Friday, August 04, 2006

Girls Gone Wired...

posted by Scott Roche

Okay I had to steal that title. Oxygen paired with Teen Research Unlimited did a survey which indicates that women are more techno literate than we cro-mags like to admit. The majority of those polled say that they don't care what something looks like. They just want it to work as advertised. Women feel comfortable using new gadgets and would prefer to have something electronic over new jewelry or shoes.

As someone who is married to just this sort of woman I'm not in the least bit surprised. Once advertisers and manufacturers realize that there are a plethora of girl geeks and woman whizzes maybe they'll realize that speed and power aren't the only things they should be touting. My spouse is infintely more impressed by overall functionality and ease of use and I suspect that her sisters aren't that different.

Living in the 1930's

Posted by Jabawacefti

Victor Davis Hanson makes the comparison:

When I used to read about the 1930s — the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the rise of fascism in Italy, Spain, and Germany, the appeasement in France and Britain, the murderous duplicity of the Soviet Union, and the racist Japanese murdering in China — I never could quite figure out why, during those bleak years, Western Europeans and those in the United States did not speak out and condemn the growing madness, if only to defend the millennia-long promise of Western liberalism.

Of course, the trauma of the Great War was all too fresh, and the utopian hopes for the League of Nations were not yet dashed. The Great Depression made the thought of rearmament seem absurd. The connivances of Stalin with Hitler — both satanic, yet sometimes in alliance, sometimes not — could confuse political judgments.

But nevertheless it is still surreal to reread the fantasies of Chamberlain, Daladier, and Pope Pius, or the stump speeches by Charles Lindbergh (“Their [the Jews’] greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government”) or Father Coughlin (“Many people are beginning to wonder whom they should fear most — the Roosevelt-Churchill combination or the Hitler-Mussolini combination.”) — and baffling to consider that such men ever had any influence.

Not any longer.

Reverse-Joementum

Posted by codemorse

Remember that whiney Andrew Sullivan reader who got so upset about Daily Kos sticking its interstate internet nose where it didn't belong - namely, the upcoming Connecticut election? (I do. For some reason, Blogger doesn't. Despite my post being clearly searchable here - titled "Sullivan Simpers" - it's somehow mysteriously vanished from my editable postings and from the site itself.)

Well, worry not, proud and confused Republican! Your brothers and sisters are with you! And if you'd like to show your support for Lieberman, Joe will even pick up the tab!

From This Modern World:


———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2006 18:52:09 -0400From: “[windows-1252] College Republicans” Reply-To: College Republicans To:
collegerepublicans@PRINCETON.EDU

Subject: Unconventional Primary Campaign Opportunity (LIEBERMAN)

Republicans,

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. In June, I informed you all of a campaign opportunity for State Senator Tom Kean race for U.S. Senate in NJ. Continuing the tradition of letting you about summer campaign opportunities here is a much more unconventional option: Incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman (Democratic Primary)Lieberman is facing a tough primary fight versus far-left anti war activist Ned Lamont.

—————————————————————-

August 4-9th Primary Campaigning:

Elissa Harwood ‘09 (NOT A CLUB MEMBER) has organized a series of buses departing on Friday August 4 from Washington DC (6:30 Foggy Bottom Metro) and NYC, destination: Hartford, CT

People interested in campaigning for Lieberman in the Democratic Primary will have lodging accommodations paid for (by his campaign), as well as food and transportation.

(emphasis added)

Why not just run on the Republican ticket, Joe? That's the only place you get solid support these days. Contrary to the absurd and willfully-wrong propaganda (Joe is the only Democrat with a spine/love of his country! Joe is being unfairly, democratically opposed! How dare people exercise a right to vote their consciences!), Lieberman is not opposed solely because of his support for the war. He's opposed because a lot of people in Connecticut hate his politics, generally.

And I don't blame them. As a full-time resident of Connecticut for four years I'm hear to tell you, he's no great shakes.

What does it say about a candidate when the opposing party is the one supporting him?

King George Continues Hating Freedom

Posted by codemorse

From the Washington Post:

A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such "commissions" to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

The draft proposed legislation, set to be discussed at two Senate hearings today, is controversial inside and outside the administration because defendants would be denied many protections guaranteed by the civilian and traditional military criminal justice systems.

Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.



Now, you tell me - What's a greater threat to the freedoms we enjoy as Americans? Shit like this, or Mel Gibson's drunken DUI remarks?

No fair being flip. This is serious.

Rich Vs. Poor...In The CAGE!

Posted by codemorse

From CNN.com:

A Republican election-year effort to fuse a cut in inheritance taxes on multimilllion-dollar estates with the first minimum wage increase in nearly a decade was rejected by the Senate late Thursday.

Republicans needed 60 votes to advance their bill, which links a $2.10 increase in the $5.15 federal minimum wage over three years to reductions on estate taxes next decade. Passed by the House last Saturday, the bill got a 56-42 vote, four votes short of succeeding.

For Republicans, the combination could have neutralized a Democratic campaign issue while also advancing an estate tax cut, a priority that may have an uncertain future if the GOP loses seats in Congress in November's election.

The GOP strategy put Democrats in an uncomfortable position. Either they could vote against the bill -- thus rejecting a minimum wage increase -- or they could vote for it -- thus agreeing to cut taxes on multimillion-dollar estates. Most rejected the bill, blocking a GOP victory months before the election.

Hell. Yes.

Posted by codemorse

I'd sort of given up hope, but it looks like Hellboy 2 has finally been picked up for release in Summer, 2008.

The first Hellboy film was arguably a success, but once Revolution Studios (the studio that developed and released the film) folded, the question of whether or not another studio would pick up the property has been hanging in the air like an enormous, 400 lb., bright red question mark with sawed-off horns.

Thanks to Universal (probably my favorite mainstream movie company at the moment, given their willingness to take a chance on projects like Joss Whedon's "Serenity" and this one), Guillermo Del Toro will return to direct, and what looks like the entirety of the original cast will return. Which is, frankly, super-fucking-rare.

Despite my obvious affection for the superhero genre, I've sort of grown up, up and away from it. Sure, I see the Spidey-films, and the X-films, but that's usually the extent of my love/involvement with them.

But Hellboy? There is an official, signed, Drew Struzan poster from the first film hanging, framed (beautifully, might I add), in the entrance of my apartment.

So I'm, y'know, excited.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Why Iran Matters

Posted by Jabawacefti

Amir Taheri regarding the latest Middle East fighting:

"Hezbollah has fought Israel longer than all the major Arab armies combined ever did," President Ahmadinejad told a crowd in Tehran this week. He also promised that Muslims would soon hear "very good news" about the jihad against the United States.

The idea of Shia leadership for the jihad was further boosted this year when Iran took Hamas under its wings. As a branch of the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, a Sunni outfit, Hamas has exerted its influence to win wider support for Iranian leadership at least as a tactical choice. Many in the Middle East are alarmed by these shifts of power and dread the prospect of the region entering a new dark age under radical Islamist regimes.

For this reason, there seems to be much less hostility towards Israel in the wider Arab world than we might expect in the West. There may be no sympathy for Israel as such but many Arabs realise that the current war is over something bigger than a Jewish state with a tiny territory of 10,000 square miles, less than 1 per cent of Saudi Arabia's land mass.

This war is one of many battles to be fought between those who wish to join the modern world, warts and all, and those who think they have an alternative. This is a war between the West and what one might describe as "The Rest", this time represented by radical Islamism. All the talk of a ceasefire, all the diplomatic gesticulations may ultimately mean little in what is an existential conflict.

It makes a lot of sense to learn about the regional context of the fighting because when the President of Iran, the backers of Hezbollah, claim that their final solution to this war is the destruction of Israel, we cannot be surprised when they take affirmative steps to accomplish the same.

That's DOPA...

posted by Scott Roche

The House approved the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) on Wednesday of last week. Their hope (other than making good political hay) is to prevent children from being stalked/harassed/predated on at sites like MySpace.com. It would require schools and libraries that receive Federal funding for technology/communication (called E-rate funding) to provide protection from pedophiles.

This is a good thing right? Well protecting children certainly is, but I don't think DOPA will do a very good job of it. What it will do is end up blocking access to sites used for educational purposes. Rather than blocking sites based on content (not a bad idea, but not easy either) it will block them based on technology that the page uses (boneheaded move). This could end up blocking access to things like Wikipedia and school blogs.

Lynne Bradly Director of the Office of Government Relations for the American Library Association wrote this most excellent letter detailing why this is stupid. She said it better than I ever could.

Look parents out there reading this, it's our job as the protectors of our own children to educate them on why putting our address and semi-naked pictures of ourselves out on the internet is asking for trouble. Do that. Don't rely on the government to protect your children. They do a bad job of it. That is all.

Thursday Theatrical Throwdown

Posted by codemorse

Yippee-ki-yay, motherfuckers. John McClane returns to the big screen in "Live Free Or Die Hard".

Speaking of Die Hard, that film's biggest fan reviews "The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" right here. Since I am this reviewer's biggest fan, that works out well.

Ava Green joins Nicole Kidman in the cast for New Line's upcoming "The Golden Compass" film. The movie is based on the first in Phillip Pullman's extraordinary "His Dark Materials" trilogy, the only modern-day kid's lit that can compete with Harry Potter in terms of sophistication, characters, and story.

Take a look at the poster for Clint Eastwood's "Flags of our Fathers" right HERE.

And maybe it's just me, but does "Idlewild" look amazingly fun, or what? One of my favorite time-periods in American history + speakeasies + musical numbers + Terrence Howard + Outkast = Luv.

Vanity Scare

Posted by codemorse

There's an excellent and troubling article on the 9/11 tapes up on Vanity Fair's site. You can read it HERE. Among other interesting revelations, the author of the article shows clearly that Cheney was not informed of United 93 having been hijacked until one minute before it crashed.

This would appear to mean that Cheney's subsesquent remarks about a "difficult decision" whether or not to shoot the flight down have been fabrications at best; outright lies at worst.

While Vanity Fair's political coverage usually runs a little heavy in Bush-hatred for even this chest-thumpin' liberal, this is a very well-written and researched article. It's worth your time, especially if you're skeptical of it's claims.

Explanations of Expansion

Posted by codemorse

There's been so much adjustment/abuse of Executive power since 9/11 that it can be overwhelming to attempt to sort it all in your head. Luckily for us, DailyKos diarist Ivan Carter has compiled a handy guide to that adjustment/abuse.

Being DailyKos, it's obviously slanted heavily toward the abuse angle, but even in terms of simply laying out where Bush and Co. have been "expanding" their powers, it's an interesting and useful thing to have reference to.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Contra Beyer

Posted by Jabawacefti

According to Reuters, Iran freed Bin Laden's son to fight the Israelis:

Aug 2, 2006 — BERLIN (Reuters) - Iran has freed a son of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from house arrest, a German newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Die Welt said the Iranian Revolutionary Guard released Saad bin Laden on July 28 with the aim of sending him to the Syria-Lebanon border. It linked the reported move to the outbreak of war between Israel and Lebanese-based Hizbollah.

"From the Lebanese border, he has the task of building Islamist terror cells and preparing them to fight together with Hizbollah," Die Welt said, quoting intelligence information.

"Apparently Tehran is counting on recruiting Lebanese refugees in Syria for the fight against Israel, using bin Laden's help," it added in a preview of a report to appear in its Thursday edition.

As much as we'd love to think all politics (and most jihad) is local, Iran has other plans. So does Al Qaeda. We're always one step behind those jokers.

Tony Blair's Intelligent Synthesis

Posted by Jabawacefti

Is here. And I highly recommend it. I honestly think we'd be much better off with someone in charge who (1) understands the entire fabric of the Middle East; and (2) can communicate that to the people.

Here are some particularly interesting parts:

I, and any halfway sentient human being, regards the loss of civilian life in Lebanon as unacceptable, grieves for that nation, is sickened by its plight and wants the war to stop now. But just for a moment, put yourself in Israel's place. It has a crisis in Gaza, sparked by the kidnap of a solider by Hamas. Suddenly, without warning, Hizbollah who have been continuing to operate in Southern Lebanon for two years in defiance of UN Resolution 1559, cross the UN blue line, kill eight Israeli soldiers and kidnap two more. They then fire rockets indiscriminately at the civilian population in Northern Israel.

Hizbollah gets their weapons from Iran. Iran are now also financing militant elements in Hamas. Iran's President has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map". And he's trying to acquire a nuclear weapon. Just to complete the picture, Israel's main neighbour along its eastern flank is Syria who support Hizbollah and house the hardline leaders of Hamas.

It's not exactly a situation conducive to a feeling of security is it?

* * * *

Which brings me to my final reflection about US policy. My advice is: always be in the lead, always at the forefront, always engaged in building alliances, in reaching out, in showing that whereas unilateral action can never be ruled out, it is not the preference.

How we get a sensible, balanced but effective framework to tackle climate change after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 should be an American priority.

America wants a low-carbon economy; it is investing heavily in clean technology; it needs China and India to grow substantially. The world is ready for a new start here. Lead it.

The same is true for the WTO talks, now precariously in the balance; or for Africa, whose poverty is shameful.

If we are championing the cause of development in Africa, it is right in itself but it is also sending the message of moral purpose, that reinforces our value system as credible in all other aspects of policy.

It serves one other objective. There is a risk that the world, after the Cold War, goes back to a global policy based on spheres of influence. Think ahead. Think China, within 20 or 30 years, surely the world's other super-power. Think Russia and its precious energy reserves. Think India. I believe all of these great emerging powers want a benign relationship with the West. But I also believe that the stronger and more appealing our world-view is, the more it is seen as based not just on power but on justice, the easier it will be for us to shape the future in which Europe and the US will no longer, economically or politically, be transcendant. Long before then, we want Moderate, Mainstream Islam to triumph over Reactionary Islam.

That is why I say this struggle is one about values. Our values are worth struggling for. They represent humanity's progress throughout the ages and at each point we have had to fight for them and defend them. As a new age beckons, it is time to fight for them again.

Ordination Recieved

Posted by codemorse

Should readers of this site require a shoulder to lean on, a person to confide in, a fellow spiritual seeker to discuss with, or a Minister to perform marriage, baptism, or funerary services, I am now officially your man.

For my first act as Reverend Morse, I'll be instituting a "Sunday Sermonizing" column once a week. It'll be the only content regularly added during the weekends, and will function as an open invitation to meditate on faith, whatever your expression of it might be.

I'm a self-professed Christian who favors Quaker worship and believes firmly that the method of worship is the least important portion of a spiritual experience, as long as your chosen form is taken up with sincerity.

We're all seeking answers. Depending on where we live, how we've been raised, and what faith we've been brought up in, we look for those answers in different ways and in different houses of worship. But the questions we all ask are, and have always been, remarkably similar.

Christian, Jew, Muslim, Wiccan, Pagan, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Taoist, Indian Cheif; it doesn't matter. You're welcome to share your faith; to enlighten and be enlightened by that sharing.

So, tune in on Sundays (or Monday mornings) for "Sunday Sermonizing." Help forge spiritual unity from beautiful diversity.

Acting in the Digital Age

Posted by Jabawacefti

This may be better posted by Scott, but I saw it and couldn't resist. Acting looks to be different in the digital age. Love this paragraph:

Even better, the director doesn't have to make all the important decisions up front. They can apply "makeup" in post production. Rather than build the perfect period-piece set, they can shoot in the real world and age it afterward. For one movie set in the 1970s, one of the panelists said, "We shot on real streets and then spent a half-million dollars erasing Starbucks from every fucking shot."

Maynard G. Krebs...

posted by Scott Roche

For those of you too young to remember "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (actually I am to but I became addicted to it while watching Nick at Night) all you need to know for this is that there is a character named Maynard G. Krebs (played by Bob Denver) who was basically allergic to work. The mere word made him twitch. In today's society he would die, convulsing and foaming at the mouth.

We are surrounded by things to help us "work smarter, not harder". We have Blackberrys, smart cells, laptops, palmtops. It's all freakin' crazy. What these things can effectively do is chain us to our job. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about technology and using it to help us do our job. I realize that we have a much more mobile workforce and that the "on-demand" production of goods requires flexibility of schedule. This means that workers need a tool that can truly help them work.

Laptops are generally too heavy and can be expensive with woefully short battery lives. Smart phones and PDAs are good for portable schedule and contact management. They can even let us check our email and use some MS Office applications. The trade off is a painfully small screen and no easy way of on the fly data input. (I LOVE watching my Crackberry addicted friends typing emails.) So what's the answer?

Enter the UMPC, the platform the Intel and MS are hoping will bridge the gap. It's still really early days for this concept. There are only two on the market (or about to be); Samsung's Q1 and the Tablet Kiosk eo. Neither one will set the world on fire, but I think it's a step in the right direction. Their screens run around six inches and they're light at just under two pounds. They can run a full version of Windows XP with some geegaws specifically for UMPCs like an onscreen keyboard. Early reports say that the battery life isn't as good as it was hoped. Add to that the price tag of a little over a grand and my enthusiasm wanes a bit.

Still, the technology to truly make these viable as more than a glorified media player is just up ahead. Just remember that no matter what you use, all of these things have a power button and I strongly recommend that you turn it to the off position once in a while and move into real life. Part of working smarter means knowing when to knock off and head to the pub.

Under: The Excerpts Of 'Heaven'

Posted by codemorse

My discussion with Jabs on Evangelicism inspired me to take out Jon Krakauer's incredible (and incredibly disturbing) book, "Under The Banner Of Heaven." It's a revealing and uncomfortable look at Mormon fundamentalism/evangelicism.

"Members of the religion are forbidden to watch television or read magazines or newspapers....life in Colorado City under Rulon Jeffs bears more than a passing resemblance to life in Kabul under the Taliban. Uncle Rulon's word carries the weight of law."

"Uncle Rulon has married an estimated seventy-five women with whom he has fathered at least sixty-five children; several of his wives were given to him in marriage when they were fourteen or fifteen and he was in his eighties. His sermons frequently stress the need for total submission....Uncle Rulon likes to remind his followers of Brigham's warning that for those who commit such unspeakable sins as homosexuality, or having sexual intercourse with a member of the African race, 'the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.'"

"Over the years, the Mormon leadership has made several pronouncements about the "dangers" of the feminist movement and has excommunicated several outspoken feminists.....the Church actively and very effectively mobilized Mormons to vote as a bloc against ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (despite a poll published in the church-owned Deseret News showing that 63% of Utahans approved of the ERA)."

"Men, and only men, are admitted to the priesthood and given positions of ecclesiastical authority, including that of prophet. And only prophets may recieve the revelations that determine how the faithful are to conduct their lives, right down to the design of the sacred undergarments individuals are supposed to wear at all times....the fundamentalists take those rigid notions - of obediance, of control, of distinct and unbending roles for men and women - to a much greater extreme. The primary responsibility of women...is to serve their husbands, concieve as many babies as possible, and raise those children to become obediant members of the religion."

"For all their fecundity, Mormon Fundamentalists are strangely squeamish about sex. Boys and girls are forbidden to date, or even flirt, before marriage. Sex education consists of teaching children that the human body is a shameful vessel that should be veiled from the eyes of others at all times....Women and girls are required to wear long dresses, even while swimming. Boys and men wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Both genders must wear sacred long underwear beneath their clothing at all times, even on sweltering summer days. According to the Law of Chastity, sexual intercourse is officially forbidden even between husband and wife unless the woman is ovulating."

Andrew Sullivan Is Surging With Testosterone

Posted by codemorse

Andrew Sullivan, whom I disagree with as often as agree with, is always worth reading. His recent blogging on "Gibson-Gate" (Has the media started calling it that? Set your watches, they probably will soon) is interesting, enlightening stuff. In the midst of it, Sullivan brings up that other popular prejudice on everyone's mind: homophobia.

Sullivan's an "out" homosexual who writes stirringly and emotionally about the struggle for gay rights and acceptance of the lifestyle in this country. Notably, one of the major factors which transformed Sullivan from a die-hard Bush administration supporter into a more moderate conservative routinely critical of the administration was Bush's decision to back the prejudiced on the issues of gay marriage and gay rights.

You're never so politically aware as when the situation affects you intimately and directly.

Below is a wonderfully written and sharply observed dissection of the homophobia in THE NAMELESS ONE's constant media appearances.

From Andrew Sullivan:

Kaus defends his friend Ann Coulter's bigotry, and it's worth unpacking his argument. The claim that Coulter is making and Kaus is seconding - that same-sex love is inherently more promiscuous than heterosexuality - has a simple, logical rejoinder: lesbians. Where are the lesbian bath-houses, Ann? Where's the rampant lesbian promiscuity? Aren't lesbians homosexual? Or do we just deploy these terms broadly, whenever they can be used to stigmatize an entire minority?

The phenomenon Kaus and Coulter are pretending to deal with is called testosterone. It's called men - gay or straight. And Peter Beinart is right: by inherently equating homosexuality as such with promiscuity, Coulter is peddling an old homophobic slur, and Kaus is backing her up. Her point about Bill Clinton - that because he is promiscuous he is somehow gay - is a revealing inversion of the truth. The truth is that many gay men are acting like Bill Clinton, because, like Bill Clinton, they are full of testosterone, and, like Bill Clinton, they can get sex when they want. Clinton gets it and has gotten it because of his charm and his power (which he regularly abused for sexual harassment purposes). Many straight men would do the same if they could get away with it. Can you imagine the lines for straight bathhouses if women were as eager to get it on with strangers as men are?

Gay men get it because their emotional and sexual universe is all-male and so twice as testosterone-laden as the straight male sexual universe. There are no straight women to direct and restrain their sexual drives and, in forty-nine states, no social institutions strong enough to support their relationships. Coulter's real issue is with men, not gays. But she and Kaus tellingly displace this issue onto homosexuality as such -because that is the classic bigot position. In the bigot's mind, everything is always the minority's fault.

Beyer Necessities

Posted by codemorse

Lisa Beyer articulates some pretty interesting ideas about conflict in the middle-east:

Enunciating a new security doctrine nine days after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush declared that the war on terrorism would be fought not just against al-Qaeda but also against "every terrorist group of global reach." Hizballah can certainly be said to fit in that category. However grand it may be to fight all global terrorists, though, the simple fact is that we can't: we don't have the troops, the money or the political will. That means it may make sense to limit our hit list to the groups that actually threaten us. Hizballah does not now do that. Nor does the other group currently in the spotlight, the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas.

The U.S. has sound reasons for wanting to constrain these groups, principally that they threaten our ally Israel. But those reasons have largely gone unarticulated as Bush falls back on maxims about the need to confront terrorism, as if Hizballah and Hamas are likely to be behind the next spectacular that will top 9/11. They are not, and pretending that they are costs the U.S. credibility, risks driving terrorist groups that aren't allied into alliance and obscures the real issues at hand in the Middle East:

How do you soften up militants who vehemently oppose Israel's existence? What should the U.S. put on the line for Israel? And does it make sense for Washington to engage in boxing by surrogate with Tehran?


....Bush two weeks ago likened Hizballah militants to the terrorists who last summer bombed London subways. That implies that Hizballah has the same mind-set and agenda as the global jihadis of al-Qaeda and its imitator groups, but they are not the same. Hizballah's military mission is principally to defend Lebanon from Israeli intrusion and secondarily to destroy the Jewish state. As an Islamist group under Iran's sway, Hizballah would like to see Islamic rule in Lebanon. The global jihadis think much bigger.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mel On A Wire

Posted by codemorse

Let's dish on the celebs for a minute.

From the NY Times:

In a little over 24 hours, Mr. Gibson’s arrest and subsequent behavior in Malibu had already prompted talk of a claimed cover-up, an exposé, worldwide news coverage, an apology and then a full-blown push for alcohol rehabilitation, even as his representatives and executives at the Walt Disney Company rushed to catch up with the event’s effect on the filmmaker’s movie and television projects with the company.

On Monday, Hope Hartman, a spokeswoman for Disney’s ABC television network, said the company was dropping its plans to produce a Holocaust-themed miniseries in collaboration with Mr. Gibson.

Passion of the Christ, which many saw as being anti-semetic, didn't register that way for me.

I think this is because Gibson's movie is largely accurate in its translation of the "anti-semetic" elements from established Church dogma/Biblical scripture to film.

Gibson's film doesn't suggest that the Jews killed Jesus. If anything, the church has suggested that through the framing of the crucifixion story in medieval passion plays, mystery plays, church-approved speech, etc.

Personally, I believe that the purpose of having the crowd turn against Jesus is to illustrate how man turns so quickly from the reverential to the dismissive. It's a story the Bible tells over and over. Just look at Moses and the golden calf for the exact same story, told with different elements.

That the crowd is probably largely Jewish (and why wouldn't it be? Jesus was a Jew who lived in a Jewish neighborhood. Of course his fellow men were Jews) is of no moral consequence. Blaming "the Jews" for killing Jesus seems like blaming the white race for whipping Kunta Kinte.

Gibson's latest remarks, however, do not help him with his critics. His subsequent apology is wonderfully written (and probably bought at a pretty price - insert lame "30 pieces of silver" joke here) and perhaps even sincere. But that doesn't really matter now. The damage is done. Saying something insanely stupid is something we all do, but when's it this stupid and insane, it's hard not to drop your jaw over it.

I'm of the belief that it's possible to appreciate good art without bringing the artist's life into the equation. In order to enjoy, say, Chinatown, I don't need to think about Roman Polanski at all, let alone his past history. But in an increasingly celebrity-saturated culture, it does become harder to separate the artist from their art.

Instead of releasing statements, Gibson should put his money where his mouth is. Contribute to awareness groups that help to reduce anti-semetism. Make a few public service announcements, specifically addressed to the Evangelical community that worship him so much now. Explain to them that he realizes this is going to look like an attempt at career-rehab, but that it is not, and that he's doing it to make clear that sometimes people say stupid, hateful shit that they probably shouldn't. Produce that Holocaust documentary with his own damn money, and hire the best Jewish historians he can find. Release it, and let his work speak for him.

Or choose the typical Hollywood bullshit, make one apology generally, and let people think you're a crazed anti-semite.

Hybrid Drives...

posted by Scott Roche

According to an article at computerworld Windows Vista will have support for Flash based drives. Cast your brains back about twelve days and you might remember that I wrote a little thing on the future of hard drives.

The hybrid drives and on board flash mentioned in the the article... What, you didn't click the link? Okay I'll summarize. A hybrid drive is like a regular hard drive with 256 megs of non-volatile Flash memory, the kind you'd find on a thumb drive. As an alternative Intel is putting the same kind of memory on a motherboard.

Vista will be able to use either one to cache (temporarily store) bits of information. This can speed up performance quite a bit depending on what you're doing. It will also make computers more efficient when it comes to power usage. The biggest effect this will have though is to make Flash even cheaper and to bring the death knell of the spinning platters one step closer.

Larger capacity for flash drives will also give us better MP3 players and UMPCs (Ultra Mobile PCs). What's a UMPC you ask? Stay tuned gentle reader and I will school you.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Bitchslappin' The Day Away

Posted by codemorse

If you come here looking for some political commentary with your goof-off time, then you'll probably enjoy Jabs' and my discussion on the point of invoking World War II in the current War on Terror, which quickly devolves into a discussion over the definition of "radical" before winding it's way into Evangelicism.

And it's just as interesting as it sounds.

NAY! Much more so!

SEE Jabs and I get all bitchy! WATCH as the Combat Conservative from Down Under and the Left-Jabbin' Liberal Yankee joust with long, very long, comma filled run-on sentences like this one!

You will be ASTOUNDED!

No child under the age of ten will be admitted as the sights you are about to see would damage their fragile, innocent minds! Ladies, we caution you to tread carefully behind yon curtain! Only those of healthy constitution and strong personal character are safe beyond that dread veil!

Insert Lame "Brokeback-Batman" Joke Here

Posted by codemorse

According to The Fake Life, Heath Ledger has been cast as The Joker for the Batman Begins sequel. TFL also gives us the title of the next movie: The Dark Knight. I think that's the bees-knees.

I would have picked Paul Bettany, Joseph Gordon Levitt, or Guy Pierce for the Joker, personally. Bettany for his demonic eyes, Levitt for his astonishing range, and Pierce for his almost inhumanly-cold face and mirthless smile.

But Ledger's a solid choice.

Never Neutral On Net Neutrality

Posted by codemorse

There's probably no issue more important to your daily lives as Net Neutrality. I'm very serious about that. Pay attention, because you'll regret not having made a phone call in a year or two if you don't.

If you don't know what Net Neutrality is, click THIS. It'll explain everything, especially the part about how if Net Neutrality doesn't pass, the internet as we know it will essentially cease to exist, and the freedom of content and freedom of access you currently enjoy will be significantly curtailed. Not for spooky, conspiriatorial reasons, but for plain-old, boring business reasons. Sites with higher traffic will ink exclusive deals with specific service providers, forcing you to choose between, say, MSN and their access to ESPN, Weather.com, CNN, and others, or AOL and their access to the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, and iTunes.


Ted Stevens, the crazy-ass mofo from Alaska, is actually in charge of the debate on this thing, and as the Daily Show has hilariously and scarily noted, Stevens thinks this about the internet:



Well, Stevens is seeking cloture right now, which is not good news for Net Neutrality. Your voice is needed to call and request support for Net Neutrality, for the good of the American people.

Find everything you need to know HERE.

An Open Letter To Hezbollah

Posted by codemorse

Dear Hezbollah,

Israel's bombings of Lebanon have worried many a bleeding-heart. The pictures of Israeli children writing messages on bombs evoke a sadness that requires a heart of stone not to feel.

But anger is the only emotion I feel at the notion of your group hiding weapons among civilians and children in order to induce civilian casualties or, as the Military prefers to refer to them, "collateral damage."

There is a certain cruel cunning in doing so. Vlad Tepes would be proud. But those of us who value human life are appalled.

Stop it.

Deep Thoughts

Posted by Jabawacefti

Jonah on Fukuyama.

Boop, boop, boop (part II): Backup Harder...

posted by Scott Roche

Read Pt. the First...

Okay, now that you know the basics of backing up let's get a little more complex. I mentioned that if you have a network it could make things challenging. Here are some ways to keep that easier.

Network storage devices - These days network storage for home users is a pretty simple matter. You don't need to set up a dedicated file server. Just buy something like the D-Link network storage adapter if you already have a USB drive hanging around. Plug the drive into this and plug this into your network and you configure it through an internal web interface. It'll cost you about ninety dollars, hard drive not included.

As a side note, if you use this or a local USB drive I recommend having one expressly for backup. The more you read/write to a drive the faster you wear it out. If you want more storage locally for your bitTorrent stuff then buy a fat internal HD. Heck get one of the above for a "file server" if you want to access your catalog of Aerosmith mp3's from any computer, but have a drive just for backups. I can't stress that enough.

For about a dollar a gig (or a little less if you shop around) you can get the Western Digital NetCenter. It allows you to do the same thing and in addition it can act as a print server. It comes in 160, 250, 320, and 500 gb sizes. It also comes with some software for backup management.

Software - If you really want to back up your entire system and be able to bring it back from the dead easily I recommend Ghost from Symantec. I use the Corporate version and it's pretty sweet, but this is better in a number of ways. In addition to letting you take a "snapshot" of your computer (called a ghost image) it also helps you manage backups. The image can be stored on an external hard drive or a writable disc. For fifty bucks it's well worth it for your piece of mind.

Now what are you waiting for? Go and get your backup on!

How to Lose a War

Posted by Jabawacefti

According to Mark Steyn, there are several ways to lose, even when you're supposed to be the best:

Our enemies understand "why we fight" and where the fight is. They know that in the greater scheme of things the mosques of Jakarta and Amsterdam and Toronto and Dearborn are more important territory than the Sunni Triangle. The U.S. military is the best-equipped and best-trained in the world. But it's not enough, it never has been and it never will be.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

CodeMarketing 2

Posted by codemorse









Jesus Vs. America

Posted by codemorse

From the NY Times:

Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-
abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns....

....Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.

But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share....

....Mr. Boyd said he never intended his sermons to be taken as merely a critique of the Republican Party or the religious right. He refuses to share his party affiliation, or whether he has one, for that reason. He said there were Christians on both the left and the right who had turned politics and patriotism into “idolatry.”

He said he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing “God Bless America” and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses....

....Patriotic displays are still a mainstay in some evangelical churches. Across town from Mr. Boyd’s church, the sanctuary of North Heights Lutheran Church was draped in bunting on the Sunday before the Fourth of July this year for a “freedom celebration.” Military veterans and flag twirlers paraded into the sanctuary, an enormous American flag rose slowly behind the stage, and a Marine major who had served in Afghanistan preached that the military was spending “your hard earned money” on good causes.

In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.

“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.

“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”


It's a fascinating story, and the above quotes are just a portion of it. I encourage you to click over to the Times' site and give it a read.

What's nice about faith in something unquantifiable is that it leaves people free to believe what they'd like. That's also, pretty much, what's not so nice about faith.

You can certainly make the argument (as one impassioned parishioner does) that Christians should be actively involved in the world around them; that such involvement necessitates the political.

You can also make the argument that Christianity is a religion specifically founded to resist and reject the earth-bound political hypocrisies of the Pharisees.

What you really can't argue against are the words and actions of Jesus Christ. If you're going to call yourself "Christian," then you really ought to be paying attention to Christ, no?

So, for argument's sake, let's assume that God exists and that Jesus was his only Son.

Where was Jesus born? It certainly wasn't America, either North or South, though there were already people there to have recieved his words. A lot of people, actually.

What is the great Truth of Christianity? Jesus came for all people. Not just or most 'specially for the American people.

What was Jesus' action upon entering the temple of the Pharisees? He overturned the money-lenders' tables, scattered the vendors, and shamed all for turning a House of God into a marketplace.

Were Jesus to return today and stumble into one of these "MEGACHURCHES" that are all the rage now, I do wonder what his reaction would be. Would he be happy to see so many people congregated together? Or would he rip the enormous American flag down from behind the altar in a rage of disbelief?