Friday, February 10, 2006

Soon it may not be the Europe you remember

I don't want to risk cartooning this. But it's an interesting observation I thought I'd pass along.

...Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe. The demographic trends are ominous: Given current birthrates, France could be a majority Muslim country in 25 years, and that is if immigration were to stop tomorrow....

From "Sam Harris on the Reality of Islam" on Truthdig

The article quoted from above is very much anti Islamic. Whether it consoles anyone who is offended or not, Sam Harris is anti all religions and apparently sees them as major contributors to conflict. He carries my own aversion to religious fundamentalism in any form a few steps farther.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sharing the wealth

The Nation's Dual Political Dynasties Are Growing Closer Than Arm's Length


WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 — When the Bushes and Clintons held hands before 15,000 mourners at Coretta Scott King's funeral on Tuesday, it looked like a prayerful moment in the life of the nation. But as almost anyone watching America's two leading political families knew, underneath the tranquil image was a drama of ambition, rivalry, love and alliance that could shape the 2008 presidential election. …

…It was one of the most public manifestations to date of the odd friendship and mutual need of two dynasties that, on the surface at least, have almost nothing in common. But as President Bush put it in an interview with CBS News last month, "Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton." Mr. Bush made the remark in a telling exchange with Bob Schieffer, who said, "Well, you know, if Senator Clinton becomes president."…

Bumiller is never to be trusted. But even so, this quote, from the NYT, (and the every day reports on our preening , clubby Senators) underlines the reality of our plutocracy. Those at the top who are superficially opponents are more closely allied with each other to ensure continuation of the status quo than they are with principles or with the interests of voters. The Constitution does not prescribe the system of government; it has become a collection of shape shifting slogans expeditiously fitted to any situation.

American Democracy, as we thought it was, is over. Maybe it has been for a long time and we simply did not know it. Either way we are now watching a new system of government emerge--one that has some of the characteristics of fascism, plutocracy, and a new corporatocracy. Those of us with no connections to the top tier are toast. We will be stripped of our security and squished into a timid, ever more malleable wad desperate to serve the plutocrats for whatever trickles down or dribbles out of their well stuffed pockets.

Here in Pennsylvania we are faced with both the Democratic Governor Rendell (whose wife Midge served with Alito on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals) going out of his way, on FOX, to announce support of Alito, and Casey (a member of a local dynasty himself), the likely nominee to oppose Santorum, also announcing support, both at the very time some Democrats were trying (lamely) to put together support for a filibuster. LINK

Not much to vote for here in Pennsylvania.

Monday, February 06, 2006


I’m sure the Sportsmen for Bush down at the corner tavern are pretty firm in their support of cartoons depicting Mohammed and our right to publicly ridicule. If I find myself agreeing with them about anything, I know it’s time for me to carefully examine my position.

Having the "right" doesn't necessarily mean we should do something. In the cartoon situation, I think we can defend the "right" to cartoon (to me even the word is funny) without endorsing the propriety of publishing cartoons that are offensive to so many. Ultimately, I don't think a stand is required. Maybe the best solution is a “let it blow over approach.” Stop running the cartoons, at least until people are no longer rioting and being killed over cartoons, without making a statement or explanation. We don’t always have to take a stand and some conflicts simply can’t be resolved.