Reasonable Nuts

Sometimes nuts. Always reasonable. We are REASONABLE NUTS.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Iran soon to topple from within

Here's proof that the authoritarian regime in control of Iran is living on borrowed time: Iranian men are increasingly getting plastic surgery. This is rather ironic for a nation led by, arguably, one of the most naturally attractive men on Earth!

The Reasonable Nuts are wondering what Ahmadinejad might look like with extensive plastic surgery. Perhaps this?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Where tolerance ends

Is two men kissing one another on an airline flight tolerable behavior? That's the real question at the heart of this story. The question is not whether it is appropriate behavior - this is no longer a question in our very tolerant society. Appropriate is roughly equivalent to legal in this regard. But tolerable - this is another matter.

Tolerance implies some burden one is saddled with - and the sight of men kissing and otherwise being physically intimate is a burden indeed for many (most?) of us. It's just something I, for one, do not wish to see. Am I in a place to make a stink about it, were I in a situation similar to the men sitting behind the smoochers? No. While I don't wish to see it, I am realistic in that undesired sights are part of intersecting with others in an open society.

I am reminded of a visit to the airport, where on the way to my flight, I saw a fellow lose it, screaming, hitting the customer service counter with his suitcase, while (presumably) his wife stood by his side. That was something I did not wish to see - that man's extreme anger, which was indeed inappropriate (I wonder if he didn't spend some time detained by authorities after that stunt). I guess this isn't a good analogue - since his behavior was indeed inappropriate and by extension, intolerable. Still, it's something I didn't want to see at all in public.

For me, tolerance is not a finite definition. I have a sliding threshold which depends upon my state of mind and the expectations others are foisting upon me. Gay men kissing in the office next door is tolerable; in public, it's also generally tolerable if it's sporadic (i.e. not with the frequency one might witness at Dupont Circle on gay pride day). But it becomes less tolerable the closer the confines. Sitting behind two guys continually kissing on an airline flight would be getting close to my tolerance threshold, but I'd probably endure it - keep my eyes on reading material or shut completely. But were I seated next to them, this would likely be too much. Does this make me intolerant? Sure. But my question to those who have a problem with that is "so what?" Further, "Are you not intolerant? How do you survive tolerating everything?" I really don't think people think through their words very far, when branding some people "intolerant", while believing themselves above this assertion. I like what WFB had to say on the subject: "...the purpose of an open mind is to close it on some subjects..."

Then the question to me is "what if these were black men sitting next to you?" Well, if they too were kissing, then I would have my tolerance equally evaporated. However, this has nothing to do with their being black and everything to do with their kissing. You see, it's behavior that we choose whether to tolerate - NOT people. I will sit by a gay man as easily as I will a straight. I will have his "partner" and him over for dinner. They can even stay together in my guest bedroom. But I will not tolerate their having sex under my roof.

When did tolerance become "accept everything"?

Property, yes, but hardly Intellectual

Given what I've seen of the content on YouTube, I have to agree with Mark Cuban - though one wonders if settlements won't be reached in advance of any serious business transaction(s).
Cuban said "anyone who buys that (YouTube) is a moron" because of potential lawsuits from copyright violations.
I'd like to say this is an issue of Intellectual Property rights, but I don't deem most of the content on YouTube as intellectual in any way, shape, or form.

Squirrels Must Die

This is just more fodder for the fact that squirrels should and must die. All squirrels. Now.

Ask Suri

This quote about babies wearing wigs about says it all, IMO:
"This is ridiculous. Any parent who buys one of these wigs for their child needs their head examining."

Wigs are incredibly uncomfortable for a start. Babies are wonderful but dirty little things and the last thing they need is a wig."
As for the assertion they are uncomfortable, maybe someone should ask Suri Cruise. Did anyone else think her hair looked rather thick for that of a 4 month old? I've seen asian kids with that thick of hair, but not a caucasian.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Shades of The Princess Bride

FREDERICK, Md. — A woman who was found living with more than 300 mostly dead cats pleaded guilty to 46 misdemeanor counts of neglect Tuesday, abruptly ending her trial on animal cruelty charges.
Mostly dead?
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.

Seven years is a long time to work for $50.

Word is that Dallas Cowboys Receiver Terrell Owens has attempted to commit suicide due to depression. If you read far enough into the story, perhaps this could be the source of his depression?:
Owens he's also made headlines for his sometime outlandish behavior, both on and off the field. During the second season of his seven-year, $48.97 contract, Owens wanted the Eagles to renegotiate his deal. When the Eagles refused, he threatened to skip training camp altogether. He did show up to practice but was more distant than usual. He was later kicked out of training for a week after arguing with head coach Andy Reid. But true to form, Owens refused to apologize for his behavior.
I wonder if they'll correct the story by the time you read it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Adventures in Media Whoring

It's been a strange two days.

If I keep this up, I'm afraid they might lock me up in the same institution as the Narcissist-In-Chief cited below.

"... quintessentially a temporizer ..."

What could I possibly add in the way of commentary to the greatest public service done yet to date by our esteemed former President, William Jefferson Clinton? Check out Michelle Malkin's video "Vent" for details. The best commentary I've read thus far is this factual summation and reasoned opinion of Clinton the President, by Ronald Cass. Here's a snippet:
Clinton, like all presidents, had some top-notch advisers, including some thoughtful advisers on military and foreign affairs. But he is quintessentially a temporizer, one who always has had difficulty reaching a conclusion and sticking to it, and not someone who was terribly interested in either preserving our military power or using it effectively in world affairs. He'd much rather talk one on one with world leaders, persuaded he could convince them to do what he wanted by the concerted application of charm.

Talk and compromise - not clear moral principles and the will to do whatever is needed to support them - were the hallmarks of the Clinton Administration, reflecting the person at the top. Nothing Clinton says now can change that, though he still evinces conviction that he can talk us into anything - just as he thought he could when he denied point blank having had anything to do with Monica Lewinsky. Clinton always has been the one who, caught in a compromising position, would disarmingly ask, as the parody has it, "what are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" His instinct for lying, even under oath, earned him the second presidential impeachment in American history.
Novelist Andrew Klavan has penned the second best commentary thus far. A salient set of nuggets:
To put it in his own terms, Clinton has never understood what the meaning of "is" is, the fact that some things happened and others didn't, that some things are true and others simply are not. He believes that his legacy will be created in the spin cycle of history rather than in the fitful but persistent human search for history's truth.

... He thinks reality itself is being wrestled away from him, that he can wrestle it back and mold it into the shape he wants it to have.

But he's wrong. That's just "is" being is. That's just "truth" bearing away the victory.

Narcissistic Rage

As an art therapist, I work with a range of diagnoses every day. Some of what I deal with are called Axis II disorders, which includes only Personality Disorders and Mental Retardation--problems that cannot be treated with medication or essentially cured of the disorder. One of these disorders that you may have heard of is Borderline Personality Disorder (think "Fatal Attraction" or "Girl, Interrupted") or Antisocial Personality Disorder. However, one of these personality disorders that you may not be familiar with is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The criteria include the following:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
(4) requires excessive admiration
(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

I bring this up, because we have seen a classic example recently in the media. This commentator, Rusty Humphries, also identified this phenomenon in the recent explosion of Bill Clinton on the Fox News Sunday show with Chris Wallace (see video here) in his article of September 25th. When asked a question about what more he could have done to curb terrorism during his term, his charm went away and the narcissistic rage came forth in the defensiveness very common amongst those with narcissistic and borderline personality disorders, both of which have little to no ego strength to answer such a question appropriately without jabbing fingers, raising voices, and blaming others. Humphries' remarks:

Bill Clinton hasn't shown that much passion since Monica Lewinsky snapped her thong at him. This is classic behavior of a narcissist. Wallace's interview could be used by psychology classes the world over as a teaching tool to give students a real life glimpse of a narcissist and how a narcissist responds when their image has been injured. As we all witnessed, a narcissist will fight like a cornered animal when they believe their image has been impacted in a negative way. When a narcissist's all-important image has been tarnished – like when Bill Clinton is faced with history – they will lash out like nothing you've ever seen. This is known as narcissistic rage. ...

Let me share with you some universally accepted information about narcissists. It will help connect the dots (Monica's blue stained dress, ''The Path to 9/11,'' and narcissistic rage):

Narcissism is a pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and lack of empathy. A
narcissistic individual is totally consumed with their image and has a fragile sense of self. A narcissistic individual has a basic sense of inferiority, although if you listen to him talk you would never realize it. A narcissist presents a false self to the world in hopes of creating a self-serving image. In an effort to create a false image, a narcissist exaggerates their achievements and talents. Because a narcissistic individual has a shifting morality – always ready to shift values to gain favor – any interaction with a narcissist is difficult. Lying is an integral part of the narcissist's behavior and all self-reports are unreliable. ...

A narcissist is haunted by criticisms and defeats. When a narcissistic injury occurs, the narcissist begins to feel empty, degraded, and humiliated and is capable of retaliating with narcissistic rage. His reactions constitute disdain or defiant attacks. The narcissistic hurt is different from other types of emotional pain. The fact that this hurt is very vulnerable, and opens up to an emptiness signifying the dissolution of identity, imbues the reactive anger with an intensity and hardness rarely seen in other kinds of anger. As with all other narcissists, there is nothing more important to Bill Clinton than his false public image. ...

It's a real shame Clinton is more angry at Fox News than terrorists. But, if the truth be known, Clinton is madder at himself than anyone or anything else. Unfortunately, he handles it like so many children caught in a lie. They scream, they cry, they blame others. But, eventually, most children grow. They mature. And when they become Clinton's age, they behave like responsible, under control, adults. Not former President Clinton. He will never grow because he has, in my humble opinion, a narcissistic personality disorder. He is consumed with his image. ...

That stained blue dress represents Bill Clinton's legacy. It is a metaphor for Clinton's narcissistic presidency – his focus on himself, rather than a focus on his oath of office – his promise to keep us safe. The stain on his presidency was his failure to take terrorism seriously. And when confronted with those painful truths, we get a narcissist's rage.

I'm glad that Mr. Humphries not only addressed some of the politics of the outburst, but also the psychological ones as well. Unfortunately, although I have experienced patients that have narcissistic personality disordered traits, most people with this disorder I have encountered or known about personally were in leadership/management positions, which is usually crippling to their staff and their organization. However, they are rarely removed from their position of power often because they can manipulate any such attempts quite charismatically, frequently touting their grandiose accomplishments and inherent value to the organization. This should be a lesson to us all to be mindful of who we put into positions of leadership, either by vote or by selection.

Cat Head Theatre

Well, if you need animated cat heads to digest your William Shakespeare, then who am I to stand in your way? Behold, Cat Head Theatre:

Friday, September 22, 2006

Just. Terrible.

I thought this might be funny. I was wrong.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hey Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone

Dr. Helen, wife of Glenn Reynolds, blogs about too much homework. Read some of the horror stories in the comment section about public schools giving too much homework to kids who are too small.

A "homework" or "no homework" debate dodges the real controversy, which is the government micromanagement of our children through the force kidnapping and indoctrination system called "public schools".

Some kids learn best with homework; other don't. The choice of which method to pursue should be up to the consumer, i.e. the children's parents. Yet our system treats kids as uniformily and involuntarily as prisoners of a jail. And the system is ossified by confiscatory property taxes and child service laws, which make impossible alternatives to the socialist education monopoly.

And to answer you questions: Yes, I'm a Libertarian, and yes I harbor deep trauma and hatred from my schoolyears.

The only good thing about the current system is that it's quietly breeding a generation of Libertarians.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The cute side of death

Here's the cute side of otherwise deadly or debilitating microorganisms: plush microbes. I notice anthrax and smallpox are oddly missing from this collection. Could it be that even the irreverent have a sense of decency?

Nah! It's got to have something to do with the lawyers.

The face of Iran

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) and Anousheh Ansari, Iranian emigree to the U.S., engineer, successful entrepreneur, sponsor of the X PRIZE, now astronaut. Who would you rather see as a role model for Iranians today?

This is a great story. In the midst of the Iranian nuclear showdown, here's an Iranian emigree to the United States who shows the potential of an open mind in an open society. Does anyone believe she could have done what she's accomplished in her short life, were she still in Iran?

Interestingly, both Ansari and Ahmadinejad are engineers in their schooling (Ansari graduated from my alma mater, George Mason Univ.). Give the two 100 pounds of Uranium; one would design a more efficient reactor for delivering electricity to impoverished families, permitting them safe drinking water, heat during harsh winters, comfort and greater longevity, and the other, well... he would obliterate Tel Aviv.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

UAD of 2008

I predict the ultraminature projector device will be the Ubiquitous Annoying Device of the year for 2008. It's not quite ready for primetime, but will soon appear in laptops, mobile phones, PDAs, and other devices. The poor laser pointer will finally be dethroned as the device most used at the annoyance of others.

Finally, a degree that matters

The University of Blogging

Presents to
Christopher Suleske

An Honorary
Bachelor of
Non Sequiturs

Majoring in
Comment Spam
Signed
Dr. GoQuiz.com
®

Username:


Blogging Degree
From Go-Quiz.com

Children of Secular Humanism

Is it possible that the upcoming film, Children of Men, will not be nearly as preachy as it appears? No, not overtly preachy, but that secular humanist sort which lies just beneath the surface, thinly veiled in yet another dystopian fable. Take for instance this exchange, from the trailer:
Woman: "The Human Project have sent a boat."
Clive Owen: "The Human Project?"
Woman: "Yes. The greatest minds in the world, working for a new society."
Groan.

Sounds suspiciously like yet another spin of the same broken record, loosely: "Previous attempts to order a civiliation based on the pscychosocial constructs of capitalism, God, tradition, patriarchy, etc., have failed and the only viable solution is to eliminate what exists (through whatever means) and start again with the prescription and proscription of today's best and brightest minds (which all too often parrot one another in monotonous self-congratulation)." The question I always return to is "who chooses these best and brightest minds?" Typically, they choose one another.

About this point, I like what William F. Buckley, Jr. had to say about one cadre of "the best and brightest minds":
"I would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard University".
It should be noted Children of Men is based upon the eponymous P.D. James novel. It is surprisingly poorly reviewed at Amazon.com, with user comments such as "under-developed science" and "Surprisingly disappointing". Surprising, that is, for a book made into a big-budget film. Well, that's no guarantor of success.

"...slumped over dead on top of the presents."

Jonah Goldberg elucidates precisely my disaffection with Republicans these days:
The rub of it, from a conservative perspective, is that Republican control of the House doesn't equal conservative control. It may not seem that way to liberals who think Joe Lieberman is right wing, but from the vantage point of the conservative movement, GOP dominance has been an enormous disappointment - good judicial appointments and tax cuts notwithstanding. Our hopeful joy upon the 1994 takeover of Congress was like finding a new pony by the Christmas tree. Now it's more like finding it slumped over dead on top of the presents.
What a hilarious word picture!

Bring on the Democrats, indeed. Some have argued (well, in my estimation), that the Federal Government operates most effectively with a Democrat in the White House and Congress (both houses) controlled by Republicans. I'm not certain which is the ideal makeup, but certainly much is better than today.

Friday, September 15, 2006

"a struggle FOR civilization."

My wife and I watched the President's address to the nation on Sept. 11, expecting the typical Bush speech: of good intention and with a heavy dose of schmaltz, but lacking in depth of reason. In short - a speech for the heart, not so much for the head. But he delivered on both counts. Here was the single best line I've heard in a Bush speech to date:
This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it is a struggle for civilization.
Let's be reasonably honest: the words and actions of many in the Middle East - particularly of their "leadership" - is downright uncivilized. Is civilization even a goal anymore?

On the schmaltzy front, I could not help but be moved by this phrase, as I was holding my own daughter in my arms at the time:
I've sat beside young mothers with children who are now five years old -- and still long for the daddies who will never cradle them in their arms.
How do you reasonably comingle this movement of the heart with the intellectual resolve that civilization is not only preferable, but correct? You aver your defense of civilization.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Non-reasoning Capitalist = Socialist

David Strom posted a good piece over at Townhall.com re: the all-so-mysterious (said with tongue in cheek) price of oil. It's worth a read if you have the slightest bit of angst for oil companies or find yourself the least bit sympathetic to the arguments calling for such things as price controls, windfall taxes, penalties - in a nutshell: any confiscatory wealth-transfer scheme sanctioned by socialists.

This gets me to thinking: it's not enough to say you are a capitalist, or to deny that you are a socialist; if you are not a reasoning capitalist, you are, by default, a socialist. Said another way:

Socialist = Socialist
"Reasoning" Socialist = Socialist
Non-reasoning Capitalist = Socialist
Reasoning Capitalist = Capitalist

Not so hot Air

Every right-wing blog and blog-like entity is, rightly (pardon the pun), chomping at the bit over the news that liberal radio rantwork Air America is filing for bankruptcy protection. But the best commentary thus far comes from Ace of Spades, who notes the story thusly:
Air America Files For Chapter 19, Combined Financial & Intellectual Bankruptcy

Women, Minorities, Al Franken Hardest Hit

Reply to "Their Arrogance is Stunning"

I wanted to comment in the below post, but it ran over, so I'm putting my thoughts here.

The behavior from Sen. Byrd is worse than merely arrogant or obtuse. It's crazy. His outlook toward life which he has formed during is long tenure in office is completely divorced from reason, but rooted in alot of psychological baggage. Yet even though this thinking is unhealthy, it certainly isn't abnormal. Much more often than not, politician = sociopath.

Either you rise to that level of office by being a megalomaniac, or you become one once you've held office long enough. Some personality types can resist the trappings of power, but most don't. It's an old story.

And Washington is a nutty town. High offices are held by narcissists. Those politicans are then given narcissistic supply by journalists and lobbyists, themselves co-dependents. And the whole town is fed by tax dollars given by outside, productive people bound by duty, fear, or a misguided sense of charity. Washington is basically a giant Zimbardo Experiment.

Like some crazed family member's behavior towards kids, the government "sacrifices" and gives us things we don't want or are bad for us, then lashes out when conservatives and libertarians are not "thankful" or reject those gifts.

So there. Bask in the glory of my 200+ word screed.

"Their arrogance is stunning."

John Stossel says of the biggest porkers in the U.S. Senate: "Their arrogance is stunning." Yes it is. Stossel details his interaction with Senator Byrd:
When the Democrats held power, I confronted Sen. Byrd about his "Honorable" Robert Byrd Highway-type projects in West Virginia. His answer was as arrogant as he was: "I would think that the national media could rise above the temptation of being clever, decrepitarian critics who twaddlize, just as what you're doing right here."

"Twaddlize?" I asked.

"Trivializing serious matters," he explained.

I persisted, "Is there no limit? Are you not at all embarrassed about how much you got?"

Byrd glared at me, "Are you embarrassed when you think you're working for the good of the country?!"
I wrote about this very thing - the sheer expanse of placenames bearing Byrd's moniker, on Op-Eds.com last year. Also in that piece I slammed Stevens. Any chance that things will change now that Stossel's on their backs?

I think the best we can hope for is their retirement, either from the Senate or the Earth. The youngens know we're watching them more closely and that they'll never be so priveleged as to pull a Byrd or a Stevens over on us.

Steven Segal is Samuel R. Berger in "On Sandy ground"

Maggie Gallagher makes the same point made here the other day, albeit more pointedly:
[posed to former President Clinton's National Security Adviser Samuel R. ("Sandy") Berger]: What handwritten notes, and by whom, were on the three copies of classified documents (out of five) that Sandy Berger chose to steal and cut up with scissors in 2003, smack in the middle of the 9/11 commission's investigation?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Report: Majority Of Americans Unprepared For Apocalypse

WASHINGTON, DC—Over 87 percent of Americans are unprepared to protect themselves from even the most basic world-ending scenarios, according to a study released Monday by the nonpartisan doomsday think-tank The Malthusian Institute.

Despite "more than ample warning" for the most likely means of worldwide destruction, less than one million American households have taken even the simplest precautions against nuclear shockwaves, asteroid impact, or a host of angels bearing swords of fire, the study concluded.

Source: The Onion
Why isn't our government protecting us?! Perhaps the Democrats would do better? Certainly, they claim as much.

Visited

Here's the product of a fun page that helps you visualize where you've been in the world and U.S.

create your own visited country map

Countries I hope to add in the next several years: Norway, The U.K., New Zealand, Fiji.



create your own personalized map of the USA

The Chuck Norris Fact Generator

Hey kids! Let's visit the Chuck Norris Fact Generator! Particularly good ones:
# When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

# Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

# There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

# Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris.

# Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

# Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

# Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

# Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.

# There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist.

# When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.

# Chuck Norris is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.

# Chuck Norris’ hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.

# There is no such thing as global warming. Chuck Norris was cold, so he turned the sun up.

# Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.

# Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a watch, HE decides what time it is.

# Chuck Norris gave Mona Lisa that smile.

# Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.

# Chuck Norris does not get frostbite. Chuck Norris bites frost

# Remember the Soviet Union? They decided to quit after watching a DeltaForce marathon on Satellite TV.

# Contrary to popular belief, America is not a democracy, it is a Chucktatorship.

Hydrogen cars?

Leave it to the Germans to push for Hydrogen as an alternative fuel for high performance automobiles. After all, wasn't it they who gave us the Hindenberg?

Study Finds American a Nation of "Believers"

This interesting study by Baylor found that 92% of Americans belief in God or a higher power. I'm sure they don't all believe in the exact same God, but it's an interesting statistic nevertheless.

DALLAS - The sounds of faith in America — varied depending on culture, location or belief — but also familiar, and for good reason.

According to a comprehensive new study, America is a country of believers. Researchers at Baylor University found nearly 92 percent Americans believe in God or a higher power, and their image of who God is shapes their lives in profound ways. Among the study's conclusions: that Americans see God in one of four distinct ways. Sixteen percent see God as critical, 23 percent as benevolent, 24.4 percent as distant and 31.4 percent as authoritarian.

"In general what we find is people who believe in a more angry and engaged God tend to be moral absolutists," says Baylor researcher Paul Froese. "In other words, they think things are either right or wrong, and they also tend to be political conservatives."

Still, researchers found people on the political left are equally religious. "Liberals have consistently argued that conservatives don't hold copyright to the word Christian," says Bill Lawrence, a professor at Southern Methodist University.

America has always been a religious country, but experts say even more so in times of crisis. "At a time of great doubt and a time of warfare, a time when we feel threats quite immediate to us, that increases people's religiosity when they try to find meaning and try to find comfort at the same time," says Newsweek's Editor-in-Chief Jon Meacham.

Researchers didn't ask Americans if they expect to go to heaven, but they did ask about friends and family. The result? More than 75 percent expect their families to make it to heaven, and nearly 70 percent expect friends to join them.

Which sounds a lot like faith.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ethics Rock!

Do you know why you pay lawyers $100s an hour to do what we do? Because to keep our law licenses, we have to attend crap like this.

If the day ever comes when I have to choose between losing my law license and listening to a song about proper courtroom demeanor to the tune of “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”, I'd have to think long and hard.

Luckily, that's not the only Ethics entertainment CLE you can take. A little more bearable is this dramatic interpretation of Thomas More. That is, unless you're a divorce lawyer.

People I won't be inviting to our Christmas party

#1 - Amanda Donohoe (actress):
[about her role in 'The Lair of the White Worm'] "I'm an atheist, so it was actually a joy. Spitting on Christ was a great deal of fun. I can't embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages. And that persecution still goes on today all over the world."

The Path to 9/11: Part II

The second night of the ABC docudrama, The Path to 9/11 was, in a word, superb. It really was done that well.

I have to say the highlights for me were twofold: first, the messages that ran counter to everything we've heard previously about the Clinton administration - well, at least the downplaying of their roles in the run up to 9/11 - especially the self-serving Sandy Berger. And 2, I loved the scene titles, particularly how they transitioned off the screen with movement. Nice subtle effect.

My only gripes are: 1, I'd like to see it pre-Clintonista edits and 2, I was expecting it to be in 16:9 widescreen, which was not the case here in Richmond. However, "Dancing with the Stars" on the same channel was in spectacular HD last evening. So I am assuming it is more program content. A shame.

All in all, a fabulous presentation. Something I would have paid $$ to see in a theater. And kudos to ABC for eliminating the commercial interruptions. The pause on night 2, for the President's address to the nation was a poignant and powerful touch. It worked.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Despicable

You read it at Reasonable Nuts first. Well, maybe at the BBC or elsewhere, but it's interesting I commented on this a couple weeks ago. Seems the press are picking up on it. Jeff Jacoby does an admirable job of compiling this as just part of a terrible new low in Bush hatred.
Channel 4 Television

The assassination scene from “Death of a President,” a television film whose subject is George W. Bush.

This is Bush-hatred as a snuff film. The fantasies it feeds are grotesque and obscene; to pander to such fantasies is to rip at boundary-markers that are indispensable to civilized society. That such a movie could not only be made but lionized at an international film festival is a mark not of sophistication, but of a sickness in modern life that should alarm conservatives and liberals alike.

Naturally that's not how the film's promoters see it. Noah Cowan, one of the Toronto festival's co-directors, high-mindedly describes "Death of a President" as "a classic cautionary tale." Well, yes, he says, Bush's assassination is "harrowing," but what the film is really about is "how the Patriot Act, especially, and how Bush's divisive partisanship and race-baiting has forever altered America."
There's one best word in the english language for this: Despicable.
Main Entry: de·spi·ca·ble
Pronunciation: di-'spi-k&-b&l, 'des-(")pi-
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin despicabilis, from Latin despicari to despise
: deserving to be despised : so worthless or obnoxious as to rouse moral indignation
synonym see CONTEMPTIBLE

You've got to be good if you want to be great.

"Fiction over fact"? After watching the first part of "the Path to 9/11" last evening, I can see full well why former Clinton officials - including Clinton himself - were upset with the program: it displays many of them as indecisive, self-interested, distracted with personal issues, in a word, human.

To the Clintonistas, past and present: forget your legacy. Legacies are created not through careful revision of history, nor through legacy-oriented decision making along the way. One of the most sage sayings I've come across is "if you wish to be great, merely be good first." "Good" is not a word I would associate with the Clinton administration. Accordingly, neither will be "great".

p.s. - Anyone in doubt of team Clinton's legacy should read this.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Path to 9/11

ABC is airing a docudrama based on the 9/11 Commission Report, The Path to 9/11 - this Sunday and Monday. Most unpredictably, it seems to have a reasonable basis in reality - that is, it's not a slanted puff piece.

A little inspection proves this out, possibly. I learned some time ago that if you want to know how to interpret a work - be it a book, film, painting, music, college class, whatever - it behooves you to look at who is involved with it, who has given birth to it. The Path to 9/11 is directed by David L. Cunningham, whose previous work includes the most excellent To End All Wars, certainly not typical Hollywood fare, what with its overt Christian themes of redemption and reconciliation. Additionally, The Path... stars Patricia Heaton, infamous for her conservative Christian views and association with projects which could be said to be family-focused.

So I encourage you to watch with me The Path to 9/11 on 9/10 and 9/11/2006.

Innocent until....caught on tape

This man, Sam Suleiman, was going to be interviewed/investigated by a reporter regarding his alleged threatening of others in his community after being labeled a real-estate fraudster. Well, if there were any question as to the veracity of those allegations of threatening behavior, all doubt has been removed as he hauled off an attack on the reporter, giving him cracked ribs, bite marks, and facial gouges before the interview. This assault was caught on tape by his cameraman. Apparently, his wife has some anger management issues as well.



Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Finally! A political philosophy book written at a level most Democrats can understand.

Apart from providing for his material well-being, possibly the biggest responsibility given (some would say gifted) a parent is instilling in a child a moral framework which brings both the child and his world the greatest fulfillments, joy, and understanding of the many facets of a life lived well. That's my take today, at least.

In that vein, probably the greatest ill a parent can do is lead a child astray in this way. Enter this book.

Just in the sample pages the reader is presented with some of the cancerous core of socialist philosophy: confiscatory wealth-transfer schemes, impossible and irresponsible promises ("always safe"), and lies concerning free market philosophy (intimating that not all children will be afforded an education except through the state).

Possibly the only more insipid political argument I've run across in recent years is that which surmises whether Jesus Christ was/is a Democrat or Republican*. The mere writing of that sentence disgusts me.

If you hold to the ideals purported in this book, then I say to parents, model those choices consistently, but outside of politics. Let your child develop his or her own political philosophy from examination of life. A kid can't do this at 4, or 14 for that matter. I am always suspect of rah-rah pro-Democrat or Republican kids. What can they possibly know, having not lived life long enough - and in specific ways, with specific dilemmas presented them - to even entertain political solutions?

Kids want to be part of a team, for sure. So get them involved in sports, music, and social organizations. Leave the politics for when they enter adulthood and are faced with questions that appropriately have a possible political answer.

* - In my remedial understanding of Scripture, Christ has both liberal and conservative elements to his character - the best of both, I interpret. It's the perfect balance of grace and truth that He modeled. But to extend this to an argument of politics is frankly diminishing of Christ's message for mankind and exhibits a gross misunderstanding of that message.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bump My Ride 2: Libertarian Boogaloo

Here's some bumper stickers I'm drafting as part of my duties as Communications Director for the Henrico Co. Libertarian Party.



For those outside the area, Henrico Public Schools gives a laptop to each student. You know, so the kids have something expensive they can shatter into little bits, after they're done viewing pornography with it.



For all you LOTR fans:

Washington = Mordor
South = Shire
Richmond = Minas Tirith.

We could use all the elven magic you can spare.

_________

UPDATE at 9.03.06, 11:51pm:

Can you design a better bumper sticker? If so, click here for the chance to win a whopping $20.00, plus the bumper sticker you design!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Big shoes to fill

My lovely wife had watched the 2005 film "In Her Shoes" the other day and raved. Well, at first she stated "You're not going to watch this one", fearing that I'd somehow (?!) compare the Cameron Diaz character to her. It seems the prettier some women are, the more insecure they are about their looks. How ironic is this?

In any event, she relented and encouraged me to watch it with her last night. My take: any dramatic film that is at least "good" has themes of troubled relationships and reconciliation. Redeeming what there is, is a theme as well. This film is no different and excels at each. The performances by MacLaine, Collette, and Diaz are each quite good. Chemistry between the main and supporting characters is phenomenal.

8.5 out of 10.