Sunday, June 22, 2008

Feminists, Fundamentalist Christians, and Islam - Quirks of Commonality and Difference

It is amusing to observe who is defending whom, and who is critical of whom and for what reasons.

Here are two examples:

1)Feminists defense of Islam and
2)Fundamentalist Christians deep concern about Islam

First, the Feminists. Feminists, of course, have been known over the past several decades for promoting women's rights. One of the early efforts was seeking the right to vote (the women's suffrage movement. ) Since then, feminists have worked toward a broad array of enhanced rights, from equality in the workplace and in marriage, and reproductive rights - including the right to abort their pregnancy (aka "killing their unborn offspring"). Feminists also tend to be "liberals" in the "social and moral" sense. As such, they tend to defend just about any non-traditional behavior that comes to their attention. Gayness is defended and embraced. If they attend church at all, it would no doubt be a demonination like Unitarian or liberal Episcopalian or liberal Presbyterian who reinterpret selected Biblical moral pronouncements into irrelevance - the epitome of cafeteria spirituality. You probably know the pronouncmenet I'm especially referring to.

Among the non-traditional and aberrant behaviors feminists like to defend are those of Islamists, in all their radically intolerant glory. I have mused on more than one occasion why a bunch of women who promote libertarian behaviors and the right to do just about anything, traditionally moral or not, would defend and support those who belong to a religion that teaches the absolute opposite? There is no other large organization on earth that relegates women to a more submission and subservient status than does Islam. Can you imagine a feminist living under Sharia law? It would be fun to watch. In essence, they are defending the right of people to not only be intolerant, but to also impose their intolerance upon us. Yikes!

Fundamentalist Christians (FCs) provide a different perspective relating to Islam. These are the high level moralists of Christianity. Along with Catholics, they will be on the abortion clinic picket lines. They are in the forefront of promoting Christians running for office and work toward adoption of laws that many would criticize as "legislating morality." (Actually, that is the purpose of our laws - consider laws against murder or stealing, for example.) Of course, being "saved" through Jesus Christ is the core of their belief. But beyond that, they believe that government should be influenced to legislate Biblical Christian values to a greater extent than they already do (what is included in this broad category could be debated until the second coming!)

This is where fundamentalist Christians and Muslims have much in common. Both groups believe that the American culture is corrupt and decadent. FCs and Islam both promote government legislation and enforcement of religious moral law - except Sharia law is more precisely defined, codified, and radical by Western standards. Nonetheless, you would think these groups could foster some common bond based on these shared ideals. But that will never happen. FC's even have trouble accepting Mormons as something other than a misguided, brainwashed cult. And Mormons and FC's hold most of their Christian beliefs in common, although most FCs and Evangelicals will fail to admit it! So, despite their mutual propensity to enforce their religious principles on the rest of society, FCs and Muslims will not likely join forces soon. In fact FCs are more likely to consider Islam a religion of Satan - almost as evil as Mormonism. Yikes!

Friday, June 20, 2008

500-Year Flood every 50 years - Isn't It Strange?

Ask almost any civil engineer why 10-year rain events seem to occur every 3 years; why 50-year rain events seem to occur every 10 years; why 100-year rain events seem to occur every 20 years and they will tell you something that makes absolutely no sense.

Isn't it strange that June's "500-year rain event" in the midwest occurs every 50 years or so? And levees designed for a 100-year storm seem to get breached every 20 years?

Could it be that the same civil engineering mindset that designs the levees also defines and establishes the flood zone categories for FEMA?

Enough of a sense of [false] security is established to lead the trusting souls who buy property to declare: "Hey, flooding over here won't occur but once in 100 years! Over there flooding won't occur but once in 500 years. Great - we don't need to get flood insurance." What special interest gains by this scenario?

Something is wrong with this picture. The only thing that makes sense to me is that there is a blatant conflict of interest when the engineers who establish the flood zones are the same ones who design the levees. Obviously this combination does not work. And who established and administers this system? FEMA. What special interest group likely controls this aspect of FEMA oversight? Civil engineers.

When we blame government for its failures, look to the private sector special interest group that often controls and manipulates that "oversight". Oh, and of course, the realtors, developers, contractors, bankers and many others who profit by the development and sale of land also lend their special interest influence on government to make sure "evil and oppressive" government standards do not interfere with their business practices and bottom line.