Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"The 9 Most Badass Bible Verses" from

This might, might, be the most hilarious thing I have ever read.

The 9 Most Badass Bible Verses |

On Waterboarding

Via Joe. My. God., Via - Dan Savage.

"[If] the Bush administration didn’t think [waterboarding] was torture, they ought to do some personal investigation. Someone in the Bush family should actually be waterboarded so they could report on it to George. I said, I didn’t think he would do it, but I suggested Jenna be waterboarded and then she could talk about whether or not she thought it was torture." - Stephen King to Time Magazine.


Judge jailed entire courtroom over ringing mobile phone - Boing Boing


Judge jailed entire courtroom over ringing mobile phone - Boing Boing

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rummy dodges the bullet

Rumsfeld1The always interesting, often depressing Opinio Juris blawg is reporting that a suit against former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been halted due to Rumsfeld's supposed immunity.

Claim Against Rumsfeld Dismissed... Because of Immunity?

Make no mistake, folks, this is Bad News. One of the biggest advances in international law has been the erosion of immunity against prosecution for very serious crimes against human rights or humanitarian law. To quote the meat of Kevin Jon Heller's post:

That said, there is no question that Rumsfeld is not entitled to immunity from prosecution for acts of torture. However unsettled the law of immunity might be, it is at least clear that functional immunity — immunity ratione materiae — does not preclude a government official from being prosecuted for serious international crimes. The House of Lords specifically held in Pinochet #3 that Pinochet was not immune from prosecution for acts of torture, and Robert Cryer, Hakan Friman, and Daryl Robinson have pointed out — in their excellent new book An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure — that "out of all the international crimes cases that have been conducted to date, most of the defendants were acting on behalf of a State and yet not one has successfully pleaded functional immunity for international crimes."


A commenter points to the Yerodia case as an ICJ ruling upholding immunity, but my reading of that case (which admittedly may be faulty) was that they were upholding the immunity of currently-serving public officials whose immunity was important to functioning government (in that case, a Foreign Minister). Since Runsfeld left office in 2006, he would appear to be a legitimate target.

Friday, November 23, 2007

More bad news: ON NOTICE: Saudi Arabia

This story has been circulating for a while now:

Saudi gang rape sentence 'unjust'

The short version: girl meets boy. Girl gets into boy's car. Girl and boy are both attacked, and girl is raped 14 times. Attackers are punished for rape, but girl is sentenced to 90 lashes for being in boy's car. On appeal, girl is sentenced to an additional 110 lashes (now 200 in total) and six months in prison for "using the media to try and influence the court". Oh, and girl's lawyer is disbarred for the same.

As a final injustice, the rapists' sentences were also doubled, but are nowhere near the maximum penalty for rape, i.e. death. Not that I am a big supporter of the death penalty, but as anyone who knows me knows, nothing raises my hackles like hypocrisy. You want to be all lex talionis, Saudi Arabia? Well, who am I to stop you? However, discrimination in application destroys whatever vestiges of justices are to be found in such laws.

As the girl's lawyer stated (and I say girl because her name is unknown and she is under 20 years old), the punishment is not even in line with Sharia. Clearly, the supposed basis is Surah 24 An-Nur/An-Noor,* verse 2:

The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment. (trans. Yusuf Ali)

Okay, so the initial 90-lash punishment seems fair...except, hold on a second...adultery isn't applicable since neither boy nor girl were married, and there's been no mention of any evidence of fornication. And since we're following the Sharia here, let's take a gander at the same Surah, verse 4:

And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations),- flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors;-**

Four witnesses, eh? I'm just going to assume that no legitimate, honest Ālim is going to suggest that the rapists can be used as witnesses.

The Surah continues:

24:12 Why did not the believers - men and women - when ye heard of the affair,- put the best construction on it in their own minds and say, "This (charge) is an obvious lie"?

24:13 Why did they not bring four witnesses to prove it? When they have not brought the witnesses, such men, in the sight of Allah, (stand forth) themselves as liars! ...

24:15 Behold, ye received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things of which ye had no knowledge; and ye thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of Allah.

24:16 And why did ye not, when ye heard it, say? - "It is not right of us to speak of this: Glory to Allah! this is a most serious slander!"

24:17 Allah doth admonish you, that ye may never repeat such (conduct), if ye are (true) Believers.

But I find the most pertinent verse to be this one:

24:23 Those who slander chaste women, indiscreet but believing, are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter: for them is a grievous Penalty,-

In other words, if a girl is not doing anything wrong except getting into a boy's car, which in 2007 Saudi Arabia is certainly not smart but is certainly a far cry from criminal, it is those who slander her who have committed the real crime.

Now, if only the flip Quranic scholorship of an Anglican/Universalist, non-Arabic-speaking, white chick from Toronto held sway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we'd be good to go.


* and yes, I know that technically it's not the Quran if it's translated, but since I don't know any Arabic, you'll have to bear with me.

** the next verse continues:

Unless they repent thereafter and mend (their conduct); for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I can has religious affiliation?


Every few years I take this quiz called the Belief-O-Matic on the wonderful pan-denominational religion site Beliefnet. Just to see if I should be attending church again, or something.

Anyway, my results never change much. Neo-Pagan is always at the top, and I think my top 5 are always the same. I think it's interesting, given my religious upbringing, or rather, the ways in which my upbringing was and was not religious. I was christened Anglican and went to Sunday School until I was about 10, but I also went to an alternative school where there was a Goddess Club until about the same age. Then the only parent (of four) who had a continued interest in religion was Catholic, so I went to Catholic masses at Christmas and the occasional Easter.

I have one major stumbling-block when it comes to Christianity and religion in general, and I think that it is also the reason I come up as "Neo-Pagan" on so many of these types of tests. I cannot accept any religion taking primacy over another. I cannot imagine the universe any other way but as a plurality, a dharma-wheel of multiple paths all leading to the same end, be it enlightenment or salvation. At 13 I refused to be confirmed because the ritual involved swearing to monotheism, which I could not in good conscience do. And yet, I like both Catholicism and Anglicanism, warts and all. I just wish I could accept them for myself, without a concomitant obligation to deny the faiths of others.

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)

2. Liberal Quakers (93%)

3. Unitarian Universalism (92%)

4. Reform Judaism (90%)

5. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (89%)

6. Mahayana Buddhism (86%)

7. New Age (82%)

8. Orthodox Quaker (76%)

9. Bahá'í Faith (76%)

10. Theravada Buddhism (75%)

11. Sikhism (74%)

12. Jainism (73%)

13. Islam (65%)

14. Orthodox Judaism (65%)

15. Secular Humanism (63%)

16. Scientology (61%)

17. Taoism (58%)

18. Hinduism (57%)

19. New Thought (54%)

20. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (52%)

21. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (48%)

22. Eastern Orthodox (44%)

23. Roman Catholic (44%)

24. Seventh Day Adventist (41%)

25. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (39%)

26. Nontheist (32%)

27. Jehovah's Witness (29%)

Purely FYI, and c/o Wikipedia:


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Word for the Day: Crepuscular

As in: primarily active around twilight.

As in: what I am, apparently, since left to my own devices I sleep in until noon and stay up until 3pm. Not that I'm productive at these times, but I am more productive.

As in: this adorable creature...


I am only going to bed now because my eyes and legs hurt. (le sigh)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Procrastination Recap

Things I have done in the last 3 hours that are not work:

  • wish a friend Happy Diwali
  • play Bejeweled 2
  • read my RSS feeds--obsessively
  • listen to CBC Radio 1
  • make toast
  • make coffee
  • eat toast
  • drink coffee
  • play Jewel Quest
  • answer an Ipsos-Reid survey
  • answer another survey

Why is it I can only work after 11pm?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I know Many Countries, But Not Enough

Courtesy of this heart-pounding quiz:



In the 10 minutes, I named:

Named so far:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

I typed in but could not spell: Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kyrgyzstan

There were 72 Countries I "missed":

You forgot:Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cyprus, Djibouti, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mozambique, Namibia, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The Bahamas, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Yemen,

In other "I'm procrastinating" news:

At this site:

I got 119/138 on the Europe Quiz, an abysmal 76/162 on the Africa quiz, a much better 82/96 on the Asia quiz (the -istans got me), and 31/39 on the South America quiz.

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Backwards Forwards, Episode 1

I was passed this forward today:

Bruce Allan is on the 2010 Olympic Committee and new Canadians want him fired for his recent comments.

It's time we all get behind Bruce Allen, and scrap this Political Correctness crap.  His comments were anything but racist, but there are far too many overly sensitive 'New Canadians' that are trying to change everything we hold dear.

Subject: Our National Anthem

Don't know what your opinions are, but I certainly agree. ---

I am sorry, but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Hindi - enough is enough. No where or at no other time in our nation's history, did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, or any other language because of immigration. It was written in English, adapted into co-founding French, and should be sung word for word the way it was written.

The news broadcasts even gave the translation -- not even close.

I am not sorry if this offends anyone, this is MY COUNTRY - IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP ---- please pass this along.

I am not against immigration -- just come through like everyone else. Get a sponsor; have a place to lay your head; have a job; pay your taxes, live by the rules AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past -- and LONG LIVE CANADA!

PART OF THE PROBLEM. Think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone-----YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM !!!!

Will we still be the Country of Choice and still be CANADA if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries who have come to live in CANADA because it is the Country of Choice??????

Think about it!


It is Time for CANADA to Speak up. If you agree -- pass

This along; if you don't agree -- delete it!

Um...yeah. *hits DEL*

My response to the sender (who solicited my input, I swear!):

I don’t agree, not because I think that we should translate the anthem but because the writer is so angry, and draws that xenophobic us/them line that is at the heart of racism, even while claiming not to be racist. What was the context of the translation? That matters. If the point was, say, to have a Mandarin version so that at the 2008 Olympics that majority of spectators could hear the message of the Canadian anthem, and not just melodic gibberish, then I would support that. Is the anthem some type of sacred relic that cannot be altered without depreciating our common values? Or is it an expression of those value, whose message is only partly contained in its medium?

I also find it suspicious that the forward does not give any details about the events that brought this on. The “good ol’ Canadian boy” is cast as the common-sense hero, and the capricious “New Canadians” as the whiny villains who don’t know how good they’ve got. The writers says “It was written in English, adapted into co-founding French, and should be sung word for word the way it was written.” This is not the case, precisely. It was written in French in 1880 for a Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebration---a fairly nationalist holiday in Quebec. The current English lyrics were not solidified until 1908, and it did not become our anthem until 1980. The original French lyrics, by the way, are these:

O Canada! Land of our forefathers
Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
As in thy arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross.
Thy history is an epic of the most brilliant exploits.
Thy valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.

Not exactly the same, are they?

An what about translating the lyrics in Aboriginal languages, as has been done? Is that more problematic? Less so?

The forward asks more questions that it answers.

-- Sarah

PS: I guess I’m “part of the problem.”

I've actually noticed a few more sketchy things since, namely the repetitive insistence that new Canadians are "trying to change everything." It may be a fair criticism that some immigrant individuals or communities make no effort to integrate, but the idea that they're trying to change us is sort of preposterous. Which brings my to one of my favorite xkdc comics:


Retiring me some John Mayer lyrics

- John Mayer Lyrics

Sorry John. I love ya, but I'm feeling Kansas right now.

I am Princess-Leia-analogous

Which Female Action Hero Are You?

You are Princess Leia. You are down-to-earth and stick to a rigid sense of ethics. Nerds may lust over you, but everyone looks to you for your grounded logic and intellect.
Find Your Character @

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