Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What's Going on With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Black Sabbath, whose first year of ellegibility was 1994 or so, just got in.

Blondie got in.

Van Halen did not.

Except for Pink Floyd, no progressive rock acts are in the hall.

I'm not a prog rock or Black Sabbath fan, but something isn't right about this.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Why Would America Want to Become More Like Europe?

Good question. That's not to say that Europe is horrible or America is the best at everything. But Europe is not the end-all and be-all. Europe is not a monolith.

Some former Soviet-block countries have added a flat tax. Ireland has moved towards more economic freedom, for their betterment.

Christmas Should Be Celebrated With Stuff

Hat tip to John Rabe.
[D]o not fall for the lie that the spirit of Christmas is an ethereal kind of thing. This is the celebration of the Incarnation, when the eternal Logos of God took on a material body, which He still has. Do not, therefore, join in the general lamentations about "materialism." This is a celebration of God taking on a material body. It is therefore a holiday that should focus on stuff.

By stuff, I mean ribbons, decorations, fudge, wreaths, cider, presents, feasting, toasts, shopping with joy, putting up a tree, sending cards, learning a Christmas piece on the piano, and more fudge.

Of course, we all know how to sin with stuff—we were living in a pretty earthy state of sin before Christ came. But He did not come to whisk us out of this world in order that we might go celebrate some kind of Gnostic holiday in heaven. We are to honor the Lord Jesus with our stuff. So do not drink too much, do not run up your credit cards, and don’t try to buy friends with presents.

But God’s answer to sin begins with the Incarnation. We do not escape from sin by denying, or trying to deny, His method for saving us. Our salvation lies in receiving, resting, accepting, and imitating. And how do we imitate? One thing we must do is use stuff.

Senator Lieberman Positive About Iraq

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Monday, November 28, 2005

It Looks Like Cindy Sheehan Has Run Her Course, Even With the Media

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Iraq Link Dump

Friday, November 25, 2005

Controversial New Book on Mao

I guess its controversial since it paints him as pure evil and incompetent instead of evil and partially competent.
In Berkeley, where revolutionaries schooled in the '60s tilt against global capitalism and post-socialist state China is a growing field of academic study, radicals and scholars alike are coming to grips with a new biography that paints Chinese communist icon Mao Zedong as pure evil.

In "Mao: The Unknown Story," authors Jung Chang and Jon Halliday portray Mao (1893-1976) as a cynical hedonist who rose to absolute power on Soviet strongman Josef Stalin's muscle and his willingness to crush millions of peasants in famine, war and sadistic repression.

The authors, who spent a decade on the project and scoured private and government records in China and Russia, say Mao killed 10 times more innocents than Hitler and was as pitiless as he was incompetent as a revolutionary. The fabled Long March of the 1930s? Bungled. The Cultural Revolution of the '60s and '70s? Nothing more than a murderous fit of pique by a tyrant upset that he'd been crossed by rivals and enamored of public torture.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an essential part of who we are. Here is recommended reading:

Doug Wilson's argument that thankfulness shows we inwardly know there is a God to be thankful to.

Gratitude: Pathway to Permanent Change

Just read my post from last year.

Exploding Whale Video

Not an urban legend afterall.

Nordstrom's in No Rush to Deck the Halls
Retailers began their holiday sales -- including holiday decorations -- earlier this year to try to beat high winter heating bills, which are expected to keep shoppers on a tight shopping budget this year.

The Nordstrom stores have signs telling customers of plans to decorate before the stores open Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

"Enjoy the day as we will -- with our family and friends. Then, when Friday, November 25 rolls around, feel free to stop by for a bit of good cheer," the sign reads.

Some of Nordstrom's customers like the policy.

The reporter found someone who disagreed.
"It gets more people into Christmas," said Donnie Sanders, 20, as he walked through Nordstrom yesterday.

Donnie Sanders, I would like to have a word with you.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Article About Iraq-Al Queda Connections in the Clinton Years

On Universals and Particulars

When I was a philosophy major I got to read all sorts of interesting things. But one course in particular was boring.

There is a concept in philosophy called "universals." What makes blue blue even though there are different shades? A duck a duck even though no duck is the same? Some things enbody a class or type.

Many people argue over whether universals exist or not. Why? Who cares? I didn't.

And, now, I realize why they were arguing about this stuff.

Universals are immaterial. But we know they exist. A person can see the color blue in many different places. And, if you are an atheist, you can't account for the fact that something immaterial, like the concept of blue, exists. You don't believe in immaterial things.

An easier solution that would result in less arguing would be just to allow for immaterial thing to exist. And if that is inconsistent with materialistic atheism so be it.

Two Responses to Krauthammer's ID Article

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Michael Barone on the Anti-War Crowd: The Very Big Lie

Via Powerline.
It is said that a big lie can work if it is repeated often enough. For weeks, leading Democrats have been hammering away at the Big Lie that George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Starting on Veterans Day, Bush, Dick Cheney, and others in the administration embarked on a "pushback," arguing that Bush--and many leading Democrats, including some now part of the Big Lie campaign--accurately characterized the intelligence at the time.

Bush, Cheney, and the administration have the truth on their side. Exhaustive and authoritative examinations of the prewar intelligence, by the bipartisan report of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004, by the Silberman-Robb commission in 2005, and by the British commission headed by Lord Butler, have established that U.S. intelligence agencies, and the intelligence organizations of leading countries like Britain, France, and Germany, believed that Saddam Hussein's regime was in possession of or developing weapons of mass destruction--chemical and biological weapons, which the regime had used before, and nuclear weapons, which it was working on in the 1980s.

Some people who believe this aren't lying. They are either willfully ignorant or mislead or both.

Anheuser-Busch Releasing Two Craft Beers for the Holidays

One is a 10% ABV bourbon-aged beer. The other is an 8.5% beer.

The article didn't appear to have names for these beers.

Do I feel conflicted about trying them? No. But Anheuser-Busch's track-record of bland beers and beer lovers' attachment to local breweries (I have those attachments too) cause conflict in your average beer snob (I use that term in a lovable way).

I don't want to see local breweries go out of business. But I also look forward to Anheuser-Busch making great beers.

Send in the Clowns

Long read, but worth it.

Some reporter spread rumors, true or not, about some CEO's family. He ran a 7 year covert op against the reporter. Strange.

Moral of the story. Be careful before trashing a man's dead parents. He may take it a tad personally.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Johnny Depp Considering Leaving France Because of Recent Violence

Depp left Los Angeles due to violence as well. I have news for Mr. Depp. Humans are violent. You can't escape violence.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Difficulties in Translating Old Saddam Hussein Documents

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bill Tierney: Strong Evidence for WMDs in Iraq

Were there WMDs in Iraq? I don't know. But I do know that Hussein acted like there were.

Lawsuit Asserts Right to be Drunk on Private Property

Why Are the Box Office Totals Down This Year?

If people are thinking like I do, I have an answer. Ticket prices are way too much.

I want to see the new Harry Potter movie. Heck, even Pride & Prejudice seems good. But at 10 bucks a ticket, I could do a lot of things with that money.

You have to think long and hard about paying those prices. Even matinees are about 7 dollars. That's just too much.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This Thanksgiving, Beer Is for the Bird

An article examining how beer matches well with the foods of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims, good Puritans that they were, were probably drinking beer that first Thanksgiivng.

Disturbing Proof That Paris Hilton Only Has One Pose

New Jersey Looking For New Slogan

I like "Corrupt and Proud".

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

MLB to Ban Amphetamines

Hwang correctly notes that a ban on amphetamines is potentially a bigger deal than steroids.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Enlightened Racial Views of Liberals

Hard-core liberals seem to be supportive of liberals...unless they get uppity, i.e. conservative.

Howard Dean refuses to apologize for racial invective towards black conservative in Delaware. A liberal black defends a previous editorial questioning Clarence Thomas' blackness.

Oh, yes. Those racist conservatives.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Only Thing T.O. Distracted You From Was Losing

Just saw Mrs. McNabb lobby for T.O. Ok, granted, it was on Saturday Night Live.

"You can't win warmups without T.O."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Senate Votes to Strip Enemy Combatants of Their Right to Sue

This is what a check and balance on the judiciary looks like.

Bush Asks Democrats to Stop Distorting History

I've been saying for a while now that Democrats, specifically their leadership, relies on short-term memory. They want you to forget that THE ENTIRE WORLD believed Iraq had WMDs and THEY BELIEVED IT AS WELL.

I don't want to question anyone's honesty. There are many things in life that can be chalked up to honest disagreements. But the whole Bush-lied crowd leaves me exasperated.

Let's separate the rank and file anti-Bush crowd. Their hatred of Bush clouds their intellectual faculties.

Democratic leadership doesn't want us to question their patriotism. And up to this point I have not. But when they blatantly disregard the truth in order to push a political agenda which hurts us in Iraq, our standing overseas, and how the rest of the world views us, what else am I to think?

Again, the rank and file anti-Bush people are just so ticked I don't any amount of facts will get through to them. But the Democrats in Congress should know better. In fact, they do know better because many of them authorized the war to begin with.

And for the rank and file who may read this post, could you please answer the following question: if Hussein didn't believe he had WMDs, why did he act like he did?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bush Jokes to European President
I hope he got it.
European suspicions about George W were briefly confirmed then pleasantly confounded when the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, visited Washington.

When president met president the discussion somehow turned to suits, and how nice George's W's attire was. Po-faced, he said, "God told me to wear it". Adding after a couple of beats: "That's a joke."

What to Do About the Never-Ending Christmas Season

Almost every store, and I mean every freaking store, has Christmas music blaring or Christmas decorations up.

Except for Nordstrom's.

So how do we stop this? I don't think punative measures would be effective.

I think people should start rewarding stores which delay putting up Christmas decorations.

We had Christmas stuff up before Halloween this year. Hallow-freaking-ween.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Scientists Say No Evidence Exists That Therapod Dinosaurs Evolved Into Birds

The most interesting comments of the scientist, who is an evolutionist, is highlighted in bold.
Led by Dr. Alan Feduccia of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a team of scientists says that as a result of their new research and other studies, continuing, exaggerated controversies over "feathered dinosaurs" make no sense.

"We all agree that birds and dinosaurs had some reptilian ancestors in common," said Feduccia, professor of biology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. "But to say dinosaurs were the ancestors of the modern birds we see flying around outside today because we would like them to be is a big mistake.

"The theory that birds are the equivalent of living dinosaurs and that dinosaurs were feathered is so full of holes that the creationists have jumped all over it, using the evolutionary nonsense of ‘dinosaurian science’ as evidence against the theory of evolution," he said. "To paraphrase one such individual, ‘This isn’t science . . . This is comic relief.’"

Evolutionist overreaching is making evolution look really bad. Interesting comment.

Here is some interesting evidence that the scientist points to:
The researchers also examined evidence from five independent, agreeing studies involving structural and genetic analyses related to the "tridactyl," or three-fingered, hand, which is composed of digits 1, 2 and 3 in dinosaurs, Feduccia said. That is the most critical characteristic linking birds to dinosaurs. They found that embryos of developing birds differed significantly in that bird wings arose from digits 2, 3 and 4, the equivalent of index, middle and ring fingers of humans. To change so radically during evolution would be highly unlikely.

"If birds descended from dinosaurs, we would expect the same 1, 2 and 3 pattern," he said.

I guess they are going to reshoot the ending to Jurassic Park for the Special Edition, if that ever comes out.

Alan Feduccia, the scientist, then laments the state of his scientific field.
Feduccia said the publication and promotion of feathered dinosaurs by the popular press and by prestigious journals and magazines, including National Geographic, Nature and Science, have made it difficult for opposing views to get a proper hearing.

"With the advent of ‘feathered dinosaurs,’ we are truly witnessing the beginnings of the meltdown of the field of paleontology," he said. "Just as the discovery a four-chambered heart in a dinosaur described in 2000 in an article in Science turned out to be an artifact, feathered dinosaurs too have become part of the fantasia of this field. Much of this is part of the delusional fantasy of the world of dinosaurs, the wishful hope that one can finally study dinosaurs at the backyard bird feeder.

"It is now clear that the origin of birds is a much more complicated question than has been previously thought," Feduccia said.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wake Up Europe, You Have a War on Your Hands

Hat tip to Little Green Footballs.

Great point about France and the Iraq War:
The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.

When you try to accomodate, many times that will be perceived as a sign of weakness...which will only encourage further bad behavior.

Now, when this involves Terrell Owens and football, who cares? When this involves jihadists, you have a problem on your hand.

New Despair.Com Demotivators for 2006

Review the Most Common Arguments Against Intelligent Design and Have Fun at the Same Time

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Troubling Comment of Sen. Corzine's Ex-Wife

Barring a major upset, I expect the People's Republic of New Jersey to elect Senator Corzine to be governor next Tuesday. His wife's comments about his marital infidelity were picked up in ads, and I don't think that's appropriate.

However, there is a much more interesting comment:
In interviews with newspapers this week, Joanne Corzine said her ex-husband had bought the support of Democratic Party bosses with his massive political contributions.

That's the interesting comment. Has Sen. Corzine sold his soul to corrupt New Jersey bosses in order to get power?

Evolution and Bird Flu

Let me cut to the quick. People are using "evolution" to mean microevolution and macroevolution. An example of microevolution does not establish macroevolution. No one has a problem with microevolution.
The origin of the Avian Flu is indeed an example of evolution. However, as many of us learned in school, evolution can simply mean change over time. Scientists suspect that this new "Avian Flu" strain of the flu virus arose because two flu viruses (probably one previously in humans, and another in birds), swapped genetic material in a process known as "reassortment."

This reassortment thus happened when there was a coinfection of two viruses in the same cell, and then the resulting viruses that came out were a mixture of the genes in two different viruses. This process is analagous to horizontal gene transfer, which has been identified in bacteria as a way for spreading antibiotic resistance. This link provides an excellent graphical illustration.

So our fight to combat the Avian Flu is undoubtedly a fight against evolution. The question is, has there been a net increase in genetic information through this "evolution"? The Avian Flu is essentially the swapping of genes--but its genes probably came from other pre-existing viruses.

One new twist on the Avian Flu is that it can infect organs other than the lungs and cause damage to greater parts of our bodies. This more widespread attack has caused some fatalities. The fact that the Avian Flu can activate this protein in other places probably has something to do with its new configuration of genes. But we're really not dealing with anything new.

Viruses are always mutating to avoid detection by our immune system by becoming something that current antibodies can't recognize. Thus, many viruses survive by having extremely high mutation rates. However, viruses only mutate at a certain rate or they will mutate themselves into oblivion.

Thus, there are limits to the amount that viruses can mutate. When they breach this limit they will experience "error catastrophe." Even virus populations which don't breach this limit can experience permanent fixation of deleterious mutations. Indeed, some scientists are trying to create vaccines for HIV by targeting viruses in the very sites where they can't mutate. The limits are wider than what our immune system can handle at any given time and often when we are sick, it is because a virus has mutated into something our immune system cannot immediately target. But still, even the evolution of viruses has limits. Some researchers have called this the "mutation limit."

The reason that the Avian Flu is succeding thus far is because when the two previously-existing viruses swapped some genetic material and created Avian Flu strains, its current configuration is different enough from microbes our immune systems can already target that many people are unable to fight off the virus.

But it's evolution within limits, and it's evolution that generally uses pre-existing genetic material. After all, the current strains of the Avian flu are nothing more than viruses, which are descended from nothing more than a line of billions upon billions of generations of viruses, which, as far as we can tell, have always been viruses, and aren't becoming anything other than more viruses.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

France Having Problem With Muslim Insurgency

Maybe they will pull out soon.

Was the CIA Setting Up the Bush Administration?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What Do Alito's Somewhat Pro-choice Rulings Show Us?

I think it shows he worked under precedents of the Supreme Court. In other words, he doesn't just make stuff up. So this wouldn't tell us whether or not he would overturn Roe.

This is so sad:
Black Democratic leaders in Maryland say that racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his bid for the U.S. Senate are fair because he is a conservative Republican.

Such attacks against the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland include pelting him with Oreo cookies during a campaign appearance, calling him an "Uncle Tom" and depicting him as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal Web log.

Arab League Killed Exile Deal for Saddam

Further evidence that the Bush Administration wasn't hell-bent for war. Somehow, I doubt any amount of evidence will convince any of the Bush-haters.

Bobby Abreu, Gold Glove Winner

Remember when Jethro Tull beat out Metallica for the Heavy Metal Grammy? This is sorta like that.

Speaking of CIA Leaks Which Compromise National Security...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hugo Chavez Kicking Out NTM Ministries Out of Venezuela

So I hope Robertson's comments aren't the cause of this, at least for Pat Robertson's sake. Or as Venezuela's Roman Catholic cardinal said of Chavez, not about this case, maybe he's just a "paranoid dictator."

Instapundit's Analysis of Current Scooter Libby Coverage

It would also apply to what the Democrats in the Senate did today.
ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE NOTICED in the Judy Miller / Scooter Libby coverage is the development of a new history that's very convenient for a lot of the people peddling it. The new story is that:

1. We only went to war because of WMDs -- that was the only reason ever given.

2. Bush lied about those.

3. He told his lies to Judy Miller, who acted like a stenographer and reported them.

4. Everyone else gullibly went along.

There are lots of problems with this, beginning with the fact that it's not true. I've addressed much of this -- especially parts 1 & 2 -- in earlier posts like this one, this one, and especially this one. It gets tiresome having to repeat this stuff, but the new history, despite its falsity, is just too convenient for too many people to be stopped by anything as simple as the truth.

Democratic politicians who supported the war want an excuse to tack closer to their antiwar base. Shouting "It's not my fault --I'm easily fooled!" would seem a substandard response, but it is a way of changing position while pretending it's not politically motivated. Meanwhile, journalists, most of whom were reporting the same kind of WMD stories that Miller did (because that's what pretty much everyone thought -- including the antiwar folks who were arguing that an invasion was a bad idea because it would provoke Saddam into using his weapons of mass destruction), now want to focus on her so that people won't pay much attention to what they were reporting themselves. This makes Judy Miller a handy scapegoat.

But, as I say, the biggest problem with this revisionism is that it's not true. I guess we'll just have to keep pointing that out.

Go to the original to get more links from the post.

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