Thursday, September 22, 2005

My Blog is not all Politics...

yeah, of late i have been posting a lot of political views, expressing my frustration with America still doggedly backing Mr. Bush. but there is more to my life than just politics.

I am now happily married to Annie and life is wonderful here in New York City. At work today, I was culling books from my section that haven't been looked at in a while, to make space for new books, and someone left a message on a scrap piece of paper in one of the books about Islam. the note said "you've noticed that most of the books are anti-Islam in the Islam section?" It was a bit sad to see that note, because of two reasons: 1. there are a lot of anti-Islam books, but what can really be done about that? there are a bunch of anti-Mormon books too. 2. this person didn't see that there were actually a lot of positive books about Islam in the collection. It's too bad Americans want a war with Islam, a clash of civilizations like Huntington wants.

so anyways, life is good....but now, back to more political stuff. ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

1906 San Francisco Quake vs 2005 New Orleans Hurricane: A comparison of Response

so at the Daily Kos website, I discovered a beautiful timeline of the responses from government officials to the 1906 earthquake that hit San Francisco, still the worst natural disaster in US history in terms of human casualties, as over 3000 died.

Here is the link to the timeline of the response to the Earthquake in 1906

http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist10/06timeline.html

now compare that to the response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/katrina-timeline.php

notice how much quicker the government responded back in 1906. I thought we were more technologically advanced than they were back then, I mean, they didn't even have airplanes!!!

Com'on America, don't let Bush get away with this. you let him get away with a war that was not needed to be fought, but don't let him get away with his indifferent response to Americans dying here at home.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Violence in America

so I am sitting here at my desk at work at the library and a black woman and her son, probably 8 or 10 years old, come up to the desk to ask a question. the son asks if there was a computer spot available. The moment he finishes with his question, his mother smacks his shoulder and says "Wha'cha doin' askin' the question for me!" The boy shuts up and the mother asks the very same question as if he never asked it. I answer as if the violent act did not occur and they walk away.

That kid is going to grow up thinking it is perfectly fine and suitable to hit someone if they feel like it. There was no justification for the mother to hit him. It almost seemed that she was disgusted to have him with her, felt so full of arrogance and of herself that she probably wondered why she had to deal with him.

So why is it so easy for some Americans to hit other, especially their own children, in public, without thinking anything wrong of it? This was the second time I've seen a mother hit her child in public here at the library.

I wish America can start a debate about the amount of violence, real violence, and not just the violence on TV and in video games, and ask itself why it likes to be so violent one to another.

God, The Universe and Time

so I'm checking out the HuffingtonPost, a nice blog that tells it how it is. One of the threads was about how NASA found a new star that exploded like 12 billion years ago....the thread somehow got into the liberal conservative bash mode....so i posted about how I felt that religion and science are not mutually exclusive. Here is the response from one guy, and my response back to him

"But hey, I am a bit of a looney, a liberal Mormon....not many of us around..."

DAN..the man:

hey i'm just curious...since you must get your notion of 'christ' from the 'bible' (certainly not the gnostic teachings), and you appear to accept the cosmos as being 13.7 billion years, created from a singularity & best modeled by the big-bang theory...how do you hold these two apparent contradictions together, in your (presumably) rational mind, eh?

do you accept darwinian evolution & the fact that man & apes have a common ancesstor, from which we both evolved about 8 million years ago, & which recent dna evidence fully supports?

in other words, you could not logically take the 'bible' (with all it's errors, redactions, omissions, interpolations) literally, correct?

thus, it must be allegorical...the most obvious being the (two) creation myths in genesis. thus, why do you take the allegory of 'the christ' as 'historical'?

are you aware of the gnostic writings?

are you aware that ALL aspects of the jesus 'god-man' character were prefigured in the ancient 'pagan' (unfortunately, that term has become a perjorative) mystery religions: osiris, dionysus, attis adonis, bacchus, mithras...apollonius of tyanna...)?

jesus allegedly said: the kingdom of god is within...what do think this means: to 'know' theself is to 'know' god?

dan...i'm just curious...

Posted by: gnosis on September 13, 2005 at 09:18PM

gnosis,

good questions. i doubt you'll like my answers though. i'm not as familiar with gnosticism to fully answer your questions to your liking, but I will tell you why I believe the Earth is as old as it is and how it doesn't actually contradict with my religion.

Mormons do not believe there is a contradiction between science and religion (one of the many aspects about the LDS church that I love). What needs to be understood is that God's view of time and man's view of time are two separate things. I'm no metaphysicist, so I can't ramble on about the philosophy of how time works, but can only tell you what I believe. And I believe I will be proven right when Jesus comes again. :)

It has been said in scripture that 1000 years to man is one day to God. or something like that. I do not believe that literally. What I believe is that God lives beyond the realm of "time" i.e. He lives in Eternity where "time" does not exist like we know it. This gives God the ability to see into the "future" of man's existence as well as the past. If He is beyond it, it would be similar to us watching a movie on our DVD player, using the remote to go back and forth through the movie. Therefore, by man's standard of "time," which cannot be changed, and is static, the earth did actually take 4.5 billion years to form. But when God talked to Moses and had Moses write Genesis, He tried to describe the creation of the world to Moses in terms Moses could understand.

Now as far as the Universe is concerned, I am not one who believes in the Big Bang theory. I believe the Universe is infinite and eternal, i.e. greater than the bounds of time and space, and our near-infant like understanding of the Universe cannot comprehend yet how vast and grand the Universe really is.

How's that for an answer. :)


from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2005/09/13/nasa-spots-137b-yearold_n_7261.html

Sunday, September 11, 2005

President Johnson vs. President Bush on Hurricane Responses

I thought the beginning of this article stated it perfectly.

In September 1965, a massive hurricane hit New Orleans. By the next day the president—a Texan in a time of war—was in the city, visiting a shelter. With no electricity in the darkness there, Lyndon Baines Johnson held a flashlight to his face and proclaimed, "This is the president of the United States and I'm here to help you!" Almost precisely 40 years later, when another horrific hurricane hit the city, the president was, again, a Texan in wartime. But rather than hurry to New Orleans from his Texas ranch, George W. Bush decided, three days after Katrina hit, to fly back to Washington first. Photographers rarely are allowed into the forward cabin of Air Force One, but consigliere Karl Rove and other aides summoned them so they could snap pictures of the Boss gazing out the window as the plane flew over the devastation. Republican strategists privately call the resulting image—Bush as tourist, seemingly powerless as he peered down at the chaos—perhaps among the most damaging of his presidency.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9287435/

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ayn Rand and Objectivists' View of Religion

how can this not be clear?

"Religion is a primitive form of philosophy, because it attempts to provide a theory of the nature of man, man's place in the universe, and a guide to human action. But religion admittedly has no rational basis, meaning: no basis at all. "Faith" is merely someone's assertion (without evidence) that something is true. As a "guide" to life, it couldn't be more dangerous. And it is becoming an increasing danger to Americans as the 21st Century approaches. The religious right's efforts to enforce religion and destroy our rights is all around us: laws preventing abortion and assisted suicide, censorship, school prayer in public schools, laws against homosexuality, laws mandating the teaching of "creationism."

from http://capitalism.org/faq/religion.htm
and from http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=media_topic_religion

Can any sensible Mormon tell me why they would see this philosophy as one that can be combined with Christianity, especially with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the LDS Church?

Objectivists View of Religion

Let this be clear, because I am so boggled as to why Mormons would agree to this philosophy, Rand's Objectivists, who view selfishness as a virtue.

Read the following http://capitalism.org/faq/religion.htm

"What is the relation between religion and socialism?
Religion is hierarchically below than socialism; religion is a complete outlook of the world (it deals with more fundamental issues); socialism (as conventionally used) is concerned with politics/economics.

Religion -- a pre-philosophical outlook -- is a perfect philosophical base for socialism. The philosophical essentials of religion are as follows: in metaphysics religion holds to the supernatural and miracles (as opposed to reality and causality), in epistemology religion holds that the means of knowledge is revelation and faith (as opposed to reason and logic), in ethics religion holds to self-sacrifice or altruism (as opposed to self-interest and the pursuit of happiness)

The only result of such a philosophy as religion, is in principle identical to that of Marxist atheists: when carried out in principle it will lead to some form of collectivist, anti-capitalist politics."


So in other words, Capitalists view religion on the same vein as they view Communists. And for anyone who has read Rand's books, you know just how highly she views communism....

So, why do conservative Christians back a philosophy that views religion, especially Christianity with such disdain?

My review on Amazon.com of "Atlas Shrugged"

Whether you like her book or not, it is an influential book and it isn't going away. She is to conservatives what Marx is to liberals, i.e. the extreme version of what most conservatives believe. Her philosophy is flawed and most conservatives only really take parts of her philosophy, (most of the parts conservatives do not agree with deal with Rand's disdain for religion, which again is quite similar to Marx).

Her book, Atlas Shrugged, deals with a hypothetical in an unreal world. What if those who went on strike were the "backbone" of society, rather than the poor lower class workers whose only apparent drive, according to Objectivists, is to tear down the powerful and intelligent. However, this hypothetical is not real. What Rand and Objectivists seem to forget is that the powerful and intelligent die, and are no more, yet someone still takes control. So if one or two, or even a bunch of them stop working, others will fill in and do the work.

Rand and Objectivists cannot look at the real world, but have to use hypotheticals to explain their flawed philosophy. If you look at all the characters in her books, they are all one dimensional. Tell me, in real life, have you ever met a person who was perfect, who did everything exactly as he was supposed to do? I have never met anybody who did not have a flaw in their character. yet I am to believe, as Objectivists would like, that by following their philosophy, I have somehow attained perfection in my character. Even Greenspan has gone back on his words!

Rand's black and white view of the world fits well into conservative thought because they like to look at the world through a two-dimensional prism, or at least they like to believe they look at the world through a two-dimensional prism, but yet even Bush beds with dictators, i.e. Uzbekhistan.

The problem with Rand's book, which Objectivists can't stand being brought up about her book is that her heroes have no flaws and her villains have no redeeming qualities. But yet we are to believe Kadafi of Lybia changed overnight. How can that be? He's a villain, or at least he was. Can villains have redeeming qualities to Objectivists?

Another problem, which is the title of my review....look at the name of the book. It is called "Atlas Shrugged." According to Rand, Atlas is a mythical being who holds the earth on his shoulders. Apparently, in her view, the earth begins to weigh heavier and heavier on his shoulders, strengthening the burden on poor Atlas. When one character is asked what does Atlas do with this extra burden, another character replies "he shrugs."

So think about it. Rand's "Atlas" characters, the mighty, the rulers of business and industry....do they "shrug"? Is going on strike shrugging? So what is really her point? it seems that the book ought to actually be called "Atlas Revolutions". It seems more appropriate. If Atlas only shrugs, would not her mighty heroic characters just shrug their shoulders and get back to work?

Yet another example of how unrealistic her book really is.

Finally, and this last point is to the many Christians who find her book and her philosophy appealing, I have one question:

Was Christ selfish?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0451191145/qid=1126434773/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/002-4037899-0688801?v=glance&s=books

Wedding Pictures

Okay so I haven't updated this blog of mine in some time. I've been busy, but now that I've left Linkup for good, perhaps this is where I shall post my feelings and such from now on.

so, here are pictures from the wedding. :)

http://homepage.mac.com/dandubei/PhotoAlbum7.html