14 March 2007

Not just the most religious, not just the most ignorant, but the most IGNORANT ABOUT RELIGION of any people on Earth!!!

Whooo!!!! We're number 1!!!!

According to a new book, in this most favoured nation of God:

  • 98% of Americans profess belief in a monotheistic God, with 81% claiming to be “Christian.”
  • The USA is the “only developed nation in the survey where a majority of citizens reported that religion plays a ‘very important’ role in their lives.”
  • Other recent surveys show only 58% to 80% of Americans are “certain” there’s a God.
  • 75% of adults believe the famed Benjamin Franklin saying “God helps those who help themselves” is one of the Ten Commandments.
  • “A 2005 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that nearly two-thirds of Americans endorse the simultaneous teaching of creationism and evolution in public schools,” despite the former’s insistence that the latter isn’t true and never happened.
  • 10% believe Joan of Arc was the wife of Noah from the Book of Genesis.
  • The decline of religious literacy in America began with the “Second Great Awakening” of the 1800s — a rejection of the Founding Fathers’ Age of Reason and theological knowledge in favor of a “personal relationship with God”
  • George W. Bush, himself a religious illiterate who claims to be a born-again Christian whose “favorite philosopher” is Jesus, excitedly jabbers about a Third Great Awakening
  • 50% of high school seniors believe Sodom and Gomorrah were married.
  • 17% agree that Ramadan is the “Jewish day of atonement.”
  • Most believe Saint Paul led the Israelites from their enslavement in Egypt.
  • Only one in three Americans can name the four Gospels, while less than half can even name one of them.
  • A majority couldn’t identify the preacher of the “Sermon on the Mount.”

10 March 2007

Saddest fucking thing I have seen in a very long time...

This picture, from Salon, is of wounded Marine Sgt. Ty Ziegel on his wedding day.

One of the most poignant things I got out of the interview is how fewer troops are dying because of improved medical care. People that would have died of such traumatic injuries in previous wars can now be saved - but they need multiple, massive surgeries, over weeks and months. They are sent to facilities like Brooke Army Medical Center that may be far away from their home towns. The government doesn't pay for a family to come out to be with their loved one - maybe for a week, but no more.

The Fisher House Foundation builds "comfort houses" on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

Ty says that he wouldn't have survived his 19 surgeries at Brooke Army if his and his mom hadn't been there to support him. Please, if you can, support this charity by clicking here.

09 March 2007

"Aiding the enemies of America"

Apparently, yesterday on CNN's Your World Today, Michael Ware, a correspondent based in CNN's Baghdad bureau, made the statement that "anyone trying to put artificial deadlines upon this conflict is only aiding the enemies, so-called, of America, Al Qaeda and Iran. ... [I]n terms of the broader strategic framework, it serves only America's enemies."

I am so tired of hearing about "our enemies" in Iraq, as if the carnage there is all - or even mostly - about us. The fact is that it is not our war to lose. Iraq is in the throes of a multipartite civil conflict, with the U.S. military sometimes playing a peacekeeping role, and sometimes - intentionally or unintentionally - helping one side or another. The U.S. cannot impose a military solution, and there are not enough troops to stabilize (as is often stated as our short-term goal) the capital city. The situation will go on much as it has, with more soldiers and Marines dying every month, and the situation continuing to devolve.

The obvious fact, that no one seems to want to talk about, is that we will have to leave eventually. All the sides in this conflict know this. There is no one with even the slightest understanding of the situation who imagines that the status quo can be maintained for more than a few years. So the canard that "setting a timetable helps our enemies" literally makes no sense. What would they do differently if we circled a date on the calendar and said, "all troops out by (say) August 2008?" Stop killing each other for a year and a half? Kill each other at an even faster rate? What evidence is there to support either idea?

We have exactly two options: end it now, this instant - and engage in an extremely long-term commitment to deal with the consequences of our foolish, murderous actions in Iraq; or spend a few more months or years creating more horror in Iraq and in the souls of more soldiers and Marines before taking the first option anyway.

There are no other options.

08 March 2007

International Women's Day

The red text reads:

8th of March is the day of the rebellion of the working women against kitchen slavery".

The grey text on the lower right reads:

Say NO to the oppression and Babbittry of household work!"

07 March 2007

Where's Riverbend?

It's not unlike the Iraqi blogger who writes Baghdad Burning to go missing for weeks at a time - hers is not a country where the luxury of regular blogging is as common as it is here in the West. However, given that she disappeared after questioning Maliki's denial of the Sabrine al-Janabi rape, it's more than a little disturbing...

04 March 2007

And, in another language...

The first entry on my technical writing blog.

I would love to meet anyone who could understand both this and my previous post...

03 March 2007

Il "Cav ed il Decider

Ieri mattina ho ascoltato una intervista con Silvio Berlusconi su Radio anch'io di Rai 2. Mi interesse molto il fenomino del cosiddetto "Cavaliere," e mi sembra che la sua popolarità nell'Italia sia paragonabile a quella che gode il "Decider" negli Stati Uniti. Sembravano entrambi come "outsider" all'inizio delle loro campagne elletorale, ma poi diventava chiaro che tutti e due sono sopportati della struttura del potere.

Ascoltando la programma, mi pareva che Berlusconi parlasse molto chiaro, abbastanza lento (per un milanese!!), e con molta sicurezza di sè. Mi sembrava che avesse una padronanza della sua lengua madre migliore di quello di Bush, anche se negli Stati Uniti parlare bene sia considerato quasi un'ostentazione.

Da questo punto, pensava che Romano Prodi (il "Professore") magari sarebbe paragonabile a Al (il "Ozone man") Gore. Questi due uomini sono molto intelligenti, molto seri, ma non troppo drammatici. E purtroppo, secondo me, questo è un problema molto grave per la democrazia. Per la maggior parte degli elettori, la democrazia è una forma di divertimento. È un dilemma molto inquietante per me, che considero l'importanza della democrazia come un punto fondamentale della vita politica.

È il mio parere che sarebbe meglio se il governi dei paesi sia più piccoli - mi pare che i elezioni che convolgono un grandissimo numero di elettori favorano i ricchi e la gente di spettacolo...