Why not put in entry 900 with something completely pointless?
So either Slashdot has been hacked or the admin is on crack. See?
Venezuela is to embark on their own investigation of 9/11 to prove allegations of an alleged coverup.
I don't think there's any comment that can be made that would increase the hilarity of the above statement.
There's a question being asked as to why the liberal/mainline denominations have allowed their conservative "brethren" to set the public image of Christianity, especially with regards to the media. The only "liberals" you'll see on TV who make Christianity a significant part of their public personal tend to be Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, neither of whom are particularly well-respected by most. During the election and its aftermath, conservative religious leaders made quite the spash, but progressives really didn't.
I would suggest that the reason this is so is because while they may certainly be progressive religious types, they fail the "leader" criteria. Progressive denominations are vanishingly small. Catholicism claims 62 million people, and while the membership certainly varies in its outlook, the leadership is almost entirely conservative. The SBC has 16 million members. Seventh-Day Adventists have 15 million. That right there is 93 million. Throw in Pentecostals and the dozens of smaller conservative churches and we're talking well over 100 million members, possibly as many as 110-120 million by the time it's all said and done. By comparison, the Episcopalian, United Methodist, mainline Lutheran, and PCUSA consist of approximately 18 million members combined.
Not only are progressive denominations singificantly smaller and fewer in number than conservative ones, they are generally viewed by conservatives as not representing a faithful expression of Christianity. Their cultural influence is - self-consciously to a certain degree - much smaller than the conservatives.
It is, therefore, no small wonder that the media doesn't really pay attention to much of what they do. In terms of the scope and direction of Christianity in the USA, they're basically inconsequential.
Aren't non-citizens political non-entities in any form of representative government? Last week, several hundred thousand illegal aliens (let's cut the "undocumented worker" garbage, shall we? It insults the intelligence of everyone involved) protested - largely peacefully, to their credit - against upcoming legislative crackdowns pending in the United States Senate.
Who gives a damn?
These people can't vote. They aren't American citizens. They have precisely zero say in what happens. Don't give me this "human rights" nonsense. The right to partake in the political process of any given country is a legal one, and is specifically, explicitly, and solely reserved for citizens of said country. As far as civil rights, they don't really have many of those either. I'm not even sure standard constitutional rights are applicable (though I haven't done research here and would be interested to see if anyone else has). The only thing an illegal alien can expect at the hands of the United States government is to not be executed or tortured before being deported.
This has nothing to do with whether or not I support or oppose cracking down: it's simply a Constitutional observation. The most rational response of an elected official to 500,000 rioting non-voters is to make them go away and stop bothering his constituents.
On the issue of whether or not we should crack down on illegals, I'm significantly less clear. On one hand, leniant immigration policies have played no small part in America's strength, and nativist sentiments strike me as counterproductive and immature. Still, the rule and enforcement of laws is essential to any society, and 12 million people who violate the law by their very presence is not a good thing.
I say we do two things: first, make the penalties for illegal immigration draconian. Build the wall, deport border-crossers without trial, and impose massive penalties for hiring illegals. Second, make getting legal residence so easy that no one wants to cross illegally. Lower the bar for citizenship, do away with quotas, etc. I don't think terrorism has anything to do with this issue. All of the 9/11 hijackers were well-educated members of the middle-class, not migrant farmers.
Oh, it should also probably be a lot harder to be a migrant worker. If you want to come into the US to work in the fields, fine, just fine. Move here. None of this jumping-the-fence-to-pick-strawberries-for-two-months nonsense. You want a job, get a house and stay put.
Yeah, so it would get more complicated. Pepperdine just offered me full tuition.
That's $33k a year.
Gonna have to think about this one...
...is to take out this two-bit, banana-republic, anti-Semitic, megalomanicial blow-hard.
If I believed for one second that his leftist, Marxist/socialist schtick was even halfway genuine, I'd just criticize him for being an incompatent, grandiose, self-important, Latin American strongman like everyone else. But I don't believe it. I think it's all a ploy to stroke the ego of a pathetic man who is entirely willing to subjugate an entire nation to crippling poverty to fulfill his own delusions of grandeur.
If the CIA really did decide to take him out, I'd be all for it. Assassinating foreign leaders isn't really good policy, but this isn't a leader. This is a clown. A dangerous, dictatoral, oil-enriched clown, but a clown nonetheless.
Unless I get a better offer from another school by Friday, I'm going to accept Notre Dame's offer to attend NDLS. Class begins in August.
I installed this today.
This is, hands down, the best looking game I've ever played.
It still feels kind of like Morrowind, yet the interface is improved, and it looks just awesome.
Universial Studios is going to start offering direct movie downloads on April 15. I'm not sure exactly what format they're imposing - it won't be good, whatever it is - but playback on both desktop/laptops and portable devices will somehow be supported. The files will be protected with Microsoft DRM, which means that wma files are pretty likely. I hope you like WMPlayer. Universal is ultimately planning to have their entire 6,500 film catalog available for download.
This sounds good and all, but I've got money that says they're going to find that the number of legitimate downloads is incredibly tiny, and use that data to conclude that offering downloads direct to consumers isn't viable.
Never mind the fact that they're charging $20-40 per download.
Being continuously accessible through electronic devices makes you inaccessible to the people standing next to you.
"Your world turns into a never-ending cocktail party where you're always looking over your virtual shoulder for a better conversation partner. The anxiety is contagious: anyone who winds up talking to a person infected with CPA feels like he or she is accepting an Oscar, and at any moment the music might stop the speech."
I can attest to this. I hate it when someone I'm talking to takes a call while I'm standing there.
Of course, I rarely ever do this, but that's only because no one ever calls me.
Here is a fascinating article about the interaction between Islamic sharia and the US Constitution.
What possible interaction could there be? When Islamists attempt to create religious enclaves in the US where they may freely enforce sharia.
Something similar happened in Canada recently, when imams wanted to use sharia to settle family disputes. This, obviously, always wound up favoring the men in the situation, as most of the extreme forms of Islam are ragingly misogynist and it was mostly extremists who wanted to enforce sharia anyways. Canada wound up having to disallow religious groups from settling these things out of court at all, including historically successful Jewish and Catholic groups that had functioned admirably for years.
One possible solution would be to specifically exclude Islam from acceptable forms of religious expression, but that would indeed seem to violate the 1st amendment. There doesn't seem to be a legal way of defining Islam as falling outside the realm of civilization, and as Islamists always seek to use liberal tolerance to create bastions of intolerance, this is indeed a thorny problem.
Just got waitlisted by UMD. So that's, what, 2-0-1?
I guess that's what happens when you file your applications two days before the deadline.
On the upside, a Notre Dame Law alumnus working for a law firm in Chicago sent me a letter recruiting me for NDLS. Looks better all the time.
...with a side of paranoia and conspiracy mongering. That'll be to go.
I just saw V for Vendetta.
The basic thesis of the movie is that the Bush administration deliberately planned and executed the September 11th attacks in order to create a political climate that would allow them to push through a theocratic police state. Furthermore, the administration maintains dictatoral control over the media, overtly fabricates news, and censors anything that appears remotely subversive. Secondarily, personal growth and cultural enlightenment are the foundation for political revolution, and the means of said revolution - which is obviously necessary - is and ought to be murder, kidnapping, industrial sabotage, and terrorism.
The argument is, essentially, the same as The Matrix, wherein the mass execution of innocent civilians is entirely acceptable if those people stand in the way of cultural revolution. But the left never really has cared about people as persons, only as populations and aesthetic ideas. They've also never really clued into the fact that cultural revolutions... how to put this... don't work. I submit as evidence the fact that V for Vendetta was produced in America, with American corporate capital, will probably make a lot of money, and will produce little to no reaction from the government because no one there is silly enough to think that movies motivate political change.
The ironies of the movie are just dazzling, and entirely unintended. "What this country needs now is hope," says our heroine (played by the estimable Natalie Portman, who really can act when she isn't being directed by Mr. Lucas), as she flips the switch that will blow up Parliament. Does anyone else see how the willful destruction of civil landmarks and government buildings doesn't exactly serve to create an environment of hope? It is also, apparently, okay to torture people, if it's for what the torturer judges to be good for the victim.
This, dear reader, would appear to be the left's answer to The Incredibles, one of the more recent truly great political films. Whereas Incredibles was clearly a conservative film that espoused a family, civilization, and life-affirming message, Vendetta is nihilistic, narcissitic, relentlessly dark, and morally ambiguous. It's also rabidly anti-Christian. The reason I even bother to make the comparison is that it's a really good movie, unlike the recent drek that the left has produced.
V is prone to loquaciousness, and the fountain of words he produces in the first scene are really quite exquisite. His clever suggestion that "Who are you?" isn't an entirely appropriate question to ask a man wearing a mask (if he wanted you to know, would he be wearing the mask?) is delightful. References to Shakespeare abound, and are remarkably apt. "Remember, remember, the fifth of November" is used to good effect (though the lionization of anarchists and terrorists is further evidence of the Wachowski brothers' derangement). The writing is really very good.
As far as the acting, Hugo Weaving has an incredibly pleasant voice, and does well as a man in a mask. Portman suffers nicely, and actually looks just fine with no hair. John Hurt takes on a delicious role reversal from his previous work as Winston Smith by taking on the the Big Brother figure of Chancellor Adam Sutler.
The film is definitely worth seeing, provided you take your anti-psychotics before you go. Wouldn't want any of that nonsense rubbing off on you. But as a hallmark of the direction the left is taking in this country, it's clearly worth watching. A recurring line from the film is that "Artists uses lies to tell the truth. Politicians use them to obscure the truth." The truth being told by the movie is wrong, but the lies are beautifully told, which is more than Moore can say. At least these guys had the decency to call theirs fiction.
Evan asked for me to articulate my criticism of "fair trade" practices.
My biggest objection to the "fair trade" has nothing to do with the ideas behind it. I'm not opposed to paying a fair price for quality goods, and I am opposed to theft. My objection is that all of the fair trade and other progressive-type "innovations" is simply that they do not scale, and are thus not viable options for everyone. They remain a trendy way for those rich enough to afford them to assuage their consciences, but cannot and will not amount to anything more than that.
Take the example of shade grown coffee. Sure, sounds nice and all. But if I remember correctly, shade-groves produce significantly less coffee per acre than conventional methods. This means that if we want to produce enough coffee to meet demand, we need to bring significantly larger tracts of jungle into production (which in turn says bad things about conservation, but that's another discussion). Barring that, the price of coffee goes up, and it becomes a luxury good for those that can afford it. In essence, those who say all coffee should be shade-grown are saying that only the people that have enough disposable income to pay double-digit figures per pound of beans should be allowed to drink it. That's not particularly populist, now is it?
The same kind of thing goes for other progressive "fair trade" type arrangements: they work well on a small scale, and can produce enough inventory to fill a niche market, but we simply can't produce enough of whatever-it-is-we're-talking-about that way.
Additionally, "fair trade" agreements frequently boil down to rank protectionism. There's a reason Costa Rica is violently opposed to free trade agreements with the US. The reason is that they've got a massively overpriced labor market with stiff government protections on said labor practices, and if those protections are removed, they can't afford to continue to overpay their workers. Other countries have similar problems with agricultural subsidies and corporate protectionism.
If there is a proposal floating around that is economically efficient while simultaneously furthering progressive goals, I'd be all for it. But the "fair trade" proposals I'm familiar with all seem to be economic disasters waiting to happen.
I really enjoyed writing that sentence.
Anyways, here's why.
In short, "organic", "sustainability", "locally grown", and "energy conscious" are all ways of separating the gullible from their money.
Think it's energy conscious to buy fertilizer and pesticide-free potatoes from Chile? Ever considered how much energy it takes to get anything from Chile, let alone something as bulky as potatoes?
Those of you who have met me personally should already know that.
Money quote: "I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush."
Now we're in at Notre Dame, with another scholarship offer.
I love these ads. Don't know whether they're real or not, but they're simply amazing.
This is a compilation of all of the trunk monkey ads in one clip. My favorite is the last one.
I've been accepted to Temple's law school. They've offered me $15k.
...but perhaps not entirely without legal merit. A 25-year-old man is suing to not have to pay child support on the basis that women now have more options in ending an unwanted pregnancy than men do, and that this in turn violates the Constitution's right to equal protection under law.
Never thought of it that way, but... there may be something to that legally. If "my body, my choice" is to hold true, then there would seem to be absolutely no responsibility on the part of the man involved. If the woman doesn't want to be pregnant, she has her various options.
But what if the man doesn't want his girlfriend to be pregnant? If she refuses to have an abortion, does that mean that the man is obligated to pay for a child he never wanted? Arguing that he shouldn't have had sex in the first place is applying exactly the same argument that is used in pro-life circles, so it would seem that child support and ready access to abortion ought to be mutually exclusive propositions.
I would also like to think that arguing that deliberate infanticide has all kinds of unpleasant ramifications does not make me a misogynist.
So, South Dakota has passed what is being touted as a sweeping abortion ban. Fair enough. It's the kind of thing we'd expect from South Dakota.
But what I don't get is why anyone thinks this is a big deal. The way it seems to be couched, I'm not sure that the law will have any effect unless upheld by the Supreme Court.
But doesn't that mean all pro-death advocates have to do is simply decline to offer a legal challenge?
And Planned Parenthood already has the idea to simply change the law again. Get a voter referendum on the books and you can just change it back.
I support banning most abortions, but I don't support childish political stunts like this one seems to be.
Phillip Longman has an essay in Foreign Policy with that title. In short, he argues what I've been arguing for a few years now: the current secular welfare state is cultural suicide, for it promotes a decline in birthrates, which in turn leads to civilizational death.
"[D]o you distrust the army? Then, according to polling data assembled by demographers Ronny Lesthaeghe and Johan Surkyn, you are less likely to be married and have kids—or ever to get married and have kids—than those who say they have no objection to the military. Or again, do you find soft drugs, homosexuality, and euthanasia acceptable? Do you seldom, if ever, attend church? For whatever reason, people answering affirmatively to such questions are far more likely to live alone, or in childless, cohabitating unions, than those who answer negatively."
One may conclude that things like homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion, and recreational drug use are the societal equivalent of stillborn children, as they are demographic dead ends.
Our society would look very different if age-based discrimination hadn't lead to the wholesale slaughter of 8-9% of the US population over the last 30 years. We'd probably be in a much better position to resist a resurgant Islam. Then again, the people killed are largely children of those who themselves aren't great demographic bets, so maybe it's better that that segment of the population quietly declines through murdering its own, slowly increasing the percentage of viable, civilized citizens amongst the general population.
Just a modest proposal. I suppose it'd be funnier if it weren't all true.
Like this one.
The last time they ran something this good was here.
Geico discriminates against poor people.
No, really, they do. They charge people without a high-school diploma significantly more than those with diplomas, bachelors, or advanced degrees. Up to 70% in some cases.
There isn't a single thing wrong with this. CLUE, the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (a service of ChoicePoint), keeps extraordinarily detailed records of all insurance claims filed against every company in the US. So if you file a huge claim against, say, State Farm, and then try to switch to a different company that won't know about your accident, it isn't going to work.
CLUE is intended to allow underwriters to determine exactly how much of a risk a given insured poses. They can sort by credit score, income level, occupation, and, as it turns out, level of education. It also turns out that people with high credit ratings, good jobs, and decent educations are better drivers, and thus pose less of a risk for the insurance company. They could screen for race and charge for that too, but it's illegal because of civil rights legislation, but they probably don't mind all that much, because any factors suggested by sorting by race will probably be accounted for by sorting for things like education and income.
Think about it: a person who pays their bills like clockwork is probably a pretty responsible person. A person who is responsible in paying their bills is more likely to be responsible when driving their car. On the other hand, a person who has numerous accounts past due obviously doesn't have control of their life, and if they take risks with money, they'll take risks when driving. Ergo, they cost the company more in the long run, and should have to pay for being risky.
By the way, it isn't nearly as blindly discriminatory as you might initially think. Oddly enough, doctors have the single worst loss history of any profession, and don't think insurance companies who screen for that kind of thing won't charge for it. Go figure.