Archive for January, 2008

Man’s Dominion

Friday, January 18th, 2008

When Mike Huckabee tells supporters he wants to amend the Constitution to agree with “God’s standards,” we have to take him seriously. Huckabee may not be electable, but he speaks for a large number of Americans. Unfortunately, like many hard-core Christians, Huckabee is hung up not in the New Testament gospel of Jesus, but the Old Testament. Huckabee says he’s a conservative, but not angry about it. But the tone of his words and those of many Christian leaders like him is that of the angry, frustrated, retributive Old Testament Jehovah.

The biggest problem I see with this distorted theology is their strict adherence to the Book of Genesis. Genesis established the Judeo-Christian Creation Myth, and is probably acceptable to Muslims as well. Literal interpretations of Genesis are a drag on human progress in so many ways.

We now have overwhelming scientific evidence that Earth is not a mere 6000 years old [1], and that existing species were not created in their current form. Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and all species evolved from simple organisms formed when the chemical constitution of the oceans was far different than today’s.

It is important to insist on scientifically established facts concerning geographical time and the origins of species, but there’s another aspect of Genesis that’s even more dangerous. As an unprovable opinion, it’s difficult to debate.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Genesis 1:26

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Black is beautiful

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Charcoal scumble
Anyone who has drawn with charcoal, processed charcoal or charcoal pencils can’t help being impressed with the deep black surfaces they produce. Could anything be blacker than black? Researchers at Rice University and Rensselaer Polytech have invented a carbon nanotube “almost 30 times darker than a carbon substance used by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology as the current benchmark of blackness.”
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What’s Up With Huck?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Raw Story is quoting Mike Huckabee thus:

[…] I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.

Needless to say, his comments have some people twitching. (more…)

Grasses — Sketch

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Sketch by Jim Kearman

A simple sketch from today’s trip to Halpatiokee Park. Click the image if you want to see a larger version.

Corporate Control of American Politics

Monday, January 14th, 2008

The subject of this post is one I have suggested in the past. Many Americans probably doubt my thesis. Maybe they can’t believe corporate leaders would align themselves against us. Or it may be they can’t imagine Democratic Party candidates yielding to corporate interests. Here are two excerpts from articles I found online this morning, from Reuters, and Paul Krugman, an economist and op-ed writer for the New York Times.
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The problem with early primaries

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

To that title, I might add, “and with lame press coverage of some candidates.” Libertarian Michael Kinsley opines about Ron Paul in today’s Washington Post. As a description of Libertarianism alone the article is worth reading, if you want to know more about that ideology. Kinsley points out the analytical nature of Libertarianism, which he admires in Ron Paul. His point is, you might not like Ron Paul enough to vote for him, but he does have ideas worth considering. So do other candidates the press consistently ignores.

Candidates you never get to hear about, who are too early dumped from the campaign, often have ideas and goals we’d benefit from hearing, and might wish the favorite candidates would adopt. Even if those candidates appeal to only a small percentage of voters (I believe popularity is due at least as much to media manipulation as the individual qualities of the candidates), we learned a bitter lesson about percentage points in 2000. The longer the less-popular candidates stay in the race, the more influence their ideas will have on the eventual finalists. The best way for Candidate A to take votes from Candidate B is to plunder B’s ideas. Look how vigorously Clinton, Romney, Huckabee and McCain jumped on “change” after the Iowa caucuses. Once Candidate B is out of the race, there’s no longer any incentive for Candidate A to improve his or her platform.
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Janice Rogers Brown’s Wakeup Call?

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

The McClatchy Newspapers report on a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision is interesting for more than the decision itself. The Appellate panel denied a suit by four Britons against former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, former Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, who was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, and nine other senior military officers. The Britons were taken prisoner in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years. After being repatriated to Great Britain in 2004, they were released within 24 hours. No charges were ever filed against them. Here’s the critical point:

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the detainees captured in Afghanistan aren’t recognized as “persons” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because they were aliens held outside the United States. The Religious Freedom Act prohibits the government from “substantially burdening a person’s religion.”

One member of the panel disagreed on this point. Justice Janice Rogers Brown said that conclusion “leaves us with the unfortunate and quite dubious distinction of being the only court to declare those held at Guantanamo are not `person(s).'”

Justice Brown first came to my attention when she was confirmed to the Court more than 2-1/2 years ago. In my comments on a New York Times article on Birds of a Feather, I noted Brown’s opinion that, “In the heyday of liberal democracy, all roads lead to slavery.” Slavery, according to other remarks by Brown (see links on the BOAF post) is a by-product of too much government, the nanny state: (more…)

Teach Your Children Well

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Stefan Theil analyzed some European secondary-school textbooks, and discovered not everyone is in lockstep with the American ideal. Writing in Foreign Policy, Theil predicts nothing less than the complete economic collapse of Europe as a result.
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Foreign Interventions, Inconvenient Truths

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Being singularly unimpressed by Hillary Clinton’s 4000-vote, 3-percent win over Barack Obama in New Hampshire yesterday, I was looking for something interesting to read about tonight. What I found was a relatively long article about the life and death of Philip Agee.

Agee was a CIA officer for 12 years, until he quit in 1969, and published a controversial book, “Inside the Company: CIA Diary.” Agee named some CIA officers operating in Central and South America. Barbara Bush said he named the CIA Station Chief in Athens, who was murdered, but he didn’t. Agee’s brief was the other Americas, and he didn’t like what he saw. Agee was put off by American support for strong-arm, repressive leaders in the region, our dirty levee against socialist and communist movements. This is a subject worth pausing to consider. (more…)

Charcoal sketch, January 9, ’08

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Pine tree trunk, drawn at Halpatiokee Park. Willow charcoal on 9 x 12 Strathmore 300 charcoal pad.

Sketch of pine tree trunk

© James Kearman 2008