Friday, June 27, 2008

Energy: Oil Drilling, Photovoltaic Panels...To drill but not to collect?

Energy policies are not quite in equilibrium, Dear Gentle Reader(s). While, on the one hand, President Bush is pushing Congress to open more fields for oil drilling, on the other hand, The New York Times reports the administration is "freezing" solar energy projects.

Now, remember, DGR(s), the projects to provide more oil won't be "on line" for some 10 years. Even then, they won't do much to alleviate the energy problems we have now. Photovoltaic solar energy projects are already providing some energy--here in Southern California, for instance. Large scale projects would put more of this solar electricity on the grid sooner than oil will flow from the Alaska projects.

What's going on? Is this administration so committed to the oil industry that it would deliberately impede development of a non-petroleum based energy source?

Ask your Republican friends about this.

Trust, but verify.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Um...about Tim Russert...

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While one has, Dear Gentle Reader(s), sympathy for Mr. Tim Russert's family and friends. there's a quote in an article in the Los Angeles Times which adds a layer to this complicated man.

Scott Collins, a Times staff writer, finishes his piece with these two paragraphs:

Early last year, during the perjury trial of Bush administration aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former press aide to Vice President Dick Cheney testified that she often tried to get officials on Russert's show.
"Meet the Press" was "our best format," she said, where the administration could reliably "control the message."

A reliably controlled message seems a bit contradictory for a journalist dedicated to fairness and truth.

Russert had a jolly face, a quick laugh, political insight, and at least one clay foot.

Trust, but verify.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Jehadist? Terrorist? What do we really know?


Last week, Dear Gentle Reader(s), amidst all the brouhaha about Senator Clinton's campaign and Scott McClelland's book, there appeared a short 3 paragraph in a local (So Cal) newspaper which was uncredited and titled "Fatwa issued against terrorism.

Well, that should get a little more attention, shouldn't it?  Indeed, it should.  Here's a touch of what we might have learned.

It seems there is an ultraconservative Muslim seminary in India which held a conference which was attended by thousands and which ultimately issued a fatwa, an edict, against terrorism.  A quick Google of the organization and its meeting leads to two links which are somewhat illuminating.

The Darul Uloom - Deoband, a large, conservative Muslim organization in India, issued a statement in February, 2003, which contains the following in the first paragraph: 

"Islam has given so much importance to human beings that it regards the killing of a single person the of killing the entire humanity, without differentiation based on creed and caste. Its teaching of peace encompasses all humanity. Islam has taught its followers to treat all mankind with equality, mercy, tolerance, justice. Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism. It has regarded oppression, mischief, rioting and murdering among severest sins and crimes."

The second paragraph contains this:  "And, today countless number of innocent Muslims are spending their lives behind the bars and are forced to bear many intolerable tortures. And, those spreading terror, attacking police stations, killing the police in broad daylight and showing illegal arms are roaming about freely with no effective and preventive steps being taken by the government to check their acts of terrorism and violence."

As a cautionary note, DGR(s), one must point out that the Darul Uloom-Deoband also vociferously condemns "the West"..."Their aggression, barbarism and state-sponsored terrorism not only in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan but also in Bosnia and various South American countries have surpassed all the records known to human history."  So, the organization is not totally on "our side."  It is, however, very much against the terrorists/thugs/murderers who act in the "name" of Islam.

The news article which caught this reader's eye led to a site for The Times of India with this story:  "Deoband first:  A fatwa against terror.  This story discusses a meeting of the Deoband at which a specific fatwa was issued against terrorists, and this comment about using jehad as a word to identify terrorists: "...many people, especially in the West, [are] carrying out a propaganda that terrorism was synonymous with jehad...[and] that while terrorism is destructive, jehad is constructive. "Terrorism is the gravest crime as held by Quran and Islam. We are not prepared to tolerate terrorism in any form and we are ready to cooperate with all responsible people," said Darul-Uloom’s deputy rector Hazrat Maulana Qari Sayed Mohammed Usman.

Then, DGR(s), isn't it possible that we in the West are somehow abetting the terrorists by giving them a certain religious cachet when we fall into the use of jehad?  Jehad is a personal, spiritual struggle.  Terrorism is murder.

We have a lot to learn.  We should've learned it prior to March 2003.

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