Saturday, April 30, 2005


Just a note: do you think that the people who voted for Bush because he and Jesus play golf on the weekends would have still voted for him if they knew how chummy he also was with the leaders of a country that punish the conversion to Christianity with DEATH. I'm talking again about Saudi Arabia. That place where women aren't free to leave unless they have permission from a brother, father, or husband. That place who has an army that WE train.

Oh yeah, and almost all of the 9-11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia....oh, and it's where Osama is from....what was that Bush said about harboring terrorists?

Just a know. I'm not implying, maybe we shouldn't be so tight with them.

But if I were, I'd be completely open to someone telling me why we should.

The Terrorist in my Head.....

NOTE: Digressions are marked in BOLD, and there are video links at the bottom.

According to Bush, the terrorists hate us because we're good, wealthy, and free (mostly the "free"part)....does that make any sense? It's completely understandable that there is jealousy around the world about America's status economically (that's disregarding the fact that within America there is a very uneven distribution of wealth [see Paul Krugman's "America the Polarized" which states that between 1979 and 1999 the middle class incomes rose 9 percent, while the income of the top 1 percent rose 140 percent]). However, is there any reasoning that supports that the US was or ever has been attacked because of its freedom, wealth, or overall good nature? DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE?

We're really showing those terrorists what freddom is, aren't we?

Could it, and this is just a hypothetical, could it possibly be because of some of the means that the US went about becoming wealthy? I don't mean this necessarily in an accusatory sense, because there's no doubt in my mind that any other country would (history backs me up) conduct itself well in regards to being the world power and using its power (Sweden may be an exception, though I'm sure they've got some skeletons in their closet. But, seriously, it seems like you have to mention Sweden as an exception when you're making international comparisons. They're flawless, and their trains are really comfortable...they're people are okay, too, I guess [that was a joke, meaning Swedish people are great, especially when they live on farms and speak French]).

Okay, so we've come to the conclusion that its a pile of crap to say that we've ever been attacked because of what makes us so darn great. So what does that say for someone if they think that a whole group of people is willing to kill others and themselves to fight against goodness, prosperity, and liberty? Well, it's racist. I know you're probably rolling your eyes, but to believe that there is something so innately different in another group of people that this particular group of people (the "A-rabs") hates freedom and prosperity, then that, mis amigos, is racism.

Now, why do they say they attacked us?

They (Osama, al-Qaida) gave three reasons: (1)the occupation of Saudi Arabia (listen to the Tim Lynn video, brings up some very interesting points about Saudi Arabia....and let's not forget that SA is the home of a little place Muslims like to call "Mecca," meaning, if you're worried about Islamic terrorism then you might want to be careful how you operate in the country where their holiest of sites is stop having tea with their corrupt dictators at, say, your ranch in Crawford, Texas!), (2) the embargo that killed millions of people (but, Saddam killed millions of people?! Say what you will, the embargoes made it considerably easier to starve his people. Embargoes and sanctions don't hurt dictators, they hurt the people. Dictators always make it clear that they don't care about their people, so why would you think they'd worry if their people are starving?) along with the constant bombing of an Arab nation,meaning Iraq (don't forget we were doing that throughout the 90s after the first Gulf War), and (3) America's part in the fight between Palestine and Israel which isn't exactly unbiased.

So we're basically doing really well in the War on Terror, right?

Of course, because we're America and we rock.

Speaking of how much we rock, I also want to mention a little something we like to call the Patriot Act.....(pause for effect)......the PATRIOT Act. This is a little peice of legislation (about the size of a phonebook) that is strongly defended by the present administration (coming from the party that is against "big government" which makes this so ironic) that essentially takes away many of the rights that were "inalienable" in the era in which the constitution was written, yet are now old-fashioned. In the 20th century, we don't need to worry about rights, those are dangerous, right? Back to the Bush argument about hating freedom: Mr. Bush, if the terrorists hate freedom, and we're against the terrorists, why are you taking away our freedom? Why did you name it the Patriot Act, because it doesn't seem very patriotic when you take liberty away from the country that was founded on ideals of liberty and, say perhaps, justice for all?

The fact that the thought is in the back of my mind that I could be in trouble for even writing this, a blog, against the Patriot Act, is a sign that the Patriot Act is wrong (and, yes, perhaps also that I'm overreacting or being narcisistic). Whenever creativity and/or dessenting voices are muffled, it is a far more serious crime than many people make it out to be. Like the lady said at the beginning of the Tom Lynn video says, there is no date that congress will just go in and say, "Okay, we're now a police state," it's just something that you realize one day. Then you're screwed.

Okay, I'm done for now. I could go on all night, but it's 4 o' clock in the morning which means I already have gone on all night. I have a paper and an exam tomorrow, so I need to start working.

Here are teh videos:

Speech by Congressman Ron Paul (Texas): (speaking out against the Patriot's still kind of freaky how much his mannerisms resemble Bush's.....must be a Texas thing)
  • Does it worry anyone what Ron Paul says in his speech about Michael Ledeen's book Machiavelli on Modern Leadership? This is a book praising Machiavellian ideologoy that was handed out at a republican strategy meeting.
  • Though I don't agree with Paul's Bill 1146, I do agree with some of his reasoning. My aproach to solving the problems that he mentions, that do exist, would be pretty much the opposite of leaving the UN

Salman Rushdie's (who has a just a little experience with Islamic terrorism) words on the Partiot Act.

Tim Lynch (CATO Institute) speaking on Capitol Hill (incredible information about the approaches to fighting terrorism):

A couple notes on this clip:
  • I've been a part of a study on comparitive counterterrorism at my university (my specific area of study is recruitment within the intelligence community), and the truth is that there is a huge problem in the recruitment of language experts. This is largely because there is a large amount of discrimination from our intelligence agencies towards all Arabs. How do you get people that speak fluent Arabic (i.e. Arab-Americans) to sign up to work for the same organizations that are interogating their families and friends?
  • Concerning the length of laws, there's a book called The Death of Common Sense (I can't remember the name of the author, and I'm too lazy to look it up), but there's a part where he mentions the fact that the average law presented in Congress in Kennedy's time was about 40 pages, and now (meaning the late- or mid-90s when the book was written) the average law is about 400 pages. It's probably even more now in post-9/11 America.

Notes on education from someone without a degree

I'm graduating from college in exactly two weeks.

I'm not walking in the graduation. My parents aren't even coming (because I told them not to worry about it), because what's going to change that day? Besides the fact that I will no longer be covered on my parents' health insurance, auto insurance (no biggy, because I won't have their car either), or cell phone account―nothing is going to change. My diploma doesn’t mean much of anything. I have a bachelors in English….wow, I'm set!

Let’s take that for starters. What’s your first response when someone says they’re getting a bachelors in English? Do you say, “Oh, so you’re going to be a teacher?”? If so, please stop. English majors don’t spend all their time diagramming sentences and learning vocabulary words, okay? That’s ridiculous. “English” is a misnomer. First and foremost, we study language, in the context of English, our mother tongue. That’s why 70% percent of law schools in America will take an English major over any other major, even pre-law, because we are taught to use the language efficiently.

Furthermore, English as a university major, from my experience, is the most expansive and inclusive major one can follow. As a senior, I have taken upper-level classes in many different departments at my university. I’ve had political science students asking me to help them understand political theory, I’ve debated concepts of physics with professors, and I’ve held my own in economics discussions with economics majors.

So, now you’re saying, either those people were idiots, I’m lying, I think I’m a genius, or I am a genius (not likely…I mean, I did start the sentence with a conjunction). None of the above. I’ve studied everything from Adam Smith to Newtonian theory to trends in architecture that correlate with colonization in classes on 18th century literature; I learned psychology from reading modernist literature; etc. There is essentially no philosophy (scientific, linguistic, political, etc.) that is not incorporated in some way in the study of language.

On top of that and, perhaps, most important.....I really want to learn everything.

To study language is to study the means by which all knowledge (our concept of the world) is spread, so it seems pretty obvious that the study of language should be a prerequisite to studying the world, whichever aspect of the world that one chooses to focus on?

One obvious fault in my tirade may be to say, “Well, yes, Robert, that is pretty obvious and that’s why even the best science universities in the country have very strong humanities departments.” My response in that case is that most, if not all, of the universities in the South missed that boat―which is to say, the boat that took all the good education with it.

The South is the land of the “go to school to get a good job” folks. We lack reason. My university, for instance, prides itself on the starting salaries of its graduating students (myself not included), and consequently it never says too much about the increase in salary its alumnae experience as they advance in their careers. That’s because my university is a science-focused university. One-third of all incoming freshman (about 3,000 a year) are engineering majors. The problem with our graduates: they were taught (well) to do a job. They were not taught to innovate.

So (He did it again with the conjunctions at the beginning of the sentence!!!!!), our graduates hit a wall after several years. They don’t advance salary-wise, because they don’t have the skills to do so. On the other hand, everyone (not just at my university) sort of chuckles at humanities students for their choice of focus in studying, because we don’t deal with reality and we don't make jack-squat when we graduate. They overlook the fact that, statistically, the salaries of humanities students after graduation never stops rising.

Take a look at how many people on the Fortune 500 list were liberal arts majors at some point in their lives. I doubt, seriously, that many of them were engineering majors.

I hate that I even bring up money. It’s not about that. It’s about the lives of a lot of people that I know that just aren’t very happy because they did what they could do, not what they wanted to do. Our society drives people to do what will make you money, because that’s where happiness comes from. Because of that, a lot of people pick majors that will make them money after graduation,'s the kicker.......the find that money isn't happiness if your're working 70 hours a week at a job you hate.

Conversely, a lot of folks will gladly work 70 hours a week and get a crap salary if they're doing what they're passionate about. But, alas, I'm surely not being realistic.....I was an English major.

We need to get away from the idea (1) that college is for everyone, (2) that in order to be successful you have to go to college, (3) that you should decide while your in college what you want to do for the rest of your life, and (4) that you should ever go to college for anything but to learn, nothing more.

I don’t think kids should go straight into college. I changed my major 4 times my freshman year, only because I had no idea what I wanted to do. Sure, I learned from the experience, but it would have been nice if I hadn't come to college because it was the “next” thing that I was supposed to do.

The idea that we have to go straight into college is a post WWII/GI-Bill idea. It was right for the time, but the idea that college will help you unquestionably in the real world is a misconception. The fact that parents make their kids believe that is exactly the reason that having a college degree is losing its value. Now, kids have to get seven degrees, do a hundred internships, publish a couple books, and swim three miles while reciting Shakespeare before they’ll look good on a resume. For instance, I just finished editing my resume the other day, and it’s 3 pages long, single-spaced. Do you really think that people back in the 60s had that much to list on a resume before they started grad-school?

Maybe so. I never deny the fact that I could be over-reacting. I'm just a bitter, under-apprecieted, self-righteous English major.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

In the beginning....

The Man, the Myth, the fundamentalists Christians!!!


There is a Blockage in the System

The funniest thing about fundamentalist Christians is that they are the easiest to discredit using the Bible? Correct me if I'm wrong, but their premise for religion is that the Bible should be taken literally, right?

The Bible says "thou shalt not kill," yet people blowing up abortion clinics are more often than not fundamentalist Christians. The Bible says to "turn the other cheek," but they are the ones leading the call to war since 9-11.

Maybe, Jesus was on to something. I don't mean to be presumtuous, but maybe the sermon on the mount applied to everyone and not just everyone who didn't take the Bible literally.

Well, I have a solution. I haven't quite worked out the logistics, but hear me out. You see, there was a Christian philosopher born only about 150 years after Christ, who, like the fundamentalist Christians, believed that the Bible should be taken literally, and, consequently, he castrated himself after reading a certain passage in Matthew:

Matthew 19:12
"12For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

So, I don't know if the fundamentalists have conveniently skipped this passage and opted to dance with snakes, drink watered down poison, and hate reason, but if someone could notify them then maybe we, over the next couple of generations, could get the whole religion debate started again.

Thank you.


NOTE: When I say solution, I'm neglecting the other possiblity: reminding fundamentalists that the Bible is a translation of a translation, which means that unless you know ancient Hebrew and Greek, you CAN'T take the Bible literally (this is the aspect, I must interject, where Muslim fundamentalists have the upper hand, at least the Koran is written in Arabic, which all Muslims, from what I understand, believe is the language in which you have to read the Koran).

Just to further solidify the fact that the Bible CAN'T be taken literally, God didn't say, for example, "Let there be light." Okay? If God said anything, it wasn't "Let there be light," because English didn't exist when God created the world (which is why the "if" is important). We created language....or if we got language from God, it's been thouroughly muddled in the milions of years people have been around.