Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Friends of God

“Friends of God” is the name of an HBO documentary about Evangelical Christianity in America. I knew if I watched it, that the show was going to upset me, I just didn’t realize by how much.

They had a sequence showing Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis pitching his garbage to a meeting room full of preschoolers. Ham used ever dirty pitch trick you could imagine from half truths to innuendo to outright lying. If that wasn’t infuriating enough, then the HBO interviewer talked to the kids asking them about their beliefs. What a demonstration of a well brain washed group.

Worse were the conversations with slightly older, and I would assume veterans of Ham’s presentation, seeing how well the message has stuck, and how nailed shut the minds have become. I loved the one kid who explained that people accept evolution because they haven’t been given all the evidence (!?) and how the universities are biased in favor of evolution! How about biased in favor of the evidence?

Allow me to provide an example of the crap spewed by one of Ham's presenters. The question being addressed was why dinosaurs weren't mentioned in the bible which, if they had been contemporary with ancient man, they should have been. To explain this omission the presenter asked the children rhetorically if "automobile" was in the bible or "computer?" Of course not he answered, because these are what he called "new words" just like dinosaur was a "new word." Of course he neglected to mention that the only reason dinosaur is a "new word" is folks back then didn't need a word to describe what they had no knowledge of. If there had been dinosaurs wandering around, they would have had a word to describe them, just like they had words to describe lions and tigers and bears. It would not have been the precise word "dinosaur," but it would have been some word. Perhaps "bigthingthatknocksdownhouses" or something like that.

And we let people who bring their own kids to be brainwashed vote? No wonder this goddamn country is going to the dogs. The show got me so furious I started yelling at my wife who disagrees with my position that all religions are cults.

Bottom line, people like this are dangerous. They’re not funny and amusing but harmless yokels; they are dangerous and need to be fought, with words if sufficient, and with bullets if necessary.

Over the last few months I had sort of mellowed in my attitude toward religion. Well that show ended that. Now I’m all stirred up all over again.

Rome is Back

The first three episodes of the second, and final, season of the HBO series Rome have been aired and I’m finding the series interesting but decidedly mediocre. I don’t even bother to watch the shows when they premier, I catch them a day or two later on HBO On Demand.

I guess they’ve decided to skip the whole Antony marries Octavia bit as too complicated and leave Antony hooked up with Atia; unless of course that poisoner Servilia hired to get Atia manages to succeed. We’ll find out next week. In the meantime Antony has left Rome for Gaul after Cicero done him wrong in the senate, Octavian has hooked up with school chum Agrippa in Campania, where they have apparently raised a nice little army, and Brutus and Cassius are looking for financial support in the far reaches of the empire. Oh yeah, and Cleopatra has turned up in Rome. I’ve also learned that the role of Octavian is to be recast bringing in an older actor to play the grown up Octavian.

On the domestic front, Orestes Fulman has, apparently, kidnapped and sold Vorenus’s daughters, and Niobe’s sister Lyde, into slavery. Voranus and Pullo, after depopulating Fulman’s gang of thugs, cut off the man’s head but were first convinced that the girls, and Niobe’s son, were dead. Then, at the insistence of Antony, Vorenus sort of took over the Aventine as a kind of deranged godfather type. Unfortunately, at the moment, Vorenus is in Gaul with Antony and his criminal empire appears to be coming apart. Vorenus and Pullo have also had a falling out and Pullo was wandering with Eirene when Lyde, who escaped from the slavers, shows up. At the end of episode three Pullo is riding hard, I assume to let Vorenus know that his daughters are alive. Another side plot seems to be developing with Timon. His brother, who sounds like a 1st century BCE version of a Zealot, has shown up and is acting in a decidedly suspicious manner. Whew.

Now I’m up to date and we shall see what develops.

Hillary Throws her Hat into the Ring

To no ones real surprise Hillary Clinton announced that she was, officially, seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination. Let the games begin! It’s too early for me to back any particular candidate since the guy I wanted, Russ Feingold, has decided not to run. We shall see what we shall see as things develop.

The NFL Playoffs

My Giants lost to the Eagles, but played pretty well, the Cinderella Saints lost to Chicago, the Patriots upset San Diego but then got bounced by the Colts. To make a long story short it’s the Bears and Colts. By not posting every week I managed to avoid embarrassing myself again this year but would you believe I managed to call both championship games correctly?

Two Black head coaches will square off against each other in the Super Bowl. The NFL has certainly come a long way hasn’t it? Who’s going to win? I have to go with Eli’s big brother Payton to finally get the ring. But I'm still going to be rooting for the Bears!

Welcome Back

Well I finally broke free for a bit so I can update my poor neglected blog. Isn’t it terrible how work tends to get in the way of doing stuff you want to do? I missed putting in my two cents on a whole bunch of stuff so all I can do now is try and get up to date.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Jersey Commission Recommends Abolition of the Death Penalty

The New Jersey Commission studying the death penalty has recommended abolition by a margin of 12-1. The sole dissenter was the author of the current death penalty statute passed in 1982.

This is big. I mean this is really big. Governor Corzine is not a fan of the death penalty and public opinion in the Garden State has been swinging toward life without parole for several years now but nevertheless, a discrete repeal of the death penalty in New Jersey could influence New York. The Empire State has never bothered to repair its statute declared unconstitutional by the state supreme court and has been in a sort of limbo with respect to the death penalty. Given all the current problems with the death penalty this could start a trend with states like Michigan and California following suit.

Such a trend would signal a surge into the 21st century. Hey, who knows, you get rid of the death penalty and maybe scientific literacy, and the acceptance of Evolution, and Gay Rights might not be all that far behind. Except in the South of course where they’re working hard on marching back to the 16th century.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Giants at Redskins

You’ve got to be kidding? As much as I love them I’ll be the first to admit that the Giants have stunk up the league over the last eight weeks. Only a heroic performance by Tiki Barber, running for an incredible 230 yards, and an absolutely miserable Redskins team, has allowed Coughlin to manage an anemic 8-8 record by thumping Washington 34-28. Yet they still managed to get to football’s promised land? They squeaked into the playoffs as the sixth seed? That’s unbelievable. They’re going to get killed in Philadelphia on Sunday. It would have been better if Tiki’s last game had been his career performance at Washington.

So now the play-off teams are set. Way back in early November, at the halfway mark of the season, I made my predictions. Let’s see if I did any better than my play-off predictions last year.

In the AFC, I said New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis and San Diego would win the divisions and I was right on all four. Granted it didn’t take a genius to figure this out, but it still makes me 4-0. Unfortunately I said Cincinnati and Jacksonville would get the Wild Cards and it turned out to be the Jets and Kansas City. That makes me 0-2 there for a final record of 4-2 for the AFC.

In the NFC, I said Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle would win the divisions, but it turned out that my confidence in Atlanta and skepticism about New Orleans were both misplaced and the Saints captured the NFC South. That makes me 3-1 there. I said New Orleans and Dallas would get the Wild Cards and it turned out to be Dallas and the Giants. That makes me 1-1 there for a final record of 4-2 for the NFC and 8-4 overall.

Even though I managed to identify 9 of the 12 play-off teams, I think I’ll hold on to my day job.