Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring
groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical
Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the
core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
I published this article today
The three core tragedies associated with Christianity's early break from Judaism are: 1. Christianity's resultant other-worldliness, 2. Christianity's difficulty to access the person they follow and worship, and get a clearer sense and understanding of what this particular Israeli was trying to explain and demonstrate, and 3. The mismatch to have a religion with such influence in world affairs itself be so deeply other-worldly in its core worldview.
The enduring breach between Judaism and Christianity cripples the voice of spiritual guidance needed in our time.Read more at www.digitaljournal.com
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Cooperation instead of violence benefits everyone
Still, Christmas was marked by a rare spirit of cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israeli officials say about 100,000 tourists visited Bethlehem on the holiday, twice as many as last year. A lull in violence brought the biggest turnout in a decade, and it was a peaceful Christmas in the Holy Land.
Read more at www.voanews.com
Slide show of Chirstmas Around the World
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Everyone has a take on Assange and Wikileaks. Here's mine. I published this article this morning.
On November 28, 2010, Julian Assange, editor in chief of Wikileaks (founded 2006) released 251,287 US diplomatic cables including many labeled classified or secret.
US diplomats stand trial for their foibles, their faux pas, their candor, and their arrogance. But to revel and delight in this, and to wag a soiled finger in 'there-theres' during America's embarrassing moment is short-sighted, ill-advised, and plain wrong.
There is nothing new or to be learned that such communications are the fabric of international, political relations dominated as they are by unvarnished, national self interest?
If friends and foes are in the mood to lecture the United States, it need not be in the shallow pretense of shock that diplomacy is as everyone already knows it is, but rather it should be for what should evoke genuine anger, namely that the US has proven so lax, disordered, and inept in its capacity to protect sensitive materials.
Will this dump help a single everyman who is affected and oppressed by the closedness of systems and structures in which we try to carry out our daily lives? No, not in the least. In fact Assange has just made matters worse in this regard
The negatively inspired exposure and pointless embarrassment of US diplomats has drained from our world another drop of the single most needed quality in all constructive relationships, trustRead more at www.digitaljournal.com
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
This gives a whole new meaning to the commonly used phrase, "We elected some clown to serve in Congress"
SAO PAULO – Grumpy the clown won election in a laugher, getting more votes than any other candidate for Brazil's Congress. Now he has to prove that he can read and write.
The Sao Paulo Electoral Court held a closed-door exam for the clown turned congressman-elect on Thursday to determine if he meets a constitutional mandate that federal lawmakers be literate.
Francisco Silva became famous as Tiririca — "Grumpy" in Portuguese — and received about 1.3 million votes, nearly twice as many as the next-highest vote-getter in last month's congressional elections.Read more at news.yahoo.com
This (originally LA Times) article is excellent, and well worth the read. Macro economics often are hard to grasp for lay people. This article does very well to present a great deal of important information in a clear and comprehensible way.
Reporting from Seoul —
The leaders of the world's 20 major economies on Friday ended a frequently rancorous two-day summit in this northeast Asian capital without reaching agreement on specific steps to avert damaging currency and trade wars.
There were far more setbacks than gains, but President Obama suffered the biggest disappointment, falling short in his attempt to forge a unified approach to boosting the global economy.
The previous day, the U.S. and South Korea acknowledged that they remained in a stalemate over a free-trade agreement that has languished in the national legislatures of both nations.Read more at www.chicagotribune.com
Pray for her safety,
"It is now crucial that Aung San Suu Kyi has unrestricted freedom of movement and speech and can participate fully in her country's political process," European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso said.
YANGON, Myanmar (Nov. 13) -- Myanmar's military government freed its archrival, democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on Saturday after her latest term of detention expired. Several thousand jubilant supporters streamed to her residence.
We have a lot of things to do," she told the well-wishers, who quickly swelled to as many as 5,000.
Her release was immediately welcomed by world leaders and human rights organizations.Read more at www.aolnews.com
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I wrote this article today that examines the Vatican-Israel relationship following statements made at the conclusion of the Middle East Bishops Synod
Pope Benedict XVI convened the first Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican City from October 10th to 24th.
By the end of the Synod, Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, head of the commission that drew up the statement, made the following, shocking statement:
"The theme of the Promised Land cannot be used as a basis to justify the return of the Jews to Israel and the expatriation of the Palestinians.
"We Christians cannot speak of the 'Promised Land' as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people -- all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people." 
That same day Danny Ayalon, Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, said ,
"We express our disappointment that this important synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propagandaRead more at www.digitaljournal.com
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Many might imagine themselves disinterested in a Vatican advisory council on science. But the same many may have passionate opinions on political and social issues that match exactly the very matters to which this commission devotes itself.
VATICAN CITY – Some of the world’s top scientists gathered at the Vatican last weekend to discuss the scientific advances of the 20th century and their compatibility with religion.
Located within the Vatican garden, Casina Pio IV is a 16th century villa that houses the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
The scientists are members of the Roman Catholic Church's papal advisory council known as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Pope Benedict XVI praised the achievements of modern science. He said that the Catholic Church "both encourages and benefits from" scientific research and told his audience that people must neither fear science nor hold it up as a panacea capable of answering all of our deepest existential questions.
But some scientists present said the Catholic Church must do more to convince people that it is not anti-science.
The existence of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, however, allows the Catholic Church to interface with modern science. Set up originally by Roman prince Federico Cesi in 1603, the academy was reinstated in its current form in 1936 by Pope Pius XI to ensure that the Catholic Church is kept up to speed with modern science and briefed on topics of particular interest to the Vatican.Read more at www.foxnews.com
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Attacking a place of worship and targeting people during their celebration of God is in direct contravention of the message of the Holy Qur-aan, is anti-Islaam and inhuman. The Prophet (pbuh) has condemned such behaviour in the strongest possible terms when he said: "indeed the blood, honour, possessions and life of another are sacred and therefore forbidden to violate". Hence such people cannot be Muslims.
Muslims must repudiate the fanatics, and must repudiate those who seek to manipulate Muslims into giving fanatics tacit support by being silent in the face of their atrocities. I call upon all Muslim leaders of the world to speak up in the face of injustice, whether it is injustice against Muslims, Christians, Jews or any other community.Read more at www.irfwp.org
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
That's how many people I had in my house to watch the game last night.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Vice president Joe Biden is urging fellow Delaware Democrats to get voters to the polls for the midterm elections.
Biden headlined a Democratic rally in downtown Wilmington on Monday evening that drew about 200 people.Read more at www.wtop.com
Monday, November 1, 2010
I published this brief article today
Abstract: Advances in genetic science is one of the most exciting developments of our time. There arises from this great hope to cure many crippling maladies whose quiddities have eluded us so far. But, so long as these advances occur in an environment of scientism and materialist reductionism, progress in the study of genetics will continue to carry clear and substantial social dangers.
Lawson puts the potential horrors of this materialist reductionism in plain view in a mad pendulum swing across two short paragraphs:
The notion of homosexuality as genetic destiny won plaudits among those who thought that described the origins of their own sexual identity; but the discovery or belief that there is a simple and identifiable genetic cause of certain behavioral traits can have deeply unpleasant consequences.
Read more at forum.newworldencyclopedia.org
In 1997 Professor James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, declared: “If you could find the gene which determines sexuality, and a woman decides she doesn’t want a homosexual child, well, let her [abort].”
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Here's a good article explaining that we have the human capacity to "gauge realistically the actual level of threat," and thus experience excitement rather than fear.
Every Halloween, Americans spend millions on scary fun. From haunted
houses to horror movies, teens as well as adults seem to crave a good
People enjoy feeling scared and seek the feeling out because, deep
down, they know they are in no real danger, according to David Rudd,
dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science at the University
They understand the real risk of these activities is marginal, andRead more at news.yahoo.com
because of this underlying awareness, they experience excitement
rather than actual fear, Rudd explained. This is why people enjoy
going on terrifying amusement park rides and walking through a
Halloween-themed haunted house.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Anyone troubles by this at all?
The U.S. Department of Defense got more than $9 billion from the sale of Iraqi oil and other revenue streams to be used for reconstruction inside the war-damaged nation and spent it but now cannot document where $8.7 billion of those funds went, according to an inspector general's report published online.
The report, dated July 27, but still unreported in media outlets, documented, "Weakness in DoD's financial management controls left it unable to properly account for $8.7 billion of the $9.1 billion in DFI (Development Fund for Iraq) funds it received for reconstruction activities in Iraq.Read more at www.wnd.com
Does the difference lie in the presence of a compulsory draft?
JERUSALEM (RNS) Israel, like the United States, is a largely secular society with deep religious roots. And Israel, like the United States, is home to vocal religious conservatives who frown on homosexuality.
But Israel, unlike the United States, has allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for 17 years. In fact, they are required to.
So, if Israel has found a way to allow gays in the military, can it provide lessons to the U.S. as it struggles with whether—and how—to dismantle Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell?
Perhaps. But like everything in Israel, it’s a bit more complicated. And the comparison between the U.S. and Israel is inexact.
Read more at www.religionnews.com
By most accounts, Israel’s integration of gays in the military has succeeded, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has reportedly begun to share its experiences with the U.S. military.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Farewell, many thanks, and safe flight Mr. Anderson.
(I wonder if one could actually SEE Russia from Frostbite Falls?)
In the Wayback Machine, it’s a very short trip to 1959 and the debut of “Rocky and His Friends” — the cartoon series featuring characters originated by Alex Anderson. Mr. Anderson died Friday at the age of 90 after a life spent mostly in advertising.
Jay Ward, who created the series, was clearly responsibly for its anarchic spirit. But Mr. Anderson’s leading characters — Rocky the flying squirrel and his pal, Bullwinkle the moose — are lodged in the imagination of Americans of a certain age. Say the words “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and suddenly we’re in Frostbite Falls, surrounded by Boris and Natasha, the Russian spies, and Mr. Peabody, the calm, pedantic owner of the Wayback Machine.
Read more at www.nytimes.com
An entire generation got its first impression of our Soviet rivals from Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. The two plotted and bickered and — reassuringly — were always thwarted.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Here are a couple of paragraphs from an article I wrote this morning.
Khalid Tanveer, in his AP article writes of the suicide bomb killing 5 and wounding 13 during morning prayers Monday at the Farid Shakar Ganj shrine in the Punjab province in Pakistan.
According to Tanveer, the attacks derive from the perception that the practice of mystical Sufism clashes with hard line interpretations of Islamist militants
The overwhelming burden of sadness that fills our hearts as we ponder the tragic and violent deaths and maiming of innocent people who had arisen in their modest lives to pray at dawn, is so perfectly different from the gagging I feel when wading through more media narcissism this time on the pampered over importance afforded such celebrity bourgeoisie as Juan Williams and Vivian Schiller. Yet both stories address the same deeply serious matter, namely the contemporary dimension of violence associated with Islam.Read more at www.digitaljournal.com
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Is killing large animals a requisite for women in politics?
Democrat Herseth-Sandlin might have thought that being a hunter was sufficient to win this November, but her challenger Republican Kristi Noem hunts elk with bow and arrow.
Perhaps an Independent who kills animals with her bare teeth would beat them both in this highly observed South Dakota race for Congress
Herseth-Sandlin is an avid hunter and one of the top conservative Democrats in the House. She's also from a highly regarded South Dakota political family; her grandfather was a governor, her grandmother a South Dakota Secretary of State and her father a leader in the state legislature.
Read more at abcnews.go.com
But Herseth-Sandlin has never faced a challenger like Kristi Noem. She's a rancher, a mother of three, and a staunch conservative who is running on a platform of slashing federal spending and repealing the new federal health care law. She's also an avid hunter known to hunt elk with a bow and arrow. Her political views and physical appearance have led some to label her "South Dakota's Sarah Palin."
Monday, October 11, 2010
New York Times:
The United States is the enemy
The Pentagon is worried that its increasingly tense relationship with the Chinese military owes itself in part to the rising leaders of Commander Cao’s generation, who, much more than the country’s military elders, view the United States as the enemy. Older Chinese officers remember a time, before the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 set relations back, when American and Chinese forces made common cause against the Soviet Union.
Read more at www.nytimes.com
Theyounger officers have known only an anti-American ideology, which casts the United States as bent on thwarting China’s rise.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
"In his 20's," and already has a 1.2 million person army with a nuclear arsenal.
It was a momentous public debut for Kim Jong Un less than two weeks after he was made a four-star general in the first in a series of appointments that set him firmly on the path to succession, which would carry the Kim dynasty over the communist country into a third generation.
The earlier parade was said to be the nation's largest ever
Thousands of troops from every branch of North Korea's 1.2 million-member military,
Trucks loaded with katyusha rocket launchers rolled past. They were dwarfed by a series of missiles that paraded by, each larger than the last and emblazoned with: "Defeat the U.S. military. U.S. soldiers are the Korean People's Army's enemy."
"If the U.S. imperialists and their followers infringe on our sovereignty and dignity even slightly, we will blow up the stronghold of their aggression with a merciless and righteous retaliatory strike by mobilizing all physical means, including self-defensive nuclear deterrent force, and achieve the historic task of unification," Ri Yong Ho, chief of the General Staff of the North Korean army, said at the event.
The question of who will take over leadership of the nuclear-armed nation of 24 million has been a pressing one since Kim Jong Il reportedly suffered a stroke in 2008.
Kim is believed to be in his 20s. Read more at news.yahoo.com
Friday, October 8, 2010
Today's lead paragraph award in the category 'unagitated' goes to Chris Spillane and Ryan Flinn of Bloomberg Businessweek
Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Segway Inc. may face fresh challenges trying to broaden the appeal of its transporter after the company’s owner died driving the vehicle off a cliff.Read more at www.businessweek.com
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Which of the 123 Billion expressions of despair would be most appropriate here?
This week, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, staged his annual visit to the United Nations -- he denied the Holocaust, called Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, a "killer" and taunted the United States, saying Americans have "never entered a real war" -- Arab states were putting the final touches to the largest peace-time rearmament program in history, with orders for US$123-billion-worth of weapons.
In the largest order, Saudi Arabia plans to spend US$67.8-billion
Riyadh is expected to follow up with a second arms package: US$24-billion to US$27-billion
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has already received clearance to purchase a US$7-billion
This week, the Financial Times reported that the UAE is poised to buy an additional US$35-billion-US$40-billion in military equipment,
Kuwait is also expected to spend US$7-billion
Oman is said to be looking at acquiring US$12.3-billion-worth of military gear,
Yemen is already scheduled to receive almost US$1-billion in military aid
The flood of arms into an already volatile region has been underway ever since the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003.
In 2004 to 2007, the region signed arms contracts totaling $63.05-billion, or 30% of all weapons sales worldwide.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
"Around 5,000 scholars are given permission to conduct research each year but only the Pope is allowed to take a book out of the library."
I wonder what His Holiness is fined per day for late returns?
The Vatican Library is to reopen to scholars after a three year, £7.5 million
renovation, with 21st century technology enlisted to safeguard books and
manuscripts dating back nearly 2,000 years.
Each one of the library's 70,000 books, which are stored in a bombproof bunker, has been fitted with a computer chip capable of emitting radio signals in order to prevent loss and theft.
The undertaking was in part motivated by an attempted theft by an American art history professor, who smuggled pages torn from a 14th century manuscript that once belonged to Petrarch.
He was sentenced in 1996 to 14 months in prison after admitting that he took the pages during a research visit in 1987.
The electronic chips are also designed to ensure that each priceless document remains in its proper place in the vast repository beneath the Vatican.
"In this kind of library, if a book is misplaced, it is as good as lost," said Ambrogio Piazzoni, the library's vice-prefect.
"But with this new radio frequency system of identification, it will be much easier to locate a lost book and return it to its rightful place."
Around 5,000 scholars are given permission to conduct research each year but only the Pope is allowed to take a book out of the library.Read more at www.telegraph.co.uk
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
I wrote this story today about the current Middle East peace talks
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Channel 10 news in an exclusive interview on Thursday, "talks will "take time" and are "complicated."
Hamas has declared its objection to the recent relaunch of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, saying that Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas does not represent the Palestinian.people and is not authorized to negotiate on its behalf.
In the midst of it all George Mitchell says: "In negotiations brokered by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas were having a "serious and substantive" discussion.Read more at www.examiner.com
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Somehow, I still see an impatient, soft fingered whip in stylish eyeglasses, on the DC shuttle, pounding away on his blackberry, complaining about the slowness of the speed of light.
A new photonic chip that works on light rather than electricity has been built by an international research team, paving the way for the production of ultra-fast quantum computers with capabilities far beyond today’s devices.
Future quantum computers will, for example, be able to pull important information out of the biggest databases almost instantaneously. As the amount of electronic data stored worldwide grows exponentially, the technology will make it easier for people to search with precision for what they want.Read more at www.ft.com
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Al Qadri in the home of his son-in-law. A Pakistani Muslim scholar, Al Qadri founded Minhaj-ul-Quran, an international organization promoting moderation which claims to have over a million followers. He hit the headlines earlier this year after holding an anti-terrorism summer camp in England, teaching 1,300 young Muslims how to argue against extremists, and in March for issuing what’s thought to be the world’s first fatwa against terrorism.
With his focus on religious sensitivity, it’s not surprising that Al Qadri says, in his own roundabout way, that it might not have been the best idea for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to build an Islamic cultural center where he did. “If it creates problems in the community, and certain reactions are being anticipated, it may be wrong,” he says in a thick, Pakistani accent. “The best kind of policy should be to avoid any kind of litigation, dispute and unrest that leads to a lack of confidence between the two communities.”Read more at blogs.forbes.com
Thursday, September 9, 2010
This is the article I wrote and published today on the pending Gainesville problem.
Terry Jones, "pastor" of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida plans to burn Qu'rans in front of his “church” Saturday.
Is that “Christian”?
Now, what if some random fellow of equally massive insignificance as "pastor" Jones situated in some Muslim village about the size of Gainesville Florida (pop. 124,000), say 'A?barah, Sudan (same population) managed to convince around 50 people, (about one or two families in his clan) to burn Christian Bibles this coming Saturday. How would things be going in that regard? My guess is that those Bibles would come and go with nary a Christian on earth ever hearing a word about it
What's going on here?
Christians seriously talking about throwing themselves on bonfires! To protect what? The Qu'ran! Full page ads? We know what those cost. For what? The Qu'ran.
Read more at www.examiner.com
It is incumbent upon every decent and conscientious Muslim to act swiftly and effectively to disseminate by all means possible the lengths to which Americans and Christians worldwide are going to protect and honor the Qu'ran.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Haiti Quake: 7.0
Christchurch (NZ) quake: 7.4
Port Au Prince pop.: 704,776
Christchurch pop: 340,000
Christchurch deaths: 0
Haiti deaths: 230,000
Christchurch injured: 2
Haiti injured: 300,000
Christchurch damage: "building facades crashed to the ground, crushing parked cars and showering the roads with shattered glass, while gas and water electricity supplies were cut"
Haiti damage: "1,000,000 made homeless, 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed"
Officials said it was “extremely lucky” no one was killed when the 7.0 magnitude quake shook the island nation's second-largest city of Christchurch just before dawn. Frightened residents fled their homes to find streets covered in rubble and glass, but despite the extent of the damage only two people were seriously injured in the city of 340,000 people.Read more at hindu.com
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Winner of today's calmest headline and lead paragraph award
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A Qantas flight was forced to return to San Francisco International Airport early Tuesday when the jetliner's engine exploded in mid-air, officials said.Read more at www.upi.com
Monday, August 30, 2010
Here is an interesting angle on how the Glenn Beck rally is being covered.
This post is more about the media, than about Glenn Beck’s rally itself. It is increasingly the case that 1 news lead becomes the one that gets taken by newspapers (news sources) worldwide. Lazy journalism in a cash-strapped time of transition.
In this case the dominant report on what should be a extremely closely watched event (but instead everyone starts blabbing away based on second hand knowledge) is an AP article with the title Beck: Help us restore traditional American values.
But if you read the article you traverse 3 full paragraphs before you see anything remotely related to values.
But things get even worse, and this is why I write this here. The first mention of anything related to values, shows in fact how pathetic the news media is on this issue (and that in my book is a real danger). What they call values is an uneducated media figure asking people to turn to God and to pray. These may or may not be good things to do. I don’t care. But this is simply religion, preaching, and exhortation. It is not a discussion of values.Read more at vikf.org
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Going once, ... Going twice.
Sold for 50,000 dollars
Iraq the 5th most corrupt nation on earth
Corruption has been a major problem for Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Transparency International's 2009 corruption perceptions index ranked Iraq as one of the world's most corrupt nations -- 176 out of 180 countries.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Computer equipment worth $1.9 million which the U.S. military says was a gift for Iraqi schoolchildren but was auctioned off for less than $50,000 was sold legally, Iraq's customs authority said Sunday.
Read more at www.reuters.com