Monday, January 31, 2005

Carnival of the Commies #3

TigerHawk sums up leftists blogs to make life more enjoyable for the rest of us. This is quite the service.

Germany, the Pimp

The German government tells person to become a prostitute or we'll cut off your welfare benefits. Now, that's a welfare-to-work program.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

AP, AFP, and Reuters Photographers In League With Terrorists?

That looks like the best explanation of these photos.

John Kerry Disgraces Himself on Meet the Press

I'm not sure who is happier about Kerry not being President, myself or the free Iraqis. Note to Democrats: calling these Iraqi elections illegitimate is disgraceful and most Americans will see it as such. Note to senior senators from MA: if you led an effort to cut off support to South Vietnam, stop comparing Iraq to Vietnam. Is your treason going to be the common thread between the two wars?

Russert also asks Kerry why he never signed the form which would allow unrestricted access to his military records. He also tries to back up the Christmas in Cambodia stuff. The Dems would be absolutely nuts to run this guy again in '08.

Wear Blue Ink on Your Index Finger

Show your support for the Iraqis. A very nice idea from an Andrew Sullivan reader.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

National Debt In Historical Perspective

From the Skeptical Optimist.

Link Here.

Confusing Analogy and Identity

Jim Berkley lays hold of something very important. People constantly confuse analogy and identity. "If you allow two men from marrying, what in your logic, would prevent two or more of anything from marrying?" "So you're saying you are saying homosexual relationships are the same as this other thing?" No! I'm just saying your logic isn't good. And if you don't understand arguments by analogy, it is going to be hard to argue (in the nice sense) an issue with someone.
But let's say I claim: "You know, using the logic you've just given me, if that 'proves' for you that homosexual practice can be okay for some people, you would also have to logically concede that incest could also be okay for some people." That statement is using a logical analogy: If it's "true" for instance X, by analogy it must also be "true" for instance Y, which is analogous.

I can tell you the response to this that I get at least half the time: "How dare you say that gay people practice incest!"

The problem is that the responder has confused analogy with identity. Homosexual practice isn't identical to incest. No one has even intimated that it is, or that homosexuals practice incest. But if the criteria used for moral propriety is only two committed people who love each other, then the reason for approving incest would be analogous to the reason for approving homosexual practice.

The New York Times And The Passive Voice

TigerHawk analyzes grammar as a means of misleading readers. Very interesting. Especially for me, since my English skills have never been that great.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Class-Action Lawsuit Against MGM

Apparently, widescreen editions of MGM films were chopped from the already chopped versions of the fullscreen editions. If you have any widescreen James Bond, Silence of the Lambs, or other MGM films you can get $7.10 or a new DVD.

T.O. Is Playing

I've been pondering the doctor refusing to clear T.O. I there is a high degree of C.Y.A. in that decision. The Eagles trainer perfectly sums that up. There is no upside to clearing T.O. with some risks for the doctor. There is an upside for T.O. and the Eagles. And don't let outside non-Philly sports writers fool you. Barring a setback, Owens will be playing.

Onion Interview With Seth MacFarlane, Creator of the Family Guy

The staff of the Simpsons loathe the Family Guy. I know there are similarities between the two shows, but that's just plain silly.

I've always wondered how this show got cancelled. It was on for half a season, then pulled. On again, pulled. Finally, it got a following and then put against Friends and Survivor. It seemed like someone at Fox had it out for the Family Guy.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Philadelphia Inquirer Runs NY Times Farmhouse Ales Articles

I'm reading a new book about Farmhouse Ales. They are probably the most versatile styles of beer in regards to food. These are styles worth getting to know better.

The Dude, Scott Morrison, of McKenzie Brew House in Chadds Ford, PA is prominantly featured in the main article. That's very good, because a brewer could always use more focus on his quality brews. A brewpub does not always mean quality beer. It could be a gimmick to get you in and to buy the food. A focus on quality brew is often a distraction for owners who are concentrating on getting money from customers, the vast majority of whom do not care if the beer is tasty or not. They're Bud drinkers anyway.

I personally do not care for the title of the first article. I like wine. I am secure enough in my love and esteem of beer to not feel the need to mention how beer is better or the equal of wine. But... the Philadelphia Inquirer's audience may need the comparison since they are generally wine people.

Here are the links:
Farmhouse Ales, Equals of Fine Wine

Bold Foods to Pair With the Brews

Neither Team Will Go Crazy With Gameplan

A nice article about doing too much with the extra week between games.

Story of Tight End Pulled Out of Retirement for Super Bowl

It doesn't hurt that he was training for a triathalon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Archeology Confirms Historicity of Edomite Kingdom in Old Testament
Prof. Adams of Hamilton's McMaster University says, he and an international team of colleagues fit into place a significant piece of the puzzle of human history in the Middle East -- unearthing information that points to the existence of the Bible's vilified Kingdom of Edom at precisely the time the Bible says it existed, and contradicting widespread academic belief that it did not come into being until 200 years later.

Their findings mean that those scholars convinced that the Hebrew Old Testament is at best a compendium of revisionist, fragmented history, mixed with folklore and theology, and at worst a piece of outright propaganda, likely will have to apply the brakes to their thinking.

Because, if the little bit of the Old Testament's narrative that Prof. Adams and his colleagues have looked at is true, other bits could be true as well.

This has happened before with Pontious Pilate and the two kings of Babylon. I mentioned the grammatical example before of the proper dating of the book of Daniel.

This will happen again. Somebody will say X in the Bible isn't accurate, because that will help convince themselves that the Bible isn't accurate. Something will show up which will correct that belief. They'll move onto something else.

Arab Columnists Speaks Truth: Terrorists Motivated by Cultural and Religious Factors, Not Povery
The relationship between the phenomenon of terrorism in our society and culture is like the relationship betweenthe cause and consequence. A thorough study of this phenomenon shows that the … real reason behind the mobilization of a handful of young men by this deviant group is purely cultural. This means that these youths were brought up in a special cultural atmosphere which finds its roots in astereotyped understanding of religion. This understanding serves as a basic incubator to this group. This may explain the reason why some youths belonging to richfamilies and others who are well positionedin the state's civil service hierarchyare implicated in terrorist crimes.

This [means] that financial and economic factors can not be associated with this group. Therefore, it is a cultural and religious factor that motivated them [to kill] innocent people and destroy the country's infrastructure.

Zarqawi Shows That They Really Do Hate Freedom

It's not just about Israel.

AARP Manipulating Social Security Poll Results?

Google Debuts Video Searches

Beta version of a video search. You put in a search phrase like "Scalia" and you get a bunch of C-SPAN video in return. Text from the video and a still from the video is displayed.

Searching video sounds like an incredibly hard thing to do.

What Kind of Tort Are You?


and go to because law school made laura do this.

Or when law students snap...

Eagles vs. Patriots

Thoughts about the Super Bowl:

Even though I am an Eagles fan, any betting man would give the advantage to the Patriots. They've already won two Superbowls. They shut down Peyton Menning and the Colts. The Steelers barely got by the Jets and their rookie QB was looking like a ... rookie QB who is better than average. Still a rookie QB though.

Given that, the Patriots and Bellichek do not walk on water. They've won two Superbowls by a field goal each. If that goes differently, they are the next Buffalo Bills. Bellichek instead is a coach who failed in Cleveland and doing well in New England, not some super-duper genius.

Mike Martz becomes a great coach instead of an odd-ball head coach who was once a great offensive coordinator.

So in the age of parity, the Eagles definitely have a shot, especially with a very good defense. And a good shot at that. Favorites? Of course not. But no Philadelphia fan would be comfortable with being the favorite going into a championship game or series.

Watching the national media slobber over the Patriots and Billichek is at the same time amusing and nauseating.

Almost as amusing is hearing the people calling the game for TV. Whoever is doing well at a given point in time, they lavish praise over.

Chris Collonsworth hates the Eagles. And if the other team is doing well at a given moment he loves to push the dagger in and twist. I wonder what ever happened to him as a player to make him loathe the Eagles so.

I can't watch Joe Buck without think of Leon.

For some reasons, ex-1990's Cowboys make very good media people. Moose Johnson, Aikman, and Michael Irving are pretty good media personalities and do a good job. Irving with the most flair of course. I would like Joe Buck to ditch Collinsworth and team him with Tony Siragusa.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

BeerAdvocate Interview With Allagash

Allagash is a small brewery in Maine which does Belgian-style beers. This interview centers around their experimentation with aging their beers in bourbon casks. If you like bourbon and/or beer, this is well worth a read.

Speaker of Italian Senates Speaks at U.N. About Anti-Semitism
"We have an obligation to admit that anti-Semitism is still with us," Pera said. "Today, it also feeds on such subtle and insidious distinctions as are often made between Israel and the Jewish state, Israel and its governments, Zionism and Semitism. Or, it crops up when the struggle for life led by the Israelis is labeled 'state terrorism.' "

Even Europe's Constitutional Treaty cannot make reference to the continent's Judeo-Christian roots, he railed.

"If we believe that our core values are no better than others; if we start thinking that the cost of defending them is too high; if we give in to the blackmail or fear, then we have no more instruments to counter the anti-Jewish racism which continues to poison us than we have to counter the fundamentalist and terrorist racism which puts peaceful co-existence at risk."

Is the Media the Fourth Estate or a Fifth Column?
Whether the one-sided reporting of the war in Vietnam was a factor in the American defeat there used to be a matter of controversy. But, in recent years, high officials of the Communist government of Vietnam have themselves admitted that they lost the war on the battlefields but won it in the U.S. media and on the streets of America, where political pressures from the anti-war movement threw away the victory for which thousands of American lives had been sacrificed.

Too many in the media today regard the reporting of the Vietnam war as one of their greatest triumphs. It certainly showed the power of the media -- but also its irresponsibility. Some in the media today seem determined to recapture those glory days by the way they report on events in the Iraq war.

World Democracies and Iraq

William Shawcross ponders:
It is shocking that so few democratic governments support the Iraqi people. Where are French and German and Spanish protests against the terror being inflicted on voters in Iraq? And it is shocking that around the world there is not wider admiration of, assistance to and moral support (and more) for the Iraqi people. The choice is clear: movement towards democracy in Iraq or a new nihilism akin to fascism - Islamist fascism.

William, they hate America more than they care about people and freedom.

Seattle Times Reports on Felons Illegally Voting

This problem isn't confined to Washington State. Here is a summation of what caused it:
Election officials in King and Pierce counties say voter-registration procedures are designed to make it easy for people to vote. Instead of employing a rigorous screening process, they rely on people to be honest when registering or voting. Still, state officials say they are working to improve the system.

Moter Voter and other laws have made it too easy to register to vote, and those laws are too trusting. Fraud is the inevitable consequence.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

R.I.P., Johnny Carson

Very sad. I can't believe it's been 13 years since he's been on the air.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

TigerHawk Documents NJ Grocery Store Snow-Related Panic

Roe v. Wade Anniversary

Today is the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Regardless of your position on abortion, I am confident in saying that this decision is horrible.

As George Will recently said, if you can have differing amounts of rights based on the fact that 9 is divisible by 3, you have bad legal reasoning.

For All You Transformers Fans

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Beer Quote of the Day

The best wine's only good reason for existence is to use its barrel to age an even finer, more exquisite beer. - Venom

Old Habits Die Hard

John Kerry finds it very hard to stop criticizing the administration overseas. Today, the day of the inauguration, give thanks John Kerry is consigned to the Senate.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

First Cat to Get More Publicity in the New Term

India "Willie" Bush is the cat's name.

Disturbing Pictures of the Day #2 and #3

Around 1985, Bill Gates posed for photos for Tean Beat magazine. I am at a loss for words to describe them.

Disturbing Picture of the Day #1

For the last Stars Wars film, Hasbro is coming out with a Darth Tater.

As seen in this photo released in New York by Hasbro, Inc., Friday, Jan. 14, 2005, Hasbro, Inc.'s Playskool division is launching a new Mr. Potato Head figure, Darth Tater.  Available at stores nationwide in February, kids will be able to have all kinds of mix 'n match,Mr. Potato Head fun with this wacky spud dressed as the infamous Star Wars saga villain, Darth Vader. (AP Photo/ Hasbro, Inc., HO)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Blueprints For Winning a Counter-Insurgency

CIA Thinks European Welfare State Unsustainable

Not enough new people being born to replace the elderly. Makes sense. Islamic immigration could offset that.

Coors Actually Produces Good Beer

In a brewery, nestled in Coors Field in Denver, CO, Coors owns a small brewery which actually makes good beer.

Being honest, Coors doesn't make good beer. And it's not because they lack ability. The market for good beer won't make the investors happy.

Those at this small brewery definitely have a chip on their shoulder.
At first, a lot of people thought, 'Oh Coors is doing this brewery and the beer is going to suck, blah blah blah.' But no. For the most part, we don't. It's real gratifying when most people come into town for the GABF and they try the Barmen and are like, 'Oh my god. I can't believe this is a Coors product.' People who know what they're doing and what they're tasting respect Coors. It's usually the novice beer snob who thinks, 'Coors is piss water.' But you know, that's a really tough style of beer to make. Whether I like them or not, I respect them and the American Light Lagers. That's a tough nut to crack. There's no room for error. The analogy we always use with people is, 'Making a beer like Coors Light, or like our helles or our pils, is like wearing a Speedo on the beach. There's nowhere to hide.' If you're flabby or have a little excess body hair, it's not going to look good. Now, if you're making a stout or an IPA, there's roast malts and tons of hops covering up any errors. It's kind of like wearing baggy shorts and a big t-shirt. Or if you make an imperial stout, it's like wearing a sweat suit on the beach.

This quote is true as far as it goes. A good beer usually has enough ingredients in it to cover up flaws. And it takes a lot of talent to make a Coors Light or Bug Light. It probably takes a lot of talent to make Wonder Bread, but that doesn't mean it compares to an artisan-made bread. A wonder of modern engineering, but nothing worth drinking.

We Support Death Squads

Courtesy of Tiger Hawk.

For some reason we are supposed to feel bad about squads commissioned to kill bad guys.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Conservative History Book Coming Out Soon

Should be interesting. A counterpart to that People's History book mentioned in Good Will Hunting.

Reading a Radical Leftist Can Be Fun

Things I never knew:

1) There was no International Communist Conspiracy.
2) Clinton attacked Yugoslavia primarily over oil pipelines and other such corporate stuff.
3) George Soros is part of this conspiracy.
4) The opposition in the Ukraine seems to be part of this capitalist conspiracy.
5) The Cold War was just a front for our capitalist evilness.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Former CBS News Head Laments CBS' Liberal Bias Among Other Things

Here would be my take on how to handle the news. Make every reporter and producer tell us what they think politically. Try to be objective. But knowing where someone is coming from would make me more willing to listen to someone I may disagree with. It also helps me filter what I'm listening to.

Remember When Democrats Were Talking About Saving Social Security?

I didn't remember all of this too clearly myself to be honest.

Psst, the Deficit Is Shrinking

Don't tell anyone!

Is the deficit falling due to spending decreases? It has to be, because of the tax cuts...right? Of course not!

Spending up 6.1%. Tax revenues are up 10.5%.

Dallas Eliuk on Price Is Right

Our favorite lacrosse player, Dallas Eliuk of the Philadelphia Wings, will appear on the February 11th (that's a Friday) episode of the popular game show.

Scalia Kicking Intellectual Butt, Taking Intellectual Names

Justice Scalia debated Justice Breyer regarding using international opinions in Supreme Court decisions (Real Audio video link).

Scalia made incredibly good points. First, when people look at international views, they are looking for views which support their leanings. They don't look at the strict anti-abortions laws all across the world and think "Gee, I should import those laws." They don't want to import Islamic shar'ia law. They want to selectively import from overseas.

This talk also has another excellent point from Scalia. He specifically says that he does not want to write anti-abortion laws. For 200 years, no one thought the Constitution said anything about abortion. Let legislatures express the democratic will of the people by passing laws especially on complex moral issues.

I love Justice Scalia.

A Soldier's View: The Media Is Aiding and Abetting the Enemy in Iraq
Unfortunately, this sort of incomplete reporting has become the norm for the media, whose poor job of presenting a complete picture of what is going on in Iraq borders on being criminal.

Rules for the New Media

More like guidelines.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that two bloggers received payments from the Howard Dean campaign. This is right after reports that Armstrong Williams, a conservative host, was given money from the White House to talk about No Child Left Behind.

I personally do not care if a talking head or blogger gets a payment, only so long as they disclose it.

People confuse campaign contributions often times for bribes when they are not. Same thing may be going on here. Many times you give money to people who already agree with you. I'm sure those liberal bloggers already liked Dean.

Disclosing the fact of payments will go a long way in being upfront with people about where you are coming from. That alone should be enough. Bloggers and talking heads aren't pretending to be objective.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Mainline Lutherans Exemplifying Integrity--Or Maybe Not

The mainline Lutheran church advocates not changing their policies against homosexual sex. And, at the same time, not enforcing those policies.

A not-so-noble attempt to keep the denomination from splitting I guess.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dealing With Problems

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Socialized Health Plans in Britain and Tennessee Running Out of Money

They are running out of money for a very good reason. Pricing in a free economic system convey information. High prices generally communicate "we have limited supplies of this based on how many people want this."

In a socialist or socialist-lite system, this information isn't accurately conveyed. What free medicine or very inexpensive care tells people is "come as often as you like." This creates much more demand than the system can handle. And when someone else is footing all the bills, this means a lot of money is spent.

None of us want people to die because they can't afford health care. But a system which doesn't discourage people from seeking more health care than need will lead to one thing: rationing. It could be by an HMO or by government, but you will get rationing. And then people will complain about rationing.

When the rationing is done by an HMO board or by a government official, those rules tend to be extremely inflexible.

Both HMO's and governments spend other people's money. That is their common denominator. Tax rules make it more feasible to your company to make health care decisions. And, ultimately, runaway costs because of the reasons listed above created the HMO rationing system. At least you can sue an HMO. I shudder in horror when governments start rationing health care.

John Ashcroft and Calico Cats

Apparently, there is an urban legend that John Ashcroft believes calico cats are a sign from the devil.

I own a calico cat, among three cats my wife and I own. I find the idea of them being a sign from the devil to be very believable.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Powerline Breaks Down CBS Report

The big question that isn't really answered: what was the nature of contacts between the Kerry campaign and CBS?

John Lott Jr. Breaks Down Canadian Drug Re-importation

Basicly, he says what I said: we are subsidizing Canada. But it's much better argued and much better written.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Peter Uberroth Suggests Alternative Tax System


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Are Sexually Aggressive Women More Likely To Be Harmed Emotionally And Physically?
It's the classic fairy tale: The boy gets the girl, and they live happily ever after. But modern society has offered a new twist on the story: The girl is expected to play the aggressor, "hook up" and move on.

Movies such as "Mean Girls," TV shows such as "Desperate Housewives," women's magazines and pop music all celebrate female romantic aggression as "girl power," but critics say these portrayals fail to show what such power leaves behind: physically and emotionally scarred women.

Iraqis Implicate More U.N. Workers For Taking Bribes In Oil-For-Food Scandal

My denomination, the PC(USA), pretty much holds to the view that international actions are illegal unless the United Nations approves of it. Yes, they seem to hold to the view that the U.N. is the rightful world governmental agency. That seems funny now.
Investigators from the House International Relations Committee said several current and former officials in Iraq's Oil, Health and Transportation ministries have told them that U.N. staffers assigned to the "661 Committee" — the U.N. Security Council group that oversaw sanctions and approved oil-for-food contracts — regularly took bribes and kickbacks from suppliers of aid to Iraq during the program.

The Iraqi ministry officials said the U.N. staffers, based in New York, were paid to accelerate approval of oil-for-food contracts or provide secret information on why certain suspicious contracts with Saddam Hussein's regime were blocked by the 661 Committee, investigators said.

Monday-Morning Quarterbacking The Use of Nazis In The Cold War

I'm currently watching a show on the History Channel about the use of Nazis after WWII in the intelligence service. A ton of people on the program, until the last five minutes of the show, are saying about how horrible it is that we used all these bad people. One New York congresswoman seems particularly disturbed.

I'm sorry if I'm mean or something. But these complaints are naive, and they are the type of complaints that can only be made comfortably in hindsight.

Communists were very bad people. Nazis were very bad people. When the Nazis were the main threat, we worked with Stalin. When Stalin was the main threat, we worked with former Nazis. Are any of the above people complaining about working with Stalin?

This kind of thinking brought us the Toricelli amendment, which prevented intelligence services from recruiting bad people. We are not going to be recruiting choir boys to infiltrate Al Queda.

It's an imperfect world. Sometimes you got to deal with bad people to prevent an even greater evil

Did Puritanism Turn Into Americanism?

A very fascinating article. Sadly, very few people have a good understanding of Puritanism, so much of this article may be lost on the average reader. Sadly, many have a caricature in their minds of who Puritans are. And many more have not been exposed to much theology, which would make this article of greater interest.

In the interest of a little education for this article here is what you need to know: they were Calvinists; they had beliefs about the covenant people of God (Israel in the past) which began to be applied to America.

I am a Calvinist, but, depending on how far you take it, I have disagreements with their views of a temporal covenant people in the secular realm. Actually, it's pretty complicated. But I definitely have a problem with that view being transferred to America. I do believe the church universal is the covenant people of God. And I do believe that America has been blessed by God under His providence.

John Kerry Meets With Syrian Leader

I hope he displays better judgment than he did during his Vietnam days.

Overall, this looks like he will be running again in 2008. Dreams die hard. I don't think he'll be able to get through Hillary Clinton. He probably realizes that the Clinton's weren't as helpful as they could have been in '04.

Just In Case The Secret Service Missed Something

1st dog gives new puppy the once over.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Dutch Doctors Want More Authority to Now Kill Healthy Patients Who Want to Die

This deserves a word from the late Francis Shaefer:
There is a "thinkable" and an "unthinkable" in every era. One era is quite certain intellectually and emotionally about what is acceptable. Yet another era decides that these "certainties" are unacceptable and puts another set of values into practice. On a humanistic base, people drift along from generation to generation, and the morally unthinkable becomes the thinkable as the years move on. Schaeffer, writing in the 1970s, perceptively continued, The thinkables of the eighties and nineties will certainly include, things which most people today find unthinkable and immoral, even unimaginable and too extreme to suggest. Yet - since they do not have some overriding principle that takes them beyond relativistic thinking - when these become thinkable and acceptable in the eighties and nineties, most people will not even remember that they were unthinkable in the seventies. They will slide into each flew thinkable without a jolt.

James White and Jeffrey Niell comment:
Schaeffer was not arguing that something is worthy of emulation simply because it was previously done. By itself, Dad and Mom's conduct, while often qualitatively better and more polite than that of their children observed at the local mall, is not an adequate standard for morality. In fact, the point is that the basis of yesterday's morality was of such poor quality that it could not prevent its "unthinkables" from becoming "thinkables" in short order. One of yesterday's unthinkables - the social and moral acceptance of homosexuality in both orientation and act, in both desire and deed - is presented to us today as quite thinkable, and though we are speaking of morality and not the changing tide of fashion, our modern society can seldom tell the difference.

Europe, Thy Name Is Cowardice

Their family name is appeasement.

Angry Palestinians Rise Up Against Richard Gere

Miss Beazley Has Arrived

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

So the Angels are changing their name from "Anaheim Angels." I only have one thing to ask. Why this hybrid monstrousity?

Maybe it's a trend.

The New York Giants of Swampland North Jersey.
The New Jersey Devils of We Don't Know What the New Jersey Devil Is In North Jersey.
The Dallas Cowboys of Irving.
The Montreal Expos of ???

Canada Not Allowing Re-importation of Drugs
Bush "is getting Canada to do the dirty work" of shutting down a cheap supply of foreign-made drugs that are popular with American consumers but unpopular with U.S. drug companies, charged David MacKay, executive director of an association of Canadian mail-order pharmacies.

Let me break this down for Mr. MacKay. Socialism is a parasite. Canadian socialism depends on America to suck up higher prices so Canadians can have lower prices. Canadian government officials realize that they would bear a lot more cost if they supplied drugs to the U.S. Beyond simple supply and demand, I would assume that there would be a lot more Canadian paperwork.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Oliver Stone Blaiming Failure of 'Alexander' to American Public's View of Homosexuality

Look, I know Greek's had a lot of homosexual sex (one of the reasons I don't believe that homosexuality is biologically determined). And I think homosexual sex is a sin. Frankly, the biographical depiction of a pagan (in the strictest meaning of the word) engaging in immoral acts bothers me very little.

I suspect that others like me didn't think Alexander had blonde highlights nor did we thinkt he movie looked any good.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

You Thought You Had a Bad Day?

A Czech man tried to commit suicide with a chainsaw but failed. It became lodged in his spine.

Would You Like to Have a Treaty With Al Queda

For all of those who want the Geneva Convention to apply to them.

U.S. Falls Out of the Top Ten Most Economically Free Countries

The study also shows a strong between economic growth and economic freedom. But one of those wasckily conservatives could have told you that.

A troubling trend in our country has been excessive government spending. That hurt us in the rankings.

DNA Bringing Down the Claims of the Mormon Church

Mormonism has always claimed that Native Americans were actually decendant of a lost tribe of Israel. DNA testing hasn't been kind to that theory.

Tsunami May Ease Terrorism

Or maybe Osama is an attention hog.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

George Will Sets Forth How to Disentangle Abortion and the Judiciary

He is writing as the president...
Because I think it is improper to ask how a prospective judicial nominee would vote on a specific question, I shall not know how my nominees would rule in the event — an unlikely event — that the court revisits the constitutional foundation of abortion rights established by Roe v. Wade in 1973. However, I will seek judicial nominees disinclined to concoct spurious constitutional mandates for their policy preferences, as I believe the justices did in Roe. On the other hand, the orderly development of constitutional law requires that justices be generally disposed to respect precedents, even dubious ones, if they have been repeatedly reaffirmed for decades.

I believe abortion is wrong, but also that states should have, as they did until Roe, the power to set abortion policy. If states come to conclusions different than mine, so be it. But remember: Were Roe overturned, that would not make abortion illegal; it would merely re-empower states to regulate the practice. And restoring the legal conditions of 1973 would not restore the social context of 1973.

In probably the best legal insight I've seen in quite some time, Will continues to argue...
Notice the language of 'trimesters.' How is that demarcation grounded in the text, structure or previous construings of the Constitution? Ask yourself: What would constitutional law pertaining to abortion be if the number of months in the gestation of an infant were a prime number — say, seven or eleven? That the court spun different degrees of abortion rights from the fact that nine is divisible by three reveals that whatever the court was doing was not constitutional reasoning.

Let that sink in. The Supreme Court established rights at an arbitrary point because two numbers are divisible. Will is correct. That can't be based on constitutional reasoning.


Ignorance Shrouds Capatilism's Role in Reducing Poverty

Shockingly, this ran in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Tape Shows Saddam, Al-Jazeera Link


This is a picture of a leading Palestinian presidential candidate being held up by terrorists. R.I.P, peace process.

The Tsunami And The Problem of Evil

It never ceases to amaze me that people, esp. Christians, when discussing the problem of evil never discuss the answers Jesus gave on the subject in the New Testament. You'll see why in a second.

I've tackled the subject myself in the past, so I don't exempt myself from this criticism.

The question today is how could a good God allow a tragedy like the tsunami to occur. Jesus was asked a similar question, upped the ante Himself, and gave an answer. Here is the relevant passage:
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them - do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

What is really illustrative of Jesus' answer? Repent or you too will all perish? Ummm...that's not really what we were expecting from Jesus, Marxist activist (or however else we imagine Jesus).

If you understand the nature of God and the sinfullness of man you are not asking questions like "Why does God allow bad things happen to good people?" You wonder "Now that I know that I'm a sinner, why doesn't God strike me dead?"

The original question is a good question. But if you are on the evil side of the equation, you need to ask the question carefully. And you need to start asking the right questions, with the right assumptions. There are no good people. So be careful when you complain about evil.

The Toyota Taliban

The United Nations relief workers are engeandering ill will in Afghanistan.
An enormous and highly profitable international aid apparatus has assembled in Kabul and has largely ignored the input of the Afghan people or their largely American liberators; the latter stand by in disbelief as taxpayers contributions to Afghanistan disappear into outfitting the extravagant needs of European aid community. The UN pays $400 a day (more than a year’s pay for an average Afghan ) plus a generous per diem. This enormous aid infestation has fostered rightful resentment. The UN and associated NGOs ran through years of aid funding in a matter of months. Now when money cannot be found for reconstruction, the UN issues reports criticizing the parsimonious Americans. Meanwhile, the UN and NGOs live like pashas. Hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for Afghans have been transformed into fleets of top-of the-line Toyota Landcruisers, villas and estates to house their workers complete with swimming pools, an endless supply of underpaid servants, luxurious furnishings (accented with looted antiquities,) the latest laptops, video equipment, cases of Johnny Walker Blue and the bling bling ...perks that might even seem excessive to Ken Lay are justifiable expenses charged off to the US. No accountability, no oversight. They don’t bother cooking the books, they don’t even keep the books!

Afghan citizens fear that vocal objections to this patronizing treatment will result in economic reprisals by the UN....

Social Security Calculator

Shows you how much you should expect from the Social Security system. You can adjust the results. For example, if you are an African-American male your rate of return will be considerably less.

Author Argues Disaster Relief Is Unconstitutional

Quoting Davy Crockett:
I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity, but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.

Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Sir, this is no debt. We cannot without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.

Canadians Getting So Many Rights It is Becoming Meaningless

A Canadian writer asks some tough questions. Does he only have rights enumerated in their version of the Bill of Rights? If the courts give out rights to so many trivial things, does a right have any real meaning?

Mark Steyn Contrasts European and American Celebrations of Christmas

And he asks the age-old question. How is a continent which never works going to support the welfare state?

What Would You Like on Your Tombstone?

I'm not that familiar with the recently deceased Susan Sontag. Here's what Kevin Myers had to say:
If ever a single person was living proof that intelligence is a meaningless quality without modest common sense, it was Susan Sontag who died last week.

Quick. And cuts right to the bone. Bull Durham would agree.

If you like reading a good thrashing for its own sake, I highly commend this article.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

U.N. Taking Credit for Aussie and U.S. Relief Efforts
The UN is taking credit for things that hard-working, street savvy USAID folks have done. It was USAID working with their amazing network of local contacts who scrounged up trucks, drivers, and fuel; organized the convoy and sent it off to deliver critical supplies. A UN “air-freight handling centre” in Aceh? Bull! It's the Aussies and the Yanks who are running the air ops into Aceh. We have people working and sleeping on the tarmac in Aceh, surrounded by bugs, mud, stench and death, who every day bring in the US and Aussie C-130s and the US choppers; unload, load, send them off. We have no fancy aid workers' retreat -- notice the priorities of the UN? People are dying and what's the first thing the UN wants to do? Set up "a camp for relief workers" one that would be "fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything."

The UN is a sham.

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