The Blob

Friday, August 20, 2004

Wild, wild life

This one made my day: a news article on the MSNBC Web site titled, Bear downs 36 beers, passes out at campground. I love stuff like this. I've always been a huge supporter of the right to arm bears, and now I can support the right of bears to party.

The cool part of this article is that the bear in question had a choice between Busch and Ranier beer. After downing one Busch, the bear quickly decided he preferred Ranier and left the other cans of Busch untouched. I can't wait to see what Pabst Brewing Company, owners of the Ranier Beer brand, will do with this in their commercials. And the folks at Bear Whiz are gonna have a field day with this one. But thinking back to the bear, can you blame him?

A threat from within?

I read a long, very disturbing but quite well written article from The Washington Post about the potential threat by Islamic extremists to spread the Wahabi sect teachings at a growing number of mosques across the United States. The article, titled The Saudi export of strict Islam raises suspicions, details the efforts by the Saudi Royal Family and the Saudi government to spread the teachings of Islam worldwide.

That by itself is not a bad thing. But the core of the Saudi Royal Family originated from a region of Saudi Arabia that follows Wahabism, perhaps the most strict interpretation of Islam. In the Wahabi view, women should be segregated and veiled, and non-believers considered infidels, a sin that only can be satisfied by death. Even other Muslims who do not hold the same level of intensity should be shunned.

In the United States, we believe strongly in freedom of religion. This is an important part of the rights we enjoy, and one of the reasons why the United States fought for its independence. I believe that people should have the freedom to follow their own religion. But what I find disturbing, as this article carefully suggests, is that the evangelism efforts of the Saudi government have been corrupted by a number of Islamic extremists, many found to be followers or supporters of al Queda. In essense, the article infers that Islamic radicals are using our religious tolerance and Saudi funding to quietly spread radical Islamic thoughts in the United States.

It is one thing to spread a religion, but quite another to use the name of religion to sow the seeds of terrorism. We are very much within our right to protect our safety from those who wish to bring us harm. But where it gets interesting is separating the good from the bad. To impose restrictions on religious freedom would challenge one of our most honored rights as American citizens. But that does not and should not prevent us from defending ourselves from people who would do us harm by using our religious freedom and tolerance against us.

Read the article and make your own judgment. It's one of the most important articles I have read in quite some time.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Google's Big Day

Here's a link to some interesting charts that illustrate the impact of today's IPO of Google. If you are Google founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, you won't be hurting for your next meal. See the charts here for more details.