Drastic Times

Weird, Interesting or Disturbing News and Current Events along with some unsolicited opinions. Pretty much anything that I believe to be of interest, including politics, religion, conspiracies, values, corruption, etc.

A BBC News article reports that Nepal's state-run airline has sacrificed two goats in front of one of its planes, to appease a Hindu god after the aircraft developed technical problems.

The airline said that after the sacrificial ceremony, the plane successfully completed a flight to Hong Kong.

"The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights," senior airline official Raju KC was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The article makes no mention of any mechanical work being performed on the aircraft, so it seems to indicate that the sacrifice was the extent of any corrective action.

I originally decided to post this article as I found it humorous from a 21st Century American viewpoint. However, as the plane successfully completed its flight and appears to be having no more difficulty, who's to say that the sacrifice didn't work.

Unfortunately, another BBC News article reports that Nepal is in the midst of a severe goat shortage ahead of the country's biggest religious festival of the year. Farmers in rural areas are being asked to sell their goats. No mention was made of the effect that the goat shortage may have on the maintenance crews of Nepal Airlines.

An article on the BBC News page reports that President Barack Obama's education speech, in which he urged American schoolchildren to work hard and not to give up, has stirred a partisan row.

In Today's (Tuesday, September 8) speech at a Virginia high school, Mr Obama told children their country's future depended on their educational achievement. But conservatives have complained he is trying to indoctrinate children to serve his political agenda.

A different article posted on OpEdNews, suggests that the latest Republican exercise in manufactured outrage may very well cost the party for decades. The GOP threw weeks of anger at the speech with accusations of indoctrination and socialism. Conservatives ignored the Department of Education's description of what the speech would be about, subjects such as staying in school, taking responsibility for one's own education and working hard in school. Instead they went about treating the speech like they have treated the stimulus and health care reform. They ignored the facts and invented their own specifically designed to maximize outrage.

Based on these accusations put out there by the Republican Party, parents kept children from school, school boards alternatively decided not to show the speech, or required parents to opt in, or opt out, etc. The lies caused some parents to have visible breakdowns on television, driven to anguish and concern by the fantastic claims of socialist indoctrination.

The Saint Petersburg Times (Florida) compiled a list of students comments, some bitingly sarcastic towards opponents of the speech. Said one 16 year-old:

"Obama's speech was just dripping with socialist values, especially when he told kids "I hope you'll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don't feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter."

Oh, and the part about students setting goals for their education and asking for help when they worry they won't succeed? He is stealing the words right out of Karl Marx's mouth."

A 17 year-old stated:

"Yes conservatives, you can come out of your bunkers in Wyoming and send little Jimmy back to school because there are no socialist agenda fist-pounding moments and no brain-sucking Marxist remarks."

Another 17 year-old commented:

"The speech had no socialist agenda and only the best of intentions: getting students to realize that the circumstances of their life are no excuse for not trying in school. "

And an 18 year-old had this to say:

"Does brainwashing include telling students that, "every single one of you has something you're good at?" If it does, then every child in this world has been brainwashed by their parents and will continue to be for the rest of their lives."

What's really interesting about all of the propaganda, is that the Republicans knew what would be in the speech. Did they not foresee that their lies would be exposed? Did they honestly believe that millions of parents would keep their children home from this education encouragement speech? Are the Republicans against education for the fact that an uneducated population is easier to manipulate?

One of the most insightful remarks was this one, made by a 17 year-old student:
"Children and teenagers are very susceptible to simply believing whatever their parents believe politically."

Hopefully this deception by the Republicans will teach students that their parents' views are not necessarily correct, and to evaluate statements on their own. Regardless, this lack of credibility on the part of the Republicans will no doubt still be in the minds of these young people when they vote for the first time in 2012.

An article of Channel 7 News of Boston says that a new proposed bill designed to combat the threat of the H1N1 virus would allow the state of Massachusetts to forcefully quarantine people in the event of a pandemic.

Anyone who refuses to comply with the quarantine order could face jail time or a $1000 per day fine.

The "Pandemic Response Bill" would also force health providers to vaccinate people, authorize forcible entry into private homes, and impose fines or prison sentences on anyone not complying with isolation or quarantine orders.

It seems amazing that this is a news story concerning one of the American states. What got into the government of Massachusetts? Although I don't fully agree, I can possibly see forced quarantine for public safety; but I think that forcing health care providers to vaccinate people by forcibly entering my home is going too far.

It's almost as though Massachusetts has something in that vaccine that they want everyone injected with. If I believed in conspiracy theories, I think I may be watching the news to see if other states follow suit.

According to an article in the Kansas City Star, Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, has been praying for the death of President Obama. In a sermon titled "Why I Hate Obama," Anderson admits that he prays for the president's demise (see the accompanying video - skip to 320 if you don't want to see the introduction). Says Anderson, "If you want to know how I'd like to see Obama die, I'd like him to die of natural causes," said Anderson. "I don't want him to be a martyr, we don't need another holiday. I'd like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer."

Anderson's message of hatred may have not had the effect that he had intended, for he and his congregation have since received death threats. Yet despite the threats, Anderson's congregation clings to his message.

"If (Obama) thinks the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are obsolete, it would be better if (Obama) wasn't here," said parishioner Renee Houlihan.

Parishioner Christopher Broughton, commenting on Anderson's anti-Obama sermon, said, "I concur, I think we'd be better off if God would send (Obama) where he's going now instead of later," said Broughton. "(Obama) is destroying our country." Broughton, who claims that he moved near Anderson's church because he believed in its message, brought an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle outside Obama's speech to the VFW in Phoenix in August.

Not only are Anderson's followers carrying guns to political events, they've now taken to toting their guns back and forth to church to protect themselves from the death threats. Anderson's reaction to all of this was, "Guns are a great deterrent. We haven't had any violence because people know if they come down here swinging a baseball bat, we're ready to protect ourselves."

The US Secret Service claims that they're aware of Anderson's comments, and that an appropriate follow-up will be conducted. Personally, I believe that Anderson is instigating violence, if not murder, and should be locked up for the remainder of Obama's term - possibly longer. This is a dangerous man, inciting the weak-minded to commit an assassination by having them believe that God has ordained it. However, given the narrow-mindedness and violent nature of Anderson's congregation, I would imagine that the Secret Service is reluctant to act unnecessarily.

To go off on a small tangent here, I really think that Pastor Anderson has put the US Government in a rather interesting predicament. Obviously, it's illegal to ask anyone to kill the President of the United States. Anyone who requests such an act of another will be arrested, assuming I would imagine, that the person who is requested to perform the killing is real and capable of such an act. Although I don't know of a precedent, I would imagine however, that should someone simply speak into the air and ask an imaginary being to kill a president, the Secret Service may decline to get involved.

As for God, to those who believe in him he is quite capable of killing. The Bible credits him with over two million killed, and that doesn't even could the Great Deluge, Sodom and Gomorrah, plagues and other unique killing methods that he has supposedly used in the past. Therefore the question is, does the US Government believe God to be real?

Although the US Government claims to be secular, it has certainly done much to indicate its belief in God. Consider the following:

1. Our money says, "In God We Trust."

2. Our Pledge of Allegiance to our flag contains the words, "One Nation Under God."

3. The third verse of our national anthem says, "And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'"

4. the words, "Laus Deo" (Latin for "Praise Be To God") are engraved on the Washington Monument, along with several other references to God and Scripture.

5. The US Supreme Court made the statement, "This is a Christian Nation," in its decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892.

There are other examples as well, including many quotes by our founding fathers and other politicians through Lincoln, Truman, Roosevelt and up to Reagan which not only indicate a personal belief in God, but stating that America is a Christian nation. For example:

1. "Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic, expression of Americanism. Thus, the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus with God's help, it will continue to be."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

2. "America was born a Christian nation."
- Woodrow Wilson, President

3. "This is a Christian nation."
- Harry Truman, President

And so, if America believes in God, who is capable of killing, then America is obligated to arrest Pastor Anderson for asking God to kill the president. I think that those Americans who believe that America is a Christian nation should demand that Anderson be arrested, for if America takes no action, this would in essence indicate that America denies God's existence.

And for those who don't believe that America is a Christian nation, Anderson's arrest should be demanded nonetheless because he's a manipulative and hateful lunatic.

Two Paris suburbs have suffered traffic chaos over a feud between their two mayors.

According to a BBC News article, the conservative mayor of Levallois-Perret decided to make the busy route D909 one-way to reduce the amount of commuter traffic through his district. He took this step without consulting with the other communities through which the D909 passed.

The Socialist mayor of neighbouring Clichy-la-Garenne said this increased congestion in his area. So instead of discussing the problem with Levallois-Perret's mayor, or considering if it would be beneficial to make his section of the route one-way in the same direction, he chose to make his section one-way in the opposite direction.

With the contradictory road-signs in place, the unsurprising result was gridlock, prompting the deployment of municipal and national police to direct traffic away from the area.

Personally I'm glad to see that the French can be just as disagreeable with each other as they can be with foreigners.

In the words of Donald Rumsfeld, former US Secretary of Defense and one of the chief engineers of the Iraqi War, "If you can't solve a problem, enlarge it." This strategy worked equally well in the Parisian suburbs as it did in Iraq.

A Nigerian man who says he cannot get a girlfriend because of his bad stutter has announced plans to marry his pillow, claims an article from Ananova.

Okeke Ikechukwu, a 26 year old laborer from Lagos, says that his stammer made it difficult for him to speak to girls. "Since I am a stutterer, ladies have always laughed at me whenever I try to talk to them," he said. "I have needs, and so I have taken to sleeping with my pillow in my arms ever since I was 16. I have grown to fall in love with it, and I intend to spend the rest of my life with it."

Mr Ikechukwu also said that, unlike a woman, the pillow would cost him little or nothing to maintain for the rest of its life. "I think it will make the ideal mate for me," he said.

This story brings up some interesting questions. First, what is the legal age of consent for a pillow in Nigeria? Mr Ikechukwu claims to have been "sleeping" with said pillow for the past 10 years. The age of the pillow is not stated, but he may well have been corrupting the morals of a minor pillow. One the other hand, this relationship began when Mr Ikechukwu was only 16, meaning that the pillow may have corrupted his morals.

Other questions which come to mind are, how is the gender of a pillow determined? Could Mr Ikechukwu have been sleeping all these years with a male pillow? Could this be a same-sex marriage? If however, the pillow is female, do the couple plan on having any children?

Also interesting would be to know whether the wedding will be a church or a civil ceremony? Has Mr Ikechukwu taken the pillow home to Lagos yet to meet his parents? And has Mr Ikechukwu yet traveled to the factory where the pillow was made to gain consent for his wedding?

All in all, although I've never met Mr Ikechukwu, I'd venture to guess that his problem with girls laughing at him are caused by a little more than just his stuttering.

Four children have been sent home this week from Gainesville Schools for being in violation of the school district's dress code. All of the children involved had been wearing shirts with an anti-Muslim statement, according to an article in the Gainesville Sun.

On their front, the T-shirts had a verse from the Gospel of John: "Jesus answered I am the way and the truth and the life; no one goes to the Father except through me," and this statement, "I stand in trust with Dove Outreach Center." The message "Islam is of the Devil" is on the back of the shirt.

One of the children involved, a 15 year old girl from Gainesville High School, said the decision to wear the shirt had been hers, and not her parents. She said the "devil" statement was aimed at Islam's beliefs and not its followers. She said, "The people are fine. The people are people. They can be saved like anyone else."

It's interesting what this girl had hoped that the believers of Islam could be saved from. Could they be saved from the hatred that her church was trying to spread? A more important question would be whether children who are members of the Dove Outreach Center could be saved from the narrow-minded teachings of their own church.

Although the child was trying to protect her parents in saying the decision was her own, her father showed that he was by no means above ignorant statements of his own, saying that society has grown "so tolerant of being tolerant" that free speech is eroding. In selectively protecting those parts of the Constitution that benefited him at the moment, this student's father apparently forgot that America not only has freedom of speech, but freedom of religion as well.

Some of the blame for the ignorance of the Dove Outreach Center's congregation must be placed with the church's Senior Pastor, Dr. Terry Jones, who said, to him, spreading the church's message was "even more important than education itself." When interviewed about an anti-Muslim sign in front of his church, Dr. Jones said, "The purpose of the sign is to expose Islam for what it is. It is a violent and oppressive religion that is trying to masquerade itself as a religion of peace."

It's my opinion that all organized religions are oppressive. While Islam may have had its share of violence and hypocrisy, Christianity is far from innocent itself. In fact, messages of hatred such as those of the Dove Outreach Center and the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, may place Christianity on the top of the hypocritical list.

Fortunately, the general population of Gainesville does not agree with the Dove Outreach Center's message of hatred, and according to an examiner.com article, they came out in droves to protest the sign.
People of all faiths and backgrounds came out with their own signs such as, "Who Would Jesus Hate?" "Love Thy Neighbor," and "God is Great. Love not Hate." The protesters have pledged to stay there until the sign comes down.

Pastor Eve MacMaster, of the Emmanuel Mennonite Church, said of the crowd of protesters, "I am blessed by these good people. They're great. Secularist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian whatever. This confirms my belief that this is a pretty good place to live."