Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Post

For a sunny, warm autumn day.

Those Ethical Oil ads must have been embarrassing:

Saudi Arabia's king announced on Sunday women would be given the right to vote and stand in elections, a bold shift in the ultra-conservative absolute monarchy as pressure for social and democratic reform sweeps the Middle East.

It was by far the biggest change in Saudi Arabia's tightly-controlled society yet ordered by the 88-year-old Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who took power six years ago with a reformer's reputation but has ruled as a cautious conservative.

Or not enough:

In practice, the measure will do little to change how the country is run: Saudi Arabia's rulers allow elections only for half of the seats on municipal councils which have few powers. Only men will vote at the next elections which will take place next week; women will be allowed to vote in 2015.

Watch the attempts at vindication from the Saudi oil apologists.

Vaguely related: what should a bunch of loudmouths do when their street theatre and traffic obstruction  public praying is banned? Blame the Jews, of course!

I'm waiting for the atheists who complained about Rick Perry to show up.

Russia has a history of autocratic dictators. Now is no exception:

Was it ever in doubt that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wouldn't run for the presidency again?

Not really. And since Putin and his stooge, President Medvedev, have effectively destroyed or cowed the opposition since Putin stepped down in 2008, his ascension to the presidency is a foregone conclusion....

The president's term has been changed to six years so Putin will be eligible to serve until 2024. By that time, all vestiges of democracy will have been wiped out - largely because the Russian people want it that way.

The Russian economy is not in very good shape, but we can expect Putin to continue to block America's efforts to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of Iran while opposing us in other vital areas as well. "Reset" or not, Russia is going to be a big problem for the US as long as Putin is in power.

If Putin could be opposed and free elections allowed (I don't think ALL Russians want things the way they are), how much would we worry about Iran or North Korea? Russia may be declining but even a disabled snake can still bite.

Stick a fork in Germany, Your Holiness. It's done:

The pope flew back to Rome from Freiburg in the early evening.

Benedict has closed the door on changes to the Church's opposition to gay marriage, married clergy or women priests, and has indicated he will not ease restrictions on divorced Catholics who have remarried outside the Church.

From highly secular Berlin to former communist Erfurt to Catholic Freiburg during this four-day trip, he has hammered home his view that the Church cannot change merely to suit the whims of the times.

Polls say many German Catholics disagree. A record 181,000 officially quit the Church this year -- for the first time more than joined and more than those quitting Protestant churches.

Some worshippers told Reuters they were happy to have an opportunity to attend mass celebrated by the head of their Church but were frustrated by his opposition to change.

Let's assume the Church- which is called "the Bride of Christ",  has the Mother of God in a seat of great influence and respect, which considers its female adherents equal to men and has made more advances for the rights of women than other groups one could mention- were to adopt these failed experiments people  call "changes". When the pendulum swings the other way and people realise that these experiments were total failures, what will they think of a Church that refused to stand by its principles? Not that these changes would make people go to church, anyway. You either have faith or you don't.

Martin McGuinness wants the Irish presidency. What would it say about a country that would elect such a man?

(hat tips)

And now, how much sushi could you possibly want, anyway?

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