world of imagination.