Click here to subscribe to the RSS feed

‘Unbelievers’ cover by Lauren O’Connell

without comments

Written by Jeremy

March 28th, 2014 at 12:06 am

Sadly, they are completely serious

with one comment

supremecourt

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Written by Jeremy

March 28th, 2014 at 12:02 am

A Catholic physics student?

without comments

Here is a Christian physics student who presumably believes in things that — wait for it — defy the laws of physics. Oxymoron?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Written by Jeremy

March 27th, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Who’s going to neuter Arpaio?

without comments

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., remained defiant in the face of another court order this week that he will probably just ignore. As The New York Times reported it, judge G. Murray Snow of United States District Court “strongly rebuked” Arpaio for not following the court’s previous order and for mocking the judge:

Ten months ago, Judge Snow ruled that Mr. Arpaio and his deputies had systematically profiled Latinos, targeting them for arrest during raids at day-laborer gathering spots and detaining them longer than other drivers during traffic stops. The subsequent order from the judge, who found that the sheriff’s office had violated the constitutional rights of Latinos, came with several requirements, including the appointment of a monitor to field complaints and oversee compliance.

But at the hearing on Monday, Judge Snow said that Mr. Arpaio and the chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, had blatantly flouted his order, pointing as evidence to a video of a briefing that the two men held in October for a group of rank-and-file deputies who participated in a crime-suppression operation in southwest Phoenix. In the video, Mr. Sheridan called Judge Snow’s order “ludicrous” and “absurd,” and compared the restrictions the courts had placed on them to those imposed on the beleaguered New Orleans Police Department, whose officers, he said, “were murdering people.”

“That tells you how ludicrous this crap is,” Mr. Sheridan of the judge’s order, as a videocamera recorded his every word.

Mr. Arpaio spoke next, telling the deputies, “What the chief deputy said is what I’ve been saying,” adding, “We don’t racially profile, I don’t care what everybody says.”

Arpaio said nothing during the hearing, but told the press, “We’ll be appealing this case anyway. Stay tuned.” Rather than hitting Arpaio with a penalty at this hearing, Snow told the sheriff that if his department committed more violations, he would impose restrictions like forcing Arpaio to hire more monitors to ensure compliance. Snow already ordered that one monitor be brought in to serve as a check against discrimination.

To underscore his points, Judge Snow asked that the lawyers on both sides of the case prepare a summary of his order and that Mr. Arpaio and his deputies use it as a training tool, ideally to make sure none of it was misinterpreted. He also asked both sides to sign a letter attesting to the intentions of the order, which Mr. Arpaio’s lawyers said they would have to discuss before accepting.

So in essence, Arpaio is going to more or less continue his hack campaign against Hispanics in his own county, while his lawyers talk about whether to accept Snow’s order. How broken is our legal system when attorneys get to converse over an order before accepting it? What happened to a judge making a ruling as the final authority and forcing compliance, or else be held in contempt?  After learning that Arpaio and his deputies remain defiant and probably have no intention of carrying out his order, why was Snow so lenient? Why did Snow just “strongly rebuke” the sheriff and not hold him in contempt? Arpaio needs to be taught the  lesson that no one is above the law.

Andrew Cohen, with The Atlantic, made as strong a case as any for Arpaio to be held in content and fined until he complies:

If you or I behaved like this, if we violated a court order so defiantly after a case about willful disobedience of the Constitution, we would be held in contempt. And that’s what should have happened to Arpaio Monday. None of this patient deference to officials of another branch of government. None of this separation-of-powers politesse. The sheriff should have been held in contempt, and fined, until he was willing to publicly apologize (to the judge, at least) and also to convince Judge Snow that he understands at last that the Constitution belongs not to him but to all of the people he serves.

It’s not that he doesn’t get it. It’s that he gets it and still doesn’t care. The more the feds press him, the more the constitutional violations pile up, the more he’s able to lament to his supporters that he is the real victim here. This lawsuit, this court order,  surely will be a talking point when Arpaio finally runs for governor. The real victims, of course, are the citizens of color in Maricopa County who still suffer under his yoke. To them,  the contents of that ugly videotape aren’t a revelation. They’ve been living with that attitude for years. And if Arpaio wins his next race perhaps all of the citizens of Arizona will get to experience it, too.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Party devoid of substance

without comments

The Iraq War could end up costing $6 trillion, at the expense of domestic programs, personal freedoms and a Jeffersonian-like expansion of federal power. One can pretty easily tell just how hypocritical and empty is the rhetoric of neocons and small-government conservatives. Not only has the GOP’s foreign policy platform been disingenuous and akin to saying one thing and doing another, Republicans in Washington have for the last six years essentially collected a check from American taxpayers for doing nothing, whether from cock blocking Obama at every turn, and in some cases, to the nation’s detriment, to wasting time passing nonbinding and symbolic repeals of the Affordable Care Act.

It really is shameless, as Jon Stewart duly notes here:

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Written by Jeremy

March 27th, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Stepping out in doubt: Heather

without comments

A 42-year-old woman from Georgia with roots in West Virginia came out on her blog today as an agnostic. Read her full account here.

Notice her lovely conclusion:

Please realize that I won’t cut you out of my life. I won’t try to convince you that everyone should be atheists. I won’t make your religion, or my lack thereof, the main topic of any of our future conversations. I am still the same Heather I’ve always been and will be the same until I die. I will always question, always wonder, always explore. I just want to love, be loved, celebrate, be celebrated, and experience everything life has to offer, and that includes fellowship with family and friends.

I’m a humanist/atheist. I love, I laugh, I rejoice, I cry, I feel, I rage, I wonder. I gasp at the beauty of an early-morning sunrise that bathes the land in oranges, pinks, and reds. I giggle in amazement and joy at watching my children become incredible people. I am soothed and calmed when I jump into the ocean on a scuba dive and am constantly surprised by the diversity and beauty of the life just under the surface. My mind is blown over the incredible wonder of this planet of ours and the life teeming on it. I can still feel all the things those who are faithful feel.

So turn away from me if you feel that you have to. It’s OK. I get it. Just remember that we’re all spinning on this tiny rock together. We need each other. It’s how we’re going to make it through this incredible journey through space and time.

Love and peace to each and every one of you.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Written by Jeremy

March 23rd, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Spoilers: Short film review of ‘Gravity’

without comments

So I had heard good things about the movie “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and was excited to see it if for nothing other than the visual experience. Now that I actually have seen it, I can say that astounding visuals — and some decent but certainly not stellar acting — were about all this movie gave us. I mean, a movie that wins seven Academy Awards is at least worth one viewing, right?

Gravity-2Barely. Where to start? The movie had no semblance of a story. The only reason we had to care about Sandra Bullock’s character was that she had a daughter back home, except that she doesn’t have a daughter back home anymore. Her kid got killed in a freak accident on the playground. That’s totally plausible, right? Bullock was playing a character named Ryan Stone, and when Clooney asked about her seemingly masculine first name, we learn that Ryan’s parents wanted a boy. So, not only does Stone have reason to despair over her daughter, she’s got reason to despair over her own life. Frankly, halfway through the movie I found myself not caring one whit whether she made it back to Earth or not. At one point before the final sequence, she even resigned herself to give up the ghost and seemed satisfied to wait and die to the sound of an Asian parent singing a lullaby to a baby over the crackle of the intercom. Hell, burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere sounds like about the most exciting thing that could have happened to her at that point, but I digress.

Not only do we have no reason to care for Bullock, her character is completely inept — you know, from a technical standpoint — which for those paying attention, some technical skills with space technology might have come in handy 3 kilometers above Earth. We learn from her conversations with Clooney that Stone failed all of her re-entry simulation tests before coming onto the mission, so she had no business whatsoever in space, with or without a crew. When she finally reached the International Space Station after Clooney and the other crew member died, seemingly safe for a little while, she failed to inspect the interior of the craft and missed the fact that a couple wires had a short. Because of this oversight and in the ensuing fire and explosion, she lost most of the station and was relegated to a small pod in an attempt to reach a Chinese space station, her last hope to make it home.

If all that weren’t bad enough, at the end of the movie, after finally reaching the Tiangong, without having a clue what she’s doing — this might be a bad time to start reading the instruction manual — she somehow manages to start the engine, detach her pod and inexplicably initiate re-entry into Earth by randomly pressing buttons through a rousing game of eenie meenie miney mo. I wish I was joking.

And this from a flick that won seven Academy Awards? I guess storytelling isn’t requisite in movies anymore.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Without the impressive visuals to save it, the rating would have been like -2.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Written by Jeremy

March 22nd, 2014 at 11:00 pm

‘More than’ a bit disappointing

without comments

So in the latest bastardization of the English language, AP Stylebook editors have now deemed that “over” is now an acceptable usage for “more than” when referring to numerical values.

Here’s AP’s explanation for the change:

We decided on the change because it has become common usage. We’re not dictating that people use ‘over’ – only that they may use it as well as “more than” to indicate greater numerical value.

This is now OK to the AP because “over” has apparently crept into “common usage” as a replacement for “more than.” The problem is that, as the AP well knows, “over,” like “around,” is a spacial term, not a way to estimate amounts.Amendments to the Stylebook such as this set a dangerous precedent for the English language. What if the unwitting public comes to no longer sees a distinction between “their,” “they’re” and “there.” What about “its” and “it’s?” Will AP eventually do away with these and other distinctions? Are we one day just going to let reporters use those words interchangeably just because the public can’t write their way out of a wet paper sack? Just because a word has become “common usage” in a certain context, are we just going to open the flood gates to the rabble’s terrible English? Apparently so, and so much for journalists as keepers of the language.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Written by Jeremy

March 20th, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Let me see you freestyle. Go!

without comments

Too bad Jesus didn’t help this guy remember what he was supposed to say.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Written by Jeremy

March 20th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Something from nothing?

without comments

I particularly enjoyed Lawrence Krauss’ introduction to answering this question. A common tactic Christians use when asking questions, whether consciously or not, is to begin the query with the word, “why,” which implies that there must be an underlying reason or purpose for our existence. To ask “why” something is the way it is assumes that some kind of conscious force or creator is lurking behind the curtains pulling all the strings. In nature, “how” questions are exponentially more useful and interesting than “why” questions.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Written by Jeremy

March 14th, 2014 at 1:20 pm

29 queries in 0.965