Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a woman who was kidnapped and gang-raped by five men has been sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the company of men not related to her. Her sentence is being appealed to the King.

The rapists are in custody, but given the standard of proof demanded by Sharia law it's not likely they'll be convicted.

I hope that those lashes are given in installments, with time to recover. 90 all at once would likely be fatal.


A town in California, after turning a Christmas tree into a "Holiday tree", has rechristened (um, perhaps I'd better chose another verb) the Easter Bunny - the Spring Bunny.

Never mind that the bunny, the eggs, even the name itself are not the least bit Christian. (Easter comes from the name of the goddess Eoster.) So are the neo-pagans going to get mad and protest?

My wife laughed uproariously. I'm beginning to suspect that she thinks America has arranged this gigantic comedic spectacle for her personal amusement.


March 4-7 there was a conference of Muslim dissidents in St. Petersburg, Florida, featuring among others, speakiers such as Ibn Warraq, Irshad Manji, Wafa Sultan, and Nonie Darweesh. I don't recall seeing anything about it on the TV news. What gives? This was a gathering of some of the bravest intellectuals in the country today, discussing matters that will determine the shape of things to come for this century at least.

Each of these people lives in constant danger of violent death - and nobody seems to think it worth noticing when they get together to talk. I'd of been happy to attend as the proverbial fly on the wall - but then I didn't even know it was happening until it was over.

Did anybody go to observe and report on what was said and done? Or is perhaps the existence of intellectuals who actually put their lives on the line for their convictions a reproach to those who like to posture as heroes from their ivory towers?


Hillary was recorded on camera trying to talk Black. Not a good idea, she's got a tin ear but the audience seemed tolerant. Commenters on the Right accused her of being patronizing, but if her audience didn't think so I suppose you can't run with that charge. So now is it OK to tell Black jokes again?

A while ago Senator Diane Feinstein got away scot-free after questioning nominee Samuel Alito about conflicts between his Catholicism and his duties on the Supream Court. What would have been the reaction if someone had questioned Senator Feinstein about conflicts between her loyalty to American interests and her Judaism?

And recently questions have been raised about Mitt Romney, and whether some of his Mormon ancestors were practicing polygynists.

Of course I was outraged at the religious bigotry, double standard and all - but then I remembered the Mormon doctrine about baptising your ancestors, and I couldn't help but wonder if you could register them to vote while you were at it? (As we say in Oklahoma; I know it's wrong - but I'm weak.)

Hell, it's been done in Chicago for years.


  • At 3:41 PM, Blogger Mark said…

    Well, regarding the St. Petersburg conference, I did a quick Google News search, and the three most promising artlces were these:

    one from United Press International, one from the Edmonton Sun, and one from the Globe and Mail.

    There was also one ostensible from Al-Jazeera, but the link was dead.


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