I thought this photo was particularly humorous. I figure anyone working in development — or in Africa — will agree.
Tag Archives: politics
image courtesy of sinden.org
This is a dangerous world in which we live. And I’m all for freedom and the pursuit of life and liberty — but we’ve desperately got to make some rules. Kids are getting hurt out there. Out of my deep love for humanity, I’d like to suggest we pass the following laws to safeguard American children. And if you have any allegiance to this great country, or any concern at all for our youth, you’ll sign my petition in support of said regulations:
Mandatory Knee and Elbow Pads for Everyone Under 16
Children’s bodies are still growing, and protecting their joints is a burden we must together bear. This law will make sure Americans’ arms and legs are bending properly, and in the right places, for a long time to come. And we’re not talking about during sporting events only — no, knee and elbow pads will be required from the time children wake up until they go to bed (at our new mandatory and nation-wide 7:00pm curfew). We are calling on American Eagle, Gap, and Abercrombie to quickly get to work producing trendy and fashionable pads for the youth of this great nation. If skinny jeans can become popular, we’re convinced elbow pads can, too.
Compulsory Waiting Periods (and Training Regimens) for Purchase of Video Games
We all know it’s not good for kids to sit on their bums playing Xbox all day. This law requires that, before purchasing a game, a family must complete a two-month fitness program which includes (but is not limited to) running, weightlifting, yoga, daily stretching, and quick reflex training. At the end of this two-month period each family member shall complete a race of no less than 10k, at which time the family will be given a voucher enabling them to purchase one (nonviolent) video game. Additional vouchers will be given for exceptional performances and, especially, state records. [Any individual able to, while wearing ankle weights, catch a flaming arrow fired from a professional archer's bow will qualify his/her family for a special exemption in which they can buy three video games while eating non-nonfat yoghurt and drinking butter.]
Changes in Police Arms and Conduct
As the defenders and protectors of the public, law enforcement personnel are role models to our children. Much has been said about the impact of movie violence on our youth, but little attention has been paid to the influence these stalwarts of society affect on our children… with their weapons of mass destruction and potty mouth language. From this point on, police-persons will not carry firearms and live rounds, but instead water guns. And we all know if you’ve got nothing good to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Therefore we will no longer permit language like this: “Alright scumbag, drop your weapon and come out with your hands up.” Officers will instead speak to those good qualities possessed by evildoers: ”Wow, you sure do know how to handle a piece; and you disarmed that alarm with great speed and efficiency. Now, if you’ll kindly and gently place that gun on the ground and take two scissor-steps forward, Mother May-I would really appreciate it.” And instead of reading criminals their rights, the officer and the criminal shall sit on the ground (criss-cross applesauce) and discuss how good boys and girls are supposed to treat one another.
New Regulations on Car Seats
In many states we’re already providing a great service to our children by keeping them in car seats until they reach a weight of 120 pounds and the age of 14. Let’s make this the standard across the board. And because we all know car seats provide a 250% increase in safety for our children, we will now require the use of car seats inside other car seats. That’s right, double car seats. Our children (and young teens) will be 500% safer in their Russian nesting seats, and we can all rest easier knowing it’s safer than ever for us to text and drive.
Counting to Ten
Children’s minds aren’t yet fully developed, so it’s sometimes difficult for them to grasp the very adult concepts of threat and punishment. With the passing of this legislation, all parents will be required to count to “9 31/32″s before reaching “10″ and sending a child to his/her room. It is absolutely crucial that we provide children ample time to understand our intentions before we go off half-cocked like crazy people — putting children in timeout after only counting to 3, and having used whole numbers.
No More Toys in Happy Meals
Fast food meals are incredibly unhealthy, and obesity is a tremendous problem in our nation among both adults and children. With the toys that accompany their meals, McDonald’s and other restaurant chains are luring our children into their horrid dens of evil and clogging their arteries, all in order to make a quick buck. This new law* will “allow toys to be given away with kids’ meals that have less than 600 calories, contain fruits and vegetables, and include beverages without excessive fat or sugar” only.** And while we’re at it, we should weigh the adults upon entry and departure, so a bouncer can give them three flaming Indian Sunburns for every ounce of death food they ate. And if they drank soda instead of water, a nice punch to the groin is probably appropriate.
So, who’s with me? Sign the petition below and include any appropriate comments. Please feel free to suggest your own rules for the betterment of our nation and the safety of our children. I’m convinced that, together, we can make the United States a safer place. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to envelop my daughter in bubble wrap before she goes out to play.
* This is an actual law being enacted in San Francisco — hence the quotation marks. See this article: Law Curbs McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys. It was indeed the inspiration for this post.
** We’re going to call it the Sad Meal. And I’m no expert on nutrition, but how many beverages have excessive fat?! Are they serving french fry-flavored shakes?
image courtesy of theinsanityofthesane
Okay, so this is all just a bit ridiculous. Could anyone have made up a more far-fetched story? Here it is in it’s most up-to-date version (as of Friday, September 10 at 6:30 am in Tanzania):
The Reverend Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, and the Dove Outreach Center where he ministers, planned to burn a stack of Qurans in protest of the religion of Islam on Saturday, September 11. The 50-member Pentecostal church and their pastor quickly became international media darlings, selling newspapers everywhere. Christians from all over the world counseled Rev. Jones on what it means to be a Christian — that this book burning is neither Christlike nor a good idea. Politicians and U.S. leaders counseled Rev. Jones on what it means to be an American — that this book burning will only fuel the recruitment of future terrorists and will also trigger Muslim attacks and American casualties.
The Reverend also met with Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of a Muslim group in Florida, and it was during this discussion that he announced his church would indeed no longer be burning the copies of the Islamic holy book. Afterwards he explained this the Imam had promised, in return, to terminate the building of the mosque near ground zero. When Musri denied having made such claims, Jones called him a liar and is now reconsidering the cancellation of his church’s Quran burning — saying that for now he has only suspended the burning.
Okay, so let’s just count the ridiculous happenings in this whole ordeal:
- The proper Christian response to a false religion is to burn their holy book?!
- World media decides that such a response (by a few people) is incredibly newsworthy — like top-news-story-in-the-world newsworthy.
- The actions of this 50-member church are portrayed by many as being the norm for Christianity. This, after all, is just what regular Christians do.
- Christians feel as if they can talk sense into a guy who thinks burning Qurans is something the Holy Spirit has led him to do.
- The Pope himself becomes involved.
- President Obama attempts to persuade the Reverend not to burn the books because “this is a recruitment bonanza for Al Qaida. You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan.” And because Americans are likely to die as a result of Jones’ actions.
- General Petraeus agrees and speaks out about it.
- Many people claim that if American lives are lost, it will be the fault of Rev. Jones and Dove Outreach Church.
- An important Muslim leader in Florida meets with the pastor who wants to burn his holy book, and convinces him not to do so (either with a promise to a halt the mosque project in New York or with a promise of a meeting with the leaders of that project).
- Reverend Terry Jones either believes Muslim leaders would cancel the building of another international new story — er, I mean the mosque in New York — OR he just straight up lies about what Imam Musri promised him.
- So… he reconsiders the Quran burning, but doesn’t put a date on it. [Which could very well be seen as a ploy to keep the spotlight for a few more days or weeks.]
And now for a few short rants. I can’t help it — there is just so much that is crazy going on here:
- What Jesus does Dove Outreach Center read about in the Bible? Are they serious? This seems like a good idea to them? This seems like something Christ would do, or would call us to do?
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
– Romans 12:20-21
- I’ve always thought that verse was strange, because there obviously still exists the desire to put coals on someone’s head (which seems overly harsh at best), but it does make clear that we should overcome evil with good. Not by heaping actual and real burning coals on the holy books of other religious groups.
- Why does the media attempt to portray Reverend Jones’ group as being accurately representative of Christianity as a whole? Why do they refer to Dove Outreach Church as fundamental, evangelical Christianity — yet they refer to those Muslims who would seek to kill others as Muslim extremists? Why can’t this church in Gainesville be Christian extremists? Or why aren’t Muslim terrorists referred to as fundamental, everyday, run-of-the-mill Muslims? Instead, one report I read referred to such people as “terrorist-minded individuals” who kill others.
- And while we’re on the subject of the the media’s portrayal of religion… if Islam is a peaceful religion (as is often claimed), why such the uproar about all the deaths that Reverend Jones is causing? If there are only an extremely small number of Muslims who believe violence is the answer, why will the actions of 50 people in Florida cause riots and death and destruction?
- And do President Obama and General Petraeus (and others) really believe it will be Jones’ fault if people die? I’m not saying I’m in support of what he’s doing, but am I now going to be held responsible for how others react to the things I do and say. Because it just doesn’t seem fair for me to be accountable for the actions of murderers and terrorists. Because they can’t respond in an appropriate fashion, it becomes my fault that they kill others? Really?! If killing Americans were an equal and commensurate response to the burning of the Quran, I’d at least understand the argument (though I’d still disagree). But we’re talking burning books versus killing people.
- As much as I disagree with Dove Outreach Center’s motives and methods, they have every right to burn these books. I guess this comment is probably unprovoked in that I haven’t heard anyone actually saying Jones DOESN’T have a right to burn the Quran. But there were a whole lot of people speaking up for the rights of the Muslim community to build a community center and mosque near ground zero (our president included) and, I think, rightly so. But where are those proponents of free speech now? Check out this incredibly ironic remark:
“If he’s listening, I hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans, that this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance.” – President Obama
- Did Terry Jones really believe the Muslims would cancel the building of the mosque in New York to keep him from burning some books? I realize those books are important, but seriously? Has he read the paper lately — the pressure put on this group, the money offered?!
I’m telling you, we couldn’t make this stuff up. What do you think?
A couple of closely related stories and blog posts:
- a mother’s response to the ground zero controversy
- not near ground zero, they don’t
And a cartoon that speaks a great deal of truth to the situation:
- Jesus and Mo
In 1916, a group of Greek immigrants opened the Greek Orthodox Christian Church of St. Nicholas in New York City. It stood there until September 11, 2001, when the second of the World Trade Center towers collapsed on top of it, the result of a horrible terrorist attack. The church has been attempting to rebuild their place of worship since that time, working with the proper authorities to do so. There was even an agreement reached at one time between the Archdiocese and the Port Authority for a particular area to be set aside for the church’s use. But it seems the city has now reneged on their offer, and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is fighting a losing battle to reconstruct their building just a block or two from ground zero.
I say we don’t let them build their place of worship — not near ground zero, anyway. And here are my reasons:
- Where is their funding coming from? Sure they say the city is compensating them for moving from their original site, but can they provide us with some proof? Now I don’t claim to know much about the Greek Orthodox Church, but I’m guessing it’s pretty similar, or even related to, the Eastern Orthodox Church (which I’ve heard of). And so, it must have some ties to the east. And there are terrorists in the east — especially in the middle of it. So I demand to know where the funding is coming from for this so-called “Orthodox” church. No building’s going up until I see financial records, I tell you.
- Do any of us really know what the Greek Orthodox Church believes or practices? I know they speak really old languages during their services, wear funny robes and hats, and do a lot of chanting. And their church calendar begins on September 1st and ends on August 31st. It sounds like some kind of evil cult if, you ask me. You know what I think? I think if these Greek people want to have church buildings in America, they need to learn how to use American calendars, and they need to start speaking American. They had better cut it out with all the chanting stuff and immediately forfeit anything that looks or sounds unfamiliar to me. No doubt the immigrants who started these Greek churches were illegal in the first place. Can somebody make these guys show us some birth certificates, please?
- Ground zero is hallowed ground. And no one should be able to build any house of worship there unless they agree with me. And, frankly, I’m uncomfortable with some of the things this Greek Orthodox Church does. They shouldn’t offend me or make me uncomfortable, especially if they claim to be Christian; that’s just plain insensitive. What’s worse is that I’m sure they’re doing it on purpose, just to rub it in my face. I’ve personally asked them to change their choice of location, but they refused and said they believe their building will encourage a free exchange of spiritual ideas among the greater religious community. That’s not true. Only my church would be able to accomplish such a monumental task in that particular location.
- I tell you the only way I’d be willing to change my mind is if they didn’t call this thing a church building, but instead referred to it as a community learning center or something. Yeah, I suppose I could go for that. Those crazy Greeks with their funny hats.
[For more reading on the St. Nicholas situation, see these articles in The New York Times and FOX News. Or see this news release from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. For my views on the whole mosque ordeal (if I were a female with kids -- otherwise called a mother), go here.]
“Oh, are you and Carson just getting back from having seen the president?” Kulwa asked as we stepped out of the truck.
“The president? You mean President Kikwete?! THE President? As in, of Tanzania? He’s in Geita?”
“Yeah,” Kulwa responded, “He’s coming to Geita today, but I’m not sure when he arrives.”
Geita, Tanzania is not a big town. Basically it’s an overgrown village center. But it’s an overgrown village center that’s continuing to overgrow. And big things are on the horizon. It’s been known for some time that Mwanza region in Tanzania is getting too big, and so, another region will be formed — and the widespread rumor has been that Geita will indeed be the capital of this new region. [Region::Tanzania as state::U.S.A.] So we’ve kind of been expecting President Kikwete to arrive at some point and make the whole thing official.
Elections are also coming up, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a really big crowd together and wave some flags for the Chama Cha Mapinduzi. The CCM (Party of the Revolution) is one of the political parties in Tanzania, though it might as well be the only political party in Tanzania. It was established in 1977 (one month before this author’s birth) by the first President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, and was the only recognized and legal party until 1992. The CCM has won every single election on the regional and national level in the history of Tanzania (and I’m guessing all others as well, but have no facts to support such a theory). Jakaya Kikwete is the current chairman of the party and president of Tanzania; each of the other three men who served as CCM chairman also held the office of president.
So what follows is a photo essay (with video) of a CCM rally and presidential visit in Geita, Tanzania. Karibu Geita, wageni.
First there was a performance. The “Tanzania Number One” band and dance group entertained the crowd, who started gathering by 10:00 am for the president’s 4:15 pm arrival.
Finding a pleasant place to await President Kikwete’s arrival; where better than underneath this life-size poster of the man himself? [I neglected to tell you that the president is a giant among men.]
There were actually a whole lot of umbrellas in the crowd… despite the fact that I was the only individual present who is actually capable of being sunburned.
And we all know you can’t have crowds without crowd control.
Photography Rule #1 in Tanzania: Either people really, really want their picture taken… OR they really, really don’t want their picture taken… OR they don’t care either way, but really, really think you’ll pay them to pose for the camera. Guess which group these guys fall in.
CCM’s colors are green and yellow. So there was a lot of green and yellow. And lots of chants and cheers for CCM, President Kikwete, and Geita. This event was the closest thing I’ve found here to an Auburn football game or a high school pep rally. [Probably closer to the high school pep rally, except for the number of people present.]
In true African fashion, President Kikwete arrived more than two hours late.
But still the welcome was a warm one. There were several groups who had been previously selected to “officially” welcome the president. Some groups wore traditional dress, others green and yellow, and still others tanzanian flag attire. But all danced.
Oh, there was dancing.
I feel like in the states we often call something “standing room only” just because there aren’t any chairs. But this was literally standing room only. About halfway through the president’s speech, I snapped a few pictures with the camera — and then realized I could no longer put my hands down by my side, I was being pressed against so. I did manage, though, to cross my arms in kind of a hug-myself fashion for the remainder of the speech, giving my arms a place to rest (and my heart a nice, warm feeling).
After the President and his entourage left, everyone just kind of hung around and talked. It was a lot like a Sunday evening after church (not a Sunday morning, because that’s when everyone’s in a hurry to get to PoFolks). I chatted with several people I knew, and I think I was seen as more a real part of the community than I often am. It was really nice.
I left shortly after this picture was taken, in order to be home before dark. But it seemed most people weren’t planning on leaving anytime soon. Everyone was so excited to share in this important time for our town. Geita will officially become a region, and the capital of that region, on January 1, 2011.
THAT’S IT! I. have. had. E…NOUGH! I’m sick and tired of you two arguing all the time. You boys are entirely too old to be acting like this.
Islam, you’re 1400 years old and should know better than to wittingly aggravate your brother like this; and your “This is not actually Ground Zero — I’m not touching, I’m not touching” routine is not going to cut it this time, mister.
And you, Christianity, I can’t believe I’m listening to a 2000 year old whine and cry about where someone else wants to play with his toys. This is a shared house, and what do you think gives YOU the right to control where everybody else goes and what they do there?!
I don’t know why you two can’t be more like your older brother, Judaism, and quietly mind your own business. And I do mean business. Have you seen Jud’s lemonade stand? He’s making a killing right there in our own front yard — and no one’s being made angry in the process.
And, no, WE WILL NOT be drawing a line down the middle of the room. We didn’t do that in the 1860′s with North and South, and we’re for sure not doing it with you. You boys are just gonna’ have to learn to share. And if you two don’t start playing well together, then no one — and I mean NO ONE — gets a place of worship! Not at Ground Zero or anywhere else.
Now hug and go to your room. There will be absolutely no Xbox tonight, and I’d say you’re going to bed without any dinner, but — Islam, you must be starving; you haven’t eaten since sunrise. I’ll send Judaism up with some Kosher foods after dark. Until then, I want you two to think about what you’ve done, and how it reflects on who you are.
[For my thoughts on another controversy at ground zero, have a look see here.]
image courtesy of photobucket.com
While holding my daughter on this July 4th morning, I turned to BBC’s news broadcast. There on my television I saw a special on the homosexuality laws in neighboring Uganda. Now I don’t claim to understand a great deal about these laws, but they seem to go something like this:
- Any individual caught in a homosexual act will be imprisoned for life.
- Any individual caught in an “aggravated” homosexual act will be sentenced to death. [These seem to be forced or paid homosexual acts and the like.]
- Any individual “aiding and abetting” homosexual behavior can get up to seven years in prison. [This law seems quite vague. Can a doctor prescribe medicine to a known homosexual, or is that considered contributing to his lifestyle? What about a family member of a homosexual -- is failure to hand a relative over to the police considered promoting that relative's illegal lifestyle?]
Today is American Independence Day. Now, listen closely… I pledge my allegiance to God, and not to a nation. I know the United States is far from perfect, and I’m not so naive to believe she’ll ever reach perfection. Our leaders do a lot with which I disagree, and there are some decisions they’ve made of which I’m ashamed. But I am so incredibly thankful that I am a citizen of a country that offers freedom to each and every citizen, a nation who values individual rights and honors personal choices, a republic that strives to treat all people equally regardless of gender, race, religious affiliation, or sexual preference.
I know this may not be a popular post among some. But it is my belief that those who would disagree would seek to take away personal freedoms in an attempt to enact laws based on their own religious ideals. I don’t believe the government should be in the business of legislating morality, but rather that it should seek to protect life and liberty in any and every situation in which another individual’s life and liberty is not at stake.
I don’t condone homosexuality, but neither do I approve of taking away that choice. Just as I don’t encourage greed — but want to allow others the opportunity to seek happiness through big houses, expensive cars, and holding millions of dollars in the bank. I don’t think they’ll find it, but they are certainly entitled to try. I don’t want a law banning pianos from church buildings, sprinkling from baptism, the virgin Mary from prayers, or Allah from our nation. Nor do I want a law that limits kissing to those of us who find females attractive.
As I held my daughter this morning and watched BBC news, I prayed that she will respect the choices of others and be gracious to them. I prayed that she will always honor God and do what is right. I prayed that she will be a light in a dark place, letting her good deeds prompt others to worship God. And I prayed that she will never believe it honors God to coerce obedience to him by passing laws, legislating morality, and limiting the freedoms of others.
It is troubling to me that many, who would fight long and hard to prove God has given mankind freedom of choice, would then seek to not grant that same freedom to others.