Saturday, December 30, 2006
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a US radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio how. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as formative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them.
1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price to ask.
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual cleanliness - Lev.15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and Female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally bligated to kill him myself?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted fan, Jim
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.
1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans.
3. The Japanese drink very little red wine andsuffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans
4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wineand suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans.
CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
(CNN) -- Most Americans, white and black, see racism as a lingering problem in the United States, and many say they know people who are racist, according to a new poll.
But few Americans of either race -- about one out of eight -- consider themselves racist.
And experts say racism has evolved from the days of Jim Crow to the point that people may not even recognize it in themselves. (Watch how many blacks are still afraid to stop in a Texas town Video)
A poll conducted last week by Opinion Research Corp. for CNN indicates that whites and blacks disagree on how serious a problem racial bias is in the United States.
Almost half of black respondents -- 49 percent -- said racism is a "very serious" problem, while 18 percent of whites shared that view. Forty-eight percent of whites and 35 percent of blacks chose the description "somewhat serious." (See the poll results)
Asked if they know someone they consider racist, 43 percent of whites and 48 percent of blacks said yes.
But just 13 percent of whites and 12 percent of blacks consider themselves racially biased.
The poll was based on phone interviews conducted December 5 through Thursday with 1,207 Americans, including 328 blacks and 703 non-Hispanic whites.
Blind to bias?
University of Connecticut professor Jack Dovidio, who has researched racism for more than 30 years, estimates up to 80 percent of white Americans have racist feelings they may not even recognize.
"We've reached a point that racism is like a virus that has mutated into a new form that we don't recognize," Dovidio said.
He added that 21st-century racism is different from that of the past.
"Contemporary racism is not conscious, and it is not accompanied by dislike, so it gets expressed in indirect, subtle ways," he said.
That "stealth" discrimination reveals itself in many different situations.
A three-year undercover investigation by the National Fair Housing Alliance found that real estate agents steered whites away from integrated neighborhoods and steered blacks toward predominantly black neighborhoods.
"Racism here is quite subtle," e-mailed CNN.com reader Blair William, originally from Trinidad, who now lives in Lexington, South Carolina. "I think that the issue is twofold. I believe that white America's perception of blacks is still generally negative based on their limited interaction with blacks, whether this is via the media or in person. ...
"On the other hand, black Americans need to stop devaluing themselves and their people," he added. "Another race can only respect you if you respect yourself and currently, I find that blacks still devalue and disgrace each other and themselves."
Read the full story at http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/12/12/racism.poll/index.html
Well I guess that it is kinda good that people acknowledge that racism is a problem, but very sad that the same people do not see themselves as contributing to the problem. I think, as I have said before, that the poll shows the varied views different races have concerning racism. I would have liked to have known how other races viewed the situation, but I guess I'll just have to do my own poll. Hopefully people will start the realize their roles in societal problems and then true change can begin. I do agree with the quote from Blair Williams in the article in saying that I do believe that a person, or group of people, do need to have respect for themselves for others to see them in the same light. I am always amazed at those who commonly make fun of themselves and wonder how they can think so lowly of their own persona. Life is too short and there are far too many people that will make fun of you for whatever reason. The best thing you can do is make yourself the best person you can and show them they are wrong by example. When you respect yourself it is much easier to have respect for others and live a better life.
Feticide means 7,000 fewer girls a day in India
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Seven thousand fewer girls are born in India each day than the global average would suggest, largely because female fetuses are aborted after sex determination tests. Seven thousand fewer girls are born in India each day than the global average would suggest, largely because female fetuses are aborted after sex determination tests, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday."
The problem of female feticide has significantly worsened since 1991, UNICEF said at the India launch of its "State of the World's Children 2007" report.
Out of 71,000 children born every day in India, just 31,000 are girls -- giving a sex ratio of 882 girls to 1,000 boys.
But the global sex ratio -- which is 954 girls to 1,000 boys -- suggests that 38,000 girls should be born in India every day.
Despite laws banning sex determination tests, female feticide is common in much of India, where families view boys as being a better asset than girls.
"Modern diagnostic techniques for monitoring the health of a fetus, such as amniocentesis and ultrasound, have made it possible to ascertain sex in the earliest phase of gestation," the report stated.
"In countries where there is a strong preference for sons, these newer, sophisticated technologies can be misused, facilitating female feticide."
Social activists say local authorities have been slow to implement legislation that has been in force since 1996. There has been only one conviction from hundreds of cases lodged under the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNDT).
UNICEF says India is one of the few countries worldwide with an adverse child sex ratio in favor of boys.
In 80 percent of India's districts, U.N. officials say the situation is getting worse. For example in 14 districts across the northern states of Haryana and Punjab, there are even fewer than 800 girls per 1,000 boys.
After birth, discrimination continues against girls in India, UNICEF said, limiting their access to nutrition, healthcare, education and maternal care.
Only 67.7 percent of females between the ages of 15 to 24 are literate in India, compared to 84.2 percent of males, and against 98.5 percent of women of the same age group in China.
Around 45 percent of Indian women are still being forced into marriage before the age of 18 in violation of the law.
That in turn contributes to high rates of maternal mortality, with one woman dying every seven minutes in India from a pregnancy related cause.
"Premature pregnancy and motherhood are an inevitable consequence of child marriage," the report said. "Girls under 15 are five times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than women in their twenties."
While this might seem like an extreme case, actions and violence like this against women happen on a daily account. In the South Pacific, the female sex slave trade grows larger (young boys included), in Africa female genital mutilation happens on various parts of the continent, in different regions of the Middle East women are stoned or burned for supposed infidelities against their family's or husband's honor, and in America we starve our little girls and dress them up like whores and wonder why older men become attracted to them. While science may advance our society, it often does little to help a society that still holds backward views about portions of its population. And in this case, it can even become an instrument of the those with misguided views. While blaming religion or backwards ideology might be an easy out in most of these situations, it does not solve the problem. The blame also rests when people in these own countries and people like us in more privileged countries sit back and do nothing. Sexism continues only because we allow it to do so. In America, the odds are that one in four women will be physically and/or sexually assaulted in her lifetime. That means, take four women you know (your mother, your sister, your aunt, grandmother, best friend) and one of them have or might become a statistic. Think about that before your next sexist joke or when you allow someone to tell theirs. Problems in the world are always closer than you think.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Racial ignorance still plagues campusesFri Dec 8, 6:54 AM ET
My eighth-grader got a break from school uniforms last month for "university T-shirt day." With a slew of national jerseys hanging in his closet, he chose Texas A&M University, proud that his father is one of a handful of African-American men to graduate from the school in College Station, Texas, 20 years ago.
Neither generation understands why three white A&M students recently showcased a racially charged video depicting one in blackface receiving a mock whipping. Unfortunately, I had to explain to Brandon that it's not the first time, or last, that students at institutions of higher learning partake in such things as "ghetto-fabulous" parties wearing gold teeth and Afro wigs.
According to The Review of Higher Education, a research journal, 1 million incidents of bias occur every year on campuses in the USA. Many incidents aren't reported, though, because schools perceived as racially insensitive could see a backlash in the form of lost gifts and contributions, the lifeblood of universities.
Hundreds of Aggie students condemned the video, as did then-A&M president Robert Gates, who was just confirmed as the next Defense secretary. Gates championed efforts to increase minority enrollment at the nation's sixth-largest university. Still, of the more than 36,000 undergraduates enrolled this fall, just over 1,000 are black. Brandon's dad says about 300 blacks attended when he was in school, but more than half were athletes. He also recalled that his freshman year included a mock slave auction at one of the dorms.
Brandon's dad remains fiercely proud of Texas A&M with its many traditions such as bonfires, yells, taps and football. This despite the school's slow progress. Blacks are about 3% of the undergraduate student body, a number that hasn't changed in 15 years. But Hispanic numbers have gone from 8% to about 12%.
Now if only more students, whites specifically, would rise up to condemn racial indifference and insensitivity. There is strength in numbers. Slave auctions, ghetto parties and sexual stereotypes have done enough damage on campuses. This Texas school, with its presidential library, is in a unique position to deliver a model response other universities can embrace.
If the three students hadn't withdrawn from the university so quickly, they might have been required to take an African-American studies course, which would have included some lessons from Martin Luther King Jr. It was King who said, "Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of a true education."
I hope my son will follow in his father's footsteps and attend a good school whose T-shirt he can wear with pride - for all the right reasons.
Joyce King is a freelance writer in Dallas.
I think this op/ed piece does a good job at showing some insight of how people of color view acts that are often viewed as unoffensive, comedic, or not racist. I believe that anytime we belittle someone at their expense, we should first try to see how they might view this action. Most people charge this as being politically correct or an infringement of their first amendment right to free speech, but I consider this as compassionate, empathetic and ultimately a humanistic characteristic. I believe the arguments against so called P.C. talk is irresponsible, insensitive, and just plain lazy. To ask somebody to be respectful of your right to be treated and talked about in a civilized manner and as a human being is not censorship. I hear many gay white men that boycott or decry the religious right for unjustly and unwarranted lumping as all being pedophiles and having sex with animals, yet many turn around and tell sexist, racist and ethnic jokes themselves. If anything, minority groups should understand that fear, hatred and misunderstanding of any group is related and to chastise one without criticizing the other gets everyone nowhere fast.
Man finds cocaine at Oklahoma Wal-Mart
EDMOND, Okla. - A man shopping at a Wal-Mart Supercenter found a surprise package in the toy section, a small plastic bag containing cocaine.
The substance was later identified as about one gram of cocaine and will be destroyed, police said.
That the substance was found and turned over to police was fortunate, according to police spokeswoman Glynda Chu, who said the amount could be lethal for a child.
"Being in the toy department, a child could easily have found it, and children will put anything in their mouths," she said.
Chu said the person who left the drug may have seen a uniformed police officer in the store and panicked, but investigators have no suspects.
"No, none at all, we don't really know why someone would leave cocaine, especially in the toy department of such a big department store.
"It's just incomprehensible that anyone would do this."You know, you have to wonder if you might know the person that unwittingly lost there stash. You think they could find a better hiding place than there cigarette pack. Crazy kids!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
For many years now, I have believed that we as people constantly segregate ourselves into communities that supposedly share our same interests in hobbies, music, food, politics, etc..., but this always begs the question "Is it the right thing to do?" or "Is it a good move?" We all like feeling welcome and part of a group. Whether it is your local neighborhood bar, your book club, your bike troop or your gym buddies (bunnies), we all have places or people that we feel comfortable. As the years go buy, these may seem like the only way there is to live. Out of habit, when people want a drink they go to one of two bars, they discuss books with only their book club, etc... As people though, what do we lose in terms of life experience when this happens? Have we experienced new things, people, and/or places. Usually just the ones that rotate within our sphere. In my opinion this leads to stagnation of the mind, body and soul. It only makes us comfortable (which is not always a good thing), placid, and even apathetic.
I see this especially poignant in the gay scene in Oklahoma today. As a bartender for four years of one the oldest and most visited gay bars, I have seen many people come and go, but I have also seen many people stay right where they are. Like clockwork they come in, have the usual predictable drink, talk the same meaningless small talk, go home and start the day over again. I realize I make a large amount of my income on these people, but I also have to ask "What the Fuck?" Are there no other bars, no new movies, no art shows, no concerts, no yoga class, and/or more importantly no friends or family you should spend time?
Some people will immediately shoot back with "Well this is Oklahoma and there is nothing to do!" Or "I don't like going to Bricktown cause (insert something)." But probably most might say that they do not really feel welcome anywhere else because they are gay. I understand that many older gays and lesbians, especially in Oklahoma, only had the bars as resources for meeting and connecting (take that as you will) with other people like them. But that again asks another question, are these people in this bar(s) anything like you besides they like the same sex? Do you actually like the same music as one another or do you like the same music because gay culture plays and maintains certain music, body images or clothing? Would you rather go try out some new bar that is not necessarily gay, but no one wants to go with you and you won't know anyone. I am confident that most people had the confidence to step into the gay bar without knowing anyone. The same for the other things. What I have discovered is that it is usually well worth the fear of the unknown for some new experience, some new friend, or a new hobby.
I recently have started my love of seeings bands in other states again since I got my new car (The Shimmymobile) and I re-realized some things. Take for instance, almost two months ago I went to see an awesome band named Ladytron in Dallas. This band is kinda electronic, industrial, female fronted goodness. There is nothing about them that would draw gay people immediately besides the recognition they make good music (that's not "if" statement, it's an "is" statement). Yet, I was happy and proud to see plenty of little fags and dykes running around, holding hands, kissing each other and enjoying themselves. This is hard pressed to find in Oklahoma. What I am mainly refering to is the attendance of gays and lesbians at events not traditionally gay. This same phenomenon has been happening for years in places like Oregon, New York City, LA San Francisco, Denver, all places I've traveled. Some might make the arguments that the venues are unfriendly, but with the ever growing bar and club scene that argument becomes harder to maintain. I am not saying I want every gay person going to live shows, but the example is meant to show that other possibilities exist besides a "gay" bar.
Many gay people, especially when they are young, pride themselves on being different, but how different are you when you might not be like "them" , but really you are just like everyone of the "us's". Not to mention the amount of life we pass by by doing the same thing over and over. Things are happening all the time, just because you do not think they are worth your attention, does not mean they are without merit. I constantly see so many young gay boys come into the scene and act, dress, or like a certain style of music because of what they perceive and what it endorses. Many of their other loves/interests become forgotten because there is a lack of people that share these interests that are gay (or so they believe) and then the cycle just continues.
As long as those already part of the "scene" continue to justify the common perceptions, likes and dislikes of all gays and lesbians, we will continue to segregate our minds, spirits, and bodies to worn out and often ill-conceived conceptions of what it means to be gay. I believe when we segregate ourselves, we in essence, kill the part of ourselves that is curious and hungry for knowledge by settling for what easy and comfortable. Besides the worst thing, that can happen is that you don't like it, but then at least you can say you tried. That is better than never having tried at all.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
A costumed customer as a controller of Nintendo's new video game console Wii in Tokyo. Thousands of video-game fans waited all night for the Japanese debut of Nintendo's next-generation Wii, brightening the company's hopes of wresting market share from troubled Sony's PlayStation(AFP/Yoshikazu Tsuno).
Actually I am jealous that I don't have one of these costumes!!
I know this has been a long time coming, but hey I have a life and all that crap. Anyway, about three weeks ago David and I waited outside Best Buy on 63rd and May to purchase a Wii. David had been waiting since about 9 pm and I got there about 1am with food and blankets, which were promptly taken from me as you can see in the pictures. We met some cool kats and some new gaming buddies. We all survived minus the gunshots (kidding!) , water balloons filled with antifreeze and pee (?) hurled at us (not kidding) and below freezing temperatures! It was worth it for the experience alone. I am not a big gamer and have only logged in about 7 hours to David's and Lucas' 80 plus hours, but hey I have two jobs, a big test coming and a life. All in all, the system is definitely fun and addictive. Just don't lose your grip and hurl the remote into your T.V. . I already almost punched David trying to fish on the Zelda game. Oh, happy-day.