Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Devil Made Me Do It!!!

And today's craziness:

Apparently Hitler and Stalin were possessed by Satan. Because clearly, in light of the doctrine of free will, human beings can't do anything that evil. Yes, moderately evil things, but nothing THAT evil.

Does this statement by the Vatican do anything to help ease the pain of those who actually survived Hitler and Stalin's regimes? Or comfort the families who lost loved ones?

I can't believe the best thing the Vatican was able to come up with to explain Hitler and Stalin's actions was "The Devil made them do it!"

That is all.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

transliteration issues

So I have a 10:10 Hebrew Bible course with Richard Elliot Friedman (who until very recently was at UCSD but just got to UGA like.... 6 days ago) MWF this semester. Yesterday we covered Gen. 1-3, and spent a ton of time looking at the name of G-d in Hebrew: YHWH or י ה ו ה for the Hebraically inclined who may be reading (that actually is important for later on in this article, so keep that visual in mind).

In English translation, whenever YHWH is translated to English, the word we generally get is LORD (in all caps to deliniate it from 'Adonai, the Hebrew word for lord). A tradition arose after the time of Biblical Hebrew of not saying or writing the name of G-d out loud (which leads to a wonderful tradition, especially in Orthodox traditions, of saying the word "hashem" or "the name" whenever the word YHWH is present in a reading--G-d becomes "he who must not be named"). So, ultimately, the actual pronounciation of G-d's name was lost.

Anyways, When the Tanakh was originally translated from Hebrew to Greek, the translator was awesome about handling the name of G-d. Rather than translate as the Greek word for Lord (Kyrie: Κύριε ), the translator left YHWH in Hebrew. So, for all of you who need a visual (in English), it would have read like this:

Exodus 12:36: And the DROL had disposed the Egyptians favorably toward the people....

So, it read along Greek Greek Greek Hebrew Greek Greek Greek. Remember, that Hebrew is written RIGHT-TO-LEFT, so the translator literally would have had to pick up his pen, then write backwards (for him), pick up his pen again and continue on in Greek.

An error in translation occured later. Another Greek translator came along, and was presented in the middle of the Greek with
י ה ו ה. Not realizing that Hebrew was a right-to-left language, he transposed the closest Greek letters visually: Π Ι Π Ι (pi iota pi iota), written of course left-to-right.

An thus the "pee-pee" Bible was formed.... I'm not kiddin' y'all...

Yes, ultimately, potty humor is the highest form of humor.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006


The world is full of proteges. I happen to consider myself a protege of my major advisor from my undergraduate degree, Dr. Joe P. Dunn, Chair and Charles A. Dana Professor of History and Politics at Converse College. He wrote this originally for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal on 15AUG2006, but it has since been posted at About.com. I really can't summarize it, as my lack of knowledge on the Vietnam-side of the argument would lessen the overall impact of any summary. That being said, just for a taste of the article, let me say that it discusses the strategic planning and political ramifications of both the Vietnam War and the 2nd Iraq War. Anyone interested in this subject should seriously read this article.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Kevin Barrett

I'm currently watching FoxNews's morning show, Fox & Friends, and they're interviewing a man named Kevin Barrett. He is a professor who most recently taught at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, teaching an Intro to Islam course at that institution. Barrett states that 9/11 was an "inside job", that there is no evidence of hijackers on those planes, that Bin Laden is dead, and that Bush isn't in control of anything.

According to Wikipedia, he converted to Islam in 1992. Apart from this, Barrett has absolutely no scholarly background in politics or religion, and is not qualified to teach Islam on the college level. Barrett has a French and English background with a PhD in African Languages.

Barrett flat out stated that the entirety of the 9/11 Commission Report was wrong. He doesn't believe the evidence/tapes proves that there were any hijackers on the planes, and went on to specify that the angle of the shadows in the second tape was incorrect to the time of day being taped, and that this couldn't possibly be a real tape as it wasn't released by the government until two years after the attack.. He states that the phone calls from the planes were not real because you can't make phone calls from 30,000 feet (the planes would have been much lower prior to impact...).

The University of Wisconson apparently got in some heat about hiring Barrett, coming out with a statment justifying the appointment.

Barrett stated that the entire 9/11 plot could be uncovered just be simply asking 3 questions:

Who was acting Commander-in-Chief that day?
What happened to Building 7?
Where were the fighter jets?

I have one question to ask in response to this: Where is your decency, Barrett? If you have a theory that the government purposely planned thousands of deaths for its own policy issues, that's fine. But, for G-d's sake, bring these to the table in a decent and tactful manner. The US allows us freedom of speech, and Barrett has full right to his beliefs and to express them. The families and friends of the 9/11 victims have gone through enough pain without you publically coming forth with poor evidence blaming those who are supposed to protect us. If you truly think that this occurred, Barrett, don't glamorize it or use your theory to make a name for yourself, as this truly makes a mockery out of the deaths that day. Go through the proper channels.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

At least they tried...

Google found this article for me today. The article refers to a "National Muslim Fun Day" being planned for September 17th at Alton Towers, a park in central England. The day was to be a day where Muslim families could come and enjoy the park in a way that would be in line with their beliefs. Separate male/female rides, halal food, and a dress code required for all people attending the park that day.

I really think this was an awesome idea. According to the article, England is home to 1.7 Muslims (3.4% of the population). This is an amazing gesture that other countries I believe would do well to consider. I found some varied responses to the event from the Muslim community:


oh and this one rather pissed me off: http://islamophobic.blogspot.com/2006/07/muslim-only-day-at-uk-theme-park.html

The event was cancelled, however. Islamic Leisure, the organization planning the event, was unable to sell the idea and Muslim Fun Day was cancelled due to lack of interest. I am highly disappointed by this. But, nonetheless, it was a great idea. Many will probably say that there is no reason for a day like that and that it's unfair to the rest of the population to cater to the minority of the population, if even for a day. But there is some precident for events of this type. For example, since 1991, Walt Disney World has been hosting (unofficially) Gay Day, an event which attracts 100,000+ GLBT individuals yearly. I honestly think days like this help increase awareness of groups. While I'm not attempting to say that events such as Gay Day has been the main event sparking the increased acceptance of the GLBT community in society, I will posit that possibility that group-themed public events do give people outside of that group the opportunity to see a group of people they may not understand in a situation that is similar to their own (whether that be riding the Dumbo ride at Disney, or eating shawarma at Alton Towers). It is disappointing that National Muslim Fun Day was cancelled due to lack of interest. It's interesting to note that while Islamic Leisure has stated that it will refund the tickets they did sell, they also have not been answering their phones today.

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