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Do Theocracies Fight Wars Too?

With Bush finally admitting that US and Iraqi forces aren't ready to handle the election planned for January, with American deaths skyrocketing, and with Rumsfeld looking like a bigger clown than ever before, perhaps its time to start asking what price we're really paying for this war. Democratizing Iraq seems to be the final straw and the reason why the people who are somehow able to dismiss the fact that there are no WMDs or Al-Quaida ties in Iraq still are able to justify our intervention. "Sure," they say, "the Iraqi people hated being exploited by Saddam and are going to love being able to govern themselves." Sadly for these people, to make such a statement is to ignore the 7000 year history of Iraq. Remember when everyone thought the Iraq war would be easy? "Sure," they said, "they'll love us when we go in and overthrow Saddam; they'll probably pick flowers and make us look like the biggest heroes in world history." If only…

Cracking the SAT

The title to Princeton Reviews book is pretty straight forward... use the book to study and do well on the SAT. But after an article in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago, it makes me wonder if maybe it means something more... Is Princeton Review subliminally sending messages to kids to take crack before taking the SAT test? Probably not on purpose... but who knows?

Apparently, people have been taking to the prescription drug adderal to do better on the SAT, and apparently its been working. This is supposed to be a drug given to kids with ADHD so they can sit still and not screw around in class, but it also seems to give a pretty good kick for people taking "tests of reasoning." Then again, isn't it more a test of how well you feel that morning anyway? Aren't the top pieces of advice given by those shady SAT prep classes and books to get a good nights sleep and to eat a good breakfast? If this is all you need to do then why did we waste the past 12 years of our …

Al Qaeda Recruiting Missions

Say what you might about the war on terror, but its hard to see how this strategy is actually solving the root problems of terrorism. Sure it might be temporarily repressing terrorist attacks in America, but how long can we do this? forever? The war on terror surely hasn't been very effective in capturing Bin-laden or Al-Zarqawi or increasing our Middle-eastern credibility...

When you consider the reasons why terrorism exists, it starts to make sense how ridiculous our current policy is. America's support of Isreal and our utter disrepect toward Muslim people in the Middle East seems to be incentive for them to want to attack the US and Isreal. Our actions in the Iraq war seem to have done nothing but exacerbate these problems. There are images on Middle-Eastern television showing Americans forcing Iraqis to strip and then completely humiliating them. Then there is video of an American cursing and blowing away an innocent Iraqi in a mosque. The civilian death toll is estimated…

So Much Hypocrisy

Being the moral, Christian guy that George Bush is... it seems like he's doing a good job of fighting to keep Senator Arlen Spector from becoming head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, since Spector is openly pro-choice and will ensure Roe v. Wade stays in place. But its making me ask... what the hell?

Both Bush and Pennsylvania's other Republican Senator, Rick Santorum, endorsed Spector for re-election, even though they knew he was running as a pro-choice candidate, and that he openly opposed Bush on other issues like stem cell research. They pretty much snubbed Rep. Toomey, who Paul Begala calls "a much better peson." The whole thing makes you wonder what the actual motive of this thing was? Did they want to ensure Roe v. Wade didn't get overturned but at the same time wanted to use it as a campaign centerpiece to appease the evangelicals? And then did they want to put up a fight with Spector to make sure their image as anti-abortionists was upheld? Obviously …

What Now?

So the election is over and it looks like the Republicans somehow did an amazing job of completely playing America. The poll numbers and statistics are so bizarre that the whole thing just boggles my mind. Wasn't terrorism supposed to be a big issue in this election? Whats interesting is that all of the states and communities that have been, or are likely to be victims of terrorist attacks overwhelmingly voted for Kerry. New York, New Jersery, Connecticut, Marlyland, and DC all went to Kerry, despite being the biggest victims of terrorist attacks. The East Coast and California are the most likely to be attacked by terrorists again, and still... no support for Bush there. Back at home, Cleveland is the biggest and most likely target in Ohio, but in Cuyahoga county, Kerry won by a landslide.

Whats especially mind-boggling is that more Americans indicated they voted for president based on 'moral values' more than any other issue, including the war and the economy. How the hel…

Whats the Matter with Catholics?

I probably should start this piece of commentary by pointing out that I am myself a Catholic, because I think that Catholic philosophy makes more sense than any other religion. St. Thomas's and other Catholics' proof for God's existance is quite good in my opinion and makes a lot of sense. I also think that Catholics have the best interpretation of the bible, and I agree with just about all of the underlying philosophies at the root of the religion.

The problem, however, is whats on the surface. Over my years its become harder and harder to figure out what the hell is actually going on. You have the pope saying one thing, some crazy archbishops saying something else, wacked out theology teachers preaching stuff that makes you wonder if they want you to stop believing in the religion... and everyone else who has some authority and an opinion.

So who are you supposed to believe?

There are so many variables in the religion that I still can't comprehend. Take for example c…

Why My Blog Exists

Updated October 2008

Extraordinary Observations went live in September 2004. I was 17 years old and a senior in high school at the time; and my observations were fairly limited in nature. Back then, blogging was still a bit of a fringe hobby. I'm not sure if I was the only kid in my high school blogging, but I can't imagine there being many others. Four years doesn't seem like a long time, but a lot has changed since 12th grade. My writing style has evolved, my observations have changed, and it has been exciting to watch my blog's readership grow.

My blog exists because there are some observations that are worth sharing with the world. My favorite topics are politics and economics. I'm a passionate critic of local politics in Cleveland, my hometown; and energy and transportation are two issues especially close to my heart. I won't deny that my observations are written with a slant. My politics can be described as progressive and my economics as neo-Keynesian. I t…