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Archive for October 3rd, 2008

        Breaking news on the bailout…it seems that the House now has enough votes to pass with at least 230 votes.  The bailout plan has already passed in the Senate.  At least 218 are needed to pass the bailout plan in the House of Representatives.  Last week the measure failed to pass the house and there has been alot of uncertainty since that time.   The failure was 13 votes shy of passing at that time.

         If this measure actually takes place and is approved by the house…there is going to be controversy.  If it doesn’t take place there is going to be controversy.   Some say that expensive add ons were added to the bailout to make the idea more appealing to house members.  This idea of adding on to the already very high price tag is something that doesn’t sit well with many voters.  The vote is supposed to take place later today, on the bailout plan.   What i would like to know is what is in the plan; how much is it going to cost me and my family, and how soon will we see changes in the economy?  What happens if this bailout fails to improve the financial condition of the voters in this country?

          Is this bailout a good idea or a bad idea?  What do you think on the whole situation?  What kind of impact is this financial crisis having on your finances and your family situation?

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      Comedian Bill Maher appears to have made it a footnote of his career to openly show his contempt for religion; his comedy routines have had a biting edge to many topics pertaining to faith.  He has now made a movie about that very subject… it is a movie that expresses his thoughts that religious beliefs are dangerous and ridiculous.  The movie which is opening in theaters on Friday is called, Religulous.  Bill Maher hopes to open up conversations where others feel comfortable expressing their disbelief, as well as making the viewers laugh.  I am sure he wouldn’t mind making a buck or two off of the whole enterprise either!

       In my mind, religion is not a laughing matter.  Whenever i have watched Bill Maher perform on television, in years past…i was stunned to hear the barely controlled contempt, whenever he would subject the viewers to his views on religion.  I don’t think anything is so terrible about people having differing viewpoints on the subject of religion…but, i do think it is wrong for someone to mock another for their personal religious beliefs.  I think it comes down to a matter of respect.  At the very least, you can agree to disagree without turning to put downs or insults.

       Out of fairness, Bill Maher did allegedly make an attempt to be an equal opportunity offender to all religions in the movie.  He mocks Christianity, Judaism, and Islam allegedly in the movie.  Other religions would have presumably gotten the same treatment if it had not cost so much to do the additional traveling.  After all, there are many different religions around the world and the world is a very big place.

         I will agree with Bill Maher on one thing…religion can be dangerous for those who mock; or are in some way, regarded as a threat to those who hold radical religious viewpoints.  Religions are made up of many different people.   Those people are a microcosm of all areas of society; and, in each of those areas of humanity, there are people who will brook no difference of viewpoint from their personal value system. 

          Respectful individuals will try to discuss their beliefs with one another when there is a difference of opinion trying to persuade the other person with theological discourse on the subject.    Serious repercussions begin to take shape when you think about someone with a mental illness who feels the need to defend their religion.  In that situation, you could potentially have a recipe for disaster.  There are other individuals who will go to any extreme, including terrorism, to make their religious views known to others.  There are elements in any society, of religious extremism.  One must take care to respect each other’s right to believe differently if that person has hope of being treated with respect themselves…even, their right to not believe at all.

        Quite a few years ago, there was a huge threat directed towards a man named Salman Rushdie.   He is an author that wrote a book that offended some Muslims, called The Satanic Verses in 1988.  Some  protested his book, and there were many threats upon his life because of the content in the book.  He was forced to live in hiding for quite a period of time. 

         In making a film on the subject of mocking multiple religions, i think that Bill Maher has provided an irresponsible and inflammatory situation which could draw radical attention towards his movie.  If and when it causes conflict, then he can stand back as a witness to the “crazy and dangerous” effect of religion upon society.  I wish that Mr. Maher had found a different way to express himself and his viewpoint on religion; instead of, filming a movie which could negatively impact so many people.  It is quite an easy thing to incite people when they feel that their core values are under attack.  It will surprise me greatly if you dont see protests regarding this movie, all over the news.

         I’ve noticed that there are other comedians who often take hostile swipes at things pertaining to religious subjects.  I remember hearing about Kathy Griffen at some awards ceremony or another, saying something to the effect that, Jesus had nothing to do with her success.  Another comedian who comes across as offensive, to me at least, on the subject is Jimmy Kimmel.  I think there is a fine line between love and hate…and religion brings that line into focus.  Part of the dual edged sword of celebrity is that you have a platform to sway public opinion…but you also bear a personal responsibility in what you put out there when you do espouse a certain opinion.

         One has to wonder, where all of the anger and hostility comes from.  I have heard that anger issues are the opposite side of the coin when it comes to comedians…they take their anger and use humor as a tool to get their message across to the audience.  Humor can often take a sour slant on a subject and make it more palatable to the masses because it is put in a way that people find a little easier to listen to.  But, just because something can be made into a punch line, doesn’t mean that it should be.   Anger seems like such a waste of energy.   When you have a talent for making people laugh, it seems that it could be better used for something more positive than spreading hostile rhetoric used to offend others. 

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