Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Question of the DayThroughout the vast epoch of human history, how many atrocities were ever commited in the name of atheism? On a side note ... check out the Jesuspan.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Pyrrhic VictoryBarry Bonds hit his 714th home run, tying Babe Ruth's record. Reminds me of when a computer beat the Chess Champ. Deep Blue's victory, however, was optimistic in some ways.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
There's No Love Song Finer,
But how Strange the Change from Major to Minor
The first time I beat my dad at arm wrestling I felt exhuberant at first, then was filled with a crushing feeling that something had been horribly lost. My dad--previously someone who I had until then felt was a badass--was weaker than I was. Because I didn't think of myself as particularly strong, this meant my dad went down several notches. I was only 18 or 19 at the time, but I remember feeling like I wanted to cry.
It's the only feeling I've had in my life that compares to what I'm going through right now with my own country. It's a country that I love like one loves their own father. But to see your own father act so scandalously has actually brought me to tears. It reminds me of a fantastic short story I once read by Ethan Canin in his first book "The Emperor of the Air." A kid steals away in the trunk of his dad's car just to freak him out and surprise him, only to find that he's driven to his mistress's house and is cheating on his mom.
Our country, like our dads, has always had its share of problems, but has always managed to right itself. The good has always managed to outweigh and blot out the bad. But the good that has prevailed in the past is now being silenced, quashed, circumvented, redefined and outmoded.
It's like watching your father become a meth addict and not knowing what to do ...
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
They're Not Just Spying on TerroristsIs it surprising to know that the administration is tracking the phone calls of its political enemies? Not at all. This ABC article explains it: The link is here, and I highly recommend reading the lively comments. Federal Source to ABC News: We Know Who You're Calling May 15, 2006 10:33 AM Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report: A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources. "It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation. ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls. Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation. One former official was asked to sign a document stating he was not a confidential source for New York Times reporter James Risen. Our reports on the CIA's secret prisons in Romania and Poland were known to have upset CIA officials. The CIA asked for an FBI investigation of leaks of classified information following those reports. People questioned by the FBI about leaks of intelligence information say the CIA was also disturbed by ABC News reports that revealed the use of CIA predator missiles inside Pakistan. Under Bush Administration guidelines, it is not considered illegal for the government to keep track of numbers dialed by phone customers. The official who warned ABC News said there was no indication our phones were being tapped so the content of the conversation could be recorded. A pattern of phone calls from a reporter, however, could provide valuable clues for leak investigators.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Welcome to the State of Police - Population 300 MillionWhile many Americans were dedicated to supporting our troops, supporting our president, supporting the status quo, and trying to keep the conversation light ... a totalitarian regime has wormed its way in between our SUVs and our Big Macs. Each day that I look at what is happening to my beloved country, I find myself almost too stunned for words. The funny thing is, our vision of what a police state should be has been handed to us by Hollywood. And as prescient as Hollywood can be, I'm starting to realize they usually got it totally wrong. A police state does not look like what was depicted in "1984" or even "V for Vendetta." A police state would never succeed while ruling over huddled masses yearning to breathe free, like those movies suggest. No, a police state will most likely succeed in a country where the populace has been lulled into a state of complacency with vast wealth, unparallelled availability of resources, and an endless stream of amusements. (Note the word "amuse," when broken down, means to not think.) A police state will more likely succeed in a movie like "Gattaca" where everyone is perfect and the world is squeaky clean, or in a place like "United States, 2006." The Curmudgeon in Training presented this thought to me today: "We're not in danger of living in a police state, we ARE living in a police state." And the above article suggests compelling evidence. Our President does whatever he wants, with no regard to the law, the Constitution, or the welfare of US citizens. While even his erstwhile staunch allies in Congress are distancing themselves from him, their reasons are telling and effette. They are fleeing his side because he intends to make them powerless. In fact, he already has. They are very close to having no power against him. He calls his actions "lawful," and he defines "lawful" as anything he does. He can't break the law; he is the law. The President exercises almost total control over a major news network and skillfully manipulates other arms of the news. The President doesn't have to tell the truth; he defines the truth. And now the Federal Government is watching over us--listening to our phone calls. They assure us that, "We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans." But when asked to prove this, they hide behind the veil of secrecy and fear, and play their trump card of the "War on Terror." It's hard to believe that an administration with a consistent history of silencing dissent won't abuse this power to further this goal in secret. I believe they will, and I believe they have. Welcome to a Police State, Americans. It snuck right up on us.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Nothing Could be More AmericanVerso 1 Amanece, lo veis?, a la luz de la aurora? lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer? sus estrellas sus franjas flotaban ayer en el fiero combate en señal de victoria, fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertad. Por la noche decían: "Se va defendiendo!" Coro Oh decid! Despliega aún Su hermosura estrellada sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada? Verso 2 Sus estrellas, sus franjas, la libertad, somos iguales. Somos hermanos. Es nuestro himno. En el fiero combate en señal de victoria, Fulgor de lucha (Mi gente sigue luchando) al paso de la libertad (Ya es tiempo de romper las cadenas.) Por la noche decían: "!Se va defendiendo!" Oh decid! Despliega aún su hermosura estrellada sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada? English translation: Verse 1 It's sunrise. Do you see by the light of the dawn What we proudly hailed last nightfall? Its stars, its stripes yesterday streamed above fierce combat a symbol of victory the glory of battle, the march toward liberty. Throughout the night, they proclaimed: "We will defend it!" Chorus Tell me! Does its starry beauty still wave above the land of the free, the sacred flag? Verse 2 Its stars, its stripes, Liberty, we are the same. We are brothers in our anthem. In fierce combat, a symbol of victory the glory of battle, (My people fight on) the march toward liberty. (The time has come to break the chains.) Throughout the night they proclaimed: "We will defend it!" Tell me! Does its starry beauty still wave above the land of the free, the sacred flag?
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Steven Colbert Rocks!Steven Colbert has a show on Comedy Central, where he spoofs the O'Reilly Factor. He is extremely quick, and extremely funny. Why this guy was allowed to speak at a White House Press Correspondants' Dinner is beyond me because he is so blatantly critical of the president. But ... here's what happened. It's totally hilarious.