Religious Funamentalism in American Government

On Wednesday, June 26th, 2001, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, in it’s current form, is unconstitutional, due to it’s inclusion of the words ‘under God’. The words ‘under God’ were added in 1956 during the Eisenhower administration and it became official with an act of Congress.

There has been violent opposition to this ruling in both the government as well as the general public. Several members of Congress have resorted to name calling, labeling the judges (or single judge as some of the more senile members of congress believe) stupid. This is not the way elected officials should behave. These people are supposed to be setting an example for the nation.

These judges did not come to this conclusion lightly. They looked at the laws regarding the separation of church and state and found that this was indeed an infringement of that separation. Plainly stated, this is an obvious conclusion. One must make great assumptions and compromises of logic to believe otherwise.

President George W. Bush, in reaction to the 2-1 ruling, stated ‘We need to put judges on the bench that understand that our rights are derived from God.’ If this isn’t a perfectly obvious example for the need for better enforcement of the seperation of church and state, then I don’t know what is. This is a perfect example of how an indoctrinated recitation of a statement of allegiance to a nation with the inclusion of religious properties can drift a nation towards religious fundamentalism. There are many people in this nation and in this world that believe that the rights of humankind are derived not from any one deity or deities, but derived from the inherent common sense and morals of the people themselves. To assume that rights are derived from such a deity violates the American basis of the separation of church and state. To hear this coming from a sitting president is indeed a frightening illustration that religious fundamentalism has encroached upon our government.

I for one feel that the words ‘under God’ should be removed from the pledge of allegiance, because it excludes atheists as well as polytheists and religions that do not have deities at all. It serves to divide the nation into theists and atheists, and it’s current wording infringes upon the rights of the atheist constituency.

The separation of church and state must be enforced. We have seen what harm state-mandated religion has done to nations throughout history. The United States should not become the world’s next government of religious fundamentalism. We should not think of ourselves as ‘One nation, under God,’ but rather simply ‘One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’

Changing from default MSN home page in IE 5.2

If you’re finding that no matter how many times you try to change IE 5.2’s Preferences to specify your own home page, try quitting Entourage first, then set your home page in IE’s Preferences panel, and then the change should stick. Something about having Entourage open when you make this change causes your saved preference to always revert back to MSN. It boggles the mind as to why…

About descriptive text pop-ups in web pages

If you have ever noticed a little yellow text box pop up when you hover your mouse over an image in a web page, then you know what IΩm talking about. These descriptive text boxes are most commonly achieved by adding the property ALT to the image tag. However, no Mac browser does this, and this was not really the intent of ALT anyway. ALT was intended to show descriptive text of an image if the image link was broken, or if a user was using a text-only browser.

Perhaps a more appropriate option is to use the TITLE property in an A tag. This allows the display of the popup text box on both Windows and Mac browsers, and allows for appropriate use of ALT text in the same context. Well, perhaps that appropriate use is theoretical at this point, since the Internet Explorer browser on Windows allows ALT to override TITLE when displaying the popup text box on mouseovers, but at least they get it right on their Mac version of the browser.

TITLE is added like any other property to an anchor tag. For instance, <a href=”http://www.mozilla.org/” title=”Go to the Mozilla Site”> will make any hyperlinked object, be it text or an image, display the text ΩGo to the Mozilla SiteΩ when you hover the mouse over it.

For now, since browser displays between versions and operating systems are inconsistent, you must know your audience before getting too into this. If youΩre providing Ωtool tipsΩ style objects in your website, you must be aware of the differences and be prepared to account for the differences your users will encounter between different platforms. At least with Mozilla these properties seem to be consistent on each operating system. HereΩs a quick overview of popup text mouseover behaviors:

IE 6 for Windows Ω ALT overrides TITLE, ALT text appears neatly wrapped while TITLE appears as single line and fixed width.

IE 5.1 for Mac Ω ALT does not generate mouseover text, TITLE appears neatly below image in question and wrapped

Mozilla 1.0 for all OSes Ω TITLE overrides ALT in all cases, but only displays single line and has a fixed width.

Sample Code:

<a href=”#” title=”Hello, world!”>
<img src=”image.gif”>

Cool Stuff

First cool item is Silk, a haxie for Mac OS X. This enables Quartz text antialiasing in all your Carbon applications, making text look beautifully smooth and getting rid of the look of jagged and pixelated text from your system almost entirely. This really makes apps look good – almost too good…

Next is Mozilla 1.0. I have finally switched away from MSIE to this version of Mozilla on the Mac OS X. (I had swiched to Mozilla on Windows at version 0.9.2.) The performance is now quite good on OS X, and while theres still a couple of little bugs here and there, everything is working quite well. Features that rule over IE include: Consistent form elements, tabbed browsing, client X509 certificate support, better form menus than I’ve seen on any other Mac browser, full suite of tools in context menus, Page Info command, intelligent character set management, correct rendering of non-Roman character sets in menus and title bar, skins, and the list goes on.

Finally, Navzilla is a very nice looking skin for Mozilla that is based on the look and feel of Chimera , a very promising Mac OS X offshoot of the core Mozilla project.

Running Mozilla in conjunction with the Silk haxie and the Navzilla skin makes for a quite nice web browser. (Update: Mac OS X 10.2 “Jaguar” renders this obsolete.)