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Monday, July 17, 2006

Dang. Dang. Dang. (Warning: contains strong language) 

Some perspectives on Bush cussing out Hezbollah. The first is along the Air America "BUSH IS SO STUPID!!!" line:

In addition to cussing out Hezbollah, Bush makes us proud with behavior such as this:

"Yo Blair, what're you doing? Are you leaving?"

But El Greco actually dares to print the word that Bush said:

Oops. It slipped out. George W Bush, while at the G8 meeting, was accidentally captured swearing on microphone when he expressed his thoughts on the Mideast to British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over," Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll. Well, yeah. You don't exactly have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

But, wait, didn't the President, um...swear?

Technically, yes. It would pass the mom-washes-your-mouth-out-with-soap test and that is the basic test for cussing. But as far as high level political cursing goes, it's pretty weak. Lame, even.

In 1948, on a whistle stop tour in Seattle, a supporter yelled to Truman, “Give ‘em hell, Harry!” Truman responded, “I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.” Memorable and we still remember Truman for it.

"Sure, he's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch," remarked Secretary of State Cordell Hull, refering to then-Dominican dictator Trujillo. Sure gets the point across.

But we need to turn to Michael J. Svigel , Th.M.:

[T]he study of cussing, kakalogology, has a less refined history among Christians in general and evangelicals in particular. This lack of definition has caused many outright offenses and some extremely awkward social situations. These range from blurting out words that sound mischievously like curse words but are, in fact, not, to a teacher or preacher’s hesitancy to utter the word “hell” in reference the place of eternal torment....

Clearly, the Bible forbids something called aijscrologiva (aischrologia), “obscene speech.” Colossians 3:8 says, “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech [aijscrologiva (aischrologia)] from your mouth” (NASB). The NIV translates the word as “filthy language.” The KJV has “filthy communication.” The ASV reads, “shameful speaking.” Luther, who is known for his affection for cussing, translates the word “schandbare Worte.”

The question is What does Colossians 3:8 specifically forbid when it tells us to put away aijscrologiva (aischrologia)? The word itself is made up of two Greek words: aijscrov" (aischros) meaning “disgraceful, shameful, dishonest,” and lovgia (logia), meaning “oracles.” In every use in the NT, lovgia (logia) refers to “oracles,” or the revealed message from God. It is not the word lovgo" (logos), which can refer to actual words themselves (Matt 12:36), a message (Matt 13:19), or speech in general (Matt 5:37). So, it appears that Paul is actually forbidding false prophesying....

Although many liberal scholars and non-Christians believe the Bible is full of crap, there’s actually only one place where the word occurs, though it is often scooped up or covered over by modern English translations.

In Philippians 3:8 Paul tells his readers that all the things of religious value in his former life are regarded to him now as skuvbalon (skubalon), that is, “crap.” While liberals, neo-orthodox, post-liberals, feminists, historians, Methodists, and other heretics may feel obliged to remove “crap” from the Bible by flushing it away with euphemisms such as “rubbish” or “refuse” evangelicals who believe every word is inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16) should refuse to flush. Instead, we should embrace a translation that conveys the rhetorical effect intended by the author, as crass and base as it may seem to our perhaps overly-pious ears (cf. Eccl 7:16).

The King James Version had no qualms about translating skuvbalon (skubalon) with a more suitable—though emotively sub-standard—“dung.” Only Luther had the guts to translate the noun with Kot in his landmark German translation. The problem with translations like “refuse” and “rubbish” in today’s idiom is that the recent movement by earth-worshippers, tree-huggers, witches, Democrats, and other pagans towards recycling implies that almost all refuse or rubbish has some value. Likewise, even “dung” could be construed as having usefulness at least as fertilizer. Only a harsher term like “crap” would indicate the utter uselessness that Paul had in mind.

I'd tell Bush to just quote Philippians 3:8 in the future, but Bush is a Methodist so that might not work either. Crap.

Incidentally, Paul liked strong language almost as much as Luther.

Galatians 5:7-12 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9"A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

But all of this coverage about the word "shit" ignores the coverage of the other "s" word that Bush used - namely, Syria. But can Syria control these clowns? (In the 1970s, could any country control the PLO?) And would Syria want to rein in Hezbollah? Can you imagine Syria saying "Give up the Israeli captives?" The Syrian government would be overthrown in a week.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) is running this as the top story:

President Bashar al-Assad received a massage from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran in which the Iranian President expressed support to Syria in the face on any threat or attack.

The massage was conveyed by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki when President al-Assad received Mottaki and the accompanying delegation at the People's Palace on Monday.

Talks during the meeting dealt with the Israeli continued aggression on Lebanon and the brutal demolishing operations perpetrated by Israeli forces targeting the Lebanese civilians and infrastructures.

The regional and international stances regarding the Israeli war against Lebanon and Palestine and means of backing the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance at the critical circumstances were reviewed.

But the Hezbollah captives were not explicitly mentioned. Here's what Kandy Ringer at Human Rights Watch says, in part:

On July 12, Hezbollah launched an attack on Israeli positions on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two. In response, Israel launched air and artillery attacks against targets throughout Lebanon, including Beirut’s international airport, bridges and highways, and Hezbollah offices. It also instituted an air, sea, and land blockade. According to media reports at the time of writing, Israeli attacks have killed at least 110 civilians and wounded more than 235 in Lebanon. Hezbollah forces have launched more than 800 rockets across the border into northern Israel, as far south as Tiberias (35km/22 miles south of the border), killing 12 civilians and injuring more than 100....

What is Hezbollah’s status in relation to the conflict?

Hezbollah is an organized political Islamist group based in Lebanon, with a military arm and a civilian arm, and is represented in the Lebanese parliament and government. As such a group, and as a party to the conflict with Israel, it is bound to conduct hostilities in compliance with customary international humanitarian law and common Article 3, which as stated above applies to conflicts that are not interstate but between a state and a non-state actor. As is explicitly stated in common Article 3, and made clear by the commentaries of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the application of the provisions of common Article 3, as well as customary international law, to Hezbollah does not affect its legal status.

Was Hezbollah’s capture of Israeli soldiers lawful?

The targeting and capture of enemy soldiers is allowed under international humanitarian law. However captured combatants must in all circumstances be treated humanely.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nassrallah has stated that the captured soldiers will be used to negotiate the release of Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab prisoners from Israel. The use of captives who are no longer involved in the conflict for this purpose constitutes hostage-taking. Hostage-taking as part of an armed conflict is strictly forbidden under international law, by both common Article 3 and customary international law, and is a war crime.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

And yes, the Syrian article does use the word "massage" instead of "message." Sounds like the old Monty Python routine about the Swedish Prime Minister.
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