Of Ogres, Onions and Monotheism

A 25-year-old man in Cairo, Egypt, born a Moslem, converted to Christianity at the age of 18. He recently appealed to the Egyptian courts to change the religion on his identity card to Christian, but the court denied his request. Here is the official statement from the judge:

“Monotheistic religions were sent by God in chronological order… As a result, it is unusual to go from the latest religion to the one that preceded it.”

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The Zeppelin Flies Again

In a recent interview in Tokyo, Jimmy Page, the brilliant lead guitarist for Led Zeppelin, the legendary British rock band, said that a world tour by the band would more than likely occur later this year or some time next year. For those of us who have been waiting nearly thirty years for the band to reunite, this is most welcome news.\r\n

Zeppelin broke up in 1980 after the death of their drummer, John Bonham, and had not done a full cobcert until December of 2007 when they did a two-hour concert in London as a tribute to the late Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records. John Bonham was replaced by his son Jason, who no doubt will be the drummer when Zeppelin does go on tour. Continue reading

Religion Alone Not Responsible for Suicide Bombings – VOA

George Bush needs to expand his online reading list to include the Voice of America web site. VOA has a very interesting article on the reasons for terrorism in the Middle East that offer solutions to the war on terrorism other than military force, which seems to be the only option Bush has considered these last seven years. These solutions, really only one solutuin, are all offered and supported by the leaders of the three countries most often targeted by the terrorists: Afganistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

They all said the same thing last week at the World Ecomic Forum in Davos, Switserland: terrorism will not end until poverty and illeteracy are eradicated in the Islamic countries. Force alone will not put an end to terrorism. So, Bush”s policy of escalated military force in Afganistan and Iraq and wanting to send combat forces to Pakistan is really a waste of lives and money. The money would be better spent on probiding economic relief and literacy programs in those countries. If Bush really wants to win the war against terrorism, he needs to make some serious changes in American foreign policy in that region. Continue reading

Life Imitatates Art: Real Life Rambos

I’ve discussed post-stree trauma disorder (PSTD) and veterans of Bush”s war in the Middle East before, but I feel that we need to talk about it some more, especially in light of this article from the New York Times. PSTD first became an issue with soldiers returning from duty in Vietnam in the late 1960s abd 1970s. It inspired Sylvester Stallone to create a movie anit-hero named John Rambo who obviously suffered from PSTD, resulting, according to the Rambo movies, from his stay in a Viet Cong POW camp.

But, and I think that the fact that the latest generation of veterans from Iraq and Afganistan are exhibiting Rambo-like behavior supports my contention that it is military training of young impressionable men and women that is the reason for the increased PSTD. During peace times, the military training is more geared to providing skills that are marketable in the civilian world. But, when the US is involved in a war like we were in Vietnam and now in the Middle East, the training is much more combat oriented.
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Ted Kennedy Kicks Hillary Where It Hurts

Senator Edward Kennedy today officially endored Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic Presidential nomination. That was a real kick in the groin for Hillary Clinton. Senator Kennedy is the second member of the Kennedy family to endore Obama in the last few days. Last Saturday. Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of JFK, endorsed Obama, compared him to her father in his ability to inspire people. <

According to political analysts, Clinton is counting heavily on winning big in primaries in northeastern states like New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. After all, she is the Senator from New York. But with Kennedy putting his iconic status and impressive political apparatus at the disposal of Obama, that could throw a serious monkey wrench into Clinton’s strategy. Continue reading

Is Bush Trying to Force the “End Times” or Is He Just a Megalomaniac?

The except below is from an article in this morning’s New York Times, and it frighten the crap out of me! The level of arrogance shown by our Fearless Leader is unbelievable. Did he not get the mesage last November that the people of the United States disagree with Bush’s position on the war in Iraq? Does he not understand that the American people are more concerend about the state of the economy? Apparently not.

With its international mandate in Iraq set to expire in 11 months, the Bush administration will insist that the government in Baghdad give the United States broad authority to conduct combat operations and guarantee civilian contractors specific legal protections from Iraqi law, according to administration and military officials.This emerging American negotiating position faces a potential buzz saw of opposition from Iraq, with its fragmented Parliament, weak central government and deep sensitivities about being seen as a dependent state, according to these officials. Continue reading

Doldrums, Dragons, and Post-Christmas Musings

Let me start off by wishing you all a happy and healthy 2008. May you find your dreams this year.

It seems that the older I get, the more severe and more prolonged the post-Christmas doldrums get. This year has been particularly rough, which is why I have not written anything in the last few weeks. The fact that I came down with a nasty staph infection in my right ear did not help much. After almost two weeks on some heavy duty antibiotics, I seem to be recovering finally. Take my word for it, it was not fun!
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