Thursday, March 07, 2002

MEMRI: Special Dispatch - Egypt

This is on the web site of the Middle East Media Research Institute, which translates articles from Arab newspapers. There is some outrageous stuff in there, that's for sure.

It's a little difficult to put it in context, though, since I don't know anything about the newspapers, the speakers, or the objectivity of the translators. The majority of it seems to be the bad stuff that Arabs say, so they're clearly not giving much balance. And all the articles seem to include ridiculous insults about Jews, so that may be their slant.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Guardian Unlimited Observer - US schools ban Darwin from class

I love the mournful hand-wringing attitude of this British article. "Those poor dumb Americans actually believe in the Bible!" Of course their only source for the story is the head of an anti-creationist group. So much for balanced reporting.

Great quote here about how the tide is turning against Darwinism in some rural schools: "Voters get confused. They don't understand that creationism is a doctrine and is very different from scientific theory." Obviously they could only make this decision through ignorance. Did it ever occur to them that creationism IS a scientific theory? But by their rules it CAN'T be scientific because God is involved.

If Darwinism were just a scientific theory, the proponents of it wouldn't defend it with such a religious fervor -- they would welcome analysis of other explanations. That's why it's just as accurate to label their belief the religion of evolution.

I love the parting shot "Our nation went from the Earth to the Moon a few years ago, and discovered these worlds date back billions of years. Now it is sticking its head in the sand, claiming the whole lot was made in a flash a few millennia ago by one entity." I can imagine God looking down at the universe and saying "Wow, you guys are really amazing. I spoke the universe into existence, and you guys stepped foot on your closest moon. Impressive!"

Psalm 14:1 - The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
Guardian Unlimited Observer - Digital Domesday Book lasts 15 years not 1000

You have to love irony like this. Paper lasts better than magnetic tape - no surpise there. The challenge now is to find a medium with the convenience and searchability of digital that won't become obsolete and won't decay so quickly.
Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/28/2002 | A change of heart lets China honor Pearl Buck

Here's a follow-up to our review of The Good Earth. I guess Buck was persona non grata in China for her warts-and-all representation of peasant life in China. Now the Chinese government is coming around.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Three-minute book review: The Good Earth by Pearl Buck

Genre: Pulitzer winners Recommended: yes

Synopsis: The life story of a country farmer in pre-Revolution China.

Opinion: The Good Earth does a great job of letting you "inside the head" of Wang Lung, a small-time farmer in China in the early 1900s. What you find once you get in there might not be to your liking, however. Personally I had a hard time finding any characters to really connect with -- there weren't really any "good guys". But with a novel like this, I guess that's not the point.

Where I thought the book was at its best was the way it exposed Wang Lung's most driving desire: his love of The Land. Everything he did in some way revolved around this universal agrarian faith in the land as the ultimate provider. Although Western culture constantly migrates away from this, I think you can still find these emotions in rural America.

Why should I read it? Excellent insight into the emotions and desires of the people of that place and time.
New York Times - The Angola Mirror

We all know that U.S. leaders made mistakes in policy during the cold war. We were following the philosophy "my enemy's enemy is my friend", often with disasterous results.

But it's time we decided if we will finally learn this lesson or not. As we topple governments that support terror, who do we replace them with -- and are we willing to force them to act differently?

If we claim to be a society that stands for freedom and justice, we need to ask for more than stability in our allies.

Monday, March 04, 2002

AlterNet -- When 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Go Bad

Good column that points out some real harm in conspiracy theories -- that they take the heat off the government for bad things they really are doing.

But I doubt this warning would have much impact. It seems like the people who spend their time on outlandish conspiracy theories aren't really that interested in run-of-the-mill government abuses. It's only the shocking and outrageous that gets their attention.