The first time I heard the lie, I was in fifth grade. Mr. Ward took me aside (or maybe he told the whole class, it was a long time ago) to tell me about the wonders of Dvorak, a different keyboard layout that was scientifically designed to be more efficient than the standard layout. That layout was called QWERTY, he explained, and it had been created to slow typists down. You see, in the olden days, mechanical typewriters could jammed if people hit the keys too quickly, so they had to put the common letters far apart from each other. The modern keyboard, I was told, was a holdover of the mechanical age.
On Tuesday, Buddhist mobs attacked mosques and burned more than 70 homes in Oakkan, north of Rangoon, after a Muslim girl on a bicycle collided with a monk. One person died and nine were injured.
But aren’t Buddhist monks meant to be the good guys of religion?
Aggressive thoughts are inimical to all Buddhist teachings. Buddhism even comes equipped with a practical way to eliminate them. Through meditation the distinction between your feelings and those of others should begin to dissolve, while your compassion for all living things grows.
Of course, there is a strong strain of pacifism in Christian teachings too: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” were the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
But however any religion starts out, sooner or later it enters into a Faustian pact with state power. Buddhist monks looked to kings, the ultimate wielders of violence, for the support, patronage and order that only they could provide. Kings looked to monks to provide the popular legitimacy that only such a high moral vision can confer.
The result can seem ironic. If you have a strong sense of the overriding moral superiority of your worldview, then the need to protect and advance it can seem the most important duty of all.
An unfortunate gaffe. But the irony is just what the right wing thinks (or say they think)—that more bullets will prevent violence
A Guangshan county hospital administrator said the man first attacked an elderly woman, then students, before being subdued by security guards who have been posted across China following a spate of school attacks in recent years. He said there were no deaths among the nine students admitted, although two badly injured children had been transferred to better-equipped hospitals outside the county.
Officers in Mildura, Victoria, said they had had to assist drivers stranded after following the software’s directions.
Some of the drivers had had no food or water for 24 hours.
“Tests on the mapping system by police confirm the mapping systems lists Mildura in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, approximately 70km [45 miles] away from the actual location of Mildura,” she said.
“Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the park and temperatures can reach as high as 46[C], making this a potentially life-threatening issue.”
The force advised travellers to use an alternative mapping service until the issues had been fixed.
Many, especially outside Asia, are under the mistaken impression that Buddhists are inherently non-violent, especially in comparison with other world religions such as Christianity and Islam. Despite this impression, violence is often linked with Buddhism and perpetrated by Buddhists. Monks in Theravada lineages are not allowed to directly engage in violence, but some have become involved with militancy. Although I am unaware of any Lao monks who have directly participated in violent acts, a few have been shot in Thailand by those opposed to them for providing support to insurgents. This indicates that their support is perceived as substantial and significant.Achan Chanh Ly (left) and Achan Ky (right) receiving offerings from a Lao insurgent at Wat Pa Sanamsai in Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand (1982)
The Thai Theravada Buddhist monk, Kittivuddho, famously stated in 1976 that it was not a sin to kill a communist. Militant monks in Sri Lanka and Burma have been covered by international media. But much less is known about the role of ethnic Lao Buddhist monks in supporting militant violence directed against the communist Lao People’s Democratic Republic government and their Vietnamese allies since 1975.
The Secretary of State in Nevada has asked the State legislature to consider a voter ID law that he has proposed.
Under his proposal, which lawmakers will consider in 2013, the photos on residents’ driver’s licenses would be placed electronically with their voter registration records and in the poll books at election locations. People without any identification, but who are registered, would be required to have their pictures taken by poll workers and sign an affidavit that they are the person they represent the first time they vote.
What is surprising is that the Sec’y of State is a Democrat. And what is different about this Voter ID law is that the ID is maintained by the election officials. Hence although it is called a voter ID law, voters are spared the burden of acquiring an ID.
Miller has himself suggested that voter ID is a solution in search of a problem. And he also admits that the program will cost many millions of dollars. But the strategy is clearly to neutralize the Republican effort at voter suppression by satisfying their explicit concern for ID without satisfying their real aim to disenfranchise those who don’t really deserve to vote anyway: poor people and minorities.
Although Republicans, not Democrats, generally have championed voter ID laws, Miller said the Minnesota secretary of state, who is a Democrat, proposed the photo ID bill, and the Republican legislators opposed it.
“I am not sure why they would oppose it,” Miller said. “It suggests to me you are after something else.”
Not known for its sense of humor, the Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece apparently fell for a parody by The Onion, the satirical newspaper and Web site, when it reported Tuesday in some online editions of People’s Daily that Kim Jong-un, the young, chubby North Korean ruler, had been named the “Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.”
Or did it?
Chuck Rogers over at CFC worries that supposedly fiscally responsible Republicans are signaling a willingness to abandon their pledge not to raise taxes.
While, thankfully, most elected Republicans continue to honor their pledge to Grover Norquist that they will not raise taxes, seven key GOP congressmen and senators have broken ranks: Alan Simpson, Saxby Chambliss, Jeff Flake, Tom Coburn, Lindsey Graham, Peter King, and John McCain have stated that they would consider tax hikes as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
This is, of course, unacceptable — now more than ever we should be lowering taxes, not raising them. Our government needs to raise revenue, but that’s accomplished by spurring the economy in the form of tax breaks for job creators. In short — if we take care of the job creators, they’ll take care of us.
— Chuck Rogers (@CheckFact) November 26, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) — The teenage actor who plays the half in the hit CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men” says in a video posted online by a Christian church that the show is “filth” and that viewers shouldn’t watch it.
That show is the absolute worst and he is right that people shouldn’t watch it. But it’s too bad that this has to be a Christian thing, as if hating the show and everything it stands for means one is prudish.