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Monday, March 13, 2006

vacation days are hot stuff

a political-geek humor moment crashed into me this evening, when googling for vacation days, the first hit is “How many vacation days has George W. Bush taken to date as president?” from

posted by roj at 2:17 am  

Friday, March 10, 2006

not in his name

A Veteran’s Letter to the President [Joseph W. DuRocher, 2006]

Until your administration, I believed it was inconceivable that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive and preemptive war against a country that posed no threat to us. Until your administration, I thought it was impossible for our nation to take hundreds of persons into custody without provable charges of any kind, and to �disappear� them into holes like Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram. Until your administration, in my wildest legal fantasy I could not imagine a U.S. Attorney General seeking to justify torture or a President first stating his intent to veto an anti-torture law, and then adding a �signing statement� that he intends to ignore such law as he sees fit. I do not want these things done in my name.

i salute mr. DuRocher.

posted by roj at 2:39 pm  

Friday, March 10, 2006

troubling messages america sends to its friends and allies

my president is “concerned” about the message scuttling the uae-ports world deal sends to our friends and allies, particularly in the middle east.

i only wish my president were equally concerned about the message that torturing prisoners, indefinite detentions, and compromising traditional american values sends to our friends and allies, particularly in the middle east.

posted by roj at 1:10 pm  

Thursday, March 9, 2006

the peter panse case

my america values art and culture and realizes that we are all nude under our clothes.

Pete Panse is a talented and popular high school art teacher in Middletown, NY who uses traditional techniques to to train his students. In December 2005 Mr. Panse was suspended from his job for recommending that some of his advanced students consider taking figure drawing courses that included nude figure drawings. Mr. Panse is suspended from his job pending hearings after which he may be permanently fired, ending a 25-year teaching career. In the meantime, his students are sitting in study hall learning nothing and failing to prepare the materials necessary for their receiving scholarships.

save art for our children. seriously.

perhaps even more importantly, save a good teacher for the children yet to come.

posted by roj at 1:53 pm  

Monday, March 6, 2006

global respect

i can’t speak to the accuracy of the translation, but the english version of this interview, copied in its entirety below, is important for all residents of planet earth. you can see the video here [ifilm], and here [windows media, via metafilter].

i will only add that this does not apply only to muslims.

Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan: There Is No Clash of Civilizations but a Clash between the Mentality of the Middle Ages and That of the 21st Century

Following are excerpts from an interview with Arab-American psychologist Wafa Sultan. The interview was aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006

Wafa Sultan: The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.


Host: I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?

Wafa Sultan: Yes, that is what I mean.


Host: Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not Bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don’t mind…

Wafa Sultan: The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: “I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger.” When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to start this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.

My colleague has said that he never offends other people’s beliefs. What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another time he calls them the “People of the Book,” and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians “those who incur Allah’s wrath.” Who told you that they are “People of the Book”? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them “those who incur Allah’s wrath,” or “those who have gone astray,” and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?

I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others’ right to believe in it.

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Are you a heretic?

Wafa Sultan: You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural…

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran…

Wafa Sultan: These are personal matters that do not concern you.


Wafa Sultan: Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don’t throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people’s beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs.


Wafa Sultan: The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.


update [2006.03.09] a great blog i don’t check in on often enough as picked up on this.

posted by roj at 1:23 am  

Friday, March 3, 2006

don’t pay off your credit cards: you might be a terrorist

unlike eastern europe during the cold war, you don’t even have to have [or not have] papers to be suspicious. in modern america, just paying off your credit cards can flag you as a potential terrorist…

Pay too much and you could raise the alarm [ scrips-howard news service, 2006.02.28]

if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified.

apparently, the department of homeland security (the same people that can’t figure out that hurricanes are dangerous?) has determined that the payment habits of every american is subject to review.

no arrests (that we know of…) but every american with a financial record is subject, so this gets threat level orange:

update this incident brought to you by sections 351 and 352 of the usa patriot act.

posted by roj at 5:50 pm  

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