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Archive for April, 2006

End of an era

April 29, 2006 Leave a comment

After more than a year and a half, my six month free trial of The New Republic Digital has finally expired.

Sometimes computer glitches are actually good.

Categories: Personal

Jeff tries to understand the Jews

April 28, 2006 2 comments

I think I need to understand Jews better. I bear them no ill will. Some of them are good, kind and charitable people, and I have no desire to debate or convert them. I do think they are wrong about the biggest question and I will admit to occasionally viewing them with the kind of bewilderment often shown to me by Christians who can’t quite understand why the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection has not reached me. However, there is something I am missing about Jews: what I simply do not understand is why they’re so greedy.

So we disagree about religion. I’m sometimes at odds with Yankee fans, people who like rap music and people who don’t like animals, but I try to be civil. I don’t know many people who wake up thinking of new ways to keep the Jews out of the economy, but many people who believe in the Torah seem to find their neighbors terribly oppressive, particularly if the folks next door are Christians. I just don’t get it.

This must sound condescending and a large generalization, and I don’t mean it that way, but I am tempted to believe that behind Jewish greed there are oftentimes uncomfortable personal histories. Even the history of the people as a whole may have something to do with it. Perhaps their greed is the result of a past where Jews have been occasionally victimized without good reason. Perhaps it’s become genetic after being so insular throughout history. They had to become unscrupulous in order to survive. They thought they needed to ensure their survival against perceived aggressors by controlling the banks. I would ask for forgiveness from the angry Jews who do these things, but I doubt it would help. I fear it’s become too ingrained. We can’t apologize for wanting a stake in our own economy and we must remain vigilant in fighting the attempts of those who would take it from us.

Some of our leaders obviously betray the ethical code they claim to live by, but that code remains a critique of them and also of every thing we do to betray the better part of our nature. But our world is better and kinder and more hopeful because of the efforts of those who fight for our economic rights.

To be called to a level of goodness and vigilance in the face of such cunning and deviousness may seem a lost cause and an attack on the followers of the Jewish faith. However, such a vision need not be seen as a red flag to the people of Moses. I can humbly ask whether my Jewish brothers and sisters really believe that their lives are better, richer and more hopeful by clinging to their desire for more money and more power. I can agree to make peace with Jews whom I believe ask too much for their place in life here on planet earth if they will agree to make peace with me and with others who they perceive as oppressors. I believe that if we all treat each other with respect, we can work towards a fairer world for all. I urge my Jewish brothers and sisters to conduct themselves as the golden rule urges: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

And to try a little positivity. Last week I met up with a Jewish friend of mine to talk about school and life. He runs a bank here in town and we discussed some of the policies he has regarding his gentile customers. He told me “I think the difference between us is not so great. We are all human beings, we are all God’s creatures, and we should treat each other with fairness and respect.” Now there’s a Jew I can believe in.

So, think I can get that published in Newsweek?

(via The Secular Outpost)

Categories: Religion, The media

All done!

April 28, 2006 2 comments

No more classes for me. At least for a while. Because I know you care, this how the semester has gone:

Embedded Systems: Turned out to be pretty interesting. I got an A in it and I don’t have to take the final.
Intro to Logic: Slightly harder than American Pop Music. But not much. Unless I bomb the final (not likely), I’ll get an A.
Bones, Apes, and Ancestors: I liked this class, even if it was boring at times. I also did surprisingly well. Unless my final paper sucks and I bomb the final, I’ll have an A.
Software Engineering 2: Useful, I guess, though I can’t say I enjoyed it. There’s no final and I have no idea what grade I’ll be getting. B- is my guess.

There you have it. Two finals and I’ll have a degree in Computer Science. Now I just need a job.

Categories: Personal

Music!

April 28, 2006 1 comment

The “oh my god it’s my last day of class ever” edition.

The Crown – [Possessed 13 #03] Deliverance
Porcupine Tree – [The Sky Moves Sideways #1/03] The Moon Touches Your Shoulder
Tool – [Opiate [ep] #04] Cold and Ugly [live]
Vehemence – [God Was Created #05] Lusting for Affection
The Haunted – [The Haunted Made Me Do It #10] Under the Surface
Evergrey – [Monday Morning Apocalypse #06] In Remembrance
Dead Can Dance – [Aion #09] Wilderness
System of a Down – [Toxicity #14] Aerials
Anathema – [Alternative 4 #09] Feel
Neutral Milk Hotel – [In The Aeroplane Over The Sea #03] In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

Categories: Music

My lord

April 27, 2006 Leave a comment

Ali G interviews Noam Chomsky. Hilarious.

(via Mixing Memory)

Categories: Silliness

Whoops

April 27, 2006 Leave a comment

And here I thought no one was this dumb:

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — A financial planner who lost more than $250,000 in a Nigerian scam and helped pay for part of it by stealing from his company and its pension plan has been sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Still, I like Nigerian email scams. Comedy gold. I’m partial to this attempt (though it’s not a Nigerian scam, really), mostly because I contributed the occupation listed at the end.

(via F-Words, through 4&20)

Categories: Silliness

Political philosophy

April 27, 2006 6 comments

My discussion with Budge has spurred an interest in the subject. I’ve been meaning to read some stuff on it anyway. At the moment I’m planning on reading:

  • A Theory of Justice
  • Anarchy, State, and Utopia

Any other recommendations are welcome. I think I should grab some sort of introductory work, too.

Categories: Personal

Silly fundamentalists

April 26, 2006 Leave a comment

Oh lordy, Agape Press is in a tizzy.

Rick Warren’s Presence at ‘Azusa Street’ Questioned

(AgapePress) – A Bible teacher and author is questioning California pastor Rick Warren’s decision to speak at the Azusa Street Centennial, a week-long festival that kicks off today in Los Angeles.

Thousands are gathering in Los Angeles to mark the 100th anniversary of the “Azusa Street Revival,” which is considered the start of the modern Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. According to the official website for the centennial celebration, objectives of the gathering include commemorating the movement’s heritage, diversity, and progress, as well as seeking God’s direction for its future. More than 150 well-known Pentecostal leaders are scheduled to preach or teach, among them Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, and Creflo Dollar.

Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, is among the speakers during Azusa Street Centennial. Bob Dewaay, pastor of Twin City Fellowship — a non-denominational evangelical church in Minneapolis — and author of Redefining Christianity: Understanding the ‘Purpose Driven’ Movement, is concerned that by speaking at the event, Pastor Warren is aligning himself with some speakers who have been accused of denying the Trinity.

Oh my! Denying the Trinity? Some of them? Accused? For shame!

The pastor adds that if Rick Warren “wants to be America’s pastor, then I think he better start standing up for sound doctrine — not only in his own practice but those of the other people around him.”

I sympathize with this. You all know how much of a stickler I am for sound doctrine. I know the Trinity inside and out! See, there are three…I mean one…it has three parts: the father…but he’s not really the father of anything…the son…but he’s not really the son of the father, he’s equal…but not…he was begotten…not in the sense of born of, though…more like proceeding from…and the holy ghost, which isn’t really a ghost like Casper but a spirit…of some kind…it can do magic.

If that’s not sound doctrine, I don’t know what is!

Dewaay says he questions Warren’s motivation for speaking at the event, even going so far as to suggest that the well-known pastor and author is speaking to gain more support for his political agenda. The Minnesota pastor recalls hearing Pastor Warren tell the Religion Newswriters Association that he plans to get 400,000 churches signed up for his peace plan.

An evangelical with a political agenda? Who’d a thought?

Categories: Religion

Someone censor that man!

April 26, 2006 Leave a comment

‘Jesus with erection’ ignites outrage

A Catholic activist organization has written to Oregon’s governor and state lawmakers to protest a University of Oregon student newspaper for having published cartoons showing Jesus Christ naked and with an erection.

In its March edition, the Insurgent, an “alternative” student paper on the Eugene, Ore., campus printed 12 hand-drawn cartoons of Jesus as a response to rival paper the Commentator having published the controversial cartoons of Muhammad originally published in Europe that sparked Muslim riots worldwide. The Insurgent claimed it published the drawings to “provoke dialogue.”

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, says the university’s president, John Frohnmayer, has been unresponsive to complaints about the drawings, so he has written to the governor, every state legislators and the chancellor of the Oregon University System, among others.

I don’t like the cartoons, therefore I’m going to the government.

Clearly, there are no parallels to the Mohammad cartoon nonsense. None. Donahue isn’t blowing up anything, so it’s completely different.

Categories: Religion, Silliness

I am not happy…

April 26, 2006 Leave a comment

…with Pat Roberts. Remember when Harry Reid closed down the Senate to pressure him regarding the investigation into the use of pre-war intelligence by the Bush administration? He chastised Reid for doing so:

It seems to me it was rather convenient, because it was just yesterday that our staff was working with the staff of the minority indicating that not this week, but next week we would spend as much time as possible, five or six days to complete our work in regards to phase two.

It isn’t like it has been delayed. As a matter of fact, it’s been on going. As a matter of fact, we have been doing our work on phase two. It is difficult, as I will indicate in just a minute I’ll go through these provisions on what we agreed to do. So it seemed to be a little convenient for all of a sudden go into a closed session of the Senate and call for a full Senate investigation of phase two when the committee is already doing its work. And I think that that basically is an unfortunate stunt. I would call it something else, but I think probably I would just simply leave it at that.

I mean, come on, we’ll basically be done next week! 5 months later, here we are. Now Roberts is pushing for another division and delay (via Drum):

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said he wants to divide his panel’s inquiry into the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq-related intelligence into two parts, a move that would push off its most politically controversial elements to a later time.

It makes sense to me. There’s an election coming up. We can’t have the truth about the Bush administration’s handling of intelligence coming out.

Sheesh. Does Roberts have any shame? He keeps dragging his feet, avoiding actually investigating whether the Bush administration deserves some blame in the intelligence catastrophe that was WMDs in Iraq. Roberts whines about it at the end of the article:

Roberts is less than completely pleased about his committee’s focus on wrapping up phase two.

He recently complained in a U.S. News & World Report article that his committee has not made progress on overseeing intelligence on Iran, a growing national security concern, because Democrats are “more focused on intelligence failures of the past.”

Actually, some us would like to have a better understanding of why the Bush administration was so wrong. It seems useful to, you know, figure out if our elected leaders are doing their jobs honestly.

Categories: Bush, Congress
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