Dissolve into Evergreens
Obama At House Republican Retreat In Baltimore: FU...
AIG Loses Exec, Wins TARP Comp Ruling - Regulatory...
Man v. Nature
not why, but why not
Tea Party Zombies
Squishy Mice Pumpkin
Star Trek Pumpkin
Star Trek Follow Up
The Flaming Lips
The New Radicals
Death Cab for Cutie
Badly Drawn Boy
Coheed and Cambria
Atom Site Feed
Reason: Creation Summer Camp: Live from the 2005 Creation Mega-Conference:
"'I recall the election in 2004. Hollywood was against us. The media were against us. The universities were against us. And despite them all the church of Jesus Christ put George W. Bush back in the White House. We're on the winning side; we are going to win because we have the truth. We have the inerrant word of God. We have the Genesis account of Creation. The biblical account is the believable one. The creation debate is being won.'"
Sometimes it doesn't seem real enough until you see it with your own eyes. So I present to you a google earth screenshot of Tulsa with all its churches And note, this is a just one small part of the city.
Monday Night Football - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
People who know me well will think it odd that I've become a NFL football watcher. This is because of my quite vocal opposition to football of any kind that resulted from having it rammed down my throat all through my high school years. This is common in Oklahoma where I have to be careful to avoid the traffic jam in the middle of nowhere as people stream into the Broken Arrow football games on Friday nights.
But, I do have fond memories of watching football, especially Monday Night Football. It seemed like a welcome departure to other prime time television programming which always seems to consist of drivel, either of the sitcom or crime show varieties.
Lately as I was reading up on the upcoming season I learned, belatedly, that MNF will be leaving free TV and heading over to the dark side of pay TV, ESPN, to be precise.
I did not know that.
I'm disappointed because I can't see myself paying for TV any time in the near future. My parents do, and I might be tempted to head over there some time to watch a game or two. But MNF was great because it offered a good alternative to bad network programming. Now, its just another offering in the wide world of cable.
Personally, I marvel at the semingly limitless abilities of cable to provide such bad, bland, uninteresting programming when given so much time and space to do so. MTV has managed to take a winning concept, playing music videos, and has turned it into a weird brand of pop cultural programming that delights in promoting the utter meaninglessness of american youth culture. Cable news shows have become conduits for political marketing firms to push their latest memes and smears. When real news happens they act like its a vegas show, with theme songs and swooshing graphics. Somewhere in the mix of programming you might be privy to some actual information squished between bloviating talking heads.
I think what I like about football (and sports in general) is that there is so little room for commercialization. I'm not talking about the surrounding hype of the show, which is just another vehicle to promote products and image, but the game itself.
I'm not sure about the rest of you, but what I find most tiring about the modern "American Way of Life" is the way in which we are constantly bombarded with messages about who we should be. Everyone in the marketing profession wants to shape the way we think about ourselves. I feel like I'm always being recruited to join some sort of lifestyle cult.
My initial gut reaction to anything that feels forced upon me, is rejection, then skepticism. Eventually I'll start to wonder if there is anything good about this thing that seems so "necessary" for me to participate in. Ocassionally, I'll find something worthwhile that I can pick out from amongst the hype and enjoy. Such that I can find ways to enjoy football, or Nascar, without buying into the lifestyle mentality that is supposed to accompany such activities. I can watch Nascar without feeling like I have to accept the pro-militarism prevalent in the broadcasts. I can enjoy football without feeling the need to grill meat and swill bad beer. Good beer yes, bad beer... well, maybe if its free.
Two sure-fire ways to make your head hurt:
1) Buy a Slurpee, drink it waaaaay to fast.
2) Read this Link at Power Line
It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
Translation: Bush is the shit because he's found a way to reduce greenhouse gases without actually agreeing to do so. But hey, we don't believe that environmental shit anyways.
Muslim fatwa against terrorism | WORLD | NEWS | tvnz.co.nz:
"North America's premier council of Islamic scholars have issued a fatwa against terrorism, telling young Muslims they would be committing a sin against God if they indulged in extremism.
Is this retroactive?
I stand by my contention that people will make up whatever religious convictions they need in order to justify any actions they desire to undertake.
Its a flaw in the whole system really..
CNN.com - Non-Christian texts sought for courtroom oaths - Jul 27, 2005:
"State law allows witnesses preparing to testify in court to take their oath either by laying a hand over a 'Holy Scripture,' by saying 'so help me God' without the use of a religious book, or by using no religious symbols."
yeah, makes lots of sense. Because the oath of people swearing on a holy book means more, except that you don't have to swear on a holy book at all. There's a solution that only makes things worse; allowing more religious texts to be used for various religious, that can lead to people being upset that they can't swear on a disco ball, and then there is a solution that will fix things all nice and easy; getting rid of religious texts as a means of swearing an oath. We've already conceded that people need not use a religious text to make their promise binding.
But will we take a sensible approach? Nope.
We should just let people spit on their hands.
The Postal Store
If you buy a cd from the US Postal Service, do you still have to pay shipping?
What other cd, besides "The Postal Service" can you buy from USPS?
(answers in the comments)
Reuters Business Channel | Reuters.com:
"'We have been disappointed over the last 10 years with the decline in membership. The AFL-CIO idea is to keep throwing money at politicians. We say no,' Teamsters president James Hoffa said. 'We are going to do something new.'"
I tend to agree.
Pandagon: Bloggers Would Shoot Six Times:
"The problem most of us on the left have with this isn't the fact that we get blamed for everything - that, we're used to. It's the fact that there seems to a single straight path from discovery of the event to judgment and execution at the hands of the brave conservative mob without any effort at discovery whatsoever. Well, I do take that back - often, there's a massive marshalling of evidence through interlinking that a lot of people think the same things they do, but shared opinion does not constitute the creation of fact."
That same critical thinking (malfunctioning) part of my brain that leads me to try to understand why people would want to kill innocent people also takes some time to ponder the nature of the wingnut.
The other day in a discussion about Bush as the God President I started thinking about religion as a component of the right wing identity. I'll paste what I wrote there:
Personally I don't think that Bush himself has to make all that much effort to appear religious. Its the word from the pulpit, that Bush is a man of God, that is driving evangelicals to put their faith in Him (I mean Bush, not God). The ownership language is particularly interesting. Religious people in this country refer to Bush as "our president", meaning they feel that Bush is enacting their agenda and working for them. Bush himself only has to pepper his speeches with vague allusions to reinforce this perception.
That Bush is a man of god is an article of faith among the right, just as it is a known fact that liberals are causing the decline of America.
Evidence to the contrary is neither regarded as credible or even considered. I can have a conversation with someone that's a certifiable wingnut and have them agree with most everything I say as long as I never let on that I'm a liberal or that I can't stand George W. Bush.
Well, because on matters of basic core principles most people seem to be in agreement. Only in the fevered imaginations of the right (and left) do people of such warped character actually exist. But that doesn't keep people from forming an entire idealogy based on such false assumptions. In fact, its fairly predominant, if online samples are to be believed (and I doubt they should).
For the most part I never assume that right wingers are bad people. Even Jim over at Unix, Music and Politics, who I consider to be my political polar opposite seems like a nice enough fellow. And nothing amuses me more than having someone explain to me how liberals and democrats are what's wrong with society without ever assuming that I might be one of "them".
It happens around here.
People just assume you're a Bush-lovin', KFAQ listenin', church going person just like them.
Oddly enough, its that dern tolerance thing I have that leads me to be so darn understanding of the wingnut mindset. You see, I never set out to be a "leftist" but I keep getting labeled as such whenever I try to look at things from different perspectives. That's what's wrong with me I suppose?
He Passes Number Thirty-Three
There’s no beast, obviously. The floor just creaks, obviously. The morning with coffee was snowy and sweet, and there was this small, snow-white dog who was barking at our feet, honestly. Drove all day to the vacant beach. Grey mist hanging over the sea, alleys clogged with magazines, and the boardwalk is empty. The house in the valley is open this week. Imagine the sea looking in at the slowly moving sheets - honestly. If you feel weak, leave it to me. If you need sleep, leave it to me. Need wool socks for your feet, leave it to me. Need a walk on the beach, leave it to me. A shoulder on which to sleep, an ear into which to weep, leave it to me. And leave it to me to not speak when I pass you on the street, leave it to me to feel weak, to run from your feet. Leave it to me to not speak when I pass you on the street, leave it to me to feel weak, leave it to me, number thirty-three, leave it to me.
A E D E
So, what are you waiting for? Download the song, and play along!
London bombs terror attack The Times and Sunday Times Times Online:
"'I urge you, my nation, to stand up and wage jihad against extremism and to stand up against those who spread hatred and chaos in the society,' said President Pervez Musharraf in an hour-long televised address."
Just for the record.
In my view, the prevalence of extremist elements in Pakistan are of much more relevance to the spread of Islamic terrorism than Iraq ever was, in particular, the madrassas, the religious schools. Because while I'm sure that not all the religious schools are teaching hatred of the west in the guise of religion, I can assume that some, if not most are being used as tools for political power.
It should go without saying that a good public school system with a curriculum of tolerance and secularism would go a long way towards tempering the fundamentalist's power. We've all seen what prosperity and education can do to reduce the appeal of fundamentalist religions in people's life, especially those that prey on people's sense of powerlessness.
(In fact, many of the right-wing cultural warriors make the case that our own society has strayed too far away from our own "traditional" values. Hence the whole push to insert more religious symbols into public life. Ironic huh?)
The President also announced measures to increase government control over unauthorised weapons and provocative literature designed to spread religious hatred. He also promised that prohibited militant groups would not be allowed to re-organise under new names or to raise funds.
Now, whether Musharraf will succeed in curbing the power of fundamentalists in his country through suppression remains to be seen. I'll assume that this is going to backfire. Even in our own country where people are perfectly free to attend the church of their choosing, express their religious beliefs on their cars, on their lawns, on the radio and around their necks they still talk about being persecuted. People tend to fight back when they are threatened. Its why you never back a dog into a corner.
I can only hope this doesn't turn out badly. Because while I'm encouraged that Musharraf is taking responsibility for his own country's role in harboring extremism, I'm not so excited by his proposed methods in dealing with it.
Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites
David Neiwert has this little quote up on his page. Read it and tell me if it sounds familiar. I'll provide some comparison for ya as well.
"I know this is the melting pot of the world and all men are created equal and there must be no such thing as race or creed hatred, but do these things go when a country is fighting got its life? Not in my book. No country ever won a war because of courtesy and I trust and pray we won't be the first because of the lovely gracious spirit ...
Compare with Diana West:
I'm thinking about who we are as a society at this somewhat advanced stage of war. It is a strange, tentative civilization we have become, with leaders who strut their promises of "no surrender" even as they flinch at identifying the foe.
hmmm, yes, same argument. It says that we should not let our own dedication to tolerance get in the way of killing our enemies. We're too nice. We should just let ourselves be mean and nasty for our own good. Right?
Back to the original quote from Orcinus:
I am for the immediate removal of every Japanese on the West Coast to a point deep in the interior. I don't mean a nice part of the interior, either. Herd 'em up, pack 'em off and give 'em the inside room of the badlands. Let 'em be pinched, hurt, hungry and dead up against it. ... Personally, I hate the Japanese. And that goes for all of them."
That was conservative Henry McLemore on Jan. 30, 1942.
Sometimes it feels as if history never happened, as if there are no patterns to human reactions. Its a good thing we killed off the Japanese race, since, in the words of Mississippi Congressman John Rankin in 1941, "Once a Jap always a Jap. You cannot change him."
Fast forward 60 years and now we can safely shift our ire towards Islam, as no right minded person still argues that Japanese people represent a threat to "our way of life".
Our gut response to certain situations will always be similar. Even if a person is a completely blank slate, with no influence from their surrounding cultures, there will still be basic human emotions present to guide how we should respond. A primary instinct amongst all animals is the desire for self preservation. We intuitively understand how to identify a threat and how to respond to that threat.
Human beings, so its been said, have the ability to learn from our past mistakes. We write them down, study how we've failed before and avoid making those mistakes again. Its what separates us from the mere animal that will always respond with its instincts. Its what makes us civilized.
But that requires a certain self awareness that is often derided as self-hating these days.
(Special thanks to David Neiwert)
dustbury.com: Contrast and compare
What C.G. Hill had to say about my comments on Diana West's article
I will say only this: I am under no obligation, from God or from anyone else, to accept any culture which wants me dead, and I will resist any suggestion to the contrary.
Man, what an asshole!
I only hope his readers take to the time to read my comments in the context of the original article. I stand by what I say in spite of the insinuation that I accept cultures that want to kill innocent people.
Diana West: Burnt offerings on the altar of multiculturalism:
"How strange, though, that even as we devise new ways to see inside ourselves to our most elemental components, we also prevent ourselves from looking full-face at the danger to our way of life posed by Islam."
Its a shame to see so many words wasted on such a simplistic idea.
In not discussing the roots of terror in Islam itself, in not learning about them, the multicultural clergy that shepherds our elites prevents us from having to do anything about them. This is key, because any serious action -- stopping immigration from jihad-sponsoring nations, shutting down mosques that preach violence and expelling their imams, just for starters -- means to renounce the multicultural creed. In the West, that's the greatest apostasy. And while the penalty is not death -- as it is for leaving Islam under Islamic law -- the existential crisis is to be avoided at all costs. Including extinction.
Translation: in order to protect ourselves from terror/Islam we need to rid "our" culture of all diverse elements. As a multicultural society we accept a wide mix of different cultures. Renouncing that means reverting to a monoculture. You can guess what kind of culture the assholes at Townhall think we should have -- white, christian and republican. All others should be cleansed from society for "our" own protection.
Just for starters?
In the mind of Diana West, supported by the Washington Times and Townhall.com, the only way that "our culture" can avoid extinction is to renounce tolerance, grab some guns, act like "real men", and eradicate the bad guys*.
* In case you're not up on the latest in right-wing hatred, the bad guys are not the communists anymore, and its no longer the blacks, the jews, the mexicans (so eighties!), the drug lords, or even Qadhafi.
Large Volume of F.B.I. Files Alarms U.S. Activist Groups - New York Times:
"'I'm still somewhat shocked by the size of the file on us,' said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the A.C.L.U. 'Why would the F.B.I. collect almost 1,200 pages on a civil rights organization engaged in lawful activity? What justification could there be, other than political surveillance of lawful First Amendment activities?'"
I secretly suspect that's he not really all that surprised. After all, these actions follow a well established pattern; politics over principles.
I see less of those oval W stickers on cars and trucks these days. I would like to think that people are scraping them off as they learn what a corrupt and unprincipled administration this is. But I still fear that peer pressure, of the religious "Bush is God's chosen" mentality that Streak refers to, is still hanging in there. After all, we've discovered that there are sacred connections in people's brains that keep them from ever questioning their own known "truths", even as they become so apparent as to be blinding.
I know that sounds dismissive, but I can only think of two kinds of people that would still support this blatent lack of ethics; hard line partisans and people who just don't pay attention to politics. I can understand the latter.
Love is an Arrow
... or should I have called this post "The Creation of Evidence"?
Dan Padan of No Blog of Significance has so kindly responded to my criticisms.
Why do I say that Bruce is indulging in ad hominem/poisoning the well? Look at his statement about young earthers "failing to grasp this distinction." Consider his statements that the young earth viewpoint has less to do with science than about defending a religious point of view arising from my insecurity. Does this have anything to do with the evidence? No--Bruce has not interacted with that. But there is a perfectly good reason for that, genties and ladlemen:
So why would I say such a thing, that yec's are more concerned with pushing a religious viewpoint than supporting real science? Maybe because the very website where Dan Padan gets his "evidence", says so.
I want to make it VERY clear that we don't want to be known primarily as 'young-Earth creationists.' AiG's main thrust is NOT 'young Earth' as such; our emphasis is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively 'young Earth' (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator.
In others words, they believe in a young earth because they have to in order to make their religious beliefs feel valid. They start with a conclusion and construct theories to support them. Witness this example from the AIG website...
Dr Humphreys’ new creationist cosmology literally ‘falls out’ of the equations of GR, so long as one assumes that the universe has a boundary. In other words, that it has a center and an edge—that if you were to travel off into space, you would eventually come to a place beyond which there was no more matter. In this cosmology, the earth is near the center, as it appears to be as we look out into space.
Such is how you solve the easy problem of having light reaching Earth from millions of years ago. This is how you get the "evidence" that supports a young earth view. Light isn't really reaching us from a great distance travelling at a known speed. Its all just an illusion.
Its no wonder there is so much evidence for a young earth? When you can literally dream stuff up, you can produce it faster.
Why is there a moon circling the earth?
The answer’s in Genesis! A major purpose is to light up the night. The moon reflects the sun’s light on to us even when the sun is on the other side of the earth. The amount of reflected light depends on the moon’s surface area, so we are fortunate to have a moon that is so large. It is over a quarter of Earth’s diameter — far larger in comparison with its planet than any other in the solar system.1 Also, if it were much smaller, it would not have enough gravity to maintain its spherical shape.2
Ah, evidence, sweet evidence, it just piles up in corners!
And yes, I'd dare say liberals and liberalism have had such an effect on society. Christianity, Judeism, and the good side of Islam hasn'tchanged. As liberalism has progressed(like that use of the word Progressive?), society has declined in moral stature, adhearance to the Constitution has declied, many of our rights have been decimated. Talk of revolution has burst upon the scene, many call for the impeachment of these errant justices that are trashing our rights to own property, to be secure from unwarranted searches, limiting our right to collectively voice our opinions 30 to 60 days prior to an election....
I only post this because friends are often skeptical when I tell them that there are people that think teaching others to think for themselves is what's destroying our society. "How can that be?" they ask.
Some people really hate liberals.
I've heard it for years now. I'm the source of all evil in the world. I'm the one that's trying to subvert small children and set fire to the constitution. I'm the next Hitler waiting to happen. All because I'm willing to call "bullshit" on people's stupidity.
Yeah, I'm a liberal, and quite proud of that fact. I believe in the freedom of the human mind; to be free from all forms of social coercion. I think we should be able to speak our minds to power. I think we should be able to stay home on Sunday mornings without fear of retribution. I think we should be able to call the president a "spoiled fucker with an inferiority complex" if we think its true.
So yeah, I'm what's wrong with society. I'll take the blame. I'll be the target in your culture war. You've declared it, not me. I'm the disease.
No Blog of Significance:
"It means, old-earthers, that it's time to get out the forks. You're done."
Why are they always from Tulsa?
(Go read the entire post from which this quote from pulled first)
Look, if you want to make a religious argument for your views, that's fine, do so. But don't try to use bad science to justify your religious convictions. First off, your religious beliefs should be secure without having to attack science, God can still love you either way. And second, pointing out a flaw, or a debate, within the generally accepted scientific consensus does not mean that you win by default. You still have to suit up and run the race for anyone to take you seriously.
The ID/YEC crowd seems to think that all it has to do is find some discrepancy in the evolutionary consensus and they can claim victory. But accepting a young earth view essentially means throwing out most of our understanding of Biology, Astronomy and Geology.
Why are we being asked to do this?
I think its simply to defend a religious belief. After all, it seems that every time you scratch a YEC or a proponent of ID you find someone with a religious agenda to promote (and that includes some scientists as well).
You might notice that other fields of science that skirt such religious dilemmas are left unchallenged. But in my opinion, Physics has asked much harder questions about reality and the universe than Biology ever has. Evolution, a pretty straightforward theory, made the "mistake" of assuming that human beings are just another component of the natural world, open to scientific examination.
When we all know that God would never love an ape, or a cherry blossom?
You will also notice that many opponents of evolution are less concerned about building a valid alternative to evolutionary theory as they are in shaping public perception in their favor. They drag the debate into the realm of public opinion, where "winning" has more to do with rhetorical box building than science. Attacking evolution, or pushing creationist views into the public square (a la the Tulsa Zoo exhibit) does nothing to change the fact that should evolution be dismissed, we'd be left with little of scientific value in its place.
For me, the biggest obstacle to accepting a creationist point of view is how it makes natural processes seem so damn pointless. Why do we need a heart, blood, hemoglobin, oxygen, iron, proteins, an immune system, kidneys, urine, eyes, pupils, etc etc when we have no need of them? If we were created just as we are now, out of divine whim, we could just as easily been filled with magic jelly. Evolution, whether it withstands the rigors of scientific investigation or not (I think it will in some form) as least gives us a good idea as to why we have all these unnecessary (from a creationist's pov at least) organs, and systems.
W I L C O:
SEP-22 TULSA, OK CAIN'S BALLROOM
A Drug Scourge Creates Its Own Form of Orphan - New York Times
Meth and Oklahoma
"Meth adds this element of parents who think they are rocket scientists and want to cook these chemicals in the kitchen," said Yvonne Glick, a lawyer at the Department of Human Services in Oklahoma who works with the state's alliance for drug endangered children. "They're on the couch watching their stuff cook, and the kids are on the floor watching them."
In general I get disappointed with the way that we deal with tragedies. The media seems to treat them as an excuse to make themselves the center of attention. Everyone who gets paid to have an opinion crawls into the studios to give their two cent's worth. Everyone wants to explain why this event validates their point of view. Every politician, no matter how disconnected from the event feels like they must hold a press conference to express their regret and sadness.
In the end I can't help but feel that the victims, the people who have had their lives shaken or taken, are treated as props.
I visited my parent's today for a bit and I watched a few minutes of cable news. And as I watched the same half dozen clips cycled over and over again I couldn't help but think "The news has been reported" The event was over. All they were doing now was talking. The bobbleheads were all excited, cutting from a guy standing in front of the White House, to a guy in a London studio, to a lady in an Atlanta studio. Text scrolled hurriedly across the bottom of the screen reminding us all what had happened. Politicians were holding press conferences. Experts were telling what it all means. But I still kept thinking "There's no news here". Nothing new was happening.
And the "news" that would have been broadcasted instead was relegated to the dust bin where it rightfully belonged in the first place.
My latest rankings.. for those of you that might be the tinsiest bit interested.
1. Elliott Smith
2. Modest Mouse
5. John Vanderslice (waiting for Pixel Revolt!)
6. Badly Drawn Boy
7. Fiona Apple
8. Nick Drake
9. Death Cab for Cutie
10. Rilo Kiley
(the back five)
11. Coheed and Cambria
12. The Postal Service
13. The Shins
14. Jack Johnson
Dissolve into Evergreens