I was circumcised and it ruined my life! I blame the Jews for this. -anon1
I doubt you're Jewish, or even circumcised. I circumcised, and it's no big deal, doesn't interfere with my life at all. -anon2
I agree that my circumcision is no big deal and I don't particularly care if other people do it or not. That said, the few cases of serious infection or nerve damage made me think twice before genitally altering my own children unnecessarily.
There also the fact that circumcised men everywhere hate condom use, while uncircumcised do not, which seems to confirm the "loss of sensitivity" claim. So much for the pro-circ groups claiming it magically prevents AIDS - condoms do that for real.
And Jewish circumcision involves far less actual cutting than American circumcision, so I'd go with that first, if I was going to put in the effort. But it's like piercing your baby girl's ears - why bother?
[ add comment ] ( 405 views ) | permalink | print article | ( 3 / 926 )
21 day fast
The most interesting thing about this fast is the reactions we get from people around us. People are outraged that we would alter our spending based on nothing but a sense that spending money might not be healthy. To spend less because you are short on cas, or have creditors hounding you, that seems reasonable. But to cut back simply to stop spending and without any other goal? It angers people, and they cannot say why. And yet, I am not out to prove my superiority, nor even to improve my bank account. I am simply living now, without purchases to justify my existence.
Now, this did not originally come about because I am such a wonderful person that has found yet another way to look better than you. No, this came about because my spouse and I were desperately in debt and sought to end our cycle of running out of money and using credit, paying off the credit but then running out of money and borrowing even more...
Once we realized how hopelessly damaging this was, we stopped. We stopped buying things we did not need, we stopped buying things we somewhat needed. We also stopped paying our creditors. We simply lived within our means for five months. Now, this meant lots of angry phone calls to my google voice number by creditors -- calls I did not answer. But once our 5 months was up, I began paying bills, one by one. By the 7th month, I had made arrangement to pay off all my debts, at interest rates of 3-8% rather than 20-30%, and minus a great deal of fees and penalties. One has to call their bluff or they will never negotiate to take little more than they are owed. Of course, in the ninth month I did get a court summons, from one of the companies I was already paying. And another company I was trying to reach sent me to collections and won't talk to me now. But the collections agent is a very nice man, and he's working to ensure I don't get further trouble over it. In fact, my credit is very close to what is was before I stopped paying, and well on its way to a good score. This process was fairly painful, but will leave less of a mark than bankruptcy.
In August of 2009, I was worth negative $41,000. That is, I was slightly more than one year's wages in debt. As of now, my debt is hovering at $29,000. By August I will have payed off another 6,000 I think, putting me well on the way to living debt-free.
Additionally, as I pay off another large debt in the next couple months, my overall payments will drop off significantly, allowing me to put more into savings. Which is really good, since my car is very nice and quite reliable but really too old to depend upon without a backup plan.
And so, we return to February again, and we take stock by limiting our spending to essentials.
[ add comment ] ( 267 views ) | permalink | print article | ( 3 / 119 )
A totalitarian society exists when every member of society is a criminal, due to a multitude of unreasonable laws. America is reaching the point where most everyone can be arrested and thrown in jail for living a normal life. Which lends anyone with an agenda sufficient power to press that agenda home.
Crime prevention leads to law abiding citizens, which are not profitable, since they provide no leverage. Better to remove the legal options, emphasize the illegal, and then feel free to arrest anyone when they do something you don't like. This is where thought crime management becomes a part of regular governance.
I do not say we live in such a society, only that America is closer to totalitarianism now than at any other point in my lifetime. Liberalism, as represented by the democrats, means worse than nothing. A fad-ridden party full of corporate opportunism and dishonesty. The only party that stills believes in our basic humanity appears to be the Libertarians, but they taint basic human existence with fantasies about a Utopian happy-happyland.
I don't believe in moral governance. That is, I believe the government has no inherent right to dictate moral standards. Government is a social convention solely for the purpose of legislating necessary ethical positions, so that we can choose to live our lives as we want, without undue interference in the lives of others.
That means I'm against all limitation of rights where clear societal necessity cannot be demonstrated:
I'm against prison terms where fines are a sufficient deterrent.
I'm against institutionalization, where reform is possible.
I'm against punishment in all cases where prevention was not attempted.
And, of course, I'm against the death penalty since prison time is clearly sufficient for society's interests.
When you kill someone, you are not looking to repair the damage done, you are lashing out in righteous anger at one who has hurt you. You are declaring your own moral superiority to the actions of the accused, stating that there are inherently good peole who can kill without impunity, and inherently bad people who deserve to die.
When you kill someone, you are not trying to prevent them from committing further
crimes. That goal is already accomplished by their arrest. You are looking for
retribution for your hurt feelings. You are declaring that God is insufficient, and taking His role for yourself.
This old view of yours, to punish the wicked, that comes from a society where moral authority comes from the King. We no longer accept that the powerful are inherently superior and good, we believe in inherent humanity, which grants us rights and responsibilities based on nothing but our innate nature.
This is the unique way of thinking that we refer to as Democracy, and it is this which as an inevitable consequence leads to the view that imprisonment must serve as a deterrent and a method of rehabilitation, rather than a Godly method for superior beings to express their disapproval upon the lowly masses.
Punishment is not a function of government, it is a function of religion. That you would use your moral standards to punish the wicked, regardless of the actual detriment to society is a classic example of why the separation of church and state is absolutely necessary in order to maintain any semblance of a fair and just society.
Laws have consequences, but those consequences are not punishments. If you steal a car, you can be forced to make restitution. That's what's best for society as a whole. If you kill someone, you go to jail. That's what's best for society as a whole. It might be a hardship to you, but so's having a tornado rip your home apart. That doesn't make it a punishment.
Laws that serve merely to punish crime, and not to deter crime, are a waste of
time and energy, and damage the fabric of society. Remember how Jean Val-jean
went to jail for feeding his family? Yet he stole even more afterward. Because
the law sought only to punish, not to repair.
We do what we believe is best for society, but we do not have the right to go beyond that. Locking someone up for life, that is sometimes necessary to protect society. Killing someone is never needed: only sometimes more convenient. God alone may judge what punishment a person deserves, and God alone shall judge each of us for the judgments we pass onto others.
Laws that flow from God (as in a monarchy) may include the taking of human life, because as better-than-human the King has the right to judge who is unfit to keep God's gift.
Laws that flow from the people may only extend so far as any individual person's rights extend. So that society may act to protect itself by killing a violent person in defense of its members (police officer shooting a gunman) but it may not commit premeditated murder as a convenient way to clean up the prisons. There is no person in a democracy who is so far superior to the law that they may pass judgment upon the individuals below that law. There is no hierarchy of law.
That you can presume yourself worthy to condemn another to death indicates that you do not view yourself as a human being, but as something superior. Or perhaps that you believe the American government to be superior to individual human life, which is equally false and dangerous.
[ add comment ] ( 237 views ) | permalink | print article | ( 3 / 1095 )
So, by order of controversy:
Lookin' Out My Back Door (2007)
"Barak Obama Exposed!" Exposed (2008)
[ 3 comments ] ( 410 views ) | permalink | print article | ( 3 / 1076 )
You may also know that I have been uncertain where this fits into a biblical framework, and while this does not bother me excessively (I'm not manning any pearly gates) it is still a bit unsettling.
So, I came across a rather interesting discussion on Catholic radio the other day.
The guest was saying that the mistake those opposing gay marriage make is in allowing those who are pro-gay to define the bounds of the discussion. She pointed out that if you accept the premise that marriage is about the happiness of the individuals, then it becomes difficult to argue that gay marriage should be illegal. However, if you back up a bit, and recognize that marriage is not about the happiness of the couple, but about the commitment to having and raising children, then her position for protecting heterosexual marriage becomes (in her view) inevitable. This is quite compelling.
But these things have a way of sticking in your mind, and the next morning I was mulling it over again and I realized that her new premise is invalid.
1 Corinthians 7: "1Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that."
So to summarize Paul: Want guilt-free sex? Get married.
I cannot imagine how that concession from Paul could not apply to homosexuals.
And I'd like to thank Catholic Radio for helping me resolve this properly.
[ 1 comment ] ( 404 views ) | permalink | print article | ( 3 / 1120 )
It's the metric system people, you memorize 10 measures and 15 prefixes and you're good for life as a scientist. English majors only need 7 units and 5 prefixes. Shorter than the alphabet. Why don't they teach this in America schools yet?
And no, memorizing 25.4mm == 1" is not learning the metric system. And no, kids don't actually have to know even that to graduate high school.
I could memorize how many inches in a hand, hands per foot, feet per yard, yards per furlong, furlongs per mile, miles per knot, knots per league, leagues per light second, lights seconds per light minute, light minutes per AU, AUs per light year, and light years per parsec... (hint: none of those are powers of ten). Also, length is measured in inches, but width is measured in gauges?
But that's already as complex as the entire metric system, and I haven't even hit ounces yet! Quick, do I mean volume or weight?
[ add comment ] ( 199 views ) | permalink | print article | ( 3 / 1026 )
This article is a good intro: http://insideoutthebeltway.blogspot.com ... teurs.html
1. Bunch of Sufi Muslims want to build a community center in New York city to promote religious understanding and peace.
2. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin notice that it's somewhat near the location of the WTC attacks, pretend this is relevant to use this to gain political traction for themselves by denouncing it. They claim if it were further away, perhaps another state, that would be more "tasteful."
3. Americans across the USA start muttering about whether Muslims should be allowed to build mosques, or whether religious freedom means we should force them to become Christian in order to keep their citizenship.
http://thinkprogress.org/2010/08/02/tex ... vandalized
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/08/09/te ... ound-zero/
4. Barack Husein Obama notices this crazy anti-freedom movement building momentum, and steps in with a truly noteworthy pro-freedom, anti-oppression speech. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/us/po ... ef=general
5. He notices that the bigots didn't like his speech, so he clarifies it by explaining that he actually didn't say anything at all, carry on. http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/ ... fense.html
6. Osama bin Ladin tacks up another tiny victory flag.
Here's to the many people who have been ranting against this Mosque, in the name of freedom, or in the name of "good taste." I know that y'all have never lived outside of the bubble that is the USA, so I try to forgive your fear based in ignorance. This is enough.
I DO know many Muslims, I HAVE lived where "they" control the government. They tend to be very annoying, like Southern Baptists or Mormons. They don't drink, they don't smoke, and they won't eat improperly prepared meat. They're basically identical to Jews to any outsider, down to their worship of the Jehovah of the Torah, missing the aspects of His character explained in the NT -- the same ignorant distortion of God that most "Christians" worship. He is not who the Old Testament leads you to think He is, and your guns and burnt offerings are not pleasing to Him.
Unless your cowardice would also lead you to advocate for the rounding up of all Jews and Hindus and Taoists, your arguments against Islam are incoherent. I won't allow any of them to control my government, and neither will I allow you.
I would far rather die free than live in the terror state your fear is creating all around me now. I wish that I could believe the same of you.
[ add comment ] ( 229 views ) | permalink | print article | ( 3 / 947 )
George H W Bush spent 4 years using a slip and clutch technique to try to get the economy to simply stop heading downhill. His success cannot be measured in economic growth, but rather in lack of economic shrinkage. He prevented America from failing in a truly dramatic way, and should be recognized as a great American leader for that success -- a success that cost him the presidency unfortunately.
Clinton took over with the economy no longer simply failing less quickly, but actually starting to succeed. He took that success, and he built on it. He turned welfare into work-fare, pushing more people into the worker pool than ever, while simultaneously helping businesses create more jobs for those new workers. America became recognized again as the world leader in hard work and production. He also built up the US military to unprecedented levels, having far more standing peacetime troops and equipment than any other president. He began the war on terrorism that has defined our military for the past 2 decades.
Then Clinton was termed out, and the American people rewarded Bush for the success they now realized he had allowed Clinton to bring, by electing his son. Bush Jr. spent 8 years alternately sitting on his thumb and sticking it in his ear, letting the well-oiled machine of American military and economics to run themselves without new filters or spark plugs. As is inevitable, there were breakdowns -- militarily in sept of 2001, economically in 2006. Bush responded in each case by running around like a chicken with his head cut off, getting a great deal of motion happening in no particular direction. Then he termed out, leaving two wars and a failing economy with incoherent policies to handle both -- "the Bush Doctrine."
Obama took over, running a slip-and-clutch triage at both ends, letting the economy fall in a controlled manner in order to stabilize, and slowing military action in order to hold ground rather than merely capture and then release it back to the terrorists. This is incredibly frustrating to watch, and it feels like he could be doing so much more to fix Bush's messes more quickly. I share the anger at the disaster all around us, and I too want to lash out at someone for allowing Bush to damage our country so much, but I think that that person is not Obama, it is ourselves.
[ add comment ] ( 174 views ) | permalink | print article | ( 3 / 976 )