Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere


On Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2002, I stood at the gate of my rented house in Karachi, watching my friend Danny Pearl juggle a notebook, cellphone and earpiece as he bounded over to a taxicab idling in the street. He was off to try to find the alleged al-Qaeda handler of "shoe bomber" Richard Reid in Pakistan. "Good luck, dude," I called, waving cheerfully as he strode off, a lopsided grin on his face. His pregnant wife, Mariane, stood smiling and waving beside me as the taxi pulled away. A gaggle of parrots swooped through the trees above, squawking in the late afternoon sun.

That was the last image I had of Danny until late last month, when a PR executive for Paramount Vantage pulled up to my house in Morgantown, W.Va., in a black Lincoln Town Car. She was carrying a DVD of "A Mighty Heart," the just-released movie, based on the book by Mariane Pearl, about the staggering events that unfolded after that innocuous moment in Pakistan: Danny's kidnapping and eventual beheading.

With my parents and a friend beside me, I pressed "play" on my DVD player and settled in to watch. Slowly, as the scenes ticked by, my heart sank. I could live with having been reduced from a colleague of Danny's to a "charming assistant" to Mariane, as one review put it, and even with having been cut out of the scene in front of my house in Pakistan. That's the creative license Hollywood takes. What I couldn't accept was that Danny himself had been cut from his own story.


About 43.6 million people in the United States, or 14.8 percent of the population, had no health insurance in 2006, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The finding, based on a survey of 100,000 people, is lower than previous federal estimates of 46 million.


As the reputed architect of the war in Iraq, Cheney is viewed as toxic, and as the administration’s leading proponent of an attack on Iran, he is seen as dangerous. As long as he remains vice president, according to this thinking, he has the potential to drag down every member of the party — including the presidential nominee — in next year’s elections.

Removing a sitting vice president is not easy, but this may be the moment. I remember Barry Goldwater sitting in my parents’ living room in 1973, in the last days of Watergate, debating whether to lead a group of senior Republicans to the White House to tell President Nixon he had to go. His hesitation was that he felt loyalty to the president and the party. But in the end he felt a greater loyalty to his country, and he went to the White House.


Well, it appears that all the political science textbooks got it wrong. It appears that the U.S. Constitution got it wrong. It appears that even the Founding Fathers got it wrong. For several centuries now, we’ve all assumed that the vice-president has been part of the executive branch of government – but now Dick Cheney has set us all straight:

From his secret undisclosed location, he has decreed that, in fact, the vice-president is not part of the executive branch of government. It is tempting to contend that Cheney must be in the last throes of sanity, but maybe he is right and everybody else is wrong, which means that there needs to be a massive attitude adjustment in this country. Maybe he really does have the right to defy the rule of law and operate as he sees fit.


Federal officials have told a small New Jersey importer to recall 450,000 radial tires for pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans after the company disclosed that its Chinese manufacturer had stopped including a safety feature that prevented the tires from separating.


As usual, when scientists tell you something, you can usually find the truth if you look in the opposite direction. What scientists label "positive," the protons, actually - by their own theories- huddle in the center of the atom, slothful and lazy, sheltering the morally timid neutrons. The ones who go about, energizing things and spreading the Gospel, are the electrons. This leads me to believe that electrons are actually the positive moral force here, not the lazy, good-for-nothing neutrons and certainly not the vile, wicked, electron-counteracting, equivocation-enabling protons.

Electrons are the positive force in the atomic world. They are God’s servants. What, then, could they be, if not angels? Doesn’t this explain how the Lord is at work in every piece of technology we currently operate? Electrons power them all; ergo, the Lord, through the direct intercession of His servants, the angels, powers it all. It also explains smiting; thousands of angels come down from the Heavens and enter the skulls of the evildoers.


It's not just that she's a private person. There are plenty of public servants who are zealous about guarding their personal lives and equally zealous about keeping their public lives - and public policies - transparent. But, like Bush and Cheney, [Hillary] Clinton seems devoted to secrecy for its own sake.


[Salman] Rushdie’s new honor raises the same question now that his work raised when Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a fatwah against him in 1989. Do we choose to live in a world that honors writers or in a world that kills them?


Does a naturalistic philosophy exclude true religious feeling? Most certainly not. The monotheistic personal deity of some world religions, for all protestations to the contrary, is merely an intellectually spiffed-up version of Zeus. Once we get beyond the idolatrous notion of a personal, interventionist God, then we can begin to open our minds and hearts to the inexhaustible and inexpressible hidden God of creation.

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