29 April 2008

Poor Miley!

I really do feel for the poor girl... when I first heard that there were "racy" photos of her (if tired, washed-out, and bloated-looking can be called "racy"), I was quick to blame her parents.

I mean, what parents would turn their daughter over to Annie Leibovitz?!?!

But according to this article, they were there for most of the shoot, which was NOT as "artistic," (*ahem*) but left the grandma and teacher in charge toward the end.

In whose grandma's (and what sick photographer's) mind is a bed-shoot okay for a 15-year-old? Gee, I wonder why Ms. Leibovitz waited until the parents were gone to suggest it...

Annie Leibovitz should be drop-kicked out the door and kept the heck away from minors.

And poor Miley - yes, she could've turned it down, but photographers (and grandmas, and teachers) are authority figures, and per the latest research, the logic center of the human brain isn't even finished developing until the early 20's! (Explains a lot, doesn't it?) And nothing scandalous is actually showing anyway - this poor girl... now she's just shaking her head and feeling stupid.

Some people are condemning her out-of-hand, and others (generally dippy, also non-fully-developed-logically 'tweens and teens) are cheering her on.

I just feel bad for her.

What is it about the US that they hate?

Here's an interesting article on a book of actual research about how Muslims around the world feel.

Yes, according to people who actually asked.

The book's title is Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, and it sounds like something everyone should at least read, if not have in their own library.

Here's an excerpt from D'Souza's write-up of his hypothesis (which he is seeing whether the book bears out):
...by equating America with such things as blasphemy, pornography, prostitution and homosexuality, the radical Muslims appeal to ordinary Muslims to join their cause in a battle against the Great Satan.
This is something that should be abundantly obvious, but apparently it isn't.

Now, let me be clear about something D'Souza, in his eagerness to play the apologetic, doesn't make a point of saying: our corruption DOES NOT entitle people to bomb us or kill us. Offensive speech or cartoons are not punishable by death. Rather, they should be ignored.

For our part, though, if we were all living the best way we knew how - rendering service, living honestly, and self-regulating rather than self-indulging - I doubt that radicals would get much of a foothold, regardless of their interpretation of the Koran.

Unfortunately, our self-indulgence is weakening us - morally, economically, and politically; and with modern technology, they don't need much of a foothold.

So let's shape up (while we're fighting the bad guys, too), and then see what happens!

23 April 2008

"A Lack of Oversight and Regulation?"

The National Farmers Union is lobbying Congress to stop people from buying their products.

First, they're afraid people are "hoarding." Nope - they're preparing. In case you haven't noticed, everything is getting more expensive. And world events are unstable and getting more so. Heaven forbid people prepare for a day of less-than-readily-available resources!!! (And yes, I understand that increased demand drives prices up, but this preparing has been going on much longer than prices have been skyrocketing.)

Second, this ridiculous ethanol scam is literally burning food crops (for cattle and people - which is driving feed prices up to begin with) for fuel. That makes food scarcer. And ethanol is more expensive - both to buy, and to transport. So in the interest of profit, farmers are growing it more than wheat now, which makes wheat scarcer, as well.

Here are a couple more interesting points:
  • It takes more than a gallon of gas just to produce a gallon of ethanol
  • You could feed a man for a year on the grain we have to use to yield one full tank of ethanol. Not on steak and fresh veggies, mind you, but in the third world - where grain is their staple and it is becoming SO scarce.
Sounds efficient, right?

So what are they planning to do to make sure people don't buy too much grain?
It may warrant congressional intervention...[t]he public is all too aware of the recent credit crisis on Wall Street. We don't want a lack of oversight and regulation to lead to a similar crisis in rural America.

Oh yes! The biggest problem in the Depression was a lack of oversight and regulation, too...

Wake up, people!!! Regulation is what kept us in the Depression for so long! We were recovering a little, and the rest of the world was, as well, when FDR stepped in with his manipulation of the markets, crushing the independence and stealing the self-reliance of so many people.

[Think about it - how many depressions did we experience before FDR? And how many times have there been shortages and gas lines since the socialist? Hmm?]

We MUST NOT let that happen again.

But we need to be prepared (i.e. start "hoarding" *snort*) in case it does.

22 April 2008

Two Heartwarming Stories!

1. Baby with a mission! A baby fell out of a second-story window, right into the arms of a waiting letter-carrier. A letter carrier who was not on her normal schedule. She says, "God was there for me and the baby." Well said!

2. Some companies do care! Disney workers recovered a couple's engagement, wedding, and anniversary rings from piles of fresh trash - how neat is that? The couple let Disney know that they'd mistakenly thrown out the container holding them while they cleaned, and so some Disney workers suited up and shuffled through garbage - and they managed to find them! Nice people, blessing others with their helpfulness and hard work :-).

18 April 2008

Morons, not Mormons

[Updated 18 Apr 2008/19:17]

As a member of the LDS Church (aka: "a Mormon"), it's high time I buckled down and discussed this crazy "Fundamentalist Mormon" sect down in Texas.

#1 Thing To Understand:
These people ARE NOT, and almost certainly NEVER HAVE BEEN, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS (Mormon) church. They are a splinter sect from the early days of the church's existence, who believe that plural marriage should never have ceased.

Members of the LDS church believe that the Lord revealed to the prophet that the practice should be discontinued back in 1890. To this day, the Lord has not made clear to us exactly why the practice was instituted as in biblical times, nor why it was discontinued. As with other controversial practices, we can speculate and put together some what we do know, but the biggest answer is simply, "we don't know."

#2 Thing To Understand:
These people do not understand nor practice plural marriage properly as it was, and do not utilize the temple appropriately. They forced underage girls into arranged marriages, which is both illegal and immoral. In addition, they forced the girls to consummate their marriage inside the "temple" they built. [UPDATE (18 Apr 2008/19:17): Apparently the bed found that investigators said was used for that purpose was simply for individuals needing rest, according to an expert who has studied their faith for years. I don't want to misrepresent or falsify in reporting their beliefs and practices, any more than I appreciate my beliefs and practices being misrepresented or falsified in reporting ...]

Nothing like that happens inside LDS temples. I know there is a great deal of speculation, but suffice it to say that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not force anyone into marriage, least of all within the temple. Latter-day Saints believe that agency is one of our greatest gifts from Heavenly Father, and forcing anyone to any particular activity is contrary to the Plan of Heaven.

In addition, I can state emphatically that there is no sexual activity occurring within the temple walls. In fact, we are counseled by our leaders to keep such matters private -between husband and wife.

#3 Thing To Understand:
These people are criminals. They forced underage girls into inappropriate - and illegal - relationships. They abused their wife (wives) and children. They threatened those who considered leaving. These people are some of the worst sort. Almost every aspect of their "peculiarity" was not only inconsistent with real LDS teaching, but also contrary to both the laws of the land and of the Lord. Abuse of any kind is condemned in the strongest terms by both the Lord and our leaders. As I previously mentioned, we believe that denying someone their agency is contrary to our Heavenly Father's Plan.

In conclusion, although this apologia is far from complete, I want to help make it clear that these nutjobs in Texas who have been abusing spouse(s) and children are NOT Mormons.

They're a bunch of evil, misguided individuals who seek power through perverting the way of the Lord.

16 April 2008

Agreeing with Tim Robbins?

On this, possibly!

His keynote address at the National Association of Broadcasters talks about how much power broadcasters have (yep), and, (in my summary bullet points, not his), calls on the NAB to:
  • Ignore and/or lessen the focus on salacious celebrity stories and things that cater to prurient interests;
  • Stop broadcasting things that divide and dispirit;
  • Provide programming that uplifts, rather than divides
Now, I'm not entirely sure what that all means in context, since he really didn't get specific. Given his general political leanings, I'm sure we're not in agreement on what exactly constitutes something "divisive."

But the sentiment is right-on.

We need healthier entertainment and news. We don't need to hear who did or didn't wear undies to the latest Hollywood gathering.

It's kind of the "Spider-man lecture" of broadcasting - with great power, comes great responsibility.

And that, I agree with.

14 April 2008

Israel - Doing What America Wants to Do, But Can't (Generally)

Former President Jimmy Carter isn't getting a warm welcome over in Israel.

And people are kind of surprised by it.

Maybe we just shouldn't let him out of the country anymore - I mean, there's only so long you should be able to say, "You're evil and the aggressor and you should work with these poor people!!!" and then expect them to protect you from those poor people's rockets...

Lessons in cause and effect, eh? That is one BIG reason I get a kick out of the Israeli government: they just play their cards face-up.

They don't like your constant, one-sided harping? They won't allocate additional security to you.

They get unjustly criticized (by the UN, for example)? They tell the UN to shut up and leave them alone.

And my deepest sympathies to his security detail - they'll be working overtime with what he's got planned...

10 April 2008

Great Story - Honest Man!!!

A man who found a $140k Brinks security bag turned it in - it is SO nice to see honest people who aren't just out for themselves, no matter their personal situation!!! Wonderful, wonderful news!!!

09 April 2008

Two Articles About Public School

  1. A student claims a textbook has a political agenda. When I first saw this story, I thought, "well, DUH..." I mean, I remember learning about how horrible McCarthy was, jailing innocent people just for having different political views; and how he launched the nation into this paranoia about Communists. [Turns out he was RIGHT, and they weren't innocent people, but hey... who cares about the facts? It's a public school text...]

    But he's not complaining about a liberal bias - he's claiming that saying science is uncertain about global warming (i.e., its severity and causes) is politically-biased and wrong.

    Umm...nope. Scientists are in conflict over the causes. For example, one even sued to have his name removed from the UN climate change report because the political story was already written, and not supported by the facts the scientists provided; his contribution was thrown out, as well. And even the ones who are advocating the extremist view that all negative effects of global warming are due to human activity (EEEEEEEvil evolved animals that we are...), can't really explain how that is.

    Anyone who does their research will eventually discover that the science shows that even if we took civilization back to the stone age, we'd only be able to cut what they're claiming the problem is by like, half- or two- or whatever-miniscule-percent. It's ridiculous. Yet we're being bullied by the fearmongers, (yes, I said fearmongers - you want to talk fearmongering? It's not about terrorism - it's about killing the planet), into crushing our liberty and our economy, while burgeoning billowers like China are let go, to pollute and destroy as they see fit.

    At any rate, I think we'd better take all textbooks out of public schools in favor of timelines, equations, and budget records, if we're really wanting the agenda out.

  2. And in other news, a public charter school in Minnesota is doubling as an Islamic school. This school had students participate in Islamic washings and prayers every day. Now imagine a "Christian" charter school that served Communion/the Sacrament every day. Wow. Can you imagine the outrage? Where's the ACLU on this one, hmm? *wink*

07 April 2008

Ooh! China in the news!

First, they're upset about the Olympics-related protests in London.

Hmm. Since China's government generally seems to be a great moral compass - turned 180 degrees - regarding human rights, I'd say their irritation bodes well for the protesters in civilized countries... and kudos to the protesters and their courage to stand up to political pressure from their own government. Protests these days aren't generally polite, but sometimes they're right anyway.

[Update: here's a great quote from "someone" that I just had to post:
"Today a tiny number of Tibet independence elements sought to disrupt the relay of the Olympic Games sacred flame through London," said an unnamed spokesperson of the Beijing Olympic Games torch relay office.

"We strongly condemn this vile behavior."
...Hey, China - you know what's even more sacred than the Olympic flame? PEOPLE! As in HUMAN RIGHTS!!! ]

Second, a Chinese national and an American citizen were caught trying to smuggle military-grade infrared technology out of the country.

Yep, move along, folks - there's nothing to see here...

Rest Well, Brother Heston

Charlton Heston passed away this weekend.

Farewell - for a time - to a freedom fighter who stood for principle, regardless of where it landed him on the political field or the ridicule it brought him.

A real man who loved his family dearly and followed his conscience... I pray we're raising our sons to be real men by doing the same!

02 April 2008

Wow - Only Twelve.

A twelve-year-old boy young man saved his mom's life.

Unfortunately, he had to kill the attacker to do it.

That's two sorts of things that no kid should ever have to experience - someone attacking his mother and then having to kill the guy to defend her.

The neighbors are standing by the poor young man.

I sure hope the police do, as well.