Talking points for June 12

Our virginity debate is still simmering away on the blog.

It was triggered by two news stories involving Muslim attitudes to virginity – but of course it’s not only Muslims who see virginity until marriage as important. In the US and some other countries, the Silver Ring Thing is a programme that encourages young people to save sex for marriage.

And I’ve also read reviews of a new book by Anke Bernau that looks at the cult of virginity, past and present.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of keeping chaste until marriage? Does keeping your virginity make you more likely to be faithful to your spouse? Or do you just risk discovering that you are sexually incompatible after marriage? Is insistence on virginity just used to keep women under the control of men – and do all cultures fetishise female virginity, or is male virginity also an issue? With people marrying later in life, can they really be expected to postpone sexual relations? And given that sex can involved plenty else besides penetration, does an intact hymen really mean that much?

At yesterday’s meeting we also talked about President Bush’s newspaper interview, in which he said he regretted using bellicose language but insisted that the US was a force for good in the world. Will Bush leave the world a better place?

There’s a grand conference in Paris today on aid for Afghanistan – which begs the questions of what is being achieved there in the fight to keep the Taleban at bay. Should the outside world continue pouring money into the war-torn country?

And it’s exactly a month since the Chinese province of Sichuan was devastated by the worst earthquake in a generation: 87,000 people were killed or remain missing. How are those who survived the earthquake faring? And perhaps it’s time to begin asking how the disaster may have changed Chinese society. The official media responded with an unprecedented openness (perhaps after seeing the catastrophic effects of the Burmese authorities’ secretive reaction to Cyclone Nargis) – but there’ve since been reports that protests by parents who lost their children have been stifled. And will the government manage to avoid corruption when it comes to distributing relief and reconstruction funds?

80 Responses to “Talking points for June 12”

  1. 1 Dennis
    June 11, 2008 at 19:39

    Hi Bob…

    2 dead truck drivers in Spain and Portugal because of the rising petrol prices…

    I will find some other stories later.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  2. 2 Dennis
    June 11, 2008 at 19:43


    I mis-read it sorry to all of the regular moderators.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  3. 3 kathi25
    June 11, 2008 at 19:46

    Hi all,

    I know we discussed environmental protection quite extensively recently, but how about this one:


    Scientists fear that the permafrost can melt and then highways and pipelines might brake.. No more oil from Alaska, I guess.

  4. June 11, 2008 at 19:47

    Hi my Precious gang ! Guys, please check this out and tell me what you think : “Daytime Robbery” news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7444083.stm. A very special hello to all Night Editors… And to Precious Will Rhodes in Canada I say : I heard you on the Over To You programme on the BBC WS Radio on Sunday, and in my opinion you should consider working as a radio presenter from now on, you’ve got such a unique voice ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

    June 11, 2008 at 20:07


    i think the world service should take a look at daytime Robbery. it seems the guts of robbers are being boosted by the current world economic crisis. lets take a look at it and allow people to share their experiences as the world finds solutions to them.

  6. 6 Will Rhodes
    June 11, 2008 at 20:37

    Lubna – I would bore people to death on the radio. lol

    If you have a link I would really appreciate it.


  7. 7 Will Rhodes
    June 11, 2008 at 20:41

    Now this caught my interest:


    How offensive is the word ‘pikey’?

    Formula One commentator Martin Brundle is being investigated by media watchdog Ofcom after using the term “pikeys” in a television broadcast. But where does the word come from and how offensive is it?

    It’s a word very rarely heard on television.

    In an interview with Bernie Ecclestone before Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Brundle referred to repairs being made to the track.

    “There are some pikeys out there putting down new tarmac at Turn 10. Are they out of the way yet?”

    Ofcom said it had received seven complaints and ITV apologised to viewers.

    Brundle isn’t the first media figure to be condemned for using the word, which is considered insulting by the traveller community.

    So – the question is, is there certain words that you use in normal speech that you have been surprised to find out are, in fact, really insulting to others but completely benign where you live?

  8. 8 steve
    June 11, 2008 at 20:55

    @ will re: pikey

    wow, people really need to develop a backbone. Gee, maybe I’ll get on TV and use the word “scamp” and cause an uproar by spineless people.

  9. 9 Will Rhodes
    June 11, 2008 at 21:13

    As far as I can tell – “Scamp” is the name of a dog. So you will have to enlighten me, Steve.

  10. June 11, 2008 at 21:15

    Oh my Precious Will, I did feel very impressed when I heard your voice on the radio… I’m a radio addict, and voices do matter alot to me, so you can rely on my judgement buddy ! :-)… As for putting up the link, my access to the web is through a 2nd hand Nokia 7610 cell phone, so I really can’t put up a link to my story “Daytime Robbery”… Could you please put up the link for me my Precious Will ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  11. 11 dretceterini
    June 11, 2008 at 21:20

    Will people never stop throwing the racism or sexism card? http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/stories/2008/06/10/nascar_0611.html

  12. 12 Shirley
    June 11, 2008 at 21:22

    Has anyone gone to Lubna’s story? It’s very interesting for leftists like me.

    BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions
    Tuesday, 10 June 2008
    A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq. The BBC’s Panorama programme has used US and Iraqi government sources to research how much some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding.

    A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations. The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

    Lubna, if you check back, can you comment on this? Do you believe that reparations are due for the invasion and occupation in general? For this in particular? What are others’ opinions?

  13. 13 steve
    June 11, 2008 at 21:29


    canada apologizes for “native schools”.

  14. 14 Scott Millar
    June 11, 2008 at 21:29

    VET THE VETTER: Obama’s VP vetter steps aside

  15. 15 steve
    June 11, 2008 at 21:30

    @ Will

    A scamp is a mischievous boy. I heard the term once on a MASH episode. Father Mulcahy or whatever his name was used the term.

  16. 16 Dennis
    June 11, 2008 at 21:53

    Hi Lubna, how have you been at medical school…

    Among my other friends!

    I have some topics for us, to take a look at:
    1) Spain and Portugal lorry drivers on continuing strike–earlier on Wednesday…2 were killed…

    2)This is for anyone who is careless about leaving papers out in the open:

    This is some BAD weather in the Northern Regions in New York–from where my family lives:
    [if you are looking for more information, then look at New York Television services
    in Syracuse, New York]

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  17. 17 steve
    June 11, 2008 at 21:53

    Asking a female employee to serve coffee is not sex discrimination


  18. 18 Dennis
    June 11, 2008 at 21:57

    school apologies from canada: it is a good start, following many years of fighting for it…lawsuits and accusations and other related stuff….

    about the bbc investigations on the money found in iraq: i hope the right party gets the money.

    obama: vp search vetter, resigns…it is sad! that means he has a job opening….

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  19. 19 Venessa
    June 11, 2008 at 22:36

    @ dretceterini

    I want to know why she didn’t file a lawsuit prior to being fired. I’m also curious what the justification is for a $250 million pay day. I suspect she didn’t make that kind of salary in a year let alone the 3 years she was employed by NASCAR.

  20. 20 Dennis
    June 11, 2008 at 23:01

    June 11, 2008 at 9:53 pm dispatch:::Maybe it should be, but who would get the cup of coffee…Maybe yourself….

    About the Sudanese airplane crash in Khartoum on the previous night TP….BBC website is reporting that Sudanese government is going to investigate what happend:
    http://NEWS.BBC.CO.UK/2/HI/AFRICA/7447769.STM [It is a address for the site.]

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  21. 21 Pangolin
    June 11, 2008 at 23:13

    Is it global warming yet? I want to know because we have multiple fires here in Northern California. Now fires are normal but fires in June most definitely not the norm; particularly not fed by day after day of strong winds. Usually in June here you are luck to get a breeze that wouldn’t lift a kite.

    Meanwhile in the midwest of the US rampant storm systems are flooding towns and destroying crops. The normally rainy Southeast of the US seems to be under an order of perpetual drought. We won’t discuss the millions of trees killed by beetle damage in the Northern US and Canada due to warmer winters.

    So is anyone else getting their share of whacky weather or is it just me? What’s going on where you are and is it normal or not? Is it global warming for you yet?

  22. 22 Pangolin
    June 11, 2008 at 23:28

    @Arctic Ice Melt- The real danger is not in the melting of the permafrost and all the subsequent land shifting but in the resulting methane release. If a woolly mammoth dropped a load of dung in a low spot 30,000 years ago that dung is still likely largely intact in the permafrost waiting for a warm day to turn it into methane.

    The methane then bubbles up out of lakes, rivers, ponds and bays and creates localized conditions of increased warming. The increased warming promotes the release of more methane and off the planet’s climate goes to the races.

    At the rate things are going my grandchildren will by taking their summer vacations in tropical Vancouver eating local pineapples and bananas. I don’t want to think about what will happen to California.

    Loss of the Alaskan oil is really the least of our worries.

  23. June 11, 2008 at 23:30

    A review for the BBC Trust has revealed the BBC needs to improve its coverage of the UK’s nations and regions in its main news bulletins and factual programmes, a report has said. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7447985.stm

    In many countries, news on national channels fall below the expectations of their audience because of the emphasis on reporting what they consider major events, and ignores the local ones. What should news channels do to insure full coverage of all the events in a country, so that a portion of the audience won’t feel left out?

    Have the news bulletins become tied to commercials, so as to insure the largest audience regardless of the needs of a minority of viewers?

    Why are news channels like BBC World television watched by a large an international audience? Is it because national channels are deficient in reporting international news or aren’t objective enough in their reports?

    How does the BBC as a news organisation fair compared to other major international news channels?

    Can BBC website be considered as the best, or does it have some shortcomings?

  24. 24 Will Rhodes
    June 11, 2008 at 23:53

    I did feel very impressed when I heard your voice on the radio… I’m a radio addict, and voices do matter alot to me, so you can rely on my judgement buddy !

    LOL – I listened to it, Lubna, I even put a link to it on my blog, but I still have to disagree with you – I sounded terrible! 😛

  25. 25 Will Rhodes
    June 11, 2008 at 23:56

    @ Steve

    A scamp is a mischievous boy.

    I just can’t see how that would be insulting.

  26. June 11, 2008 at 23:59

    @ Lubna,
    The billions of dollars wasted in Iraq are just the result of instability there. It is hard to check everything when there are so much to do, including insuring security, which must take the most of the efforts of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi troops. It is a common thing that in time of trouble there are those who enrich themselves from the miseries of the others. It is the destiny of Iraq that much of its wealth was plundered before the US invasion through Saddam’s war with Iran, the invasion of Kuwait and the ensuing economic sanctions.

    Iraq hasn’t just lost billions of dollars, but also thousands of its highly qualified citizens who were killed or fled the country. As long as Iraq doesn’t recover its best citizens living abroad, educate the current generations, Iraq’s wealth will continue to be plundered by those who have no interest in a built-up Iraq.

    Too much money then is still unaccounted for. Only stability and elected straight and competent politicians can make all the Iraqis enjoy the wealth of their country.

    BTW Iraqi dates are the most delicious. It will be interesting to know from you how the Iraqis are preserving their precious palms.

  27. 27 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 00:06

    Man ordered to continue paying child support, despite not being the child’s father.


  28. 28 Venessa
    June 12, 2008 at 00:11

    @ Steve

    I have no sympathy for this guy since he “claimed for almost 13 years that he was the father of a child born during his marriage, despite evidence to the contrary.” He only had an issue with the child support payments when they tried to increase it.

    Now, if he had been disputing it the entire time I would definitely be on his side in this case.

  29. 29 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 00:21

    @ Vanessa

    Um, why not have the actual father pay the child support?

  30. 30 ZK
    June 12, 2008 at 01:33

    Will — I had a complaint addressed on Over to You last week and out of interest decided to check this past weekend’s programme out. Imagine my surprise! Can I harbour a guess that it was a Bristolian accent?

    (For anyone who’s interested: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/over_to_you.shtml)

  31. June 12, 2008 at 01:49

    @ Will, I listened to you contribution on Over to You. Maybe you aren’t pleased with you voice because you wanted to sound like James Bond. As you know recorded voices aren’t 100% the same as the actual voice. I, too, get the same impression when I listen to my contributions on WHYS.
    If you care to listen to it, here is a link to one of my contributions on WHYS.
    N.B I have a horrible voice whether it is recorded or direct!
    So let’s stick to written expression!

  32. 32 Brett
    June 12, 2008 at 02:40

    I think I sound like a goober on the radio lol… I think i sound even worse on answering machines though. lol

  33. 33 Anna of Sydney
    June 12, 2008 at 02:42

    The billions of dollars of missing funds in Iraq flies in the face a comment in the previous post that “The US Armed Forces police themselves better than any military in history”. This is a sign that the war is becoming more grubby and less noble.

    If the Pentagon can’t account for such massive amount of money in the hands of the army and military contractors, how could we expect them to account for the physical conducts of these heavily armed people on the ground?

  34. 34 Dennis
    June 12, 2008 at 02:44

    i have to agree with the motion….why give money i.e. child support to a child that is not even yours….

    we need to STOP this habit of forcing guys that are not fathers of the kids to support them.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  35. 35 Dennis
    June 12, 2008 at 02:45

    about “voice” on the radio….my voice is horrible on answer machines….

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  36. 36 Brett
    June 12, 2008 at 02:49

    Were you meaning to post in the death / honor thread?

    I was wondering where that guy went, I was looking forward to an explanation and expansion on that statement, maybe with some evidence or interesting points. Sadly, I saw nothing else 😦 Maybe I scrolled over a response, who knows, there were plenty of postings!

  37. 37 Venessa
    June 12, 2008 at 03:04


    I have no problem with the real father paying support but the guy that isn’t the father had no problem paying support until payments went up. Kind of a double standard. Does he want the kid or not. He made his choice in the initial court proceedings to pay support. Why contest it now?

  38. 38 Will Rhodes
    June 12, 2008 at 03:05

    My accent, ZK? Bristol?

    If you meant that, then no, lol – it is a west Yorkshire accent. Well was. I think I am taking on too many Canadianisms.

    And thank you for putting up the link. 🙂 Now all can hear my grunt! >( 😛

  39. 39 Pangolin
    June 12, 2008 at 03:14

    Iraq was looted by Bush’s cronies as designed. If you dig around the internet you will find that cargo aircraft loaded with pallets of cash were told to deliver said pallets to sites identified by GPS co-ordinates. As in….fly to xxx.yyy.z23 and give the cash to whoever you meet there.

    Where do you THINK the cash came from? During that period all “authorities” in the ‘Iraqi government’ were being escorted everywhere by armed US troops or US mercenaries. When the guy with all the guns says to sign you sign.

    Here’s a link: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/10/iraq_billions200710
    (link has pictures that may offend devout muslims)

    There was a speculative post on a site called The Oil Drum that proposed that Iraqi oil was being diverted to Saudi Arabia to cover the decline of the Gawahr oil field. Real tinfoil stuff but stranger things seem to be happening all the time. I can’t find the link anymore.

  40. 40 Pangolin
    June 12, 2008 at 03:21

    Here’s that speculation link on the author’s website.


    “Peak Oil, Missing Oil Meters and an Inactive Pipeline:
    The Real Reason for the Invasion of Iraq?

    In this article I will present research that supports a rather startling hypothesis: that the USA invaded Iraq primarily to enable the secret diversion of a portion of Iraq’s oil production to Saudi Arabia. This was done in order to disguise the fact that Saudi Arabia’s oil output has peaked, and may be in permanent decline. The evidence for this conclusion is circumstantial, but it does knit up many of the loose threads in the mystery of the American administration’s motivation for invasion.

    To lay the groundwork we need to set out a couple of assumptions.

    The primary assumption is that the world’s oil production has been on a plateau for the last two years, and in fact we may be teetering on the brink of the production decline predicted by the Peak Oil theory. Such a decline could be dangerous to the world economy, both directly through the loss of economic capacity and indirectly (and perhaps more importantly) through the loss of investor confidence in the global economic structure.

    The second assumption is that the oil production of Saudi Arabia is key to maintaining the global oil supply. Saudi Arabia supplies over 10% of the world’s crude oil, with over half of that coming from one enormous field named Ghawar. There is a large and well-informed body of opinion that believes that if Saudi oil production goes into decline the world will follow because there is not the spare capacity anywhere else to make up for such a decline. Saudi Arabia is notoriously tight-lipped about the state of their oil fields, and in fact oil production information is considered to be a state secret. The only trustworthy information the world really has about Saudi Arabia’s oil are their aggregated production figures.

    The conclusion that can be drawn from these two assumptions is that if Saudi Arabia’s production began to decline and the world found out about it, there would be a significant risk of a world-wide economic panic that would destabilize markets and throw nations like the USA into a recession or depression that would be worse than the actual damage done by the loss of the oil. We can assume that the prevention or postponement of such a crisis would be an extremely high priority for the administrations of both the USA and Saudi Arabia.”

    It’s wild stuff and while it may not have happened it outlines the scale on which massive theft of oil revenues could be possible.

  41. 41 Shirley
    June 12, 2008 at 03:25

    Expecting one to serve the coffee because she is a female is, I think, gender discrimination. It is also lazy. Everyone has the same capability of moving towards the coffeepot, pouring a cuppa, and returning to the workspace. I think that one should have every right to refuse to serve coffee.

  42. 42 Will Rhodes
    June 12, 2008 at 03:30

    Is the wife culpable?


    The wife of a man who tried to bomb a Tube train has been convicted of failing to tell police about his plan.

    The Old Bailey heard Yeshi Girma, 32, of Stockwell, south London, knew of her husband Hussain Osman’s plot to set off a bomb at Shepherd’s Bush in July 2005. Osman and three other men were jailed for life for the failed attacks.

    Girma’s brother Esayas, her sister Mulumebet and her boyfriend Mohamed Kabashi were all convicted of aiding Osman after the attempted attack.

    Kabashi’s two Brighton flatmates, Shadi Abdelgadir, 25, and Omer Almagboul, 22, were cleared by the jury.

    Yeshi, Mulu and Esayas Girma were all remanded in custody to be sentenced on Thursday.

    Prosecutor Max Hill said Yeshi Girma had known before the attacks what her husband planned.

  43. 43 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 03:41

    @ Shirley

    They didn’t ask her to get coffee because she was female, they asked her to get coffee because she was the receptionist.

  44. 44 Shirley
    June 12, 2008 at 03:46

    Wacky Weather
    I hear you, Pangolin. Has anyone heard the figures on how many tornadoes have gone through so far this year? We get a lot of damage from other kinds of thunderstorms, too; and I would not be surprised if the number of those storms has increased, as well.

  45. 45 Bob in Queensland
    June 12, 2008 at 03:59

    Re: “Pikey”

    I’ve been involved in this debate before. For those who don’t know, it’s a slang term for people of Gypsy or Romany origins. The problem with its use seems to be that there are vast regional differences (even within the UK, let alone worldwide) as to how derogatory the connotations are.

    My wife is actually of Romany descent and, when I asked her, she said she considered it mild and didn’t really care. However, checking with others, in some regions it has a connotation implying dishonesty and crooked trading. It seems to depend on where you are–but I take the view that, if it’s a racial insult in some areas then best not to use it.

    (Just FYI, all this came up at another board–technically related–that I visit often.)

    On another topic, there’s something else I’d like to suggest for discussion.

    Watching TV last night, I saw a comparison of policies between Obama and McCain. In one area, McCain is advocating a temporary tax rebate on gasoline/petrol prices (I believe it was 18 cents a gallon) to ease the burden of the high costs. Obama was proposing more general tax rebates, targeted at lower wage earners. (Sorry, I’m dashing out and couldn’t find a link quickly).

    Anyway, this got me thinking on a general level: in these days of greenhouse gases and global warming, is it ever justified to subsidise the burning of carbon fuels? As painful as it is, should oil products be allowed to find their own market value, likely high enough to make research and development of alternative, clearner sources economic? Personally, I think the direct subsidy is wrong and that Obama has the right idea. Target the help at the poor and make it general so they can spend the money on the food which has been made expensive partially through transport costs.

  46. 46 Shirley
    June 12, 2008 at 04:09

    I don’t think that it should be part of the job of a receptionist to serve coffee.

  47. 47 viola anderson
    June 12, 2008 at 04:45

    Wasn’t there once a time when children were not considered liabilities and a man was delighted to be allowed to be the father? My, how times have … evolved?

  48. 48 Anna of Sydney
    June 12, 2008 at 05:08


    That comment was referring to the comment by Eric in the War/Honour thread. That was the only comment by him in the entire thread. Either it was an impulsive statement, or that like the Putin T-shirt wearing Russian or the red flag draping Chinese he is too much part of the system to realise the flaws within it.

  49. 49 Amy
    June 12, 2008 at 05:09

    I grew up in Illinois and know how scary tornados are. Please say a prayer for those who lost their lives and their families.


    Amy in Beaverton

  50. 50 Amy
    June 12, 2008 at 05:12


    You are spot on with your assessment of the gas tax “holiday.” The tax break would actually go to the oil companies and how likely are they to actually pass it on to the consumer……


  51. June 12, 2008 at 06:21

    The War and Honour thread has been one of the most telling and informative debates I’ve read so far, and one that has brought out the best and worst in a number of contributors. The vote seems strongly against the idea that dying for one’s country is all that honorable these days. Some great religious debates too, including some really cheeky insults directed at god and Jesus Christ, though none directed at Muhammed, Peace be upon Him. The Buddhists come off looking good (no insults directed at the Buddha either), and on the whole the forum was predominanty rationalist-humanist-materialist in tone.

    Conclusion: Even in an increasingly godless society, war is largely seen as an evil in itself. Bravo cultural evolution!

    Patton’s pro-war ‘no dumb bastard ever won a war by dying for his country etc.’ came up several times, with Wilfrid Owen deservedly and appropriately bearing the anti-war poetic burden.

    Apart from the distinctly anti-Christian tone (bordering on hate-speech in some cases, I’d say, even as a humanist Buddhist), the debate itself seemed to avoid the worst excesses of war, and no one died.

    Suggestions: try to encourage Christians who joint in any deabtes to stay with the forum, rather than blowing them away or simply blowing them off. Christians are people too. The one imbalance on this forum is that there are few overtly religious contributors. This excludes a large sector of the modern ‘voice’ from all topics being discussed.

    The idea that god exists (although I don’t personally accept it), is one that, if chased out of a debate, excludes the mindset and approach of most people to the problems of the world today.

    I hope that a contributor like Keith (the Christian) will continue to battle his way though the WHYS minefield, in spite of the gratuitous insults.

  52. June 12, 2008 at 06:52

    Hi Amy, good to know I’m not alone just getting in the West. Big California fire near Santa Cruz- 1400 residents evacuated. Fuel cost has risen to double for fire bomber planes- $6.27/g. I wonder how that compares to other currencies?

    Bill Clinton canceled his grad speech at UCLA over the inability for the UV to settle the strike with labor staff workers.

    Same sex marriages in CA are expected to generate 60 million in revenue in the course of this year.

    This story was really topic worthy though it shows how S. Africa has lost so much control over the violence. This is like the special investigations unit of the country; they investigated Mbeki’s party and indicted Jacob Zuma:
    The unit is called the Scorpions, and its motto is “Loved by the people, feared by the criminals, respected by peers.” After fingering some of South Africa’s most powerful people in corruption probes, its days may be numbered.

  53. June 12, 2008 at 07:20

    Donovan. While I agree with you on the first part of the discussion the latter half was a complete dissemination into the kind of religious sparing that is nothing more than ‘near hate speech.’

    The rest of this comment really belongs on that topic so I’m going to post it there instead.

  54. June 12, 2008 at 07:51

    Zak: OK, I’ll check out your comment over there.

    Suggestion for a WHYS debate: Is it honorable to be given out for your side, especially on an unfair LBW?

    Seriously though, I like the idea of a debate on taboo-language; the ‘pikey’ thing etc. Also the aspect of oddly inappropriate pc terminology : ‘homophobic’, for instance. What the heck does this mean? My rudimentary grasp of classical Greek tells me that it means ‘fear of the same’. Are homophobes in a constant state of fear around gays? etc etc.

  55. June 12, 2008 at 09:37

    Just gotta say it : One remark that I found particularly irksome was the remark to the effect that, if God had written the Bible, he could have done a less boring job.

    Actually, for those with a basic insight into literary merit, the Bible IS good literature in se, whether in the original languages, or in the many excellent translations. It has drawn the greatest translators to its value as literature alone, including the eccentric but highly talented E.V. Rieu, founding editor of Penguin books, who made an outstanding translation of the four gospels.

    The literary merit of the Bible is so generally acknowledged by scholars that those who take the opposite view reveal themselves a Philistines by that fact alone.

  56. 56 ZK
    June 12, 2008 at 09:38

    Donovan: For the cricket-illiterate, perhaps you could offer a translation? 😛

    Will: I don’t see how she isn’t. If she knew about it and it could have caused harm or death she should’ve reported it. If it had caused death surely she would be considered an accomplice to murder.

  57. 57 Pangolin
    June 12, 2008 at 09:47

    @ Nature Bats Last- Local fires here in Butte County California are chasing people out of their houses. From a spark to 6000 acres in 12 hours. The fires are being pushed by unseasonable winds but unseasonably cool weather overnight could give the firefighters a break. California weather in 2008; fire interspersed with drought until further notice. Can anyone spare a tropical storm?
    In California we now use Google to track our disasters: http://preview.tinyurl.com/43b9m3 (this is bizzare to me)

    @ Grocery bills- Corn prices have hit new highs after the US Department of Agriculture forecast that output would fall because of poor weather. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7447582.stm

    @ Power- New Zealand faces power shortage due to drought. Does this tune sound familiar?

    We are at the mercy of the natural world when we ignore the limits that humans should put on their power.

  58. 58 Mohammed Ali
    June 12, 2008 at 10:19

    Morning to all from here in Liberia. Can somebody help me with some here, I’m pretty serious. The vote in the British Parliament on the number of days a terror suspect can be detained without charge was passed with a narrow victory for the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. These are actually the people who preach human rights to other countries. Now the introduction of these kinds of laws, are they in the interest of the public or are they helping to erode the civil liberties of the public?
    Also in the vote I heard that Browm won because of support from MPs from a small party in N. Ireland. Is Northern ireland part of Great Britain? What are MPs from N. Ireland doing in the British Parliament?
    Someone please help me.

  59. 59 Katharina in Ghent
    June 12, 2008 at 10:30

    @ Silver Ring Thing:

    Yeah, sounds great when you’re there, then reality kicks in… Anyway, a little while ago there was this report on BBC-WS about this ceremony in the US where fathers promise their ~12 year old daughters not to cheat on their wifes and the daughters promised not to have sex before marriage. Conclusion: the ratio of failure was in both groups pretty high, but the fathers lost by a landslide, hahaha.

    @ Northern Ireland:

    Yes, it’s part of Great Britain, whis is why the IRA was waging a war there for 60?, 80? years to force GB out of Ireland and unite N. Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. Hasn’t happened, though, peace came first.

  60. 60 Mohammed Ali
    June 12, 2008 at 11:10

    Thanks for clearing my doubt Katharina.Again I like to know why do they have First Minister, is it not the same as Prime Minister, and which form of rule is that?

  61. 61 ZK
    June 12, 2008 at 11:11

    Technically, the United Kingdom is the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, so it’s not correct to describe Northern Ireland as part of Great Britain (Scotland, England, Wales). It is however part of the UK, and of course the collective term for people from the UK is “British”.

    Also, I wouldn’t quite describe the DUP as a “small party”, seeing how they are currently sharing power with Sinn Fein in Belfast.

    As for “First Minister” — Scotland and Wales also both have First Ministers as part of their own Scottish and Welsh parliaments, devolved from the British government. I’m not quite sure how to describe it or whether it would be appropriate to consider them similar to state governors in federal countries.

  62. 62 VictorK
    June 12, 2008 at 11:44

    @Will: was the wife culpable? In reality, I suspect not. She was most likely completely under the control of her husband and lacked the will and capacity to act independently or responsibly. But the law rightly doesn’t make exceptions or take into account cultural realities. Her conviction sends a message to everyone contemplating terrorist activities: there will be consequences for those close to you as well as for yourself. That’s a welcome deterrent (at least for some of them), even at the price of sacrificing what was probably a helpless woman.

    @Donovan: Kenneth Minogue coined the term ‘Christophobia’, which is a powerful motivating force amongst a certain kind of Western leftist. Atheism in the West often plays out, I’ve noticed, as sheer, bigoted hatred of Christianity, rather than a disbelief in all religion. You may have noticed an interesting mental quirk amongst some ‘Christophobes on the ‘War and Honour’ thread: Muslims misbehave and it is Christianity and ‘religion’ that are attacked! Quite remarkable.

    Couldn’t agree with you more about the the (King James) Bible, to which you should add the Book of Common Prayer as another pinnacle of English culture.

    @ Mohammed: Northern Ireland is part of ‘the United Kingdom’ (as in ‘the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’). The proposed terror laws are undoubtedly a restriction on British liberties. There are many much more effective ways of approaching the problem of Islamic terrorism, beginning with the abolition of the absurd Human Rights Act and various human rights treaties the UK is signed up to. It’s that legislation and those treaties that make it almost impossible, for example, to expel non-British terrorists/Jihadists/shariaists. This is compounded by the weakness of the UK government, whose care for the well-being of terrorists is so great that it won’t deport them – even when they are sought for terrorist outrages – to countries whose governments might do anything to ‘hurt’ them (from torture to capital punishment). This is the ‘preachy’, morally arrogant and self-righteous side of the British government that you mentioned and that nauseates many besides yourself. When a government is that lacking in resolve then holding suspects for 42 days is the least of its worries.

  63. 63 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 12:17

    @ Shirley

    But it is part of the job of a receptionist to serve coffee. I don’t now about budgets in most places, but I doubt many companies can afford to hire people whose sole duty is to make coffee. I would think that making coffee is more in line with the duties of a receptionist than a CEO.

  64. 64 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 12:19

    @ viola

    the point is, he wasn’t the father. In other times and places, the guy would be called a “chump” for raising someone else’s child, when his wife obviously cheated on him.

  65. June 12, 2008 at 12:26

    Victor: As an ex-Roman Catholic, I muct confess to an ignorance of the contents of the Book of Common Prayer, although I’ve sort of taken a squizz at it. For me, in addition to the King James version, the really great translations are Jerome’s Vulgate (in spite of the interpretational errors), Luther’s Bibel (especially when sung in the Bach rezitativ), and the more modern Jerusalem Bible ( with it’s quirky translations of such things as ‘spermalogos’ into ‘Parrot’).

    I reiterate: people tend to slap the Christian cheek only because they know that the other will be offered them in response. Undignified…

  66. 66 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 12:28

    @ Amy

    Then that would be good if they local gas retailers didn’t lower the prices, it would prove there is price gouging at the gas pump, would make a clear cut case. They would HAVE to lower the prices, otherwise they would be sued all over the nation. It’s funny when oil goes up $10/barrel and the price at the pump the next day jumps 5 cents, despite the gas in the tanks at the station having been bought months ago at lower prices..

  67. 67 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 12:30

    @ katharina:

    “Conclusion: the ratio of failure was in both groups pretty high, but the fathers lost by a landslide, hahaha.”

    YOu mean the girls had more premarital sex, or do you mean more husbands cheated on their wives than girls had premarital sex? If the latter, I hardly believe that, as a girl saving herself for marriage is virtually unheard of these days, while cheating cannot be going on in 98% of marriages done in the study.

  68. 68 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 12:45


    Wow, kids these days don’t have much of a tolerance of being picked on, especially by websites they choose to go onto. I have a feeling it’s more of mental illness, so why is this more common now than in the past? Did kids getting beat up and shoved into lockers commit suicide or go on shooting rampages in the 1960s and 1970s?

  69. June 12, 2008 at 13:21

    @Steve and kids.

    I Know I say this a lot. In the grand scheme of things it is the reason many things happen in western culture. As we moved from an agricultural society to an industrial and now service society factors that used to deliver a natural feeling of purpose and self respect to children at a very young age have gone away. Now children go through those crazy hormonal years with out that sense of direction and often parents are working too hard to give it to them.

    To correct this problem we must find our way back to families who can support themselves with only one working parent. We also need to stop coddling kids. If you think some of these factories over seas exploit child labor. Try working on a farm up until about 50 years ago.

  70. 70 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 13:40

    @ Dwight

    Doubt the feminists would like your suggestion. Maybe people were meant to be this way? Do you think in caveman era, which was most of humanity’s existence, that there were two parent atomic unit families? I doubt it.

  71. 71 Shirley
    June 12, 2008 at 14:14

    Justin, All:
    I am so sorry about our collective loss of the boys who were killed by the tornado.

  72. June 12, 2008 at 14:28

    @ steve,

    Watch out for that jumping. I didn’t say getting back to women at home. I just said one parent. In my case it would be way better for my kid if it were me home most of the time. It turns out most of our existence we even had a stronger family structure. One that included extended family as well in one communal living arrangement. Starting out as tribes of hunter gatherers. From there we settled into the “traditional” family structure. Even then dad did not, “go off to work”. HE farmed, black smithed, or milled right in his own home. Parents were close at hand and a child’s education started almost immediately. Then we moved into, “the good old days” when mom stayed home and dad was just this guy who took us to ball games and went away for most of his life to make money. Eventually mom had to join him in the work force to “make ends meet”. This left children to figure out stuff on their own, from their peers, and from their overloaded teachers.

    As long as this situation exists, each child’s mental development path will be a throw of the dice.

  73. 73 Amy
    June 12, 2008 at 15:31


    I checked out the links of the fires and was saddened to see all of the evacuations. My husband and I lived in Chico and had our wedding reception at the Canyon Oaks Country Club. I worked in Paradise and drove up Skyway almost everyday. Please be safe – I know that the ways out of the area can be limited.

    Amy in Beaverton

  74. 74 umoh, amos (from NIgeria0
    June 12, 2008 at 16:15

    Hi ALL,

    Hope the world is following the turn of events in Zimbabwe in the last 6 hours. Isn’t it clearer that the whole thing has taken a drastic turn? I am more than EMBARRASSED to say the least. Morgan Tsvangirai as of this second has been arrested (3rd time)among others and is faced with a Treason charge.

    The MDC Secretary General has been arrested on arrival from South Africa, at the airport. The man Mugabge has declared an ALL out war and this can NOT be taken lightly.
    Mbekei is shocked to his marrow and is a recent statement credited to him says that HE IS SHOCKED AND CONCERNED. One of the surprises is why he is only getting surprised today over what the rest of the world was (is) surprised of 3 months ago.


  75. June 12, 2008 at 16:26

    Mohammed Ali said
    The vote in the British Parliament on the number of days a terror suspect can be detained without charge was passed with a narrow victory for the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. These are actually the people who preach human rights to other countries.

    Indeed ironic but it still has to pass the House of Lords in order to become law.

    More Irony: the US Supreme Court ruling that Guantanamo Bay detainees do have the right to challenge their detention in US courts. This goes against the act passed by Congress and the President that suspended Habeas Corpus. The Supreme Court opinion by Justice Kennedy said that it was, for the 3rd time in this Administration, a violation of the Constitution.

  76. 76 Tino
    June 12, 2008 at 16:31

    “Atheism in the West often plays out, I’ve noticed, as sheer, bigoted hatred of Christianity, rather than a disbelief in all religion.”

    Sadly true. It is as if most of my atheist peers cannot realize that at least here we can be atheists – a Muslim atheist for example will likely be killed for apostasy.

    “The literary merit of the Bible is so generally acknowledged by scholars that those who take the opposite view reveal themselves a Philistines by that fact alone.”

    Agreed. Though it was a touchy subject sometimes, one teacher in HS taught a portion of the Bible from a literary standpoint. It was an interesting section of class.

    “The idea that god exists (although I don’t personally accept it), is one that, if chased out of a debate, excludes the mindset and approach of most people to the problems of the world today.”

    I still feel that mindset is a huge problem. God has no place in dealing with the problems of the real world – except on a personal level. Once God is brought up, the debate ends. You cannot convince someone of something else when they fall back on: “God says so” or “My faith tells me XXXXX”. Those points are unassailable from a rational debate because they are, by default, irrational positions.

  77. June 12, 2008 at 16:37


    Zimbabwe clearly has an issue with Mugabe that’s spiraling into a very dangerous one on the border of serious violence. However I’m starting to lose faith that Mbeki can negotiate a solution based on the article I referenced at the bottom of this comment. You might like to look at it.

    But the arrest of the secretary of the MDC with the charge of treason for ‘releasing the election results early’ is really outrageous, potentially carrying a death sentence. If that or anything close to that happens I can see the people rising up against Mugabe when he rigs the election to win. It may be only then when he starts to crush the people with his imported Chinese weapons that the UN will finally step in, just before it becomes another genocide, which is always too late in my opinion.

    Now I think the UN should force access to the original voting results based on the way Mugabe’s acting; it seems pretty obvious he thinks that voters won’t give him enough votes and that makes me think they already did vote him out once.

  78. June 12, 2008 at 17:14

    Picking the Wrong Horse in Afghanistan
    You want to pick a loser, follow us. Iran backed former Afghan president Burhânuddîn Rabbânî well before his term of office from 1992-1996, and long after he was deposed by the Taleban.
    Was Iran mistaken, then as now? Has Britain, US, NATO and the rest a better idea or a joint approach to the issue? The Afghans are certainly capitalizing on this weakness!
    Please tell me someone, should pandemonium continue to reign in Afghanistan?Or is it possible for Pashtuns, Tajiks, Talebans, Brits, Americans etc. to end animosities after fourty years of fighting in Kabul!

  79. 79 Shirley
    June 12, 2008 at 17:25

    I think that the two of us disagree: I think that it’s time for a change.

    By the way, I think that the changes in our lifestyles over the past few decades has much to do with the <a href=>behaviour of young people in today’s industrialised world. We simply do not spend the amount of time outdoors that we used to; and I truly believe that fresh air and natural sunshine do something for the body and mind. We ingest much more processed things than we used to. Our beverages have unnatural, processed sweeteners and food dyes. So do our candies. And cold breakfast cereals. Meatitarians trying to eat vegetarian are eating up processed soy. We also have much more exposure to electronics than before: microwaves, TVs, computers, and gaming systems are much more prevalent than they were several decades ago. All of these combined and in addition to other factors have had a tremendous effect on the way that our minds and bodies function. I don’t think that our family life is what it used to be, either. Neither is the village that raises the child the same as it used to be. There must be a way to live in the modern world that does not involve eating fake food, basking in fake light, breathing fake air, and exposing ourselves to electronics.

  80. 80 steve
    June 12, 2008 at 17:30

    @ Shirley

    You have to think of cost effectiveness in the scenarios, the receptionist and food.

    Who does it make more economic sense to make the coffee, someone that is billed out at $400/hr, or someone who is billed out at $30/hr to the client? You would want the cheaper employee to make the coffee, right?

    Also, I like that you pointed out the unnaturalness of food, and all the processed garbage, unnatural stuff that people consume. However, natural food costs an arm and a leg. I make six figures and I cannot even afford to shop at whole foods, and I have no land to grow my own food, because real estate is so expensive. My only plant capable of growing anything is a pepper plant and I need more soil for it, as it hasn’t produced peppers in 2 years now 😦

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