Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lindsay Lohan v. Gollum

Separated at birth?
Justice Souter to Retire

Like Arlen Specter’s defection from the Republican Party, I cannot say I am sorry to see Justice Souter go. I would say he was Bush 41’s biggest mistake in a wide field of mistakes to choose from. President Nero was just about as clueless as his son there towards the end.

Souter has always been a disappointment. He was expected to generally side with the strict constructionist side of the Court, but wound up in that usual gang of four who voted liberal on just about every major case. Blame it on his folksy New England sensibilities or whatever excuse he offered up for suddenly altering judicial stance.

It is telling her decided to wait until Barack Obama was elected before deciding to retire at a relatively young age for a SCOTUS justice. He wanted to make certain his replacement would be moderate to liberal. Presumably he would not have retired if John McCain had won. Odd, since I have all ideas McCain’s appointments to the SCOTUS, if any, would be just as disappointing as Souter, O’Connor, and Kennedy. Did you really expect to like any McCain nominees to just about any position?

I am trying to decide how bloody the nomination process is going to be. Souter was never really a swing vote, so neither will his replacement be. I doubt Barack Obama will much rock the boat with his choice. He will probably choose an unassuming moderate to liberal woman, probably black or Hispanic, just to have her ease through the nomination process and serve as a feather in his cap. It is the next vacancy that will probably get bloody.
Christians Support Waterboarding

A recent Pew Survey has revealed support for advanced interrogation techniques is highest among frequent churchgoers. I figured this survey would have atheists salivating. A quick Google blog search shows that is true. I behooves us to look at the issue more carefully.

The first thing to note is that Christians have been on the receiving end of torture from the beginning, so we know a thing or two about the subject. I am staring at my copy of Fox’s Book of Martyrs on my book shelf right now. The Gospels detail Jesus’ senseless torture before his execution. So torture has been an unfortunate part of the Christians and it goes on even today in many third world countries where believers have not allowed to get as complacent in their practice of worship as we have here.

We are talking about real torture there. Inflicting pain and death because of someone’s beliefs. Some Christian elements have tortured others over the centuries for that reason. I recognize that. Christians have sinful natures and therefore Christianity has had some dark times. I make no excuses for that, but I see distinction between torturing people to change their minds and attempting to extract “ticking bomb” information, which is what I think Christians are saying they support.

For the former, the Bible could not be clearer. We are instructed to treat others as we wish to be treated and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That means if we want to practice our beliefs in peace, then we have to let others who disagree with usdo the same. But what happens when our neighbors’ beliefs involve flying airliners full of innocent people into skyscrapers with the intention of killing tens of thousands? It would be evil to let that sort of thing come to pass. There are higher principles at stake.

Jesus proved this himself. He taught meekness and humility to the poin the is legitimately called the Prince of Peace. He taught the meek shall inherit the Earth. Yet he violently drove the moneychangers out of the temple for blasphemy. Sometimes, you just have to do things because they are the right thing to do on principle.

Christian critics of interrogation techniques immediately cite the two Scriptural concepts I did above as arguments against the practice. I note, however, they bring up no Scripture to argue against the “ticking bomb” scenario. Then they rely on the old standby of the recipient will say anything to get his interrogator to stop, etc. It would appear a Scriptural argument on the immorality of interrogation for this reason is difficult to come by. In that case, one should be pleased restraint in being used in the ’torture.”

I am still skeptical these interrogation techniques are torture. So are most if its critics, since so many of them are lining up to try it themselves to prove how horrible it is. I doubt they would be so enthusiastic to try fifty lashes with a cat o’ nine tails, electric shock, or thumbscrews. It is just a way for them to look morally superior.

I am under no illusions theChristianswho said they supported interrogations have any logical arguments, theologically or otherwise, to support their position, so their critics should rightfully go after them for their unreasoned, knee jerk response. Nevertheless, I do not think they have necessarily reached the wrong conclusion.
Doctor Who Finale Rumors

The two part Doctor Who special which marks the end of David Tennant’s run as the doctor is currently filming. Lots of details have already leaked, including photosof returning companions like Capt. Jack Harkness above. The following is a rundown of the most credible tidbits.

The inside of the TARDIS is due for renovation since the show is now being filmed in high definition. It will be destroyed in some manner and rebuilt into a more modern style to fit in with Matt Smith’s younger Doctor.

The master will be the main villain. He is the answer to the prophecy of who will knock four times. He is not alone, however. The Time Lords will return as well, although it is not clear if he has anything to do with their comeback. The Doctor is going to have to do battle with his own people, so speculation is something is not quite right about them. I do not see why one has to believe that. They ended the Time War by committing genocide. That is about as dark as you can get anyway, no? An unknown species of albino aliens is also involved.

The companions who will definitely return are Capt. Jack Harkness, Donna Noble, Martha Jones, and Sarah Jane Smith. The Tenth Doctor will regenerate into the Eleventh at the end of the final special. The fifth season will start fresh in April 2010 with Matt Smith starring and Steven Moffat running the show.
Kristen Bell is Leggy

Yes, indeed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Press Grills Obama...Heh

The end of a president’s first hundred days in office is supposed to be a time for him to sit back while the media holds examines his young administration for the people to see and make up their own minds. It is not a time for the president to meet his adoring fans in the white House press corps and coo over how wonderful he is.

Forget the entire notion of an independent press corps actually doing their jobs. We do not have one. A couple weeks ago, Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean was asked her position on gay marriage at a beauty pageant, of all places. Tonight, Barack Obama was asked--I kid you not--what part of being president has most enchanted him. I was hoping he would answer the evening gown competition and the lovely tiara.

Welcome to Bizarro World, people. If you want the president to answer tough questions, forget depending on the press. You will have to put him in the Miss USA pageant or some such. Not that Perez Hilton would ever ask Obama anything like thar, either. He gets a free pass from Hilton for opposing gay marriage. Go figure.
Lost--"The Variable"

I think the powers that be at Lost have gotten hip to spies spoiling episodes before they air. They have done a fairly good job of diverting attention away from the real plotlines of the season finales, but now they appear to be doing so for regular episodes as well. I say that only because the reveals in Daniel Faraday’s adventures in 1977 did not fit much into what I had heard rumored about the episode. Not that I am complaining. While I had hoped Daniel was going to spill more beans about the island, I was not disappointed with what transpired. Well, aside from the upsetting notion there is now a reset button concept in play. I could hear fans groaning all across the country.

“The Variable” was said to be a sequel of sorts to “The Constant,” which is probably my favorite Lost episode so far. So I had high expectations. I think Desmond and Penny are the most mature, interesting characters on the show. The two are a breath of fresh air from the silly Jack/Kate/Sawyer/Juliet romance swap that has gone on for a hundred episodes now. I did not see much to connect the two episodes, however. I was expecting either daniel or Desmond to die and have that cause an ill effect on the other. Desmond appeared to be the obvious choice since he suffered a gunshot wound from Ben. Something may still happen with the two of them considering Daniel’s tragic fate at the end. Regardless, it still did not measure up to “The Constant” for me.

Daniel played a Cassandra role here. He retrned to the island in order to prevent the Swan Station from going active. Evidently, he had spent a good chunk of his 1977 time in Ann arbor Michigan with the DeGroots. Apparently, he leaned something there which made him change his mind about how the future always course corrects towards a destiny. He was running two plans. One, he wanted his mother, Eloise, to return the Oceanic 6 back to modern times beause they did not belong in the past. Two, wanted to detonate Jughead in order to destroy theSwan Station, keep desmond from pressing the button in the future, and thus keep oceanic Flight 815 from crashing.

Let me start with the latter. I groaned when I heard that plan. From here on out, fans are going to be on pins and needles thinking there is going to bea reset button which will mean the entire show never happened. Upon further reflection, I doubt that will be how it ends. It is too pat. I suspect Daniel may be wrong about being able to avoid inevitable destiny. At, least the good Calvinist in me hopes so.

My Conclusion ties into my second point. Eloise sent her son back to the island in 2004 knowing full well the sequence of events was going to lead to her younger self killing him in 1977. She has been one cold bitty throughout, but she obviously felt a lot of anger at having to do so. She and Daniel’s daddy, Charles Widmore (??!!) had that angry, but resigned demeanor you have when something bad is going to happen, but there is no way to prevent it. But Eloise did say she was sacrificing her only son (Jesus allegory?) for a purpose, so perhaps she does believe daniel was right about being able to change things.

It is food for thought. I doubt any definite conclusions should be drawn right now. I believe Daniel’s death is going to have some effect on his constant Desmond. There is no proof of that, mind you. It is just a hunch. it appears from next week’s preview that jack decides to go through with Daniel’s plan in some way. I also get the vibe Sawyer is being set up as the suspected major upcoming death, since he and Juliet have been exposed by DHARMA as traitors, but I do not buy it. My money is still on miles dying shortly after he reveals he really is Marvin Candel’s son. More speculation on my part. Next week’s episode is centered on Richard Alpert, which was not evident from the previews, so we are probably in for surprises. Richard may even save Daniel at the temple like he did Ben, meaning we still have not seen the first of the two character deaths.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
WHO: 114 Cases of Swine Flu Confirmed

Not to make light of the situation, but the regular flu has already killed thousands of people since January because of poor nutrition and substandard medical care in third world countries. no one seems to notice that.

It just goes to show what marketing can do for you. give something an attention grabbing name with a negative term like "swine" ("Pearls before swine," etc.) and watch the whole world panic.

I am dismayed at how we have been cowed into believing any bad thing that may come along we be the doom of the species. It frightens me because when something comes along that may actually contribute to the end of humanity, we will be so fatalistic and cowardly, we will just lay there and suffer the inevitable fate like sheep.
A Distraction from Obama's Spending Spree

In "celebration" of Barack Obama's first one hundred days in office, I am going to do my readers a big favor. Whenever you feel angry or saddened by the enormous amount of money the Obama Administration is wasting on its inane policies, picture this hot chick rolling around naked in the piles of wasted cash. It should make you feel better.

Try not to fantasize too much about hot girls frolicking naked in money, however. You need to stay angry and motivated for the 2012 campaign when we can finally get rid of President Urkel.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Replacing Microsoft Office

After nearly two years, I have finally given up on Microsoft Office. I started using it alongside a new laptop then because I wanted the latest software, but like just about anything that comes from the mind of Bill Gates, the improvements are nothing more than inconveniences.

I rarely used anything beyond Word and Excel. The latest version of Office had alll sorts of bells and whistles designed to make work easier, but unfortunately they hid every function behind layer after layer of menus to the point I could not find any freaking thing. I do not know why I put up with it this long, but I finally threw my hands in the air.

I went back to Microsoft Works. It has a toolbar, plainly visible, with everything I will ever need to get work done. At the moment, I cannot recall why I ever thought I should can it in the first place. So far, I have written up my documents in two thirds of the time it took with Office because I no longer have to recall three sequence of three menu clicks necessary to insert page numbers in a footer.

The move was not without its casualties. I converted all my existing Word documents to rich text, but not all the formatting survived. It is not a big deal. Because of my skill at killing laptops and losing everything on them, I long set up an e-mail account where I can mail my bigger written projects to. I can cut and paste anything that has not quite come out right. It is a time consuming pain in the butt to do so, but that is why I vent.
Good Riddance, Arlen Specter

The Ragin' RINO from Pennsylvania has finally made official what we have known for years: he is a Democrat:
"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."
I am glad to see him go, but what an idiotic decision. He has been able to rack up a liberal voting record while maintaining the backing of the GOP establishment. Now, he has to run in the Democratic primary where he may not win and compete in the general election in which in may also lose. I cannot blame the democrats if they do not nominate him, either. The guy is an opportunistic weasel who has just proven you cannot trust him to remain loyal.

I hope Pat Toomey cleans his clock. the GOP establishment needs to circle around him for the shoddy way he was treated in 2004, anyway. They had a good chance to good rid of the wishy washy Specter then and took a regrettable pass.

UPDATE: Specter condemned Jim Jeffords (no relation as far as I know) for switching to Independent back in 2001.
Unintended Consequences

Have you noticed, in this whole mess regarding Carrie Prejean’s opposition to gay marriage, no one in the media wants to acknowledge Barack Obama opposes gay marriage, too? Or that California went heavily for Obama, meaning there was overlap between his supporters and Proposition 8? Prejean herself tried to bring it up in a CNN interview a couple days ago, but was stymied when her interviewer failed to run with it. If a member of the British Parliament thinks it is important enough an issue to think Prejean ought to be murdered for it, then, then Obama ought to receive some sort of backlash, no?

I have mixed emotions about the announced, low flyover of Air Force One at Ground Zero. It was in poor taste to spook New Yorkers simply for a photo op, but then again, we have already forgotten the lessons of 9/11. How much could a reminder of the need for constant vigilance hurt?

I do not know if this swine flu will become a major pandemic or not, but I have noticed it is not serious enough yet for Washington to not play party politics with it. The Democrats claim Republicans blocked funding for the prevention of swine flu. In response, I think the Republicans should say mea culpa and promote the border fence in order to make up for it, even if it is not true. Sure, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but fences make good neighbors. Not to mention barriers to illegal immigrants and infectious diseases.
Alex Sim-Wise in a Bikini

Because she is British, hot, and nerdy. That is called "hitting the trifecta."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Why I Am a Christian II(B)

Arguments for the Existence of God

B. The Teleological Argument

The Teleological Argument is also called the Argument from Design. Bear in mind while the teleological argument does demonstrate weaknesses the theory of evolution, it is not synonymous with Intelligent Design. Theistic evolution fits as well within the Teleological Argument as intelligent Design, so a comparison between the two will not be addressed in this section. The evolution versus Intelligent Design debate merits its own chapter further down the line.

Teleological comes from the Greek telos, which means purpose. Teleological is an adjective used to describe something we see as obviously having a purpose. If something obviously has a purpose, then it must have been created for that purpose. Having been created for a purpose self-evidently implies a Creator. The condition of having been designed by a Creator precludes any possibility of spontaneity. Hence, it is a proof for God.

To put this in perspective of my arguments here, the Cosmological Argument served to prove there has to be a cause to everything that has been created. So I have established to my satisfaction God is the First Cause. The Teleological Argument takes it a step further. Everything that has been created is so complex, designed and purposeful, there must have been an intelligence behind it. In simple terms:
1. Creation is too complex and ordered to have occurred randomly.
2. Creation must have originated from an intelligent being.
3. God is an intelligent being.
4. Therefore, God designed Creation.
Thomas Auinas summed his observations on the Teleological Argument in Summa Theologica:
"The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things that lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God."
that is probably the most common argument for the existence of God. It is effective, but limited by the knowledge of Aquinas’ day. Numerous subsequent have lent support to his argument, however.

As an example, I will not stray too far from cosmology. How about the distance from the Earth to the sun? The temperature of the sun is estimated to be over 20 million degrees Celsius. The Earth is located at exactly the correct distance from the sun to receive the proper amount of heat and radiation to sustain life. If the Earth was 10% closer to the sun, too much heat and radiation would be absorbed. If the Earth was 10% further from the sun, too little heat would be absorbed. Either scenario would have prevented life on this planet.

The above example barely scratches the surface. If the Earth’s rotation halved in speed, the seasons would last twice as long. The extreme periods of heat and cold would make it impossible to grow crops. The planet would starve. If the rate was doubled, the seasons would be too short to grow food. The planet would starve then, too. If the earth’s axis was titled even slightly different, water would accumulate in odd areas causing large, desolate deserts. If the atmosphere was any thinner, meteorites would strike the Earth with enough frequency and force to cause widespread devastation.

I deliberately listed these examples—just the tip of the iceberg—as a response to the most common argument against the Teleological Argument. That is random chance does not automatically exclude complexity and purpose from forming. But I have a difficult time believing the above circumstances could have just randomly happened. The idea they all randomly coordinated at just the right time, place, and function for life to begin is preposterous, not to mention mathematically impossible.

That is all well and good, but the Bible offers the ultimate proof of the Teleological Argument in Romans !:19:
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Neither Creationist, nor theistic evolutionist, can argue with that.

What I Believe
Arguments for the Existence of God
  • The Cosmological Argument
  • Barack Obama as Jesus? Uggh.

    The above photo is not some Photoshop joke by a conservative blogger, but an actual painting set to be open for public viewing on April 29th in honor of Barack Obama’s first hundred days in office. Barack Obama as the Messiah. I have yet to see any results of those hundred days meriting such an honor, but I have never understood the left’s elevation of politics to religious belief, so maybe I am not the person to ask.

    The painting depicts Obama mimicking Jesus Christ’s outstretched arms as though he were on the cross, complete with a crown of thorns in case we missed the allusion. Obama is forcing open curtains to reveal the presidential seal. His ripping of the curtains is symbolic of the temple veil tearing when Christ died as a sign the law had been fulfilled. Obviously, the ascension of Obama to the presidency must have similar meaning to liberal zealots.

    If so, the artist is mum on ‘The Truth,” as he calls the painting. Michael D’Antuono says he is not proclaiming Obama is the Messiah. He leaves that up to individual interpretation. If you need help making up your mind, you can see the painting on display in New York City. It will be set up in a voting booth inspired display where only one person at a time will be allowed to commune-er, I mean view it.

    Expect a long line and no, I do not believe it will bless your children or pets, so do not even bother to ask.
    Henry Ian Cusack Sued for Sexual Harassment

    In all fairness, Desmond had been on the island three years without a woman. An ABC employee lays out the following allegations:
    Plaintiff Chelsea Stone alleges that on or about Oct. 16, Cusick "placed his hand on her buttocks" and then caressed her back "while making moaning sounds." He then put his face in her cleavage and wagged his head back and forth, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. He then touched her breasts with his hands and kissed her on the mouth, Stone says.
    Stone says that ABC and production company Grass Skirt Entertainment, which are also named as defendants, did nothing to keep her away from Cusick after she complained and, over the next several days, the actor and fellow employees became "very hostile" toward her.
    There was a running joke for a while there that getting a DUI meant your character was going to be killed off. Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Wattros both had their characters killed off after such arrests. Daniel Dae Kim's character was presumed dead for several episodes after he was arrested for DUI. the creators of Lost laugh off the incidents as coincidence, but Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's character was also killed off around the time he was arrested for a traffic violation other than a DUI. Once is a funny coincidence. Three times is a pattern.

    Cusack may settle the matter forever. If this alleged sexual harassment incident took place in 2007, it had to be fairly common knowledge by recent times. Two characters are set to die in the remaining episodes of this season. Cusack's character, Desmond, was seriously wounded a few weeks ago in "Dead is Dead." his wounds may be mortal. If Desmond joins the choir invisible, there cannot be much doubt bad behavior gets your character killed off.
    Lindsay Lohan in a Bikini

    Surprisingly good, all things considered.

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    The Waterboarding Moral Dilemma Continues

    The waterboarding debate is still raging. With few exceptions, the dialogue is falling along party lines. I think there is much deception going on with both sides. Nancy Pelosi has plead ignorance to the interrogation method in the past, but it has now been revealed she and top members of Congress knew about it early on. They did not protest. Newt Gingrich, however, has refused to define whether he believes waterboarding is torture. So we have liberals at least tacitly supporting waterboarding while a prominent conservative, a former history professor who most certainly knows the Japanese were charged with war crimes for the practice in World War II, carefully refusing to go against the party line.

    I have made my position known. I think you can only be as good as your enemies will allow you to be. There is an inherent goodness in the American character that rises above some of the acts we have had to take over the years. For example, I have few moral qualms over the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima or Nagasaki because it won the war for the Americans. I do not believe the world would be better off if the Japanese had theoretically won the war. Ditto for the fire bombing of Dresden. Would the world be better off if the Nazis had won? Of course not. All war is a crime, but sometimes the good guys have to get their hands dirty for the greater good.

    So when critics want to say America does not torture because it is against our nature, they are implying harsh interrogations of terrorist prisoners is somehow sullying our character—a character that has the atomic bomb droppings which killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese as well as air raids which killed thousands more Japanese and German civilians. Somehow we managed to come out of that with our moral strength intact, but interrogating terrorists to prevent further loss of life will permanently sully our country? I have doubts, but again, I believe in the greater good of overcoming enemies that will not let you maintain your principles otherwise.

    I have no problem with differing opinions on what those principles are. It boils down to this: do you feel the moral standing of America is bad is so important that we cannot used harsh interrogation techniques on terrorists, then you have to be willing to sacrifice the American lives that could have potentially been saved had we gotten advanced information of a terrorist attack before hand. Whether the interrogations reliably provide information or not, you have to make that moral choice of lives over principle on the chance the information will be the truth even once.
    Artificial Intelligence on Jeopardy!

    No, not the usual third place contestants, but a real artificial intelligence program:
    I.B.M. scientists previously devised a chess-playing program to run on a supercomputer called Deep Blue. That program beat the world champion Garry Kasparov in a controversial 1997 match (Mr. Kasparov called the match unfair and secured a draw in a later one against another version of the program).

    But chess is a game of limits, with pieces that have clearly defined powers. “Jeopardy!” requires a program with the suppleness to weigh an almost infinite range of relationships and to make subtle comparisons and interpretations. The software must interact with humans on their own terms, and fast.
    I imagine the contestants will echo Kasparov's complaint about Deep Blue should they lose. The AI creators are not certain the program will be competitive because of the difficulty of getting it to communicate in human terms.

    If they are not successful, the result may look something like this:
    Jessica Simpson is Drowning in Booze

    This has not been Jessica Simpson’s year. Her country music career flopped magnificently. Her concert tour opening for Rascal Flatts drew more attention for her weight gain and inability to remember lyrics than anything else. Even though she announced the nominees for the CMA awards, she did not attend the actual ceremony. Her record label subsequently dropped her. Even her brief rumored flirtation with studying at a Bible college never materialized. The Bible is generally the final refuge for those with nothing left.

    Or is the final refuge alcohol? She appears to have latched onto that, too. Rumors have it, her alcoholism has gotten so out of hand, boyfriend Tony Romo has threatened to break off their relationship unless she matures. The standard line of the gossip press is how desperate she is to marry Romo, so here we have the makings of the ultimate in tabloid drama.

    Personally, I imagine room is just sick of her father’s interference. Poppa Joe is one creepy, controlling guy. Either that, or he is eager to get rid of Her well before training camp starts. The Dallas Cowboys need all the help they can get this season. They will not be as good as team as they were last year, so there certainly do not need the curse of Yoko Romo trailing them.

    In all seriousness, it is pretty clear Simpson has been going downhill with the substance abuse. Her father has pushed her into the limelight without any regard to whether she has any talent or even the maturity to handle it. It is clear she does not. I do not blame room for trying to head for the hills, if that is what he is up to, or if he really is trying to help her. I am cynical, but I can admire that in him if really does does have such a tough love for her.

    Here is Simpson during better days:

    Saturday, April 25, 2009

    Geocities (1995-2009)

    There has not been any fanfare about as near as I can tell, but Yahoo has discontinued Geocities free home page service. I am not terribly surprised. Blogs and sites like MySpace and Facebook have rendered geocities obsolete. I cannot remember the last time I visited a Geocities homepage other than what is left of my own. It has probably been six or seven years.

    It was not always that way. geocities was the first really big web based community. Back in college, having a Geocities homepage was ubiquitous if you knew any HTML at all. There was a stigma attached if you used their paint by numbers page builder, but the peer pressure was so great, if that is what you had to do in order to have a home page, you bit the bullet and did it. They were often even more amateur and gaudy than most MySpace pages today.

    I signed up in the spring of 1997. I made all sorts of changes over the years as life changed around me, it has been pretty much stagnant since 2002. I believe I am the last man standing among my social circle, too. Everyone else has since moved on to blogging or social media. Their pages have disappeared. I am not even sure why mine is still around. Supposedly, they are automatically deleted if there are no visitors or edits in a thirty day perios, so I guess someone still shows up there every now and then. It is on the front page of a Google search for my name.

    Yahoo has some instructions for those wanting to keep their page. I have not bothered to read them and will not. While I have gotten the whim in recent to do something with the s pace, I never stick with it. Right now, there is nothing there both links, many of which have probably expired. It is time for me to let my page die like everyone else has. The passing marks the end of an era. for a good while there, maintaining one’s Geocities home page was the center of online activity.
    Caturday

    There has been some mission drift on the blog here as of late. Mea culpa for that. I am finding it more difficult to write about politics, because the daily ins and outs are just boring, and legal issues, because the further I have gotten away from the subject matter in life, the more I wish I had never bothered with it in the first place.

    I cannot explain the latter in any better terms other than my attention has shifted elsewhere, but the former can be summed up easily. I spent the entirety of last year writing post after post claiming Barack Obama was too inexperienced and eaten up with a naïve brand of liberalism to be elected president. An Obama Administration was going to at best put forth pie in the sky liberal policy ideas that belong no where outside the final exam of a political science class and at worst look like an incompetent boob. What more can I say about it now other than, “I told you so?” it would get boring after a while. Considering he still has high popularity numbers, it would probably fall on deaf ears regardless.

    So I have wound up filling posts with other stuff. I have not really found a comfy niche yet, but it has been fun looking for one.
    Bea Arthur (1922-2009)

    Maude Findley and Dorothy Zbornak has passed on.Godspeed, Ms. Arthur.
    Jennifer Aniston & Our "Objective" Press

    It has been a while since I have checked in on the official journalists’ theme of reporting Jennifer Aniston as a poor, pathetic old maid constantly dumped on, but deserving every moment of it. You may recall the theme began in 2005 when Brad Pitt had an affair with Angelina Jolie on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. In spite of the fact it was an adulterous affair which resulted in the couple’s divorce through no fault of Aniston, the public liked the idea of Pitt and Jolie so much, any notion Aniston was at fault or otherwise unworthy of Pitt was considered gospel. I have considered it running proof of how allegedly objective press promotes a viewpoint anyway. If they will do it about a celebrity, they will do it with important subjects, too.

    It is simple. Any guy Aniston dates will eventually dump her for someone younger or better looking. It is always because Aniston is clingy, aging, desiring children, or is pining over Pitt/obsessing over Jolie without the slightest hint any of the motivations are true. We are talking about four years and running of this stuff. A quick search of news items over the last few days will bear this out.

    In an article talking about John Mayer’s new girlfriend, Scheana Marie Jancan, even the headline says, “Jennifer Aniston Who?” while he and Aniston have not been dating in a while. According to a Google News search, nineteen articles were published with the same gist on Friday alone. So what is Aniston doing during Mayer’s complete obliviousness to her existence? Hiding from Angelina Jolie, of course.

    Aniston is currently in New York City filming her latest movie, The Baster. Jolie is also in NYC filming her latest, Evelyn A. Salt. Sources says Aniston has refused to leave her hotel room, instead entertaining friends exclusively there, rather than go out and risk running into Jolie. In a city of over eight million people, the chance of running into Jolie, who cannot sneeze without twenty gossip rags reporting she has contracted the Ebola virus, much less go anywhere without her itinerary becoming public knowledge. A Google search reveals 33 articles written along these lines on Friday alone.

    But that is not enough. News outlets are reporting in articles like this that Aniston, who is playing a 48 year old in The Baster, is upset she will not be using old age make up. In other words, it has been determined by the movie’s producers she looks old enough to play a woman pushing 50. Various articles hint virtually everyone in the production has assured Aniston, much to her chagrin, she looks the part already. That cannot be possible. No production staff would treat the star of the film that way and get away with it. Prima donnas treat their production staffs like that and far worse—witness Christian Bale’s famous tirade on the set of Terminator: Salvation-- and get away with it. If a star can get away with such behavior, so you really think relatively low ranking staffers like make up artists can tell Aniston she looks old before her time? I seriously doubt it, but it fits with the expectations the press has manufactured about Aniston.

    The interesting part about all this is how even a casual observer can see good reasons to be skeptical about the reporting. First, it has been four years since her marriage broke up and Aniston has been gracious about it all. Certainly, she is trying to keep up appearances because she knows the vulture tendencies of the press. They want to see high emotion one way or the other and they will make it up if they have to. Second, she has been dating Vince Vaughn and John Mayer since then. It is not terribly unusual for relationships to break off without the high drama her break ups are allegedly rife with. She is certainly not sitting around in seclusion pining over her ex-husband. As far as I am concerned, she has not lost any glamor, either. Certainly not as much as the press wants you to believe.

    Short lesson, folks: do not believe everything you read. The press has an agenda and it is not just with pointless celebrity gossip. They are pushing all sorts of ideas on the public that are not being questioned nearly enough. journalism is dying fast as newspapers fold up shop and television news becomes sensational and blurs the line between fact and opinion in order to grab the dwindling number of eyeballs willing to watch. I doubt the situation is going to get any better soon.

    (The photos can be greatly enlarged, should you deem it necessary. This post is part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday.)

    Friday, April 24, 2009

    Keeping Up Appearances

    Some interesting developments popped up today regarding three well known personalities, for better and for worse.

    First, Susan Boyle. The Britain’s Got Talent and internet sensation got a makeover. People are complaining about it because it allegedly ruins what they originally found appealing about her. I am afraid that was already gone the moment she sang the last note of her song. She came out on stage looking frumpy, like one of the many no talents they let slip through the auditions for the entertainment value of watching their public humiliation. Audiences were ready to laugh at her. Once they heard her sing, they knew they could not.

    But that is over. She has to make it with her singing now. She has to market herself because she is going to be on television weekly now. It is not a scam. She is not selling out. She is taking no chances with her once in a lifetime opportunity. Her detractors ought to keep quiet. Her shot at the big time is more important is more important than maintaining their feel good underdog does well illusion.

    Second, Jay Leno. Leno being a nice guy is legendary around Hollywood, so when NBC abruptly announced they were retiring him in favor of Conan O’Brien, then strong armed him about carrying on with The Tonight Show sans writers during the WGA strike, everyone was shocked. Since then, leno has become the most important man at NBC as he is going to take over the ten PM slot every weeknight starting in the fall. He is getting the break her deserves there, IMHO.

    The whole story has yet to be told, but that has only encouraged rumors to fly, even about completely unrelated stuff. Case in point, Leno checked himself into the hospital yesterday. Filming was cancelled for Thursday and Friday’s shows. It was the first time workaholic Leno has missed tapings in his hosting stint, so rumors flew there was something seriously wrong. There was not, mind you. He was released earlier today, but there is always going to be that suspicion merely because the relationship between him and NBC seems so…odd these days.

    Finally, Barack obama. He has appeared for the thirteenth time on the cover of TIME this year alone. Now he is planning another prime time press conference. I know the guy is madly in love with himself and the media is still just as infatuated, but networks, advertisers, and viewers are going to get ticked off about him taking up airtime during May sweeps, a time when networks pull out all the stop to attract viewers so they can set their ad rates.

    Obama is going to have to worry about more than oversaturation Networks will lose viewers, advertisers will get to pay less for airtime, and all those American Idol fanatics will curse the preemption. If I were Obama, I would fear the latter the most.
    Blagojevich Ousted Yet Again

    This time from a reality show. How embarrassing.

    Sad news for fans of the theater of the aburd that is modern American culture. Indicted former Illinois Gov. "Hot" Rod Blagojevich could not get court permission to travel to Costa Rica in order to star in I'm a Celebrity...get Me Out of Here!. The refusal to let him leave the country before his trial begins is disappointing, but not unexpected.

    if you are fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the show, the premise is celebrities are "abandoned" in the wild and forced to face challenges voted on by the viewing public with food and luxury items as the reward forsuccess.

    Let us see the rest of the cast, shall we?

    Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt (Hopefully, they will get eaten by crocodiles.)
    John Salley (NBA great must be hurting for money.)
    Janice Dickinson (She is psycho enough to replace Blagojevich.)
    Sanjaya Malakar (You mean his 15 minutes have not expired yet?)
    Stephen Baldwin (You have to have a Baldwin. It is the law.)
    Torrie Wilson (Who?)

    The final three contestants have yet to be named. Do not hold your breath waiting for any surprises. it will probably be two of The Brady Bunch kidsand the drummer from Styx or something.

    They are stretching the definition of celebrity a wee bit there. Full details are here.
    Horry County Wildfire

    The worst wildfire to hit South Carolina in thirty years is still not completely under control. There are fears it may jump the intercoastal waterway.

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Pandering & Playing Victim Cards Over Gay Marriage

    I had hoped FOX News would just go ahead and offer Carrie Prejean a job so we could be done with this whole mess, but culture warriors on both sides of the issue are determined to beat this dead horse until the united States Supreme Court magically finds a right to gay marriage, probably by using foreign law as persuasive authority. The pandering is ridiculous. Ironically, Prejean’s unofficial auditions for FOX with her espousing rightwing positions are probably the least likely to actually be real.

    A couple days ago, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome announced his intention to run for Governor of California. You may recall he allowed gay marriage in San Francisco back in 2004 in defiance of the rule of law. He is a new breed of liberal. It is used to be if there was a perceived injustice, the liberal politician’s mantra was to change the law. With Newsom and his ilk, it is an unjust law must be ignored if it cannot be changed. It ought to give you pause a guy like that can get elected anywhere, much less has a shot at statewide office.

    That was him five years ago, at any rate. Today, he suddenly realized not only would he have to carry a few red districts, but the majority of deep blue California was in favor of Proposition 8. So he went on television and said Carrie Prejean was being unfairly maligned. According to him, one should attack the idea, not the person. The guy obviously believes San Francisco is in the bag, Californians are stupid, and Prejean will pose for a publicity photo with him on the campaign trail.
    The Alabama House of Representatives out of the blue passed an “Atta Girl” (Southern speak for “Good job.”) resolution praising Prejean. I am certain she appreciated that more than Newsome’s word, but is that not incredibly weird? Southern states have a habit of knocking Northern and various liberal states at thedrop of a hat, but that was random and strange even for Alabama.

    But politicians will pander, so that is no surprise. Actually, I am about to address Perez Hilton’s whiny playing of the victim card. That is not very surprising, either, is it?

    Being the intrepid blogger who goes where angels fear to tread, I watched Hilton’s video response so you do not have to. You do not have to thank me. Just stand aside so I can sterilize. He hit on three points, with enough limp wristed hand gestures and hair flopping that I had to reach for the Dramamine two-thirds of the way through. He hit on three points.

    First, he insisted it was a legitimate question. No, it was not. This was a beauty pageant full of grinning debutantes who expect to answer “I love children/animals” or “world peace” to every question. You do not throw a contestant a question about a hot button cultural issue like that. You may have ruined it for her because there is no way the judges wanted another Anita Bryant cutting ribbons at new grocery store openings all over the state. He just wanted to further his reputation as a slimeball.

    Which brings me to his second point, he does not genuinely apologize for calling Prejean a “dumb b*itch.” I already wrote about the agenda of coercively forcing gay marriage and abortion on people who support neither by painting them as either dumb or bigoted. Hilton is oppressed by Prejean’s mere thought gays ought not to get married. It does not matter if Prejean was actually offensive. No matter how nice she was about it—she answered with class, IMHO—all that mattered is whether Hilton’s feelings were hurt.

    Finally, Hilton played the homophobe card. He claimed his critics hate him because he is gay. People do not hate him because he is gay. People, gay and straight, hate him because he isa jackass. I am talking about Hollywood types who whose ears bleed at the mere mention of that character assassinating website he runs. No one cares that he is gay. What they care about is his constant need to promote himself by trampling on everyone else.

    So there you go. Hopefully, the last word on all this mess. It is certainly the last time I mention Perez Hilton. I hate motion sickness.
    Shhhhhh!

    Larry Summers, Barack Obama's chief economic advisor, is working diligently on the credit crunch. I guess he just got plumb tuckered out in the middle of the meeting.

    Shhhhh!

    The whole story is here, if you can stand the knowledge the future of our country is in these people's hands.
    Horry County Wildfire Photos and Video


    Over 15,000 acres have been burned with nearly 100 homes damaged with at least 40 destroyed as of 2:00 PM. Gov. Mark Sanford has declared a state of emergency. The fire is currently spreading to Norrh Myrtle Beach.

    Here is some video footage shot last night by a Horry County resident:I will update as warranted.
    Liberty University Lives Up to Its Name

    Brown University student Kevin Roose transferred to Liberty University in order to secretly write a book exposing the school's conservative religious and political views.

    He became a Christian instead.
    Gillian Anderson for Doctor Who?

    There are plenty of Doctor Who that get filtered through tabloids so bad even the most indiscriminate of parakeets will not poop on them. I ignore virtually all those rumors, but I am publishing this one because, darn it, I want it to be true! Besides. I need an excuse to post a photo of the lovely Gillian Anderson.

    Allegedly, the former Special Agent Dana Scully is in talks is in talks to star as the Rani sometime during the fifth season of Doctor Who. The Rani was a renegade Time Lord and evil genius, although the only thing anyone really remembers about her was the tight, red costume she wore. It was the ‘80’s and the first series was on the verge of cancellation. Who can blame the BBC for tweaking the concepts of evil Time Lords like the Monk and the Master, but with more *ahem* stimulating assets?

    While I like the idea, I am skeptical. Anderson is based in London and she has worked for the BBC in a couple of prominent roles, but the reason she moved overseas and took acting gigs in the first place was to get away from obsessive science fiction fans in the United States. Wholigans are the Trekkies of the United Kingdom. Taking on a high profile role in Doctor Who would defeat the purpose of her exile.

    But she was willing to star in last year’s X-Files: I Want to Believe, so she may be softening up about returning to science fiction. I can certainly understand fan attachment to her. I have been unable to watch more than a couple episodes of Bones or Fringe because I keep lamenting how Mulder and Scully did it so much better. I would love to see her in a different kind of role, but still in the genre, especially with Steven Moffat penning the script.

    Bear in mind her X-Files costar David Duchovny was at one time rumored to be interested in playing the Celestial Toymaker and Patrick Stewart was supposedly going to play the Monk alongside his Hamlet costar David Tennant, so the notion established science fiction actors are going to appear are often heard, but hardly ever come about. Nevertheless, Make it happen, BBC!

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Military Robots Are a Bad Idea

    If the government would have just watched Battlestar Galactica, they would know that. I guess humans have to learn the hard way: To wit:
    They are military robots and their rapidly increasing numbers and growing sophistication may herald the end of thousands of years of human monopoly on fighting war. "Science fiction is moving to the battlefield. The future is upon us," as Brookings scholar Peter Singer put it to a conference of experts at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania this month.

    Singer just published Wired For War - the Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, a book that traces the rise of the machines and predicts that in future wars they will not only play greater roles in executing missions but also in planning them.
    It sounds good, right? tireless, fearless, and eliminates casualties for the good guys? Maybe not:
    "Now programs with millions of lines of code are written by teams of programmers, none of whom knows the entire program; hence, no individual can predict the effect of a given command with absolute certainty since portions of programs may interact in unexpected, untested ways."

    That's what might have happened during an exercise in South Africa in 2007, when a robot anti-aircraft gun sprayed hundreds of rounds of cannon shell around its position, killing nine soldiers and injuring 14.
    On top of that, I still think removing the human element from war would make it a more appealing solution to conflicts rather than diplomacy. We have already reached a point where the military can kill thousands without ever looking them in the eyes. That ought to give us all pause.
    Carrie Prejean & Coercive Approval of Gay Marriage

    Miss California Carrie Prejean continues her audition as a FOX News anchor. She has all the qualifications. She is gorgeous, has nice legs that would look good in a short skirt, hits all the talking points about bailouts, welfare, and has the prerequisite ability to make fundamentalist Christians forget they hate the sexual overtones of a beauty pageant because they really, really hate homosexuals.

    It flashes back to how they believe Mel Gibson was an obscene Hollywood degenerate who used profanity as his first language, engaged in grotesque violent acts, and posed nude until he made The Passion of the Christ and became a Christian icon.

    I am criticizing the hypocrisy here, nothing more. I never judged beauty pageants to be pyrient other than those in which parents tart up their eight year olds and parade them about for their own jollies, nor have I ever been offended by Mel Gibson’s movie career. I would not expect either to conform to my moral code even if I did find such things offensive. So why am I expected to alter my moral code for what Perez Hilton and other gay community activists think?

    Look, I do not care what consenting adults do. If being in a gay relationship makes you happy, go for it. Have a whole harem for all I care. Everyone can do their own thing and pay the price for it, in this life or the next. But this need for coercive approval of that or any other lifestyle is ridiculous. It is not a policy issue for gays. It is a matter of thought control and elimination of dissent.

    Well, pardon me if I do not celebrate your sexual orientation. Everybody has one. It is a matter of fact, not something to take pride in. If they need so much public affirmation, it might be a sign the practice is suspect. It is certainly not the first issue leftists have behaved this way about. Abortion rights are a litmus test for intellectualism. If you are pro-life, you must be a chauvinistic idiot. Along the same lines, if you do not support gay marriage, you do not deserve so much as a beauty pageant tiara.

    Let us be real here. Marriage is a religious institution recognized by the government. Nevertheless, it is inevitable gay marriage will be recognized eventually as an equal right. Iowa and Vermont legalized the practice in order to give California’s Supreme Court persuasive authority to overturn Proposition 8. Even if the Court lets Proposition 8 stand, every reverytime marriage is on the ballot, it loses by smaller and smaller margins. Eventually, it is going to win. There are too many state with emerging, conflicting laws on the issue. Eventually, the United States Supreme Court is going to take it up. Dollars to donuts, they find a Constitutional right to gay marriage.

    But here is my ultimate question to gay marriage supporters: while you are looking to the government to grant you “right” to marry, it is still a religious institution. It is also the religious who are the biggest obstacle in your way. So why do you want to be a part of their traditions? If the government is bending over backwards to help and most religions are equally struggling to prevent any strides towards gay marriage, why not settle for civil unions? It is more than just controlling and forcing approval. It is really is all about destroying traditional foundations.

    The above bikini photo of Carrie Prejean is a further indulgence of the strangeness that is The Eye.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Caprica--"Pilot"

    Any fears you may have had the Battlestar Galactica prequel would go down the path of geek Gahanna like The Phantom Menace and Enterprise can rest assured the series will walk the straight and narrow. I had faith Ron Moore could make lightning strike twice, but it is nice to be rewarded in the end.

    If I said like I am turning o the religious allegory, it is because that is exactly what Caprica does. One of the best aspects of Battlestar Galactica was its theme of the conflicts with morality and religion. Caprica looks specifically looks at the clash of monotheism versus polytheism, the morality of pleasing deities, and the afterlife. That is some heady topics for a television series trying to gain mass appeal, but intriguing nonetheless.

    It is certainly not watered down. Within the first few minutes, we are introduced to computer genius Zoe Graystone and a couple of her friends. They are secretly members of a group called Soldiers of the One, monotheists labeled as a terrorist organization—and for good reason. They stage a suicide bombing on a train which kills Zoe and lawyer Joseph Adama’s young daughter. The parallels to the current struggle with militant Islam are clear. The scene where black smoke billows down the street is almost an exact copy of New Yorkers fleeing the ash from the collapsing South Tower on 9/11.

    But as I said, Zoe is a genius and a chip off the old block. Her father, Daniel, is a Bill gates type who became wealthy developing virtual reality technology, but is now working on robotic soldiers for the government he calls Cylons. Zoe took his virtual reality tech and created a virtual world for teenagers to play in away from everyone else. The place is every prurient kid’s fantasy. Through some twists and turns, Daniel discovers this world and that a perfect copy of Zoe exists within it. He gets the idea to download her virtual self into one of the Cylon prototypes. Daniel needed Adama to help in corporate theft in order to accomplish his goal.

    This is where the heart of the Pilot shines through. What exactly would Zoe be if she were downloaded into a perfect copy? She would have all the thoughts, memories, attitudes, and tastes, but would she have a soul? Daniel does not care. He just wants his daughter back. Adama is horrified at the prospect once he goes through with the theft and discovers the reality of what the copy of his daughter might be. As for Zoe, she believed in the soul

    There is the beginning of the Cylon sentience. Daniel downloads Zoe anyway. The experiment appears to ultimately fail. The failure may have been a good thing. Seeing Zoe’s essence inside the endoskeleton of an original style Cylon was incredibly disturbing. Distraught over the apparent complete loss of his daughter, Daniel throws himself into his work by perfecting cylons as ultimate soldiers. Little does he know Zoe isstill inside one of the prototypes. She can control it….

    Yes, it is going to be tough waiting until 2010 to see the continuation.

    I liked the feel of Caprica. The style stuck a good balance between a more technologically advanced society than our own, yet with a retro feel. The atmosphere was much like a 1950’s socience fiction film like The Day the Earth Stood Still. Considering what theCylons are destined to become, the comparison is apt. I liked the tension of knowing concepts introduced here as benign are eventually going to break your heart. The Cylon are going to rebel and destroy Caprica in 58 years, young William Adama, grieving over his sister, is going to suffer the burden of leading the survivors he does not even believe exists, and the concept of god, which prompted the Cylons to commit genocide, was likely introduced to them by Cylon Zoe. I am anxiously anticipating how we get there from here.

    Rating ***** (out of 5)For the nostalgia buffs, a photo comparison of the original series Cylons versus what the completed version will eventually look like on Caprica.
    Three Reasons the Shake Was a Mistake

    I have already noted my irritation over the chumminess of Barack obama and Hugo Chavez last week. Supporters of Obama have come out the woodworks over the last couple days to defend his friendly greeting to Chavez. Their relationship has been compared to that of Richard Nixon and Mao Tse-Tung or Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. I think that is grossly naïve for three reasons.

    First, Chavez is nothing more than a thug. He is one of the vilest human rights violators in Latin America. Not to mention he has completely destroyed Venezuela’s economy. But aside from his personal moral failings and political ineptitude, he is not a strategic threat. There is no reason to show him any respect. Nixon and Reagan talked to world leaders with values polar opposite to the United States one, because it was a matter of survival and two, they hoped our national values might rub off on China and the Soviet Union. The more that happened, the less likely the cold War would ever erupt into a planet annihilating hot war.

    Second, Nixon and Reagan had a diplomatic relationship. Certainly it was personable, but there was still a recognition that a dangerous state of affairs existed. Obama grinned from ear to ear while shaking Chavez’s hand and later gladly accepted a book accusing the United States of crimes against Latin America without comment. By those two acts, Obama has legitimized Chavez’ thuggery personally. Nixon and Reagan improved the world scene by their actions. Obama has done nothing bad legitimize evil and discouraged the oppressed from resisting.

    Finally, Obama is a lightweight in every way. He is impressionable, particularly when it comes to leftist icons. At various times, he has fallen under the spell of Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. I simply do not trust him to not become enamored with Chavez. Nixon and Reagan were strong in their beliefs. They knew American values were right. Neither came back from their summits with the idea the communists might be onto something. I do not trust Obama’s discernment about such things. Judging by his excuses for the warm Chavez greeting, I think I am onto something.
    The Napolitano Rightwing Extremist Test

    Does Janet Napolitano believe I am a dangerous, rightwing extremist?

    I have been called a rightwing extremist many times before. It is not really a description I embrace. I consider myself more of a conservative libertarian like Tucker Carlson and Lou Dobbs. It is social conservatism that gets one labeled a rightwing extremist. For the most part, my social conservatism is my own. If you want to engage in self-destructive behavior, as long as it remains solely self-destructive, have at it. I am a live and let live kind of guy.
    So am I dangerous? Well, let us see.

    I am unabashedly pro-life. Abortion is a barbaric, silent genocide. The notion abortion access is considered a civil right is the sickest deception in American culture. The Orwellian language describing how the “potential life” of the ‘fetal material” undergoes demise is a sure sign of the squeamish realization of what abortion advocates are really doing. It is not just a lump of cells or a hangnail or skin flakes off the end of your nose. It is a child that the mother and father owe a responsibility to.

    But I do not advocate firebombing abortion clinics, killing abortion doctors or particularly even showing gruesome propaganda footage of abortion procedures and there aftermath. It is a matter of changing hearts long before it gets to that point. It is all about the soul of the woman who finds out she is pregnant. Does she have the courage to do the right thing? Have we taught her what the right thing is? Are we going to be there to support her in doing the right thing? If pro-lifers are going to pin a scarlet letter on her for getting pregnant, why should she have the child?

    I am in favor of the Second Amendment. I do not own a gun, probably never will, and even hold a certain bemusement about people who are way too much in love with theirs. But I am firmly entrenched in the real world. Our video store was robbed numerous times up until it became known that a .38 lived behind the counter and those crazy owners were more than happy to use it. Guns are the great equalizer. I am certain if I were a family man or had been working the store on one of the nights it was robbed, I would want a gun for protection.

    I support gun rights for the general principle the founding Fathers held: power is in the hands of the people. The government should fear that power. Somewhere along the way we have forgotten that a vote is a demand for the government to do something, not a polite suggestion. The government ought to be afraid of not doing what the people want. The only way that is possible is for the people to have a ballot in one hand and a gun in the other. Figuratively speaking, but you get the idea.

    I want small government, vigorous free market capitalism, maintained, state sovereignty respected, illegal immigrants kept out, legal immigrants assimilated, religions practiced, free press holding authority figures accountable regardless of their political leanings, citizens in the streets peacefully protesting government abuses, everyone exercising their personal rights to the extreme, and everyone out of my business.

    Does all this make me dangerous? The only reason I can think it would is because it interferes with the leftist agenda. If that is the case, then yes, I am dangerous. Dangerous because I know way too much about the rights I have as an American citizen. Rights you are supposed to be defending, Ms. Napolitano, not warning me to stop exercising. I understand your problem, too. You are upset because the more I practice those rights, the more I realize how useless you and your job are. I can also see the contempt for the unwashed masses you lord over.

    I hope the only reason you got your job was because you were one of the few people Barack Obama could find who was not delinquent on her taxes. I would hate to think he believed you wre the most qualified for the job.
    Mandy Moore

    Just because.

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Stephen Hawking Gravely Ill

    He must have heard I quoted him in my previous apologetics post. In all seriousness, here is the news story. Hawking wound up a cultural icon just like Richard Dawkins aspires to be. Dawkins has made it to Doctor Who, but Hawking has been mistaken for Larry Flynt on The Simpsons and played poker with Data on Star Trek: the Next Generation:
    Why I Am a Christian II(A)

    Arguments for the Existence of God

    A. The Cosmological Argument

    The Cosmological Argument’s basic premise is the universe had to have a cause and that cause must have been God. God is referred to as the First Cause or the Uncaused Cause. The argument dates back from ancient times when it was promoted by Plato and Aristotle. Thomas Aquinas held that all things which exist depend upon some other being for its existence. The argument still remains valid among philosophers and theologians today.

    That does not mean it is not without its detractors. The Cosmological Argument has come under heavy criticism since the Enlightenment, particularly by philosophers David Hume and Immanuel Kant. Hume attacked the major presupposition that the universe must have a cause but God does not. Kant argued the cosmological Argument relied too much on the suspect Ontological Argument, which states if we can conceive of God, then He must exist. You will note I have nor included the ontological Argument among my four. It is because Kant has a point. We can conceive of pink unicorns as well, but that does not make them real. I do not believe either Hume or Kant have discredited the Cosmological Argument.

    The Cosmological argument can be made with all sorts of elaborate, fancy language, but the easiest way to explain it is to break it down into the simplest form of logical argument:
    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.--If something has a finite past, it must necessarily have a cause. Some scientists theorize since we cannot exclude the possibility of prior existence, the universe may not be finite. Under this idea, the Big Bang occurs over and over again into infinity. Not only are there no physical laws to account for constant universal creation and collapses, recent discoveries have shown the universe’s expansion is actually speeding up from its origin point.

    2. The universe began to exist.--I think a lot of Christians are afraid to lead any validity to the Big Bang Theory, but I see no reason to fear it. It signals a very clear beginning to the universe not unlike that described in Genesis 1:1 where “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.” The theory states the universe has expanded from some hot, dense condition at a finite point. The theory does not address the cause of the Big Bang, but it does not preclude said cause from being God.

    Stephen Hawking has theorized he Big Bang is not an event at all. An event takes place within a space-time context. But the Big Bang has no space-time context; there is neither time prior to the Big Bang nor a space in which the Big Bang occurs. Hence, the Big Bang cannot be considered as a physical event occurring at a moment of time. If one cannot use the laws of physics to explain the origin point of the universe in a natural way, is it not reasonable to look for supernatural explanations?

    I understand that offends the sensibilities of scientists, but this is only part of my argument for God’s existence. I am not hanging my hat merely on the fact we do not have a natural explanation for how the universe came about.

    3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.--There was a definite beginning point to the universe. That point had to have a cause. If there is no scientific explanation for that cause, it must be God.
    The entire argument could fall apart based on one question: who or what caused God to exist? I would point to the Kalam Cosmological Argument which states everything in the universehasa beginning except God. Therefore, God does not requirea cause.

    God is a supernatural being to whom the laws of physics do not apply. I do not believe that necessarily means we will not one day have the scientific ability to point out definite proof of God’s existence. The Bible is clear, however, in II Chronicles 2:6 the universe cannot contain God. Logical, considering God created the universe to begin with.

    What I Believe
    Arguments for the Existence of God
    Reese Witherspoon in a Bikini

    Reese Witherspoon lounges by the pool and demonstrates why I am always on the verge of stalking her.

    Sunday, April 19, 2009

    Family Guy Promotes Pot Legalization

    Seth McFarlane is certainly stretching the freedom of his new, long term development deal with FOX to its limit. I am not knocking him for it, mind you. One ought to stretch every freedom to its breaking point as far as I am concerned. As far as his television productions are concerned, I would think that means tweaking the censors as much as possible. I am afraid, with Family Guy at least, he is flirting dangerously with becoming preachy.

    The last time I addressed a Family Guy episode like this was the “Not All Dogs Go to Heaven” installment a few weeks ago in which Brian’s atheism was exposed by newly born again Meg. By the end, Brian convinced Meg there was no God by pointing out all the cruelty in the world. It was typical atheistic interpretation of theology from the outside looking in, ignoring concepts of original sin and so forth. The point is the show took a position evangelizing atheism as the correct viewpoint while presenting Christians as an ignorant, book burning mob.

    Tonight, the show took a similar route about marijuana legalization. Personally, I do not have a fire in my belly about the legalization of marijuana. I have had friends from high school through law school who smoked it regularly. I know people who have smoked it for medicinal purposes, including a former cancer patient I know would have died if her nausea resulting from chemotherapy could not have been controlled by smoking it. I am certainly not saying it does not have detrimental effects that might be enough to keep it illegal, but I am also inclined to think such detriments area punishment in themselves for using it, so criminalizing marijuana might be an unnecessary double whammy.

    I will say this, when you are out in public and you see some guy being rowdy, loud, and obnoxious and you hear later he has been hauled out of his house later that night because he was beating his wife and kids, which do you think is more likely: is he drunk on legal alcohol or high on illegal pot? It is always the former. Take it for whatever it is worth.

    Something else to chew on, too: our last three presidents have all used cocaine. (Bill Clinton never admitted it, but he tried to hide medical records showing he suffered a deviating septum from snorting.) I am certain all three regret using it, but I doubt any would say they would be better off today if they had gone to prison for it. We may not be ready to legalize drugs in this country, but there is a debate to be had when we are mature enough to discuss the issue rationally.

    All that tangential stuff was to say that tonight’s episode featured Brian getting arrested for possession, then going on a legalization crusade that works. To McFarlane’s credit, he does show the detrimental effects on the townsfolk as they start lighting up. Eventually, Brian sells out to Lois’ father and starts another crusade to make marijuana illegal yet again. He succeeds, but winds with nothing in the end.

    The irony here is Brian was motivated to start his legalization efforts because he believes the drug legalization line that William Randolph Hearst used the same yellow journalism tactics against drugs that he used to spur America’s involvement in the Spanish-American War because widespread hemp use would have damaged his lumber interests. Lois’ father is motivated in the same manner, so Brian eventually goes along with what he originally hated. It is supposed to be ironic, but the conclusion marijuana ought to be legalized is still just as blatant as the endorsement of atheism a few weeks ago.

    The most interesting part is the final commercial break started with an anti-marijuana commercial that I am convinced someone among the powers that be insisted be aired. Someone at the network thought a counter balance was necessary. Obviously, McFarlane has enough clout to put forth just about any content he wants attacking mainstream ideas. How much further is he going to go with it?
    The Inspirational Susan Boyle

    You have seen Susan Boyle’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent. I have seen Susan Boyle’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent. In the last week, multiple opportunities to view Susan Boyle’s singing have presented themselves on MySpace, Facebook, and half the blogs I peruse. Oddly enough, it has not been sent to me in an e-mail. Apparently everyone in the world knows about Susan Boyle except for exiled Nigerian dignitaries with financial issues.

    Just to be thorough, I have to mention a couple other realizations before getting to Boyle. First, Britain’s Got talent appears to be much classier than our version. Admittedly, I have only sampled a few acts from both shows from the internet for comparison, but America’s Got Talent has much more of a Las Vegas lounge act at best, side show freak aspect at worst. Second, is Simon Cowell really flying back and forth from Los Angeles to London every week, bouncing between Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol? Talk about jetlag.

    But anyway, I watched Boyle’s performance off one of three Facebook links I received. I was impressed. She can belt out a tune Ella Fitzgerald style, no doubt. I even liked how she unassumingly showed everyone in the theater what she was made of. There was a certain charm that she seemed surprised when it was all said and done herself.

    I am pleased the 47 year old virgin, who obviously has not had much of a life, is having fun in getting recognition. She is one of those rare phenoms that has emerged in both the United Kingdom and the united States simultaneously. Heck, even Larry King took the time to ask her appropriate questions, which is an even bigger rarity.

    I am pleased about all that, but what I am amazed by is how inspirational she is to many people. I have to confess I am awfully cynical and hardened by this point in my life. Circumstance have done it to me. So I have spent quite a bit of time reading about what Boyle means to others. The consensus is an inner beauty and a rare genuineness.

    Boyle is not a fake, Barbie doll type with a boob job, liposuction, and collagened lips. She made no effort to market herself with anything except her special gift: her singing voice. In a world where everything is sculpted to suit the masses, airbrushed to cover flaws, and hyped obnoxiously, it is nice to see something real rise to the top. Boyle’s rise to fame is so unusual, there accusations it isall a put on. Even I am not cynical enough to believe such drivel. For that, I take some satisfaction I am not too far gone.

    It looks like I was inspired by Boyle after all.