The World

“My brother is extremely religious since his troubled youth,” says his sister. “He’s not crazy.”

And so ends the story of Gary Brooks Faulkner – or perhaps it is only the beginning. Coined by the media as “The Rocky Mountain Rambo,” Faulker has been waging nearly a decade of solo clandestine war against Osama bin Laden, traveling numerous times throughout Pakistan, learning their culture, making connections, gaining intel on the 9/11 mastermind’s whereabouts, while doing his best to blend in with the locale. Unfortunately, his mission came to a premature end the other day when suspicious Pakistani officials arrested him after finding in his possession of a handgun, a sword, night-vision goggles, a small amount of hashish, and numerous books on Christianity when trying to enter the country.

Faulkner feared no terrorists on his search for the 9/11 mastermind. Trained in the ancient martial art of Hapkido, he was prepared to take on any terrorist who got in the way of his goal: taking down the man who tried to take down America.

“The fact that he’s been over there six times and has not received a scratch tells me that somebody’s looking after him,” said Scott Faulker, another sibling. “[Gary] could blend in with the local population and go places that our military cannot go. We [the US government] have relationships with the Pakistani government: ‘OK. You can go in this region or you can’t go in that region,’ whereas my brother could go about willy-nilly. He had a long beard. He looked like Taliban. When he wore his robe, he looked like Taliban. The only way you could tell he was not was when he spoke.”

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that he “looked Taliban” – rather, on first glance, one might think he was headed willy-nilly to a Grateful Dead concert. Hell, he even brought some hashish. Who in their mind would bother a Deadhead? I have one qualm though: one might think that speaking the native tongue fluently would be essential to tracking down the most wanted man in the world. Besides, as I understand it, Islamic extremists don’t take very kindly to westerners.

“Who do you work for?” the masked extremist asks, slapping Gary across the face.

“I work for, like, God, man… and Mohammad is his bitch.”

“Ajmal – get the camera and machete. Now.”

“Right on, bro.”

Really though, I whole-heartedly support Mr. Faulker’s ambitions. Much like the man he was hunting, his kidneys are failing him and according to his sister, they have only 9% function, meaning he needs kidney dialysis three times a week. All he wanted, she said, was “to do one last thing for his country before he died.” We sit here sipping on our appletinis, watching bad reality TV, expecting the military to do all of the dirty work, while dying Gary is sword-fighting and flying side kicking his way to bin Laden one terrorist at a time. He didn’t even rely on the crutch of military experiences, although, as his sister put it: “He does come from a family of hunters.”

And as Gary put it: “God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him.”

I think we all have a little something to learn from Mr. Faulker.

Sources: 1, 2

This is the cartoon drawn by Lars Vilks that pissed extremist Muslims off in 2007. Seriously.

You may know Lars Vilks as the Swede who published a series of drawings depicting Islam’s prophet Muhammad as a dog. Apparently having nothing better to do, Islamic extremists around the globe threatened him with death, one organization even going as far as offering $150,000 for his murder. Of course, this reaction was exactly what he predicted and only furthered his point, which was that everyone in the world should be entitled to freedom of speech, regardless of how offensive it might be (I’m offended by the Bible’s condemnation of women and homosexuality – should I riot and attack anyone that preaches it?).

Recently, you may have heard about Vilks giving a presentation on free speech at Uppsala University in Sweden, where almost immediately he was assaulted by protesters who amount to little more than savages. Fortunately, only his glasses were broken before police stepped in. You can watch the entire ten minute insanity below.

In the final minutes of the film, the fools cheer with “unrestrained jubilation” at the announcement that the presentation will stop due to security reasons – perhaps not realizing that they only furthered the point of what Vilks was trying to convey: religion is dangerous to free speech (and society). Religion deludes the mind. You cannot possibly view this video and come to the conclusion that these folks are not completely delusional due to their religious beliefs.

They bullied to get their way with threats of violence and to “take him out,” meanwhile only furthering the resentment of their religion around the world for the hundreds of millions who already believe Islam to be a religion of hate, violence, and bigotry (which, for the vast majority of Muslims, it is not).

Days after this, Vilks home was set fire, windows were smashed, and bottles of gasoline were thrown in. Thankfully, it did not burn to the ground.

Sometimes, all I can do is sigh and shake my head.

Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name. Our accommodation of this psychopathic skewing of priorities has, more and more, taken the form of craven and blinkered acquiescence. There is an uncanny irony here that many have noticed. The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we will kill you. Of course, the truth is often more nuanced, but this is about as nuanced as it ever gets: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you primarily responsible and will spend the bulk of our energies criticizing you for “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

-Sam Harris, “Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks”

While the above excerpt can be attributed to most all the major religions of the world, I am taking a break from slamming the insanity of Christianity’s warping of American politics to point this out due to the recent publicized banning of YouTube and Facebook in Pakistan – a move that I admit to finding somewhat surprising, even having known that the county is not merely a Republic but an Islamic Republic. I don’t claim to be well-versed in Pakistani history and politics, although I am knowledgeable and comfortable enough to say that my first thought this morning upon reading this news was that Pakistan has far many more important problems that they should be tending to, not worrying about a few thousand nerds around the world drawing their religious prophet Muhammad (a big no-no in Islam) and posting it on the internet.

All the while, people are being provocative in their depictions of Muhammad for the sake of being provocative – and it is only as a direct result to the vocal cries and complaints (and often violent threats, such as what happened in Denmark in 2008) in the first place. The surge of intentionally-offensive drawings of Muhammad has led to probably more offensive photos of him existing now than ever before – and the only ones to blame are the ones who complain and make threats in the first place, putting pressure on spineless companies such as Comedy Central to censor their “offense” as not to offend Muslims, and thus causing the reaction that they have.

If this vocal number of the Muslim population were to only heed international human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar’s advice in which he tweeks an ever-popular evangelical phrase for the purpose of his argument:

If we ask ourselves the simple question ‘What would Mohammed do?’ about this, the even simpler answer would be two words: ‘Absolutely nothing.’

Iftikhar seems flabbergasted by the responses of “irrational threats of violence aimed at the silliness of some sophomoric cartoons” and condemns Pakistan’s reaction saying that they “should focus their political attention and economic resources on educating their women, improving their rule of law system and truly understanding the repercussions that come with ominously naming your country the ‘land of the pure.'”

There is little that is more important than having the freedom to speak one’s mind – and having freedom of speech means understanding that you must support the freedom to offend. Although I am limiting my depiction of the Islamic prophet to the old Persian painting of him speaking to Jesus and Moses and others above, I have no qualms with “Draw Muhammad Day” anymore than I have qualms with someone creating a “Jesus Banged a Prostitute,” “Jews Murdered Jesus,” or “Atheists Eat Babies” group. Especially when the source of the offense is the internet, Muslims can easily choose to ignore what it is that they find so infuriatingly offensive – you know, just as I steer clear of Fox News.

Please, feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

You know, I’ll never understand why people are so opposed to environmentalism. It’s not a political thing, folks, it’s a common sense thing. Treat the world poorly and it’ll come back and bite us in the ass. If you want to make it political, wouldn’t it be nice to free ourselves from our dependency on Middle Eastern and South American oil? Americans get pissed off that our President will bow to the leader of Saudi Arabia, but many Americans are too lazy and downright stupid to want to free ourselves from the country’s grip by investing in clean energy?

In the United States, we consume 21 million barrels of crude oil every day, the majority of it being imported from foreign countries! At 42 gallons of oil in each barrel, that’s 882,000,000 gallons of crude oil each day and 321,930,000,000 gallons each year. THIS IS RIDICULOUS AND PREVENTABLE. The latter is the infuriating part.

So, Mr. DiCaprio and some other Hollywood stars made a video to help push the Senators to pass the Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act. If you want to read about the bill, here is an overview, here is a summary, here is a section by section summary, and here is the bill in its entirety.

Watch the video and the message is clear: either we in America are going to take the initiative and pave the way for clean energy… or another country is going to beat us to it. It’s time to get off your ass and do something. Find your state’s Senators by going right here and shoot them an email in support of this bill. It will only take two minutes and it’ll be well worth the time and effort.

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Sources: 1, 2, 3

The entire world has witnessed the tragedy that has befallen Haiti. There are early estimates that the death toll may exceed 100,000 – and even if that isn’t the case, the devastation is still catastrophic. Despite the violence and looting that is taking place in the country, it is warming to see the international community and organizations coming together to do their best to provide aid and relief. In much of the country, fresh food is a near impossibility to get a hold of, as is fresh water. People are actually breaking open water lines so they can fill buckets with fresh water to keep them alive and hydrated. Even as people around the word donate money and bottled water and canned foods, the demand is just far too great.

There is one organization that decided to take some serious action in this time of suffering and pain though. They are sending Haitians exactly what they need more than anything: Bibles – and not just any Bibles, but the audio Bibles known as the Proclaimer, which are solar powered and can run up to fifteen hours before needing recharged. Despite the fact that gifts, by definition, do not cost money and they carry a price tag, the Proclaimer is, according to the website, “a gift from God” in which “inspiration for it came during three days of fasting and prayer.” Wow! Best of all, they have these in their native language of Haitian Creole. Who needs food and water when they can have the salvation of Jesus Christ?

They are doing this as their little way of “providing faith, hope and love through God’s Word in audio”. Oh, what’s that you say, Miss Haitian Who Lost Everything? Jesus’s salvation isn’t very filling? Well, know that after you die your long and painful death of starvation or malnutrition, there will be plenty of water and food waiting for you at the pearly gates. I also hear that they have some great recreational shuffleboard.

Or, we could just face reality. These people are morons. The Haitians don’t need audio versions of the Bible. These people need food. They need water. They need medical assistance. They need shelter. Besides the fact that these Christians are preying on the emotionally unstable (which should be an international crime), the amount of money being spent on these must be unbelievably high. 600 have already been sent and they are aiming for a total of 3,000. The company’s official website does not list the price of the audio Bible in Haitian Creole, so I called to inquire, but unfortunately they were closed and I received only a brief audio message talking about the hope that Jesus can bring me, when the only hope I had was that somebody could give me a damn price on one of these useless machines.

With that said, if this money that was being completely wasted was spent elsewhere (and I’m going to take a wild guess that one of these around in the $40-50 range, so you can do the math) it would certainly assist hundreds, if not thousands, of desperate Haitians. Unfortunately, these religious whackjobs are too busy promoting their religious beliefs. Or maybe, just maybe I am wrong and these will provide the Haitians with exactly what the FCBH website says: “God’s Word can demonstrate that God understands their situation and has not forgotten them.”