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Showing posts from December, 2016

U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 concerning Israeli settlement activity

On Dec. 23, 2016, the UN Security Council voted 14-0 on its Resolution 2334 concerning Israeli settlement activity. The vote was in favor of demanding that Israeli cease building settlements in disputed areas. The reason for condemning these settlements is that they are being built on disputed land that will likely have to be given to the future State of Palestine as part of any realistic peace agreement. The United States abstained from the vote, while some had hoped that it would use its veto power to stop the resolution.After the vote, the Obama administration gave a 40-minute, on-the-record press call. On the call, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, explained that President Obama had had "several rounds of discussions with Ambassador Rice, Ambassador Power, Secretary Kerry, and members of his national security team" before deciding not to veto the resolution. There is concern that accelerated settlement construction in disputed are…

Rick Perry's support for outlawing gay sex

This article was written for Helium Network in 2011. It was updated in 2014 and had minor updates in 2016.Regarding the looming threat of openly gay Boy Scout leaders in his 2008 book On My Honor, longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry claims that the Boy Scouts as an organization tolerate gay people but don't want a leader "whose personal agenda is to make an open issue of his sexual orientation." Within the book, he claims that he supports an individual's right to be gay — just not within the Boy Scouts! — but his record does not show that he has actually supported even that much.Why Perry's approach to the topic is severely flawedFirst, in focusing the argument in "On My Honor" only on those who are openly gay, Perry neglects to address the entire Scouting policy that excluded "known or avowed homosexuals" — that is, people who are merely discovered to be gay as well as those who openly acknowledge it.Second, in trying to demonstrate how commonsens…

Things you don't know you know about love

Adam Phillips:"All love stories are frustration stories. As are all stories about parents and children, which are also love stories, in Freud’s view, the formative love stories. To fall in love is to be reminded of a frustration that you didn’t know you had (of one’s formative frustrations, and of one’s attempted self-cures for them); you wanted someone, you felt deprived of something, and then it seems to be there. And what is renewed in that experience is an intensity of frustration, and an intensity of satisfaction. It is as if, oddly, you were waiting for someone but you didn’t know who they were until they arrived. Whether or not you were aware that there was something missing in your life, you will be when you meet the person you want."Kathleen Dean Moore:"The love of a mother for her infant is inevitable, unsurprising, Frank says. Take goats, for example. Whatever a mother goat smells right after she gives birth, that becomes the object of its goofy mother love. …

Quotes: Talking oneself into fear

"Anxiety is continual death."
Nicolas Berdyaev. The Divine and the Human. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1949. p 61."In the actual victim, according to various Gothic Tales, this glorying in impenetrability takes the form of admiration, even love of the cruel one while he is coiled to strike. And in the spectator there is a sense of identify [sic] or empathy with both the sufferer and the agent of that suffering. This double identity is the ‘terrible and indefinite curiosity of despair’ we call ‘horror.’"
Philip P. Hallie. The Paradox of Cruelty. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1969. p. 73."[The wise do] not put a wrong construction upon everything."
Seneca, quoted by Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy, New York: Vintage Press, 2000. p 103. "Then I realized that we [Jews] have something better [than Christmas traditions]. We have fire. Think about it. The whole shpiel of Hanukkah is lighting the menorah to commemorate the miracle …

Quotes: 'There is no time...'

"If the situation is to be different, then the moment in time must have such decisive significance that for no moment will I be able to forget it, neither in time nor in eternity, because the eternal, previously nonexistent, came into existence in that moment.
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Johannes Climacus (Soren Kierkegaard). Philosophical Fragments. ed. and trans. by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton University Press, 1985. p 13."I shall use the term presence to denote the point of intersection in man's existence; and the term flow of presence to denote the dimension of existence that is, and is not, time.
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Eric Voegelin, "Immortality: Experience and Symbol," 1967"Memory is not just the imprint of the past time upon us; it is the keeper of what is meaningful for our deepest hopes and fears. As such, memory is another evidence that we have a flexible and creative relation to time, the guiding principle being not the clock but the qualitative significance of our …