Thursday, December 27, 2007

Force over Football

Dennis, over at his blog, posts about the horror of discovering how the government "pointed a gun" at the NFL to get the Patriots game to be broadcast over more than one channel.
Follow the link:

http://dennislifeisgood.blogspot.com/2007/12/force-over-football.html

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Golden Compass

Since it's just after midnight while I'm writing this-- yesterday, we went to see The Golden Compass at the movie theater.

It was fantastic. Like other Objectivist bloggers, I usually agree with Scott Holleran @ BoxOfficeMojo, but here, he's way off base. I found the film to be superbly well crafted-overall-with my only--minor--complaint being that some of the dialog seemed a bit choppy to me. But, that's only because I loved the books so much, which I wrote about almost three years ago here:

http://secularfoxhole.blogspot.com/2004/12/author-author.html

This film has just the right pace, is visually stimulating, and the casting is brilliant. Plus, the added feature of having one of my favorite singer's, Kate Bush, on the soundtrack, makes this one of my instant favorites.

If you haven't yet seen this film, GO. Buy the books, you will be pleased. Now, having said that, Pullman is no Objectivist, but he is a serious thinker, grappling with meaningful issues.

I do hope the other two books will now be made into films, to finish the trilogy.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dr Peikoff's latest Podcast

Dr. Peikoff has posted his third, and latest podcast at his website.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Update

I've added back to my blogroll, Gideon's Armchair Intellectual blog, along with Clemson's Capitalism Resources page, that he pointed out.
Also, take a look at the recommendations from my Amazon page, with a gracious hat tip to Noodle Food for showing me the way on that addition.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Views of Life [Joke]

******WARNING******* Some foul words involved.

Ponder upon these views of life...

Taoism: Shit Happens.

Confucianism: Confucius say,"Shit Happens."

Buddhism: If shit happens, it isn't really shit.

Zen: What is the sound of shit happening?

Hinduism: This shit has happened before.

Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah.

Protestantism: Let shit happen to someone else.

Catholicism: If shit happens, you deserve it.

Judaism: Why does shit always happen to us?

Agnosticism: What is this shit?

Atheism: I don't believe this shit!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

News Flash!

Perusing Dr. Peikoff's site, it appears he will start podcasting in September!

Here's the announcement:

http://www.peikoff.com

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Book Update

Well, this is kind of an "on the spot" posting. Actually, I was thinking about a post that gus van horn linked to about the Leftist Goon Squad practice of "re-shelving" books in bookstores [ a practice both unethical and time-wasting] when I caught a link of his to an old post of mine about what books I'd read in 2004.

So, I thought I'd bestow upon my readers a partial list of the books I've read so far this year, and recommend you check them out.

"The Messenger" by Daniel Silva [perhaps the best of the Gabriel Allon series, so far]
"The Exiles Trilogy" by Ben Bova [an SF oldie but a goodie]
"The Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tey [recommended]
"To Live Forever" by Jack Vance [My all-time favorite SF writer]
"The Sign of the Book" by John Dunning [5th, I think, in the Cliff Janeway series]
The "Sparrowhawk" series by Edward Cline [Wonderful. Highly recommended]

There aren't that many more, as I've been unemployed since February and sadly, still looking for work. I hope to land something soon, however.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Military Religous Freedom Foundation added to Blogroll

I am adding an organization fighting the "evangelicalization" of the military to my blogroll.
Here is a YouTube presentation of why they now exist.

http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/with-god-on-our-side-movie.html

Check them out.

[As an aside, some are now calling the city of Colorado Springs the "Protestant Vatican". And, on a sad note, this organization seems to oppose the all-voluntary armed forces. They believe that this "evangelicalization" started taking place when the military ended the draft.]

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Upcoming on CNN: God's Warriors

Later this month, CNN will have a six-hour special [2hrs x 3 nights] on the rise of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic "warriors".
Here's an excerpt from the press release on the shows:

For this documentary, Amanpour reports that during the last 30 years, each faith has exploded into a powerful political force, comprised of followers – “God’s warriors” – who share a deep dissatisfaction with modern society, and a fierce determination to place God and religion back into daily life and to the seats of power. Their political and cultural struggles to save the world from what they view as secular materialism, greed and sexual corruption have caused anger, division and fear.

The first showing is next Tuesday, August 21 at 9PM EST.

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/gods.warriors/

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Join the Signers

While touring the US Government official website, I came upon a link where you can download copies of our Charters of Freedom, at the National Archives. Scroll through and you can also sign your name to the Declaration [!] and print that copy.

Here's the link:

http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/declaration.html#more

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Birthday Bash

Yesterday was my birthday. We had a fun filled day traveling to southern Connecticut's Mohegan Sun casino to watch the WNBA's Connecticut Sun defeat Seattle 76-58. Looked to be about six or seven thousand folks in attendance. Not bad.
I then hit the slots and won $186 on a nickel machine. Nice. Took that money and ran, unlike most who would just sit there and lose it back again.
I had ordered Harry Potter's last book months ago and last night/this morning at midnight was the official release date, so the wife and I decided on the way home from the casino to go see the costumes and such. One young boy was dressed so good as Harry, it's a shame the movie's were already cast! Others just showed up in there drab and filthy "regular" clothing but with pink hair or blackend this and that. Very little imagination, IMO.
Border's at Westfarms Mall was packed with about 1,000 people in the store when we got there just after midnight this morning. At about 1:45am, book in hand, we were on our way home.
So, with a wallet stuffed full of cash, here I sit, typing to my blog. :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Religion vs. Free Speech

Craig Biddle, editor of The Objective Standard, has made his excellent editorial on this subject, available to all. Here is the link:

http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-summer/religion-vs-free-speech.asp

Monday, June 11, 2007

NBA Finals

No doubt San Antonio is the better team, but I was hoping Cleveland at least would show up. So far, it looks like a sweep for the Spurs, but we'll see. Tim Duncan is probably the best player in the world, IMHO. The Cavs, hopefully, are learning a lot and will be around in the playoffs for a few years. Let's see how they play with their own fans and court in Cleveland.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I think it's "funny-scary" too

Noodle Food owner Diana has this link to the Top 100 List of Crazy Quotes from Fundamentalists. #7 left me hysterical, but yes, funny-scary is appropriate...

http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2007/05/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and.html

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Tongue in Cheek ?

Check out "Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right".



http://www.evangelicalright.com/





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Saturday, April 14, 2007

25th Anniversary?

If memory serves, it was 1982 when Leonard Peikoff's great philosophy of history work, "The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America" was published. If so, that makes 2007 the 25th anniversary of that great work.
I hope ARI does something to celebrate that. In fact, I may write to them about it.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

SinoDefense.com: Exposing the Military Power of China

I stumbled upon this website while browsing Amazon, of all places. The web "master" of this site looks like -- at first blush -- to have a keen grip on what China is doing to become a world superpower. Perhaps the only superpower............
At best, the opinions on this site are a mixture, but worth giving a look.
Here's one headline story that caught my eye:

Russian Helicopter Manufacturer Eyes Chinese Market

I've added it to my blog roll. Check out some books recommended.

In China's Shadow: The Crisis of American Entrepreneurship by Reed Hundt

Taiwan: The Threatened Democracy by Bruce Herchensohn

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lewis talk rescheduled @ GMU for April

Quoting Craig Biddle @ The Objective Standard:



To the credit of George Mason University's administration, the school

has decided not to submit to the "will of Allah" or to "his" followers

on earth.



The talk, "No Substitute for Victory: The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism" one of the most important speeches a university student could possibly hear, has been set up for April 24, 2007 at 7:30pm.



Here's a PDF of the flyer:



https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/blog/_files/2007-04-24-flyer.pdf





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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Lives of Others

saw the director of this Oscar winning foreign film on Charlie Rose, before the Oscars, and knew immediately this is one film worth getting a.s.a.p.

Here's Scott Holleran's review at Box Office Mojo:



http://www.boxofficemojo.com/reviews/?id=2263 />



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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

2007 Marks the 50th Anniversary of Atlas Shrugged

...and right off the bat we have a christian critique of the novel! Ha. I'll be starting my LTE to the Monitor very soon.

[Hat tip: Noodle Food]



http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0306/p09s01-coop.html?page=1









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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Important Message from Radio Dismuke

I've taken the liberty of copying this message that was posted on Myrhaf's blog about the danger now posed to the fledgling Internet Radio sector, by the entrenched FM stations and the RIAA.
Spread the word.

Myrhaf -

Thanks so much for your help in getting the word out about this.

The royalty rates put out by the Library of Congress are beyond irrational - they are downright insane.
The royalties I am talking here about are the ones that Internet
stations have to pay to SoundExchange in order to play copyright CDs
and records.
What is really disgusting is that AM/FM stations
are actually exempt from having to pay those royalties for their over
the air broadcasts. As a result of the payola scandals of the 1950s,
they don't have to pay a single dime. Only Internet radio stations have
to pay them.
The old rates which the new ones replace were
already outrageous and were MANY times higher than the royalties that
stations paid for composers royalties to ASCAP/BMI and SESAC combined. The new rates are, in fact, significantly in excess of 125% percent
of revenue of even the most commercially successful Internet radio
stations. And, on top of that, the rates are scheduled to increase
every year through 2010 by as much as 34% per year. The 2010 rates will
be a whopping 149% over what the already expensive old rates were.

If these rates are allowed to stand, the vast majority of Internet radio stations will be bankrupt.
Most
Internet radio operators do not have a problem having to pay royalties.
What would be a rational royalty scheme would be something along the
lines of that which is currently used by ASCAP/BMI and SESAC for
composers royalties which are calculated on a percentage of revenue
that a station takes in. Those royalties are not cheap - but they are
not so high as to drive broadcasters into bankruptcy.
The new
rates for SoundExchange are simply not viable - there is no way that an
Internet radio station can successfully charge enough money for
advertising to pay for the new SoundExchange royalties - and that is
not even taking into account the ASCAP/BMI/SESAC royalties, bandwidth
and other operational expenses stations have.
Why would the
Library of Congress come out with such economically impossible royalty
rates? Well, as a certain philosopher once said, don't bother to
examine a folly, ask yourself what it accomplishes.
My personal
take on it is that Friday's decision by the Library of Congress is
nothing more than an outright attempt on the part of lobbyists for the
RIAA (major record labels' trade association) and perhaps even the FM
radio industry to use political pull to eliminate the competition from
Internet radio that will make both industries technologically obsolete.
The last ounce of relevance the RIAA has in today's
technological world is the advantage that major labels have in
promoting their artists by means of airplay on large FM stations which
is essential to turning a song into a hit. Most FM stations won't even
talk to independent labels or artists who produce their own recordings
- for the most part, they are only interested in the artists
represented by the major labels.
If Internet radio somehow
survives and becomes available in cars in the very near future, people
will have tens of thousands of stations to choose from and most FM
music stations will be toast. And when it comes to the economics of
promoting music to tens of thousands of small Internet radio operators,
the RIAA has no significant advantage over artists who self promote. My
very strong guess is that there are some at the RIAA who regard
Internet radio as a far greater threat to the long term viability of
the major record labels than even illegal downloading.
Of
course, FM operators are terrified of Internet radio as well. Once
Internet radio is available in cars (which some say is only a year or
two away) and people have thousands of stations from around the
world to choose from, who on earth is still going to be listening to
the lowest common denominator type swill currently being spewed out by
FM stations? It currently costs several million dollars to buy a
successful FM station in even a small market. Stations in a large
markets such as Fort Worth/Dallas have sold for hundreds of millions of
dollars. Once wireless Internet and Internet radio becomes affordable
and commonplace - well, those hundred million dollar investments will
be technological dinosaurs overnight.
Sadly, a lot of my fellow
Internet broadcasters are trying to fight this by giving the matter an
anti-capitalistic spin and blaming it all on "corporate greed." In
fact, this whole mess is nothing more than what one gets under a mixed
economy where the rates that everyone must pay are set by a
quasi-governmental body and where political pull means everything.
A
LOT is at stake here for anyone who enjoys good music from whatever
genre - especially if one's musical tastes fall outside of the lowest
common denominator mainstream.
Before Internet radio came along,
there simply was no place where large numbers of people could tune in
and be exposed to unusual genres of music such as that which I play
over Radio Dismuke, a station that is strictly devoted to popular music
from the 1925 - 1935 decade. Today, there are Internet radio stations
that play any kind of music imaginable - and 1920s and 1930s music now
has a great many young enthusiasts, some of them of high school age,
who would have otherwise never have discovered it had it not been for
Internet radio. I hear from such people all the time.
I urge
everybody who is reading this, regardless of what genre of music you
enjoy, to PLEASE, tell as many people as possible about what is going
on and what is at stake. Tell your friends - especially those friends
who are passionate about music. Talk about this issue in discussion
boards you participate in. If you blog, please mention it in your blog
postings. If you know someone who blogs, ask them to spread the word in
the same manner as I sent a brief message to Myrhaf. Webcasting is a
very new industry and very few operators have yet to turn any profit on
it - so they simply do not have the resources to hire the lawyers and
lobbyists to compete with the RIAA which is still vastly wealthy by
virtue of its continued economic momentum from the days when it was
actually economically and technologically relevant. The only way that
the Library of Congress is going to listen is if enough people become
irate enough and speak out.
At some point, I am probably going
to endorse some course of activism for people who are concerned about
this. For now, I am waiting to get further details on what is going to
happen and to make a determination about which of the various efforts
that people will be undertaking I think will be the most effective.
I
have set up a "Save Internet Radio" section on my Message Board which
contains the postings that Myrhaf linked to. I will continue to update
that section as more information becomes available. You can access the
board at http://RadioDismuke.com/forum.
Eventually, I will probably have links up there to places that will be
far more authoritative and up-to-date than my board will be - but for
now it is a good place to check for updates and to refer people to for
additional information.
Thanks in advance to all who help spread the word about what is happening.

- Dismuke

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Muslims for America?

Going through the channels this morning, I happened upon a Link tv show called, It's My Country Too: Muslim Americans.

http://www.linktv.org/programming/programDescription.php4?code=country

See also: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/this_world/434061.stm


In this program the narrator interviewed a successful Pakistani-American family from Colorado who have created the website, MuslimsforAmerica, and who are also huge Bush supporters. Why do they support Bush? Because he is a christian who "shares the same values we do".

See: http://www.muslimsforamerica.us/


It is a great sadness to me to see otherwise productive, intelligent people [who are also multi-millionaires] nevertheless preparing the way in America for authoritarianism. Aiding and abetting their christian fellow travelers in the establishment of a religious state right here in the land of the free, home of the brave.

[Minor revisions]

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Glitches

The new and improved Blogger still has some glitches. Aggravating glitches! [Insert favorite cuss words here...]

GMU Goes Dhimmi: John Lewis Talk Cancelled

This email was distributed last night. I'm posting it in its entirety.

Dear Subscribers and Friends of TOS [The Objective Standard]

George Mason university has abandoned its commitment to freedom of expression on campus. At the last minute, GMU has caved-in to pressure from Muslim groups and has cancelled Dr. Lewis's talk, 'No Substitute for Victory: The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism' which was scheduled for tomorrow night [i.e., tonight]. This is all we know right now. We will post details as soon as we have them. Please spread the word.

Yours,

Craig Biddle, Editor
The Objective Standard

[Everything in brackets, mine. Ed.]

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

All Thumbs

The other day I went to Best Buy and bought myself a thumb drive [also known as a flash drive]. It's a small "stick" that connects into a USB port.
My 4GB unit from the manufacturer PNY costs $64. Not too bad.
If you get/have one of these, look over the following website and see if you like these "portable apps"...

http://www.portableapps.com

They have versions of Firefox, Thunderbird, and OpenOffice.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Links added

Hat tips both to Amit over at Thrutch and to Gus for these new links.

God Is Imaginary

Pedagogically Correct

Check 'em out.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Quote

I only caught a piece of a documentary on singer James Brown last night, but I did catch a pretty good statement he made:

" Of course I have an ego. I had to have an ego to escape where I grew up. Where I grew up there was no way out."

It's a shame he seemed to have little or no education [not that public schools are worth a s**t in that regard] yet he became a world famous entertainer in spite of his personal demons, which haunted him all his life.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Correction

In rereading my post of 2/7, where I expressed my dissapointment at being escorted out the door at work, I neglected to mention that there were about 40-50 of us given the heave-ho, not just me. Sad for all of us, for sure.
I am involved with the career transition firm that my former employer set us up with and am learning tons of useful, great stuff about my possible future. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Summer Seminar on Capitalism!

[Hat tip: Charlotte Capitalist]

The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism is holding a summer conference to study the moral foundations of capitalism. This is indeed good news.

Here's the link:

http://business.clemson.edu/BBTCENTER/cci/conferences.htm


I have added The Clemson Institute to my blogroll, as well.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Plato's Republic

Well, I bought the book the lecturer recommended [The Republic of Plato by Allan Bloom. ISBN:0-465-06934-7]
The lecture series offered by The Teaching Company on this topic is first-rate. The professor who teaches this course sincerely admires the topic and offers us the challenge of dealing with Plato's obvious "communism".
Indeed, I am not even half-way through the course, but I see Leonard Peikoff's point of calling Plato "the first communist"--with Aristotle being the first capitalist.
For those who have not undertaken the reading of the Republic, the central theme throughout is focused on justice. "What is Justice?" asks Socrates, the main character in the story. Other topics [which Plato and his main character favor] include seperating people into classes, censorship, communal living, the banishment of private property, regulation by the city/state of education, etc., etc.
In short, we can see the beginnings of all the problems we face today. At a later date, I may choose to write a full review of this course and book.

Then again, it may be too depressing. ;-)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dissapointment

Earlier this evening at work, I was terminated. After eight years I was "downsized". I only blame myself. I should have prepared better for this event, but I had survived three 'purges' prior to this and just got caught blindsided. Oh well.

It's their loss, not mine.

Free Speech Denied at UCLA

The debate on Immigration Policy that was to be held on 2/6 at UCLA was canceled by the university in a shameless act of cowardice, and appeasement of the protestors who said they would disrupt the proceedings.

Here's the link:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=13963&news_iv_ctrl=1221

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A New Declaration of Independence

[Editor's note: I found this at George Reisman's Blog. I have only given it a cursory glance, but at first blush, this seems pretty on-target. Okay, don't accuse me of heresy or anything....]

http://georgereisman.com/blog/2007/01/declaration-of-independence-2007-by-gen.html#links

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blog Update #2

Thanks to Gus's tip, I was able to gather almost all of my links. A huge and hearty thanks, Gus!!!
Check 'em all out.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Movie

Yesterday, I watched "The Guardian" on DVD. This is an excellent, reality based film, complimenting the US Coast Guard and recommended. There are some flaws, sadly, but they only subtract from the film if you let them.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Blog Upgrade

Oh well, like Gus, I decided to try my hand at upgrading to the "new" blogger. Much to my dismay, I seem to have lost all my links to other bloggers for this new page layout. If that is the case, it is a major bummer, but it will give me a chance to add and subtract blogs, so I guess I will grin and bear it. I like the new color scheme and welcome any comments on it.

Be nice.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Brief Notes #2

Last night I watched Charlie Rose on PBS. His first guest was Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary under Clinton. Here is an obviously bright man who, philosophically, is clueless in the absolute. He spoke at length on "what needs to be done" to fix America. He wants a bi-partisan/non-partisan "dialogue" on the issues of the day, concerning health care, public education, the environment, infrastructure, regulatory reform and globalization. He mentioned something called "The Hamilton Project" [concerning economics] which I later discovered was partnered with the Brookings Institute, which is a left leaning think tank.

What is depressing, but not unexpected by the Left or Right today, is during this whole interview, not once was the idea spoken of concerning the separation of state and economics of the health care system, or of any of these other topics. Concerning health care, Rubin said that he knows of four different "paths" to universal coverage that he'd like to see discussed by the new democratic majority, which by the way, he lauded loudly and long about how much good they've already achieved [!] He "admires" Hillary to the extreme and has positive thoughts on Obama, too!!!! Gee, how nice to see him lobby for a position in their possible future administration! HA.

The other tidbit is local. Some outfit called CTFourm.org is hosting a lecture series on one night called "Save the World." It features an all-star all-Leftist panel [as far as I can tell] including the actor Tim Robbins, among others. The topics are--of course--how to 'save' the environment, how to deal with terrorism, etc. Again, not one opposite idea or expression of thought except for a leftist bent.

I can see a lot more heavy-lifting ahead for us.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

RED ALERT!! Follow Up to Brief Notes

Two alarming stories hit my eyes earlier this morning and I will link to them shortly. In my brief notes post the other day, I mentioned the growing merger between left and right on environmentalism. Yahoo News has a story on the evangelical and "scientists" [quote marks around the word scientists are for obvious reasons]. Here is the article in full:

Evangelicals, scientists join on warming

JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jan 17, 7:22 PM ET


WASHINGTON - Saying they share a moral purpose, a group of evangelicals and scientists said Wednesday they will work together to convince the nation's leaders that global warming is real.

The Rev. Rich Cizik, public policy director for the National Association of Evangelicals, and Nobel-laureate Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, were among 28 signers of a statement that demands urgent changes in values, lifestyles and public policies to avert disastrous changes in climate.

"God will judge us for destroying the Creation. Therefore, we as evangelicals have a responsibility to be even more vigilant than others," Cizik told a news conference.

"Science can be an ally in helping us understand what faith is telling us," he said. "We will not allow the Creation to be degraded, destroyed by human folly."

Among the project's supporters are Edward O. Wilson, a two-time Pulitzer prize-winning scientist and author; James Hansen, a prominent NASA climatologist; and Calvin B. DeWitt, president of the Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists.

Chivian said evangelicals and scientists are not as odd a couple as they may seem.

"We discovered that we were both speaking from our hearts and our minds. We found that we really like each other," he said.

Not all evangelicals were on board.

The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, formed by evangelicals who say scientific evidence counters claims of climate change, derided Wednesday's announcement as "just another attempt to create the impression of growing consensus among evangelicals about global warming. There is no such growing consensus."

The alliance charged that the National Association of Evangelicals' board never approved the new collaboration. The NAE said its board approved a "dialogue," but no specific actions.

The new effort represents the boldest evangelical step yet into the world of environmental activism.

To start, the coalition is meeting with congressional leaders, both Democrat and Republican, organizing a summit on environmental issues and developing public relations tools such as a "Creation Care" Bible study guide.

It also has requested a meeting with President Bush. Sens. Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., Richard Lugar (news, bio, voting record), R-Ind., and Olympia Snowe (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine, all signaled their support Wednesday for the collaboration of evangelicals and scientists.

Their pairing grew from a retreat last year at which all sides agreed that human behavior and public policy have put the environment at risk.

In the past, conservative Christians who embraced that cause have met significant resistance.

The Rev. Joel Hunter of Northland megachurch in Longwood, Fla., refused to become president of the Christian Coalition of America last year because he said the group would not expand its agenda to include the environment and poverty. Hunter has now endorsed the new project.

___

On the Net:

National Association of Evangelicals: http://www.nae.net/

Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment: http://chge.med.harvard.edu

The other story that hit me, coincided with gus van horn's excellent post on the Fairness Doctrine. Found here:
http://gusvanhorn.blogspot.com/2007/01/reviving-fairness-doctrine.html

This is from a fellow blogger, Bill Hobbs, of Nashville who had this important post on his Blog yesterday--again, posted in full with link:

http://billhobbs.com/2007/01/criminalizing_free_speech.html


Criminalizing Free Speech
The Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate is moving to restrict your free speech rights in a big, big way. Section 220 of Senate Bill 1, the lobbying reform bill legislation currently before the U.S. Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress just as big-time lobbyists do.


Section 220 would require reporting of "paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying," - and would define "'paid" merely as making communications to 500 or more people. That's it. And last week the Senate passed an amendment to the lobbying reform bill to create criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone "knowingly and willingly fails to file or report."

So, a blogger with 500 readers who criticizes Congress or urges some sort of policy action would be subject to the law's reporting requirements. In effect, critics of Congress would have to register with Congress.

This blog has more than 500 readers. In fact, it is read by around 25,000 different people every month, though not every day. But I will never register with or file a "lobbying" report to Congress. Never. Because BillHobbs.com is not a lobbying effort, it is a independent project in journalism, protected by the First Amendment, which says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Section 220 threatens to abridge my - and your freedom of speech and of the press (ink or digital), and it even threatens my - and your - First Amendment right to the free exercise of your religious faith.

That's because Section 220 isn't limited to bloggers and others who wish to write and speak out about their government. Section 220 also represents a wholesale attack on the free exercise of religion, as any pastor, rabbi, imam or guru who speaks about a public policy issue to an audience of 500 or more people would have to register as a lobbyist and file quarterly reports. A pastor who writes an op-ed urging the U.S. to pull its troops out of Iraq, or urging Congress to fund or not fund stem-cell research, for example, would be communicating to more than 500 people. They, too, would be subject to the onerous registration and reporting requirements of Section 220 =- or risk the criminal penalties.

it is not just an assault on the First Amendment rights of religious leaders - it is an assault on the First Amendment rights of all Americans. If you emailed 500 people and urged them to "call their congressman" to support or oppose some bill, and you didn't register as a lobbyist and file a quarterly report, you would be at risk of a year in prison.

All brought to you courtesy of the Democratic-controlled Senate.


[Addendum: Hell, in my post the other day, I didn't even mention the mindless Islamic hordes who want to kill us. A good ten other things could've been included, too for that matter. I just didn't want to depress myself any further!]

Monday, January 15, 2007

Brilliant

How to Truly Support our Troops
By Alex Epstein

Whatever their views of President Bush's new "surge" of 20,000 soldiers, both liberals and conservatives continue to claim that they support our troops. Liberals say they support our troops by criticizing or opposing "Operation Iraqi Freedom," which they claim has unnecessarily killed 3,000 soldiers. Conservatives say they support our troops by supporting the mission that most of our troops believe in.

In fact, neither liberals nor conservatives truly support the brave men and women who risk their lives to defend America. For both, "support our troops" is a cheap, undeserved claim to patriotism--one that obscures their unwillingness to do what is truly necessary to protect America and its soldiers.

Granted, almost everyone wants to give our troops the resources they need to do their jobs: the best weapons, armor, provisions, and training available—as well as praise, gratitude, and encouragement. But for our government to truly support our troops, it must do far more than help them do their jobs; it must give them the right jobs to do--the jobs that will effectively defend America while minimizing the risk to their lives. Our government must place soldiers' lives at risk only when American freedom is threatened, and during war it must give them the objectives and tactics that will defeat the enemy as quickly as possible.

The conservatives' Iraq war does not meet this standard. It could have--if the war had been undertaken as a step in defeating the anti-American, terrorist-sponsoring regimes of the Middle East and thus rendering the region non-threatening. Instead, President Bush made the war's primary focus the welfare of Iraqis--above all, their "freedom" to elect whatever regime they wished, no matter how anti-American. Further sacrificing Americans to Iraqis, Bush and his subordinates imposed crippling "rules of engagement" (also supported by liberals) that place the lives of civilians in enemy territory above our soldiers. Our hamstrung troops in Iraq have not been allowed to smash a militarily puny insurgency; instead, they have been forced to suffer an endless series of deaths by an undefeated enemy, while Islamic totalitarians worldwide rejoice in our defeat.

One does not support our troops by sending them to fight wars of self-sacrifice and then thanking their corpses. The conservatives' call to "stay the course" in Iraq--or to add 20,000 troops to that course--is harmful to America and its troops because the mission has been conceived and conducted in defiance of American interests.

If the conservatives do not support our troops, then do the liberals? Absolutely not.

Observe that while liberals criticize the Iraq war for killing our troops, they propose no alternative policy that would protect America against Islamic totalitarianism and its state supporters, including the militant, terrorist theocracy of Iran. Liberals' only policy proposal is that we not take military action in Iraq or in any other country beyond Afghanistan. Why? Because they believe that America has no right to defy the "international community" or "impose its will on the rest of the world"--i.e., to aggressively pursue its self-defense. They, like the conservatives, advocate self-sacrifice in foreign policy. Denying our right to an all-out military defense, liberals say we must engage committed enemies like Iran with endless "diplomacy," i.e., bribery, appeasement, and inaction.

One does not support our troops by keeping them home when their and our freedom requires military action. Our soldiers did not join the military to sit on their hands while Iran prepares for nuclear jihad.

If liberals were truly concerned with our troops in Iraq and the freedom our soldiers should be fighting for, they would call for our soldiers to smash the insurgency and move on to defeat our other enemies. Instead, they call for a self-effacing retreat from Iraq, followed by further kowtowing to the anti-Americans at the United Nations--actions that would greatly embolden the Islamic totalitarians.

Liberals oppose the Iraq war and other wars, not because they truly value our soldiers, but because they--like the conservatives--oppose our soldiers mounting an uncompromising, self-assertive defense of America. But such a defense is required to defeat the threat of Islamic totalitarianism. We must adopt a foreign policy of self-interest and commit to defend ourselves using our full, unmatched military might. Neither the conservatives nor the liberals support this, and thus they end up sacrificing our troops and our freedom.

Do not let the conservatives or liberals pose as defenders of America or its military. Demand that they start truly protecting America and its soldiers--or be scorned as traitors to both.

Alex Epstein is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (http://www.aynrand.org/) in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead." Contact the writer at media@aynrand.org.




Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Brief Notes

On the collapse of civilization...Noumenal Self has an essay commenting on Robert Tracinski's series "What Went Right". I agree with Noumenal's assessment, so far.
My own thoughts are that civilization is hanging by a thread. I will define civilization this way: a secular, technologically advancing culture with a solid "society-wide" philosophical respect for and proper knowledge of reason, logic and reality.
America today is a cesspool of nihilism and worship of the irrational. The Left's hatred of freedom, and the Right's hatred of human life on earth both dominate our society/culture in nearly every aspect.
Yet these ideas are reaching their zenith. The world-wide collapse of communism showed that altruist-based political structures have failed. Freedom isn't guaranteed to any society or culture. It's not a light-switch that can be turned on "just like that". Philosophy is the motor of history, and the engine of any truly human future we are to have. But more than that---it has to be the correct philosophy. Ayn Rand's philosophy, to be exact.
While it is great that "free-markets" are spreading, the cynic in me sees that these markets are being used and manipulated by thugs and dictator's to simply "loosen the noose" around their subject's necks, not to aid in the prosperity of the nation's citizen's.
Notice too, please that the "religion" of environmentalism is fusing both left and right together. Surely you've seen the increasing news items on how religionists are more and more quoting how men are to be the "stewards" of earth for future generations? So much for property rights.
Notice too, the incremental increase in chipping away our freedom of speech. Which is being attacked by both sides of the aisle. I can't recall at the moment but it was either Miss Rand or von Mises who said, " a Constitution without it's proper philosophic base is just a meaningless piece of paper".

The good news is, Objectivism is spreading. It has a toe-hold and the foot is gaining on solid ground. Ayn Rand's ideas are right, not because I say so, nor because a majority 'believes' them, but because they correspond to reality and offer man a blueprint to happiness. Life-long, life-sustaining happiness. This is indeed good news, but the struggle ahead is long and painful. However, the enemy is so small, really, that when we win, we'll wonder why it took so long.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Buckeyes takin' a whippin'

Ohio State is losing to a better team in Florida. Right now it is 34-14 Gators with a minute to go in the third. I do not expect the Buckeyes to score again, frankly. It's never over till it's over, but I'm going to go ahead and tip my hat to Urban Meyer and say congratulations.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

It MUST Be True!?

Dateline: Northeast United States
Time: January 6,2007
Temperature: 70 degrees and sunny


It goes without saying then. It's gotta be Global Warming. Just LOOK outside! It's self-evident. The majority of "scientists" MUST be right. Who can argue with World-Wide consensus? Who can argue with Professor/Scientist Al Gore? After all, he has only our well-being at heart. Right? Democracy IS democracy says Bush, so who can know more than the masses on this issue? Why, the majority of people here "know" something goofy's goin' on, so they automatically jump to the conclusion's relentlessly hammered into them, for decades now, of our "objective" and honest MSM.
By God, the Democrats BETTER DO SOMETHING now that we've put them in charge to try and corral a renegade planet raping administration!!!

[This public service message brought to with tounge firmly in cheek by Yours Truly--from sun drenched Connecticut! HA!]

Monday, January 01, 2007