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The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Movie Info - Yahoo! Movies
Funny thing, one day I was browsing through the books on the tables outside of Gardner's and I came across this little book called "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" by Thorton Wilder. I liked it because it was small and easy to slip into my pocket so I could have something to read if I ever found myself waiting around by myself.
I'd never heard of it before and had sort of assumed that nobody else had either. This might just be a sign of how out of the loop I am when it comes to liturature, but it seems such an odd coincidence that here they are making a movie out of that little pocket slipper.
The original story was published in November, 1927 and my copy, a "pocket edition" was produced in 1939 when it sold for $.25.
The story was interesting, though at the time I read it, I wasn't all that impressed. Maybe the movie, starring Robert DeNiro will be better.
In Tulsa, Keeping Alive 1921's Painful Memory:
"Thousands of others were left homeless, Clark said. 'When we got back to Tulsa our homes were burned down,' he said. 'Nobody saw the older folks. We never saw them again. They say they put them in a grave. We didn't have a funeral for nobody. They never did nothing for people there. Never gave us nothing.'"
They burned their homes, killed their families, denied any sort of responsibility for years and now claim that its been too long, too bad.
Here in Tulsa we have people that hardly, if ever, venture north of 41st street. If we can't see it, it doesn't exist; the crappy schools, the lack of investment, the white owned corporations that refuse to build there.
Well, it worked, we can go back to blaming people for not "bettering themselves" after burning their city to the ground and pretending they don't exist.
Do I prefer younger women?
I'd have to say yes, to a degree. The preference has become more of a matter of necessity more than anything else. I tend to be attracted to younger women (mid twenties) because they are more likely to be single and dating. Around here especially, women my age tend to be married. I've met women my age who already have a couple of kids and divorced. And while there's nothing wrong with that, I have to say that I naturally assume that they are going to be a different point in their life than I am.
Most women my age, that are NOT looking to get married young and start their lives as dutiful wives, have moved away. There's just not much for older single people here. Career people move to places like L.A. Chicago or New York to pursue those goals. Those wanting to have kids, buy a minivan and spend their weekends cheering on the OU football team stay here.
That's not to say that I haven't met a few women my age that haven't gone down the domestic route just yet. Was I attracted to them? Yes, I was. In fact if I were given a choice between two women equal in looks, one my age and the other younger, I would prefer the peer.
I used to joke that after I broke up with my ex-girlfriend that I was going to have to start looking out for divorced women, thinking they might be a little less eager to pursue the "American Dream" having gone down that road once already.
I'm a little strange in the sense that I'm not all that concerned about settling down. I'm a bad choice for any girl looking for a husband that's going to provide "security" and a bank account deep enough to finance their dreams of domestic bliss.
Its not just that I'm cynical. I say more power to people doing the house-kids-nine-to-five thing, but I'm just not feeling it. I'm really just looking for a women that lives life day to day without the expectations of money and domesticity.
In general I'm happy with the person that I've become. But I'm realistic enough to realize that the path that I've chosen for myself has precluded many possibilities. I accept that.
I apologize if this blog has become too much of a "news regurgitation site". That was never my intention when I started this site. I've been doing most of my personal writing in other diaries. I'm going to try to redirect the direction of this site back into more "personal/commentary" territory.
In another note: For some reason tonight I've been able to access my wireless network while sitting out here on my back porch. Usually I have trouble accessing the internet from out here and I've been looking into purchasing a range extender. But right now, life is good, if little bit on the cold side.
Furthermore, I now have some webspace available to post some of my music. Its just enough for maybe one or two songs, but if anyone has an interest, email me and I'll send you the link.
Go listen to Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism, and Dream Theater has a new album out next Tuesday.
Never trust anyone over thirty?
I'm 31 today.
I'll understand if you have to stop reading now :-)
Analysts Behind Iraq Intelligence Were Rewarded:
"Two Army analysts whose work has been cited as part of a key intelligence failure on Iraq -- the claim that aluminum tubes sought by the Baghdad government were most likely meant for a nuclear weapons program rather than for rockets -- have received job performance awards in each of the past three years, officials said."
This, the breakdown of accountability, might be what we're talking about a few years from now when we refer to the "Bush Era".
Despite sharp critiques from the president's commission and the Senate intelligence committee, no major reprimand or penalty has been announced publicly in connection with the intelligence failures, though investigations are still underway at the CIA. George J. Tenet resigned as CIA director but was later awarded the Medal of Freedom by Bush.
The medal of honor for someone who royally fucked up?
I know its cool to be Republican, at least around in these parts. The tough guy rhetoric, and the barrage of media outlets disparaging the critics, has had an enormous effect on people that don't want to be seen as being on the losing side. I know why its been effective. But I have to wonder if I was the only one awake during the nineties when allegations were flying all over the place and none of them seemed to be based in reality?
Just the other day...
A federal jury found a former top campaign official for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., not guilty Friday of charges that he intentionally covered up the lavish costs of a 2000 celebrity fund-raising gala.
This follows in the series of unfounded allegations that had the effect of creating the appearance of impropriety where often there was none.
Now, however, we have real corruption in the Whitehouse and nobody seems to care. Its not the real act of deception, like saying that someone has deadly weapons, that matters, its the appearance of deception, a cover up involving celebrities, that does.
"Flash-forward to 2005, and I wonder that there's a place for mothers at all. It's another of those 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situations. If you have kids you can't devote as much time to work, and you upset the 'childfree' folks that feel they shouldn't have to make up for your 'hobby.' If you don't have kids you're selfish and you'll have biological clock hives someday. If you wait too long you may have fertility issues, and if you don't wait long enough, you'll never have a career. If you have an only child you're kid will be self-centered and lonely, if you have more than 2 you're taking up more than you're allotted spot in terms of population growth. If you work outside the home, you're neglectful and selfish, if you stay at home you're smothering and a leech. If you're an educated mom that takes time off, then you're 'wasting your potential,' and if you're an uneducated mom you're 'putting your kids at risk.'"
Well said. I try not to talk too much about issues that primarily affect other people in situations where I have little or no experience. I'd feel stupid preaching to a women about reproductive issues, or black people about racism. Those voices need the space more than my stupidty does. Women face immensely difficult choices, being the only gender that can actually produce babies (so far).
So yeah, lay off, learn a little bit about unconditional love.
I used to wake up, climb in my car and drive down a road lined with people mowing lawns and trimming bushes. It takes lots of work to make a neighborhood look "safe" and "prosperous". Little, to none of that work was actually done by the residents. Most of it was done by people who woke up in the early dim light of morning to ride in buses or in the back of pickup trucks, workers who picked up trash, mowed lawns, fed kids, trimmed bushes and washed cars all day long.
Most of the residents would be overwhelmed with the tasks of cleaning their own homes, washing their own cars and feeding their own children if not for the small army of people who descend on their neighborhood every day to do it for them.
Lion & Lamb Ministries: Yavoh November 2001
File under: Interesting Okies
Monte Judah of Lion & Lamb Ministries of Norman Oklahoma, thinks Prince Charles is the Anti-Christ.
With the help of a friend more adept in computer programming, we wrote a computer program that would calculate the numerical value (gematria) for English. I limited the system only to the first 22 letters as the ancients had done (Hebrew and Greek only have 22 letters). Once the program was written, I was able to type in all the names for all world figures past and present, calculating the gematria for each with computer accuracy. I had no expectation whatsoever for anyone when I started entering names. I already knew Kissinger wasn't the antichrist.
Anyone remember "The Bible Code", a similar attempt to use computers as a tool of prophecy?
I'll admit, I read it years ago while I was housesitting. Did you know there is a sequel?
Ah yes, there is..
The dramatic account opens on the morning of September 11, as Drosnin witnesses from his roof the attack on the World Trade Center--and then finds the terrible event predicted in the 3000-year-old Bible code.
But you see, to predict something, you have to know about it before it happens. In the case of making good predictions the Bible Code has been less than useful.
Drosnin admits that his coded messages in the Bible predicted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be assassinated in 1996, beginning a major war. He explains away his error by saying the messages are not of things that will happen, but rather that may happen, and that he later discovered the word "delayed" repeatedly encoded near the Netanyahu messages. This delay, he posits, could have occurred because he was able to warn Netanyahu.
So the "predictions" are things that may or may not happen, and we can only find them after the event has actually happened?
Only bad things come about when people start typing random gibberish into computer programs.
Budweiser has a new beer? It has something "extra" in it? Caffeine? Why not Nicotine while we're at it? Dad says it tastes like grandpas homebrew. Did he mean mine or his? The website was designed by teenagers FOR teenagers with taglines like "You can sleep when you're 30!" What, to save you the trouble of mixing energy drinks and beer together? Maybe? Its on sale at Reasors for $1.99 for a four pack. So if you see a bunch of drunks walking around bug-eyed...
...and for those keeping track of such things:
Yes, it attracts ants.
Yahoo! Finance - All Business - God, Inc.:
"'I practice what I preach, and the Bible says...that God takes pleasure in the prosperity of his servants'"
- Creflo A. Dollar, pastor of World Changers Church International in College Park, Ga., and owner of two Rolls Royces and a Gulfstream 3 jet
A nice article on the growth of Mega Churches and their reliance on modern marketing strategies to win worshippers and their dollars.
If I thought going to church was worthwhile I would go. But if I was only going to church to gain access to counselling, a cool playground and a kick ass sound system that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside I might question my own motives for going.
If the reasons for going to church start sounding like the reasons for going to an arcade, a movie or a concert then something is wrong.
"For God's sake man, if it was fun it wouldn't be called church now would it?" screams the Catholic in me.
SomaFM: Listener Supported, Commercial Free Internet Radio
Orson Scott Card on Star Wars and Revenge of the Sith Jedi religion faith force -- Beliefnet.com:
"It’s one thing to put your faith in a religion founded by a real person who claimed divine revelation, but it’s something else entirely to have, as the scripture of your religion, a storyline that you know was made up by a very nonprophetic human being."
Maybe I'm alone in finding such statements completely hilarious. The difference is the claim of divine revelation? So if George Lucas had claimed divine revelation for his Jedi Religion then it would be legitimate?
The punchline? Orson Scott Card is a Mormon.
(more at Lance Minnion)
GOP Alleges Fraud in Washington Gov. Vote - Yahoo! News:
"The GOP wants Dino Rossi declared the winner or a do-over election held.
Maybe so, maybe not. But at least we get to see that the GOP is not above playing the game for their own advantage, running to the courts to contest an election.
And now we turn the the Right Wing Noise Machine (RWNM) for a comment on how the GOP are "Sore-Losermen".
Thank you, that's what I thought.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US military to build four giant new bases in Iraq:
"Under the plan, for which the official said there was no 'hard-and-fast' deadline, US troops would gradually concentrate inside four heavily fortified air bases, from where they would provide 'logistical support and quick reaction capability where necessary to Iraqis'. The bases would be situated in the north, south, west and centre of the country."
ok, who's surprised?
Democracy means never having to say "get the hell out of our country!"
I'll start by saying that I think Donald Trump is an asshole. I watched most of this season's Apprentice on a whim, not because I thought that it bore any resemblance to reality, but because I was fascinated about how the show was nothing more than a giant advertisement for corporate America. It was a new synthesis of marketing and programming. The basic concept, to center a reality show around the advertiser's products and services was driven by Trump's need to generate drama. Often the decisions in the board room where driven more by the show's need to generate controversy than a genuine assessment of the candidates performance.
During the season finale, I notice that Trump seems to be making a special effort to mention the military service of last year's winner, to the point of asking the candidate specifically whether he felt that his military service was a factor in his success on the show. I found it a little odd that Trump would be using such value real estate on the show's finale to emphasis a point that seemed to play no part in the current season's show.
That was until the commercial break, where the first spot was for... you guessed it, the U.S. Military.
So yes, the show is a farce. Much in the same way that American Idol's "judges", while not actually making the decisions, can frame the performance of the artists to influence the results.
My dad and I get into a debate all the time, over whether the people on the shows are real or actors. Yes, the shows are usually carefully scripted so that they are not reality in any real sense of the word, but I honestly believe that the participants in the show are just ordinary people looking for a little time in the spotlight and that they are not actors.
I believe this because it only makes sense to me that the producers of the show would use people willing to work for free, or at least for the chance to earn a few bucks. I often wonder just how much it would cost to actually hire actors to be in these shows and whether or not the "prize" is less than that cost?
People are predictable, they will perform in predictable ways if given the right incentive, usually to act like fools for the chance to win a lot of money. And even if they act in unpredictable ways the producers of the show can use that for drama as well. In fact, I naturally assume that the creators of these shows bank on the contestants to act in outlandish ways.
The mother of all reality shows, The Real World on MTV was usually constructed in such a way as to guarantee conflict among the cast of the show. It was a formula to pair up a gay with a homophobe, an introvert with an extrovert and at least one person willing to prance around naked. Then it was just a matter of waiting for the sparks to start flying and edit the show for maximum drama.
The new reality shows, exemplified by The Apprentice are no longer satisfied to generate conflict and charge advertisers for the eyeballs. Now they integrate the advertising content into the show itself with eager participants acting out ad hoc commercials in a fixed contest. Its cynical yes, but, in its own twisted way, very efficient; a natural reaction to new technology that is finding news ways to remove or avoid traditional commercial content.
So now we know that Cingular and Coca Cola are sponsors of American Idol, because they are woven into the content of the show. And we accept that the show itself, and the products they are pushing are tightly intergrated as well. With AI, we will have cd' sold by the winner and shows given by the contestants. All to generate revenue. With The Apprentice, the ultimate product being pushed and marketed is Trump himself, a man all too eager to make himself, and his name into a brand.
I have to admit I have a hard time jumping onto the "we must stop this before its too late" cause du jour of the Democratic partisans.
Yes, Bush and Co. are trying to dismantle the social safety net
Yes, Bush and Co. are trying to pack the Supreme Court with idealogical judges
Yes, Bush and Co. are trying to appoint partisan loyalists to positions of importance in the government.
Its what they do. So defeating John Bolton or stopping the rules changes in the Senate matter little if in the end they have the support of the people.
That, my friends is how really bad shit happens. When you have enough people that all seem to agree that ditching the rules and letting the powerful have their way seems like a really swell idea.
Honestly, how can we start to make any progress when you still have people that won't even admit that Bush lied to get us to invade Iraq?
Koreans Report Ease in Cloning for Stem Cells - New York Times:
"South Korean researchers are reporting today that they have developed a highly efficient recipe for producing human embryos through cloning, and then extracting their stem cells."
This, being the flip side of globalization for which we should be thankful, scientists able to work on important discoveries even though one country has decided its not for them.
But, as with runaway exploitation of workers by nation-hopping multinationals we should look to an international solution to dealing with the bigger issues. I always thought it odd that we would gladly import goods made under conditions that we would never tolerate in our own country. Will we just as gladly embrace the knowledge gained by means that we have determined to be unethical?
We pretend like the downward trend in labor and environmental protections are somehow "natural" but I doubt we'll see the same reaction to nation-hopping scientists running to wherever they might to pursue any kind of renegade research they desire.
Can we scream "regulation" in unison?
Power Line: "Aiding and Abetting the Enemy":
Today's game is mental limbo. How low can you go? Our first contestant is John Hinderaker of Powerline.
"I think that the press's undermining of our war effort is, in many instances, deliberate. It appears to me that many, if not most, American reporters, editors and news executives want to make it impossible for America ever to fight a war. To further this goal, I think they use their reporting to undermine our effort in Iraq. The idea is that if we are defeated in Iraq, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for us to fight another war anywhere for a generation. Is this assessment too harsh? I don't think so."
Wow, did you see that people? His shoulders were nearly on the ground as he reached new lows in paranoid delusion.
Wait! We have some discussion amongst the judges... It seems that Mr. Powerline has used an illegal maneuver. Blaming the press for everything that is wrong with the world was banned as a valid debating technique in the 1970's. It seems that John Hinderaker will have to find another way to go as low as he has today. Some spectators are mumbling, suggesting that Powerline is a one trick pony and that finding some other way to justify their fantasy world will be next to impossible. They may have to resort to an older, less effective technique of blaming everything on either the Liberals or the Democrats.
I have to say that NOW, with Bill Moyers was one of the only shows that was being courageous enough to question the powerful in America. We live in a world where we are immersed in the voices scripted by the commercial world. Much of what we digest as "information" are just salespitches. Companies in the United States spend over $500 billion a year on advertising, but we spend only $56 billion to educate our children.
There is only one way to balance the truth, and that is to lie.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting's new Chairman, Kenneth Tomlinson has it out for Moyers after he received a threat from a donor that something had to be done about Moyer's program, NOW. In a Washington Times Op-ed Tomlinson wrote:
This was brought home to me in November 2003 by a phone call from an old friend complaining about Mr. Moyers" bias and the lack of balance on the Friday evening lineup. He explained the foundation he heads made a six-figure contribution to his local public television station for digital conversion. But he declared there would be no more contributions until something was done about the network's bias."
Money talks and Tomlinson listens.
Watch or Listen to Bill Moyers respond to the allegations that he is biased.
"A free press is one where it’s okay to state the conclusion you’re led to by the evidence."
Its not bias if its factual. The right accuses others of being relativists when in fact their whole belief system is based on nothing more than repeated lies. There are ways of telling if something is true or not, you go look. That is journalism, not simply putting two people in a room to argue opposing viewpoints. There are observable facts and there are debatable beliefs. For instance:
Fact: There are people who believe in God.
Belief: There is a God.
Much of the right wing wants to make everything a matter of debate. This bullshit about "balance" is just an attack on journalists and scientists whose evidence contradicts the party propaganda.
Ideologues don’t want you to go beyond the typical labels of left and right because people may start believing you. They embrace a world view that cannot be proven wrong because they will admit no evidence to the contrary. They want your reporting to validate their belief system and when it doesn’t, God forbid. Never mind that their own stars were getting a fair shake on “NOW,” Gigot, Viguerie, David Keen of the American Conservative Union, Steven Moore of the Club for Growth. Our reporting – our reporting was giving the radical right fits because it wasn’t the party line. It wasn’t that we were getting it wrong, either. Only three times in three years did we err factually, and in each case we corrected those errors as soon as we confirmed their inaccuracy. I believe our broadcast was the best researched on public broadcasting.
One program on PBS is such a threat?
Even the slightest glimpse of light from under the door might reveal that it is day outside.
(via eschaton, pandagon and Democracy Now)
Pandagon: The Church of the Mouse and the Disco Ball:
"So right now I hereby declare myself a prophet and I have started a religion with beliefs and values and shit that I demand respect for. And I challenge you to join. You don't have to worship me; I don't have the time to answer your prayers anyway. But since religions apparently need god or gods, I have one handy. Here you go."
Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon has started her own religion, the Church of the Mouse and the Disco Ball, realizing, as I have, that a faith in something ridiculous is more valued than no faith at all. Some of her holy relics and icons include a Disco Ball, The Ramones, Cats, Bill Hicks, Austin, beer and queso.
However, here at the the Church of the Rotten Vegetables in the Crisper we recognize a false religion when we see one. Other than the beer and queso, everything else is just wrong!
Cats are evil.
Austin cannot be the holy land, as it is located in Texas.
The Ramones are possibly the most overrated band ever.
.. and thus a religious conflict is born.
The Power of Nightmares:
DONALD RUMSFELD, US Secretary of Defense, Speaking in 1976: The Soviet Union has been busy. They’ve been busy in terms of their level of effort; they’ve been busy in terms of the actual weapons they’ve been producing; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding production rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their institutional capability to produce additional weapons at additional rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their capability to increasingly improve the sophistication of those weapons. Year after year after year, they’ve been demonstrating that they have steadiness of purpose. They’re purposeful about what they’re doing. Now, your question is, what ought one to be doing about that?
Sound familiar? It should, he used a similar speech again almost thirty years later!
"MELVIN GOODMAN , Head of Office of Soviet Affairs CIA, 1976-1987: I think probably one of the greatest myths in America, in the political discourse now, right now, is that actions of the American government were responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union collapsed like a house of cards because it was a house of cards. It rotted away from within. The economy was rotten, the political process was rotten, they had developed a central government that was no longer believed by people outside of Moscow, there was total cynicism throughout the Soviet system of governance, there was no real civil society. But the Reagan Administration and their—the minions of the Reagan Administration, will tell you that Afghanistan led to the collapse of the Soviet Union itself—the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the collapse of the East European empire. We were saying that this was entirely fanciful. And the United States missed all of this, because they believed their own myths and their own fanciful notions. They had become their own victims of their own lies. "
My favorite part, where the CIA tried to explain to the neocons that much of the threat posed by the Soviets was indeed some of their own propaganda leaked into the European media.
VINCENT CANNISTRARO , HEAD OF COUNTER – TERRORISM , CIA , 1988-90: What the neoconservatives are doing is taking a concept that they developed during the competition with the Soviet Union, i.e., Soviet Communism was evil, it wanted to take over our country, wanted to take over our people, our classrooms, our society. It was that kind of concept of evil that they took—an exaggerated one, to be sure—and then apply it to a new threat, where it didn’t apply at all, and yet it was layered with the same kind of cultural baggage. The policy says there’s a network, the policy says that network is evil, they want to infiltrate our classrooms, they want to take our society, they want all our women to wear, you know, veils, and this is what we have to deal with and therefore since we know it’s evil let’s just kill it, and that will make it go away.
Wow, this series of three documentaries covering the history of both the neoconservative and Islamist movements is brilliant! It ties together many of the cennections between the religious right, the neoconservative philosophy and the principle players on both sides starting from the sixties through today.
Put a Tiger In Your Think Tank
.. is a lot of money.
What does it buy?
People saying things.
Over and over again. (Over and over again..)
What are they saying?
"Whether global warming is happening is a matter of debate"
And where does this money come from?
Mother Jones (the magazine) has compiled a list of the shills. They're the same guys who we keep seeing over and over again, taking money from big business to say what they want us to hear.
Over and over again.
Because its all true if you repeat it enough times.
"For the next several decades, fossil fuel use is key to improving the human condition."
Words paid for by a fossil fuel company.
(as seen on DailyKos)
newsobserver.com | NC News Wire:
"Twohig said the Army told him when he joined that they would take care of him, and taking care of his family is part of that.
There's more to the story, and when I read it I couldn't help but think about the parallels between the government and corporate america. We're the shareholders in the government and it acts in our name. We are responsible for its actions, and that is why I felt it was necessary to protest the start of this war. I knew that it was a mistake, and I knew that other people, people that I would be responsible for, would be hurt, sometimes mortally, losing their lives, sometimes critically, losing their ability to live a normal life.
Asking people to give up their lives is a large sacrifice to ask someone to make, and one that I feel too many people take too lightly. That's what I hear when people backpedal away from the rationales for this war. If we're there to protect the American people from harm, then it might be fair to ask people to give their lives. But that case was never made effectively. The evidence of threat was weak, and it has been disproven. The bar should be set high, and the case should be airtight. We've let the government lower the bar and thus we've allowed them to devalue the lives of the people serving to protect the nation.
Now we devalue those lives even more. We have asked people to risk their lives for a cause and we have made promises to soldiers in exchange for their service. and now, once they are of no use to us an longer? When they die we shuffle them off, unseen, to be buried? When they are injured we deny that their injuries are serious or that they were a result of their military service? We deny them the money and care that we promised?
I'd expect as much from Wal-Mart.
(link via eschaton)
Highlights of Pentagon Plan to Close Bases:
"Overall, the proposed shift would cause a net loss of 29,005 military and civilian jobs, including positions lost from troop withdrawals overseas. A total of 218,570 military and civilian positions would be cut, while 189,565 positions would be added.
In general I think its a farce that we sit around and denounce socialism and the evils of state run economies when we use the military as a jobs program and welfare system for business here in the states. We play this game where we pretend that massive amounts of government spending to bolster the economy and redistribute wealth are just peachy as long its for "defense".
Dutifully, the talking heads on the nightly news will report on how fortunate the state of Oklahoma is to retain its bases. Politicians from states that are losing jobs will denounce the plan. Its all so damn predictible.
We're way beyond the point where we've got enough military strength to protect ourselves from the mostly third world threats we're facing. Our "goal" is to be capable of fighting two wars simultaneously. If anything, 9-11 should have been a poignant example of just how wasteful we've been spending money on programs that do nothing to protect us, and do nothing more than funnel wealth to home districts and political donors.
But as with anything that is entrenched its nearly impossible to dislodge its hold. Thus, the debate has been artfully redirected away from just how ineffective our military strategy was prior September 11th. Much of what we've done post 9-11 has been a vain attempt to show that brute military force can still be effective at detering theats.
Its been a tremendous success in the eyes of people selling the government weapons and hardware, but a dismal failure in actually targeting the real threats.
It cracks me up when I see politicians acting tough, vowing to send other people off to fight wars, as if it takes any courage at all to send others off to die. They get to look like an alpha male while the soldiers squat in foriegn lands wondering if they're going to get their heads blown to bits.
Nice, real tough guys we have running the country.
"umm... no, I'd rather not fight myself, that's what we have poor people for isn't it?"
Every so often, someone comes along and seems to think that my criticisms of George W. Bush and my class perspective on politics means that I want to bring back the "glory days" of the Soviet Union.
Umm.. yeah, whatever, you got it all figured out buddy. Might want to lay off the AM radio for a bit. I understand where you're coming from...
Talking about class = Marxism = Communism = Soviet Union = Enemy!
And incredibly simple-minded way of looking at the world. But then again, it helps keep the sheep in the fold. Never mind that the stories about the wolves in the woods keeps changing.
I just wanted to say that I am thankful for George W. Bush.
For without him I would have so much less to write about. In the past it was merely the complacency of the U.S. government that troubled me, or that we, as a society weren't taking the steps to make our nation, and the world and better place.
But now, with God's appointed leader at the helm we're not simply ignoring the big problems anymore, we are actively trying to make them worse.
Its a bold new step in the wrong direction.
Its almost as if he was able to take the corporate corruption and single minded focus to screw the poor and working classes and made it a national priority. The vision of turning our economy back into the third world dream of slave labor and ruling class elites, who are free to do as they please, has left the boardroom and is being coded into national law.
Its an amazing sight to behold.
And to think, much of its because people find gay sex to be icky?
I confess, I find gay sex a little disturbing myself. I try not to imagine it, even when referring to it. Much as I try avoid thinking about sex between incredibly obese people.
Really, it astounds. But if the big hiding head in the sky once wrote a book declaring sex to be wrong, then it must be so. But then why did he have to spend so much time talking about other stuff?
CNN.com - Hearing gives look into Vioxx marketing - May 6, 2005:
"Sales representatives were offered $2,000 bonuses for meeting sales goals, and worked in campaigns with such code-names as 'Project Offense' to try to boost sales even as regulators were about to increase warnings on the drug's label.
maaaaaan... fuck you too.
The problem with marketing any drug is that there is a natural limit to the number of people who really NEED that product. But in the corporate world of GROW GROW GROW there is no upper limit to the number of potential customers. If it were up to them we would all be taking a fistful of pills every morning, noon, and night.
There is something seriously wrong and immoral when a company plies doctors with misinformation in order to get more people to take a drug. How can we trust the medical professionals to take our own best interest at heart when they are getting bombarded with sales calls pushing products? Go sit in a doctor's waiting room for an hour and watch as the pharmaceutical sales reps come calling, rolling their little suitcases behind them.
There's no denying that some really good, useful drugs have been developed to deal with some really horrible illnesses. But we are playing with fire when we allow pharmaceutical companies to do direct marketing of their products. A few years ago when we (who?) decided that it might be ok for drug companies to start advertising on TV you just had to know it would come down to what we have now, with wall to wall ads for erectile dysfunction drugs and smiley happy little clouds bouncing along in a cheery haze from a chemical concoction.
Got some sniffles? Ask your doctor for this pill.
Feeling kinda sore? Ask your doctor for this pill.
Feeling a little blue and sad? Ask your doctor for this pill.
Its not wrong to try to get helpful drugs to people that can benefit from them. But I feel uncomfortable when the drug companies control the information that gets to consumers and doctors, especially when the people delivering that information are paid bonuses to increase sales. The potential for abuse is very high.
"Don't bring up the heart risks."
Bush: U.S. Had Hand in European Divisions - Yahoo! News:
"'We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations, appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability,' the president said. 'We have learned our lesson; no one's liberty is expendable. In the long run, our security and true stability depend on the freedom of others.'"
This is in reference to the Yalta agreement, where I can only assume Bush would have preferred that we would have used our unlimited supply of killer robots to invade the Soviet Union?
Once again we should note:
Europeans = humans
Africans and all others = non-humans
We should keep our "terminology" straight, as suggested by Robert Zoellick.
During a recent trip to Khartoum and a brief excursion into Darfur, US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick pointedly refused to confirm the Bush administration’s previous genocide determination. This determination was made unequivocally in Senate testimony by former Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell: “genocide has been committed in Darfur, and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility” (testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 9, 2004).
But then again, its easier to show up 60 years after the fact with your fist waving in the air. Bush seems to think that invading Iraq and Afghanistan is the modern day equivalent of rolling into Moscow after WWII.
WITCHCRAFT NOT WELCOME:
"The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled a Virginia county can refuse to let a witch give the invocation at its meetings by limiting the privilege to clergy representing Judeo-Christian monotheism."
Next you'll tell me they argued this on precedent.
The Marsh opinion also strongly emphasized the long history of prayer in both Congress and the Supreme Court itself.
Nooooo Waaaayy!!!???? Well, you know, since we've already been doing it, why stop now huh?
"The Judeo-Christian tradition is, after all, not a single faith but an umbrella covering many faiths," Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in the opinion.
Covering the wide range of faiths... all the way from Methodists... to, um... Baptists? And all of us in between? But what am I saying? I'm just a crybaby. I should just shut up and go to church.
Or can I?
One former church member says Chandler [minister of a Haywood County Baptist church] told some of the members that if they didn't support George Bush, they needed to resign their positions and get out of the church, or go to the altar, repent and agree to vote for Bush.
And why oh why would he do this?
During last Sunday's sermon, he acknowledged that church members were upset because he named people, and he says he'll do it again because he has to according to the word of God.
The "word of God" says that we all need to vote for George W. Bush? I must have missed that in my Bible.
I should point out that the only reason that I see these fundie Christians as a threat is because they represent a very dangerous majority. If this were a predominately Muslim country it would be the Islamic fundies saying that everyone should be like them, and to dissent is to be un-whatever.
The bigger themes here are tribalism and the power of the majority to decide that they can dictate the lives of the minority. Here in America, its Christianity, elsewhere its ethnic tribalism, racial tribalism or some other kind of religious or geographic tribalism. It all comes down to US versus THEM. Even in nations where everyone is all the "same" religion, Protestant and Catholics, they have fought and killed each other for generations. No matter how alike we are, we'll always find some way to divide ourselves into factions. Sometimes it seems that the only way humans will ever put aside our petty squabbles and get along would be for aliens to invade from outer space.
(more at Pandagon and Paperweight's Fair Shot)
... a little more:
People have different ideas about what this country stands for. You have some who are defending their ideal of America as an ethnic and religious tradition. "Americans", in the eyes of some, are the original white, Christian settlers that came here from Europe to set up a new society in those traditions. (In fact, part of my own family is of German Catholic immigrants that settled in Arkansas.) Its not wrong to recognize the strong European Christian tradition in American society, but I feel that there is a bigger ideal that transcends all other tribal identities.
For me, you "become an American" not simply by being born here, or by moving here, but by accepting the ideals that made this country a unique experiment; individual freedoms and rights that cannot be taken away from you by a majority. Here you can set up a tribe of one, dress different, look different and even worship whatever or nothing and still have protections under the law. As long as you don't infringe on another's right to do likewise you're ok with us.
... at least that's the idea. The reality is that we sometimes fail to live up to this standard. Individual freedom is a dangerous concept to existing power structures who rely on tribal numbers to exert their control. When people are free to associate with whomever they please it means that keeping a tribe together becomes more of a challenge. All of a sudden it has to compete in the marketplace of ideas. You can no longer compel people to join you by power of force. When a group starts to fail and people start leaving its too tempting to reach for the power of the government to force people back into the fold.
Fundies like Pat Robertson can come on TV and implore people to follow him all he wants, that's fine with me, he's no different than the scads of ab roller and gutbuster commercials that run all night long. If people want to join his "700 Cult" and send him money, that's cool too. But when they start using government positions to push their "morality" on others then that's where they cross a line.
Personally I think Wiccans are nutty as all hell, but I think this case serves as a useful example of why we cannot make exceptions for religions that we prefer. If you open the gates for religion in government it has to be equal to all religions. But that's not what people really want. They want their religion to be let in to the exclusion of others. Can you really see a Wiccan on the floor of senate giving an invocation? There would be an outcry. But we accept the Christian ministers. Chesterfield County?s Board of Supervisors simply said no to the Wiccan. They should have no to the others as well.
Spam emails are depressing. To think that I am nothing more than a potential idiot to exploit.
The way Darwinian evolution is usually presented is that the evidence is overwhelming, and there is no controversy about it," said Jonathan Wells, a senior fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which supports intelligent design research. "That's clearly not the case."
People disappoint me.
Right, as if we can redact our support for a theory that has withstood years of scrutiny so that we can introduce a PR-created theory that has little to no scientific evidence to suport it?
Is it any wonder I'm a cynic? It works so well.
There is no controversy amongst REAL scientists about the basic tenents of evolution. Their whole argument boils down to "we don't understand it, so it must be divine design?"
In case you don't see the problem, until we discovered the mechanisms for our current understanding of biology everything was incomprehensible. We will eventually discover more answers to the questions we currently have. That's how REAL science works -- you ask questions then you look for the answer, you DO NOT throw up your hands and proclaim the unanswered questions to be "unknowable".
That's just dumb. Proponents of ID want to make future generations dumber.
As if we don't already treat education as an evil that we have to tolerate?
Can we just say it? We don't care about education here in the U.S. because it would cause too much political strife?
We would rather that people be dumb than educated. Its just easier that way.
Yeah, I'm down on people right now. Why do I have to be nice?
Salon.com News | The atheist:
"Fifty years ago, philosophers like Bertrand Russell felt that the religious worldview would fade as science and reason emerged. Why hasn't it?
At the heart of most religions is the desire for control. This modern day religious war will be beneficial to anyone willing to use it to their advantage.
and another pet peeve of mine, the "random" word.
The idea that evolution could be "random" seems to frighten people. Is it random?
Go read the rest.
(via Emphasis Added)
Ok, I'm in a inquisitive mood and I was hoping you guys would be able to help me out.
Here's what I've been thinking about.
In the debate about Social Security much is made about the baby boom putting a strain on the system. A large number of that generation will be retiring at once and they are fewer workers available to provide funds to support them.
I wonder though, wouldn't this be a temporary event? Once we have a spike of people reaching retirement age won't we eventually reach a point where that boom will be over and the costs for Social Security will fall again? If so, how long would this last until we're through that period? Would the accumulated surpluses pay for that time period? How much extra would it cost to make it through this boom? Would this be less than the cost of the current proposals?
The government has been borrowing money from the SS trust fund for ages, eventually all that money should be paid back. Would a short period of time where the Social Security system borrows from the general revenue be fair, to be paid back once the boom is over?
Right now our energy needs are being met with the accumulated storage of energy as fossil fuels. We are cashing in thousands of years of net energy gainat a fairly rapid pace. I think its fair to say that we are using fossil fuels faster than they are being replaced through natural processes.
Simply finding another source of stored energy will lead us down the same path eventually. Considering this, what forms of energy can we expect to be reliable in perpetuity? I thought -- gravity, the planet's rotation and the radiation from the sun? We're screwed if we lose one of those anyways. Are there other "prime" sources that you can think of? And would these sources be enough to maintain our current energy usage? Is it just a matter of reliably harnessing these energy sources in a large enough quantity?
Let's say there was 5 lbs of a substance, and that one pound could power a civilization for 10 years. This substance landed on the planet in usuable form in an easily accessible location. After 45 years or so, as we neared the end of this supply, we would have to consider looking for alternatives. Comparatively, excavating fossil fuels, with the amount of effort and time involved would look overwhelmingly expensive.
Do we not find ourselves in a similar position? Is it merely that we have an unrealistic expectation about the cost and availability of energy? What would our economy look like today had fossil fuels been so convenient?
Alesis Newsroom: Press Releases
Firewire based mixer with 4 mic/line inputs with 48v phantom power. I'm assuming it records each track to a discrete channel in the software.
Looks good provided it will play nice with Samplitude.
And I've remembered another thing that pisses me off. Confederate flags.
The other day I got in my car and the radio was tuned to AM talk. It was there because, in Oklahoma, AM radio is still the best place to get severe weather information. For some reason, FM rock stations would rather get blown away in a tornado than mention that you might be driving into the eye of a extremely hazardous storm. Maybe it has something to do with those stations all being piped in remotely from Texas?
So, I get in the car and there wass ol' Bill O'Reilly making his usual declarative statements. One such statement "George Bush is a regular guy!" got me confused. O'Reilly seems to think that Bush, in contrast to Kerry represents some sort of "Everyman". But I'm hard pressed to think of one thing that Bush does that is regular, you know, like most people.
People like to point out that Bush spends his free time out on his ranch instead of hobnobbing around in the city. But considering that most people now live in cities, that hardly seems regular either. Not to mention that Bush cuts brush and rides around in his pickup for fun, meaning that, as soon as he gets tired or has other things to do he can toss that chainsaw aside and, most likely, someone else will come along to finish the job. He doesn't have to do anything on that ranch. He has people who he pays to take care of the place. In constrast to regular people who live on a ranch and have to do these things, whether they want to or not, to earn their livlihoods, Bush goes to his ranch for recreational purposes. How regular is that?
How many of us have a ranch that we can visit for recreation?
Neither Bush nor Kerry are regular guys. They are both the privileged sons of former politicians. How many of us could have taken their paths through life? Not many.
But no one seems to find it strange that we keep electing people from a small minority of rich, white, Christian, men?
After pledging to spend yesterday and today not thinking about girls. I had two dreams this morning involving girls. My subconscious is re-asserting itself. I should have gotten out of bed when I woke up to let the dog out.
They were good dreams though...
I should be making the move to a high-speed internet connection soon, after languishing with dail-up for way too long. Out here there aren't that many options, at least not at the cost that I could afford. But for about seven dollars more a month I can make the move. Now I just have to figue out how to make my '98 and XP machines play nice with each other.
Robertson Says Giuliani Would Be 'Good President' - Yahoo! News:
"Robertson, who launched a brief presidential bid in 1988, said that if he were president he would not appoint Muslims to serve in his Cabinet and that he was not in favor of Muslims serving as judges.
You see, I would expand the definition of "somebody like that" to include people that think they are God's chosen people and all else are going to burn in hell.
Pat is a fundie. He believes that he knows "the truth". He does not see his own views as extreme, but he views people with similar but opposing views as unfit and dangerous.
But the problem is not in the details. Its in the thought process itself. Fundamentalism is a flawed idealogy wherein believers fail to accept that their religious belief system is nothing more than one of many other equally valid options.
"But I'm right!"
Yes, of course you are. We all are.
I could, if I wanted, construct a convoluted belief system where I come to be convinced that the rotten vegetables in my crisper have decreed that I shall rule the world. But, its still not true. My belief does not affect reality. Believing harder does not matter. Getting more people to believe does not make it more credible.
"But isn't non-belef as form of religion as well?"
Only if you accept that by not worshipping the vegetables in my crisper that you too are practicing a form of non-belief. The onus is on me to convince you to believe as I do. I might start by pointing out that there are indeed rotten vegetables in my crisper. From there I would insist that by admitting the existence of the vegetables, and that I believe that they spoke to me you should naturally accept that they made me ruler of the world. I might even read to you what they said, as I wrote it down on a notepad.
"We, the rotten vegetables of the crisper make this one and only one decree, that we are holy, that we speak the truth, and that we annoint bruce supreme ruler of the world -- oh, and he speaks for us now, don't question him."
There you have it. I've started my own religion. More wisdom to come...
Today is May Day; let's celebrate - PittsburghLIVE.com
Today is May Day. A holiday that is celebrated worldwide in support of worker's rights.
This holliday is not celebrated much here in America where we have largely forgotten our own history. Labor struggles are rarely taught in schools and it wasn't until I came across people who knew about labor history that I became interested myself. A few books later and I realized just how uneducated we have become about what might be the most important movement in American history.
(For Okies, I can recommend "Oil, Wheat and Wobblies" as an interesting read.)
As the influence of labor unions have decreased so has the average worker's wages stagnated. We've been losing retirement benefits, we've been losing health care benefits and we are losing many of the protections that keep us safe from injury.
A new generation has started to believe the same old lie.
"We'll take care of you".
The big lie is that owners will give us the benefits and protections that we need if we would only give them the power to do what they wish. "What is good for us will be good for you", they say. But a visit to any third world nation will show you that the wealthy will always keep the riches for themselves, building palaces and fenced off playgrounds and that only in nations that have had vigorous labor movements is there any fair distribution of wealth.
This is an axiom of human behavior: no amount of wealth is ever enough.
It's a shame that May Day, a happy, outdoorsy, pagan celebration, was hijacked decades ago by the left, which treated workers' interests as being opposed to employer interests. In fact, they're pretty close. Countless chances are missed to advance living standards when us-against-them muddies the picture, as it so often does.
Go out and play, don't think about all the nasty things we do to you.
Of course we keep hearing the same old lines over and over again from owners who want us to put away our struggles and lay down. They want us to believe that there is no class conflict, that we're all just one big happy family. Or that by asking for our fair share of the wealth that we helped create we will ruin "the economy". Or that labor unions are no longer necessary because we've entered into a new age where human behavior is no longer governed by the same rules as before. The rhetoric has changed so little.
When you see a lady or gent of 70 or 80 taking tickets in a lobby or hustling burgers and fries at a food counter, what's your first thought? They need the money. Probably true. But here's a cheerier possibility: They'd rather work than stay home all day.
Right, old people would rather be working as a greeter at Wal-Mart than spending the day on the golf course, or motoring around the country birdwatching or visiting the national parks. Sure, they would probably rather be working than sitting at home broke and starving, wondering if they can pay for their medicine. This fucker is the worst kind of apologist for the harm we've done to our elderly by our failure to address the high costs of prescription drugs and from employers that are going back on their promise of lifetime retirement and health benefits.
The marble monuments of the past -- libraries, galleries, opera houses, hospitals and universities -- were given by "the rich," yes. But indirectly, too, by those who worked for them, at wage levels that allowed capital to accumulate. The big winners -- our generation.
Can you imagine someone saying this about the "pretty plantations" in the south? Or about the pyramids? "Thank God" we could say "for the slave labor that built those places". Its absurd to be thankful that some rich fucker built a library from the money that he kept from his workers. I doubt this asshole would be so apologetic about the monuments built by the Soviets through their exploitation? "Well, its ok that an entire generation was royally fucked over, because we got some pretty buildings out of the deal!".
Do you see the mental gymnastics people will go through to justify their own status?
The "best" jobs are rarely needed jobs. What good is a movie star or senator when the situation calls for a nurse, plumber or sanitation worker?
So why is it that we value so little the work that is so necessary? A strike by any of these workers can bring the greatest city to its knees. Its best not to let them know they have such leverage, they might use it as bargaining power.
Teenagers who work at a part-time job while going to school, taking music lessons, doing sports and bringing home As and Bs -- such young people will make it in this world. Never learning to work is what makes the underprivileged child.
Well, I can't argue that one. Just look at our president for a good example of how never learning to "work" has warped his perspective. This is just more lip service to the "value" of work so often preached by our elites while they send their own children to prestigous schools and then straight into positions of management.
Its the same condescending line they give to the "troops". Work and die to make us rich and powerful and we'll talk about how great it is to labor and fight while we avoid actually doing it ourselves.
Maybe they'll build us a monument, or let us soil their pretty libraries on our day's off?
Dissolve into Evergreens