Talking Points for 5 June

I’m a bit behind in getting some of the more recent volunteers up and running for this, so in the meantime here’s someone who needs no introduction. Off you go Brett.

35 Responses to “Talking Points for 5 June”

  1. 1 Brett
    June 4, 2008 at 19:49

    Well, we have a few hot bases covered as the food debate is sure to continue raging on various WHYS blogs. The Obama and McCain subjects are tackled.

    One thing I have been thinking about is with all of the controversy surrounding the 08 Olympics: What’s next, and are the finalist countries in question for 2016 up for the task of avoiding or warranting such criticism? It’s a long ways away, but it had me thinking for quite sometime.


    The big four — Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo and Rio — all had been virtually assured of advancing to the final stage. The main issue had been whether Doha also would make the cut.

    Another question I have been pondering for the past year or so is: Will America be able to adapt to rising fuel prices? With so much wealth in america placed into cars which consume fuel like its an endless tap, and the compounding problem of suburban sprawl, will we be able to reverse the predicament we have found ourselves in with high travel distances and high travel costs?

    An interesting interview I was listening to on NPR pointed out that many of European cities and suburbs were built and designed before the automobile, thus the move back to mass transit via rail or other methods may be a bit easier than the suburban sprawl of america which was largely facilitated and designed around individual transit and the automobile, relying on cheap and abundant fuel to keep it going.

    What’s on everyone elses mind this afternoon after the days news?

  2. 2 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 20:07

    @ Brett

    Do you think the soccer moms will willingly give up the McMansions in the suburbs to live in smaller places in cities? I sense the divorce rate will skyrocket even to higher levels than it already is.

  3. 3 Zak
    June 4, 2008 at 20:29

    MDC leader Tsvangirai detained in Zimbabwe

    This to me is evidence of a potentially genocidal leader; in keeping with Mugabe leaving the country uninvited to a conference on famine which he’s culpable for in his own country!

    Similar to the ‘performance’ of the Iranian Pres. literally calling for genocide; here in Rome we seem to be witnessing a egomaniacal display that could result in a massacre.

    It really makes me angry to see this, on one hand the UN seems to be able to collar Iran but Zimbabwe is left to it’s corrupt elections. Can peace-keepers not be spared for the amount of time it takes to thwart another Rwanda, the start of which could be this so called detainment. Does anybody really think Mugabe is going to let the MDC win, that he didn’t just prolong the election until he could exert enough manipulation over the outcome to survive in office at the expense of the people again?

  4. 4 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 20:32

    Hurray, tornado watch here in the DC area.

  5. 5 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 20:46

    Tornados spotted all over the place now in virginia and maryland. Hopefully I’ll have an apartment to come home to.

  6. June 4, 2008 at 21:09

    Hello my Precious Brett… There’s one issue that I’d love to ask you guys about : The river Tigris passes through Baghdad and divides it into two parts, eastern and western… We Baghdadis are hearing some reports that the sewages’ water are actually being dumped in the river Tigris… You know guys, in our house the water that we’re getting through the tap tastes funny many times… Other times you’d see very tiny white things in the bottom of the glass after you finish drinking the water… Last summer Iraq has experienced a cholera epidemic, so guys, what about water supplies where you live ?! With my love.. Yours forever, Lubna..

  7. 7 Colleen D
    June 4, 2008 at 21:29

    The US needs serious investment in it’s country-wide public transportation. Currently public transport is controlled at the state and local levels with some funding provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). There needs to be a federal initiative (led by the FTA or otherwise) to create a nationwide public transportation infrastructure. As mentioned, there has been no demand for this, besides in large cities, because a large portion of Americans rely on individual vehicles. With gas prices rising and global oil supply shrinking, American demand for afordable public transport will inevitably increase. Unfortunately a supply of public transport cannot be created overnight. It will be complicated and expensive, but the government needs to be proactive in order to maintain economic competitiveness globally. People will have to either move out of rural or suburban areas to cities with affordable transport, thereby reducing commerce in those areas. Or wages will need to increase in order to compensate for the increasing trasport costs that employees will be facing in rural and suburban areas. This will also adversely affect commerce in these areas. In terms of size, it is hard to compare the US to european countries as some of these countries are smaller than one individual state. Regardless, there is a solution out there, we just need an administration with creative ideas that will make this a priority before it is too late.

  8. June 4, 2008 at 22:05

    Hey again my Precious Brett… Was my previous comment caught up by the wordpress spam filter ?! I hope not ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna..

  9. 9 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 22:18

    Airlines are seriously considering weighing passengers and their bags in order to determine the cost of the flight, as the price of gas is out of control now. This might encourage people to lose weight!

  10. 10 Janet T
    June 4, 2008 at 23:19

    @ Steve-

    or take the train =)

  11. 11 Brett
    June 4, 2008 at 23:38

    Our local water supply and recreational water source is the James River. It is so contaminated with Mercury, PCB’s and other pollutants that there are recommended limits as to how many types of fish you may eat out of the river each month.

    It’s so sad to visit the river and see it littered with beer cans, broken beer bottles, and other debris left over from irresponsible youth which go down there to hang out and drink.

    Our tap water is pretty much clean, or at least it appears to be so. Last month when a water main broke a few blocks down the water was dirty until the break was repaired lol.

  12. 12 Brett
    June 4, 2008 at 23:42

    Colleen, great macro analysis of the transportation problem!!!

  13. 13 steve
    June 5, 2008 at 00:16

    BREAKING: Hillary said to be withdrawing on Friday!

  14. 14 Will Rhodes
    June 5, 2008 at 00:25

    @ Steve

    Let’s hope she does it correctly.

  15. 15 Justin from Iowa
    June 5, 2008 at 00:47

    I would love if some sort of rail on a regional level was to be implemented. In iowa for example, we have a few large urban areas – Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Des Moines…. if you could run a few lines radially into those urban areas from their surroundings, you wouldn’t necessarily cut work commutes but I could see you cutting a lot of weekend trips, which adds up over time. Especially if you improved the urban transit systems.

  16. 16 Justin from Iowa
    June 5, 2008 at 00:48

    Um, by radially in, I mean like a line from 100 miles out in or so?

  17. June 5, 2008 at 00:48

    Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has urged Muslims to speak with one voice in preparation for interfaith dialogue with the Jewish and Christian worlds.

    What are the chances of success for such an interfaith dialogue when religion and politics are still intertwined in many parts of the Muslim world and even with the neoconservative in the USA?

    What should all sides do to live in peace, instead of seeing the religion of the other as a source of mutual clashes and threats?

    Is such a dialogue really necessary when religion is on the decline in the West?
    Should Saudi Arabia itself be more tolerant to people of other faiths, especially its immigrant population which is proportionately made up of Christians and believers of other Asian religions?

  18. 18 Venessa
    June 5, 2008 at 00:54


    I suspect what you think is a correct exit will be far different than her idea of an exit! It will be interesting to see how this plays out….

  19. 19 Will Rhodes
    June 5, 2008 at 01:23

    @ Abdelilah

    Will the report of dialogue mean that Christians and Jews are not persecuted in Saudi?

    I think I already know the answer to that one.

    @ Venessa

    She can do it in a way to bring over those voters from her side – or not, that is her prerogative, will she do that? I most certainly think she will.If not I think she would be ostracised from the party – but would that be a bad thing?

    The GOP are claiming that her ‘white women’ voters are calling the McCain campaign to see how they can help, supposedly.

    What we haven’t heard about so far is the moderate republicans who will not vote for McCain and what out of Iraq.

  20. 20 Venessa
    June 5, 2008 at 01:39

    Will, my hope is that she will do it intelligently. It would be quite counterproductive of her not to.

    I too am very curious about the number of moderate republicans who will not be voting for McCain. I know a couple so far.

  21. June 5, 2008 at 01:43

    @ Will,
    We all know that Saudi Arabia is still the bastion of extreme religious views despite attempts to put an end to radical islamism among the young and in Islamic schools. However , it is still considering allowing Christians to build their churches, as now they perform their religion just in “make-shift” ones like homes and garages. Qatar is the first country in the Gulf to have anew-brand church. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7297808.stm

    A synagogue is unlikely to be built in Saudi Arabia as there are no Saudi Jews living there. They can be in disguise as there are 16,000 Americans who live there. Who knows there can be some Jews among them.

    What matters about religious freedom and tolerance is that each country should respect them. Signing in a conference an agreement about religious tolerance and later breaking it at home is really ridiculous.

  22. 22 Shirley
    June 5, 2008 at 01:57

    Lubna, Water
    The water in the gaza Strip used to taste almost sweet because it was so fresh. Those who lived there, and those who visited, were impressed by the fine quallity of the water there. As the settlements used proprtionally more water to maintain a certain lifestyle, the water was used up within a few years. The ground water is still there, but now it has a funny taste to it, according to those who have commented on it.

    I used to love how the water at my grandmother’s place tasted. By the time that we moved into the same house, the taste was definitely different. Someone who lived a couple of miles away had a business for which he used copious amounts of water through an irrigation system. Within a few short years, he had so depleted our ground water supply that my family had to drive to a relative’s house to fill up pails of water. We began to collect rain water with huge barrels to use for other than cooking.

    It isn’t just fuel or food. We are also greedy when it comes to water. In your case, of course, it is our failure to establish or repeair a decent sanitation system. I am so sorry. Some have said that after Desert Storm, the people of Iraq had their infrastructure repaired and useable in short time. Can you comment on tthat? By the way, have you tried to write me back? Did you get my email? (It never ends, does it? Sorry, all.)

    I think that there is tremendous potential in people meeting other people from different backgrounds. I had the guts to admit a personal flaw of mine, and when Donovan called me on it, it really did push me in the right direction. The realisation that imperfect ideas, when put into place, affect real people in real ways, did put a drag on the momentum that these ideas had on me for several years. It is a process, though. If this is a mind vs emotion situation, then the process could be even slower with people whose minds are already made up in line with their emotions. You asked, What should all sides do to live in peace, instead of seeing the religion of the other as a source of mutual clashes and threats? The thing is that those of us who have our own preconceptions of the other and are unwilling to have those preconceptions re-shaped are the very source of the problem. This whole situation cannot be changed until we as individuals change our own personal conditions.

    Where is Steve? What is the word on the tornadoes?

  23. 23 Will Rhodes
    June 5, 2008 at 02:14

    @ Abdelilah

    What matters about religious freedom and tolerance is that each country should respect them. Signing in a conference an agreement about religious tolerance and later breaking it at home is really ridiculous.

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

  24. June 5, 2008 at 02:22

    @ weighing people on planes

    I have taken hops from to remote places on government and contractor planes many times. We are always weighed. There is a max weight that you and your stuff can weigh. I guess I never thought this was a big issue before. They do it for safety more then money. Not a big deal really.

    @ Hillary Supporters,

    It will be funny to watch a bunch of feminist preach the virtues of decreased public services, reduced support for affirmative action, higher health care, and oh yah, anti-abortion position. I know I sound like a broken record on this one. But we can expect to see that Supreme Court nominees become a part of the discussion. When the “Jerry Springer” like demographic realizes that Stevens and Ginsburg aren’t going to make it 4 more years, they will fall in line. They will do it either with or without Hillary’s fault.

  25. 25 steve
    June 5, 2008 at 02:26

    I’m alive people.

    @ Dwight.

    Never understand the narcissism and selfishness of a politician and their supporters. They would rather give up their beliefs than have their candidate lose. Funny, Lou Dobbs ran a poll on whether Hillary should run as an independent. She’s no doubt considered it, and though I doubt she would, I would laugh so hard if she did.

    Wings 2, Penguins 0

  26. 26 GUY FOX
    June 5, 2008 at 04:08

    A few weeks ago a prominent tell-lie-vision preacher urged the members of his flock to pray to Jeeezus for lower gasoline prices. Since Jeeezus didn’t (or couldn’t) do anything about scores of climate change tornados destroying and/or damaging thousand of homes, I seriously doubt that the long dead Jewish prophet will do anything about the retail price of gasoline in Amerika.

    Since WWII… America has become a AmeriKa, a nation of unimaginative and clueless fat people, most of whom are living in terrible fear. Old Coyote Knose that Rome is burning! The proof is in the Bush! Behold the naked emperor!

  27. 28 steve
    June 5, 2008 at 04:30

    Anyone else agree with this french court decision? Fraud is fraud.


  28. 29 Rick
    June 5, 2008 at 07:42

    I think the answer for America and gas prices is going to be smaller more efficient cars. Outlaw 8 cylinder and even 6 cylinder cars for private use. Then, even the rich and greedy, who don’t give a rat’s, can’t use up our oil. We should focus on electric cars recharged by solar pannels and keep our lifestyle. Im sure its possible if the consuming public demands it.

  29. 30 Rick
    June 5, 2008 at 09:01

    231 comments on the sex life blog and 5 on the aids in Africa subject. Isnt THAT interesting!

  30. June 5, 2008 at 10:15

    Hi Abdelilah Boukili
    The Saudi King Abdullah welcomed former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at Al-Saffa Palace before the opening ceremony of the International Islamic Conference on Inter-Faith Dialogue in Mecca on Wednesday.
    Given the rivalry for the leadership in Iran, the presence of Hashemi Rafsanjani, the main contender for the post, is very significant.
    What you say about attitudes has assumed new relevance. Even former British prime minister Tony Blair has joined the debate. Does he have misgivings about his brash and insensitive attitude to the deaths of hundreds of British lads in Iraq and Afghanistan! Can he speak convincingly on a subject which he has already exhausted, – still no convincing explanation of his joining the Catholic faith.
    No debate would be complete without Palestine. “Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days,” Genesis Chapter 21, verse 34.
    According to Jonathan, a colleague in the Jewish debate, Greek historians used the term around 500 BCE. After the Jews revolted against Roman Rule in 70 CE, the Romans brutally crushed the revolt and merged Judea Idumea Samaria and Galilee into one province and renamed them “Syria-Palaestina”. They also destroyed the Jewish temple and banned Jews from entering Jerusalem. Muslim now fear the same fate will befall al-Aqsa Mosque.
    It all makes wonderful reading, why the fuss?
    Is there a solution to bickering over religion? Europe, has solved the issue. A child has God-parents, fair enough. Communion, that’s natural. You can walk into a Church any day of the week and light a candle.
    Muslims don’t impose on you, unless, someone is breathing down their necks.
    The essence of knowledge and learning is toleration, but where is it to be found?

  31. 32 Shirley
    June 5, 2008 at 13:21

    The case of the hate attack at the synagogue is a tough call. Ordinarily, when a mentally ill person goes on a murder spree, it is easy for me to refer to that person’s mental illness and call for rehabilitation. Hwoever, this crim had the hallmarks of a hate crime. I don’t see how any amount of rehabilitation will change the fact that the man wants to kill Jewish people, any more than I see any sense in discussing religious topics with someone who is blatantly prejudiced against people of a certain religion and shows no sign of relenting in his prejudice. Should there be a legal distinction for mentally ill pepole who commit hate crimes?

    French non-virgin bride
    That poor man. Anyone who places that much importance in whether he was first in line doesn’t need to be married. She doesn’t deserve him. How absurdly shallow. If she had lied about her hair colour, the mole on her shoulder, her age, her height, her education level, etc. I don’t think he would have raised such a fuss. Get over it. Welcome to the West.

  32. June 5, 2008 at 14:53

    I agree with you only open-mindedness can make people tolerate those who are different from as long as there is mutual respect and consideration.

    Hi Akbar Javadi,
    The essence of knowledge and learning is toleration, but where is it to be found?
    It’s a good question. Tolerance is to be found in oneself. Religion is a frame through which one establishes one’s identity. But there are the others who don’t have the same religion or may have no religion at all. The solution to this is, I think, is the fostering of Humanism, through which people see themselves and each other as human beings regardless of religion or civilization.

    Only sick minds have a unilateral view of the world because they aren’t spacious enough to accommodate different views. They are like a P1 computer that easily crushes when it is loaded beyond its very limited capacity. When such minds are exposed to opposite or different views, they become either blurred or violent.

  33. June 5, 2008 at 16:25

    Hi Abdelilah Boukili
    There are some very intelligent and clever people working on the religious issue. Jews have enormous common sense but prefer to keep a low profile. There is immense scholarship on the Christian side.
    Muslims, strange to say, are very friendly and considerate. It is almost as if they want to smother and protect you. Perhaps taht is why their reaction to criticism is so violent.
    Incidentally, the Mecca meeting of sheiks, potentates and sultans has little to do with interfaith dialogue as we know it. It is a confab intended to establish clear borders, and peace between nations.
    It is worthwhile, but it does little for enlightenment of the masses. The tragedy is that the civil agenda, the only way forward for the developing world, is in stark contradiction with the ideas and precepts of potentates and sultans.
    Regarding Tony Blair’s Forum, who knows. He’s clever, has charisma and maybe he can make a breakthrough where others have failed.
    Is religion an opinion or a premise! Should we base our beliefs on historic precedence? There are so many fascinating sides to the issue,
    The world is missing something. Perhaps it is better to let everyone go their own way and eventually agree on some basic points: What to eat, what to wear, what is sanitary and what should be avoided, without ramming our ideas down everyone’s throat.
    You know, we all have the same religiom, taht is until we decide to set stringent divides, such as rituals and rites. As you say, the ‘humanism’ issue is tantamount to the universal creed where compassion, pity and extending a helping hand to your neighboour comes in.

  34. 35 Zak
    June 5, 2008 at 16:55

    Here now in Zimbabwe we have an escalation of the hostility: Zimbabwe detained US and UK diplomats. This much you can bet will draw a response, but just as the world tends to initially overlook what’s going on in a conflagration such as this, it may be too late. If there’s one thing that’ll inflame the tempers of the people it’s watching while the West does nothing but condemn, and it takes S. Africa’s President to free their own people from corrupt holding. Now that the diplomatic convoy has literally been attacked, there’s likely nothing the UN can do to stop the bloodshed that’s coming. Yes, it was appeasement to think that diplomats could have gotten into that situation without being attacked, and if you think Bush or the UN calling in the dogs now will work, think again. Diplomacy could have worked a month ago but clearly now it’s just provocation, likewise the mere presence of the West.

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