Thursday, September 20, 2007


This week's additions are:
--Captain Squirm of the Squirm Patrol
--David Ogden Stiers

It's something new all the time, and the latest development is an ongoing babble, like a DVD director's commentary to our lives composed entirely of hiccups, gasps, grunts, and samples of humpback whale songs.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


I always wondered about the Islamic prohibition on usury, or charging interest, only I recently learned that Muslims aren't the only ones--nearly every religion has laws forbidding usury, including Judaism and Christianity. Plus, classical pagan thinkers had strong opinions on the matter, with Cato the Elder and Seneca considering it morally equivalent to murder.

Most Americans, as far as I can tell, live in a world where usury is just another fact of life. Certainly the average Westerner doesn't consider interest on loans to be indecent, much less sinful. Strange to think that it wasn't always thus.

But if the U.S. is in the grips of a religious reform movement, one with the full support of the government, then why aren't our leaders and our conservative fulminators voicing their disdain for the evils of usury (and yes, it is evil--the Bible agrees with the Quran on the subject)? Isn't this the issue Bono's been popularizing--the need for wealthy nations to forgive the debts of the third world? Granted, all I know about economics could fit inside a shoe box and leave enough room for the bloated corpse of John Maynard Keynes, and I don't know what getting rid of interest would do to the national economy, but I can imagine that it would be a bullet in the forehead of the credit card companies. Which may be why the religious reactionaries in America stop short of attacking usury. Hey, it's not like it's shrimp or anything.

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