Mark Lilla is professor of the humanities at Columbia University. This essay is adapted from his book “The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Modern West,” which will be published next month. I have posted the entirety of the essay over on my data pages”. Please go read this, I think it is important. Professor Lilla gives his views on the evolvement of political theocracy as it progressed through changes to liberal democracy in Europe and America. He attempts a look at why the rest of the world for the most part is still practicing this political model, and how we must come to understand that. I think he makes some thought provoking points that can lead to further discussion. I hope so.
One of my favorite sights at my “office” in the Mega Mall is the exuberance of the toddlers that pass, or rather - burst by throughout the day. The sheer expenditure of raw energy would be enough to power the a/c for the rest of us I should think, and the wattage of the smiles produced at outrunning mum or dad – priceless. When one of these ducks makes a successful break for it, I love the way it is a community affair to ensure the safety of the child. You see guards, mall workers (they are all about the place to clean the tables, and any mess that ensues), and any unattached adult racing after the errant child.
File under: Are you mental? The American Congress has given the Bush administration pretty much carte blanche to investigate its own citizens without warrant, and as well they have gutted any weight of the oversight court. You have to love it as now they are saying, “oops!” As in what? They were napping?
Meanwhile over in Italy they are having difficulty getting the globes just right in the face of ever changing boundaries and claims of sovereignty.
It has been said that wars are a way of teaching geography. And maps are caught up in the strife. You have to love it, you can literally have the world made to order, your order.
For a Turkish customer, Cyprus is shown split in two, a division that Greek Cypriots do not recognize. On one globe, Chile is given parts of Antarctica that on another globe go to Argentina. And in much of the Arab world, Israel is nonexistent.
And this from Long Way Home:
I officially feel that I am now involved in sticking it to the man, at least in some little way. As my Moroccan readers will know, the king decided an article that the weekly Nichane wrote about one of his speeches was "disrespectful" due to its a) daring to question the king and b) being written in dariija. He further decided not only to destroy all copies of the magazine in question, he then sent a team of people to the press which publishes Nichane and destroyed all the copies of their other weekly, TelQuel, I can only assume as punishment? A substantial amount of private property, seized and destroyed, without a trial or any warning whatsoever. This is the second time this year Nichane has gotten itself banned--the last time for publishing jokes deemed deleterious to the general morals and blashpehmous to boot. Neve rmind that the magazine didn't invent the jokes, they were common Moroccan street jokes. To be fair, the king was not nearly as responsible for the first banning, that was a different branch of the government.
But I digress, and don't want to criticize His Royal Majesty too much before there is an ocean between us. The point is, last night someone came over and said, "Scarlettscion, can I borrow that insert with all the election information on candidates and where to vote?"**
And I said, "Oh, you mean the one in Arabic that was banned?"
He said "Yes."
And I said, "Sure, I'll get it for you."
**note that the targeted issue just HAPPENED to contain information on the elections written in a language more people could read that the same French insert in the next week's TelQuel.
If you want to invest in some postive karma, Q has this to say:
The American Fondouk is a free veterinary service in Fes that's been operating since 1927. I've been there myself with M.C. and have seen what they do firsthand, in addition to having a friend who regularly takes her cat there. It's just the basics, but the basics are much more than these animals would have otherwise.
There's an appalling amount of cruelty to animals in Morocco, but a great deal of the neglect stems from both ignorance and the cost of private veterinary care simply being far beyond the means of your average family. I also feel obliged to point out that when there's an appalling amount of cruelty to people, sometimes animals just don't rank that high on people's priority lists--which I do understand. And while I've seen my fair share of disgusting treatment of animals, I've also seen many random acts of kindness. When I visited the Fondouk a street child had brought in a wounded pigeon in a cardboard box. It wasn't his pigeon, he just saw it hurting and brought it with him. Another man had brought a cat he found with its eye clawed out, and a woman brought in another cat I suspect was later euthanized--it looked as if it had been run over. So I feel that there's enough sympathy in Fes for animals to make this veterinary charity practical as well as compassionante--i.e., it only works if the people care enough to bring animals to the center. And they seem to do so.
From the human welfare angle, a donkey or mule well-cared for is an animal that will serve its owner longer and better than it would have otherwise. Often a poor family's beast of burden is the most valuable asset it possesses, and improving the condition of the animal will improve the life of the family. You can give online if you like. I've met the people who work there and I'm fairly certain they aren't lining their own pockets!
This just in – I couldn’t help myself..
British dwarf's penis gets stuck to hoover
EDINBURGH (AFP) - A dwarf performer at the Edinburgh fringe festival had to be rushed to hospital after his penis got stuck to a vacuum cleaner during an act that went horribly awry.
Daniel Blackner, or "Captain Dan the Demon Dwarf", was due to perform at the Circus of Horrors at the festival known for its oddball, offbeat performances.
The main part of his act saw him appear on stage with a vacuum cleaner attached to his member through a special attachment.
The attachment broke before the performance and Blackner tried to fix it using extra-strong glue, but unfortunately only let it dry for 20 seconds instead of the 20 minutes required.
He then joined it directly to his organ. The end result? A solid attachment, laughter, mortification and ... hospitalisation.
"It was the most embarrassing moment of my life when I got wheeled into a packed AE with a vacuum attached to me," Blackner said.
"I just wished the ground could swallow me up. Luckily, they saw me quickly so the embarrassment was short-lived."