Friday, October 31, 2008
It is also election weekend, and though these two posts from It Would Be Scary on the Democratic and Republican candidates are not very insightful or all that interesting, in the spirit of the day, I link to them below.
It's here. The ghosts and goblins will be out in force tonight, roaming your neighborhood and looking for opportunities for mischief. Witches too; in fact, they may show up at your very door! It won't be a costume that they wear, so be on the lookout, and beware.
I remember clearly that Halloween so long ago, when the American Venice was my short-time home. I had a friend named Terry and knew his sister Kelly. We went together to trick or treat, and found ourselves in a strange and unknown street. We walked and talked and knocked on doors, said all we could , then ran and fled. My bag began to horribly bulge, filled with sweets and other treats. "I haven't collected that much, I'm sure," I said. It was weird, no doubt, and Terry and Kelly discovered the same. Their candy bags too were stuffed with products of the sugar cane.
We traveled down a narrow road, trying to find a way back home, suddenly quite less than bold. That was when we saw it, all of us at the same moment. A street away, upon a roof, some ghosts were looking rather tough. They floated free of where they stood, and when we saw them in the air, we ran like scaredy cats and frightened rabbits should. At home, that night, with candy spread upon the floor, I told my mom of our trip to that odd shore. Don't be silly was all she said, there are no ghosts, it's in your head. But I know what happened and have to say, I'll believe in spooks until I'm dead.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Word came down of the Great Pumpkin Carving Contest. All the departments would compete. What would we do? I suppose we could have asked What Would Jesus Do?, but then religion is best avoided in the workplace, and besides, aren't the real Buy Bull believers Halloween (Satan's holiday) haters? Well, maybe not:
Someone sent out an email asking for ideas, without many coming back. How about a political theme? An Obama jack-o-lantern and a McCain jack-o-lantern.
Then another word came down from on high. No political messages at work! That's right, because someone might be offended. Just as you can't have any pictures or view any websites (no matter how innocent) that could be considered sexual harassment, you also can't show any support for a political candidate. I love how these things converge. The politically correct brought us the whole panoply of sex harassment rules, and now the same idea is used to undermine the politically correct pro-voting, pro "democracy" message. It's a political sin not to vote, and also to show any enthusiasm for a candidate at work. The corporate, banking, government plutocratic system needs us peons to keep believing in the system or it will all come crashing down. Thus every couple of years we get to vote for the Demopublican or the Republicrat candidate and pretend that we the people are the ones in charge, while behind closed doors our fascist rulers laugh it up at what complete fools we are (by the way, my spellcheck just rejected demopublican and republicrat, splitting the latter in two with this suggestion: republic rat - sounds about right!), and yet they tell us not to openly support the phony of our choice.
Well, suffice it to say, the politics idea was scrapped. How about a horror movie! Joe was assigned the job. He is to buy a pumpkin, and will pay for it himself, stating that one little ol pumpkin won't break him. The problem is time, as these things must be done delicately and not too soon, preserving a fresh pumpkin for maximum presentability. Joe needs to find the time, for as he said himself, people have to work, they don't just sit around all day carving pumpkins. Maybe Joe should try the George W. Bush approach:
Let's make this a good Halloween,
We'll need a jack-o-lantern, though!
I think I know just what you mean!
So let's pack a lunch, get ready and go!
So we went to the pumpkin patch,
To find a gourd that we could slash
Something big with mush inside,
Slime and guts on which to slip and slide!
An orange round face without a sin,
On which to carve an evil grin!
But when we got there what did we find?
A menacing pumpkin none too kind
Already smiling and speaking his mind
"Sorry folks to report bad news,
but for you I'm afraid it's the end of the line."
He paused a moment and then said this,
"But for me it's positively perfect bliss!"
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Watch for more Catty soon. She draws the strip herself, which I think is pretty good for someone without hands. Catty will now be called Catty's Corner and will appear on Fridays (if she is up to it and isn't off spending her time drumming up more sympathetic households to feed her).
Sunday Food will appear naturally on Sundays, but just keep in mind that as long as I mention something even remotely related to eating, it will qualify as an entry.
Also Good God! will be coming soon, so watch for Him (it?).
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I was tired when I started, my front seat companion more awake than I was. I was prepared to prepare an uplifting hot beverage to take along, but could not find the cups, the damn paper cups. I heated the water in the microwave and had my tea while standing in the doorway, the garage door open, the auto waiting for its inevitable adventure. Then, after finishing off the tea, I popped open a can of cola for good measure and gulped that down as well. I was ready, sort of. Though all that diuretic liquid would have consequences later. Whatever, there are always rest stops.
The drive started fine, with the usual stop for gas (or unusual, as I have started filling the gas tank the day before) this time at the Chevron, which had regular for only 2 pennies more a gallon than El Cheapo Gas across the street, which is where I usually go. This time I was off to a very late start, why oh why can I never pull myself away from the computer on a Friday night. After merging onto the freeway I realized I'd left my good glasses (blind as a bat without them) back at the house. Damn! Those are my decent pair, the ones that DON'T make me look like a complete four-eyed dork. Imagine having to go to work with the ones I had on. Plus the lenses on these were all strangely scratched , making clerks give me equally strange looks in response when I went shopping while wearing them (or maybe it was something else causing those looks).
"My glasses, where are my glasses?"
"Pull off the road so we can look."
No, not on the freeway, I wasn't going to. That's for real emergencies (well, this was one too, but not enough of one to risk life and limb over). Instead I drove on to the backtracking exit, briefly confused as to direction to go, saw the lights, turned left and made it to a brightly lit parking lot. I went to the trunk and looked in my bags. I never forget my glasses. I made a quick call. Look for a black case, soft, yep, those are them.
I drove back to the house, retrieved the glasses, and was happily on my way again. An hour into the drive I knew I wouldn't make it. There is no worse feeling than being so tired all you want to do is lie down and fall asleep, but know you can't, no matter what, and with hours still to go. Awful, awful feeling. The rest stop, not the answer, no time to sleep, lower back killing me. I stop anyway, get out, use the cricket filled rest room, avoid the cricket filled sinks. Back to the car, trunk open, searching for my giant Wal-Mart bought bag o' teeth-rotting candy. Candy will do it! It will keep me awake! Yeah, right, any excuse to eat candy will do.
Almost there, just a few miles to go, and my passenger seat buddy says, are you all right, want me to drive? What? Now? We're almost there, coulda used you way back there, friend. Now I'm on a mission, and I'm going to complete it. I'll have been tested, unlike anyone else. Ready to run for President now. I have the experience!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Currently you are focused on irrelevancies, such as Obama's birth certificate. Give it up. Your fevered fantasies will go nowhere. Come up with real arguments and then fight like there is no tomorrow. Do that and I will almost certainly join you.
Fellow Blogger blogger Bill Gnade (or possibly his evil twin) has written two posts, here and here, on the imagined controversy over Obama's birth certificate and status as a natural born US citizen. Let's examine the sites Mr. Gnade links to, the ones that he says we "need" to read.
The first one asks "Where is Obama’s Birth Certificate and Why Doesn’t He Produce It?" Of course, he has, and you can see close up photos of it here at FactCheck.org. They held the actual certificate in their hands and were able to examine it closely. Contrary to the assertions of the anti-Obama conspiracy nuts, it is genuine and has all the elements the State Department requires for proving citizenship to obtain a U.S. passport: "your full name, the full name of your parent(s), date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed, and the seal or other certification of the official custodian of such records."
The first site Gnade links to makes this assertion: While Obama's camp submitted a supposedly authentic birth certificate to the far-left blog Daily Kos, it was found to have been a photo-shopped version of the birth certificate of his half-sister, who was actually born in Hawaii, as Obama claims he was.
Let's make something very clear, IT WAS NOT "found" to have been any such thing. Such assertions were mere speculation as to what some thought might possibly be the case, but not one piece of real evidence was produced to back up such claims. When the scan of the document appeared online some said it was a photo-shopped fake (these claims were all made without one of these forgery proclaimers seeing the original, but just the scanned image), but the raised seal, folds, signature stamp of the Hawaii state registrar and other elements of authenticity, are all there, as you can see for yourself here. When PolitiFact.com emailed it to the Hawaii Department of Health, spokesman Janice Okubo responded “It’s a valid Hawaii state birth certificate.”
Then there is the further evidence of the newspaper announcement seen below:
As the blogger who posted it admits:
Although it’s possible that a birth certificate filed by Barack’s grandparents, while he was actually born elsewhere, led to this newspaper announcement, I personally think that’s unlikely because in 1961 these announcements came directly from the Vital Statistics Office as reported by local hospitals, according to the researcher who found this information.
As for Phil Berg, he is a confirmed nut job who doesn't deserve to be given the time of day. The "Explosive press release" Family Security Matters refers to is hilarious. Phil Berg says Obama "admitted" (the quotation marks are in the original) the following:
1. I was born in Kenya.
2. I am a Kenya "natural born" citizen.
3. My foreign birth was registered in the State of Hawaii.
4. My father, Barrack Hussein Obama, Sr. admitted Paternity of me.
5. My mother gave birth to me in Mombosa, Kenya
Now, how did Obama "admit" to these charges? By not responding to Berg's filed Requests for Admissions within 30 days! Can you say Crackpot?
The next site Gnade links to makes numerous false charges, but let's just take a look at the part Bill says we should "especially" examine, section 5.
One claim states: 5.4. The "certificate" that Mr. Obama has posted on his official WEB site is a "Certification of Live Birth," and not a “Birth Certificate” from Hawaii. There is no indication on even this certificate as to specifically where the birth took place.
WRONG! Read it and weep, conspiracy nuts, the document says at the bottom Any Alterations Invalidate This Certificate. As FactCheck.org says:The document is a "certification of birth," also known as a short-form birth certificate. The long form is drawn up by the hospital and includes additional information such as birth weight and parents' hometowns. The short form is printed by the state and draws from a database with fewer details. The document also states where the birth took place, as you can read for yourself by looking at the image at the top: CITY, TOWN OR LOCATION OF BIRTH, HONOLULU; ISLAND OF BIRTH, OAHU.
Therefore, at least this part of section 5 is a major FAIL.
... independent Document Forensic Experts performed extensive forensic testing on the Certificate of Live Birth as posted on Obama's campaign website. The Forensic Expert findings were that the posted Certificate of Live Birth (COLB) was a forgery
This was dealt with above, but suffice it to say that it is admitted that the "extensive forensic testing" of these self-appointed "experts" was done on the posted image, not on the actual document.
5.22. Even if Obama had and subsequently maintained his United States Citizenship, which citizenship he has failed before District Court to demonstrate, he may still carry citizenships in Kenya and/or Indonesia. These facts call into question what the constitution attempted to address regarding potently divided loyalties with foreign countries. Thus, Mr. Obama carries multiple citizenships and would be ineligible to run for President of the United States. United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1.
The charge Obama currently has dual citizenship does not hold water and any remaining accusations about that will fail big time in any court of law. Just like similar (and far more substantial) questions about John McCain's eligibility under the constitutional requirement to be a natural born citizen, it won't go anywhere.
Bill Gnade says "I am not saying these things are true or right, but I am saying that they are important." He uses the techniques of a trained smear artist, always covering his ass with qualifications such as "perhaps" or "I am not saying it's true". Just get it out there to do the damage and let the truth (and the facts, and what's right) be damned. I make no accusations of my own here. I can not read the mind or heart of anyone. I just raise the question, that's all. It does seem ironic that someone who proposed "THE BLOGGERS INTEGRITY ACT" "To help create and maintain some integrity in the WWW" would then post such unsubstantiated charges which can easily be proven false.
I would like to believe better of someone like Mr. Gnade, I really would, but with his current crusade he has disappointed me.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Senator McCain was born in 1936 in the Canal Zone to U.S. citizen parents. The Canal Zone was territory controlled by the United States, but it was not incorporated into the Union. As requested by Senator McCain's campaign, distinguished constitutional lawyers Laurence Tribe and Theodore Olson examined the law and issued a detailed opinion offering two reasons that Senator McCain was a natural born citizen. Neither is sound under current law. The Tribe-Olson Opinion suggests that the Canal Zone, then under exclusive U.S. jurisdiction, may have been covered by the Fourteenth Amendment's grant of citizenship to "all persons born . . . in the United States." However, in the Insular Cases, the Supreme Court held that "unincorporated territories" were not part of the United States for constitutional purposes. Accordingly, many decisions hold that persons born in unincorporated territories are not Fourteenth Amendment citizens. The Tribe-Olson Opinion also suggests that Senator McCain obtained citizenship by statute. However, the only statute in effect in 1936 did not cover the Canal Zone. Recognizing the gap, in 1937, Congress passed a citizenship law applicable only to the Canal Zone, granting Senator McCain citizenship, but eleven months too late for him to be a citizen at birth. Because Senator John McCain was not a citizen at birth, he is not a "natural born Citizen" and thus is not "eligible to the Office of President" under the Constitution.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
My conclusion is that Obama is not a socialist, any more than McCain is a socialist. Though their rhetoric differs (in non-essential ways), they both advocate some mixture of statism and capitalism. Both will increase the size of the federal government. Both support government intervention in the banking system, as we saw a few weeks ago. Both support welfare, Medicare, and Social Security. Both support reducing "emissions" to save Mother Earth. On nearly every major policy issue, Obama and McCain are indistinguishable.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
So I go to Trader Joe's to get a 250 calorie salad for lunch and end up with a 600 calorie, $3.99 sandwich. The label is pictured above, and as I am a fan of this holiday period, I couldn't resist it. It was basically sliced turkey on white bread (they called it ranch bread on the ingredient list) with the cranberry stuffing and what I thought was wilted lettuce but turned out to be spinach. It was actually pretty good. Not dry and flavorless like so many of those type of prepackaged sandwiches. I was just going to have half and save the rest, but when the first half was gone, well, you know what happened to the other half. Self-control in the face of turkey and stuffing is not one of my strengths, especially when they are turned into a sandwich. The Earl has nothing on me when it comes to taking the sandwich route over a regular meal. 3.99 sounds kinda high, but its cheaper than a sandwich shop, plus no sales tax!
On my way to AZ last week I stopped for gas at an Arco with an attached Jack In The Box. After pumping gas, I got back in the car and went through the drive-thru to get a large unsweetened iced tea for the long drive ahead of me. I wanted a little caffeine (I don't drink coffee) and no extra calories. Well, after ordering and pulling up to the payment window, I was handed a large drink by a young woman, and shortly after a young man took my money. That's settled, I thought, and I began to pull away from the window. Suddenly the young man stuck his head out and shouted, "Sir, do you have your iced tea?" Of course I had it, fool! Here it is in the cup holder in front of me. Yeah, yeah, I've got it, I nodded my head, and drove off, the car behind me in the drive-thru pulling up to fill the empty space I'd left.
Out on the highway, as darkness flew past me, my only companion a far away, static distorted radio station I was pulling in from the skip signal, I took my first sip of t...SODA! WTF! This was the last straw (literally, as I'd just thrown the straw they'd given me to the floor). I was upset. I'd just paid almost 2 dollars for a soda I hadn't wanted, plus I was out my iced tea comfort beverage that would have gotten me through the many miles still to go. I searched for my cell phone, found it, but had trouble seeing in the dark. I frantically tried to find my receipt (I knew it would have the local Jack In The Box phone number on it) and finally located it, drifting into the other lane slightly as I did so. THEY'RE GONNA GET A PIECE OF MY MIND, THAT'S FOR SURE! MESS UP MY ORDER, WILL YA, INCOMPETENT NINCOMPOOPS! I was fast approaching a big rig, but I no longer cared about safety, we were talking about my iced tea here. I fumbled with my cell phone, and looking for cops but seeing none, I dialed the number on the receipt.
The young woman who answered was very nice and extremely apologetic. Her name was Karen and she offered me a free meal my next time in the area. I drove on into the night, still wishing I had my iced tea now instead of a future hamburger, fries and drink, and wondering about my haste in driving off, ignoring the young man's question, so certain I had iced tea in my cup.
"There's no markings on the box to indicate there's anything Islamic about this doll" Of course there's not, if there were would you buy it for your child? If it was labeled would the new Satan/Islam United International Conspiracy of Muslims and Satanic Devil Cults be able to indoctrinate your precious children?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I was watching John McCain's stump speech this morning and was struck by the pure hypocrisy of it. Yeah, Obama is a socialist because of his exchange with Joe the "Plumber", but then McCain repeats his pledge to buy up all the nation's bad mortgages because if the house next door to you is foreclosed on it will drive the price of your house down. But wait a minute, wasn't inflated housing prices "the housing bubble" a major contributor to this current economic crisis? Now John McCain wants to keep housing prices from going down more and wants to prop up the market through government intervention. He also said he wants people to keep their homes (at taxpayer expense) but what about renters who chose not to get into the housing market at the height of bubble mania? Their taxes will now subsidize foolish people who made bad decisions. I call that pure socialism! McCain also accused Obama of wanting to spend another trillion dollars, without mentioning, of course, his 100 years in Iraq policy, meaning McCain doesn't want to leave that country until we have achieved "victory" and of course we never will, as he has never explained what "victory" is. How much will continuing our occupation there cost the taxpayers, at least another trillion or two?
Please Help Joe the Plumber
Friday, October 17, 2008
It is always around this time of the year that I feel the holiday season begins. Some would say the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving and ends with New Years, but for me the coming of the Halloween decorations and aisles of trick or treat candy in the stores is the real start of this festive time. Everything just feels different. The days are shorter, with darkness falling earlier each day, and everywhere I go I'm in the mood for end of the year fun. Things seem more pleasant and less stressful to me, like the whole world is taking a break from the rest of the year. Football season adds to it all too, of course. Now, some are stressed out this time of year, but to me it has an air of unreality, an illusion that is shattered at by the beginning of January when it's all "back to business".
So, I will enjoy it while it lasts, and I hope to post some things in the days ahead appropriate to each holiday. There will be a little fiction, some ghost stories (for All Hallows Eve) and the return of our atheist and the bear saga. Plus true stories of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays past.
So make some hot tea or cocoa and gather round the computer screen. I'll see you there!
So the believer can insist that there really is a God, and that he really wants us to believe in his existence, but he has gone to extraordinary lengths to make that difficult. Then the believer can construct some elaborate justification for thinking that this sort of God exists, but he has complicated reasons for keeping his existence perfectly hidden. And then the believer must engage in elaborate conceptual gymnastics and ad hoc justifications in order to make the whole implausible story consistent with the seemingly Godless world. Or the believer can ask himself this question: isn’t it more reasonable to just acknowledge that the world looks just like there is no God because there is no God?
Atheism: Proving The Negative
Porn addict becomes Jesus addict
My journey down the path of porn addiction began at a very early age. I recall being about 7 years of age when I saw my first Playboy. The neighbor boy across the street had smuggled the magazine from his father’s stash and we would frequently hide out in his backyard to peruse its pages. Gazing at those images, I began to feel stirrings in my body the likes of which I had never experienced before. I was amazed to think that these beautiful women would willingly take off all of their clothes and display their bodies for the entire world to see. I burned those images into every corner of my memory so that I could easily access them anytime I wanted.
BLAME IT ON PLAYBOY
So wrote Rick, the author of this Christian blog. Many Christians (including other bloggers) have expressed similar attractions to pictures of naked women. Here, Bill Gnade expresses his battle with lust:
I confess that I am guilty. I have looked at photographs (many!) that are indeed indecent, photographs presented in ostensibly up-scale magazines like Playboy, Penthouse, or some such 'proper' website. I apologize to the women that I've exploited, unwittingly perhaps, with each mouse click. I stand ashamed.
I don't quote either of these gentlemen in order to mock them (no, really). The question I have is why Jesus (or God) fails to renew their nature and make them new creatures in Christ free of such worldly desires.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
All things, or only some things? But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:28 This statement of Jesus has always puzzled me (at least if we assume that Jesus is the Son of God or God in the flesh and not just a fanatical cult leader who was a product of his religious time) because if he was who he claimed to be (or at least who the Christian Church claims him to be) then he was the creator of everything and even in his more limited in knowledge earthly incarnation he should have had some notion of why human sexuality is the way it is (was designed?). Without males throughout history looking on women to "lust after" them, none of us would be here. Somewhere in the chain that lead to you and me, a man copulated with a female human purely on the basis of physical attraction and biological urge.
Men are the primary consumers of all that is labeled pornography, be it the cheesecake of Playboy photo spreads or the graphic sex acts of Max Hardcore videos. Yet this is not a "sin" problem, as Christians would make it out to be, but rather a by-product of male sexuality. Why don't women consume porn in the same numbers and to the same degree? Are they less sinful? Are they just subject to different kinds of sin? But if it comes back to biology, how are we in any way to blame? Bill Gnade uses words such as "guilty" and "ashamed", clearly implying something more than simple lack of control of a bad habit. Certainly no sane person would deny that the uncontrolled indulgence of every impulse and desire is a bad thing. We could not have a civilized society if we gave in to everything that is natural and normal from an evolutionary standpoint. Unfortunately some do give in and often end up in prison or worse as a result. But there is a major difference between acknowledging that reality (reality is so inconvenient, isn't it?) and laying a guilt trip on every man (most of us) with a wandering eye; an eye that wanders because nature wants us to spread our genes as far and wide as possible. In which case it's not a sinful nature that's at fault, but God's deliberate choice to design the male brain in that way.
I apologize to the women that I've exploited...
Presumably those posing nude did so quite willingly and with their full consent; this is almost certainly the case with well-known publications such as Playboy and Penthouse. Who was exploiting whom? When a woman wears a provocative thong bikini to the beach, does someone like Gnade feel he is exploiting her if he finds himself momentarily aroused? Does he feel guilty and ashamed, or is it only the private viewing of images on a computer screen that elicits such feelings? Where is the recognition that male sexuality is different than female sexuality when it comes to thoughts and the strong desire to "look". One objection I have to traditional Christian teaching on this matter is the unnecessary guilt that overwhelms so many when they "lust" in their heart, even when they took no action and remained chaste. The teaching of Jesus in the verse above can be psychologically damaging because it equates thoughts with actions; notice Christ says that whoever looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery in their heart. Perhaps one could interpret his meaning as to simply be careful and watch one's thoughts, as they can lead to wrong actions. This is self-control, and most married men have uncounted thoughts of a sexual nature throughout each day without ever cheating on their wives. Of course many are unfaithful to their spouse, but that was happening long before the proliferation and semi-mainstreaming of nudity and pornography. I once heard on a Christian talk radio show a man confess to severe guilt feelings because he had "slipped up" and stared at a photo advertisement on the back of a bus that pictured a sexy young woman in a bathing suit, while he was stuck behind it in traffic at a red light. That is precisely the kind of thing I'm referring to when I say Christian teaching can be extremely harmful, causing one to question completely normal feelings and to interpret them as "sin".
I never had an explicit sexual thought at the age of 7. That was too early for me. I remember looking at a copy of Playboy at a pre adolescent age and finding the photos inside a curiosity but not particularly arousing. That would change in a few years, and as I was getting close to twelve years old I found myself living with my mom and her second husband and my sister in a single room in Fat Annie's (as we called her) house. She was a woman with two teenage boys who was renting out rooms for extra income. Mom and Ray slept on the floor in front of the closet, while my sister and I shared the large bed that took up much of the room. Ray had a small collection of nudie magazines that he kept on the top shelf of the closet, and during the very short time we stayed there I suddenly had feelings that I'd never experienced before. I was getting erections just glancing at those photos, and at every opportunity I would sneak off to the bathroom with one of those magazines hidden somewhere within my clothing. I didn't masturbate at that point and had not yet had a wet dream (my first one would come-no pun intended-within the year), but I just could not help pouring over the centerfolds as I lay naked on the bathroom floor with my penis at full attention. That was thrill enough at the time, as it was all a new world to me; one week I had had no such desires and the next week they were all I could think about. Had I suddenly committed sexual sin, when just shortly before I was incapable of it? We all have such stories of our sexual awakening, and if there is something out of whack with the current ubiquity of extremely graphic sexual imagery, then there is also just as equally something terribly wrong with the view that to look at a woman with lust in your heart is something to be necessarily "ashamed" about.
Why do men, and in particular young men, find the viewing of porn so compelling? Would an 80 year old man with severely reduced testosterone levels find as much interest in those pictures as a twenty year old? Has the 80 year old guy become more virtuous and less sinful, or does he just not care much anymore? If so, how can guilt over the mere looking at such images (apart from other issues of addiction, which can come into play with any activity from watching television to eating candy) be the issue. Should you be guilty just for being a man? The extreme feminists would have it that way, and those feminists have a strange bedfellows alliance with the Christian right when it come to the anti-pornography crusades. Men look because it's part of who they are. Nothing, not even Jesus, can ever change that.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This has always been the Republicans' war, no matter how enthusiastically most of the Democratic leadership initially supported it. The war we're supposedly "winning" has been the overarching theme of the McCain campaign, and he doesn't seem comfortable talking about anything else – unless it's why we must guarantee the borders of every obscure ex-Soviet "republic" for all time. The prime-time speakers at the Republican convention echoed the party line on the war, ad nauseam, and the entire event was one long paean to militarism and the glory of war. There were more uniforms in that convention hall than at the graduating ceremonies of West Point and Annapolis combined, and all the talk was of valor on the battlefield. Perhaps they should change their name to the Praetorian Party.
Justin Raimondo explains.
The history of this crew (the neocons) is too well-known to go into here in any detail: indeed, their narcissism has provided researchers with an overabundance of material that documents their hegira from far Left to far Right. Suffice to say that this vexatious faction entered the bloodstream of the conservative movement during the Cold War years, when pro-war (that's the Vietnam War) Democrats jumped ship and joined the GOP in protest over "McGovernism," i.e., a Democratic Party that rejected the politics of LBJ, Hubert Humphrey, and the neocons' favorite Democratic politician, Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-Boeing).
The sudden infusion of a bunch of highbrow leftist intellectuals into the conservative movement was welcomed by the organs of respectable conservative opinion, such as National Review. A few dissenters, such as Russell Kirk, Pat Buchanan, and the editors of Chronicles magazine, warned their fellows of trouble to come, but they were ignored. The neocons were bringing not only intellectual respectability and attention from liberal redoubts in the media and academia, but also hauling in plenty of dough. The big conservative foundations poured money into neocon projects and subsidized their up-and-coming intellectual dromedaries, driving out dissenters and imprinting the movement with their peculiar obsessions – first and foremost, an unmitigated militarism.
I was watching Sarah Palin give a speech (with the lines we've heard her say over and over) this morning in Maine. That "unmitigated militarism" was on display again, with Palin repeating her ridiculous mantra about thanking our veterans for our freedoms (that they are somehow "fighting for" all the way over in Iraq) as if we would somehow be less free if we weren't occupying a country THAT DID NOT ATTACK US. I suppose we were less free as well after our defeat in Vietnam, eh, Sarah? Did we suddenly lose our right to protest when we left that southeast Asian country in humiliation?
“I would hope at least that those protestors have the courage and the honor of thanking our veterans for giving them the right to protest.”
-Sarah Palin hilariously scolding her own supporters when they simply couldn't hear her.
I was listening to neocon Dennis Prager (in his own mind he is a "conservative") say the other day on his radio show that if the Democratic Party were the same party it was under John F. Kennedy (and presumably Truman, FDR, ad nauseum) then he would be a Democrat. This is typical of today's so-called "conservatives" (I love putting the word in quotes as there is little resembling true conservatism left in the current conservative movement) who know nothing of the history of real conservatism and their own beloved GOP. Robert Taft opposed Roosevelt's fascist New Deal as well as the interventionist foreign policy of the Democrats of his day. That was real conservatism, and I guess Prager wouldn't like it much, preferring the big government of FDR, Truman and Kennedy over Taft's constitutional republic. I wonder how Prager would vote if Joe "Warfare/Welfare" Lieberman was the Democratic nominee for president and Ron "End the Empire" Paul was the Republican nominee? I think we know the answer.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
U.S. Senator John McCain's recent attacks on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), are puzzling given his historic support for the organization and its efforts on behalf of immigrant Americans. As recently as February 20, 2006, Senator McCain was the keynote speaker at an ACORN-sponsored Immigration Rally in Miami, Florida at Miami Dade College - Wolfson Campus....source
via Michael Moore
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Perhaps John McCain's own self-loathing (Napoleon complex) and rabid temper are rubbing off on his and Palin's frustrated followers.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
History has no true golden eras. Stagnation, unjust authority, slavery, poverty and oppression are the rule in the story of humanity. It was only though many centuries of intellectual and cultural development that human civilization overcame the tyranny of antiquity and embraced the doctrines of liberalism. Liberty is always in peril. Today is no exception. But it is still hardly the worst time to be alive, for the average person.
Take heart. In the long-term, after all, we are the optimists. The Hobbesians on the right believe humanity is forever doomed to be immoral, thus the need for ever more prisons, police and war. The left finds society dysfunctional when acting on its own without centralized coercive organization. They are both on the side of reaction and pessimism. We on the other hand believe in a flourishing and peaceful tomorrow, thanks to voluntary commercial and cultural exchange.
Friday, October 10, 2008
And the reason that it's a problem to go shopping state by state, you know what insurance companies will do? They will find a state -- maybe Arizona, maybe another state -- where there are no requirements for you to get cancer screenings, where there are no requirements for you to have to get pre-existing conditions, and they will all set up shop there.
That's how in banking it works. Everybody goes to Delaware, because they've got very -- pretty loose laws when it comes to things like credit cards.
And in that situation, what happens is, is that the protections you have, the consumer protections that you need, you're not going to have available to you.
-Barak Obama, from the second debate with that other one
I don't know if anyone else noticed the reference to Delaware by Sen. Obama, but I have to ask, why did he choose Sen. Credit Card Companies , a man who was directly responsible for those "pretty loose laws", as his running mate?
One clear example is bankruptcy reform, which made it tougher for consumers to rid themselves of debt. Biden supported it. Critics say the stand he took in favor of legislation that made it harder to escape credit card debt typifies his long career of siding with big corporations.
Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1971 and no doubt has spent more than three decades getting financial support from the banking interests that call Delaware their home.
According to the New York Times, Biden was seen as so close to MBNA, the credit card company that was purchased by Bank of America, that he was referred to as the "senator from MBNA." Instead of the standard senate designation (D-Delaware), he was (D-MBNA).
The Times notes that Biden's son Hunter was actually employed by MBNA and that the senator had close ties to MBNA executives: "Employees of MBNA Corporation had heavily contributed to Mr. Biden, pouring more than $214,000 into his campaign coffers going back to 1989, making the company his single biggest supporter, according to the Center for Responsive Politics," according to the Times.
Biden supported passage of the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Reduction Act while Obama voted against the measure. The banking industry lobbied heavily for passage. But consumer advocates have criticized the law because it has meant financially distressed consumers must wait longer and go through more steps before they can seek protection from their creditors.
Ann Rodgers, in her review of Bill Maher's new film, also brings out that old "millions killed by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot in the name of atheism". It was Marxist-Leninist Communist ideology that killed millions, and the religion they were sacrificed to was Statism, not atheism; organized religion has never had a problem with the state when its holy men have controlled or influenced it.
His fears focus on scripture, but at no point does he interview an actual Bible scholar or theologian. Here Ms. Rodgers misses the point of this sort of film (it was directed by the same fellow who gave us Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) it is obviously not meant to be a serious critical examination of the bible that requires interviewing scholars. Now, such a work would have its place, and perhaps someone should make that kind of film, but not Bill Maher (get serious yourself Ms. Rodgers!). As for theologians, I don't think much of them and neither should anyone else.
Dangerous distortions come from people who try to teach scripture without a background in history or ancient languages and literature. The guy who wrote "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988" wasn't a theologian, he was a rocket scientist. Osama bin Laden isn't a theologian, he's a civil engineer. Bill Maher isn't a theologian, he's a comedian.
Of course, one wonders then how such a book could be God's message to mankind when you have to be a learned scholar and an expert in ancient languages to understand it properly. If anything proves it isn't from any god, that does.
I do like her last sentence, though. Yes, he is a comedian. She finally got it!
Roger Ebert's Review
- Mark Twain
Via Debunking the Christian Right
Over the weekend of September 13 and 14, a historic gathering in Andover, Massachusetts, took place and garnered little media attention. But at that two-day conference, serious plans were laid for a war-crimes trial of the Bush administration. Read the rest, from Nat Hentoff
As I stood at the urinal I was asked a question. I replied that my mind was on the economy (everyone at work was talking about the stock market decline) and the response was a second question, did I ever play the lottery. No, not in a long time. I was musing on this one recent stroll through an open air mall, passing the shops filled with goods I can not afford to purchase, and approaching the little information booth where you can also buy a ticket to dream of unearned millions coming your way. I stopped to look at the jackpot numbers, more money than I could spend in a lifetime (until the Fed's hyperinflation destroys its purchasing power) and momentarily considered pulling at least one small bill from my wallet. I walked on with my cash intact, knowing the odds and the foolishness of such fantasies.
Behind me I could hear the water running and the motion detecting auto paper towel dispenser releasing its roll, and then the tearing. "Well", said the co-worker, "I'm going to go buy some tickets. I stopped for awhile because I realized how much I was spending. I used to play twice a week for both draws, three plays for each lottery and then, because I was in the 7-11, I'd also end up getting some junk food too. I was spending at least 60 or 70 dollars a month on my habit." A pause, thoughtful or not. "But now it's time to start playing again."
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Well, it so happens that the other day this someone (not myself by the way, should that thought enter your little head) was asked by a manager to finish a task that needed completing in another section of the store. The Wal-Mart
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Ann Rodgers has seen it and has some comments. She writes that Maher "uses a more fundamentalist reading of scripture than most fundamentalists do". Maybe, but that just means that most Christians don't take their religion all that seriously. Even in the United States, which remains more overtly religious than other Western nations, most people are only half-heartedly following the precepts, prohibitions and program of their respective faith. The secular culture has rubbed off on them and they love it more than their invisible god.
It's "Revelation" not "Revelations," and the vast majority of the world's Christians do not share the doomsday interpretation of it that Maher most fears. The vast majority of those who do have no desire to hasten the apocalypse she writes. I must admit I have always been puzzled by those who insist on calling it "Revelations" (the proper name for it in Catholicism is the Apocalypse) but maybe it does make a kind of sense as the John who wrote it seemed to have more than one. I agree with Jefferson that it is merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherencies of our own nightly dreams. At least on first reading anyway.
But it is irrelevant that the "vast majority" of Christians don't believe the end times ravings of the lunatic rapture crowd. It only takes a dedicated few to make a difference (the Islamic fanatics prove that point). On hastening the apocalypse just take a look at John Hagee. Anything that will bring Jesus back is welcome, and these loons have pull with high elected officials in Washington and influence US foreign policy in negative ways. So Ann Rodgers needs a little more study time with Dispensationalism and its followers.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The myth that we have no hypotheses, and no explanations for the origin of life on earth persists. In fact, biologists are considering and testing a long list of possibilities that would explain the shift from non-living to living materials.
Laurence Vance said:
A new low, however, is the wearing of McCain/Palin campaign buttons to church. This is very disturbing. I never remember Christians wearing Reagan buttons, Bush Sr. buttons, or Bush Jr. buttons to church--even though many Christians voted for these men because they were Republicans. On second thought, if I had a picture of McCain on a button with a red line through his face and the words "war criminal" underneath, I might just wear it.
Back in February I posted a link to a site with anti-Insane McCain stuff, including a button with a line through the face of McMussolini. However, I like the war criminal/warmonger one better. Vance found it here.
Or there's always this one for those who don't think voting is a good idea.