Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Cross Country Visibility

If you're planning on being up Thursday morning...or even if you're not and you have some sort of device capable of recording a TV program, you'll want to catch Good Morning America, Thursday morning June 2.

Blogger Marty Johnson of "Marty's Big Journey" and "You Know I'm Right" is already covered in this month's GQ Magazine.

Now, on Thursday morning he'll be on Good Morning America to talk about his story.

I recommend trying to check it out, but if you happen to miss it, you can still check out his adoption story, complete with photos at Marty's Big Journey

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Shades of Desecration

As I said earlier, the idea of free speech in America is highly subjective to many in the press. James Taranto addresses the idea today in Best of the Web:
Still, by way of comparison, recall that three years ago Palestinian Arab terrorists occupied the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Priests reported that "gunmen tore up Bibles for toilet paper," according to the Daily Camera of Boulder, Colo. The Chicago Tribune noted after the siege that "altars had been turned into cooking and eating tables, a sacrilege to the religious faithful."

Christians in the U.S. responded by declining to riot and refraining from killing anyone. They had the same response 15 or so years ago when the National Endowment for the Arts was subsidizing the scatological desecration of a crucifix and other Christian symbols. Indeed. This should also put to rest the oft-heard calumny that America's "religious right" is somehow a Christian equivalent of our jihadi enemies.

Yes, thank you. I don't think we can try hard enough to put that particular "oft-heard calumny" to rest. Because as far as I've seen, it's not yet resting. It still comes out all the time...and frankly, I'm offended by it.

But still, I'm not gonna riot.

Derbyshire plays with fire...

...by nit-picking Star Wars' classic opening. He's probably right, but it is scary. I mean he even knows that he's "Speaking Truth to Power" which is always tricky business...
Lucas lost me right away at the very, very beginning, with "...in a galaxy far away..." All galaxies are far away, exceedingly far away. The nearest proper one (unless you count vague scraps, dwarves, clouds, and clusters) is M31, and that's 17,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles away. And with 100 billion or so stars to choose from in our own galaxy, there was no need to place the story in another galaxy anyway. The people who wrote this junk just didn't know the meaning of the word "galaxy."

I'll allow that Carrie Fisher was cute back in 1977. But then, so was I.

Newsweek, inmates, and the Koran

I haven't said much about Newsweek erroneously printing that American soldiers flushed the Koran down a toilet. But I don't know that there's much to say. I'm not shocked that we can't trust Newsweek, but more so, I have a hard time believing that this Newsweek story caused the riots in Afghanistan. I mean, maybe it's what set them off, and certainly Newsweek should be held accountable for this in some way, but they were looking for a reason to riot I would say.

But there's another issue here. There's talk that Newsweek is right in concept, if wrong in this particular circumstance. The old "Fake but Accurate defense." People seem to be buying into this because on MSNBC a few minutess ago, they quoted some viewer writing in and saying that he is sure that this type of thing has happened that other inmates at Gitmo have said the same thing and that "Newsweek is a victim of intimidation by the Pentagon."

Uh...I don't think so.

First, how did this random viewer hear reports from former Gitmo inmates? And...are they reputable sources in their own right? If they can make such statements and create riots in the middle east and encourage the insurgency, then they will make the statements, true or not.

Glenn Beck was talking about this today as well and he said something interesting: If he was a POW and something started flushing a Bible down the toilet, even as a strong Christian, it wouldn't make him start talking. I mean, if I saw that I wouldn't think, "Oh no, don't flush the Bible, I'll tell you all the top secret information that I have if you'll only stop before you get to Deuteronomy!!" (Because not having to read Leviticus again doesn't sound so bad, does it?)

Seriously though, as Glenn said this morning, his faith in Jesus is in his heart and a single Bible. And a caller on the show said that if someone in America had flushed the Bible down the toilet, it would be seen as a beautiful display of free speech.

So bottom line: flushing a Koran doesn't seem like an effective interrogation tactic nor does it seem like a reason to get so fired up.

Oh and I should also mentioned that live on the air this morning, a producer for the Glenn Beck show flushed his NEWSWEEK down the toilet one page at a time.

Bangor, Maine: America's First Line of Homeland Defense

Seriously, the Bangor Chamber of Commerce cannot be happy about what Homeland Security and the FAA are doing for tourism. Twice in less than a week, planes containing members of the "no-fly" list are being diverted to Bangor. It's happening again right now with an Alitalia flight from Milan to Boston.

True, these are two events almost back to back, but apparently this is pretty common for Bangor. Just yesterday, AgWeb posted this Jay Leno quote:
Today a flight from Paris to Boston was diverted to Bangor, Maine because a passenger's name showed up on the no-fly list. Did you ever notice every time there's a problem with a plane they force planes to go to Bangor, Maine? When did Maine become Devil's Island all of a sudden? Make them land in Texas. At least everybody there has a gun. They can shoot the guy.

Seriously, is there something we don't know about Bangor, Maine and it's ability to fight terrorists?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Yes, I admit it, I'm from Ohio

Remember the long-term senate ousting plan? Well I propose that the 2010 election spot be given to George Voinovich. I saw his ridiculous speech during the Bolton committee discussions. What is he doing? Does he think we want to see Senators voting one way but speaking another?? I heard some discussion that maybe that was his deal with Lugar, he could say whatever he wanted for as much time as he wanted as long as he voted in step with the republicans. I don't have any linkable sources for this idea...but it sounds silly to me. If Lugar did make such a deal, he'd have to know that it would make Voinovich look stupid, and by extension, cast some dirt on the GOP as a whole.

John Podhoretz had a column about exactly this idea that it makes the whole GOP and even the Senate, look pretty bad.
Other times, a nominee becomes an occasion for a senator to perform a holier-than-thou tap-dance. Such was the case yesterday with John Bolton and the Republican senator from Ohio, George Voinovich, who insulted and attacked Bolton without ever having bothered to attend one of the committee hearings in which Bolton testified.

It was comic to hear Voinovich describe Bolton as a "bully" yesterday, because the only bullying in sight was being done by Voinovich - attacking somebody who can't attack back.

Yes, Voinovich looked stupid, no matter why this happened.
And Podhoretz also reports that people are willing to join me in the anti Voinovich effort.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Great End to The Amazing Race

I'll admit it I watched The Amazing Race for the first time this season because Survivor's Rob and Amber were going to be there. I wanted to see if they were for real. I wanted to see how they worked together as a couple (I had no idea they were already married). And watching it, I saw that they did a great job, they were a great team. It seemed like they had a really healthy relationship. And even though I do like them a lot, after seeing the finale last night I can genuinely say

Congratulations Uchenna and Joyce!!!!

This married couple worked very hard, benefited from others mistakes, but made some important decisions that really kept them in the race till the final three. Granted, an incredibly unbelievable decision of a pilot on the last flight to replace the walkway and reopen the airplane door to allow Uchenna and Joyce on the flight was what gave them their most important opportunity to beat Rob and Amber.

It's rare that a reality show ends with a completely satisfying winner, but it happened here. I am really happy for this couple, who really showed their heart and kindness to people all over the world. Way to go.

And...speaking of doing things for money, while waiting to see the Racers on The Early Show this morning, I saw an item about the Rolling Stones going on tour. Some anchor said something like "The band refused to answer claims that they were just in it for the money."

Huh? Yeah...of course they are touring for the money. I mean, should they be touring for exhaustion or travel debt or...you know...the good of mankind???
They know the tour will make money, or they wouldn't be doing it. Do I think they will have fun and enjoy it? Of course. And maybe they would have done it for free or something, but why should they? It's not like people have some sort of entitlement to see the Rolling Stones in concert before they die. Way to go Rolling Stones. Tour while people still like you. Sing while they'll still buy your albums and pay for your concerts. I mean, I won't be doing either one. Probably because I'll be saving my money to buy this season of The Amazing Race when it comes out on DVD.

hee :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Yes, that's it exactly!

Drew seems to have ripped some thoughts out of my mind and posted them at Darn Floor. Really. This is exactly what I say all the time. I'm not concerned about the possibility of thought-theft here, I mostly just think it's cool that I know for sure now that I'm not the only one holding this view:
I did see the original "Shrek," and with all the adulation heaped upon it I thought I might be the only one who hated it. All poop and fart jokes and double entendres. No thanks. It bugs me when Hollywood creates a movie designed to appeal to pre-teen kids, and then fills it with adolescent- to adult-level vulgarities. Mixed messages? You bet.

I've felt this way about Shrek for years, but I always thought that maybe I had a skewed view of it. I thought this because the first time I saw the movie, I watched it with two toddlers for whom I was babysitting. Their family owned the movie and the kids wanted to watch it. Never having seen it and seeing that it was a cartoon that had been on kids cereal boxes for months...I figured it was ok.

Ick. I wanted to stop it half way through, and ended up engaging the kids in a game while the movie was on because I knew they had seen the movie before and I didn't want to speak badly against the parents who had purchased this movie for their children.

I've had a bad opinion of the movie ever since. I actually have more of a distaste for it than I have to shows like the Simpsons or South Park, because those shows don't pretend to be for toddlers by such things as plastering their images on the sides of Happy Meals.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A Distinction without a Difference...

Apparently, there has been some sort of "Olive Branch" offered to the President by the Democrats.

Now, I guess I can forget for a moment that the President doesn't need said Olive Branch from the Dems because instead, the Dems in Congress should just start following the Constitution and stop filibustering. But still, it's this Harry Reid quote (that I first heard on Special Report w/Brit Hume) that I don't understand:
"We know the difference between opposing nominees and blocking nominees. We will oppose bad nominees, but we will only block unacceptable nominees"

Huh? Shouldn't you oppose unacceptable nominees also? If they are in fact unacceptable? And really...what is a "bad" nominee? And how is that type of value judgment different than one saying that a nominee is "unacceptable"??

Am I the only one confused by this?

I would more so think that a bad nominee should be blocked...if we could be sure that Reid and the Dems could correctly tell that such a nominee is "bad"...while unacceptable nominees should be opposed, by virtue of being unacceptable...

Or something. You see why the distinction makes no difference? It's like a spin doctor way of saying "We're still gonna drag our feet on the ones we don't like..."

Do you think Reid and the Democrats really "know the difference"? I don't think so...but that's probably because I don't think there's a difference!

This kinda makes my head spin...

...but as a physicist, I think I'm required to have some weird appreciation for gatherings like this. And I do:

From today's Best of the Web:
Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology "have organized what they call the first convention for time travelers," reports the New York Times:
"I would hope they would come with the idea of showing us that time travel is possible," said Amal Dorai, 22, the graduate student who thought up the convention. . . . "Maybe they could leave something with us. It is possible they might look slightly different, the shape of the head, the body proportions."

The event is potluck and alcohol-free--present-day humans are bringing things like brownies. But Mr. Dorai's Web site asks that future-folk bring something to prove they are really ahead of our time: "Things like a cure for AIDS or cancer, a solution for global poverty or a cold fusion reactor would be particularly convincing as well as greatly appreciated."

The event is scheduled for 8 p.m. the day before yesterday. As Dorai's Web page notes, "Due to the overwhelming response, no attendees will be admitted who have not already RSVP'd." So if you're planning to attend, make sure you let them know well in advance.

Yeah, see, it's the stuff about the RSVP that really gets ya...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Border Question

I just saw an interview on Fox News with Chris Wallace, who will be airing his own interview with Gov. Arnold tomorrow on Fox News Sunday.

The clip they showed of the Arnold interview was about border security. Chris tried to get tough and put Arnold to the mat saying "Briefly, explain how you would control the border."

Arnold said he would have more troops and that this issue is not "reinventing the wheel" and that it's a "no brainer," that one need not be a "brain surgeon" to know that if you have more people patrolling the border, you have less people coming in illegally.

Well. Yes. He's right about this. But still...

Chris wisely points out that there are thousands of miles of border. Arnold's comeback: "Well, we have a big country with thousands of cities, and they all need to be patrolled"

Yes. Those cities are patrolled, but every foot of every one of those cities is not visible all the time to that city's law enforcement.

This is what really gets me about people being mad about President Bush not doing more about the Border. I mean, we need to be clear that immigration is one thing, but border security is another. It just seems impossible to have every inch of the border covered by the eyes of a patrol officer at all times. And you know that people wanting to come into America are going to find the weak points, no matter how strong the strong points are. Which kind of means...you might as well not have the strong points, because everyone will just enter at the weak points.

It's like my friend SpiderChick and her 3 dogs. She put up a fence in her back yard for these dogs. But the dogs, they're smart. In less than 30 minutes, they found the spot in the fence that would allow them to escape the nearest squirrel.

And these are DOGS people...and a fence! How much quicker will people, who have a desire to do more than just chase a squirrel, be able to find the unmanned section of America's border??

I agree that the border is a problem. But I don't think that President Bush is ignoring it...or that there is much he can do at this point that is fiscally or practically reasonable.

Celebrate 4th of July, John Kerry Style

With your own little Swift Boat

(by the way, this is a local area store...so feel free to support Ohio commerce and mock Sen. Kerry at the same time :)