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Posts by Cleburne

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  • Impaired Reasoning - Should last week’s joint disqualify a pot smoker from driving today?

    07/02/2006 5:19:50 PM PDT · 11 of 169
    Cleburne to neverdem

    More importantly, it will help extend state power, which will (for the rightist statists) help us Defeat Terrorism; for the lefist statists it will help us Defeat Poverty and other Societal Ills. If you question the State then you're probably a terrorist, a drug-head, or a corrupt greedy big-businessman.

  • iPod gulags (Chinese slave labor)

    06/24/2006 2:28:21 PM PDT · 48 of 121
    Cleburne to jude24
    Well, $50- 400 yuan, 4,800 a year- will certainly go further in a month in China than in the states. A good sit-down meal at a decent restaraunt would be about sixteen, twenty yuan; a basic meal of rice and some extras maybe four or five yuan. I have had some excellent good-sized meals for eight-ten yuan. Other items likewise tend to be much cheaper than in the developed world (except for quality electronics- I found some digital cameras for example that were more expensive than in the US, as in yuan-to-dollars more expensive).

    However, if one is only making 400 yuan a month, while it's certainly going to stretch further than it would in the developed world, it leaves very little left over for savings, and hence upward mobility, or any kind of mobility at all for that matter. If you need healthcare you are at the mercy of the limited facilities provided by the government, and if you end up in the hospital you'll be getting your own food (unless you have relatives or friends who will bring it to you). Your health-care will probably be something along the lines of 'injections' which they will give you for a while and hope you get better. If you get worse you can't afford decent health care (from a private provider or by greasing the right palms) so you either stay sick or die.

    The average salary of urban workers (according to government statistics) is 18,000 yuan. These people are making considerably less, and, it should be mentioned, many of them are doing it outside of traditional safety zones of family and community. Many of these workers are migrant workers (who may not even 'exist' legally) from the provinces who have very little contact with family, and in the event of an emergency- such as a hospital stay- cannot fall back upon normal means of coping.

  • Americans prefer video to national parks: study (WHO WANTS TO SEE PARKS WITH BUSLOADS 0F TOURISTS?)

    06/22/2006 9:10:22 PM PDT · 19 of 30
    Cleburne to speedy

    It's all about where you go in a park, and which unit in the system you visit. I've been to plenty of National Park Service administrated places (National Preserves, Monuments, Historical or Battlefield Parks) that are virtually untouched by the hordes of tourists. And the Park Service generally does an excellent job at trail layouts, interpretation (particularly historical sites), historical preservation etc, though of course there are exceptions.

  • Loosely Interpreted Arabic Terms Can Promote Enemy Ideology

    06/22/2006 8:59:16 PM PDT · 51 of 70
    Cleburne to Technogeeb
    I would offer to you that Islam is, in some respects, a heresy of Christianity. This is the line taken by St. John of Damascus, one of the earliest Christian theologians to confront Islam. In his polemics on Islam he makes no contentions that he considers it a vile heresy; however, he refers to Mohammed speaking of 'God,' just as he would refer to Jews or non-Trinitarians as speaking about God: it is that their perception of God is flawed. It is as if there were a man- A.- to whom we both refered. I know A. quite well and describe him accurately; you describe him with some correct details, some incorrect, but we are still refering to the same person, even though your perception of him is flawed. You are still in error. The true relativist would say that it doesn't matter what anyone says about A. because either A. doesn't really exist or all our words about A. are merely relative, hinged upon our separate, subjective experiences of A.

    Certainly, there are extremely important differences in the way a Christian or Muslim or Jew speaks about God, but I still contend that when we are talking about God we have a concept that shares much common ground. This does not somehow negate the absolute value of Christianity's truth claims, anymore than saying that certain tenets of Buddhist ethics have much in common with the Gospels.

    Also, I would argue that Islam developed within the milieu of Christianity and Judaism. Mohammed would have a good deal of exposure to Jewish communties established in the Arabian Penninsula, as well as some Arab tribes that had converted to Christianity. Certainly, there are strong pre-Islamic Arabic pagan influences as well, but the ideas of Mohammed and the content of the Koran are self-consciously within the monotheist tradition.

    I understand the sensitivity of this subject, particularly in a day and age in which many wish to reduce all differences of religion to preference and differences in experience, culture, etc: basically to say that everyone is right (which is to say none of it matters because it's all hocus pocus anyway). But one does not have to deny truth value to all other systems in order to uphold the absolute truth value of Christianity. I can sat that Jews and Muslims worship God but in a flawed and deficient manner (a very politically incorrect thing to say!) without denying their need for the fullness of revelation in Christ.

  • Loosely Interpreted Arabic Terms Can Promote Enemy Ideology

    06/22/2006 4:39:22 PM PDT · 23 of 70
    Cleburne to Technogeeb
    Allah is Arabic for God; Arab Christians use Allah in their religious language. Islam shares with Christianity and Judaism basic outlines of classical monotheism: God is One, God is without passion, is omnipresent, omniscient, etc. One might extend it further in that all three religions believe in a very specific sort of revelation revealed in written Scripture manifested through the ministry of inspired men.

    Thus far Christianity, Judaism, and Islam agree on their conception of God. Is this enough for all three to refer to 'God' and mean the same thing? I think that it would be safe to say that all three share a similar conception that crystalizes in the word 'God,' in a way that is radically different from, say, a Hindu or Buddhist's conception of deity (or lack of such a conception). If a Hindu speaks of 'God' I can be sure he has nothing close to classical monotheism in mind. But if a Muslim or Jew speaks to me of 'God' I can be pretty sure that we share many basic conceptions.

    Yet there are still massive differences between our conceptions. I believe, and the Christian faith orthodoxly recieved, says of God that yes He is One, but He is God in Trinity, and that the Second Person of the Trinity has become man. For a Jew or Muslim this is extremely problematic to say the least. But can we still share the term 'God' and imagine ourselves having some common ground in using it?

    That goes not only for Muslims, but for Jews and non-Trinitarian Christians: if I speak of God to them are we talking about the same thing? I think the answer is yes and no. It cannot be an unqualified yes, for the non-Christian (yet still monotheist) conception of God is non-Trinitarian, and Trinitarianism is at the very core of the Christian faith and understanding of God. It cannot be sacrificed whatever Episcopelian bishops say. Yet I do not think that I must speak of 'god' when I am refering to Jewish, Islamic, or otherwise non-Trinitarian monotheists: there is enough common ground for us to all speak of God even though we do not mean the exact same thing, when in fact we have very serious and important divergences.

  • Is The End In Sight For The Chinese Dog Meat Trade?

    03/28/2006 7:23:01 PM PST · 5 of 18
    Cleburne to dawn53
    I ate some dog in Yunnan last year; it was sort of chewy, like beef a little, but not very good, at least not for what we paid for it. Sorry, dog lovers; it was my way of righting the cosmic balance, having been bitten by a very nasty chow when I was a kid.

    I have a picture of a couple of dog heads in a market, which always makes people do a double-take when they look at it. Last fall I was flying back from Dublin and got to talking with a fellow behind me, who was boasting about some of his culinary exploits. Not to be outdone, I got my laptop out and showed him the above mentioned picture, which he got quite a chuckle out of. Unfortunately, a girl across the aisle from me also saw it; she was a stalwart vegetarian and was very deeply mortified, which deeply mortified me (I'm actually a very sensitive sort of guy). But it was still pretty funny, and she forgave me after a moment of shock.

    I didn't show her my before and after Chinese frog picture though...(whole frog is not for me, btw)

  • China's Spectator Muslims

    02/25/2006 7:16:46 PM PST · 9 of 11
    Cleburne to Publius6961

    So is communism good and jolly so long as it supports the twisted values of American "conservatives"?

  • Holocaust denier Irving is jailed [Three years]

    02/20/2006 1:37:26 PM PST · 27 of 92
    Cleburne to jude24

    Intelligent of them to create martyrs for the neo-Nazis... Not to mention there is something just a little problematic about acting fascist to prevent fascism...

  • 2006: Turning point for young conservatives

    02/18/2006 7:13:30 PM PST · 20 of 72
    Cleburne to JNL

    I attend a more-or-less conservative college, and hence most of my friends could be quantified as conservatives of different sorts, though we run the gamlut from libertarian to party-line Republicans to eccletic unquantifiable. Except for some of the party-line sorts, I doubt any of my conservative peers approach the Bush Administration without ample criticism; there is no lack of divergent thought- though we don't really have many who could be put in the left side of the spectrum. Attempts to establish a Young Democrat's organization have failed rather consistently over the years, for some reason...

  • Serving Was Soldier's Mission - Sudan Native Killed in Iraq Did 'Good Deeds'

    01/06/2006 8:47:43 PM PST · 5 of 13
    Cleburne to redgirlinabluestate
    That's pretty cool- a Sudanese Muslim PhD student in economics from an academic family- not the sort of background one would expect to find!

    About three years ago, Ayman Taha told his father, "Dad, I have been going to school since I was 5 years old. I want to take a break."

    The father said he suggested that his son "try something in the World Bank . . . or Merrill Lynch." But one day, "out of the blue," his son told him that he had signed the papers that would take him into the Special Forces.

  • Target Iran

    01/06/2006 8:37:17 PM PST · 22 of 30
    Cleburne to Steel Wolf
    I think the Iranian regime wants us to bomb them. They do not want a ground invasion, obviouly, and they realize that at the moment, and for at least the short-term future, the US cannot manage a ground invasion. But the US can throw some bombs around and blow up things. This would be something of a setback for the Iranian government, but it would probably be effective in cementing their power (or at least they think it would be); it would be further proof of American imperialism and thus further calcify Middle Eastern- and world- opinions against the US.

    Now, Mahmoud may just be absolutely crazy- which is a distinct possibility- or his rhetoric and recent actions may be just what I've described, an attempt to force the US's- or perhaps even better Israel's- hand and unleash limited military action.

  • The Black Birds of Kosova

    12/27/2005 3:40:14 PM PST · 5 of 5
    Cleburne to kronos77
    In the past, nations or clusters of nations or tribes went to war ONLY in order to protect national or tribal or group interests. More food, more space, control over important lines of transport and communications, access to markets, women (to ensure reproduction), the elimination of a foe or a potential foe, loot, weaponry - hard, cold interests underlied all armed conflicts.

    Couldn't let this slip: I can think of at least one significant Western military venture that wasn't for any of these reasons: the Crusades. They were for pretty strictly religious purposes (there were a couple lords who went along with ambitions of land and riches, but they were the minority and not the driving force). The interpretation of the Crusades as veiled imperialism by second-sons out of luck is a post-imperialist reading into the facts, not the truth.

    Just wanted to point that out.

  • "What Is This Word?" The Bishop of Durham’s Christmas Sermon

    12/26/2005 7:36:14 PM PST · 3 of 4
    Cleburne to sionnsar

    That was wonderful- very good strong stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • Searching for the Memory of the Universe

    12/10/2005 4:54:13 PM PST · 20 of 60
    Cleburne to GW and Twins Pawpaw
    "Forty-two!" yelled Loonquawl. "Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years' work?"

    "I checked it very thoroughly," said the computer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is."

  • Searching for the Memory of the Universe

    12/10/2005 4:43:51 PM PST · 12 of 60
    Cleburne to broberts


  • Why torture ban should be a priority

    11/28/2005 9:16:04 AM PST · 43 of 146
    Cleburne to frogjerk
    When do you think the 'War on Terror' will be declared over? It is the epitome of 'endless war'; there is no particular state to conquer, and even if we were to destroy Al Qaeda another similar thing would arise. And even if radical Islam could be completely quelled, there are plenty of people who could be defined as 'terrorists'. The whole idea of a 'war on terror' is nebulous and thus can be easily exploited for whatever faction happens to be controlling the government. The government is always seeking to expand its powers; the War on Terror is a an all too easy way to do this, all in the name of 'security'.

    That is why while it is essential to fight terrorism- which is a very real threat- it is also essential to keep a close eye on the government's administration of this war. Once it cedes itself a power it is highly unlikely to ever remove that power.

  • The Crusades Remembered

    11/26/2005 3:41:53 PM PST · 10 of 29
    Cleburne to Ann Archy
    A Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas Madden is a nice introduction. It is, as the title suggests, concise, at right about two hundred pages. Madden gives a good, balanced approach to the Crusades, dismantling many of the inaccurate portrayls foisted on the public by journalists and Hollywood (such as the silly idea that Jerusalem's streets were 'knee-deep' in blood after the Crusaders seized it).

    The Crusaders were hardly saints, by and large, in their conduct, but neither were the horrid destroyers of Muslim culture and lands as they are often portrayed. In fact, they were very benign conquerors. The Crusader Kingdoms continued to be populated by the same Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians who had lived there for centuries. Once the Crusaders were driven out, Islam pretty much forgot about them. The Eastern Church did not, but that is another story... At any rate, there was hardly any rage or hatred over the Crusades until the twentieth century- after all, the Muslims won! Hardly something to get upset about. And the Crusaders were NOT imperialists like later-day Europeans. They came to a very specific place with a very specific purpose, and it was not to get rich- for most Crusaders.

  • Tiny bubbles, rising seas point to warming

    11/25/2005 12:52:15 PM PST · 9 of 55
    Cleburne to John Jorsett

    Besides, last time I checked man is part of the biomass of the planet. And since man is just another element in the evolutionary line, and biological development is amoral, why should any of this be a cause for concern? Are we supposed to legislate morality for the course of evolutionary development? And what's with science making value judgments? Where did they get that authority?

  • Native Americans Mourn Loss of Land With "Unthanksgiving" Rite

    11/24/2005 7:34:31 PM PST · 186 of 321
    Cleburne to fso301
    The major tribes of the Southeast adapted quite readily to 'civilization,' particularly the Cherokee in the Southeastern Appalachians, who drafted a Consitution, had their own alphabet, and were advancing economically until white settlers employed the Federal Government to confiscate their land and move them to Oklahoma. They emulated European technology and culture extensively, ranging from log cabins for dwellings to the adoption of African slavery- one of those wonderful civilized aspects of European rule.

    And that's just the Southeastern tribes with which I am somewhat familiar. But even if the native peoples were 'Neolithic' it hardly justifies commiting attrocities and forcibly taking their land.

  • Peril in Paradise: Why Young-earthers Emotional "No Death Before Adam" is just that: Emotion

    11/18/2005 4:06:46 PM PST · 9 of 42
    Cleburne to truthfinder9

    Eden simply cannot be the best of all possible worlds for the simple fact that Adam was able to sin. In the Eschaton redeemed man will not sin; he will be perfected in union with Christ. Genesis presents a world that must develop into something fuller and greater. Adam does not represent the height of humanity; he represents the potential of humanity, and that potential diverted into sin. Christ is the height of humanity; only in Him is man able to reach true perfection and glory.