Saturday, December 31, 2005

My Dad Needs Stem Cell Research

Last summer his leg started giving out and creakin' bad on him. I didn't see him again until T-givin' and he is using his cane. Christmas he actually looked better. I didn't ask him about it. Family Dynamic. It was a good get together of the family. We mainly talked sports, but 3yo Benny likes to walk around with Dad's cane so it's frequently in view. Dad looks good and healthy (64 in February) when he's chillin' on the couch, talking crap and cool nothings.

Still, I was as miserable as I ever was on Boxing Day. BestBuy gift cards for xmas got me Half-Life 2 GotY Ed. Niiiice...

Anyhow, all I know is this kind of thing (in Pop's leg) is most likely genetically controlled. I don't think it's a bug or cancer. Stem cell therapy will fix it in no time, in some time. More time. No big deal. Things take time.

The current system is just paranoid.

It's what happens when science is outlawed.

Friday, December 30, 2005

I've No Proof

link The Justice Department has opened another investigation into leaks of classified information, this time to determine who divulged the existence of President Bush's secret domestic spying program.

Of what?

Well, I'd bet the algorhythm of their (compu$er?) program is the only reason why DoD, Navy Intel and DoJ Internet providers kept showing up on my site meter map last week. It's free so I've no access to older logs or stats.

link White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Justice undertook the action on its own, and Bush was informed of it Friday.

And a little paranoia never hurt anyone... .

(... sometimes even I don't get my sense of humor.. {shudder} .)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

"Mother" and A New Blog


I've actually got two Hat Tips to Unscrewing the Inscrutable on this pre-Xmas Friday.


The first is to Brent for his sharing of a new blog by one New York University professor, Mitchell Stephens. Without Gods is a blog intended to collect information and dialogue on the phenomenon of godlessness.
Most civilizations have been founded on the belief the universe is commanded by a magisterial Being (or beings), who monitors our lives, enforces our morality, endorses our power structures and offers eternal life. The subject of this blog is a book, eventually to be published by Carroll and Graf, that will tell the story of those who have dared disagree.
I highly encourage all freethinkers to contribute to the writing of this book by reading and commenting on Prof Stephens blog.

And the second hat tip, well, WOW!!! I know I say that alot in reference to Darksyd's Science Fridays, but I honestly do always mean it! Today's story is entitled "The One That Got Away" and it delves into the animals of the Devonian period which escaped the sea by virtue of their cunning and ingenuity. These critters are our forbearers. This is our story, told by a masterful educator of his species.


CIA Suspected


The Reuters' article is just a brief blurb.
It really isn't the kind of thing to make an American feel any pride of country though.

Here's hoping it pans out to be nothing. I hate this shit.

What ever happened to Presidential Administrations illegally supporting Right Wing regimes or burglarizing Lefty hotel rooms or presidents having flaming kids or drunk brothers or gettin' a little intern action in the Ooffice and making decisions based upon the last faction with whom they had a conversation?

Why is anyone putting up with these neo-con fascist hegemonists?

How can one of the most spectacularly progressive nations in the history or our species get taken to task by an immature socialist experiment like Italy's government? (No offense intended Italian folk. That government is simply kind of goofy IMO. I'd not suggest it's alone in that respect though.)

Why haven't Dems and a cadre of honest to goodness conservatives Impeached these sociopathic IDists already?!!?

So let me repeat:
Here's hoping it pans out to be nothing. I hate this shit.

All right... Just had to rant that outta my system.

Slurpy Holidays folks...

{shakin'head}

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wisdom of the Woodpecker

via Tom Robbins' Still Life with Woodpecker*

Don't let yourself be victimized by the age you live in. It's not the times that will bring us down, any more than it's society. When you put the blame on society, then you end up turning to society for the solution. ... There's a tendency today to absolve individuals of moral responsibility and treat them as victims of social circumstance. You buy that, you pay with your soul. It's not men who limit women, it's not stratights who limit gays, it's not whites who limt blacks. What limits people is lack of character. What limits people is that they don't have the fucking nerve or imagination to star in their own movie, let alone direct it. Yuk.

Bernard Mickey Wrangle - Outlaw
aka, The Woodpecker


List under "what I'm reading". You'll be glad you did.



* Copywrite 1980 by Tom Robbins

Survey SAYS!

We'll see.

At this point, I'm really just happy to see the Senate & House rejecting BushCo's war on the Constitution and our biosphere.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Kyoto Light

Since the Great Leader has decreed Global Warming too expensive to pay any attention to, some of the smaller fish in USA's political sea have had to step up and use their own brains in this attempt at forced species' suicide.

Thanks in great part to likely presidential aspirant, and current New York Governor, George Pataki, 7 states have now joined economic and regulatory forces to get my beautiful country in on the effort to keep our planet inhabitable.


Coolish.

Okay. Back to work...


Related News: ANWR Amendment Fails

Well this one caught me by surprise. I fully expected the drilling the superfluous ANWR amendment to make it through this time. I really did.

Although lawmakers were anxious to wrap up work for the year, the Republican majority failed to get the required 60 votes in the 100-member chamber needed to cut off debate on the bill. The vote was 56-44.

"Holding funding for our troops and relief for Hurricane Katrina victims hostage in this manner is just plain wrong and a violation of at least two Senate rules," said Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California.

Another Democrat, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, said the issue was not whether to support the defense funding for U.S. troops. "If we yield to this tactic on ANWR, next year it will be someone else's pet project attached to the defense spending bill," he said.

Dang! Sometimes it's very cool being wrong.



We Come From Monkeys

While lookin' up links to the "Breathtaking inanity" post, I found this gem.

LOL! I love it! It's only Rock-n-Roll folks.

But I like it.

"Breathtaking inanity" of Dover School Board Members

I've not much to say except Hooray! Judge John Jones rules according to both reason and precedent in the Dover School Board trial.

The judge says it best:
Jones decried the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion.

A six-week trial over the issue yielded "overwhelming evidence" establishing that intelligent design "is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory," said Jones, a Republican and a churchgoer appointed to the federal bench three years ago.


This silly human appreciates the irony of Behe's testimonial attempt to redefine Science to include astrology and similar artistically intellectual endeavors. This redef is impossible though, without subscribing to the
preposterous ad emotionally amped idea that a Theory is nothing more than wild guess. This court's decision shows respect for established definitions and gives the ID gang a smart slap on the hand to encourage them to stick to reality.

Good luck with that folks...

Happy Holidays All!


Monday, December 19, 2005

now playing...*

I always forget I have these cuts on my hard drive.

Phish
Franklin's Tower (dealin' wit' the dead...)
Gin and Juice (dogg...)

Laid baaaack...

I've had a crick in my neck for 6 days running. I'll try anything.

Okay. Pile of Heads - So much Hate doesn't quite get it.

But Floyd does.

Wish you were here ...

If you come across a June 05 Vanity Fair (I needed the cologne sample), pick it up and look at the cover. I won't get married again until she asks me. So I told my friends at work. I don't mind being single.

Baby Come Back by Player does not work right now.

Yikes! I almost bought eminem's compilation. Got Nickleback for ... well, instead {shhhh {-; xmas stuff.}

Leaving on Prong featuring Ray Manzarec Strange Days

Gotta read the VF. (and neck still hurts.)


* an experiment in stream of consciousness.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Lindsay Graham Making Sense

On Face the Nation right now.

Graham was gut-wrenching talking about BushCo's ignorance of the need for the Court's opinion where required. Democracy is not outcome based. If the check is required, there's no excuse to skip it. The process becomes unbalanced.

He's a little temporally optimistic on the Iraq to come. Biden has a scarier, quite likely mix to Lindsay's scenario.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

"A Cosmic Season's Greetings"

Just completely wonderful extrapolative science writing! Darksyd's Science Fridays are always a worthwhile trip.
In the Constellation of Virgo, hundreds of millions of light years distant, there lurks a strange, mysterious force: The Great Attractor in ABELL 3627. Our new hybrid galaxy and all the others within two-hundred million light years are in freefall, dropping towards the location of this baffling phenomena. These galaxies form a spherical halo of spinning spirals and buzzing ovoids, all constricting around the Attractor. As we watch, our own newly enlarged galaxy comes blazing in like a whirling snowflake until gravity wrenches her apart, spraying the delicate fiery innards all across the local cosmos in great fountains of multicolored light which arc back towards the mammoth gravity well. The funeral pyre, only one of many thousands a relative minute, is exquisitely beautiful.


Happy Holidays 'til the mollasses of January runs cold.. .

War on Christmas {sighhh}

I just watched the local Fox 8 News anchor do a 5 sec spot on the holiday season.

He's sittin' next to a Christmas tree and says something conspiratorially like*, "I know it's not politically correct. Merry Christmas! And I mean it!"

The spot flashed out with a festive Season's Greetings page.

Nice. {shakin'head} No shots across the bow with that one.

I'm just not sure when I actually attacked christmas or xmas or INRI's ostensible birth-day. I could understand the defensiveness if the majority superstition were under Legal attack. But even Newdow's attempts in court have been legitimate concerns of Constitutional importance.

Oh well. Maybe it's just kicks on his part. I gets me own in other ways. Season's Greetings folks!



* I've just seen it once. Not positive about every word of the para-quote, but the gist is good. I'm fairly sure the anchor would agree with what I recall.


Frappr

Sheesh! I honestly don't mean to be rude or uninviting.

Thank you Spencer and Carla for signin' onto the Silly Humans Frappr. I went into this one kinda half-heartedly at first, but now I find it's really cool to see names for who's reading without comment. Alan from Meet an Atheist signed onto my MBains frappr which I setup whilst figuring out it's functionality. So thanks to you too bro.

This blog is fun. I might actually move it to a paid-platform. I just need to decide on a format I'd enjoy using enough to pay for it. Blogger's free domain has really been quite sufficient to date. Movable-Type seems like a leading contendre early on though. I'll see...

Thanks again and I encourage anyone else who reads here with any regularity to Frapp on you silly diamonds as well.

Go Browns!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Valuable & Reliable Science Reporting

Thinking 'bout posting but not posting is, er, well, not posting.

{sigh}

Here's a quick link to a Washington Post article on a two-day conference on evolution for High School students at the Howard Hughes Center in Chevy Chase. Post reporter Valerie Strauss does an excellent job separating opinion from fact, while showing respect for both.

As a skeptic in matters religious, one thing stood out to me as problematic when it comes to human integrity.

(Advanced Placement biology teacher, Kurt) Richter said that he makes a strong effort to present evidence and not opinions -- and that the approach works in educating students, more than half of whom enter his science classes disbelieving evolution. Most change their minds.

Not (17 year old senior, Emily) Howell, however, who said she took Advanced Placement Biology with Richter last year and kept telling him that she had a "different worldview" from her teacher, one based on a literal reading of the Bible. Nothing would shake it.

Richter said that she was an excellent student and deserved a chance to attend the evolution conference.

Nothing, not even a cold, hard smack of empirical reality will shake her faith.

As long as Miss Howell doesn't take her right to self-delusion and try forcing it upon others, I really have no personal problem with it. I just don't share it and won't deny that I don't respect such potentially self-defeating silliness.

I mean it. Where is the honor or integrity in professing belief in something you have seen proven wrong?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

On the "Wedge Strategy"

Thanks to the Commissar for providing a nice synopsis (and some good links, of course) on the progress of The Discovery Institute's "Wedge Strategy" for insinuating Intelligent Design fantasy into the public discourse on, ahem, a scientific basis.

His post actually links to Ed on Dispatches from the Culture Wars, but I've always enjoyed the Commissar's somewhat fascist approach to bloggin'. It's made me laugh and groan just a little bit more frequently than it's prompted my eyes to roll, er, heavenward.

Enjoy

Monday, December 05, 2005

Ahhh, Tradition ...

The family gathered 'round the burning goat. Spiced nogg passed 'round to help warm our hands and hearts. Presents under tree giving wide-eyed children fuel for their Yuletide drea... um, say... Run that first bit by me again, eh?

Why are we burning a goat?

What has the goat to do with Christmas, or Yuletide even?

How come I never heard of this before?

I've got a busy work-day in front of me, but once I heard this story on NPR this morning, I just had to post on it briefly. Follow the links for the whole
amazingly human story.

Okay. I'm back to work.

Happy Holidays!

LOL!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

There Is No God

And just because I don't believe that fact with all of my heart and soul,* it doesn't make it any more or less true or factual. I think it is because every proposed god & goddess has been factually refuted beyond any doubt. The only way it's possible for a human to believe in one of them (or all or any) is for the human to suspend disbelief and reason and profess that they have Faith in their imaginary creator.

That is every bit as impressive an argument as the current offensive capabilitie's of the NFL franchise whose colors I'm using on this Sunday. Well, maybe not even that impressive...

I had a bit o' luck yesterday when a wonderful blogger by name of Bird stopped by and left a coolish comment about my take on fellow primates Bob and Cal's pompous little sharing of their astounding ignorance vis-a-vie the nature and methodology of science. I naturally visited m'lady's Bird In Hand to catch up on her blogtivities and found this much needed cobweb-clearer from Penn Jillette.

This outtake is a little longer than I'd normally use, but the paragraph is very helpful and meaningful to my poor human psyche.
Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.
I've not much to add except to say that I wish my brother Rob was able to talk about this stuff on occasion without one or both of us becoming idiotically enraged that the other would dare to think differently from ourselves. I don't ask for much in my life, shit!, I'm pretty sure I don't ask for enough. Knowing how great a guy my 2nd youngest bro really, really is and not being able to have any sort of friendship with him just totally sucks.
But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do."
I need to remember to take slow, deep breaths when confronted by that type of phenomena from people I love. Otherwise, I am unable to prove to them and me that my love is valuable and real.

There is no god. {sigh} I too am learning something.



* Hearts can't think and souls (or spirits), if they exist, are medically unlikely to be aught more than electrical energy fields resulting from the biochemical activities of our bodies.

Friday, December 02, 2005

"Only Man has a Conscience..." ???

Now, I'm not a trained scientist (BA PolSci,) nor does one need to be in order to understand the scientific method. It helps that I know the sequence of that method though. So I am disgusted by people like Bob and Cal who base ignorant arguments upon false premises then declare that science, in its inevitable essence, is little more than a self-righteous philosophy. What's worse is they get published gibbering about it in an internationally (semi-)respected news publication!
Bob (a Liberal): ... the science crowd hasn't come close to explaining why only man among all living things has a conscience, a moral framework and a free will.
What the ---- ? Only homo sapiens has these traits? REALLY? Someone has proven this empirically and repeatably in a manner which anyone could duplicate and confirm? Wow! I missed that entirely. Perhaps Bob (or anyone) could provide a link to the research that's been done or which they've followed or at least know something about.

Now, I'm not saying that squirrels uncharacteristically ganging up on a annoying dog proves non-human animals have conscience or some kind of social moral framework, even though such could help explain it. It's simply that all the research* I have seen suggests biological and physical explanations of all of man's possible actions and decisions, just as they do for every other animal of which humans have empirical knowledge. Humans have evolved as a result of our intellectual capacity being our most prominent feature and this explains the advanced and obviously important nature of morality in our interactions.

Alon Levy just wrote an intelligent, if limited, essay on human morality on UTI. I wonder what Bob & Cal might comment on such. Would they leave anything as profound as Cal's closing remarks in this silly waste of bits and newsprint?
Cal (a conservative): Maybe we can offer (Darwinists) some bananas as an incentive. As they eat them, they can contemplate their heritage.
If anyone has any source material supporting Bob's assertion, I'd sure appreciate a link. All Cal has offered is banana's.


* OBVIOUSLY that's not all of it... {-;

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Another Fine Example...




of why it is more important to seek Truth before Authority.