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Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Tyrant’s Ignominious Death

Ding-dong, the tyrant of Libya is dead. It’s been a long time coming, but finally, the people of Libya can finally put the Gadhafi era behind them.

Longtime dictator of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, has been killed following the capture of his hometown of Sirte.

There were confusing reports of Gaddafi’s capture and death, and questions remained over exactly how he was killed.

Arab broadcasters showed graphic images of the balding, goateed Gaddafi – wounded, with a bloodied face and shirt – but alive. Later video showed fighters rolling Gaddafi’s lifeless body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and a pool of blood under his head.

While he was still alive, the fighters drove him around lying on the hood of a truck, perhaps to parade him in public. One fighter held him down, pressing on his thigh with a pair of shoes in a show of contempt.

Standing upright, he is shoved along a Sirte road by fighters who chanted “God is great.”

Gaddafi appears to struggle against them, stumbling and shouting as the fighters push him onto the hood of a pickup truck.

“We want him alive. We want him alive,” one man shouted before Gaddafi is dragged away, some fighters pulling his hair, toward an ambulance.

Most accounts agreed Gaddafi had been holed up with heavily armed supporters in the last few buildings held by regime loyalists in the Mediterranean coastal town, furiously battling revolutionary fighters. The battle for Sirte has been raging for more than a month.

At one point, a convoy tried to flee and was hit by NATO airstrikes, carried out by French warplanes. France’s Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said the 80-vehicle convoy was carrying Gaddafi and was trying to escape the city. The strikes stopped the convoy but did not destroy it, and then revolutionary fighters moved in on the vehicle carrying Gaddafi.

One fighter who said he was at the battle told AP Television News that the final fight took place at an opulent compound. Adel Busamir said the convoy tried to break out but after being hit, it turned back and re-entered the compound. Several hundred fighters attacked.

“We found him there,” Busamir said of Gaddafi. “We saw them beating him (Gaddafi) and someone shot him with a 9mm pistol … then they took him away.”

Military spokesman Col. Ahmed Bani in Tripoli told Al-Jazeera TV that a wounded Gaddafi “tried to resist (revolutionary forces) so they took him down.”

Fathi Bashaga, spokesman for the Misrata military council, whose forces were involved in the battle, said fighters encircled the convoy and exchanged fire. In one vehicle, they found Gaddafi, wounded in the neck, and took him to an ambulance. “What do you want?” Gaddafi asked the approaching revolutionaries, Bashaga said, citing witnesses.

Gaddafi bled to death from his wounds a half-hour later, he said. Fighters said he died in the ambulance en route to Misrata, 120 miles from Sirte.

Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz, a doctor who accompanied the body in the ambulance and examined it, said Gaddafi died from two bullet wounds – to the head and chest.

“You can’t imagine my happiness today. I can’t describe my happiness,” he told The Associated Press. “The tyranny is gone. Now the Libyan people can rest.”

In the United States, President Obama addressed the death of Gaddafi in a press conference. “The Transitional National Council informed the United States of Gaddafi’s death shortly before Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril’s announcement to his nation that the moment so many had waited for had come, a U.S. official said. The White House and State Department were expected to release official responses later Thursday,” Obama said, according to the Associated Press. “You have won your revolution,” he continued, “One of the world’s longest-serving dictators is no more.”

In Tripoli, celebrations are already underway with gunfire and honking. “We’ve heard quite a lot of celebratory gunfire,” Caroline Hawley reports for the BBC.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Libya on Tuesday to offer a new aid package. She told students during a gathering in Tripoli, “We hope [Gaddafi] can be captured or killed soon so that you don’t have to fear him any longer.”

Gaddafi was ousted from power in August, and his whereabouts have been unknown for months. The Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, accused Libya’s former ruler of crimes against humanity.

Reuters is also reporting that an official from the National Transitional Council, Libya’s interim government, has confirmed the death of Abu Bakr Yunis Jabr, Gaddafi’s Minister of Defense.

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Is There A Point To God Debates Anyway?

In which an atheist expresses his frustration with engaging theists:

I found more often than not it is better to keep atheists beliefs to oneself.  The debates become pointless.  Many believers actually have not fully thought about what they believe, and so when confronted by logic or the thoughts of an atheist, it takes them out of their comfort zone.  This is usually not a good feeling for them and leads to actions that are intended to protect their current state of “ignorance is bliss.”

There was a time when one could reasonably discuss with an atheist on belief and non-belief and expect a polite but firm discussion. Ultimately, the theist may not succeed in getting the atheist to see his point of view, but the exchange would be as cordial as it was passionate. This is because, the atheist would be interested in showing why he is not fully persuaded to believe. Perhaps, if you run into a decent friend or acquaintance who is ideologically opposed to you on the God question, such a frank but civil discussion can truly occur.

Alas these days, with the birth of this New Atheism, unsophisticated and full of sound and fury, it has become quite fashionable in atheist circles to deride, cajole, mock, insult and pollute theists and theism. This is what usually passes for intelligent debates with many of today’s atheists–some haughty posturing borne out of a sincere atheistic belief that virtually all theists are silly and DELUSIONAL. It is no wonder that these discussions quickly devolve into a mud-slinging match because people cease engaging honestly and respectfully; much heat expended but no light thrown on the issue before consideration. After one has tried a few times to discuss issues of great personal import with a person who seems more or less disposed to aggression, one inevitably tires of the whole affair. Perhaps, like some have suggested, there is really no point to these discussions. Atheists can gather together, as often as they are wont, listen to speeches (read sermons) delivered by their atheistic  high priests, build up and exhort one another in their common God-disbelief, share an intimate fellowship of universal mockery or umbrage at some offensive actions from the faith arena, and disperse to their respective homes–ALL WITHOUT BOTHERING ABOUT THESE ‘IGNORANT’ THEISTS!

But I think that would be too easy—for how else are atheists going to satiate the inner hunger to rid theists of their meddlesome and ‘ignorant’ God-belief if they can’t utilize sundry web fora, Youtube videos, billboards and citybuses to fulminate on the ills of religion? I mean, how dare anyone hate on atheists anyway? Aren’t they the hallowed few who managed to see through the puerile sunday-school caricature of Christian orthodoxy they were unfortunately  given when they were much younger? Aren’t they the uber-logical geniuses against whom every contrary opinion must be the product of some delusion and faulty reasoning? Why should the largely ‘ignorant’ mass of humanity squirm for being upbraided by the ‘ever-so-gracious’ but nonetheless ‘completely rational’ and ‘supremely intelligent’ atheist? Shouldn’t they consider the atheist’s sophomoric diatribe against theism, or his endless bellyaching over the ills committed by religious people, an act of charity? Oh well, I don’t know about you—but in the interest of peace, and to massage the egos of newly-minted atheists, who are eager to jump into a debate to vomit the latest things picked up in college, perhaps it is better to just sit still and allow the atheist to lecture for all he is worth.

Sadly, I have noticed that too many atheists are rather diffident about  this namely: honestly sharing what they truly believe; you know, about constructing a positive worldview and philosophy that is completely devoid of God and its implications. Worse, an alarming number of the atheists who feign some serious dedication to science are actually terrible at it; do not seem to understand its finite scope, and regrettably cannot lecture on it. But of course, that shouldn’t matter—nothing is as satisfying as a smug dismissal of your theistic opposition as a bunch of deluded dingbats. Its a nice zinger, and I am sure if you deploy that characterization often, in no time, you would rise within atheist ranks. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone for intolerance is a vice only when theists employ that against atheists. When atheists show intolerance for theists, it can only be because they were genuinely concerned about the  theist’s ‘refusal to see the light’.

Let the discussions rage on.

Meet A Nigerian Tycoon

I give you Africa and Nigeria’s  wealthiest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote:

War Of The Worldviews

Can these worldviews be reconciled?

Must embracing one worldview demand the rejection of the other?

What are your thoughts on the competing and contrasting claims made by science and spirituality?

Dawkins Wants Your Children NOW!

LOL.. Ah Dawkins!

He is still avoiding any serious examination of his godless prattle and running from academics who want to challenge him to a serious debate. But of course, he has enough time in the world to go after your children. Apparently, not satisfied with preaching to his uncritical New Atheist flock on the vast danger of allowing theists raise their own children with the belief that there is a God, he has taken it upon himself to catch YOUR children young! Of course, he would not like you to point out to him the utter irony of baiting young children with a book called “The Magic of Reality” after supposedly denouncing and critiquing the alleged ‘numinous’. Yes, he can dash any appeal to the numinous to the rocks only when he is not borrowing the same concept to peddle his worldview. It makes me laugh the way Dicky Dawkins and his merry band of materialist science fetishists go to some lengths to borrow from and imitate these fundamentalist Christians they love to rail about.

Anyone with slightly better-than-average critical reasoning skills, both atheist and theist alike, can see “The God Delusion” for what it really is after reading it. It is little more than an unsophisticated piece of sophomoric diatribe. But of course, you don’t have to take my words for it. You can read it and see how far YOUR own critical thinking skills will go in spotting the illogical arguments that litter the whole religion-bashing screed. But of course his book achieves a vital purpose namely to empower other hitherto closet atheists to speak their anti-theistic convictions boldly. Having recorded such a phenomenal success by this initial endeavor, judging by the brood of militant atheists that now litter the public discourse and sundry web fora with their rancid obloquies, I suppose Dicky Dawkins has now embarked on another leg of his quasi-Pauline atheological missionary journey. Yes, now he is coming for your children!

But what’s wrong with Dawkins’ actions? Shouldn’t he be allowed to indoctrinate tender impressionable children into his atheistic worldview? Shouldn’t he be allowed to pretend that his worldview is simply just about “the science of it all’? Of course not. If he insists that children should not be taught the moral and religious outlook of their own caring parents until they are old enough to make a choice, why does he imagine that it is perfectly acceptable for theist parents to allow their own children be indoctrinated into Dawkins’ atheistic philosophy? Most children, who actually have the privilege of going to school, go there to learn the skills necessary to improve their lot in life. As they grow up and start taking rudimentary science courses, they begin to learn ‘useful’ and practical science as well as a scientific methodology and approach to tackling empirically testable hypotheses.

This means that they are not, during their tender formative years, indoctrinated into a largely atheistic worldview with its obvious naturalistic presuppositions and ‘dogmas’. Clever admixtures of empirically verifiable science with other atheistic assumptions form the bulk of this book. As a matter of urgency, you could pick up that book, edit out parts where it degenerates into atheistic conjecture and little hard testable and replicable science like the areas that deal with evolution by natural selection and speciation, and have a somewhat balanced, less propagandistic tool. If Dawkins insists that children be allowed to decide whether to follow the faith of their forebears only after they’ve grown old enough to critically assess the merits, the same reason should apply to any attempt to indoctrinate children into his atheistic philosophy conveniently masked as science.

It should be evident to all that atheism is not synonymous with science nor is theism the antithesis to science. Theists and atheists alike should teach younger children an appreciation for science and scientific thinking when and wherever it applies. However, since all knowledge is not amenable to the ‘scientific method’ despite its popular appeal, it would be better to foster and encourage independent critical thinking skills, as this would be a valuable tool. Such a tool will cause a young mind to question not just the myths they may have encountered in the faith sphere but also the all-too-easily assumed but unverified presumptions that now undergirds Dawkins’ philosophical atheism. There is enough mystery, awe and wonder about the cosmos for theists and atheists alike to appreciate and investigate without the leering old pedo-peddler Dicky Dawkins stalking and luring your children.

NFL Picks: Week 5

No team in the NFL has had a bye week since this season began until now. This week, six teams are going to have byes thus we are going to see only 12 games on Sunday and one game on Monday Night.

At this point in the season, after 4 games, only two teams have a perfect record of 4 wins; interestingly enough these two teams happen to be in the same division! They are the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. If you had suggested 3 or 4 seasons ago that the Lions will be 4-0 at this point in time or that the Colts and Vikings will be 0-4, many people would have laughed you to scorn. But it is what it is, isn’t it? Let us see if this week knocks Packers or Lions off their winning streak.

Also, it is amazing to note that a whopping eleven teams are just one loss shy of a perfect win record (i.e 3-1)! On the other hand, only 7 teams are one win away from a perfect loss record (i.e 1-3). It would appear that this is quite a competitive season at this point. Let us wait till the middle of the season to see how things stack up.

New Orleans Saints AT Carolina Panthers = New Orleans Saints

Kansas City Chiefs AT Indianapolis Colts = Indianapolis Colts

Philadelphia Eagles AT Buffalo Bills = Buffalo Bills

Seattle Seahawks AT New York Giants = New York Giants

Cincinnati Bengals AT Jacksonville Jaguars = Cincinnati Bengals

Tennessee Titans AT Pittsburgh Steelers = Pittsburgh Steelers

Oakland Raiders AT Houston Texans = Houston Texans

Arizona Cardinals AT Minnesota Vikings = Arizona Cardinals

Tampa Bay Bucs AT San Francisco 49ers = San Francisco 49ers

New York Jets AT New England Patriots = New England Patriots

San Diego Chargers AT Denver Broncos = San Diego Chargers

Green Bay Packers AT Atlanta Falcons = Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears AT Detroit Lions = Detroit Lions

Why Do They Hate FC Barcelona?

In which FC Barcelona gets pilloried:

Barca don’t allow anyone else to play that’s why watching them is boring. Footie is supposed to be a 2-sided affair. The only time I enjoy watching Barca match is when they play Madrid, Chelsea or JM’s Inter cos those are the only teams who make the match a 2-sided affair. Watching Xavi make 800 passes a game makes me dizzy. They should give the opposition a chance to attack them and then Ill start watching Barca matches.

Holy Mackerel! Who could have imagined that FCBarcelona had so many completely-consumed, violently-spiteful, and viscerally-hateful detractors all over the place! I am tempted to opine, as many did, that the only way it is possible to harbor such powerful feelings of hatred for Barca’s style of play, or of their unquestionable position at the pinnacle of world soccer, is if you are completely new to football or worse, opposed to the concept of Joga Bonito; or maybe it is possible only if you are one of the blinkered and reliably prejudiced fans of their eternal rivals Real Madrid. But I assure you that such people in fact really do exist—wandering all over the place brimming with nothing but antipathy for the current best team on the planet!

 What are the reasons for the rage evident in the enemies of Los Cules? What consumes them with such habitual and visceral dislike for a team that has demonstrated their dominance in such superlative fashion? Should not one at least grudgingly admire their excellence even if one does in fact cheer for their opposition?

Possession

Indeed, I now begin to appreciate the reason why some people may be moved to hate Barcelona’s style of play. It is their stranglehold on the ball. Even against big name teams they have this uncanny ability to dominate possession; sometimes recording as high as 60-66% of the total football possession. As someone once said to me, “this team will pass you to death”. And true indeed is that sentiment. Barca relies on tapping the ball around, spreading it all over the field and gradually breaking down defensive formations. It is not as though their players are not gifted with individual skills, or that these players are not capable of holding on to the ball for much longer, the simple truth is that to blend into Barca’s excellent all-round team play, their players have learnt to play as one single cohesive unit. That means short and accurate passes, diagonal crosses, incisive positioning and the patience to wear a team down with such methodical and graceful possession until the defence weakens or fumbles. When that happens, you’ll behold the magnificence of Barca’s individual players as they produce spectacular world-class goals.

No wonder the fans of their opposing teams may be motivated to such fruitless anger. It is certainly no fun watching your favorite team run around for the ball in vain. I am sure it must really annoy people to see their players work so hard to get the ball and get dispossessed moments later, only for Barca to continue their famous tiki-taka. It is at times like this that opposition teams turn into rugby players and take fouls to an absurd new level. I am reminded of Real Madrid under Mourinho who often imagine themselves wrestlers of some sort whenever they are confronted with Barcelona’s frustrating ball possession.

Skills

Not only is FCBarca great at dominating the ball possession, they have world-class playmakers. They may not be the tallest or sturdiest looking players; as a matter of fact they may not even carry themselves like superlative talent. But what they lose in physical stature and presence they more than make up for in creative play. If I were to start analyzing the individual talent of each member of the Barca first 15, this post will become unnecessarily long but I’ll focus on a few players for emphasis.

Take Andres Iniesta for example. Unless you are completely new to football, and thus cannot be trusted to tell what amazing talent is, there is simply no way for you to have watched Iniesta over the course of two or three seasons and not come away impressed by the talent he brings to the field. He has an amazing ability of winning the ball in dead-ball situations; sometimes emerging with the ball after being ambushed by 2 or 3 opposing players. It is as if he is some kind of magician that temporarily blinds the people that come to dispossess him of the ball. I still cannot understand how he manages to retain the ball or how he still manages to complete a pass when he is surrounded or trapped by opposing players.  Secondly, the man appears tireless. He’ll keep threading passes and making amazing runs down any flank all day long. His chemistry with Xavi is undeniable and rock-solid. It is therefore not surprising that people might hate a team where at least one of her players seems to be wearing an invisibility cloak, making incisive passes all day and the occasional attempts at goal. With Iniesta on the field, it must seem to opponents as though Barca has 12 men on the field.

Then what shall we say about the “Lord of the Midfield” Xavi Hernandez? He is one of my most cherished players of all time. I like his simple humility and his work ethic. Xavi makes everyone on his side, especially his side’s forwards look better. I simply lack the words to describe his greatness. Xavi has an unequalled reading of the midfield, and a dominating presence on it. He sits at the center of the field and makes the plays, the passes, and the distribution that allow other Barcelona players to excel. It is almost impossible to dispossess him of the ball; and to add to his creative distribution, he can effortlessly dribble anyone that dares come to rob him of the ball and just as immediately send a diagonal cross that will produce a goal. The man seemingly has eyes all over his body. With him controlling the midfield and methodically breaking the opponent’s defensive line, it is hard to see Barcelona losing. The best thing to do is to go and mark closely any player that you suspect would be on the receiving end of Xavi’s creative passes. Do not give an inch of space to Barca’s strikers for the very moment you run out of place to attack or stop an advancing Xavi (a futile venture since he almost never loses the ball anyway), you can trust Xavi to see that opening, that opportunity at that precise moment to connect a very deadly pass. When watching him, I just shudder at his amazing read on the game, and his unequalled ability to pick out a fellow team member who might be better positioned to score or make an impact and subsequently thread an accurate pass. He makes it all so easy—he makes everyone on his side extra lethal. And if you think that all he is good for is creating the plays that result in goals, you would be mistaken. For the records show that he is just as good at scoring goals if he finds himself near the goal.

Then of course, you have the undisputed revelation of football in these our times, the man called Leo Messi. Tomes have already been written in praise of him so I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible. Messi is what you should think about when you try to envision the all-round complete player. He is an absolute delight to watch. Anyone who pretends otherwise is merely being cheeky or is living in serious denial. The accolades continue to pour in to celebrate his passion for excellence as he keeps performing wonders on the field. He is already on his way to becoming the highest goalscorer that Barcelona has ever known—and he is only 24 years old!

Facing a team that is blessed with such amazing world-class players, it is understandable why some people would be annoyed at the jaw-dropping regularity (you might even say predictable monotony) of Barca’s consistent unrivalled performance.

Therefore I do not think it is a valid argument, like the sore loser Jose Mourinho is wont to make, that Barcelona’s success as a team is only possible because Barcelona has the privilege of being the special darling of UEFA. It is a remark borne out of nothing but envy and pettiness. If it appears that people all over the world love Barcelona, it is simply a reflection of Barca’s commitment to excellence. Even with debilitating injuries, the Catalan giants under the able tutelage of Pepe Guardiola, have continued to justify the faith and confidence reposed in them.

Eventually all good things must come to an end; yes eventually a time will come when Barca ceases to be the number 1 team in the world, but unfortunately for Barca’s haters, that time is not now. Sitting comfortably at the top of the Spanish League with 14 points, with the most goals to date in this season, and also sailing smoothly in the Champions league matches, Barcelona is going to continue to redefine the limits of excellence in this our times. Truly they are the team to beat even if jealous rivals or pessimistic naysayers continue to verbally diminish the impact that Barca has made or accuse them of whatever their flights of fancy can conceive. True lovers of football can cheer for their own teams even as they recognize the wondrous phenomenon that is Barca football in these our times.

ALL hail the glory of FC Barcelona; long may we reign!

Adieu, Steve

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the visionary face of Apple, has died. He died of a rare but deadly form of pancreatic cancer, being just 56 years old. I simply want to salute this colossus that bestrode the tech sector for his tireless devotion to excellence. Here I am reminded of the things that have emerged from Apple under his leadership which have radically impacted or transformed the face of technology in recent times like iPods, iPhones, iPads, and a re-invigorated mac OS. One only hopes that his passing does not spell an end to the slew of buzz-worthy technological innovations from Apple. May his soul rest in peace.

NFL Picks: Week 4

Detroit Lions AT Dallas Cowboys = Detroit Lions

Carolina Panthers AT Chicago Bears = Chicago Bears

Pittsburgh Steelers AT Houston Texans = Houston Texans

Tennessee Titans AT Cleveland Browns = Cleveland Browns

Buffalo Bills AT Cincinnati Bengals = Buffalo Bills

Washington Redskins AT St Louis Rams = Washington Redskins

Minnesota Vikings AT Kansas City Chiefs = Kansas City Chiefs

San Francisco 49ers AT Philadelphia Eagles = Philadelphia Eagles

New Orleans Saints AT Jacksonville Jaguars = New Orleans Saints

Atlanta Falcons AT Seattle Seahawks = Atlanta Falcons

New York Giants AT Arizona Cardinals = New York Giants

Denver Broncos AT Green Bay Packers = Green Bay Packers

Miami Dolphins AT San Diego Chargers = San Diego Chargers

New England Patriots AT Oakland Raiders = New England Patriots

New York Jets AT Baltimore Ravens = Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis Colts AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers = Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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