Monday, August 23, 2010

I Don't Think I'm Going To Complain About KC Traffic Again

There have been some frustrating times on the KC highways for me, when I've got to get somewhere and run into construction zones, rush hour backups, and accidents that slow everything to an absolute standstill.   But even in my worst nightmares, it never ends up lasting for days.

The same can't be said for Beijing, where a traffic jam has been ongoing for nearly two weeks. 

It's gotten so big, there's actually a mini-economy that's started up, selling food, water and other necessities to the stranded drivers as they wait interminably long to move even a few feet an hour.

Did You Know There Are Non-Christians In The Army?

Apparently, some evangelical captain thought all his troops should get a bit more Jesus in their training, so he ordered the entire group under his command to attend a concert by an overtly Christian rock group, BarlowGirl.  When between 80-100 troops refused to attend (mostly because they recognized it was a Christian evangalization event), they were ordered back to the barracks for what can only be described as punitive action.

While not often this blatant, I did see a lot of this sort of ignorance and bigotry by the senior leadership when I was in the service.  Rarely did soldiers get punished for refusing to attend a religious event or service, but they often felt ostracized and ignored -- not a good feeling in an organization that depends on camaraderie and teamwork to function and survive.

This type of proselytization and religious indoctrination is highly illegal and irresponsible, and there is absolutely no place for it in the US military.  Several of the punished soldiers were Muslim, so I have to wonder if there was an additional bias in the application of punitive action on their account.  We've spent years overtly declaring that the war actions in Afghanistan and Iraq were against specific terrorist and radical groups, not Islam in general.  Actions like this, as well as the protests for the Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, show what liars and hypocrites the people pushing to continue the wars are.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Are You Going To Commemorate September 11th This Year?

I wonder if there is a lot of sentiment towards making 9/11 a national "Bash Muslims" day?  It can certainly seem that way, especially in the wake of the controversy over the Islamic community center being built in Lower Manhattan, as well as the vileness and hatred expressed in numerous polls showing the bigotry is rampant.  I'd even be willing to bet that fear and hatred of Muslims is now greater than the previous "most hated" group, atheists. 

So, on top of all that cold and prickly vehemence against Muslims, why don't we just throw a little more gasoline on the fire?  How ready are you for an "official" Koran-Burning Day

Now, I have no problem with people expressing their freedom and right to protest, but this seems to be a deliberate attempt to not only mock and deride, but provoke and incite.  After all, it's one thing to make a statement about free speech and protesting religious favoritism, like when Dr. PZ Myers stuck a rusty nail through a communion wafer (and trashed a copy of the Koran and Dawkins' God Delusion, too).

Instead, this "church" is promoting this book-burning celebration because they proudly feel that "Islam is of the Devil" and "the Koran is leading people to hell".  This sort of blind, bigoted, ignorant and destructive anti-intellectualism simply increases the discord and disgust that most Islamic people feel about Americans, which puts our troops, our civilians and our culture at risk.  While I don't believe in any gods, I don't disparage and intentionally insult over 1 billion other humans simply because I disagree with them.  I may single out individuals for my scorn and wrath, but I don't extend prejudice against entire nations and groups.

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I love good animation.  Not just pretty pictures, but a story that I can relate to on multiple levels.  Here's something I found online that shows just how futile and frustrating some programs can be when they get a little too "smart".

Animator vs. Animation

If you like that one, there's a sequel here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Want To Bet the Teabaggers will Jump On This As More Evidence Obama's a "Secret Muslim"?

It's been a while since "Obama's a Muslim" was a mainstreamed Teabagger talking point, but there's a good chance this news will resurrect the meme.  That proposed mosque that's going to be built a few blocks from the Ground Zero location in Lower Manhattan has gotten the nod from our President.

Obama outlines the freedom of religion aspect of our cultural heritage, and the inclusion and acceptance of immigrants and outsiders as strengths of our national identity.  He makes all the right statements, and justifies his support for it by appealing to our Constitution and our humanity.

And the Teabaggers will be all over him for it.  I can't wait.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Literary Classic Turns 50

Believe it or not, one of the most beloved books of childhood memories is now half-a-century old.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess turned 50 years old today, and I think it should be turned into a celebratory weekend.  We should all have green eggs and ham for breakfast, make sure you eat it wherever you are (in a box, on a train, in a car, in the rain).  And if anyone tries to beg off and claim they don't like them, just remind them to "try them, try them, and you'll see!"

Some People Are So Desperate To Play Video Games, They Sell Their Souls!

You know those annoying disclaimers and legal statements that you have to scroll through and click "accept" before you can even install a simple program or game?  Yeah, those long, boring and totally irrelevant screeds that no one ever reads or bothers to care about (other than getting rid of it to get to the game or program)?

Maybe you should read them, after all. 

A computer game store put an extra couple clauses in their disclaimer statement that might make a few people upset -- because by opting in (which was the default option), they granted the company the right to claim the victim's soul. 

Yes, over 7,500 people sold their soul to play a video game.  And based on typical percentages here in the United States, that would mean over 5,500 Christians just lost out on their chance at a piece of heaven.  I wonder if the flashing lights and funny noises that gave them a few minutes of fun were worth it?

And for those of you who aren't religious and don't give a damn about your immortal soul, there was a materialistic justification to read the whole thing, too.  If you had opted out of the clause, it would have netted you a quick £5 voucher for the online store.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I learned a new word today, and it fits perfectly


"government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power."

Doesn't that sound similar to what some people are claiming about the US government, and have for the last several presidencies (different sides accused the government of this for each one, of course).  

Of course, I don't think even in the days of W. that we ever descended into kakistocracy - but that might have been closer than just about any other time.  No, I think kakistocracy applies more to groups like the Taliban, Khmer Rouge, North Korea, etc.  Those extreme dictatorships that have a cult-of-personality-like stranglehold on their populace, and use violence, propaganda and extreme measures to enforce and maintain their position and power.  

Those are the true kakistocracies.  in contrast, we've just got to suffer from rule by the incompetent and ignorant.

Gee, I feel so much better knowing I live in an idiocracy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Global Warming -- Man, it's hot outside today!

I know there is a big difference between local weather and the global climate, but with the massive heatwave frying the air around Kansas City, I can't help but make the connection in my head.  Of course, the local talking-head teabagger, Chris Stigall (710 KCMO AM) made some comments about it this morning, too.  He said he hadn't heard any news or commentary about what he calls a "fraud and coverup". 

Hmmm, I do seem to recall a number of stories, articles and reports about it -- and all of them have indicated the global climate is warmer this year than just about any other.  2009 ended the warmest decade ever recorded.  2010 had the warmest January.  2010, the warmest March, April and May.  The hottest spring ever just ended in June.  June was hotter worldwide than any previous year.  We're on pace to have the warmest August worldwide.

The Arctic ice is thinner and less extensive than ever.  A 100 square mile chunk of Greenland's glacier just broke off this weekend.  

It sure seems like there's been a lot of news and information out there about the climate and how warm it's getting.  Of course, since Chris apparently only gets his news from Fox, they must not be reporting it.  Oops -- I guess he wasn't reading very close:

Global Warming Continuing
Climate Report Reaffirms Global Warming

Of course, there isn't much else about global warming on FauxNews, probably because they don't want to admit when they're wrong.  They've spent so much time over the last couple years touting the short-term slight downtrend in global climate, they forgot to notice that even during that timeperiod, the global temps were still higher than ever before. 

I wonder if Chris will read this and comment? 

Friday, August 6, 2010

An Anniversary That Should Never Be Forgotten

65 years ago, the US committed what would be the first of two final acts in the last brutal chapters of World War II -- dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Don't Forget to Get Out and Vote Today

It's that time again -- Primary voting season!  Yup, today is the day we all (well, about 15% of us) run to the polls and cast our ballots for the least repulsive, ignorant and pandering politicians we can stomach.  Get out and do your civic duty, and try not to vomit on the touchscreen voting machines -- they've got to last until November's general election!

Oh, and if you want a hint as to who I'm going to vote for in the Kansas Governor's primary race, check this out.

Another Step Towards the Ground-Zero Mosque

About two months ago, I wrote a post about the proposed Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque that would be only a couple blocks from the 9/11 Ground Zero site.  Well, it looks like another barrier to building it has fallen. 

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission denied granting landmark status to the building on the location the developers want to use.  If this had been approved, it would have significantly altered what was planned -- although it woudn't have stopped the development completely  -- they just would have had to keep the entire building intact (and possibly renovate it in the process), instead of demolishing it to build a brand-new building.

OK, so is this going to change anyone's opinion of things?  I doubt it.  The Teabaggers will continue with the parade of ignorance and isolationism, screaming that this is "insulting to the victims of 9/11" and a "provocation" to the Christians of the USA.  One of the main reasons the teabaggers say they're opposed to is how close it is to Ground Zero - but if you quietly ask them how far away the mosque should be built, the answer seems to be "nowhere within the borders of the USA".