Partying in Saudi Arabia, giant concrete balls to be used as bombs, and other amusing headlines
Girls Gone Wild in Saudi Arabia.
Activists are trying to get an initiative on the ballot in Washington state that would force straight couples to have children within three years of marriage, on pain of having their marriages annulled. Seems pretty unlikely that it will get on the ballot, and even less likely to pass if it does. That of course isn’t the idea, their point is that if the purpose of marriage is procreation…as many anti gay marriage folks claim…then why should non procreating straight couples be allowed to get married? I’d go on, but this is one of the saddest debates in modern America. That people are voting to deny minorities the rights that the majority enjoys is democracy at its ugliest, especially since many of these “go to hell gay people” (oops I meant “defence of marriage”) acts are purely political and designed to get religious conservatives to the polls, period. In most of Europe they handled this situation sensibly by having domestic partnership marriages and old fashioned traditional religious marriages recognized by law. Most Americans are too insecure for that solution apparently, to which I answer, if a married gay couple living down the road is a “threat” to a straight couple’s marriage, they surely must not have much faith in their own vows. Sigh, the rest of the world is marching into the 21st century, while sometimes I think the USA is marching back into the middle ages.
The court martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada is getting a lot of press. In a nutshell, he has refused redeployment to Iraq because it is an “illegal” war. While I agree with his view that the war is illegal, I fear his interpretation of the UCMJ is too broad. A soldier is not only allowed to refuse an illegal order, they are in fact obligated to refuse such an order. Unfortunately I think that means he can refuse an order such as “Go kill those civilians” or “torture this prisoner,” but it’s hard for me to fathom how “get on a plane and travel to this country” is an illegal order. I know a lot of liberals disagree, and the man has a lot of supporters, but I fear they are hurting their cause more than helping it. I find it very unlikely that the military court will rule in his favour, military justice is to justice what military music is to music. It’s kind of a shame really, if the man had actually gone to Iraq and then refused a direct order to commit a war crime, he would have done his cause a world of good. As it is, it is easy for the pro war people to tar him a coward, all he has done is further divide the country. For the record though, I hope I am wrong about this case.
In the “our wild and crazy Saudi friends” department, a bunch of foreigners face lashing and jail time for attending a party! Americans died to protect this bastion of freedom and human rights, and this is how they repay us? Oh, wait, our good ally Saudi Arabia is a theocratic dictatorship with a terrible human rights record, in fact it’s the country where most of the 911 hijackers came from. Shouldn’t we have invaded them instead of Afghanistan? Fortunately their crown prince has an explanation: “It is absurd to impose on an individual or a society rights that are alien to its beliefs or principles.” Glad that’s cleared up, it’s OK for a country to ignore basic human rights as long as it’s traditional!
The Drudge Report has highlighted a story claiming that global warming is the “greatest deception in the history of science.” A scary headline, surely the man has a point? It’s a long article, but his argument can be summed up very simply “I have great scientific credentials, I say global warming is a lie, and people are picking on me for doing so.” The article doesn’t actually cite any facts or research supporting his contention, I assume that the facts are simply inconvenient details when one knows one is right and everyone else is wrong. Where he really shoots his own foot off is when he claims that the global cooling scare of the mid seventies was the same but the opposite of the current global warming consensus. Any time someone brings up global cooling as an argument against global warming, you are either dealing with a blatant liar…or someone so woefully misinformed as to lack all credibility. For the record, only a handful of scientists thought global cooling was a possibility, within a few years follow-up research showed they were wrong, and the subject died. Not without a media circus though. Hardly a blip on the radar compared to the consensus and research supporting global warming that has been growing for decades. Not to mention the rising temperatures, melting icecaps, disappearing glaciers, and increasingly severe weather events of the last few decades.
On a more positive note, yesterday’s Astronomy Pic of the Day was really neat, and highly recommended. A cat was safely rescued after six days in a tree. And lastly, in my ongoing coverage of the mud volcano that is slowly covering Indonesia with mud…giant concrete balls are going to be dropped into it in an attempt to halt the flow. I’m willing to bet that men came up with this plan, since throwing things into mud is second only to blowing things up in the world of fun things boys like to do. Yeah, yeah, I know there’s another fun thing boys like to do, but even monkeys can do that so it doesn’t really count. :)
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. And yes, my guess is the picture is actually from Morocco judging from the clothes being worn.)