June 27, 2007

ONE-SIDED BRIDGE BUILDING

Here's a fascinating blog post about a church that invited someone from the local mosque to speak to the congregation.

The stated purpose of the visit, from my church’s perspective, was printed in the newsletter: “In an increasingly fragmented world in which followers of other religions are often viewed with fear – how wonderful it would be to build bridges.” But when we’re told flatly, “Touch Mohammed and there will be riots,” it’s obvious that it’s less about bridge building and more about schooling us as to how we are and are not to behave to avoid what Muslims who think like our speaker believe are the reasonable consequences of offending Islam–or even the more “aberrant” consequences. Ironically, this pattern reminds me of radical feminists, whose aim is to curtail the behavior and speech of people, particularly men, whom they deem offensive. In both cases, this reveals an absolutely infantile grasp of human relations that insists you tightly align your behavior with their proscriptions because they simply cannot handle, or respond appropriately to, what you might say or do. Our speaker, in answering my questions about the Mohammed cartoons, asked vehemently and self-pityingly why we could not leave Mohammed alone, why Islam cannot have even one thing that is sacred from the opinions of others (my words). I remember pathetically wondering this myself when my sister wanted to play with my toys–when I was about eight. But this begs for control of the behavior of others rather than planning for measured responses of one’s own.

Read the whole thing.

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June 23, 2007

HMMMM

Found a very old Grim's Hall post I missed the first time around:
"The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous."

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June 19, 2007

HOPE

The title of this one is all you need...
Iraqi Orphanage Nightmare: U.S. Troops Discover And Rescue Orphan Boys Left Starving, Chained To Beds
The photos made me weep. They're concentration camp liberation for my generation.

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June 17, 2007

WELL SAID

Found a comment over at Buzz.mn that narrowly applies to seatbelt laws but broadly applies to almost everything we cover in the blogosphere:

Anecdotal Evidence Can Be Fun!
Submitted by jhugart on Thu, 06/14/2007 - 12:36am.

My dad used to wear seat belts only when he was driving on the interstate; he explained it by saying he could hold on to the steering wheel at lower speeds.

Then one day he was driving to the interstate, and had his belt on. Another driver ran a red light and smashed into his car, rolling it, and shaking him up a lot. He was uninjured, which all agreed would not have been the case had he been unbelted. From that point on, he always wore a seat belt.

For my part, I always put on the belt, and expect passengers to do so as well. I used to get the response, "Oh, I trust your driving!" My reply was, "It isn't my driving we're worried about." That always resulted in a thoughtful look and the click of the belt.

The entertaining part about anecdotal evidence is that it is great for supporting something you already believe in. If you believe seat belt use is a good idea, you can find stories to back it up. If you think seat belt use is dangerous, you can find stories to back that up.

Humans being human, I suspect that no scientific assessment of seat belt use, non-use, accidents, injuries, and fatalities would sway people from whatever positions they have already adopted. They are much more likely to be affected by a friend or relative who survived because of behavior X, whatever it happens to be.

The short answer is that there are all sorts of ways to die with a car involved. You can do your best to protect yourself, but sometimes you can get killed in spite of those efforts...and other times you can survive in spite of what may seem terminal stupidity. C'est la vie.

Jacob

(Thanks to this ColdFury post for leading me there.)

Actually, it reminds me a lot of something that's been bugging me immensely lately over at SpouseBUZZ: the idea that the new Lifetime series Army Wives is unrealistic because officer wives would never deign to hang out with enlisted wives. I say that my three best friends in Germany were all enlisted wives, and someone else says that in her entire Army life no officer wife has ever once spoken to her. And so our anecdotes cancel out. Ace says nicely today that "the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'", and I don't know if there's any data out there on this subject, but it sure does bother me to read over and over that I am too snobby and uppity to ever be friends with my three best friends.

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June 07, 2007

VILE

You really must go read "In Saudi Arabia, a view from behind the veil," an article about the horrific gender segregation. It's absolutely vile. Go here and click on the top link to read.

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June 03, 2007

MR. ROGERS

When I was two years old, I got to meet Mr. Rogers in the airport. I don't remember it, but my parents took me over to say hello. They say that Mr. Rogers was the exact same person in real life as he was on TV and that he talked to me as if I were the most important person in the room.

I told that story to someone a few years ago, and she gave me a weird look and said that Mr. Rogers was a pedophile. I was stunned. I had never heard any such thing, and I told her she'd better google it and make sure of what she was saying before she ever repeated it again.

I loved this blog post (via Hud), and I hope that my friend has never repeated those horrible things about such a wonderful man.

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