res ipsa loquitur

Obama in Japan; press declares Hillary done

In honor of Barack Obama's victory in Iowa, a photo from my last trip to Japan. Did you know that "Obama (小浜市, Obama-shi) is a city located in Wakasa Area of Fukui Prefecture," on the main island of Honshu, Japan?

I was going to make a joke about "O'bama" being a good Irish name - well, the Universe beat me to it. Seems his great-great-great-great grandfather was "Joseph Kearney, a well-to-do shoemaker from Moneygall, County Offaly, Ireland".

I am reminded of Bill Murry's speach from Stripes:

why we must question authority, or surely destroy ourselves

This is the weirdest, most disturbing thing I've heard about in a while. It illustrates so well the dangers of the human impulse to submit to authority.

Friday, a jury awarded $6.1 million to Louise Ogborn, who said she was subject to a strip-search in a McDonald's back office after someone posing as a cop called the restaurant and accused her of theft.

Ogborn claimed McDonald's was negligent when they failed to warn her and other employees about this caller, who had already struck other fast-food joints. Yes, this wasn't an isolated case: there were over 70 such incidents.

Catholic piligrims on Vatican flight must dump Lourdes water

From The Telegraph:

The passengers on board the Vatican’s first flight to Lourdes may have been pilgrims in search of spiritual healing, but they still had to obey anti-terrorism rules, it has emerged, after several of them had their holy water confiscated....
...
The spring at the sanctuary at Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in 1858, is famed for its miraculous healing powers, and every day long queues of believers wait to fill up their containers.

China regulates reincarnation; speaking of which...

From Newsweek/MSNBC.com:

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country.

Tangential but highly interesting, the article notes that a Gallup poll found that 20 percent of U.S. adults believe in reincarnation, and surveys by a Christian research group have found one in four Christians - including 10 percent of "born-agains" - hold with it.

I'm not sure how one resolves reincarnation with Christianity. But then, I'm not quite sure how one resolves reincarnation with the teachings of the Buddha.

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