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Archive for December, 2009

Star Trek’s Liberal Messages

From Ed Brayton’s “Dispatches from the Culture Wars” blog:

From a post by Mike Potemra at National Review Online:

Coincidentally, I have over the past couple of months been watching DVDs of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a show I missed completely in its run of 1987 to 1994; and I confess myself amazed that so many conservatives are fond of it. Its messages are unabashedly liberal ones of the early post-Cold War era – peace, tolerance, due process, progress (as opposed to skepticism about human perfectibility).

Wow, how….liberal those messages are. But if this conservative admits that peace, tolerance, due process and progress are “liberal messages” then doesn’t that also mean that war, intolerance, arbitrary authoritarianism and regression are conservative messages? Nice to see that admitted to so openly.

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Thank God…

(Updated: The original image seems to have been removed.)
Link: Jasper Schuringa

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Afghanistan Then and Now

Two pictures of the same location in Kabul, Afghanistan. The first one was taken 40 years ago.

(Click the image to see a larger version.)

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The Rapture

I recently saw a blog comment talking about the importance of Christian Evangelism because the end of the world was near.

Ugh. I remember growing up thinking that Jesus was going to return any day now. When I was growing up, there was a period of time when rapture movies were popular in the local churches. You’d go and watch these movies at church with names like “A Thief in the Night”. Funny the things you can find on YouTube:

I remember being around second or third grade, coming home from school, and noticing that my parents weren’t home. I was genuinely afraid that the rapture happened, and I was left behind. My Christian school-teacher had a bumper sticker on her car that read “In case of rapture, this car will be left unoccupied”. Now, it all seems so cult-like. It reminds me of fears the Heavens Gate followers had of missing the UFO behind Hale-Bop, or the fears the Branch Davidians had of leaving the compound, for fear that they wouldn’t be raptured up to heaven with David Koresh. But, it was a part of my Christian fundamentalist worldview.

Oddly enough, American Dad had a recent episode revolving around Stan and Francine missing the rapture. (The creator, Seth MacFarlane is an atheist, by the way.) Enjoy.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

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What would have happened if Mother Mary had been covered by Obamacare? What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been provided the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, etc.) to avoid the ridicule, ostracizing, persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Imagine all the great souls who could have been erased from history and the influence of mankind if their parents had been as progressive as Washington’s wise men and women! (Source)

Hm. Ignoring the whole ‘angels appeared to mary to tell her about her pregnancy’ thing, I don’t think this is so much about “Obamacare” as it is about legalized abortion and the money to afford an abortion. Obviously, the only ‘solution’ is to outlaw abortion, or make sure teenage mothers are so poor that they can’t afford abortions.

Also, I wonder why this argument can’t also work as an argument against legalized contraception:

What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been provided the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, etc.) to [get contraceptives and] avoid the ridicule, ostracizing, persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Imagine all the great souls who could have been erased from history and the influence of mankind if their parents had been as progressive as Washington’s wise men and women!

Sounds like a good argument for outlawing the use of tax dollars for contraceptives and for making contraceptives illegal — who knows how many ‘great souls have already been erased from history’ because of contraceptives? The Democrats are making war on the unconceived, an oft-forgotten segment of the unborn population!

For that matter, imagine the number of great souls who have been erased from history and the influence of mankind because of sexual abstinence. Clearly, abstinence is robbing mankind of so many great souls. What’s that pro-lifers? A woman should be allowed to do what she wants with her own body? What a topsy-turvy world we live in.

We should outlaw abortion, outlaw contraceptives, outlaw abstinence, and outlaw homosexuality* (*it doesn’t lead to conception, and therefore, robs humanity of great souls).

I also enjoyed this quote:

In short, while President Obama was accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the Democrats in Congress drove a sword through the womb of the unborn.

Drove a sword through the womb of the unborn? Perhaps he meant the wombs of their mothers? Oh, and the fact that “driving a sword” seems to imply forced abortions mandated by the state.

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Going Rogue Review

Amazon’s number one “most helpful” review of Sarah Palin’s book:

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The Dangers of Pokemon

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Time: The Women of Islam

Time has an interesting article up about women in Islamic countries. It talks about how Mohammed might’ve improved the state of women in 7th century Arabia, but his ideas are just plain backwards by today’s standards – and, even worse, now that women’s roles are defined by a 7th century document, they are blocked from gaining equality with men. It is entrenched inequality.

Part of the problem dates to Muhammad. Even as he proclaimed new rights for women, he enshrined their inequality in immutable law, passed down as God’s commandments and eventually recorded in scripture. The Koran allots daughters half the inheritance of sons. It decrees that a woman’s testimony in court, at least in financial matters, is worth half that of a man’s. Under Shari’a, or Muslim law, compensation for the murder of a woman is half the going rate for men. In many Muslim countries, these directives are incorporated into contemporary law. For a woman to prove rape in Pakistan, for example, four adult males of “impeccable” character must witness the penetration, in accordance with Shari’a.

Even worse, women believe it is part of God’s religious order that they are subjugated. (What better way to prevent a slaves revolt than to successfully convince them that it’s God’s divine plan that they remain as slaves?)

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The Information is Beautiful website has a new display up about the arguments and counterarguments of climate change.

Even though they’re listed as “Climate Change Skeptics” on the image above, the website author seems to go back and forth between calling them “skeptics” and calling them “deniers” (note that the link is “climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus”). Personally, I feel a bit conflicted about the whole naming convention. On one hand, the term “denier” has a negative connotation and smacks of name-calling and attempts to steer the debate. On the other hand, the term “skeptic” seems a little too generous, and I think it has a positive connotation that essentially amounts to steering the debate in the favor of the anti-global-warming crowd.

Personally, I haven’t delved very much into learning about the whole global warming thing. It’s an interesting summary of the arguments on each side. (I generally trust the scientists, have seen a lot of bad arguments on the anti-global warming side, and think the ultra-rich oil industry is doing the same thing to undermine global-warming research as the tobacco industry did with to undermine smoking research.) It’s also sad that opinions about global warming fall largely along political lines.

While three-quarters of Democrats believe the evidence of a warming planet is solid, and nearly half believe the problem is serious, far fewer conservative and moderate Democrats see the problem as grave. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans say there is no solid evidence of global warming (Source)

Personally, I think Republican pundits are dismissive of global warming largely because the Democrats take it seriously, and because there’s enough confusion on the issue that they can use it to cast Democrats in the “they’re stupid socialists” role. The political divide makes it hard to make headway. It means that a Republican pretty much has to admit that the Democrats are right about something and the Republicans are wrong in order to accept global warming, which is something a lot of Republicans won’t be happy to do.

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Tuesday Funnies

“It’s never the right time to have kids, but it’s always the right time for screwing. God’s not a dumbshit. He knows how it works.”
— Source: Shit My Dad Says

This single frame is pretty funny in itself. You can read the whole comic here.

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