daily archive: 08/28/2005
Watching A Disaster Unfold
Computer simulations indicate that by Tuesday, parts of New Orleans may be submerged under 30 feet of water and a vast majority of the city's houses will be destroyed by the wind. I don't know what to say except a prayer that everyone makes it through this.Hurricane Could Leave 1 Million Homeless
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Inbreeding's Bad, Mmmkay?
The infant mortality rate
among Israeli Arabs is more than twice as high as that among Israeli Jews, and no, you can't blame the zionist occupation. It's because of inbreeding and poor hygiene.
The lead article in the August issue of the Israel Medical Association Journal reports success in lowering infant mortality rates among Arabs in the Western Galilee. These rates being generally twice as high among Israeli Arabs as among Israeli Jews, by 2002 an Israeli health program launched in the late 1980s had lowered the rate among Western Galilee Arabs to about 1.5 that of the Jews in the area.
The program found three main factors causing the high rates among the Arabs: infections, home births, and diseases resulting from inbreeding. About 40 percent of Muslim and Druze women and 70 percent of Bedouin women in the region were found to be married to first- or second-degree relatives.
The "home births" complaint should be combined with "infections", because plenty of Americans do home birth with no heightened infant mortality rate. The difference must be that Arab midwives aren't as pathogen-conscious as American ones, and education could improve that. Education can also prevent new inbred marriages from happening, though it's an uphill battle in Arab society. Cousin-marryin' (especially first cousins) is very popular and thought to be the best match you could possibly make. In fact, a lot of love songs are about yearning for your cousin.
Through an information campaign, the infant mortality from infections and home births has almost been eliminated in Western Galilee. The health program is now trying to tackle the inbreeding problem, using ultrasound screening for pregnant women in consanguineous marriages, articles in the media, and study days for health workers, schoolteachers, and religious and community leaders on the harmful effects of inbreeding. The program emphasizes the fact that consanguineous marriage is in no way mandated by Islam.
Rooted in ancient custom, consanguinity is nonetheless widespread in the Arab world; for example, a 1989 study in Iraq found 53 percent of the subjects to be consanguineously married. One result is the prevalence of extended clans that lead to nepotism and lower levels of identification with the state. The clan structure is a major factor in the Arab world’s endemic corruption and lack of civil society.
But if, as the Israeli study highlights, inbreeding is also a major cause of disease, another conclusion seems inescapable. Just as modern medicine recognizes genetic sources of many physical illnesses, modern psychology recognizes genetic components in many psychological problems including criminality. Presumably, a region where inbreeding is rife—and reinforced through successive generations—should also have a greater frequency of such mental ailments. Though, not surprisingly, there seem to have been no studies in that regard given the delicacy of the subject, the high levels of social pathology, violence, and terrorism in the Arab world suggest that inbreeding is one of the causes.
Such observations are not, of course, comfortable because they are likely to inspire absurd charges of racism. Racism, of course, is not the issue; inbreeding is equally bad for all kinds of people, but Arabs happen to practice it. Indeed, in today’s world it is found mainly in a salient extending from Morocco to Southern India.
Skeptics about attempts to reform or democratize the Arab world often point to Islam as a factor more fundamental than political practices such as elections. It seems they should also emphasize the separate problem of inbreeding. Although it would require great resources, it may be that programs like the Israeli one in Western Galilee could contribute more to helping the Arab world overcome its problems than strictly political reforms for which it may not be ready.
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Passports, Poetry and Secret Financing
The Jordanian Writers Society is boycotting the international poetry festival because an American participant has an Israeli passport. This is stupid enough on its own, right? Wait, it gets better.
They don't actually know whether he really has an Israeli passport, they're boycotting the festival because his name sounds Israeli. The man is Native American.
They're also boycotting the festival because of "the secrecy shrouding the financing of the event." Okay, that one I can understand. Is there anything more dangerous than secretly-financed poetry? I can't think of anything.Jordan: Politics hijack poetry festival
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I spit on Phelps, his children, his grandchildren and their whole stupid church
Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq.
The church members were met with scorn from local residents. They chased the church members cars' down a highway, waving flags and screaming "God bless America."
"My husband is over there, so I'm here to show my support," 41-year-old Connie Ditmore said as she waved and American flag and as tears came to her eyes. "To do this at a funeral is disrespectful of a family, no matter what your beliefs are."
The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination, is made up mostly of Phelps' children, grandchildren and in-laws.
The church members carried signs and shouted things such as "God hates fags" and "God hates you."
About 10 church members protested near Smyrna United Methodist Church and nearly 20 stood outside the National Guard Armory in Ashland City. Members have demonstrated at other soldier funerals across the nation.
The funerals were for Staff Sgt. Asbury Fred Hawn II, 35, in Smyrna and Spc. Gary Reese Jr., 22, in Ashland City. Both were members of the Tennessee National Guard.
Church: God Punishing GIs Over Gays
Their behaviour is not only unchristian, it's sick and disgusting and evil, not to mention that they're in no position to judge whom God hates.
I guess I'm a little angry about this.
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Olivah Stonah Presents Dress Rehearsals For:
"THE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO READY FOR BOOL2 TIME PLAYERS"
Marine Momma: (practicing her high kick) "Hey, have any of you losers seen my frilly taupe tu-tu?"
Spiney Norman: "The last time I saw that old rag, the Parson had it on his head. (patting his butt cheeks) Do I look fat in these tights?"
Jauhara: "Yes, you idiot! You look positively bovine!"
RC Neo-Jew: "It's no wonder zorkie didn't want you stinkin' up her extravaganza, you cow!"
Dave Ray: "I have a theory. It's a conspiracy."
Longwhitecloud: "Chill out, you second-rate Liars! We musn't blame each other for our obvious lack of theatrical talent."
Dave Ray: "Speak for yourself, Kiwi breath!"
Marine Momma: "Parson stole my panties! Give 'em back, you cuckoo!"
The Parson: (adopting a scratchy devil voice) " No. They're mine."
Lawhawk: "Now, if we look at this logically....." (daintily applying mascara.)
Florida Heat: "Oh, shaddup. Er, lawhawk, mascara is applied to the eyelashes, not your......"
Lady Redhawk: "OMG, look what lawhawk did with that mascara......" (running away in fright.)
Semite 5000: "Dave Ray is right. It's a conspiracy."
Jlfintx: "You're damn straight! I should've been the leading man! I'm big, strong, and handsome! I have a cleft chin! I made the cover of Rolling Stone!"
BigSmoke-88: "Er, that was Jack White...."
Smug Monkey: " Jlf, the orange silk muscle shirt with the chartreuse lycra biker shorts....."(covers his eyes)....."Dude!"
Lyana: "We need a gay guy. This is pathetic. Somebody call Frank!"
Q: "Hmmph. Frank's a star now. He doesn't return our phone calls anymore." (sulking in a corner).
[ Suddenly, the room erupts in screams and unearthly wailing.]
Beagle: "Portia! It's Portia!"
Albertanator: (falling to knees and blubbering incoherently). "Portia! Portia!"
Texanista: "Yoo hoo! Portia! Remember me? 1969? The commune outside of Frisco?" (waving and jumping up and down.)
[ Onto the rehearsal stage steps a gorgeous woman dressed in nothing but red fishnet stockings and 6 inch stilletto heels.]
Portia: "Oh, you silly little people...." ( she titters seductively and flicks her wrist in silent dismissal of the sobbing, adoring mass of wanna-bes at her feet.)
Olivah Stonah: " CUT!"
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Support “teeth for FOIA" bill
Under the Freedom of Information Act,
you should be able to get access to a whole lot of government documents. Trouble is, usually the people replying to your request are the ones who might not want you to see it. Now some luminaries of the right are pushing a bill in Congress to put some teeth into FOIA by adding penalties to foot-dragging bureaucrats and agencies. As Mark Tapscott points out, this is a really good thing for the new media (you're reading it), which thrives on the free flow of information that the mainstream media ignores, buries or lies about.
Bill and Hillary Clinton and other Big Government advocates probably weren’t smiling earlier this week when two milestones in the history of the Right and FOIA reform happened on successive days.
On Tuesday, the world learned that eight major Conservative Movement leaders have signed a letter of encouragement to Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican seeking passage of “The Open Government Act of 2005."
Among much else, Cornyn’s bill – which was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Lamar Smith, another Texas GOPer, - would for the first time in its history put real teeth in the FOIA by establishing concrete penalties for individual bureaucrats and agencies that violate the law.
Why is that significant? Because the FOIA guarantees every American the right to see all government documents, subject only to some reasonable exceptions for things like national security, law enforcement, privacy and commercial secrets. But there are presently no penalties for not providing documents that should be public.
No wonder a 2003 survey by the National Security Archive of 35 federal agencies that received 97 percent of the 3 million FOIAs sent to Uncle Sam annually found “a system in extreme disarray," with chronic delays, lost or ignored requests, improper denials and epic bouts of bureaucratic game-playing to avoid public accountability.
It shouldn’t take years for the American people to get all the facts about what is being done in their name by their government, but it often does because the people who control the official documents also control access to those documents.
The current FOIA was first passed in 1966 because, as Donald Rumsfeld, then a young Republican congressman, said, the bureaucrats who were "most familiar with the inadequacies of the present law ... learned how to take advantage of its vague phrases" to bar disclosure of documents they wanted to keep behind closed doors.
Such opponents of the FOIA included executive branch bureaucrats with "a vested interest in the machinery of their agencies and bureaus" who resent "any attempt to oversee their activities either by the public, the Congress or appointed department heads," Rumsfeld said. Even so, it took 11 years of debate and hard work by FOIA proponents before Congress passed and President Johnson signed the measure into law.
With the Blogosphere doubling every five or six months, thousands of smart, energetic folks on the Right are joining the new media that is replacing institutional dinosaurs like CBS and The Washington Post. The new media mavens shouldn’t have to wait years for a reformed FOIA with real teeth.
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