This stuff pisses me off because it's the kind of stupid crap which always gives Christians a bad name: the inability to accept that some things are called make-believe for a reason. People who are inclined to check out Wicca or Paganism based on what they read in "Harry Potter" are going to be sorely disappointed, particularly if the wiccans and pagans I have known are any guide. As far as I know, none of them are able to ride flying brooms or make other magical events happen, at least not the way things are portrayed in the "Harry Potter" movies I've seen. There may or may not be something to their beliefs, but I have never seen any evidence that wiccans or pagans could do the things Harry Potter does.
Real world occultism and folklore is bereft of all the special effects. When a Wiccan "casts a spell" there are no immediate and obvious changes to reality; mostly it has to do with "putting out the right energy" and cleansing the self of bad things. The basic tenet of the religion is "do as you will, so long as it harms no one". Backing that up is the belief that you reap threefold what you sow: if you are nice to people, they'll be nice to you; but if you "put a curse" on someone, you might as well prepare for a few curses yourself. Most of their practices and rituals are about as harmful and spectacular as a sunrise Easter worship service at your local church.
So if a person gets into "witchcraft" based on what he reads in "Harry Potter", he's going to find the reality rather boring.
Even Satanism isn't going to satisfy the kid who wants to wave a magic wand and fly on a broomstick. Satanism is the nether end of the occult, full of a lot of bad stuff, and the kid who gets into that has more problems than just an overactive imagination or a desire to be able to turn himself invisible--but it has no more "magical power" than any other soi disant "alternative religion" does.
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Interesting. Why is Iran rationing fuel?
Says here that the "youth" of Iran are engaging in riots and "violent protest" over the rationing plan. Well, they can't have porn so they have to get rid of that "excess energy" somehow, I suppose, and it's too hot there for sports.
What makes a country suddenly start to ration fuel? Why artificially limit demand? Is the fuel subsidy draining the government coffers? Or is Iran gearing up for some kind of conflict?
The article says Iran is fearing the results of economic sanctions--that they are enacting rationing now because their continued and dogged pursuit of nuclear power will result in economic sanctions from the West. Also, the country is experiencing significant inflation and government debt because of the fuel subsidies. (Iranians pay about $0.50 per gallon for gasoline.)
A better plan would be for the Iranian government just to end the fuel subsidy. It probably would not result in any fewer riots, but it would end the artificially low fuel price and solve the budget problem, at least partially--with the added benefit of decreasing demand for fuel rather nicely.
Limiting each person to 25 gallons per month, however, is a whole 'nother story. For people who have really fuel-efficient cars that's not an issue--25 gallons per month is more than I use, for example--but if gasoline has historically been inexpensive in Iran, how likely are people to have fuel-efficient cars?
I'm more concerned about the fact that gasoline is a strategic commodity: one which an army must have in order to function. And rationing the civilian population is one way to ensure that your military has enough fuel to get its job done.
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I do not normally comment on abortion here, but I thought this article was sufficiently compelling to mention.
Like the writer of that article, I find it interesting that the "pro-choice" advocates regard abortion fatalities in present day as the fault of the woman, but abortion fatalities before Roe v. Wade are the fault of the government and society.
"Two women died of late-term abortions. Pro-lifers mourn all four lives lost. Pro-aborts mourn only the one that furthers their agenda and trivialize or ridicule the others.
"Just more evidence they don't care about women, just abortion."
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Venezuela takes over oil projects.
The article does not mention whether or not the oil companies received just compensation for it. It seems to hint that they did not, but no dollar amounts are mentioned. It does say that the Conoco and Exxon refused Chavez's first offer as "below market value", but nothing about further negotiations.
Either Exxon and Conoco got boned, or they got royally boned. Either way, Chavez now controls the "means of production", not the workers.
Conoco says they took one up the rectum for $4.5 billion dollars out of this situation, though. That leaves me to direct a question at the anti-oil folks:
Where are the "record profits" now, bitches?