Monday, November 29, 2004

A Leviticus Letter

Wayne Williams, a writer from California, has been circulating a rather trenchant open letter to President Bush. It presents the clearest (and funniest) critique I have seen so far of the use of the Bible to condemn homosexuality.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Purple Nation

I'm finally getting around to uploading this map that I made a couple of days after Kerry decided to abandon us to a highly problematic vote count. What it shows is what Barak Obama said – there is red in the blue states and blue in the red states.

The map is relevant for this country really only as long as we continue with the democracy-distorting electoral college system. A county-by-county map gives a more granular image of how the country's votes were counted. Farther down the same page is a map that gives a visual sense of where all the people live, which is enlightening since there are a lot of relatively sparsely populated, large-sized states that give a skewed vision of where the country is at on the straight red-vs-blue maps, and even on my own map.


I resent this system that rewards me for simply being a white man. I resent that I can't simply feel that I'm successful because of my gifts and talents, that there will always be in the back of my head the nagging feeling that I am where I am because of my skin color and plumbing. What spurred this thought? Reading about all those white guys in all three branches of our government who throw their bloated weight around, making decisions for the all of us, with no care about what they're doing to us. Who carry with them something very dangerous indeed – a sense of entitlement. A sense of entitlement that comes in large part from their lack of melanin and their outie crotches. Don't like affirmative action? Start with that cabal of dunderheaded bullies. Don't like entitlements? Get rid of 'em for rich white men. Maybe then we'll have something to talk about.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Calling All Christians

I would like to call upon our country and leaders to embrace a not-so-new morality. One that is based not on hate and fear, but on love and hope.

Let's look at the New Testament: Jesus never raised an army. Satan tried to convince him that he could use his power to simply take over and shape the world as he saw fit. It was during this time that Jesus uttered that famous line, "Get thee behind me, Satan." How did Jesus promulgate his word, utilize his power? He preached. He fed people. He healed people. He forgave people. When the Romans acted against him, he counselled his followers not to strike out, but to act in love.

His disciples did not raise an army to avenge his death. They walked out into the world, defenseless, and talked to people. They got crucified. They got tossed to the lions. They did not raise up an army to smite their enemies – they just kept talking and doing good works.

The New Testament marks a new relationship with God for Christians. It's a different way of walking in the world than before. Before, the Israelites were encouraged to go and slay their enemies. Now, God was asking people to talk to each other, to treat each other with love, to forgive even the most heinous crimes.

I would like to ask those who have chosen the path of Bush this year based on faith, with all that power at his fingertips, what sort of healing has Mr. Bush done? Who has he fed? What forgiveness has he shown? I want people to think seriously about the Christian values he has demonstrated (not Old Testament, but New – remember, Christianity marks a new relationship with God, and a new way to walk in the world). And then ask this country's leadership to truly practice what they preach.

People get frustrated when asked, "What would Jesus do?" But for Christians, this is the most valid question there is. A Christian's duty is to strive toward perfection, and this means emulating Christ. So please do not dismiss this question. Give it deep, serious thought, and act accordingly. And then ask your leaders to do the same.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A Snark on the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment

One of the benefits listed by the just-released Arctic Climate Impact Assessment is that "Reduced sea ice is likely to allow increased offshore extraction of oil and gas." A bit like a condemned man being given a bit more rope with which to be hung, isn't it?

For the most part, the report is extremely gloomy about prospects for the Arctic Circle, postulating the possible extinction of polar bears as well as a sharp rise in sea levels due to the melt-off of Greenland's ice sheet. Some of the scientists involved charged that the release of the publication was delayed by the US Government so as not to effect the recent elections.

Which brings me to another point. Shouldn't elections be based on the fullest amount of information possible? Apparently those who currently occupy the White House feel that the suppression of inconvenient facts should trump the democratic process. This report is not an isolated case, and the mainstream media, charged with helping to maintain our democracy by ensuring that people can make choices with as much information as possible, has repeatedly abdicated its role.