America, the World is Watching

obama.jpg Today’s the day — the campaign is finally done, and we’re all just waiting to see what will happen while you sip your free Starbuck’s coffee. I have to say, I think we will miss the SNL intros that have been so good lately. While the world is watching you, it might be worth taking a few minutes to watch a couple of brief videos to prime your thinking about voting today. After all, if you aren’t doing it to participate in democracy and honour the political process, certainly you’d do it for a free cup of Starbuck’s Joe, wouldn’t you? (I hear it isn’t really poured by “Joe the Plumber”.) So Consider these:

McCain & Fey:

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Palin & two Montreal comedians:

This has Been a Frayed Political Announcement

With the US-ian elections just a couple weeks away, I thought it’d be appropriate to cover some material relating to the candidates.

First, it looks like some heavy endorsements are coming out now.

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See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Then of course there’s the “alternate” race…

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See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

And if it’s all just too much, you could try another recommendation…

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See more Natalie Portman videos at Funny or Die

Politics & The Church

Graph Matt Stone did a Church &amp Politics Quiz that looked interesting, so I took the test as well. My score is plotted on the graph image, which looks to be about the same as Matt’s. The quiz suggests I see the role of the church as primarily a prophetic one. Since my score is pretty much along the midpoint of the vertical axis, I’m in between “Radical Reformer,” a group which would “see a strong prophetic role for the church and combine this with a robust call for political engagement to seek social and political change” and the “Quiet Critic,” representing those who “steer away from a direct role for the church in politics, instead emphasizing the church’s purity by maintaining a separation from the state. From this perspective, the church best shares the gospel by being an alternative community that models Christian love.”

World Food Day 2008

worldfoodday2008.jpg Yesterday was Blog Action Day, and the theme this year was poverty. Among the 12,836 participating blogs with an estimated 13,498,532 readers, my contribution, I was informed late yesterday, was missing something. “You said everyone else’s reaction but not mine,” said my wife. A brief discussion ensued in which I didn’t have a lot to say… but basically I figured since it was her story, I shouldn’t tell it without clearing it first. And now that she’s taken me to task, I will say — lest anyone think she was the only one unaffected by our tour — that it impacted her quite deeply as well. It was on her mind for several days as she recommended the tour to everyone we saw. When we discussed it yesterday, she reminded me that the experience was “life-changing.”

Charity & Justice for Refugees (Blog Action Day)

refugeecamp_msf.jpg Last month I heard on the radio about an event taking place at The Forks in Winnipeg. Turns out that Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was running a tour that would be in town that weekend — the event was to set up a refugee camp and give tours of it so people could get a feel for the facilities and the conditions in one of the many refugee camps in the world. We decided it’d be good for the whole family, so we all headed down to check it out. Unfortunately, the SD Card with the photos was corrupted, but there are other photos online of the event, and you can preview it online as well to get a sense of the different stations on the tour and the information presented at each. The preview sets you in the role of the refugee — or IDP, Internally Displaced Person, since “refugees” are technically people who have crossed a border; IDPs may be in the same position, but have not actually left their country.

$700 Billion — that’s with a “B” — and for the Poor…?

drjohnsentamu.jpg Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, is outraged at those responsible for short selling shares in HBOS, labelling them as “bank robbers” and “asset strippers”.

Addressing the annual dinner of the Institute of Worshipful Company of International Bankers at Drapers Hall in the City of London, Dr. Sentamu said:

“To a bystander like me, those who made £190million deliberately underselling the shares of HBOS, in spite of its very strong capital base, and drove it into the bosom of Lloyds TSB Bank, are clearly bank robbers and asset strippers.

“We find ourselves in a market system which seems to have taken its rules of trade from Alice in Wonderland, where the share value of a bank is no longer dependent on the strength of its performance but rather on the willingness of the Government to bail it out, or rather on whether the Government has announced its intentions so to do.”

Pro-Life & Voting Obama?

pro-life-cartoon.jpg A few weeks back, I made an “offhand” remark on one of my Saturday links posts about “single-issue voting” where I suggested that voting solely on the basis of a political candidate’s stance on or willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade was a poor strategy, one that wouldn’t work. In the comments on that post, Dan Edelen took me to task, saying that a pro-life stance wasn’t single-issue voting, it was just establishing a baseline.

Who Would Jesus Torture?

thumbscrew.jpg I’ve let this sink in for a few days now… or rather, I ignored it for a few days before posting on it. And after reviewing the matter, my reaction is to be just as appalled as I was when I first read it. A recent Pew survey showed 48% of the general public in the US believes torture is sometimes or often justified in order to obtain information from suspected terrorists, which is alarmingly high. I suppose that this implies that a very slight majority would say that torture is never or rarely justified. Once you remove whatever percentage of undecideds, the country is probably fairly evenly split. Factor the “rarely” group in with the other varieties of affirmative, and you’ve got a minority of Americans who would say that torture is always wrong. I have to say that’s somewhat alarming, though I guess not particularly surprising given events of the past few years relating to the American “war on terror.”