Sunday, December 30, 2007
We funded all the necessary functions of goverment for 150 years without one, why do we need on now? Beyond that even; what business is it, of anybodies, how much you make? Your employer needs to know so he can cut the checks, and you need to know so that you know how much you have to spend, save, invest, etc.
They tell you, in most corporations "don't discuss wages with other employees, it's a sensitive subject" but if I can't talk about it with Bob over a beer, why would I want to discuss it with the tax man? Let alone be compelled to avow to it in writing on penalty of additional taxes being levied?
No thanks on that one. I think I'm pleading the fifth the next time the subject comes up.
The income tax needs to end (as well as 90% if the other taxes currently in existence) and not be replaced with anything. If they need additional funds to run the government, they can just sell more lottery tickets.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
PLAISTOW, N.H. -- Ron Paul said the decision to exclude him from a debate on Fox News Sunday the weekend before the New Hampshire Primary is proof that the network "is scared" of him.
"They are scared of me and don't want my message to get out, but it will," Paul said in an interview at a diner here. "They are propagandists for this war and I challenge them on the notion that they are conservative."
Paul's staff said they are beginning to plan a rally that will take place at the same time the 90-minute debate will air on television. It will be taped at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown.
"They will not win this skirmish," he promised.
The Fox debate occurs less than 24 hours after two back to back Republican and Democratic debates on the same campus sponsored by ABC News, WMUR-TV and the social networking website Facebook.
Paul, the Republican Texas Congressman, was wrapping up his final day of campaigning in New Hampshire until the Iowa Caucuses on Thursday.
He spent much of the day campaigning at diners in Manchester and Plaistow and downtown walks in Derry and Exeter.
Those who prefer to exclude opinions they disagree with will cite poll numbers as the reason that Dr. Paul does not rate inclusion in the debate; but polls are representative of what respondents thought of the questions asked; nothing more and nothing less. When the polls are unbiased and inclusive, Dr. Paul ranks much higher than the 3 to 4 percent that is often cited. Fox has no business excluding him for any reason other than fear of what he represents, a groundswell of revolt against the current system.
As a corporate representative of that system (as all publicly held corporations are) they have every right to be afraid; but their fear shows their bias, and it also shows just how much "fair and balanced" is worth at Fox Noise.
Not very much.
It is the opinions that are being excluded here (anti-war Republican, Austrian economics, limited government candidate) not the person of Dr. Paul. If these are your values as well as Dr. Paul's, then you need to get behind him and show your support.
Change is coming in this country, make no mistake about that. Make sure it's the right kind of change.
I'm beginning to think that the inhabitants over at digg are just a bunch of children. There's a flag on the first message I stumbled across questioning the accuracy of the information.
...And yet, even Ron Paul's website acknowledges the truth as far as they know it:
Press Releases: Has Fox News Excluded Ron Paul?read more | digg story
December 28, 2007 10:39 pm EST
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – According to the New Hampshire State Republican Party and an Associated Press report, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul will be excluded from an upcoming forum of Republican candidates to be broadcast by Fox News on January 6, 2008.
“Given Ron Paul’s support in New Hampshire and his recent historic fundraising success, it is outrageous that Dr. Paul would be excluded,” said Ron Paul 2008 campaign chairman Kent Snyder. “Dr. Paul has consistently polled higher in New Hampshire than some of the other candidates who have been invited.”
Snyder continued, “Paul supporters should know that we are continuing to make inquiries with Fox News as to why they have apparently excluded Dr. Paul from this event.”
So, what's up digg? Are you vying to be as biased as Fox Noise?
The second press release on the subject:
December 30, 2007
Has Fox News Excluded Ron Paul? pt. 2
On December 27, the Associated Press reported: "The New Hampshire Republican Party is sponsoring a forum for Republican presidential candidates on Jan. 6, two days before the state's first-in-the-nation primary." Later in the article, the AP stated: "Participating in the forum will be Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson."
On the evening of December 28, Jared Chicoine and Jordan Brown of our New Hampshire campaign staff met in person with Fergus Cullen the New Hampshire GOP chairman to discuss whether or not Dr. Paul would be invited to participate in the forum. Mr. Cullen confirmed there will be an event on January 6, but he could not confirm whether or not Dr. Paul would be invited. We also learned the event would not be a debate with an audience, but instead would be a forum in a closed studio with the candidates questioned only by Chris Wallace of Fox News.
A few hours after that meeting, we contacted Fox News seeking clarification. Later that night, we issued a press release while waiting to hear from Fox News.
On December 29, the Baltimore Sun featured a report by Jason George. Mr. George reported, "Calls and emails to Fox News spokespersons by the Tribune were not returned Saturday evening.
"An official at the New Hampshire GOP, which is co-sponsoring the event with Fox, said that Paul might still be included, but the planning for the debate was still coming together and it was ultimately Fox's call."
As of late afternoon today (December 30), we have nothing more to report.
Chairman, Ron Paul 2008
The third press release:
December 31, 2007
Has Fox News Excluded Ron Paul? pt. 3
Fergus Cullen, chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, issued a press release this afternoon about Fox News' presidential candidates forum scheduled for January 6. His release is below.
We thank Mr. Cullen for his statement today and for his efforts with Fox News.
*****Date: December 31, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Fergus Cullen, Chairman, New Hampshire Republican Party
NH REPUBLICANS: DON’T LIMIT DEBATE PARTICIPANTS
CONCORD – New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen releases the following statement regarding primary weekend debates:
“Limiting the number of candidates who are invited to participate in debates is not consistent with the tradition of the first in the nation primary. The level playing field requires that all candidates be given an equal opportunity to participate – not just a select few determined by the media prior to any votes being cast.”
“Therefore, the New Hampshire Republican Party calls upon all media organizations planning pre-primary debates or forums for both parties to include all recognized major candidates in their events.”
“The New Hampshire Republican Party has notified FOX News of our position, and we are in ongoing discussions with FOX News about having as many candidates as possible participate in the forum scheduled for January 6.”
read more | digg story
Amongst the regular recurring songs (Ain't it the Truth, It Ain't Necessarily So, etc.) were several other songs I'd never heard before, including one by John Lennon (Found Out) and one by XTC (Dear God) I'm going to have to pick up an XTC album.
2006 Archive episode.
December 30, 2006 - Steven Pinker - Ghost in the machine? He doesn't think so. The staggering complexity of the neural network in the brain is enough to explain consciousness. I don't know that I agree with his argument, but he makes a pretty good case.
Several songs featured in this episode as well. Dan Barker's rendition of Die Gedanken sind frei most prominently. Also a tribute to Auld Lang Syne composer Robert Burns at the end of Freethinkers Almanac.
Friday, December 28, 2007
So let me go out on a limb here and say what any reasonable person would strongly suspect. The reason you can't get Mucinex and Sudafed that work without jumping through hoops isn't really about stopping basement meth users. It is really about the racket going on in Washington in which the law is used to benefit influential producers in cahoots with the political class at the expense of less influential producers and the American people, who should have the freedom to choose.read more | digg story
The phrase follow the money has proven itself to me time and time again. The German company that makes phenylephrine lobbied hard to get the anti-meth act passed. Imagine that.
Reminds me of the accusations leveled at Dupont and Hearst during the days when Marijuana was demonized. They, of course, deny these accusations, but following the money certainly does shed some interesting light on politics.
...And here I thought we were passing these laws to protect the children.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The Santa Clause was one of his first films, and in my opinion it remains one of his best. This film came out about the time that I was stuck in a quandary about whether to subject my child to the mythology around Santa Claus, and just what I would want to say on the subject (previous Christmas rants are here) the story of Scott Calvin struck a chord with me. Many of the problems that I had with Christmas were summed up quite nicely in the beginning of the film, and the fantasy that followed the film's very ordinary beginning made me a believer in the Santa Claus myth again. I could see how this would work in my own life and family.
[This, in a nutshell, is what distinguishes a good film from a bad one. Do you identify with the characters? Do you sympathize with them? Does the situation of their imaginary lives address some issue that you are struggling with? Outside of proper story construction (Theme, plot and pacing) these elements are crucial; these are the elements that make you want to like a film]
I think every father wants to be Santa Claus; and through movie magic, they can be. I won't go so far as to say this is a great film; it's a good film that I happen to like a lot.
The Santa Clause 2 was a film that I actually dreaded. Having invested myself in the first film (this is a consistent problem with sequels) I really didn't want to have my cherished memories tampered with. Thankfully SC2 was light on the tampering aspect. Other than the introduction of the "Council of Legendary Figures" which I found more intriguing than I did offensive (and that because of the linked literary reference) there was very little meddling in the story that evolved in the first film.
The need to establish the mythological Mrs. Claus alongside Santa, as well as the chance to make Scott Calvin a little less reprehensible in the relationship department, was the major subject of this film. I have to admit that I haven't re-watched this film recently, but it hasn't been because I didn't like it.
(more on that in a bit)
Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is a predictable, but entertaining, comedy.
Unlike the second film, I found myself more interested in the concept of the "Council of Legendary Figures" than I was in the story at hand.
[I don't know why Piers Anthony left these particular immortals off his list (other than Time and Mother Nature, that is) but I don't think he needs to add them. Don't need a book (or a movie) about the legendary figure of the Easter Bunny.
Perhaps it's time for a series of films about the Incarnations of Immortality series itself.]
The less said about this installment, the better. It is watchable, but unremarkable in it's execution.
I'll probably add it to the library, to be watched when the children want to get into the Christmas spirit; as opposed to when the Wife wants to watch a Christmas movie. Then it's Die Hard. No other film comes close to scoring that high on her favorites list; Not Charlie Brown, not the tried and true stop motion films of the 60's & 70's. Not even It's a Wonderful Life or The Bishop's Wife; not even A Christmas Story.
Nope, it's the Nakatomi building and Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker every holiday season. Yes, it is interesting around here at Christmas time.
Monday, December 24, 2007
If you just want the information (especially since he's not offering legal advice) it's probably simpler to just go to this link to the ACLU and get their wallet card that covers the basics; such as:
IF YOU'RE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
1. Upon request, show them your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard a sob story involving someone consenting to a search when they just knew their vehicle was clean. The answer should always be "I'm sorry, but I do not consent to a search".
If you want to go beyond "police encounters 101" then you might want to check out the video at Flex Your Rights called Busted. I haven't seen it myself, but the blurb on the website sounds interesting.
"That's the beauty of argument; because if you argue correctly you're never wrong" -Nick NaylorI rented this film over the weekend knowing that I'd have plenty of time to watch it at some point before it was due back. I don't think I had it for a full 24 hours before I laughing my butt off in front of the television asthe Yuppie Mephistopheles did his best to convince me that I needed to smoke cigarettes.
The film revolves around a big tobacco lobbyist, Nick Naylor, and his experiences talking up the subject of smoking. Considering how smoking is reviled these days, and how many arguments I've had with people concerning smoking bans, and being a former smoker myself, none of the ironic humor found in this film was lost on me.
"but you still haven't convinced me"I noticed at one point that Nick Naylor's son attends St. Euthanasius school. Too funny. Written and directed by libertarian thinkers, this film takes great pleasure in poking holes in much of the hysteria around cigarettes and smoking; while at the same time lampooning everything from lobbying to product placement in films. If you have a sense of humor, then I can't recommend this film strongly enough.
"See, I'm not after you; I'm after them."
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Amazon Unbox Holiday Treats: No-Cost, Exclusive, and Topselling DownloadsI don't know how many people checked into this, but I've been intrigued for quite some time about the future of media on the internet, so I thought I would check it out.
First off, if you want to find the No-Cost portion of the advertisement, you have to dig pretty hard. Some of the No-Cost content is labeled, but you have to actually go several layers into the transaction before you can select the No-Cost portion of the content that you want to try out.
No-Cost isn't really being truthful, either. Oh, it's true you don't have to pay anything, in the way of money up front; however, you have to submit to downloading their viewer (which has exclusive rights to play their content) and you can only play the content on one system; nor can you burn it to disk to play it on a standard DVD player. So if the system you download the content onto isn't the one you want to finally play the content on, you're out of luck, and into the Cost part of No-Cost if you want to actually view the content.
Never mind some of the horror stories circling the net about lost downloads and Tivo's; I have a hard time believing that Amazon would not refund a transaction that didn't end satisfactorily for the customer, but I'm not willing to hazard even a few bucks on the service until there is some process in place for allowing me to watch purchased material wherever and whenever I want.
[FYI Hollywood mogul types; this is what it means to 'buy' something. You get to use it the way you please; and, by the way, the Torrent files I download for free don't have any restrictions on them. Yes, I haven't purchased any rights when I download a torrent file, but I don't appear to have any rights when I do put out cash for properly licensed material anyway, so I don't see the downside for me; well, other than being hounded into the grave by bloodsucking corporate hacks with nothing better to do than punish their customers]
Until that time, when I have rights to use the material in a normal fashion (i.e. play it in the average video player, display it on the average TV screen) I'll be sticking to purchasing plain old (used/cheap) DVD's and 'free' torrent downloads.
My apologies if your children don't get to attend Harvard because of this. My children might actually be able to attend college on the money I save (did I mention I was skipping out on the upgrade to HD-DVD/Blueray? There's some major savings there) What an ironic turn of events.
The funny thing is, I was revolted by the very idea of a rat preparing food. Really. I originally refused to watch the film because I didn't want to see even animated people eating food prepared by an animated rat. Seriously.
Perhaps now you can understand what I mean when I say the film was beautiful. I rented the film because my children begged to see it; and I watched the film because it's a rule of mine to watch the shows that my children are watching. And I couldn't have been more moved. Tears, man.
The truth is, it's not a film about a rat that can cook; it's about chasing and achieving your dream even in the face of completely insurmountable odds, and doing it with panache. Without a doubt the best film from Pixar to date.
Of course, if you have a cynical eye (as I do in spades on occasion) looking at the film through a reverse lens can also be entertaining. Plot !spoilers! ahead for anyone who cares.
A restaurant critic, jaded by too many years reviewing the works of others, spends his time heaping merciless ridicule on mediocre chefs. He becomes more and more cruel in his reviews, and less and less satisfied with the food prepared for him, until it gets to the point that his only happiness can be found in a peasant sausage dish specially prepared for him by the hands of a rat.
His readers, who have enjoyed reading the poisoned leavings of his pen, follow him down this road to hell, and also eat food prepared for them by rats.
Viola. Karma, thy justice is sweet. The whole time I was watching, I kept seeing this alternate explanation of events playing out in my mind at the same time as the film itself. Maybe I've read too many merciless reviews over the years to ignore the fact that critics rarely have the objectivity to truly rate the works of another.
Hey, movie critics, I think Pixar has a message for you...
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Freethought in the movies this week. Several good movies mentioned, including the aforementioned Golden Compass (which I enjoyed greatly, and I hope to read the book soon) O Brother Where Art Thou, Chocolat, Contact and Blade Runner all favorites of mine. There were also I few I hadn't seen, such as The Contender, A Raisin in the Sun, Elmer Gantry, Inherit the Wind and several foreign language films whose titles I didn't catch. More films are listed here.
"Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding." Clarence DarrowI noticed that the hosts and guests to the show spend a lot of time correcting the usage of the word Christmas to the phrase "Solstice Holiday". The word Christmas doesn't have anything to do with the word christian as it is used in the US; and I've pointed this out before. I'm not giving up the word Christmas just because Santa is my solstice holiday icon; and I'm not going to change the date of Christmas to coincide with the actual solstice, so I don't see the point of renaming it Solstice Holiday. It's Christmas, and It's going to stay Christmas, a secularized solstice holiday that features a jolly red elf. Get over it.
Although I did like the point (and have made this point myself before) that the Puritans who settled North America left England because they objected to Roman Catholic excess; namely the celebration of holidays not found in scripture. Like Christmas.
So much for the christian reason for the season.
2006 Archive episode.
December 23, 2006 - Confessions of a Lonely Atheist
The acknowledgment of Robert Ingersoll in the Freethinkers almanac segment reminds me of the so far unmentioned part of the show that I actually look forward to on each podcast. You actually don't have to listen to the shows to get this information you can find it here. The guest this week was Natalie Angier, discussing her article Confessions of a Lonely Atheist, and the advancing numbers of self acknowledging Atheists in the US these days. She also discusses raising a child in this religious fevered nation (no place like Texas for that, so I can identify) and what that entails.
Also the debut of the song Intelligent? Design? is in this episode.
Intelligent? Design?Sung to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic". Too funny.
by Phillip Appleman
Set to music by Dan Barker
Your eyes have seen a blurry scene
that's only known to man.
You're optic nerves are backward
and have been since time began.
That's what the preachers tell you
is god's very special plan.
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!
The great designer knows what's due ya.
Nothing else can stick it to ya like
You wish a guy's urethra did
The jobs that were proposed:
Both lover's clout and waterspout
Is what you had supposed.
Alas, the Great Designer squeezed
A prostate 'round your hose:
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!
Nowhere does the Bible clue ya
That your glands would soon subdue ya:
Your tummies sick, your heart goes tick,
your hips are giving in.
childbirth is a horror
'cause your pelvis is to thin.
when your appendix ruptures,
the designer only grins.
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!
Making do will have to do ya
flim-flammers cooked this up to screw ya
Thursday, December 20, 2007
See my article Evolutionism vs. Creationism
So I read it. Like so many things friends tell me I should read because I'll agree with it, I didn't get past the opening without finding something to quibble with. Here's the quote:
...whether a "creation" model deserves at least equal billing as an alternative theory to evolution. It does, but not in a way that would please the religious advocates of a biblical form of such a model.I could not disagree with that opening statement more.
Occam's razor (as he rightly point out later in the article) rules out external actors (like gods or George) because of the impact that such a thing would have on other theories or models.
People can believe pretty much anything they like, but the physical universe behaves in scientifically predictable ways. Creationism is a belief system, not to be mistaken for science; and therefore has no place in a science class, at all.
Contamination and alien invasion, or even "God did it" can have a place at the science table when they can come up with testable theories. Until then, I'm siding with the Pastafarians and insisting that it is the blessings of his noodly appendages that should be taught alongside other forms of creationism, if we are going to be teaching creationism.
...which doesn't even come close to real science.
The cover article in the Dec. 2007 issue of Scientific American, Are Aliens among Us?, [abstracted here] discusses some of the alternatives to a single descent tree, including one I discussed in my article, "mirror" organisms. Any neutral scientific approach must always consider the possibility of contamination. All we need is evidence of organisms that can't be placed in a single descent tree. So far no one has found any, but the subject will become more important as as explore space and begin to inadvertently cause biological contamination incidents.
...And without evidence, that pretty much covers classroom discussion. I'm not arguing against teaching critical thought, I'm arguing against teaching mythology as science.
Whether the molecules are right or left handed, natural selection will still occur, if more complex organisms occur.
Such questions also arise in the examination of paleoarchaeological evidence from the last one or two million years when variants of homo began to modify other species in their environment. If one finds some wheat or corn seeds, are they naturally evolved or human bred? Is that stone with a sharpened edge an early tool of hominids, or just an accident? Is that invasive species just something brought in from another place, or something manmade? E.g. Caulerpa taxifolia. For that matter, are those hominid specimens naturally evolved or the result of social selection within the hominids?
All of which speaks more to the fallacy of excluding the actions of the human population at large from the group of events deemed 'natural', than it does to errors in evolutionary theory. We aren't the only species on the planet to use tools; and we aren't the only species on the planet to modify other species to suit our needs.
As a species we are as natural a phenomenon on this planet as any of the others who came before us. It shows our own inflated sense of self to think otherwise.
It's an important datum to note where the influence comes from; but it doesn't make the effect any less natural, or any less evolutionary.
I will never understand the problem with Americans and Evolution. How so many people can doubt a science that is so easily demonstrable is beyond me.
[How do you explain dogs? Other domesticated species who have evolved a dependence on humans? Is the human species a stand in for god? Then how are we able to manipulate other species?]
I don't know that the friend I quoted above has a problem with evolution so much that he doesn't want to exclude other theories, but I have yet to see any other theory produce a single shred of evidence, whereas the evidence for evolution can be stumbled over as easily as the dog that lays down behind your feet.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Sci-fi rant: When did Star Trek jump the shark?It's a rather entertaining piece, in a lightly pseudo-misogynistic sort of way, you might want to finish reading it. There are two other entries in the series at TechRepublic; Sci-fi rant: When did Star Wars jump the shark? and Sci-fi rant: When did Trekkers jump the shark?I recently came across Something Awful’s list of The 22 Most Awful Moments in Science Fiction. Now, I like me some Something Awful. They bring the funny. But this list is a bit padded, and wanders off into some crazy territory that most SF fans don’t care about. (Seriously, who is bent out of shape that President Reagan’s pie-in-the-sky Strategic Defense Initiative got nicknamed” Star Wars?” Like that is the worst fate to befall the franchise.) So, instead, I’ve trimmed and rearranged the list to my liking, and as your beneficent Geekend dictator, ye shall like it as well. Now, these rants are long, so they’ll each earn their own belabored blog entry. The series starts off with a subject near and dear to my heart:
Q: When did Star Trek jump the shark?
Most Trekkers would count First Contact as the last good Trek movie, and at first blush I’m inclined to agree with them, even if the film rather significantly retconned Zefram Cochrane’s history (He was originally from Alpha Centauri, not Montana) and paved the way for the four-year punch-to-the-brain that was Enterprise.
In the plus column, we had a big screen showdown with the Borg, a new movie-worthy starship Enterprise, actual gunfights, Worf back with his real crew, and even a little rock & roll, all set on some their-past-our-future Earth. It was like all five of the good ideas from the entire NextGen era of Trek fan fiction made their way into one really decent script.
But then there was the Borg Queen, and that ruined everything.
adequately penned by geekend host Jay Garmon.
His work is a derivative work (much like DS9 is derivative of B5. No wait, hold that thought...) which makes anything I have to say on the subject twice removed from the original work over at Something Awful. So I took the time to peruse the list of awful moments in SciFi; of which the list itself probably counts as one of the most awful moments in SciFi, considering how broadly the realm of SciFi is construed to be, within the list.
[Yes, number one is Reagan's Star Wars. Isn't that a bit dated?]
The cheap shots at James Cameron aside (clearly the 'Awful' author never saw Cameron's apology for the theatrical release of The Abyss, the director's cut) and the clearly irremediable lack of taste in what is or isn't good Science Fiction (If we're going to be picking on Dr. Who aliens, the phosphorescent painted garbage bag that is the Rutan really ought to rank as the "most awful"; but believability was never a requirement for filming Dr. Who, or any British television programme for that matter. Suspend disbelief. Have another Guinness) I just have to question what dart board the author picked the worst moments off of, including the number 22. (Perhaps it's like 42, the answer to life, the universe, and everthing) Seriously, the love scenes from Attack of the Clones is fresh on your mind, and the best awfulizing you can do is summon the ghost of Reagan? For shame.
As for the derivative work at TechRepublic, the fact that he uses the phrase "jump the shark" without further explanation establishes his true geek credentials (or at least his bona fide age) when it comes to judging media. Not everyone breathing today was around to watch Fonzie in that episode of Happy Days; I'm surprised that most people around today would realize that Happy Days ran for so many years that towards the end it began to be a parody of it's former (more engaging, more interesting) self. But he makes several valid points.
I would have to agree that First Contact represented a beginning of the end for Star Trek as we knew it. (not that there was ever a time when it was what we remember it to be. Memory is like that) I liked Insurrection, but it was little better than a two hour next generation episode. First Contact was the last good film, but it also appears to have started several trends that lead to Nemesis (an aptly named film if there ever was one) and Enterprise.
Nemesis (as I've pointed out elsewhere) is so disconnected from cannon that it doesn't even count as Star Trek, and the same can be said of Enterprise. But those are just the end of the franchise at the moment. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the saying goes, and the road to Star Trek irrelevancy is similarly paved.
I've always traced my abandonment of hardcore Star Trek fandom to Paramount's ham-handed attempts to start their own network on the backs of Star Trek fans; But truthfully, it started much earlier. It started with Final Frontier and Undiscovered Country; with poorly executed scripts on the one hand, and the sabotaging of a potentially good film on the other. Both films suffer from both ills, and I'd be hard pressed to say which one is more flawed at this point in time.
[and for those people who love Undiscovered Country, let me just say "Valeris" (Kim Cattrall as a Vulcan. Not buying it. Would have bought her as the third actress to play Saavik much easier; at least I could have pretended she was Kirstie Alley) and "Checkov reduced to a comic element". ("Why not just waporise them?" You were in security once, remember?) Those two pieces alone are enough to make me dismiss the film. Like Generations that followed it, The opening sequence is the best part of the film. The rest of it is just filler. ]
Those two films mark the beginning of the end of Trek for me. Final Frontier was shafted on effects to such an extent that I began to wonder if Paramount thought the fans would buy anything (Enterprise proves they will, at least for a time) no matter how low budget it looks. Undiscovered Country had a lavish effects budget, but suffered from a complete lack of plot and consistent characterization.
I would go so far as to say that Undiscovered Country foreshadows what First Contact hints at, and then Nemesis drives home with a vengeance; that Star Trek is just another franchise to Paramount, and that the only thing that matters to them is dollar figures in the financial ledger. They don't care what the fans think, they don't care what the latest offering does to the overall saleability of the franchise, and they certainly don't care about established cannon or WWGD. (What Would Gene Do) Just spend more on effects, and the fans will eat it up.
Truthfully, a corporation is only going to care about dollar figures anyway. As long as the fans keep buying, they'll keep turning out Star Dreck. The only thing the fans can do is stop buying, and I am solidly on that bandwagon.
"Fool me once, shame on you..." to paraphrase Mr. Scott. I'm done with being fooled by Paramount. J.J. Abrams may be able to walk on water in Hollywood, but that still doesn't make him Gene's equal in my book. He's going to have to prove his product is worth my investment in time and money before I'm shelling out for tickets to this one.
J.J. Abrams getting his hands on the next Star Trek film could well rank in the top ten most awful moments in SciFi, but that remains to be seen. Paramount (a subsidiary of Viacom, which is really all that needs to be said on the subject) owning the rights to Star Trek definitely ranks in the top five.
The moment when Star Wars jumped the shark was the moment when George Lucas was convinced he could script a motion picture. That also happens to be the same film in which the Midi-chlorians are introduced, but the parody wasn't in the introduction of the plot device, it was in the brain of director who could in fact only parody what he had shot on film before. This becomes quite obvious in Attack of the Clones. Several of the lines are word for word repeats of lines in previous films. I'm sure it was done as a tribute to the previous film, but the line between tribute and parody is very fine indeed, especially if the previous work is your own (think of M. Night Shyamalan casting himself as a major character in Lady in the Water; which, if it was SciFi, would count as one of the Most Awful) paying tribute to yourself isn't something one should do in public.
Star Wars having jumped the shark actually means less, in the scheme of things, than Star Trek. Star Wars never pretended to be anything other than a rollicking space adventure (at least the original film did not) so it's becoming something more contrived than it was before really is a moot point. If you didn't enjoy the first film, you didn't bother to watch the rest. If the later films aren't entertaining, don't watch them. Works for me. As far as I'm concerned there were only two Alien films before AVP showed up. (Alien3? Never heard of it) So your Star Wars saga only has three films (pick any three) in it? no problem. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Which brings up the last post in the series, When did Trekkers jump the shark? I'm not sure that fandom itself can Jump the Shark, but if it can, then it should apply to all forms of fandom. Quoting again:
Once upon a time, Trekkers (or, if you prefer, Trekkies) weren’t universally mocked as basement-dwelling pointy-eared social reprobates who were more likely to have a working knowledge of fictional faster-than-light propulsion systems than they were the mating rituals of their own species. Though it may be hard to fathom, there was an era when Trekkers were seen as quaintly optimistic hobbyists fascinated by a vision of the future that saw mankind as better off socially, intellectually, and technologically than it is now, and who supported an amusing little sci-fi show that had a good heart and was boldly ahead of its time in social commentary, if not production values. Trekkers were no more unusual than folks who passionately followed a sports franchise or popular musical act, though they probably had better costumes.Any Trek fan that cares whether he's called a Trekker or a Trekkie is automatically a Trekkie; and the 'get a lifers' amongst the Trekkies make up a very small percentage of Trek fandom on general.
Deriding the whole of Trek fandom for the excesses of the few is no different than deriding all of sports fandom for the actions of the face painters in the endzone of every football game; and declaring that thereby all sports fans are no better than the average ignorant Roman citizen cheering the violence at the coliseum while waiting for their promised loaf of bread.
Something I take great pleasure in doing every chance I get.
...what was your favorite sports team, again?
So, you might well ask, what would be my worst moments in SciFi? Do you mean other than the first ten times some busybody with a camera decided to shoot a film purportedly based on a book near and dear to my heart? (name a film, any film) Or perhaps the unavoidable blurring of the lines between Horror and SciFi that all those 50's monster movies created? (Is Slither SciFi? Is it Awful? Awful disgusting) Cardboard cut out characters voicing unconvincing lines? ("I'm haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me" Yerch) Cheesy effects? (already covered that one) Make it funny? Some other time perhaps.
I did learn a few things reading the awful list. I learned that Robocop 2 & 3 are good enough reasons to hate every subsequent thing done by Frank Miller. Saves me the trouble of having to see The 300 after the disappointment that was Sin City. And I learned than nobody 'gets it' when it comes to wrestling on the SciFi channel. What's up with that? It's fiction, yeah; and it is horrifying. But SciFi? I'd have ranked that one much higher on the list.
And lastly I learned that good ideas, like the government not being free to spy on me, or robots being designed to be prevented from harming people, were superfluous; just forget 'em. That camera watching your every move really doesn't remind you of 1984, and the idea of deadly machines should comfort you like the cold embrace of The Terminator. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer to think the future will be a bit brighter than that, even though it makes for good cinema.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Apparently Mr. Bylund has a problem with Ron Paul. I think that's a major selling point in Dr. Paul's favor, myself. Here's a quote from the piece, located here:
The major problem lies in the effect Ron Paul has on the people already identifying with or being part of the libertarian movement. Many libertarians seem to have set their libertarian projects aside in order to work for Ron Paul. They not only work for his presidential campaign, but seem to adopt his views – even anti-libertarian views such as Paul’s stand on abortion and increased border control. Arguing Ron Paul’s case to the general public as well as to the members of the GOP, they take a few steps toward statism (while the opposite would be both better and more honest, considering their libertarian values) – and come to believe in it.Calling a minarchist a statist as he does in the article, is an insult to anyone who understands the basic principle "power abhors a vacuum". As I noted previously Mr. Bylund is engaged in propagandizing, and radically oversimplifies what it means to be libertarian, and what libertarians believe. I'm not going to bother going over all that again. Suffice it to say, Methinks [he] doth protest too much.
The Anarchist segment of the 'libertarian movement' has been whining about the influx of new people virtually since the name libertarian was coined; and they will continue to whine every time someone dares to make progress, gains popularity, and attracts new people to the 'movement'. They'd like to impose a litmus test on all new members, just to make sure their views are libertarian enough, before they can call themselves libertarian (am I the only one who sees the irony in this?) and some of them would be quite happy to keep their quiet little debating society to themselves.
For my part, I welcome anyone who wants to make room for freedom in this country again. I'm glad that the Anarchists have a problem with Ron Paul. I hope they get mad, take their toys, and go home. Maybe they'll finally give up their stranglehold on the Libertarian Party (loosely affiliated with libertarianism in general) and let it have the breathing room necessary to effect the kind of change that Ron Paul had to go outside of the LP to accomplish. Which is the saddest statement of all.
Calling Ron Paul a statist is putting him under the same label as Hitlery (most likely our next president. The press has already nominated her) and her openly socialist agenda. It's laughable, like most anarchist theory is.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
December 15, 2007 - Recent, successful state/church litigants
Scary Mitt Romney. Just listen to the speech. Sheesh.
...And I thought Huckabee was a religious fruitcake.
More talk about court successes. Not the kind of seasonal fare I'm after.
2006 Archive episode.
December 16, 2006 - Reason's Greetings!
Theocracy alert features an expose on "Christian Embassy" within the military, which violates several rules governing the military.
Tom Flynn (the guest) is your average Christmas humbug (I've met several over the years. If I didn't have children, I might have become one) I have a hard time paying attention to these types of people. Although he does go into the various myths that contributed to the Jesus birth myth that is tied to Christmas (Secular Solstice Holiday. I've said this before) it's not anything that the average student of the holiday probably hasn't heard before. If you haven't, give it a listen.
If you have certificates or had eLD at libertydollar.org, then you need to file to demand the return of your property, the silver that backed your electronic and paper Liberty Dollars. Don't let the theft of your property by the FBI go unpunished. Hold their feet to the fire and demand it's return. Go here and join us now.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Dear Liberty Dollar Supporters:
Dark Moment for Liberty Dollar
I am shocked to inform you that we have learned that the FBI is moving aggressively to forfeit "their" seizure for auction immediately!
If that does not shock and alarm you, you are truly asleep! If there has ever been a time to support the Liberty Dollar with an Arrest Dollar and a donation… it is now!
Due to higher than anticipated demand for the Arrest Dollar, a printable order from as been created to simplify the process. It is available HERE.
This is so shocking that it makes one wonder what is going on. Unfortunately, the draconian raid/seizure/forfeiture by this government is SOP - Standard Operating Procedures! In fact, the more you learn, the worse it is. Once raided, the victim need not be arrested or even charged with a crime before his/her property can be forfeited and auctioned. This is so common that the police often refer to the seized property as "their" property. After all, like any common thief, they stole it… its "theirs"! Or so they would have you think!
Wait! It is not quite that simple with the Liberty Dollar. You see, I considered this dirty, stinking government trick when I designed and developed the Warehouse Receipt (WR) program. And although I didn't think they would really be this bad or simply ignorant… there is no doubt now. For that reason I am not the signatory on the Warehouse Receipt. Nor could I sign the WR because I am not the Warehouse Official. I don't even work for the warehouse. Remember the warehouse is totally independent and the official issuer of the warehouse receipt. NORFED, Liberty Services, myself, everybody who uses them are simply distributors of the receipts.
But the worst news is "economic persecution". Now we have to fight for your property… with nothing because they took everything in the raid. If we hadn't received some donations to get a new computer, we wouldn't even be able to send out this cry for help. This is very serious!
The Search/Seizure Warrants were for property at specific addresses. The property they seized at Sunshine backed the legal, signed Warehouse Receipts. That property was, and still is, owned by the bearers of the warehouse receipts and the digital Liberty Dollar holders. That is your property that they are trying to steal!
So in all fairness, I don't think Agent Andy and the FBI who raided the warehouse at Sunshine Mint know what they are doing. Yes, they can certainly be more damaging than a village idiot, but they may not know much more. It is obvious that they don't understand how a warehouse receipt program works. Except for my personal account at Sunshine, none of the confiscated material at Sunshine Mint was my property. It was YOURS!
Now! Are you going to let the US government steal your property?!
Click HERE to sign up for the Class Action Lawsuit.
You did nothing illegal! You heard about the new "inflation proof" currency and decided to check it out on line at www.LibertyDollar.org. You did your own "due diligence". You read quotes by the government that the Liberty Dollar was legal and that it was not counterfeit. Many of you even called the Fulfillment Office to check out the new currency. Then you made an informed decision to exchange some of your depreciating US dollars for some appreciating gold and silver based Liberty Dollars in specie, paper warehouse receipts and digital form.
Owning gold and silver in any form is not illegal! Over 500,000 individual legal binding warehouse receipts have been issued over the past ten years. Over 25,000+ individuals have visited our site and gotten Liberty Dollars. Neither you nor I are guilty.
Nor did you violate Title 18, Section 486 either. Even US Mint Director Edmond C. Moy acknowledged in a letter to a US Senator that the paper warehouse receipts were not illegal. Section 486 only concerns "use" in metal form. You were not even using the gold and silver. Your property, your metal was stored in the warehouse. You are not guilty. You are a victim!
The gold and silver seized from the issuing warehouse was not the property of the Liberty Services, Liberty Dollar, myself, or even the warehouse... it remains the property of the bearer warehouse receipt holders. It is YOUR property. To date 3,086 people have signed up to be a party to the Lawsuit and GET THEIR PROPERTY BACK.
I ask again: Are you going to let the US government steal your property?!
As bad as all that is, the precious metals industry should be very concerned because if the government can confiscate our gold and silver, they can confiscate theirs. Any raid and liquidation of a private, independent gold and silver warehouse sets an extremely dangerous precedent by this damn government. Where is ICTA - Industry Council for Tangible Assets when we need them?
Now hear this! The government is moving aggressively right now to steal your property!! Please join the Lawsuit to recover the wrongful seizure of your property. If you have not signed up for the Wrongful Seizure Lawsuit (Class Action Lawsuit) do it NOW. It is the only way to get your property back. Please take action immediately! Click HERE to sign up!
Clarification on the Class Action Lawsuit. We have referred to the lawsuit to recover the wrongfully seized property of the Warehouse Receipts and the digital Liberty Dollar holders, as a Class Action Lawsuit. But as we already have 3111 names of the injured parties, this is not a class action lawsuit. We plan to list everybody by name on the lawsuit. We want the judge to see how many people the US government has injured. It is important for the judge to know that thousands of good people from all over the United States, who committed no crime, have been injured and need immediate restitution. We have now renamed the lawsuit to Wrongful Seizure Lawsuit.
Please read the affidavit to establish "Probable Cause" for the Search and Seizure Warrants and ask yourself, "Where is the crime? When did it happen? Where? Who is the injured party?" http://www.libertydollar.org
In Alert #4 I mentioned The Soviet-Style Attack on NORFED by Jacob Hornberger. This excellent commentary is available at: http://www.fff.org/comment
Another excellent commentary, Gestapo raid on coin-producing enterprise by Dr. Richard H. Timberlake, noted monetary economist and expert on the Fed, has been posted at: http://www.libertydollar.org
Dozens of great commentaries are available on the Comment Page at: http://www.libertydollar.org
Thank you for the compliments on getting the digital eLibertyDollar up and running. Please send your digital donations to: Donation@LibertyDollar.org .
While we accept digital Liberty Dollar for donation, it is those damn non-Federal non-Reserve IOU Notes that are needed for the legal defense. Physical Liberty Dollars in paper and digital form that we can auction on eBay for more depreciating FRNs would be greatly appreciated too.
We continue to have a problem getting a bank account open. For now, please send all checks and money orders simply made out to BERNARD.
BIG Thanks for your donations. I apologize that I simply do not have time to respond to all the letters and good wishes. But please keep including the letters. It is good to know you are aware that we are fighting for you and your property. You did nothing wrong!
Orders for Arrest Dollars are very appreciated too. A newly created order from is available HERE. Remember they will only be available until I am arrested. So if you want a specially hallmarked Arrest Dollar… please send order now. I have no idea when I will be arrested.
Now as we face the greatest monetary challenge since the Revolutionary War, lets work together to create a free and independent currency that provides us with "just weights and measures". We should not be ripped off by the government money!
Please support the Liberty Dollar with an Arrest Dollar and a donation. Sign up for the Wrongful Seizure Lawsuit today! Please don't let the government steal your money and drive the Liberty Dollar out of business.
BIG thanks for all the prayers, letters and donations we have received!!!
Every donation counts! Thank you!!
Bernard von NotHaus
When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; I was not a Jew.
When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
Friedrich Gustav Martin Niemölle
Monday, December 10, 2007
read more | digg story
Is the American dollar no longer a good investment? Consider, first we had a stock market crash between 2000 and 2002. The American stock market lost nearly 38% of its value. Then there was the housing bubble, followed by the housing bust.
The housing bubble began in about 1996, but the balloon really started to inflate at about the same time the stock market was deflating. It certainly looks like money sloshed out of the stock market and into the housing market. It looks like people have been trying to find a safe place to invest their dollars.
But if the stock market and real estate turn out to be unreliable then it stands to reason that some money would then go to things like gold or to other currencies. This would explain the retreat from the dollar, but it doesn't necessarily account for rising prices for food and other goods.
There is actually one thing that explains all of these phenomena: the size of the money supply.
When the Federal Reserve expands the number of dollars certain sectors get the new Fed money first. Those sectors are . . .
* The government, and those who do the most business with the the government
* The banking system, and those who do the most business with banks
This means that you would expect to first see the impact of an expanded money supply in the Big Business and Big Banking sectors. And what did we in fact see? We saw a stock market bubble (Big Business) followed by a housing bubble (Big Banking).Eventually the new Fed money has to work its way through the entire economy, raising prices for everything you buy. We might call this the Consumer Bubble. And what are we in fact seeing? We are seeing rising prices for consumer goods like food.
The Cox News service reports that food prices are up 37% from a year ago. This isn't a minor hiccup, this is massive inflation, which is just another word for the government stealing from you by creating a surplus of dollars in the market.
The raid on the Liberty Dollar conducted at the end of last month (and the raids on e-Gold earlier this year) begins to take on new meaning in this light. Can't have any alternative currencies out there for people to easily exchange their dollars for.
Which brings us to the latest tidbit from Ron Paul.
Ron Paul's Honest Money Act
Congressman Paul has hit upon the easiest way to end inflation, and the booms and busts that follow in its wake. Simply repeal the legal tender monopoly enjoyed by FRNs, and allow monetary competition. Not only would this help to end inflation and recessions, it would also limit the ability of politicians to hide the true cost of government through the inflation tax. But that's not all . . .
Forcing FRNs to compete with gold would also confer one other benefit. Over time the prices you pay would tend to fall as increases in economic efficiency (for example, technological improvements) lower the cost of production and increase the supply of goods and services. A stable money supply tends to become more valuable over time, unlike an inflationary currency that constantly loses value.
read more | digg story
Which would clear the way for currencies like the Liberty Dollar or eGold to compete in the money marketplace, holding the government's feet to the fire when it comes to the real costs of government.
It's time to end the fed's monopoly. It's time for real money to re-emerge and take it's rightful place. Go here and agitate for Honest Money.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Dear Liberty Dollar Supporters,
Liberty Dollar Lives! Announcing the Arrest Dollar!
URGENT NOTICE: We are preparing to file the Class Action Lawsuit (CAL) to begin the process to get your property back. PLEASE register for the CAL immediately at: http://www.libertydollar.org
And in a tremendous show of support for the Class Action Lawsuit, $2000 in eLibertyDollars have been donated towards the CAL. If you need an eLD to qualify for the CAL, just sign up and send in a donation and we will credit an eLibertyDollar to your digital account. PLEASE SIGN UP TODAY… The CAL action is pending. We`are moving aggressively to protect your property that backs up the paper and digital currency.
Now the BIG news. In defiance of the brutal raid that confiscated all of our metals, computers and almost everything, except our free independent spirit… The Liberty Dollar has re-opened and lives with the new "Arrest Dollar"! Thanks to the outpouring of support and the rock solid encouragement from the Regional Currency Offices (RCO), I am proud to be a part of such a staunch organization that refuses to bow to this senseless raid by the FBI and Secret Service that did everything possible to close the voice for Sound Money.
As Jason Hornberger, the President of www.FFF.org commented: "If the government wishes to have a business shut down, the law provides a remedy called an injunction, which is a formal order issued by a judge that requires a person or business to cease and desist from engaging in a certain operation."
We have not received any injunction. Nor a cease and desist order. We have not done anything wrong. We stand on the principle that we are innocent until proven guilty. As free men and women we can do whatever we wish… so long as we do not violate the Law. With 33 years in this industry and no knowledge of any crime plus the advise of legal counsel… I hereby announce the Liberty Dollar lives as "Liberty Dollar Numismatics".
Now, don't get me wrong. We have not dropped our goal of "returning America to value' by providing an "inflation proof" currency. Nor have we become just a "collectable" business. We remain dedicated to our original goals. It is just that we must make-do with what we have and what we can do.
The Liberty Dollar office is now re-opened! Sarah Bledsoe, the trusty manager who was at the Evansville office when I arrived from Hawaii, will continue to man the office. Unfortunately, she will be alone, so if you don't reach her, please leave a message.
Our number one mission is to get your property retuned to you ASAP. The single best action we can take is to stay in business… answer the phone… bring comfort to our supporters… act as a call center for media and donations to fight this obvious wrong… and work to cover our legal expenses.
Our current business model is to auction the donated Liberty Dollars on eBay… as we continue to fight for your right to use gold and silver any way you chose and keep the ideals that the Liberty Dollar exemplifies alive.
Announcing the "Arrest Dollar" to help fund our legal defense. Check it out at http://www.libertydollar.org
Appropriately, the Hallmark, features "Handcuffs", and will be stamped on special items or any Liberty Dollar products you submit for Hallmarking. As a means to raise funds for our legal defense, the cost is $10 per Hallmark. Currently, a few donated $20, $10, and $5 Silver Libertys have been Hallmarked and are available for $30, $20, and $15 respectively plus $6 for handling and shipping… If you wish to beat eBay before these are auctioned off… please send your order, payable in money orders or check made out to "Bernard", as we do not have a company bank account.
PLEASE NOTE: We could be raided again! You could lose whatever you send to Liberty Numismatics … but if you don't send anything… I regret that we will lose the Liberty Dollar and the ideals it represents. Please give generously and submit whatever you wish to be Hallmarked. Just remember the mail and Hallmarking takes time… plus it is Christmas… and like you, I will be with my family too.
Unfortunately, we do not have a company bank account in Evansville. A money order is the best way to send a donation but checks made out the "Bernard" still work.
Got those dreaded, depreciating Non-Federal Non-Reserve IOU-Notes? Old Liberty Dollars in any form are greatly appreciated too… we need material for eBay. Cash is OK too. All checks and money orders, MUST be made out to "Bernard", as we have no company bank account. Please send everything to the old Liberty Dollar address: 225 N. Stockwell Road. Evansville. IN. 47715.
So do you have a Liberty Dollar to spare for the cause? Certificates, while not suitable for Hallmarking, are particularly sought after for our eBay auctions.
Who knows where we go from here? One of the best ideas I heard was for a Black Sabbath Liberty! As a heavy metal rocker, I could certainly identify with that idea! Seriously, our country is going in debt at nearly $1 million US dollars a minute… over $1 billion a day! US National Debt will hit $10 Trillion in a year! This is a very serious time for us and our money! You must take action. Either change your money or lose it.
As for me, I am innocent until proven guilty. I have an unalienable right of free speech. I refuse to go the showers quietly. Now hear me: The government fiat money is not worth shit! You either change your money or lose it. The longer you wait the more you lose. This country, the world, is headed towards a major monetary crisis. Not since Rome fell has man faced such an immense event. This collapse will make the Great Depression look like a cakewalk. We are headed towards a global hyperinflationary depression. Soon most people will be millionaires in a soup line… if not in prison. Get out of the soup line! The sooner you change your money the more you will make or at least preserve. For your own protection, please take action right now!!! Buy Silver immediately. Support the Liberty Dollar model with a donation. We need a survivable monetary system. We need your help. Please donate $10 or more!
When the Federal Reserve meets on December 11, they are expected to cut interest rates… and that means more easy money… and another step towards a global hyperinflationary depression! These people are mad. This is not going to be just a US problem… When Rome fell, it was the world, as they knew it… This experience would have make Jimi Hendrix flinch! This is no purple haze hallucination. It is real and it will affect you.
On a positive note. I am pleased to receive all your support. Recently the legendary Robert Clarkson of the Patriot Network has come to our aid. Interestingly, he too was raided by the same Agent Andy and had all his seized material returned. Please visit his incredible site at www.PatriotNetwork.info. And if you really want to get an insight into the government's war against activists click on COINTELPRO in the left column and then use code 4143 to access Part 3 and 4 and learn the truth about the government's "dismantlment" program against organizations like the Liberty Dollar!
Plus we have received so many comments, we have started a "Comments" page at the top of the Raid Page. Please check out the latest Comment by G. Edward Griffin at http://www.libertydollar.org
Please support the Liberty Dollar with a Hallmark and a donation. Sign up for the Class Action Lawsuit today! Please don't let the government steal your money and drive the Liberty Dollar out of business.
BIG thanks for all the donations we received!!! Every donation counts!
Bernard von NotHaus
"Any government action that purports to prohibit an American citizen from using a piece of gold or silver (or, for that matter, anything) in voluntary barter transactions between consulting adults is preposterous, antagonistic to a free market, and totally without legal merit."
The local coverage in Evansville has been pretty positive.
[T]he Texas Education Agency's Director of Science has been forced out of her job for allegedly not "remaining neutral" over the teaching of evolution in schools. Christine Comer, a former science teacher, had her nine-year stint as Director of Science ended as a result of an e-mail she sent to colleagues, notifying them of an upcoming talk being given by Barbara Forrest. Forrest is the author of Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse, a book that details the movement to have ID taught as science in America's Schools.read more | digg story
...creationists are readying themselves for another confrontation in the coming year, when Texas reviews its scientific curriculum. Although the state has taught evolution as fact for the past decade, the new chair of the State Board of Education is a self-proclaimed proponent of ID and it is widely believed that this will be reflected in the upcoming curriculum.
This is what comes of blindly supporting Republicans for the last who knows how many years. Eventually you get government officials whose goals aren't even recognizable from the perspective of the general population.
Intelligent Design is no more and no less than the latest attempt to re-introduce god into 'public' school curriculum; and it must not be allowed to gain a foothold.
Whether or not you subscribe to all things Darwin; evolution, natural selection, does explain how the living organisms we see today came to be. Intelligent Design does not.
Intelligent Design proposes a "god of the gaps" inserting a creator being where there is no clear evolutionary path from one organism to the next. However, reliance on a creator, a designer, to produce the life we see today, automatically begs the question "who created the creator?"
If complex life requires a more complex organism to create it, then the creator must have his own creator; etc, etc, ad infinitum.
The only other viable solution to this conundrum is natural selection, evolution. Something that the average biology student can replicate on a test basis using fruit flies. That is science.
"God did it" is not.
There is no room for creationism at the science table when it comes to teaching children. Leave it at church where it belongs. Send a message to the powers that be this year, tell the TEA hands off our science curriculum, send the fundamentalists packing.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
December 8, 2007 - The Golden Compass Rumpus!
The title says it all. I thought Phillip Pullman was going to come unglued when Dan Barker asserted that the books were not children's books. I understand where both of them are coming from. Having heard several reviewers state that they did not think the film (and books) were suitable for children, I'm sure Pullman was anxious not to feed the fire of "inappropriateness" that seems to follow so many books that are popular with children these days (the Harry Potter series, just to name one) which lead him to object that the books were "most certainly children's books".
But I tend to agree more with Barker's assertion that they are not children's books; not because they are inappropriate for children, but because they are not written for children alone. The movie definitely appeals to adult audiences as well as children. I was there opening weekend myself, and I have nothing but praise for the film.
As far as story content goes, it's hands down the best of the epic fantasy films I've seen (and I think I've seen all of them so far) and the effects are also top-notch. I can't think of anything that I would object to, no matter the age of the audience viewing it.
Having now read the book The Golden Compass, I think I can see why hard core fans would object to portions of the film. The film doesn't strictly follow the book. It doesn't betray the spirit of the book (the way that Peter Jackson's The Two Towers destroys one of the central characters, Faramir, of Lord of the Rings) but still, there are significant departures from the book by the film. I'd have a hard time saying one is better than the other, though. I think this is a good example of a Boovie.
2006 Archive episode.
December 9, 2006 - From "Latter-day Saint" to "Latter-day Ain't": Steve Benson
Steve Benson's first appearance on the show. All of his appearances have been worth listening to. In this episode he speaks at length about his separation from the Mormon church. His description of the origins of the Mormon church is priceless.
Free MP3 download of "Salt Lake City Blues"