Windows 7 Release Party or…?

By now, everyone has seen the silly video from Microsoft about hosting a Windows 7 Party! As if spending 20 hours (this is not my estimate but what some MS-favoring pundit came up with — under best circumstances it will take 20 hours to upgrade to Windows 7) wasn’t a party enough for ya…

At anyrate, this party takes on a whole new vibe with just a simple beep everytime Windoze 7 is mentioned:

UPDATE 1:

Imagine that you are at this party, it seems like it is winding down, you have not killed anyone yet, nor gnawed off a leg to escape the trap. The host turns to the crowd and seems to say good bye…

Watch their faces as the life force is drained out of them.

The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan

Anatomy of a Column

noonan

ust before the alarm clock would start to ring at the stroke of eleven, Peggy Noonan’s hand dropped the ether canister and swatted the alarm’s off button, as if on its own. As she rolled over, Noonan discovered where she left “Mr. Pinky,” her little D-cell friend, still twitching admirably. “If I were an oyster,” she thought, “I’d have a pearl by now.”

Noonan wanted to feel something, anything. The numbness, the numbness. Ever since the torture memos were released, nothing but numbness, numbness. The ether, usually so effective, so friendly, did not bring its usual clarity. Reagan’s “City on a shining Hill,” Bush the elder’s “Thousand points of light,” all of Noonan’s greatest hits had followed a good ether binge. But today nothing, she noted as she checked her typewriter, just empty paper.

Clutching her pearls with her little bird-like claws, she shook her head as she looked about her little Manhattan aviary, as she liked to call her apartment. So chic, so spartan (the new chic – she even said so), and yet the gloom on the horizon was still there: the torture memos. “Oh, Mr. Pinky, make it go away,” she whispered to herself.

When she stood up and adjusted the Lanz of Salsbury flannel nightgown, which was somehow on backwards, she spotted the tear-stained copy of the torture memos, passages, indeed entire pages highlighted in baby doll pink by her assistant, glowing malignantly in the corner where she had thrown it the night before while making a pitcher of Mai Tai’s.

Life had been so easy the past 8 years. You believed what wanted to believe, no reality to get in the way. George Bush had kept us safe, his inarticulateness (as Noonan had once postulated) was the sign of a great thinker, fighting them over there so that they won’t be fighting us over here, the brilliance of John Bolton at the UN, all of it was true because she willed it to be true. And now, numbness, numbness. All brought about by that man, that likable man, who forces reality-based ugliness on us all.

Picking up the ether canister and the soft, organic cotton batting, Noonan poured a good dose and inhaled deeply.

“Past, President and Future” by Peggy Noonan

Weepy didn’t get the memo…

USA-POLITICS

Weepy, the oddly orange-hued member of Congress (R-Crybaby) and notorious boner-maker, goofed yet again and forgot to say “harsh interrogation tactics.” This is going to earn him a stay at Blam-Blam’s Re-Education Camp and Grouse Hunting School.

They’ve decided to close the detainee base in Cuba without having any plan for what they are going to do with those terrorists who are hellbent on killing Americans, and then last week they released these memos outlining the torture techniques, and that is clearly a political decision, and ignored the advice of their director of national intelligence and their CIA director. The bigger question is, what is the administration’s overarching plan to take on the terrorist threat and to keep America safe? The world didn’t suddenly become safer in January of 2009.

Mistress Condi tried it on Hadley first.

condi-gaggingWASHINGTON (AFP) – The CIA first sought in May 2002 to use harsh interrogation techniques including waterboarding on terror suspects, and was given key early approval by then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, a US Senate intelligence document said.

“Next,” she did not say, “I’ll get that haughty little queen at Bergdorf’s. Wide feet my ass.”

She can’t handle the truth

Former Reagan and Bush 1 speechwriter, and probable dipsomaniac, Peggy Noonan, wants the release of the torture memos to walk on by. For poor Peggy, you see, life is too harsh, the world is too ugly, pain is too intense for her Morning in America sensibilities, and so it must stop she pleads, breathlessly, let’s have some mystery… of US-sponsored torture.

Good grief, even dapper and elitist George Will makes a better argument, and clearly is not reaching for the pills, needle, or bottle to sooth life’s jagged edges. No, Kinder and Gentler Noonan (yes, she wrote that along with “The thousand points of light”), wants to believe, Scarlett O’Hara-like, that tommorow after all, is another day.

UPDATE: Sweet Jebus! There ought to be a law about writing Op-Ed pieces when tits-to-the-wind drunk. I admit, I don’t know much about this Noonan, other than she was Reagan and Bush 1’s speech writer of choice, but holy crap! Who writes stuff like this? It’s like she took smack and watched Soylent Green and thought it was a documentary.

The Fruit of Theocracy

BATlogo This is my second year of participation in Blog Against Theocracy, hosted by Tengrain. This article will be cross-posted there. I am proud to be a participant and encourage you to visit Tengrain’s blog to read other articles posted there by many other bloggers. Yesterday I defined theocracy and looked at secular reasons to oppose it in this article. Today, I wish to take a different approach. In Matthew 7:17, Jesus said that we can recognize authentic believers by their fruit. So it is certainly legitimate to consider the fruit of theocracy. One of the best measures of that is the treatment of outcasts, who Jesus gathered to himself.

We so have a time in history in which the sacred authorities were at least equal to the secular, and for much of it, Western Europe can be considered a virtual theocracy from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Enlightenment. We’ll go back a little earlier for context. One group that was considered outcasts throughout that time was Jews. Here is the fruit of theocracy where Jews are concerned:

22Persecution 325: The Council of Nicea decided to separate the celebration of Easter from the Jewish Passover. They stated: “For it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews. Henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people…We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews…our worship follows a…more convenient course…we desire dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews…How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are almost certainly blinded.”

337: Christian Emperor Constantius created a law which made the marriage of a Jewish man to a Christian punishable by death.

339: Converting to Judaism became a criminal offense.

343-381: The Laodicean Synod approved Cannon XXXVIII: “It is not lawful [for Christians] to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety.”

367 – 376: St. Hilary of Poitiers referred to Jews as a perverse people who God has cursed forever. St. Ephroem refers to synagogues as brothels.

379-395: Emperor Theodosius the Great permitted the destruction of synagogues if it served a religious purpose. Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire at this time.

380: The bishop of Milan was responsible for the burning of a synagogue; he referred to it as “an act pleasing to God.”

415: The Bishop of Alexandria, St. Cyril, expelled the Jews from that Egyptian city.

415: St. Augustine wrote “The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus.”

418: St. Jerome, who created the Vulgate translation of the Bible wrote of a synagogue: “If you call it a brothel, a den of vice, the Devil’s refuge, Satan’s fortress, a place to deprave the soul, an abyss of every conceivable disaster or whatever you will, you are still saying less than it deserves.”

489 – 519: Christian mobs destroyed the synagogues in Antioch, Daphne (near Antioch) and Ravenna.

528: Emperor Justinian (527-564) passed the Justinian Code. It prohibited Jews from building synagogues, reading the Bible in Hebrew, assemble in public, celebrate Passover before Easter, and testify against Christians in court. 3

535: The “Synod of Claremont decreed that Jews could not hold public office or have authority over Christians.” 3

538: The 3rd and 4th Councils of Orleans prohibited Jews from appearing in public during the Easter season. Canon XXX decreed that “From the Thursday before Easter for four days, Jews may not appear in the company of Christians.” 5 Marriages between Christians and Jews were prohibited. Christians were prohibited from converting to Judaism. 4

561: The bishop of Uzes expelled Jews from his diocese in France.

612: Jews were not allowed to own land, to be farmers or enter certain trades.

613: Very serious persecution began in Spain. Jews were given the options of either leaving Spain or converting to Christianity. Jewish children over 6 years of age were taken from their parents and given a Christian education

692: Cannnon II of the Quinisext Council stated: “Let no one in the priestly order nor any layman eat the unleavened bread of the Jews, nor have any familiar intercourse with them, nor summon them in illness, nor receive medicines from them, nor bathe with them; but if anyone shall take in hand to do so, if he is a cleric, let him be deposed, but if a layman, let him be cut off.”

694: The 17th Church Council of Toledo, Spain defined Jews as the serfs of the prince. This was based, in part, on the beliefs by Chrysostom, Origen, Jerome, and other Church Fathers that God punished the Jews with perpetual slavery because of their responsibility for the execution of Jesus.

722: Leo III outlawed Judaism. Jews were baptized against their will.

855: Jews were exiled from Italy

1050: The Synod of Narbonne prohibited Christians from living in the homes of Jews.

1078: “Pope Gregory VII decreed that Jews could not hold office or be superiors to Christians.”

1078: The Synod of Gerona forced Jews to pay church taxes

1096: The First Crusade was launched in this year. Although the prime goal of the crusades was to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, Jews were a second target. As the soldiers passed through Europe on the way to the Holy Land, large numbers of Jews were challenged: “Christ-killers, embrace the Cross or die!” 12,000 Jews in the Rhine Valley alone were killed in the first Crusade. This behavior continued for 8 additional crusades until the 9th in 1272.

1099: The Crusaders forced all of the Jews of Jerusalem into a central synagogue and set it on fire. Those who tried to escape were forced back into the burning building.

1121: Jews were exiled from Flanders (now part of present-day Belgium)

1130: Some Jews in London allegedly killed a sick man. The Jewish people in the city were required to pay 1 million marks as compensation.

1146: The Second Crusade began. A French Monk, Rudolf, called for the destruction of the Jews.

1179: Canon 24 of the Third Lateran Council stated: “Jews should be slaves to Christians and at the same time treated kindly due of humanitarian considerations.” Canon 26 stated that “the testimony of Christians against Jews is to be preferred in all causes where they use their own witnesses against Christians.”

1180: The French King of France, Philip Augustus, arbitrarily seized all Jewish property and expelled the Jews from the country. There was no legal justification for this action. They were allowed to sell all movable possessions, but their land and houses were stolen by the king.

1189: Jews were persecuted in England. The Crown claimed all Jewish possessions. Most of their houses were burned.

Inserted from <Religioustolerance.org>

From there we continue with a brief look at the Inquisition.

22inquisition The Inquisition was a Roman Catholic tribunal for discovery and punishment of heresy, which was marked by the severity of questioning and punishment and lack of rights afforded to the accused.

While many people associate the Inquisition with Spain and Portugal, it was actually instituted by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in Rome. A later pope, Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisition, in 1233, to combat the heresy of the Abilgenses, a religious sect in France. By 1255, the Inquisition was in full gear throughout Central and Western Europe; although it was never instituted in England or Scandinavia.

Initially a tribunal would open at a location and an edict of grace would be published calling upon those who are conscious of heresy to confess; after a period of grace, the tribunal officers could make accusations. Those accused of heresy were sentenced at an auto de fe, Act of Faith. Clergyman would sit at the proceedings and would deliver the punishments. Punishments included confinement to dungeons, physical abuse and torture. Those who reconciled with the church were still punished and many had their property confiscated, as well as were banished from public life. Those who never confessed were burned at the stake without strangulation; those who did confess were strangled first. During the 16th and 17th centuries, attendance at auto de fe reached as high as the attendance at bullfights.

In the beginning, the Inquisition dealt only with Christian heretics and did not interfere with the affairs of Jews. However, disputes about Maimonides’ books (which addressed the synthesis of Judaism and other cultures) provided a pretext for harassing Jews and, in 1242, the Inquisition condemned the Talmud and burned thousands of volumes. In 1288, the first mass burning of Jews on the stake took place in France.

In 1481 the Inquisition started in Spain and ultimately surpassed the medieval Inquisition, in both scope and intensity. Conversos (Secret Jews) and New Christians were targeted because of their close relations to the Jewish community, many of whom were Jews in all but their name. Fear of Jewish influence led Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to write a petition to the Pope asking permission to start an Inquisition in Spain. In 1483 Tomas de Torquemada became the inquisitor-general for most of Spain, he set tribunals in many cities. Also heading the Inquisition in Spain were two Dominican monks, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin.

First, they arrested Conversos and notable figures in Seville; in Seville more than 700 Conversos were burned at the stake and 5,000 repented. Tribunals were also opened in Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia. An Inquisition Tribunal was set up in Ciudad Real, where 100 Conversos were condemned, and it was moved to Toledo in 1485. Between 1486-1492, 25 auto de fes were held in Toledo, 467 people were burned at the stake and others were imprisoned. The Inquisition finally made its way to Barcelona, where it was resisted at first because of the important place of Spanish Conversos in the economy and society.

More than 13,000 Conversos were put on trial during the first 12 years of the Spanish Inquisition. Hoping to eliminate ties between the Jewish community and Conversos, the Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492…

Inserted from <Jewish Virtual Library>

Now, lest you consider this a rant against Catholicism, it is not. The brief period of Protestant theocracy in Massachusetts gave us witch burnings. It is the nature of religious hypocrites to seek and abuse authority. The fruit of theocracy is rotten to the core. Now the theocons might argue that it isn’t true anymore, because they like Jews and support Israel, but that claim is also a lie. It still applies, because the theocons have new outcasts. Here’s a theocon from Family Research Council discussing the problem that gay people cannot get permanent visas for partners who were here on temporary work and student visas, because the state does not recognize gay unions:

(To see the video, go to the bottom and see it at my blog.  I could not get it to post here.)

The bigotry is unchanged. It just has new targets.
In addition to intolerance, hate and bigotry, the fruit of theocracy will be rotten any time what’s best for people interferes with their religious agenda. Here’s Tony Perkins of family research council talking about global warming:

(To see the video, go to the bottom and see it at my blog.  I could not get it to post here.)

Can we entrust the care of the earth to those who want it to end in apocalypse?
Tomorrow I shall discuss the error that has led the religious right to attempt to impose their dogma and attempt to discern Jesus’ view.

Cross-posted at Politics Plus