San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Need For Foreign Intervention

Note:  I am out of town Friday.  This post will serve as a substitute for Friday's post.

Throughout my entire career in the government schools of this land I was taught that the United States only intervenes in foreign countries when it is in the best interest of the foreign country for us to be there.  We have never intervened (invaded) a foreign land with the intention of doing harm to the people who live there.  Our purpose has always been to make their lives better.  Whether it was removing a nasty dictator or bringing them the fruits of democracy, we have always done what we have done because of our conviction that they needed us.  Well, I have been looking at the US export data and I have come to the conclusion that the foreign countries of the world really need our immediate intervention.
If foreign imports are dangerous examples of our addictions (and both Barak and Mitt think they are....see yesterday's posting), then it necessarily follows that foreign exports are dangerous examples of the addictions of other countries.  In this case we are the pushers who force other countries to buy things from us.  Our goal is to get them addicted so we can have a steady stream of income.  A loving and caring country like the United States should not be identified as a pusher of addictive goods.  A loving country like the United States should never behave hypocritically towards other nations.  We should never blame them for addicting us to imported goods and, at the same time, export goods to them in an attempt to get them addicted to our products.  I am sure they do not want to be addicted and I am positive we do not want them to be addicted, so I am recommending a program of international intervention in which we will wean all foreigners off our domestically produced goods.  
What do we need to wean foreigners off of?  Consider this list of the top five exported goods:
     1.  Fuel Oil:  $34 billion.
     2.  Petroleum Products:  $32 billion.
     3.  Industrial Machines:  $27 billion.
     4.  Aircraft:  $25 billion.
     5.  Semiconductors:  $24 billion.
1.  Funny, isn't it, that our biggest import is crude oil and our biggest export is fuel oil.  Not many US citizens are aware of the fact that most nations of the Middle East are dependent upon US refined gasoline.  They ship the crude oil to us, we refine it into gasoline and ship it back to them.  Why does this happen?  Because of the division of labor, allocation of natural resources and the economies of scale in each nation.  The businesses in each country do what they do best and that results in the most efficient production of goods.  In this case the Saudis have oil and we have refining capacity.  But, as we have seen, the Saudis are addicted to our gasoline.  This must not continue.  The Saudis are our friends and friends don't give friends drugs.   I am therefore calling for a law to prohibit the exporting of all gasoline to the Middle East.  It is the only compassionate thing to do.
2.  The Middle East is mostly desert.  The air is very dry.  People who walk around outside suffer from chapped lips.  It is entirely reasonable to expect that they would import great amounts of Chapstick (a petroleum product, as you probably know).  I don't know why they don't make their own Chapstick, but apparently they don't.  They need ours and they import lots of it.  In fact, petroleum products are America's second greatest export.  There must be lots of chapped lips all around the world.  Nevertheless, and I know this from personal experience, Chapstick is addictive.  Millions of people are addicted to the stuff.  I can't get through a day without multiple applications of the drug.  I remember watching ex-Denver Nuggets head coach Dan Issel sneak applications of the addictive goo in the middle of basketball games.  He kept the offensive substance hidden in his jacket pocket and would try to apply it during time outs.  It was pitiful to watch.  For the good of our neighbors and the love of our fellow men, we need to outlaw the exportation of all Chapstick.
3.  What a crazy contradiction exists in the world of industrial machinery!  Industrial machines make the list of most imported goods and the list of most exported goods.  Don't bother me with the sound economic reasons for why this is so.  I have looked at the situation and made up my mind.  This madness must stop.  Effective immediately we need a law that will freeze all trade in industrial machines.  Make do with what you have.  Ukraine should keep their machines and we should keep ours.  Finland should keep their machines and Mexico should keep theirs.  There is no point in trading them back and forth.  That is just another sign of two junkies sharing a needle.  It must stop.
4.  Although Boeing is not going to like this (they need to be more patriotic and less greedy anyway), we need to ban all aircraft exports.  What do people in foreign lands need with airplanes anyway?  They can walk, or drive, boat, or take the train if they want to get somewhere.  In some places they can actually ride a camel.  How cool is that?  If they really want to fly, let them build their own airplanes.  Why should we be enabling their laziness addiction by selling them our airplanes?  We need a law banning the exportation of all aircraft and we need it now.
5.  Semiconductors are just like industrial machines.  We both import and export them.  It is time for an intervention.  It is time for all of us to admit that we are hopelessly addicted to computers and the semiconductors that run them.  This is true for all people, in all lands, all around the world.  We are all powerless against the addictive effects of the almighty semiconductor.  The situation is so bad that I don't think a ban on semiconductor imports and exports will be sufficient.  No, I believe we need a radical solution to our semiconductor addiction.  We need a law that bans all semiconductors for all time.  That is the only way to end this powerful addiction.   I know some of you will not like giving up your computers but it is in the best interest of the world community that we abolish them forever. 
We must stop the cycle of addiction.  According to our politicians and elected rulers, imports and exports are the most obvious examples and causes of our addictions.  Our neighbors to the north and south are the two biggest buyers of US produced goods.  Do we really want to support the addictions of our next door neighbors?  I don't think so.   Therefore the most obvious solution to this horrific problem is to ban all international trade.  Also, according to both Mitt and Barak, that action will also have the profoundly positive impact of preserving jobs in all of the nations of the world that no longer trade with each other.  I believe we are on the cusp of an amazing new era, don't you? 

Our Foreign Addictions

 Note:  I am out of town Thursday.  This post will serve as a substitute for Thursday's post.

Every president since Eisenhower has told us that "we are addicted to foreign oil".  Notwithstanding the fact that the use of the term 'we' in the above sentence is senseless since it is impossible to define who "we" is, the concept of addiction is also utterly meaningless.  How am I "addicted" to oil?  Or more properly, since there is no such thing as individualism in this country anymore, how are we addicted to oil?  Are we drinking it?  Smoking it?  Shooting it into our veins?  Sniffing it up into our noses?  We are never told.  Nevertheless, we are constantly informed that the collectivist American public suffers from an economic addiction to oil produced by foreigners.  To prove this assertion the politicians love to point to an important statistic about the United States in regards to oil imports.  Through July of this year businesses in the United States have imported $192 billion worth of crude oil.  This economic fact is taken by politicians and somehow changed into an illness that must be cured by federal government action.
For the time being, although I do not really know what I am granting,  I will grant all of the illogical and irrational ideas conveyed by the assertion that we are addicted to foreign oil.  I will grant that this addiction requires government intervention in our lives.  I will grant that only government is wise and powerful enough to cure us of our addiction and set us back on the pathway to moral living.   I will grant that laws must be made to cure us of our malady.  I will grant that government subsidies and wealth transfer programs must be initiated to move us along the pathway of recovery.  I will grant that it is morally proper to steal from our neighbors if the end result is we are all cured of our addiction to oil.
But, since I am granting these "truths", I am not willing to stop here.  I want to be cured of all of our addictions!  If you are a patriotic and moral citizen of the United States you should want that too.   Why should the government only improve our lives when it comes to our oil addiction?  Surely it would be a cruel and heinous act for our beneficent and omnipotent government to cure us of our oil addiction only to allow us to remain in our other addictive behaviors.  No!  We must be cured of them all.  And what are our addictions?  To answer that I went to the federal government for a list of imports.  Here are our top five addictions, after our addiction to crude oil, based upon how much we import of each addictive material:
     1.  Computers and Computer Accessories:  $72 billion.
     2.  Pharmaceuticals:  $51 billion.
     3.  Cell Phones:  $43 billion.
     4.  Cotton Clothing:  $28 billion.
     5.  Industrial Machinery:  $28 billion.
Each of these imported goods presents a serious case of collective addiction.  We must take drastic action before it is too late.  Consider the following truths.
1.  We are addicted to foreign computers.  This is a serious national security issue.  What would happen if all of these foreigners suddenly stopped selling us computers?  The entire computer infrastructure of the country could collapse.  But it is even worse.  Who knows what these foreigners are implanting into our computers.  They could all be made with a latent virus designed to explode upon our computer screens at some prearranged time in the future.  At that exact moment the Japanese and Koreans could then invade our land and destroy us.  Even as I am typing this I am gazing upon a Soyo computer screen.  Who knows how the waves emanating from the screen are affecting my thought processes.
2.  After considering the dangers of foreign computers I have developed a serious headache.  I was going to reach for an aspirin when I realized that we are dangerously dependent upon foreign drugs.  That Bayer aspirin I was going to take could be some sort of German super mind-controlling chemical that is setting us up for domination by the Fourth Reich.  Now I don't know which drugs to take.  Drugs, by definition, change the way I feel.  Since we are dangerously dependent upon foreign drugs does it not behoove us to consider how these foreign drugs are influencing our behavior?  At the very least we need a new government bureau in charge of testing imported drugs to ensure that we are not being harmed by them.  At the very best we should simply put tariffs on all imported drugs so they become too expensive for anyone to buy.  This would protect our lives and save American jobs.
3.  As I considered how computers and drugs might be affecting our behavior I reached for my cell phone to call my wife and warn her.  Suddenly I realized that we are dangerously dependent upon foreign made cell phones.  What sort of electro-magnetic waves are coming from my cell phone?  I can be sure that it was designed by some anti-American engineer in some foreign country with designs on placing military bases in 150 of the world's countries to advance his plan for world conquest and domination.  But wait, am I thinking clearly or is my thinking simply a product of my computer, drugs and cell phone waves?  I really don't know.
4.  At this point I am on the verge of a major panic attack.  I decided that the best thing to do would be to go to my warm happy place for a little while.  I pulled on my cotton pajamas and that is when it hit me.  I am addicted to cotton clothing.  Not only am I addicted to cotton clothing, the entire country is addicted to cotton clothing.  We have imported $28 billion of cotton clothing just through July of this year.  Now I am really scared.  I thought I could crawl under my warm cotton blanket in my cotton pajamas and quietly fall asleep.  Instead, I now realize I am being attacked by foreign clothing pushers who are trying to hook me on their cotton drugs.
5.  There is only one thing left to do.  I must end it all.  Yes, yes.....must end it all.....must find a good way to go.....think I will go down to the garage and put my head under the drill press.  Wait!  The drill press is an industrial machine made by a foreigner.  I, we, all of us are addicted to foreign machinery.  If I end it all by killing myself with my drill press I am simply acting as a dupe for my pusher.  I can't do that.  Must think of something else.....something else....don't know what to do....panic rising....must find a way out.....government, help me!

The Second Tragedy In Aurora

In my July 26th post to this blog I predicted that it would not be long before a barrage of lawsuits would be filed against the owners of the theater in which the movie massacre took place.  Although I do not claim to be a prophet this prediction was a no-brainer.  Of course it has come true.  The September 22nd issue of the Denver Post reported that "Theater-shooting victims file lawsuits against Cinemark".  This is the second tragedy to take place in Aurora this year.  I have said a lot of harsh things in this blog over the past year.  This posting will probably be considered by most folks to be the single most severely hateful posting I have written to date.  So be it.  The truth must be told. 
The Post reported that "The lawsuit is based upon Cinemark's failure to provide for the safety and security of its theater and its patrons....Readily available security procedures, security equipment and security personnel would likely have prevented or deterred the gunman from accomplishing his planned assault on the theater's patrons."  The article went on to report that "one of the suits was filed by Joshua Nowlan; the other was filed by Denise Traynom and Brandon Axelrod.  Nowlan and Traynom were hit by gunfire.  Axelrod injured his knee and ankle as he fled from the shooting."  Allow me to pick apart the case for filing a lawsuit against Cinemark.
The entire case for the plaintiffs is predicated upon the belief that anytime somebody makes an appearance in a public business there is a realistic and moral expectation that comprehensive personal security services will be provided for him by the owner of the property he is patronizing.  If this presupposition is true one very important point necessarily follows.  If this assumption is true it is logically necessary to acknowledge that all business owners who sell goods or services to the public now have a legal and moral duty to provide personal security services for all customers while those customers are on their property.  This would apply to all business owners who deal with the public, without exception.  Your grocery store would be required to provide comprehensive security services.  Your shoe store would be required to provide comprehensive security services.  Your doctor and your lawyer will be required to have a guard on duty and you will probably be frisked prior to your appointment.  Your local bike shop will have an armed guard at the door.  The bowling alley might need a guard stationed at each lane.  All restaurants will have guards, perhaps in plain clothes so as to not disturb the patrons, sitting at various tables around the room to protect you from the random shooter.  For you see, there is no denying that the fundamental assertion of the plaintiffs is true.  If an armed security guard is present everywhere you go, it is highly likely that you would be less inclined to get shot.
The problem, of course, is that all of this security is going to cost a lot of money.  The prices associated with all goods and services provided in a public forum will rise dramatically in order to offset the cost of the security being provided to protect the patrons from the lone, random shooter.  And therein lies the rub.  Is it reasonable to assume that simply because a security company can provide security services for all patrons of business establishments that security guards must provide comprehensive security services for all patrons of business establishments?  The answer to that question is a resounding NO!
There is no moral expectation that a business provide personal security services for patrons beyond those risks generally associated with the service being provided.  For example,  it is to be expected that visitors to the zoo will have protection from free roaming wild animals.  However, there is no expectation that they will be protected from the random bolt of lightning or the occasional crazed gunman.  The mere fact that security can be provided does not mean that it must be provided.  Those who attended the Cinemark theater the night of the shooting did so at their own risk and they are in no way entitled to any cash compensation from the theater owners.  The theater owners committed no tort or act of negligence toward their patrons by not providing personal security services during the screening of a movie.
Allow me to be even more offensive.  I had hoped to not have to write the words that follow but I am being forced to by the capricious lawsuits that are being filed against an innocent Cinemark corporation.  Let's get one thing crystal are responsible for your own security.  I am responsible for my security.  Each one of us is responsible for our own personal security.  We cannot morally foist the responsibility for our personal security upon another person or corporate entity and then sue them for failing to deliver.  Once the precedent has been established that I can hold others responsible for my own security there are several terrible consequences that necessarily follow.
First, the patrons of the theater that night should also be filing lawsuits against their fellow patrons.  Why, you ask?  Because many of those very same patrons had the opportunity to disarm the shooter and made the decision to do nothing!  Many stories were told by those who were seated immediately in front of the shooter as to how he acted deliberately, even taking time to reload and change weapons.  Why, oh why, did not some of those movie patrons take that opportunity to jump him?  Several folks talked about how the gun barrel literally passed in front of their faces.  Why, oh why, did they not take the opportunity to grab the gun barrel?  If anyone is responsible for the deaths that occurred that night, it must be those who had the immediate physical opportunity to hinder the shooter and made the decision to do absolutely nothing.  Why are the people who sat closest to the shooter not being sued?
Second, why are the Aurora police not also being sued?  Oh I know, I am really trampling on holy ground now.  The media was effusive in its praise for the quick response of the Aurora police that night.  Stories were told about how they were on the scene literally in a matter of seconds.  Yet what did they do?  Did any policemen enter the theater and attempt to kill or restrain the shooter?  No.  They spent the moments the gunman was  killing people inside the theater to "establishing a perimeter" outside the building so he would not escape when he came out!  These are the very folks who are being paid to put themselves in harms way.  They didn't do it.  Why are they not being sued?
Instead we have a situation where an innocent business owner is being held responsible for events that were totally beyond his control and completely outside his rational expectation for required security provisions.  The theater owner had installed exit doors that would provide for quick exit in the event of a fire.  That was within the rational expectations he should have for security provision.  Holding Cinemark responsible for not expecting a random gunman to open fire during a movie presentation is entirely unreasonable and clearly done simply because Cinemark has the deep pockets.  Make no mistake about it, and I derive no pleasure in pointing out this reprehensible truth, this is entirely about the greed of those who were in the theater that night and their desire to selfishly capitalize upon a tragic situation.  It is shameful.  The lawsuits are shameful.  All people who file lawsuits against Cinemark should be ashamed of themselves.  We all know how this will play out.  Emotional juries will award multi-million dollar awards to the plaintiffs.  Cinemark will go bankrupt.  The owners of the theater will be personally and financially ruined.  And a second tragedy will take place in Aurora this year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Tale Of Two Governments

Last Saturday I accepted an invitation to join five twenty-somethings on a hike/climb of "the incline".  The "incline" is shorthand for the old bed of the Mount Manitou Incline Railway in Manitou Springs, Colorado.  The railway ceased operations decades ago.  The owners of the railway have maintained their ownership of the land and an interesting partnership with local hikers has evolved over the years.
Shortly after the cessation of railway operations, folks who live in Colorado Springs realized that hiking/climbing up the incline would provide a fantastic workout as well as a beautiful view of the surrounding area.  The rails had been removed by the owners but the railroad ties remained.  The incline rises exactly two thousand vertical feet in one mile. That means it is an average gradient of 40%, with the steepest portions probably coming close to 60%.  You can see the attraction of hiking up the incline for those who like to torment themselves physically.
The owners of the incline were willing to allow hikers to use the incline but they did not want to assume liability for any injuries that might occur.  They put up a large "No Trespassing" sign at the base of the incline.  It was generally understood by all who continued past that sign that the owners were claiming immunity from any accident that might take place.  At the same time it was understood by all who continued past the sign that the owners really did not want to restrict access to the incline.  Over the years a partnership has grown between the owners of the incline and those who use it.  As far as I am aware, nobody has ever been denied access to the incline and nobody who uses the incline has ever sued the owners for any injury that has been sustained.
Things had changed from when I first climbed the incline twenty years ago.  My early climbs were generally done with only a handful of other people along the route.  When we got to the top we would often just turn around and come back down the same way.  It was a fantastic lung burner that also killed the legs.  Unless one was superbly conditioned, the next day would be filled with sore muscles.  On Saturday our party arrived to find people parking a mile away from the start of the incline due to full parking lots.  There were literally hundreds of people doing the climb.
In the past I would park in the parking lot of the Iron Springs Chateau restaurant near the start of the climb.  On Saturday there was a parking attendant in the lot extracting $5 from each driver for the privilege of parking closer to the start of the incline.  I was happy to pay it and rejoiced at this wonderful example of free enterprise.  The good folks at Iron Springs Chateau realized that their lot was being used by hundreds of people every day for free.  By charging a small parking fee they made some money for themselves as well as reducing congestion by discouraging some people from parking closer to the start of the incline.  It worked out well for our party as two spaces were available and we had two vehicles.
Although the incline was shared by hundreds of people, many of whom were naturally high on extreme levels of testosterone, there were no altercations the entire way up.  Some people made the decision to come back down the crowded incline and nobody shouted at them.  I didn't hear a single angry word the entire day.  Indeed, conversation was sparse as most folks were breathing too hard to talk.  What conversation I did hear was consistently words of encouragement for fellow participants.  I personally receive a lot of what I call "old guy encouragement" as the younger folks gush at how well I am doing.  I guess they think I need it.
After we topped out we made our way down via the standard trail descent.  Along the way we encountered several volunteer trail crews working on the trail.  These same folks also maintain the incline.  Funds are raised voluntarily.  People volunteer their time to maintain the trail and the incline.  Nobody was complaining and those of us who use the incline were thankful for their efforts.  The entire day was a superb example of what happens when people are self governing.  No politician or bureaucrat had organized the use of the incline.  There was no police presence to direct traffic and monitor the behavior of the participants.  People, in voluntary cooperation with each other, have created an excellent example of what can be done when civil government stays out of the way.  Sadly, there is talk about the City of Colorado Springs taking over ownership of the incline and regulating its use.  May that never occur!
In contradistinction to the beautiful example of spontaneous, voluntary organization and self government I had seen on the incline, the drive home was ruined by the actions of civil government.  Colorado Springs has recently renovated Interstate 25 through the city.  A part of the renovation included putting up those new electronic highway signs that stretch all the way across the road and are used to post harassing and intimidating messages for motorists.  I was greeted with the message that "Texting While Driving Is Illegal In Colorado".  I found that quite amusing.
First of all, I am incapable of texting while sitting in the rocking chair in my living room.  Fears that I might endeavor to text while driving my car are unfounded.  I didn't understand why I needed to be harassed with that intimidating message.   Second, I wondered to myself....if texting while driving is illegal, what might be next?  How about eating pizza while driving?  I have seen people doing that and it seems dangerous to me.  How about talking on the phone while driving?  If texting is illegal, talking on the phone should be a felony.  How about listening to music, changing a CD, or switching channels on Sirius?  How about coughing, sneezing or picking one's nose?  Why are these things not illegal?  I became terribly confused. 
My confusion became much worse a couple of miles up the road.  After the assault of the government highway sign I was assaulted by a roadside highway sign, placed by the government that, get this, told me that if I saw a drunk driver I should "Text CSP 231".  Now I was really confused.  Would the police ticket me if I do not send a text message to them when I saw an aggressive or drunk driver?  What if I did send them a text, would I then be ticketed for texting while driving?  I had no idea what the right thing to do was. 
Expansive government (is there any other kind?) always results in contradictory rules/laws.  When the federal register expands by 80,000 pages every single year it is inevitable that some of the rules/laws will contradict other rules/laws.  That made me realize that on Saturday I had been a witness to the tale of two governments.  My experience of self government had resulted in freedom, enjoyment and a good time had by all.  My experience with civil government left me feeling ill, dizzy, confused, and downright angry.  I know which form I prefer.  What I do not understand is why so many people prefer the other. 
By the way, since I know some of you are wondering,  I beat all of the younger folks to the top.  I arrived in 45 minutes (8 minutes slower than my personal best of 37 minutes set 20 years ago) and the next closest was a college gal who made it in 54 minutes.  The other four were all over one hour.  To be fair I should also point out that the youngsters had a bit of a handicap.  I was carrying my standard summer pack which weighs about twenty pounds.  These folks are into masochistic self torture and they all carried bricks in their packs to increase the weight to somewhere between thirty and forty pounds.  So, not only did I beat them all to the top but I also proved that with age comes wisdom.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Its OK to Blaspheme Christianity

Much has been made about how non-Muslims need to be sensitive to Islamic religious sensibilities. I am told that recent riots in the Middle East are the direct result of a cheaply made movie depicting Islam in a negative fashion.  Apparently there are many practitioners of Islam who believe that the movie rose to the level of blasphemy and they are calling for the execution of  all of those involved in the production, direction and distribution of the film. I have been told that the film has not yet been released and that the violent negative reaction against it is based exclusively upon previews of the trailer that have been released to promote the film.  Regardless, the United States State Department and Hillary Clinton considered the movie to be a sufficiently egregious offense of Muslim religious views that an official apology was issued. 
I have written in the past about the absurd nature of modern public apologies.  An apology can only be made by the person who has committed the offense and the apology must be given to someone who has been specifically offended.  As far as I am aware the US State Department was not involved in the production of the offensive film and it therefore necessarily follows that the State Department has no business issuing an apology for it.  Why the US government has become involved in this issue at all is a total mystery to me.  But mysterious activities on the part of the US government are not the point of today's posting.  I want to write about the fact that, in the United States, it is apparently a horrific sin and crime for non-Muslims to make fun of Islam but it is OK for everyone to blaspheme Christanity.
The Denver Post today has an political/religious cartoon (page 17A) that is blasphemous of Christianity.  It is drawn by Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Mike seems to think that he can get a few laughs from the recent news about an ancient papyrus fragment that has been discovered that allegedly contains references to Jesus being married.  The top of his cartoon says, "Ancient Papyrus Mentions Jesus' 'Wife'"  The drawing depicts an obviously hen-pecked Jesus walking away from a dilapidated home while a voice, presumably from His wife, cries out from inside. She is saying, "Get milk while you're out..."  Several things are of interest about the cartoon.  First, Jesus is portrayed walking across the top of a body of water as He storms out of the house.  His brow is knitted into a firm scowl and the obvious intention is to convey that He is sick and tired of being nagged and needs to get out of the house for a while.  As He walks along on top the water He has a halo over His head.  Second, standing next to the house is a pig.  I can't imagine that Mike did not draw the pig on purpose.  Certainly he is aware that portraying Jesus as a hen-pecked pig rancher is highly blasphemous.
If Jesus is the Son of God then it follows that portraying Him in any fashion other than who He really is is an act of blasphemy.  Jesus was not married.  Jesus was not nagged by a wife.  Jesus was not a pig farmer.  Jesus did not display sinful human anger in response to life's many challenges.  Jesus did not routinely walk on water just for the fun of it.  In short, Mike's depiction of the Son of God is highly offensive and rises to the level of blasphemy.  The biblical punishment for blasphemy is death.  I have two questions about this cartoon.  Tell me what you think.
First, how do you think Christians will react to it?  I suspect that many will find it amusing and perhaps have a chuckle or two at the sight of Jesus having to deal with the nagging that so many men find a part of their daily lives.  Those folks certainly will not consider it blasphemous and will just brush it off.  I suspect some will notice the pig.  Of those who do I suspect most of them will realize that the presence of the pig is a deliberate attempt on the part of Mike to portray Jesus as a breaker of His own law.  I believe that will make some Christians angry.  However, I do not believe that a single Christian will call for the execution of Mike Luckovich on the grounds that his political/religious cartoon is blasphemy against the Son of God and worthy of the death penalty.  I doubt that a single Christian will walk to the nearest government building and start a riot.  I doubt that the offices of the newspaper Mike works for will be besieged with protestors intent upon punishing Mike for his evil deeds.  I doubt that flags of the United States or the State of Georgia will be publicly burned.  I doubt that Mike will be burned in effigy.  In other words, I doubt that anything other than personal offense will take place as a result of Mike's blasphemy.
Second, if a Christian did react to this act of blasphemy with calls for Mike's punishment, how do you think the non-Christians of the United States would react?  Would they rally around the offended Christian and support his righteous cause?  Would the United States State Department issue a statement apologizing to Christians for this action?  Would there be sympathetic interviews of offended Christians and calls for empathy for their religious pain and suffering?  I doubt it.  In other words, in the United States it is wrong to blaspheme Islam but it is OK to blaspheme Christianity.