Thursday, January 05, 2006

If he did not repent, he would be executed. It’s the only way.

A judge in Maryland rules that a man who mooned his neighbor during an argument did not break the law.

I have to admit to being a little surprised that Bush recess-appointed an almost universally awful, underqualified bunch of toadies, fund-raisers and ideologues to various positions, as if the last year had never happened. The move neatly combined kingly arrogance with cronyism, the traits that gave us domestic surveillance and Michael Brown. The destruction of New Orleans and its aftermath was evidently not enough of a lesson that it made him think twice before appointing Ellen Sauerbrey assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration. So here’s my question: why do we on the left never learn that Bush never learns?

You will remember the editor of the Afghan magazine Women’s Rights being sentenced to two years for blasphemy (the prosecutor had asked for the death penalty), the judge saying that he was acting under orders from the Ulama Council. Well, I missed this, but two weeks ago, he recanted and was released. Somehow, the death penalty came back into play. Said one of the appeals judges in the case, “if he did not repent, he would be executed. It’s the only way.” So to recap, in a country occupied liberated by the United States, an editor was forced on pain of death to deny and abjure the ideas that women should have equal status to men in courts, that apostates should not be executed, and that lashing adulterers 100 times is a bad idea.

In other press-freedom news, a newspaper reporter who called in his blog for the boycott of the Beijing News after the Chinese government fired its editor and two of his deputies, has seen that blog shut down by Microsoft. Microsoft’s defense: “Most countries have laws and practices that require companies to make the internet safe for local users.” Safe.

In yet more press-freedom news, the British government’s heavy-handed and yet silly and doomed order to British newspapers not to name the MI6 head of station in Greece who was outed in the Greek press and who allegedly watched the beatings of 28 Pakistanis suspected of having something to do with the 7/7/05 train bombings, while rather pointless in the age of the internet...

his name is Nicholas Langman by the way...

he looks like this...

(the London Times helpfully describes the picture, so that when you google your way to the Greek paper that printed it, you’ll be able to recognize it even if you don’t know the language) has nevertheless for the most part inhibited the British press from investigating the claims. He said, she said, and they were done.

From the LA Weekly, among many other entertaining lists this week, Things We Learned from the Intelligent Design “Controversy”:
1. Some complexity is irreducible.

2. Evolutionary theory has gaps.

3. Gaps are evidence of God.

4. Naomi Watts is evidence of God.

5. God doesn’t play dice, but he does play Life.

6. God is falsifiable.

7. What’s religion in Delaware is science in Kansas.

8. Thirty-eight Nobel laureates aren’t as smart as the Kansas Board of Education.

9. It’s quite possible that humans rode dinosaurs.

10. Any crackpot theory deserves a hearing, unless it involves spaghetti.

11. A man is like a watch: If you don’t wind him up, he doesn’t work right.

12. Some people spell Creationism with only two letters.
And this cartoon is from that issue:

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