27
Jun
08

Blank page 13

Due to strange goings on last night Mike in Portland wasn’t able to moderate…..the gremlins seem to have gone and so he’s back to host the blank page this weekend. Keep the conversations going and suggest any stories you would like us to talk about on the radio next week. Over to you…..


329 Responses to “Blank page 13”


  1. 1 Julie P
    June 27, 2008 at 19:36

    Here’s to a successful debate on lucky blank page 13!

  2. 2 Dennis
    June 27, 2008 at 19:53

    Hi Mike:
    Welcome to the moderators desk….

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  3. 3 Nelson
    June 27, 2008 at 19:56

    Welcome Mike (Again), to the moderators high table
    Today’s Joint rally by barack obama and hilary clinton in “unity , new hampshire”
    was very interesting to watch today. Considering all the political permutations for the campaign and the election would make an interesting subject to talk about, any one shares this view?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7477825.stm

  4. 4 Nelson
    June 27, 2008 at 20:08

    hello mike,

    welcome to the moderators high table again.

    Watching Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at a rally together today was interesting considering all the political permutations it throws up would make an interesting topic to feast on this evening. It remminds me of an old saying “in politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies. It all about permament interest”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080627/ap_on_el_pr/obama_clinton

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7477825.stm

  5. 5 selena
    June 27, 2008 at 20:11

    Hey Mike…

    # 13?

    Wow! That’s 13 weeks. How time flies!

  6. 6 Zainab
    June 27, 2008 at 20:44

    Hello how are you all,
    Please.. Please.. Please let’s talk about anything except politics.

    Have a nice weekend.

    yours truly,
    Zainab from Iraq

  7. 7 Vetrivel Adhimoolam
    June 27, 2008 at 20:49

    At least I do not need one to be safe. However I have to say that I feel really unsafe here New York to travel around since you never know who will be carrying guns in public places.

  8. 8 Nelson
    June 27, 2008 at 20:56

    hi every one, hello mike,

    @ zainab politics exists in every facet of our life.
    we cant just do with it

  9. 9 Jens
    June 27, 2008 at 20:58

    Vetrivel,

    nothing has changed in New York, the same people who have been packing are packing now.

    heck i life in hicksville and i am probably the only person here who has no guns. do i feel less safe, hell no. i could not care who carries a gun or not. the average citizen is not the problem. it’s the nut jobs and criminals.

  10. 10 steve
    June 27, 2008 at 21:04

    @ Jens

    Is there anything to do in Plainview? I’m gonna be staying there next weekend. Are there any bars? Gotta do something during the evening as I’ll be at the beach all day on Saturday.

  11. 11 Nelson
    June 27, 2008 at 21:09

    since some americans are so keen on carrying guns around,
    can i suggest that people start buying and wearing bullet proof vests? you never know when it could be of help. 😉

  12. 12 Shirley
    June 27, 2008 at 21:14

    Now, if today were Friday the Thirteenth… :=)

    Recipes
    I have developed another awesome soup. Just about ruined it by adding curry, but alhamdulillah I was able to balance it with more tomatoes, sugar, and a pinch of cumin. I wish that I had more in my vegetarian meal repertoire than soups. At the same time, I wish that I knew some good vegetarian breakfast soups. I know that there is one with chickpeas and onions, but I do not yet know which spices to put in it. Any help is welcome. By the way, where is that one web site where you enter the ingredients that you have in your fridge and pantry, and it spits out recipies to fit your ingredients?

    Around the WHYS Comunity
    Jonathan, what is going on in SanFran? Are the fires there? Is the wind blowing the smoke your way? What is the situation of asthmatics and allergy sufferers in the city? And where is Justin? What is going on in Iowa?

    Lee Roy Sanders, if you are around, could I bounce some ideas off you about your enemy neighbor (harassment on their job and shooting my cat, loose trailers)? Perhaps you could tape the conditions of your neighbours’ animals and submit the video to animal control? Surely there must be some unpleasant fact of their existance (poor things). Are you able to file a PPO on them? I am assuming that the county officials are a different breed form your local ones. Might it also be possible to record video of their use of the trailers as homes and submit a copy of it to your HMA/township board/city council? If local law enforcement weren’t embedded with the family, I’d file various disturbance of the peace and DV complaints, but it sounds like no such luck in your case. In any case, my thinking here is to paper trail them to death until you finally have some leverage over them. Kudos on the security cams.

  13. 13 steve
    June 27, 2008 at 21:16

    Anyone hear the story about people in San Francisco wanting to rename a sewage treatment plant after George Bush?

  14. June 27, 2008 at 21:17

    A little diversion from the gun issue (which oddly enough I believe the ruling was right, but still find arguments against people having guns more often then not.)

    I heard a story on CNN. I can not find a link to it. Some one was suing one of the credit issuing organizations for reducing credit for people who spend money in bars and marriage counseling. Should companies be able to assess credit risk based upon your purchases?

  15. 15 Katharina in Ghent
    June 27, 2008 at 21:21

    Hi Mike,

    Happy moderating!

    Salam, Zainab, a weekend with no/less politics would be nice, and if we could avoid the Z or I words, whoa! (It’s not that I’m ignorant, it just slowly comes out of my ears…) So what did Steve say? A “George Bush crap sewage plant”? How exciting!

  16. 16 Nelson
    June 27, 2008 at 21:22

    @ steve :O, u are joking, any links for us to read the story?

  17. 18 Julie P
    June 27, 2008 at 21:26

    @Nelson,

    That’s a bit hot to wear in the sunny south. I think I’ll pass.

  18. 19 Amy
    June 27, 2008 at 21:32

    I saw the sewage treatment thing on Countdown with Keith Olbermann but I can’t find a link. I think it would be an appropriate honor for him.

  19. 20 Amy
    June 27, 2008 at 21:33

    Thanks Steve for the link!

  20. 21 Katharina in Ghent
    June 27, 2008 at 21:35

    Hi everyone,

    Looks like Hillary found her new sugar daddy, and she already practised looking up at him in an adoring manner:

    http://www.cbc.ca/world/usvotes/story/2008/06/27/obama-clinton.html

    If that’s not phony, then I don’t know, what is…

  21. 22 Katharina in Ghent
    June 27, 2008 at 21:38

    Hi again,

    Here’s a story with a “happy ending” about a German guy and his beloved BMW:

    http://www.cbc.ca/cp/Oddities/080627/K062704AU.html

    I wonder how much he spent on the gasoline when he put his car on fire…

  22. 23 Nelson
    June 27, 2008 at 21:41

    @ julie p,

    it’s all good.
    🙂

  23. 24 Dennis
    June 27, 2008 at 21:44

    @ Shirley:
    Regarding cooking…I don’t have any thing for you to test….

    Regarding Katharina in Ghent June 27, 2008 at 9:21 pm comments…I agree with her thesis….

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  24. 25 Nelson
    June 27, 2008 at 21:47

    fellow WHYS bloggers

    pls i how do i make my picture show?

    abt the george sewage plant, i read the story, i wonder the motive

    abt the german guy, i’d say his one big loser. has his “sensible” action brought, down the price of gas?

  25. 26 Nick in USA
    June 27, 2008 at 21:53

    Ok, I don’t have a story on this, but there are a million global warming theories and stories. We have even talked about it on here before. I just wanted to share my thoughts on the subject and see where the holes are. First, I don’t claim to know whether global warming does or doesn’t exist. However, I have come to the conclusion that I should be driving the most fuel efficient vehicle possible. Since I commute 20 miles a day, that ended up being a scooter. Here is my logic for this conclusion:

    Some people claim that the earth’s temperature is rising at a rapid rate. I am not a scientist, so I don’t know this to be true. From what I can see, these people really don’t have any reason to be dishonest about this. They don’t make money from it. Other than those who make movies or write books on the subject. Other people (Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham) claim that there’s no reason not to drive an SUV and we should just keep guzzling as much gas as we can. If I were a big oil company, this is exactly what I would want people to believe. Since I don’t actually know which one of these groups is correct, I feel it’s better to make a mistake on the safe side, so I ride a scooter. Am I wrong? Do other people have some info that I don’t, or are the people driving SUVs doing it inspite of the fact that they MAY be killing the world?

  26. 27 Venessa
    June 27, 2008 at 21:58

    Welcome Mike from a fellow Portlander! I look forward to the debate this weekend.

    Cheers!
    V

  27. 28 Dennis
    June 27, 2008 at 22:12

    Heads up?

    is anyone moderating right now? just wondering?

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  28. 29 Anthony
    June 27, 2008 at 22:18

    So N. Korea blew up their cooling tower. What does everyone think? Are they real “good” all of a sudden?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  29. 30 selena
    June 27, 2008 at 22:23

    @Anthony

    *Good* enough to know Bush needs something to crow about before he leaves office, I guess.

  30. 31 Anthony
    June 27, 2008 at 22:27

    Anyone see those crazy buildings that spin in Dubai? Those are ugly, a waste of money, and don’t seem safe, well at least in my opinion. I would HATE to have an office like that! Those better not make it to CA!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  31. 32 Shirley
    June 27, 2008 at 22:34

    Some interesting news stories. Obviously Zimbabwe is a prime concern for me, since the “election” was today. Then there is the carbon tax in Canada, word on ETA-government talks in Spain, an international conference on whaling that included talk regarding sonar effects on whales; and another mad cow in Canada.

    Voters vs Militants in Zimbabwe: residents forced to vote; threats of violence, arson; or roving bands searching for ink-free fingers; gunman in civilian clothes attacked TV news cameraman and voter he was interviewing, forced them into police vehicle; two Zimbabwean journalists detained by police; Bulawayo (opposition stronghold) streets empty – only two people voted; people told to vote or homes would be burned.

    North America’s 1st carbon tax rolls out under fire: Williams Lake, British Columbia: applies to nearly all fossil fuels, including gasoline and home heating fuel; starts at C$10 per tonne of carbon emissions; Liberal Party seeking national carbon tax

    Basques approve vote on ties with Spain, ETA talks: most Basques do not want to leave Spain, do not support violent ETA campaign for independence; vocal minority lobby for independence

    Whaling conference ends with decisions delayed and also Canada’s latest mad cow born 5 years after ban

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080627/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinians;_ylt=AkOPw3E5YAJegpRzPlOeSQxvaA8F
    For the third day in a row, Israel prevented food trucks from entering Gaza in retaliation for repeated Palestinian rocket attacks. Later in the day, Palestinian militants fired two mortar shells toward Israel. The six-month truce worked out during months of Egyptian mediation began June 19. But only five days into the cease-fire, the Islamic Jihad group fired three rockets toward Israel. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Friday appealed to the factions to honor the truce [after Friday Prayers]. A U.N. official said Friday that Israeli troops have violated the truce by opening fire several times at Palestinians approaching the Gaza-Israel border fence.

  32. 33 Julie P
    June 27, 2008 at 22:35

    @Nick,

    Both sides can present all of the facts they want, yet people are going to believe what they want to believe.

    It’s not just SUV’s that are sucking up all of the energy and producing pollution, there are many other activities that are contributing too. We throw away so many products that are produced with oil it is unbelievable. Landfills produce a lot of gas, so much the EPA has an outreach program. It would be used as a renewable green energy source. Here is the program.

    http://www.epa.gov/lmop/

  33. 34 Robert
    June 27, 2008 at 22:36

    Nick in the USA.

    I’m like yourself. I’m in the school of thought that global warming is real. I always keep in mind though that the models used to predict the future are far from perfect and there are still questions of the detailed science that need to be answered before we know how significant an impact it will have on us.

    However driving an SUV is not recommend simply for the cost impact. The world is running out of cheap oil. Simply laws of supply and demand which are well understood. China and India want more of the stuff and there is less production available to give it to us all. SUV’s and other gas guzzlers are just not a good option for your wallet. Add to that the increase taxes and charges you have to pay for it due to the green lobby (although I may agree with the science, I really take issue with the way the politics works as soon as it touches the environment, nobody seems to be able to have a rational discussion hence we end up with the problems like the Brent Spa, but perhaps that’s just my personal rant)

  34. 35 Anthony
    June 27, 2008 at 22:37

    Are brits not that funny? I’m sure a lot of you have all heard the “funniest joke” in the world. I just found out about this, and the winner wasn’t really funny. I KNOW the funniest joke ever, but I can’t put it here because it’s offensive.

    -Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?”. The operator says “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says “OK, now what?”-

    http://www.laughlab.co.uk/

    It’s not funny! I’ve showed my American friends and they don’t think so either. Is American and British humor really that different, cuz I HATE Monty Python!!! The Ali G show is hilarious, but watching him act as Borat in the U.K. wasn’t even CLOSE to as funny as his HBO show!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    p.s. The Bruno movie will be out by winter!!! 🙂 WOO HOO!!!

  35. 36 Nelson
    June 27, 2008 at 22:37

    @ anthony. Thats you get when people run out of ideas on how to use money properly

  36. 37 Janet T
    June 27, 2008 at 22:38

    @Anthony

    I thought the buildings spun on their own in Southern Cal? Maybe after the next big one!
    Sorry-I have to give you grief- I lived there for 12 years (married a “Valley” Boy)

  37. 38 Roberto
    June 27, 2008 at 22:47

    I have come to the conclusion that I should be driving the most fuel efficient vehicle possible. Since I commute 20 miles a day, that ended up being a scooter.
    ———————————————————————————

    —– Errrrr, no, please don’t do that.

    Most scooters are 2stroke engines, the most polluting kind, and the overall engineering is poor. It’s all marketing fluff, ie, they look “cool and cute.”

    You can find a street legal 125 4 stroke engine motorcycle that gets you 80+ mpg with much better power, street handling, and enough speed to get on a freeway or highway for a brief burst. Much cleaner, much safer, much less polluting, win/win/win.

    Also people need to understand that electric motorcycles are just now hitting the market. Much quicker to charge in a pinch, they will be the front wave of commuting as soon as gyroscopes and efficient enclosures can be designed in so that the klutzy general public can ride them in safety and comfort.

  38. 39 Robert
    June 27, 2008 at 22:54

    @Anthony

    As a brit who has live in the US I can confirm that we do have slightly different senses of humour, but even we don’t find that joke funny.

    Its a quirk of the statistical method the project used. It’s a universal joke that everybody no matter what your first language (this was worldwide not just the UK) is will at least understand and give a couple of points of ten to. In the end all those little points added up and it beat jokes that some people found really funny and others just didn’t get and so awarded 0.

  39. 40 Nick in USA
    June 27, 2008 at 22:57

    @ Roberto, I have a 150cc Piaggio. It’s pretty high quality and has all the latest emissions mumbo jumbo available for a carbureted vehicle. It’s smog rating is actually very good. I’ve ridden places where people use a lot of 2 cycle engines. Taiwan is actually trying to eliminate them from the roads.

  40. 41 steve
    June 27, 2008 at 23:00

    @ Roberto

    A 4 stroke engine would cost a lot more money though.

  41. 42 Nick in USA
    June 27, 2008 at 23:09

    @ Roberto

    Most scooters sold in the USA today are 4 strokes. It is much more difficult to sell the 2’s because of emissions. Most companies only offer 1 two cycle option, but many 4 stroke options.

  42. 43 steve
    June 27, 2008 at 23:12

    Where I live, people are just too incompetent on the road. I’ve personally seen people get killed on motorcycles, and innattentive drivers would just mow down people on scooters. However I’m seeing more and more scooters here.

  43. 44 Julie P
    June 27, 2008 at 23:23

    @Steve,

    I’ve decided that in Atlanta one must not only be too incompetent to drive they must be a sadomasochist and homicidal. They just can’t drive.

    On New Year’s Eve this year right in front of my apartment complex an oncoming car crossed the double yellow, which is really a center turn lane, and hit a car with a young couple and their baby head on. Everyone was sober. All parties involved were life flighted out. No one lived.

    Of course driving through Charlotte is no fun either. I swear all semis going through there are destined to hit a guard rail, cement wall, or other non-movable unforgiving object and burst into flames. On one trip through there I had a semi merge into my land as driving next to it. Thankfully there was a very wide shoulder for me to drive onto, or I would have hit by it and forced into a cement wall. I know what the outcome would have been. Instant death.

  44. 45 steve
    June 27, 2008 at 23:33

    Well normally when my car is hit, I’m not in it. Fortunately that hasn’t happened in a while. There’s nothing like coming back to your car and finding the bumper on the ground, or the door bashed in. One time someone actually left a note. This was in michigan, and the lady that hit my car drove me to the police station so we could file a police report, and on the way to the station, right in front of the station, she drove the wrong way down a one way street. ugh. As soon as I got the car repaired, within 2 weeks, someone hit it again.

    The last accident I was in, a personal trainer from my gym didn’t look when he made a turn and crashed into me. I was afraid he was going to try to kill me at the gym because I don’t think he really had the money, as months later he still hadn’t gotten it repaired.

  45. 46 Shirley
    June 27, 2008 at 23:33

    Palestine & Israel (AP through Yahoo News).: For the third day in a row, Israel prevented food trucks from entering Gaza in retaliation for repeated Palestinian rocket attacks. Later in the day, Palestinian militants fired two mortar shells toward Israel. The six-month truce worked out during months of Egyptian mediation began June 19. But only five days into the cease-fire, the Islamic Jihad group fired three rockets toward Israel. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Friday appealed to the factions to honor the truce [after Friday Prayers]. A U.N. official said Friday that Israeli troops have violated the truce by opening fire several times at Palestinians approaching the Gaza-Israel border fence.

    The report made no mention of Israeli violence against Palestinians both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Some reprises of a list of reports posted to TP27Jun:

    Thurs 19 June 2008 2H Before Truce, 1 Pal (resistance fighter) k, 2 w in army attack on Gaza; Isr F16 jet fighters, dawn. 6 w Wed night, Israeli jet fighters, resistance fighters targetted. (truce not including West Bank); 5 civ kidnapped Qalqilya, 3 homes demolished (Thursday June 19, 2008 13:51); Isr army invades a village near Ramallah and kidnaps five civilians (Monday June 23, 2008 13:19); Soldiers kill 2 Palestinians in Nablus (Tuesday June 24, 2008 09:12); The Israeli army invades village near Bethlehem, kidnaps a civilian (Tuesday June 24, 2008 15:33)

    Whenever any group from Gaza fired rockets over the past week, they said that it was in response to Israeli violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. Hamas claims that Israel actually violated the cease-fire, though. Hamas: “Israel violated ceasefire three times today” (Thursday June 19, 2008 22:54) Israeli navy boats fired four shells at fishermen…soldiers opened fire at farmers in Khan Younis… soldiers fired at farmers in Khuza… fired at a number of houses in Al Qarara&#8230.

  46. 47 Shirley
    June 27, 2008 at 23:34

    @ mods – poss missing post? pls check, thank you.

  47. 48 Nelson
    June 27, 2008 at 23:37

    I suggest that any one applying for a driver’s license any where in the world, should be sent for a psychiatric evaluation first. This should go a long way in reducing road accidents. I think we have millions of mentally unstable people behind the wheels world wide

  48. 49 Anthony
    June 27, 2008 at 23:39

    @ shirley

    I checked and it was under spam, I think because of the links 🙂

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  49. 50 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 00:01

    Global Warming: No North Pole in September, anyone? Santa has moving plans? It is very upsetting to see this happen in my lifetime.

    Bad Driving: How any semi accidents are caused by driving drowsy? Last I heard, there is still too much pressure on the drivers to go the distance on little sleep.

  50. 51 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 00:03

    Thank you bunches, Anthony, I definitely appreciate it. Hopefully, I’ll figure out what the threshhold is soon. If someone else knows, please do fill me in.

  51. 52 Amy
    June 28, 2008 at 00:04

    How are the public transportation systems where all of you reside? I know here in the Portland Metro area, ours is pretty good (in my opinion) and my family tries to use it when possible. L.A. used to be horrible (I lived there 12 years ago) and as I recall from the past, D.C. is great. That is one way to avoid the crazies on the road. Anthony, as someone who lived in L.A., no need to even mention driving (or parking on) the 405!

  52. 53 portlandmike
    June 28, 2008 at 00:05

    Hi everyone… up and running now.

    I love my bicycle!

  53. 54 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 00:23

    I have had the worst luck with cars! I had a 1977 Honda Civic that I sold my junior year of HS to some guy that was doing work to his own truck and wanted a commuter until he was finished. Well he only paid $500 for it and 2 weeks later called me to tell me he didn’t want it anymore. Of course in Oregon once you buy it it’s yours. About 2 weeks after he wanted to return the car I got pulled out of my class to be served papers. This guy was actually suing me! Well, I counter sued because I had to pay just to show up in court to defend myself. There is justice in the world though, the judge did find in my favor, made him pay my court fees and another $100 bucks for wasting my time.

    So after selling the Honda I had purchased an 87’ Jetta and on my 18th birthday my best friend borrowed it and totaled it. So then I bought another Jetta that was a couple years newer. It was broken into at least 6 times that I recall. About 1 1/2 years after owning the car I got rear ended sitting at a red light by some guy doing about 40 mph in a Bronco. 2 weeks after that while the Jetta was in the repair shop I got rear ended in my rental car on the freeway by some kid that was doing 70 mph and didn’t realize he was driving on black ice. (The fact that there were cars in ditches and everyone was doing about 20 mph should have been an indication the roads were slick. Oh yeah and we were coming down from Mt. Hood in January. GRRRRRR!) Then a month after I got the Jetta back from being repaired it got stolen in broad daylight from work. The police found it later that night because it had been completely stripped and torched.

    All that happened about 12 years ago. I don’t even want to get started with the crap I’ve dealt with in the last 5 years. Steve, I too have had the pleasure of a couple hit and runs and smashed in vehicles. Every accident I have ever been in has been because someone wasn’t paying attention and hit me.

  54. 55 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 00:27

    Nelson ~ I agree with you!

    I also am flabergasted everytime I drive into the office during rush hour how many women are putting on make-up or people are reading newspapers and books. What’s up with that?!?

  55. 56 portlandmike
    June 28, 2008 at 00:31

    @ Venessa

    What a history! Your insurance rate must be sky high! Did all this happen in Portland?

  56. 57 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 00:36

    Nope, my record is clean and luckily my rates are good. None of it was my fault although that still doesn’t prevent your rates from going up anyway.

    There was a period where my insurance rates were high but once I bought another Honda Civic things settled down. As much as I like VW’s; given my history I will never own another one again! 🙂

  57. 58 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 00:41

    Oh yeah, the car was stolen from the bank I worked at in the Gateway district. Most of the incidents were in the Portland metro and surrounding areas. Of course one of the accidents was just West of Welches/Brightwood area coming down from a day on the mountain.

  58. 59 Tino
    June 28, 2008 at 00:45

    Shirley,

    Didnt see anyone post it (though I may have missed it) but here is the recipe site where you can enter ingredients. Glad to see I am not the only one who loves cooking.

    http://allrecipies.com/Search/Ingredients.aspx

    Would you happen to have a good hummus recipe? I do not recall if you are vegetarian or not – judging by your post probably – but (trying not to offend you with this question, if it does sorry) would you happen to have a good lamb recipe using middle eastern spices or techniques?

  59. 60 Amy
    June 28, 2008 at 00:46

    Vanessa,

    I’m so sorry about your car history!!! I hope your car was able to escape the car that slid down the hill near the MAC this past January. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, here is the pinball game that was Portland:

  60. 61 Tino
    June 28, 2008 at 00:49

    “I’ve decided that in Atlanta one must not only be too incompetent to drive they must be a sadomasochist and homicidal. They just can’t drive.”

    No kidding. On my way to school everyday I dread the peachtree/north lane swerve thing. Almost gotten killed ~5 times there so far. One was with a huge truck and it nearly pushed me into a pole/the sidewalk corner. People drive like idiots here and they are completely nuts to boot.

  61. 62 Amy
    June 28, 2008 at 00:52

    Zainab,

    Hello! I hope you are well and your loved ones safe. Here is a big hug from my family to yours.

    Amy

  62. 63 Dennis
    June 28, 2008 at 00:54

    this weekend, i may be off BLANK PAGE—I have to get ready for COMMUNICATION
    WORKSHOP that begins on Monday….

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  63. 65 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 01:05

    Tino ~

    I think the whole world would be a lot safer if stupidity hurt! 🙂

  64. 66 Julie P
    June 28, 2008 at 01:08

    @Tony

    Buddy, we need to talk about driving survival skills in the sunny Atlanta.

    Rule 1) Never drive on Peachtree Rd. If you must, have a passenger in the car with as a look out.
    Rule 2) Always take a job going in the opposite direction of traffic. If that’s not possible, then move so you can.
    Rule 3) Accept no one other than you knows how to drive.
    Rule 4) All car accidents are premeditated. Yes, they are out to get you.

    Once you have accepted these basic rules of driving in sunny Atlanta it get much easier. If not, always be prepared to give the one finger salute.

  65. 67 Amy
    June 28, 2008 at 01:19

    Tino and Shirley,

    I would love to get your favorite recipes. I love to cook and try new foods. My ancestry is mostly Irish, and we are not known for being the greatest of cooks (my grandma, bless her soul, boiled just about everything. She could bake, not cook).

  66. 68 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 01:27

    @ Dwight

    “I heard a story on CNN. I cannot find a link to it. Some one was suing one of the credit issuing organizations for reducing credit for people who spend money in bars and marriage counseling. Should companies be able to assess credit risk based upon your purchases?”
    *************************************************************************************

    Well I suppose I could see this from both sides….

    I think using how we spend our disposable income as a qualification for a loan is a complete invasion of privacy. On the other hand the people giving you the funds are writing the check. Given that I think perhaps they do have the right to put stipulations on the loan, but only if you agree to it.

  67. June 28, 2008 at 01:44

    Venessa,

    lol Stupidity hurts all of us. but it’s a good hurt.

  68. 70 portlandmike
    June 28, 2008 at 02:10

    Barack Obama to visit Britain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is to fly to Britain next month as part of an ambitious foreign trip that will also take him to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as to France and Germany.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/2208856/Barack-Obama-to-visit-Britain.html

  69. 71 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 02:22

    Tino,
    I’m not very good with meat. I never really did like the taste. Then I converted to Islam in an area that did not have a halal meat shop. By the time that one came around, I had already developed vegetarian tastes. Then I spent some time in a bigger city that had its own resident vegan population, and I became enchanted with the challenges that vegan cooking presented. I still enjoy vegan foods – no worries about eggs or milk messing up my digestive system and embarrassing me. Om festive occasions, I eat whatever is served, unless I do not trust the meat shop. That does happen. I am terribly picky. Otherwise, I try to minimise my meat consumption to a bare mininum and remove as much dairy and egg to the level of trace.

    I have spent some time with people who are good at cooking with meat, but even then I have had little vicarious experience with sheep. What they would do with sheep is clean it with water and a bit of dishsoap, rinse, and boil with raw onion and garlic for hours. Then they would rinse it again and insert it into soups to steep until it had absorbed the flavour of the soups. Having tasted and rejected sheep myself, this was the only way that I could handle it. It is really strange. Once I taste it, I feel the urge to cry. I do not have that reaction to beef, chicken, or fish.

    The ancient Betty Crocker cookbook that I will probably inherit because I am constantly into it says that basil, dill, marjoram, and sage work well with lamb. When my friends would prep meat with spices, they would let the spices seep in, preferably overnight in the fridge. You would probably wash the meat but not boil it to death for that, then score the meat, rub with the spice preparation, and then marinate overnight in the fridge. I would suggest a slow roast, if that is what usually produces better saturation of flavour from the surface where the spices were applied. Soy sauce is also popping into my head, but let others confirm it first (Lubna? help?).

    I cannot think of vegetables that would roast well with it other than potatoes, but I would certainly prepare a fresh vegetable platter with stalks of green onion, long slices of regular onion, slices of cucumber, chunks of tomato, and sprigs of parsley. If you also served up a salad, the parsley could be removed from the vegi platter and chopped finely as part of the salad itself. I would personally prefer romano lettuce, possibly some wild leaves, and cukes and tomatoes with either dill or parsley and a zesty Italian dressing. To make the meal seem all the much more Mediterranian, steep some plain yoghurt overnight with finely chopped cukes and minced fresh garlic and serve.

    Hummous. I wish that I knew more. I know that tahini (sesame seed sauce), garlic, and lemon play a part in it. You need to experiment with it before making it for a gethering, because steeping it in the fridge overnight (reccommended) will naturally cause the flavours to become enhanced. Another aspect to perfect before serving to others is consistency. The hard-nosed method involves cooking the chickpeas from those hard, little dry balls to their fully cooked selves. This is preferable because canned chickpeas can be too mushy. The thing is that hummous that is too dry can be worse than hummous that is too mushy. Top it with paprika(?), olive oil, and a sprig of parsley. Done right, it complements whole wheat pocket pita bread marvellously. I have not tried it, much less perfected it.

    Baklava is so overdone. If you have already done a gathering with it, please please please find something else as a dessert. Fresh fruit chunked up and offered on a platter is part of an excellent dessert. Some favourites that are usually served at Mediterranean restaurants are atermelon, grapes, apples, and cantelope. I think that it could be aimed as us white people, though. Mango juice is a nice touch, There is also a mildly sweet juice that has a hint of something green in it that is delicious. Pakistan has even come out with Pak-cola. I have tried it; and while I do not remember much, I think that I liked it.

    Put rosewater and whole cardamom seeds in your tea water before you heat it up. Let the water come to a boil. Steep the bag, add the sugar if it suits the occasion, but please let the guests add their own milk or cream. Allowing them to add their own sugar is also nice.

    Some Middle Easterners are sensitive to paprika, others to curry. Some are allergic to cardammom. Many are sensitive to milk.

  70. 72 Rick
    June 28, 2008 at 02:40

    Try driving in Canada. People are amazingly polite even when tourists used to driving on the left (me)completly stuff up. They stop for pedestrians even where there is no crosswalk!
    Rude driving is a way of life here in Australia.

  71. 73 Bob in Queensland
    June 28, 2008 at 03:10

    Good morning from rude driving Australia!

    Actually, I’m glad it’s not just me who thinks this. Having arrived in Australia about 10 months ago I love practically everything about the quality of life down here–except the drivers. I was really amazed at how sloppy, inattentive and rude the general standard is down here–and the accident statistics. Despite roads that seem almost empty by UK standards, Australians manage to kill three or four times as many people per driving mile. The person who will chat happily when you meet him in the supermarket turns into a maniac when behind the wheel of his “ute”.

    Other than that though, Australia is highly recommended!

    …and if we want to tell bad driving stories, we need to talk about Paris, Rome or Manila!

    I’m still reading in but, as an avid amateur chef, will try to avoid turning this BP into recipe corner!

  72. 74 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 03:12

    Amy,
    Did you try any natural allergy remedies? I found that chamomile, garlic, and ginger (not all at the same times!) provide partial relief, but I still need to supplement with traditional Western medicines. I’ve begun to wonder if it might bepossible to split pills or find something that it not 12-hour. Or perhaps if I combine a children’s allergy medicine with natural remedies, the coverage would be complete.

    I have had a recent experience with garlic as an antibiotic. My allergies flared badly and caused a sinus infection. I made some mashed potatoes with the powdered stuff out of the box and, for each tablespoon of spud, threw in a teaspoon of garlic powder. It was terrible smelling and, I would assume terrible tasting. I planned on a tablespoon of goop (1 tsp garlic) three times a day. I would divide each tablespoon into three hockey-puck spahed discs and swallow each one in succession with huge amounts of water and something starchy and sweet to follow. What is worthy of note is the pain that followed. I would experience intense abdolminal pain similar to gas for about 15 minutes aftwerward. Usually, it dissipated with a simple aspirin dose. I never did experience other symptoms of gas. After two doses, my infection symptoms were drastically reduced. For the first day and a half, I also used a chamomile-peppermint brew that I boiled medicinally. Since then, I have drunk a tea of about a teaspoon of forsythia flowers a day. I can only assume that this helps. I certainly felt the difference with the chamomile and mint.

    Sor far, I have been working on simple quick breads and soups. I like to do split pea soup with lentils. They expand more and add a richness to the flanour. I can dash in some oregano and thyme, and it still tastes good. Cooking it with garlic, as well, tastes good. While I do add some salt at the beginning, I prefer to add it as I re-heat it to taste. I enjoy adding onions, potatoes, and carrots. When I figure that I can handle the effect to the taste of the soup, I prep the water with which I plan to cook the soup by boiling some onion skins in it for about ten minutes and then letting it cool to room temperature. Onion skin is the brown, papery stuff on the outside of the onion. I do this because it draws out the quercitin, and anti-inflammatory that alleviates allergy symptoms and reactions. I found that I don’t like to overdo the carrot, and I really don’t like tomatoes in it. Green onions and chives, though, made fine additions. Dandelion greens so totally did not. When I add dried parsley to this and nearly any other soup, I hardly notice the difference. I add it copiously ecause it has some anti-allergy compounds and because the boron and phyto-estrogens aid in the absorption of calcium. When re-heating this one to serve myself, I always add butter. Nummy.

    My second soup was pinto bean and spinach. I didn’t add much of anything else besides onions and green onions. In this one, I use curry and tweak the taste of it with garlic, salt, cumin, turmeric, and mustard. I enjoy this soup over rice. I am usually able to work with dandelion greens in this soup without much detriment to the taste. And parsley, of course.

    This soup that I fell in love with most recently is a mixed bean with tomato and onion. It has nacy and pinto beans as well as dal. I add tomatoes, parsley, and onions in amssive amounts and then a good amount of garlic and then cook the heck out of it. I like it with a dab of mustard from the mustard bottle in the fridge. Never curry again, though. The yellew scent that reached my nose immediately after I added it was scary. It detracted from the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and onions. This soup does not need rice. It does need a huge bowl.

    I’ve tweaked a white sauce to my liking and hope to begin using it soon for cheesy potato soup. I’ve also been working with oatmeal flour and have discovered that I love it in sweet quick breads like banana bread. It does well for pancakes, too, which I enjoy making from scratch. I hope to try a yeast recipe with it before it is all used up. I also make quick garlic bread, sometimes topping it with cheese, and quick rosemary bread. My rice is ok, but I miss Korean sticky rice.

    Holy cooty, this is a long post, I think!

  73. 75 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 03:22

    Well Bob can we add China to that list? My friend and I took a taxi to Li’s Family Restaurant (which I highly recommend if you are in Beijing) and we were in 2 minor accidents before we made it to our destination. They were nothing serious (dented the car) but no one stopped. Both drivers carried on as if nothing had actually happened. When we were in Xi’an our hotel was across the street from a very cool local market. After crossing the street one time we weren’t sure if we could make it back. I do have pictures of the pandemonium of the street filled with bicycles, pedestrians, buses, cars, etc.

    I haven’t been to India but I guess it makes China look like granny’s driving around; so I’m told. 🙂

  74. 76 Julie P
    June 28, 2008 at 03:27

    Good morning, Bob. I hope the drive from your bedroom to the computer room was a safe one. It’s good night here in Atlanta. I hope you get some good driving stories from all over the world. I would love to read them when I wake up. I had a delivery job while in college, so I have interest in the subject, I could also go on and on about it. With that I bid you adieu!

  75. 77 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 03:33

    Bob ~

    I have also been quite frightened in Mexico on a bus as well. Not only was the driver scary; I thought we were going to go into oncoming traffic at any moment, the floor boards were rusted out in parts so that you could easily drop something through the hole.

    Yup, driving sucks in the states but there are a lot of places I would never even consider driving.

  76. 78 Tino
    June 28, 2008 at 03:38

    Amy,

    If you like Italian food and have not yet made your own sauce from scratch, it is a delicious experience – and your house/apt will smell like heaven. Use fresh, real tomatoes (not canned, though for a quick sauce that is ok), carrots (for sweetness, so you dont need to add sugar or anything), onions (pref vidalia myself), garlic, and GOOD olive oil. Basil is my choice of herb, plenty like thyme or oregano (also fresh, not from the jars). Dedicate a Sunday to it – thats how I grew up anyway – and start pretty early. Make some meatballs and RIBS – yes, ribs. Ribs in sauce like this are exquisite, they literally fall right off the bone and taste incredible. Cook both meat items in the oven first then transfer to the sauce afterward. If you can find this kind of pasta, I recommend it – though it is tough to find around me here right now, was easy back home: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavatelli . If you want to know the specific recipe let me know and I will post it (dont know if you have ever made sauce from scratch so let me know). I am probably going to make this on Sunday myself, it has been a while. Obviously, the meat can easily be left out.

    Shirley

    Thanks for the tips, especially the yogurt. I have come to love that kind of sauce and just never really knew how to make it. Incidentally, I could see it going really well with lamb.

  77. 79 Dennis
    June 28, 2008 at 03:51

    Good Night…Friends around the world….

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  78. 80 Amy
    June 28, 2008 at 04:02

    Tino,

    I have made sauce from scratch – I love the smell it makes in my house!! I usually make it in the fall/winter when we all are in the house and everyone is really hungry by the time dinner rolls around. I freeze whatever is left and it is so nice to pull out one of the containers for a little pick me up. I usually cook the meatballs in the sauce but may try cooking them in the oven first. Sounds yummy. I am not much of a rib person but my mother is. Since the recipe came from her, I may suggest trying the ribs to her. I will also search out the pasta you recommended. My daughters love pastas. I also live by the adage that you can never have too much garlic (and good olive oil!).

    Shirley,

    The chamomile has been helping some with my allergies. I need to pick up some more. Thanks for the tip.

  79. 81 portlandmike
    June 28, 2008 at 04:24

    Arctic Could See First Ice-Free Summer This Year

    The distinct possibility that the North Pole could be free of sea ice — for the first time in recorded history — may become a cold reality this summer.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=5265092&page=1

    Can the climate change so quickly… so completely?

  80. 82 Nick in USA
    June 28, 2008 at 04:29

    @ Venessa

    Yes, China and Taiwan should definitely be on that list. I was frightened to walk across the street there for the first 2 months. It’s complete chaos until you figure out what’s happening. Then you just make it up as you go.

  81. 83 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 04:44

    Nick ~

    What were you in China and Taiwan for?

  82. 84 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 04:46

    Oh by the way the cab that I was in in China was a Jetta……Hmmmmmm.

  83. 85 Bob in Queensland
    June 28, 2008 at 04:56

    Happy to take advice on China! My only visits to that part of the world have been restricted to Hong Kong which isn’t really a fair comparison!

    However, for creatively bad driving, my vote has to be Rome. On my first visit there I was collected at the airport by somebody from our local office. Driving to the hotel, we were going round one of the large piazzas at about 40mph in heavy traffic when my companion said “Oh. I forgot. I need cigarettes.” At this, he proceeded to slam on his brakes, put the car in reverse and travel at high speed against the flow of traffic about half way round the piazza. He then left the car (door open) in the middle of the road and ran into a tobacconist.

    What struck me was that, although there was much honking of horns, this was treated as totally normal by all drivers!

  84. 86 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 05:20

    Bob ~

    I am laughing out loud at that. Like I said, as deplorable as I think some of the drivers here in the US are, I just think about some of these other places and sigh in relief.

    Now about China… I was there for a vacation for 2 weeks in 2006. I went to Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. To be honest (and I know this might upset someone) I would not even bother going to Shanghai ever again. It was fun for a day but that was about it. You could have been in NYC or some metropolis like that in the US.

    My favorite city was Xi’an. Very cool history. I liked Beijing almost as much as Xi’an. When I was there the pool for the Olympics was already in the process of being built across the street from Tiananmen Square. Anyway I could blabber on for a really long time about it. My experience was amazing.

  85. June 28, 2008 at 05:50

    Joke about rude drivers:

    I was sitting at a stop light this morning. The lady in front of me was going through papers on the seat of her car, and when the light changed to green she did not obey its command. You know, a green light is a commandment – NOT a suggestion. When the light turned to red, and she had still not moved, I began (with my windows up) screaming epithets and beating on my steering wheel.

    My expressions of distress were interrupted by a policeman, gun drawn, tapping on my window. Against my protestations of, “You can’t arrest me for hollering in my car,” he ordered me into the back seat of his.

    After about two hours in a holding cell, the arresting officer advised me I was free to go. I stormed out at him, “I knew you couldn’t arrest me for yelling in my own car. You haven’t heard the last of this.”

    The officer replied, “I didn’t arrest you for shouting in your car. I was directly behind you at the light. I saw you screaming and beating your steering wheel, and I said to myself, “What a jerk. But there is nothing I can do to him for throwing a fit in his own car. Then I noticed the ‘Cross’ hanging from your rear view mirror, the bright yellow ‘Choose Life’ license tag, the ‘Jesus is Coming Soon’ bumper sticker, and the Fish symbol, and I thought you must have stolen the car!”

    _________________________________________________

    The US roadways are the epitome of what the culture has become. An overly aggressive, rude, selfish, self absorbed, narcissistic, peeing contest. Basically take the “Christian values” so many claim our forefathers based our constitution, then inverse them. That is what you have as an attitude on the road. The constitution granted the people with great power and responsibility. They were attributes that our predecessors worked hard and risked their lives to obtain. We have all become the spoiled child inheritors of their hard work. A nation of Paris Hiltons that feel we deserve with out effort or sacrifice just because of our parent’s efforts. Reality doesn’t work that way.

  86. June 28, 2008 at 06:08

    If it were up to me, we would have on national driver’s licenses. (I know I am a little afraid of the “big brother” implications of such a program.) However state borders are no longer confines for most drivers. There are some states out there that if you can sign the paper without getting drool on it you can have your license.

    In today’s world where the technology exists, drivers should be forced to drive a virtual trip from NYC to San Francisco. Judgment would be based not only on the ability to follow the rules but to be patient and polite. The long trip would make the comfort level go up and eventually the real person would emerge.

    I would also advocate plain cars in the population that contain officers who cite people for rude, aggressive, or dangerous behavior. We all make mistakes from time to time. Some kind of point system that accounts for honest mistakes that look like bad behavior.

    For gods sakes man, stop “texting” and driving.

  87. June 28, 2008 at 06:20

    @ credit companies basing your score and limit on buying habits.

    the insurance companies use some very unrelative statistics to charge me more money. I don’t see why credit companies can’t do the same.

    If they see a divorce possible, a reduced credit limit could save some financial headaches. The same if somebody starts drinking heavily. What would be nice is if they actually judged them by how much they can afford.

  88. 90 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 06:57

    WHYSers

    Hi

    I would like to suggest, after some awful jokes on here and also a plea for a break from politics, that WHYS does a show either on HUMOUR or – don’t laugh – FOOD and RECIPES from round the world.

    Venessa – when you went to Shanghai you must have just stuck to the tourist trail. Go behind that western hotel and the local culture and food is amazing!

  89. 91 Pangolin- California
    June 28, 2008 at 07:37

    @ Food Prices- I live dead center in the most productive farmland in the US. Food prices are going up like crazy. How are the rest of you making out with the with the price rises in fresh foods especially?

    @ Vegetarian food- The first thing a vegetarian needs to do is learn to properly cook brown rice. Having cooked brown rice on hand allows preparation of anything from cabbage rolls, to pilaf to rice salads.

    Then you need to get a pressure cooker at a second hand store so that you can cook beans from dry to done in less than an hour. If you have any doubts about your cooking skills get a new one with the instruction book.

    Hummus mix is available freeze dried for the culinary impoverished but otherwise it’s just cooked chickpeas, lemon juice, cumin, salt and olive oil pounded or processed into a mash. Anything else is just extra. A food processor will do the best job or otherwise an old style hand-cranked thing called a mouli. Blenders just don’t work that well.

    Tacos made with roasted sweet potatoes, jack cheese, and salsa on corn tortillas are a cheap, tasty and filling vegetarian treat. I know it sounds weird but it’s great. Any food that is semi-solid can go into a taco and is a handy way to eat leftovers.

    The proper greens to add to dhal or black bean soup is chard in the summer or kale in the winter. kale is the king of pot herbs and will balance a soup like nobodies business.

    The best pancakes for getting a body going are buckwheat cakes made with whole grain flour. These are also operable as a dinner entree served with applesauce, sour cream and sweet stewed cabbage and beets. (add half the beet greens if prepared the day you buy the beets but toss them the next day)

    The two cookbooks an inexperienced cook needs in the US are ‘The New Joy of Cooking’ and ‘The Silver Palate Cookbook’ both of which should be available used and have plentiful and tasty vegetarian fare. Also I highly suggest ‘The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook’ as SF is possibly the most food obsessed city in the US.

    @ Shirley- You might google: ‘neti pot’ for your allergies. Find and buy the prepared, buffered salt mix rather than mixing your own. You could also look into electric bicycles for your cheap transportation needs. I know several common brands could be operable in a full Sari or the equivalent.

  90. 92 Pangolin- California
    June 28, 2008 at 07:53

    @ Driving- Proper lane changing technique in Los Angeles.

    1)Tap your breaks carefully slowing down enough to force the tailgater on your rear to back off and clearing one half car length in front of you. (no more or somebody will fill it with a car)

    2) Swerve sharply within your own lane from left to right and back making sure to hit the ‘drunk bumps’ on both sides of your lane. This will cause all traffic behind you to brake to avoid you.

    3) Rapidly occupy the open space in the lane you wish to change to. Watch for BMW coming from the other side. BMW drivers must change lanes as often as possible due to local driving rules.

    4) Wave a thank you with handgun if available, otherwise middle finger salute is appropriate. (In LA this is considered punctuation rather than an insult. Local dialect substitutes an Oedipal reference for hello; starts with an M… 😉

    5) Resume tailgating driver in front of you.

    I swear to Dog that this is the only effective technique and universally used as LA drivers habitually drive everywhere with one turn signal flashing. They can’t hear the turn signal clicker over their giant car stereos or your horn so don’t bother.

  91. 93 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 07:55

    Good morning/afternoon/evening/night everyone!

    I have to admit that I laughed at the joke about the dead friend – I guess I’m a different breed. At least three quarters of the jokes I know are offending one group or another, and I can’t remember right now any of the last quarter, so I won’t venture any further.

    @ Cooking:

    Sheep has a really, really strong taste on its own, even older lambs I already find appalling. My parents once made a “really good hare”, where my father was the only one who kept chewing and chewing.

    I like chicken a lot, in every variety and flavour, there’s one recipe that I would like to share:

    1) cook brown rice with 1 cube of vegetable stock and a laurel leave until soft.
    2) Meantime, cut two chicken breasts into cubes, add salt and pepper, heat it in a pan with some butter and (good) olive oil until done, put to the side.
    3) cut an onion into quarter rings, chop up two garlic cloves, put into the chicken pan and cook until soft (not brown!)
    4) cut a yellow and green pepper into stripes, add to pan, roast a little. (if you like it a bit spicy, add 1/4 red chilipepper chopped up)
    5) add rice and chicken, season with (fresh) thyme and oregano and salt and pepper, mix everything well, reduce heat
    6) cut up 2 or 3 tomatoes into cubes, put on top
    7) cut feta cheese into cubes, on top

    8.) cut up small handful of fresh basil, on top
    9) sprinkle some olive oil on top, cover and let simmer for a few minutes (not too long, otherwise it all gets soggy)
    10) enjoy!

    This recipe is actually from a vegetarian book, so you can let out the chicken and it’s still just as tasty.

    I used to get intimidated by all the “strange” spices that you find in chinashops, until one day I said “what the heck” and bought a bag of each spice I could find. I had an explosion of smells in my kitchen!

  92. 94 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 08:05

    @ Pangolin

    I almost fell from my chair laughing when I read your driving rules. Finally some useful advice!

    Here in Belgium it depends a lot on where you drive: Brussels is horrible, it’s common practice to wait in the right lane when you want to turn left, here in Ghent it’s a bit calmer but at busy intersections everyone just drives into it and leaves it to the others to sort out how they get to the other side…

  93. 95 Zainab
    June 28, 2008 at 08:25

    Salam to all, How are you?
    How are you Dear Katharina in Ghent, Shiley, Amy and all your family thank you for asking we are just fine (Al hamdu il Allah=thank God), Lubna where are you?

    Hi, Nelson,how are you? what you said is right politics exists in every facet of our life, but can’t we at least don’t mention things like Bush, Iraq’s security situation, Zimbabwe, …etc. I mean the whole issues that we were just talking about the whole previous days.
    Well let me try to suggest something: What about the effect of TV on our life. We Arab sit in front of the TV set almost the whole day. Even if there is something which we saw before like movie or series or a show…etc. we just sit and watch it again!!! 🙂 Silly isn’t it? Life is time right?, TV becomes just a tool of wasting time, that is wasting life. In watching tv we don’t have to use our minds, it is just that we see without any thinking efforts.
    Then what about you, does TV take a long time from you too?

    yours truly,
    Zainab

  94. June 28, 2008 at 08:39

    I know what you are saying about food prices.

    Between gas and food prices, I might have to pawn my hand gun just to keep from starving to death.

  95. 97 Bob in Queensland
    June 28, 2008 at 08:51

    Well, if we want a lighter item for a WHYS show, after all the driving tales I wonder if something along the lines of “National stereotypes and driving…are they true?” might actually make a topic!

    ….and my answer would be “absolutely yes!”.

    One of the better stories I know could be subtitled “a Parisian Maniac in New York”.

    For several years, the manager of our New York City bureau was a French woman named Colette. For her stint in NYC, she had a company car which was actually leased through one of big car rental companies.

    Because of the lease, if the police checked ownership it would look like a rented car. Colette spent her entire stint there driving outrageously even by French standards….the wrong way up one way streets, ignoring speed limits and traffic signs, etc. etc. However, whenever she was pulled over, so would speak only in rapid French and show her French driving license. Since the car looked rented, the police would invariably give up trying to have a conversation with a gibbering French woman and wave her on. Despite her driving habits, she didn’t pay a single fine the whole time she was there.

    She did cause a lot of havoc though!

  96. 98 Julie P
    June 28, 2008 at 09:04

    @Bob,

    Great Idea! I bet it would make a screamingly funny show! That and it’s a subject a lot of people could relate to.

  97. 99 Pangolin- California
    June 28, 2008 at 09:21

    @ Dwight- Keep the handgun if ammunition is cheap enough. For daily fare cat can be prepared like rabbit (slow, moist heat) but for company you have to serve dog (barbecue like souvlaki). Pigeon is easily caught with raisins soaked in vodka and chard can be planted among the flowers in planters. Gather your acorns within a month of the fall drop or they get weevils. Snails need four days on corn meal feed before eating. If you live far enough south armadillo is a seasonal treat along with the first snakes of the spring. Avoid seagull and spotted owl as they tend to bind the gut.

    Good eating 😉

  98. 100 Bryan
    June 28, 2008 at 10:05

    Zainab June 28, 2008 at 8:25 am,

    I cancelled cable TV because they kept putting the price up and I was getting tired of watching it. Now I only watch occasional video clips on the internet. TV is so addictive, it’s almost like a drug. It’s also an extremely effective indoctrination technique in the wrong hands.

  99. 101 Jonathan (smoky San Francisco)
    June 28, 2008 at 10:24

    @Shirley,

    You must have missed my long, lovingly detailed answer to you at the very end of talking points for the 27th, the page where you asked me first about San Francisco and nearby fires, and about Sudan/Darfur, China, UN, etc.

    News I hear from Iowa and the whole Midwest US is not good, water-wise. I hadn’t even heard about Wisconsin, but happened to talk with a friend there who said they’re in big trouble too. I can’t say about the guy you asked about specifically though. We can expect new, improved food prices soon to go with the new oil prices, and I suppose a new round of tiresome conspiracy theories to provide hallucinatory explanations for the obvious.

    Let me know how you do with Darfur research; Google is your friend as always. Actually that film on Frontline, and its website, whose address I provided, can probably tell you most of what you want to know, with links to the rest. I’m totally impressed by both the films on Frontline and the web pages–it doesn’t get much better.

  100. 102 Jonathan (smoky San Francisco)
    June 28, 2008 at 10:32

    So if WHYS had been around way back when abortion prohibition got overturned, I’m guessing the next days’s topic would have been “Does everyone need an abortion?”

    Or in ancient Troy: “Horses: Threat or Menace?”

  101. 103 Bob in Queensland
    June 28, 2008 at 10:46

    I used to be addicted to TV but now I’ve moved on to the hard stuff….

    …the Internet!

  102. 104 Robert
    June 28, 2008 at 11:01

    When I was working in Houston I had a similar deal to the Parisian Manic. Shortly after passing my Texas driving test I got really confused at a junction and ended up on the left hand side of the road. Only one car in sight. Happened to be driving head on to me, and it just had to be a police car.

    Luckily I had my UK driving license on me which was produced in preference to the TX one, and I really dialed up my English accent to 11. Got off with a polite instruction to remember which side of the road Americans drive on.

  103. 105 Zainab
    June 28, 2008 at 11:05

    Hello all,
    how are you Bryan,
    Well done by cancelling cable TV.

    Actually, I come across people who live just to watch TV, they wake up at the morning to watch their favorite songs, then to watch their shows and …etc. untill they sleep to repeat this scenario again next day.
    I don’t know but does this mean that life is going into absurdity?!!

    And to Bob in Queensland, isn’t Internet better than TV or are they the same?!!

    Note: To Shirley,
    I’m sorry for writing your name incorrectly in my last post. it was a slip of keyboard.

    yours truly
    Zainab from Iraq

  104. 106 Eugene
    June 28, 2008 at 11:56

    @ driving, I find it somewhat amusing to read of your descriptions of driving and how different it is to my experiences. I dare any of you to drive in africa outside of south africa (where semblance of sanity reigns. In Kenya when i did my drivning test i drove 10 metres and they gave me a lisence. The road rules dont exist, the person with the biggest car or disregard for his car gets through way. The local minibuses will do what ever seems to be a good idea to the driver at the time. Some traffic lights are mere decorations with pretty light abd while all this is going on you have you to avoid potholes which if you are not driving an suv may do almost irreperable damage to your car, when it rains since drainage is a foriegn concept some areas of the road system actually become rivers. At night in some parts of nairobi and kenya if you are not driving fast you are going to carjacked if you see people with guns and they arent policemen you dont stop you give it more gas. However the most amazing thing is while kenyan roads completely astound people who come from countries where people try to respect the roadrules, there are roads in africa which are astounding to me who is a tried and tested kenyan driver. Lagos and kinshasa to name a few are absolute madness how they keep sane should be the studied by psychiatrists because its simply amazing

  105. 107 Bob in Queensland
    June 28, 2008 at 12:08

    Hi Zainab,

    Internet vs. TV. Well, I’d say the Internet is probably better because at least it’s an interactive medium–you can’t just sit there and let it wash over you as you can with TV (unless it’s a WHYS debate you’ve seen before!).

    However, both can be genuinely addictive and keep you from being involved in real life!

  106. 108 Robert
    June 28, 2008 at 12:22

    @ Eugene

    After Houston I moved to Luanda. That is some really interesting driving. My company do not allow us to drive, instead we rely on a system of pool cars to move about. Before I came out here I was full of “how dare they, if I want to drive why can’t I”. After my first trip from the airport to the hotel I figured it was safer not to be the one behind the wheel of the car. I couldn’t last five minutes on the road here with out getting myself killed. What amazes me is that even though there is now real system for using the roads (if there is I haven’t figured it out) there seems to be a surprising small number of serious accidents (perhaps that due to traffic in the city never getting past a stand still though)

  107. 109 Bryan
    June 28, 2008 at 12:36

    Zainab and Bob – well, that’s for sure. Movies, TV and internet are virtual worlds that easily distract people from real life. When I had TV I made a rule that if somebody phoned I would talk to them and never tell them I’ll call back after whatever happened to be on was over. Communicating with a real live person is so much more important than the dumb screen, though I take the point that internet is interactive.

  108. 110 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 13:09

    Jonathan (smoky San Francisco)

    WHYS debates from yesteryear –

    I’ve got some more

    Divorce – is it too easy? ( Henry VIII period )
    Is life too cheap? (Stalin, s Russia )
    Crusades: are they effective? (obvious)
    Child thieves: Is transportation the answer? (Victorian England)
    India: Empire jewel or wasteful extravagance? (Indian Mutiny )

    Hey this is fun. I will think of lots more when I have pushed the ‘submit’ button

  109. 111 Justin from Iowa
    June 28, 2008 at 13:24

    Topic:

    My dad was talking to me this morning, and said that the media were tossing around the Idea that Obama might take Arnold Schwarzenegger as VP, as the statutes excluding someone from presidency by their country of birth might not apply to VP’s?

    Thoughts on a democrat taking a republican (even one as liberal as Arnold) as a running mate?

    Personally, I find the idea fascinating. Arnold has done well for California. He would bring some really good, positive, experience to Obama to fill the gap of his own inexperience, while not sacrificing the idealism which Obama has based his campaign around.

    Not to mention it would basically gaurantee california and kneecap some of McCain’s support.

    Heck, I’d have voted for Arnold for president if he was eligible. And I lean towards democrat anyways.

  110. 112 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 13:24

    @ debates from yesteryear:

    – capital punishments: which bodyparts are really necessary?

    – slavery: would you have your own slave if you could afford one?

    – flat earth: what will happen if you fall off the rim?

    – do you trust a machine to wash your clothes and dishes?

    – will tea in teabags still be considered tea?

    Whoa, this really IS fun!

  111. 113 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 13:34

    actually, I would like to rephrase the slavery debate:

    ON AIR: Is it immoral to import more slaves from Africa?

  112. 114 Bob in Queensland
    June 28, 2008 at 13:55

    Some REALLY old WHYS topics:

    -Crawling out of the sea: the way of the future or a pointless risk? (WHYS primordial soup edition)

    -That bright thing growing bigger in the sky: a real danger or scare-mongering. (WHYS Dinosaur Show…just before the meteor strikes)

    -Can fire ever be made safe enough to use? (WHYS Neanderthal show with Ros Flintstone)

    -Bronze tools: wasteful extravagance or the new flint? (Yeah, you get it)

    -Should we accept a wooden horse from an enemy? (WHYS visits ancient Greece)

    and finally…

    -Does everybody need a longbow to feel safe? (A particularly controversial topic from a WHYS programme in 1066)

  113. 115 Justin from Iowa
    June 28, 2008 at 13:59

    I would like to hear that longbow discussion re-broadcast, if at all possible.

  114. 116 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 14:01

    @ debates from yesteryear

    Katharina – love the one about the machine.

    Some more:

    America: will it rue leaving the Empire?

    Rough Justice: is it fair to send all our criminals to Australia?

    Winston Churchill: visionary or war-monger?

    Football: will it ever catch on?

    Diet: does it matter?

    Smoking: just a pleasurable hobby or can it help you slim, too?

    I am going to stop now as this is becoming addictive.

  115. 117 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 14:07

    just one more –

    On air: what’s on Ceasar’s ipod? (WHYS time travel special) with Ros Romanus

  116. 118 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 14:37

    WHYS slavery debate: Africans: Human or No?

    Ice Cream Machines: Will Ice Cream Socials be the Undoing of Our Society?

    Fully electric cars: How will dear old Rick Wagoner survive this financial assault from fundamentalist left-wing extremist fanatics?

    Technophiles (Help!).:
    I still need help listening to the archives. I cannot download new players; I only have access to Windows Media Player (I miss Real! Windows sux!). I have tried the Google reader method, but nothing happens when I click. I can’t listen to that one archive that plays in a popout window because it uses Real. I am particularly interested in the recent Iraq discussion and another recent Africa/Gaza discussion. Can anyone supply me with a working, usable MP3 link that I could ctrl+u into a Windows Media Player (piece of junk)? Please? Help?

    Food Prices:
    I’m still mourning the fact that my strawberry plants were duds. Guess I’d better get on the ball and set up some of those clover plants in a container so that I can chew on them through the winter. My fmaily told me that I can start up my own forsythia bush from a cutting, so I hope the give it a try. How could it possibly be a potent medicinal, though, if the tea tastes like bananas and flowers and not last week’s mouldy sandwich or a can of paint? What food plants are easy to propogate or otherwise start up from what we buy at the store? I have heard of people finding tomato plants in their compost from seedy leftovers, but I would think that most of our non-organic foods make dud seeds, right? I have heard, though, that mint can propagate. When I can’t afford food, I bulk up my tummy with various edible grasses before I eat what little I was able to afford at the store. Handouts at the food pantry might be ok, but if I can become just a little bit self-sufficient, it would save my pride.

    Salam, Zaynab. Dont’ worry about mistyping words and names. I read typo-ese (the lingo of bad typing).

    Vegi Food:
    Brown rice just doesn’t have the it-don’t-mean-a-thing-if-it-ain’t-got-that thing for me. It feels dry. It doesn’t seem to have flavour. It doesn’t seem to soak up flavour. Have you ever had Korean sticky rice? The one with the rabbit’s head on it rocks.

    What does one add to black-eyed peas? Spinach has 10% calcium per ½-cup serving. What do kale and chard have?

    Does neti pot have anything to do with stinging nettle? I have heard that it is the best out there for allergies. Apparently, its* rutin content is out the roof.

    * See, folks? No apostrophe! Otherwise, it would have meant “it is”!

  117. 119 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 14:52

    absolutely the final one

    ‘No taxation without representation’: important principle or empty rhetoric?

  118. 120 Bob in Queensland
    June 28, 2008 at 15:23

    @ Shirley

    I don’t know what “neti pot” is but I can vouch for stinging nettle as a treatment for allergies. I used to drink nettle tea for hay fever and it was very effective. (I say used to because suddenly when I turned 50 my hay fever seemed to disappear and has never come back).

    As for your appeal regaring the archives, I’m not ignoring you but I don’t know of any non-real player versions of the material. (I once complained to the BBC about not having other options–at that point the current version of Real Player wouldn’t co-exist with my other sound software.) I know that BBC are fairly strict about not allowing their material on third party sites so I’m not sure what to suggest.

  119. 121 Julie P
    June 28, 2008 at 15:36

    Debates from yesteryear that could be recycled for the world, or parts of the world:

    Tomatoes: Are they poisionous?

    Do women really need to vote?

    Earth: Is it really the center of the universe?

  120. 122 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 15:42

    WHYS 2075: North Pole – Did it really Exist? Or was it just part of the Santa Story?

    Jonathan
    Oooo, you got thrashed? Where? Lemme see!

    I know about the genocide in Darfur and, as you could figure am a devoted fan of the U.N. Just not some of its more powerful members. That’s why I am for the dismantling of the SC altogether and re-directing its power and capability to the GA so that the power can be more equalised among members. And I think that there should be serious consequences for failure to pay dues: expulsion. A very duh moment. I will check out the site: I am also a PBS fan.

    The link-eaters hit me because I link up my news compilation posts so much. They shouldn’t get you. But I can’t believe that I missed seeing you get strung out in the WHYS blockades for the day. (yes, I chase ambulances as far as the bicycle will let me – at least, I used to when I had a bike)

  121. 123 selena
    June 28, 2008 at 15:43

    OK guys give me a title for an article on how much seniors are valued in our society.

    You are all very talented…

  122. 124 selena
    June 28, 2008 at 15:48

    @Shirley

    I used to suffer big time from hay fever.

    My aunt said, “Don’t worry, I used to have allergies all the time but when I hit 50, my hay fever disappeared.”

    At the time, It was a long way to 50, for me.

    But right on target at 50, the hay fever disappeared. Fingers crossed! It won’t come back!

    I didn’t take anything for hay fever and it still disappeared. So, maybe it disappears at 50??

  123. 125 Bob in Queensland
    June 28, 2008 at 16:04

    Wow! I’ve never heard the “hayfever disappears at 50” theory before, but that’s exactly what happened for me. Maybe we need a WHYS debate about folk medicine and theories!

    Anyhow, gentlefolk, I’ve been doing some of the moderation tasks for a few hours during Mike in Portland’s night time but I’m off to bed now myself. Hopefully Mike will be back soon and I think there may be a few other mods popping in and out anyway.

    See you in the morning my time!

  124. 126 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 16:10

    Bob and others – how do you get a pic on here?

  125. 127 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 16:27

    Grey WHYS: Can an Old Fogey Be President? Email us on World Have Your Say, or blog at our site!

    Allergies:
    What if it isn’t hayfever? How do I tell whether I am allergic to grass, trees, mold, or just any old particulate hanging out in the air?

    Recipes:
    Tino, something ate the post in whcih I said that oregano goes well with mushrooms and basil with tomatoes, hence delicious pasta sauce with said herbs.

  126. 128 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 16:28

    Hi Shirley,

    About plants that you can grow yourself: you could try garlic, when the cloves start showing green put them in some earth (separated, of course). With tomatoes, the gmo-version probably won’t grow, but you might get lucky when you buy an organic one. Strawberries: ask your friends if you can have a descendant.

    @ Steve b-uk:

    I’m not sure whether you can add your picture when you’re not a moderator. Try logging into worldpress.com

    http://wordpress.com/

    if you’re not inscribed yet you can create your own account. Once your inscribed you’ll see on the right upper side “profile”, and there you can upload your picture. I’m not sure whether it will show on the whys blog, but Will’s picture has been on forever, so it’s worth a try.

  127. 129 Amy
    June 28, 2008 at 16:50

    If hay fever disappears at 50, I only have another 10 1/2 years to go. I hope I survive!! And for all of the WHYS stories from the past, I really needed the laugh. My little one has come down with a serious case of the stomach flu – yuk!!

  128. 130 Amy
    June 28, 2008 at 16:52

    Steve b-uk:

    I agree with Katharina about how you add a picture. I uploaded a photo of me and cropped it, but I did it after I became a moderator. Give it a try and if it doesn’t work, come over to the dark side and become a moderator 🙂

  129. 131 Amy
    June 28, 2008 at 16:55

    Justin in Iowa,

    I hope you survived the current wave of weather intact. My mom is in Wisconsin and says it isn’t great there, but she’s doing fine. She has a basement and has spent a lot of time down there in the past month. Stay safe.

  130. 132 Julie P
    June 28, 2008 at 17:00

    @Amy,

    Where in Wisconsin is your family? My parents like in Waukesha, sister and family are in Brookfield, and my brother still lives in Milwaukee with his family. I am originally from Milwaukee. From what they tell me, it’s life as usual.

  131. 133 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 17:10

    Thanks Khatarina and Amy

    Do I really have to come over to the dark side?

    No, seriously, that seems fair enough. Thanks.

    ( wonderful fantasy: WHYS moderators have a secret pact to turn WHYS folk to the dark side. )

    best wishes

  132. 134 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 17:21

    Katharina, I forgot about how garlic (and onions) do that! I wonder how much soil onions would need. Thank you.

  133. 135 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 17:36

    Hi Shirley,

    I don’t think that you’ll need a lot of soil, the average 3-4 inch deep pot should be enough. Onions grow just below the surface. If you have deeper pots or a small piece of land, you could also stick some potatoes into the dirt, they should grow into new plants, too.

    Hi Amy,
    I feel with you about your daughter, my son has kept me at home for the last three days with a serious throat infection. IMHO, his tonsils should be removed, they’re quite big and he keeps getting sick, but the doctors here are very reluctant to do that… I’ve lost mine when I was 6 years old, and I haven’t been missing them since.

  134. 136 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 17:38

    Hi Steve b,

    the nicest thing about the picture is that it doesn’t have to be your own… that’s why Katherine Hepburn is my ugly twin sister – at least in a parallel universe. 🙂

  135. June 28, 2008 at 17:47

    Addiction, Rehabilitation, Eradication or Exile
    TEHRAN – Iranian Law Enforcement Forces and Anti-Drug Agency confiscated some 900 Kgms. of opium this year. This is 30% more than last year, but still only a fraction of 8,000 Tons annually produced in Afghanistan.
    Iran is the main route for drug traffickers heading for Europe, but according to official statistics, there are 1.2 million addicts here in Iran. Add another one million leisurely users and you will get the real picture.
    Rehabilitation simply doesn’t work. Opium has a way of getting into the system. It is handed down to offsrings and the entire family. The sight of young, pale lads wondering about the streets or dozing on public transport is common in Tehran and the provinces. Medical research will, in time, show that the decadence in the family of addicts, and flimsy metabolism is rooted in the addiction of parents.
    Perhaps I may sound harsh. The issue deserves compassion and understanding, admittedly, but year after year, addiction takes its toll on the new generation. Once you are branded, you are marred for life.
    Iran is good for considerable international annual financial aid in the fight against drug trafficking, but should we not also concentrate on eliminating drug addiction within Iran! Could we not confine them to some island, instead of cramming our prisons with addicts! It gets worse inside, because the communal use of needles, gives rise to the spread of AIDS. By confining addicts to a particular location we could at least prevent the ill-effects of addiction spreading to family and children.

  136. 138 Nelson
    June 28, 2008 at 18:10

    hi guys, i got this news story i am following:
    Passengers sleep on plane after flight cancelled
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080627/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_china_airline

    Plane soars past destination as pilots doze: report
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080626/wl_sthasia_afp/indiaairlineincidentoffbeat_080626122700

  137. 139 Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)
    June 28, 2008 at 18:33

    @Nelson, there’s a WHYS topic of the day to be made from those stories, awaiting only the breath of life from one of our clever people…

  138. 140 Venessa
    June 28, 2008 at 18:44

    You guys are cracking me up with the past WHYS topics!

    I do agree that we should have a show for stereotypes for driving around the world. It would be a fun topic and a funny show I’m sure. I’m almost convinced Kenya might be the worst place ever to drive but we still haven’t heard from someone from India…. 🙂

  139. 141 Nelson
    June 28, 2008 at 18:44

    @ Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)

    u lead the way …. 😉

  140. 142 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 18:50

    Alright Jonathan, you got me now: what the heck is “snarky”?

  141. 143 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 19:08

    @ sleeping pilots:

    I’ve worked for four years as a flight attendant, and let me tell you… never have I seen both of them sleep, but that one of them was “listening intently to the guy on the headphone with eyes closed” happened more than once, especially on short over-night stops (= less than 6 hours night rest!)

  142. 144 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 19:36

    Thanks Katharina in Ghent

    I have no intention of subjecting WHYSers to my actual pic – I am going to put a pic of a flower there (ahh…)

    Hey, I have just had a nap and have come up with another idea for a fun thing. It is this – what is the most unlikely headline you can think of for the press today?

    Like –

    ‘Mugabe concedes defeat’

    ‘UK player dominates Wimbledon’

    ‘George Bush says ‘ I was wrong’

    ‘BBC admits right wing bias’

    ‘China welcomes Dalia Llama’

    It is great talking to you all ( no, get it right, that is sincere! )

    Bye

  143. 145 Robert
    June 28, 2008 at 19:46

    Unlikely headline

    After one year in the job- ‘Brown admits ‘ this job might not be as easy as I thought it was”

  144. 146 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 19:51

    Most unlikely headline:

    Oil going down to three year low.

  145. 147 Julie P
    June 28, 2008 at 19:54

    It’s still not too late headline:

    IOC cancels 2008 Summer Olympics.

  146. 148 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 20:09

    another most unlikely headline (sorry)

    Ros, Priya and Chloe from WHYS sign up for Fox News: ‘it was an offer we couldn’t refuse’. Exclusive interview.

  147. 149 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 20:09

    UN confirms: Poverty erased from our planet.

  148. 150 portlandmike
    June 28, 2008 at 20:12

    Mugabe steps down.

  149. 151 Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)
    June 28, 2008 at 20:19

    @Shirley,

    My goodness! Your panting enthusiasm to see me “thrashed” borders on downright unseemly. Hmph. That’s a fine thing, after I provided you the Darfur info and PBS link, and told you everything I know about it. (Actually we may have a shared interest here, but I’d prefer not to be the one being thrashed.)

    On that topic still, just because it’s so darned funny, you probably want to see me not “strung out at the blockades,” but strung UP in the STOCKADES. Strung out would be something else, less likely to produce the suffering you want to see.

    Oooh–I may even have the answer for those RealMedia files; I want to test it before I post it for you.

    Interesting ideas about the UN. So would all countries be equal in the general assembly, assessed equal dues? That would be a relief for he US, which now pays such a huge portion of the bill. Of course there would have to be major budget cuts, which if burdensome could be supplemented by a levy on the bribes and kickbacks paid by countries evading sanctions, as in the Iraq “Oil for Food” affair.
    Also, if every member had an equal vote, and a veto, the body would be almost completely paralyzed–arguably a small change, but worth considering.

    There is a way to find out what you’re allergic to: A doctor (or, I suppose, anyone) draws a grid on your back, and puts a bit of each possible allergen into each square, like grasses, pollens, dust, cat, etc., and waits to see what squares exhibit allergic reaction. (It sounds worse than it is.)

    OK, stay tuned for the real media workaround, even though you want to see me in agony…

  150. 152 Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)
    June 28, 2008 at 20:21

    Hey, good work everybody with the fantasy WHYS topics! I’m so glad it caught on. What a hoot.

  151. 153 Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)
    June 28, 2008 at 20:23

    Extra points for writing that little intro explaining the topic, at the top of the talking points and on-air pages, with links of course. Meant to do that myself.

  152. 154 Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)
    June 28, 2008 at 20:51

    @Katharina~~

    Oh hello- there–“snarky” means “sarcastic, irreverent,” according to Wiktionary. I’d love to know the origin but I don’t have Oxford English Dictionary online anymore, and my new broswer hasn’t imported my bookmark for the slang dictionary I use.

  153. 155 Dennis
    June 28, 2008 at 20:54

    The dark side of the WORLD HAVE YOUR SAY…

    Where is it and someone could heads me up….

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  154. 156 Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)
    June 28, 2008 at 21:05

    OK, Nelson, here’s a quick go at it:

    It’s common to fall asleep on long flights. The drone of the engines, the godawful movie, the pillows, the booze… But when the pilot nods off, that can get dangerous. (links here.)

    So we want to hear from you: SHOULD AIRLINES TAKE STEPS TO KEEP EVERYONE AWAKE? Playing loud noises, shaking or light slapping by flight attendants, maybe putting something extra in the coffee? Call us, text us, email us, blog on us, or send a carrier pigeon to Bush House… it’s your turn, world; Have Your Say!

  155. 157 Bryan
    June 28, 2008 at 21:29

    Most unlikely BBC headlines:

    America winning War on Terror
    Scientist proves global warming fraud
    George Bush fights AIDS
    Licence fee iniquitous
    BBC biased to the left

  156. 158 Katharina in Ghent
    June 28, 2008 at 21:34

    Most, most, very most unlikely headline:

    Osama Bin Laden is a girl.

    Others:

    5-cent cure for AIDS found
    Gay men are better fathers
    My son will go to sleep on his own

  157. 159 selena
    June 28, 2008 at 21:44

    @ In Canada we say sarky for sarcastic. But I learned something… snarky also is sarcastic.

    So there! 😉

  158. 160 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 21:45

    Dennis

    there ain’t a dark side to WHYS.

    That’s ’cause everything is out in the open and subject to any challenge.

    Best wishes

  159. 161 selena
    June 28, 2008 at 21:48

    I uploaded a picture and it turned out black.

    I uploaded another but the first one remains.

    Strange??

  160. 162 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 21:49

    I was at Al Jazeera’s site on a whim, and this is news to me. Has anyone else heard anything?

    Saturday, June 28, 2008
    Blast in northern Lebanon
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2008/06/200862835125738443.html
    At least one person has been been killed and 20 others wounded by a powerful blast in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, officials said.

    The blast early on Saturday struck a six-storey residential building in the Sunni neighbourhood of Bab al-Tebbaneh.

    Shops on the ground floor of the building and four apartments on its first floor, were destroyed by the blast.

  161. 163 Nelson
    June 28, 2008 at 21:56

    @ jonathan. that was a great intro that even ros atkins would listen to with envy

  162. 164 steve b - uk
    June 28, 2008 at 22:04

    WHYSers

    I have been thinking – yeh,yeh, I know it is unusual. Especially on a Saturday night. But the thing is that there is not much difference between an unlikely headline and a WISHED FOR headline. A thin line. So, here are some of my wished for headlines:

    HH The Dalia LLama returns to head an independent Tibet.

    China recognises a free Taiwan.

    Tony Blair to retire from public life.

    England beats Aussies in thrilling Test series!

    New drug beats AIDS.

    George Bush appointed World Commander – joke, repeat joke.

    Good night everyone.

  163. 165 steve
    June 28, 2008 at 22:14

    Why I cannot stand religion:
    http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/06/science_law_could_set_tone_for.html

    Another attempt to teach fairy tales in the science classroom. Or maybe this will be one of those compromises,w here they call Dinosaurs “Jesus Horses”. Eliminate these fairy tales now!

    Oh, before you start talking about redneck, cowboy governors, the Governor is a former Hindu.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Jindal

  164. 166 Shirley
    June 28, 2008 at 22:17

    Jonathan,
    Sorry to hear that you’re not a bottom. Thank you for taking it so well, though. I think that the fake WHYS topics have put a bit of spunk in us all.

    BBC World Headlines on NO2:
    * North Pole returns – permanently
    * Ice Age predicted to start in two weeks – get packing
    * Atlantic Ocean takes over Lady Liberty
    * “Extinct” Species Makes Suprising Comeback
    * Bush Impeached
    (dream on)

    * Lindsey Spears’ daughter married at age seven
    * Paparazzi discovered to be al Qaeda sleeper cell, Diana’s death re-examined
    * Sarkozi photographed in public wearing pink dress. Investigation to reveal whether it belonged to wife.
    * Girl feared dead found after massive tornado, accompanied by eccentric woman on broomstick
    (laugh on)

  165. 167 Julie P
    June 28, 2008 at 22:18

    Headline:

    Chain e-mails are erased from the face of the earth.

    Second headline:

    Hummer driver has a lucid moment and recycles vehicle.

  166. 168 portlandmike
    June 28, 2008 at 22:26

    I’ve been watching the UTube videos of Amy Winehouse and all the singing at Nelson Mandala’s 90th. Personally I thought it was powerful stuff… hopeful, and strangely full of promise. The best I found so far was this one… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLkgiF1WX8Y&feature=related

  167. 169 portlandmike
    June 28, 2008 at 22:45

    @ Steve,

    Jindal surprises me… how a biology major can believe in magic is beyond me! Supporting “intelligent design,” and opposing stem cell research is, to my way of thinking, encouraging ignorance.

    I hope McCain chooses him as a running mate. It will be the death stroke for his campaign.

  168. 170 selena
    June 28, 2008 at 23:46

    The very idea of religion (invisible being responsible for the universe and all that good stuff) encourages ignorance. Yet the majority of the world’s people believe in some religion or other.

    So, I guess if you believe in religion, it is not unreasonable to teach its beliefs.

    🙂

  169. 172 Dennis
    June 29, 2008 at 00:29

    It looks like we are going to have over 200+plus messages on BLANK PAGE # 13…This Weekend…..

    I am sorry for not being around….At the Community College, We are having JAZZ FEST…and starting on Monday, finals…..

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  170. 173 Amy
    June 29, 2008 at 00:34

    Dennis,

    Good luck on your finals!

  171. 174 Justin from Iowa
    June 29, 2008 at 01:00

    Amy,

    Thankee kindly for the kind thoughts. Luckily my house is on a high point so I did not have any personal flooding issues, but the surrounding towns… A town 10 miles from me had to cut a 20 foot wide chunk out of one of their roads during the flood, to let more water by… or it was going to wash out their dike and eat the town.

    I’ve been surveying in Parkersburg, where the big tornado hit, and it is quite bad there.

    Iowa just kind of got picked on this year by the weather, and we’ve still got a good chunk of thunderstorm season to go.

  172. 175 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 01:14

    Just a little tidbit from around the ‘hood. While on vacation and visiting an amusement park, please refrain from doing this. I feel sorry for him and his family.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/28/theme.park.fatality/index.html

  173. 176 Amy
    June 29, 2008 at 01:54

    Julie,

    I saw that article. As much as I grieve for the family, how long to you think it will take them to file a lawsuit against the park.

  174. 177 Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)
    June 29, 2008 at 01:57

    Hang in there Justin, Enjoy the jazz Dennis, and Don’t be so sure PortlandMike…

    More than half of the US population doesn’t “believe in evolution.” An absolute majority. We radical Darwinists aren’t the McCain “base” anyway. I haven’t heard of the guy you named, but the right wing HATES McCain–they think he’s a freaky hippie radical leftist. For real.

    Bush doesn’t believe in evolution either, of course, and is suspicious if not hostile to science in general. I guess that means he ggoes for the literal text of Creation, which wasn’t even intended to be taken literally, or he’s in some hazy netherworld inbetween, and hasn’t stopped to figure out what he believes. Not exactly a philosopher or a theologian. (Or a strategist, orator, statesman…. I could go on all night.) I doubt he stays up at night thinking about this stuff.

    Selena, I think it’s fine to teach your own kids religion. But demanding that it be taught in school in place of science, disguised as science, isn’t reasonable. I’m not anti-religion, but that way lies a return to the Dark Ages. It hasn’t been that long, and there’s no guarantee we won’t slide back down into ignorance. It’s happened before.

  175. 178 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 02:01

    Amy,

    I’ll watch the local news for that. In fact, you can too. Here is the link to the local newspaper: http://www.ajc.com/

    My guess will be some time next week. It’s too bad I don’t live in the same jurisdiction; I won’t get called for jury duty on that.

  176. 179 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 02:07

    Amy,

    Wait! I just remembered. Six flags is located in a little of the county that I live. The sliver is between two different counties. I rarely do down that way. It’s pretty far from home. I could serve on that jury.

  177. 180 Virginia Davis
    June 29, 2008 at 03:48

    Hello Mike and all:

    Happened on “An Act of Conscience” – a documentary on a tax resistance struggle centered on the IRS confiscation of a home in Massachusetts on property owned by the Valley Community Land Trust. (www.linktv.org) In the early 90’s. In the summer of 1993 close to 100 spent time in jail in defiance of a court injunction against protesting the occupation of the sold house on house land. By 1995 everything resolved. House sold back to the Land Trust; original dwellers in another house; new family in the disputed house. And the couple at the center still maintaining war tax resistance of payment of federal taxes.

    Community – organic farmers, teachers, librarians – reminds me of Quaker communities. Decided to go to early morning silent meeting tomorrow at Friends Center here in southeast Portland. I am not so much religious as spiritual. And group meditation is a practice I like.

    Documentary reminded me, too, of my intention to put my house and property in a land trust of some sort. I believe in stewardship, not profit, when it comes to land.

    Enjoyed the driving stories, and all the good food suggestions.

    Virginia in Oregon

  178. 181 Dennis
    June 29, 2008 at 04:38

    Thanks Amy….I have one finals–COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP with Professor
    Karen Harrison….

    It is a 4 days–Monday thru Thursday…..

    @ My earlier comments about the dark side on WHYS…i know everything is out in the open…

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  179. 182 Dennis
    June 29, 2008 at 04:44

    Went to the jazz fest…Remember Chaka Khan ::::
    http://WWW.CHAKAKHAN.COM/

    http://www.chakakhan.com/
    (HERE IS THE INFORMATION, THE SEARCH
    http://WWW.WSTM.COM/ON_WSTM/JAZZFEST.ASPX)

    http://WWW.WSTM.COM/NEWS/NEWS_STORY.ASPX?ID=152437

    ~Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  180. 183 Bob in Queensland
    June 29, 2008 at 04:50

    G’day all!

    I was interested in those two links about airlines, particularly the one about the two pilots who apparently fell asleep. As I’ve admitted in here before, I have a secret interest in aviation and regularly read a forum for professional pilots–that incident is on page 4 or 5 of the discussion in there.

    Pilot fatigue is a far bigger issue that the airlines or authorities like to admit. As the price of fuel goes up, the airlines are pushing the allowed hours of working to the limit–in fact, the aviation authorities in some countries are even loosening the rules about working hours and rest periods.

    Picture ths:

    A pilot and co-pilot get up at 3 AM (after trying to sleep but not doing too well because they went to bed 7PM to try and get their 8 hours. The drive to the airport and do a 10 hour flight. They are rostered to have 10 hours break before they take off again but, by the time they clear the airport and get to the hotel, 90 minutes of this is gone. They try to sleep, but with jet lag it’s the wrong time of day. They report back to the airport after 3 or 4 hours of fitful sleep and do the 10 hour flight home.

    Now, once they’ve taken off and got to cruising altitude, the flight deck is a pretty calm place. Although landings and take-offs (contrary to public perception) take a lot of skill, the cruise is mainly handled by the autopilot. The flight deck is warm, the chairs comfortable–and there’s a constant “hiss” of wind a bit like the white noise generators you can buy to help you sleep.

    Is it any wonder the crews occasionally fall asleep? There ARE meant to be checks–from the cabin crew and also radio calls but it doesn’t take much of a systemic failure for these to be missed.

    Add onto this a cultural difference where Asian pilots have a reputation for not liking any implied criticism from the co-pilot and you can see how this could happen.

    All this can only get worse as planes become even more automated and airlines look for cost savings to offset fuel prices. I’m not a scared flyer (goodness knows I’ve spent enough time on planes) but it IS something to think about.

    …and the next time you hear that pilots have easy short working hours, think about how those hours are put together.

  181. June 29, 2008 at 06:24

    topics from yesteryear:

    “Uhhg or Buggah buggah”

    “Hunters: what is the right amount of your kill to give for sex?”

    Is walking upright a sign of intelligence?

    Religious leader of Jewish sect, Jesus Christ, sentenced to death for narcissism. Murdering thief Barabbas released instead.

    Judas pardoned by Pontius Pilate for leaking name of God’s son.

    Mozart, a flash in the pan or legitimate musician?

    Native Americans say they will not rest until colonist gets off their land.

    England’s soldiers take 3 casualties as they burn the village and children of American insurgent forces lead by rebel leader George Washington.

    U.N. stands by while the south and north Americans states spiral into civil war.

    Fantasy Headlines:

    For third straight year chess has consumed more of American leisure time then watching sports or reality TV. (Labron James forced to “play” for a mere 1 million dollars.)

    Valerie Plame Elected first female president.

    Michael Vic forced to fight in cage match to death while dogs look on.

    Exxon and Shell both apply for bankruptcy protection.

    Last I have tried to post this, but somebody keeps deleting it. It is a satirical article taken from the conversations derived from the apparent beliefs people right here on WHYS.

    Mother Natured Charged With Discrimination

    There is nothing about posting this that violates any of the rules. Please explain?

  182. 185 Bob in Queensland
    June 29, 2008 at 06:36

    Okay, here’s one for the economists amongst us. Within the past couple of hours I’ve heard news stories worrying that the present high prices for fuel are sending inflation up and making interest rate increases inevitable.

    However, I’ve also heard a report saying that the high price is fuel (coupled with other factors like the “credit crunch”) is driving us into recession.

    So, economists, how do we square this circle? For that matter, Is being an economist an exact science or just a lot of mumbo jumbo? Can action by central banks and governments actually control anything or is all just a big cycle that runs out of anyone’s control?

  183. 186 Roberto
    June 29, 2008 at 06:44

    Selena, I think it’s fine to teach your own kids religion. But demanding that it be taught in school in place of science, disguised as science, isn’t reasonable.
    —————————————————————————————–

    ——- Public schools in the US have dropped the ball concerning religion.

    It was the Christian Church that educated and provided the financial support for what was the start of modern science even if it didn’t always appreciate the results in the day.

    It was also the Christian Church that was the model for the founding of the US public school system. Even today private religious schools can be found among the most elite educational systems.

    Since religion has played one of the most crucial roles if not the most crucial in the development of civilization as we know it today, there really should be a significant part of world history set aside for discussion of the develpment of religion. I recall it only being mentioned in passing.

    Many religious peoples don’t get the background on other religious beliefs which causes many misunderstandings, and of course you have the atheist factor which should be part of the religious set aside.

    Case in point:

    Do you really want a significant role of the past 8 yrs of world history ignored when the GDub administration role is being taught in schools?

    Should we ignore the religious differences in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?

    I mean, religion preceded Darwin by thousands of years. It’s time to buck up to the reality on the ground and not just philosophy out of some ivory tower.

  184. 187 Nelson
    June 29, 2008 at 06:53

    good morning guys,

    I have a suggestion, i think we should have separate blank pages for each day of the week end. scrolling thro 200 + comments causes the following
    1. makes some of us dizzy
    2. very easy to lose track of the trend of the conversation
    3. you can fill in the blanks

    these are interesting stories i came across this morning
    Guantanamo’s days numbered, tough choices ahead

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080628/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/guantanamo_the_future

    **********************************************************
    Manure Thief Falls in to dung, Flees, naked

    http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSN2742741320080627

    enjoy reading 🙂

  185. 188 Tino
    June 29, 2008 at 07:02

    Roberto,

    Religion should most definitely be taught in history class. It has zero business being involved in science topics. Intelligent design is not science by definition, as something scientific must be able to be proven/disproven by experiment. Intelligent design presupposes the existence of something that cannot be verified by experiment. Evolution, on the other hand, has been proven multiple times in multiple experiments. The evidence for evolution is incredible. The evidence for intelligent design is not only absent, but one cannot even design an experiment to prove it!

  186. 190 portlandmike
    June 29, 2008 at 07:10

    @ Roberto,

    I’ve read your post a half dozen times, but I still don’t understand what you are saying. Do you believe that since you believe that “the Christian Church educated and provided the financial support for what was the start of modern science,” that children across America should be taught Creationism and/or “intelligent design” in public school?

  187. 191 Pangolin- California
    June 29, 2008 at 07:34

    Most unlikely headline:

    Jan 21st, 2009
    “Homeless protest that Christians offering them free room and board are overly persistant and harrasing. Demand to be left alone to sleep in doorways.”

  188. 192 Nelson
    June 29, 2008 at 07:35

    @ tino

    thats the beauty of democracy at work,

    even to settle squabbles between kids

    we live in a strange world

  189. 193 Katharina in Ghent
    June 29, 2008 at 08:07

    Hi Nelson,

    It has already been suggested a couple of times to split up the Blank Page, according to topics that have been raised, but in the end it never happened… my guess is that because then it becomes too split up and nobody can follow 5+ different threads. The way I see it it’s simple: it’s like an ongoing conversation among friends, and when you leave the room for a toilet break (or longer), then you have to catch up. To me it’s fun to see how the conversation evolves differently every weekend. Usually I have a pretty good guess where approximately I left the computer and then read on from there.

    What flower are you going to put up?

  190. 194 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 08:23

    @Bob,

    I think what you are going to wind up with is a debate between Keynesian economists and Friedman economists.

  191. 195 Bob in Queensland
    June 29, 2008 at 08:57

    LOL @ Julie P

    I sometimes think that a debate between two economists would be a battle of wits between two unarmed men (and let’s not get onto the right to bear arms again!).

    Seriously, I really do start to wonder if there’s really any “science” to economics. As with anything based on statistics it always seems you can prove anything you want to.

    @ Nelson

    I meant to say earlier that you should be able to put up your own choice of picture (moderator or not). Just join wordpress.com and when you’re logged in go to My Account and find the section to upload your own picture. One thing I don’t know if others have mentioned, it can take a while (in my case almost 24 hours) before the picture actually appears on your posts…and you have to be logged into WordPress when posting.

  192. June 29, 2008 at 09:43

    If religion is to be taught at schools, it should avoid embarrassing itself by intruding into the scientific disciplines.

    The basis of religious theory, practice and experience is necessarily irrational because of the paradoxical and transcendent elements which are the keynotes of religious experience.

    Irrational is, however, not the same as insane. Much of what we ordinarily take for granted as ‘proven knowledge’ is fundamentally irrational on close philosophical inspection.

    The philosophical basis beneath the starting point for the scientific method is also irrational, i.e., beyond logical-rational investigation.

    The epistemological difference between science and religion is a radical difference in methodology. The scientific method works for science; the religious method works for religion, and the twain have not yet met, and may never meet.

    But neither one of the two can replace other, or render it invalid.

    Religion in education is fine, and so is science. Just don’t mix apples and pears.

    See Dawkin’s ridiculous attempts to discredit religion by the scientific method, and know that it cannot be done. There other methods for falsifying invalid or bad religion. But these have nothing to do with the scientific method.

  193. 197 Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)
    June 29, 2008 at 11:33

    @Julie~~

    Battling economists…. Perish the thought. Fate worse than death. Better to slit our wrists and make a painless escape. But I don’t think they’re necessarily opposed. Try the following on for size if you like. .Either I’ve accomplished a sensible synthesis, or I should be out getting drunk like normal people on Saturday night…

  194. 198 steve
    June 29, 2008 at 11:48

    Does having kids make you happy?

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/143792

  195. 199 steve
    June 29, 2008 at 11:51

    @ Tino

    That article was hilarious! I suppose if you ask a classmate out and he/she rejects you, you can sue in Sweden? It is discrimination if someone would prefer to date someone other than you!

  196. 200 Jonathan (snarky San Francisco)
    June 29, 2008 at 11:52

    @Bob in Q. ~~

    There isn’t really the contradiction you perceive in the inflation/recession scenario.But put on your bug spray and follow me if you’re up for a jungle tour….

    Inflation and recession aren’t opposites. They both graced the US and much of the world for most of the 1970s, coincidentally also a time of suddenly and ruinously high oil prices, corrupt and incompetent presidents, and pointless war. The combination is called “stagflation,” an ugly nickname for an ugly situation. (Unemployment in the US has been freakishly low for years, and will likely stay low by historical standards even in recession, which is good news. Much higher in the rest of the West though.)

    RECESSION: High oil price sucks away money, leaving us poorer–w have less money to invest, spend, create jobs, increase wealth, the usual. If it goes on long enough, it causes recession, that is, a period of time when the economy doesn’t grow, or grows less fast than we’d like and are accustomed to.

    INFLATION: To a consumer, this means rising prices. When oil price rises by 500%, prices for everything that’s transported (i.e., everything) will rise.

    To an economist, “inflation” means something a bit more complicated (of course): money is reduced in value. Central banks try to keep the money supply growing at the same rate as the economy itself grows. If it grows faster, we get inflation. Slower, and we get a deflationary depression. This last was what made the Depression of the 1930s “Great”– the brand new US Federal Reserve bank mistakenly reduced the money supply when it should have increased it. That won’t happen again, which is how we can have inflation and recession at the same time. It’s so much better than DEFLATION. (Technical aside: High interest rates=less money; low rates=more money.)

    The US has had a good ride for a long time, borrowing hundreds of billions from the world, and paying in “cheaper” dollars that buy less gold, oil, or Euros. This currency shrinkage is called inflation, confusingly. By any name, it understandably irritates our trading partners.

    Does this make any sense? It’s complicated and worse yet it’s often counterintuitive. Yes, it’s “mumbo jumbo” like any science, almost incomprehensible to mere mortals. Because it affects everyone (unlike, say, physics), public ignorance has consequences. An electorate doesn’t shut down physics labs, because nobody much cares, but as recent discussion of oil prices shows, everyone has a strong opinion no matter how little they know. They end up with things like wage and price controls, trade restrictions, credit controls, gov’t seizure of industries, rationing, etc., all deeply destructive. Economists groan, knowing that things will get worse, and that they will be blamed.

    Yes, it’s a science, no, it’s never as “exact” as it should be, but the basic principles are by now understood by those who care to learn them. (Unfortunately, that’s a small minority, and we’re governed by the will of the majority, pretty much.) The truly terrible mistakes like socialism and tarriffs have finally been mostly corrected, and there’s no longer serious argument about the big-picture stuff. Yes, yes, yes, central banks and governments have a LOT of control.

  197. 201 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 29, 2008 at 12:15

    @Shirley,

    You’re sorry to hear I’m not a bottom? That’s so funny! (Why, were you looking for one?) I’m still smiling. Anyway, here’s my “submission.”

    This site converts media formats without your needing to d/l a player or a converter. You should be able to feed it the url of the file, instruct it to convert from .rm to .wma, and play the resulting file with windows media player.

    http://www.zamzar.com

    Good luck Shirley. I’m off to bed now. The first birds are chirping already; there’s one that sounds like he’s saying, “We’re here, we’re here!” I just love spring. Ready for sunshine any day now…

  198. 202 Katharina in Ghent
    June 29, 2008 at 12:42

    @ Steve:

    Yes, I’m glad that I did the step and got a child. Of course, your life is sooooo much easier without one, because your time belongs to you and only to you and you decide how you want to spend it, there’s much less responsibility to be dealt with and you safe a whole lot of money. BUT: you miss out on a lot of fun, too, and you learn a lot of things that you never would have learned without a child…

    … which brings me to a question that popped into my head just about 15 minutes ago when I tried to put a freakin’ transformer together that supposedly a five-year-old can build (certainly not MY five-year-old): To the moms and dads out there, do you trust the age-recommendations on toys, and I’m not talking movies or playstation games, but real toys? I think Ros mentioned on the show once that he had a small child, so maybe this topic might even make it on the airwaves?

  199. 204 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 13:13

    @Bob & Jonathon,

    We’re all in luck, but Keynes and Friedman are dead. I was afraid that when I woke this morning I would find a multitude of postings from followers of those economists. I had a professor in college who says he had learned economics from Friedman, but taught Keynesian economics. He would sometimes foam at the mouth at some of Keynes theories. He only taught that particular school of thought because the school required him to. I think it was because Keynesian was the accepted theory of economics. In any case, we’re in luck no Ph.D.s turned up and started swinging at each other.

    Good to have this place around when I wake up in the middle of the night.

  200. 205 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 14:09

    @Steve

    You are a Prince, are you? 🙂

  201. 206 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 14:11

    @ Donovan

    Eloquently said, in my opinion. 🙂

  202. 207 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 14:45

    Missed the economics thread and I am no economist but…

    Is it possible to believe still that free trade creates jobs? McCain was going on and on about that, yesterday.

    Since free trade, jobs that used to be the mainstay of the middle class have gone to countries where labor cost are next to nothing.

    We were told… never mind… technology and service jobs will pick up the slack.

    No one told us that technology jobs, too, were going to be farmed out and service jobs? Well, service jobs are the lowest paid jobs around.

    Under the rubric of free trade we have lost a way of life and no one benefits but the few at the top, with no faces.

    We can’t even storm the Bastille.

    Does anyone here still believe in free trade?

  203. 208 Justin from Iowa
    June 29, 2008 at 14:59

    expanding on the semi-serious topic I mentioend earlier (I think either no one cared or it got lost in all the “most unlikely new’s stories”) Arnold Schwarzenegger is supposed to be on… meet the press? One of the Public Television shows this morning. The idea that he would make a good running mate for Obama has been bandied about lately. Its an interesting Idea, I thought. The independent in me would actually be really happy with an Obama/Schwarzenneger ticket.

  204. 209 steve
    June 29, 2008 at 15:03

    @ selena

    No, I’m no prince. I’m a regular guy, but I also don’t have civil judgements against me nor a criminal record and I’m not trying to get someone to pay off my mortgage for me.

  205. 210 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 15:11

    @Steve

    There is a story there but not one than can be determined by looking at cold documents.

    I would like to see you post a negative story about a man just to be fair.

    Come on now… pretty please. 😉

  206. 211 steve
    June 29, 2008 at 15:15

    @ selena

    Are you suggesting there is someone else in that county were her exact name? Do you realize that those debts she owes are probably liens on her house, and whomever buys it is going to have to assume it, since she obviously wants to remain there? don’t you think that’s her purpose? She’s a grifter! Why I bring this up is that it’s so obvious, yet she sought out media attention for it! She’d be more successful had she not gone to the media.

  207. 212 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 15:16

    @Nick

    For me, it isn’t a question of whether global warming exists. I believe it is happening.

    It is the cause of global warming that is in question.

    I don’t think it is crazy to conclude that the earth has always been undergoing climate changes. Humans may be assuming more responsibility than they need to assume.

    I think it is important that we get our heads around the fact that we are not God.

  208. 213 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 15:20

    @Steve

    I am not suggesting anything. You are doing the suggesting. 🙂

    Words on paper are quite unable to tell a true story. There is a living, breathing person behind the words. And I, for one, would never make up my mind about a person from words on paper.

    That is all I am saying, dear Steve.

    P.S. Any person willing to assume any debts will have no one to blame but themselves.

  209. 214 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 15:26

    Justin,

    I didn’t bother to read the article about VP dream tickets, nor at the time am I even giving anything I hear about it any real thought. It’s all speculation and a bit early, not that I think either candidate would show their hand this early and this far from either parties convention.

    Schwarzenegger’s name keeps getting trotted out. For a while people wanted him to run for president too. Neither scenario is going to happen, unless the Constitution is suddenly rewritten, or an Amendment is suddenly ratified allowing people who are not born a US citizen to run for the highest seats in the land.

    Oh, well, these are dream tickets, maybe this this subject should follow the fantasy headlines thread.

  210. 215 1430a
    June 29, 2008 at 15:40

    hey mike,its abhinav here.well i would like you to talk more about the problems facing ASIA.THe problems relating politics,environmental disasters and terrorism in ASIA.

    THANK YOU

  211. 216 steve
    June 29, 2008 at 15:43

    I do think that the constitution should be amended to allow people who were not born in the US to become citizens. This is a nation of immigrants after all. If people don’t want someone who wasn’t US born to be President, they just don’t vote for that person. But they should at least be able to be President if they win.

  212. 217 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 16:15

    @Steve

    It is surprising how that clause got into the US Constitution in the first place.

  213. 218 Tino
    June 29, 2008 at 16:21

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article4228331.ece

    Why do they keep doing this? Britain has become suicidal, I am convinced. They do not stand up for their culture, their church, nothing. Might as well just roll over and die already.

  214. 219 steve
    June 29, 2008 at 16:28

    @ Selena

    I’m not positive, but I can take a guess. For fear of being ruled by someone overseas again. Look at Federalist Paper #69

    http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/fedindex.htm

  215. 220 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 16:36

    @Tino

    Tough one!

    If they have evidence, why hasn’t he been charged?

    I am not sure I like rounding up people and keeping them locked up without charges for seven years.

    They can do that to anyone… me, you…

    Better they have to prove what they are saying, in my view.

  216. 221 Amy
    June 29, 2008 at 16:45

    @ 1430a

    You say you would like to talk about issues regarding Asia. Please, suggest a specific topic and I am sure there would be a discussion about it. Is there one thing that you are passionate about? You brought up several ideas. Run with one of them…..that is what this blog is about! I look forward to your next post.

    Amy

  217. 222 steve
    June 29, 2008 at 16:47

    Interesting story that apparently was swept under the carpet, a woman as murdered for not wearing islamic dress in canada. A family member has been charged with an honor killing.

    http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_17567.aspx

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,373223,00.html

  218. 224 Amy
    June 29, 2008 at 17:07

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/world/middleeast/29marriage.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    The actions of the judge in the story make me hopeful that this practice may be in it’s decline.

  219. 225 1430a
    June 29, 2008 at 17:10

    @AMY
    hey there,thanks for the advice:).
    Well where do i start ???:
    political crisises in:
    Bangladesh
    Nepal
    Environmental crisis in:
    China
    Myanmar(remember!)
    Bangladesh(the cyclone sidr which destroyed the lives of millions!)
    Terrorism in:
    Sri Lanka
    India
    Pakistan…….never ending.
    Well discussing atleast one of these topics would help solve some problems i assume?

    Abhinav

  220. 226 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 17:19

    OK, now that I’ve some breakfast and have the blood sugar a little under control about the Constitution…

    Yes, our Founding Fathers had a fear of us being ruled from abroad, Federalist #69 helps to support that fear. I also recall Jefferson pointed to the Roman Empire having emperors who came from outside the empire late in its history, which may be contributing factor. I did look in the Notes on Virginia, but found no supporting documentation. Of course that doesn’t mean it isn’t there I just can’t find it right this second. I do have other papers on Jeffersonian thought. Jefferson and our Founding Fathers also had issues with age given the young ages of some kings, thus the age requirement. The way kings ruled with creating, and changing laws on a whim is another reason why it takes so long change laws, or the Constitution. I believe they were trying to prevent rash judgment.

  221. 227 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 17:20

    @Amy

    Pedophelia and rape by any other name is still pedophelia and rape.

    I am not so sure it will ever decline. The millions of Internet sites catering to the practice suggest it is widespread and worldwide.

  222. 228 Roberto
    June 29, 2008 at 17:57

    The independent in me would actually be really happy with an Obama/Schwarzenneger ticket.
    ———————————————————————————————-

    ——- Don’t understand why this is being discussed unless you have breaking news the US Constitution is fixing to be amended.

    I would’ve been happier with the Presidents of France, Russia, or Venzuela the past 16 yrs than the poor fare I was served up.

    As far as Steve’s comments about the Constitution needed amendment to allow non American born to become citizens: Uh, no, not needed. Foreign citizens can already become US citizens and it’s been happening the entire history of the country every year.

  223. 229 Tino
    June 29, 2008 at 18:03

    Roberto,

    At risk of putting words in his mouth, I think he meant President, not citizens – since that was the topic of discussion.

    McCain/Schwarzenneger
    McCain/Lieberman

    Would make me happy. Independent here as well, but I cannot vote for Obama – too far left for me.

  224. 230 Eugene
    June 29, 2008 at 18:03

    @ selena, on free trade
    I am one of those who still beleive in free trade, and understandably it makes a lot of people angry, as you say “we are losing a way of life” and it is inevitable that some are angry about free trade. I am somewhat a virulent believer in the free market, and think that for time immemorial the market has provided a solution and will continue to do so and free trade is part of that system. In my veiw free trade (as i beleive free trade does not exist today) will be beneficial.
    Free trade is based on something called comparitive advantage, where in a nutshell if i can make something more efficiently than you and you make something else more efficiently than i do, why should i make something ineffecienly when i can buy it from you (or in by-gone ages exchange it for something i make that you want).
    However, free trade and the market adjustments it would bring would be painfull jobs would be lost and industries would die and market solutions would take time to take effect (britain being a great example of this). as we are seeing now. I think you argument that we are loosing a way of life, free trade has brough these adjustments around time and time again, the industrial revolution brought about massive changes in the world and one could argue a way of life was lost. One of the bedrocks upon which the united states was built was trade and free trade at that.
    With all the pain that free trade would bring i beleive it would be better for the world economy in that it would be easier to do business anywhere, goods would become cheaper due to more competition (always a plus for us consumers), it would help put some of the economic wrong of this world right (such as african agricultural exports) and the free flow of ideas, goods and services would help not only technological advance but would bring the world closer together and make it less confrontational as we all begin to depend more upon eachother. Thats why i beleive in free trade, i would also like to know why so many beleive in pretectionism?

  225. 231 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 18:05

    @1430a

    You will have to choose… 🙂

    But I will ask a question.

    Why has Myanmar dropped off the radar?

  226. 232 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 18:12

    @Roberto,

    The Constitution would need an Amendment passed for Schwarzenegger to run on a Presidential ticket. Foreign citizens can become naturalized US citizens, but they cannot become president. The VP could very well become president because of their position as second in command. Steve didn’t write the Constitution, nor did I, don’t shoot the messenger.

  227. 233 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 18:28

    One last thing before I dash out. I remember at some point very early on in the primary season where some people felt that McCain was ineligible to run for office because he was not born on US soil. He was born in Panama Canal Zone to an American military family, and as child of the military, lived in other places in the Pacific. McCain is qualified, but it just goes it just shows pedigree matters when it comes to being POTUS. (See 14 year rule on this one.)

  228. 234 Amy
    June 29, 2008 at 18:52

    @ Selena,

    “Pedophelia and rape by any other name is still pedophelia and rape.” I totally agree with you on that one. I am just encouraged by the judges actions. The fact that he took the girl in and didn’t send her back to her husband and granted her the divorce gives me hope.

  229. 235 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 19:06

    @Amy

    Oh yes, you are right on that. The Judge should be commended.

  230. 236 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 19:12

    @ Eugene

    What you are saying sounds good. But in the free trade that we have seen it has not worked out that way.

    There is always manipulation… like paying farmers not to farm and fishers not to fish.

    In my part of the world that used to be self sufficient, we have lost our ability to exist without transport trucks bringing food from half way across the globe.

    Something seems wrong with this picture.

  231. June 29, 2008 at 19:18

    Selena, re: religion etc.

    It’s always been my contention that the religious dimension is inseparable from a truly humanist approach to life. What people tend to get confused about, is why there are so many religions, all claiming to have the final say on truth; and this is, I think, a valid criticism. Still, it misses the essential point about religion, which is that religion provides answers to profound questions which all human beings must sooner or later ask.

    The answers are contained in the central religious ‘myth’ (or, mythos, to distinguish it from mere mythology), and the mythos of all valid religions is constant. The sorts of questions to be answered are: how can I escape from a sense of constricting selfhood that often makes me and others unhappy? How am I to penetrate to the reality beyond the mere appearances of phenomena, and what is their meaning? And so forth. Religion provides tools for transcending the ordinary narrow experience of selfhood and selfishness, and, in doing so, to find wisdom-compassion as a single dynamic by which life can be enjoyed and shared.

    All truly religious people of any religion whatsoever always have these qualities in common: wisdom, compassion, and an ineffable authority. Religious people ought not to be wimps, nor fools.

    Science cannot provide these qualities in their transcendent form. The scientific method is extremely limited. It cannot, for instance, tell us what makes valid art, or how that art is to be appreciated and understood. Nor can it tell us anything about intuition. Nor can it explain the development of language as an expressive tool. etc.

    Those who rage at religion in the world will find, I believe, that a world without religion would provide a stark, unbeautiful environment, both inside and outside the person.

    But religionists need to do their bit too. For one thing, they really need to outgrow religious literalism and intolerance. The biggest problems facing religion come from within religion itself; ignorance, fundamentalism, absolutism, anti-intellectualism etc. These popular distortions need to be removed before a new respect for religion can enter the world, including the scientific world.

  232. 238 nelsoni
    June 29, 2008 at 19:29

    hi guys.

    @ selena good question, why dont we hear abouy burma any more

  233. 239 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 19:32

    @Donovan

    Well said again! Would that I had the words!

    Yesterday I watched a documentary about Gary Ridgway, the Green River serial killer. For those who don’t know, he was one of the most prolific killers in American history.

    At his sentencing hearing, the families of the victims were able to read statements. As Ridgway watched without a trace of emotion, the families said how much they despised him and wished, for him, a torture worse than hell.

    Then one man, Robert Rule, who lost his daughter when she was 16 said, “I forgive you,” Ridgway broke down and cried.

    A lost soul touch by the compassion of one man is a profound thing to watch.

    http://www.kirotv.com/greenrivermurders/2712054/detail.html

  234. June 29, 2008 at 19:32

    Re: Zimbabwe.

    My northern neighbour, Uncle Bob Mugabe, has announced that he has won the election re-run. To add to this surprise, we find also that the ballots were counted in record time. Whatever else has stayed the same in Zimbabwe, vote-counting has found a new competence.

    The questions I find myself asking about Uncle Bob are: WHY? HOW? ON WHAT MENTAL BASIS? FROM WHAT SOCIO-POLITICAL MINDSET?

    If I set aside my Western European cultural baggage, I am always faced, down here in Africa, with an abyss of unanswered questions. It is really like living on another planet, where all the culturally evolved securities and insights I have garnered just fall away, leaving me gasping for air.

    The final answer about Zimbabwe and Mugabe’s behaviour is not that he is an evil tyrant, thief and fool. That isn’t the point at all. The point is simply this: that is the way it’s done down here, and that’s that.

  235. 241 steve
    June 29, 2008 at 19:34

    OMG, I really should be outside doing stuff, but I’m watching Patriot Games now, and they just had a commercial for the Honda Pilot, and the driver in the commercial says “yeah, it gets 23 mpg” as in that’s supposed to be impressive? The announcer says, “the suprisingly fuel efficient Honda Pilot, gets 23 mpg on the highways”. They are boasting about 23 mpg???

  236. 242 Virginia Davis
    June 29, 2008 at 19:37

    For those who consider Obama the candidate, on his short list, according to Steve Ralls, in an article entitled “A VP Choice We Can All Believe In,” dated June 20, 2008 in is former Army General Claudia Kennedy. As I said before, “very impressive.” NB: I may be crazy but I’m not stupid. Virginia in Oregon

  237. 243 Luz María from Mexico
    June 29, 2008 at 19:41

    @Steve

    About your question: Does having kids make you happy?

    My answer is yes, but ONLY if you REALLY wanted to have them. Having kids is a lot of fun and a rewarding experience, but it is also a lot of work and responsibility. Usually, parents have to give up a lot of things (time for ourselves, comodities, a clean house all the time, etc.) not to mention not having control of our lives all the time (if your kid gets sick, you have to stop everything and take care of him/her).

    But the best memories in my life have been with my kids, like watching their first steps or going with them for the first time to the zoo/park/beach/movies/etc. You get to be child again and see everything through the eyes of your children. I wouldn´t trade that for anything in the world.

    I have worked with children for years now. It is very sad to know children that are unwanted and unloved by their parents. You can see that they suffer a lot. If you don´t want them, don´t have them.

    @Katharina
    About your question on toys…

    I don´t usually trust the age recomendations on toys, because one time my older daughter almost choke with a part of a toy which was labeled as built for her age. So, after that, I use common sense and check the toy before they play with them.

    I have to go, because my older daughter wants the computer to play online games 😉

  238. 244 Virginia Davis
    June 29, 2008 at 19:42

    @Donovan Robert: good statement regarding the role of religion. Virginia in Oregon

  239. 245 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 19:52

    @Virginia

    I wouldn’t bet that he will take a woman.

    I don’t think the country is ready for a woman. But it is a good idea. 🙂

  240. 246 nelsoni
    June 29, 2008 at 19:53

    hi fellow WHYS bloggers?

    i have being singing about this since yesterday,

    is it impossible for us to have separate blank pages for each day of the weekend?

    scrolling down thro 200 plus comments is not funny,

    for some who visits here for the first time will have a hard time

    knowing exactly where to start from

    besides scrolling down makes a few us dizzy

    the guys in charge of this blog should do something about this pls

  241. 247 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 19:53

    @ Steve

    Why should you be outdoors doing stuff? 🙂

  242. 248 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 20:11

    @Luz Maria

    When I held my first child in my arms, I knew such an overpowering unmatched emotion.

    Looking after my children was never a chore and they never had baby sitters outside the family.

    But now when my children say they don’t want to bring children into this world I understand completely.

    I would cherish grandchildren but unless they change their minds, I will never be a Grandma. I am happy with their choices.

  243. 249 nelsoni
    June 29, 2008 at 20:20

    Depending on which time zone you are located in,

    Monday is fast approaching

    still seems we dont have topics for tommorow’s show

    can we set the ball rolling?

  244. 250 Amy
    June 29, 2008 at 20:21

    Selena,

    If your children do decide not to have kids of their own and the desire to be a grandparent still tugs at you, there are plenty of places (at least here in the States) where you can act in that role. Mentoring programs, volunteering in schools, etc. would be somewhere to look. However, if you want to enjoy your “golden years” and do the things you couldn’t because of your kids, go for it. You have earned it.

  245. 251 portlandmike
    June 29, 2008 at 20:24

    @ Selena and nelsoni,

    I think that we don’t here from Burma anymore is because it has become like Cambodia under Pol Pot… it is a total disaster.

    Just yesterday there was a piece on the BBC’s website that a group that sets up telecommunications for disaster areas had been thrown out of Burma.

    But I too wonder why the world seems to have stopped looking at or thinking about Burma.

  246. 252 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 20:33

    @Amy

    Yes there are many things one can do. I have always been a volunteer and volunteering will remain in my blood, for sure.

    My children have never restricted me because I have never really desired anything. If an opportunity presents itself and I can do it I will but I don’t plan much. Or, I suppose I plan loosely enough that I can change my mind and not be bothered much.

    My life has always been rewarding but perhaps others would think it dull.

    🙂

  247. 253 nelsoni
    June 29, 2008 at 20:36

    Student killed in street stabbing

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7479850.stm

    where else? london!!

    i suggest the teenagers should start wearing chain amours just like the british knights of old just maybe we will have less deaths,

    what are the authorities doing about this

    london is fast becoming “Knife crime capital of europe”

    😥

  248. 254 Shirley
    June 29, 2008 at 20:57

    Selena:
    I don’t. It’s not fair trade, in practise.

    Would it be that difficult to learn where the corporate offices of steel corporations and car manufacturers are to stage protests ourside the buildings?

    Constitution:
    I used to think of the Constitution as a document ensuring freedom and equality. I’ve been reading Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of America” these days, whough, and it has opened my eyes to how our early political leaders crafted laws to guarantee their elite position in society by setting up systems to protect their wealth and to discriminate against anyone who was not male, white, land-owning, or the children of such. They also worked to pit various members of the non-elite against each other: Native American against black, poor white against Native Americans, and poor white against black. They didn’t even fight all that much during the Revolutionary War; they used conscription to force the poor to do it for them. They also used lies and trickery to convince poor people to fight in the war, then defaulted on their promises. Really, it all sounds very familiar to me. In any case, I tihnk that the reason that there is a clause in the Constitution requiring the any President be born a U.S. citizen is so that no black could ever become President.

  249. 255 Shirley
    June 29, 2008 at 21:09

    Childr Rape Masquerading as Religiously Accepted Marriage
    Those foul creatures are nothing more than rapists. In addition to the extreme youth of these girls, they did not consent to their “marriages.” Islamic law provides for the execution of those thugs.

  250. 256 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 21:11

    @Shirley

    I don’t think the corporate offices house the culprits. The culprits are the ones who stay out of the way and we never know them.

    Remember the subprime mortgage debacle? No one knew anything about the scheme only the few who hatched it.

    The people in charge of the banks didn’t have a clue. I remember some big names saying the way the scheme worked was new to them.

    And yes, your bit on the Constitution says it all.

    The question is, how can that be countered?

  251. 257 Katharina in Ghent
    June 29, 2008 at 21:17

    Hey Nelson,

    You managed to get your picture up! “I love whys” – cool man! (Kudos also to portlandmike and selena…)

    @ free trade:

    It’s all nice philosophy, but may I ask how it can be that the US, the big propagator for free trade, hands out all these subsidies, especially to the big farms, so that African farmers don’t stand a chance in hell to ever be competitive? (Not to mention what happened to Canadian soft wood lumber.)

    BTW Nelson: If I remember correctly, only once did a topic from the Blank Page make it on air, and that was the virginity debate… now THERE were a lot of bad emotions going around!

  252. 258 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 21:21

    @ Kathi

    Goodness, you must have perfect vision! 🙂

  253. 259 Katharina in Ghent
    June 29, 2008 at 21:21

    Hey moderators out there!

    May I just remind you to check the spam once in a while? There were again 45(!) comments in the spam, two of them from Nelson (I deleted one, they were practically the same). It’s amazing how much crap gets flushed in through the internet…

  254. 260 Venessa
    June 29, 2008 at 21:28

    @ Selena

    I often wonder if there is something wrong with me. I have never had any desire to have any children since I can remember, never changed a diaper and in no way want to hold little babies. Most of my friends have had children and the very thought of getting pregnant distresses me. I refuse to touch a pregnant belly; if there is movement I nearly pass out. Everyone has been telling me for years I will change my mind but there hasn’t been any yearning yet.

    Don’t get me wrong though, I like kids. I volunteer helping children that have been removed from their homes by protective services. My nephew and niece crack me up and I have spent plenty of time watching another one of my friend’s children. They can be a lot of fun but the maternal instinct to have one of my own is still not there (much to the dismay of my in-laws). There is no doubt in my mind that parents couldn’t imagine their life any other way and most find it rewarding. Still, I’m not sure that I am missing out on anything by not having a child.

  255. 261 Katharina in Ghent
    June 29, 2008 at 21:46

    @ Venessa

    I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with you, I’ve met several people who wouldn’t ever want to have children. There are also plenty of people who would not trade their children for anything in the world. The tragedy begins when you have a couple where one partner wants a child and the other doesn’t… Friends of mine are just in the process of splitting up for exactly that reason. He already has a 20 year old son (“accident” when he was 18 ) and is not interested in another one (“been there, done that), and she is dying to have a child, and when you see her playing with one you know that you have the perfect mother in front of you. It’s simply a shame.

    Well, that’s it for me for tonight, I have to check whether the dustmites in my pillow are all still there 🙂

  256. 262 Venessa
    June 29, 2008 at 21:54

    @ Katharina

    That is the very reason I did not marry my last partner. He wanted children but decided he would be okay with out them after a very heated discussion on the topic. Given his strong family background I suspected it would come back to haunt me. Now I’m with someone who is happy either way although it bothers me that he is not as willing to adopt. There are plenty of kids out there that need love and I don’t have to have a child of my own to provide it.

  257. 263 selena
    June 29, 2008 at 22:12

    @Vanessa

    There is nothing wrong with you!

    There is something wrong with a society that expects us all to conform.

    In my opinion, there is far too much interference in other people’s lives.

  258. 264 Tino
    June 29, 2008 at 22:27

    “It cannot, for instance, tell us what makes valid art, or how that art is to be appreciated and understood.”

    I think I disagree. Science provided the answer to what do people consider beautiful in others and other such previously ‘subjective’ ideas. In addition, religion also provides no answer in this department. I think science can answer the vast majority of questions given time and inclination of someone to work at it. What I mean is that I believe science has the ability to come up with criteria for ‘good’ art (for the majority of the population). Though I may be biased as I think most art is a load of crap. Mythbusters says it best when Adam always cracks his “This symbolizes man’s inhumanity for fellow man” for various things. Art has become a bunch of made up nonsense. To each his own, however.

    I do, however, agree it cannot tell you how to understand or appreciate it, but neither can religion. It is a human perspective that is required – nothing divine. Science CAN most definitely find out which areas of the brain are involved in said understanding/appreciation which is a lot better than religion.

  259. 265 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 29, 2008 at 22:57

    Katharina, Selena, et alia,

    Subsidies, protection, tarriffs etc. are of course bad.That’s the point. Those are NOT free trade, they are barriers to trade, installed after bitter complaint by businesses afraid they can’t compete in a free world. If they have enough political influence, they can get special changes in the rules just for them.

    If they can’t compete in a free world, they should be doing something else. Everyone gets a chance if trade is truly free. You point to subsidies and say, see, free trade doesn’t work. Those are exceptions, which free trade would eliminate. If you don’t like them, you’re right. You want free trade, and you’re right to do so.

    Some service jobs pay a little, some pay a lot. Most pay much more than manufacturing jobs, to say nothing of safety and comfort. They require more education than factory jobs, or at least more intelligence, but most people have more intelligence than they ever use at a factory job. They can better their lives by using it. No economy that has progressed from agriculture to manufacturing to service would want to go back. Cambodia and Zimbabwe have been dragged backward by madmen at gunpoint, and they are poorer for it, and they will rejoin the parade as soon as they can. Cambodia already is progressing again, and if you really want to open your eyes, take a look at Cambodia and China. They are living laboratories that take economic theory off the page and show it in actual life, in fast-forward speed, so we can watch it happen. They’ve got a lot of catching up to do, now finally free from the poverty and slavery imposed on them in the name of “The People.” Countries with “People” in their names are always the ones that oppress their people most, and where elections are shams or don’t happen at all.

    The point of trade is to benefit the individual, the consumer. You work in one industry, but you buy from many, so each of us is more consumer than employee, in that sense. On an individual level, you make choices based on your values. You buy what you need and want from makers and sellers who can make the best product and sell it at the best price, or who can convince you that something else is more important. (They contribute to charities, or whatever.) But you have that choice. Trade barriers reduce that choice. Someone tells you, no, you can’t think for yourself and make your own decisions, you will do it the way we tell you. Inevitably, when you’re less free, you’re less rich too.

    Self-sufficiency isn’t all that great; you can do it, but why would you? It’s also known as subsistence farming. You’d have to spend most of your time and energy keeping yourself fed, and if you can read and write, you’re almost certainly able to do better than that.

    Re anything with the words “People’s Guide to” in its title, believe what you want, but at least be aware that you are reading someone’s opinion, and that it’s a “guide” only to an ideology–socialism–with no credibility remaining in the world or among serious people. If you read something that takes a broader view, you will see how silly and petty and small is an ideology based on envy, and why it doesn’t and can’t provide the basis for a working economy, and it’s been rejected by everyone who has a chance to reject it.

    The mean, bitter portrayal of the US Constituion seen through the narrow, poisoned view of some benighted jerk is a sad comment, not on the document, but on him. Freedom yes, “equality,” never, because equality can only be mandated by force, and you can’t level up, only down. Ask someone in China if they prefer the poverty they all endured when they were “equal,” or the relative prosperity they now enjoy in a free economy.

    Speaking of parade, the sun came out for the one here in San Francisco today, as I’d suspected, so I’m going back out into it. The sun, not the parade. Have a great day everyone, or night, whoever and wherever you are. It’s a beautiful day in a wonderful world and getting better all the time.

  260. 266 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 29, 2008 at 23:05

    Tino, what could possibly be scientific crieteria for “good art?” I can’t imagine them, and I can’t think they could be possible at all. “Good art” is an inherent contradiction to start with; it’s a subjective judgment, an opinion. Science is necessarily objective. We can distinguish good theory from bad by testing it, but art? I don’t see how.

  261. 267 Shirley
    June 29, 2008 at 23:13

    “Married” Babies: child marriage…is increasingly seen as a crucial part of the cycle of poverty in Yemen and other third world countries

    Shame on those so-called Muslims who are perfectly aware that there are poor people all about them and don’t lift a finger to help them while they wallow in their own wealth. Those sick hypocrites are supporting a culture of death and bringing on their own punishments. And shame on our own leaders for refusing to support birth control programmes around the world just because of some moral preference of their own. Culture of Death. Jerks.

  262. 268 Shirley
    June 29, 2008 at 23:28

    Eugene, what you describe of free trade is theory. In practise, it has become another tool for the wealthy to maintain their elite status by the blood, sweat, and tears of ordinary people in developing countries. Our corporations have been ripped from our hard-working hands so that slave-level conditions can be imposed on people in other countries that do not have the laws to back up labour rights. They spew pollutants into the air and destroy water and other natural resources because there aren’t any laws to protect thei environment, or those laws are not enforced. Rather than branching off and serving as a force by which development and financial wellness can be introduced to other coutnries ahead of a more democratic government, “free trade” has served to uproot factories from the U.S. and transplant them abroad as the toe in the door for U.S. imperialism at the same time as it serves to disenfranchise American workers.

    Governments lie.

  263. 269 Justin from Iowa
    June 29, 2008 at 23:40

    Hrm, someone mentioned why I should be bringing up an Obamma/Schwarz ticket, because of the constitutional issues. Apparently they missed my veeeeery first mention of the topic, where’d I’d pointed out that my father had brought the topic up with me, in the context that for _President_ you had to be a natural born citizen, but for VP there might not necessarily be such a restriction?

    I’m sorry I was in error, as I was reporting from a second- (or third in this case) hand source. But I did qualify that in my original post, and if you skipped reading that… well that’s not my fault 😛

  264. 270 Julie P
    June 29, 2008 at 23:52

    Now that Bill Gates has retired from Microsoft, with the exception of one day a week, I bet he spent his found free time buying a Harley, wraparound shades, and got a tattoo.

  265. 272 Tino
    June 30, 2008 at 00:18

    Jonathan

    I think it would be done the same way they came to the conclusion that people find symmetrical faces ‘beautiful’. It is another subjective idea but it was found that there is an objective quality people were subjectively attracted to.

    I could, however, see science as unable to provide answers in this department – especially when one considers modern art. Some of the things people call art nowadays are ridiculous. Either way I still do not see religion somehow answering the question of what is good art…

  266. 273 selena
    June 30, 2008 at 01:17

    @Shirley

    How can we expose (for want of a better word) the real global power brokers?

  267. 274 selena
    June 30, 2008 at 01:30

    @ Tino

    I believe art is like everything else. We are told what to like and what is in fashion.

    The *experts* give a glowing commentary and it is like the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    For fear of looking stupid, individuals are very often afraid to express a contrary opinion if someone in authority says something is good.

    There was an *interesting* art exhibit in Canada yesterday. A young women was hanging cell phones from hooks after she asked people to give their cells to her for 24 hours.

    She is taking her show on the international road.

    I wish someone would pay me for something like that… 🙂

  268. 275 portlandmike
    June 30, 2008 at 02:08

    @ selena,

    I believe that what is popular, what catches on in art or fashion is a meme. It’s like why is one video a smash hit on utube, and thousands go unnoticed?… viral video says it all perfectly.”

  269. 276 Dennis
    June 30, 2008 at 02:13

    I am sorry for not being around this weekend…

    Maybe we can make over 300 posts on BLANK PAGE 13

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

    🙂

  270. 277 Julie P
    June 30, 2008 at 02:18

    @Dennis,

    Not a problem. So what’s your driving story? Or What’s a somewhere in history WHYS debate? Or What’s your favorite fantasy news headline?

  271. 278 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 30, 2008 at 02:22

    @Vanessa

    I also think there is nothing wrong with you! On the contrary, I think you are a very responsible person who is not conforming to what others think you should do. The fact that you are a woman does not mean that you have to get pregnant and have children of your own. This should be a choice, not an “obligation”.

    I have met people who didn’t want to have children, but despite their lack of desire they had them (because it was expected from them to do so). They are unhappy, their children are unhappy. They complain a lot and only want their children to get older, so they can be “free” of the “burdens of parenting”. Very, very sad.

    About adoption, my opinion is that it is a huge decision that only those who REALLY want to do it should do it. Children who are put for adoption already had suffered a loss (they have lost, one way or another, their birth parents); so, they need adopting parents that could provide a sense of protection, belonging and unconditional love. My opinion is based in my experience when I did volunteer work in an orphanage when I was in college. It was a very emotional job, but the best part was seeing children adopted by parents that really wanted them. You could see the love in their eyes. It was great 🙂

  272. 279 Pangolin
    June 30, 2008 at 02:22

    Santa just took a dunking. Look at the North Pole webcam and you can see liquid water in the lower right hand corner. Temperature at the North Pole, 5 degrees C.

    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np.html

    It’s too bad the deniers say there’s no global warming. It gets kind of hard to explain water where there should be several feet of solid ice.

  273. 280 Shirley
    June 30, 2008 at 02:44

    @ Mods:
    I lost a post, I think. Let me know if there is nothing in the spam corner from me that has something in it about cooking.

    Pangolin, don’t you know? The world just naturally has these warming and cooling cycles. It doesn’t have anything to do with human interference. We should all just stop worrying about what we cannot control.

  274. 281 Shirley
    June 30, 2008 at 02:49

    Technophiles:
    What kind of html code would I use in order to let just anyone send me an email? I know that it’s a form, but I don’t know how to configure it for the various pop email services out there (hotmail, yahoo, gmail, etc).

  275. 282 Tino
    June 30, 2008 at 02:51

    Selena

    Exactly what I mean haha. I swear modern art is about who can do the stupidest possible thing…

    @ Pangolin/Shirley

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/35266/Global-warming-It-s-the-coldest-winter-in-decades

    Do you seriously think you guys have conclusive evidence in light of that, which was from only 4 months ago?

  276. 283 Tom
    June 30, 2008 at 03:09

    @ steve b – uk

    “A thin line. So, here are some of my wished for headlines:

    HH The Dalia LLama returns to head an independent Tibet.

    China recognises a free Taiwan.

    Tony Blair to retire from public life.

    England beats Aussies in thrilling Test series!

    New drug beats AIDS.”

    =========================

    Regarding Tibet, Taiwan and China, my dream headlines offer a different twist and possibly a win-win scenario for all:

    – Leader of Chinese Communist Party to hand power to the people by year end.

    – HH Dalai Lama: New Pope of China?

    – Mainland China, Taiwan, Tibet, HK and Macau ratified national constitution.

    – Masses celebrate founding of Confederated States of China.

    – First elected Chinese president sworned in before HH Dalai Lama.

    – AIDS Eradicated

  277. 284 Amy
    June 30, 2008 at 03:32

    Tino,

    The point about global warming is that the winter/summer seasons become extremes. I know here in Oregon the summers are most certainly hotter than normal and the winters much colder. Usually, the Portland metro area gets maybe a dusting of snow once during the winter, mostly in the hills. This year we had snow on April 17th and it was about the fifth time this winter that we had measurable amounts of snow here. Just because winters are the coldest on record doesn’t discount global warming. As my husband just pointed out, a better term to use is global climate change. That gets rid of the whole “warming” aspect.

  278. 285 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 03:33

    donovan r.–

    I very much like what you said at 7:32, and how you said it. It’s not especially cheerful, but it’s thoughtful, which is better, even to this atypical Californian. I do question a bit of what you said at 7:18.

    First a couple of details: There’s a large and vital scientific specialty called linguistics that would be surprised at the notion that science can’t inform us about the development of language. Also, even conceding, arguendum, that science cannot inform us about “valid art,” do you contend that religion can? I’d suggest that the record of the religious establishment regarding art is not entirely salubrious. There’s a prescriptive tendency, which at its most extreme, extends to prohibit and even destroy art that conflicts with the prevailing religious dogma of the moment.

    More substantially, I expect you’d agree that most people, religious or not, fall short of the wise, wonderful, compassionate ideal that you describe as the province of the “truly religious,” and I hope you’d also agree that some who do achieve that ideal are not religious. So religion is neither necessary nor sufficient toward that end. Certainly the major religions of the world hold those values at their core, and teach them, but demonstrably and regrettably those lessons are learned only by a relative few. They are also the basis of a long traditiion of secular moral philosophy, as self-evident virtues.

    One need not be anti-religious to notice the intense hostility engendered by religious differences, serving so often as a casus bell. So I propose that we both acknowledge religion as a path to wisdom, but not the only path, and as a source of brutality and destruction, but also not the only source.

    After all that, I think at the root we agree. There need be no conflict between religions, or between the religious and the secular, if we leave to science its own privince, and remember that religion is instructive morally but not scientifically. The most destructive human tendency often takes the form of religious wars or arguments, but is better described as tribalism: a deep, dark suspicion of those who differ from our own beliefs, rituals, or appearance, or even choice of sporting teams.

    Am I close to the mark?

  279. 286 Bob in Queensland
    June 30, 2008 at 04:28

    @ Tino

    I think Amy has the right of it. If you read just about any scientific paper on climate change (and that’s the more accurate phrase) there’s pretty general agreement that the early symptoms will be not so much warming as an increase in the extremes of weather: hotter summers, colder winters, more (and more severe) storms and hurricanes, etc. etc.

    It looks quite possible to me that we ARE seeing some of these extremes starting to happen. However, the trouble with climate is that it is a very long term thing–and if we wait until proof is 100% conclusive it will be far too late to change anything.

  280. 287 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 04:30

    Tino,

    OK, thanks, yes, I see what you’re saying now. Good point. I only read a quick summary of that symmetrical face study and I find it compelling exactly because it demonstrates an objective basis for one aspect of beauty. (Toward the same end is the “sociobiology” that describes the effect of genetic, animal instincts on our taste and behavior–what and who we find appealing, and why.)

    Donovan didn’t say religion could decide about “valid art,” just that science could not. There was of course the implication, but he speaks precisely on the whole, so I’m assuming he meant what he said.

    I’m not persuaded about art though. The symmetrical-face study set about to determine what components made for an appealing face. It’s a simple matter of taking an opinion poll, showing pictures of faces whose features differ in particular and understood ways, then scoring what features are most popular. (Did they speculate why symmetry is so appealing?)

    In the case of art, one could do the same thing: ask the question “What makes some art attractive?” or “What do people like to see in art?” Then show people pictures and record their responses. The result would be a recipe for making popular art, and more interestingly a starting point to explore why we like what we like. But I don’t think those questions are salient for art. Popularity or likeability is not the object of serious art. It’s a message or a question directed by the artist to challenge the viewer. I just can’t see a way to measure this by any objective method, or at all. Even the notion of testing, measuring, or quantifying seems irrelevant to this enterprise, as well as impossible. How say you?

  281. 288 Bob in Queensland
    June 30, 2008 at 04:53

    Right. There’s a topic I’ve been mulling over for the last week or two and I’ve been debating whether or not to post it and also how I could phrase it to avoid it “turning nasty”.

    What I’m asking myself is why, so very often, Americans have a different “world view” than residents of other countries? This is evident in a great many of the topics we’ve discussed over the past few weeks: gun control, health care, terrorism, religion, in fact virtually any topic you care to name. Sometimes the differences are dramatic, other times they’re subtle but perceptible.

    I don’t want to get into a debate about the rights and wrongs of any specific issues and I certainly hope we don’t get into “America bashing”. (Though it needs to be said that, all too often, a robust discussion of American policies is perceived as bashing by some people.) What I’m interested in is the reasons WHY Americans so often see things from a different angle.

    When I’ve broached this question in other, more specific, topics quite often people have speculated it is because of the way the USA was formed out of a revolution. I’m not so convinced. A good many countries have had their own form of rebellion–for example, the present French republic came from a very bloody revolution within a few years of the American one. Indeed, the principles of “Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite” (sorry–accents are too hard to do!) are very similar to the USA Bill of Rights. However, look at how differently attitudes in these two countries have evolved.

    For that matter, even in the UK the present Parliamentary system is the result of a rebellion/civil war but, again, there are different ways of thinking.

    My only theory is that American attitudes may be the result of living in what has been, for several generations, the most powerful and most rich nation on earth. Those circumstances could certainly affect how people view the rest of the world and also their place within the world. If that is the case (and it certainly is an “if” ) then I wonder what the results will be when some of the emerging “tiger” economies overtake America in the “rich and powerful” stakes.

  282. 289 Pangolin
    June 30, 2008 at 04:55

    @ Global Temperature Anomalies- This chart at the US National Climatic Data Center website would seem to indicate that things are actually warmer than would be considered optimum. In fact things are not only actually warmer but warmer in the worst possible place, Siberia.

    The reason it is of concern is that every mammoth and reindeer that dropped ballast in a low spot in the last 200,000 years had it freeze over into the permafrost. Once that compost heats up bacteria will have at it and turn a significant portion of this biologically available carbon into methane. More methane that has been released by all the burning of fossil fuels by men to date.

    So, yes, it is of utmost significance that the North Pole is at 5 degrees.

  283. 290 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 04:58

    Tino, I thought you respected science. The consensus among qualified climate scientists is absolutely overwhelming, that climate change is happening, and is accelerating. Other scientists report on the damaging effects already in evidence, and try to predict effects in the future as it progresses. If you know what all these experts say, what they believe and why, and you know something they don’t, by all means tell the world and make your case.

    Otherwise, mere anecdotal weather reports are just not instructive.

    Furthermore, given all the evidence that it’s underway and it’s destructive, it’s not even relevant whether we humans are the cause; if we can mitigate it, we should. It’s hard to imagine that the massive emission of gases from industry over the course of a century would NOT be the cause of the observed effects, which are exactly those that one would predict, but even if it’s not, even if the changes are due to something else, they’re still happening. They’re still dangerous. They’re still within our power to reduce, and it’s in our interest to reduce them. It’s not a matter of saving some obscure species of worm, as in environmental concerns of the past. This time, it’s our own species that’s at threat, in ways we understand and ways we don’t. The Pentagon considers climate change an issue of national security. Last I heard, that’s not a bunch of hippies or tree-huggers. They’re pretty pragmatic.

    Any special reason why you resist believing the consensus here?

  284. 291 Nick in USA
    June 30, 2008 at 05:15

    @ Steve

    I have seen that Honda commercial, and I came to the exact same conclusion. 23 mpg is the type of stat you should be hiding not boasting about. I’m an engineer in the auto industry, so I spend a lot of time talking to people from Toyota, Honda, and other aluminum engine manufacturers. I keep asking them why they’re making big bloated inefficient cars, but nobody can tell me why. These companies are starting to price themselves right out of the market that they have owned for so long. I just arrived at a Toyota plant tonight, and I took our FJ cruiser company car to get here. I calculated 16 mpg when I filled up the tank after about 5 hours of driving. I am stunned that this vehicle is made by the same company that makes the Prius (which is awesome, my parents have 2 of them). The crazy thing is that the Prius is selling like hotcakes and people are being put on a 6 month waiting list. My parents ended up on the waiting list for both of theirs. I just don’t understand why automakers aren’t giving us any decent options. Environmentally conscious folks like myself have been begging for more fuel efficient vehicles for decades. I don’t need 250 hp to pick up my groceries.

    Save the racecars for the racetrack. There isn’t any point in offering these powerful vehicles to joe schmoe who doesn’t even know how to drive it. I have a racecar and I wouldn’t think of driving it on the road because it would get torn up on the first trip across town. I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with Randy Pobst, but he is a factory porsche driver with several championships under his belt. He also drives several other touring cars in various series. His street car is a bio-diesel VW Jetta. Apparently, we have both come to the conclusion that anything over a 150 hp grocery getter is a complete waste on the street.

  285. 292 Bryan
    June 30, 2008 at 06:25

    Bob in Queensland June 30, 2008 at 4:53 am

    “What I’m asking myself is why, so very often, Americans have a different “world view” than residents of other countries?”

    Because America stands head and shoulders above the rest? Because it has the warmest, most generous people, always the first to help with natural disasters across the planet and who pump untold wealth into places like Africa to help fight AIDS? Because, apart from private donations, George W. Bush leads the world in his commitment to fighting AIDS in Africa while people like Thabo Mbeki do everything they can to pretend it doesn’t exist? Because it is the nation to do the most for refugees from stricken countries? Because it is the least racist nation on earth, accepting anyone as a citizen? Because its people believe in the ethic of hard work rather than turning their country into a socialist hell with everyone holding their hands out to be filled by the government? Because Americans believe in initiative rather than the destruction of initiative?

    A better question to ask would be why so many other countries on the planet are like jackals baying at the heels of America to bring her down.

  286. 293 steve b - uk
    June 30, 2008 at 06:37

    Bob

    Being a historian by training, it seems almost as if every country is given world domination in turn – a few to go! But a few that spring to mind that have been pre-eminent include China, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome as a city-state, Portugal, France, Spain, Britain, America and, soon it seems, China and India. Each of these has arguably become a bit wierd as it became more powerful. Some have tried to make it a second time and been slapped down – recently Mussolini’s Italy and of course Germany. Some have achieved great ‘soft-power’, notably, say Japan ( especially in Asia ); France ( for ever linked with romance and the most visited country in the world, I think ); Then there is the UK what with the BBC ( Hurrah! ), the rise of the English Language, litererary and cultural ( eg rock music ) firsts, education and legal models that have been copied ( it was hilarious, if tragic, to see Mugabe being sworn in amongst all the wigs, robes and paraphenalia of pomp that could have been London’s Courts of Justice ) and so on.

    ‘What ifs?’ are also fascinating. At the turn of the 20th century, both America and Germany were beginning to outstrip the UK in terms of economic and military spending. What if Germany had just kept her head down and not got involved in two disastrous wars? She might be up there today. What if Japan had not got involved in World War 2? Ditto.

    We could do a whole blog on ‘What ifs?’ What if Hitler had brokered peace in 1940? What if Elizabeth 1 had lost to the Spanish Armada? What if ‘ the closest run thing you ever saw in you life’ ( as said by the Duke of Wellington ) had turned the other way at Waterloo?

  287. 294 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 07:16

    Bob Q–

    American exceptionalism is a perfectly legitimate thing to bring up here. As an American who thinks about this stuff, I’ll offer my take:

    The US is unique in a lot of ways. The most obvious and important is that we are a nation of immigrants who deliberately abandoned their lives in other places. Our rejection of every sort of old order is not just informed by our Revolution 230 years ago, which by the way differed from those that followed it in France and elsewhere in ways that you too casually dismiss. Our self-invention continues in the hearts of the people who come here every day. Ours is a self-selected population of extraordinary people, be they ambitious, desperate, or whatever. Predictably, the resulting culture is brash, brave, industrious, inventive, meritocratic, irreverant, and individualistic. Also sometimes arguably arrogant, ignorant, and dismissive of foreign affairs, for which we are vigorously condemned by the rest of the world, when they aren’t condemning us for being too involved and influential. Sorry about that.

    A related point but a different one: Being American is uniquely not a question of birth or bloodline. The country is an idea as much as a land mass. One does not become French by moving to France and declaring himself French, but that’s exactly how one becomes American: by stating your belief in our principles. That’s all we require. We are free of the heavy historical baggage of religious wars, class resentments, tribal enmity, etc. that plagues most of the rest of the world.

    We are geographically isolated from the dominant cultures of Europe and Asia. We are not surrounded by enemies; we are bordered on two sides by ocean and two sides by friends, along long, undefended borders.

    Our physical size, large population, wealth, and physical location permit some measure of self-absorption, though I don’t favor it myself. We have more trade than any other country, but we could be self-sufficient more easily than most.

    To our shame, a relative few of us know another language or have traveled abroad, but to our credit, we have never built an empire. Our behavior internationally is often childishly naive. In fact, our lack of sophisticated cynicism may just be the greatest distinction of all.

    Finally, to your last point. I doubt that our position as the richest and most powerful country is threatened in the short or medium term. The principal threat we face, culturally and economically, is not from abroad but from within, as we evolve away from our immigrant culture and come to be just annother ossified, xenophic country, more concerned with distribution than production or innovation, consumed with fear, and generally decadent.

    I hope this isn’t posted too late in the day for you to see, Bob.

  288. 295 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 07:31

    Bob, I forgot to say you needn’t worry about inspiring hostility or encountering knee jerk defensiveness about America; both your question and the manner in which you pose it are polite, benign, and seriously thoughtful.

  289. 296 Bob in Queensland
    June 30, 2008 at 07:35

    @ Jonathan (in beautiful…but sanguine…San Francisco)

    Thank’s very much for your detailed and well-considered response. There is a lot in what you have to say.

    I probably wouldn’t put quite as much emphasis on history as you do. Australia, for example, is also a nation of immigrants (albeit not by personal choice at the beginning). However, it’s also fair to say that my early impressions of living in Australia are that it combines some of the best attributes of North America and of the UK. What’s missing, of course, is the sheer numbers of people.

    It does make sense that a country with as much natural and financial wealth as the USA could easily be somewhat inward-looking and (as you described it) self-absorbed. Speaking personally, I perhaps error in the other direction. Australia is the third or fourth country I’ve lived in and, over the years, I’ve visited 50+. I revel in the cultural differences and often find it difficult to see issues in black and white.

    I was particularly interested in your second last paragraph. It seems to me that, from it’s beginning as a country that “welcomed the huddled masses”, the USA is becoming rather less welcoming to immigrants, even the legal ones.. If this impression is accurate then your fears may come true.

    By the way, it’s relatively early in the day for me here–mid afternoon on Monday. If it’s late for anyone, it’s you in SF!

  290. 297 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 07:43

    Steve B. — As a historian, do you have any thoughts about why America’s view on world affairs might be different from that of other countries?

  291. 298 Pangolin-California
    June 30, 2008 at 07:53

    America is a potemkin nation. A vast facade of self-congratulation covering an airless muck of moral degeneration.

    Every city of any size in the US has homeless people now; a phenomena virtually unknown before 1980. We house our worthless ‘stuff’ better than we house our poorest and most needy and our medical system is a joke compared even to Italy or Spain. More money is spent on the medical care for pets in the US than for indigent people.

    Our food supply is entirely dependent upon the labor of a class of people, illegal immigrants, with virtually no rights to redress of any grievance against their employers. Everybody fakes shock when we find out that this system results in tainted food. If a dirty, sick person is handling your food it’s not a good thing.

    We use more drugs, have more guns, more murders, more prisons, more crime in general than any nation of comparable wealth. Idiots claim that social equity measures won’t help ignoring the evidence.

    Our children get pregnant and shoot each other individually and in mass killings simply because they are bored and they see no future in which they will be treated with respect and dignity. I believe they are right. I could walk two miles from my house and find whole families homeless despite the fact that I would have to pass multiple empty houses and apartments to get to where they congregate. I’ve had to clean up after college students who drank themselves to death, people who died with family in town who were left until the neighbors noticed the stench of the corpse and kids who shot their buddies brains out in drunken stupor. It’s not pretty and the smell is worse.

    The average American is pig-ignorant of anything outside of their job responsibilities and what’s on television. I’ve watched people stand next to the water mains valve as their house flooded. I’ve had to shoulder them aside to turn it off. The reason we refuse to believe in scientific concepts like Global Warming and evolution is that our schools teach pablum rather than critical thinking skills. No, we are not smarter than a fifth grader and most of us are lousy cooks.

    We’ve exported all our manufacturing jobs and invented ‘industries’ that relied upon selling worthless paper back and forth to exploit government subsidies. Then we sold the worthless paper to the rest of you. Since our schools are almost as worthless companies lobby to import cheap, educated labor from overseas and eliminate more job opportunities for US citizens. Despite the happy talk on the news our economy is crashing and storefronts are being boarded up daily.

    ‘Free Trade’ has always been a flat lie. It is a system of trade favorable to large corporations and detrimental to labor and environmental concerns anywhere on the globe. It’s a race to the bottom.

    And before some cash-addled patriot tells me to “love it or leave it,” I will say that I would gladly trade my citizenship in the US for any EU nation, Australia or New Zealand (in my dreams) in a hot minute if such a thing were possible. Give me a nanny state any day over this wreckage.

    “California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
    But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot
    If you ain’t got the do re mi.”- Woody Guthrie 1937,

    Still true today.

  292. 299 steve b - uk
    June 30, 2008 at 08:20

    Jonathan

    I am not so sure it is very different. Interesting if you can specify in what areas you consider it different.

    there are a couple of general points. 1) it is currently bigger and more powerful tha anyone else. This presumably leads to leaders going ahead in a maverick fashion – the latter Caesar’s were terrible with what they got up to and the Brits were not averse to sending a gunboat rather than talking things over. So, perhaps this is inevitable.

    Similarly, you do not need to pay too much attention to other lands and cultures. Why one WOULD’T want to participate in the magnificent cultural diversity of the world is another matter.

    This is a weak post – I would welcome others opinions on your question.

  293. June 30, 2008 at 08:48

    Tino/Jonathan: I don’t think I implied that religion was in any way a judge of art. What I have said is that there are certain areas of human experience and endeavour that can’t be assessed by the scientific method, and that art is among these.

    As for all art being crap, Tino, is that a conclusion derived from applying the scientific method?

    Re: language; the development of language is hard to understand, even from the point of view of the fact that certain phenotypical changes have to be presupposed before human speech becomes possible at all. What made us evolve the vocal equipment to speak before language was ever a cultural possibility? But this is not my point. My point is that language, in its highest developments, such as Ciceronian Latinity or Shakespearian English, cannot be assessed by the scientific method (nor by religion, of course).

    Religion is not the only way to ‘truth’, or to living a moral and satisfying life, but it is a way, par excellence, to the experience of mystical transcendence. This is a great human achievement of mind, and should not be cast aside cheaply.

    the modern problem is that the classical religions are being replaced by two others; the atheist religion, and the religion of scientism, each with its own forms of rabid self-righteousness and exclusivity.

    Science is far from having all the answers, and atheism often does not understand itself because it is emotionally based. The atheist has a duty, at least, to understand the philosophy underpinning his or her position. The same duty rests, of course, on religionists.

    As for science getting to grips with human subjectivity; dread the day. That will be the day when science, like bad religion, attempts to regulate what you think and feel.

    Human subjectivity should, and will, always be ultimately free and beyond formulation. Otherwise all possibility for cultural evolution will cease.

  294. June 30, 2008 at 09:08

    Lol, Pangolin-California. This is a free forum. We are allowed to speak our minds freely here. don’t hold back on what you really think. Quit beating around the bush.

    I couldn’t agree more. I think it was on this forum not too long ago that I noted that we have all become Paris Hiltons. We are ignorant, spoiled, child-like, inheritors of our forefathers hard work. We all feel self-righteous and deserving of the fruits of their labors, but none of us want to tend to their orchards. We would rather go steal from the orchards of other hard workers.

    I have had too much invested to give up the fight for this land. Beside so many are willing to send theirs over to other lands that I am not concerned with that there is more room here everyday for the sensible. However, I did buy my first tool of true freedom this weekend. A sailboat. 25′ with a sleeper. no need for gas just me and my trusty K9 mate to haggle over responsibilities. The rest of my fate lies truly in the hands of the gods. Now that is freedom.

  295. June 30, 2008 at 09:22

    Here is a question I recently mauled over with a friend.

    What attributes do you think it is important for children to leave school with? As a follow up, do you think they are getting them?

    My answer was many of course. But the big 4 were these

    1) A graduate should know how to speak at lest two different languages fluently. It is humbling and builds tolerance to learn the language of another culture.
    2) A graduate should have to take parenting classes. It is possible they might not become parents, but the usefulness of understand the skills to raise a functional child transcend into understanding how to build all kinds of good relationships.

    3) This is one of my favorites. Graduates should all reach a chess rating in the 800’s before receiving their diploma. Chess builds ones ability to see the depth of their decisions. Not only focusing one what they want to do, but what their opponent wants them to do, and the effect of their decision on the overall game. Lack of depth of though plague Washington as well as our general population today. It might ultimately be our undoing.
    4) Rounding out the top 4 would have to be budgeting techniques. I mean how hard would it be to set up a class where the teacher plays bank and employer and students have to spend a few semesters proving they understand how income and credit works. So many people I meet in this country don’t understand the basics of personal cash flow.

  296. 303 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 09:23

    Bob Q.–

    Well, if it’s later still for anyone, it’s our gracious hosts in London.

    You wouldn’t put much emphasis on history? But what else is there? Who we are and how we think didn’t start this morning (although that perception is common, possibly because of a pervasive disinterest in history). Without knowledge of history, we’d be condemned to repeat our mistakes–as tragedy and as farce. And we’d be clueless when seeking to explain or understand ourselves to interested strangers.

    On the other hand, I just wrote a post about a country that deliberately rejected history–instead of just ignoring it–and that wasn’t entirely a bad thing. Certainly the countries still mired in the swamp of ancient rivalries (i.e., most of them) could benefit from forgetting most of it.

    Speaking of history, it informs me that the welcome mat for the tired, the poor, the ambitious, and the rest was never quite as evident as the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty suggests. Every successive wave of immigrants, tragically and–to me–inexplicably, has faced hostility from the previous waves, although by European standards we’re all newcomers, and by any standard the whole business is so absurd. There’s no reason for one generation to resent the next. But they have, and they do still. The Dutch and English feared and loathed the Irish, then Germans, Scandinavians, Eastern Europeans, Italians, Chinese, Mexicans, and on and on. Uninformed by history and guided by prejudice, they needlessly fear imaginary bogeymen. History would reveal to them that immigrants are precisely what distinguishes the US.

    But that’s not the threat I perceived in my predictive penultimate paragraph. As I say above, ’twas always thus. What I worry about, and what I pointed out, was that after all this time, too many of us in US are NOT immigrants anymore, or chilren of immigrants, and are too long separated from the memory of the immigrant experience. The welfare-state mentality is the poisonous viper in the breast of Western Europe, and the reason for their high unemployment and economic stagnation for longer than I’ve been on earth. It’s unutterably depressing to hear Americans carry on about how bad things are for them, and inspiring to hear immigrants carry on about what an earthly paradise they’ve found, where nobody cares about their tribe, their untouchable status, some family village geud going back generations, their religious sub-subsect, what their father did for a living, the nuances of their accent that condemns them to a life of menial labor, and on and on. All they have to do to succeed here is work, and to them, that’s heaven.

    What a refreshing change, a breath of life. The immigrants are the true Americans. They have family values. They even have children. They sometimes don’t (yet) speak English, but they manage to find jobs, to support themselves, and to send money home and support families there too. San Francisco is home to a good many immigrants, and a large number of panhandlers and beggars, but in all my years here, I have yet to see an immigrant panhandler.

    Well, here I am carrying on myself. To finish, as I think about it, what I fear is the end of the American exceptionalism about which you asked. I think it would be a shame if we slid into the decadence of class consciousness, resentment, envy, lethargy, cynicism, high taxes, and state control that’s familiar to Western Europe. That is when, as you said, the “tigers” come and get you, or at least eat your lunch.

    I assumed that the “different perspective” was your polite euphemism for the self-absorption that seems to me to characterize our attitude to the rest of the world; not that we’re hostile or destructive (normally), but that we just don’t know and we don’t care who’s out there and what they do.

    A pleasure as always. FIFTY countries? Where did you start out, if you even remember?

  297. 304 Pangolin-California
    June 30, 2008 at 09:32

    @ Science vs. Religion- ‘Science’ is really a shorthand way of saying ‘the scientific method.’ It is a technique for testing hypothesis, distributing the results and retesting based upon reliable methods of observation. It actually discourages ‘belief’ in favor of ordered skepticism.

    Religion frequently rests upon the statements of individuals that ‘god spoke to them.’ Since these conversations are not observable or repeatable they tend to be rather unreliable. I can find people to whom ‘God speaks to’ every day down at the homeless shelter; we tend to call them schizophrenics. I can also consume ibogaine or ayahuesca, both of which will give me an absolutely reliable experience of communion with ‘god;’ or you.

    For those in a hurry mystical experiences can probably be triggered via transcranial magnetic stimulation and I bet there’s a neurologist that knows where to aim it. It appears ‘god’ has a chemical switch in our heads.

    Atheism is simply the default position of those who don’t believe things simply because mommy said to. Religion must be taught which is why fundamentalists hate science.

    As for language there are other creatures, notably parrots and dolphins that have linguistic abilities. It appears that language is a useful tool to evolve regardless of your environment.

  298. 305 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 09:36

    Steve B– Well, let’s be fair; surely the US is no Roman or British Empire! Good heavens. If you recall past the last eight years, we’re more often guilty (and accused) of apathy than overinvolvement.

    Why we’re different isn’t my question; it was Bob in Queensland’s question.

  299. 306 Bob in Queensland
    June 30, 2008 at 09:53

    @ Pangolin

    Atheism is simply the default position of those who don’t believe things simply because mommy said to. Religion must be taught which is why fundamentalists hate science.

    This must me my day for asking difficult questions, but…

    When I was young, I WAS taught religion. My father was an Anglican vicar and my mother also a regular church-goer.

    Despite that, as soon as I was old enough to start making my own decisions, I ended up an atheist.

    The reason for this is that, although I could be taught about religion, I couldn’t be taught to believe. Religion–and I mean every religion I’ve encountered–is about having faith without proof. Perhaps life would be easier in some ways if I DID believe in an all-powerful god but my brain just isn’t wired that way. I want the evidence of my own senses. I need to KNOW, not BELIEVE and that, to me is the fundamental difference between science and religion.

    So…my question: yes, religion can be taught but can BELIEF be taught or is that something that some people have and other do not?

  300. 307 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 09:57

    donovan–

    Yes, I think I accurately represented you about art etc.

    Anyone as eloquent as you gets a headstart with me, but I can’t agree with you about religion. First, atheism and “scientism” are not religions. They’re not even belief systems. You persist in saying they are, when you’re too smart to believe it.

    Again, Steven Pinker and other linguists who study language all day long by scienntific methods would be startled to hear that their work doesn’t exist and is impossible.

    How is atheism “emotionally based?” I think it’s logically based. We are religious by instinct; it takes some thought to reject religion, no matter what you think of the rightness or wrongness of that position.

    “Human subjectivity” gave us racism, religion preached against it with varying levels of conviction and little success, and science instructs us on just how foolish it is.

    “Human subjectivity” informed us that the earth was at the center of the universe. Religion enforced that view and codified it legally. Science corrected the error. Religion finally aacknowledged it and apologized to Galileo–after several hundred years.

    Evolution…. well, you probably see where I’m goiing here.

  301. 308 Rick
    June 30, 2008 at 10:03

    Bob. When I worked in Canada In the 70s I used to ask the “yanks” 3 questions. What is the capital of Canada? Is it a democracy or a monarcy? Which is bigger, Canada or America. Most couldn’t answer correctly. The US shares a 3000 mile boarder with Canada and they had come there for a visit and didn’t even know the most basic facts about it. What they did know was all US states and their capitals and the date they joined the union and their own history in minute detail and all past presidents etc etc. You get the picture.
    I met a young American just a few weeks ago here in Australia who introduced himself by saying “Hi I’m Dean and I’m from the great state of Texas”!
    Say no more said I.
    Based on that I’d say the quality of education hasn’t changed much in 40 years.

  302. June 30, 2008 at 10:05

    Belief can not be taught, but really doesn’t have to. We are born forced to have faith that our needs will be taken care of. Disbelief can be taught, or rather learned. If too many times you pull back the curtain on the great wizard, the desire to question grows beyond restraint. If the wizard is exposed to a mind that is naturally curious, some form of atheism is going to have fertile ground.

  303. 310 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 10:11

    I’d say religion is the defalut position for humans, I suspect because our brains are so huge and inquisitive that our questions come faster than answers. We seek explanations for things, we need mechanisms of social control and cohesion, and we very much dislike the notion of death. Religions whatever their ruffles and flourishes provide “answers” for those needs.

    Bob Q, you have a talent for asking interesting questions. You should devise them for some sort of international public response forum.

    Seriously, unless it’s just a problem with my computer, this page is just much too big to handle well, now at over 300 posts. Scrolling is V E R Y S L O W.

  304. 311 Pangolin-California
    June 30, 2008 at 10:33

    @Dwight- Sailboat or no your life depends upon the labor of others just like mine and everybody else. Every person is fed by his neighbor’s labor and no man can live long on his labor alone.

    The source of my frustration is likely that when I am healthy I can work like a demon and when my health fails I have years long episodes of debilitating pain. In the US there is virtually no attempt to secure a return on the investment of educating me other than the threat of poverty. It’s like shooting a horse that needs a shoe.

    In the barely remembered past of the English language there were occupations like ‘woolgathering’ and ‘gooseherd’ that occupied people that would otherwise be idle. The jobs were just short of idleness but served productive purpose. After all, they were likely to feed said idler whether they worked or not. Today we’ve decided that people have to either be able to work full shifts at speed or simply be left unemployed. So we waste the labor of people we have spent small fortunes training, feeding and housing.

    Likewise cities let buildings rot in order to protect the rights of the ‘owner’ rather than putting them to some use. Fields choke with weeds and forests turn to fire tinder because we are unable to accept that sometimes it pays to make rules and stick to them.

    Here in California thousands of firefighters are running around protecting buildings because the owners were unwilling or unable to cut a proper firebreak around their houses. I assure you that wildfires are a normal part of life here; much worse this year but always a known threat. Clear your brush or watch it burn should be the rule.

    We could go on and on of examples of pure waste in order to serve profit but there’s no point. The people who has the gold makes the rules. The world I live in seems to be designed by a bloody-stupid idiot. Praising a pig for it’s stink doesn’t shovel the fertilizer or feed the garden. I live in the United States but I find no reason to praise it.

  305. June 30, 2008 at 10:41

    I’m not saying that atheism and scientism are religions per se, but that many people hold atheist/scientism(ic) views by faith rather than because they understand all the implications of those views.

    Good point, Pangolin, about parrots being able to speak. But do they speak to any purpose? About drug-induced transcendence; this is another interesting point, currently much discussed, especially in relation to recent neurological studies with experienced meditators. Can designer drugs be a quick route to enlightenment? We Buddhists wait with bated breath. It would certainly take away the need for all the hard work.

    My position is that religion can tell us something about our humanity that no other discipline can, and that it would be a loss to simply throw millennia of religious insight into the wastebin, while the scientific method has not yet found answers to our deepest questions about ourselves.

    My own atheism was arrived at after long struggle, and much thought. Even so, I still don’t have the temerity to trust my insights absolutely on this matter. To me, that would signify a lapse into another kind of faith, i.e. faith in my own absolute rightness.

    Anything good and beautiful, whether it is found in religion, science, or wherever, is worth holding onto; especially in these destructive times.

    I suppose, when all’s said and done, these things remain open questions, and we have to resort to our own subjectivity… and choose. I choose for the right of religion to exist in the world, even though my own view is probably post-religious.

  306. 313 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    June 30, 2008 at 10:41

    Rick– Oh, but the quality of education HAS changed so mcuh in 40 years.

    Few Americans today could even know those facts about their own states, let alone the others.

    To be fair, though, those items about Canada have been less than entirely settled matters even in Canada, right? Queen/no Queen, where’s the capital, what language to speak, even how many countries it is, have been the topics of spirited discussion.. Americans aren’t properly expected to know what Canadians themselves don’t agree about.

    More to the point, why should we care? Canada just doesn’t matter especially, and what slight significance it might have is almost entirely a consequence of proximity to the US. I would never normally be so rude as to say that, if my hand hadn’t been forced. But let’s face facts. Americans are out of our depth keeping track of things right here, never mind a tiny foreign country. Hey, there are worse things than benign neglect from us, as a moment’s reflection will reveal, right?

    Eh?

  307. 314 Rick
    June 30, 2008 at 10:56

    Bob Re: can belief be taught.
    Myself and my 6 brothers have the same semi religous upbringing. My parents would have called themselves Christians but were not church goers. We are now 2 born agains, a J.W., a buddhist and 3 athiests.
    None of us had any early brainwashing or even religious instruction.
    My conclusion is that some of us have a predisposition to want to take the leap of faith and others require logic and facts. Some people need to believe in continuance beyond this life because they can’t come to terms with mortality and the lack of purpose in life.
    The ‘Why am I here?” question has no answer unless they take the leap.
    I must say, that I don’t see any hypocracy in their choice and they seem sincere and genuinly happy.

  308. 315 Pangolin-California
    June 30, 2008 at 11:04

    @The wonderful immigrants- The heavy-lidded praise that conservatives give to immigrants while decrying the horribly lazy native-born US citizens requires exquisite parsing of reality in order to be believed.

    Just for starters, if immigrants fail to support themselves the US immigration authority promptly ships them back to their country of origin where they can be beggars there. They even do this to 19 year-olds who came to the US as infants and don’t speak the language of Vietnam, Mexico, India or wherever their parents came from. The world is littered with people who failed in the US and were disposed of.

    The homeless, and San Francisco has tens of thousands of homeless, are people who in previous decades would have been given government housing. It would have been poor housing but it would also have been distributed among the general populace. Most of them are too sick or too crazy to work any real job. If you can work a straight job and cannot manage your affairs enough to secure housing you are probably still crazy. In the US we penalize the sick by throwing them to the streets and hoping they will die. it’s ugly but effective.

    Finally, immigrants to the US are filtered and anybody with significant hazards such as a history of mental illness, criminal history, educational failure or major chronic health problems are weeded out. In one swell foop conservatives can pretend that simple laziness explains why immigrants don’t seem to have down’s syndrome, drug addictions, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorders or medical dependencies. Those poor citizens are just lazy.

    And conservatives wonder why progressives call them vampires.

  309. 316 steve
    June 30, 2008 at 11:42

    @ Pangolin

    We don’t penalize the crazy by throwing them onto the streets. BEcause they are crazy they choose to be on the streets. The alternative is putting them in a mental facility, which we don’t do because we believe in liberty. It would be against their will, hence we don’t do it. WE believe in liberty, even for the crazy, unless they become a threat to themselves or others, we let them do what they want.

  310. 317 Virginia Davis
    June 30, 2008 at 12:05

    @Pangolin & Steve: Gott in Himmel: how little, very little understanding either of you have about what it means to be crazy in the US,. or anywhere else in the world. Better luck in your next lives. Virginia in Oregon

  311. 318 steve
    June 30, 2008 at 12:13

    @ Virginia:

    Could you elaborate please? I work in Washington, DC, there are lots of homeless people. Virtually every one you see is crazy. There’s this one woman who likes to hang out by a payphone by one of the Anglican Churches in NW, and she will stand there ALL day have pretend conversations on the payphone. Her entire life is in a shopping cart. There’s another one that sits the entire work day at a table across from my work, smoking cigarettes, just staring at the ground. There are others that if you walk by them and don’t give them money, they shout that they’ll kill you. Believe me, you aren’t “sane” if you choose to sleep on the street instead of a shelter, especially in the winter.

    Several years ago, when I woudl walk home from work on the weekends, I would talk to this homeless guy who would be on the L street bridge separating Foggy Bottom from Georgetown. I would have conversations with him up to an hour long. Each time, he would remember who I was, even if lots of time had passed, but he seems to think I sold him nuclear weapons the first time we had met, and wanted to know if I would sell him more. I’d talk for a bit, and would usually give him all the money I had on me.

  312. 319 selena
    June 30, 2008 at 12:59

    Thanks Mike

    Wonderful weekend!

  313. 320 Dennis
    June 30, 2008 at 14:23

    We did it 300 plus posts….

    🙂

    Dennis
    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  314. 321 1430a
    June 30, 2008 at 14:32

    CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL FOR EXCEEDING 300 posts.

  315. 322 portlandmike
    June 30, 2008 at 17:23

    🙂 good long read thanks everyone!

  316. 323 Pangolin- California
    June 30, 2008 at 21:25

    @ Steve- Almost nobody “chooses” to live on the streets if there was some alternative. The shelters are pretty much a joke as they tend to stack people like cordwood and people, naturally, object to that.

    I once had a job where I attended evictions as a representative of the property owners. While most people would have all their stuff moved out occasional individuals, and even families would be sitting in their houses totally clueless as to what to do. They simply did not have the mental capacity to plan and execute a move for whatever reason. Whatever social resources or family they had were also unable or unwilling to help them.

    People are, quite literally, tossed to the street with little more than what they can carry. I’ve watched it happen. I also have had conversations with homeless people who were quite lucid but unable to manage their affairs. To expect these people to work for a living is simple cruelty the same as if we simply pushed old people out of nursing homes on cold nights.

  317. 324 Tino
    July 1, 2008 at 01:23

    “To expect these people to work for a living is simple cruelty the same as if we simply pushed old people out of nursing homes on cold nights.”

    Wha? To expect them to earn their money like everyone else is cruelty?! They should be able to get presentable and helped to find a job, but your suggestion goes beyond the level of nonsense.

  318. 325 Tom
    July 1, 2008 at 06:48

    @ Bob of Queensland,


    Despite that, as soon as I was old enough to start making my own decisions, I ended up an atheist.

    Religion–and I mean every religion I’ve encountered–is about having faith without proof.

    Would I be correct to say that your position would be “agnostic” – that the existence of God and the afterlife is fundamentally unknowable?

    Atheism is the total rejection of the existence of god. This, like the belief of God, is a position that can never be definitively proven.

    Humans are by default religious. Life, for unknown* reason, is programmed to multiply at all cost. (* – maybe species that aren’t afraid of death have long since died out.) To assist with that all animal species fear death by instinct. (Honey bees die once they’ve stung something. They don’t use it for fun, but only to ensure the group’s survival.) As a self-aware species, questions such as “where do we come from?” and “where do we go after we die?” are central to our self-understanding. A mixture of curiosity, fear and the yearning for answers to these questions give rise to superstition and religion (if they aren’t the same thing). This is evident in the independent development of religious beliefs in all cultures past and present.

  319. 326 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 10:28

    @ Tom

    I used to say “agnostic” and, by your definition could still accept this label. As you say, since the existence of a god cannot be proven, neither can the non-existence.

    However, when you say humans are by default religious, I must be one of the exceptions to prove your rule. I don’t feel a need to believe “there must be something more” nor does it worry me to think that death is probably just a big “nothingness”. Of course I’d love to know where everything came from (even the big bang theory doesn’t say where the stuff that went “bang” came from) but my mind won’t buy an “all power god who always has been and always will be”. My next question is “okay, where did god come from”.

    In short, I share the same questions but find “god” a convenient cop out rather than an answer I can believe. Maybe I’m just too literal.

  320. December 16, 2008 at 22:43

    Very usefull post, i think i will use it.
    Thanks.

  321. 328 attertyFuro
    December 19, 2008 at 00:20

    Hi people

    As a fresh worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com user i just want to say hi to everyone else who uses this forum 😀

  322. 329 nomyunupT
    January 6, 2009 at 12:09

    What is bumburbia?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: