Blank Page no 25

Welcome to another Blank Page where we turn the WHYS agenda totally over to you. Will in Canada and Nelson in Nigeria are your hosts this weekend….


Hello every one, Welcome to the WHYS weekend blog. One of the aims of the blank page is to discuss news events and issues that could make the show next week. Here are a few suggestions to get our global conversation started …

South America rarely gets much coverage on WHYS but, hot on the heels of the tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions between the USA and several countries in the region comes news that talks are about to open between the government and opposition leaders in Bolivia in an attempt to end a serious dispute there:Is the USA so pre-occupied with it’s adventures around the world that it’s ignoring brewing problems in its own back yard?

In Nigeria, the “Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta” claims to have blown up a major pipeline belonging to Shell Oil: With the world reliance of oil, we’re used to thinking of governments as holding consumer countries toranson…but is this a new trend for rebel groups to use oil installations to hold their own governments to ransom? After all, it’s practically impossible to guard a whole pipeline or oil field.

As we’ve read, baby formula is off the menu in China due to poison creeping into the manufacture, but it now appears that breast milk is off the menu in Switzerland due to fears of causing offence: Most of us will recoil at the idea–but is there any real reason to be prudish about a woman selling her milk for general consumption? For that matter, would you want to eat a dish made with human milk?

Media Impartiality:Myth or reality?

This article should get you started. So do you trust your News source(s) to be impartial? If you dont, is it possible you are biased as this article suggests?

Over to you, and please kindly keep your posts on topic

362 Responses to “Blank Page no 25”

  1. 1 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    September 19, 2008 at 19:23

    When I was on the newspaper in school. I find today that the media has its agenda and wants us to go along. That is why I don’t watch the news except for the weather. The media needs to be writing the 5 W. (Who, What, When, Where, Why). Their own opinions should be on the editorial page.

  2. 2 Anthony
    September 19, 2008 at 19:23

    Nader is back, and in more states. Looks like trouble. Geez I hate this guy!!!

    I think Nader works for the McCain 08 campaign!!!


    -Anthony, LA, CA

    Also, when I talk to Nader supporters around L.A., they have NO IDEA about the real world, and live in a fantasy world where the air is more important than the U.S. not getting blown up!!!

  3. 3 Julie P
    September 19, 2008 at 19:25


    Like clock work every four years Nader goes off his meds and runs for president.

  4. 4 Julie P
    September 19, 2008 at 19:48

    How low could a person get to break into a house and steal money out of a child’s piggy bank while they sleep?


  5. 5 steve
    September 19, 2008 at 19:57

    More stories from the wonderful city of Brotherly love:


  6. 6 Julie P
    September 19, 2008 at 19:59

    Riot in over populated Mexican prison located in Tijuana kills 19.


  7. 7 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 19, 2008 at 20:26

    Hi everyone!

    @South America
    The Bolivian conflict is the result of social and economic inequalities due to Colonialism. Often, problems in Central and South America (including Mexico, that actually is part of North America) are rooted in the huge gap between rich and poor in the region.

    @Rebel groups blowing oil instalations
    Last year we have the same problem in Mexico. It is easy to do it and it attracts lots of media attention.

    @Women selling her milk for general consumption
    That is weird. I could understand if it was for the consumption of newborn babies, but for serving in a restaurant…. yuck!

    @Overpopulated Mexican prision
    It is so common… they are often overpopulated. Riots are somewhat frequent and people dying there too. I am not surprised.

  8. 8 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 19, 2008 at 20:30

    Did you know about the 7 persons killed in a Mexico Independence Day festivity by a grenade attack?


  9. 9 Jennifer
    September 19, 2008 at 20:49

    @ Media impartiality

    We have two leading newspapers here. You can tell by reading the articles which one is republican and which is democrat. As for t.v. news, I think it’s just ok here. My mom always listens to bbc news so I do too. I think there is a wider variety of news, but of course it’s biased too. It’s hard to keep bias out of anything. People only pay attention to what matters to them so an article or news segment could be unbiased but the reader put their own spin on it!

    @ Breast milk off the menu

    Breast milk is natural-but it’s for babies. I’d never eat anything that had breast milk in it and I can’t believe other people would.

  10. 10 Bryan
    September 19, 2008 at 20:50

    Media impartiality? don’t get me started!

    In December last year, the World Service picked up on the results of a suspect left-wing Israeli poll claiming that the majority of Israeli Jews were racist towards Israeli Arabs. The World Service broadcast this story on the hour and half-hour as the second most important story on its news broadcasts at least through an entire afternoon (I first tuned in around 13:00 UTC) and right up to close to midnight. The BBC was evidently trying to ensure that whoever tuned in from whatever time zone across the planet would hear about the poll. It was also considered imortant enough to be discussed in depth on World Briefing or a similar World Service programme. The poll also featured prominently on the BBC News website:


    Now people who rely on the BBC for their information will be surprised to learn that the Palestinians regularly conduct polls of their own and that these polls continually reveal much support among the Palestinians for terrorism against Israeli civilians. You have to scour the BBC for the proverbial needle in the haystack to find information on these polls simply because of the BBC’s avoidance of negative reporting on the Palestinians. It shows no such reluctance to highlight negative stories on the Israelis. Here’s a poll demonstrating majority Palestinian support for the terror attack in March this year on the Jerusalem seminary in which eight young Jewish students were brutally murdered by an Israeli Arab:


    Strange, the World Service was remarkably quiet about that poll and I didn’t see any evidence of it on the BBC website.

    Hell, but the BBC can’t be biased, right? So it must be me.

  11. 11 Bryan
    September 19, 2008 at 20:52

    Help, my post just got swallowed by the spam devouring monster.

  12. 12 Vijay
    September 19, 2008 at 20:56

    BBC Media bias?
    The BBC has a tie up with a private Venezuelan broadcaster to supply news from South and central america ,who aren’t exactly friends of Hugo Chavez,does this affect or effect their coverage ,not really.
    Re: Nigerian pipeline
    Have ordinary Nigerians benefited from oil ,erh no,whether it is the rebels or the government who are trying to extort protection money from Shell is immaterial ,if the cost of doing business becomes to high in places like Nigeria,Russia and India foreign companies and individuals just won’t bother to make investments.
    Re:Baby Milk
    I spoke to someone from Nestle India ,yesterday they wouldn’t even discuss the baby milk issue(milk contamination is rife in India too),they just gave me the company address and said put your question in writing and we will get back to you.

  13. 13 Vijay
    September 19, 2008 at 21:08

    Is the reason Mexico is relative failure, because they only take on board the worst elements of American(USA) culture?

  14. 14 Bryan
    September 19, 2008 at 21:16

    To add a brief note to my comment at 8:50 pm, those defending the BBC against accusations of bias often claim that there is “balance over time.” The BBC displayed no such balance in its skewed reporting on the Israeli and Palestinian polls.

    And anyone who claims such balance in BBC reporting on the US elections is going to have a hard time indeed proving it. By and large, the BBC has been indulging in excessive idolising of Barack Obama while occasionally having a brief and cynical look down its collective nose at McCain and Palin. There are one or two exceptions to that rule at the BBC, but they only serve to highlight the bias.

  15. 15 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 21:18

    well, feed the baboes beer if the milk is contaminated…….i mean it’s like liquid bread and we could fortify it with Vitamins……..

  16. September 19, 2008 at 21:26

    If the BBC ever gets to the biased state of FoxNews, Brian you will have a point.

  17. 17 steve
    September 19, 2008 at 21:26

    @ Bryan

    I think any talk of impartiality was lost when even the BBC stated that Alan Johnston was a friend of the Palestinian people. YOu can’t be a friend and be objective.

  18. 18 Vijay
    September 19, 2008 at 21:30

    @ jens
    Is you phd in in brewing or nutrition?

  19. 19 Julie P
    September 19, 2008 at 21:37


    I think Jens Ph.D. is in liquid bread for lunch!

  20. 20 Roberto
    September 19, 2008 at 21:39

    Is the USA so pre-occupied with it’s adventures around the world that it’s ignoring brewing problems in its own back yard?

    ———– No, the US has been deliberately and in a quite bipartisan manner is deliberately causing the problems by policies that would be described as poor in a healthy nation.

    The citizens of the US have proven unable to elect a government to rule effectively since the fall of the Soviet empire and half have abdicated their right to vote. Of all the western techo/industrial nations, the US is last in good health, longevity, and education while being first in healthcare costs, vehicle deaths, industrial accidents, and gun deaths. Sick folks don’t always make the best decisions at the ballot box or in Congress.

    Isolating the people of Cuba and creating drug cartels that brutally rule parts of Columbia, Bolivia, and Mexico makes no sense unless the policy is one to create chaos and anarchy.

  21. 21 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 19, 2008 at 21:39

    Could you elaborate more in your question? What do you mean by “they only take on board the worst elements of American(USA) culture”?

    I think we are a “failure” as a country because we don´t have a collective identity. Our collective identity is based on clichés.

  22. September 19, 2008 at 21:43

    CNN, Sky news,ITV, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS … so why pick on the BBC, while pointing a finger, people forget the remaining four point back at them. The audience could also be biased.

  23. 23 Roberto
    September 19, 2008 at 21:49

    RE Alan Johnston:

    ——– Obviously Mr. Johnston was never supposed to be an objective journalist in the traditional sense.

    There are few western reporters who wish to go to Palestinian territory, specifically the Gaza Strip to do exclusive stories on the Palestinian peoples. Plenty enough reporters in Israel able to present an objective report from the fringes of Palestine.

    Mr. Johnston was given very unusual access to everyday Palestinians and and his reports reflect the field conditions they exist in. Of course a group finally betrayed him by kidnapping and holding him for ransom. That too is a part of the Palestinian story and the reason western bureaus don’t wish to send reporters into what is one of the worst, most unpredictable war zones in the world.

    I’d say his reports are more credible than most of the schluck coming out of Fox News.

  24. September 19, 2008 at 21:51

    The scope of the media bias debate is NOT limited to BBC. Other print and electronic media exist. We are trying examine who is biased, is it the audience, the broadcasters, or both parties?

  25. 25 Vijay
    September 19, 2008 at 21:52

    I forgot to ask you about the role of Catholicism as a hindrance to progress .
    The UK does not have a collective identity,but still manages to provide mediocre education,health,electrcity,water and law to its diverse population.

    What do you think are the worst elements of US culture?
    Is there a worship of death in mexico or is it worship of ancestors?

  26. 26 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 21:58


    my PhD is in physiology/gastroenterology. well at least i know how the liquid lunch is taken up metabolized and then secreted. but i work know in cell biology/immunology and host-pathogen interactions…..

    i am kind of an allround bio guy having worked with stacks of different cells and bugs.

  27. 27 Dennis@OCC
    September 19, 2008 at 21:59

    @ Media Bias:
    All due respect, The BBC is not as biased as the FOX NEWS….

    @ PHD Remarks:
    where did u get your ph.d. from.

    @ Will and Nelson:
    Welcome to the MODERATORS table…


  28. 28 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 22:01

    julie P.

    you must have the wrong impression of me. i am a straight and narrow person, that’s me that is…..

  29. 29 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 22:02

    university of london, medical scool of St Bartholomew’s hospital, right by smithfields market.

  30. 30 Vijay
    September 19, 2008 at 22:05

    @Julie P
    Probaby Astronomy.
    Do people brew alcoholic beverages out of those sweet onions in Georgia USA.?

    @Nelson This is a BBC programme related blog therefore it is only natural that the organisations bias is discussed .

    In India the national broadcaster is called Doordarshan and its style is slightly staid.The Information and Broadcasting minister unsurprisingly gets a lot of coverage.

  31. 31 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 22:08


    it’s just a university. i see no harm in it

  32. 32 Julie P
    September 19, 2008 at 22:13


    I have yet to see any Vidalia wine, I have seen all kinds of sauces, dressings, and mutliple mutations of it, but not wine or any other alcoholic beverage. However, I am going to have say that I stay away from all onions. I have a deep disdain for onions. I don’t eat them. At all.

  33. 33 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 22:15

    nelson and will,

    i have already stated my degree. and dennis asked where that is all. i am currently indeed in the usa, in fact for the last 9 years and i graduated well over 10 years ago.

  34. 34 Jennifer
    September 19, 2008 at 22:16

    @ Nelson

    There is bias all around-from the audience and broadcasters both.

  35. 35 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 22:17


    yes St. barts is right by Smithfield’s meat market, the only place you can get a beer before 11 am, unless they changed it. The butchers would have a pint after work for breakfast in the adjascent pubs.

  36. 36 Vijay
    September 19, 2008 at 22:23

    I was dewormed (tapeworm and hookworm )in June.
    Last year I had thyphoid and parathyphoid.
    There was even a cholera outbreak in the next village last year,a couple of people died,the doctor it was because they were weak!.
    Home brewing is illegal in Punjab ,but do make alcohol for their own consumption from sugarcane jaggery.

  37. September 19, 2008 at 22:23

    This is not solely a BBC vs the rest debate. The question in the blog post asks do you trust your News source(s)? surely the BBC is not your only news source. You have local radio stations, television stations, blogs, newspapers etc. Is their coverage of news events objective?

  38. 38 Shirley
    September 19, 2008 at 22:25

    Green Cities
    By the time some of Green City posts went through, the Blank Page had already been set up. I just want to copy them here to give the topic a decent chance at being discussed.

    Ken Cockrel is giving an acceptance speech after having just been sworn in as Detroit's mayor (September 19, 2008 at 3:14 pm for TP19Sept). I cannot catch what he has said word for word, so the exact details might be a tad off, but the following is very close to a quotation. "We must also work together to promote a Green Detroit. Promoting a green agrenda will…not only save our city money, but also save our planet." Cockrel is founding member and former(?) chair of the Green Task Force.

    Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has announced a plan to dramatically slash emissions. The plan calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to three-fourths of 1990 levels by 2020. It’s the first step toward cutting emissions to one-fifth of 1990 levels by 2050, as called for in the 1997 Kyoto global warming protocols.

    Has any word come out on what kinds of plans are being made for rebuilding Galveston? Anything green in the air there? Detroit is not my city, but it is a major city in my region; and I think that it is exciting to see it planning green along with Chicago.

    What are other cities doing to help the environment? Is your city taking measures to go green (or greener)? Check out what Greensburg, Kansas has been doing. After being wiped out by a massive tornado, this small-town American community has been rebuilding everything to environmentally updated standards.

  39. 39 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 19, 2008 at 22:30


    I forgot to ask you about the role of Catholicism as a hindrance to progress .

    In fact it is a hindrance. I don´t blame the “religion” per se but rather the “interpretation of religion”.

    I think the problem of my country lies on:

    – It is a product of Colonialism. Social stratification is normal here with a hint of racism. Usually the “more white” or “less indigenous” are the ones in the high class. Also, it didn´t help that those who colonized Mexico (and the rest of Latin America) were soldiers and priests. Here the notion of “hard work” equals “punishment”.

    – It is a strong patriarchal society (and Catholicism does not help). Women are still behind men in all aspects of society.

    About : Is there a worship of death in mexico or is it worship of ancestors?

    There is a Santa Muerte cult. But usually the people that worship the Santa Muerte are not educated.

    We have the Day of Death, but there are different interpretations. For most of Mexicans is the day to remember those relatives and friends that have pass away.

  40. 40 Bryan
    September 19, 2008 at 22:33

    Will Rhodes September 19, 2008 at 9:26 pm
    Would be good if you could actually debate the point I made about the polls. How is that not biased on the part of the BBC?

    steve September 19, 2008 at 9:26 pm
    That whole Johnston saga revealed the BBC’s bias as nothing else could.

    Nelson September 19, 2008 at 9:43 pm
    I pick on the BBC because it is obliged by its charter to be impartial and it is publicly funded. It is probably fair to say that the majority of the British public does not fall into line with the BBC’s PC views. Why then should they pay for it? Yes the other media you mention are pretty biased as well but people are not forced to pay for them.

    And yes, the audience could be biased and often is. But that in itself does not mean that the media is not biased.

    Roberto September 19, 2008 at 9:49 pm
    Johnston was not credible at all. I listened to him frequently. He pumped out constant pro-Palestinian propaganda from Gaza for three years. Do you really imagine that the Palestinians would have tolerated his presence there for one second if he hadn’t?

    Dennis@OCC September 19, 2008 at 9:59 pm
    I regard the BBC as more biased than Fox. It is just more subtle about it.

  41. 41 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 22:33

    Apprently it is ethnic cleansing that reduced the violence in iraq…….so much for the surge that worked.


  42. 42 selena in Canada
    September 19, 2008 at 22:44


    I guess the lack of objectivity would apply to your comments about Israel, as well.

  43. 43 vijay
    September 19, 2008 at 22:44

    @Julie P
    Everyone eats onions in India(apart from the Jains and a few Hindhus on certain days).Onion and garlic eating tendency has been selected for genetically ,apparently they help fight disease.

  44. 44 Jennifer
    September 19, 2008 at 22:50

    We have two main newspapers here besides our dinky town paper. They are both very biased with which stories they cover, and the way they present articles. We have the local news and then the CBS news both of which are ok. Our local news is pretty unbiased however, it is very limited to our area. I think BBC gives more of a variety of stories. I wouldn’t say they are unbiased but at least they cover stories from around the world too.

  45. 45 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 22:51


    you sound like a walking disaster man. i used to and still due some gastroenetrology work, researching salmonella infections. funny i never realy thought about doing any microbiology research, but that has been my main thrust for the last 10 years. looks like your part of the world needs some ozonators to purify the water. we are blessed with clean water, although I caught travellers (E. coli) from the water supply in my house. You know we do life in a small community with our own well.

  46. 46 Jens
    September 19, 2008 at 22:53


    galvaston was not as badly hit as one would assume. i have several friends living there and none had damage to their houses.

  47. 47 Julie P
    September 19, 2008 at 23:00


    I know onions have wonderful health properties, like vitamin C. However, when I grew up my mother smothered absoultely everything in onions, the strongest kind she could find. I really grew to hate onions to the point where there is no reasoning with me. On the other hand, I love garlic.

  48. 48 vijay
    September 19, 2008 at 23:12

    Salmonella and EColi,I went to the my local egg seller and compalined that every time I ate his eggs I had stomach problems he just said boil your eggs don’t fry or scramble them.
    @LuzMa How important to women is Laura Ochoa
    see you guys it is 0345 sat 20th time to sleep.

  49. 49 Bryan
    September 19, 2008 at 23:16

    Nelson September 19, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    This is not solely a BBC vs the rest debate. The question in the blog post asks do you trust your News source(s)?

    OK it’s a fair point. Have a look at the New York Times as an example. I recall that they employed a black “journalist” a while back who turned out to be a fraud. But he worked there for quite some time. How come a bunch of worldly, cynical and hard-nosed editors and journalists did not notice earlier that he was simply producing fraudulent junk? It was PC junk and he was appointed on a PC basis, evidently without being properly checked out. It was far more important for the NYT to be politically correct than to ensure it was providing a decent service to its readers by properly checking this guy out.

    And how about the Guardian’s letter writing campaign to influence the voters of Ohio before the last election? Somehow I doubt they were influencing them to vote Republican.

    And how about France 2, which accepted the Mohammed al Dura footage and continued to insist, even in court, that it was genuine when it had been proven to be faked. We had Reuters publishing obviously faked photos during the Lebanon war two years ago to make it seem that destruction in Beirut was greater than it was in fact, and various media swallowing Hezbollah propaganda whole, as in the faked story of the Israelis attacking Red Cross ambulances.

    So no, I don’t trust news sources, though some are obviously better than others.

  50. 50 Shirley
    September 19, 2008 at 23:52

    Is there any real reason to be prudish about a woman selling her milk for general consumption?

    Unless you are a (Shia) Muslim, no. I cannot really think of any. And to be perfectly honest, I am not entirely certain that it is impermissible for us to consume human milk. I’d have to check. (Do I want to take the time out of my other projects to click, scroll, and read? No.)

    For that matter, would you want to eat a dish made with human milk?

    Personally, I cannot (as far as I know). Otherwise, why the heck not? It is such a *shrug* matter.

    People have the silliest hangups about nursing babies in public. The babies are eating for God’s sake. Do we insist that any other person take his meal to a restroom and eat there so as not to offend others? Give it a break, already!

    My family does not think it appropriate to nurse babies in public. I am so disappointed :(.

    Over to you, and please kindly keep your posts on topic.

    What topic? We have not been chastised to date for discussing every thing under the sun on our Blank pages and nearly everything under the sun in our TPs. If Mark had a problem with recipe exchanges, I am certain that we would have heard from him about it by now.

  51. 51 Shirley
    September 19, 2008 at 23:58

    Al Qaeda-type hackers got into the websites of many Shia Islamic scholars – tops guys like Sistani and Khamanei, etc. – and shut them down, emblazening some of the most vile, offensive, vulgar languages and images I have ever seen on the ghost-sites. I did not expect that to reach the news, but there it is (as linked) from the AP. I know of at least one website that they tried and failed to hack. If there are enough of them, and they are that organised, to carry out these kinds of massive internet attacks, are our scholars safe from them?

  52. 52 Bryan
    September 20, 2008 at 00:08

    selena in Canada September 19, 2008 at 10:44 pm


    I guess the lack of objectivity would apply to your comments about Israel, as well.

    This ain’t necessarily so. (Since Steve is absent I’ll take the liberty of replying for him.) I may support Israel, but I can still distinguish objectivity from bias. Anyone who makes an objective assessment of the BBC’s approach to Palestinian and Israeli polls, as I mentioned at 8:50 pm, can only come to one conclusion: the BBC is biased in favour of the Palestinians, at least in this instance. When this bias is seen to be repeated in countless other instances, then an objective conclusion that the bias is widespread can be arrived at.

    I have been following the BBC’s reporting on the Middle East closely for many years and I don’t make allegations of bias lightly. But nobody has to take my word for it. They can check it out the reporting for themselves. Better still, they can ask the BBC’s Middle East reporters and editors where they stand on the Israeli-Arab conflict. They are the ones who are endlessly pumping out the bias.

  53. 53 Shirley
    September 20, 2008 at 00:27

    Healthy Food
    47 Julie P September 19, 2008 at 11:00 pm
    I know onions have wonderful health properties, like vitamin C. … I really grew to hate onions to the point where there is no reasoning with me. On the other hand, I love garlic.

    Gralic has the same stuff as onions, only stronger. I Do not know about the vitamin C. However, quercitin, an anti-inflammatory compound that also helps reduce allergy symptoms, occurs in higher concentrations in garlic than it does in onions. Garlic also has citral, kaempferol, linalool, and rutin, all of which (in addition to quercitin) double as anti-histamines and anti-viral/anti-microbial compounds. In fact, garlic has many sulfur compounds that are anti-viral/anti-bacteial/anti-fungal/antiseptic. Citral and linalool also serve as decongestant/expectorant compounds. Garlic stabalises blood sugars and prevents blood glucose levels from becoming too high, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and opens the air assanges in the lungs. It is an amazing herb and an amazing medicine. I owe my present lack of serious and chronic infection to the massive quantities that I injested uppon returning home to my family last year.

    In particularly strong medicinal quantities, garlic can (but not always does) cause gastric upset. This can be alleviated with cinnamon for gas or ginger for nausea. Of course, we also have mylanta and pepto bismol, but what the hay. Oddly enough, ginger has many of the same counpounds as does garlic – just in diffrent quantities, repsectively; and it has other compounds that alleviate nausea, pain, inflammation, cramping (woman’s best friend), etc. And I dearly wish that Lubna coul get her hands on it, as it would help to ease her anxiety, nervousness, and sense of hopelessness, even if only in part. Lubna? Zinjabeel? Yes? No?

    Both garlic and ginger have immense benefits for the immune system. Oh, someone stop me already! Or ask me more questions :).

  54. 54 Count Iblis
    September 20, 2008 at 00:37

    I think that Bryan’s posts here demonstate very clearly why we have biased news sources like FOX NEWS: There is a demand for it.

    There are many right wing people like Bryan who are offended by neutral reporting about the Israeli Palestinian conflict, about relations with Russia and the West, about Iran, about the US, etc. etc.

  55. September 20, 2008 at 00:37

    Re: Media impartiality. In the state where I school, the father of the immediate past governor has a radio and television station in that same state. Funny enough, his stations regularly criticized his son’s policies and pointed out numerous failings in his administration and praised him when necessary, however the state owned broadcaster never found fault in what the governor did. Mind you father and son have an excellent relationship.

  56. 56 Shirley
    September 20, 2008 at 00:43

    Galveston pics:






    Some got lucky; many did not.

    And this is a heart-breaker.

  57. 57 Shirley
    September 20, 2008 at 00:43

    @ mods
    My last post has many links. Can you fish it out of spam, please? Thank you.

  58. 58 Jack Hughes
    September 20, 2008 at 00:58

    To those who claim the BBC is unbiased and impartial here is a challenge.

    Please show me a web page in which the BBC covers all shades of opinion about man-made global warming / climate change.

    The only opinion I can find in the BBC output is this:

    1) MMGW is a fact and the only solution is the Al-Gore mix of windmills, carbon trading, Kyoto, etc etc.

    I have never ever seen on the BBC any of the following views which are equally plausible and held by lots of people:

    2) MMGW is not as bad as the scare-mongers claim and if we all do a little bit we’ll be OK.

    3) MMGW is a fact and we cannot stop it so lets just party on.

    4) MMGW is a fact but the solutions on the table are nowhere near drastic enough and we need something very radical like mass sterilisation and banning all cars this week.

    5) MMGW is like a really bad episode of Horizon (a trashy doco in the UK) that’s gone out of control and infected the political and chatterring classes.

    6) MMGW is not a fact at all so just shut up and leave us all alone.

    7) The Lomberg view – MMGW could hurt in 50 years time, but resources spent on it today should be spent on hunger / malaria, etc.

    OK – please find these opinions covered on the BBC and post up some links. Now.

  59. 59 Julie P
    September 20, 2008 at 01:07


    I hate onions. Period. You will never be able to reason with me over it. I cannot stand the way they taste, feel in mouth, or look on a plate. I was forced to eat copious amounts of something I did not like as a child that grew into a life long disdain for them. As an adult I grew to like garlic, but not onions. I would rather have bamboo shoots stuck up under my finger nails than to eat onions.

    I do find what you wrote about garlic interesting. You just won’t catch me with an onion.

  60. 60 Count Iblis
    September 20, 2008 at 02:05

    Jack, you highlight another important aspect of this debate about neutrality. The people who attack the media because of left wing bias often say that both sides are not given equal space. In case of climate change you’ll almost never see any reports about the skeptics’ arguments.

    I think that this is the right thing to do. Neutrality should not mean giving both sides an equal voice. You report on the evidnce. So, you give all the evidence the same exposure. In case of climate change, that means that you let science reporters read the published articles in the top sciencific journals.

    All these scientific aricles are given equal weight when making news reports on clmate change. It just happens to be the case that the skeptics are unable to get their arguments published. That says a lot about the quality of their arguments; it’s mostly pseudoscientific junk science.

    Of course, the BBC, being neutral, won’t pass any judgement about the skeptics like I just did. They just report on the science in a neutral way. And, by definition, science is what is published in the leading peer reviewed journals, not what someone, climate skeptic, scientist or your grandmother, writes on his/her blog.

  61. 61 Amy
    September 20, 2008 at 02:10


    You realize that the gauntlet has now been thrown down….it will be everyone’s quest, should we ever have a WHYS congress (see how I worked that back in everyone!) to figure out a way to get you to eat onions 🙂

  62. 62 Julie P
    September 20, 2008 at 02:16


    Forget it. It will never happen.

  63. 63 Shirley
    September 20, 2008 at 02:46

    Healthy Foods
    59 Julie P September 20, 2008 at 1:07 am
    Don’t worry, Julie – garlic is more potent. I just don’t know about vitamin C content; but we get that from citrus fruit, so no worries at all. Whatever people tell you to eat onions for, just have garlic instead :).

  64. 64 Vijay
    September 20, 2008 at 03:16

    @Julie P
    If you use Tomato kethcup then already eat onions,onions and garlic are in nearly every processed food you care to mention.

  65. September 20, 2008 at 03:47

    thought exercise.

    O.J. Simpson is on trial. He says, and nobody seems to be disputing it, that he went into the hotel of some guy who had stolen his stuff. If it is OJ’s stuff, is it OK that he went to take it back? We all know the cops all probably would have laughed if he had told them.

  66. September 20, 2008 at 04:09

    The BBC is biased!! every opinion i can find on the web says that the Earth is round. Where is the opinion of the “Flat Earthers”
    2 pts extra if you can tell me where the website comes from.

    They are also biased against crime. Every report on is portrays it in a bad light!!

    They totally blame the wind for every hurricane!

    Get this they claim the poor,,,,, Have no money.

    They often site biased data that is spewed out by the 8 million scientist and gardeners that say life on Earth is carbon based. You can not find any opposing argument from the three scientists who say that we are methane based.

    They always treat this world as reality and never give equal time to the people who believe the dream world is real and this is the illusional dimension!!

    Hold on, It gets worse. With out proof they seem to be just accepting that just because X=2 that 1X+2X=6.

  67. September 20, 2008 at 04:21

    65 Dwight from Cleveland September 20, 2008 at 3:47 am
    If it is OJ’s stuff, is it OK that he went to take it back?

    More than OK. It was probably not a brilliant idea, however, to use physical force to retrieve his goods.
    Freedom Is Delicious. Je suis arrivée.

  68. 68 Bob in Queensland
    September 20, 2008 at 04:30

    Morning All!

    Re: Media Bias

    I’m probably going to regret getting involved, but a couple of comments:

    First, from the debate so far, I wonder how many have actually read the article linked to? It strikes me as a pretty intelligent and balanced piece and, at the risk of over simplification, says that 99% of bias claims are far more due to bias in the view/listener than bias by the broadcaster. If you haven’t read it, I commend it.

    Second, and supporting the article, I find it significant that the loudest claims of bias on the blog come from posters with the most polarised views themselves.

  69. 69 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 04:53

    Well, it seems that since people are biased, they look for media that thinks as they do and they are not so interested in the truth.
    So, here is a question: Is there a new media or even one journalist whom you **don’t always agree with** but who you think does some fair and accurate reporting?????
    Vote for your fave journalist and one worthy of the “Truth and accuracy award.” I remember reading Michael Finkle’s story of a man who impersonated him.
    He also talked about doctoring photos, places and experiences to have a good story.
    My memory is not the greatest, but I think that he was from the New York times, also.
    But, I could be wrong, it could have been another leading US media source.

  70. 70 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 04:53

    Since breastmilk does have certain chemicals that are good for the immune system and not even formula can reproduce these, I don’t think that it is wrong for women to cell their milk. I would, however, want to make sure that the woman was not drinking alcohol or taking drugs while she is pumping the milk.

  71. 71 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 04:54

    Hey shirley, that post
    “Al Qaeda-type hackers
    got into the websites of many Shia Islamic scholars,”
    Might prove that all muslims are not bent on religious domination, otherwise, Al Qaeta would not have shut down Islamic scholars.
    Anyone who possesses this belief want to take a stab at this one?

  72. 72 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 04:55

    I enjoy garlic and onions and cook with them daily! Cinnamon is also a fave, but have to take that ginger in small doses.
    I know a woman who purees her onions and puts them into everything. Her children can’t even taste them, but she can and knows that they are there.
    Julie P., you can’t see them or feel them in your mouth. And, I don’t know, you might not be able to smell or taste them.

  73. 73 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 05:01

    human milk,
    I do know a woman who makes dishes with her human milk for her family. But, breastmilk does have a certain smell and taste to it.
    ok, I don’t know about taste, but smell.
    So, it would be an acquired taste, anyway.
    Yet, there was a story awhile back, can’t remember where it was, but a woman gave breastmilk to her 92yo grandmother and it improved her immune system etc. Jens, Pangolin, others… …. …?
    Am I the only one who read it?
    If so, I might have to scower the net.

  74. 74 1430a
    September 20, 2008 at 05:08

    hello everyone,
    well i am not so sure if the BBC is partial.I mean they would never call so far as Bangladesh to take the views of a 16year old student if they were ‘Partial’.so its not a great idea to tag them as’Partial’.But yes the points presented by some of the bloggers above are correct and cannot be undermined.
    Thank you

    I have noticed that many people have their pictures on their blog spot.Could you kindly tell me how to have my picture here?Not that i am very handsome but i would love people to see me.hehe.

  75. 75 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 05:18

    I can’t post the link, so am trying to cut/paste some important parts of the article.

    New ADA
    Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:30 am (PDT)
    Congress Passes Bill With Protections for Disabled By ROBERT PEAR WASHINGTON
    – Congress gave final approval on Wednesday to a major civil rights bill,
    expanding protections for people with disabilities and overturning several
    recent Supreme Court decisions.

    The bill expands the definition of disability and makes it easier for
    workers to prove discrimination. It explicitly rejects the strict standards
    used by the Supreme Court to determine who is disabled.

    Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, the principal
    Republican sponsor in the House, said, “Courts have focused too heavily on
    whether individuals are covered by the law, rather than on whether
    discrimination occurred.”

    Lawmakers said that people with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, multiple
    sclerosis and other ailments had been improperly denied protection because
    their conditions could be controlled by medications or other measures. In a
    Texas case, for example, a federal judge said a worker with epilepsy was not
    disabled because he was taking medications that reduced his seizures.

    So, after reading this, there are some questions that I have for the WHYS blogging community.
    1. have you ever hired or managed or even worked with a disabled person? If not hired, what were your concerns?
    2. What was your experience?
    3. How well did they do their job? And, did you find them conparable to other workers?
    4. Would you hire another disabled person: Why or why not.

    Have we heard from Kelsie, lately???

  76. 76 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 05:20

    I meant for that last sentence to go in a different post.
    But, Have we heard from Kelsie in Houston?
    I hope that she is well!

  77. 77 Dennis@OCC
    September 20, 2008 at 05:33

    I personally do not eat raw onions that much….

    I hope that any person is guilty of this sort of activity…Deserves
    a right and correct punishment.

    The world has not given that part of the world…Not much attention. [please accept my apologies for how its worded….


  78. 78 Dennis@OCC
    September 20, 2008 at 05:38

    I thought this story, pass away…Thanks goodness it didn’t go away….I am working on my location and will announced …SHORTLY…

    Media bias, is a common thing…Because it is humans doing the work and not machines….

    [Sorry for the extra posts…I am having internet problems.]


  79. 79 Dennis@OCC
    September 20, 2008 at 05:46

    Over to you, and please kindly keep your posts on topic.

    What topic? We have not been chastised to date for discussing every thing under the sun on our Blank pages and nearly everything under the sun in our TPs. If Mark had a problem with recipe exchanges, I am certain that we would have heard from him about it by now.

    In the past few days, i have had some problems with a certain moderator here also, about personal messages! and i have referred him to Kate McGough on BBC WHYS Producer.

    We have not had a topic line-up on BLANK PAGE and or TALKING POINT since i have been on the blogs…I have to agreed with Shirley, that if Mark Sandell or Ros Atkins, had some many problems about exchanges or personal messages…then one of them should send a FULL message on the BBC WHYS
    Blank Page and Talking Points; and also..include it in the DAILY TALKING POINTS [Emails]….

  80. September 20, 2008 at 05:57

    Using WordPress
    How does one make blog entries on one’s WordPress blog? I am able to access the dashboard but do not know where to go from there.

  81. 81 Dennis@OCC
    September 20, 2008 at 05:57

    I hope Kelsie is OK…
    Now i have a question to ASK:
    Does your country requires you to vote or not?


  82. September 20, 2008 at 06:07

    71 jamily5 September 20, 2008 at 4:54 am
    Hey shirley, that post "Al Qaeda-type hackers got into the websites of many Shia Islamic scholars," Might prove that all muslims are not bent on religious domination, otherwise, Al Qaeda would not have shut down Islamic scholars.

    The reasons that they hacked our websites is because they consider us to be infidels. They hate our guts and would happily kill us on sight.
    Freedom Is Delicious. Je suis arrivée.

  83. September 20, 2008 at 06:11

    Updated ADA
    (75 jamily5 September 20, 2008 at 5:18 am)
    Jamily, I am so glad that the bill was finally passed. It really seems to open the doors of opportunity to even more people and provide an even more secure safety net for them if they are faced with discrimination.
    Freedom Is Delicious. Je suis arrivée.

  84. 84 Jack Hughes
    September 20, 2008 at 06:20

    Hi Bob,

    The first piece (meejah helping meejah) describes an impartial news service without saying if one actually exists. It also skips any mention of mechanisms, checks and balances that may be needed to keep everyone on-side in this hypothetical newstopia.

    The 2nd piece is interesting to read. Blaming the audience is a new and fascinating tactic.

    But there is some truth, buried in there. People tend to choose a newspaper that reflects their own views back to them. The paper reinforces and never challenges their views – in fact it probably plays a big part in shaping their views. Especially on subjects where they have no first hand evidence – eg the middle east, global yawning, hurricane katrina.

    So maybe the people on here who are so keen to play down the BBC’s many biases are really just defending their own views – which are reflected back to them and partially shaped by the BBC.

    It’s like riding a bike on a windy day – you don’t notice a back-wind, but turn in a different direction and you soon feel the headwind.

    The big problem here is that unlike newspapers, everyone in the UK with a TV has to pay for the BBC. It’s like having to pay for the Guardian every day even if you want to read the Daily Mail.

  85. 85 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 06:21

    “Over to you, and please kindly keep your posts on topic”

    “82 Responses to “Blank Page no 25”’

    Er, um, well, if the :topic” is a “Blank Page”, um, well, gee, er, I guess I should leave this blank.


  86. September 20, 2008 at 06:30


    @ hiring the disabled

    I once hired a young man back in the mid-eighties, who had schizophrenia. He lived in a group home a few blocks from my business. My concerns were that he stay on his medications, and not get involved with all the crack heads in the neighborhood.

    I liked Keith. I read up on his problem. I visited the outfit that was managing him after I noticed early signs of tardive dyskinesia . But he was unreliable, plus there was a great deal of drama surrounding him, and his housemates. I fired him after he took off, and drove one of my work vans from DC to NYC, and then called me with a story that he had been kidnapped and forced to drive up there at gunpoint.

    He worked for me for nine months. Keith wasn’t comparable to any worker I ever had. I would hire a disabled person again, but it would depend of course on the job, and the person’s qualifications.

  87. 87 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 06:30

    @Jennifer September 19, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    @ Breast milk off the menu

    Breast milk is natural-but it’s for babies. I’d never eat anything that had breast milk in it and I can’t believe other people would.

    No cheese? No yogurt? No cows milk?

    Oh wait, you just mean human womans breast milk.

  88. 88 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 06:37

    Years ago Nestle gave out free samples of their then new Simulac (?) as a test to new mothers down somewhere in Central America. But the new mothers could not afford to buy it and too late they found out that their breast milk had dried up and so their babies died.

  89. 89 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 06:58

    @ Jack Hughes September 20, 2008 at 12:58 am

    “To those who claim the BBC is unbiased and impartial here is a challenge.”

    No responsible journalist is obliged to present the “opinions” of wackos.

    OK, Faux news does have that responsibility but that comes down from their owner, Merde-och.

  90. 90 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 07:14

    @ Dennis@OCC September 20, 2008 at 5:46 am

    “In the past few days, i have had some problems with a certain moderator here also, about personal messages! and i have referred him to Kate McGough on BBC WHYS Producers.

    I have to very agreed with Shirley, that if Mark Sandell or Ros Atkins, had some many problems about exchanges or personal messages…then one of them should send a FULL message on the BBC WHYS
    Blank Page and Talking Points; and also..include it in the DAILY TALKING POINTS [Emails]….”

    Ahem. Is there a second thread of conversation going on here behind the scenes?

  91. 91 Katharina in Ghent
    September 20, 2008 at 07:35

    Good morning everyone!

    @ Tom / Nestle

    I guess this is what’s called “opening new markets”. Too bad that Nestle didn’t do their market research properly and opened a market that couldn’t afford their products. I also remember that back in the eighties they sent milkpowder to Africa as support for some starving region, ignoring the fact that the mothers there didn’t have access to clean water… I was a kis back then, so my memory is a bit fussy, but maybe some of our older contributors still remember this story?

  92. 92 Katharina in Ghent
    September 20, 2008 at 07:41

    @ staying on topic:

    Well, I love the BP expecially because it’s a very open forum and almost everything can be discussed, including onions and naptimes. But I have to admit that when I host the BP and do research on possible topics to be discussed and write a nice intro and then nobody appears to even read it and the whole weekend is spent discussing something else, then .. sniff … that hurts … my ego. There, I admit it! So I’m very proud that this weekend people actually discuss topics from the hosts, well done!

  93. 93 Bryan
    September 20, 2008 at 08:00

    I note that nobody on this blog will debate the points I made at 8:50 pm yesterday.

    Instead we get the usual stale old accusations that it must be my bias that is colouring my perceptions of bias.

    On that note, I found this observation from the linked article to be generalization quite breathtaking in its arrogance:

    It should also not be forgotten that it is actually the audience who are the most opinionated, prejudiced and biased party [my emphasis] in this whole relationship between broadcasters, political bodies and those receiving the ‘finished product’. Every individual has their own set of political beliefs, opinions and preconceptions about the world, and use this as the starting point for everything they see and hear over the airwaves.

    Where is the evidence for this belief? Why is it assumed that the audience is more biased than those allegedly bringing the audience the news?

    Jack Hughes makes good points at 12:58 am and 6:20 am. Is anyone here (apart from Count Iblis) going to take up his challenge and debate them? Or are you all going to simply dismiss him and claim, without bringing any evidence to the table, that his points have no validity and he must be biased and deluded to challenge the BBC?

    At 10:44 pm I pointed out that anybody who makes an objective assessment of the BBC’s radically different treatment of Israeli and Palestinian polls can only conclude that the BBC is biased in favour of the Palestinians, at least in this regard. The poll that reflected negatively on the Israelis was conducted by a suspect Israeli organisation with a subversive agenda; the poll that reflected negatively on the Palestinians was conducted by a Palestinian organization respected for the quality of its work and its objectivity. Yet the BBC ignored the Palestinian poll and trumpeted the results of the Israeli poll from the rooftops for at least half a day. This is not bias? Please.

  94. 94 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 08:11

    Katharina in Ghent September 20, 2008 at 7:35 am

    “Good morning everyone!

    @ Tom / Nestle

    I guess this is what’s called “opening new markets…”

    “Test markets” if I recall correctly; third worlders don’t have the laws and regulations that the first worlders do and since some corporations like Nestle place a very low value on their human lives, that is an inexpensive place to test. Very conservative corporation, that Nestle! Dead babies? That’s No Problem for Conservatives as long as they’re already born.

    Post postpartum abortions, that’s Kool with Konservatives!

  95. 95 Bryan
    September 20, 2008 at 08:12

    jamily5 September 20, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Have we heard from Kelsie in Houston?

    I hope that she is well!

    Problems with power, I think. I also thought Kelsie was a she, but he is a he.

    jamily5 September 20, 2008 at 4:53 am

    So, here is a question: Is there a new media or even one journalist whom you **don’t always agree with** but who you think does some fair and accurate reporting?????

    Yes, and strangely enough he is on the BBC and currently doing some interesting and balanced reporting, believe it or not, on the US elections. I don’t want to name him because that might negatively affect his career at the BBC. (That’s a joke….or, hang on, is it?)

  96. 96 rick
    September 20, 2008 at 08:17

    On bias
    told you so Bryan. only this article said it in a more elequent and articulate way.
    @ Jack
    climate change/global warming are proven so what is the point of giving nutters equal time?

  97. 97 Katharina in Ghent
    September 20, 2008 at 08:21

    @ Tom

    Did you ever read the book or see the movie “The Constant Gardener” by John Le Carre? I know it’s a novel and “any similarities to any persons living or dead are unintentional”, but I found it very, very scary how close to reality it came. I think that a lot of things that the big Pharmaceuticals etc. are doing in the Third World just never make it into our media, and that generally speaking, “conscience” is only a word to them, and not a good one at that.

  98. 98 Bob in Queensland
    September 20, 2008 at 08:22

    @ Bryan

    You ask why nobody is debating the very specific points you made at 8:50PM. I don’t propose to get into your specifics but I’ll at least try to explain WHY I don’t.

    Your debating tactic is to post links to specific stories which you say prove a level of bias in the BBC. This immediately puts anyone who disagrees with you–as I do–on the back foot. As I’m sure you know, it’s virtually impossible to prove a negative. You can provide one link, possibly out of context, that “proves” the BBC is biased against McCain…or Israel…or whatever you wish to debate and your task is done. I could provide a hundred links to items which seem balanced to me and that still doesn’t prove there is NEVER bias. Case closed. In your mind, you win. I’ve debated this with you before and just don’t feel it’s worth going there again.

    I’m personally happy that the BBC is gives as balanced a view of world as one can reasonably expect from any media outlet. As such, I’m happy to use it as my prime source (but not only source) of broadcast news. If you’re as displeased as you seem, perhaps you ought to take up the matter with your MP (if you’re British) or at least their Board of Governors if you’re not. A generalised discussion of media bias as suggested by this weekend’s moderators is entirely valid. Yet another exercise in alternately bashing and defending the BBC (on a BBC site!) strikes me as a poor way to spend my time.

  99. 99 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 08:26

    @ Bryan

    On bias.

    Were you just recently born?

    Bias exists! You have to use many different sources, comparing all of them and most importantly, ask yourself “what is being left out, what voice is not being heard?”

    My suspicion is that the BBC has gotten too conservative over the time that Conservatism has taken power in the Western World, just like the American media, NPR has certainly moved to the right.

    You demand non-bias of people and organizations that are inherently biased, I’d suggest that you just recognize bias and look hard for differing views.

    You’re not going to get “Red Rudy” from BBC, nor Adolph Hitler, you’re going to get somewhere in between, some attempt to be in the middle.

  100. 100 Bob in Queensland
    September 20, 2008 at 08:37

    @ Bryan

    Having just said I don’t wish to debate specifics with you, I AM going to talks about one thing: the so-called “Johnston saga”.

    On numerous occasions you have repeated the quote about “Johnston being a friend to Palestine” out of context and offered it as conclusive proof of an anti-Israeli bias there. This is simply not the case. I could just as easily offer the fact that the BBC have a major bureau with multiple reporters and crews in Israel but only (at that time) a single reporter in Gaza as evidence that the beeb were being anti-Palestinian.

    The fact of the matter is that Johnston was only a “friend of the Palestinians” in the context that he was one of the few western reporters covering the conflict from the Gaza side and reflecting the views there. In a world where nobody is reporting from the Palestinian side, ANYBODY giving an honest view from Gaza would have to be considered a friend. Couple this to the fact that the quote was made when the BBC was trying to arrange his release from captivity and there will be some inevitable hyperbole in putting a positive spin (to the Palestinians) on his position.

    Finally, if you’re at all interested, you may choose to read THIS PIECE about Johnston’s philosophy of reporting. An excerpt is as follows:

    But the aim is absolutely not to smother the story with a search for some sort of formulaic, 50/50-style balance. If the truth is that the Israelis, or the Palestinians, have simply acted appallingly, then of course that is exactly what the piece must end up saying.

    Is telling the truth even if it puts one side or another in a bad light an example of bias? I think not.

  101. 101 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 08:37

    @ Katharina in Ghent

    On John Le Carre.

    No, I read his earlier stuff but not that one, great writer in my opinion.

    But I have been aware of those kinds of issues and am constantly appalled at the disregard for human lives by people who run corporations.

    After all we do have a Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a Declaration of the Rights of a Child, among others that we can use as guidelines at least, even if they are not well enforced.

    There is no excuse!

  102. September 20, 2008 at 08:49

    Lol, I think I thoroughly addressed Jack’s points @4:09.

    This does demonstrate a point about conversation, understanding Sarcasm , and cultural variations can make people feel sources are biased. There is nothing to debate when people refuse to accept hard facts and data results as reality.

    On global warming I have reduced to giving 1 explanation to the non-believers. I no longer debate the reality of MMGW. How to correct it, yes.

    Her is the one explanation. For billions of years the earth has self regulated it’s heat exchange. Absorbing heat from the sun and releasing it back through the atmosphere. The exchange is a flow of constant kinetic energy. Oil and fossil fuels are “potential energy” It is energy that was not involved in this process for millions of years. The automobile has only been around for 100 years. There are twice as many people on earth now as there was in 1965. The affect of these two facts have been profound on that natural heat exchange. Next time you are comfortable under your covers. Invite another person to join you in bed and bring an extra blanket.

  103. 103 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 08:49

    @ Bob in Queensland

    I think that all too often people want a cheerleader for their side, like Fox news is for the American Conservatives and when they run into a news organization that attempts to present all sides of a story in as unbiased a way as possible they just kind of freak out. They’re just totally lost out in the real world.

  104. 104 Tom D Ford
    September 20, 2008 at 09:00

    @ Dwight from Cleveland

    On MMGW

    Thing I think of is that very thin shell of atmosphere that surrounds the earth, that is what we have caused to heat up and change our weather, climate and prospects.

    The actual entire planet earth won’t change much just that very small portion that supports our lives.

    We live in a very thin layer that is livable, we are really very fragile in reality because of our requirements for very small temperature range, breathable atmosphere, climate and the rest.

  105. 105 Pangolin- California
    September 20, 2008 at 09:15

    @ Vijay

    Look up the information on ceramic water filters on the net. Here’s a project called http://pottersforpeace.org that makes filters using village level technology. Any village potter with good clay screens could make one of these.

    Also it might be good to investigate the possibility of using Ganges river water to set up a phage inoculation step in your drinking water system. Maybe Jens can help. Phages are virus that kill bacteria in water supplies. It’s important that the water from the Ganges be kept cool and dark while it is transported.

    Buy eggs from someone else, he’s feeding his chickens wrong.

    @ Jens

    There is supposed to be some relatively benign gut parasite that suppresses auto-immune disorders. Could you tell me what that is? Or is this bogus?

  106. 106 Bob in Queensland
    September 20, 2008 at 09:20

    Re: Media Bias

    Getting away from the BBC for a moment, I’m wondering how much commercial pressures affect the news agenda for your local sources?

    In my town (actually a city of 100,000) it’s pretty much possible for advertisers to buy their way onto the news. A prime example is a local fishing tackle shop (with the amazing name of “Mullet Gut Marine”) sponsors the news….and then gets asked to provide a regular “what fish are biting” report. Similarly, a local gym advertises…and then gets interviewed for any physical fitness segments.

    I won’t even mentioned coverage of “the world’s largest hamburger” story about a restaurant who just happens to advertise regularly!

    Is small town Australia alone, or is this common elsewhere?

  107. September 20, 2008 at 09:25


    I agree and understand. The next question is what to do about it. It is a world problem. Should it be controlled by market forces, diplomatic force, or even some kind of physical force? Do we lead by example, or should we try to get everybody on board of one global agreement and make the change all at once?

    Personally, I think we should make all of our trading partners have to adhere to the environmental standards that we have to here in the US. That would do two things. It would address environmental hypocrisies, plus it would level the playing field for the American worker. Currently you can pay millions of dollars to meet environmental standards (and they are not even that great) here in the US, or you can move your factory to Mexico or China where they tend to not be so concerned about the environment.

  108. 108 Pangolin- California
    September 20, 2008 at 09:30

    @ Global Sustainability

    This is an important (to me) little explanation that shows us exactly how small our portion of the world is. Please follow the link…

    My little world (and yours, too) Your share of the world
    Posted by Michael Tobis on Gristmill

    “Imagine, as a thought experiment, that everyone on the planet had the same share of the world’s resources. It turns out your share is about six acres (2.5 hectares) of dry land.

    Now imagine if that were your whole world. How would you treat it?” continues….

  109. 109 Katharina in Ghent
    September 20, 2008 at 10:15

    @ Pangolin

    I read your link with great interest, it’s a very good article. I liked the part where he leaves economists out of the equation. IMO, the economist would start buying good farmable land from his neighbours, exploit it to the point where the land is useless and then sell it back at a profit, thinking that he’s “better off” now. When nobody’s land can produce food anymore, we’ll see who “won”…

  110. 110 rick
    September 20, 2008 at 10:19

    @ Dwight
    I have been a greenie for 35 years. Now that the rest of the world is starting to wake up it is probably too late. The people fighting to save the planet as we know it are fighting against a jugernaught of personal greed. Every other issue facing mankind pales into insignificance.
    I am sad for the loss of biodiversity.
    I am sad for the world I leave my children.
    Forget it, we have lost.

  111. 111 Pangolin- California
    September 20, 2008 at 10:20

    @ Bolivia- As a US citizen I would have to say that the Bolivian government is probably correct in accusing the US of promoting problems in it’s oil and gas fields. It’s just a protection racket writ large. As the US doesn’t have the resources to swat Bolivia and Venezuela right now it can only fume and poison the well.

    @ Nigeria- It’s my totally unsupported hypothesis that oil producers in one region profit from pipeline disruptions in somebody else’s region. The NIgerian rebel attacks on oil facilities seem to have remarkable market timing. Just maybe, somebody is financing these attacks.

    @ Breast milk- If women are allowed to work in factories with toxics, and they are, why can’t they sell their breast milk? Economics expose us all to risk. A dozen years back when the ex-wife was feeding the babes and they went to sleep I would um, help relieve the pressure. Tastes like slightly sweet 1% milk. I’m not sure what it did for my health but it did wonders for my, um, ego.

  112. September 20, 2008 at 10:26

    87 Tom D Ford September 20, 2008 at 6:30 am
    Breast milk is natural-but it’s for babies.

    So? Cow’s milk is for babies, too – cow babies. We are the only species of animal that goes out of our way to drink the mammary secretions of another species.

  113. September 20, 2008 at 10:37


    Sorry to hear you are so discourage, but quit isn’t in my nature. what ever the creating force is, it didn’t make me very pretty, none too smart either, many are more physically capable. I was left with determination.

  114. 114 Jack Hughes
    September 20, 2008 at 10:43

    Hi Rick,

    Tell us about your green lifestyle, please.

    Do you have a car ?
    Do you eat meat ?
    Do you have holidays ?

    Is your lifestyle green enough ? Could the planet sustain 6 billion Ricks ?

  115. 115 Katharina in Ghent
    September 20, 2008 at 10:49

    @ Breast milk

    Breast milk is something very special… for babies. There are already too many women in this world who opt to not feed their babies this special milk, for pure convenience or optical reasons. (I’m not going against women who cannot feed their babies for serious reasons, but sagging boobs are not valid. ) Are we now becoming a society that denies their babies something essential, while some fancy cook can’t think of something else to cook with??? I think I’ll retire to my little asteroid now…

  116. 116 Julie P
    September 20, 2008 at 12:13


    Go here to start your own blog.


  117. 117 Robert
    September 20, 2008 at 12:19

    Re On Topic

    I thought the point of the BP and TP was that we decide the topics. If we want to spend some time debating a light topic like what makes the best pasta source so be it. There is more to life than just the big and often depressing stories that dominate most media and discussions forums.

  118. 118 Pangolin- California
    September 20, 2008 at 12:25

    @ Rick

    I offer a little sliver of hope here. and here. Anyone with as little as a potted plant or acces to a bit of brownfields or waste land can make a permanent (on human scale) improvement to the soil and sequester atmospheric carbon.

    Simply crush some natural charcoal (not briquets) and cover enough dirt with it that the charcoal is 1cm deep. Then till it into that patch of soil. You can add more if you like. That soil is now a permanent carbon sequestration and it will grow plants more readily than the surrounding soil. Forever.

    Simple as that. If you garden at all it’s a miracle what it does to soil.

  119. 119 Bryan
    September 20, 2008 at 12:49

    Bob in Queensland September 20, 2008 at 8:22 am,

    You do me a disservice. You know very well that I don’t base my evidence on one article or programme alone. I have been following the BBC and other media closely for many years.

    Yes, it is difficult to prove a negative but not when the omission of pertinent facts becomes a trend. Much of the BBC bias is discernible in what facts reporters and editors choose to publish, how much emphasis they choose to give those facts and what they choose to distort or omit.

    Since you have nothing to say about the fact that the World Service chose to give the results of a suspect Israeli poll the same weight they would give a natural disaster with bodies being pulled from the rubble hour after hour, I will take it that you concede the point of BBC bias, at least in this instance.

    Bob in Queensland September 20, 2008 at 8:37 am,

    If I’m “at all interested,” you say, when you know that I followed Johnston’s reporting closely for the three years he was in Gaza. The fact, taken in isolation, that he was based there is not sufficient evidence of bias – only if you ignore the nature of Palestinian society and how that society deals with those who oppose it.

    Here’s some more evidence of Johnston’s biased agenda, posted on this site a few months ago:


    Tom D Ford September 20, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Bias exists! You have to use many different sources, comparing all of them and most importantly, ask yourself “what is being left out, what voice is not being heard?”

    What makes you think I don’t? Hell, give me something to debate here.

  120. September 20, 2008 at 13:01

    115 Katharina in Ghent September 20, 2008 at 10:49 am
    Breast milk is something very special… for babies.
    I could not agree more, in the sense that breast milk is the optimal food for babies. It provides what no imintation formula can (and their heads don't have that nasty smell of formula-fed babies’ heads).

    Are we now becoming a society that denies their babies something essential, while some fancy cook can’t think of something else to cook with???

    What I do not have a problem with is someone using excess milk for human consumption (keeping in mind any potential rleigious caveats). However, getting milk from someone whose baby could use it more than we could just as a delicacy is absird when we can make milk from beans and nuts; and it tastes that much bettter.
    Freedom Is Delicious. Je suis arrivée.

  121. 121 selena in Canada
    September 20, 2008 at 13:01

    On Topic: Anything said on the Blank Page is on topic. The Blank Page is where we get to know each other. And it is my opinion that we don’t mind the occasional “off-topic” comment on the other pages as well. It seems to work that way, at least.

    Aren’t we trying to change the way we interact with each other across the globe?

  122. 122 selena in Canada
    September 20, 2008 at 13:03


    I commend you for your efforts to save the world. Still, the world is unsavable, you know!

  123. 123 selena in Canada
    September 20, 2008 at 13:04


    Am I understanding you correctly? Did you have a problem with personal comments? What comments?

  124. September 20, 2008 at 13:08

    Juslie, I have an account with wordpress. I just need to know how to make posts to it and do other stuff besides change my password, email address, interests, gender, etc. Thank you kindly:).

  125. 125 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 13:25

    I am sorry that the hiring did not go better.
    Did Keith also have an addiction?That would be a separate issue from the schizophrenia.
    This is a thorn in our side, since all disabled people often get lumped into one, when an experience is not favorable for the employer, we aren’t hired again.
    I am glad that you can see clearly!!!

  126. 126 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 13:28

    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying and if someone thinks differently, as they have stated many times on the blog about all muslims being supportive of Al qaeda, then, how would they explain these latest actions?

  127. 127 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 13:29

    Whoops, I did not realize that Kelsie was a man. Well, I hope that he is doing well and will come back on the blog soon.

  128. 128 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 13:29

    Hey, I might try this planting tip. I have killed cacti before. I don’t know how I did it. But, I would love to have things grow in my presence, besides, it sounds better for the soil.
    HMM, you’ve got me thinking.

  129. 129 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 13:31

    I tried having an account with wordpress, but it is not too “user friendly,” in my opinion, but it could be an accessible issue.

  130. 130 Bryan
    September 20, 2008 at 13:32

    Help, can someone please extract my comment at 12:49 pm from the grip of the spam monster – if that’s what happened to it.

    Count Iblis September 20, 2008 at 12:37 am

    There are many right wing people like Bryan who are offended by neutral reporting about the Israeli Palestinian conflict, about relations with Russia and the West, about Iran, about the US, etc. etc.

    Many people like me, but none like you I guess. I suppose you regard yourself as uniquely qualified to detect bias and establish what is “neutral reporting.”

    The vast majority of journalists at the BBC would not recognize neutral reporting if they tripped over it. Perhaps someone would care to hazard a guess as to what stance they take on any of the following subjects and issues:

    Israel and Palestine
    USA and the War on Terror
    Republicans and Democrats
    Labour and Tories
    Christianity and Islam
    Pro-abortion and pro-life
    Homosexual rights
    The Greens
    Amnesty International
    Human Rights Watch

    Or perhaps you really believe they don’t take a stance on any of these issues.

  131. 131 Robert
    September 20, 2008 at 13:37

    I found this an interesting article in light of the conference session in the UK and elections in the US. It seems what political party we vote for might be predictable by how easily we are shocked by loud noises.


  132. 132 Julie P
    September 20, 2008 at 13:42


    You should have access to more than “my account” located at the top of the screen. Next to it is another drop down menu is your “dashboard”, and next to that “new post”. From any of these entry points you are able to write a post. In blue letters near the top you will see “write” (here you put up a blog entry), “manage”, “design” (where you can choose the design of your blog, including the color), then “comments” and finally “upgrades”. I hope this helps.

  133. 133 1430a
    September 20, 2008 at 13:45

    hello guys,
    it seems many of us are not clear about what a blank page is.Many new bloggers join us everyday and so it would be better to organize a special page every month for the begginers which can answer all the queries they may have.The answer could be given away by a member of WHYS or any other experienced blogger.This would be better for the ones joining new and we can also make some points clearer.
    Its just an advice.
    thank you

  134. 135 Jonathan
    September 20, 2008 at 14:23

    @Tom D Ford

    OK, I wasn’t going to say anything, but now that you’re actually so shrill as to call “conservatives”–or “Konservatives” (very witty there with the K by the way!) baby murderers, you really ought fo find out what the word means.

    You’ll find it under “C.”

    You’ll find that the philosophy has a lower case “c” and the political party a capital “C” and neither kills babies when they can avoid it, certainly not as a matter of policy.

    With more research, you might then find the word for the people you’re talking about, and use it, and thus illuminate us all with your insights.

  135. 136 Jonathan
    September 20, 2008 at 14:44


    Local television “news” is news in name only. To me it’s completely useless. TV news is a sad, shabby thing even on the network level (our gracious hosts excluded of course), at least in the US. A quote from sombone used to last 60 oreven 90 seconds–enough to articulate a complete sentence and idea, though not a complex one. These days, a 10 or 15 second sound bite is the norm, which is more of a nibble than a bite, enough only for the crudest and simplest of cliches and bumper sticker slogans.

    Plus the ratio of “fluff” to real news is astonishing. And even aside from the banter among the blow-dried airheads, the actual news is selected by a perverse philosophy: “If it bleeds, it leads.” So we see the fires, car accidents, crimes (which by the way is causing people to perceive much more danger in their town and the world than there is, with unfortunate results that I needn’t spell out), etc. All sympathy to victims of fires etc., but the fire isn’t especially instructive to my life.

    Consultants parachute in to a city and overhaul one or another TV station’s local news operation, always dumbing it down further each time. The worst newspaper is better than the best local TV news show. I speak from a city that has both.

  136. 137 selena in Canada
    September 20, 2008 at 15:04


    I have hired “disabled” people… deaf and the quadriplegic. They have been excellent workers, without exception.

    No blind person has applied for a job.

  137. 138 Jonathan
    September 20, 2008 at 15:09


    If land is rendered “useless,” how would one “sell it at a profit”–who would buy it?

    It may be unfortunate, regrettable, even ignoble, the it’s human nature to take better care of our own “stuff” than “stuff” that belongs to everybody/nobody. (The history of agriculture under capitalism and socialism says all there is to say on this.) The last century saw some attempts to perfect mankind, all of which ended very badly indeed. If we have to wait until everyone is enlightened enough not to be selfish/greedy/whatever, and perfectly altruistic, before we mitigate pollution and other disruptive activities, that’s not good news for the planet and other living things.

    I’d rather actually do what it takes to actually improve things as much as possible, even if that means using (yuck!) market mechanisms, and implicitly conceding human imperfection, than “feel good” at the expense of real progress. Call me a romantic pragmatist, I guess.

  138. 139 steve
    September 20, 2008 at 15:13

    Perhaps racism is an issue in this election. In this study. 1/3rd of democrats have problems with blacks


  139. 140 steve
    September 20, 2008 at 15:14

    My grandfather was blind during an era when blind people didn’t have many opportunities. He couldn’t work after he lost his sight.

  140. 141 Jennifer
    September 20, 2008 at 15:19

    @ Tom

    Yes, that is what I mean.

    Please see Katharina in Ghent’s post at 10:49 on Sept. 20th. I agree with it.

  141. 142 Jonathan
    September 20, 2008 at 15:29

    Hmmm. We seem to be completely devoid of moderators, as my comments sit for an hour thus far, awaiting moderation. Yet I notice that not one but two of our sometime moderators have found the time to make their own comments but not to clear mine. Is it no longer the custom for mods to cover each other when necessary?

  142. September 20, 2008 at 15:32

    Julie P
    September 20, 2008 at 1:42 pm
    Next to it is another drop down menu…

    That is the problem! Drop down menus require javascript. Oh for crying out loud.

  143. September 20, 2008 at 15:38

    This is frustrating. The cookies on the library’s computers are not enabled. If selecting an option from the drop down menu opens a page with its own URL, could someone post a listing of the more useful links? Please?

    Posting anything at all to Blogspot (a Google service) requires javascript, as well, which is entirely annoying.
    Freedom Is Delicious. Je suis arrivée.

  144. 145 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 20, 2008 at 15:47

    @Nestle / Corporations unethical / disregard for human lives practices

    I dislike that corporations cannot be held accountable of human rights violations by the international human rights system. You have to rely on governments to make claims against them and usually corporations, that value more money than the human rights of others, establish their practices in countries were the governments are corrupt, ineficient or simply incompetent.

    One of the topics that I researched in my Master´s studies was the pregnancy discrimination case in the Mexican Maquiladoras (foreign owned sweatshoops). Women were required to undergo pregnancy tests to get hired (obviously if you were pregnant you were not hired and then it came th discrimination case). It was a big case, under NAFTA´s labour side agreement- that got international coverage in the end of the 1990s. Even General Motors issued a public appology and changed its hiring practices by drafting a code of conduct. However, it was international pressure which pushed the agenda, not the Mexican government.

    Nowadays, I am undergoing the hiring process for a job in the State´s government. Yesterday I underwent a medical examination. One of the lab tests was a pregnancy test. Go figure!

  145. 146 steve
    September 20, 2008 at 15:51

    Marriott Hotel bombed in Pakistan.

    Again, civilians were targetted. Hope you finally understand the difference between the US and the terrorists.

  146. 147 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 20, 2008 at 15:51

    @Media bias and advertisement

    Obviously sponsors play a big role in the news´content. Here in Mexico is so evident!

    That is why I don´t read, watch or listen news from Mexican outlets. They were a huge contributor of the instability after the 2006 presidential election.

  147. 148 steve
    September 20, 2008 at 16:06

    At least 8 killed in the name of the sky deity:

    Anyone had enough of religion yet?

    Can you imagine being killed over someone’s belief in fictional book characters?

    Imagine if someone killed a loved one of yours over Holden caufield or harry potter. That’s what religion is. Time to eliminate these fairy tales from the world.

  148. 150 Bryan
    September 20, 2008 at 16:23

    Steve, from your link:

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, and its exact cause was unclear. But Pakistan has faced a wave of militant violence in recent weeks following army-led offensives against insurgents in its border regions.

    This mangling of the English language is like a virus which has spread throughout the MSM. A militant is someone aggressively involved in a cause, as in militant trade unionists.

    Those who blew up the hotel are terrorists. Journalists of the MSM (and I include the BBC here) have a helluvah lot to answer for since their reporting has the effect of minimising the evil of terrorism and even potentially legitimising it.

  149. 151 Jennifer
    September 20, 2008 at 16:25

    @ Religion

    Religion is not a “fairy tale”.

    I don’t think that there is anything wrong with people having their own religious beliefs. The problem is when people decide to force their religion on another person. If people choose to not believe in God then that’s their choice. Like people who have religious beliefs they should keep them to themselves and not force them on other people.

    I think we need prayer in school. For those who choose to not participate; that’s fine. It’s a choice that each child should make for themselves. In today’s society, we have a lack of morals and values and I think it stems from the back of God in many people’s lives.

  150. September 20, 2008 at 16:29

    Will, when you have a chance, could you take a look at my wordpress troubles? Thank you.

  151. September 20, 2008 at 16:29

    Bryan –

    If the BBC is so biased can I ask you a couple of questions, not really for you to answer but to ponder?

    You post on a BBC blog insisting on the bias of the BBC – why, if they are so biased?

    If the BBC is so biased – do you really think that they would allow the concurrent accusation of bias all the time that they get – we would be instructed not to publish posts that cry bias.

  152. 154 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 20, 2008 at 16:42

    @ BBC and bias

    If the BBC were bias, we would not even given the opportunity to moderate their own blog. What we do here does not have precedent.

    When I signed for moderation rights I was not asked about my political views or anything for that matter. Moderators of this blog come from different countries, backgrounds, religions, etc. We are very plural, so for that matter, bias is difficult to achieve here.

  153. 155 Bryan
    September 20, 2008 at 16:53

    Will and Luz, you make fair points and yes, I have pondered these issues long and hard. I have also never come across a blog like this and it is fair to say that the BBC has come a really long way in tolerance of differing opinions since the early Have Your Say days.

    But we have to make a distinction between BBC blogs specifically designed to air public views on the one hand and the agenda revealed in the BBC’s reporting and editing of the news on the other. And it is not only the news. Try and submit a script for a BBC TV drama from a right wing or pro US/Israel/Christian perspective and see how far you get.

    Re Mbeki, looks like Jacob Zuma is the next president of South Africa. Could be the country is in deeper trouble than hitherto.

  154. 156 Robert
    September 20, 2008 at 16:56


    Language and the choice of word always brings up problems with bias even if it doesn’t actually exist. What one person writes and another reads are two different things.

    A few years ago I was severely criticized for saying “the flight does not operate on the weekend” as it made the section of a report sound negative. Next draft stated “the flight operates Mon-Fri” and the report was hailed as a great piece of work. Never fully understood what the big difference between the two sentences was. Both are factual and say the same thing, but for some reason people saw a negative bias in the first.

  155. 157 jamily5
    September 20, 2008 at 17:10

    Selena in Canada:
    Were you surprised? Do you ever get others who are afraid of hiring disabled people?

    No one would hire him, or was his health failing?

  156. 158 viola
    September 20, 2008 at 17:37

    As far as factual news goes, you can get it all without any editorializing or opinionating (is that a word?) by reading the lines of text that scroll across the bottom of the tv screen when you’re watching the news. Even this information must not be accepted at face value and must be confirmed by other sources.

    If you need someone to interpret for you what it means when a hotel, for instance, is blown up, you listen to the speakers and opinion makers. Usually, most people will hunt until they find the source that will support what their opinion already is. Seems to be a fact of human nature.

    Reporting of the news should be without any biases, just who, what, when, where and why if known. That’s the key: if known. CONJECTURE as to who or why should be the province of opinion pieces and people need to be able to distinguish between opinion and fact, no easy task sometimes.

  157. 159 selena in Canada
    September 20, 2008 at 17:38


    No I was not in the least surprised. We have always made a point of hiring anyone who was qualified. I have always found that if you give people a chance they will prove themselves.

    The first deaf girl I hired performed so well in her job that she got an offer for a top job in the government. Before I hired her she had been looking for work for a long time. No one would hire her.

  158. 160 Jennifer
    September 20, 2008 at 17:40

    Travis Barker and Adam Goldstein injured in plane crash.


    I hope they both make it. 😦

  159. 161 selena in Canada
    September 20, 2008 at 17:43


    How would you characterize religion if not a fairy tale? Fairy tales are stories about things you can’t prove. Religions are stories about things you can’t prove.

    Fairy tales are accepted as untrue; religious beliefs are accepted as fact. What is the difference?

  160. 162 Katharina in Ghent
    September 20, 2008 at 17:44

    @ bias

    The only BBC service that I watch/listen to is the BBC World Service on the radio, and I honestly don’t think that it’s biased. Compared to “local” TV- and radio stations or newspapers, which are directed at the people in a certain country, BBC WS goes out of its way to not show any bias towards one country or another, because it wants to be listened to in all of them.

    I’ve seen TV in different countries; in Austria it used to be modus vivendi that if the leader of one party got interviewed, the leader of the other main party also was to be granted an interview of the same length, questions often had to be submitted in advance. This system was/is called “Proporz”, from proportion, and the whole country was equally divided between the conservative and the socialist party. This way the TV station successfully avoided blaims of bias, it was also boring as hell.

    One should always keep an open ear about possible tendencies towards a specific party/group/country in the news, but as far as the BBC is concerned, IMO they report whatever there is newsworthy around the world. On top of that, bad news is usually “good” news (as in newsworthy), so riots in Palestine are more intersting than everything calm and quiet in Israel.

  161. 163 Jennifer
    September 20, 2008 at 19:01

    @ Selena

    I could say that I have “proof” that God exists as I know of experiences in my life that he no doubt had a hand in. I don’t know one (adult) person that beliefs strongly in fairy tales with as much conviction as some people believe in God. There is very much a difference between fairy tales and religion.

    What I really wanted to point out was that religion should not be thought of as bad. Some people try to force their religion on other people and that is what’s bad. I don’t have a problem with people who have different religious beliefs or even atheists. No matter what a person believes I don’t think they have the right to force it on other people.

  162. 164 Dennis@OCC
    September 20, 2008 at 19:16

    @ Selena:
    No problems with personal comments, have one of the regular moderators on the BBC…i.e. Will Rhodes or Katharina in Ghent send me your email address and i will tell you the reasons behind my note…

    When i moderating the BLANK PAGE for my weekend, i was not ask anything from the bbc about my political views and or other questions…except, to know what is acceptable and not….

    I am very proud of the court systems to approved more rights for disabled people….


  163. 165 Dan
    September 20, 2008 at 19:17

    Another Muslim car bomb murders 50+ INNOCENTS in Pakistan. While I am sure there is a cute saying in the Koran or from the Prophet when will Muslims take responsibility for their so called religion and stop this?
    The truth is that I believe they will not, as over the past centuries Muslims have morphed into being the infidels they preach so vociferously against.
    There is nothing that any Muslim can say that will justify what has happened today in Paskistan and absent worldwide protests as there were over Muslims being frightened of cartoons, Muslims de-facto declare Islam to be an abomination.

  164. 166 selena in Canada
    September 20, 2008 at 19:27

    There is always a cute saying to justify the killing of innocents, no matter on which side of the fence one happens to reside.

  165. 167 Dan
    September 20, 2008 at 19:36

    Only Muslims have cute saying to justify the killing of innocents.
    The number is now 60+ INNOCENTS.
    Maybe they were protesting for Palestinians, maybe for more welfare, or for more Burkas. Where are the Muslim apologists?
    They will cite anything other than what happened, it is always someone else’s fault.
    Judaism gave us the Law. Chistianity gave up love and compassion. Together we have JUSTICE.
    What has Islam given us other than subjugation, destruction and murder?

  166. 168 Roberto
    September 20, 2008 at 19:41

    RE: “”Fairy tales are stories about things you can’t prove.””

    ————- Then we would have to strike politics, history, and science as well.

    Politics is deliberately muddled up to prevent rational decisions and obscure facts. Much of history is based on limited testimony and evidence. Science is so constantly reinventing itself, that a scientist from the 18th century would be completely baffled at today’s science.

    Love, and hate cannot be proven, but, like religion, actions and physiologic reactions can be demonstrated. You cannot prove or disprove your own existence before you were born, nor afterwards, so does that mean you don’t exist, or perhaps just………………………………?

  167. 169 Katharina in Ghent
    September 20, 2008 at 19:53

    Either God exists or he doesn’t. There are always two options: If he exists and you believe in him, than you will follow all his laws and worship him. If he exists and you don’t believe in him then you have two options: You pretend to believe in him and follow his laws and worship or you don’t, but try to live a decent life and be a good person. If he exists, he will know whether you just pretended or not, and will judge you by your action.

    If he doesn’t exist, but you think he does and obey laws that aren’t his and worship him, then you actually just wasted your time (and possibly other peoples lifes over nothing). If he doesn’t exist and you never thought he did but you lived a decent life anyway, then you still were a good person and people will respect you for this.

    For me my path is clear.

  168. 170 Alec Paterson
    September 20, 2008 at 19:55

    Why did the BBC spend thousands of pounds of licence payers money to block the release of a report, which is believed to be highly critical of it’s Middle East reporting? Known as the Balen report, there is suspicions that it includes evidence of the BBC’s anti Israel bias.
    It is hypocritical of the corporation, which uses the freedom of information legislation to break news stories, but will not make public this report.
    I agree totally with Bryan’s comments on the 20 Sept. 01.32

  169. 171 selena in Canada
    September 20, 2008 at 20:32


    Then we would have to strike politics, history, and science as well.

    No problem with that! 🙂

  170. 172 Dennis@OCC
    September 20, 2008 at 20:38

    In general, the media is made up of people and not machines….People have feelings, rights and bring in their own personal opinions in the society.

    I am very proud of the idea, that the A.D.A. has been expanded!

    @ BBC:
    If the BBC had problems with the bias angle…Would they even have the common folks, like you and me….Moderating the conversations!

    @ Jennifer’s comments on 9/20/2008 @ 5.40pm

    I also hope that Travis Barker and his friend, Adam Goldstein will recovered from the airplane crash…and i am sending out my heart-felt condolences to the dearly passed away….


  171. September 20, 2008 at 20:48

    166 selena in Canada September 20, 2008 at 7:27 pm
    There is always a cute saying…

    Right about now, our "cute little saying" would be "inna lillahi wa inna ‘ilayhi raji`un". It is something that we say when we are grieving the loss of fellow Muslims. It means "Truly, we are from God and to go we will return." It is rememniscent of "ashes to ashes…"

  172. 174 Robert
    September 20, 2008 at 20:53


    Only Muslims have cute saying to justify the killing of innocents

    And the IRA and Eta during there terror campaign came up with a few cute phrases. I’m sure American and British military have a couple of great phrase to describe civilians who happen to be caught up during the bombing of Iraq during the first days of the invasion. Although I agree with your sentiments entirely, I disagree with the notion that it is a crime that only the Islamic fundamentalists are guilty .of

  173. September 20, 2008 at 21:19

    @ drones

    I wonder how long it will be until we have these same drones flying overhead in all of our big cities… “keeping us safe!”


  174. 176 Count Iblis
    September 20, 2008 at 21:38

    Turing once said that religion makes you fear things when there is nothing to fear, and
    gives you hope when there is no hope. So, e.g., if you are gay, you are told that you’ll go to Hell,
    and if your life is about to end, you are told that you’ll go to Heaven. 🙂

  175. 177 Dennis@OCC
    September 20, 2008 at 21:53

    @ DRONES:
    What kind of security would [you] will like to keep us protected……


  176. 179 Roberto
    September 20, 2008 at 21:57

    RE “”if your life is about to end, you are told that you’ll go to Heaven””

    ——–“I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God,” but “this is not a clear, exact idea…” Jean Paul Sartre on the eve of his death April 15, 1980

    A bit muddled for this noted atheist towards the end, but any of us can surely be excused for not holding to our dogma upon our deathbeds.

  177. 180 rick
    September 20, 2008 at 21:59

    @ Jack Hughes in answer to your question…
    In 1974 I read a book called Diet for a Small Planet.
    It concerned itself with the cutting down of rainforests to make cattle ranches in the Amazon.
    Long story short, I turned green.
    No I don’t eat meat.
    Yes I drive, a 4 cylinder 7yo Toyota about 10,000kms a year, mostly work related.
    My my modest home has a large water tank and a solar hot water heater.
    I spent my last holliday painting my roof in the mornings and watching the olympics afterward.
    I do what ever I can to reduce my eco-footprint.
    6 billion Ricks? I doubt it because 5 billion would have to increase their footprint to get up to my modest lifestyle. Its the other billion that concern me because we/they consume 4 fifths of the world’s output with great abandon and little care.
    This is not the first time you have asked this question, Jack so tell me a little about you.

  178. September 20, 2008 at 22:02

    Concerning BBC bias, I dare say BBC is the most unbiased news organisation. It seeks to inform and not to report the news according to ideological views to satisfy one side at the expense of the other. Some say that it has labour views. This is to be left to the British who can discern its political leaning, if ever t has one.

    But for the international audience, it is one of , if not, the most respected news organisation. It broadcasts in 33 languages, which is a means to reach to the largest audience in every corner of the world. One isn’t required to be an English speaker to get access to its website or radio broadcast.

    WHYS is one of the most successful programmes. I dare say WHYS is far better than Nokia when it comes to connecting people! I agree with Luz’s comment. I can add it is a meeting forum for people of different backgrounds to exchange views. Participants aren’t asked to disclose their political affiliation and when listeners are contacted to take part in the show they aren’t told what they should say, otherwise they will be cut off or not called again.

    In other words BBC isn’t to tell people the views they want to hear. It asks them to give their views. Its job is to report and not to tell people whose side they should be on.

  179. 182 Jennifer
    September 20, 2008 at 22:08

    @ Dennis

    I am hoping so too. The next couple of days will be critical since they were burned. 😦

  180. 183 Jens
    September 20, 2008 at 22:43


    yes there is this theory, especilly in the case of MS. Apparently the infection lowers the T-cell count reducing the auto-immune reation.

    Anyway, the idea is that we humans in the first world have become to clean and that as a consequence we do not have parasite derived molecules or molecules induced by the presence of a parasite, which help to keep autoimmunity in check. There is some interesting literature available, but it is not really a hugh body of work, as yet

  181. September 20, 2008 at 22:54

    @science and religion

    Science is a slow building process. Hypotheses become theories, theories become laws. There has never been a scientific law that has gone on to be unproven. Even relativity is only a theory. Even though we have seen the results of the products derived from that “theory” explode over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Scientist test hypothesis over and over until a consistent result occurs every time. It is passed on to other scientist who do the same tests and get the exact same results every time. So in science, one person (who usually inherits a name like “father of”) test a hypostasis and passes it on to a bunch of critics who attempt to disprove his results.

    Now let us contrast that with religion. Religion starts with one guy having a hypothesis. That is where it ends. He just needs to find enough people who will believe his hypothesis to form a vocal group. That group is tasked with going out in the community and telling everybody that the hypothesis is true. They encourage “faith” and not questions. First, there are many “gods”. Each follower believes his hypothesis to be the real true one. Secondly many of these “god’s” laws have been proven false.

    In full disclosure, I feel that Jesus’ hypothesis is true, I just don’t believe that the source of his inspiration was factual.

  182. September 20, 2008 at 23:47

    Bryan –

    But we have to make a distinction between BBC blogs specifically designed to air public views on the one hand and the agenda revealed in the BBC’s reporting and editing of the news on the other.

    I have a quite unique perspective on this – 1, I am English 2, I am living in Canada, 3, I blog, mostly, about the US presidential election.

    I see things from 3 different viewpoints, on the ground as it were. I see the mental bias that is on TV in the US – it really is crazy. When I then compare it to the Canadian broadcasters, and the British broadcasters, again I see things very differently.

    The Canadian general election is taking place – and the difference in that election strategy and coverage is, well, civilised in comparison. You call bias, but I have yet to really see you back that point up. I agree – the BBC doesn’t come out and say that they support this particular stance over that one – which, we really would like them to do, instead they give a broad coverage on something and show us there is an alternative.

    And it is not only the news. Try and submit a script for a BBC TV drama from a right wing or pro US/Israel/Christian perspective and see how far you get.

    I have submitted my books to various agents – still I have not been published – does that mean I now take a stance that they are biased against my writing or that they don’t feel I am [add what you want here, including completely rubbish at writing]?

    May be – just may be – your view about what is biased could be clouding a certain amount of judgement on your part – which, to most of us, is we seek what we do because we feel we are right?

    We are all guilty of this.

    And sorry for the longish post.

  183. 186 Dennis@OCC
    September 21, 2008 at 00:24

    About Will Rhodes post:

    September 20, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    If this was BBC TELEVISION channels…The chance of getting a script thru on the issues [i am taking from Will’s post: And it is not only the news. Try and submit a script for a BBC TV drama from a right wing or pro US/Israel/Christian perspective and see how far you get.]

    Would be zero to none….


  184. 187 Jonathan
    September 21, 2008 at 00:44


    “…grieving the loss of fellow Muslims,” you say?

    Well, that’s a revealing little detail. Mighty generous of y’all. So what is an expression for grieving the loss of non-Muslims? Assuming there is one. Not that it makes much difference; the fact of making the distinction at all is more than a little bit creepy.

  185. September 21, 2008 at 01:20

    187 Jonathan September 21, 2008 at 12:44 am
    So what is an expression for grieving the loss of non-Muslims?
    I don’t know about others, but in my case, there is the usual tears, “sorry for your loss,” sometimes kicking the walls…thing is that most non-Muslims don’t know what that phrase means. I can just see me at a funeral working my prayer beads and reciting that phrase, and everyone jumps me and drops me off at the FBI. So add lockdown to the crying and kicking the walls bit. (I only kick walls when it is a close relative, btw.)

  186. September 21, 2008 at 01:53

    175 portlandmike September 20, 2008 at 9:19 pm
    @ drones
    I wonder how long it will be until we have these same drones flying overhead in all of our big cities "keeping us safe!"

    Some time shortly before sentinels are posted at the doors of our bedrooms to ensure "safe" reproductive practises.
    -Pink: pregnant, barefoot, & in the kitchen

  187. 190 Dan
    September 21, 2008 at 02:20

    Unable to fine the cute phrases in the Koran Muslims try to deflect criticism by blaming someone else or draging up the IRA or other nonsense.
    They are NOT comparable. Maybe Muslims are so naive to think that you are a liberal idiotr filled with guilt but I do not.
    I believe that absent the worldwide outrage as when Muslims were frightened of cartoons Muslims must be brought before the bar of justice to answer for their collective crimes against humanity.
    There is moral equavalence to anything in the past of humanity to the wanton death and destruction Muslims are inflicting upon the world.
    Still not one educated Muslim woman can answer why after living a pious humble life they desire to get raped in paradise by a homicidal maniac or why they would willingly submit to being driven back into a burning building to die because they wore an improper headress. Surely with all the supposed Islamic “scholarship” in the world someone would have an answer by now.
    This is Ramadan a supposed holy holiday but lacking respect for their own so called religion Muslims demonstrate their hatred for all humanity and God himself. Have Muslims become the devil they throw stones against during the Haaj? They have made themselves the true Infidels.

  188. 191 Bob in Queensland
    September 21, 2008 at 02:40

    @ Portlandmike

    They may not be over US cities yet but drones are certainly used to patrol the Mexican border.

    Oh, and they also CRASH due to the incompetence of the people operating them.


  189. 192 Bob in Queensland
    September 21, 2008 at 02:43

    Re: Bias

    The BBC are clearly biased against madcap comedy series because, to date, they’ve not accepted any of the pilot scripts I’ve submitted.

  190. September 21, 2008 at 03:27

    You see, the BBC is biased, just as everyone has been trying to say! It is too conservative, it is too liberal, it airs too many non-serious programmes, and it does not air enough of them.

    I like that the BBC covers so many world events (not just the ones that happen in the U.S. or affect the U.S.). Those of us who are liberal can "read between the lines" as we say; and those who are more conservative can also read between the lines. It is much easier to cast one's own interpretation on something that exists. When nothing exists, it is more difficult to form an opinion about it.

    All the same, aren't there media outlets dedicated to covering Israel from the pro-zionist perspective?
    Freedom Is Delicious. Je suis arrivée.
    http://myownpinkworld.blogspot.com (beware the pink)

  191. September 21, 2008 at 03:41

    Re: Drones


    Some crash now, but they will get smaller and more and more programable I bet? Google Live everywhere, all the time?

  192. 195 Bob in Queensland
    September 21, 2008 at 03:57

    @ Portlandmike

    The big brother aspects would worry me…but the thought of un-manned planes overhead scares me more.

    I saw what happened when something as small as a 3 foot wingspan balsa wood model hit a car once and would NOT want one landing on me! The drones with video capablility and telemetry are rather bigger and heavier than a typical model.

  193. 196 Tom D Ford
    September 21, 2008 at 07:34

    This economic bailout stuff?

    It just stinks of a Fourth Reich being established.

    Terror attack? Give the Conservative right wing government more power!

    Economic attack? Give the Conservative Right wing government more power!

    Possibility of losing an election? Give the Conservative Right wing government more power!

    This is a moment that Adolph Hitler would have enjoyed and exploited, and I sure can’t see any good coming out of it.

    So. Will Bush suspend the Constitution to “prevent economic collapse”?

    Judge Rehnquist suspended the constitution to give Bush the Executive Office, then Bush declared a never -ending War of Terror to achieve the extra-ordinary powers of a War-Time President, so the question that remains is will Bush suspend the Constitution and stop the elections because we’re “in a time of War”?

    His right-wing record says yes, but will even his Conservative Facisti base support that?

    Un-good at any speed!

  194. September 21, 2008 at 09:32

    Here is another question: Is there a chance in hell that Barack Obama would return those shreds of Constitution that Bsh seems to have misplaced all over DC? Or will he leave it in tatters because it will suit him? Just because he is not Republican does not mean that he is the Messiah.

  195. 198 Pangolin-California
    September 21, 2008 at 09:45

    @ Drones

    Someone I know who works on the drones sensor packages says that the same sensor gear is installed on law enforcement and Coast Guard helicopters. He says that, as usual, the civilian package is not as sensitive as the military package; whatever that means.

    Rather than drones the proposals seem to be to use lighter-than-air craft as urban overwatch and rescue craft due to their low fuel use and ability to carry observers.

    @ Jens~ Thanks for the reply. Parasites and symbiotes are fascinating stuff.

    @ Conservative Right-Wing Chokehold on power

    I fully expect something in the US to explode in the last week of October followed by a tape presented as Osama Bin Laden endorsing Barack Obama. If the american people are stupid enough to accept a declaration of war on an emotion they will accept almost anything. Since Liberals don’t have anything like equal access to the media dissenting voices will be lost in the din.

  196. 199 John in Germany
    September 21, 2008 at 09:47

    Listening to the Beeb, and content with My Sunday morning-Then did my ears fail me
    Shariah Courts in England?, how many? Five. And i still cannot believe what i heard.

    i am an so called ex-Pat.,a term i hate. But when i hear that type of news i wonder,
    (one country one law.) Of course there are a few deviations in the British law, but the courts are British with the backing of British law. It is a crime that people living in Britain can be dealt with by a law that has a definitive bias against woman, that does not respect women’s rights, and people are judged by religious leaders, and not by free men or women as our judges are.

    People that choose to reap the benefits of a modern Western society, with its good and bad points. Should be made to live and abide by the law of the chosen Country, with no exceptions, except the military law governing its Armed Forces. Or they should select to live in their country of origin. Of course some are immigrants because of political reasons, but they should more so abide by the host countries laws, without exception.

    Soldiers some times live under three types of law, military, there own countries law, and the law of the host country. This is the only exception that should be permitted.

    I am proud to be British, and a part of my soul is in Kent where i was born. MultiCulti is fine, but lets keep some sense in the system.

    Have a nice Sunday.

    John in Germany.

  197. 200 Pangolin-California
    September 21, 2008 at 09:57

    @ Bob

    In actual fact a U-2 spy plane crashed into a local newspaper office a few years back. The Air Force and FBI showed up and went around telling the paper’s employees to “not talk to the press as it was a national security matter.”

    I think it was the first time in US history that the US government declared that citizens couldn’t talk to themselves without violation national security.

    They fly U-2s out of the local airport and I see them all the time.

  198. 201 roebert
    September 21, 2008 at 10:03

    BBC Bias: the BBC often gives ‘the other side’ a fair chance to have their say. This then comes out looking like bias, because the other side is seldom, if ever, heard anywhere else, except on regional set-ups such as Al Jazeera etc.

    Muslims: 2 Questions: 1. Do Muslims accept that other religions are equally valid paths to the same religious goal? 2. Do you, personally, as a Muslim, acept that other religions have a right to exist, and are concerned with fundamentally the same ‘truth’ as other religions are?

    South Africa: the latest from Mr Malema (ANC Youth League leader, which body has a disproportionately important and loud say in SA politics), is this: Anyone who insists on re-opening the corruption case against Jacob Zuma will be seen as public enemy no.1 (verbatim quote). Thus, the truth will always be known, but never proven.

    Mothers’ milk: It’s just human milk. Sell it if helps other infants to get healthy.

    High infant mortality in Africa: has a study been done to calculate the relationship between unchecked population growth and infant mortality rates? Is this only a poverty problem? I don’t think so.

  199. 202 Roberto
    September 21, 2008 at 10:27

    RE Drones:

    I’d imagine they’re as safe as helicopters which have poor safety records

    Almost got chopped to bits by one in high winds as some idiotic real estate developer was showing some clients a beautiful public park on a beautiful lake I’d stopped at. That lake has now taken over by massive boats captained by these drunken high rollers and swimming has become impossible.

    Add on all the small aircraft constantly coming and going, manned by amateurs of questionable judgement that are always running out of fuel or otherwise mysteriously crashing. At least drones are smaller with less fuel aboard.

    City living is all about toxic air, water, ambulance/police sirens and taking to the roads in the riskiest endeavor modern man can engage in not named Russian Roulette. Drones ain’t even a blip on my radar.

  200. 203 Bob in Queensland
    September 21, 2008 at 10:33

    @ Pangolin

    Interesting about that U2 crash.

    Back in the UK instructing the press not to talk about certain things happens all too often through a system known as the DA NOTICE. There are “Standing Notices” for a number of topics but a committe can also issue a “DA Notice” to the press prohibiting discussion of specific topics…like a U2 crash if the UK had any U2s!

    I’m disppointed (but not surprised) to hear that similar can happen in the USA, even if it’s not such a formalised system.

  201. 204 Bob in Queensland
    September 21, 2008 at 10:38

    @ John in Germany

    Re: Sharia courts in the UK, we discussed this a fair bit a week or two back and the situation is not quite as dire as it might seem.

    It turns out that the Sharia Courts’ standing in law is not more than that of any other “binding arbitration” that two parties may agree to use. Unless BOTH parties agree to abide by the decision, they have no authority whasoever and if one party doesn’t wish to submit to Sharia law, the normal British legal system is available and takes priority.

    The Sharia courts also cannot mandate any verdict that would be illegal under British law.

    This is not a precedent–Jewish family courts as well as arbitrators like ACAS have had this status for many years.

  202. 205 Roberto
    September 21, 2008 at 10:45

    RE Sharia courts in UK:

    ————- It’s my understanding that these courts are for a few specific civil matters and only if both parties agree, ie, both being observant Muslims.

    The judgements rendered are thus considered legal. Other civil and all criminal matters are handled by the regular courts.

    Sounds reasonable to me and no different than various arbitration services available for civil disputes that people routinely use.

    Still, sharia anything has the effect of someone yelling fire in a theatre in the west. When I see some muslim woman impossibly bundled up on a 110 degree day in a superheated parking lot, it triggers disturbing questions about Islam that there are no answers to.

  203. 206 Alec Paterson
    September 21, 2008 at 11:35


    A Shari’a court is not a voluntary arbitration panel, such as those panels for Jews and Catholics. Muslim activists point out that allegedly simiral Jewish family courts (Bet Din) and Catholic marriage tribunals have existed in Britain for many years, but there is a major difference: such courts explicitly claim jurisdiction only over their believers, whereas according to orthodox Islamic teaching shari’a is the only legitimate law in the world, with universal jurisdiction over Muslims and non-Muslims alike. To a devout Muslim the incorporation of shari’a into British law is by no means the end of the affair. It is merely a major milestone on the road that cannot stop short of subjecting all Britons, regardless of faith, to the strictures of Allah’s commandment and Muhammad’s example.
    What this means in practice was evident from a recent inheritance dispute in the Midlands, when the Nuneaton shari’a court divided the estate of a Muslim father between three daughters and two sons. The “judges” gave the sons twice as much as the daughters—perfectly in accordance with sharia, of course, but contrary to any regular British court, which would have given the daughters equal shares. In six cases of domestic violence quoted by Siddiqi, the “judges” ordered the husbands to take “anger management” classes and “mentoring from community elders” (such as imams and shari’a judges). In each case, the battered women subsequently withdrew the complaints and the police stopped their investigations. It should be noted that under normal British law those six cases could have been prosecuted as criminal, rather than “family” cases.
    Give them an inch they will want a mile.

  204. 207 roebert
    September 21, 2008 at 12:09

    Sharia law in the UK : One would think that it is unconstitutional to allow a parallel legal system with its own de facto judiciary to operate in any country with an independent judiciary, not to mention the institution of a religious court with powers approximating those of the medieval clerical courts. Isn’t it up to the British judiciary to take a stand on this issue, and to make short work of a piece of stupid multicultural political lassez-faireism?

    In the case mentioned above, isn’t it open to the UK prosecuting authority to refuse to accept the withdrawal of the women’s charges, and to prosecute in spite of their decision?

  205. 208 Bob in Queensland
    September 21, 2008 at 12:52

    Okay, at the risk of offending half the blog and re-opening the debate about media bias in election coverage:

    A Sunday night fixture on Australian TV is “Rove”, a semi-topical chat show. His main guest tonight was Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

    A main feature of the show is “20 bucks in 20 seconds” where the guest wins $20 if he/she answers a series of unrehearsed quick questions.

    The second question for Rudd was “Sarah Palin: hot or not?”

    His reply: “I like moose.”

    Aussie politics is a bit more easy going than the American variety….

  206. 209 roebert
    September 21, 2008 at 13:01

    Just been listening to ‘Reporting Religion’ on the BBC, where it transpires that the Lord Chief Justice is quite happy with the sharia experiment in the UK; so that’s that then.

  207. 210 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 13:04


    Depends on the exact details of the case, but the Crown Prosecution Service could overrule the decision of the Sharia arbitration (I won’t to call it law because its guidance/rules has not been voted on by HM Government) if they believe that a crime has been committed. However in domestic abuse cases it is often difficult to get the abused partner to testify and it makes securing convictions difficult.


    Even within England there are many different types of law. Criminal, civil, contractual, maritime, military and final the laws for Health & Safety and Environmental. Each version of the law covers a different aspect of life in the UK and is fine tuned for its specific job. Sharia arbitration would most likely fail under contractual law, with parties agreeing to the decision of a third. However nothing the third party suggests can violate the other laws such as criminal law. If any of the parties does not want to take part in arbitration then they can’t been force too and will be allowed to use the normal legal process.

  208. 211 Julie P
    September 21, 2008 at 13:06


    At least he didn’t say lipstick!

  209. September 21, 2008 at 13:27

    I have brought this up before, but there are some new faces around these days and I was talking about it this am with a friend. Should people have to prove a basic understanding of their government and its functions before they can vote?

    I am not talking about an intelligence test. Just answering questions like, how many branches, which one makes laws, enforces laws, and judges laws? If a president wants to impose a compete gun ban, what must he do? How many seats in each house? how many does a party need to have the majority? How many votes does it take to override a veto? What color is the house that the president lives in? Somebody trained to kill or somebody trained to debate law, which is better suited for making laws? Just basic questions that prove that you know understand who you are hiring.

    OK maybe there was one or two biased questions there, but if a person was the HR staff for the US, what info would you like them to understand about how it works. What questions do you think would be important to know in order to make that decision?

  210. 213 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 13:48


    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. Winston Churchill

    I think before voting the voter should be able to work out the impact of the budget on the household finance. My case in point is Gorden Browns last UK budget in 2007.Had the majority sat down that night with a calculator and thought through the proposal there would have been uproar the very next day. However it took nearly a full year before the spin was seen through and people found there was a hidden tax increase for many people. This lead to the all the last minute changes earlier this year to the tax system.

  211. 214 roebert
    September 21, 2008 at 14:02

    Rudd & Moose: Is this a case of the ‘roo beneath the skin, or is it a flashback to ‘Portrait of the Politician as a Young Dingo’?

  212. 215 Bob in Queensland
    September 21, 2008 at 14:04

    @ Robert

    At the same time you legislate that voters should be able to calculate the effects of a budget, it should also be legislated that politicians can’t create “hidden” tax increases. They should have to state everything they’re proposing clearly and succinctly.

  213. September 21, 2008 at 14:13


    While that would be great, I think it is asking much. In the end, here in the US i blame the poor understanding of personal finances upon the educational system as it is. So if something as complex budgetary was a requirement, I think reduction in funding would actually help some ill intentioned office seekers.

    However, I don’t see why asking a question about which branch generates the budget plan and which branch approves it? Also, here we have “earmarks” and they are all the rave lately. Asking, “what is it called if an elected official is bribed to support a position with money for his state?” might be a good one. OR asking, “can the government make a budget that spends more money then it makes?” might be interesting too.

  214. 217 Dan
    September 21, 2008 at 14:34

    If Muslims was to live their lives under the thumb of Sharia Law I absolutely applaude that and support them moving back to any enlightened Islamic country where they and their entire families may feel the enlightment of Islam first hand. We are a more enlightened civilization in the West and and Sharia Law harkens back to the Dark Ages.
    I am in Milwaukee and the local Islamic Society is protesting (sigh…do they do anything but stage protests) about the DVD “Obsession” which documents and details the origins of Islamic hatred and terror. It presents evidence and facts with real videos that outline the goals of radical Islam.
    Having no facts to support his objection the president of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee denies documented history. He cries like a child how Muslims are being persecuted.
    In the past we in the Liberal West were guilt ridden and the infantile rantings of these Islamic spoksmen meant something. Those days are over.
    After what happened in Pakistan there can be no clearer indication that what these Islamic maniacs want is the desttuction of Judaism, Christianity, the West, the East and civilization itself. We would be left with marauding bands of Muslims murdering anything left alive including each other. God’s creation would be destroyed and Islam would be satisfied.
    In the Bible we are told that God created evil and it is our daily task to fight and destroy it.

  215. 218 Brett
    September 21, 2008 at 14:40

    @ Dan:

    In the Bible we are told that God created evil and it is our daily task to fight and destroy it

    And who defines ‘evil’?

  216. 219 Roberto
    September 21, 2008 at 14:47

    RE $700 billion mortgage bailout package:

    ———— The treasury package to be presented to congress for approval is only 2-3 pages long, essentially an open ended request for a blank check to purchase “distressed” properties to remove them from the market for an indeterminate number of years.

    More bonds to be sold to the Chinese, Russians, and Saudis to finance the package, but no word yet on if they will even buy in.

    Could Zimbabwe next be offering it’s presses to assist the treasury in printing any overflow?

    Gee, I wish I knew who to thank for this, but I suspect trying to email thank yous to the hundred million or so citizens who voted in recent suscessive democratic and republican presidential administrations and congressmen would overwhelm my limited systems.

    Just top shelf brilliant stuff.

  217. 220 Bob in Queensland
    September 21, 2008 at 14:50

    Sigh. If I could have but one wish it would be the elimination of ALL religions.

    I have no doubt that mankind would manage to find another excuse to hate each other, but we might have a few days respite from this sort of hatred and prejudice.

  218. 221 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 14:52


    Accepting that Wall street/The Square Mile shoulder most of the burden, isn’t poor financial understanding one of the contributing reasons we are in the current mess we are in now? People taking out mortgages when they didn’t understand the full implications of the variable rates. When they started defaulting this lead to the panic that swept through the banks regarding the quality of the debt.

    One solution I would like to see for the economic crisis is better education in schools for personal finance. Just basics like understanding how to work out take home pay from your gross salary, the effect of interest on loans etc. It won’t solve the current problems but may help during the next two or three cycles.

  219. 222 Dan
    September 21, 2008 at 14:55

    That is an excellent question. Over the course of history there is no one clearly defined person or object that we all look at and proclaim as evil. It changes with each generation.
    For me it is anyone or thing that seeks to remove me from my God and my family and restricts my Freedom and my freedom of choice. Add to that the murdering of innocents.
    To me and much of the world Muslims seem to be unable to understand much less participate in the political process have responded with acts of overt barberism and have defined themselves as evil.
    This could be a great WHYS discussion.

  220. 223 steve
    September 21, 2008 at 15:04

    @ Bob

    Aren’t you committing some kind of hate crime by wishing away people’s beliefs in fictional book characters? I mean, religion has conrtibuted so much to society recently. I mean, honestly, without religion, how many people would be crazy enough to blow up hotels? Religion also contributes to the security guard business as well, thus helping the economy.

  221. 224 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 15:05


    Surely if god created the evil then that person or race is fundamentally evil, how then can it change from generation to generation?

  222. 225 Vijay
    September 21, 2008 at 15:09

    Thanks for the link,I asked around, there is a company that manufacturers water filters with a ceramic filter.

    The near by towns(Rajpura,Pb,India)water supply became contaminated last year(now fixed) and there was an outbreak of jaundice,the water was also used to adulterate MILK.

  223. 226 Dan
    September 21, 2008 at 15:18

    You are parsing words.
    Without getting into a religious discussion God created evil as an entity not a person.
    From generation to generation evil morphs to adapt to the growth of civilization. That may explain why Muslims still throw stones at an inatimate monolith.

  224. 227 roebert
    September 21, 2008 at 15:32

    Bob: Eliminating religions is not going to happen. What’s needed is the willingness between religions to enter into serious and committed dialogue, and for one reason especially: to eliminate the use of any religious stance or belief that can be abused for violent ends.

    This is already happening between Buddhism and Christianity, with amazingly sane and sensible results. Really, it’s a matter of dragging religions kicking and screaming into the modern age, where we know that violent conflict can bring about our end as a species, religious and non-religious members alike.

    Definitely, though, religion has no place in any court of law of ‘arbitration’, and that includes Catholic (or whatever other) arbitration.

    Religion is not about law, it’s about making sense of life when all else fails. It should never be more than a private affair, and should play no role in political or judicial life.

    We shouldn’t have to protest about religion, but we do because it obtrudes itself into public affairs, in which case it is exceeding its religious mandate, and should be taken to task.

  225. September 21, 2008 at 15:32


    I couldn’t agree with you more. I once developed a software thought the concept stage meant to give teachers a tool to teach basic budgeting practices. kind of worked like a cross between “the game of life” and “Quick Book”. But alas, I am no programmer. While I understand C+ and .Net, I am dyslectic and the concept of troubleshooting thousands of lines of code is futile. Also I am easily distracted. lol.

    A class where teachers give students a budget to work with and they have to turn in homework to earn “cash” and invest it seems simple enough. I can’t believe it isn’t required learning.

  226. 229 steve
    September 21, 2008 at 15:40

    This is really old, but apparently, math problems are racist!


  227. 230 Dennis@OCC
    September 21, 2008 at 16:11

    @ Steve’s comment (at) 3.40pm on 21 September 2008….
    For what i understand of math….the problems seems to be a tad bit racist….

    @ Bob in Queensland
    re: Religion

    Good idea in theory, but the chance is very closed to ZERO……


  228. 231 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 16:19


    By suggesting that evil is an entity, then surely Islam and Muslims whom it has possessed are as much a victim as those it harms through them. If they are victims, then they are not evil themselves, and shouldn’t be described as such by your previous post.

  229. 232 selena in Canada
    September 21, 2008 at 16:20


    You took the words out of my mouth. 🙂

  230. 233 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 16:33


    So long as the education boards can demonstrate that the test covers the maths expected to be taught be a maths teacher (which it does) then how can it be racist? What else can you do? Pass the failing blacks and have them teach a subject they don’t know themselves? That just creates bigger and bigger problems years down the line. This is not a subjective test for a preference between otherwise like candidates, its a right or wrong test of the ability to do a job!

  231. 234 Brett
    September 21, 2008 at 16:45

    Heres one for you and the rest who feel everyone who comes here should use english.


    By Mike Paul Williams

    “The Stafford County Board of Supervisors apparently believes that readin’, writin’ and xenophobia form the foundation of a good education….”

    I was surprised after reading this article!

  232. September 21, 2008 at 16:58

    I would not want to see religion extinct, just the hypocrisies with in them. “thy shall not kill” should have no sub-amendments. If you have faith that there is a better world after this one, don’t act as if you don’t believe it. “Religions of peace” should not have clauses and words for declaring “holy war”. All religions should come to terms that “God” is on nobodies side when it comes to war. If there was a god, the thought that he would go through all the trouble of creating millions of unique individuals just so he can destroy them is irrational. It makes one picture god as a little boy with an “army men” set.

  233. 236 graceunderfire
    September 21, 2008 at 16:59

    Hmm. Typical right wing chutzpah: Bail out the wealthy by transferring the debt to taxpayers (~ $4K / household). It’s a sure bet none of the Wall Street types will see a second of hard time, or even face losing personal assets. This is in stark contrast to the fed’s very active seizure of personal properties as compensation for paying medicaid monies. Punishing the old and sick while wagging a finger at the dishonest and wealthy; the very epitome of the Republican way!

  234. 237 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 17:05

    [i]It makes one picture god as a little boy with an “army men” set.[/i]

    Such an old view of the world, surely in this modern world he’d be in front of an Xbox? 😉

  235. 238 selena in Canada
    September 21, 2008 at 17:10


    If there was a god, the thought that he would go through all the trouble of creating millions of unique individuals just so he can destroy them is irrational.

    Well, the God of the OT is pretty much an irrational, war mongering God. He killed millions of his creation. Whereas, that supposed epitome of evil Satan simply killed Job’s family after a wager with God.

    Now, it seems to me that we are not defining evil correctly… The terrorists are copying God, not Satan.

  236. 239 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 17:15


    Remember that the typical household only votes for the politicians. Wall street and big business pays for them and the campagins.

    Then you have the fed reserve/BOE/ECB whom are run by bankers using tax payers money. All that conditioning of their past jobs mean the central bankers can’t think outside of the box, they are restricted to think about only the system as it is and how to keep it afloat.

  237. 240 Dan
    September 21, 2008 at 17:16

    Muslims are what they made themselves. There is no demonic possession here.
    We all witnessed a coordinated worldwide protest by Muslims frightened by cartoons. Why have there been no similar coordinated worldwide protests against the wanton violence Muslims inflict on the world and against God? Could it be that Muslims are what they made themselves and seek the destruction of all that is holy and sacred (ie: God’s creation)?
    Here we are in a “holy” month of Ramadan and the Muslims have murdered innocents in Pakistan to no other end than to promulgate evil. Where are the virgins lining up to be raped by those homicidal maniacs?

  238. 241 roebert
    September 21, 2008 at 17:16

    Dan, since, in my view, there is no ‘God’ on whom I can blame the creation of evil (or anything else), I have to conclude that evil (which stems from profound ignorance) is something people have created. Fighting evil is a human obligation, but you can’t fight evil with evil, anymore than you can stop a flood by adding water to it. Evil is fought by means of intelligence.

    Intelligent negotiatons would do far more to stop religious fundamentalism and Islamic Jihad than fuelling the fire by constant warfare. Today most ordinary Afghans would prefer the Taliban over the US in Afghanistan, and Iraqis yearn for the comparative peace they enjoyed under Saddam. Muslim extremism is stronger and more widely spread than before; hatred of America is keener and more universal. So much for fighting against ‘evil’ in ways that cause ‘evil’ to increase.

    My own greatest moment of relief came when I realized that there was no God to whom I needed to appeal to solve problems. It puts the ball in our court.

  239. 242 steve
    September 21, 2008 at 17:19

    Wow. Heard an Obama campaign ad on the radio returning from the Gym. He was perpetrating the gender wage gap myth. I’m sure Mccain aids lie as well, but when are people going to grow up and stop lying so blatantly?

  240. 243 steve
    September 21, 2008 at 17:27

    @ Brett

    Before you go off on how horrible englihs only is, I only have to point to quebec. Bars/restaurants get closed down or fined for having english advertisements up. So before we get into more USA bashing, let’s have a look to the tolerance of our neighbors up north?


  241. 244 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 17:37


    Muslims are what they made themselves

    God created evil as an entity

    Now if Muslims have created themselves into the evil you perceive them to be, then what part goes god play in the creation of the evil?

  242. 246 Dan
    September 21, 2008 at 17:41

    I respect your Athiestic view. For me though I believe for if we are the “top of the food chain” then we can make anything we desire ie: murder, legitimate and maybe that is what Muslims have done by making themselves the top of the “food chain”.
    Certainly negotiations bring parties together but we are seeing that they want no such part of any political process. Like spoiled children they want what they want.
    They can not be negotiated with and one cannot negotiate with evil. We tried that in WWII and only 100 Million died.
    When these Muslim maniacs get control of nuclear weapons how many millions more will have to die before we take action?
    I also take issue with America being hated. Certainly people take issue with our policies and actions from time to time but we have self correction mechanisms that other countries do not. This “hatred” of America is a fable.
    A hero from my generation, John Kennedy said that we will do all in our power to insure the success of liberty and freedom. Those words are more important today than they were when originally spoken and have been a beacon around the world.

  243. 247 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 17:48


    There is more to it than just dangerous jobs. If you factor out the effect of part time and martial status and children etc, the wage gap no longer exists (on British figures at least).


  244. 248 jamily5
    September 21, 2008 at 17:53

    For me it is anyone or thing that seeks to remove me from my God and my family and restricts my Freedom and my freedom of choice.
    You have just described what early Christians did to native americans (Indians).

    And, there have been times in history where muslims have lived harmoniously with other religions: India: early 1900’s – just to name one.

  245. 249 Brett
    September 21, 2008 at 17:55

    So before we get into more USA bashing, let’s have a look to the tolerance of our neighbors up north?

    On the defensive much? There was no USA bashing at all. Figured it would be an article you would be interested in; I read it yesterday while working behind the bar.

  246. 250 Luz Ma from Mexico
    September 21, 2008 at 17:57

    @Roebert post:

    Religion is not about law, it’s about making sense of life when all else fails. It should never be more than a private affair, and should play no role in political or judicial life.

    Well said!

    I would not like to see any religion dissapear. I know there are people in the world that use religious beliefs as an excuse to hate, discriminate, kill, persecute, etc. I dislike when religious beliefs -included Islam- are twisted in destructive ways, with disregard for the integrity and dignity of any person.

    But there are MANY people in the world that do the opposite. People for whom their religion means a comfort and answer when difficult times comes and problems without answers strike their lives. People who are loving and respectful and do good to others because they were taught to love and respect everyone. People who excersice religious tolerance and respect. There are many in this world, but unfortunately, like good news, they are often not seen.

  247. 251 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 18:05


    I’ve been struggling to find a reference to this, but I remember and interview last year after a series of equal pay claims were made against local councils in the UK. One council officer admitted that it didn’t have the funds to pay the women higher wages and the only way it could compile with the court order would be to lower the pay of men at the next pay review.

  248. 252 roebert
    September 21, 2008 at 18:07

    Dan, what America stood for in Kennedy’s day was very different from what, let’s say, America is perceived to stand for today. I don’t say Americans (as people) are hated, but there is obviously a lot of hatred for the American ‘image’ in the world today.

    This is not in any way to justify the complete absence of self-criticism in the Muslim rank and file. It is a religion that seems unable to come to terms with modernity, not to speak of post-modernity, and violence is definitely a big part of the total Islamic culture. Still, some conferring should take place. Why not, after all? Why can’t we have a global forum, under the auspices of the UN perhaps, to try to thrash out the whole ‘war on terror’ syndrome, and begin to seek acceptable compromises?

    Liberty and freedom are the same thing, aren’t they? Anyway, people in US occupied countries don’t seem to feel that they have either. They just want the US presence to go home.

  249. 253 steve
    September 21, 2008 at 18:09

    @ Robert

    Even the situation you describe, which sounds a lot like Title IX in the US (for education, schools have lmited budgets, so if there isn’t equality in the sports department, ie they cannot add women’s soccer, then they eliminate some male sports)… The real gender wage gap stuff isn’t two people working the same exact job and getting paid differently, if anything, women get paid better than men these days.


    In addition, the service industry type jobs, women tend to get tipped more than men do.

    The real problem about this myth is that it is based upon averages of all working men and women. So a part time secretary is going to make less than an investment banker working 100 hours a week. Yet that’s the reason, women choosing to go into lower paying jobs such as childcare or education, or women switching to part time, but making it sound like that women get paid less, when they make less money due to their decisions in what jobs they want to work and about full time work. The way these people portray it, if a man and the woman have the same job, work the same hours, these liars say that women make only .76 cents on the dollar compared to the man, when that’s an absolute lie. This wage gap is one of the most dishonest things out there in politics today.

  250. 254 steve
    September 21, 2008 at 18:11

    @ Brett

    Are the quebecois xenophobic or are only americans if they have an certain language only policy?

  251. 256 selena in Canada
    September 21, 2008 at 18:27


    All religions are homes for some people who hate. It is not fair to say that hatred is unique to Muslims.

    A person who hates Muslims is guilty of the same emotions as the Muslims who hate.

    Didn’t Jesus say something about taking the log out of our own eye before trying to remove the speck from the other person’s eye?

  252. 257 Amy
    September 21, 2008 at 19:01

    @ Bob and Pangolin,

    Here is some information and pictures from the U2 plane crash:


    I remember having the U2 planes fly over my house as well and enjoyed watching them do their landings at the local airport. That was in the day when you could actually go and just watch planes take off and land.

  253. September 21, 2008 at 19:04


    I too am agnostic at best. However, allowing for suspension of disbelief and accepting that there is a “God” in the Supreme Being sense of the word. I am kind of a “big picture” sort of a guy. I see Muslims protesting in the streets calling for the death of a cartoonist and a teacher for naming a teddy bear and I think, “wow these people are annoying. They should just be ignored.” Then I see militaries supported by nations that claim “Christian foundations” invading and killing maiming, bombing, and displacing millions of people in their homeland. They use trumped up excuses that end up being proven false. I see these Christian nation sponsored forces in traditional homelands to Muslim spreading fear and accidentally bombing innocent people. I see the country that claims these people are evil are the only ones to develop and use a weapon so massive and heinous that it takes out entire cities. Men, women, and children indiscriminately are evaporated. I see them hold the rest of the world hostage with these weapons and hypocritically shame the rest of the world when they try to develop them. I see the business lobbyist and government forces of these “Christian based” nations join forces to prop up governments like Saddam Hussein just so they can protect and buy the oil from the regions.

    So taking that long view of the situation I see a bunch of non-supported people calling for the death of a couple of people but actually small groups of them actually committing isolated atrocities on rare occasions outside of their own boarders. Then I see the state sponsored armies killing people on a daily basis in larger scale and multi-national war fronts.

    For a religion whose leader’s foundation principles are forgiveness, tolerance, humility, and most of all “Faith” in the “God” it seems that the followers display anything but those qualities.

    But then again, I don’t believe in god and think that human’s are inherently “evil” and use religion to generate support for a cause they don’t want people to question or rationalize.

  254. September 21, 2008 at 19:37

    Religious Extremism
    Roebert (September 21, 2008 at 10:03 am)
    Muslims: 2 Questions: 1. Do Muslims accept that other religions are equally valid paths to the same religious goal?


    2. Do you, personally, as a Muslim, acept that other religions have a right to exist, and are concerned with fundamentally the same 'truth' as other religions are?

    Yup. Yup. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  255. September 21, 2008 at 19:43

    205 Roberto September 21, 2008 at 10:45 am
    When I see some muslim woman impossibly bundled up on a 110 degree day in a superheated parking lot, it triggers disturbing questions about Islam that there are no answers to.

    In my particular case, it would be because I made the choice. Not only do I choose to cover my head, arms, legs, etc. – the most mininum religious requirements, but I also choose to wear an outer garment that is loose and hides the shape of my body. When I have other garments available to me, I also like to be under that huge Iraqi head to toe abaya and wear a face veil. It's just me. I do not know if I have done this in 110 degree weather, but I do know that I have done it in humid 90 degree weather. If I felt that it were too much for me to bear, I would not have done it in the first place. Most women whom I know cannot stand the big Iraqi abaya and the face veil. In fact, getting some to wear a loose outer garment is like pulling teeth. These days, if a woman tells me that she is a practising Muslim, all that I ask of her is that she follow through on the head, arms, and legs thing. I am not a dentist, and I hate pulling teeth.
    Freedom is Delicious. Je suis arrivée.

  256. 262 Katharina in Ghent
    September 21, 2008 at 20:10

    Hi all,

    I just came across this article about the financial meltdown:


    Looks like the Democrats want to 1) help the ordinary homeowners as well and 2) not reward those on top in the failing financial institutions with golden handshakes. At least they get their priorities right.

  257. 263 selena in Canada
    September 21, 2008 at 20:12

    Do Muslims accept that other religions are equally valid paths to the same religious goal?

    Do Christians (or any other religion) believe that other religions are equally valid paths to the same religious goal?

  258. 264 Katharina in Ghent
    September 21, 2008 at 20:15

    And… here’s some good news for all who have a bone to grind with VP Cheney: his records must be preserved after the elections. hehehe


  259. September 21, 2008 at 20:15

    Religious Extremism
    251 roebert September 21, 2008 at 6:07 pm
    Roebert, can you explain who you mean by "Muslim rank and file" please? You also said, "violence is definitely a big part of the total Islamic culture." Do you think that violence is an intrinsic part of the rleigious system, or something that Muslim people have generall adopted as part of their culture apart from Islam?

  260. September 21, 2008 at 20:16

    220 Bob in Queensland September 21, 2008 at 2:50 pm
    Sigh. If I could have but one wish it would be the elimination of ALL religions. I have no doubt that mankind would manage to find another excuse to hate each other…

    Bob, I know that we are not necesarily a representative slice of humanity, but I do want to ask you whether you have seen more hatred coming from non-religious folk/atheists or from religious folk.

  261. September 21, 2008 at 20:20

    Population Control
    I strongly believe that relieving the poverty will have the natural result of reducing birth rates. I strongly believe that no government should interfere in matters of the bedroom. The Reproductive Safety Sentinels have to go.

    Voting Rights
    212 dwightofcleveland September 21, 2008 at 1:27 pm
    I hate poll taxes and reading tests. I do think that our schools and parents could be doing a much better job of educating our students about the way that the government works.

  262. 268 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 20:25

    Do Muslims accept that other religions are equally valid paths to the same religious goal?

    Do Christians (or any other religion) believe that other religions are equally valid paths to the same religious goal?

    Further to this question, does each denomination of Christendom view the others as valid. The Roman Catholic church has a long history of suppressing rivals as heritics.

    What about Islam? Do Sunni and Shai Muslims view the other as a valid path or is Islam as fractured a faith as Christianity?

  263. 269 roebert
    September 21, 2008 at 20:28

    Pink: thank you for answering my questions.

    Here are my answers to yours:
    I think it obvious that violence is discernible throughout the broad culture of Islam, and that it stems from the heart of Islamic teachings on ‘Jihad of the sword.’ Until those teachings are moderated or condemned outright by the Imams that matter in the world, the problem won’t be solved. I am not speaking only of the violence committed by extremists or terrorists, but the violence encountered in the punishments recommended by sharia law. To deny the violent streak in Islam is to refuse to recognize the problem, and therefore to be unable to address it.

    Selena: Yes, Buddhism announces quite openly that all religions, if practised in their purity, and with sincere mind, will lead to the same truth. That is why Buddhism is not concerned with converting others.

  264. September 21, 2008 at 20:34


    “Ignorance” is t pole tax in and of itself. Let us say I want to win an election. I can either legislate to make it impossible for people who might support my opponent to vote, or if they are ignorant enough I can scare them into believe my opponent will bring them harm. They will then vote for me. Either way, I win. If we can both agree that there are some people so mentally handicapped that they are a danger to themselves, then I say where is that line in respect to voting?

  265. 271 Pangolin-California
    September 21, 2008 at 20:59

    @ The absolute failure of conservatism

    Is there anything the conservatives get right? The conservative presidential candidate in the US doesn’t recognize that Spain is officially a NATO ally. His VP pick places herself ahead of him on the ticket and tells constant lies. She has a pregnant teenage daughter. Neither of them can do a simple Google search and get the correct figure for Alaska oil production (4.8% not 20%)

    The US financial economy is tanking due to an overwhelming amount of financial control in the hands of a few so they want to put the entire mess in the hands of a single person with dictatorial powers.

    The conservative president can’t manage the simple delivery of emergency food and water to a US city after more than ample warning and several trial runs on other disastered cities. He has the power to read all your mail but refuses congressional oversight for himself and his staff.

    The US health care system is as bad as our banking system and about as convoluted. Don’t get sick in the US.

    To top this all off Christians who are purported to value a the ten commandments overwhelmingly support a group of frank liars and usurers. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour ” and “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour” seeming to be mere suggestions.

    I guess it doesn’t say anything about coveting your neighbors oil field.

  266. 272 selena in Canada
    September 21, 2008 at 21:09


    Doesn’t the history of Buddhism show as much violence as any other religion. All religions say they are peaceful?

  267. September 21, 2008 at 21:24

    268 Robert September 21, 2008 at 8:25 pm
    What about Islam? Do Sunni and Shai Muslims view the other as a valid path or is Islam as fractured a faith as Christianity?

    This is complicated. On the surface, Shia and Sunni Islam recognise each other as sects of the same religion. Neither anathematises the other, technically. Each asserts that members of the other sect will achieve Paradise, all other factors accounted for. Each sect considers the other to not be the ideal path of Islam, but yet to be fully Muslim.

    There is a more painful reality, though.

    The Shia perspective of Sunni Islam is as above. We believe that Sunni Islam is Islam, but that our brothers and sisters could do better. We believe that it is fully possible to co-operate with Sunni Muslims in a way that promotes a certain unity between the sects. We can pray together, break the fast together, do Hajj together, hold seminars, lectures, and conventions together, etc. There are some details to be worked out, but it can work out.

    However, the details of the rulings in Sunni Islam have the result of anathematising Shia Muslims. It is related to a finer detail of our belief in Prophethood and Divine Leadership. We mention our beliefs and then go on without using it to establish the line between Muslim and non-Muslim. However, Sunni scholars have established it as a dividing line between Muslim and non-Muslim. Not a single Shia Muslim (with normal Shia Islamic beliefs) falls on th Muslim side of that dividing line.

    This does not mean that Sunni scholars have anathematised us directly. Neither have they established this dividing line as a hidden way of declaring us infidels. It is purely co-incidental. Sunni scholars generally declare us to be Muslim. Some specify things that we supposedly believe or do as a dividing line between Muslim and non-Muslim. And some of them mention that little fine detail.
    Freedom Is Delicious. Je suis arrivée.

  268. September 21, 2008 at 21:25

    Religious Extremism
    241 roebert September 21, 2008 at 5:16 pm
    Intelligent negotiatons would do far more to stop religious fundamentalism and Islamic Jihad than fuelling the fire by constant warfare.

    Roebert, how would you conduct such negotiations? What would be the premise or basis for such negotiations? How would you begin them? What kinds of demands would you make; and what would be some of your more flexible points? Would you approach them from the perspective of trying to assuage extremist religious fervour or from the perspective of understanding their political grievances?

  269. September 21, 2008 at 21:48

    Religious Extremism
    269 roebert September 21, 2008 at 8:28 pm
    I think it obvious that violence…stems from the heart of Islamic teachings on ‘Jihad of the sword.’

    Roebert, you are welcome. The violence and jihad of the sword that you described is intrinsic to the version of Islam preached by some salafist fanatics. They base their arguments on a failed literalist interpretation of Islamic source-texts that completely lacks the kind of linguistic and historical contextual background that surrounds all other Islamic source-texts that are used in the formation of Islamic Law. It is that same simplistic approach that results in their deviated belief that God has literal body parts and sits on a throne, or that Prophets are capable of minor sins, or that men cannot wear normal, full-length slacks or trim their beards. My last three posts on the How can we fight Islamist extremism? thread provide more details about this.

    Until those teachings are moderated or condemned outright by the Imams that matter in the world, the problem won’t be solved.

    The Amman Message has been signed by hundreds of Islamic scholars and Muslim dignitaries and leaders throughout the world. Part of the Amman Message states, Islam recognizes the noble station of [human] life, so there is to be no fighting against non-combatants, and no assault upon civilians and their properties, children at their mothers’ bosom, students in their schools, nor upon elderly men and women. Assault upon the life of a human being, be it murder, injury or threat, is an assault upon the right to life among all human beings.

    We have the condemnation. The next part is the dissemination.

  270. 276 viola
    September 21, 2008 at 22:20

    Don’t know if it is bias or not, but a reporter on BBC tv news this morning concluded his account of the bombing of the hotel in Islamabad as caused by the American war on terror. No if’s, and’s or but’s included.

    Tsk, Tsk.

  271. 277 viola
    September 21, 2008 at 22:28

    re: breast milk as a cooking ingredient

    Get out of here! Are we trying to find out how many ways women can be exploited? And babies, too?

    Anybody ever hear of a movie called “Soylent Green”? Rioting people ground up to turn into food which was fed back to the people of overpopulated earth as soylent green.

  272. 278 Jennifer
    September 21, 2008 at 22:33

    Re: The Election

    I am really curious as to why Barack Obama hasn’t provided a plan to deal with our current economic mess. I think it says alot about what kind of president he would be. Does he plan to be elected president by sitting on the fence about every issue?

  273. 279 Jennifer
    September 21, 2008 at 22:35


    Is that a real movie? If so, I will go and look for it!

  274. 280 selena in Canada
    September 21, 2008 at 22:39


    It is not too difficult to com e to that conclusion.

  275. 281 selena in Canada
    September 21, 2008 at 22:44


    I don’t think anyone has any idea how to fix the economy.

    You can say anything to get elected.

    We are ‘eaded for ‘ard toimes and der ain’t nuttin the politicians will be able to do about it.

  276. 282 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 22:50


    Who knows what Obama will inherit? The last week has been very eventful, there’s still three months before he takes over. Makes it difficult to set plans if you don’t know where you will be starting.

  277. 283 Jennifer
    September 21, 2008 at 22:55

    @ Selena

    I don’t think anyone is expecting Obama to “fix the economy” by offering details on what he would believe would benefit us most…….however, it’d be nice if he was at least willing to offer insight on what he would do. People want to see him put some of his “change we can believe in” into practice. I’d like to see him answer one question without dodging it!

    Yes, anyone can say anything to get elected or be so afraid to loose a vote that they won’t stand for anything. I’d show more decision making skills than he has so far! And, sometimes, I change my mind often! 😉

  278. 284 Jennifer
    September 21, 2008 at 22:56

    @ Selena

    Nice accent! haha 😀

  279. 285 Jennifer
    September 21, 2008 at 23:01

    @ Robert

    What does that have to do with anything?

    Noone is asking him to “fix” the economy. We just want to see his decision making skills. He needs to stop being evasive. I guess he can wait and see how things play out if he becomes president. That’ll be good leadership I guess.

    What if things get worse in the next 3 months?

  280. 286 selena in Canada
    September 21, 2008 at 23:10


    Change is just a slogan! And Obama seems to be just a preacher! 🙂

  281. 287 Dan
    September 21, 2008 at 23:14

    @Dwight from Cleveland
    One cannot ignore the Muslims as if they do not exist or that they simpletons. One can ignore Hare Krishna’s but Muslims are too destructive.
    At some point Muslims will get their hands on a nuclear weapon and will not hesitate to use it. At that momnent I would hate to be a Muslim anywhere on earth.
    NOW is the time for rank & file Mualims to modernize and retake their religion before the radicals do something truly stupid.
    As for you & Roebert making the assertion of America being hated or occupying you are wrong plain and simple. We occupy enough land to bury our dead but we maintain a small presence in many countries that serves to add to their economy and preserve freedoms that they have fought hard to acheive.
    Who will do the work of the world if America was to retreat into its borders as you suggest….but that argument is generated from thge Muslims that want America gone so that they can assert their perversion over weaker nations.
    The issue …. the only issue is how to get Muslims to modernize and reform Islam or at some point Islam will commit an act so heneious that the world will rise up against them is such numbers and what happened in Darfur will seem like a small party.

  282. 288 Julie P
    September 21, 2008 at 23:20

    @Selena and Jeniffer,

    For you edification here what is available for Obama:


    Here is McCain’s:


    Read and compare.

  283. 289 Dan
    September 21, 2008 at 23:33

    We do NOT have any serious condemnation by any Islamic scholar or anyone else.
    A few no name people said they hate what is happening but then went on to blame the West. Muslims never accept any responsibility for any of their actions.
    It will take a coordinated worldwide protest such as was done by Muslims frightened by cartoons to make any credible statement.
    As we see by the Muslim apologists this will never happen in which case I want to know where are the 72 virgins lined up to be gang raped by homicidal Muslim maniacs in paradise and why they aspire to reach that paradise.
    Maybe they are still out trying to kill people for naming a teddy bear Muhammad.
    This is a 7th Century belief system that cannot deal with modernity.

  284. September 21, 2008 at 23:41


    You are right!! It does show what kind of president he will be!! Many economists skeptical of bailout If the experts are not sure yet what to do about it, what makes you think a rash decision by a presidential candidate that probably hasn’t been updated about the full scope of the hurried plan is going to have a legitimate opinion. As a president he has shown that he is willing to sit down and listen to both sides before making a final analysis. Rash decision have lead us into two wars, and the finical mess we are in to begin with. He has been talking about what he would do to fix the economy since the beginning of his campaign. The republicans are chomping at the bit to tear his plan down. They don’t even know what it is they just know it is wrong. So let them grind their teeth awhile.

    I was just watching the history channels special on “gunslingers”. I think it was wild bill they quoted as saying the key to a gunfight was to, “take your time in a hurry”. In other words being accurate is more important then being first.

    So now you understand his genius, do I need to send you the link so you can donate?

  285. September 21, 2008 at 23:47

    First McCain said “Before the bailout was announced, McCain had said flatly that he would not support a bailout of AIG or any other company.”

    Then the next day after it happened, “The government was forced to commit $85 billion,” McCain said in a statement”

    See what happens when your lips move, sound comes out, but even you don’t know what you are saying. We don’t need wreckless “leadership” like that. See if you make your decisions on sound information and proven facts (which takes time to gather), instead of “faith” you tend to get more constant results.

  286. 292 Robert
    September 21, 2008 at 23:55


    What it has to do with the election is that in a fast changing situation timing of your policy announcements is critical. Had the candidates announced detailed plans prior to last week they would now be open to calls that the policy they support wouldn’t have worked to save Lehmens or AIG and so would have weakened the platform. The closer to the elections the candidates can leave revealing their plans the better they can be tailored to the economic climate is at that time and the stronger the position they will have in the polling booth.

    Another factor which is less applicable to the states but has happened recently in the UK is either the Tories or Lib Dem’s announce a policy they will use at the next election shortly after which Labour announce the exact same policy (citing slightly differing reasons and rhetoric, but the same changes) and implement it. So the opposition parties are now very quiet regarding future policies as they don’t want them to be stolen and implemented prior to the elections in early 2010. Examples of such are the Conservative calls for a simpler tax system , labour then removing one of the tax bands from our system. Another was a Conservative policy to increase the threshold of inheritance tax, which Labour then started to raise.

  287. 293 Jennifer
    September 22, 2008 at 00:07

    @ Dwight

    His genius? Are you kidding me? He can’t even offer up a proposed plan! It’s NOT a definite plan that will be done so it would not be a rash decision on his part……….it would show people how he plans to make all of this change he talks about actually happen. He can post anything on the web, but it’d be nice to see something firsthand.

    No thank you for the link. I don’t find his actions genius at all! I have donated already to my candidate/candidates anyway! 😀 😉

  288. September 22, 2008 at 00:16


    Re: “It will take a coordinated worldwide protest such as was done by Muslims frightened by cartoons to make any credible statement.”

    I’ve never understood why the West hasn’t scoffed and made jokes about Islamicist beliefs. Their beliefs are absurd. The way they treat women is despicable. They offer nothing for mankind, and bring nothing of value to the market place. Their religion doesn’t deserve respect.

    I don’t believe all Muslims share the same beliefs as those mad fundamentalists, BUT they are hard to tell apart, for me. However, I know that their neighbors know what is going on, and I don’t understand why they put up with it?

    In the same vein, why would Lebanese allow Hizbollah to move rocket launchers into their peaceful thriving neighborhoods?

  289. 295 Jennifer
    September 22, 2008 at 00:18

    @ Dwight

    Aren’t you doing the same thing that you are assuming would have been done to Obama? As you said yourself, we have seen MANY changes in the last little while regarding our economy. It does change. How little backbone would one have if they refused to take a stand for anything? That’s pretty bad leadership to me! This isn’t about what is right or wrong, it’s about who takes action and makes good sound judgment! I guess if we had a major crisis that required immediate decisions; he could just play it then too?

    For once, I wish someone could say what Obama WOULD do instead of what McCain (or a conservative) has done or is doing wrong.

  290. September 22, 2008 at 00:23


    There is a boogie man behind your curtain too. What proof do you offer that if a Muslim gets his hands on a nuke we will be in danger. (Before you answer I will remind you that Pakistan, the believe residence of Osama Bin Laden, has been a nuclear state since 1983. And we have had rocky relations with them the whole time) All you have is fear. The “we only need enough land to bury our soldiers” makes a really cute mass e-mail. But in the end it isn’t true. Where you see a country that considers their land sacred and ride mostly on camels, yet there is a giant oil well protected by armed men, they see an occupying force. Where you see a sign of capitalism they see as an abomination of their culture. Propping up the capitalist in their society and calling them leaders doesn’t admonish us of that point. Where is Lubna? Let us ask her if she fell liberated or occupied?

    Please show me in the bible where a “preemptive strike” has been ordained? This conversation started as dissection of how Muslim religion is so aggressive. The world made it millions of years before the US was conceive and it was fine.

    The question is who will work their little 6 yr old fingers to the bone 20 hours a day making shoes to sell to the US if we are not here. Who will gladly suffer at the hands of dictators like Sadam Hussein who the US propped up to protect our oil interest from Iran if there is no US? Who will stop the Russians from defeating the Taliban so that extremis can flourish in Afghanistan if the US is not around? Who will buy hundreds of billions of dollars in blood diamonds if the good ole US capitalist are not around? Who will slaughter hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and leave a million more to die slow painful diseased deaths if it were not for the “Christian based” nation of the US? Who will tell a black man he can’t ride the bus, drink from the fountain or eat in the same restaurant as us white men if it were not for the US? Who will commit genocide on entire race of people paying money for their scalps, so we can have their lands to be “free and happy”? Yeah, thank god for the good ole US.

    Save us? Save us from what? Most of us here will die from cheeseburgers and bad drinking habits long before a poor camel-ridding extremist will ever have a chance to “nuke us”. Who is going to save us from ourselves?

    Before you say it, above is not what the people had in mind when they crossed the ocean to get away from all of that.

  291. 297 Julie P
    September 22, 2008 at 00:27


    Then why don’t you enlighten us with a detailed plan of McCain’s plan? We are all dying to see exactly what it is too.

  292. September 22, 2008 at 00:29

    So you want him to work on a “proposed plan” for a complex situation that would require getting people he has no access to? Again, we saw what happened when McCain offered his advice. It was wrong, or maybe it wasn’t. I hope Obama’s got better things to do. Can you provide that link to McCains plan? I mean other then the one to deny then endorse the one that his master offers?

    So which candidacy is that. The McCain/ Palin or the Palin/ McCain campaign? Last week there it got a little fuzzy.

  293. September 22, 2008 at 00:35

    Oh can we hear about that “Gas Tax Holiday” again. I love that story. you know the one that every credible economist said would make the oil companies more money.

    McCain is on 60 min. talking about the economic woes. Guess what, he has no plan, just blame. He was asked “are we in a depression” he mumbled incoherently.

  294. September 22, 2008 at 00:37

    He just used my description!! he called it a “Ponzi Scheme”. Do you think McCain is reading the LOL’s blog? 🙂

  295. 301 Roberto
    September 22, 2008 at 00:42

    RE “”This is a 7th Century belief system that cannot deal with modernity.””

    ——– Keeping in mind that this is a generalization, it may well prove that 21st century west cannot deal with modernity that they have created for the world.

    It’s easy to cast stones at the inexplicable, but how does that advance “the cause,” whatever that may be?

    US is the standard bearer of the west and largest exporter of 1.] pornography, 2] modern advanced weaponry that could properly be classified as WMD in past gens, and has also been instrumental creating the 1] largest illegal human and drug trafficking networks in history, 2] the largest bank frauds in history and 3] been the primary instrument in the creation of modern day global warming and all it’s gremlins.

    The US is currently in an economic meltdown more severe than the polar icecaps thanks to the doltish megalomaniacal global schemes of the power brokers who occupy the same approximate moral ground as the energy dependent Japanese in the late 30s.

    This is the western zenith, the model for the world?

    Yeah, those 7th century illiterates cast stones at a rock for redemption every year, and others cast stones at them.

    Surely a more equitable solution can be found, but since the US is not at war with the whole of the Muslim world, it strikes me as more useful to bridge the common good rather than exacerbate the obvious extremes.

  296. 303 Julie P
    September 22, 2008 at 00:43


    I think he read my blog from today, or the three others that I have put up in the last month referring to this as a Ponzi scheme. I had one person today hit my blog today concerning this Ponzi scheme. Now I know who it was! 🙂

  297. September 22, 2008 at 00:48

    @ Julie,

    So now you are reading my mind and posting my material on your blog before I even think about it!! who are you working for?

  298. 305 Julie P
    September 22, 2008 at 00:56


    I work for the IRS! 😉

  299. 306 Jennifer
    September 22, 2008 at 01:02

    @ Dwight

    I know I am going to die, but not from drinking or smoking because I don’t do either. I am not above a burger every once in awhile, but it’s not a daily occurrence. Maybe I’ll die at 90 from being a total hardbutt.

    Again, you are really missing my point. I didn’t want a “right” plan. There was no right or wrong to it….it was just about seeing some action….leadership skills…..reasoning and decision making. Not just talking.

    Of course, my money went to the enemy! haha 😉

  300. September 22, 2008 at 01:35

    @ Jennifer,

    You should really try drinking and smoking. It is great fun. If nothing else, you would not believe how intelligent I sound after a half of a 5th. I look a lot better too I might add ;). Some people die old, some people die young, and some people die young but still live to be old.

    Could you imagine if he came out with a “wrong plan”? Despite the “shock and awe” this week on the media, this is a problem that has been developing for quite some time now. I have been writing about it for about 6 years now. Not “over reacting” is a decision making skill. The bailouts are all an extension of his policy to let the Bush tax cuts expire and tighten regulation on the banking industry. This all could have been avoided if this doctrine was adopted from the beginning. Now we are “dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t. figuring out with is going to dam us more is going to take some sorting out and a look at the books of Fannie, Freddie, and AIG. If you haven’t seen those books, then all you are doing is talking.

    As president, there is nothing you can do about last week’s troubles. The solution lay squarely in the legislative branch’s lap. I want to hear more about that plan he and the Prime Minister of Iraq worked out. The one about setting a time table.

    “The enemy”… You mean….. Mickey Mouse!! That dude and his dang clubhouse. Always “happy” with that “hot dog” song that gets stuck in my head. You are supporting him for president?

  301. 308 Virginia Davis
    September 22, 2008 at 01:37

    Thank you, Luz Ma, for a thoughtful entry on belief in God and the place of religion in people’s lives.

    Virginia in Oregon

  302. 309 Jonathan
    September 22, 2008 at 01:41

    @Black holes–the Great Swallowing begins

    Ignoring warnings from wiser people, and from me, about the potential for generating black holes that could suck in the entire world, the so-called “scientific community” turned on that horrible machine in Switzerland.

    Almost immediately, the pillars of the world financial system began to crumble as several major investment banks effectively went bankrupt, sucked into the first “Black Hole.” Coincidence? I think not.

    What country’s economy is predicated upon banking, and thus best positioned to gain from this calamity? Switzerland. Must we sit quietly by as the dominoes fall? Expect similar dislocations in the cosmic fabric of other vital world industries: Chocolate, wristwatches, cukoo clocks, skiing,…

    I know it’s terribly un-PC to pile on against Switzerland, but the lines are just too clear to be ignored here. Now that it has finally shown its ugly head, it’s time for some honest discussion of the great Swiss conspiracy before it’s too late, before it devours us all, with famous precision and neutrality of course.

  303. 310 Amy
    September 22, 2008 at 01:47


    Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog……

    It’s the Mickey Mouse Club House!!

  304. 311 Amy
    September 22, 2008 at 01:48


    I haven’t heard anything from Lubna but I am sure she is fine and busy with school!

  305. 312 Dennis@OCC
    September 22, 2008 at 01:51

    Thanks Amy!

    I get concern with our Lubna…being in Iraq.

    They are a great way to get some pensioners money.


  306. 313 Bob in Queensland
    September 22, 2008 at 02:29

    @ Jonathan

    Re: Black Holes

    I note that the Hadron Super Collider has been switched off for maintenance. I, of course, will be buying big on the markets because of the inevitable rise expected now that the black hole generator is switched off.

    As for Switzerland, you’re right. It’s a prime example of what happens when faceless bureaucrats are given faces. The result is ugly! Well, the mountains are beautiful but the “we don’t allow that here” mentality gets a bit hard to take.

    As for chocolate, I’ve recently discovered a particularly good New Zealand brand. I don’t need Swiss chocolate. And I already own a fondue set so who needs the Swiss at all?

  307. 314 Jennifer
    September 22, 2008 at 02:41

    @ Dwight

    If I make a fool of myself I’d rather do it without the aid of alcohol and not smell like an ashtray if that’s alright. 😉

    I don’t see how stating his views in a direct way would be “over reacting”. I guess the way he has handled the economy mess is one of two ways it could be handled-sitting back and not saying anything to evaluate what will get him praise and earn votes or my personal favorite way of working towards fixing any problem-just dig in. The fixing has to start somewhere, right? He says he wants to be President so he should have some idea of how he would start getting things cleaned up. For people who are not convinced of his leadership knowledge and experience why show that he can possess those qualities when they are needed most?

    It is funny how asking for a direct answer from him has made you feel the need to insult McCain when the whole purpose of my posts where to see what other people thought about Obama’s sitting on the fence about the economy issue! I was really hoping for a genuine answer. Thanks for confirming my beliefs. 😀

  308. September 22, 2008 at 02:43

    “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire

    So, who were the Iraqis that took part in the 9-11 attacks? Who were the Iraqi al Qaeda members in al Qaeda in pre-invasion Iraq? Where did those WMD ever go to? And since when does God have direct communication with national leaders?

    What religious text permits the killing of civilians? Where is there a scripture passage indicating the permissibility of an offensive attack? Whatever became of that jurisprudential committee who are supposed to unanimously declare holy war – and who are they, anyway?

    What other absurdities are people falling for these days? What atrocities are yet to come as a result?

  309. 316 Jennifer
    September 22, 2008 at 02:43

    @ Virgina to Luz Ma’s religion post

    I very much agreed with her post too. It was thoughtful and very accurate.

  310. 317 Julie P
    September 22, 2008 at 02:46


    We’re still waiting for McCain’s plan.

  311. 318 viola
    September 22, 2008 at 03:06

    very cute, Jonathon

  312. 319 Jennifer
    September 22, 2008 at 03:12

    @ Julie P

    Please see the last part of my post to Dwight-I think it applies to your post as well.

  313. 320 Bob in Queensland
    September 22, 2008 at 03:16

    @ Pink

    Bob, I know that we are not necesarily a representative slice of humanity, but I do want to ask you whether you have seen more hatred coming from non-religious folk/atheists or from religious folk.

    I have to say that I have seen more hatred among the religious. In all too many cases religion seems to be used as a justification for prejudice and mistrust–or even hatred–of other groups.

    Before I’m jumped on, yes, a great many people who adhere to a religion believe in tolerance and “loving your neighbour”.

    However, the trouble with religions is that, by definition, all believe they are correct and, by definition, that other religious view are wrong. Add to that the fact that a good many religious folk believe it is their duty to convert others to their religion (and condemn non-believers) and you have a recipe for disaster. Another addition, this time the fact that mankind tends to be suspicious of ANYONE who is “different”, be the difference religion, language or skin colour, and the aforementioned recipe becomes a fully-cooked dinner.

  314. 321 viola
    September 22, 2008 at 03:16

    re: Soylent Green

    Yes, it is definitely a real movie, an oldie but goodie that starred Charleton Heston as a cop in a future time when the world is hugely overpopulated and the earth’s biodiversity destroyed and the highest good a citizen can do is commit suicide at government-run suicide centers.

  315. 322 Jonathan
    September 22, 2008 at 03:37


    After seeing you repeat and repeat the same ridiculous claim, I can’t restrain myself any longer.

    Senator Obama’s proposals, financial and otherwise, are no secret. If you really want to know them, learn them. You could start from his website. You may find that by appending a “.com” to his name and pressing the “Enter” key. If you just want to keep saying, over and over, that he hasn’t announced anything and nobody knows where he stands, you can continue to do so, but you’re not telling the truth. You’re admitting only that you can’t find them, or that you don’t want to.

    By the same token, you can find out if a movie is a “real movie” on the web too. I mean by googling the title, or going to imdb. Isn’t it a wonderful thing!

  316. September 22, 2008 at 03:44

    Re: McCain

    McCain lives a lifestyle that very few Americans can imagine, first we learned that he owns seven houses. Now we find out that he has a fleet of 13 cars.


  317. 324 viola
    September 22, 2008 at 03:46

    Voting Rights

    A person’s status in various realms could be a basis for alloting him points in a 100 point voting system. Years of education would get you so many points, or percentage of a full vote. Speaking and reading the official language could get you some more. high scores on intelligence and knowledge tests could get you some more. Immigrants could be allotted some share of points. Military service would gain you points. Teenagers could be allotted a share. And so on. I would call this system Inclusive Democracy.

    Inclusive Democracy would provide incentives to those interested in voting to get citizenship and get educated. If the voters with less education or other point-conferring characteristics became so numerous that even with fewer voting points they could swing an election, it would give those with more points an incentive to vote for ways to improve the educations, etc. of those people with fewer points.

  318. 325 Jonathan
    September 22, 2008 at 03:49

    So the number of cars, houses, or ballpoint pens anyone owns has exactly what to do with being president?

  319. 326 Bob in Queensland
    September 22, 2008 at 03:57

    Dunno, Jonathan. But with the drawers full of ball point pens this household seems to collect, forget voting. I should BE president!

  320. 327 Jonathan
    September 22, 2008 at 03:59

    @Bob — Swiss Conspiracy

    “Who needs the Swiss?” — Yes, well, that’s what I used to say too. We’ll be answering that question differently when they get that infernal machine cranked up again, and suck up what’s left of the world’s banking industry. Then we will all have to do business with Swiss bankers, which is not exactly an unalloyed pleasure.

    Stock up on that New Zealand chocolate before the Swiss BlackHole sucks up the world chocolate industry, and then the very marrow from our bones.

    It may already be too late.

  321. 328 Jennifer
    September 22, 2008 at 04:01


    Maybe I didn’t say this as bluntly as I could have but I want to hear Obama speak directly on the issue of our economy, what he would like to do to change it, and make it better as in for him to open his lips, speak, and words come out that don’t tell us something we already know. By that, I mean concrete facts directly from him NOT found on a website or issued in a pretty statement! In other words, I want a true opinion from him NOT something that is neutral and without any real stance. This is my gripe about him-he is on the middle of the fence about everything.

    I have been to Obama’s website but thanks for URL update. I appreciate you SO much for telling me that I can look up if a movie is a “real movie” online! I don’t know what I would have done if that information hadn’t been provided! You are such a lifesaver! THANK YOU!:D And, I also had ESP and knew that you would say I could buy it and I did that too; just awhile ago online!

    PLEASE, see the last paragraph that I posted to Dwight’s comment awhile ago.

  322. 329 viola
    September 22, 2008 at 04:02

    @Pink Shirley

    I remember George Bush giving a speech in which he pretty much vowed to search for and destroy al queda wherever they are. I don’t remember him or anyone else saying that Saddam Hussein was in outright league with al queda, but that Iraq was “liberated” by the U.S. military so that the Iraqi people would have a chance to build a free country which would be a bulwark against al queda type organizations.

    Whether that “liberation” should have taken place is questionable to a whole lot of people.

    It always amazes me how the exact same series of events as reported in the news is thereafter remembered totally differently by different people.

  323. 330 Jonathan
    September 22, 2008 at 04:03

    Quite the opposite Bob. Too many pens makes you “elite” and out of touch, thus unqualified for office. Also, suspiciously literate–we’re famously hostile to intellectuals in high office.

  324. September 22, 2008 at 04:06

    320 Bob in Queensland September 22, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Bob, I meant here, On the WHYS blogs.

  325. 332 Dan
    September 22, 2008 at 04:17

    I love it as the Muslim apologists have come out from under the beds from whence they have been hiding.
    First they try to change the subject then they lay guilt at your feet and liberal Westerners trying desperatly to be politically correct buy into their garbage.
    Their arguments are so transparant and infantile that they deserve no response as they are incapable of any cogent dialog. All they have is cute sayings from the Prophet or the Koran. Go tell those uinnocents recently dead in Pakistan that Islam is a religion of peace. Bah Humbug!!!

    @Dwight from Cleveland
    Must you be hit in the head by a bullet to know that it was fired at you? There is no doubt amongs EVERY civilized nation that the Muslims will detonate a nuclear weapon in a Western City. C’mon…you must have been putting me on.
    In Pakistan it is the military that controls their nuke and they have installed a device invented in America and given to every nation that posseses a nuke preventing unauthorized detonation. Even during the height of the Cold War the Soviets fully cooperated with the USA on this.
    Dwight I encourage you to get out to any Middle Eastern Islamic country and experience their enlightened society for yourself. I know that you will come away with a radically altered view if you can come away with your head intact.
    Do not become one of the apologists for perversion because you hate Bush or object to what the US did in Iraq. Muslims are on the road to either being thoroughly defeated again because their philosophy is diseased or if they do something very stupid wiped entirely off the face of the planet.

  326. 333 Jonathan
    September 22, 2008 at 04:17


    So by wanting to see Senator Obama’s lips move, I assume you mean you want to see him on television instead of reading the written record of what he thinks, and moving your own. Fine, that’s your choice. But, again, you can’t honestly say his views aren’t on the record, just that you can’t find them.

    if you refer to your 2:41 a.m. comment, I don’t see how the last paragraph has anything to do with me. I didn’t insult McCain. I didin’t even mention him.

    However, the FIRST sentence of your comment was both hilarious and entirely on the mark.

  327. 334 Bob in Queensland
    September 22, 2008 at 04:18

    @ Shirley

    Well, we here on the WHYS are probably a microcosm of the world at large…and, yes, many of the religious do have extremely polarised views of the world.

    This is not to say that ALL the extreme views come from religion….it just grates a bit with me when I hear christianity being used as a justification to hate other religions.

  328. 335 Bob in Queensland
    September 22, 2008 at 04:20

    @ Jonathan

    If I admitted that 80% of those ballpoints no longer write, would that help?

    As for being too intellectual, I’m have voice classes and have just about mastered “nuke-u-lar”.

  329. 336 Jack Hughes
    September 22, 2008 at 04:39


    What is this NZ chocolate ? Not seen it yet here in Chch…

  330. 337 Jennifer
    September 22, 2008 at 04:47


    I place more stock in someone stating something than “a written record of what he thinks”. In my way of thinking, he has not made his beliefs clear; he rides the fence on every issue. As Robert said; he’s waiting until the chips fall and have settled in all snugly. Then he wants to make a decision because he doesn’t want to “say the wrong thing” and maybe loose some votes. I don’t think that’s showing leadership qualities.

    The last paragraph did have everything to do with your post. I was looking for genuine input not insults or negative comments. I was not meaning to be offensive only asking.

  331. 338 Jack Hughes
    September 22, 2008 at 04:47


    You ask about my lifestyle…

    I live with my wife and children in an big, old style house. Its heated by burning logs and hydro electricity. Water heating and cooking are hydro as well.

    We grow some food and do a lot of composting.

    We recyclye everything we can, but that’s not much – because we don’t buy very much in the first place. Garbage is roughly one bag per fortnight.

    We drive an SUV and we go heli-skiing when we can afford it. Most days the car stays at home and w get round on bikes.

    I ask about your lifestyle because I want to know what a perfect green lifestyle would look like. I cannot get a clear answer from anyone. They just say “more of these, less of those, greener, greener, greener…” Without saying just how much, how little, how green.

    It’s got the hallmarks of a religious movement, rather than a rational plan based on any scientific calculations of what will work.

    Imagine if I say “what coulour should I paint my house” and people can only say”greener” without choosing a colour.

  332. 339 Jonathan
    September 22, 2008 at 05:02


    It is rather amazing, I agree, how people recall things differently. Fortunately, we have written records and videotape to consult to resolve these things, and so we don’t have to rely on your memory.

    VP Dick Cheney did, in fact, say that Saddam was working with Al Qaeda, as did other members of the administration. He even perverted the intelligence services by forcing them to cook up false and misleading claims to that effect.

    It’s all there in the record.

  333. 340 Bob in Queensland
    September 22, 2008 at 05:07

    @ Jack Hughes

    It’s called “Whittaker’s” and they do a number of different varieties but my favourite is “Dark Ghana” which is 72% cocoa. Address on the label says “JH Whittaker and sons, Porirua”.

  334. September 22, 2008 at 05:38

    Saddam & Qaeda?
    329 viola September 22, 2008 at 4:02 am
    Viola, I would refer you to a post that I amde on the “Is it ever justified to kill civilians?” thread at Shirley September 18, 2008 at 3:39 am in which I responded to your #284 post.

  335. 342 Jonathan
    September 22, 2008 at 07:27


    Gosh, no, you weren’t “offensive” to me, and I hope I wasn’t insulting to you. Maybe I was reading the wrong comment; when you recommended I read your comment, you didn’t specify which one. The one I saw said something about how people couldn’t seem to say anything without insulting Sen. McCain, and I just said that I hadn’t even mentioned the man.

    I’ve heard someplace or other that Sen. Obama has offered up a rather specific economic plan. I haven’t checked for myself. To tell the unfortunate truth, I’m not comfortable with what I know of his economic views. When I vote for him, it will be in spite of his economic positions, and because of his intelligence and character, One thing I know for sure is that he cannot fairly be accused of straddling the fence or being evasive or expedient. Forexample, he came out against the Iraq invasion way back before it went horribly wrong, and when it was considered practically traitorous to do so. That was most assuredly not indecisive, not ambiguous, not popular. Just principled, and insightful, and right. He wasn’t on television, so you didn’t see it, but it happened.

    Sen. McCain has a record too. It shows that he has been consistent only in his inconsistency. He has jumped the fence–changed his position 180 degrees on so many matters large and small that it’s hard to imagine anyone taking his word for anything. He’s corrupt, his campaign is run entirely by lobbyists, and he’s out of touch. A couple of days ago he had a hilarious interview with a journalist from Spain, about his views on Spain, in which he clearly believed Spain to be someplace in South America. I’m sure you can find it on youtube, He continues to insist, nonsensically, that the US can “win” in Iraq, although absolutely nobody can define what that would mean, and he’s announced he’d be perfectly comfortable continuing the occupation for a hundred years.

  336. 343 roebert
    September 22, 2008 at 07:45

    Selena: Yes, there is a record of violent warfare among Buddhist states, and even a case where Buddhist monks accompanied the Sinhalese king into battle. But my point was to answer your question: Is there any religion which allows that religions other than itself are valid? A: Yes, Buddhism.

    Pink: Well, the first point I’d want negotiated is when the US will be leaving Iraq, Afganistan, and the region in general. After that the subtler points might be addressed. But seriously: Yes, find out what Muslims want, other than the complete destruction of western society, and try to give it to them.

    Dan: God bless AMERICA!

  337. 344 Pangolin-California
    September 22, 2008 at 08:22

    @ Bob~ Good morning (I think)

    On chocolate: The world’s best chocolate is Scharffen Berger made in California (of course) and their 62% cacao dark chocolate is the apex of perfection. A 72% bar is too bitter to my taste unless accompanied by something sweet such as fruit, port or very sweet coffee or tea.

    As with our wines and bread the California coastal fog adds subtle flavors and cultures not replicable elsewhere.

    On pens: Ball points breed in drawers. To prevent this pens should be kept in jelly jars on counters where the light inhibits their reproductive function.

  338. 345 Bob in Queensland
    September 22, 2008 at 08:51

    @ Pangolin

    Just before 6:00PM Monday here….

    The 72% cacao suits my tast fine…probably because I’m an embittered old git myself! However, that NZ chocolate company I mentioned does a number of other flavours and “bitternesses”.

    I can unofficially say that I enjoy California wines but have to be a bit careful how far I go. I think my Australian visa could be cancelled if I acknowledge your wine is almost at good as ours!

    I’m surprised Katharina hasn’t been by extolling the virtues of Belgian chocolate. Any country that does beer and chocolate as well as they do can’t be all bad.

    What a way to end a BP–solid OT personal chat!

  339. 346 rick
    September 22, 2008 at 09:02

    Hi Jack
    You are lucky to have hydro. Oz is too flat for much of that but we have an abundance of coal unfortunatly, which makes us the highest per capata co2 polluters in the world. Hence the solar hot water heater.
    If you want perfect green, look for a lost tribe in the Amazon.
    Nobody wants to make that big of sacrifice and nobody is asking anyone to.
    I think being green is being aware of your impact on your environment and taking steps to reduce that impact. Choose your own shade.
    If we were all tinted just a little bit green it could make a big difference.

  340. 347 Katharina in Ghent
    September 22, 2008 at 09:11

    @ Bob and Pangolin

    Katharina had a good, solid, traditional sleep “just like in the old days”… 😉

    As to chocolate: The very, very, very, very, very best chocolate in the world is made in Belgium, as is beer.. It’s the only way to survive 367 days of rain/year. (No typo!) All the other countries may make very good chocolate, ours is excellent. It’s the humidity and the depression that gives it its extra flavour.

  341. 348 Pangolin-California
    September 22, 2008 at 09:32

    @ Rick~ Oz appears to have huge opportunities in geothermal, solar and wind power as well as innovative agriculture. As near as I can tell from the web contributions there are people exploring these options with unusual vigor.

    Even from California, I have to say I see Australia as a leader in developing and deploying green technology. On permaculture, soil carbon, solar and aquaculture you guys got the stuff. Just shut down those coal ports asap.

    @ Bob~ Food choices are considered to be political in California. You have no idea.

  342. 349 Jessica in NYC
    September 22, 2008 at 10:21

    @ Bob, Kathi, Pangolin

    After a very busy & unexpect weekend off line, this is the only topic I choose to belatedly weigh in on. I cannot resist Swiss Chocolate and dare I say–it gets my vote for the “best”!

    I don’t know how Mexican chocolate is made, but in Oxaca, Mexico has almond flavor chocolate bars that make the best hot chocolate. Now, I can’t wait to enjoy some hot chocolate this winter.

    @ Kathi, No flogging please, I do love Belgian chocolate as a very close 2nd to Swiss…. ok, ok tie if you insist. As I mature, I am starting to enjoy the taste of Belgian dark chocolate more.

    @ Pangolin, I do not think I have ever had Cali chocolate. Which do you recommend? Over the summer I went of a weekend wine tasting to 6 vineyards in Long Island and was pleasantly surprised. Have not made it to the CA’s vineyards, but it’s on my to-do list.

  343. 350 Jack Hughes
    September 22, 2008 at 11:23

    Green & Black’s 70% chocolate is the best we get here.

    They make a 90% but its too strong for me – its like spooning cocoa powder into my mouth.

    I quite like white chocolate as well now and again.

  344. 351 selena in Canada
    September 22, 2008 at 12:04


    Save us? Save us from what?

    Excellent post!

    The West does need to be saved from fear!

  345. 352 Pangolin-California
    September 22, 2008 at 12:09

    @ Chocolate~ For several years I had a job as sous chef where the chocolate mousse recipe was 4 lbs of Belgian chocolate, 1/2 gallon heavy cream, 18 eggs separated, 1/2 cup Gran Marnier, 1/2 cup sugar and a strong arm. A really, really strong arm.

    Ghirardelli chocolate originated in California and is very good for daily consumption. True chocolate addicts will need to try the Scharffen Berger chocolates as they have very good structure and fragrance but very pricey. Personally, I’m partial to artesianal truffles which seem to vary greatly in quality as shops emerge, thrive and then vanish inexplicably. It seems to be a transient gift or something not supported by the market.

    Try lots in small batches. If you like something; buy more.

  346. 353 Julie P
    September 22, 2008 at 12:40


    Obama did state his position on the economy in his North Carolina rally that was was a live feed on the internet courtesy of CNN.

    And by the way, I have NOT insulted McCain on this once. Ever. But you seem to feel that is ok to insult Obama and me.

  347. 354 selena in Canada
    September 22, 2008 at 12:54

    What religious text permits the killing of civilians?

    The Old Testament.

  348. 355 selena in Canada
    September 22, 2008 at 12:58


    But my point was to answer your question: Is there any religion which allows that religions other than itself are valid? A: Yes, Buddhism.

    It wasn’t my question.

    But no matter… my point was to point out that Buddhism is much the same as other religions with its different sects pitted against each other.

  349. 356 Amy
    September 22, 2008 at 15:27

    All this talk of chocolate……it is morning now in Oregon. Would it be wrong for me to have a Hershey bar for breakfast? Is that setting the wrong example for my daughters?

    I love chocolate (I guess you could call me a chocoholic) so I would have to say my favorite is what is in front of me!!

  350. September 22, 2008 at 17:14

    354 selena in Canada September 22, 2008 at 12:54 pm
    What religious text permits the killing of civilians?
    The Old Testament.

    Oh, bother, you spoil sport. (I forgot.)

    I think that the sects of Buddhism going against each other thing is a purely human factor. I do not for an instant think that Buddhism validates such a thing.

  351. 358 Jens
    September 22, 2008 at 17:52


    you are the girl. swiss chocolate beats the belgium one, without a doubt.


  352. 359 Jennifer
    September 22, 2008 at 17:56

    @ Amy

    You could always sneak and eat a candy bar! 😉 That’s what my mom used to do. We were really good about catching her though! haha I have a weakness for milk duds myself. I always have them at the movies. 🙂

  353. 360 viola
    September 22, 2008 at 20:22


    Well, we agree about the reliability of memories, at least.

    For what it’s worth, and I figure mine is just as good as yours, my opinion of the invasion of Iraq is that it was right to topple a murderous dictator. I’m not so sure that it was a good precedent to set with respect to going it alone, although, strictly speaking, the U.S. did not go it alone, since Great Britain and other nations participated. While I believe the invasion was the right thing to do, I believe it was a mistake to try to increase the support of Americans by using such duplicitous reasons to do it. That always backfires. Better to trust the American people with complex reasoning than to rely on simplistic, propagandistic reasons.

  354. 361 Peter
    September 26, 2008 at 22:11

    I grew up listening to BBC.Grew also to love them and their trustworthy sounding reporters and correspondents.In my eyes BBC was impartiality personified.

    Then things began to shift when I found I wanted to safeguard the west against cultures that were insular and whose world view included the eradication of western culture, whereas BBC regarded this process as vintage multiculturalism at work.Dare I say that Im not British but have long been an Anglophile;well, until recently.I loved England and its country lanes,its pubs and village green, tea at the vicarage and cricket; I loved bowler hats and umbrellas and the endless wet and drizzly weather and weak ale and oh the queen’s English being spoken.

    But I watched with horror as streams of immigrants flooded in and the process of multiculturalism swung into action with political correctnesss being all the rage and hatred of the Queen and the strangling of Christmas and the Proms and a thousand other things quintessentially English being wantonly violated to rising cheers from the BBC.This isnt even mentioning the outrageous new crowd that want to bomb England out of existence.Could I help firing back with the only means within my reach:words by text and email to BBC, protesting for all I was worth.Then my angry texts to impartial BBC began to get returned with the stamp of REJECTED emblazoned on them.BBC would not stand my exercise of the freest commodity of the western democracies,i.e.free-speech!Multiculturalism, as far as the Beebs was concerned, was more hallowed.

    And so died my long held belief in BBC as as an impartial media.

  355. 362 Peter
    September 26, 2008 at 22:41

    @ Selena.

    Your reposte that the Old Testament permits killing of civilians clearly demontrates the dearth of your knowledge of the Bible.If you were right,why is it that to this day there isnt even one Christian suicide bomber or hordes of Christians wantonly setting out to Kill innocents in the name of Christ to pursue some political goal as is common of people of a certain other faith?Reason is the majority of Christians understand that God through Christ ushered those who believe in Him into a new dispensation – one of grace,aka the new testament.It translates into peace on earth and goodwill to men.The Christian accepts being defrauded and turning the other cheek and suffering persecution for Christs sake and that judgment is God’s.

    That is why those who are moulded otherwise find it far easier to target Christians whether on blogs like this,knowing that responses will be tame and even non-existent,or then target them physically as when a Nun in her seventies was stabbed to death in retaliation for the words of the Pope!Waal,Serena,enjoy yourself,enjoy taking potshots at Christians who have never strapped on bomb-belts or walked into restuarants to blow up innocents and who have never detonated bombs in school buses or taken over aeroplanes to ram them into buildings full of thousands,or then stuffing a baby pram with C-4s with a live baby inside.Did you hear that people of that faith who perpetrated this unspeakably satanic act celebrated the death of the baby,calling it their first baby suicide bomber.Just imagine the furore all of that would have attracted if the perpetrators to any of these were Christians.

    Phew,the mind boggles!Anyway,enjoy Serena,for time will tell.

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